Saturday, September 15, 2012

True Confessions

Oh this is hard.

Those of you who have been reading this journal for years will no doubt remember when I decided to go public with my weight loss journey.  I started some time in 2001, joined Weight Watchers, took up biking, and was very faithful about recording my progress through 85 lbs lost between when I started and about 2003.  So many of you were so encouraging and helped me stick with it.

Sadly, my good intentions, as they so often do, fell by the wayside and I gained it all back...and then some.  I hated myself for doing that.  In the past couple of years, I've dropped weight again, back to about 30 lbs higher than I was when I stopped dieting.  I've been stuck there for a long time, which is not surprising because I haven't been watching my food at all.

I don't remember when I was diagnosed with Diabetes II.  A long time ago. Maybe 10 years. For awhile I attended classes and started the program.  Dr. G, for whom I was working at the time, said that if he didn't know that I had started an exercise program and a diet, he would have put me on insulin right away.  But my Kaiser doctor has me on diabetes meds in pill form.

For all of my complaints about my mother and her excuses to avoid going to the doctor, she can't hold a candle to me.  (Anybody who spills the beans and tells her that is on my black list!).  I get calls to come in for blood tests, which I don't do because I know I haven't taken the meds or or done anything about my eating.

When I stop taking the meds it's because I don't like how they make me feel--mildly nauseous.  And I was going by my mother's irrational excuses -- kind of "I feel fine, so I don't need to go to the doctor."

Welllll.....something happened this week.

It actually started when I was at Community Meals.  I went to the bathroom and when I looked in the toilet, it was bright red.  Bright red.  That caught my attention.  But I didn't immediately call the doctor.   The next time I urinated, it wasn't quite as red, more pinkish.  And there has been no red since then.

I did some research on blood in the urine and discovered that it can be caused by many things, including brightly colored food (like beets).  Since I had been eating the very soft plums that couldn't be cut for the fruit salad, and which were a deep, deep, deep plum red, I hoped that was the cause.  I think that was it, since there hasn't been a hint of colored urine since then.

But the thing that did change about the same time was my frequency of urination.  I've always bragged about having an "iron bladder."  I can go all day without needing a bathroom.  The iron bladder started rusting a few years ago and while I could no longer go all day without a break, I now had what seemed like a more normal bladder.

But starting two days ago, I found I was going to the bathroom all the time.  And I do mean all the time.  I couldn't make it through an hour long TV program without needing to go the bathroom.  The dogs were very upset when I dropped everything in the middle of fixing their dinner for a rush to the bathroom.   It was worse than being pregnant. It was better at night. I made it through the last two nights with only one need for a bathroom trip.  I knew that this was a serious diabetes symptom and decided that it was time to start being an adult and start doing what my doctor has been trying to get me to do for years.

I got up this morning and took my glucose reading for the first time in about a year.  I won't say what it was (I may later, but for now I won't), but suffice to say that on my smart phone glucose tracker, the numbers showed up in the red.   I took my medications and had a "legal" breakfast (scrambled egg on wheat toast and half a glass of orange juice).  My reading before lunch was down more than 100 points -- still in the red, but looking better.

I was also racing to the bathroom so often that I downloaded a timer on my smart phone and started timing how often I had these uncontrollable urges.  All morning it was between 5 and 7 minutes.  

Walt found an article in the paper yesterday which talked about the new parking meters in San Francisco, which are $5.25 an hour and how if you were to try to pay with pennies, it would take so long to insert one penny and get another one out by the time you got the second one out, you would have used up the time that the first penny bought.  That's about the way I felt this morning.  It was hardly worth walking from the bathroom back to the family room or my office because as soon as I would sit down, I would have to rush back again.

The interval between trips got longer and by mid afternoon I was up to a bit over an hour before I had to go to the bathroom, and I was glad that I had leftover "pee pads" so I could wear one before we went off to the theater tonight.

I sent an e-mail to my doctor to (a) confess my transgressions and omissions, and (b) to let her know what was going on now, as well as record the glucosse numbers.  I had an answer by return e-mail, which made me think this must really be serious, but the e-mail was an automatic response which said only that she was out of the office until Monday.  So I have two more days to see what medication and diet will do to the numbers...and the urination.  

And then I have to take a big breath and admit to the world what I have and have not been doing all this time and finally get with the program.  And yes, I know a lot of you are dealing with this same problem very responsibly.   I hope that over the coming weeks I can finally be of your number.

Already I made a great discovery.  I had made chocolate chip cookies two days ago (shut up) and there are cookies left in the jar.  I usually have an afternoon snack and those cookies were looking pretty good, but then I remembered how our friend Jim had cooked some of his fresh zucchini for us in the microwave when we were there, just sprinkled with a little salt and pepper.  I love zucchini, so I cooked one for myself for snack and it filled that empty hole I would otherwise have filled with chocolate chip cookies.  

But then things like this are always wonderful during the honeymoon phase.  It's the long haul that is the real test of commitment.  I know this.


Mary Z said...

I'd say "shame", but you've done enough of that already. I just hope you can get things under control when you see the doctor on Monday. And remember how much we don't want to say "Oh, dear! I've become my mother!!!!"

Your frequent urination may certainly be due to the diabetes, but I've had symptoms like that when I've had a urinary tract infection. I'm sure they'll investigate that, too.

We'll be anxious to hear the update. Hugs!

Harriet said...

I can't prove anything about weak vs. strong bladder, because I always had to go often, starting in kindergarten, the first time I couldn't go whenever I wanted to. (TMI)

But diabetes I know; I was diagnosed fourteen years ago. Oral medication always worked for me, except when I was in chemo and they tried a different co-therapy. I woke up one morning with a reading of 400, took my meds and ate breakfast; it was down to 200 by the time I got to the doctor. But he put me on insulin until they stopped that co-therapy.

You can't ignore it, girl! The complications would make you unable to do all the things you love to do.

Pandionna said...

Yikes! Yep, Bev. This is serious stuff. I think you know I used to work for ADA. Although blood in the urine is often a sign of a urinary tract infection, the fact that it went away and you're still having to go all the time alarms me.

My guess is that your kidneys can't keep up with all the sugar in your blood. Regardless of how much you drink, you run a very real risk of becoming dehydrated. Frequent urination is also a sign of ketoacidosis, which can be life-threatening.

I wouldn't mess with this. If you can't get your blood glucose down to below 200, I would visit a hospital if I were you. And I would still schedule a prompt appointment with my doctor, regardless.

Kathy said...

Bev - this entry makes me very nervous for you. My high school friend, Fran (we're 53 years old) had to miss our high school reunion a few weeks ago because she'd had a stroke! Like you, she was Type II Diabetic, not willing to test her blood sugar or take her medication. Unwilling to change get rid of the carbs. She is now learning how to talk again. Please please please take care of yourself. We want you around for a long, long time. And we want that time to be with good health!