Guest Post: Newly Diagnosed

Posted by on Sep 5, 2013 in Diagnosis Stories, Guest Posts | 2 comments

A guest post by Craig Thiebaud who recently got diagnosed with diabetes. He has a culinary degree from the International Culinary Center, and I certainly hope this won’t be his only post on The Type 2 Experience. —Bea

My life with Diabetes

I recently broke my foot and it was such a bad break that surgery was scheduled.  Already mad at myself for clumsily falling down a couple stairs, I had to do a myriad of things to get ready for the surgery…including a blood test.  The next day, I had to get x-rays and the results of my blood work so I went to the doctor for the third consecutive day.  To my shock, my blood work was a shambles.  My A1-C was 8.3, I had high cholesterol, and my blood sugars were through the roof.  Then, I was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

The doctor went through all the things I should avoid, the medicine I should take, the home monitoring system, etc.  It was all a blur though.  I really heard the word diabetes and then nothing after that.  I didn’t know what it all meant but I certainly knew I didn’t want it.  I didn’t know what to do or how to go about tackling what I needed to do to treat the disease.  So stunned, I left the office with a large amount of sample medication and got in my car and drove home to tell my wife, who works in the diabetes industry.

She was understanding and helped put it in perspective but it still hadn’t seeped into my consciousness just how serious this disease really is.  I started reading books and they were scary mentioning foot amputations, eye degeneration, kidney disease, etc.  So, I really started to worry and to blame myself for not taking better care of myself.  I could have dieted and exercised more.  I should been more acutely aware that diabetes runs in my family.  I knew it but didn’t think it would knock on my door.

Since then I’ve been monitoring my blood sugar every day in the mornings (fasting).  I’ve found this challenging.  The monitoring system is supposed to be easy to use but I’ve found it difficult.  I try to use the lancet and it usually does not produce blood.  I’ve found that only one finger works with the device.  Then sometimes the blood monitor itself won’t read the blood correctly and I get error messages.  I thought this would get easier but it hasn’t.  It’s really an ordeal every morning.

Today I diligently try to stay on a low sugar/low carb diet…something difficult for someone who is a chef and is used to eating and trying all sorts of exotic fare.  It’s challenging for me not to test my palate with whatever I want to eat, thus inspiring me to cook dishes from all over the world.  I’m saddened that this part of my life will have to change in either small or incrementally larger ways.   I go to the endocrinologist this week and I have a feeling that the rubber will meet the road then, and I’ll have a much better sense of what I’m facing and how to go about tackling this scary, tricky disease.

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Bea’s Diagnosis Story

Posted by on Aug 1, 2013 in Diagnosis Stories | 2 comments

My first glucose meter.

My first glucose meter.

I have been overweight all my life. I never ate more than the other kids, I was as active as the other kids, and my mom really watched our diet. I remember I was 8 years old when I saw a weight-loss doctor for the first time; I don’t remember much, but my mother says it was a total disaster. Imagine seeing your 8-year old kid taking weight-loss pills… she didn’t know better, she thought he was helping. She pulled the plug when she realized the treatment was making me depressed.

When people saw me, they immediately told my mom “She’s so cute. I’m sure she will lose the weight when puberty comes.” It didn’t, it got worse. My body never felt normal, I had a late menarche, I was always irregular, my periods were extremely painful and messy, and my weight kept on going up.

In 1995 I went to see an endocrinologist who diagnosed me with hypothyroidism, so I’ve been taking levothyroxine since then. In 1999 I was diagnosed with a benign pituitary tumor and PCOS. Things were rough, I was young, I was getting married, I wanted to have children, I couldn’t conceive. Being treated for my prolactinoma and the PCOS led me to an endocrinologist in Montreal, where I was living, and during one of my visits this is how the conversation went:

Doc: What are you taking for your thyroid?
Bea: Levothyroxine, 200mcg
Doc: And what are you taking for your hyperprolactinemia?
Bea: Cabergoline, 0.5mg
Doc: And what are you taking for diabetes?
Bea: MY WHAT?

Yes, I had no idea I had diabetes. I had no symptoms, no previous abnormal results… I did have a history of diabetes in the family, and my dad had passed away the year before due to heart complications, so it wasn’t a huge shock for me. The shock was not knowing that I had it, and wondering how long I had it for.

To this day I don’t know what my initial numbers were, but I remember I met with a CDE right away, who explained to me how to use my glucose meter, what the metformin was going to for me, how diabetes works, how diabetes affects your body, etc. I don’t remember her name, but I will never forget her smile and the fact that she told me things would be OK.

I wasn’t really scared; I think I was more disappointed than anything because being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at age 26 makes you feel REALLY guilty; especially with my history of hormonal imbalances…. I blamed it all on being fat. But that’s a story for another post.

My diabetes didn’t come alone. I deal with a completely messed up endocrine system, and I’m still struggling with my weight. But I do the best I can with what I have. I know my diabetes is not an isolated issue, I know it’s correlated to others, I know the odds and ends, I know how PCOS causes insulin resistance… I know all that. And it helps me to work on the guilt. Sometimes the body just needs a little bit of extra help.

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Website Launch

Posted by on Jun 1, 2013 in General | 9 comments

website_launchFor a while I have wanted to create a place where people with type 2 diabetes come together in a effort to help each other and share their experiences. This desire came after I realized we need to have a stronger presence in the Diabetes Online Community, and also because I have been inspired by other group efforts mostly targeted for the type 1 community. Then I read an article on the Sanofi blog “Discuss Diabetes” where Bob Fenton talks about people with type 2 diabetes being invisible in the DOC. We do not want to be invisible, we are here, we have something to say!

I only know a few type 2 diabetes bloggers, but I admire them and respect them immensely, and I knew I needed them to make this work. So I reached out to my good friends and fellow T2’s to ask them if they would be interested in having some sort of collaborative website. And here we are, still working on it and setting things up, but I wanted to make June 1, 2013 the date of the official launch of The Type 2 Experience, a collaboration blog where want to connect to other people with type 2 diabetes and discuss what life is really like living with this condition in order to demystify some of the information given by the media, because I personally feel it is our duty as diabetes advocates.

I am excited! My most sincere thanks to Mike, Kate, Bob, Lizmari, Sue and Rachel who have agreed to work on this project with me.

 

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