Diabetes progress report

There are few more gratifying things in life than seeing the long term benefits of choices you’ve made come home to roost. Real, lasting change takes time to achieve and I honestly don’t believe that there are genuine quick fixes to anything – just continued perseverance in the right direction.

The more you do the right things the more they become a permenant way of life.

It’s been a few months since I mentioned diabetes in my blog – and if I’m honest on a day to day basis I’m sometimes beginning to forget that this is still sitting in the background and lying in wait somewhere in my body.

It seems like a LONG time ago that every Sunday afternoon I was putting 7 pills per day in my weekly pill dispenser and then having to remember to take them at several different times of day – as well as testing my glucose levels before I drove my car.

I still refuse to think ‘Yay – my diabetes is gone and I’m cured!‘ though.

Some may think that viewpoint reeks of pessimism rather than optimism – but to me it’s still very much an ongoing condition. I try to expect the worst but continually work towards the best possible outcome.

In order to do this I imagine myself always looking over my shoulder at a stalking predator. In my mind’s eye it’s a big cat that’s already tasted blood but that has been caught by the tail and temporarily caged. It’s pacing back and forth in its flimsy confinement and watching what I do.

It’s biding it’s time and waiting to break free.

The diabetes that this cat represents will always there in my (already damaged) pancreas, and if I drop my guard it will almost certainly attack again. This point of view keeps me committed, because I know that if there is a next time I might not be able to turn it around.

It’s much better to keep on the right path.

A week ago I had a blood test to make sure everything was ok after I stared getting a lot of light headed moments when standing up (link). Thankfully (or annoyingly – depending on how you look at it) these now appear to have largely stopped altogether. I had one whilst climbing Snowdon – but otherwise there’s been nothing at all. It’s just inexplicably disappeared – in the same way as many other things come and go as my weight drops.

Often there seems to be no explanation – they’re just…. no longer there.

My blood work appears to reflect this. There’s no abnormality in my kidney function or anything else that would give an indication of why I started to feel this way. It’s a little frustrating to not know why it started so suddenly and then completely stopped – but I’m honestly just glad that it’s gone.

Hopefully in the cases of the readers that replied to my post saying that they too experienced issues like this during weight loss it will clear up too.

One of the plus points about having a full blood work up though was that I got to double check my HbA1c (blood glucose) levels. It’s always comforting to make sure that everything is still ok now that I no longer take any medication.

Although I manage my diabetes via diet and exercise alone now this approach was never something my doctor suggested – she just confirmed that I was in a good place when I was tested and that I should be ok to carry on with what I was doing.

Annoyingly I feel I’ve received very little official support with my condition.

Regardless of that though I’m charting my own course, and I’ve been living this way this since early January (link) and it’s been working.

At my checkpoint diabetic review in April (I keep having to proactively ask for these as my practice seems to continually forget) I was told that my results weren’t even on their diabetic chart now (link) and this morning the news was that it’s improved even more!

Today I’ve been told (only after asking) that it’s dropped even further to 28.

For those unfamiliar with my diabetes progress so far the readings below are the ones that I’ve recorded since my diagnosis (I kept far more detailed home ‘finger prick’ tests too – but see these as ‘official’ results).

I’ve (for the first time) added in brackets what was going on health wise at the time as well – as well as a picture (where I have one – in a lot of cases I refused to be photographed or deleted selfies) from that approximate date so that readers can see the changes that have happened in relation to what I was doing.

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  • Jan ’14 94 (Drinking heavily, eating to excess, no exercise, over 35st)
  • Apr ’14 46 (moderating eating habits, still drinking, no exercise, over 35st)

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  • Jan ’15 40 (moderating eating habits, still drinking, no exercise, over 35st, embracing beards)

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  • May ’15 66 (Drinking very heavily, eating to excess, no exercise, over 35st)
  • Feb ’16 74 (before Slimming World and one month after giving up alcohol)

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  • Jun ’16 51 (beginning to exercise but still at the 32.5st mark)

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  • Sept ’16 30 (walking regularly at significantly increasing distance – 28.5st)

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  • Mar ’17 29 (regularly walking over 70 miles a week and doing between 30-60 minutes of cardio a day – 22.5st)

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  • Aug ’17 28 (by now I’ve reached a level of fitness where I can climb Snowdon – 18st 11)

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My HbA1c reading isn’t a figure that I expect to see continually moving in a downward trajectory. At the moment it’s absolutely where it needs to be. I needed to get it down to normal ‘non-diabetic’ levels and find stability – which I think I’ve pretty much done. However – as I still have weight to lose (around 4 stone) so it’s not surprising that there’s still some wiggle room.

It won’t be until I reach my target weight that I’m going to be able to start assessing and understanding what my body does normally because currently every result and every test is effectively taken on a backdrop of continually shifting goalposts.

Either way – I’ve felt a little low over the past couple of days, and this news is a timely reminder that the year since I was made redundant has been (and I’m not over stating this) the most productive and rewarding phase of my entire life. 

It’s really rare that anyone (certainly myself) can say something like that – and as I prepare for the next phase of my personal evolution for the very first time I can look back at a period of eighteen months where I have continually improved – becoming healthier, more positive, physically (and emotionally) stronger and more agile in every way.

However – the exciting thing about all this is that I’m not yet where I want to be. I refuse to believe that I’m even close.

Sure – I’ve now lost well over 3/4 of the weight that I planned to lose – but with each literal and metaphorical mountain that I climb all I see is a new horizon – and a new objective to work towards.

If I’m to maintain and improve upon what I’ve achieved so far then I’ll never be ‘fixed’. I’ll just be a constant work in progress, always wanting to be a little bit better in some way or another. Hopefully this way I’ll never again fall back into my old anesthetised and numb state of just existing. 

I intend to spend the rest of my life internet -however long or short it is living. 

Davey


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