Monday, April 12, 2010

A Miracle Cure!!!

Two years ago Husband was diagnosed with diabetes. Fortunately his sugar levels were borderline. He received a blood sugar monitor to record the readings of his blood twice a day, a requirement for his next doctor’s appointment. He spent an afternoon with a diabetes dietitian who informed him of the ideal foods and diet. During this conversation it became clear to the dietitian the meals at home fulfilled these requirements. On further investigation the nurse unveiled the diet culprits. He finally admitted to the junk food, biscuits, ice-cream and crisps etc. he ate on the sly.

The doctor's diagnosis frightened him. He needed to exercise, cut the excess and bad foods from his diet and lose weight. Everything I nagged him about for years. According to the doctor it was still possible to get his blood levels under control with diet and exercise, eliminating the need for medications. That very evening we headed to Sears and bought an Elliptical exercise machine. On getting it home and set-up he started a daily exercise regime. The first few days he managed five breathless minutes of exercise working up to ten minutes and then to fifteen minutes. He was delighted with his progress. The junk food went by the wayside. He started reading food labels, checking the sugar and fat content. The sugar filled biscuits were replaced with ginger snaps. Processed sandwich meats were replaced with home cooked meats and ice cream became a stranger to our freezer.

On his return visit to the doctor, he had lost over ten pounds. He was looking and feeling great. More importantly the sugar levels were down. He held fast to the plan for the next six months and lost another ten pounds. He continued regular checkups with the doctor, his diabetes health nurse and dietitian. Then it happened. The doctor informed him he was one of her success stories. She gave him a virtual clap on the back. Big Mistake. Arriving home from the doctor’s he told me his blood levels were under control and he was cured.

I was delighted with this good news but pointed out he wasn't cured. He needed to stay with the regime to insure his continued health. I might as well have been talking to the wall. Slowly the junk food and ice cream made its comeback. Granted the ice cream was a low fat variety. He has not gone back to the processed meats; I still roast meat each week for his sandwiches. Sweets are still banished from the house, but whenever shopping he plops a Twix or Kit Kat amongst the healthy groceries. The Elliptical machine is gathering dust and all the weight he lost last year has returned. He hasn't checked his blood sugar levels in months and when I ask him about it, he indignantly informs me he is cured. He hasn't seen the doctor in ages, but today I made an appointment for him. It is not that I want him to be ill, but I do hope the doctor gives him a stern talking too! Because only that will put him back on track. He only hears what he wants to hear. If he is told he is doing well, in his mind it translates to you are cured. As I explained to the doctor when I telephoned this morning, years ago he had his gallbladder removed and I told him he would have to watch the fat intake in his diet. He asked the surgeon as I sat there beside him, if he needed to exclude anything from his diet. The surgeon said "No, you can eat anything within reason." My heart sank as I heard these words fall from the surgeon’s mouth because as I feared all he heard was He Could Eat Anything. I think this doctor got the picture! He is in for one big surprise!!! 


Talli Roland said...

My father has juvenile diabetes, and he's had it since since he was an adolescent. Because of this, he's lost his eyesight and had various health problems, yet overall he's fairly healthy and very active for a 66-year-old.

You can live a normal life with this disease, but I have also seen how quickly things can deteriorate if it's not kept under control.

Sending you and your husband lots of encouragement from across the pond!

jinksy said...

As one who was diagnosed as borderline Type 2 diabetic last summer, I sympathise with both you and your husband! But I've found a choc ice occasionally doesn't have a dire effect, and 15 minutes of exercise bike cycling after each meal helps keep the glucose levels pretty stable. My Doc advised eat healthy, but normally...

Ann said...

Hi Talli, I am sorry to hear about your Dad. Thanks for the well wishes.

Hi Jinksy, I am sorry to hear you also have diabetes. A healthy diet and a bit of exercise is the key to keeping this disease at bay. Normal eating for Liam is not what anyone would consider healthy unfortunately. I feeling like the sugar police at times, but now his doctor is onto him. I will have a very competent ally.

Brigid said...

That's tough, Ann, because it's worrying trying to get someone to follow a plan that they are not committed to.
And it's really difficult for your hubby too, changing habits (says the trying to give up smoker) is so hard,
But he has great support with you there and wishing you both every luck with it.

Theresa Milstein said...

The first time the doctor warned your husband, it must've been bittersweet to be "right".

I hope the doctor scares him by letting him know that this isn't a temporary fix. The way of life has to be changed forever. How awful if it got to the point that diet and exercise weren't enough.

Keep us posted, Ann.

Old Kitty said...


Ann good luck with the doctor;s appt for your husband! He did so well and never felt better and looked good so it's a shame to let all that hard work relapse!

I have everything crossed that your husband (who looks lovely btw!!!) is set back on the course of healthy living, a good sensible diet and plenty of exercise.

Big hugs and take care

Catherine said...

Oh dear Ann it is so difficult to be in that situation - I can see why he is in a kind of denial as he wants to be well, but it's really hard when there's conflicting messages from the health professionals like that doc who told him the gall bladder removal didn't require any diet modification - of course you are right and he should watch fat intake. And I see a lot of Type 2 Diabetes every day and it is really hard to convince people to stick to a healthy diet - they don't need diabetic jams or anything but ideally a low GI diet - slow burning carbs are good, like porridge, and avoiding sugars as much as possible. But you know all that - it's convincing hubby that's the challenge! I suppose the risk is that he'll end up on insulin if he doesn't keep the sugars down with diet and/or tabs. You don't want to be frightening him with tales of the complications like sight loss and peripheral vascular disease with toes losing blood supply, but they are real risk factors.
Get him to go out together with you on that bike and that will be fun as well as good for him!
Hope this isn't a lecture - sorry if it is!
All the best, Catherine.

Jen said...

Good Luck Ann I'm sure this has to be a difficult situation!

Niki said...

I really feel for you. I hope its gets sorted. My father had the worse kind of diabetes with three insulin injections daily. I remember as a kid of being terrified when he would go into comas. Also the terrible temper he had, which he blamed on diabetes.

Ann said...

Well what can I say? You are all so supportive. Thank you for all the well wishes.

Yes Brigid, it is hard changing habits. He picked up these habits when we came to the US. He was an over the road driver. Eat at a lot of truck stop restaurants. Deep fried everything! And over the top amounts of sugar deserts. This type of food is very addictive.

I know it sounds terrible to say Theresa, but yes it was bittersweet to be right.

Hi Kitty, Louie takes him for regular walks. So he is still getting a good bit or exercise.

Hi Catherine, the bikes finally came out last Sunday after the winter storage. So between walking Louie and the biking I think progress is on the horizon,

Hi Jen, it's not too bad, I think I copped on before he fell off the deepend.

Hi Niki, I am sorry to hear your Dad suffered such severe symptoms. It must have been hard on all the family.

niamh said...

So frustrating! It must be really hard to watch him after he tried so hard and made all those changes! I hope your doctor can help restore that sense of balance. Hey -does he read your blog? Maybe if he knows people are worrying about him all over the world??!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I don't really know much about diabetes but I do know we all need to be careful about the food we eat and lack of exercise. I suspect it's the doctor who needs a stern talking to, being too laid back about these matters isn't doing people any good.

CJ xx

Barbara Scully said...

Good ole William is a true Irishman - invincible and the first man ever to be 'cured' of Diabetes. I know he should be sticking to his diet and exercise, but I believe that life is all about balance. And by the sound of it, he wont die of stress anyway. With you by his side, kicking his ass from time to time, he will be fine. Sure he will put on a bit of weight and then prob lose it again.

My dad developed the same diabetes and after some false starts he found a diet which was more or less right and suited him and his diabetes was 'under control'. I am sure he will be just fine.... and I hope you don't worry too much. Just remember the kick in the ass every now and again!!!!

Lily said...

Ann, I can understand where you are coming from. I have to do fair bit of exercise with youngest son who has CP. Sometimes I wish I could just do the exercises myself and not have to motivate him.

I like Barbara's good humored comment above :)

shantiwallah said...

Good luck with this. I know how frustrating it is to watch someone you love in denial. Hopefully you can sneak in some good food here and there (and subtract some of those that are naughty when he's not looking!).

Eibhlin said...

Ann, I'm still laughing at how you tell the denying he's John's brother, peas in a pod.