Why this Blog?
I guess most of this blog will deal with me getting into shape and improving my health. It’s going to be a journey and there are people who always ask. You’ll hear some medical stuff on the blog and you’ll read other stuff, too. Email me if you have questions.
Here’s some of my recent history:
In August of 2005, I was diagnosed as being diabetic. I suspected that’s what the doctor was going to tell me when her office called and said she wanted to see after I had some blood work done. She was a lousy doctor and when I figured out I no longer trusted her, I fired her.
By February of 2006, I came under the care of my good friend Dr Ed O’Bryan. Ed, at the time, was in his first year of residency at the Medical University of South Carolina (http://www.musc.edu/). Ed changed a medication or two and like all doctors, he encouraged me to exercise and lose weight. Why would I ignore sound medical advice? Don’t know – too hard? – hate to exercise? My diabetes educator, Laura Foxhall, even was able to remove every excuse I had for not exercising and I lasted one day.
I would exercise if I could get someone to do it with me. For a few months, my friend Todd and I would walk the bridge once a week. I walked the bridge frequently with my friend Nyle as well. Still – it never stuck. Keep in mind, I had actually been a member of the Charleston Running Club for the last three years – I guess I was looking for inspiration.
With my diabetes, I spent a lot of time reading about the disease and learned much about how our bodies react to glucose. Everything I read had a familiar refrain – exercise. I was also learning how my body reacted to high blood glucose levels.
One day in early June 2007, I felt pretty lousy. I checked my blood glucose level and it was over 500! I emailed Ed, told him what was going on and asked for advice. I began drinking water, knowing that dehydration can be an issue, and went for a walk at lunch time. By the time I was back in the office, my blood glucose had dropped to 375. Ed called, very concerned, and chided me for not getting immediate medical attention. I assured him that the next time I had a high level that I would. We also set up an appointment.
Ed had bad news when I showed up for the appointment, after having had blood work done. My A1C was 11. That’s really bad. Go around with that kind of elevated blood glucose and you’ll die from complications from diabetes. We got very aggressive with the medication. I began taking 2000 mg of Metformin a day and 10 mg of Glucotrol XL a day.
Three weeks later I met with the diabetes educator. She began to show me how to inject insulin. I was a bit surprised. I had no idea this was coming. Fortunately, my levels began to come under control with the new meds and the attending physician said I did not need to start insulin.
That was a huge relief. I was scheduled to lead a mission trip to Uganda the next month and the need to take a medication that needed to be refrigerated would have meant I would not have been able to go. I began to ask the Lord for relief.
In July, 2006, I traveled to Uganda. Upon my arrival I unpacked and realized I forgot one-half of the Metformin I should have brought with me. I knew the diet was rich in carbohydrates and that I would not have a lot of control over what I ate, yet everytime I checked ny glucose level while I was there, they were in the normal range. They were in the normal range first thing in the morning, which had never happended before. There were even times where I had consumed soft drinks but I suffered no ill effects.
I had an appointment with Ed again in August when I returned. This time my A1C was 7.6! Between the medication and the Lord’s protection, it managed to be lowered. Again Ed encouraged me to exercise. When I said that I had belonged to a gym but never knew what to do, he suggested MUSC’s Boot Camp program. We both had heard good things about it from our friend Brooke. I told him that without accountability, it would never work for me. He said he would be my accountability and he would sign up, also. Everybody should have a doc like Ed.
Well, Ed called me the second day when I didn’t show up. In my defense – I was still jet lagged from a flight on Sunday. I finished the twelve week program and Ed didn’t make past the second week. When I got to Boot Camp I discovered some of my friends were enrolled and then my friend, Steve, enrolled.
In November, I had my regular appoinment and blood work- My A1C had dropped to 6.1! That’s normal. Ed cut the dosage of Glucotrol in half and virtually eliminated the blood pressure medication. (Diabetics should always take a minimal dosage of Lisinipril as it helps with renal protection.) I was a true believer now in exercise. I still wasn’t really in shape but I was astonished at how those numbers had improved.
One of the dissappointments in Boot Camp was that I only lost eight pounds. I may have lost a little more but we were a few weeks into Boot Camp before I wanted to get on the scale. A friend knew I was dissappointed and offered to send me to a bariatric specialist and they would pay for it. I was thrilled!
Off I went to see Dr. Rick Slott. He put me on a program of consuming 1200 calories a day. To maintain my weight, I would need to consume 2600 calories per day. I started in early January and have since lost 36 pounds! It’s not always easy and I am not always perfect in what I eat but the program works.
In January I began my second Boot Camp. I am so encouraged and motivated by the Marines that run the program but also by the participants in the program.
February 2007 – I had more blood work. My A1C was 5.8 and for the first time my lipid profile was normal. That had never happened before! Ed took me off the Glucotrol and I didn’t even need to go in for an appointment. The continued exercise and the diet are improving my health.
June 2007 – A1C was 5.6 and we reduced the Metformin dose to 1000 mg!
I Am No Longer Diabetic!
(January 29, 2008) Dr. Ed O’Bryan and the attending physician both said I am no longer diabetic and I no longer need to take ANY medications associated with the disease. My A1C was 5.7 in September and was 5.5 this month.
Total Cholesterol, HDL, and LDL are fall well within the NEW guidelines for good cholesterol levels.
The attending doc told me I was “1 in a million”. I told him that I thought so, too. He went on to explain that very few people actually manage to control their diabetes through diet and exercise and even less take it to the level where their bodies display no symptoms or indicators of diabetes. He suggested that I continue to monitor the blood sugar for a time when I come off the medication. I told him that probably wasn’t going to happen because it was now easier for me to walk by a Snickers bar than it was for me to remember to test my blood sugar.
This is definitely God’s work. Yes, I did a lot but he put the right people and right things in my path at the right time – every time.
About the running
I mentioned that I used to enter road races and that I thought I might like to do that again. My friend, Emily, encouraged me to enter a race that was happening that weekend – The Old Village 5K. I did and roped John, Todd, Eliza, Susan, and John into to doing it, also. I couldn’t run all of the first mile and walked most of the rest of the race. I came in dead last – the police cruiser kept on bumping me behind the knees. Took me 56 minutes to finish.
More info about the latest races can be found on the running page.