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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sometimes Bad News Is Really Good News

For fifteen years I have been struggling with regulating my blood sugar levels. I have had my blood tested repeatedly with the same result each time, "Sorry you don't have diabetes and we are uncertain what is wrong." My blood sugar levels have been so chaotic that I fluctuate from being to high or low and my body's response has been to either pass out or cause me to instantly fall into a deep sleep, that kinda feels like a coma. It has put me in both embarrasing and dangerous situations, where my quality of life has been greatly affected. I have also been struggling with losing weight and keeping it off. When I resrict my calories and then work out the consequences have become dangerous. In the middle of an intense workout, I have passed out a few times and fell and hurt myself on the machine that I was working out on. Each time I haul myself back into the doctors office to find out what is going on and each time I have had the same frustrating, "Sorry can't help you." I have been forced to accept my life and what it has become with fluctuating blood sugar levels.

A few weeks ago our family was sick with bronchitis, I was feeling under the weather. I went into the student health center to see if the doctor could prescribe something for me. I was not prepared for what was to come from this visit. I was facing away from the doctor when she entered. She came up and put her hands gently on my back and inspected my neck. She then began asking me questions about my families medical history and whether or not I was struggling with blood sugar problems. I was shocked! For the first time in fifteen years I had a doctor that was taking the initiative and asking me about the one huge health issue I have been confronted with. I told her how I am a prisoner in my own body passing out and falling asleep all over the place and struggling to lose weight and my battle with fertility problems.

She did something no one else has done, she listened. She ordered a full battery of tests to be done immediately. She told me that I have acanthosis nigricans around my neck that is one indicator of insulin resistance. Doctors have been looking for full blown diabetes and not looking for insulin resistance. When I got the test results back we found that my thyroid works perfectly and that my glucose levels are great. But the big issue is my insulin, it should be a 1:10 ratio to my glucose levels but mine is a sluggish 1:3 ratio. She perscribed metformin and has referred me to work with a dietitian. We are going to see if we can discover what levels of meds I need with the right diet and exercise. I have been on the metformin for a week and it has been the difference between night and day. I feel amazing and have been able to avoid all the yucky side affects that have plagued others on the meds thus far. I feel energized and have not passed out once. I am so grateful that I finally found a doctor that is willing and able to help me conquer my insulin resistance. Not to mention losing four pounds the first week is pretty impressive!

I really don't want to be full blown diabetic and this doctor is going to work hard with me to ensure that doesn't happen any time soon. I have a family history of diabetes and I have watched many family members become sick from it and eventually die from complications stemming from diabetes. I would really like to avoid this fate as much as possible!

I have learned from this that sometimes bad news can actually be good news. I don't like knowing that I am pre-diabetic but I sure like knowing why I keep passing out and that I can do something about it now before it progresses to a stage that I can't return from. I see this as a chance to get better. My doctor feels that we can hold the diabetes off for a long time with medicine, a healthy diet, and exercise. I have gone from feeling powerless and uncertain to feeling empowered and educated. I like this much better than smacking my head on the pavement each time my blood sugars drop!


Havilah said...

We're the same! I actually just found out I have insulin resistance too. I've never actually passed out but I get REALLY sleepy all the time (especially after meals). I can't start medication for it though because I also found out I have Non Alcoholic Liver Disease (aka "Fatty Liver") which is made worse by the medications for insulin resistance. My only options are to eat right, exercise and lose weight.

I'm glad you're feeling better :)

The Fullmers said...

I am sad to hear that you have insulin resistance as well Havilah and that you can't take the meds! That seems so unfair! How did they diagnose the liver disease? How are you feeling now?? Hope you find relief soon!

Havilah said...

They found elevated liver enzymes in a routine blood test. I guess a large percentage of ppl who have this liver problem also have insulin resistance (neither causes the other, they just come hand-in-hand, i guess) so that's why they tested me for the insulin resistance.

Feeling a bit better (but not qute 'normal' yet). I quit most sugars and have lost 8 pounds. I am still having trouble trying to figure out exactly what is okay to eat and what isn't.

Jana Perkins said...

Welcome to the insulin resistance lifestyle! I had a feeling all these years you might have had it too. Congrats on finding a sane doc who actually listened and knew what to look for.

I'm glad you haven't had bad side effects yet, but beware. It can take from 3-6 months for your body to readjust itself to Metiformin. I have seven years experiance with that stuff. Here is a tip: buy some Imodium now so you have it when it hits.

So happy for you and glad you feel better!

~Our Family~ said...

Well thats good that they finally found out what is going on with you to some point and will be able to help you...

The Kooky Queen--Rachel said...

That is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO awesome that you were able to figure out what it was after so long! It is such a relief, I can imagine! I hope you'll start feeling better and not pass out all the time--so scary!

Joanna said...

Wow, I am glad a doctor finally paid attention and took action for you! What a relief, I can't believe you were passing out like that, thank goodness you know now! I am so happy for you! Love,

Michelle said...

Hi Mona, I'm Irv's niece - Michelle. have never had the opportunity to meet you, but I met Bill at Lake Powell and your adorable son Liam. I noticed your blog address on Facebook.:) I am so glad you have finally found out what was wrong! I am also insulin resistant and have other health problems as well, but the thing that has helped me the most is reading and applying The Schwarzbein Principle - all three books by Dr. Diana Schwarzbein. She is an Endocrinologist is Santa Barbara. It has absolutely changed my life! I am confident that complete healing is in my future if I continue to follow the principles. Just thought I'd pass that along. Good luck! Hope you continue to feel better!