Saturday, January 30, 2016

Exercise and Physical Activity

As you may or may not know, I have been exercising and getting more physically active because of my diabetes.  Losing weight and being active helps keep my blood sugars low, reduces insulin, and potentially reduces the amount of pills I have to take.  All that is a positive.

I notice when I don't do anything, I feel sluggish.  I try to something each day, but it is not always possible.  When I am busy, I don't feel it as much.  But when I am lazing around being a "couch potato," I feel it more.

Sometimes there is the motivation factor.  There was one day I didn't feel like doing anything.  I didn't feel motivated.  But I did a little bit regardless of that lack of motivation.  I need to find other things aside from walking and Wii Fit to add to my weight loss regime.  Something to help change up what I am doing as from those two things.

I noted to myself that I will go to the gym once I am back in Saskatoon.  I do have the muscle.  If I worked on that, I would be ripped if I did.  I even thought of going to the gym before all this happened.  But that never happened.  My laziness and lack of motivation got the better of me.  It is one thing to say you'll do it and another to actual do it.  I just need to stick to it.

Being faced with something like diabetes really puts things in perspective.  It shouldn't have to come to this to make a physical change in my life.  Than again there are a lot of diabetics who still don't make that change.  They don't care.  I am not going to be one of those people.  You can tell them all you want.  That doesn't mean they will listen.  Sometimes it is hard to be told this.  That perverbial pill can be hard to swallow.  I know for myself that I have a hard time hearing this.  When I was younger I didn't want to hear.  They weren't saying it to be a jerk or asshole.  They said it because they care.

Hindsight is 20/20.  If I had listened, I would not be diabetic.  I made those choices.  Now I have to live with the consequences for the rest of my life.

So here's to a better me physically.  Let's see what the rest of 2016 brings me in that regard.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Epileptic: Yes or No?

On Tuesday, January 19, 2016; I went to Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon to see the specialist about my seizures.  Here is the "verdict" as someone said.

The doctor, even with his Latino accent was easy to understand.  He was nice.  He was good at explaining stuff.  With that being said, I will continue on my anti-seizure medications.  Even though I haven't experienced a seizure, it is important I continue taking them.

I told him what lead up to the seizure.  Even though I am diabetic, that wasn't the main cause of it.  My mom and dad were sure that was it.  But I was told that it wasn't.  I high had glucose.  That was probably what lead to it.  So I got to keep that and my diabetes in check.

I was told the various things that could trigger a seizure.  As stated above, having high glucose and my diabetes are two factors that can trigger it.  A couple other factors are lighting and how much I drink.  When it comes to lighting, it is a common trigger.  Those flashing lights on Christmas lights and whatnot are what is the common trigger.  When it comes to drinking, if I have to much to drink where I get a hangover, that is another trigger.

I have another appoint in March.  The doctor wants to do more tests.  He will also fill the form and fax it over the SGI for medical purposes on my licence.

So the verdict is yes.  But as long as I keep everything in check, I will be fine.

Friday, January 15, 2016

LiveWell Went Well (Pun Intended)

LiveWell (LiveWell Chronic Disease Management is the official name) is a program offered to individuals and families who have arthritis, sleep apnea, asthma, and other conditions.  But in my case, I go for my diabetes.

I had my LiveWell appointment on Monday (January 11th).  I knew going in that there would be a lot of information coming my way.  You might wonder if there is a lot of information to take in.  There is, but it is beneficial.

One item that was talked about was my blood sugar numbers.  My educator said they were great and was where they should be.  Points 4-7 is where they should be.  Even though there were a few readings that were that were borderline, they were generally in the good range.  I told her that when I checked one time, it was lower than usual, but I checked again and it was normal.  But if it was lower She asked if I felt different due to that reading.  No I didn't.  We looked at the symptoms such as headaches, irritability, sweating among other things.  I noted that I haven't had symptoms.  I wake up with headaches sometimes if I don't get enough sleep.

She said that different fingers give different reading.  That was something I didn't actually know.  I've just been poking different fingers and not thinking anything of it.  I told her I was down to three tests at most a day as I used to test six times a day which was before and after each meal.  She it is okay to test after a meal once in a while.

One thing I told her was that if I was at a 3.5 that I would take something sugar related, wait 15 minutes and I would be at a normal reading,  She said that was good to do.  She said there these tablets I could take which are chewable that can help with my sugars. I said there is the powder form I put in water help raise my sugars to normal levels.

We also looked at the medications I take from insulin to medications.  We looked at the doses and what they do.  I was misinformed from my doctor about what one of the pills does.  I told her my doctor said this particular pill does this, but she said no.  She said that this pill and my insulin can cause low sugars.  If when I test and I have low numbers to drop my insulin to one or two units.  So far I have dropped it one units.

My educator asked me where I have been injecting my insulin.  I pointed in the areas.  I noted to her that I go in this particular order.  I was told while in the hospital to change up where I inject insulin to keep the area healthy.  She told me to inject on the side of the leg as the front of the leg has more muscle,  That was good and useful information to know.

Another point talked about what physical activity and fitness.  She asked what I do.  I told her that I go walking if weather permits.  I said that one day I did some walking around the Art Hauser Centre. I explained that every seven laps are equivalent to one mile and I did 50 laps which means I walked seven miles.  She thought that was awesome.  What was noted by her was that physical activity like walking lowers blood sugars.  That is a no brainer.

We discussed a little bit about what I eat.  I didn't get any real options as far as breakfast and lunch goes and what I could have that is different than what I usually have.  I said I need something to feel satisfied from breakfast.  She said to have some fruit with my breakfast and I said I do.  I was told what I could add to oatmeal when I eat it.  So I have been adding raisins to it.  I told her that they seemingly have a lot of sugar.  But she said it was okay.  I don't know if I would like flax in my oatmeal.  Bran maybe, but I would have to try it.  Something I asked is if there is diabetic jam. She said that there is and even jam with less sugar.  But what was good to hear was that I could have regular jam as long as I use a small amount.

When it comes to fruit, something like an orange raises blood sugar.  That was good to hear because I told her that I don't eat oranges a lot because it has a good amount of sugar.  More fruit is good.

When it comes to my evening snack, I told her that my pills require food.  She was wondering why I needed a snack in the evening.

When it comes to carbs, I told her when I look at the nutritional information of something, I see things that are higher in carbs.  She told me that the more fibre is in something, the less carbs there is.  For example, if something has 36g of carbs and 6g of fibre, that would reduce the amount of carbs.  Knowing that is awesome!  Having more fibre is a good thing.

Portion sizes were talked about and the amount of rice I would have is next to nothing.  But different have different have amounts based on their size. So because I am currently a bigger guy, my portion size will be different.

I told her that when I was in the hospital that they were not giving me a true diabetic menu and meals.  They were giving options like ice cream for instance.  That was why my numbers were over 9.  Once I was out of the hospital and on my way to changing my eating habits and getting more active, my numbers went down noticeably.  I told her that when my numbers first went down, I rewarded myself.

Another useful item was a sheet of what I could eat, drink, or use a lot of in moderation, or stay away from.  Something useful she said was, "If is swims or grows, it is good for you."

She said I will referred to someone to keep watch on vision and eyes so they can catch anything that might to my eyes and fix it right away.

I have my next appointment is in March.  I will have to go see them sooner if my test reading or more consistently lower. Otherwise, every two to three months.

Overall, it a great feedback and information.  She told me to continue doing what I am doing and I can be off insulin completely which awesome!

This wasn't every little detail of what was discussed, but it was a vast majority of it.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Uncle Jack: A Man, A Myth, A Legend

Jack Sheldon, my Great Uncle, was laid to rest on December 30, 2015.  He passed away on December 23, 2015.  Even though he looked good the last time I seen him in December, but wasn't actually doing that well.  Even though he wasn't doing well, at 88 years old, he lived a long full life.

I have many memories of Uncle Jack throughout my life.  For instance, he would hand out apples and cookies for Halloween.  As a kid, I wondered why he would hand those things out.  Looking back, that was his signature.  That was classic Uncle Jack.

Other memories is of his curling.  He would go to the Brier (Canadian men's curling championship) every year for a long as he could.  He also played in the farmers league with my Grandpa, his brother.  There were a lot times he would come out to the farm and help or do something to keep busy.  Even when my dad wasn't home, he would come to the farm and fix something.  My dad wasn't home and he climbed up on the combine and started fixing.  I remember I had to go to town to get a belt for it.  Even at that age he wasn't afraid to get right in there and do something if it needed to be done.

Classic Uncle Jack was when he raised his finger in the air.  You knew he was going to say something when he raised his finger.  When he spoke, you listened.  I remember when he stopped by the farm and dad wasn't home, we would talk.  He end up telling me stories about times gone by.  For example, he would tell me about something that happened in 1945.  He would always tell me something from his younger years.  Stories from history, even if it was about something in the countryside for instance, are invaluable.  They are interesting to hear even if they are just those local stories.  That is something I will miss for sure.

One thing we liked to do was bug each other.  If you bugged him, he would bug you right back.  It was all in a joking manner and he knew it.  So we didn't take that too seriously.

The funeral was at St. Alban's in Prince Albert.  It was full of family, friends, and acquaintances of Uncle Jack.  He would have appreciated everybody coming from near and a far to celebrate his life.  My cousin and his nephew John from Manhattan, New York; and his sister and my Great Auntie Irene from California made the trip.  My Auntie Bernice, who is a snowbird in Arizona during the winter made it up to the funeral.  It was nice to see many people I haven't seen in a long time at the funeral.  Even those who couldn't make it that wanted to be sent their condolences.  Talking to people on Facebook, a friend of the family, a lady by the name of Pat said she enjoyed Uncle Jack.  We all did.

During the service, my cousin John was given the honour of giving the eulogy.  Even though he had a couple of days to put it all together, he was able to pull it all together.  Being surrounded by family during the time he was here, there were a lot of stories from not only himself, but from everyone else.  He didn't have to search for words and for things to say.  It says a lot about the person when don't have to search for things to say when giving the eulogy.  It also says something about the person when you have to search for things to say.  One thing that was noted was that it was okay to laugh.  John told stories and antidotes that got us all laughing during various parts of the eulogy.  Sure there was sadness, but it was also okay to laugh.

The internment or burial was held west of Prince Albert at St. Mary's.  It was a small private family internment.  His final resting place was beside my Great Auntie Ora.  Auntie Ora died before I was born.  So I never met her.  It was somber and tears were shed as he was lowered.

The last couple times I saw Uncle Jack in December, you could tell his mind was going.  Even hearing from other people, that was happening.  He would say things to people as if he was talking to someone else.  One story I heard was that he was with his son and my cousin Hugh.  He asked him if he remembered curling together.  He thought he was talking to his brother, my Grandpa.  Stories like
that showed that his mind was going.

Like I said, he lived a full life.  He would have loved to have reminisced about past times.  Laughs were had and tears were shed all in honour of John "Jack" B. Sheldon.  The man, the myth, the legend. R.I.P.!

Oh and thanks to everyone for their condolences.  I truly appreciated it!

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Diabetic Diet: Carbohydrate Free

On New Years Day, I was talking with my cousin briefly about my diet as she asked me about.  She said I could go carbohydrate free, but it is hard.  I acknowledge that it would be.  But there is one thing people don't realize.  Most of the things we eat have carbs.

Items we don't realize have carbs, even a small amount, have carbs.  Making breakfast this morning (January 2), I was thinking and wondering about what stuff have carbs.  So I started looking at various items and checking their carb content.  Bread is a no-brainer.  But comparing one type of bread to another, I found rye bread has the same amount of carbs as a whole grain/12 grain bread.  I've been eating 12 grain because it is supposed to be better for you.  But carb wise, it actually isn't.  In fact these ancient grain wraps I've been eating has more carbs than those two types of bread mentioned respectively.

Other items like milk, soups (canned or packet), crackers (ie: soda crackers, Triscuts), oatmeal, cereal, and a lot of other items have carbs.  I can't live on butter/margarine, pickles, bacon (I could actually, but seriously though...), eggs, and other such no/very low carb items, for example, for the rest of my life.  I could try, but it would be very hard for me.  I've grew up eating high carb items by choice.  Stuff like junk food, drinking pop, and other high carb items.  It would be a testament to my will power if I ate and drank low to no carb items.

I told my stepdad about carb content in those two breads I mentioned.  He essentially said that this healthy eating is non-sense.  What seems healthy might actually not be.  But than again, you have all those articles trying to tell you what is good and what isn't.  How do you know if these articles are legit and based on actual research?  One article might say, for example, that this vegetable is good or this vegetable is not as good for you as you think.  But how does one truly know?

Getting back to my point about carbs is that you will never truly escape them.  You can watch what you eat and look at the nutritional content of food.  But that might not truly rid you of carbs.  In fact, there are articles that state there are good carbs such as dietary fibre, and they apparently prevent some diseases and diabetes. But where does a person find out what has good carbs and what has bad carbs.  It is hard to know if you don't have that information.

Another thing about carbs is they give you energy.  But if you are not using those carbs through exercise, for instance, than eating carbs just turns to fat.  That is what happened to me growing up.  When I gained weight, I did very little to no exercise.  That meant that all carbs I ate turned to fat.

According to an article I read, it stated that the adage of carbs makes you hungry is a myth.  It goes on to state that that only happens in people who already have metabolic impairment, but not in healthy people that eat the appropriate amount of carbs for their needs.  This article doesn't actually state what research they've done to debunk this supposed myth.  So how do you know if they are right?

Talking about carbs with my stepdad and different articles, I told him what I read.  He said he could find articles that support something such as carbs make you hungry, for example.  He said that people get freaked out when it comes to carbs and automatically think they are bad.  I wholeheartedly agree. My mom is like that.  She automatically think carbs are bad.  But is that blind ignorance?  Or maybe she is one of people just think carbs are bad.  I don't know.

My stepdad said it comes down to moderation.  That is actually true.  You can have carbs if you moderate it with everything else.  If you don't moderate carbs, than of course it can become a problem.

For myself, being carb free is not something I could realistically do.  If you can do it, more power to you.  I will moderate my carb intake.  That is something I can realistically do.