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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

life in Transition for sure

Okay, so I have not written much in the past week.  It has been an interesting one.  I had a dr's appointment on Friday to go over blood work that I had done over a week before that.  And the results nearly knocked me on the floor.

My A1c results (the test that gives an average of your blood sugar levels over the past three months by measuring the percentage of glycalation of your hemoglobin (how much glucose is attached to the hemoglobin)) were extremely high.  11.2% to be exact.  Normal is around 5-6%, typical for someone with diabetes is around 7%, high is 8-9%.  That correlates to a blood sugar reading of around 310 on average over the last 3 months, and my fasting sugar that day was 279 (normal is fasting is below 100, normal random throughout the day is below 140, diabetics should aim for below 180).  overly high blood sugar is over 240, and levels over 300 are considered very dangerous.  So I have been walking around with my blood sugar levels in the extremely high and dangerous range for a while, and I did not even know it.  The last time I had an A1c and other blood work, my A1c was 7.1% and everything else was fine other than slightly elevated triglycerides.  that was in February 2010.

Since that time my marriage had fallen apart, I walked away from a great opportunity in Rhode Island due to the afore mentioned collapse of the family, I have moved into an apartment and taken a job that I drive over 100 every day 5 days a week (for over a year, though only 3 weeks left until it is over with), I have gone through the custody process in the courts and have physical custody of my kids (with shared legal custody), I have allowed A (even though we are separated) back into our lives on a daily basis, and have been rebuilding a friendship (though not without a lot of difficulty and baggage), and I have been trying to make plans for the future with a lot of uncertainty.  So some parts of my life are less stressful (my marriage was extremely stressful and the ending of that brought different stresses, but overall less stress) and some parts are more stressful (the fact that my primary source of income ends in a couple of weeks and the fact that I do not know where my relationship with A is going at this point in time--in the past week it has been a lot of ups and downs and trying to figure out if we can or even should try to put the family together again).  I have been trying to get enough money incoming through freelance writing and through ads for things that I recommend on both my blog and my website, but I am not a sales person and don't want to be, so I post links to things I like and hope that others will click those links and bring in a few pennies for me.  Literally, I have made $0.02 total through the ads that I share for things that I think my readers would like.  So, as I have no desire to try to push people to look at things that they are not inclined to look at on their own, I don't think I will supplement my income much by my website or blog.  Which is fine, I will still post links to cool things and books that I like and think others are interested in, but I know that I can not depend on it for any supplementing of my income. I have applied for a number of jobs, but they have not panned out so far.  And taking a low paying job is not a viable option as I would have to pay out more in childcare costs than I could bring in, even if I broke even it would not change the situation.  Having two children with moderate to severe special needs, means that I can not hire the high school kid down the street or even most adults to watch them.  As it is, even family struggles to watch both of them together for short periods of time.  Heck, even A struggles to have both of them alone for more than a couple of hours at a time.  Because their needs are so different and both are intensive (I forget sometimes because I am just used to them), and because the sibling rivalry between them adds whole other layer of intensity, the best solutions would be to hire two different sitters, one trained to meet each other this needs, and possibly have one cared for at home and the other cared for at the sitters home.  As J is an insurance liability (which I learned the last time I tried to work full time and put him in a day care center) finding care for him is very hard, and G has massive behavioural issues with peers which make it difficult for him to be in a group setting (hence the fact that he is in an 8:1:2 self-contained classroom and still needs a 1:1 aide just to go to school (8 kids, one teacher, two aides 8:1:2) and free time (unstructured without clear instructions for what he should do--like recess and lunch) are his hardest times of all.  It makes me miss Becky, our favorite babysitter from when we lived in our house.  She was a Masters student a the college, studying special ed--focusing a lot on autism and she herself had cerebral palsy--so she understood and knew how to handle both boys very well.  But alas she graduated and is a great teacher in an autism classroom now about 2 1/2 hours away (from here and from our old house), and we left our old house to renters (who paid one month rent and then lived rent free for over 6 months before I was able to evict them, and they trashed the house in the process, knowing that if they did not pays rent we could not pay the mortgage, and by trashing it, made it impossible to rent to someone else was we did not have the funds to repair the extent of damage they did--so it is in foreclosure proceedings sadly). 

Anyway, back to my lab results.  Stress is one of the primary causes leading to high blood sugar.  Being overweight puts a great deal of stress on the body, and them adding emotional and financial stress, pushed the body beyond what it can handle.  So as the past few years have been fraught with high, high levels of stress, and the past year in particular has been stressful.  Coupled with being overweight since my teens and not watching what I eat or exercising enough when things get stressful (being a stress eater--the more stressed I am the more I eat...) well, it has not boded well for my health.  So I as mentioned before, I watched that movie "Fat Sick and Nearly Dead" recently and felt inspired to get more fresh vegetable food into my diet, and have started drinking green smoothies.  As a diabetic I can not do the juicing.  Maybe once my blood sugar levels are normal, then I plan on doing a juice fast as portrayed, but until them, I can still do the smoothies and add lots of nutritious vegetables to my body in a drinkable way.  But when I saw it originally, I could identify with the FAT part of the title, but the sick and nearly dead parts of the title I just wasn't feeling.  However when I got my blood test results:
A1c 11.2%
Cholesterol 218 (a little high, but as I have NEVER had cholesterol issues it is shocking to me)
LDL-144 (too high)
HDL-40 (too low)
Triglycerides 184 (too high)
and 2 of my liver enzymes were just slightly past the top of the high range.
My blood pressure, heart rate, and all my kidney and other tests were fine.

When I saw the results, I suddenly identified with the WHOLE title of that Movie.  Thought, Oh my gosh, now I know what it feels like to feel "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" (well okay that one is an exaggeration, but I could actually see the path leading to that, which is as far as I want to go).

So, I was more than willing to go on pharmaceuticals in addition to making some immediate changes in my lifestyle and eating.  So on Saturday I started on Metformin 500mg 2x daily, and enapril once a day (to protect the kidneys as with that much sugar running through them can cause a lot of damage).  I began tracking my foods in Spark People again.  And am taking my blood sugar readings twice a day.  The big thing is getting it below 300 and keeping it below 300 (that is step one, getting it below 240 is step two, and then getting it below 200 is step three, after that pushing it down to normal ranges is the ultimate goal, but transitions--quick transitions as this is what I consider an emergency situation). I was told not to check my fasting sugar as we already know it is really high.  What I need to do it to check my sugar 1-2 hours after a meal and keep track of what pushes my sugar up and what brings it down, as each person is different, and your body reacts differently at different time of day, so over the next three months, I need to closely record my food intake, glucose levels, and activities to determine what food I can have when and what ones I need to avoid and when. I have my basic dietary guidelines from the diabetes educator, and my doctor told me to try eating a healthy cereal with milk in the morning rather than my typical sausage eggs and cheese sandwich.  I forgot to check my levels Saturday. 

Sunday I had a bowl of Special K cereal with milk.  Two hours later I checked my sugar and it was 380!!!!.  For lunch I had a turkey sandwich on WW bread.  For a snack I had a green smoothie. For dinner we had a hamburger cooked on the grill (with a WW bun), some vegetarian baked beans, a couple of chips (I know I should not have), and a hot dog (no bun).  I went for a nearly two hour hike around my Dad's property, with my Dad, A, Gonz, and Jos (mainly carried Jos either on my shoulders or just a front carry (he can't do a side carry on the hip as his hips do not open far enough).  We were looking for a place for me to build a lean-to, which the building guy at the town clerks office said I did not need a permit for and told me the zoning distances I needed to stay within.  I want a nice camping place for me and the kids that we can tailor to Josiah's physical needs and to Gonzo's need for clear boundaries.  As much as we loved going down to Garnet Lake and tent camping, there were some things (like massive hills and very uneven rocky paths to get to the camp site, not to mention a road between the campsite and the lake) that made it difficult for us.  So we got quite a bit of exercise that day.

I did not get around to checking my blood sugar again until late evening and it was still at 345.  So I had two hard boiled eggs as a snack (high protein no carbs) and started to look for ways to quickly lower blood sugar, and did some of the water drinking and breathing exercises (breathing helps relax your body which reduces stress and thus allows blood sugar to function more normally).  Before I went to bed 45 minutes later, my sugar was down to 295--yeah breathing and water.  So Monday, having learned that too many carbs for breakfast was a BAD thing for my body, I ate sausage, egg , and cheese but only used the thin half of an english muffin, and had coffee with just cream, no sugar or sweetener, and just water.  Then I went for my 45 minute walk around the pond.  When I got to the library, I checked my blood sugar (1.5 hours after finishing breakfast) and it was 193!!!  A HUGE drop.  Protein works for me in the morning.  I had sliced turkey for lunch (no bread) and a grapefruit. For snack after school I had bought a coconut as Josiah has been wanting a coconut for some reason, so we had a coconut for snack.  IT was from a discount food place, and old, and not as tasty as I remember fresh coconut being.  So not a good intro for him to fresh coconut that we had to break the shell to get.  But that was my snack.  Dinner was a stir fry with broccoli, cabbage, yellow squash, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and black beans with spices and vinegar.  Then I did a boo-boo, I ate a piece of Digorno's pizza that A had picked up for the kids.  I really should not have as it pushed my carbs over what they were supposed to be for the day.  When I took my sugar after dinner though it was 262, so not great but under the 300 mark that I am aiming for this week.

Last night was an interesting night with A, which I will not go into on here, but it definitely added a lot for me to think about, that of course adds stress.  A part of me would love for our family to be together again, and I really would love to try and have a biological baby and go through pregnancy and care for a baby right from conception.  I love my kids, and always planned on having three kids total.  So it was always part of the plan, it was just that adoption ended up being the first path we took, as there are so many kids waiting for families.  But I still want to have one child from my own body.  Which with the fact that I am almost 37, am still very overweight (thus greatly increasing chance of miscarriage), and now with my sugar issues--makes that possibility even lower.  Add in the broken family and the idea that A and I might NOT be able to reform a family, well, it is a hard thing to let go of.  I know that our relationship has not been healthy, and that A is not that much different now than 3 years ago, which is when A had picked up the bottle again, and has not put it down.  I actually had a couple of drinks with A for the first time over the past week--Mike' Hard Lemonade.  That was nice, but weird.  As I don't drink often, but every once in a while will have a glass of while or a margarita, or a Mike's Lemonade (seems popular in my family these days), I have never had a drink with A.  A was in recovery when we met, and one of the things we did was no alcohol in the house.  I had no problem with that as a six pack of my favorite beer (I am very picky, as gross beer is just, well, gross) would take me a year to drink.  I know that from a time before A when my best friend had brought me a six pack of my favorite beer (which I had trouble finding when I moved from that area) and it was nearly a year later when I had the last one with my brother in law.  So, yeah, having a drink with A was weird, as for so long A tried to hide (unsuccessfully) the relapse in 2008, and then after my mother in law died, just crawled back into the bottle in 2009, and then after detox, and when I thought we were moving forward went back into the lying and hiding mode of drinking in 2010, which was when I decided I couldn't live that way any longer (lots more went on of course, but that is a bit of a nutshell pertinent to todays post, see a much earlier post for more explanation (from mid-March)). Lately A has been more moderate in drinking, a few beers a day or so.  And behaving mostly.  So when offered a Mike's I said Okay.  but that actually, after typing it all out, really is a side bar that does not have much to do with what I was talking about, so I suppose I did not need to include it.  I'll leave it anyway.

Point is, no matter how stressful life is, I need to make changes NOW to ensure a better future.  More than ever before, I know I need to make some major changes, one of which has got to be in my eating/exercise habits.  The other biggie has got to be in my levels of stress.  Perhaps, after really realizing last night that while I love A, A is the other parent of my children, I am not IN LOVE with A, at all.  I have said it for a while, but a part of me always just thought that I was still in love, that that spark was still there somewhere, that it was something that maybe could be rekindled and we could overcome all of the crap that has happened over the past few years.  But the spark has gone out, and that actually makes me quite sad.  And it's not like A's behavior and daily living has altered in a away that makes me want to try to light a new spark.  There has been little transformation on that end, and I want a partner not another child, but with A I feel like I have another child rather than an equal adult partner in my life.  And that has not changed.  Most of the things that I did not like about A are still there, and only a few of the things that I fell in love with in the first place have survived the events of the past few years.  Sure, maybe someday A will turn around, maybe someday the person I met will return, or a transformed person will emerge.  But maybe not.  It took my mother over 10 years to really recover from the death of her mother (and her daughter, grandmother and father--all in a 5 year period).  And as my father says, when you lose a parent or a child, or anyone you love, you don't get over it.  It leaves a hole in your heart.  You just have to learn how to live with that hole.  It is what I have called finding a new normal.  Anytime there is a major life event (birth/adoption, death, loss of job, new job, moving, etc...) it takes time to find a new normal.  I almost had found a new normal last fall before A returned.  Now I feel like we are floundering around again.  Part of it is the uncertainty of the future, most poignantly the uncertainty of income.  They boys disability subsidies will still come each month to help offset the inherent issues in raising children with special needs (like the inability to work full time), but it is not really enough to live on unless I move back into the trailer, which needs SO much work (even though we already put a lot of work into it), or to move in with my Dad, which has its own set of issues, not the least of which is the fact that A lives there and I am not really ready to live with A again.

So anyway, my life of transformation seems to have a lot of areas that need to be transformed....

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