Comments, I Get Comments

Things are beginning to get back to normal here. Or whatever passes as “normal” at my house. I’m out of inpatient rehab and will begin outpatient rehab today (December 14). All 57 staples are out of my incision and the swelling is going down. Now I’m waiting for my leg to be ready for a temporary prosthesis. I saw some pictures. They have some really wild ones! This is going to be fun!


Rehab is paying off. The first night I was home from surgery, I fell and it took four firefighters to pick me up off the floor and deposit me back on the bed. This morning, I rolled off the bed — and picked myself back up, using my newfound upper-body strength. My husband slept through it all. Now, he says, he isn’t afraid to leave me home alone. Free at last!

I’ve been reading your comments and wish I could respond to all of them, but it’s difficult for me to use the computer. I can’t get in and out of my desk chair, and the height difference between what I can sit in and my desk is really sucky.

A friend is going to bring me an unused desk chair she believes might work, but the weather is not cooperating. Maybe soon. In preparation for possible delivery yesterday, I made a big pot of vegetable-beef soup, which simmered on the back of the stove all day Sunday while the snow drifted down outside. It was the perfect day for making soup. Besides, homemade veggie soup is good. And I won’t have to cook much again for a few days, which is good: The height difference between the kitchen counter and what I can sit on is really sucky. (I have a stool that’s the right height: I’m just afraid to transfer over to it.)

Anna from Sydney, Australia, says her spouse has Type 2 diabetes and has been in denial for 15 years. Hey, I hear ya, Anna! I have one of those spouses, too! (Besides, I was one of those people for nine years.) I’d kind of like to keep him around. I sort of like him and besides, he’s the one with the health insurance.

Do I know what to do? Heck, no. Nagging doesn’t work for me, so I figure it doesn’t work for other people, either. I can make sure he keeps doctor’s appointments. I can offer praise when deserved. I can prepare healthful foods at home. I can keep “junk” foods out of the house. I can take walks (well, I ride and he walks) around the neighborhood after dinner.

I’m a believer that many people with diabetes ignore it because they don’t know there are ways to fit diabetes into their lifestyles. A good certified diabetes educator can help with that. It’s a lot less onerous to deal with a chronic condition if it can be worked into your life instead of you having to change your life to deal with the condition.

There is an online group called Insulin Pumpers (IP), which has a chapter in Australia. Yes, it’s an insulin pumpers group, but I’m sure they will help you find a good educator. They’re a good bunch with the primary goal of helping people with diabetes and the administrator is awesome. Give them a try and good luck to you. (Disclaimer: I’m a former volunteer administrator with IP.)

Oh, yeah — you’re welcome to read the Diabetes Self-Management blogs any time. We don’t confine our readers to one country.

Then there’s Kim, who wishes she “understood diabetes and how food, exercise and even stress affect it.”

Heck, Kim, I wish I did, too! Many of us do. Diabetes is a condition in which you can do the same things day after day and still have a different outcome each time. Isn’t that special?!

I just kind of discount stress. There’s “good” stress, such as marriage or a promotion at work, and “bad” stress such as illness or finals week, and there’s maybe even stress that you don’t recognize as such. In addition, most people stress up (i.e., their blood glucose goes up) and some stress down (their blood glucose goes down). I tend to stress down. However, not always, which makes things ever so much more interesting.

Food and exercise are easier to figure out. Basically, food makes your glucose go up and exercise makes it go down. How much? For that, you can make use of your meter. Check before eating a new food (or a meal) and two hours after you put the first bite in your mouth. Play around with portions or with food combinations until you get a satisfactory outcome at the two-hour mark. Ask your doctor or educator what a satisfactory outcome is.

We all have foods that just don’t seem to act like they should. One of my problem foods is pretzels. Pretzels don’t want to act “nice” no matter what I do. I don’t eat pretzels very often. Also for most of us, Chinese, Mexican, and pizza tend to thumb their noses at us. Gotta watch those high-fat foods. And rice. Particularly sticky white rice. Try brown rice instead. In fact, try foods as close to natural as possible. Like fresh fruits instead of canned, or whole wheat bread rather than white.

It’s not a matter of what is “good” or “bad.” It’s a matter of portion control. Read Amy Campbell’s blogs. I swear she’s covered more than I ever knew was possible to write about food and diabetes.

Exercise? Your meter comes in handy here, too. Just check your glucose before and after engaging in any activity. You’ll prove to yourself that activity really does lower your glucose and you find out which activities lower it more (or less) than others. Most of the time.

And thanks for your wishes of a great time at Disney. I made my plane reservations Sunday. I’m ready to get going!

Do your research on diabetes like I’m doing research on Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Lines (even though I’ve been to WDW and on Disney cruises before). Disney is fun. Taking care of diabetes may not be fun, but it sure can impact your life in a not-very-fun way.

I don’t know about you, but my goal is to have fun, no matter what else is happening in my life.

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  • jim snell

    Best wishes Jan and thank you for excellent column on so many fronts.

    Glad to hear of your progress and sympathies over the falling down issues that are neither fun nor painless.

    After stroke three years ago, and 30 days rehabb I could barely make it around the nursing rehab section in hospital once.

    Today, I finally got my type 2 monster better managed and dropped actos. Hemorage disappeared in retina’s, water in legs gone, actos gone, lungs healing and can breath better and kidney numbers stabalizing and improving. A1C this novemember was 6.9 – daily average 155. ( was 13.3 before.)

    I did not ignore my condition in past so much as to fail to assign proper priority and learn more about it and eat and exercise properly. I share with everyone who has been diagnosed with this monster, that they need to heed or suffer stroke or worse like me. Amazingly when all the data in,
    I had a monster liver trying to sugar me up every day on dawn effect and livere emergency add. ( dawn effect in am 238-to 258 and emergency sugar add was 278 to 311. Diet and exercise super critical.

    After 3 years struggling with diet and foods I end up where you recommend and find that low glycemic diet approach with starches added back in to ensure sufficient glucose and key issue – portion control.
    i.e. you do not want to change life upside down.

    Drugs were needed to shut off liver nonsense – metformin; super metering on bs low and the rest is history.

    Best wishes and good luck in days ahead and special thanks for all the insightful introspections and good thoughts.

  • Karen

    Sounds like you have made a lot of progress! Yeah!! Time to get rid of the “yellow blankie of shame”!! -KC

  • Pepper

    One of your readers commented about an office chair, with wheels. Some office chairs also raise and lower with the touch of a lever. Maybe that would be handy… for rolling from room to room and up to different heights of desks or countertops.
    Enjoy reading your blog; wish you all the best.
    Good luck and great fun at WDW.

  • Yisroel

    Wow, what an ordeal! I used to not avoid infections, figuring that “whatever does not kill me, will make me strong” and there’s always multiple families of anti-biotics. Now as a Type 2 diabetic, I can’t think like that anymore, as your experience reminds me.
    Hopefully, Anna’s husband will be awakened by something small, or something he sees in another diabetic. Waking up because of a massive coronary or stroke, or at the loss of a limb or some vision, can ruin your whole day! (Tip to Anna: Tell him he’ll probably become impotent if he doesn’t watch his diabetes. Death, he can deal with. Impotence, that’s a different matter!)
    When I found out I was diabetic, I weighed 310lbs. DOC: Your sugar is at 320, it should be between 70-120. ME: Probably because I had a big breakfast that day. DOC: No, I gave you the A1C – 320 is your average over the past 3 months or so! I had the dubious benefit of having a relative (slightly retarded) who didn’t take care of his diabetes, and lost limb after limb until he died in his mid-50s. I got my blood sugar under control quickly, lost 55 pounds over the next 4 months. FRIEND: You’ve lost weight. What diet are you on? ME: I’m on the “I Don’t Want To Die” Diet.
    Two years after diagnosis, I finally had the energy to do some exercise (walking 18-minute miles). Two years after that, I had the energy to do more serious exercise. Now, I row & bike, and am in the upper echelon (top 5%) of rowers in my age category (50-59 Heavyweight Males). I can even sometimes do 2 hard workouts in a day, or hard workouts 4-5 days in a row.
    My doc still watches my feet, to make sure the hairs on my lower legs and toes doesn’t fall out (though my neuropathy is 80% better – no more shooting pains traveling through my feet, no more not being able to walk barefoot – though my 2 numb toes are still pretty numb.) I guess I’ll still have to do extra foot care for many years to come!

  • Yisroel

    Jan, Two members of my rowing ergometer team are young women from Jerusalem who’ve had their legs blown off, one below the knee, one above. (Yes, the terrorism threat is LESS now, but it’s still hard to be a civilian in Israel.)
    In therapy, they’re having them row on the Concept2 rower to build up their upper leg strength before being fitted with a permanent prosthesis. I’m not sure what “adaptive” equipment they use to bridge the gap between their leg and the footrest, if any. They both seem to do a few kilometers each day, and seem to enjoy the challenge.
    Is that a possibility for you? (C2 rowers are high quality, hold their value over decades, and have an avid fan base.) At the least, it would be great cardio work while being somewhat horizontal.
    And no, I don’t own stock in the company…lol