Personal Story Hard-Headed Texan finally learned to listen.

Pig Hip

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There exist only straight honest facts in this long post. I am not selling anything nor am I recommending anything. I can only tell you what I have discovered on my journey that works. For me. However everything I did and am doing is harmless and in my opinion couldn't hurt for anyone experiencing weight gain, to try.

I am 59. Non smoker.
In 2004 I was 6ft tall and weighed 195lbs. I am not all muscle-bound but I am amply built.
On my most recent visit to my cardiologist (March 19) I weighed in at 278lbs. Which was pretty consistent with all prior visits the last two years. Except this time, he told me I am also now a type 2 diabetic!

What the heck happened and what's being done about it?

Clogging Arteries and Why

My cardiologist estimates that sometime between 2006 and 2008, my thyroid greatly slowed production of thyroxine, the T4 hormone that is the main tyrosine-based hormone primarily responsible for regulation of metabolism. Therefore my metabolic rate slowed drastically. There are no symptoms of this and one with this condition called Hypothyroidism is normally left blissfully unaware other than weight gain. At first.

I had it happening unbeknownst to me and just chalked it up to getting older and accepted it as nature taking its course.

Later on, in late 2012 I started noticing I'd lost stamina, and had chest pains at times. Would be out of breath with a feeling of suffocation when I would lay down, but it would go away after a time. "Hey, you're getting older, this happens" I would tell myself. It had been a gradual thing.

June 16, 2016 at age 54 I couldn't take it anymore, the chest pains were more frequent and longer lasting. I would be sucking air for something as routine and simple as taking the trash out. I finally called 911. They showed up, hooked me up to a machine, and said "You need to go to the ER right now. We can take you if you want." Blood oxygen level was around 66, my heart rate was something like 148 beats per minute and my blood pressure was some ridiculous number like 190 /197. I declined their offer. They booked.

Instead I took a shower, got dressed, and drove myself to the ER. I walked in like John Wayne and told the attendant I was having a heart attack. She said, "right now?" Yes. Right now.

They took me right in and immediately took blood, got my vitals which were still off the charts, and wheeled me in for a chest x-ray. They put me on oxygen and put me in a room to wait. A little bit later the attending physician walked in all alarmed looking like someone shot the President, and said "You're having a heart attack. We're moving you to the cardiac ICU immediately." His nurse put me on an IV that was a "clot buster" blood thinner, and another one I remember not what it was, and they jetted out of there.

"Immediately" must be a loose term around there, because 30 minutes later I had heard nothing and had no other visitors. Then another doctor came in, and in a hurried rush said, "You're a little bit on the back burner right now, we're sorry. But there's been a 20 car pileup in I-40 and it's all hands on deck for triage!" I said, "that's okay, it sounds like a lot of folks are gonna come in here a lot worse off than I am." And waited.

Long story shorter, after about 45 minutes they came and got me and put me in the cardiac ICU and hooked me up to the monitor. I then met my cardiologist who ordered up a large series of blood tests and assured me that I was stabilizing and they would address my issues as soon as they had the lab results. My situation wound up being, two of the main cardiac arteries (the ones that feed oxygen-rich blood to the heart) were both over 95 percent clogged. He said he could not believe I was still walking around, and had ordered an immediate PCI procedure. I received the first stent in the right CI that night, and a second one in the left CI the following Tuesday.

Several days later after my numbers had stabilized and stayed stable, they let me leave. I drove home feeling tons better with a handful of prescriptions and orders to go on a diet, lose weight, and get some regular exercise. And I was now scheduled for regular visits at his office.

Of course, feeling much better and being a "typical hard-headed redneck macho Texan," I ignored the diet and exercise advice. I didn't pay any attention to the close call I had just experienced. I went happily on, making those monstrous breakfast burritos I am famous for, my spaghetti which is a recipe passed down to me all the way from the old country on my mother's side (Hungary), of course lots of potatoes every way you can have them, sourdough donuts for that sweet tooth, candy bars now and then just because, and of course my nightly few beers on the back deck of an evening. And wasn't exercising - turns out that two of the meds he had me on completely rob you of energy and one even prevents the heart from speeding up even if it's just because you are exercising! Counter-productive.

The Big D

I was shocked at my cardiologist's casual mention that I was now a type 2 diabetic. He didn't even tell me, I overheard him telling his Dictaphone! He was also telling it some good stuff too, like how my "bad" cholesterol was at a good level, and my liver function was great, and blah blah blah. But I interrupted him, saying "Woah woah what are you talking about? Diabetic? First I've heard of it!" He explained that according to my latest lab results my A1C is 7.2, which means I am diabetic. Period. And he said "you need to be treated." And said the A1C is a cumulative number expressed in percentage, of my average blood glucose levels for the last three months. So this meant that I was now SIX MONTHS BEHIND in getting on top of it!

That lab test was in frikkin JANUARY and here we are in March! "At what point were you going to tell me this?" I asked, feeling my blood pressure going up and getting a bit pissed off. He reminded me that my January appointment had been rescheduled but said somebody dropped the ball because they were supposed to tell me I was now diabetic when they called to reschedule. They had not.

He gave me some pamphlets and brochures about D2, and we finished our regular stuff there, and I booked. Went straight to my own pharmacy to confirm the "diagnosis" by having them give me an A1C test. I showed, 7.1. It's true. I'm diabetic.

Wake-up Call.

I went home and started studying. GOOD, reliable sites like the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins. Not just any bullshit that's out there. What IS diabetes and how did I get it? How can it be fought - can it be cured? And educated myself. I found out I was now in a struggle for my very life. This enemy isn't like having blood flow cut off from your heart, which usually results in immediate death - this one is a slow, methodical enemy that drains the life out of you and can take away your vision, then you lose your lower legs... If left untreated it will make you suffer dearly for years before finally killing you - by heart attack! Yes, Type2 diabetes clogs your arteries! And myocardial infarction is how most diabetics die!

If caught very early, in the pre-diabetes stage, it can be kept in remission and not be a factor. And even if caught early while the A1C numbers are as low as mine, it can be managed. I decided that was what I was going to try to do. Today is four weeks to the day since I started my program which I will now detail. Oh yeah, it's essentially what the cardiologist first advised which I ignored. Diet and exercise. I was on-board now. Five years later than I should have been.

Action

After reading and studying the first thing I did was head back to my pharmacy. I picked up a basic blood glucose test kit, and also because of the reading, I picked up ketone urine test strips. Because I had learned that the 2nd cause of death of a type2 diabetic is ketoacidosis.

Turns out that no matter who you are or your fitness or medical condition, when your body starts burning fat for energy, ketone is produced. This is excreted in your urine, stool, sweat and breath. If you're diabetic, this can lead to fast death due to ketone building up in your system and causing your blood to become way too acidic! The test strips allow me to monitor the ketone levels.

First off was diet. Carbohydrates have to go. That means No potatoes, most bread, no pasta of any kind, and hell, no more burritos because the tortillas are loaded with carbs! And also yeah and not the least, I had to lose the beer. I took every beer I had left in the house, about 14 of them, and gave them to a neighbor friend. And oh yeah because he's a bit portly himself and around my age, told him in detail, why.

New fare had to be high protein, low carb. I became a label reader from Hell. Tons of stuff in my house I can't eat anymore, all boxed up and taken to the local Food Bank for donation. Life. Has. Changed.

Preliminary Results

Four weeks later here are some preliminary results. I continue to pee positive for ketones, so far it is staying in safe ranges as the below test example indicates:

ketonetest.jpg


I am testing blood glucose and logging the results, on a schedule as recommended by the Cleveland Clinic Diabetes Research Hospital - Once when awakening and starting the day. One hour and two hours after breakfast, and one hour and two hours after dinner. And once at bedtime. And the results of my new diet are outstanding. When I first started testing, eating would "spike" my glucose high, sometimes as high as 600 mg/dl! And my weight? I have lost 14 pounds!

I am feeling great - after eating I merely take a brisk stroll around my property. I learned that exercise right after a meal kicks your body into "making insulin" mode very quickly, and that mean old glucose doesn't stand a chance. I now never test any higher than 180, one hour after a meal, and always am below my target goal of 140, two hours after a meal. I keep a lot more active and go out of my way to work my body more in just simple chores and activities. I plan to slowly let my body get into some semblance of shape, before starting a real exercise routine at a gym. Everything in moderation.

And although it is a three month cumulative, which you shouldn't be able to affect much after just three weeks, last week I went ahead anyway and had another A1C test at my local pharmacy. And By Jove, I came back with a 6.0!

Reduced my A1C by a full percentage point.
Lost 14 lbs.

In just four weeks total.​

So, that's my journey and where I stand right at this minute as I am typing this. I will continue to update this thread as conditions change and will of course, answer any questions you may have.

Thanks for investing all of your time reading this really long post!
 

PGen98

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I was diagnosed Type 1 at age 11, and when I hit 30 my body decided I'd also show signs of being pre-Type 2, as well. Didn't know that was a thing, but now I do! It's a scary thing to hear, you're a diabetic and this is your life now, but in time it becomes normal and you learn how to live as though it's just another part of life.

A 6.0 A1C is fantastic, I usually hit in the 6.6 range, though recently things have been really off-kilter for me, so I'm expecting that to slide when I go for bloodwork in a couple of weeks. Blood sugars in the 600s is terrifying! When I was first diagnosed I registered a 684, absolutely off the scales! Fortunately I haven't broken north of 350 mg/dl in about 15 years at this point, but I do have the issue of being insulin resistant, so I need a lot of insulin each day to keep me in check, and occasionally my body just decides that I'm going to have a diabetic seizure because it's a fun thing to go through.

I'm glad you've managed to get yourself on track already and I wish you all the best going forward! It's a journey, but you're already taking those important first steps, so you'll get there sure enough.
 

Pig Hip

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I do have the issue of being insulin resistant, so I need a lot of insulin each day to keep me in check
That's one thing I read a lot about. And astoundingly - you remember I said one of my cardiac meds keeps my heart rate down? It's called a beta blocker, and it inhibits the method the body uses to send signals to organs. Examples are the adrenal gland, the electrical system of the heart, so that you never get runaway heart rate. Well, turns out IT ALSO INTERFERES WITH SIGNALS TO THE PANCREAS! And is shown in many studies to ACTUALLY CAUSE type 2 diabetes! Because the pancreas IS the gland that makes insulin and pumps it into the blood stream when it's called for!

So on my own, I cut the dosage of that one in half and I have seen no ill effects at all.

When I walk into my cardiologists office in four months for my next scheduled appointment, I am going to be 6 foot tall, 210 pounds of certified card-carrying Texas whup-ass. I will have A1C below 5.5 and I WILL be talking to him about getting rid of some of these meds that are holding me down. Like Lipitor for example.

Things have changed. I've taken it into my own hands now.

I didn't go see a doctor yet about this for the very reasons you cite - all they do is put you on a slew of meds and schedule appointments. That's all ended.

If I do not meet the goal i stated above, i will then go see a physician to find out if there is an underlying cause of the diabetes. But if that goal is met it proves diabetes CAN be controlled and even beaten.

We shall see. It's on now.
 

PGen98

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It is ridiculous some of the "side effects" of these meds doctors dish out left and right, as though they're nothing. You've got this? Well, take that. Oh, that gave you this new condition? Well keep taking that, but there's another one to treat the new condition that the meds caused. What did you say, you've now got high cholesterol from this new one? Well let's get you on cholesterol medication...that'll help. And so the cycle continues. A med for each side effect, and side effect from each med. They don't mind, they then get new things to treat you for.

I'm glad you're taking it in hand and I wish you all the best in beating it! If you can be diabetes free on your own, or at least as controlled as you have been, it'll be a mere passing thought in no time!
 

Ozzy47

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You've got this? Well, take that. Oh, that gave you this new condition? Well keep taking that, but there's another one to treat the new condition that the meds caused. What did you say, you've now got high cholesterol from this new one? Well let's get you on cholesterol medication...that'll help. And so the cycle continues. A med for each side effect, and side effect from each med. They don't mind, they then get new things to treat you for.

When my mom passed away, she had a bag full of medications that she took daily. It was a ridiculous amount.
 

PGen98

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When my mom passed away, she had a bag full of medications that she took daily. It was a ridiculous amount.
It's unfortunately how things always seem to go in the medical industry. Treat the symptoms, not the cause, and every new med introduces a new symptom to treat. I'm on 6 different medications for various things not including the insulin that keeps me alive, and that number may grow with my next visit to the doctor. It's just ridiculous the sort of things they expect people to deal with.
 

Pig Hip

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And so the cycle continues. A med for each side effect, and side effect from each med. They don't mind, they then get new things to treat you for.
My cardiologist was telling his Dictaphone my LDL numbers which we're great and I said, "any chance we can go back to 40 milligrams now instead of 80?" He had originally had me on 40. His answer? Perfectly circular: "No, now that you're diabetic you really need the full dose, diabetes clogs arteries very quickly."

I didn't realize the irony of that until I was well into my diabetes research.
 

Ozzy47

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Yeah, it's sad that they just throw meds at people to get them to go away.
 

PGen98

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My cardiologist was telling his Dictaphone my LDL numbers which we're great and I said, "any chance we can go back to 40 milligrams now instead of 80?" He had originally had me on 40. His answer? Perfectly circular: "No, now that you're diabetic you really need the full dose, diabetes clogs arteries very quickly."

I didn't realize the irony of that until I was well into my diabetes research.
Yep, now that they're treating the side effect, full steam ahead on the primary! The more they can treat you for, the better it is for them.
 

Pig Hip

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Yep, now that they're treating the side effect, full steam ahead on the primary! The more they can treat you for, the better it is for them.
Absolutely. In more ways than the obvious.
I'm not sure they even teach doctors how to treat root problems anymore
They teach them to avoid lawsuits.

"Illigitimi Non Carburundum" is a little joke slogan in the glass business, where I cut my teeth as a young apprentice. It means, "Don't let the bastards grind you down" and that's what the medical profession WILL do if you let it. The reasons are many and varied but the main one is malpractice suits. It's really not their fault they are pill pushers and it doesn't by itself make them incompetent or untrustworthy. But it DOES tell you that they have their own best interests first and yours, second if that.

Brother, I totally sympathize with you and everything you're posting on this topic is 100 percent spot-on. But truly, YOU gotta do something about it! Even if it's just in a small way.

The ketone test I posted about? It is 100 percent, infallible PROOF of fat burning no matter who you are or your situation. It's not anything relative or subjective like stepping on the scale five times a day. I strongly suggest getting that inexpensive test strip kit and get on the diet I am using. I found out while I was creating my dietary plan, that it is nothing more or less than a "keto diet" we've all seen spammed everywhere. It includes such diet plans as The Paleo, South Beach, and Atkins diets all fit into that category. It's not spam and it's not a fad, and testing for ketones in your breath or urine is the bedrock of it. High protein, low carbohydrate simplicity. With verifiable progress indicators to keep you going - the urine tests!

Our own lives are in our hands whether we believe it, know it or not. When it's your Time it's your Time and no amount of guns bullets bombs, doctors nurses pills potions or procedures makes any difference at all. Are we gonna go out, a member of what basically is a cult? Or are we gonna grab the bull by the horns?

I KNOW you can improve your situation. I feel it in my heart. But you gotta be willing to make some difficult changes and sacrifices to make it so. Please try it with me and use this thread to chronicle your progress - it could be a life saver. At the very least, it will be a quality of life improver.

I don't do attaboys or express disingenuous platitudes or fake sympathy. This doesn't mean I don't absolutely sympathize and empathize. I do. But I want to HELP, not enable or just cheerlead.

Join the war.
 

PGen98

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Absolutely. In more ways than the obvious.They teach them to avoid lawsuits.

"Illigitimi Non Carburundum" is a little joke slogan in the glass business, where I cut my teeth as a young apprentice. It means, "Don't let the bastards grind you down" and that's what the medical profession WILL do if you let it. The reasons are many and varied but the main one is malpractice suits. It's really not their fault they are pill pushers and it doesn't by itself make them incompetent or untrustworthy. But it DOES tell you that they have their own best interests first and yours, second if that.

Brother, I totally sympathize with you and everything you're posting on this topic is 100 percent spot-on. But truly, YOU gotta do something about it! Even if it's just in a small way.

The ketone test I posted about? It is 100 percent, infallible PROOF of fat burning no matter who you are or your situation. It's not anything relative or subjective like stepping on the scale five times a day. I strongly suggest getting that inexpensive test strip kit and get on the diet I am using. I found out while I was creating my dietary plan, that it is nothing more or less than a "keto diet" we've all seen spammed everywhere. It includes such diet plans as The Paleo, South Beach, and Atkins diets all fit into that category. It's not spam and it's not a fad, and testing for ketones in your breath or urine is the bedrock of it. High protein, low carbohydrate simplicity. With verifiable progress indicators to keep you going - the urine tests!

Our own lives are in our hands whether we believe it, know it or not. When it's your Time it's your Time and no amount of guns bullets bombs, doctors nurses pills potions or procedures makes any difference at all. Are we gonna go out, a member of what basically is a cult? Or are we gonna grab the bull by the horns?

I KNOW you can improve your situation. I feel it in my heart. But you gotta be willing to make some difficult changes and sacrifices to make it so. Please try it with me and use this thread to chronicle your progress - it could be a life saver. At the very least, it will be a quality of life improver.

I don't do attaboys or express disingenuous platitudes or fake sympathy. This doesn't mean I don't absolutely sympathize and empathize. I do. But I want to HELP, not enable or just cheerlead.

Join the war.
I've been doing ketone tests, regular blood sugar checks and trying to exercise properly for nearly 23 years, so I understand what you're saying. I've had things in check pretty well until these past few years when I put me on the back-burner to focus on my mother. I do need to tweak my diet again and once my legs are sorted start walking again, but I'm absolutely with you on taking control of your own health. I'll get myself back on track, I know I will, I've just got to focus on my mother's health first and foremost for now.

But you're absolutely right, I don't want someone cheering me on and saying I'm doing great when I know things have slipped, I know I've slipped, and I need to fix it.
 

Pig Hip

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Pardon my assumptions. But I never assumed you had slipped I simply erred in the transition between type 1 and type 2.

If I may ask, what's the target of your keto testing? To not detect any, for safety? Or to manage it? Do you have ketones in your system?
 

PGen98

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Pardon my assumptions. But I never assumed you had slipped I simply erred in the transition between type 1 and type 2.

If I may ask, what's the target of your keto testing? To not detect any, for safety? Or to manage it? Do you have ketones in your system?
No ketones at present, and try to keep it that way. They come on heavy and quickly when my sugars spike above 300 or so, which only happens when I go into hospital and they insist on managing my diabetes for me and not my insulin pump, because 20+ years of doing it my way just isn't enough. Inevitably within 24 hours they always revert back to me and my pump, but I still have to deal with the ketones that form in the interim. Flush it with water, water, water and do some laps around the ward and I'm usually back to normal levels.

(I should probably clarify -- I end up hospitalized a lot, I have a recurrent leg infection that I've had operated on 8 times in the past year to try and sort and when the infection comes right on back, as it always does, I have to goto the ER where they inevitably admit me and put me on a super high dose antibiotic to flush the infection and refer me back to wound care doctors who treat the wounds that form where the infection breaks the skin...lather, rinse, repeat. I've also been hospitalized following a couple of particularly nasty diabetic seizures and to deal with recurrent pain issues related to my left kidney...suffice it to say most of the hospitals in the Phoenix area are familiar with me. So much so at one point I was put on a list they keep of patients they suspect are trying to scam them for pain meds, in spite of the fact I don't ever fill the prescriptions for pain meds they send me home with because I can't stand them, they make me nauseous. Sorry, rambling again...)
 

PGen98

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I have to assume at least, you have good health insurance?
Well the fortunate/unfortunate (depending on perspective) side of quitting a good paying job to look after your mother for next to nothing is that you qualify for Medicaid...so...they cover a lot, but it's basically taxpayers paying for my healthcare. It's a pretty similar setup to the NHS at home in the UK, honestly, but the US viewpoint is (or seems to be) that it's not a great thing to be on medicaid. Good news is when I read through the bills they send me, they give me a discount of about 80% before they bill Medicaid, so I guess that's something.
 

Pig Hip

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One thing this has taught me and it's a sad fact - it wasn't clogged arteries trying to kill me and it's not the diabetes trying to kill me. It was me killing me. Through my irresponsibility and carelessness. We think we're indestructible and gonna live forever. By the time we gain enough wisdom to know better, it's often too late.
 

PGen98

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Very true, there are some things that are legitimately out of our control, but the more we do to keep the parts we can control in check, the better off we will be.
 

Pig Hip

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qualify for Medicaid...so...they cover a lot, but it's basically taxpayers paying for my healthcare. It's a pretty similar setup to the NHS at home in the UK, honestly, but the US viewpoint is (or seems to be) that it's not a great thing to be on medicaid.
The rest of the world is ignorant to the fact that we DO have health care for the poor in addition to state medicaid and federal medicare for those over 65. In Texas it is called "Indigent Care." Example is, a friend's brother has been chronically homeless for the past 20 or so years. Drugs, alcohol, and so on. But the police found him unconscious in an alley and called an ambulance and they took him to the ER. They verified his income which was zero in the last 20 years, and the county indigent care fund footed his 160,000 USD hospital bill for his heart attack treatment and various other ailments. And this is true not just for the homeless like in the example, but any Texas resident who falls under the income threshold. He could have walked in with just chest pains, same deal.

This money comes from our property tax bill, the main hospital system in the area gets the funds dispersed to them on a case by case basis. The state designates the regions and determines the primary care facility for that region. It works well. BUT it's also something they don't advertise.

Through property tax we fund our schools, our cities and towns and counties, our indigent care and our water conservation districts.
 
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