Health and wellness – let’s talk numbers

So M had his eye exam and driving physical on Tuesday and both went well. I fully expected as much and he is now good for another 2 years with his commercial drivers license. Cost for that was $120, but worth it should he ever get a wild hair and want to go back to truck driving.

I decided with the new year to track my weight, which is one of those decisions I have mixed feelings about. After a week (actually 8 days) of daily 30 minutes quality time on my arc trainer, 5 days of rowing 2000 meter (about 15 minutes), and being more mindful of my eating, I am down exactly 0.2 lbs. Ugh. However, I am undeterred; the number on the scale is of less concern to me than the readings on my glucose meter.

In all honesty, I am the worst example of a “good control” diabetic. I eat way too much crap, including sugar and carbs. Look up “carb addict” and you’ll probably see my smiling face drooling over a loaf of white bread. This year, I am determined to be better. I thought I was determined last year, but I was apparently not very serious about it, because I faltered and ultimately abandoned the neglected goal. While it is only day 8 of the new year, overall I have a better feeling about the process.

I have been pursuing a couple of different things thus far in 2015. There is my 30 minutes of cardio every day, of course, which I am succeeding at to date. This month I also wanted to start building to bringing my lunch 4 workdays out of 5, and thus far I have been successful. In fact, I brought all 4 workdays last week and will be 5/5 this week. In addition to those two things, I wanted to cut out or severely limit my snacking. I am mostly successful thus far, having broken lunch up Monday and yesterday into most of my meal at noon and then some midafternoon, and eating candy canes from Christmas for dessert in the evenings. Still, it’s an amazing improvement over even a few weeks ago, when I would be eating chips and soda or a candy bar every afternoon in addition to some sort of junk food lunch.

My measure for success is my glucose meter. I test 4 times daily – before all three meals and before bedtime – and the improvement in my readings for these first days of the new year has been astonishing. To illustrate, consider my averages:

  • 7 days – 134
  • 14 days – 154
  • 30 days – 179
  • 90 days – 197

To put this in context, I should be below 140 in the mornings before breakfast, below 150 before other meals and at bedtime. While the holidays were a blitz of unrestrained gluttony, that 197 for 90 day average is alarming, especially considering the amount of medication I take to bring it down into the normal range. Ask and I could spin out dozens of excuses for my poor behavior and choices, but reality is I have not been taking care of myself, and managing this chronic condition starts with me. M is always concerned about it, but wisely only offers help or advice when asked or when it becomes apparent that something is wrong. My endocrinologist is absolutely wonderful, but as he says, he cannot make me follow his advice and directions.

So while we are only 8 days into a new year and building better habits, the instant gratification junkie within is happy dancing to see movement in the right direction. I care about the scale, but it’s secondary to this more critical measuring tool.

Speaking of the obscene amount of medication I consume daily, new year means reset in health insurance deductibles, too. I am fortunate that the plan I have offers prescription benefits, but there is a $500 deductible on name brand medicines, which includes insulin. So whereas normally it’s $90 for a 3 month supply, this month it is $590 for the 3 month supply. Gulp! At least it’s over with in one fell swoop. But I tallied up how much it costs to manage my diabetes each month and it is not very pretty. Four oral medications, two different injectible insulins, syringes, pen needles, test strips, lancets was $1904 in prescription drugs and supplies alone last year. That is my out of pocket cost and includes the $500 deductible. Just for the drugs and supplies is approximately $160 per month. That’s is an awful lot of money to not manage my health any better than I have been, so if only from a dollars and cents perspective I need to continue to alter my behavior, replace bad habits with healthier ones.

I do not know if I were “perfect” in my condition management if I could reduce or eliminate¬†some of the drugs. I like to think/hope so, but not too much. Reducing my need for this type of intervention cannot be a goal, because if it is unrealistic I will be deeply, bitterly disappointed. But I know that a lot of this stuff is a direct result of my lack of discipline in lifestyle choices. I recognize I cannot change everything and make it stick overnight, but I will take my improvements and celebrate them, recommit to trying to maintain and build upon the small successes.

6 thoughts on “Health and wellness – let’s talk numbers

  1. <—well aware of issues facing diabetics! I've been a type 1 diabetic for 34.5 years. It's one of the major reasons, I've decided to quit being a wuss and get myself back into shape.

    Congratulations on your track record, however, and I hope you're able to keep it going!

    • Thank you so much! I have been copping a poor attitude about dealing with it, because I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t screw around on my husband, so I “should” be able to eat sugar and carbs, right? Moderation is a struggle in this area, as is maintaining any amount of exercise. I have been working diligently at adjusting my all-or-nothing attitude and expectations the last 15 months or so and I have to say I think the progress is finally showing.

      • It’s not an easy ride. I can tell you, being a type 1 diabetic complicates the working our quite a bit…I’ve tackled it before, but lately I have been such a whiner…. I’m getting back on track though!

      • I know several folks afflicted with type 1, which is why I never whine or make excuses about my own struggles. You/they have a lot more challenges than I do in that regard, and if I wake up with a low reading, I can just drink a protein shake or eat a piece of toast and get on with it.

  2. There is a free ebook about reversing Type II diabetes at this website (drmowll.com) that I have found very helpful — hope you will too

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