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Thought for Food

By way of introduction, a bit about me…

I’m early 60’s, tall and a BMI just the wrong side of 30. I’m a PWD too – diagnosed in about 2000 and started on insulin soon after. Fairly uninteresting since then apart from creeping neuropathy which has got slowly worse and a DFU (Diabetic Foot Ulcer) in 2010.

Anyway – this missive isn’t about that ulcer, it’s about my new one- it was born in Berlin a couple of weeks ago. More about that in a minute…

One other thing you should know about me is that as a PWD, I am rubbish. I should know better because for years I worked for a pharmaceutical company on their diabetes product and my wife has been doing similar stuff for years. So, what I’m saying is that I had no excuse for being appalling at controlling my A1c. I knew the ‘consequences’ of poor BG control all too well.

Anyway – back to Berlin…

Me and my good lady took a bit of a break and on the Sunday we walked miles around all the historical sites in the city. Lots more than I usually walk, but shod in comfy trainers thought I’d be fine.

When we got back to our hotel, I noticed I’d got a small – no, tiny- blood blister under the nail of the second toe on my right foot. Didn’t really think too much more about it but by the following morning it was rampant – pretty disgusting to be honest. In the next 24 hours, it got worse. By the time we got back to England on Wednesday, first stop was the foot clinic at our very fine local hospital.

Just remembered – some other stuff that you need to know about me…

My last A1c reading was 10.1, and on a daily basis my BG levels pinged around between 10ish and 18ish…. Told you I was rubbish! Also, I love all the foods that I know are bad for me – bread, pasta, rice, bread, chips, pizza, bread, roast potatoes, chocolate, cakes and chocolate – you get the idea?

So, went and got my new friend sorted – review again in 10 days, but in the meantime 4 grams of flucloxacilin a day (for the next 6 weeks)…

On Saturday, we changed the dressing and just felt sick when I saw the state of my toe. That night, I honestly thought that I wouldn’t have it for long but that it would be in a bin somewhere in an operating theatre.

Something that one of the Consultants said at the hospital stuck in my brain for some reason….he said if you struggle to control your BG (which I obviously do..) then cut right down on refined carbs and sugar.

My new regimen started that day.

It’s only been 10 days, but in that time I’ve had no potatoes, bread, rice or pasta. I guess by any definition, I’m doing the Atkins Diet – lots of meat, dairy and veg.

It took a few days for my BG to settle, but now I rarely get a reading above 8 – and very often in the 6-7 range. My average daily intake of short-acting insulin was around 100 units a day – most days now I don’t take any (I am 6’ 5’’ and 19 stone – ex professional rugby player). I do still use the long acting stuff though…

As a bonus, I’ve also lost about 4kg – which is fab.

But more to the point, my scabby toe is well on the way to being fixed. It’s got a way to go, but looking good so far. Is it because by BG control is better now than it has been for years- or just coincidence? I honestly have no idea. Wiser men than me might have thoughts on it…

What I’m not doing for a minute is advocating that if you are a fellow PWD, that you radically change your diet and ditch 100% of the ‘bad stuff’ foods like I have. What I am saying is that something has definitely changed for me – for the better. Weirdly, I don’t miss the carb filled foods- I snack on strawberries and cheese and nuts now!

Before I finish, the other thing that has changed for me is my thinking about the years ahead. I think I’d come close to thinking that I was on a path that I couldn’t change, and sooner or later something catastrophic was going to happen to me – a massive stroke or a tsunami of a heart attack. It’s early days, but I don’t feel like that anymore. Now I feel that I can do something about the future.

When I was a kid, I had a poster on my bedroom wall that said ‘Today is the first day of the rest of your life’. I think I understand that now.

My life, my diabetes…my responsibility

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