Julianne’s Journey to Diabetes


juliannesjourney-to-diabetes

My diabetes and I have been on a long intertwining path. (Oh, by the way my doctor doesn’t think I have it, but I’ll get to that later.) This path leaded me to a grain & dairy free life back in April 2016, but let’s start at the beginning. (I’m almost Paleo, but not quite.)

 

Back in my late teens, I got up one morning to go for a hike through the beautiful Sonoran Desert. The temperature was perfect, the sun was coming up over the mountains and I set out on my hike. I was about a hundred yards from my start point when the tunnel vision came and I blacked out. I awoke some time later lying on the desert ground very discombobulated. I didn’t finish my hike that day. Shaken, sore, and grateful I didn’t wake up eye to eye with a rattlesnake, I took myself home. This is the first time I had blacked out.

 

Over the coming months, my blacking out would become more regular. My mother was already a type two diabetic and warned me that it was my blood sugar. I got one of those glucose meters and started taking my blood sugar. It was a little on the low side, but complete within normal levels. I started tracking my food like any good weight watcher girl would and began seeing a correlation between when I ate and when I blacked out.

 

I just kind of got use to that way of living. Eat food and black out. It seems perfectly normal, right? I has episodes at work where I would go blind from the glucose in my eyes and just waited for it to pass. The event that finally made me go see an endocrinologist happened during one of my equine classes. We had gone to a professor’s ranch to evaluate horses. It was hotter than Hades in the Arizona summer heat and I had stopped at Circle K for a huge squirt to drink on the way there. We were moving slow because of the heat and hanging out, staying hydrated and having munchies. We headed for the barn & the professor brought out a big beautiful stallion. I started to feel woozy, but ignored it. The next thing I know, I am waking up from the ground. I had blacked out behind the stallion and collapsed to the ground. My professor got me up into the shade and started checking me over. I told her I expected it was my blood sugar. She looked at me and said “you ate a cookie didn’t you?” and I hung my head while replying “yes”. (Folks with blood sugar issues or who live with diabetics understand the triggers and effects of simply eating a cookie.)

 

Really it was just a pop & a cookie. What damage could it really cause? No real harm done, but that horse could have kicked my head in dropping behind him like that. I felt like my luck with it all was running out.  So I went to the endocrinologist, did the blood work and got the results. I was one point away from being diabetic. The doctor informed me that I had reactive hypoglycemia. Which means, I eat food and black out by my blood sugar spiking, falling and then leveling out. She recommended I lose weight because at 6 foot tall and 190lbs I was considered obese. She also put me on a low dose metformin.

 

I must say metformin was great! I took the pill, never ate, and had no blood sugar issues what so ever. I couldn’t ask for better. Then I started to think about it. How can I be better off taking a pill and not eating anything then learning to eat properly? Huh? Thus I stopped taking the pills. (Later I would research metformin and see the horrible correlation between the medication and liver transplants, but that is another story.) Time went on and I continued to struggle with my blood sugar, prediabetes & reactive hypoglycemia. I was moody but eating. I tried to stay high protein, but I ate and drank whenever I wanted.

Dan’s favorite story about my moodiness & blood sugar is that we were heading the ranch to feed one morning and he asked “Do you want to feed or eat first?” My reply “I don’t fucking care.” Apparently I made an impression with this statement. He promptly took me for breakfast and the ponies had to wait a half hour for theirs. This continues to be a regular conversation in our lives and to be honest still is. I have to eat in the morning or the scary lady comes out. (Yes I am a living testament to Hangry. J )

 

Then I moved back to MI. Life was stressful. I went to massage school. I ate to deal with the stress and started packing on the pounds. I just couldn’t stop it, but I can’t say I fought too hard either. Life has been hard these past few years. I had family drama, man drama, job drama. AKA I had a dramatic life that I was plugging my way through and cheesie goodness was my crutch.

 

The most frustrating piece of this puzzle is the knowledge I have rattling around in my head. I had done a research study and knew more about nutrition than 90% of the participants. We covered nutrition and our health in massage school. I attended Oakland Unv and was studying integrated holistic medicine. I spent 2 years taking all health classes with that. My one nutrition class introduced me to Dr. Fuhrman and his philosophies. (At the time, I had a nice farm operation going with chickens, turkeys, hogs and rabbits. I watched Fork over Knives and Food Matters. I was raising all my own meat and didn’t want to give it up, but respected what I was being taught. I grew my meat with integrity and as natural as I could grow it.) I knew how eat healthier. Less cheesy bread sticks. More fruits & vegetables. Exercise more. Yet I continued to half ass it. (I can be pretty lazy when I allow myself to.)

 

Then I stumbled upon Dr. G. He is an applied kinesiologist chiropractor that I learned about in massage school. I don’t remember what first took me to visit him, but I am thankful I did. We were talking about my blood sugar issues and he asked if I had ever heard of Diet by Blood Type and I actually vaguely had. Dan had introduced me to it years ago, but I never really paid attention. He suggested that I find out my blood type and follow the diet. He bet that I was B type and should remove chicken from my diet. (I had never known my blood type and there are a couple different methods to find out. I tried doing the free method by donating blood, but my blood pressure was through the roof and I couldn’t. I ordered a kit off amazon for a couple bucks and a week later I knew I was type B.) I took the advice I started removing chicken from my diet.

 

If I didn’t have a whole flock of meat and egg birds in my yard, removing chicken from my diet would have been a lot easier, but I did it. I got to the point where I hardly ate any chicken. Guess what? I have not had a black out since! I know it is hard to believe, but that simple diet change has left me black out free for many years now.

 

I’ll stop the story here for now. There is more story, but we will save it for another day. This was the history that lead me weigh 260 lbs and have a 168 fasting glucose with a healthy A1C in April 2016. What came next was quite the change for me….No more dairy & no more grains.

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