A Healthier Life 05/05/2016

April was a busy month with lots of appointments. Most of these appointments were with the local Diabetes Program.

At my last appointment with their dietician I upgraded to the One Touch Verio Flex glucometer from the One Touch Ultra Mini. The Verio shows if your blood glucose is low, in range, or high which I think is a great feature. The switch required a change in the type of testing strips I use but the lancets are the same. My doctor gave me a prescription for the new strips at my April appointment and upped my metformin dose at dinner.

I’ve since received a letter from my insurance company stating I’m over half way past the allotted amount of allowed test strips in a 365 day period. If I pass that limit they will not pay for the next strips refill. It also stated this allotted amount is based on guidelines by the Canadian Diabetes Association and if my physician feels there is a need for more testing than the guidelines suggest a letter to them explaining why may convince them to lift the limit. I plan on mentioning it to my doctor when I see her at my May appointment but I will also use up my Ultra Mini strips since that glucometer still works fine. I think I’m over because I had refilled my Ultra Mini strips in early April right before switching machines.

I’m slowly making dietary changes as recommended by the Diabetes Program dietician. So far I’m working on portion size, my habit of potato chips with dip in the evening, and eating more vegetables.

I managed to exercise regularly as the Diabetes Program kinesiologist wanted. I’m up to 30 minutes on the stationary bike at least five days a week. Even when I don’t want to I force myself on and watch a vidcast on YouTube while I pedal. The bike hadn’t been used in a long time. I left it here when I moved into my old house in 2005. The tension band was loose so I could only bike at one tension level. I figure out last week where on the wheel to fix that problem so last time I was able to adjust the tension up and down as if on a regular bike going up and down hills and over straight stretches. This should allow me to use up more calories while biking. But, I haven’t been doing the stretches and strengthening exercises he gave me. It was too much to add quickly during a fibro flare.

I lost 2.4 kg (5.29 lbs) in April and my blood glucose levels have gone down so the dietary changes and cardio are paying off. I’m encouraged to do more after seeing visual results. And I’m going to add in those stretches. I know I have tightened up which is not good for my pain levels.

I still haven’t heard any news about my ultrasound on March 30. I’m trying to think that no news is good news. If there was an increase in size of the lymph nodes or more abnormal lymph nodes I would have heard from my oncologist’s office by now.

With the flare comes more fatigue so I’m sleeping later and napping almost daily. I have noticed that I sleep deeper during my naps than at night. My Fitbit reports a lot of restless and awakening periods at night but much less during naps often none at all.

So a few things have changed and a few things have not. I’m taking baby steps forward though!

To learn more of my healthier life saga read these past posts:

March 03, 2016
February 18, 2016

FO Friday 18/03/2016

Happy Birthday Mackenzie! I can’t believe you’re 16 already!

My first finished object this week is a baby hat I made my friend in case she has a girl. Since they chose to not know the sex of the baby I made unisex hats for the baby shower but I want to have at least two girl hats too. This hat like the others I made is improvised so there’s no pattern to link. It’s just my standard hat with some lace on the brim.

A baby hat by www.BridgwaterCrafts.com
A hat for Baby Girl

The rest of my finished objects are lots of headbands. I made another for me and a bunch for Mackenzie’s birthday gift. I really like how these headbands fit and how they use up scraps. I am now leaning towards releasing the design.

Tanis Headband on www.BridgwaterCrafts.com
A gathering of headbands!

I didn’t get as much completed as I’d hoped this week but more than I usually do during a flare so I’m happy.

When No Means We’ll See

I have had difficult time deciding what to write today. Yesterday I received the final answer to my applications for disability status. In 2015, I applied for disability through four agencies. My pension holder granted me partial disability which allows my pension to accrue interest. My workplace’s insurance denied my application. A few weeks ago the federal disability program denied me and yesterday I received the fourth answer, another refusal. I can and plan to appeal the last two refusals. A lot has changed since those applications were sent in the spring and fall of 2015.

In the meantime, I am in constant pain; can’t lean over or reach for something without losing my balance; have daily dizzy spells; need 10-12 hours sleep per day-preferably not at once or I’ll seize up; can only work at best three hours a day, including cooking and housework due to constant fatigue. But I am not disabled, by the Canadian and Ontario government standards.

So what am I?

A Healthier Life Update 03/03/2016

On February 18th in my A Healthier Life post I spoke about the changes I’ve made health-wise and future plans. This morning I had an appointment with my primary health care provider. She had received the lab results from a few weeks ago. Things are worse than I thought, my friends.
My Diabetes is officially uncontrolled. I’ve never been in the uncontrolled range. My a1c (a blood test of your blood glucose levels and a few other things) came back at 8.0. It’s never been out of the 6-6.8 range since my diagnosis in 2011. 6s are considered perfectly controlled for diabetics; 5 is not diabetic or extremely perfect for a diabetic. Once you have diabetes you have it for life; there is no cure, only treatments. So we increased my dosage of Metformin and sent a consult to the local Diabetes Education Program. I don’t know how long their wait list is especially since I was referred to a multiple of their services. I may hear back this week or it could be weeks from now.
In the meantime, I’m going to make some changes. I’m going to check my blood glucose levels more frequently instead of the once a week or so I was before. I’m going to continue tracking my food but instead of waiting until the thirty days of solidarity are over I’m going to start making dietary changes now. In the past few weeks of tracking I have found I frequently eat far more than my recommended calories and way more carbohydrates than I realized. So starting tomorrow, I am going to start decreasing my caloric intake and my net carbohydrate grams. I also need to increase my physical activity level so I’m burning more calories. I want to start walking outdoors more but the ups and downs of our temperature make the sidewalks slippery so I’m going to take that slow until Spring. I’m going to start with a daily walk to the mailbox and exercising at home.
This doesn’t mean I will stop trying to drink 2L/day or sleep better or do my neck stretches. Those will be continued. It just means my plan for becoming healthier has been accelerated.
Hopefully my next health update will bring better news!

How Dog Sitting Took Over My Blogging Time

Since Friday, February 9th until later today my mother and I have been dog-sitting my brother and sister-in-law’s two dogs. It has been great really. We did not have any issues with the three dogs getting along. No one was too territorial. There were no huge dog fights although there were a few minor barking spats.

But, I’m exhausted. I’ve been going to sleep early every night and there are times between the fibro fog and tiredness I’ve been incoherent when trying to talk to my mother. Very little was accomplished. I didn’t realize it would be this bad. As a result very little writing has occurred. I had no blog posts pre-written or pre-scheduled. My plan of blogging Monday through Friday weekly quickly fell apart. So I’m starting again this week. Fingers crossed I can do this!

A Healthier Life

For the past few months I’ve been slowly working on improving my health. Living with ten chronic conditions plus a few non-chronic can make for a very unhealthy lifestyle. I’m looking to improve that as much as possible.

First, I worked on my water intake. Second, my sleep habits. Third, doing my neck stretching more frequently. Tuesday I started a new step. A friend started Whole30. I’m not ready for such a drastic change and my health is too fragile to attempt it without speaking to my primary physician who is currently on vacation. But, in solidarity, I started tracking all my food again on My Fitness Pal.

I started with water first because I know it is such an important aspect of our health and I was not drinking as much as I used to. I am now up to at least 1800 ml and most days over 2L [64 oz]. I no longer feel thirsty near as often as before I started working on this.

Sleep is another component of good health. Both Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome impact sleep causing fatique, disturbed or restless sleeping and insomnia. I was and still am having all those symptoms. I was also needing to nap daily regardless of the previous night’s sleep amount. My Fitbit tracks my sleep, not well-anytime you lie still with sleep mode on is considered sleep-so I tried figuring out my optimal amount of sleep. I thought it was eight hours but soon realized I was still napping daily with eight hours. It turns out that right now I need ten hours of sleep to not NEED a nap later but dependent on how restless I was in getting that sleep I may still be fatigued enough to nap. Anything over nine hours causes increased pain upon waking unless I was restless enough to have changed sleep positions frequently. This is a very tough component to control.

A few weeks ago I added in restarting to consistently do my neck stretches. Because a few of my health issues affect my neck it is very easy for me to lose neck mobility. But when I’m in a lot of pain this is something I often drop. My aim is to do the stretches daily but at least three times a week. I have to consciously remind myself to do this; it is no longer the habit it once was. But, most weeks I am doing them at least every other day.

And now, I’ve added tracking all food and drinks. I used to do this faithfully just a few years ago but when my life became so complicated and my health decreased tracking was dropped. I have committed to tracking for 30 days. I do not plan on making any food changes the first week but hope to  be back to eating properly for my Diabetes by the end of the 30 days. When I was first diagnosed I saw dietitians who were also Certified Diabetes Educators. Their recommendation was 30 g net carbohydrates for meals and 15 g net carbohydrates for snacks. Skipping meals was not allowed and snacking was only to occur if there was more than four hours between meals. I was also taught the Plate Method. This has you virtually divide your plate into quarters; one for carbohydrates, one for protein and the other two for vegetables [preferably different vegetables]. I slowly stopped following this advice as things became more complicated and because my Diabetes was under great control. I want to see just how much I’ve deviated from the plan and a great bonus would be losing the weight I’ve gained since moving back in with Mum.

Happy Family Day 2016!

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I counted last night; I took ten medications and vitamins. I skipped a few that I’m out of-calcium, and vitamin C; I didn’t take all my PRN medications and rarely take my melatonin. This morning I took 9. I should qualify, I take one medication at different dosages in the a.m. and p.m.; another twice daily; and I also take three medications four times a day. I long for those childhood days when taking medication was a rarity instead of a daily ritual.

Oh, and I forgot to mention two other designs. And another illness, benign tremors which is a complicated way of saying my hands shake constantly.

This weekend I started a crochet project I’ve been putting off for a while but I wanted to make something quick since my other projects are all blankets. I’m making covers for a set of three stools I own. It’s an improvised pattern that I probably won’t publish. It’s just something I need and can make while still watching my four year old nephew.

Mum and I have been babysitting JJ while my sister spent Valentine’s Day with her boyfriend. It’s amazing how quickly you forget just how busy and noisy a four year old can be and how quickly they remind you on sleepovers!

I’ve set up a schedule of blog posts that I’m hoping I can keep up and will be interesting for you as well. We will see over the next few weeks how it works.