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About a year ago, almost to the day, I was first diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. About a year ago, almost to the day, I have received my second blood test where I did not, in fact, have Type 2 Diabetes.

Started with an A1c (blood glucose percentage for the last 4 months) that pegged all known instruments at almost 13%. If sugar where alcohol, I'd still be in jail. Today, after being off the meds that I was taking to get that down for 6 months, I'm at 5.6. 5.6, for those that are wondering, is considered good. Not even pre-diabetic.

1 year. That's all it took. Well, it took more than that, but not much. Regular excercise, trying very, very hard to keep my diet in check and regular excercise.

I know there are a zillion people out there that suffer from this. Some of them can't control it due to other medical factors. Some can't control it because of other reasons. For those of you that can't, you just keep doing you, follow your doctors instructions and do what you are doing to keep it in check.

For the rest of the people that have been diagnosed; why do you still have it? Please excuse me for a minute while I climb upon my grand ol' soap box, won't you.

  1. Excercise. This one is easy because you know what you need to do? Get off the couch and go for a 20 minute walk, and make it brisk. You have the 20 minutes. Trust me.
  2. The drive-thru is a lie. Besides the fact that it takes longer than actually going inside, it's over-processed crap full of all of things that are driving your blood glucose up.
  3. Diet. Try to work into a diet consisting primarily of proteins, vegetables and fruit. Have some beans in there too. Stay away from the baked goods, processed anything, frozen dinners and anything that has ingredients that you can't pronounce.
  4. For good measure, exercise.

Honestly, this is all I did. Granted, I started on the diet about 7 years ago, and really knuckled down about 2 years ago, and again about a year ago. Am I perfect? Fuck no. Am I doing better than you? Most definitely.

You shouldn't have to take a pill or a needle to do what your body does for you by design. If you do, and don't fall into the categories that I listed above, then you are definitely doing something wrong. This isn't easy to fix, especially if most of your meals come from drive-thru windows and are washed down with corn syrup laden drinks, but you will find that it is easier than you think.

There is no reason to have this. I did because I was lazy and eating poorly and used to weigh 320 pounds. And smoked a pack a day. But, here I am, 220 pounds, not smoking and riding my bicycle 70-100 miles per week. Check my Strava and you'll see that I have, really, riden almost 1300 miles this year.

Turn off the TV, cut cable, shop for your food around the outside edge of the store, only get coffee at the donut shop and get off your ass! You can do this!

Please allow me to dismount my soapbox. Thank you.

I will be going back again in 3 months for another check to make sure I haven't gone off the rails. But this is who I am now. This is how I eat, how I exercise, how I live.

Finally, there was some strange results from this test. With all of my cycling and driving to work in a car without tinted windows (and about 5 hours a week with the top down), my vitamin D levels came back in the mid 20's. Good is 30 – 100 on whatever scale they use to measure that. Yes. You read that correctly. A guy that spends 20 hours a week outdoors, while living in Arizona, is vitamin D deficient.

Well, at least I beat Diabetes. #boom.

What Happened To The Science

For the last few months I have stopped checking my BC pre and post workout. Or, rather, I have stopped sharing that information. I know, that's weird coming from me, Mr. Share All The Things Even When Mom Hates It. But, to be honest, there is a reason for it.

I don't need to.

Now, I still have to go in for my quarterly blood work, but I'm pretty sure I have this beat. I wake up and check, I'm at 120 or better. I get home from work and I check and I'm at 120 or better. I exercise and I check and, again, I'm at 120 or better. Except for a few times where I had some issues after longer, more strenuous bike rides, I'm always pretty good.

I'm not really sure what happened. I am very sure that I started riding bikes just in time. The more people I talk to the more I am reminded how much more of a struggle this could have been, how much more dangerous this could have been, if I still weighed 300lbs this time last year.

I do still struggle with my food intake just a bit, but I have it mostly nailed down. You know the drill, only shop from the edges of the market (except the bakery) and the aisle where they keep canned beans and those cute little diet cokes. Like I said, I do still have some struggles with my diet.

Besides going back for another blood check, I'm actually going to be revisiting the initial problem that brough me to the doctor in the first place; my feet. The primary reason I am taking Cymbalta isn't because I'm bat-shit crazy as most of you might have thought. It helps with the pain in the feet caused by peripheral neuropathy. It's really hard to describe, but there is a giant Wikipedia article if you want more infomation. I can tell you that it makes my feet, especially my right foot, feel as if I am always walking with a shoe full of sand. As if that wasn't fun enough, at night, I get the sensation of icy fire below the knee and in my hands, with the occassional feeling of electrical pulses violently leaving my body. Enough that I get the jumps and loose a few hours of sleep.

I've added Turmeric to the mix which has helped a huge amount! That, plus keeping my numbers in line is about all I can do on my own. There are some crazy hippie theories I've been hearing about out there, but I'm going to stick with science on this one to see if there is anything else I can do. Mostly because I really don't want to have to continue to take the Cymbalta longer than I have to, because it is one of those drugs that once you start, you just can't stop. Just like Lays chips, but without the satisfying crunch and salt, but with the annoying weight gain. Night. Mare.

In one month it will have been 1 year since I was officially diagnosed. While I really can't say that I have actually beat Type 2 Diabetes, I can say that I have it's number and know how to manage it.

Recipe: Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

Came up with this wanting to have a cold pasta salad. This was simple, quick and perfect for the warmer days of summer and spring in Arizona. I will be making this again. For this, I used chicken tenders instead of breasts for a quicker cook time, and the texture was what I wanted. If you want larger chunks of chicken, use breast.

Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • 1lb chicken tenders, grilled and chopped
  • 1/2lb pasta. Shells or penne would work best.
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced. Medium size
  • 1/4 red onion sliced thin
  • 2c cherry tomatoes, halved

Dressing

  • 4tbls lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1tsp dry mustard
  • 1tbls kosher salt
  • 1tbls dill. Fresh or dry
  • 2tsp sugar
  • 1tbls red wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine

If possible, assemble your dressing in advance to really let the garlic and dill come out. My method is to put everything into a mason jar, give it a good shake for about 2 minutes and park it into the fridge until needed.

For the pasta, cook al dente and rinse with cold water. Yes, it's ok to rinse your pasta in this case since it's getting used in a salad and you don't need the extra starch for anything. No, really, rinse your pasta. If it is going to have to sit for a few minutes while you prep everything else, toss it with a bit of olive oil to keep from sticking.

Assembly

Add everything to a good sized bowl. Add the dressing about 1/4 cup at a time, toss to coat. Keep adding dressing until you think there is enough. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for at least 2 weeks.

Additions

Of course ideas come after completion that could have been added. A rib of celery, finely chopped, would have been nice. Peas, blanched and chilled, would have been fantastic as well. I would also recommend using fresh dill if you can, even chopping some into the salad before toss to really punch up the flavor. Skip the cheese on this, you'll find it's not needed.

To be honest, the pasta could even be skipped. It was just what I wanted tonight. It really hit the spot!

Update to the Numbers, Part II

Was a big week here. A HUGE week actually. At least as far as my current state of well being goes.

First up, with hard work, determination and a sprinkle of whatever, I've managed to get myself back to what I will call pre-diabetes. At the same time, I also fired my doctor. Let's start there, but first, some back story.

  1. The doctor's office is about 50 miles away. It was awesome when I was only 4 miles away.
  2. This office let both of my prescriptions lapse. The first time was for Cymbalta. I'm not sure if any of you have had the opportunity to stop taking an antidepressant cold turkey, but it's very much not fun. The 2nd was for the Metformin that took 2 weeks to get refilled.
  3. I called about the Cymbalta script and was, essentially, yelled at for breaking some kind of protocol.
  4. I asked when I was in for my latest blood draw to speak to a doctor about not being on Metformin. Did not get to speak to any doctor.

All of that, plus not getting any solid information from that office made me feel like I was the first person on the planet to be affected by Type 2 diabetes, and that no one really knew what to do about it. They were, essentially, a prescription writing service, with the rest of the work being done by Team Burnside.

Now, about those numbers and what do I mean by pre-diabetic.

The Numbers

The number that we care the most about is the A1C. Remember, that is an average percentage of glucose in the blood for the past 3-4 months. Anything under 5.7 is considered good, with anything over 6.5 considered to be diabetic.

When I started back in July of 2016 I pulled a 12.4%. For the record, that is pretty much the top of the chart and equates to a daily average blood glucose level of over 300.

When I returned in October of 2016, I was at 6.0.

When I returned in February of 2017 (last week), I was at 5.6.

As mentioned above, that number includes 2 weeks of me not taking Metformin, the primary duty of which is lowering blood glucose levels. Now it took at least a week before it stopped being affective, and has taken another month to get completely out of my system. I will continue to monitor my levels at key parts of the day and correct where needed. I do have Metformin, just in case, but my goal is to leave those bottles un-opened for as long as possible.

And, prediabetes is essentially where I am at. It’s pretty long and boring, but if you are curious as to what it means, [WebMD.com](http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/what-is-prediabetes-or-borderline-diabetes) has a pretty good explination.

Corrections

You guys might have noticed that I have gone back to doing science, especially in the morning. That is part of my correction. If I wake up and I'm over 120 (which I am most mornings), then a brisk 20 minute walk or bike ride takes care of that. At night, if I should spike and not recover (which I have, twice), then I take a shot of tequila and a walk around the block. That has not failed me yet. I mentioned this to my doctor and, as expected, he couldn't recommend it. But, at the same time, he gave me the 'well, if it works for you' talk.

New doctor shopping begins next week. I think I already have one lined up that will also be helping with my neuropathy as well as the diabetes, but I do want to have a Plan B, just in case.

What a Difference a Walk Makes

You might have been seeing that I have been doing ‘science’ with my exercising again. You might have also noticed that I have been exercising more than normal and at odd, or very odd, hours.

When last we met, I had mentioned that one of my goals is to win, or at the very least tie, battle diabetes. Without medication. As it turns out, I believe that to be a goal of my doctor as well, because he has let me run out of Metformin, leaving me to my own devices to manage my blood glucose levels.

Imagine my excitement when I had normal levels after not taking the medication for 2 days. A little bit of research later I discover that Metformin stays active in the body for at least 4 days. In my particular case, it’s actually about 6.5, which I found out after my meter read 206 3 hours after a no-carb meal. A mile walk fixed it, but that is definitely much higher than it should be.

Since then, I’ve managed to keep under 180 by walking, going to the gym and, oddly enough, drinking tequila. Yes, you read that correctly and that’s going to be for another post, but tequila actually lowers my blood glucose by a substantial amount. Of course, I am pretty sure there is not a doctor on the planet that is going to recommend I take a shot of tequila every night for ‘medicinal’ purposes. For now, it’s working.

I’m hoping the pharmacy is able to get ahold of the doc today to get my Rx re-filled so I can back on it. It’s not that I don’t think I can control it without medication, it’s a lot of work that I’m not sure I’m fully prepared to take on at this time. More research needs to be done, an appointment with specialists to help manage my blood glucose with my exercise, and how to best manage my diet. I’m doing pretty good, but I am certain that expert advice will be required to really and truly beat it into submission.