Thursday, February 28, 2008

Middle of the day shout out

The last few days I have noticed that I don't always get an e-mail notice when a comment has been posted on my blog. For that reason, I had missed reading a few comments. I want to especially send a hug and a word of thanks to Maria and to Enid for your kind words on Tuesday's post.

It has been hard accepting that I am upset. The threat of depression puts me on edge because it can screw up everything I have been working so hard for lately. It scares me that my anger will somehow cause my determination to falter. I dread falling off the wagon and going back to eating excessively and indiscriminately. To put it bluntly, I am scared of giving up. I am no stranger to giving up. In the past I have made half-hearted promises to change my lifestyle in favor of a healthier one. I have made vows I never intended to keep, and was not surprised when those were broken. But I have also made vows I firmly believed in, established routines that worked for a few months, only to see them come to an end at some point.

Let me give you an example, so you can understand what is going through my mind. I have quit smoking three times in my life: in early 1996 (after my then mother-in-law was diagnosed with lung cancer); in 2004 (right before I got pregnant with Isabel) and in late 2005 (after a three-month relapse). Each time I told myself that I would never smoke again, and I meant it. Each time I was sincere in my intentions, and successful at keeping smoke-free for an extended period of time. But two of those times, the decision to quit smoking ultimately did not stick. And even though it has been over two years since I quit smoking the last time, I would be a fool if I categorically claimed that I will never smoke again.

Like alcoholism, nicotine addiction is pervasive, so to keep from falling again takes vigilance. By now it is second nature for me. I just avoid situations that might tempt me. No bars, for example. But how do you do that with food? Sure, I can control what I buy at the supermarket, banish toxic foods from the house. But it is so much harder.

Get well cards

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I do not subscribe to the school of fate

No, everything does not happen for a reason. I refuse to believe that it was somebody's plan to strike me with diabetes so that I learn to live life more fully.

I do believe, however, that everything that happens to me can be turned into a learning experience, an opportunity to grow.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hispanics, Depression and Diabetes

Some quotes from my not-so-random web surfing:

African-Americans and Latinos, particularly Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans, incur diabetes at close to twice the rate of whites.

The rates of type 2 diabetes are 110% higher among Mexican Americans and 120% higher among Puerto Ricans than among non-Hispanic whites.

While depression affects maybe three or five percent of the population at any given time, the rate is between 15 and twenty percent in patients with diabetes, according to the American Diabetic Association. Women, in particular are at greater risk, according to other studies.

Tuesday- Anger

I am very sick. I am extremely tired. Whatever Gabriel and Paula had, I caught. My chest is tight, I have difficulty breathing. I am coughing a lot. On one level I knew the right thing to do was for me to stay home in bed, resting. So I did. But I can't help feeling like I have done something wrong, like I am playing hooky when I should just have sucked it up and gone to work. My life is one big instance of cognitive dissonance. And I am so over the feeling of dread.

I have spent most of my day in bed, watching Make me a Supermodel reruns (stupid) and Doctor Who episodes. I have also been reading about diabetes. I have been very deliberate about what I eat, how much and when I eat it. I have also measured my blood sugar twice today.

The truth is, I am still in shock. I cry at times. No matter what, there is no turning back now. This diagnosis is a life sentence, regardless of whether it is pre-diabetes (as I believe it is) or full-blown type 2. Gone are the days when I would eat what I wanted with no concerns, when my reasons for wanting to lose weight were purely aesthetical. All I can think of now is my father's death, and the lady I knew who lost both her legs.

It seems everywhere I turn, the same pearl of wisdom is hurled at me, in the books I read and the conversations I have with family. Maybe this is what you needed to take charge of your life and take better care of yourself. Many people diagnosed with diabetes learn to eat better and become more active, losing weight and feeling healthier and more alive than ever before.

To which I reply, bullshit. I am not going to celebrate this fucking disease. I am not going to be grateful for the opportunity to slow down and treat myself as some precious creature in need of constant attendance. I don't think I am quite fucking there yet, thank you very much.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Maybe it's not quite diabetes yet?

On my visit to the doctor's office yesterday, the practitioner said I had diabetes, and prescribed Metformin. But I am not sure I agree that I am diabetic yet. For one, while my initial fasting blood test showed a 127 mg/dL result, subsequent blood sugar readings in the last few days (both fasting and postprandial) were elevated, but fell within the parameters listed below:

A fasting blood glucose level between 100mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) and 125 mg/dL is the accepted range for a diagnosis of prediabetes. The normal fasting blood glucose level is 100mg/dL and the cutoff for diagnosis of diabetes is 126mg/dL or above. A reading of 100mg/dL can be thought of as 0.1 g of sugar for every tenth of a liter of blood.

The OGGT additionally requires a blood glucose test two hours after drinking a sugary drink, which a health care professional can provide. The two-hour blood glucose range for someone with prediabetes is between 140mg/dL and 199mg/dL.

Twice my fasting sugar has been 121, and the two-hour reading after eating was 189. Both of these seem to be more indicative of pre-diabetes than diabetes.

Where am I going with this? While I am fully aware that I have a health problem, I do not think it is full-fledged diabetes yet. It is important for me to make that distinction, especially since I am going to try to get this under control through a change in eating habits and an increase in exercise. I do not want to rely on medications. I was prescribed Metformin, but I do not want to take it because of the potential side effects. I do not want to run the risk of getting hypoglycemia.

Friday, February 22, 2008


I am still here. I still post sporadically. But lately my heart's not in it. I thought it would be briefer than it has been, but I just can't bring myself to blog much.

In part it is because there is nothing exciting to write about. Things are so blah. My family, my husband and kids, as well as myself, have been sick on and off since December. It seems like every week someone gets something new. Last week Isabel had strep (her second time since December). This week, Gabriel has bronchitis and Paula has an upper respiratory infection. I seem to have caught it as well. The biggest development is that I have just been diagnosed as diabetic. Nice, huh? On the plus side, since Monday I have been eating more responsibly (cutting down on excess processed carbs and sugars, eating more vegetables, watching portions) and keeping an online log of what I eat, and in four days I have lost four lbs. I have such a long way to go, but it gives me hope that I am on the right track.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Old people's post, where I continue with the catalog of maladies

I have the day off from work today. Gabriel is sick, however, so it's not a happy go lucky day. I took him to the doctor and it turns out he has bronchitis. So, our family sickness saga continues. Who will be sick next week???

Last week I got a letter from my doctor's office. A fasting blood test showed high blood sugar levels. Friday I had to go and do a postprandial blood check. Basically they measured my fasting blood sugar, sent me out to have a hearty, starchy breakfast, and two hours later they measured my blood sugar again. The fasting blood sugar was within the range, but on the high side, and the postprandial level was definitely high. So they sent me to the lab again to do a hemoglobin A1C test. And I have a follow up appointment on Friday, when they will tell me what the official diagnosis is and what is the recommended treatment. In the meantime, the nurse asked me to try to limit my intake of refined carbohydrates.

This is a wake-up call for me, the one I had been dreading but seemed destined to get before I finally gave in and started taking better care of myself. And it is a very recent occurrence. My last blood test before this was in November (for a life insurance screening) and everything came back normal. During the holidays I gained 10 lbs and I am convinced that is what threw my body chemistry out of whack and put me over the edge.

I was very upset on Friday. I have known for a while that if I did not shape up, someday I would be facing this. But it is not real until it actually happens. All I could think of was my father and how he died of diabetes. So naturally I have been concerned.

Since Friday I have been very attuned to my symptoms. I have also made a promise to myself to be more mindful of what I eat, so I can make better choices. I have started an online food journal on Fit Day (best of all, it is free). I am reading a couple of cookbooks that I have had for while, which feature healthy recipes (those that preach moderation, not deprivation). I bought a book called Stop Prediabetes Now to see what can I learn about this.

In the end, I know the reason I am going through this is because I am overweight. And I am overweight because I do not eat right and I hardly exercise. I very much want to get back to a healthier weight and lifestyle. I am just very scared I will not follow through with it.

I think we all know who is NOT on the list

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My kind of Valentine's Day card

We are staying in to avoid the tide of diners flocking to Houston-area restaurants tonight. It's a regular Thursday evening, but to celebrate Valentine's Day I am cooking something special for all of us. And there will be chocolate, plus Paula and I got flowers for Gabriel.
Enjoy the cards, I found them at

Happy Valentine's Day, everybody!

Who cares if it may be a fabricated holiday designed to fill the gap in religious celebrations (and on retail stores shelves) between Christmas and Easter? There is nothing wrong with taking time to honor the people we love (friends, family, lovers). And who can resist candy?

I hope you have a great day today, with or without your valentine.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


All in all, this has not been a very auspicious start of the year. It seems that lately if I am not taking care of sick kids, I am sick myself.

My throat hurts since yesterday. It is irritated and swollen. It hurts to swallow, even liquids. I had to come home from work yesterday because I felt sick, not just my throat but also nausea. And when I took my temperature yesterday I had a fever of 100 F.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Another good laugh

Quoting the London Sun,

THIS is the moment a group of Thrill seekers hiJack-son a London tube train.

Passengers were left open-mouthed when a group of commuters - including a suited man - got up from their seats and performed the dance featured in Michael Jackson's music video for hit Thriller.

It makes me wish I had been one of them.