Diabetes – having a good doctor

tips-for-diabetes-managementBack in 2004 I was first diagnosed with diabetes and it changed my life forever. Although initially I just used metformin to control my sugars, soon I had other complications and had to start taking insulin, albeit small doses at first. Soon the worst complication was peripheral neuropathy in my feet which resulted in 24/7 pain. My previous very active lifestyle of roller-blading, water-skiing, cross country and downhill skiing, hiking, cycling and dirt-biking, not to mention two to three nights a week dancing, ended because I could barely walk. Soon I needed a cane just to maintain my balance. I honestly didn’t know if I was going to be able to live with the constant pain.

For the neuropathy my doctor at the time prescribed Gabapentin, a drug with many side effects. I was taking the maximum daily dosage of 3600 mg and knew that wasn’t great. Although it did mitigate the pain a little it was certainly no cure. Over the years it seemed like every time I went to a doctor they just increased my meds and my insulin doses. Before I knew it I was taking 90 units of Nova Rapid, 30 after every meal and 120 units of Lantus, the long lasting one. As I moved my new doctors questioned the amount if insulin I was taking, suggesting that I had become insulin resistant.

After I moved to Belleville and found a new doctor, Dr. Savic, he was the first to really question the meds that I was on. He asked me how my testing was going and I shyly admitted that I hadn’t been testing because all I ever got from my meter was “too high! too high!”. Very depressing. He sent me for blood work at the lab and my A1C came back at a very discouraging 14.6. Not good. Then he switched me from Gabapentin to Lyrica. In only a matter of days my foot pain was a lot less and I was even able to sleep a full night. Next he put me on Jardiance to “flush out my system”, removing sugars in the process. I did start peeing like a racehorse and hoped that it was doing something. He also cut my insulin back to 50 units of the Lantus, morning and night and 30 of the Nova Rapid. He also added vitamin D to my daily vitamins because I was deficient.

Nervously I thought I had better start testing again because the doctor wanted my results on my next visit in only a few days. First one was after a meal and was only 8.9! Much better than “too high!” Next was fasting and it was only 5.6! Hadn’t seen that in years. The day of my visit I tested first thing in the morning and my fasting was 3.7! That’s actually too low. When I went to the doctor, eagerly ready to share these great results with Dr. Savic, he surprised me with the news that my new blood work showed an A1C of 6.9! That’s better than a fifty percent improvement!

The point is never underestimate the importance of your doctor and be prepared to question what they tell you. My history has always been that doctors are far too quick to just add more meds or increase the dosage without really looking at what’s going on. I suffered excruciating foot pain for years just because I was on the wrong meds. If you don’t like what you hear from your doctor get a second opinion. It can’t hurt and may save you needless pain and suffering. These new results have given me the confidence to sign up for a new program that claims to eliminate diabetes, which most doctors will tell you is impossible. If there’s even a remote chance that I can reverse my diabetes it’s worth a try. There is no miracle cure and it does require changes to my diet so we’ll see. I’ll post my results.