Diabetes Update – 4 Months Post Diagnosis

Today I had my 3 month checkup with my Endocrinologist, which was 4 months after I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes during my annual physical, and I’m happy to report that I’ve made great progress.

If you want to review where I started on this journey you can read my first Diabetes related post here.  A lot has changed and I’ve learned more since I wrote that 1st post and I want to capture that knowledge here.

Medicine

Three months ago my Endocrinologist changed my medicine from 1,000 mg of Metformin to Janumet (which is a combination of 1,000 mg of Metformin and 50 mg of Sitagliptin) and I’ve continued to take two of those tablets each day.  The most common side effect of Metformin is diarrhea and nausea but so far I’ve been immune to those side effects and only rarely experience minor bouts with diarrhea.

I still take two multivitamins, one Claritin and one Dexilant per day and a take a plain old 325 mg aspirin a few times a week.  While these medicines aren’t related to Diabetes control, I share this only to be complete in case someone is reading this who may take the same meds.

Diet

As I stated in my first post, I was not someone who enjoyed sweets so refraining from desserts was something I continued to do but I have to admit this was not tough for me.

I also never enjoyed sugary sodas and only drink water and coffee with the occasional mild or orange juice for breakfast.  I am a bourbon lover and I didn’t give that up but restricted my drinking to 1-2 drinks per day max.

Bread/Carbs on the other hand was my one weakness.  I was raised with bread on the table for every meal and I grew accustomed to having bread with breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Much to the embarrassment of my wife, I once walked out of a restaurant because they didn’t serve bread with their meals!

For that reason, totally eliminating bread “cold turkey” was not going to happen so I took the approach to cut my bread/carbs in half.  If I normally had 2 rolls with dinner I’d just have one.  If I could just have croutons on the salad then I’d forgo the bread.  Instead of using 2 slices of bread for a breakfast sandwich I’d throw one slice away.

I eliminated starchy foods, i.e. potatoes, so instead of having French fries with a hamburger, I’d have cole slaw or better yet, grilled vegetables like green beans or asparagus.  This was tough at first but I grew to enjoy the savory flavor of grilled veggies and now I prefer those over the greasy fries.

Snacks at work no longer consisted of chips or bagels but now involved apples, blackberries, blueberries and kiwi.  I now look forward to my morning and afternoon fruit snack and these fruits provide me with more energy than the high carb snacks I used to enjoy.  I have also fell in love with almonds as a snack when I want something a little different than the sweet fruit and I can eat a few handfuls of those and it gets me through my between meal times.

As you may have noticed with all the talk of snacks, I now eat more meals through the day but they consist of smaller portions.  I’ll eat 3 modest meals a day and have at least 2 snacks and I’ve found this helped speed up my metabolism and aid in my weight loss.

And by the way, in the past 4 months I’ve gone from a BMI of 26.3 to 24.4 but I still have 5 more pounds to lose to get to my goal weight.

Exercise

I have been a runner since 2009 and a cyclist for the past few years but in the year leading to my Diabetes diagnosis, I really slacked off in this area.  I now run 1-2 times per week (2-4 miles) and ride the bike 1-2 times a week (20-30 miles) and feel this more than anything has led to my weight loss and improvement in blood sugar levels.

Now the results….

As you can see from the graph below, my blood sugar is now in the range where my Endocrinologist wanted me to be – around 120 mg/dl.

blood sugar graph

When I was diagnosed with Diabetes my A1C reading was 11.5%!!!!   This was off the charts and when I went in today the nurse told me she better see improvement over last time.  As the nurse was in the hall performing the A1C analysis of my blood I heard a loud scream and the doctor walked in and asked me if I heard that.  I asked him what was wrong and he said that my new A1C reading was 5.6% and the nurse was so surprised she screamed!

For those not familiar, a normal reading for someone who doesn’t have Diabetes is between 4.5% and 6% so my reading is now considered high normal!

So in 4 months my A1C reading dropped 5.9% points and while the medicine certainly had a hand in this, I think the diet and exercise had an equivalent effect.

From the clinical trial data for Janumet, there was a population (N-117) who started the trial with a mean A1C reading of 11.2% and at the end of 24 weeks their mean A1C readings was 8.3% or a drop of 2.9% points.  The patients in this clinical trial also had diet and exercise added to the Janumet but I think my regime was more aggressive since I saw DOUBLE the average drop in A1C as the patients in the clinical trial.

Needless to say the doctor was well pleased and said that I can continue doing what I’m doing and see him once every 6 months just to make sure I stay on track.

While this is cause for celebration for me, I am not satisfied because my goal since my diagnosis has been to get off the medicine and control my diabetes with diet and exercise alone.  It is a lofty goal considering my Type 2 diabetes came from genetics and not from being obese but still, the results of the past 4 months have been encouraging and I will continue to push on the diet/exercise pieces and experiment with dropping my dosage of Janumet.

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12 Responses to Diabetes Update – 4 Months Post Diagnosis

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  2. livinrightinpgh says:

    Cosmo…your willingness to expose very personal info in order to educate and motivate others is truly noble and an inspiration. Continued prayers from my family for your control over this situation.

    PS: If you love almonds (as I most CERTAINLY do) I hope you’ve either tried, or get a chance to try, the new Blue Diamond Blueberry Almonds…..YUM!

  3. blaine decker says:

    Cosmo,

    My type 2 was not as bad as yours when I first learned of it in Feb. 2012 but I was able to completely reverse it through diet and exercise alone. I also did an extensive search on how to reverse it without medication. My A1C is 5.3 without any medication. My fasting blood sugar is rarely over 100.

    The only clinical trial to ever reverse diabetes for most participants was conducted at Newcastle University, UK in June 2011.
    .
    The trial, called the Counter-point Study demonstrated complete reversal of diabetes is possible (even among people with your numbers) with a very low calorie diet and substantial weight loss over an 8 week period. Dr. Roy Taylor was the lead researcher. I urge you to read the following release on the Newcastle University site.

    http://www.ncl.ac.uk/magres/research/diabetes/reversal.htm

    The study’s breakthrough theory is that diabetes type 2 is caused by too much fat in the liver and pancreas. A very low energy diet, allows cells to become insulin sensitive and the liver and pancreas to repair themselves.

    However, for most people this requires a high degree of motivation with major lifestyle changes. For me the decision was easy; 8 weeks of hard dieting vs the rest of my life on medication with the side effects you already know about.

    Unfortunately, to get off meds completely, all the research I’ve done indicates you may have to say goodby to traditional bread and maybe even all grains. I love bread as much as you but I found with an experiment on myself that a slice of whole wheat bread raises my blood sugar more than half a Snickers Bar. (Dr. Davis in Wheat Belly makes this claim and I didn’t believe it so I tried it on myself.) There are low carb bread recipes, so I still eat bread, just not commercial varieties.

    The orange juice is also problematic as ounce for ounce, it raises blood sugar as fast or faster than Coca Cola. Better to eat a whole fruit and a glass of water.(half a fruit is better) Better yet, try eating raspberries instead. They are the lowest sugar fruit with the highest fiber.

    You didn’t say if you are lifting weights. I do cardio almost every day but I have found my best blood sugar days are after I lift heavy weights. I do full body weight lifting twice a week. All you need is a few dumbbells and a bench.

    You have made spectacular progress in a very short time. You are on the right path.

    If you want to get off meds completely, I have more research to share. You have my email address.

    good luck!

    PS: Both my parents had type 2 diabetes so mine is also at least partly genetic.

    • cosmoscon says:

      Thanks again Blaine for your excellent guidance in this matter.

      I should have mentioned it but yes, I have started lifting weights and I thought I saw a correlation with low blood sugar on the days I lifted but didn’t feel comfortable stating that as a fact. Glad to hear someone else has noticed that.

      I am now ready to research the 8 week fasting plan you linked to and when I’m ready for questions I’ll email you. My first goal was to control it with diet, exercise AND medicine and now that I know I can do that, I’m ready to try the next step.

      Thanks again for offering your time and advice.

  4. tannngl says:

    What an amazing job you’ve done! God love you! You took the bull by horns and have had great success!
    I agree with Pgh, you are to be applauded for blogging your personal health and interventions and results. Others should be helped by this.
    Just a thought…I’ve been on a low carb diet to control weight. I love waffles! So I’ve found other flours that are very, very low in carbs and higher in proteins and fats. Almond flour provided a wonderful waffle! And my husband and mom loved them too! In addition, there are other flours like this, ie., coconut flour. I’ve read that it’s too hard to make yeast breads with this flour but it is good for other kinds of breads. If you’re interested, do a search for gluten free and low carb breads/recipes. We’re having waffles again tonight. 😀

  5. cosmoscon says:

    Thanks Tannngl and livingright, I have no issue divulging these facts if it can help someone else. These are the brutal facts that I can’t change so might as well do my best with the hand that I’ve been dealt!

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