Monday, January 23, 2017

What A Week!

Before I was diagnosed with diabetes in May last year, I'd been making little changes here and there, trying to cut out the incidental calories that I wouldn't notice. Starting with baby steps, since I could no longer exercise and diet they way I used to be able. Gently-Gently is the new approach to avoid provoking unnecessary MS relapses. One place I had never been able to make a change over all my years of trying to eat healthier was with cups of tea or coffee. Gradually, as I've lost more and more sensitivity with my taste buds my love for coffee has faded. There are certain brands/places I like to get it from still but even those I can only drink occasionally...and definitely before 10:30am or else I'm up all night. Cheap date these days, no more 3-4 cups of anything caffeinated. Whether it was tea or coffee, I've always had it with milk and two spoons of sugar. Have done ever since I was a child. But herbal tea I don't like sugar in it, go figure. So, after my surgery, I decided to cut it down to one and a half spoons of sugar. It took ages to get used to that. The transition from one and a half to one was a little shorter. But final transition from half a teaspoon to none was even longer. And then it seemed like all of a sudden it was done. I've even realised I can't drink skim milk anymore as it's way too sweet and gives me wicked heartburn.

Not that I drank a lot or often before, but I don't like much soft drink anymore either. And if I do have some it's a small glass. (Still can't stand diet drinks either!) I'm assuming it was my body subtly telling me to knock off the sugar content as my pancreas was working over time to deal with it all. I'm down to one cup of tea per day now. So for Christmas, Santa put in my stocking some loose leaf tea to go with my personal teapot I already owned, and a tea ball spoon for the days I don't have the luxury of enjoying the whole tea brewing process. Screw tea bags, I'm gonna enjoy my beverage of choice!

I also transitioned to a higher seed, lower carb bread and that helped...I'd always eaten healthy breads but I looked for the brand which kept me satisfied the longest. I made sure we put as many colours of vegetables on our plate as we could at each meal and same with fruit, tried to vary things up. Once I was diagnosed, all those instinctive changes made sense. And since my diagnosis, I've moved even further away from the low-fat way of eating that I used to follow. It worked for me then, when I was fit and active, it doesn't work now. My blood sugars spike too high. I need less carbs, more healthy fats, and more fibre.

We also switched to eating off bread and butter plates (salad plates) as we realised most plates these days are restaurant sized. We realised it after Nan died and I was given some of her plates, then when we put them next to modern crockery, we were shocked at just how ginormous modern dinner plates are in comparison.

During my placement last year, I did the best I could by taking a lunchbox which helped with portions and avoiding buying stuff from the canteen. That last push to finish the course, plus Alaskaboy studying as well, getting ready for Christmas, and with my Mum mostly recovered from her hysterectomy she had to go back full time to work to train up her replacement for when she retired, all of this combined put me all out of whack. I was exhausted. No! We were ALL exhausted. We still hadn't recovered by the end of the first week of January and my weight had crept up another couple hundred grams and I swore I wasn't hitting 117kg again. Certainly not getting back up to 119...or heaven forbid 120kg! Enough was, once again, Enough!

We knew what we had to do, but we couldn't get the mojo going to organise meals and shop properly, so we weren't always prepared as we should have been. Oh! We were also breaking in a new housework schedule too now that Kiddlywink is old enough to help more difficult tasks than simply clearing her plate and sweeping the floor..which is great in some ways but also means more brain power used by me since neither KW or Alaskaboy are good at keeping a schedule. But it beats me nagging them all the time, now I can say Look at The Schedule!

So I did my research and I found Sarah Wilson's I Quit Sugar Website. I don't know if I'll ever follow her with any sort of zealotry, for starters fruit has too much else going for it that balances out its sugar IMHO, but I'm certainly taking what suits me and my lifestyle from her principles and using them to teach all of us a better way to eat and cook. Diabetes runs in Alaskaboy's family as well, and he's very guilty of secret eating and late night sugary binges because he forgets to eat often during the day, or eat regularly, or enough volume when he does eat. (He also has ADD and his meds require enough calories or he'll be skin and bones eventually, but he needs the RIGHT kind of calories rather than straight up sugar all the time.)

With my taste buds already wanting more savoury foods I assumed that I'd be okay with this transition. I wondered if just getting the books would be okay, but I remember how much easier life was when I was on Lite'N'Easy and took the need to plan meals out of the equation. I discussed it with Mum and Alaskaboy. Dad didn't care as he has Chron's and is sorting out his own dietary stuff too, so Mum could do what worked for her too. During that discussion we decided to go halvsies in the cost of one of the 8 week courses to see how we liked it. It includes a shopping list per person (which was easy enough to multiply), meal plans, a community etc.

So we did our research then went shopping for all this fabulous food last Saturday, and have been learning a whole new way of eating this week. But on Sunday...the neighbours cut their shoulder high grass and all of a sudden we were infested with cockroaches and a pair of mice! So, this week we've ALSO been desperately cleaning the whole kitchen and everything in the pantry, cupboards and drawers in stages, after catching the mice and laying traps for the roaches. It's amazing the sheer amount of stuff two families can cram into one kitchen! Alaskaboy has done most of the cleaning himself because Mum and I were only able to help so far. And Dad has been out the back painting the fence we share with the neighbours on the other side from lawn mower guy! So it's certainly been an interesting week with all this chucked in on top of regular daily life stuff.

One thing I didn't expect was to not want a snack. That's right for the first four days I ate no snacks, not morning or afternoon teas nor evening snack! How? I reckon I need to answer that next time. This is already long enough, and I'm tired from the typing and thinking. Catch ya later!


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Change Is A Given.

In 2015 I found out one of the reasons my PMS was so extremely intense all those years, it turns out I had a septated cyst on one of my ovaries. We waited to see if it would naturally resolve but by the end of the year it had only gotten even bigger. So in January, 2016, I had my whole ovary and the cyst removed. It was massive. I spent several months recovering from that, and then also during that time I had a sebaceous cyst removed from my back. Mind you I was also trying to study a course at TAFE during the first half of the year also. I ended up having to defer that until later in the year because I'd already been struggling with the workload but then on Mother's Day my Nanna almost died from Sepsis.

After somehow miraculously surviving that, Nan was put into a rehab facility. This rehab facility mismanaged her care and when she came home at the end of May, we ended up taking her straight back to hospital 2 days later. She spent more time in the rehab place but eventually at the end of June she was transferred to a palliative care place. Five days after that, she was gone. She truly was at peace at the end and ready to go. I miss her terribly, but I was glad we had those two months to process the reality of her passing, say goodbye and start the grieving process and move into acceptance. She had such a beautiful passing. I know this because I have a friend who works in an ER so I believe her when she assures me of that fact and I was also one of the few lucky people that got to be there with her when she died.

During the course of her decline, I was feeling very tired. Even more tired than MS or sleep apnea or caring for Nan would make me, so I went and had a full check up. Turns out I am now Type 2 Diabetic. And at that time I had a fatty liver. (From all the meds I'd taken post-operative recovery.) My GP and my diabetic nurse fully believe it was the stress of that whole plus emotional crap that tipped me over the edge. Because up until then my blood sugars and cholesterol and everything had always been picture perfect. Fatty liver is now back to normal thankfully and last year I worked really hard to get my diet as good as possible.

At the start of last year I weighed 119.45kgs. A lot of that was due to the chaos the cyst was causing in my system. By September I had gotten down to 113.60 kgs. Unfortunately, once my coursework and placement started back up in earnest..I gained three of those kgs back. I am HIGHLY pleased however that I ended the year at 116.45kgs.With a shit of a year I still managed to learn heaps about myself, successfully pass my course, and lose a bit of weight in the bargain.

This year to get myself back on track and remember what I had learned, and provide a little structure that my mum and I need and education for Alaskaboy about what's a better way to cook for me I needed something both informative and easy to follow. So I did my research and then Mum and I paid half each in an 8 week I Quit Sugar program, which we started last Sunday.

More on that in another post. In short, I'm back, baby! Anyone miss me?