The facts. The figures.

So the diet/new lifestyle/healthy eating adventure/torture starts tomorrow.

I just got off the phone with my trainer/prison guard/cousin John who gave me shopping pointers and will be emailing my shopping list and meal plan soon. Don’t worry, kind reader, I will keep you updated every step of the way as I navigate the grocery store like never before.

Meanwhile, for the sake of full disclosure, this post is full of medical mumbo-jumbo and numbers. I have officially warned you.

While this is probably the least exciting of my posts, it is absolutely necessary to document my starting point so that after 30 hard days I can know how far I have come. Progress, people – it is the ultimate motivator.

So without further delay, here I am:

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While my lovely nurse practitioner was pleased with the results, there is always room for improvement. More good cholesterol, less bad cholesterol, etc.

And now, the star of every diabetic’s blood work, the reason we cower or cheer at any doctor’s visit, the hemoglobin A1c:

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The A1c is basically a report card for diabetes management, a 3-month average of all your blood sugars. The lower the number, the better. The lower the number, the less likely you are to develop scary monsters (complications) like eye disease, kidney disease, neuropathy, and have all your limbs chopped off.

I am: 7.1.

My endocrinologist was pleased with my improvement from last visit’s 7.3, but I know I can do better. The lowest A1c I have ever had was a 6.4 about a year ago, so I am challenging myself to beat that number as a result of this healthy eating kick. It shouldn’t be that hard, considering the only carbs I will be using as “treats” will be fruits. (Who would have ever thought an apple would be considered dessert? ::sigh::)

Because I will be eating far fewer cards, I hope to decrease the amount of insulin I need every day. For all you lucky readers with fully-functioning pancreases (pancrei?), basal insulin is “background” insulin, what an employed pancreas spits out 24/7, no matter what you eat or do. This number usually doesn’t change, and I doubt it will change much even with John’s super plan.

Which leads me to the magic number to watch, the Romeo to my A1C’s Juliet, my “bolus” insulin, and thus the total amount of insulin per day. If I can get Ms. A1c to go down while taking Mr. Bolus Insulin down with her, I win.

Here are the last 6 full days of bolus and total insulin levels:

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In other words, my bolus insulin is what I take at meals based upon my guestimation of the number of carbs I’m eating at that sitting. In just six days my bolus totals have ranged from 20 units to 31 units. This is because some days I like to eat Muddy’s cupcakes and pizza and drink mimosas all afternoon, and other days I soberly eat a salad and exercise and mind my manners like a boring, proper lady. More food (more carbs) = more insulin needed. So I’m thinking that cutting out life’s pleasures (see: carbs) should mean much less insulin. And less insulin is always a good thing.

Along with needing less insulin, I am also looking forward to fewer days that look like this:

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While a mountain ranges look glorious in nature, in my world it means a full day of uncontrolled blood sugars and nasty highs. It may have something to do with the Majestic grilled cheese and Central BBQ nachos I ate for brunch and dinner, respectively, as my last day of eating freely.

[PS, if you’re curious, here are the other terrible, wonderful things I have eaten this week as part of my “farewell happiness” tour: Muddy’s cupcakes, a Huey burger, lots of Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper, Rizzos Diner vegetarian eggs benedict, mimosas, margaritas, Las Delicias chips and tortas, Majestic Grille tomato soup and biscuits, Bangkok Alley pad thai, Bluefin sushi, pear martinis, Chick-fil-a chicken sandwich, and so much more. I don’t think the point of paleo is to gain 10 pounds before you start the diet, but cest la vie.]

In summary, I’m doing okay with my health right now. But I am happy to try to improve myself and clean out my body. Plus, with healthier eating should come tighter diabetes control. My grandkids will thank me when I still have two legs and fully functioning kidneys so they don’t have to wheel me around or drive me to dialysis appointments. When I am 80 I will have much better things to do like play chinese checkers and gossip with girlfriends and fall asleep on the couch with my dog wearing matching Snuggies. (While I may already do these things regularly, it will be much more acceptable 50-something years from now.)

Well my friends, I hope you have learned a little bit about diabetes and far too much about me. I will update again soon with tales of shopping like a caveman.

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