When visiting my GP for a sore knee from a soccer injury, he asked when was the last time we checked my bloods? We determined it was more than a couple of years so off I went to have the tests. That was on 16 June 2017.
The results indicated a high HbA1C level (8.1 mmol/m). The GP told me it was a little higher than normal and there may be a chance I have Type 2 diabetes. I didn’t believe him and didn’t want to either! I mean, I’m healthy, I eat well, I play soccer every week, water ski several times a week in the summer and generally keep active. My weight was 74 kgs and height is 176cm so my BMI of 23.0 was also on track… so I didn’t believe it!
Whilst in denial, I decided reduce my intake of sugar and when I visited the GP for a follow up test my HbA1C had dropped to 7.4… which of course is still high. It was at this point 21st May 2018 that I finally accepted that I had type 2 diabetes. I was somewhat in shock and found myself asking why me.
My GP tried to give me a script for Crestor and Metformin and after much robust discussion we agreed I would try to tackle my diabetes with diet and exercise for the next 3 months, to see how I went.
Before I knew it, I was deep in to the beginning of an entirely new journey of disbelief but acceptance, confusion, and a real sense of not knowing where to start. The many questions I was asking myself and many others included:
- Diet – What to eat?
- Lifestyle – But I’m already active…
- Where to find information? – It’s all too overwhelming…
- Crikey… – If I’m feeling overwhelmed, then many other must be too… I need to write this up!
- Blood Glucose Monitoring – As a medical technologist… I’ve got this sorted!
I started to think about what I was eating more however I found it really hard to work out what was good food and what wasn’t. There’s the whole thing of low and hi GI foods and balancing that with low carbs, and low salt diet to reduce my cholesterol and uric acid levels just seemed bloody impossible.
I decided it was time to get serious and buy myself a blood glucose meter which meant I was deep into the world of daily blood testing and the rollercoaster of results. I was up and down like a yoyo!
After speaking to many and researching online, I also came to the conclusion that whilst I’m active, I wasn’t getting daily exercise so I started walking every morning. This combined with a slightly improved diet, saw my blood glucose levels improve – but they still weren’t consistent.
My levels were still up and down and I couldn’t work out how to stabilise them. I talked to a mate who is a retired professional boxer who also happens to own a Gym and Raw Food Lounge and he put me on a 3 week Detox diet. I also went to a dietitian referred to me by my GP. I needed help – I never knew eating food would be so damn hard!
Taking on the first diet I have ever done in my life for 21 days, my breakfasts were sliced fruit, freshly squeezed fruit juice, and for lunch and dinner it was Salad, Vegetables, Legumes, nuts. It was pre-prepared which made it incredibly easier for me. No alcohol, teas, coffees, just water and 2 juices per day. Throughout the Detox, my blood glucose levels were consistently perfect!
On my return to the GP my HbA1c was 6.6 with my Cholesterol, Uric Acid, Liver and Kidney results all now normal. My GP was impressed and happy and blown away when he found out I did it without medication. He then declared me as a Diet Controlled Type 2 Diabetic and has removed the need for me to be on medication… for now!
The journey continues…
Another visit to the Dietition focussed on creating a diet to which I can live with, every day.
I’ve decided to keep my alcohol consumption to only the weekends giving me 5 days alcohol free. I’ve also decided to take the DETOX diet for 2 days per week, which will occur on Monday and Tuesday. This should help with ensuring a ‘perfect’ diet at least 2 days a week and right after the weekend. I will continue to eat more fish, look for the vegetable content in what I eat, high protein and low carbs – ut that’s easier said than done.
There’s still more to do. I’ve got to maintain this to avoid the medication pathway – but I was also motivated to share my story to help others understand the journey, the challenges that come with it and most importantly the possibilities in improving one’s health.