Diabetes and Me, part 1

This is my personal account about why I went and continue to stay Keto. It’s not crochet related but it’s an important part of who I am. Occasionally I might share recipes that I really love, but this is a crochet blog, so it won’t ever be frequent. 🙂

On March 17, 2018 I woke my husband up in the middle of the night because I was doubled over in pain for hours and was unable to sleep. I was fighting through as hard as I could, but no amount of ibuprofen was working and I knew it was time to go to the Emergency Room. Fortunately our kids are teenagers so we left them a note and headed out.

They put me in a room and started observing me and running tests. I’d had kidney stones before, so I was pretty sure that was the problem, but my previous stones had never hurt like this. The first eye opening test was my blood glucose. It was 414. If you’re unfamiliar with what normal might look like, mine should have been 100 or lower as I hadn’t eaten for at least 8 hours. At that point a hospital admission was pretty much guaranteed, but they needed to stabilize me first so they kept monitoring me and trying to manage my pain and high glucose

They gave me a few different meds, insulin to bring down my blood sugar, something for bladder and kidney related pain, I think there might have been some percocet, and I don’t even know what else. Nothing helped my pain, but my blood sugar did start to come down so they were able to rule out ketoacidosis, which is a very dangerous situation for people and is not at all related to ketosis, but more on that later.

They kept asking me what meds had worked before. I knew that I’d been less responsive to morphine in the past and had to have fentanyl after my gall bladder surgery many years ago. But I’m also aware of the opioid crisis we’re in and the room next to me was housing a person who was clearly drug seeking (plus he had two police officers stationed outside his room and he was handcuffed to the bed) so I felt uncomfortable asking for fentanyl. I told them I didn’t know what helped, which I deeply regret. We should be able to ask for the meds that help us when we really need them.

They gave me a low dose of morphine and watched. It did nothing so they gave me more. Still nothing. At this point I’d been there a few hours and they started talking about transferring me to the hospital. My blood sugar was still coming down (still in the 300s though), but I was clearly diabetic and needed some medical intervention for my kidney.

For the ride over to the hospital, they gave me fentanyl. At long last my pain was starting to subside. My husband drove home to get some food, tell the kids what was going on and gather some things to keep me comfortable in the hospital (like my crocheting!) and then met me after I was settled into a room.

The next couple of days are a blur of surgery – I needed a kidney stent as my left kidney was blocked by stones, more testing, and a variety of stern lectures by various doctors about the severity of my Type 2 Diabetes. I received all kinds of bad advice from hospital personnel. One nurse told me that diabetes was not a death sentence, I could still eat whatever I want as long as I countered my intake with insulin. The hospital nutritionist told me to eat 1-2 carb servings (of up to 15 carbs each) 6 times a day, but absolutely no more than that!

The most important thing they wanted to impress upon me was that Diabetes was a progressive and degenerative disease. I would without doubt die from complications related to Diabetes. The risks included loss of vision, loss of extremities, heart disease, kidney problems, and many more.

So, what did they do? The first meal they brought me in the hospital was chicken parmesan – breaded chicken with tomato sauce on pasta, with green beans, a piece of sheet cake (with frosting!) and a sweet tea! At least 100 carbs worth of food, probably more than that. I refused to eat it. I told the nurse I was newly diagnosed with diabetes and I didn’t think that I should eat anything on that plate so she replied “honey, you have to eat something! At least eat the cake!” I don’t think I’ll ever get over that statement.

I was filled with anxiety and dread about eating. I have always loved food and cooking. This fear of eating was completely foreign to me. I knew there had to be a way to get through this but all the conflicting information just felt so wrong. My body couldn’t manage carbs normally. Eating carbs caused my blood sugar to go crazy. Doctors and nurses were saying eat carbs. My brain couldn’t handle it.

Fortunately, I had a little exposure to keto. My best friend had recently lost 30 pounds doing keto and I’d actually planned to start the Monday after St. Patrick’s Day. But, let’s be honest, who knows what I would have done if I hadn’t had my medical crisis.

I left the hospital without really eating, but went home and started research. They’d equipped me with insulin and a diet plan which involved almost 200 carbs a day. My glucose had only dropped to the low 200s while in the hospital eating nothing except a single hard boiled egg (which I knew was keto and ate under duress). I was clearly sick and I had to tackle this. I went home and started researching.

The research blew me away. And it changed my life for good. More in another post.

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