Summary: July – Sep 2011

24 Sep

Oh my goodness, am I behind! Since it’s almost the end of September, this summary is going to cover September as well. My excuse for staying silent for 3 months is the following – my computer broke down at the end of July and I sent it in for repair. By the time the computer shop called and pronounced it ‘fit to be scrapped’, another 2 weeks had gone by. Then I left for a 5-week holiday, came back, got caught up in various appointments and suddenly it was mid-Sep and still no new computer in sight! I didn’t realise how dependent I was on my computer and felt like my life-line had been cut. Not having a spare computer at home made things really difficult and I had to look for people who would let me use theirs for a few minutes to check my emails. So blogging was out of the question. On the other hand, I was secretly happy to have a little break from being in front of the screen so often.

I sadly lost a lot of stuff stored on my hard disk. I had only backed up my document files and everything that wasn’t saved there was gone. So I will have to start collecting my missing information all over again. Now that I have settled down into my daily routine and got my new computer, I can start devoting some time to blogging again.

So besides the computer saga, what has been happening with my health. Not so good I’m afraid. The pains and aches, all over my body, are still there. I’ve spent a lot of time in doctors’ waiting rooms (rheumatology, neurology, orthopaedics, sports medicine, gynaecology, cardiology, osteopathy, physiotherapy – I’ve seen doctors/therapists in all these fields) but the outcome after the various consultations has been zilch. Everyone is taking a poke in the dark but no one has hit the nail on the head yet. To be fair, I guess it is not easy to be a doctor. So many problems have the same symptoms. All that’s happened is that I’ve wasted a lot of time and money. My situation did improve while on vacation when I completely stopped doing any sports but everything came back once I (half) resumed my routine on my return. I’ve cut back on a lot of exercises and only do light stuff but this has not really helped. Now I’m trying out Thai massage.

As for my blood glucose level – I was afraid that my painstaking efforts to eat more consciously over the past year would be wiped out after 5 weeks of ‘regular’ food. I did mention in one of my earlier summaries that going for holidays is difficult if you are trying to keep to a diet but going away for 5 weeks to Asia – you will need a lot of will power to resist temptation. The food is sooo good and I wanted to try everything that it was just impossible to stick to any diet. However, to my surprise, when I visited my endocrinologist three days ago, he said my Hb1AC had improved. Hmmm…from 6.8 to 6.7. Not much but better than nothing.

Our trip to Asia brought us to Vietnam, Macau, Hong Kong and Singapore. We had a really great time in all aspects of the word. I think Vietnam posed the biggest challenge in terms of finding the right things to eat. Almost every dish is made with some kind of rice product and I knew from previous experience at a Vietnamese restaurant here in Munich that Vietnamese food just isn’t good for people trying to control carbs and blood sugar. After the first few days looking over the menus with a scrutinizing eye, I gave up when I found that there was very little I could eat. So I just joined the crowd, ordered what we thought we should try and injected more insulin to compensate. Since I was on the go all the time, I found it inconvenient to test my values 1 hour after the meal and neglected to do this consistently. And then I thought I lost my blood glucose meter half way through the trip (it was hidden in the deepest reaches of one of our bags and I never found it despite several searches) and had nothing to test my sugar levels which meant that I never knew how I was reacting to all that food I ate. Sigh!

In Macau we were hosted and overfed by relatives. In Hong Kong, we just had to have some of their scrumptious dim sum (a lot of fried and fatty stuff) and in Singapore, the palette of choices was never ending.

I returned home to discover two extra kilos on the scales! Now it’s back to low carbing and my after-meal glucose values have returned to normal.

On my trip, I heard of three ‘natural’ ways to reduce blood sugar levels – two of which I am trying out now.

Lemon juice, okra (lady finger) and bitter gourd.

I googled lemon juice and diabetes and one site said that lemon juice helps ‘diabetics deal with the problems that arise from decreased stomach acid and digestive enzymes’. It recommended adding 1/2 tsp of lemon juice to 8 oz of water. Another site said to add 2 oz of juice to 10 oz of water. You’re supposed to take it every day for 1 month before any improvement in your blood sugar values can be seen. Well, I’m doing that.

Then someone else told me that okra was useful too. Cut off the tip and end of an okra, half it and put the halves in a glass of water overnight. Sip the ‘juice’ over the course of the day. This method requires even more patience as you need to do it for 6 months because you will notice any change. I’m also trying this but I don’t know how successful I’ll be because okra is not readily available in Germany. I need to travel all the way into the city to get it.

The last treatment is to eat bitter gourd. A search on google revealed that bitter gourd contains ‘plantinsulin which has been found valuable in lowering the blood and urine sugar levels. It should, therefore, be included liberally in the diet of the diabetic. For better results, the diabetic should take the juice of about four or five bitter gourd every morning on an empty stomach. The seeds can be added to food in a powdered form. Diabetics can also use bitter gourd in the form of a decoction by boiling the pieces in water or in the form of dry powder.’ (Source: Home Remedies) Unfortunately, I can’t find bitter gourd here in the supermarket so that remedy is out.

I’m not very good at following through on long term treatments. If I don’t see any slight improvement after a few weeks, it’s hard to stay motivated to carry out the treatment to the end. Since the lemon juice treatment is shorter, I hope to be able to report some improvements next month.

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