Wow, thanks for all the replies, comments, and suggestions. I appreciate the support and just having someplace to discuss all this. Gets kind of lonely wandering the house, talking to myself, even though I am wonderful, intelligent company
"Test as often as you think you should, but be aware that there isn’t a lot of evidence to suggest that it’s useful in controlling your BG. If your A1C is at (below in your case) goal, what is the benefit of more frequent testing?
I know that there are MANY people who disagree with me. To those folks, please feel free to try and convince me that I’m wrong! I am open to any evidence."
I like your playing the devil’s advocate, and I will accommodate you with my reasoning, using more details.
First of all, of course the actual act of testing won’t do anything to control BG levels. My point/perspective is that reading is a tool, and I like tools. In order to explain, I will abbreviate my story so far with Diabetes, and it is not an argument directed at you. I just read all I wrote, and thought I better let you know that <.g>
First thing: what can I eat? My doctor and his nurse told me to just cut down a little on my portions, water down my juice, and only eat half as much “junk food” as I had been doing. They said I could eat an apple and not worry about it. My BS detector went off big time when I heard that.
Well, it didn’t take long to read and research to find out that there is no standard answer to the question of diet. There is the general info about lower carbs, and the obvious things to avoid, but here I was with no medical support, and out doing this on my own.
My first step was no carbs, while I figured out what to do. Not a week into the, basically no carbs mode, and my fasting numbers plummeted, so I knew I wasn’t completely broken, and felt like I could proceed with adding more foods. The goal was to find a day’s food supply, that didn’t spike my numbers past 140. How to find what that is? Test strips. How to use the test strips? Well, my doctor said I didn’t need to test before I ate, only two hours after I finished. Baloney. If I don’t know where I am when I start, how do I know how high the meal pushed my numbers?
So, it takes three strips to find a meal that works,and if I decide to alter that meal, three more strips, more than once to verify. Took about a week to come up with a day’s worth, and that is what I ate for about a month. Booorrring. Water only. Salad, veggies, bacon, eggs, and walnuts or peanuts. Now that I have food to eat and won’t die of starvation, its time to try other things.
I need chocolate!!! Instant, non fat chocolate pudding, with non fat milk. Very low carb, not too many calories, and light whipped topping only adds a few carbs. Test, test, test. This is what I found out. Jello brand jumps my numbers a whole lot (I don’t have them memorized, they are in my journal) which bummed me out, but then I tried Walmart’s brand, and even tho the numbers on the box, and the ingredients are almost identical, the wally mart pudding barely touches my numbers, as in less than 10 pts. Without the strips to test and test, I would not have found that out… Good tools.
Some folks suggested dark chocolate, and gave me the brand. I tried it, and rang the bell on the old meter. So, some can, and some can’t. If I just assumed, I would be eating a small piece of that chocolate every day or so, and my A1c would begin to rise. To not be able to test and verify, locks a person into a set menu, and any variation can be disastrous.
Then I read about how some people have trouble in the morning with carbs, so I started testing in that direction. It was a suprise to me to find out that a meal which normally bumps my numbers about 25 pts in the evening, sent me soaring in the AM almost 80 pts. Without testing, I would have naively assumed I could eat the same foods, any time of the day. Now I only eat bacon and eggs, and alternate with salads in the morning. Without that knowledge, my A1c would have taken a hit over time.
Three months later, A1c maybe jumped back up to 6, and I would have no idea which foods did me in, and what to do about it, and would have to go back to the original, boring, and bland same menu every day, for the rest of my life. hardly a reasonable option, if you ask me. Life is for living, and I don’t have to eat out every night, or eat junk food to be happy, but I like to have options that are pleasing to my pallet and make me feel satisfied. Without always testing, I cannot have that.
We are all different, but I am better off exercising after I eat, while others I know, work out, then eat. How did I find that out? Test, test, test. Now the next question, should I exercise in the AM, afternoon, or at night? Test, test, test, and I have learned what works best for me. What is best for my fasting numbers, regarding snacks, and working out in the evening? Test, test, test. Will those results always apply throughout the rest of my life, or do I have to check now and again to make sure I am not progressing quickly into worse condition? I think that is what the strips are for.
Sometimes, I don’t eat, which for me doesn’t seem to present a problem (although its a bad idea for anyone) with going low or anything, at least not yet, but other times, I really want to eat, but I am not sure if I can, so, I test, and if my numbers are down around fasting, or the 80’s, I will eat a bit more than I might otherwise. No strips, no way to tell. Sometimes, I want a granola bar, and if I test and I am good, I will have it, other times, my BG is up still, so I stay away. If I am ambivalent about dinner, I test, and good numbers will allow me to have one kind of meal, and higher numbers will dictate that I have a salad. That is how I got from 6.8, to 5.5 in three months. If I was testing once a day, or four times a day once a week, I don’t think that 6.8 would have moved very much.
Now that I did my three months of boot camp doing just the basics, and essentially the same foods over and over, I have to expand my options or go insane. For three months, I never ate anything but food at home. How on earth can I go out to eat (I do get a date every now and then
Two days ago, I went to lunch at what was my favorite food court that has the greatest baked ziti on earth. Pasta is bad, by all accounts, but I gave it a shot. These numbers I recall. I was 90 when I sat down to eat. I didn’t have the garlic bread, and drank plain old water. An hour later, I was 110, two hours 100, and three hours 85. Who said pasta was bad for me? Most is, but this particular recipe/ingredients, seemed to agree with me.
Its very important to me because now I have a place where I can occasionally go out for lunch and have something that I really enjoy. I have to do it a few more times with the testing to be sure I am good, but it really gives me a boost emotionally to know I can have it.
My friend always stops at Wendy’s, so I have to test, test, test, and have found what I can, and cannot eat there. No buns, just naked burgers, or chicken sandwiches, chicken nuggets, and even the chili are okay. If I didn’t have the ability to test, I would either have to stay away, or I would be destroying my A1c number eating things I think I can have, but that I cannot.
The list of foods I can eat that many other T2’s have to avoid is pretty long, and I am sure, vice versa applies.
Test strips help me emotionally, as well as physically. I know I am not hurting myself, and that matters. We all know how devastating the diagnosis was, and the fear and anger that follows as we have to give up so many foods that we like. Well, what if my testing strips show me that I can eat someone’s brand of Pizza (which is what they call that crap here in Utah ) That makes a difference in my life, and my overall attitude.
So much of life is wrapped around eating. Its an amazingly huge portion of our social life as most here will attest.
Strips are like crutches. You could walk on a broken ankle without them, but it hurts, and the ankle will heal faster and more completely, if you use the crutch.
If I am cursed to live long enough (I am 54) I assume this disease will continue to debilitate my system, and cause problems in spite of my greatest efforts. If I live ten more years, and can’t eat anything new because I cannot be sure its okay with my system, that will be ten awful years. If I can test new foods to keep things “fresh” then there is a good chance, I won’t need insulin, and maybe not even meds. Without the vigilance, I could end up on insulin, testing 8 times a day. It seems stupid not to be able to test whenever I need to, now, rather than having to test even if I don’t want to, ten years from now. The idea of healthcare is to avoid the illness and its consequences, not just roll along, hoping for the best, knowing that if things do fall apart, there is always insulin and constant test strip usage.
I use a scale to track my weight loss, because frankly, I don’t see where the 20+ pounds came from, but they are gone. If I didn’t have the scale, I would not know if I am losing weight or not. If I cannot test my BG, I do not know if I am spiking too high, and screwing up my A1c.
If the ultimate goal is the lowest A1c possible, then testing randomly, four times a day once a week, is a complete waste of time and money. The only time my numbers will move, is when I take in food, and that is when I need to test. If Walmart discontinues their non-fat pudding or I move away from access to walmart (which I think may be impossible to do lol!) then I have to do the testing all over again, including time of day, and relative to exercise. Walmart also sells wheat tortillas that are 8 carbs. Saved me for sure because I can’t eat a sandwich based on big chunks of lettuce, and bread sends me soaring. These tortillas are fine with me. Of course, if they disappear, or I can no longer find a store that sells them, I am hosed if I cannot do all the testing with whatever I decide to use instead.
So many variables that there is no way to keep A1c at its min, without testing, and monitoring daily, imo.
Some others commented, but I am locked into this doctor because of the kind of insurance I have, and there is no coverage for any support, or dietician. I am out of work, and cannot afford to go to any other doctor or professional, and so I do what I can while I can.
That was way too long but I figured I would explain, and see if it makes sense to anyone. To just prescribe the strips, and not use them, is indeed a waste. However, if they keep my spirits up because I know I am doing well, and they help keep my kidneys, eyes, and other organs working into my older years, it seems a small investment, as I assume insulin and meds would cost a whole lot more than the strips I use in the manner I use them. Looks expensive short term, but seems like an investment in the future, to me.
Whew…I am all out of words, and that doesn’t happy very often
Thanks to all who read and wrote and commented.