Re-Introducing myself

I have gained so much support and insight from this website. I try to read
everyones blogs and forum articles on a regular basis, and this in turn
helps me in so many ways. I don’t feel as ‘alone’ or isolated as I used to
feel. So I thought I’d re-introduce myself as I feel like a different
person from the one who signed in just a few months ago, and there are so
many new members these days, who knows, maybe reading about some of the
things I’ve been dealing with can help you too.

I was diagnosed with diabetes in Sept last year, having just returned from a
trip the other side of the planet (USA) to see my family. While there, I had
developed probably the worst flare up of arthritis in my spine I’ve ever
had … it lasted until around the end of December. Christmas shopping last
year, I had to walk with a cane, and I was only 45 years old!
After my trip to the USA, I saw my doctor with a list of complaints as I had a
feeling that these weren’t just single issues but probably a set of symptoms
that went together. One of my complaints was frequent urination so the doctor
did a urine test to see if I had a urinary tract infection. Well I didn’t
have that, but I did have sugar in my urine, so had to have an HBA1C test
along with a fasting blood test. I failed both. My HBA1C was 9.0 and my
fasting glucose tolerance test was a 19 (or 342 for those of you in the USA).

Shortly after diagnosis, many things happened at once in my personal life. We
moved, my mother-in-law passed away, my arthritis worsened. Oh, and I’d been
without teeth since the end of February as the dentists here don’t like you
to have dentures until you’re fully healed from any extractions, and twice I
was near the 3 months when I could finally get dentures when an infection
would set in. I finally had dentures fitted in February of this year.
In late February, my BGLs started reading strangely high and I felt unwell for
a couple of weeks. In the beginning of March, I developed an infection and
cellulitis on the scar line on my back where I’d had breast reconstruction
surgery two years ago (this was about 3 years after having had a mastectomy
for breast cancer). The cellulitis turned into a large abscess and I had to
have emergency surgery for it. That was nearly 9 months ago. Today I still
have a wound in my side that needs to be looked after by a visiting nurse
three times a week.

Lately the wound, which was originally about 7cm deep has actually grown to
11cm deep, and I’ve developed major swelling in the area. It’s not an
infection, but lymphedema – which I have because they removed lymph glands
when I had my mastectomy for breast cancer. Basically, I have a hole in my
side that tracks all the way across my back, up to my spine. Below that is a
large cavity that used to be part of the same wound, but it’s now sealed off
from the original.

The department that treats me for the wound is the plastics team, only
because they were the people that did the original reconstruction surgery.
My last review with the current doctor on the team didn’t go well.
The woman was quite rude to me… my visiting nurse had told me to ask
them what their expectations for me were. The doctor, a young woman,
sarcastically snapped that 'We’ve given up on guessing anything about
you." and told me that the outer part of the wound would probably heal
and leave me with a cavity in the back… and then she SHRUGGED!

My visiting nurse and my GP weren’t too happy with this as my GP
felt the cavity was severe enough that he pushed to get me in early to see
the team and was dismayed they had no plans/thoughts/intentions of fixing the
situation. He is still working at discussions with other doctors to try to
get a second opinion. He tried speaking with the nurses on the team and
didn’t get satisfactory results and is now trying to talk to the breast
cancer surgeons to see if they will take a look at the problem. Meanwhile, I
have dressing changes every Monday, Wednesday & Friday and try to do all I
can to help it heal. Having diabetes of course, this makes it harder. I’ve
been on antibiotics for months now it seems. It started out with 2 week
supplies and then progressed to a full month and this latest round is for 60
days. When the antibiotics are stopped random infections return to the
foreground as if they’ve just been dormant in the interim.

I’ve recently applied for, and been approved for disability and that’s a
weight off my mind.

To help keep my BGLs down, I drink 2 cups of flavoured green tea after meals.
Generally I make a 1 litre pot of tea – with 8 tea bags of various flavours
and through out the day make my cups up half with hot water, half with the
brewed tea. My favourite mix is a blend of apple, chai and vanilla green
teas. It tastes a bit like a liquid apple pie. Yum! And I’ve found the tea
really does help.

About a month ago, I started a new walking program. Basically, my local shops
are about half a kilometre from home, so I walk up to the shops and back each
day, and to add some spice to something that otherwise might bore me, I buy a
scratchy lottery ticket each day. On the losing tickets, I write the date and
number of steps recorded on my pedometer. If I get a win, I put the same info
on a piece of paper. I keep these as a tangible way of showing that I’m
actually putting some effort into getting some exercise. If I win anything
under $10, that money is just recycled back into paying for the daily
scratchy tickets. Anything over $10 is for luxury things. So far the most
I’ve won is $10, but really it’s just nice to have a fun reason to take a
walk every day. It’s working too. I’m into my 6th week of this and am pleased
that I’ve only missed a few days here and there. Most weeks have been the
full 7 seven days. The area I live in is hilly, and I have little hills both
coming and going. Somedays they seem like big hills, and I think as time has
gone by, I’m walking faster and with less muscle pain than when I started.
The big pay off though is that it really has made a difference in my BGLs. So
even on the days I don’t win, I certainly don’t ‘lose’ either. (Grin)

I wish you well.