What is This 'Healthy' You Speak of?

This was originally posted to my blog, Diabetes Odyssey.

We all understand that there are different levels of healthy and unhealthy. But where does the line get drawn between the two? When do you know when you have crossed the line from mildly unhealthy to mildly healthy?

The question came up in my thoughts yesterday after I left my endocrinologists office. As my regular readers are aware, I have spent most of my type 1 diabetic life (27+ years) ignoring and rebelling against my diabetes. This terrible behavior has left me with permanent reminders of my reprehensible actions against my own body. I am riddled with complications of diabetes.

Right now I have all my known health issues on their way out or at the very least stopped from progressing (many are incurable but can be slowed down and controlled). My A1c is the lowest it has ever been, 7.4, and I have no intention of letting it go back up. I am forever working on dropping it to an outstanding number of glorious lowness.

The problem is that I have done so much damage to myself over so many years that there is no hope of ever achieving what anyone would consider good health. No matter how good my labs look (my doctor says they look wonderful), I still have a number of annoying and frustrating problems we can’t seem to fix. The two most affecting my quality of life are as follows:

-I can’t lose even one pound no matter how hard I try. I have been tested for PCOS and one doctor says the results are positive and another doctor says they are negative. I assume this means my labs came back on the line between negative and positive and so it’s up to individual opinion? I was put on Metformin and birth control to even out my hormones and help with my insulin resistance, and I was told this should also help me lose weight, but it hasn’t. I do not overeat, I get as much exercise as I can handle, so I shouldn’t be this big and I shouldn’t be gaining like I am. I have dropped my insulin needs so that should have helped me to lose, but it hasn’t. My thyroid tests are normal but my doctor ordered a specific Hashimoto’s test (an autoimmune thyroid condition common among diabetics), so we will see what that says. She also pointed out that the Gabapentin I am taking can cause weight gain, so I am going to try weaning off of it and see if I begin to lose. The drug hasn’t helped me enough with my neuropathy pain to be worth this much heartache… if it is the culprit.
-Chronic fatigue- I am tired ALL the time. This has been going on ever since my heart surgery two years ago. It’s like my battery never fully charges and then the smallest activity drains it so fast. I have to take breaks every ten minutes from the simplest activities. When I push myself to keep going and power on through, I end up so exhausted I need a nap! I thought that all I needed to do was get back in shape and I would naturally have more energy, but no matter how hard I try, there is just no improvement. My endo has no idea what could be causing this and said to talk to my cardiologist about it. My cardiologist says my heart is healthy and I just need to get in shape…my only other thought on this would be that maybe it’s a side effect of one or more of the million meds I’m on.

I am ecstatic at how well I am doing at getting my diabetes under control and improving my health. But it is really hard to keep working and trying when there are so many problems, and when two of them have unknown causes and therefore unknown ways to fix. The weight problem really gets me down because my lifestyle should be reflected in my appearance…but it’s not. I want to fit in my old clothes again, I want to feel like I am attractive and healthy. I want to be able to walk around and have the world look at me and say, “Now there’s a woman who takes care of herself”, but I can’t because I look at myself in the mirror and see a reflection that doesn’t reflect my life, my health, me.

This weight problem sometimes affects my appetite and eating habits as well. I go to eat something (anything) and I can’t bring myself to put it in my mouth because all I can think of is my fatness,my insulin needs, and how no matter what I can’t ■■■■■■■ lose weight!!! :frowning:

I am the kind of person who needs to know what’s going on with my body and for a long time now I have been in the dark. I feel so lost, out of control, disconnected from me.

I feel like starving myself. I feel like restricting my insulin. I feel like taking drastic measures. But I won’t, because I’ve come so far and won’t let myself ruin it all now.

I just have to keep searching for answers. I have to keep trying.


Tamra, I have no words of wisdom to offer, but keep working at being healthy. Somehow it must make a difference. (((Hugs)))


I fasted for almost two weeks. Lost 20 kept 20 of that off. Invokana changed my appetite for better, more satisfied by eating. Symilan I tried before cgm so couldn’t deal with it but it will loose weight and is a diabetics are lacking hormone. I got more energy from Afrezza because of stabilized bg until lung function decreased. I too am less enthusiastic about food because of the dealing with it. My considered opinion is your diminished physical burning of calories requires less food. Duh, think about it. And think about how people in starving, poverty groups eat very little and then their activity decreased to conserve calories. The human body is great at conserving weight it will find a way to resist weight loss. So just work on makeup and clothes and making your surroundings beautiful.

I would go off the bc and gabapentin and see if that helps and any other drugs that may cause weight gain. What test are you having done for hashimotos? I had the anti-body tests and tested positive for that. I have a lot of the symptoms but not the weight gain. I was on elavil for 5 years for pain, low doses, I gained 15 pounds on that- I was thin so I wasn’t over weight but it made me eat more for sure. I lost 20-25 and went through a horrible withdrawal when I went off of it and now I can’t take any of those drugs anymore. I think that and the bc messed up my whole endocrine system so I wish I had just taken painkillers instead. My reflux also became much worse from bc.

btw, people at a thyroid site said when tsh is around 2.2 or so and Ft4 is at the low end that is already a sign your thyroid is struggling.

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My weight kept going up and up from dx in 1984 at 120 lbs to my peak of 275 c. 2004 or 5. I mostly overshot insulin to keep my BG in line but did a lot of bouncing around, stupid stuff like “oh, I’m low,I’d better have some juice and 1/2 a bag of potato chips…oh, now I’m high, I’d better have some more insulin and then have the rest…”. I cut back a lot starting around 2005, started working out a lot, worked closely with a guy working out who’d say “you need to lose weight!” all the time but, since he was right, and an amazing martial artist who worked very hard to help me, wasn’t harassment. Plus I didn’t ask him to stop. Now I’m about 195 which is a bit up from my lowest as I’ve had some issues this year, fixing things, not doing a big race, etc.

For me it was about reducing carbs. I may have been “low carb” at times although I think I have mostly been more like moderate carb and being active, pushing myself to find time to exercise 4-6x/ week. I have done Tae Kwon Do which was fun and the classes and incremental progress were instrumental in improving my BG control, running (which I started while doing TKD as the black belt test is hard…), cycling and a few Beachbody programs (I’m not a “dealer” so I don’t mind talking about it but they are all over the place), T25 and P90X3 which both also made me stronger. It was totally weird when I started but I have kept at it and it has been rewarding both personally and physically. It’s great to go to the doctor and have the nurse say “oh, do you run?” when they take my pulse…

When I did X3 and T25 (T25 is super fun although can be really tough!), I tracked food and macronutrient ratios and tried to hit 50/30/20 (pro/carb/fat) and was probably as strong as I’ve ever been, lookswise. I’d say try something like that, stick to it and see what happens.

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I started gaining weight before I went on bc, because I have hormone issues the bc is supposed to be helping with weight-loss. I know a lot of women say bc pill causes weight gain, but when I was on it years ago it didn’t cause even one pound gained for me so when my doc said it should help with hormone stability and weight loss I believed her. I am going to stop the gabapentin (because the weight gain started after I started taking it) but I am going to continue the bc (because the weight gain started before I went on it) for the time being.

Thanks for the thyroid info. My doc ordered an antibodies test (thyroid), TSH, T-3 free, T-4 free. We’ll see what turns up. I do have many of the symptoms of Hashimoto’s, but they are symptoms that could be attributed to many other things as well.

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While I am fortunate to have a good doc–she delayed on the thyroid tests and by the time we got to it and the results showed the need for a med, I had gained 40 pounds in 5 weeks. I’m very glad you are getting that looked at. Losing 40 lbs now with my arthritis getting much worse, fibromyalgia (which has elements of Chronic Fatigue, including cognitive difficulties) and trying to find new ways to exercise, is hell…I’ve found things like sitting yoga which is actually a decent workout. I wish I could get to a pool easily. Is that an option for you? …Thanks for your writings…Judith…

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This brought tears to my eyes - you are describing me!

I’ve spent the last ten years focused on the physiological aspects of diabetes management. I wish I’d paid as much attention to my mental well-being. I’m seriously thinking about taking meditation classes, or maybe yoga. The mind-body connection is real, and I need to pay more attention to my state of mind.

I wish I had a snappy closing, but I haven’t. Very much like you, I have to keep searching. Here’s hoping for some answers!


My doctor actually offered to prescribe me pool therapy to help strengthen my heart and help me to get exercise that my neuropathy won’t get in the way of…but, alas, my insurance won’t cover it.

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Meee, my TSH is 2.10 and my T3 is 2.9 (both are in normal range)…I have not had a T4 done yet.

What was the range for t3? My t4 was at the low end- I haven’t had t3 done yet. my tpo antibodies were 49 with a range of 0-9. I didn’t gain weight from bc either but it caused a lot of other problems for me so I wish I hadn’t taken it now- I took it for severe cramps and it didn’t help them at all really so there was really no point to it for me. It basically tricks your body into thinking you’re pregnant so that can’t be good continually especially since pregnancy is what brings out diabetes for a lot of women.

We have a community pool that has certain hours free, but it is very hard for me to get to. Same travel problems for a heated therapeutic pool I just heard about. It’s something like 35.00 for a year’s use for that one—unlimited times to visit, during certain hours of certain days.

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T3 range is listed as 2.3 - 4.2.

Well, yours is at the low end nearly too, so that could mean Hashimotos. Your antibodies will show that probably.

It’s kind of funny (odd) for me to actually hope I have another illness. No, I do not want Hashimoto’s…or anything for that matter. But it kind of sets me at ease to think there really is an answer for all of this, and, hopefully, one I can control.


I hope we both don’t have it because it is going to destroy the thyroid gland in time making life even more difficult. I have been eating gluten free and that is supposed to help slow the whole process down and help to manage the symptoms. Also good bg control is supposed to help. I have a feeling though that all the things going on with H make it harder to control bg.


Hi there. You sound just like me but I,ve had it 47 years. Count your blessingss. I went blind at 20, have a pump, had a small strokr at 34, tired ALWAYS, cannot work, terrible pain and am having tendons cut to release fingers.
You have type 1 diabetes. You dont live like others. You are a sick person. You just gotta accept it.
Yes, it sucks–I hate it but it does not get better. Sorry
You gotta make the best of it.


@Buck @Tamra11 and @meee Perhaps it is that I grew up as a middle child–and still am, hehe…But I get what you are all saying. Joakim–I battle 3 chronic illnesses, only 1 of which is visible–and that one only since I had to adopt a cane a couple years ago. Growing up in Minnesota our answer to such circumstances was “Buck up.” I come from a long line of stoics rooted in Sweden and Germany.

Mee and Tamra: There are so many days that I awake feeling like crap, and starting last summer, random days of sudden, inexplicable nausea that passes within a few hours—like morning sickness in a post-menopausal woman–LOL.

But my labs as of 2 weeks ago are fine and my doc can’t figure out what is wrong with me.

So: I totally get the desire for a diagnosis. Any diagnosis. I just want answers so that I can take action to try to feel better.

Blessings all…Perhaps Uncertainty is our lot. But we don’t have to like it as we learn to cope with it…