Sunday, April 6, 2008

A is for Anxiety

In the past few years, I've had major issues with anxiety. The mind is a crazy thing, especially when dealing with chronic illness and a busy lifestyle. Last year, things started to get really out of in a dorm with four other girls, working, going to school and diabetes started to take its toll on my mental health. So, I decided to see one of the mental health specialists at Joslin...I haven't been back in almost a year now so I wanted to reflect on the progress I've made since then.

My anxiety basically began to take over my diabetes care...I was absolutely terrified of going low, partially due to the fact that I was always walking, on the T, at work or in class and never quite sure of who I would turn to if something did happen. As it progressed, I was letting my blood sugars run high because I felt comfortable being between 200 and 250, far away from low and just as dangerous. I felt completely out of control and was a MESS. So I started talking to Ann, the specialist and after a few visits, we devised a plan. The plan was to gradually move my "comfort" number down by 50 points. So to start, I had to move my comfort level from 200-250 to around 150/180-200. The problem was that in the middle of trying to do all of that, I switched to the OmniPod and so my A1C went up again during that adjustment period. Life basically completely got in the way of me trying to execute the "plan."

So around Thanksgiving of this year, my mom and I discovered the online community. I was not feeling 100% but was honestly didn't know what do. My anxiety had diminished but I still had my dramatic, diva moments and still my blood sugars were not what they should be.

I had to make a change, a decision...I had exactly one month until my next doctors appt. so with my mom's help I came up with an experiment. I had tried a wheat-free, gluten-free diet in the past but it was difficult to do eating in a cafeteria. So, my experiment was to eat a wheat-free, gluten-free diet for one month and to see what happened when I went to the doctor. My result was a .2 drop in my A1C in just one month, granted it was still 8.2 and higher than I wanted but I was finally starting to see results!

So now, about three months later my "comfort" level is around 130 to 160 and I feel much better, healthier and lighter. I've lost weight, and I just feel less bloated and weighed down by my blood sugars. I haven't had my A1C tested since January but I am feeling really confident that it will finally be down in the 7's. I really feel like my "experiment" made me feel much more positive about my health...before it felt like a burden because I wasn't seeing the results I wanted. And frankly, its disappointing to discipline yourself for so long only to have no results.

Now, I've replaced my old comfort foods with a new obsession...gluten-free toast. I absolutely love spelt, wheat-free bread and it tastes so good toasted and does not affect my blood sugar the same way normal bread would. I tell my mom all the time that if I could live on sandwiches and toast I would...and now I could! I find myself constantly changing supermarkets to hunt for new, interesting gluten-free treats to try. Just making this little change in my diet has really helped me to make positive changes, I still struggle with anxiety about lows but I've really gained a lot more confidence in my ability to control my blood sugars.

Hmm..This topic is def. overwhelming for me to for now, I'll leave it at that.
I'll add some gluten-free links!

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