Climb Every Mountain. Kath’s diabetic story.

I understand  Mount Everest is "standing room only " these days. The Three Peaks are becoming equally crowded and  those who are into marathon running have less chance of  winning the lottery for a chance of entering the London  Marathon, than of winning the National Lottery. I don’t need any of that, I climb a mountain every day.  I have to keep my bg levels not only low but stable to avoid losing my sight, perhaps I am more like a juggler or tight rope walker, that is how it feels. Like  every other diabetic I do my best to lead a normal life. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes not so easy. The thing is I firmly believe that my present condition might very easily have been avoided.

My accidental diagnosis in A & E after I had collapsed with an unrelated problem did not have to lead to where I am today. The advice and treatment I received was appalling and counter -productive, I would quite seriously have been better off undiagnosed. I  blame the system not individuals. I have met HCP's who have gone out of their way to assist me. I had never been overweight. I exercised regularly and had a healthy diet, which just happened to be low carb although I didn't realise or call it that. My father had been diagnosed T2 but told no one and even his Dr. forgot about it. He later suffered a stroke and then dementia  probably because of his untreated diabetes. My sister has also been diagnosed with pre-diabetes so there is a strong genetic component. So there I was, almost 60 just about to retire, never been seriously ill, never smoked and only drank occasionally. Then what I can only describe as a nightmare began.

I was immediately prescribed metformin and statins etc. The metformin made me very ill, not just the usual gastric upsets but speech, coordination and balance too. I was told to eat more carbs to stop the sickness, this worked but naturally my BG’s increased. The metformin was increased to the maximum to no avail and eventually I was given Rosiglitazone which caused my macular oedema, retinopathy, maculopathy etc. There is no doubt this drug was responsible. Six years on and I am not blind but running out of treatment options as I am now suffering reactions to treatment. Most everyday tasks are difficult for me and if I suffer further bleeds I run a high risk of losing my sight completely. Eventually I discovered that low carbing - reverting to the diet I had followed prior to diagnosis - was the only way to lower my bg levels. I do have to use  medication as I can’t risk any fluctuations otherwise I could probably manage with metformin alone these days. I have learnt many things in the last six years, the hard way.

I do not understand, and never will, why the newly diagnosed cannot be given the simple advice which could save their lives, limbs, eye sight and kidneys, and why the NHS cannot be honest with patients. It is hardly rocket science. The NHS  won’t recommend a low carb diet because they are unsure of the long term effects, right, why not say so? Why not just point out that many diabetics have had great success merely by reducing starchy carbs, just another option, just giving information. The NHS can’t afford test strips and meters for all. Fine, don’t give them to all. Inform them that meters and strips can be purchased and that many find them useful in discovering how different foods affect bgs. Give them support and information. Don't understate the seriousness of the disease. Ensure the patient understands how important it is to control bg levels. Explain some of the complications and why they occur and what to look out for. Treat patients as adults. what right does anyone have to withhold this information? Naturally there will be those who won't respond but at least they will have been given the opportunity to do so.

In order to benefit those who can’t or wont take responsibility for their own health, it is also necessary to try to spread the word to the wider public. If the charity which is thought to represent diabetics, does not do this effectively, then places like this blog or the various forums have an important role to play. They are the real voice of diabetics. Some people are fortunate enough to cope with the condition by themselves, others need help. The right help, many don't get this. It should be universal and far from costing more would save a great deal, one day they might listen.

Meanwhile - where are my climbing boots?

Kath  (blinkered)

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