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    My Diabetes Story

    My name is Chuck and I am a dLife Forum Ambassador. I was officially diagnosed as a diabetic about ten years ago, but had insulin resistance for a long time before that. In those days, it took two readings of greater than 140 to be diagnosed; so, by today's standards I would have been a type 2 diabetic at least 15 years.

    Exercise and diet were tried first and after that, I have been on oral medication. Everything worked at first, but within a year the pancreas stimulator was no longer effective. Pandan had a short life as well and I didn't tolerate Metformin because of stomach issues.

    One day, the doctor said that there was a new type of medication, a TZD called Resulin, and this drug sensitized your muscles to use insulin. After two years of use, Resulin was removed from the market and replaced by a safer drug, Avandia. I have been on Avandia 8 mg ever since. The 8 mg once a day was changed to 4 mg twice a day because experiments by the manufacture suggested that this was better (half life is twelve hours). I am about 245 pounds (Lowest weight since 1981 and within 5 pounds of my lowest weight since 1970) down from 280 at the highest. My body doesn't seem to like to lose weight, but is very happy to increase muscle mass.

    I have gone down two pants sizes (4 inches). I don't have much in the way of complications. I am in better health today than most people my age diabetic or not. I have a couple of diabetic complications that started in the pre TZD days, but are no longer getting worse and in fact there is some improvement.

    Since being on TZDs, I have varied the amount of exercise I have done and the A1C goes down with more exercise. The worse A1C was 8.2 during a period after Resulin when I did little exercise. I have done cardio-level aerobic exercise for almost all the time I have been on Avandia and my A1C was in the low 7.0s. About twenty months ago, we joined an Athletic Club and they offered some free lessons with a trainer. The trainer told me all I had to do was lift weights and my diabetes would be controlled. I was highly skeptical, but why not give it a try (an endocrinologist had told me increased muscle mass was the best treatment for type-2 diabetes). To my surprise, my A1C has dropped to between 6.5 and 6.8, but even better my bad Cholesterol dropped 25% and my good cholesterol went way into the good range.

    Without medication, my BP lower number is in the 70s and my upper numbers varies between 120 and 150. I feel great and can do almost anything I want. I now vary my exercise between cardio aerobic (about 40 minutes) and weight lifting anaerobic (an hour an half to two hours) because each provides different health benefits. My cardiologist (I have a congenital heart murmur that must be checked) also suggested Palates, which builds trunk strength. I haven't tried that yet, but many of my weight exercises build trunk strength.

    Interesting thing is that my body fat is in the 35% range, so if I lost another 30 pounds, I would be in the acceptable weight range for my fitness level. My goal is 5 pounds at a time and it is slow going. I am firmly convinced that it is the combination of exercise and Avandia that has helped me, neither work great by themselves, but together they really control my diabetes quite well and allowed me many good years of diabetic control without insulin. The best thing is that I can eat what I want as long as I control the intake of carbohydrates and watch portions. Another big deal is that I have not had any fatigue problems and only sleep six to seven hours a night. Although I have no love for diabetes, I think it has motivated me to live a healthier, longer life.

    I am retired; so, I have the time to live a very active life. Besides the gym, my life involves taking care of the lawn, house painting, spreading two cubic yards of dirt, shoveling snow, going to baseball and football games, even tried deep sea fishing recently (caught three yellow fin tuna) etc.. I have greatly enjoyed the dlife forum, both learning from other's experiences and helping others with my experience.


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