Photo by Trent, taken while hiking
at Emerald Lake in
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

April 27, 2011

Good News!

Today was the day! A 2-month follow-up on my diagnosis of type 2 diabetes mellitus in February.

The very nice and competent medical assistant weighed me first, and I was more than a little pleased to see that the doctor's scale (and you know those scales are never wrong like the little cheapie ones we have at home) says I have lost 18 pounds!

He then checked my temperature, took my blood pressure, poked my finger, did a monofilament testing on my feet, and filled everything in on the computer. Then I was off to the restroom to get a sample for the microalbumin test. Back in the room about 2 minutes, and in comes my doctor!

She exclaimed over how well I am doing. Just as I thought, she asked if I was having any side effects to the metformin! So I explained that I am not taking it, and how my chiropractor has helped me to have a plan. She looked at all the info and lab work, and then she said what I am doing is exactly right. Keep it up! Yes, 30 more pounds is a very good and realistic goal. Tap, tap, tap on her little electronic device. "That will put your BMI at 24.9 bringing you just under 25 which is the recommended goal." (What? I must have been WAY skinny with a very low BMI when I was younger!)

So both doc and I were very happy campers today! And I grinned all the way home!

(Oh, and as I was leaving, she asked me my chiropractor's name!!)


April 26, 2011

Diabetes update...

It has been 2 months now, believe it or not, since I found out I have type 2 diabetes. (See previous posts for the details, please.) Just as a reminder, when I had my blood work in mid-February, my fasting blood sugar was 308, and my hemoglobin A1c was 10.4. Terrible numbers...

So for the past 2 months I have been doing (with a very few exceptions) just exactly what my chiropractor told me to do. Meat, fish, fowl, and eggs with as much as I want of vegetables. A little olive oil and butter. Lots of fresh salads. In fact, I think my ears grew a bit, as I am feeling more like a rabbit than ever before in my whole life! No carbs except from vegetables. Plus the 4 supplements he gave me, without fail. As much exercise as I could manage.

Even though it has been absolutely killing my wallet, I have been checking my blood sugars usually 3 times a day. (Are those little chem strips made of gold??) Most of my blood sugars have been between 110 and 130. I've lost somewhere between 10 and 15 pounds. (If I count all the things I have NOT eaten, I feel like I should have lost at least 50 pounds!)

Tomorrow is my first follow-up with my medical doctor, so this past Friday, with a bit of nervousness, I took myself over to her office first thing in the morning for a blood draw so that she could have the results in front of her for my appointment. I had no idea what the A1c would be, and I could just feel my blood sugar shooting up with the stress of it! "Are you fasting?" asked the nurse as she watched the blood squirting into the little bottle. "Yes, I am," I told her.

On Saturday morning I was sitting at my computer when the phone rang. The caller ID told me it was the doctor's office. What? On the weekend? Jeff, the medical assistant, said he had the results of my blood tests. "I have good news," he said. I was still a little unsure. "Is there any bad news?" I asked him. He laughed. "No!" Then I laughed, too! "Okay, then!"

Jeff told me that I have had DRAMATIC improvement in my diabetes control. My A1c is now down to 6.5! I could not believe it! I had been hoping for maybe 8, so this was indeed good news. And the best part is, I haven't had to take any metformin!

So now I am actually looking forward to seeing the doctor tomorrow...after which I will update you again!


April 23, 2011

Unless We See...

"Unless I see the nail marks in his hands...I will not believe it." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands..." Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" --John 20:25-28

Unless we see in his hand the print of the nail that marred it
Unless we see in his side the mark of the spear that scarred it
We are right to refuse to believe, to challenge his claims and doubt them
For the wounds are the sign of the Christ, and He will not come without them.

Vain are the saviors of men who can show no wounds for a token
False are the christs of the world whose hearts have never been broken
We are right to reject their claim, since only the One may dare it
We are right to deny their name, since only the One may bear it.

Can they spread the nail-pierced palm that the finger of doubt may feel it?
Uncover the riven side and to doubting eyes reveal it?
The wounds are the sign of the Christ, and only the One can show it
And only those who have touched His wounds will prove Him Lord and know it.

For it is not enough for our faith that others have seen and known Him
But each for himself must see, and each for himself must own Him
And each must touch the print of the nails, the proof of His claim receiving
And each must cry, "My Lord, my God," and fall at His feet, believing.

--Annie Johnson Flint


April 22, 2011

That Terrible Wonderful Day

The cross...



evil beyond my understanding

a blessing beyond my imagination

... that terrible wonderful cross.

And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood.
--Hebrews 13:12

March 31, 2011

What I am doing about diabetes...

If I could design a medical practice that would be perfect for me, it would combine traditional medicine and alternative medicine. I believe we need both viewpoints and areas of knowledge to have the best healthcare. I had been to my medical doctor and had blood work done and a diagnosis made. Now it was time to talk to my chiropractor.

Dr. Kloor had two sheets of information ready for me, and he assured me that he has been using this system for years and that it works very well if it is followed (as he eyed me questioningly!) This would be a one-month program to start with. One sheet had my allowable foods: basically as much as I wanted of vegetables and meat, fish, fowl, and eggs. I also could have a few other things like pickles, olive oil, butter, all nuts except peanuts. No processed grains, white flour, sugar or sugar substitutes. No rice, no bread, no potatoes, no sugar, no fruit. Just for one month. The vegetables were arranged in three columns according to carb content. All my carbs had to come from vegetables. And there was this important instruction: Each of your meals must include some protein.

The second sheet outlined the four supplements he wanted me to take at very specific times of day - Diaplex, Cataplex GTF, Inosotol, and Pancreatrophin PMG.

"And exercise," he said to me sternly. "I can't do that for you. You have to do it yourself." Oh, dear, I thought to myself shrinkingly...

So home I came with my two sheets of paper and my bottles of supplements...and I began. My blood sugars that day were:

192, 222, and 157.

Only vegetables and meats. Almonds for snacks. Homemade olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing. Most days I have had 2 scrambled eggs for breakfast with a sliced tomato. Delicious leafy salads for lunches -- mixed dark greens, mushrooms, cucumbers, bell peppers, radishes, and chicken or beef with my dressing. (I have really developed a liking for that tangy vinegar.) Supper has been chicken, beef, or pork with a vegetable or two, and I have left the potatoes or rice or macaroni or whatever for the others. The cookies I baked for the church potluck beckoned me from the Ziploc bag on the counter, but I ate nary a one!

I have been pretty slow in adding in the exercise. The weather has worked against me some of the time, but I have just had a struggle to get all of the pieces of the puzzle to fit, especially when at the beginning I was so draggy and tired. But for the past two weeks now I have been walking briskly for 20 to 30 minutes several times a week.

My friend Cheryl has a good handheld laser unit which she has been using for various health issues, and she offered to lend that to me. Her doctor's office told her the proper settings to use to assist with pancreas function, and so I was able to add two of those treatments to the diet and supplements. (I was very interested to see that using the laser gave me a permanent drop of about 25 points in my blood sugars.)

Today I went back to see Dr. Kloor. After catching up on my progress, he cut my supplements in half. Since we have encouraged the pancreas to work better by reducing its stress (less sugar and bad stuff to deal with) and by supporting it nutritionally (better food choices and supplements), it is now time to see if we can taper off the supplements and still maintain these better blood sugar numbers. The diet continues the same for 10 more days, and then I will do a phone consult with him. If my blood sugars are doing fine, we will start adding in a little fruit. Oh, that will be wonderful!

So...where am I now?? I've lost over 10 pounds (still more improvement to come on that). My energy is much, much better! And here are my blood sugar numbers for today:

124, 116, 118.

Still some work to be done, but
a drastic change in 5 weeks!


March 25, 2011

Unrestricted Diet

Unrestricted = unlimited, free of restrictions

Diet = what I eat

I've typed "unrestricted diet" more times than I care to remember, as in "He is eating a totally unrestricted diet, I'm afraid!" (What the doctor says about patients who aren't listening to his warnings!) And up until about a month ago, that would have described me, too!

After all these years of typing medical reports, I know the good blood sugar numbers and the bad, what the HDL and LDL cholesterol should be, hundreds of meds and dosages. I know the serious symptoms and the ones the doctors call "of no concern."

Tuesday, February 15 -- I went to my doctor's office to get blood drawn for routine tests.
Thursday, February 17 -- I went in for a little checkup, years and years overdue, glad to know that all the blood work results would be waiting for us to discuss.

After a comfortable chat with the nurse who checked my blood pressure (perfect numbers) and took a little history, I sat on the cold table in my flimsy paper robe and even flimsier paper sheet with my legs dangling over the edge like a preschooler.

In bustled my no-nonsense doctor (whom I like very much) with a few pages in her hand. "Well," she said, "I have all your lab tests here with me. Let's take a look. Hmmm... your cholesterol numbers are great, thyroid function is normal, renal function is right where we want it... In fact, your numbers look pretty good, except for one thing. It looks like you have diabetes!" Wait! Numbers! I want exact numbers! But as soon as I heard what they were, I knew I had to get very serious about this. "Your blood sugar was 308. You were fasting that day, right?" Yes, I had been. "Your A1c is like an average of your blood sugars over the last 3 months, and that is quite high at 10.4." Wow! (I knew the doctors I type for want that to be below 6 if at all possible.) This was not borderline anything. This was full-blown diabetes.

Finally, an explanation for how terribly fatigued I had been feeling, the REAL reason (not snoring!) why I had been waking up with a very dry mouth. This also explained my recent tendency toward yeast infections and the little spots on my skin that responded to antifungal cream...

I left the office clutching a glucometer and chem strips, a sheaf of papers with info about diabetes, and a prescription for metformin. And a return appointment for the end of April. I asked about trying diet and exercise first before starting a medication, but my doc said she wanted me to take the med, and then later if I don't need it any more, I can stop it... "Our goal," she told me, "is to have fasting blood sugars in the morning of less than 120, and 2 hours after a meal they should be below 140." And she told me to check my blood sugars fasting in the morning and 2 hours after both lunch and supper.

On the way home, I decided to give myself one week. No metformin for a week. One week of a total change. No more unrestricted diet. Check blood sugars, keep a log of them, and see what a week could do.

I went into the kitchen and was afraid to eat anything! But slowly I was able to get my feet on the ground, and my one-week test began. I started checking blood sugars that Sunday. The first one, taken fasting first thing in the morning, was 260. 140 points above the goal. (Blah! I'm not sure what I had been hoping for.) One week went by, and on the last day, my 3 blood sugars were 144, 147, and 140. That last one was at the doctor's goal! Woo hoo! So my one week test was over, and I decided NOT to fill the metformin prescription.

Now it is the end of the 5th week. I have been brutal with my "unrestricted diet." It is gone. I have been walking briskly several days a week as a start in the exercise department. I am almost 10 pounds lighter.

Today my blood sugars were 118 and 113 and 117 -- without any medication! The doc would consider this success. But I am harder to please!

And there are definitely some things I would like to avoid!

(Next post: I will tell more about my current "restricted diet" and the other helpful things I have been doing.)


March 18, 2011

Birthdays and Memories

February is a good month for our family. My brother and I were both born in it. Three years apart. So you know that both of us had a birthday last month, and as usual we gave each other funny cards about getting older and creakier, the you'll-always-be-older-than-me kind of card!

It doesn't take much to transport me back in time, back to where we were born and where we grew up. It can be the little jar of stones that I have sitting on my Memories Shelf, little pebbles scooped up from outside our home near Charlibli, Liberia. Mixed in with them is a dried palm nut. Its shape and the little holes in the end are like childhood friends. Sometimes it is the kerosene lamp sitting on that same shelf, a certain haze in the sky, the sudden sight of a snake in the grass. Once in a while, I open my little bottle of 4711 perfume and take a good whiff, and I am once again a little girl with the German ladies who smelled like that! Every now and then I cook collard greens and rice, just because I love them, and the house is filled with an aroma from long ago. No, it doesn't take much...

So when I came home one day around my birthday and found this from Gord on my dining room table, no words were needed. He knew it would take me back.


It is blooming, day after day,
and each time, I am a little girl again.
The blooms last a day, close up, and fall onto the table.
I pick them up carefully
because even those closed up flowers
are so familiar...
so much a part of me.

March 13, 2011

A Christmas Miracle!

You're probably thinking "Christmas miracle" as in the star and the angels and especially Baby Jesus. Well, you would be right, of course! But today I am talking about another lesser miracle, one that happened to our family just before Christmas.

Our friend Curt called one evening in early December 2010 and said, "I've just been looking in one of the fliers I get about farm auctions." I was not too surprised, since I know he keeps up on all that and over the years has gotten some wonderful bargains. But he went on to say, "I don't know why I noticed this item, and I can't remember ever seeing one at a farm auction before, but...they are selling a van with a wheelchair lift already in it." Now I was definitely surprised! "Are you interested in taking a look at it?" he asked. I don't believe these things happen by chance, and I said we should most certainly check it out. Cautiously optimistic. Sort of afraid to hope too much, but really hoping in spite of myself!

We had looked into the price of a new(er) van and realized that without a miracle we could not afford it. Goodness! The price of a van customized with a wheelchair lift is pretty close to -- well, a fortune, let's just say, at least to us. Even the good secondhand ones we saw were priced like new. So we said we would try to squeak every last creaky mile out of the one we have.

And then Curt called...

So a few days before the auction, Barry, Curt, and two mechanic friends went to check it out.

The Red Van
A 2000 Dodge van, raised roof, only 43,000 miles. Good outside, nice and clean inside, MUCH better lift than the old van, everything in order under the hood. It took a few tries to start it, but it had been sitting a long time in a farm shed.

The lift, fully automatic

See how it folds up on itself so you can use the door when the lift is not in use?
(This picture was taken from the driver's seat looking out the middle side door.)

So Barry and I talked and prayed about it and decided what we thought our spending limit should be, and the plan was made. To be honest, we are auction illiterates! But we would bid on the van and see what happened! The auction day was very cold, so Coral and I stayed home, and Barry, Trent, and Curt went to do their best. At the auction, they met Gary, a friend of Curt's, and what a wonderful friend he turned out to be! He knows all about auctions, knew the auctioneers, and was right at home.

My phone rang, and it was Barry. "Gary looked at the van, too, and he thinks it might go for more than what we decided we should spend. What do you think?" Well, I thought Gary was right; it really could go for way more than that and still be cheaper than other vans we had seen. So I said, "I really hate to change the amount that seemed right... but do what you think is best."

Waiting, waiting...then Trent sent me a text: The van is coming up for bid. Unknown to me, Gary had offered to do the bidding for us, and I can just imagine what a relief that was for Barry! Meanwhile back home, I was praying... Lord, you know how much we need a van and how limited we are on how much we can pay. We have asked You to supply for us, so if you want us to have the van, please make everyone else stop bidding!

Another text from Trent: WE GOT THE VAN!! I admit it. I burst into tears, right in my office! Thank you, God! Then I texted Trent: How much did we have to pay? And he said: $7500! Wow! Under our limit! It was such a miracle! When I was sure the van was ours and that they were almost home, I told Coral, "Guess what? Dad and Trent went today and they got us a new van!" Understanding grew slowly in her face, and then she nearly popped her wheelchair seatbelt with excitement. Up they drove in the dark, and Coral and I rushed out to take our first look!

When we could settle down, Barry told me about how amazing it had been to have Gary's help and expertise on the bidding, and I believe God used him to bless us! Just like He used Curt to start the blessing going and to help us all the way along.

The next day, Barry called the lift company that had installed it in the van in 2006 and asked what it would be worth. Guess what they said! "If we were to install that same lift in your van today, it would cost $7600." So, if you boil it all down, we bought the lift and got paid $100 to take the van along with it!

And this is our Christmas miracle!


March 10, 2011

One year later...

I decided that, in honor of Barry's surgery, I should post a one-year follow-up. So here goes...

  • The Workers Comp doctor (bless him!) had had surgery himself with excellent results, and so he referred Barry to that very same orthopedic surgeon (bless him, too!)
  • "You are getting the surgery for all the right reasons." (What the doc said when he found out that Barry wanted to have his shoulder fixed so he would be able to help me again with Coral's care.)
  • One of our friends spent a year rehabbing his shoulder, so we were dreading this. But the surgeon told Barry that if he fixed the shoulder and Barry was not back to normal in less than 6 months, he would retire.
  • Bright and early one morning, off we went to the beautiful surgery center across the street from the hospital (good location, just in case!)

  • It is hard to settle your thoughts down while your husband is in surgery.
  • What you don't want to hear after you have spent hours in the waiting room: "Your husband is not coming out of the anesthetic as quickly as we had expected."
  • Thank God for the wonderful recovery room nurse who knew everything would be okay!
And then:
  • Home again. Hubby is a very good patient. The minute he could do things for himself, he did them. He even quickly figured out how to get out of the recliner (which normally needs his right hand to operate the lever) so that he would not need to get me to do it.
  • It is a strange sensation to pull and pull and pull on the long tube inside the surgery site in order to remove the empty pain pump. It feels like you are pulling out a long worm...
  • The most amazing thing! After the pain pump ran out of juice, no pain! The surgery nurse, who had lots of experience behind her, had told us, "This will be 10 out of 10 pain!" Never had to use the narcotic prescription or any over-the counters, either!
  • Weeks of therapy -- very successful because Barry did everything his therapists told him to do and worked hard.
If you go over to that surgeon's office today, you will see that he is still in business! His office walls are covered with pictures and letters from very grateful patients. And we know why! In less than 6 months, Barry's shoulder was truly back to normal, and he was back at work with no limitations.

I had to laugh one day after Barry's right shoulder was all healed up. I saw him moving his left arm all around with a very dissatisfied look on his face. I was a little worried until he said, "Now this other shoulder doesn't feel right! Something in there is popping when I move it!" Nothing like comparing the good with the better to make the good feel bad!


March 12, 2010


It is so easy to be afraid.

The story in a nutshell...
January 6 -- Barry falls on the ice at work and hurts his shoulder.
January and February -- The doctor sends him to physical therapy to see if it will mend on its own. He makes progress, but not enough. Doctor schedules an MRI.
March 8 -- Doctor says MRI confirms a full-thickness tear of the distal supraspinatus tendon. He will need surgery and is referred to an orthopedic surgeon.
March 9 -- Barry picks up the MRI films from the radiologist to give to the orthopedic surgeon, since that doc prefers to get the films and not a CD. Enclosed with them is the printed copy of the radiology report. Snoopy me, I dig it out and read it. I discover that there is also a partial tear of another tendon the doc said nothing about. I am also chagrined to see that the insurance doc also did not mention that the radiologist saw a "heterogeneous marrow lesion" in the upper arm bone that he thought needed to be checked out further with x-rays. He even said that a "marrow infiltrative neoplasm" could not be ruled out by what he could see on the MRI...
March 10 -- Barry gets a set of x-rays of his upper arm (at the radiology office recommended by our chiropractor), and he leaves the MRI films so the radiology doc there can compare the two and assess the problem. He brings the x-rays home on CD which my computer obligingly opens up for me... Yes, we can see what they are talking about--a wispy whiter area inside the upper bone just below the shoulder joint.
March 11 -- No news.

So today I was waiting.

Barry left for a very early meeting this morning. Coral stays home on Fridays, so she was still in bed. I was whisking around the house, full of anxious energy, wishing we would hear something before the weekend. The phone rang. The radiology office. They had sent the report to our chiropractor...

For some reason, the kitchen sink is one of my thinking places, and as I worked on the dishes, a familiar verse kept surfacing. I often repeat this verse, so the fact that I thought of it today was no surprise. "When I am afraid, I will trust in you." (Ps 56:3) A sort of statement. An act of the will. A decision today.

But then my conversation with God continued. Me talking, Him listening. I think He is used to that. I tend to talk more than I listen, not often a good thing! I told him how many things in my world scare me. I am afraid of pain, afraid of losing my loved ones, afraid for Coral's future, afraid of suffering... afraid of things that happen and things that might happen...

Quick as a flash, I stopped talking and listened, because He answered me! Not an answer I was searching for or thinking up. One that came and interrupted me. "Don't be afraid! I have overcome the world!" (I looked it up--Jn 16:33)

Worship is not just for Sunday mornings!

I called the chiropractor's office and wanted to make an appointment. He said he could talk to Barry over the phone. Over the PHONE?? So when Barry came home, he called. It is a benign tumor, not attached to anything, just there. And it appears to have been there for some time. We just have not had a reason to know about it.

"In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart!
I have overcome the world."

--John 16:33