Me, the fairies, and the bullies who pop bubbles

11 Feb

OK darlings, so here’s the post that was eaten not once but TWICE yesterday. Grrr.

I saw the doctor to get the results of the tests I’d had done.

First, the results of the ECG at the weird place weren’t in. She rang them for the results, then gave them a bit of a serve for not sending them through in time. They were NORMAL. As expected. No real surprises there.

Then, the blood tests.

“That’s right,” she said. “Yours were weird.”

I didn’t ask good weird or bad weird. I don’t think there really is “good weird” on blood tests. (Congratulations! You’re really … a PUPPY! doesn’t quite cut it)

When you eat, your body produces insulin and the insulin beats up the glucose. Or something. I’m a big vague about that bit, but I like to think of insulin as the scary bullies popping all the happy little glucose bubbles. Something like that, anyway. So about an hour after you eat, you hit your peak of glucose and insulin dancing their special tango in your blood, and then it drops off again. Bell curve. Simple.

Or maybe not so simple.

My glucose reading at the start (after fasting for 12 hours or so) was a very respectable figure. Shows that I’m not diabetic, everything was normal. Ditto one hour after the Nasty Glucose Drink (NGD), when it got to 8.8 (permissible range 3.6 – 11.0). But two hours after the NGD, it was still at 8.6 instead of having dropped to between 3.6 – 7.7. That’s bad, and shows Impaired Glucose Tolerance. (A reading of over 11 at that point would be an indicator for diabetes).

Hmmmm, said Dr A, when she read this at first … I wonder why that is happening … and then she turned the page.

There is something very, very wrong with my insulin levels.

Fasting, I started at 19.6 uU/mL, where the expected value is <17. So that’s a high reading.

After 60 minutes, it’s meant to increase to between 46-102. Mine was 139.2. Ooops.

And then it starts to go down again, and drop to 23-59. Right? Wrong! My insulin fairies don’t want to go away, thankyou very much, they want to have an OMGPARTYINMYBLOODSTREAM.

Dr A: “I’ve actually never SEEN a reading this high.” – it was 250.8

The interesting question is what happens next – because the test stopped after 2 hours, but my insulin levels may have continued to go up. In fact, my guess is that they peaked about 1h40 after the test, because that is when I seriously thought that I was going to just pass out.

So what does this mean?

First, it explains a LOT. See, when you are trying to lose or manage your weight, one of the first things they tell you is that you have to eat small amounts, often, to balance your intake over the day. But what that does to me is it ensures that my insulin fairies pull out all the stops all day. And explains why I tend to be a chain eater – where I eat to stay awake/focussed, then have to eat again after 90 minutes or so.

Second, it explains side effecty things like the fluid retention.

And third, it explains why I FAIL every time I try to lose weight. (There is some frustration here – I am not exactly reticent about getting help but despite that have spent the last 20 years or so stacking on weight. Well, maybe 18. If they had found this sooner, they could have started to treat it sooner. Sigh.)

So, even though it is always bad to know that something is very wrong with your body, it is kind of good to know WHAT is wrong. Especially because that can lead to treatment.

She’s started me on a drug to reduce my insulin levels. Very small amounts at the moment, to be increased when I see her in a month. Apparently a common side-effect is nausea, and that can be managed/reduced by introducing it gradually.

But most of all, she’s put me on a low-GI diet. STRICTLY a low-GI diet. OMG. (“except birthdays” – yay). My instructions are: no white bread; for a treat, basmati rice or pasta once a week; no more than 1-2 slices of low-GI bread a day; no bananas; go for protein over carbs. (I am weeping for my white bread, although the low-GI muesli and fruit bread I had for brekky was pretty good). I bought a low-GI book this morning on the way to work, to learn what I need to do.

And the other thing? Three meals a day. STRICTLY three meals a day. No snacks, ever. Otherwise the Insulin fairies will come to call. I didn’t even ask whether I was allowed to have peppermint tea – I am only having water between meals. I’m allowed to have a treat (she kept saying, “You’re not diabetic”), but it has to be WITH my meal – no waiting around to digest. (This is actually pretty hard right now – I am so used to snacking all the time, only eating 3x a day is a challenge) 

I have to check my blood sugar every morning, because the drug may lower that too much. Eeeeeewwwwww needles (OK, teeny tiny pinprick … but still …)

But the hardest thing will be the no white bread for Sunday lunch. Which possibly explains why I tend to pass out on Sunday afternoons …

OK, I lie. The hardest thing really? No snacks at game night 😦


Posted by on February 11, 2009 in health


7 responses to “Me, the fairies, and the bullies who pop bubbles

  1. Friendless

    February 11, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    My birthday is July 11. You’re welcome to go your hardest on that day. I think all your friends can contribute a birthday where you can splurge…

  2. melissainau

    February 11, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Hot damn! That works for me 🙂

    Seriously, though: I’ll splurge this weekend (yay baba ghannouj), but otherwise am trying to really stick religiously to what she said, so we can see what sort of result we’ve got in the first month.

    One day down … 🙂

  3. kevin wood

    February 12, 2009 at 1:40 am

    Man, that sounds quite scary! I’m glad that the issue has been identified, though. Best of luck getting it under control. And I’m SO sorry that bread has become illegal. That’s very unfortunate.

  4. Fenchurch

    February 12, 2009 at 5:33 am

    Wow… I’m so glad they finally figured out what’s wrong, but that really is going to be a tough change! I suspect, though, that if it’s what your body needs to function properly, you’ll eventually find that you fall into the changes pretty easily… it’ll just be a matter of getting your brain to catch up to what your body wants.

  5. melissainau

    February 12, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Thanks, Kevin and Fen. It really is a tough change.

    A funny point, though, is that I was considering hypnotherapy to stop me snacking (the only thing left to blame for continuing weight gain, or so I thought). As Fraser said: Maybe all you needed was an authority figure to tell you to stop!

  6. Fattyboombas

    February 13, 2009 at 1:58 am

    Wow, that is hard. Was the Dr able to put you in contact with anyone else who has this? It would be nice to have someone to bitch to who lives in the same way.

  7. guenny

    February 13, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Oh, sweetie! *hugs*

    At least you now know… and can save up for my birthday next year? We’ll talk more about it later, I’m sure


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