Category Archives: disease

Physical, Mystical very Diabetical

2004 or thereabouts  I just wasn’t feeling well, overweight, uncomfortable, sluggish not bad, but just not well.   I had taken a fasting glucose test a couple of times where they make you drink that fake nasty wannabe Fanta drink and my doctor determined I was borderline diabetic and had “insulin resistance” or some nonsense.  Well on that last fasting test I crossed on over into Type 2 Diabetes land.  My doctor gave me a prescription for Metformin, a diet book from the American Diabetes Association and sent me on my way.

Anyone diagnosed with diabetes in the early 2000s had to have gotten the book.  It was a colorful little book with pictures of fresh veggies and such and a meal plan with suggested foods. The calories were limited (I think) to about 1200-1500 per day.  Needless to say, the way I was eating at the time, I lasted all of three days on that diet. First of all it was low-carb and no sweets which are of course my favorite things. THEN this plan recommended nasty food like cottage cheese. BLEH, who eats that?  I couldn’t do it.  I went into full scale rebellion mode, eating all the food, all the snacks and drinking all the pop.  Of course doing so for the next two years only made matters worse.

I was having WILD swings in my blood glucose.  I would spike up to 280-300 and drop down into the mid 50s.  The lows were really scary because I would start sweating and shaking and being all panicky as is wasn’t helping. My diet was trash and I knew it but was it THAT trash?  I went back to the doctor, told him about the wild swings and you know what he did? He gave me some more medicine.  This time a shot that I had to administer every day right into my fat stomach. That was 2006.  The medicine worked I was still eating whatever I wanted but I wasn’t having all the wild swings anymore.  Byetta was a life saver, a least for the moment.Byetta-2

I started a new job in 2007.  I recall going into the restroom at the job, every morning, listening to make sure no one was coming so I could expose my stomach and shoot up.  I wasn’t good enough at it where I could just look down and handle my business within the confines of a stall, I needed a mirror.  I felt better but NEEDING to do this every day sucked and I very much wanted to not need it anymore.  That same year a member of the management team at my job passed away suddenly.  He was only 3 years older than me at the time. Not only did the entire office mourn is passing, but I was scared sh***ess.  I went to my new doctor at the time, an absolutely awesome lady doc who kept it 100 at all times and told her I didn’t want to take any of those meds anymore. She said getting off the medication required getting the weight off. I complied and have been Diabetes drug free since then.

That’s the long and short of how I became Type 2.  Do I do right all the time? Nope, my struggles are well documented, but I do the best I can most of the time and when things start getting out of hand, my body and my doctor of the last 4 years, Dr Diva,  let me know and I get back on track in.   Diabetes is nothing to play with, complications can be severe, however with proper management you can still live your best life.

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#thisisdiabetes

What about you?  Are you Diabetic?  Want to tell you story?  Hit me up in the comments or in the usual spaces.  I’d love to have you do a guest post here on Powered By Soul sharing how you live your best life with Diabetes.

Until next time, see you at the grocery store, where hopefully you’ll see me reaching for broccoli, instead of Tostitos.Snacks-2

Photos: Meds, Web MD; all others, MsThorns

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Big Mama, Medicine Woman

I am now my mother.

Way back during the times that dinosaurs roamed the earth I was a teen living in the home of my mother and father. In one house (my fave), was a nice sized kitchen. Open, eat-in style with plenty of cabinet space and a walk in pantry. The upper cabinet closest to the pantry housed the family pharmacy. In it were all the prescription meds, otcs and vitamins. We certainly had medicine cabinets I just don’t recall medicine being in them. The kitchen was it and looking back it makes sense because the kitchen is where the beverages were and required for taking meds, unless you’re a person with snake-like tendencies swallowing pills whole without water. None of us are snakes.

I am now my mother.

Around age 37 or so the proverbial poo hit the fan. I thought I was having a heart attack, madamoiselle drama queen called the nurse advice line who told me to call an ambulance and go the hospital. Now EMTs weren’t an unusual site in my townhouse community as there were a few neighbors who were seniors. I was NOT a senior and was getting hauled off to what later became a more frequent hangout spot, Northside Hospital.

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I was a big lady, am now too but even bigger then. I tell them I’m having chest pains and can’t breathe and these fools put my big butt on a treadmill on INCLINE. They kept speeding it up until I was running. Then they looked at me crazy because I was running. I’m like, “don’t get it twisted I’m a 200 lb cardio queen.” But I digress, they finished the stress test, told me my heart was fine and that I was having an asthma attack.

Whaaaaat??

They used to say that you “outgrow” asthma. Those famous theys lied. I’d gone 20 years without problems but the greenery of the metro and the smog had me jacked up. After painful allergy tests, allergy shots which I still get, Ct scans (just had one last week) and alllllllll the meds I’ve become my mother, the lady with the kitchen medicine cabinet except my kitchen is far less spacious and said meds are kept In a basket. Most of the basket is filled with vitamins, however meds are ever present to handle all of my various maladies. Do I like it? Nah. Are there alternatives? Yeah sure, just haven’t found anything that doesn’t cause HIVES. So for now, I do what is required in order to keep all my fluffiness upright and above ground.

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What about you? When was the moment that you became your mom/dad/grandmam? Let me know in the comments or the usual places. Until next time, see you in the vitamin aisle or the pharmacy where I’ll be trying to maintain.

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I Love It When They Call Me Big Mama

Things going on with my peepers. Not anything I haven’t seen before, but particularly noticeable and troublesome this go round. I see my doctor who sends me to the ophthalmologist who happens to be located in West Hell, I do what she says though.

The doctor tells me what I already know since I’ve had the condition several times over the years. However, instead of waiting on things to return to normal he decides to treat it more aggressively (my words) and prescribes a little white pill.

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This is prednisone and it is the devil.

I’ve been on it before for asthma and allergies but not for any period longer than two weeks and it always has been beneficial in short courses, bronchial inflammation, gone, eczema gone, etc.  I have experienced those benefits this time as well a few undesirable side effects like bruising easily, thinned skin  and unfortunately the SWOLE look I’m rocking that has nothing to do with pumping iron.  My weight, bless the LAWD, has been up and down the same 4 pounds as long as I’ve been on it, but my cheekbones? Where dey at? My stomach, already hefty, now putting all zipper, buttons and waistbands to the test.

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Now let’s be clear i’m not feeling sorry for myself, this is only a RANT.  I’m feeling better for sure, looking? Not so much and I do CARE.  Prednisone is a highly prescribed drug, used for a NUMBER of health conditions and for some it is good, it’s been good for me, it’s just the extra fluff that I can really do without.

What about you? Have you been prescribed something that didn’t have life threatening side effects, but perhaps impacted your performance, appearance or proved to be an obstacle in parts of you life?  Let me know in the  comments and the regular spots.

Until next time, see you at the gym, where maybe I’ll be back to my usual fluffy self.

Photos: MsThorns
Video: The Notorious B.I.G., Warner Bros

What Do I Do With That? Yoga Socks

By mid-March here in Georgia, winter is just about over. Sure, there are a few nippy days here and there but it’s more warm than cold, more rain and wind than snow and ice.  Though all of the cold stuff is pretty much behind, the effects of winter remain like pale skin and in my case ASHY skin. I’m dry, allergic and eczema prone anyway so I figured that what I was seeing was a case of overuse and dryness on my feet. I was dead wrong, my feet had been done in by:

MY YOGA MAT!!!!

You see I’d stopped cleaning it as much because my hands had begun slipping during practice and I assumed that all that cleaning rubbed off “the sticky”.  The result of that no cleaning schedule ended up on my feet, which meant yet another trip to the doctor and night and day use of:

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EEEEWWWWWWWW!!!!!! Mind you I’d never had this in my 48 years, neverrrrrrrr and I get it from a friggin yoga mat, my own mat at home? Well yes, it happens. Even though I wasn’t in a studio using a communal mat, I was rolling up my sweat and dirt everyday into the mat and that fungus just thrives on it.  I wasn’t about to stop practicing though and figured I’d resume my cleaning schedule after every yoga practice and get something to put on my feet.  Enter, yoga socks.  I decided on two different types: IMG_2032To find out how it went down check out the video below and until next time, see you on the yoga mat. Mine will be sanitized, deodorized and ready for action.

Photos/Video: MsThorns

Powered By Soul Spotlight – Sonya Strider

This profile was actually completed at the end of last year, however as scheduling or lack thereof would have it, it’s being published now.  We’re three weeks into the new year and I’m guessing that some of our eat better, exercise more, lose weight resolutions/intentions/goals may have fallen by the wayside.  Here’s hoping that this young lady will help you get back on the wagon.

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I met Sonya, or should I say Sonya pranced (yeah you should see her walk) into my life 5 years or so ago at a sorority party. She’s an all eyes and all ears on her type of woman, not that she demands it, folks her just drawn to HER.  I was one of the moths drawn to her flame and she has been my GURRRLLLL ever since. She is a brainiac scientist, fashionista and the best friend an old broad could have, introducing my partner in crime and Soror Foxy Brown, er Ms. Sonya Strider in her own words.

You are?

Sonya Strider, originally from Norfolk, Virginia, living in Atlanta, GA. I’m 46 and am a Health Scientist at CDC

Tell us about your fitness routine?

I walk/run 4-6 miles at least 4 days a week. I also do soul line dancing 4-6 hours each week and bootcamp 5 times a week.

Do you follow a particular nutrition plan?

I try to put out more than I take in 🙂 I have at least one green smoothie per day and at least one salad.

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How long have you been engaged in your fitness and nutrition plans?

Almost two years.

Do you have a success story/testimony relating to fitness, nutrition or your overall health?

Since beginning racing I’ve gone from a 20 minute mile to my current 13.5 minute mile and have completed 29 5K races and one 10k since November 2013.  I kicked off 2015 with a 4-miler followed by a 12k.  Since losing weight, I have been able to discontinue blood pressure medication and reduce the amount of insulin that I take daily.

What keeps you motivated to continue your healthy lifestyle?

The hopes of living a long healthy life, without diabetic complications. Of course being able to wear clothes that don’t end in “W” is a huge motivator too..:-)

Your motto or personal philosophy?

Each new day is another chance to get it right.

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Whew, did you get all that? If that doesn’t motivate you Powered by Soul will keep trying. In the meantime, many thanks to Sonya for sharing her story and being an inspiration to hopefully get you (and me) back on the stick.

If you or someone you know would like to be featured in the Spotlight drop a line in the comments, on Twitter or on Google+.

Photos: Sonya Strider, MsThorns

2014 – The Transition

My health and fitness year was all about the transitions taking place in my body.  You may recall:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Cut big toe
  • Titled pelvis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Asthma attack (recent)

and the grandmama of them all peri-menopause. LAWDAMERCY! Yet I’ve been able to recover, adapt and get moving again with the help of some great people, all of which I’m thankful and include:

Dr. Kenyatta Dean – my PCP who ignores every protestation that I have against her recommendations (ORDERS) and doesn’t allow me to use my age to be an excuse for non-compliance.

Dr. Brian D. Neerings – who diagnosed my first foot situation of the year, prescribed proper rehab, no high heels (not ready for that yet) and Superfeet insoles.  I haven’t had anymore plantar fascia nor achilles problems since using Superfeet, I highly recommend them.

The staff of Kaiser Permanente Gwinnett Comprehensive Medical Center Urgent Care – who 1)recommended an herbal supplement to ease the hot flashes (bless GOD); 2)humored me and my big toe and my paranoia; 3)took the first X-rays of my back to narrow down the pain/muscle spasm problem; 4)got me breathing again a few weeks ago during this insane asthma situation.

Mary Maloof at Atlanta Physiotherapy Associates – 20140912_154452This little bitty woman from NJ put me through the paces, I mean she had me SWEATING and would always reel me back in when I was attempting to do stuff that I wasn’t ready for as yet (jacknifes, squats and such). Thanks to her treatment and the prescribed at-home program I was able to avoid anymore dreadful painkiller side effects.

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Jim HamiltonJan Stittleburg and Michele Jackson my Tai Chi and Yoga instructors – There were spaces of time during the year in which all I could do was attend their classes and or practice at home.  They really helped in keeping my mind right.

The Powered by Soul Spotlight Participants for 2014, Charles L. MasonJeffrey WoodsMichael Wilson Jr.Deandra Bryant, Edwin BoatswainKori SmithDamon E. Johnson, – your stories continue to inspire me.

YOU – yes all of you who read, share and comment. Y’all make it worthwhile for ye olde broad to keep writing 🙂

 
Wishing peace and love for you and yours in 2015. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

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Photo(s): MsThorns

RIP – The Turtle 1983-2014

I was cleared for take-off the end of August and had the toe situation.  I did try to run after that healed, only a quarter mile though.  My breath wasn’t labored or anything but my legs felt crazy heavy, probably because they are heavier than they were back in the spring and because I hadn’t done any running.  However when I stopped running, I felt that thing, that tingling from my butt down to the foot and the foot started going numb. I wasn’t ready to run but thought, if I lost about 10 pounds or so, I shouldn’t have any problems, you know the old self-diagnosis. I didn’t try it again though, I wanted to find out from my doctor, how I can approach running again. I had a physical in November, this is how it went down:

Me: Will I be able to run again? I haven’t attempted any running in a couple of months.

Dr: (looks at chart reads aloud) well it says you have severe arthritis between L4 and L5, moderate arthritis between L2 and L3 and degenerative disc disease.

Me: So that means…

Dr: You can run if you want to but if you do, you’ll be one of those that has to have surgery.

(cue: wailing and gnashing of teeth.)

 RIP The Turtle

I was afraid that this was the news I’d receive, given that after physical therapy and medication I’d been relieved of the pain, but it returned instantly during that last running attempt.  I was inconsolable and had already been low-key depressed about not running since July. At any rate that evening I swallowed that bitter pill with some wine and snacks and began to reminisce.

I ran my first 2.65 miles with my father in 1983 at Shady Side Park/Aqua Gardens. He left me of course because that’s what dads do, but it didn’t matter, I fell in love with running anyway.  I didn’t run much during college, only on summer breaks but after graduation into adulthood (yay/boo) I ran everywhere that I lived. Lakeshore Drive in Chicago, the streets of this little suburb called Addison IL, Audubon Park and City Park in . New Orleans the streets of Doraville Georgia and downtown Atlanta and the many fine parks of Gwinnett County where I currently live.  My first race was the Peachtree Road Race in 1995 and subsquently completed 16 of them. I ran for diabetes, alzheimers, AIDS, breast cancer, churches and various charities and I ran just for T-shirts.  One of my bucket list items was to run in all 50 states, I had 44 to go. Yet even with the bucket list and racing, those things were never front of mind because running for me was a matter of health, physical certainly, but mostly mental and most of my running was done alone.

There’s been some solitary miles spent working out problems in my head, grieving and crying and at times experiencing physical pain, but in all those years, the vast majority of the those runs were beautiful. Seeing some amazing birds, playing squirrels, rabbits, turtles frogs, deer all manner of bug and once a few years ago a snake.  I’ve seen everything bloom and die and bloom again. I’ve seen buildings demolished and new ones built and I have looked at the sky and everything around me on many mornings and thought, wow look at God. Given all that, 31 years of it, this transition has not been easy.

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It’s hard sometimes to listen to my friends talk about their training and races and such, it seems that ERRRBODY is running now, but I know that everything has a season. My running season has passed and things are changing, my life, my body and everything around me is changing. I could sit on the sidelines and lament it, and for a while there I did, but now I’m entering a new season. I have no idea what it looks like, but whatever it is, you can believe I’m going for broke.

I don’t know any other way to do it.

Until next time, see you somewhere out there… where I’ll be trying something NEW.

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Photos: MsThorns