Friday, December 13, 2013

Acanthosis Nigricans AKA crappy diabetic skin

I went to the doctor yesterday because I haven't been feeling well. Of course she ordered blood work and believe it or not I just marched myself down to the lab and had it done. All by myself.
This is actually a huge accomplishment for me. I am terrified of needles. I put off getting my blood drawn like some people put off a root canal or doing their taxes. Usually I drag my mom with me. I honestly think I take her with me to make sure I don't flake out, oh and then we usually get breakfast afterwards.

But yesterday my mom wasn't with me. I was all by my lonesome. Well I am an adult and I decided, I can do this. (Never too late to grow up right...I say this yet I am very grown up, I have a husband, a career and two dogs....) And you know what, it was literally the easiest blood draw I've ever experienced. It didn't hurt at all, and it fact I barely felt it. The woman was amazing. Will I continue to do blood draws on my own?  :)  No, if she's free, I'll still drag my mom with me, because then we can go get breakfast afterwards.

The point of this story though is to tell you about my doctor's appointment. Literally everything I complained about my doctor told me was text book examples of poor diabetes control. To name one of my issues...

Acanthosis nigricans

Women's neck with Acanthosis Nigricans
(this is not my neck, but this is an
accurate photo of the condition)
I read on line that the majority of cases of acanthosis nigricans are associated with obesity and is likely because of insulin resistance, and more likely to occur in darker-skinned persons. I find this interesting because yes I have diabetes, but I wouldn't consider myself obese, but this is a reality check because according to my BMI I am obese. Another interesting thing I am not a darker skinned person, in fact I'm one of the palest people you'll meet.
My doctor said there is not direct cure or treatment for this condition however it is reversible after years of good diabetic control. Which is in line with what I read on line, that obesity related acanthosis nigricans will improve with weight loss and controlling blood glucose levels through exercise and diet often improves symptoms.
I have had this skin condition for a few years now. I actually thought for a while it was caused by my necklace, that it must have been poor quality metal. I gave up wearing my necklace for months, but of course it never cleared up. My doctor did proscribe me prescription strength lightening cream but because its a cosmetic prescription I couldn't front the $96 bill for it. (Its Christmas time, I'm beyond broke right now). But there are several makeup companies that sell lightening cream. The difference, over the counter brands contain 2% of the whitening chemical compounds, while prescription creams contain 4%. I think for now I'll try the 2% and see if it helps, in fact, Mary Kay just released a dark spot reducer product for $40.
I'll give this a try and let you know how it works. It won't make my skin perfect I know. But if it could make the skin discoloration a little less noticeable, I'd really appreciate it. It would be nice to wear an updo with my hair again.
Does anyone else have this problem? What do you do to treat it? I guess as a woman I have it a little better. I can cover my neck with my hair. Well know you aren't alone, and its not your fault (unless it is, because like me your blood sugars aren't under control) but at least you know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Get your diabetes in check and this may go away. 




Sunday, May 12, 2013

It's never too late, until it is.

I hate those blogs that apologize for not posting in a long time, but seriously, sorry I haven't posted in a LONG time.

I've been so busy with work and life that I haven't felt much drive or energy to post to the blog.
I think its important though because I can see that people are reading it, and its important for me to stay committed to good diabetic health.

Recently I decided I HAD to get healthy. I had to exercise and lose weight. This sudden desire was triggered by the conclusion of the Biggest Loser Game I played with my friends. One of my friends, who by no means was large when we began the game, lost 24 pounds in three and a half months. WOW. I was so amazed and inspired. How did she do it? Good old fashion exercise and eating right.

If she could do it, I knew I could do it, but unlike her I knew I wouldn't be able to do it on my own. So I bought a few personal training sessions with a trainer at my gym, 24 Hour Fitness.

The first week went great. In addition to exercising with a trainer I was using My Fitness Pal (will have to blog about that in another post, its amazing) and my blood sugars were coming back fantastic.

So why are my hands numb? I have experienced numbness in my hands off and on now for the past couple years. But almost the same time I began exercising my last two fingers in my hand went numb, 24 hours a day.
I said why? Why are my fingers numb?! I just began exercising and taking care of myself! Well after 25+ years of bad blood sugar numbers, it doesn't matter if you suddenly decide to exercise and take care of yourself, the damage is done. High blood sugars cause nerve damage and after years of high blood sugars diabetic neuropathy is likely to be present. Yes there is medication for this, there is medication for everything, but this is a road you don't want to go down. Damage is permanent.

This is my plea to you. If you have diabetes, whether you're newly diagnosed, or have had it for the past 20 years, take care of yourself. Take care of yourself TODAY. Don't wait until its too late to decide to be healthy.

I'll update you on my exercise and numbness.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Rise and Shine for a blood test

Just took my blood before going to bed. I figured it would be really high since we ate spagetti for dinner (carb over load), but it was 197.  Yes I know that is high, but for me, after eating spagetti that is a great blood sugar.

I am concerned about taking too much insulin to correct the high though because I need to get up tomorrow morning and get myself to the lab for a blood test. Since its a fasting blood test I can't eat until after the blood test. This means I have to make sure my blood is stable and not navigating towards a low. I hate getting my blood test done. Its true, I am a diabetic who is severely afraid of needles.
I am a 30 year old adult, but still take my mom with me to get my blood drawn.

Yeah, that's about right. 

On the plus side, we'll probably go out to breakfast afterwards. :)

Wish me luck though. I am hoping for a better A1C than last time I was tested. I know my A1C isn't going to be good, but hopefully its not worse. 2013 is the year to get my health on track so I guess its important to know where I am starting at.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 is going to be a healthy year

In 2001 I graduated from High School (dating myself much?)
In 2004 I got married.
In 2006 I graduated from college.
In 2010 I graduated from law school.
In 2012 I got a law job/career that I wanted.

So in 2013 I'm going to get my health in order.
I have conquered school and career (okay I at least have a career, conquer may not be the right word).
Now it is time to conquer my health.
Unlike school and work, I can't get a certificate, degree or paycheck to show that I'm on the right track with my diabetes, but I can get an A1C test result.

This year one of my top priorities is to focus on my health.
I am going to exercise, eat right, test my blood sugar and improve my A1C. My goal is 6.9.
In order to do this, with the help of my husband I've mapped out an exercise routine.
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I am going to do strength training with dumbbells focusing on my arms.

On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays I am going to do exercise routines that focus on my abs and my core.

Additionally I will be participating in Bikram Yoga (Hot Yoga) because I bought a two month unlimited pass through Groupon,

I will be participating in a Half Marathon Training program through my local Fleet Feet store and exercising at my local 24 Hour Fit. Also one of my law school buddies wants to run weekly with me, and she is in much better shape than me so I'm sure runs with her will kick my butt!

We have beautiful trails along the American River that are perfect for
running, walking and biking.

To improve my food intake my husband and I have decided to eat out a LOT less. This is mainly to save money for many trips and activities we have planned this year, but it should have the added affect of me eating better.

I know this sounds like a lot of build up and something I could easily give up within a few weeks, but I hope plans we've already made will keep me on track with my fitness goals.

I'm already registered in Sacramento's Shamrock Half Marathon in March. And one of my husband's Christmas gifts to me was to pay for the registration for the Disneyland Half Marathon for me which is labor day weekend. I also hope to participate in the Elk Grove Half Marathon in April, Bay To Breakers Half Marathon in San Francisco in May (my birthday weekend actually!) and Nike's Women Half Marathon in San Francisco in October. Oh and don't forget the little runs. LSNC's Valentine Run in February, The Escape from Preston Castle run in September, The American Diabetes Association run in September, and the JDRF run in October.

And for the icing on the cake to keep me on track for my fitness goals: my friends and I are playing a Biggest Loser competition game where the person who loses the highest % of body weight wins a money prize. We have till April for the final weigh in. The possibility of winning that money inspires me to work out and eat right because I could REALLY use that money for all the trips my husband and I have planned this summer.

I've already worked out two days now (and it's only the first!) The other day I did my arm weight training routine and tonight I exercised to a Billy Blanks ab boot camp DVD.

Wish me luck to a healthy new year!