Monday, July 31, 2017

Strength in Weakness

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."  - 2 Corinthians 12:9

I used to be ashamed of my weakness, to mask my struggles with a happy face.  I thought putting on a brave face was the best way to make sure my burdens were only shouldered by me.  No one else needed to be weighed down by them.  They were mine to bear, mine alone.  

Except they weren't.

They aren't.  They're too much for me, even now.  

I am weak, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.  

Weakness is not bad.  Weakness is normal.  Weakness is being human - at least, in this fallen world, it is.  In the next life, when we are perfect, our weaknesses will be no more.  But for now, they are present.  

And God's grace is enough to see us through all the weaknesses we have. 

Truth be told, I've been feeling particularly weak lately.  The past few months that I've been struggling with my blood sugars have been really weighing me down.  Between feeling like I've been failing to take care of myself and struggling to stay on top of all of my other responsibilities, I've realized just how hard I've been on myself.  

I blamed myself when my blood sugars roller-coastered out of control - but it wasn't my fault.  It wasn't my fault that my thyroid prescription was changed, and ultimately skewed my hard work.  

I'm so blessed to have a husband who is willing to share my burdens, and can see things about me that I can't see.  Last night when I was feeling particularly down, he reminded me of what my holistic doctor said at my last visit when he was going over my thyroid results.  He said, "I'm surprised that you're still awake and functioning with lab results like these.  It's a testament to how strong you are."

Strong?  I've been feeling like a failure, and yet somehow I'm being called strong.  
Because I pushed through when my body wasn't functioning right?  
Because I have stuck to my guns, I've got grit?  
Because I haven't stopped eating low carb, even though I'm discouraged and feel like I'm on a low carb roller coaster?
Because I haven't given up on taking care of myself, even though it feels like I still can't get things right sometimes?

Strength isn't just a matter of physical power.  It's not just about muscles.  It's about determination.  It's about will-power.  It's about spirit.  It's about resolve.  It's about surrendering yourself.  It's about resting in God's grace to get you through when you're too weak to carry on.  It's about not doing things in your own strength, because we are nothing without God.  We can't live, we can't breathe, without Him holding us up.  The only way I see that I've been strong is by trusting in God's power to see me through every moment of every day.  My physical body is broken, weak, barely functioning.  He's the only thing that's been keeping me going.

And I'm okay to be weak if He is my strength.  His strength is the only strength I need.  It is sufficient for me.  More than sufficient.  

Don't be afraid, little lamb.  The Good Shepherd will protect you and guide you beside still waters.  He will comfort you and lead you on paths of righteousness, for His name's sake.  Goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life, and you'll dwell in the house of the Lord forever.   

Monday, July 24, 2017

Lemon Butter Tuna Steaks

Last night's dinner was so good (minus the high overnight blood sugars!).  We had tuna steaks marinated in butter and lemon juice, with a side of cheesy broccoli.  Even hubby liked the tuna!

I made a pound of tuna steaks (1/3 pound each) sprinkled with onion powder, garlic powder, and dill weed, with 2 tbsp Kerrygold unsalted butter and 1.5 - 2 cups of lemon juice.  I baked them in a glass Pyrex dish at 400 F for 35 minutes.  They came out perfect! 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Getting More Answers

As y'all probably know, I got my thyroid and cholesterol levels back this morning.  My holistic doctor is amazing, and gave me the good news with the bad while also making me feel hopeful.

First things first:  My thyroid.

Apparently in mid-February, after my last appointment with Dr. Goodyear, my pharmacy switched my thyroid meds from Armour Thyroid to the generic brand, NP thyroid.  This seems to have really messed with all of my numbers, as my thyroid levels are now way out of whack, as if my thyroid doesn't even exist!

Reverse T3 came back at 7.5 (Low.  Range = 9-27)
TSH was 43.01 (High.  Range 0.45-4.5)
Free T4 was 0.5 (Low.  Range 0.8-1.8)
Thyroid Peroxidase antibodies were 60 (High - went up a few points.  Range 0-34)
Free T3 was 1.9 (Low.  Range 2.0-4.4)

Dr. Goodyear explained that generic brands are not consistently formulated, meaning that different labs make them with slightly different formulas every time.  He prescribed me a new thyroid medication that hasn't been known to have differences or issues with reliability, Nature Throid.  If my pharmacy tries to give me a generic brand, I'm going to have to make sure to fight them and call Dr. Goodyear.

So, because my thyroid is out of whack, my cholesterol and blood sugars are also out of whack.  Turns out I'm not fighting insulin resistance like I thought, as my LP-IR score came back at < 25 (range < 45).

As far as cholesterol goes, I have high cholesterol but good HDL and Triglycerides.

LDL particle number was 3354 HIGH (range < 1000)
LDL cholesterol, calculated was 322 HIGH (range 0 - 99)
HDL-C was 73 (in range > 40)
Triglycerides was 99 (in range 0 - 149)
Total cholesterol was 415 HIGH (range 100 - 199)
HDL-particle number was 24.9 HIGH (range > 30.5)
Small LDL-particle number was < 90 (range < 527)
LDL size was 22.3 (range > 20.5)
Large VLDL-P was < 0.8 (range = < 2.7)
Large HDL-P was 13.7 (range > 4.8)
HDL size was 10.2 (range > 9.2)

So, for lowering the cholesterol, Dr. Goodyear prescribed a new garlic supplement, as well as Vit K2, red yeast rice, and CoQMax Ubiquinol, along with my other supplements minus biotin.  He also said to eat fish 4x a week, cut back on red meat (beef in particular) and chicken/turkey, and to maybe try to add legumes, peas, and beans.  They are higher in carbs though so I don't know if I'll actually add those to my diet or not.

While I am worried about my cholesterol being so high and the risk of cardiovascular events is now higher than it used to be, he made me feel much better when he said that the cholesterol numbers will come down with a thyroid medication that actually works and these natural and gentle "statin" like supplements.  I should also see my blood sugars return to normal, and that will also help bring down the inflammation that is causing so many issues.

Please keep me in your prayers as I work to turn things around.  I know God's got me and everything under control, but this has been such an uphill battle and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything I have going on.    

Monday, July 17, 2017

Magnesium: The Key to Fighting Insulin Resistance

I made a keto electrolyte drink this week and then a diabetic friend posted this article:

I knew magnesium was an important mineral but I had no idea it affected insulin sensitivity so much, not to mention all the other functions it plays in our bodies!  Magnesium deficiency is often overlooked, and I don't think it's hard to figure out why.  Our modern diet is almost completely devoid of good sources and actually plays a role in depleting our magnesium stores. 

So what is magnesium and why is it so important?

Magnesium is a vital mineral that plays a role in many bodily functions, including:
1.  increasing energy levels
2.  calming nerves
3.  quieting a racing mind and improving sleep
4.  improving digestion and relieving constipation
5.  relieving muscle aches and spasms
6.  regulating potassium and calcium levels
7.  supporting heart health, including blood pressure
8.  preventing migraine headaches
9.  preventing osteoporosis

It is also necessary for the function and manufacture of insulin.  I had no idea that it is responsible for transporting insulin into our cells where it is needed.  In other words, it helps insulin unlock the cells so that glucose can be metabolized.  Magnesium prevents the cells from becoming insulin resistant!

I seem to be struggling with a little bit of insulin resistance every now and then, especially at different times of the month.  Now that I've started adding this keto electrolyte drink to my diet, I am curious to see how much it helps my struggle with higher blood sugars during times of insulin resistance due to hormones.  I certainly feel more relaxed when drinking the KED (keto electrolyte drink) but I will keep an eye on the rest of my health and see where else I notice changes.


Tomorrow I get the results of my thyroid and cholesterol lab work back.  I'll be sure to update here when I know more!   

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Keto Electrolyte Drink

I used this recipe as the base.

6 cups filtered water
The juice of one lemon
1/2 tsp NOW potassium chloride
1/4 tsp Olde Thompson Himalayan pink salt
3 tsp Natural Calm magnesium supplement, Cherry flavor
2 tbsp Pyure

Mix all ingredients together.  Drink throughout the day.

I pour the drink into 3 - 18 fl. oz. Bai bottles (after I've already had one to drink) and store them in the fridge.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

When Broken Becomes Beautiful

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes 21 years ago.  
Less than 10% of the American population with diabetes has been diagnosed with Type 1.  
The remaining 90% have Type 2.  

It's interesting how much I've learned in the past year alone about Type 1.  I knew that in Type 1, the pancreas doesn't produce insulin because its insulin-producing beta cells are attacked.  I should've stopped to wonder: if there are beta cells, aren't there alpha cells too?  But this thought never crossed my mind.  As it turns out, there are alpha cells in the pancreas, and they are responsible for producing glucagon, the hormone that helps raise blood sugar when it gets too low.  So, in a nutshell, alpha cells produce glucagon to raise blood sugar and beta cells produce insulin to lower blood sugar.  Together, when in good working order, they keep blood sugars regulated in the normal range.  

In a Type 1 Diabetic, however, the beta cells no longer function and blood sugar levels rise because there's no insulin being made to lower them.  Alpha cells are left untouched and continue to produce glucagon, despite the lack of insulin to bring the blood sugar back down.  This is why Type 1 Diabetics need to inject basal and bolus insulin 24/7/365.  Glucagon produced by the alpha cells combined with carbs and fats and proteins and stress and hormones equals high blood sugars.  Diabetics essentially have to become their own pancreas.

In my 21 years on this diabetes journey, I have learned more about my condition than I ever dreamed possible.  I've gone from an angry, bitter little girl to a passionate, empowered young woman.  Health was the last thing I thought I wanted to pursue.  Now it's at the forefront of my endeavors.  It's been a hard journey with ups and downs, successes and failures, hits and misses.  It's a journey I'm immensely grateful to be on.  It has shaped my views and beliefs, as well as my understanding of myself, my purpose, and the Lord.  Above all, it has helped me grow into the woman I am today.

The future seemed pretty bleak, empty, and hopeless for years on end.  When God in His loving-kindness and mercy reached out and turned me around, I saw the beauty in my broken body.  What I once considered a curse I now see as a blessing.  It is through our trials, our hardships, and our experiences that we are best able to reach others who are struggling just as we are.  Empathy and compassion flow more freely through our veins.  Hearts and lives are touched by people who take the time to stop, listen, and relate.  

 Broken bodies are not worthless.  They are not useless.  They are not ugly.
They are in fact the most valuable, useful, and beautiful vessels.  They have toiled, struggled, and suffered.  They have been put through the fire of testing and come out the other side stronger than before.  Aren't those the kinds of stories we all root for: the overcoming underdog?  The weak who rise to the occasion, despite all odds, and emerge victorious?  Those are the feel-good stories we all love.  We cheer for them, urge them on, and feel for them because, at the end of the day, we are all underdogs.  We all have our own struggles to overcome.  We all have beauty waiting for us on the other side.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

How insulin is supposed to work - low carb all the way!

This is how insulin is supposed to work - best seen on a low carb diet.

At noon, I had my usual breakfast:  a cinnamon swirl mug muffin topped with Pyure-sweetened almond milk yogurt and a coconut Bai drink.  I bolused 1 unit of Apidra for 10 grams of carbs.  My blood sugar before eating was 90.  Upon testing 2.5 hours later, at 2:24pm, it was still 90!  Gorgeous lines like this are what I want!