An ambulance rushed me to hospital last November – I couldn’t breathe.
The paramedics couldn’t treat me with anything other than oxygen – my heart was beating far too fast.
In hospital I was awarded the whole battery of tests – blood, mucus, chest, snot, throat, ear, heart – if they could test it they did. While I coughed and coughed until I was sick and struggled to breathe and my heart raced and raced.
I was sent home the next day with a diagnosis of a pneumonia infection, some hardcore antibiotics and ordered to stay in bed for at least a week and do nothing – absolutely nothing.
And my heart raced on.
How on earth do you do nothing when you have 3 kids: one of whom is a toddler and one of whom is grieving her friend’s suicide and struggling after being bullied and the other one is just settling into university?
I tried to relax and get well, I really did.
A week or so later I visited my GP for the post hospital check-up.
I was still coughing but had a bit more breath in me. My GP tested my heart rate and was instantly worried.
So once again I faced another battery of blood tests.
A week later I was back:
My bloods weren’t very good. My thyroid was low (6.8 TSH), my folate was really low and my insulin was through the roof. My bad cholesterol was too high, my blood sugar, however, was ok.
I was given the tentative diagnosis of insulin resistance and rewarded with yet another round of blood tests in a month.
January showed my thyroid to still be low at 4.8, my cholesterol was still too high and my insulin way, way too high.
A firm diagnosis of insulin resistance was handed down to me by my GP with advice on how to make the changes that would prevent me becoming type 2 diabetic in the next few years and lower my cholesterol.
My thyroid would continue to be tested and we would decide about treatment of that after later test results.
And I was quite absolutely devastated. Why couldn’t I have something wrong with me that could be fixed with medication? Why do I have to have an illness that can only be fixed with diet and exercise?
Insulin resistance is often called pre-diabetes as it’s the precursor, or warning system, that unless you change your diet and lifestyle you’ll become type 2 diabetice.
Type 2 diabetes is controlled by food and sometimes tablets. Type 1 diabetes is controlled by insulin injections.
The best way to treat insulin resistance is with a Low GI diet together with low fat food for the high cholesterol.
It’s not a quick fix diet though it’s a diet for life – a forever lifestyle change.
It took me a couple of weeks to understand low Glycemic Index eating but very basically it entails:
- Eating low GI carbs, protein and either veg, salad or fruit at every meal with carbs being the smallest portion on your plate.
- Low GI carbs are brown carbohydrates eg brown basmati rice, wholegrain pasta, sweet potatoes, etc.
- Cut out ALL sugar from your diet
- And exercise. It doesn’t have to be a lot it just needs to be more than you were doing.
Three Months after Lifestyle Change Implementation
I went back to my GP last week and got the results of my latest thyroid test.
My thyroid (TSH) is down to 2.4.
And I’ve lost a stone and a half in just 3 months without really trying to lose weight!
I knew I was doing it right because as the weeks went on I began to feel better and better almost daily. But I’d no idea how much weight I’d lost cos I stopped weighing myself in week one when I stood on the scales and saw that I’d put on 4lbs!
I do have to be honest it wasn’t all perfect: I felt great in week one but the sugar withdrawal in week two was horrendous. I had stomach cramps, crippling headaches and constipation. I thought I had a terrible bug. But it went as soon after a few days.
Now I sleep well (I have no blood sugar spikes at night because my insulin and blood sugar is balanced throughout the day), I have no diarrhoea, I’ve lost weight but not only that my once pregnant looking belly has flattened out. The hot flushes have gone and I’m back to the old self who felt cold all the time!
I can be busy all day and not feel tired. I’ve started exercising and gardening. I could barely move off the couch 4 months ago.
My brain fog has lifted (slowly) and my mind is beginning to feel like it did 10 years ago before I began putting weight on. And I can remember words – I don’t tell teengirl to put her dirty washing in the microwave anymore!
Unbelievably my PMT has almost totally gone as have the migraines that plagued me at the time of the month.
My mood has lightened and I feel happier than I’ve done in years.
For several years I’ve said that I lost myself somewhere and didn’t know how to find me again.
Well it seems a forced lifestyle change has found re-found me – I was being drowned in insulin.
Symptoms of Insulin Resistance
Putting on weight with no diet changes
Carry weight on your stomach
Crave carbohydrates and sugary snacks
Wake up tired
Hot flushes (you might not be menopausal you might be insulin resistant)
Can’t think straight
Lack of motivation
General exhaustion of mind and body
Prior to getting ill
Prior to being hospitalised I’d been to my GP (various different ones in the practice) with most of the above symptoms. I’d been sent away with anti-depressants, told I was stressed, diagnosed as ‘probably intolerant to gluten’ without any blood tests, refused blood tests because I was just stressed or depressed.
It took me 7 years, an ambulance to hospital and a racing heart to get diagnosed.
Have you ever had your insulin tested by your GP? I don’t I’ve ever had mind tested before. My blood sugar (for diabetes) had been but when you’re insulin resistant your blood sugar is often normal, it’s the too high insulin that’s the warning system, that can, if addressed, prevent us from becoming diabetic.
Have you ever been to your GP repeatedly with the same symptoms as I had and got nothing, or nowhere? Been told you’re depressed or stressed when you know there’s more to it than that but nobody’ll listen? I’m feeling a bit rubbish at not forcing the other GP’s to do tests and a bit regretful that despite knowing something wasn’t right I took their crap diagnosis’ and lived half a life for the past 7 years. Please tell me I’m not alone…