Monday, 6 December 2021

Chronic Illnesses Hunt in Packs

 It's been a while.

Let me tell you what's been going on.

A while back I was diagnosed with diabetes. I'd been told I had it before, but persuaded the GP to let me try and manage it with diet alone.

It's got to the stage where medication was necessary.

The standard first up treatment for type 2 diabetes is a drug called metformin.

I've been on so many medications for lupus, some of which took a while to get used to, that I thought I could handle anything.

Metformin was rough.  I started on a low dose and very slowly increased it.  It was working, but I just wasn't handling the side effects.  Specifically I had diarrhoea  for four months.  You could say I had a really crappy time. I also found food just didn't taste right.

Eventually I told the doctor I just couldn't handle it any more.  She put metformin on my allergies list so no other doctors at the practice try to put me back on it again.

The diarrhoea settled after a couple of days, but food still doesn't taste right.

Now I'm taking empagliflozin. I have no idea how that's supposed to be pronounced.  So far, it isn't keeping my blood sugar quite as low as the metformin did, but still in the safe range.  This is also supposed to have side effects: one I'm hoping to get is weight loss.  Because it makes the body excrete excess sugar through urine, it does have a risk of kidney and urinary tract infections, so I've been advised to keep my fluids up.

I am starting to feel a bit more confident about managing diabetes.

It's scary getting a diagnosis of another chronic illness on top of the one I already had.  Sadly, lots of lupies have other chronic illnesses as well as their lupus.  It seems that chronic illnesses like to hunt in packs.

If there's a silver lining, it's that managing one chronic illness can teach us lessons that help us when another one attacks us as well. I already had a routine for taking medication - a habit that at set times of the day, I will go to my pill sorter and take the required meds, that ingrained habit didn't need to be learned. I already had my medication listed out in a way that makes it easy to sort my week's pills, and it doesn't take much to add an extra medication to the list, which then means I automatically add it to the pill sorter.  I already had a system in place for ordering medication from the pharmacy, so I have it in time for sorting my week's pills. I already had a diet designed around lupus and, with help from a dietician, it only needed a couple of tweaks to make it suitable for diabetes too. I already knew what exercise I can do safely, and what my limits are before a little bit of a good thing becomes a lot of a very bad thing (lupies who've caused a flair by overdoing activity know what I'm talking about). 

Most of all, I already learned a chronic illness diagnosis isn't the end of the world. I adapted to lupus. I can adapt to this. 

How are your Christmas preparations going? Written your letter to Santa yet?

Here's my dog Fanta's letter to Santa, from my book Poetic Pets.

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