Side effect soup

Last January I got a call about my lab results. Not surprising to me, my new doctor said “You’ve crossed over the line into Type 2 Diabetes. I’m calling in a prescription you should start taking right away.” She said more but that’s about all I remember. I’ve had high and higher results over the last few years, and there’s a family history, several generations even. I had hoped to hold off the diagnosis and keep in control with diet and exercise but that was before I started working at home in front of a computer 8-10 hours per day and across time zones.

I started taking a tablet of Glipizide first thing every day according to instructions, which in retrospect, started the slow spiral downward that I’ve experienced over the last six months. By slow, it was slow, not necessarily noticeable to me but still, it WAS noticeable. I’ve gained nearly 30 pounds since January. That’s on 1500 calories per day watching and counting everything! It was my weight that had me thinking that’s why my joints started aching and then my back ached, and my legs hurt walking. I got leg cramps at night, but also during the day, after activity, or after no activity. It was a morning thing but also an all day thing and an excuse not to move much.

Allergies seemed intense this Spring, making me sneeze “my fool head off,” as my dad would say, and carefully rub my eyelids gently to massage away the soreness and eyeball ache. Sometimes I’d wake up blurry eyed and I’d blame my gooey eyes, or forgetting to take my vitiamins, or being out in the sun, which also made me blotchy red and woozy. I avoided being in the sun or outdoor places with no shade.

Some days the earliest I get myself out of bed is close to 10 a.m. Lately, I’ve made more effort to get to bed early so I can wake up earlier but it’s difficult. I started not promising to meet with clients early, or have projects ready early. I can’t count on being able to wake up most mornings much before 7:30.

Normally I love to write and at the drop of a hat can write about most anything especially if challenged, but my fingers have been silent. It’s even been a chore to e-mail my family. There have been times I come stare at my screen and keyboard and pray for words, yet none come, none I’ve wanted to put together. In fact, words have seemed much more like a vat of alphabet soup, letters or chunks of words, and extremely floaty. When working with data, I usually enter flow state and can stay focused losing track of time and space for all day. Normal, lately, has been confusing. Confusing as in, I have to study what the point is or how to put order to the chaos.

My daily glucose tests were good with my average running about 119. I have had issues with low blood sugar in fact. My 3 month checkup ended up being just labs to check the numbers and I got a phone call saying things looked good. It’s a numbers game, this type 2 Diabetes. Sometimes I think too much so, because I wonder where the individual falls? I’m a cancer survivor because someone finally paid attention to my numbers that appeared normal but had changed. And I have other questions about the focus on numbers as opposed to well-being. This week, I got to the point where I wondered why I needed to feel so bad in order to have such good numbers…and why it wasn’t mo’ betta to have bad numbers but feel fine?

I wasn’t looking forward to my Doctor’s appointment today. I could hear the lecture in my head. I could feel the discomfort with getting on the scale, watching the skinny minnie nurse rock the extra weight up the scale bar. I even prayed for scale failure this morning! I especially wasn’t looking forward to having my feet inspected, which for me, is a new humiliation. My feet are extremely private and I’m sensitive about them. I don’t show my feet, or even my ankles. I was in full anxiety mode most of the day so is it any wonder my blood pressure was a little high?

My doctor has a Physician’s Assistant that starts the exam time and logs in answers on a computer. Only after endless questions does the doctor enter the room. We talked a bit then she announced she was changing my medication since it appears Glipizide doesn’t agree with me since I’ve had a rapid weight gain, and was obviously depressed. She went on to describe the new drug she was prescribing but I was stuck on her last sentence. Rapid weight gain….obviously depressed….two side effects of Glipizide? So no matter what I’ve done, it wasn’t me? It was the drug?

You might wonder why I didn’t research this before. I can be a bit suggestable. If I read about a symptom, I get it. If I read a list of side effects, I’m sure I’d have them. But I should have read the list because every drug’s advertisings tiny print says to contact your doctor if there’s a reason. Here’s a list of what is considered a side effect, some even listed as rare, but all of which I’m having as if a big pot of side effect soup is brewing inside me:

Blurred vision
Difficulty moving
Increased hunger
Joint Pain
Leg cramps
Muscle aches/stiffness
Redness, pain, swelling of the eye, eyelid, or inner lining of the eyelid
Back pain
Sensitivity to the sun
Swelling of the face, ankles, hands
Mood changes
Rapid weight gain.

I read that list and sat and pondered those effects and what I might look forward to next. And I will be looking for the tiny print this time. My new prescription starts tomorrow. I’m relieved, but I’m also going to be more careful about the things my body is telling me. It’s not hard to make yourself smarter about Diabetes or Depression. A quick check and I found plenty of information. Click the cartoon below and find out more about it. I’ll be doing the same, but most of all I’m hoping for a better experience with my new meds. I pray that it be so.

Do you have or know someone who has Type 2 Diabetes? I’d love to hear about your resources if you have good ones, especially information on cooking and meal plans, two of my biggest struggles. Do you pay attention to side effects?
I’d also covet your prayers. This has been very difficult on several levels.

About Robin Arnold

Reader, writer, gardener, geek, maker of homes in several states, now settled in Virginia with husband Bob, and Hazel and Wilson the tabby cats.
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5 Responses to Side effect soup

  1. Glynn says:

    We're praying, Robin.

  2. Robin says:

    Thank you Glynn. I appreciate it more than I can say.

  3. HisFireFly says:

    Prayers rising on your behalf — may He make things very, very clear for you so you need not suffer needless side effects again!

  4. jasonS says:

    I remembered seeing the tweet about going to the Dr's and the scale, but didn't know what it was for. Praying for you, Robin.

  5. John Moehrke says:

    I have these symptoms and I am not on any drug. Being your own advocate is important now days. Not because the Doctors are worse but because there is simply too much for Doctors to know and process. Do you have access to all of your medical data? Something like HealthVault? Using your social network is really cool. Not everyone has such a deep social network as you do. I hear really good things about the use of social networks. I am not convinced that it is anything different than old social networks, but technology does give us a wider reach. Keep me informed, I am only 12 years behind you. Trying hard to learn from your experiences, but it ain't working so good.

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