• New diabetic and how to get on top of it?

    Asked by Pch@the_beach on Friday, May 9, 2014

    New diabetic and how to get on top of it?

    Not only was mother diagnosed with nsclc (adenocarcinoma) in January 2014, but diabetes type II. She was on glipazide but has since been changed to Lantus insulin injector pen and Novolog injector pen. Her sugars continue to be all over the place. They've stopped the Novolog for now (fast acting). She feels sluggish, weak and exhausted from this, not to mention she's about to start on a clinical trial in a few weeks. She's had radiation and 3 rounds of chemo in the past few months. It's so much for her to manage and she's exhausted. How do we get on top of this diabetes?

    10 Answers from the Community

    10 answers
    • barryboomer's Avatar

      It's really quite easy as it's ALL diet related.
      Look up Diabetes type 2 and diet.
      NO Simple carbs, cereals or sugar.
      Lots of Plant foods and some fish and nuts and seeds and check out the glycemic index and only
      use food on the lower half. If a short time less and less insulin will be needed.
      Look it up on the internet on Nutrition Sites....check out Life Extension Lef.org.

      over 7 years ago
    • Lynne-I-Am's Avatar

      My gosh your mother has been through so much she must feel exhausted. Doctors try to control the blood sugar levels with injectable or oral medications and it can be a roller coaster ride till they find the right ones.Even when the proper balance is found illness ,stress ,weight or bad diet can upset the applecart.Hopefully her medical team will be able to control her blood sugar in the near future,it is more difficult because she is going through all these other difficulties.Try to lessen her stress as best you can,your support really matters.Read up on diabetes,it is a know your enemy thing.Should be an outpatient clinic run through the hospital for diabetics that she can become involved in. The clinics offer guidance and dietary advice.My husband is type II diabetic controlled by oral medication and he attends these clinics.Take care ,hugs for you and your mother.

      over 7 years ago
    • Journey's Avatar

      [email redacted],
      I am sorry your mother is having to go through all of this at the same time.

      I was dx with stage IV NSCLC (adenocarcinoma) in 2010 and I have had diabetes type 2 for 21 years. Both problems can cause the exhaustion and sluggishness that you mentioned.

      With diabetes, stress in any form (physical illness or emotional stress) can cause blood sugars to go up - (being diagnosed with cancer is stressful). Steroids, like predisone or dexamethasone, are often used with chemotherapy for cancer as well as other conditions. It can reduce inflamation and help with some of the side effects of chemotherapy, but they can also raise blood sugars very high. I was on predisone for a back problem just before I was diagnosed with diabetes 21 years ago. At that time I was able to manage my diabetes with oral medicine, diet and exercise. That all changed when I was diagnosed with lung cancer, and had to have surgery and chemotherapy. I am now on Glipizide and Humalog insulin (fast acting). During chemo, I had to have many units of fast acting to bring me into a safe zone. As I got better and treatment ended, my insulin requirements were reduced.

      Diet, exercise, and medicine are all very important things to do to balance blood sugar when you have diabetes. It is not all that easy, but it is what you have to do to prevent the complications of diabetes. If your mother is able to attend diabetes education classes, I would recommend it - both a diabetes nurse educator and dietition trained in diabetes. Education is important to understand how to fight diabetes. A diabetes support group would also help once you have gone through some diabetes education. The support group will help with finding ways to live with diabetes using the guidelines.

      In general, a diabetic needs to eat a good balanced meal plan, with lots of low-starch vegetables, whole grains, bread, corn, peas, & beans, a little fruit, some protein, a little fat. People with diabetes tend to be thirsty, so drink lots of water. Do not drink fruit juice. Eat the fruit instead. The juice quite often has added sugar and no fiber. We also tend to drink more juice than what one piece of fruit can produce. High fiber foods help to blunt blood sugars, so those are generally good choices. If you must drink juice, dilute it with a lot of water or diet soda.

      Exercise is great to lower blood sugars. It also is good for depression, blood pressure, weight loss, heart health, muscle mass, and much more. If she has a blood glucose meter, she can find out how many points she drops with her normal exercise by testing before the activity and after. That will give her an idea of where she needs to be before exercising and and how long a time she has before she goes low. Always bring a fast acting carbohydrate (like glucose, or hard candy) when exercising, or out and about, for the lows.

      Some Links to find diabetes information:

      American Diabetes Association



      There are many good Diabetes cookbooks now. Look for cook books with nutrition information.

      Your cancer center may have a dietition that will be able to help with ideas for getting through the cancer treatment along with diabetes.

      I hope this is helpful to you. Best wishes to you and your mother! Your mother has a lot going on with everything right now.

      over 7 years ago
    • Pch@the_beach's Avatar

      Thanks for the outpouring of "listening" and of providing resources. I have been researching diabetes and cancer and I've learned a lot. Unfortunately, while it may seem easy, right now, it is not. Mother is simply overwhelmed. I live 350 miles away, unfortunately, and while I offer support each and every time we talk, which is several times during the day, I'm just not there with her. She is managing everything the best she can, basically alone. I have been planting seeds of education about diabetes and the importance of watching what she consumes over the past few weeks. In fact I just got off the phone with her and she told me that she felt so bad last night in the wee hours that she contemplated calling the ambulance. I told her to never second guess her instinct and to call. I reminded her of the medicAlert necklace and to use it. She is scared to death. And then she tells me for snacks today she has had two fruit cups to which I replied, please check the carbs and sugars in those. I need to remind her to not drink so many juices as her fridge is filled with all sorts: cranberry, orange, limeade etc. She thought she could continue drinking Pepsi throwback and I encouraged her to ask the nurse practitioner about those. This is not easy. I've been an educator/ administrator for 17 years, and learning, unlearning and relearning takes time, a lot of time. It also requires support, coaches and mentors. We do laugh though, sometimes, about how head strong she is and set in her ways, uncooperative sometimes, too. I told her on the phone just a while ago that it is imperative that we get a handle on this diabetes and that her diabetes management was as important as the cancer treatment; and I was scheduling an appt with an Endocronologist. Your prayers are appreciated though.

      Today I decided it was time to schedule an appt with an endocrinologist as I just don't feel that the primary care physician's nurse practitioners are experienced enough with a cancer AND diabetic patient. You know the saying, when you know more, you do more, and do better?! I've read several professional journals and research articles on people with both diseases and how imperative it is to not dismiss the diabetes as only secondary; one of the articles discussed philosophies of oncologists who in fact don't address diabetes and tell patients to focus on the cancer treatment. When I read that, I thought, this is what we've been told, over and over again " the diabetes is secondary, focus on the cancer treatment and eat what you like when you like". UUGGHH! Mother is homebound; she can barely walk out to her front patio to walk her dog on a leash. She has homehealth services with OT and PT and a bath aide. This is the second round of homehealth. While mother was active in her life before her Dx, she was not one to exercise or play sports, so exercising now isn't part of her routine and I don't see it becoming part of her life now.

      She needs support and support groups but access is an issue because she is homebound. Due to her "chemo brain" and state of fog, she hasn't felt inclined to get online, and this was something she used to do all the time! I visit her every 4-5 weeks at best and on my last trip, I made sure to bookmark on the favorites bar on her laptop: this site, the oncology group, ooVoo, and GoodRx and some others. I'll have to make another post about managing the financial end of the all of the prescriptions. And yes, all of this stress impacts her blood sugar. Please continue saying prayers.

      Thanks to each of you for your time and ears. Ya'll have been an answered prayer for me, as is this awesome sight. We'll be in touch!

      over 7 years ago
    • barryboomer's Avatar

      Send her my song "DONUTS DON'T GROW ON TREES"
      Maybe the simplicity of it will get through.
      Now sick is she and MAYBE Hospice could bet involved as she will get a lot more care and some supervision. ALSO help with her ADL'S.


      BUT just do your best as It is what it is and that's ALL YOU CAN D>

      over 7 years ago
    • nicki0920's Avatar

      I'm not saying it is the cause in her case, but check her meds. Some cause increased glucose in people with a family history of type II diabetes.

      My glucose jumped up to 500 and wouldn't come down no matter what I ate while taking metformin, fast acting insulin on a sliding scale, and a long acting insulin taken every night.

      My doctor didn't look at my meds to see if anything else could cause such a dramatic change. I was taking seroquel to help me sleep. On a whim one night I did a search for all of my medication names and diabetes. Come to find out, seroquel has had nearly 9,000 lawsuits filed against it because it does cause diabetes. I stopped taking it and within 2 weeks my glucose was back down in the normal range. I'm still taking the metformin and long acting insulin but no longer need the short acting insulin. I have an appointment with my doctor next week. We are going to talk about removing the long acting insulin then.

      It is sad but sometimes you have to be a detective for your own health. This is the second medication that I have been prescribed that caused severe health issues. In both cases I had to be the one to figure it out. The doctors only want to write another prescription and send you out the door.

      over 7 years ago
    • barryboomer's Avatar

      When I was a Nurse Docs would order one med and than another to help the side effect of the first and on and on. Some people would be on 4 different meds and have all kinds of problems. YES....sometimes WE can be our best advocate as the Docs are busy and after they leave the examining room they pretty much forget all about you. AND they have their own lives and problems. Be Vigilant!!!

      over 7 years ago
    • cam32505's Avatar

      I think the chemo may be contributing to her diabetes problem. I'm not sure if she would even be diabetic if not for the chemo. Continue to work with her. When treatment stops for the cancer, then they can work on the diabetes.

      over 7 years ago
    • LuvinSis' Avatar

      There are some good Diabetes Educators out there. She should ask to see one. When hubby was diagnosed Type 2 the Nurse Diabetes Educator was amazing. We attended a small class (but it can also be done one-on-one). We both learned so much and I read labels very carefully. They also gradually monitored him and tweaked his allowable carb intake at each meal and 2-3 snacks a day. We learned of Orowheat Double Fiber bread Dreamfields pasta which we now love (tastes like regular pasta, not wheat, and comes in a black box with yellow and red accents in the pasta section of every grocery store) . Though I'm not diabetic I followed the same diet and lost weight. For me it was 40 carbs max per meal and 2-3 snacks of 15 carbs. It's important to learn how to read labels. A 19 carb snack bar with 4g fiber =15 carb. Her allowable amounts will be based on her weight, blood sugar results, etc. You can also order nutrisystem diabetic meals.

      over 7 years ago
    • DJS's Avatar

      I had Type II diabetes for a while that was a side effect of medications. I had always had a fear of this because it runs strongly in my dad's side of the family, and I grew up a) watching them be "bad kids" (joking while they ate desserts, etc.), and b) watching them die because of diabetes. The diagnosis devastated me. I strictly (!) followed the low carb diet my doctor gave me, and demanded a change in medication (a major battle). These two factors allowed my pancreas to heal itself (I can even eat a normally balanced diet again), and today my blood glucose level is back to normal levels…but I monitor it like a hawk, and always think twice before eating carbs. If you work hard, you can reverse or control this. I urge everyone with diabetes or a family history of diabetes to take this very, very seriously. All those "bad kids" -- my grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc. -- would have been alive a lot longer and had a better quality of life in their old age had they just made small adjustments to what they ate. I miss them every day -- much more than they would have missed a dessert.

      over 7 years ago

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