Today I wanted to talk about some emerging challenges with my self-care routine and the steps I am taking to address these new issues.
What's not working: I have been using a nasal pillow mask for several years now. During that time, I've been dealing with a lot of nasal discomfort, with the most troublesome symptom being increased nasal stuffiness. My primary care doctor recommended I use a prescription nasal steroid spray to combat this problem. Unfortunately, my endocrinologist thinks the nasal steroid is mimicking the symptoms of a hormonal problem and has asked me to stop using spray.
What is working: I decided it was time to go back to the drawing board and check out different CPAP mask configurations to see if switching to a different type of mask could solve the problems I was having a nasal stuffiness. After doing some research I decided to give the Sleepweaver soft fabric nasal CPAP mask a try. The new mask allows the air from my CPAP machine to surround my nose rather than be blown up inside of it. This seems to be making a difference, as the problems I've been having with nasal stuffiness seem to be resolving.
The bottom line: If you are a CPAP user like me, it pays to keep on top of new developments in CPAP technology. Every year, I find new and innovative products that are helping me minimize or eliminate many of the small annoyances that come with being a regular CPAP user.
What's not working: I've been trying to implement the recommendation from my doctor at the Mayo Clinic to include more electrolyte beverages into my daily routine. Electrolytes help me better maintain my fluid balance, which is a problem when you live with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) like me. Unfortunately, most electrolyte drinks contain sugar. Since I'm diabetic, I generally avoid sugary drinks because they present a signification challenge to my blood sugar management.
What is working: I've been searching for several months now, looking for an electrolyte drink that is sugar-free. I recently discovered Ultima Replenisher, a balanced electrolyte drink that is sugar-free and recommended by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for their patients. I purchased the lemonade flavor a few weeks ago and really liked the taste. I'll be ordering the orange flavor from Amazon.com in the next week to give that a try.
The bottom line: What can I say? Persistence often pays off.
Type 2 Diabetes
What's not working: Unfortunately for me, my blood sugar levels appear to be on the rise once again. I can honestly say I have not made any significant changes to my diabetes self-care routine, so my best guess is that the rise in my blood sugar has something to do with my Hepatitis C viral load. I've noticed in the past that when my viral load increases I have more difficulty controlling my diabetes.
I just had blood drawn a week ago. I will be getting those test results soon and I anticipate that they will confirm my suspicion.
What is working: In the meantime, I've needed to get more diligent with my diabetes self-care. I am double checking to make sure that my meals are balanced between carbohydrates, protein and fat. I am also making sure I include more high fiber carbohydrate choices, like whole grain bread and pasta, beans, whole fruit and starchy vegetables, and fewer simple carbohydrates choices, like products made with refined white flour and sugar.
I've also discussed my concerns with my endocrinologist and she has suggested increasing my dosage of Victoza.
The bottom line: This isn't the first time this has happened. And each time it happens, it gets me thinking that it might be time to start thinking about treating my Hepatitis C. So when I see my hepatologist for a follow-up appointment at the end of June I'll be talking with him about hepatitis C treatments once again.
As you can see from this discussion, managing my chronic illnesses is an ongoing process with an ever-changing target that requires me to be resourceful, flexible, persistent and engaged. It's a lot of work, but it's a very necessary part of my life. After all, no one is in a better position to take care of me than I am. Too bad it's not a job that doesn't pay better.
The bottom line is I know I'm doing a good job when I continue to be able to live my best life despite all my health challenges.