Diabetes Blogs

A1C You Later, Diabetic Meds!

I had the greatest thing happen the other day. I got taken off my diabetic medication!  And I owe it all to my (late) gallbladder. Let me start out by saying that a gallbladder problem is the LEAST sexy affliction one can get as the ravages of middle age take hold. (Middle age does go up to 80, doesn’t it?)

inspired So, just like a flashback in the movies, only a whole lot less interesting, here’s the backstory.  About a year ago, I had my first full-fledged gallbladder attack. Like someone first kicked me in the stomach and then fell on top of me and wouldn’t get off. For days.

It didn’t occur to me until just this week that by the time one suffers a gallbladder attack, one already pretty much has gall stones that have been there a while.  And, thanks to the omnipresent Internet, I found out that brewing gallbladder problems can and do affect blood sugar levels. We didn’t know about the gallbladder issue yet when my internist put me on a low dose of metformin/glyburide after my A1C started to rise following a four-year remission of my diabetic symptoms following weight loss surgery.

OK, I thought, I got a four-year reprieve from medication. What did I want, egg in my beer?

Fast-forward to the summer of 2015, a time that saw me taking my medication but watching my glucose level go all over the place. While I was used to being well within the normal range, I started to see numbers approaching 200 the same week I would crash and run for the orange juice. That’s when I scheduled the gallbladder surgery. 

I had this bright idea that since my surgeon (now my friend and writing partner) would be going into the same place as my previous lap band surgery, wouldn’t it make sense to get rid of that band and convert to the newer gastric sleeve procedure at the same time so that my weight loss could be preserved and future problems with the band would no longer be possible? He went for it.

Gallbladder gone. Gastric sleeve accomplished. Eating very little and very gingerly. Following the instructions to continue the medication, but with the dose cut in half. Then came the three occasions surrounding last weekend during which I awoke in the middle of the night in a full-blown hypoglycemic reaction, aka crashing. As many of you know, that can include breaking out into a sweat, heart pounding, feeling weak and light-headed and experiencing (for lack of a better term ) crap-for-brains. I did, however, have the presence of mind to check my blood sugar and it was a whopping 57. Get the orange juice. The next two episodes produced readings of 57 and 53. Fortunately, I had a doctor’s appointment the next morning.

He had done a full work-up two weeks before and I was scheduled to go in for the verdict. My A1C, according to the doc, was perfect. Did I hear that right? PERFECT! He immediately put the medication on hold for the time being, so we could see how I’d do without it. He danced a little jig. I cried.

So the moral of this story is two-fold. First, you’re never too old to learn something new, especially when it comes to your health, and secondly, never look a gift horse disguised as a gallbladder in the mouth (oh, that’s gross!). But you guys know what I mean. When you’re doing everything “right” and your blood sugar levels start to go kerflooey for what seems like no reason, Google it!  You may find the answers where you least expect them!

See you next time. Stay well!



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