Savita Lakhe discusses how her battle with Diabetes has changed her outlook towards life.
Name: Savita Lakhe
Age: 42 years
Occupation: Purchase Manager, Healthcare Sector
The journey so far
I have been working in the healthcare sector for the past 18 years. I have always been associated with the most critical areas of healthcare. In 2009, I had experienced a severe and constant headache. I was prescribed painkillers which provided temporary relief but the pain would reoccur after a few hours post medication. I also experienced swelling in my entire body.
I consulted a doctor at my native place and was diagnosed with hypertension. I was then treated for hypertension for two years, but my condition continued to worsen. This doctor failed to treat the underlying cause and only prescribed medication to lower blood pressure levels.
In 2011, during a pre-employment check-up, my urine reports showed high protein levels. A doctor in the hospital I worked at suggested that I undergo a kidney check-up because of on-going episodes of headaches, body swelling and fluctuating blood pressure levels. I consulted a nephrologist and got my kidneys checked. The 24-hour urine report suggested high protein levels in the urine (proteinuria) and swelling in the kidneys. I was asked to undergo a kidney biopsy which showed membranous glomerulonephritis. This is a condition where the filtration capacity of the kidney is severely affected and leads to protein leaking into the urine.
I had also developed migraine and uterine bleeding by this time. The doctor put me on steroids to treat my kidneys. When steroids were prescribed to me, the doctor mentioned that there was a risk of onset of Diabetes as Diabetes is a known side-effect of steroids and hormonal medications. An intrauterine device was implanted to manage the uterine bleeding. But this did not suit me and I needed additional hormonal medicines to stop the bleeding.
In 2014, I started experiencing excessive hunger. My random blood sugar level was 425 mg/dL. I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I was prescribed metformin to lower the blood sugar levels.
In 2017, I underwent hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) as medicines had failed to stop uterine bleeding. After the hysterectomy my blood sugar levels spiked. In order to lower the levels, I was prescribed basal-bolus insulin therapy for four months.
I am a qualified Diabetes Educator and I regularly advised and demonstrated to people on how to administer insulin and how to use the glucometer. But when I was advised to check my own sugar levels thrice a day and take insulin, I realised that it was more easily said than done. I sought help from the nursing staff in the hospital that I worked in. Only after a week was I able to gather my courage and self-administer insulin. I realised then I had to make a conscious effort to overcome my fear of needles.
Consistent health problems and increasing medication made me feel low and depressed at times. I had also developed a fear of insulin and needle pricks. I started being afraid of checking my blood sugar levels. I was mentally, emotionally and psychologically disturbed. After I underwent hysterectomy, I was depressed. The decision had cost me the ability of motherhood.
My family, friends and doctors were my pillars of strength in my hour of need. They guided and helped me overcome my depression and fear. They helped me see that life was so much more than simply being a person with Diabetes.
My doctors took the time and care to ensure that I had the best healthcare possible. They counselled me about lifestyle modifications to help me cope with the realities of my life. I received counselling and proactively modified my diet, exercise routine and sleep patterns. I took charge and became involved with my treatment plan. I consciously paid attention to taking all my medication on time and as per prescription. In time this helped me turn my life around and lead a stress-free life with Diabetes.
My current lifestyle
After seeing my improved health parameters, my doctor stopped my steroid medication in 2016. I regularly check my 24-hour urine test, HbA1c, fasting and post-prandial blood sugar levels, lipid profile and serum creatinine level every three months. My HbA1c is now 7 per cent.
I follow a much disciplined lifestyle now. I take my meals on time and ensure to eat a healthy and balanced diet as recommended by my dietician.
I practise guided meditation every night before going to bed. This helps calm my mind and reduces my stress level. I am a certified pranic healer. Pranic healing has helped me overcome my health problems as I now face life full of optimism.
I follow the diet prescribed to me by my dietician. I know my proportions and fill my plate accordingly. My meals contain at least one serving of fruits or green leafy vegetables every day.
I do not overeat and I keep a track of any extra food or sweet that I consume. If I eat any high-calorie food, I avoid eating anything more to maintain my calorie intake. As I am a vegetarian, I also take nutritional supplements to ensure that I receive all essential vitamins and minerals.
My exercise routine
I exercise every day for 60 to 90 minutes. I go to the gym every day and alternatively take up cardio, yoga, weight training and Zumba.
My Diabetes has helped me understand the value of good health and well-being. It has changed my outlook towards life and has taught me to set priorities in life and to stop procrastinating. I have understood that it is important to accept Diabetes completely in order to better manage it. Accepting this diagnosis and consulting my doctor has helped me lead a stress-free and healthy life with Diabetes.
Remember to check your blood sugar and lipid levels regularly and consult your physician in time to take corrective measures for any health problems. Consult your dietician to create a meal plan that suits your health requirements as well as your taste buds.
Do not consider Diabetes to be a burden but accept it as a part of life. Do not think and de-motivate yourself by constantly asking 'Why me?'. Instead, see it as an opportunity, a wake-up call to correct your lifestyle and lead a fit and disciplined life. Keep a positive outlook towards life as Diabetes is not a foe but rather a friend. Gift yourself the best and healthiest life possible.