A worried adult female face is shown in front of a venn diagram, Comorbidities.

Comorbidities, Again!

Who doesn’t like a challenge? I’m facing one of the toughest yet and I hope by sharing this someone else will not make the same mistakes as I have.

Facing comorbidities while living with MS

Last year when I had COVID and was hospitalized, they used very high dose steroids to control the inflammation in my lungs. That worked very well, but it also sent my blood glucose levels sky-high and I emerged from the hospital as a type 2 diabetic, and prescribed insulin injections.

Tackling type 2 diabetes

I followed the regimen of the five times daily shots and glucose meter checks, thinking the situation would resolve itself. About six months into this routine, I pretty much stopped trying. This coincided with rhubarb season and my baking spree of strawberry rhubarb pies, rhubarb bread, and even rhubarb crumble. They were all delicious and I enjoyed every bite. I also continued to work on perfecting the homemade English muffins I loved for breakfast. Carbohydrates were my friend.

But now I have a sense of remorse because my A1C levels climbed to double digits. Those rhubarb treats and muffins (and other assorted high-carb foods) have returned to haunt me.

Identifying osteoarthritis

I have been treated for my left leg and adductor thigh pain for over three years. These treatments included physical therapy, MS drugs for neuropathy and for spasticity. I’ve even been offered a referral to a pain management specialist. It was only after I threw up a stop sign and asked for an x-ray to verify my condition, was it clear what the real problem was. It wasn’t my multiple sclerosis at all, but osteoarthritis in my left hip that requires a total hip replacement for pain relief.

Balancing blood sugar and the need for a new hip

I waited anxiously for the orthopedic surgeon to see me and finally got a surgery date.  When it drew close, I had a pre-surgery consult with a number of people and it included a blood draw to check my A1C levels. That was when it became the medical team’s turn to throw up the stop sign and tell me my glucose levels were too high to safely perform this surgery. It seems diabetes complicates the recovery process and my number was not in the safe range. Who knew? I certainly didn’t until they told me, because I have been in a true state of denial about this autoimmune comorbidity. It was so much easier to ignore having type 2 diabetes than to deal with it head-on.

Curse you, comorbidities!

My comorbidity list continues to grow, much to my dismay. It is much too easy to focus on just one condition like multiple sclerosis and ignore everything else that might be happening in our bodies. But for now, I face two challenges – the first is to drop my A1C as fast as safely possible so that this surgery can be done and I can successfully heal and get back to being active. My other challenge is to find ways to bake my remaining pounds of rhubarb with alternate natural sweeteners and non-wheat flours that don’t contain high levels of carbohydrates so I can sustain a healthier A1C and get back to focusing on my life with just MS.

Wishing you well,

Laura

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