The Penultimate Day – No Needles Need Apply

So, this is almost it. Tomorrow I go back for my A1C check-up. It’s down to the wire. Improve or face the needle for the rest of my life.

This is a big thing for me.

It’s not about the diet. It’s not about losing weight. It’s not about doing the right thing because it’s the right thing.

It’s about fear.

needle - slenderman's cousin
Slenderman’s nudist cousin is coming for me.

I am phobic of needles. Just don’t like em. Don’t want ’em in my life. I’ll have to look away this morning when the nice gentleman who comes to our office to distribute flu shots gives me mine. I hate them. The needles, not the nice people who administer them.

It is about the worst nightmare a Type 2 Diabetic can be offered. Fear of your salvation. Because recombinant insulin doesn’t get in you any other way. Needles are the only way to get it done. I badly want to not require recombinant insulin or their needles.

It’s why I’m working so hard. It’s bad enough I have to strike myself with a lancet once a day. There’s times I’ll just sit there for a couple second, slowly pressing the button to release the pinprick required to take my numbers. The dread just builds. I don’t want to do it.

The idea of having to do that with a needle makes it even worse.

You can hide it in a pen. But it doesn’t change the knowledge. What you can’t see stabs you just as badly.

needles - gomjabar
‘What’s in the box?’ ‘Liberty Medical. Probably oatmeal too.’

I’ve prepared myself and my girlfriend for the reality that it’s possible that, no matter what I do, injections may need to happen. Diabetes is a progressive disease. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, no matter how well you eat, your body just stops being receptive to the insulin you make. Doing the right thing hedges your bets, but it’s a dice throw on a long enough timeline.

It’s been at the forefront of my thoughts all month, and now it’s down to the wire. As Roy Batty said in Blade Runner: Quite a thing to live in fear isn’t it?

I don’t feel like a slave to it. But even after all of the good work, I have a lifetime of doing it to look forward to. A seasoned alcoholic though could tell you the best advice: to take it one day at a time. And that’s what I’ve been doing.

It’s just one more day until I find out if that’s the end of the road I’m on and if I must branch onto a new one.

That Sugar Thing Again

It’s been about three weeks now of a much more strict regimen. To keep my sugar readings in line, I’ve dropped a lot of bad habits, started going to the gym four days out of seven, started counting calories, and in general denying myself many of the comforts I previously held. Why would I do this? Well, if you’ve been following, the ‘Beetus is a harsh mistress.

You may also recall that it was goddamned hard to get the numbers to start slowly creeping down. But, I seem to be doing well on that count.  It ain’t great yet, and I’d say my median score is somewhere around 176 mg/dL, but it’s better than 190-250 mg/dL at any given time. With any luck, I’ve shaved some points off my A1C – but there’s no way to tell until I have my next blood test taken.

The further good news is that my morning numbers have been slowly dropping. I haven’t had a 200 morning in a while, so something is going right. Also, I have found that late night exercise is where it’s at on two counts. First is that all the machines are free at around nine on a weeknight, so that’s a score any way I slice it. Second is that when I work out late, my morning numbers seem to be better than usual.

I’ve even got back to being able to do some of the stuff I could do the last time I got into shape. The weights have been increased on the machines by about ten pounds each, and I finished two 5K elliptical runs in the past two weeks. I even had a really good time on one of them – 2.2 miles in 22 minutes. That’s two ten-minute miles no matter how I slice it. And my heart is still in my chest!

Kali is pleased with your high-cholesterol!
Kali is pleased with your high-cholesterol!

All things considered, the change has been a positive one. I’m getting out of the house more, I’m seeing results (nine pounds!) and I think that this could all work out so long as the Holidays don’t just destroy me.

Aw, Wilford. You scamp!

And the holidays can be real hard on the sugars. Halloween alone should be enough to cause me to go comatose simply based on proximity, and when you add in the average Grands! biscuit intake through November and December, well, let’s just say it ain’t pretty in my family.

Colloqially known as 'Diabetes Grenades.'
Colloquially known as ‘Diabetes Grenades.’

So it’s going to take some pretty iron will to get through to the new year without tanking the sugar numbers. I get tested in another week though and if nothing else it’s going to be the first step on a long path. Wish me luck, and be sure to take cover when those flaky, delicious biscuits get tossed into your family’s foxhole. It’s loaded with all the carbs you shouldn’t eat.

Nine Pounds, Ten Days – Weight Loss Weigh In

The easy weight is coming off – nine pounds in ten days. This isn’t weird. It worked this way the last time.  Pretty soon, I’ll have lost the water weight. Then the real work starts.

Still, nine pounds makes a lot of difference. I can already see some of the loss in my face. I can also feel my body adjusting to things. The elliptical isn’t so draining now. I have already been able to slowly ramp some of my weights. Hamster time hasn’t full on produced much creative stuff yet – but my head is starting to clear while I work. And more of that happening means the ideas will start coming again.

weight loss hamster
Sisyphus reincarnated. Ain’t ever gonna see the end of that wheel, rodent.

I also have a buddy to go with. While Sarah’s been too sick recently to go, she’s as enthusiastic about it as I am. When we’ve been able to, we go together. When she can’t, my dad has gone with me. Having support is one of the biggest things to keep me going. Working with people makes work go by faster.

The curious part is that the hunger hasn’t been so bad. I think I have a good release valve going on the weekends, namely that on weekends I don’t count calories – I just eat sensibly. After ten days, I am starting to have a better sense of what is ‘enough’. It’s hard to manage more than a day of that though. It’s how I got here. I’ll have to be careful moving forward. It’s always inattentiveness that gets me.

Which is weird, because in recent days I have felt more aware. My focus improves when I do what I’m supposed to do. I had forgotten that. Colors are a little brighter, as is my outlook. I complain less. I feel a little more alive. It makes me wonder why I let myself go the last time. Living this way… it’s not so hard. Why wouldn’t anyone do this?

Netflix comes to mind.

Maybe I watch the next episode of the Blacklist on the elliptical. Best of both worlds.

The Little Reminders

So, it’s not a surprise if you’ve been here the past couple of days that the blog has taken a bit of a shift. Usually I’ll talk creativity, progress with work, the little gems I find while reading. But, recently it’s been all about turning my personal ship around. The SS Maurice is in bad shape and is going into renovations. As also noted prior, this is not the first time.

Which is why I find it curious that I never learn the lesson. The little reminders fall by the wayside. The benefits should seem obvious, but I eventually forget them automagically (much like I often forget where my girlfriend and I’s schedules overlap to her chagrin).

The little reminders that I’m on the right track are numerous, but no individual one really seems noticeable until you start stacking them up next to each other. I suppose that’s part of the reason it’s so easy to forget. You take out one of the little reminders and the structure still stands. It doesn’t seem so bad. But, then when three or four are gone, you look around at the increasing wreckage of personal health and wonder what the hell went wrong.

Working out, eating well, controlling intake, saying no to indulgences, all of these things lead to multiple benefits: reduced need for sleep, better quality of sleep, increased focus, increased energy, increased physical output, mood lifting, resistance to common illnesses. How do all of those things disappear and not send off a huge response on my give-a-shit-meter? Somehow, I always forget what I lose by not working to keep my body in working order.

Little Reminders - honey badger doesn't give a shit
And apparently I don’t either sometimes. I think he and the Blerch may be friends.

I have had all of the above flood back into my life and I feel really, really positive about it. It’s giving me idea time in the gym, making me feel better, and giving me a sense that I’m accomplishing something.

So here’s to the little reminders. Maybe I can make ’em big reminders moving forward.

Six Pounds

So, I lost six pounds already. I’ve been working out for maybe two weeks and the easy pounds are coming off. My girlfriend has been incredibly supportive, and my dad has even been going to the gym with me most nights. My blood sugars are still in the toilet, but it’s beginning to work itself out as I work myself out.

The wrong way to lose six pounds quickly - bloody knife
I suppose there’s faster ways to lose weight, but some side effects may occur.

It’s strange too, because this is the third time I’ve been here. I remember when I was first diagnosed in 2005, the doctor and I had a very hard, very graphic conversation about where I was at and where I was heading. By blood was thick like heated animal fat, my sugars were at 288 ml/dl. At that pace, I was headed to renal failure and my kidneys were already in enough distress that I was going to be on ACE Inhibitors for the rest of my life. If I ignored it, I could also look forward to losing my feet, hands, and/or eyes. It woke me up, showed me how bad things were.

It put me on track right up until May/June of 2007. I went to Japan that year. And my sugars were great even with me indulging in local food and skimping on gym exercise (though I was walking around a lot on the guided tours).

When I got home, I let it loose a bit. I put on another twenty pounds after having lost about forty. A year later on my diabetes checkup, the doc said he didn’t like where things were headed. So, I endeavored to rein it in and for a little while it worked. Up until about 2012 I was managing okay. Average sugars were about 120 –  140, high, but not horrendous.

After that though, I started to lapse into ‘convenient’ eating. I started going out to lunch more days than not, I got cheap, quick breakfast food. I’d go out to dinner and clear the plate or not watch my portions when I was home. I stopped going to the gym at all (though I’d pay for it through the process).

As you might have guessed by the last entry here, it’s gotten bad again. Really bad. A1C never has been higher, even though my daily glucose numbers aren’t as high as when I was diagnosed. I’m facing injection therapy (again) and I’m definitely scared out of my wits.

But, so far, the fight has been working. I’ve already lost six pounds (these are the easy pounds) and I have at least fifty-four left to go.  I have an array of tools available at my disposal, the primary one being the LoseIt! app I used last time to get myself in order. Additionally, I now have an even better gym plan, one that allows me to go to any convenient location. Given they’re one of the larger chains, this is handy for anywhere I go, even if I end up out of state. I also have the support of my girlfriend, my family, and my friends. I suppose I might also start crediting my active ignoring of the Blerch. As a friend has noted, discipline is required to really achieve. I have discipline – right up until I get a big distraction. That’s the big part. It’s easy to think you’re doing fine once you get to a good place, but I always seem to forget the part where it can’t be though of as a temporary change. It needs to be a forever thing. And forever is daunting. It’s why one of the AA pillars is taking things one day at a time. One day at a time isn’t as hard as looking into the cold stare of infinity.

Or it's Gauntlet.
Or it’s Gauntlet.

But, I think I’m making progress, even if the numbers aren’t shaking out the way I want them to right now. It’s going to take a lot of time to turn this ship around.

Stay with me people. The progress will come.

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