Thursday, March 10, 2016

Once Every ....

...year or year and a half, it seems like, my sugar will go very high and not want to come down for a day or two, even with a lot of insulin shots.

I just do my best at what I know how to do, and it gets back to normal, and on we go.

It happened this last week again, and seemed to be triggered by my son's birthday and some loose cake-eating and such. Shot after shot after shot after shot, and it did NOT want to come down. It seems it was worse than ever before, lasting - I don't know - 4 days?

I had not had "insurance" for a while, and had given up getting Humalog from Canada, the price of which had really gone up, and having discovered Novolin R at Walmart, for $24.?? per vial, which although having a different profile of effectiveness vs. time, seemed to work ok for me.

So I was afraid it might have been that the Novolin R was proving to be insufficient and that I must get back to the doctor and back onto Humalog. While I was working on that, I borrowed a couple of Humalog pens from a friend.

The Humalog proved no more effective in the current crisis than the Novolin R.

That's when it dawned on me (this is just a humble theory, folks), these infrequent but severe episodes in which insulin suddenly seems ineffective, whereas it normally is extremely effective, might mean that sometimes my body is slipping into a Type II condition as well as its normal Type I condition.

Or something like that. So I realized that to get my sugar down (this was last Monday, March 7), I didn't need Humalog so much, I just needed to run and quit eating like a pig (I had become somewhat sloppy, to which I already alluded).

Since first being laid off in 2008, I have not been working out. Up to that point, I had always had some kind of regular workout program going on. Up to that point (since 1986), I had been a very prolific bicycle rider. But since my professional world has become topsy turvy (2008-present), I have been less physically active in terms of what one may call an amateur athletic competition training regimen.

And my sugars were doing pretty well, nonetheless. But I had been accustomed to riding a bicycle up any Pittsburgh-area hill without getting off, and without having any exhaustion. Now I was finding myself getting off after being quickly susceptible to chest exhaustion - the kind where you just have to stop and pant in pain, and admit you are totally out of shape. Now I don't mean to discourage anyone who has not been in great shape; you must realize where I am coming from - I have been working out my whole life (up till 2008, that is), having been an avid wrestler and hiker as well as biker. So my "out of shape" might look pretty "in shape" to some. Remember that you do not need to be as in shape as someone else, especially not at first - you may only need to be in better shape than what you are now, which is true for me.

So first thing Monday morning, I set out to run my 5k that I used to do along the river here. I say run, but I was not able to sustain much of a 'run.' I had to keep slowing from a snail's pace to a walk. It had been a long time, so I could not remember how far down and back 5k was. I ended up going about 5 mi. round trip. I spent the rest of the day, pretty much, sluffing off the work I had to do, jogging, walking, riding a bmx bike over some hills, etc. I had been very hungry for fresh beets so I got some of those cooking. Throughout, I continued to plug myself with dual doses of Novolin R and Humalog. After the first run, I was down about 100 points from about 460, and after perhaps an additional equal amount of activity, I was down another 100 or more, and the rest of the day I was just maintaining. I still had the tendency to go up and not be able to come down again without a lot of legwork.

From there, it got better. Tuesday, I was pretty stiff, and I still am, but I just did one regular workout first thing in the morning, and I already seemed to be getting back to normal, sugar-wise. Also, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my chest exhaustion thing had already diminished dramatically, and I was already feeling that old runner's high stuff to which I had been such a stranger these 10 years. Shoot, when I was in my 20s-40s, I remember that to get back in shape for running, I had to stick to it a week or two before it began to feel like it was good, not bad for my health. This time, although I am still just jogging at a snail's pace, and almost throwing up because of it, I feel great already. Since Monday, I have just done one workout, first thing in the morning. I am even stretching out after, and doing better at it than I have done since my college wrestling days. I am feeling that old enthusiasm for vigorous workouts that I have not felt in decades. I used to crave it. I am craving it now, it makes me feel so super. I'm going to keep it up.

My feet and legs, although stiff, have been feeling particularly good. For a diabetic, if your feet come to feel just normal, it is ecstasy, but I am talking about a particular feeling that you feel and it is really good. I should also note that my eyesight has dramatically improved since restarting my daily workouts. I have been having long-lasting flashes of 20/20 vision without my glasses, and generally have been having no trouble reading signs from a distance, again, without the glasses. And right now, I could not see what I am putting up on my computer screen any more clearly, even though it is a good 3 feet away (normally, I would have trouble reading it). I notice these things because I only wear my glasses to drive a motor vehicle.

And my Type I diabetes, if the doctors can agree that that is what I really have, is back to normal. Well, almost - I am still using both types of insulin at the same time, injecting them separately in two different locations on my body, and using a little more than normal, but not near as much as I was earlier in the week. And my sugar levels are down to normal.

I should note that I am being very careful with my hips and knees. The second I get a little warning that a joint has had enough, I slow to a walk the rest of the day. And I do not "run" two days in a row. On alternate days, I ride. Up hills. And down! And I lift weights, which I had been told not to do, because added toned muscle mass can inhibit blood circulation, which is pretty stupid, considering the net benefit. And if I ever find a good pool, I will swim too. And a good wrestling mat.....

Finally, a disclaimer. I am not a doctor, I am a patient. Or not even that. I do not care about nor do I give any real thought to medical or physiological explanations regarding my condition. I do not even know for sure whether I am really supposed to be called 'Type I.' I have never been to an endochrinologist, and the doctors I have seen had no interest in testing me and categorizing me, they just tried medicines to see what worked. Metformin did not work. Insulin did. What I am is a conscientious and experienced diabetic. I have experience and from that I have insight that one cannot gain otherwise. That's all I am. I am a person who started out devastated and messed up from the news that I was diabetic and would have to "starve" the rest of my life, and who finally was able to put my diabetes into its place as a daily part of life but no big deal, no big inconvenience. I know many people who do the very same thing but with a different approach. They trivialize their diabetes by continuing a lifestyle of junk consumption and sedentary activity, and simply having their doctor give them whatever prescriptions are necessary to minimize the sugar effects. My way is better because you feel super through and through. And you enjoy your food more. And your life. And you don't lose body parts so quick, if at all.