wombat_socho (wombat_socho) wrote,

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A few words about diabetes

Some of my friends on Facebook have posted recently about being diagnosed with diabetes, and as someone who's been dealing with it since New Year's Eve of 1999* I think I have some insights on what living with a malfunctioning pancreas is like, how to make it suck less, and -with a little discipline, a little support, and some MOTHERF*CKING SCIENCE- maybe even beat your blood sugar number down into the normal range and keep it there until something else** kills you, preferably much later in life.

When I first got my diagnosis, I figured I'd just keep on doing what I was doing while the medications took care of the problem. Sure, I needed to lose weight, but Weight Watchers or SlimFast would take care of that, right? To make a long story short, no. I kept getting heavier, the amount of drugs I had to take kept creeping up along with my weight, and eventually my doctor prescribed insulin for me. That didn't do it, either; starting in 2005, I was suffering from infections about once a quarter thanks to the venostasis ulcers in my legs, and those infections started landing me in the hospital more frequently after 2008. Eventually, after a ten-day stint at Uncle Eric's*** here in DC, my friends and family in the area ganged up on me and told me I needed to quit fucking around and get serious about my health, because what I was doing wasn't working. It was strongly suggested that I change from just trying to cut back on calories to cutting back on carbohydrates, since my pancreas couldn't handle those any more anyway.

So I did. I read Good Calories, Bad Calories and Stefansson's The Fat of the Land. I stopped buying foods with sugars and starches. One of my friends set up a mailing list on which I posted my waking blood sugar and my weight, so that my friends could cheer me on - and chew me out when I screwed up. :)
I even found support and encouragement on the Something Awful forums, which for a while had some truly awesome Low-Carb Megathreads. (You can find the hardcore scientific parts here, now that the LCMs have been gassed.)

And what do you know? I lost the weight. I saw my morning BG go from the 150-200 range down to around 100, and often lower. I got off the needle, and as my weight approached 340, I was able to cut back on the metformin and glipizide as well. Even my primary care doc at the VA encouraged me to keep doing what I was doing. Yeah, I've had some backsliding, but every day I get up and try it again; some days are better than others, but by and large the weight slope is down. You can do it too. Get some people who are on board with the low-carb program and hit it. I'm not the most disciplined guy in the world despite my time in the military, but I'm doing it. You can too.

What are you waiting for?

*Yeah, that sucked pretty badly.
**Let's face it, just about anything not involving Ebola or impalement has to be better than dying in the hospital of some antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection after they've already amputated your legs and you've gone blind. Which is how you're going to die if you don't stop eating carbs. Those are going to kill you.
***My affectionate name for the VA Medical Center in Washington DC, formerly run by former General Eric Shinseki.
Tags: friends, medical stuff
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