sienamystic: (This is art)
Got my blood test results from this morning back already, and the news is good news. My BG levels are all where they should be, and the doc is taking me off Metformin. But this doesn't mean I get to slack off on my eating - in fact, not having Metformin to be that psychological "best friend and helper" will assist me with keeping my eating on the right track.

My metabolic panel and cholesterol numbers were also right where they should be. The only little blip is that the albumen test for the kidneys came back at exactly the number that's the border of acceptable/too high, and I'm supposed to eat a little less protein. So stay low-carb, back down on the protein a little bit...I'm totally going to have to incorporate a vegetarian meal into my day, aren't I? This is...well, not intimidating, exactly, but not happy-making, because I am still weird and fussy about all-vegetarian dishes. It's partly how they tend to be spiced - lots of onion, lots of bell pepper (which I loathe and refuse to eat), lots of things in the salsa family...stuff I really just don't like. You know how you see festive photos on those magazines in the checkout aisle with "Healthy Heart-Friendly Dishes!" and they're all colorful and look like they're vaguely Tunisian? I hate most of those types of dishes. Too much onion is usually the problem.

I'll help Bemo wolf down a pan of roasted Brussel sprouts, and I'm excited about the butternut squash bisque that I'll be making soon (although that'll have a chicken broth base) so if anybody has ideas for meals in that range, I'd be glad to hear them. Maybe I'll try and do the spaghetti squash with marinara sauce more, too. And roasted carrots are supposed to be fantastic - wasn't there a recipe featuring roasted carrots and ginger floating around the interwebs a while back?

When I was diagnosed, I was 267 lbs. I am now 210 lbs. I still carry weight on my upper arms, my thighs, and my stomach, but there's much less of it, and I can see the weight loss, oddly enough, in my hands and feet and neck and face the most. It's taken me just about a year to lose what I did, and I'm happy that I've been doing it slowly, because it means it won't rebound on me like a rabid boomerang.

My feet don't hurt in the mornings for no apparent reason anymore. The odds of my needing another back surgery have lessened. I can jog easily to the top of the stairs and not have to stop and catch my breath, so I'm not still panting when I get to the person I was wanting to speak with. When I bike to work, it's not much of an effort anymore. If I want to, I could go horseback riding again. I can keep studying aikido. I'm going to start swimming again. And best of all, I can keep fighting off this disease that I carry. Most days, it's really fucking hard to do, and I feel hopeless, like it's already won. So I have to celebrate the victories, and then keep on plodding forward.

Insert uplifting Latin motto here
sienamystic: (OMG octopus attack)
Thunderstorms have been rolling through here for the past little while, and on Sunday it all got taken to another level. I've never experienced this particular form of Midwest weather until yesterday - storm cell after storm cell, bringing hail and wind and downpouring rain and truly impressive lightning and thunder. I like storms, but this may be a little bit much. At least the windows are open (the cats are pleased by this, despite getting slightly dampened by the rain) and the breeze that gusts through the house feels delicious.

Got back my three-month bloodwork panel, which had good results. My cholesterol and triglycerides are all in the normal range, down from levels that were Not Good. And my A1c has fallen nicely - a little further and I'll be taken off Metformin. That idea has made me happy (one less pill I need!) and scared (Metformin is my helpful friend! You want me to do it all BY MYSELF?). And, thank the gods above and below, the more focused exercise has finally started to work, and I've gone down another five pounds. If I had remained trapped on that plateau for much longer, I really would have been upset. Combine this with the fact that my dentist was happy with me and found no cavities, and I'm feeling a mite less doom-and-gloomy about my body rapidly decaying the second I hit my mid-thirties.

The good news comes at a good time, because I've been mired in those bad feelings. My brain likes to go drastic at every opportunity, so I've been moping around thinking dire thoughts about life and death. The message is: keep going. Keep doing what you're doing, because it's working and things are getting better. Sometimes that's exactly what you need to hear.
sienamystic: (Guster quote Gabriel)
+ Spent most of the morning depressed about my diabetes thanks to a small flurry of posts on the Sub-List on the topic, which just hit me the exact wrong way. Feeling better now, but it's very easy for me to get quite down on the topic.

+ Was also cheered to discover at the gym today that I lost an additional two pounds, bringing me to 32lbs lost. Also attempting to start leaving the machines and transition to free weights, although I don't know if my knees are capable of the squats that Stumptuous so loves, but maybe if I continue to lose weight I can try them.

+ Dragged my bike out of the utility room, got it over to the gas station to get the tires filled, and did a quick five mile bike ride this evening, which was lovely weather for it.

+ Am seriously contemplating taking up aikido again, despite the expense (seventy bucks a month for unlimited classes - I wish I could pay a little less and maybe only go once a week). Will have to consult with the doctor who did my disc removal, I suppose, because of the falls. The only warning the doctor gave me when I asked about martial arts was "don't get kicked in the head" but I should probably double-check. Anyway, I really, really miss aikido, and now that I've lost a bit of weight it seems like something I can do again.

+ I'd love to take up horseback riding again, but that would probably be even more expensive.

+ Bemo and I will head to DC in a few days for Chessica's wedding and for some family time. Looking forward to visiting with my seester, and yes, even my mom. Hopefully my reimbursement for my Miami seminar trip will be in before we go, because I need the cash. (It better be there before my credit card bill is due.)

+ Have been looking at small rental cottages in France and Italy. Why do I torture myself this way?
sienamystic: (surly bonds)
As of today, I've lost 25 pounds. I should be happy about this...well, I am happy. But I'm also struggling with a bit of depression - nothing too serious, but life has been a bit overwhelming recently between work and home and life in general, and I'm letting it affect me. I also was randomly reading the WaPo, and came across a short little article that discussed weight loss and was pretty negative about the possibilities of keeping off lost weight, saying something like 95% of people gain back all lost weight and that perhaps truly losing weight was a matter of drastic measures, like gastric bypass surgery. Now, this article was more along the lines of an opinion piece. I don't know if the stats are right, and I especially don't know if the conclusions drawn have any merit. But I let that little barb of an idea - that the odds of truly changing my life are low, that keeping my weight off (and continuing to lose it until I'm at a healthier weight) is almost impossible - get into my head, where it bounces around at inopportune moments, particularly at night when I'm trying to sleep. Granted, something drastic has happened to me. It's not like I can ever slack off and start eating fast food morning, noon, and night again. Well, I can, but I'd have to stop testing my blood, and Bemo would have to look the other way, which he won't, and my doctor will yell at me. But somehow this stupid little article won't be dislodged. I just have to get past it, which will just take time.

Meanwhile, I'm going to try and just be proud of myself. 25 pounds is no little achievement, and I'm also proud of the gallery guide I've written for my upcoming exhibition (even though it still needs some last minute editing before it goes to the director who will probably practically rewrite it OMG) and there will be what should be a very good conference in Miami Beach at the end of the month that will be a nice change of pace (I haven't seen a beach in...a really, really long time).
sienamystic: (Giles exposition)
I post some of my vintage ads to [livejournal.com profile] vintage_ads, and one of them got linked to Boing Boing, and then a second one was linked in the comments, so I am currently enjoying being Internet Famous for a minute or two. Although that's not really the case - it's just that it's an amusing ad campaign and I am the mere scan-monkey. Still and all, I'm enjoying the rush of hits, even though I really had nothing to do with it! I felt like this when one of them showed up at Jezebel, so woot and all that. It's fun to watch my little hit counter, unused to all this activity, soar upwards!

I had lunch outside today. People, do you know how long it's been since I was able to do that? Seriously. Except I ate what I thought would be a perfect meal - a sandwich on flatbread, with a can of diet soda, and my BG an hour after was 147, which is higher than I want to be (trying to stay under 130). According to the sub shop website, my total carb load that meal should have only been 38 grams, which is about half of what I'm permitted a meal. Arrgh, frustrating.

And in other news, my Italy essay for work is mostly done, and I guess it's ok that it's much longer than it needs to be (my wordcount was 2600, and I only needed 1800). I'll also have to chop it down to act as a newsletter article, and also crank out an additional short piece and I'll be done with my newsletter assignments. Nnngh.
sienamystic: (Pete whining)
Eating mindfully is much more difficult when you're crampy and wanting to eat every bit of chocolate in the local ten-mile area.

Just saying.
sienamystic: (DADA)
After the second and final session of diabetes ed, all I can say is: there's nothing like having a chronic disease to make you happy about not being born into the nostalgic past. This session was focused on nutrition and complications, so you can imagine how cheerful it was. Well, actually I exaggerate a bit - it was kept pretty upbeat, and it was stressed that if you take your meds and actually work on your diet and all it's rare for the scarier complications to appear. But gods above and below, I am so happy I'm born after the days of the invention of insulin and all the nice array of meds available to help treat this stupid disease. Granted, it might have been cool to be born fifty years from now, when if they suspect you might be prone to this disease they unzip you and pop in a fresh new pancreas and voila! No more problems. But barring that, I'm glad it's THE FUTURE and I have doctors who caught this shit early. Forty years ago, it's not likely that I'd have been diagnosed as having the disease until my BG levels had soared to the point where I was feeling truly run-down and my urine was full of sugar, and then there there would not have been all that much they could have done for me.

The nurse made us take an insulin syringe and stick ourselves with it (it goes into the stomach) so we could feel that it didn't really hurt - I expect that's to fend off the idea that going on insulin (which apparently does end up happening to most Type II's about eight years after being diagnosed) is super scary and painful and means you've failed. There was a moment of hesitation for me, even though the needle does indeed look more like a hair than something terrifying and pointy, but indeed - it doesn't feel like much of anything at all.

Then she showed us a scary slide show, and then brought out the rubber food (!) to show us what appropriate portions look like. And then we were loaded down with just-about-to-expire free samples like Splenda with Fiber! and also little "treats" like those Glucerna shakes and bars that they have boxes of from the company (although they don't push them at the ed. classes - they're apparently pricey and not all that useful for most people, but I'll pack a few of the snack bars when I go to Chicago in February). It was all piled into our red and black new St. Elizabeth's Diabetes Center tote bags and off we went, me and the other lady (who is one of about seven people in her immediate family with diabetes - talk about having the cards stacked against you), into the wide scary world full of cherry pie and people who want to feed you doughnuts.

On the other hand, I've managed to hold steady at my weight loss of 13 pounds, and I can now do 20 situps at the gym. So I got that going for me. It's nice to jog up a flight of stairs and not be completely huffing and puffing at the top of it. Even better, it's nice to feel the muscles in my arms, which have always been flabby, starting to firm up.

So. There's that, then.
sienamystic: (be more awesome)
+ 7 lbs lost according to the doctor's scale
- a new med prescribed to keep my kidneys happy and bring my slightly high blood pressure down
+ I got a "good work, keep it up" from the doctor
+ If I manage to "keep it up" I can probably go off the extra pills
- every new medication added makes me mad and sad

So, that's what that is.
sienamystic: (chipper in red)
The gym so far is working out well, despite the nonstop blizzards keeping us from going that first week as often as we wanted. And according to the scale, I've dropped three pounds, so that's a nice thing to have happened.

It's a lot harder to stick to the diet on the weekends. It's actually been pretty easy to do it on the weekdays, at least so far, but the weekends are definitely full of more temptations. I can sort of ritualize it, if that makes sense, and thus it's not something I have to spend much time thinking about. On the weekends, my schedule is really loose, and I find myself getting tempted a bit more. Thank god for Skinny Cow - that shit is good, and it's low-cal.

I have noticed one odd thing. Over two different days, about the same quantity and similar type of pizza caused me no problems in my blood glucose one day, and a definite spike another day. One was a store-bought frozen pizza, one was from a restaurant, both thin-crust. I ate two pieces (technically three of the restaurant pizza, but it was one of those tiny personal dealies, and strictly speaking may even have been less than two pieces of a normal pizza) with similar toppings, and got vastly dissimilar results. Will have to continue to work this thing out. I don't think I exercised more on one day than the other.
sienamystic: (tempt me)
Nothing doing for New Years, besides sitting on the sofa and chillaxing. I did four loads of laundry today, and that's about all I've managed to get accomplished. But I've got a stack of new books with a few more to come, so my reading needs are well taken care of, although I have a stack of work-related stuff I should be looking at. This holiday looked so nice and long before it started, but it's just whizzed by, especially since I ended up going into work for two days of it. And things will be hopping as soon as I get back - Jan, Feb, and March are all just packed.

My new books are:
Love and War in the Apennines, by Eric Newby (true account of an escaped POW on the run in Italy during WWII)
Provenance: How a Con Man and A Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art, by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo
The Monster of Florence, by Douglas Preston (True Crime about an Italian serial killer)
The First Year: Type 2 Diabetes, An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed, by Gretchen Becker (rec'd to me by a flister and so far a great deal of help, practically and emotionally)

The Huskers creamed their bowl opponents yesterday, and hopefully the Nittany Lions will do the same tomorrow.

This has been a year of visibly growing older for me, starting with real grey in my hair and ending with this diagnosis of something I will need to cope with for the rest of my life. The alternative to growing old is, of course, not much fun either, but wow. This stuff is not for sissies.

Here's to the new year. May it bring us all only the best of things.
sienamystic: (Have Faith)
So. I hope I haven't mislead anybody into thinking I'm about to be wheeled in to have all my innards taken out and put back into me in reverse order, or that I'm the first person in modern history to catch the frequently-fatal Barking Spider Red-and-Green Pox. What I have been diagnosed with is the unfortunately very common diabetes, which about eight percent of the US population has. And yes, it's mostly because despite a family history of the stuff, I haven't been vigilant about diet or exercise, especially in the past two years, when I put on a lot of extra weight.

If I can get my weight and diet under control, the hope is that my blood sugar will follow, and that I may never get to the point of insulin shots and may even be able to stop taking metaformin. But all of this good stuff would be way down the road, and I've only started to walk it.

I am a veritable kettle of emotion right now. Guilt, shame, anger, resignation. Mostly, it's fear - fear that I won't be able to change myself, when previous (half-hearted) attempts have all not worked. Fear that despite a threat to my health that I can't ignore, I'll find some way to rationalize myself back into bad habits. Fear that I'll eat right and work hard and still not lose weight, or lose weight and still have the disease progress. (This is not very likely, I hope. I hope.) Fear that I'll end up an utter bore, sitting at a party eating a stalk of broccoli while talking to everyone within earshot about how much I loooove that cake over there, but I caaaaaan't eat it and so here I aaaaammmm with my broccoli. Alone. In the corner.

Bemo will be changing his diet along with me (he's not at a good weight himself, so hopefully he will get the weight-loss benefit out of this too) and there are some people at work who are supportive - work is hard, because people love to bake there, and bring in treats galore). I was called into work during the holiday break because of a small flood of water from a busted water cooler wetting down some of our office files, and my doctor's appt. where I learned my diagnosis happened during the morning of one of those days. Needless to say, the couple of people who were there noticed I was upset. One of them has a vast family history of the stuff and has been told she will very probably develop it someday, so she was very knowledgeable and supportive. The other, my boss, has a father with diabetes, and is therefore understanding as well.

There's a class at the local hospital which I'll attend. I have pamphlets galore to read. I will be checking my blood once a day and keeping a food journal and a blood-results journal. I don't know how much I'll talk about it here - hopefully not too much that people roll their eyes and run away. The fact that I'm going to tag this post with the word "diabetes" makes me feel so very odd, I can't express it. But it's the truth, and I can't hide from that anymore.

Thanks, guys, for your care.

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