Diabetes

I went into the doctor because my vision was bad. Though declining sight is part of aging, this was different. Each eye was focusing differently, at different times. Changing eyesight cannot be corrected with a fixed lens. There was something more going on, but what? I made an appointment at the eye doctor, but that wasn’t until September. If there is something bigger going on, I want to know about it now.

After strolling into the doctor’s office, the nurse checked my weight, took my blood pressure, then took me over to the eye chart. After asking me which was the lowest line I could read, I registered 20-40 vision, but slightly better with both eyes. After returning to the office, I sat down and waited to see my doctor. When he came in I shook his hand and told him he was the greatest Doctor on the planet. I said, “I know this for sure because if I saw you on the street, I’m not sure I would recognize you.” He must be doing something right.

My daughter Hannah was seated next to me, as the Doctor began to ask me questions: “So you are having trouble with your vision? Have you made an appointment with an eye doctor?” I told him I had, but wanted to take care of it more quickly if it wasn’t just my vision. He began asking me questions about the food I eat. I eat a fairly balanced diet. Occasionally I have a burger and fries, but more often than not I eat fruits, salads, vegetables, and meat. “Do you get up to go to the bathroom at night?” He asked. “Yes,” I said, “and that is a change over this past year. I get up once a night and go. A lot.”

“When you get up, are you very thirsty?” He asked. “Sometimes I have some water when I awake, but more often than not I just rinse with mouthwash and go back to bed.”

“Are your eyes often bloodshot?” I then deferred to my daughter: “Hannah, have you noticed the whites of dad’s eyes being red?” She slowly shook her head no. “Any numbness or tingling in your hands or feet?” he asked. “No,” I said.

My doctor has been in practice for some time. I admire him a great deal. He is around my age and semi-retired. I love those who don’t relentlessly pursue the almighty dollar. Those that do would call him crazy. I see a man who has his priorities straight. I have never heard of anyone on their deathbed lamenting the additional hours the could have spent working. He works small hours for large dollars, and enjoys life outside his practice. I have been working the ‘balance’ game into my own life schematic with tremendous success: My relationships with my wife and daughter are flourishing. (Fortunately they both want to spend time with me, as well.)

My Doctor orders a blood test. Just before I heard the results of the test, I ate an ice cream cone: My blood sugar was over 500. That cone was the only food to enter my mouth for the next 4 days.

I returned the following day to the doctors office, with Taryn. The Doctor said he almost didn’t order the blood test because I wasn’t exhibiting any symptoms. I said to him, “If my Glucose is over 500, shouldn’t I feel like crap?” He nodded, then shook his head. I am an anomaly.

He asked if I wanted to be in touch with a diabetic specialist, who could recommend a nutritionist… then he asked me about taking drugs. This was disguised under the label ‘medication’, but he suggested some drugs which might help with my glucose levels. I told him I would try to handle it on my own, and he was okay with that. I really think he ‘gets’ me. For someone who turned down nary a substance in college, God do I hate drugs. I would rather fast for 4 days – eat one meal, fast for a day, eat another meal, then eat three meals the following day in order to get my levels down – than take drugs. Yes folks: drugs are in my vocabulary, not in my system.

Drugs beget more drugs, in order to counter balance the side-effects of the drugs… this is why you never see anyone with just one prescription. If they have one, they have a bunch. What are these, potato chips?

My family was calling and emailing me with suggestions of websites to check out. I began devouring these websites, looking for any and all information I could find. Doom and gloom isn’t part of my psychological makeup, and I don’t like the obsession with disease, rather than an emphasis on health. Without defying the doctors orders, I am looking for a holistic resolution to putting my body back in it’s natural state of health. So I ate salads and lots of Kale.

My reading after this stint was 105.

I don’t know if 25 years of fairly heavy diet soda consumption tricked my pancreas into producing excess insulin, but it may have. I have also been consuming oodles of High Fructose Corn Syrup. It is in absolutely everything we eat. This little gem does not cause the pancreas to produce insulin, so it gets stored as fat and keeps us hungry! (What an elixir for the food industry.) Either one may be the culprit, or it may be the combination of both. I believe these government sanctioned sweeteners created my pancreatic crisis. But it doesn’t matter. Their presence in my digestive tract will never be seen again.

It is my hope that living within the culinary confines of the near-vegan lifestyle which has been carved for me, I will have normal glucose levels. After a couple of years, these levels will stabilize. Slowly I may be able to reintroduce carbohydrates, and perhaps my pancreas will be able to effectively deal with it.

When I was fasting, so many people were telling me to eat. “You have to eat,” they would say. These same people wouldn’t make a peep if I walked into a McDonald’s and had a burger, fries, and a soda. In fact, most of them would join me. Fast food puts toxins in your body. Fasting eliminates toxins.

Everyone should eat like I need to. Food that is bad for me is bad for everyone. No one seems to realize this. They think I have an ‘exclusive’ on bad food. While others have a better tolerance for bad food than I do, I am not so sure this is an advantage.

My father likes to say: “Some boxers pride themselves on being able to take a punch. People who drink are the same way. They say, ‘he can really handle his liquor.’ But this isn’t something to be proud of! What saves you is not being able to take a punch, or not being able to handle your liquor. This ‘ability’ will kill you.”

My body can’t handle bad food. With vigilance, diabetes could be the best thing that ever happened to me.

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