Six Months: M1:W2:D1

Blood Sugar: 179 (-20)
Weight: 177 (-3)
Resting Heart Rate: 76

A week. It had to be Thanksgiving week, though, right? My blood sugar took a significant spike, ending the week at the highest fasting level I’ve ever seen: 199. I began a new regimen of aged garlic, 2400 milligrams daily, which should have only little benefit to my blood sugar, but more for my cardiovascular health. Some Turmeric capsules should be coming in the mail tomorrow as well.

Week 1: 1.9 miles daily

I have averaged 1.9 miles daily walking last week, up from, like, zero. My goal is not to hit a certain number of miles. It’s more to exercise enough to strengthen my heart so as not to be bothered by angina. With the exception of yesterday, when my FBS was sky high, it is working. My chest hurts less and for less often during my strolls already. The temperature has been mild enough that I could easily have ridden my bike. But I think easing in after a couple of months of laziness is in order. Plus, when the weather does take a turn south, I’ll already be in the habit of walking, rather than moving from the bike into a new form of exercise during the foul weather. I dunno. It’s working so far. I hope to walk through the winter. I do need to do something, clearly.

I managed to stick away $50 from this paycheck, too. And my new job starts a week from today, so some financial improvement should be on its way as well. I have an immediate need to rid myself of $2,400 in debt, the result of my dog’s sudden surgery to repair her torn ACL. Fortunately for me, this is also year-end buying season, so that will definitely help me save more money, right?

This is part of a series of posts, some better than others, tracking my efforts to better my health and financial situation, an effort dominating the next six months of my life. It started here.

Six Months: M1:W1:D6

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, a day after binging on sugary treats for breakfast and carbs throughout the day. Also beer. Lots of beer. It’s Thanksgiving, man. You can’t not indulge.

Blood Sugar: 190
Weight: Up, I’m sure.
I haven’t confronted this yet.

It’s also my favorite holiday, mainly because for some reason its been mainly left alone by the marketers. There are no Thanksgiving songs, no pressure to buy things for people you don’t even like, no lights to string, nothing but food and drink with family. What could be better?

But I’m paying for it today. Blood sugar is up considerably, among the highest readings I’ve ever had. I haven’t gotten on the scale yet, but I’m sure I gained a few pounds yesterday. Funny how it’s so easy to put them on, and so difficult to take them off. Just not right, that.

This is part of a series of posts, some better than others, tracking my efforts to better my health and financial situation, an effort dominating the next six months of my life. It started here.

Six Months: M1:W1:D4

Blood Sugar: 166 (+ 9)
Weight: Prolly the
same as yesterday

I had three vodka tonics with sugary cranberry juice before bed, just like most personal trainers will recommend for those trying to lose weight and control their diabetes.

I feel no guilt. If I can’t have a little vodka here and there during this process, I don’t want any part of it. Health is great, but, fuck, let’s be reasonable. In my life, I have given up hard drugs, binge drinking, smoking, coffee, meat, animal products, and now, sugar. Fuck off if you think I’m giving up a small buzz here and there. That’s just too much to ask.

I still did my walk, though somewhat shorter, a little less than 2 miles. I had to cut it short, because I had to shit so bad that I barely made it home before my ass exploded. Very unpleasant. I know that’s more information than you needed, but this is what happens when one starts exercising after some time off.

No one talks about this, but it happens. Get yourself moving and sooner or later, you’re going to have to shit. You might be a couple of miles away from your toilet, but your body does not care. I did not shit myself yesterday, but I have in the past. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Getting healthy is not glamorous. So be nice to those people you see out walking or jogging — not the skinny-ass fucks in the perfectly snug-fitting outfits and fancy sneakers, but the people who clearly are just starting. We have a look, and you know who we are right away. Be nice. Not only are we just starting to get healthy, we’re also possibly just trying not to shit ourselves along the way.

This is part of a series of posts, some better than others, tracking my efforts to better my health and financial situation, an effort dominating the next six months of my life. It started here.

Six Months: M1:W1:D3

Blood Sugar: 157 (-25)
Heart Rate: 72

Yesterday was a beautiful day; 65 degrees and sunny. I walked about 3.5 miles around the neighborhood and still didn’t see all of it. This place really is colossal.

I made my vegetable soup two days ago and I’m still eating it. Chuck full of veggies, a little barley and some TVP for good measure. It’s good stuff. I think that’s at least partially responsible for bringing down my blood sugar levels. I offered it up for sale by the quart to anyone on Nextdoor. I don’t expect anyone to actually buy it, but it is a little fantasy of mine to run a small business selling food out of my kitchen.

Breakast: None
Lunch: 2x bowls soup
Dinner — Lentils, roasted
small potatoes, soup,
sliced green pepper
Drinks: 1 vodka tonic w/
cranberry juice

I’ve been soaking some black beans since last night, too. Not sure what I’m going to do with them yet, but I am going to at least give this planning simple vegetable and protein meals a chance.

I also made some lentils as a main dish for the first time. Awfully good. Quite simple, too. Paired that with the soup, some roasted small potatoes and a sliced green pepper with a gob of hummus. That was dinner. I was stuffed and none of it was bad for me. It can be done.

This is part of a series of posts, some better than others, tracking my efforts to better my health and financial situation, an effort dominating the next six months of my life. It started here.

Six Months: M1:W1:D2

Two days in and I’m already flummoxed.

I took my blood sugar this morning and it’s up 20 freaking points from yesterday. It measured 182, which is about 80 points higher than my lowest measurement, which was last year just after I was diagnosed with diabetes. I was in bad shape then, having not exercised in just about ever, eating fast food for weeks on end while I set up my new house and generally not giving two shits about my health.

I went to the doctor for chest pains. Angina, it was. The exercise-induced kind. Blood work was done. My triglycerides were literally off the charts, elevated blood sugar, the works. I was a mess. Doctor prescribed me a mess of drugs. I think it was five drugs. She said they were all quite minimal doses, but it was still a handful each morning.

I changed my diet. Or, rather, I went back to the vegan diet I had been eating. Only this time, I actually ate vegetables, rather than every packaged, non-meat substitute I had been eating. I learned how to cook a few meals that are real tasty, easy to make and good for me. I started exercising, riding my bicycle specifically, every day.

In a couple of months, I brought all that shit down into normal ranges, except my blood sugar, which I could never get down below 109, which is pre-diabetes range. Mind you, that was a huge difference from the 200-some it was.

I also went to a cardiologist. He said I had a heart blockage and wanted to schedule a stent for the next week. Dude spent, like, three minutes with me before he wanted to get into my insides. It didn’t feel right. Plus, that’s some expensive shit right there. I also didn’t like his attitude. Too perfunctory. I put the brakes on. It seemed to me I needed some time to let the new diet and exercise routine work some magic.

Turns out it did.

You know how all the scientists and doctors and public service announcements you’ve heard all your life about how diet and exercise can vastly improve your health? Yeah, they’re right. I cut out sugar from my life, rode my bike daily and ate mainly vegetables and grains that I cooked myself. And I did it every day. I felt far better. Sleep was better and I felt more rested in the morning. I had more energy and generally felt gruntled most of the time. Weird, right? Who knew? Everyone, dumb ass. Everyone.

But it is hard to keep up. It takes effort to make meals and to plan for them. It takes gumption to get on your bike every day, even when you don’t feel like it. And one day giving in to that feeling makes it easier to not feel like it again the next day. Then, maybe there’s some bad news, or, say, a giant bill you didn’t expect that knocks you on your ass and the next thing you know you’ve gained 10 pounds, watched every new show on television and your blood sugar is at 182 again.

That’s where I am.

Two days ago, I started walking around my considerably large neighborhood. I’ve put in four miles, two a day. It’s a baby step. It’s how I started a year ago, because my heart hurt so much after about a half mile, some days considerably less than that.

I’m pleasantly surprised to find that my heart doesn’t hurt during these sessions. I’m aware of it after about a half mile, but it’s not debilitating. I don’t have to stop. I can work through it. This is better than it was before. My heavy exercise over the summer, I think, has strengthened my heart somewhat.

Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, there is a phenomena called warm-up angina, where people with cardiovascular disease experience narrowing of their arteries during the initial phase of exercise, causing chest pain. But after a period of rest, symptoms subside. This is what I experience. And I had noticed this summer, the point at which I begin to experience chest pain was further and further into my bike ride as I continued to exercise each day. At first, I could not make it out of my neighborhood without first stopping to rest, less than a mile. By August, I stopped after four miles, for a shorter period and some days I never stopped during my daily 12 miles.

My point is, there’s no reason to run right to surgery all the time. Cardiologists have a hammer and every heart they see is a nail. It also buys them a nice condo in Aruba. There are other ways to go about getting healthy. While angina is definitely your body telling you something, it may not be telling you to get surgery. It may just be telling you to get off your ass.

So, anyway, I’m flummoxed about my high blood sugar reading this morning. But I did have a large glass of sugary cranberry juice last night. I think that may have at least contributed. I’ll need to replenish my supply of Stevia, the plant-based sweetener that does not increase blood sugar, and buy unsweetened cranberry juice and see how that goes.

I’m going out for a walk now. Thanks for coming by.

This is part of a series of posts, some better than others, tracking my efforts to better my health and financial situation, an effort dominating the next six months of my life. It started here.

Six Months: Hello from the bottom.

After two years of relative health and financial ease following my divorce, I’ve hit a wall. My health has fallen to shit and I’m dead-ass broke. I’m battling an infection that sprung from the base of a root canal procedure I had done a year ago and my 10-year-old dog snapped her right Achilles tendon. That’s a $5,000 surgery, which had to be paid for right away. Oh, yeah, less than a year ago, she snapped her left tendon. That’s more than $10,000 in less than a year, in case you’re counting. In the midst of all this, I’ve broken out in a herpes infection, my first in a year or more, because herpes loves stress. I’ve gained nearly 20 pounds in the past couple of months trying to eat away my problems — which, oddly, has not worked. My blood sugar is sky high and my motivation is as low as my checking account balance. My cell phone bill was due a week ago and I’ve lived the past week on $8.

I get paid tomorrow. Damn near every penny is already spent. So I feel like this is the bottom. I sure hope it is, anyway.

Six months.

That’s what told myself was the amount of time I’ll allow all this to continue. I have six months to dig myself out of this ill-health and financial stress. If at the beginning of May I’m not in a better place on both scores, I’m done. I’ll check myself into a hospital or something and slowly fade away. Or I’ll have found a new path and left this behind. This will either end in Huckleberry Finn or The Raven. I don’t see a lot of middle ground.

And you, dear reader, get to watch the whole thing unfold. Warts and all. It’ll be like reality TV, only for people who walk upright.

Six months.

I may not write every day. Hell, other than masturbate, there’s never been anything I’ve ever done every single day. So let’s not start off with a lie. I will not write every day. I know there are lots of people who do. I’ve read those blogs. They’re mainly boring as hell to anyone but their immediate families. It’s difficult enough to have an epiphany once a week, let alone every day. And if you’re not going to have one, why am I reading your shit to begin with?

So that’s cleared up. I won’t write every day, but I will make every effort not to bore you. Good enough? Cool.

Is this a diet blog? Fuck no. Is this a white guy with white guy problems stops buying lattes for a month and finances a multi-million dollar home and so you poors should sack up and buy stocks not the weedz and you can be rich too blog? Unlikely.

I’m a 53-year-old white, working class, divorced man with three kids who lives in a two-bedroom condo in a pasty suburb. I live paycheck to paycheck like everyone else and because of two rather large unexpected bills, I’m in danger of falling so far behind I may not be able to catch up.

My health mirrors my financial situation. I have mild diabetes and I am at least 20 pounds overweight. I have a heart blockage which causes me mild exercise-induced angina and slightly elevated blood pressure. Let myself go a little, and I may find myself swimming in the deep end real quick.

So that’s what brings me here. I can feel myself teetering. I could sink real quick. It would, literally, require no effort at all. Or I can at least go down fighting, which is the path I’m choosing. It’s hope, really. Hope brings me here. It’s not the fucking end of the Shawshank Redemption kind of hope, so put away your Kleenex, pansy.

I dunno. Maybe it is. It’s unlike me to hope. But what other way is there to explain it? Why bother writing anything down if I don’t hope to make it out, to create something new, something different, from the scraps of shit I’m holding? Why try?

I had a dream last night that I found a baby. He was alone, naked and reasonably happy. He needed to be changed, so I put a new diaper on him. He never made a sound, just laid there taking in the world and trying to decipher it, decode it, make sense of it. I didn’t find him a burden. I wasn’t scared. There was a baby who needed a new diaper and so I put one on, simple as that. I don’t remember what happened after that. I think I just went on my way.

Any dream interpreter will tell you that a dream about a baby is a dream about a beginning. I guess this, then, this is my shitty baby that needed a new diaper. What fun.

Why Are You All So Blurry?

This is what happens when you don’t check your pockets before doing laundry, dummy.

That review of the Major Taylor book is going to be delayed. Some dummy forgot to check my pants pockets before he washed and dried my glasses, so now I’m awaiting a new pair, rush ordered.

Meantime, I’m squinting my way through life and there’s no way I can sit and read for hours without draining my eyes all over my face.

Fortunately, I don’t need my glasses to ride. Unfortunately, I need them for damn near everything else.