Day 6. Yuck II: The Quickening.

Good news: I’m feeling a little less anxious. Bad news: Yesterday still isn’t funny to me.

It took a while to fall asleep last night, but at least I slept through the night. Which is a start. 

The worst part is I still feel nauseous. That’s been pretty consistent since day one. And I’m not sure if it’s the food or the anxiety or what. I did a little research and, since I’m on something of a keto diet right now, there is something called the “keto flu.” It’s the body going through the transition between old eating and new. 

I’m more prone to believe it’s a little bit of everything. It’s knowing I have diabetes, the food transition, the pandemic, Bozo the Nazi in the White House – basically, it’s all of 2020 wrapped up in a low-carb shit tortilla. That’s what I feel like I’ve consumed.

So what do I do? 

Well, for one, I keep eating this abomination of a diet. As much as I dislike it, I’m not going to question a doctor. Unlike some folks, who just want to question all of science. Second, I continue to exercise, I guess. I love walking and, when it’s not 900 degrees outside, it feels good to get out and walk. 

I’d like to start meditating again. Not just the periodic “You should breathe” reminders I see on my smartwatch, but real on-the-cushion zazen. 

I’d also like to start writing again, but alas, I’m afraid all of the other distractions will make it difficult.

Although now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure the reason I think awful is that keto-friendly pizza atrocity I ate last night. 

Ugh. Never again.

Day 5. Yuck.

In 1976, Larry Groce released “Junk Food Junky,” a song about a guy who loves eating healthy, but after dark turns into a junk food fiend. An addict. A member of the cast of “Trainspotting” but with Twinkies. We thought it was hilarious. “What a clever man, Mr. Groce is!” we said at the public houses, because this was a million years ago.

But Groce was right. It’s possible to become a junk food level on par with every member of the cast of “Trainspotting.” And I know because I am there, man.

The headaches are pretty much gone, but the agitation, the short fuse, and the shakiness is there. I spilled some egg yolk on the counter this morning and nearly set the house on fire. I tried cooking this weird healthy pizza and when it came out soggy, but oddly burnt to a crisp, I almost grabbed a hoodie and moved to a shed in the mountains.

For the purpose of writing manifestos.

I’ve heard people talk about cutting out carbs before and going through a rough period, but I never thought it would be like this.

Last night I started watching David Sedaris’s Masterclass and he talks about going through some horrific things, but managed by telling himself, “This will be funny some day.”

Well, guess what, folks? This won’t! This is going to stink forever!

On a More Positive Note

Don’t you get it? There are no more positive notes. Just leave me alone!

Why are you still here?!

(Throws champagne flute at the wall, jumps up from the chaise lounge, and runs weeping from the solarium.)


Addendum: There’s a strong possibility I ate a carrot medallion yesterday. I’m not going to lie, it has me a little freaked out. Good night.

Day 4. Digging In.

The headaches are the worst part.

Before I get to that, a bit about logistics. I don’t know if I ever said I would do these posts every day, but that’s what actually happened.

Yesterday, I made the first post and said it was day one, but it was actually day three. So I’m keeping up my streak, but I did bend the time-space continuum a bit.

Yes. So far, the headaches are the worst part. Friday and yesterday were particularly horrible, but nothing a couple of ibuprofen snorted like a rock star or 70s advertising exec couldn’t handle.

I’ve had a bit of trouble sleeping, too. Two nights ago, I woke up at 3:00 am and didn’t get back to sleep until 6:00. I’m not sure if it’s the diabetes or the change in diet or perhaps it’s everything else happening in the world, but I was tossing and turning.

Last night was a little better, though it was tough getting to sleep. Every time a new thought would enter my head, I was up and at ‘em. According to the sleep app I keep by my bed, though, I did get about six hours of sleep. So that’s something?

And I exercised today! Jenn and I went on a walk. This being Texas at 10:00 this morning, it was already 400 degrees. But we powered through and got in 30 minutes of walking.

I’m doing okay with food. I haven’t touched carbs or sugars and, if my food diary app is telling the truth, I’m hitting my calorie and carb marks every day.

Finally, my weight. At my heaviest – probably earlier in the year – I hit 245 pounds. Then COVID hit (starting a period of time in the Earth’s history I call The Great All This) and I freaked out and stopped eating. Plus, it was still March and cool enough to go outside, so Jenn and I walked just about every day. With this adjustment, I dropped close to 20 pounds.

But then summer rolled in and I remembered Uber Eats existed and I didn’t step outside and a lot of that came back. Currently, I’m at 230. I’m weighing myself, primarily so the charts in my Fitness app are all crazy, going up and down, like a volatile stock market or my heart rate during Friday night’s Stars game. I’ll probably keep you updated on this, too, in place of before and after pictures, which nobody wants to see.

Go Get You a Greg

The doctor, of course, had a lot of great information and the Internet has, I think, four websites dedicated to diabetes (The Internet really isn’t a robust source of information, I have found). So if you need info and guidance on the diabetes life, you need a Greg.

I’ve known my Greg for over 20 years now. He’s a remarkably funny guy. He and I have performed lots of zany improv. We’ve also taught improv to some amazing people, like kids on the spectrum and adults with disAbilities. And Greg has diabetes.

But Greg has been a huge help every time I’ve had a little question that doesn’t warrant a $50 co-pay. Like, “I’m burping all over the place. Is that normal?” Or “Oatmeal, yes or no?”

And Greg has always had an answer. Usually within 20 minutes. Plus, unless I’m mistaken, Greg isn’t a shill for a big pharmaceutical concern. Or, if he is, he’s really bad at it.

What I’m saying is I won’t be making this journey by myself. And the trip will be that much easier with a Greg along for the ride.

So whatever you’re going through, go get a Greg to help out.

Miscellany

From time to time, I’m going to diverge from diabetes and maybe talk about other stuff. One thing I’ve found over the last few days is that this diagnosis has made me question everything. So if I throw in something about writing jokes or learning the accordion or Buddhism, just breathe and tell yourself, “Bless his heart, he must be going through a lot.”

Thank you.

Day 1. The Diagnosis.

“We got the results of your bloodwork and you’ve got type 2 diabetes and the other levels looked fine…” said the nurse with all the gravity and seriousness of a mechanic telling me my wiper fluid was a little low.

In her defense, I’m sure she had a ton of calls to make and diabetes is almost as common as allergies. Plus, I’m sure it’s not easy to tell a complete stranger, “You know the way you’ve been eating? Every day for your entire life? Well, stop or you’ll die. When are you be free to come in for a follow up?”

But the fact remained: my claims that I bleed grape jam were truer than I could have imagined.

The first thing I thought was, “Well, this should motivate me to eat better.”

The second thing I thought was, “Will this be expensive?”

But then I came to my senses and thought, “How can I monetize this?”

So here we are. I’m blogging about it. Because everybody knows the real money is in blogging.

A Brief History

I love food. Fatty, greasy, cheesy food. Tex-Mex, German, Italian – these are three of my food groups. Macaroni and cheese is the fourth. I love to gorge on food. I eat until I’m suffering, until I’m sick and ready to tap out. Some of you who know a thing or two about the human mind might categorize this is as a disorder. And you might be right. But if loving food is wrong, well, apparently, I don’t want to be slender.

Also, check this out: When I was drinking, back in the dark ages, on my way to work in the morning I would stop by 7-Eleven and pick up an Orange Crush and a bag of Cheetos and be proud of myself for eating a breakfast that covered two of the food groups.

And I didn’t feel this way because it was the 80s and we thought those things were healthy, like how doctors recommended certain cigarettes in the 50s. No, this was my skewed sense of reality. And I’ve dined on it ever since.

Look at me. LOOK. AT. ME.

I’m not large, per se. In some circles (read: these guys I know), I’m what is known as a “Skinny Fat Guy.” My arms and legs are slender. My chin and gut, no so much. Honestly, I resemble someone in their third trimester.

I’ve always been the type who believes it’s not how you look, but what’s on the inside that matters. But I haven’t been happy with my bowling ball belly and Jabba-style chin. Little did I know that my insides were a Hieronymus Bosch landscape, giving me fuzzy feet, headaches, crankiness, and a whole host of other things that make me pretty miserable.

Take Two of These. And One of These. And a Couple of These. And That One Over There.

So here’s the good news: Like Wesley’s diagnosis in “The Princess Bride,” I am only mostly diabetic. Here’s some science. And, yes, I’m winging most of this.

One of the things they do when you get bloodwork done (other than whether you have enough of it), is an A1C test. According to the CDC, “The A1C test measures the percentage of your red blood cells that have sugar-coated hemoglobin.”

Note to self: start working on a cartoon character to sell to a healthcare education company that will teach kids about the dangers of diabetes. Call it the Sugar-coated Hemo Goblin©. Do you see what I did there? It’s fun.

So the higher the percentage of sugar-coated hemoglobin, the more diabetic you are. According to the CDC, who think they are sooooooo mart, the normal range is below 5.7%. Prediabetes is 5.7% to 6.4%.

Did you know people who are prediabetic are not preparing or training to become diabetic? I did not know this. But now I understand why those who told me they were prediabetic scowled when I would respond, “You’re so close! You can do this! Let’s flag down the ice cream truck!” Lesson learned.

People with “full-blown” diabetes are 6.5% or above.

My score? 6.6%. That’s an F+!

I didn’t ask if they round up or if maybe I was being penalized for my prediabetic japes, but the doctor was confident I could bring down my A1C into a safer zone, a zone where I wouldn’t have to worry about shots or blood tests or anything.

He prescribed a handful of drugs. The only one I remember is metFORMIN. Then there’s something for cholesterol (My cholesterol is high. Like 8,000, I think? I may off a little.) and then there’s an appetite suppresant to make me less hungry and irritable and stop looking at me.

The toughest part, of course, will be the diet. I’m on a low carb diet that is an abomination unto the Lord. And I also have to exercise.

And I have to blog about it. Apart from blogging being akin to a money tree, it will keep me honest. Blogging will require discipline. Discipline which, as my bulbous midsection will prove, I don’t have.

I’m also hoping this little… milestone in my life will force me to contemplate other matters, too. Why was I put here? What am I doing? Who left their cup on the end table without a coaster?

So I’ll use this little blog to track my progress, to discuss tips, tricks, and hacks I discover and come out on the other end of this a different person. A better person. A person who isn’t asked, “Party of four?” when he walks into a restaurant.

Also, at the bottom of this page, you’ll see my Twitter handle. If you would like to check-in or keep me accountable, please do. Maybe we can learn stuff together. Stuff like, “Stay away from that mean old Sugar-coated Hemo Goblin©!”