Pic of the day: If I had thought more about my future back in, say, 2007, this might not have happened... yet.
This is a fictional journal entry. Each day since 8. August, I have written a fictional journal entry set one year further ahead in time. Now on the 15th, we have arrived at the year 2015. In real life, I have no idea what will happen then, or even whether I will still be around. But I thought it would be amusing to see what I imagine for each year, within the topics I usually write about.
Fiction begins here:
15. August 2015: Insulin resistance
It is definitely diabetes, no matter how you look at it. At this stage, it is called "insulin resistance", like I'm some kind of freedom fighter or something. But it could just as well be called "beginning diabetes", because that is what it is. In ages gone by, it would not have been detected yet, since the typical sugary urine and chronic thirst have not yet developed, at least not to a level where I would notice it. I only noticed because I occasionally check my own blood sugar with a small sensor that punches a tiny hole in my fingertip and tests the small drop of blood that comes out. And this again I would probably not have bought if not both of my parents had late-onset diabetes.
I guess you cannot run from your genes. Or at least not walk away from them. Running may actually help, and walking may have helped postpone it this far. 56 years is actually not early by today's standards. I am pretty sure my mother was diagnosed with actual diabetes well before that. At the time the relationship between adult-onset diabetes and body shape was not known, so we all thought she had got it from her blood pressure medication. In reality, the high blood pressure was almost certainly caused by the beginning diabetes. My blood pressure is still fine, but this is probably in part because a doctor's office is a very low-stress environment for me. I bet it is higher at work. How much longer I'll stay employed is another matter. Even without this, there are certain reasons to think it won't be long.
This spring it was 10 years since the nightmare weeks where a virus infection (?) disturbed my gall production and possibly some other liver functions, making me sick for much of the couple weeks on each side of Easter. After this I have not been able to eat more than a few gram of fat in each meal, lest I get a peculiar set of symptoms that I have not read about elsewhere. Basically I grow cold, followed by queasiness, shivering and shaking, and colorectal cramps and ending in involuntary sleep. My intelligence is drastically reduced during much of the attack. Not fun. My old journals and paper diaries indicate that I had similar episodes before, but did not link them to fat intake. They were also less frequent. I had a fairly fat-rich diet for the last years before 2005. I did not eat much, but much of it was fat. If I had been as sensitive to fat then, I would have been sick pretty much daily. I was more sick, actually, but not that much.
During 2005, I lost 13% of my weight and went from slightly overweight (according to the good old tables from 1970 - I was already slimmer than most people my age) to the lower portion of the "healthy" band. After I moved to Nodeland in 2006, I slowly regained more than half of that loss, and stabilized pretty much on the borderline between "normal" (which, I remind you, is no longer normal but probably still a good idea) and overweight (which is the new normal). After moving out in the countryside, I lost a couple pounds, but that's pretty much it. It is not like I'm hewing my own timber or anything (although I confess that I sometimes climb the stairs just for fun).
I had changed my diet from moderate amounts of fatty food to larger amounts of carbohydrates. Some people claim that sugar causes diabetes (this idea is particularly common here in Norway since the Norwegian name for diabetes literally translates as "sugar-sickness"). Others believe that obesity is the trigger. I have got the impression that inactivity is the problem. I have eaten sugar as if there was no tomorrow, since sugar tastes good and does not make me sick. On the other hand, I have tried to walk at least half an hour a day, if it doesn't rain too much. Well, perhaps it has rained too much then. Or perhaps the theory of "sugar spikes" causing insulin resistance has something going for it.
In any case, it is kind of official now. I have noticed higher blood sugar levels over the last couple years, for longer after the meals. I made an appointment with my doctor and took a couple more advanced (and expensive) tests. So yeah, the lid is off. My name is Magnus Itland and I'm a diabetic. By any other name…
Since this is a very early stage, there is virtually no risk of complications. The doctor recommends more physical activity, but then again they always do. Since I have no plans of moving to a tiny apartment anytime soon, I plan to install one of those stupid indoors bikes when the fall comes. I won't be going anywhere on one of those, but it will at least save on the heating bill. Although I would feel better about it if I could add a dynamo and use it to charge a battery… friction heat is a rather low-level form of energy, you know.
I am still not sure that repeated sugar spikes cause insulin resistance. But it certainly doesn't seem to help. And at least it is clear that you don't need to be actually overweight to get it, much less obese. Not that it will help.
Anyway, what will I do except some added cycling? There are fairly cheap and supposedly harmless pills these days. With most of the baby boomers having diabetes for years now, these drugs are competing with Viagra & co in popularity and have been thoroughly tested. Still, I am not fond of stuffing synthetic molecules into my body chemistry. I even avoid painkillers except in the most extreme situations. So I'll do this the old-fashioned way, at least for as long as I can. I think with me starting this early, that should be enough for the rest of my life. And this means not only more activity (to keep it from worsening) but a low- sugar diet to avoid any damage to my body from sugar floating around in the blood too long.
Another set of favorite foods to drop, then. Now I not only have to be wary of fat, but sugar as well. I can still eat slow carbs like whole grain pasta to my heart's content, and at this stage at least as much fruit as I want (except grapes and raisins). But no Pepsi, no candy or chocolate, and no sweetened cornflakes with jam. Well, I can still eat tiny amounts of sweets spaced out over the day, but no more than small tastes, and aren't those really worse than nothing? The dentist would probably also have an opinion on this. To me it seems that I pretty much lay off food as fun and am going to only eat to keep the body alive. Which I still intend to do. I am lucky in that I have very different sources of happiness in my life. I am sure you can find out what by reading my thousands and thousands of pages in the archives!
Visit the archive page for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.