Friday, March 04, 2011

The New Normal (an update)

It has been two weeks, today, since my troubles starts and thankfully everything seems to be falling into a “new normal.” I check my blood sugar, count up my carbs and, like a junkie, shoot up. My blood sugar levels have dropped from the 300-400 range down to mostly being in the 100s (I’ve occasionally dropped into the double digits and on occasion, they’ve all been in evenings that I had not worked out, go into the high 200s. Three weeks ago, I couldn’t have even told you what the normal range for blood sugar was. I have learned a lot!

Having to be intentional about what you eat means that I have been measuring out serving sizes. It is amazing how much we eat. A cup of rice seems normal to me, but the “serving size” is only 1/3 of a cup. Five prunes make a serving! The list goes on. If you want to control what you eat, measure your food. It’s an eye-opening experience.

I eat a lot of fruit. In the past, I generally ate 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables, but most of them were in the form of fruit. Fruit has a lot of carbs. A cup of pineapple (which use to be a snack for me) has 19 grams of carbs. And banana, another snack food, has nearly 30; and a medium apple has 26. The carbs really add up when you eat fruit. I can take more insulin but when I think back to my trip to Costa Rica last October, when I pigged-out on fruit, I’m not so sure I could have taken that much medicine with me.

It is very humbling and a little scary to think of being “dependant” on something or someone else. But I am. I used to think I would do well surviving in the wilderness. But unless I learn how to manufacture my own insulin, being able to make a fire and construct a shelter and find food won’t do me much good in the long run. There will be no “Swiss Family Robinson” adventures for me. Like a regular junkie, I depend on my supply stream. Even though I have always felt (politically and theologically) that we are all dependent (on each other and on God), the realization of just how dependant I am is haunting. I pray those folks at Lilly down in Indianapolis keep pumping out the insulin.

I am again feeling better. I spent last week in shock. Then, as my blood sugar levels dropped, I started feeling weird. I was weak. I’m not sure how much of this was my body reacting on no longer running on high-octane blood and how much of it was due to some depression. But I felt well enough on Wednesday to play some basketball and today I’ll play pickleball. Unfortunately, the snow is no longer good for skiing. The other problem I’m having is with my eyes. The doctor assures me that they will return to a more normal state after a few weeks (at which time I need to get another eye exam), but right now my left eye is constantly blurry and to read or look at the computer more than 30 minutes or so at a time is difficult.

Personally, I’ve never cared to wear jewelry. I hate rings and necklaces and bracelets. Jewelry is fine on others and I don’t mind picking it out as a gift. But it’s not for me. Not wanting a chunky manly watch weighing down my arm, I even wear the smallest wristwatch I can find. I’m going to have to get over this. I haven’t yet broken down, but soon I will need to purchase a bracelet or necklace that shows I’m diabetic. This will be a necessity when traveling this summer.

For the past two weeks, I have felt alive and blessed. I have woken up in the morning truly thankful of having made it through the night. I am glad to have discovered my diabetes before being somewhere like Cambodia where medical care may be limited. Furthermore, it seems a bit irresponsible to have a Westerner consume what limited medical resources are available. I am still planning on taking a four month sabbatical this summer and am hopeful the doctors can get me regulated by then.

Yesterday morning, when I took the dog out at 6:30, I could hear the birds sing in the dogwood tree behind the house. It is always about this time of the year they begin to sing in the predawn hours, anticipating that spring is not far away. Soon, more birds will join them and the morning will begin with a chorus welcoming the sun.

As a matter of disclosure, the title "The New Normal" is from a book of which I recently read a review.  I have borrowed the term for it seems to describe my condition.


  1. Glad to hear that you are on the mend. Keep it up!

  2. That is truly a life altering experience you are going through. You sound as if you are handling it with grace though, and I like that you ended your post with the observation of God's beautiful world.

  3. Amazing how life can change in a matter of days for us, and how eye-opening it can be when it happens.
    Hope the eye thing goes away.....and your plans for travel aren't too changed because of this all.
    Sorry to hear about your loss of snow.
    I can send you some.

  4. So very good to read this post...I've been thinking about you (after that last post about all this) and since you haven't been blogging so much ....we fellow bloggers tend to wonder....SO HAPPY to hear you are getting things under control....listen, follow through...keep us posted and of course the best medicine is just what you send in the close of this post. Take good care of you Sage!

  5. I'm glad that you sugars are stabilizing and that you're beginning to feel a sense of normalcy - albeit new. I can imagine it's quite the shock to you but you sure seem to be approaching it with acceptance and grace.

  6. I am delighted for you that you can complete your trip later on this year.

  7. Thanks for all this news. Dependency is one of the hardest lessons I've had to learn in life. I'm glad you are living at a time when medicine is advanced enough to help you get "normal" again.

    I've been thinking a lot about my mother lately, who was diabetic and died in 1960, when it was a condition so much less understood. I'm counting on your being with us for a good long time yet, and as self-dependent as you need to be again. From experience, I can say that we have remarkable powers of resilience when our health takes a hit.

  8. I'm glad you are feeling some better. It's a rather dramatic life change for you. Let's hope things will keep improving.

  9. I'm glad things are better. I had a health scare a few years back which leaves me dependent on some cardiac medication. Ditto the thoughts re: Eli Lilly.

    BTW, I've never even worn a watch, I hate jewelry so much. Even my wedding ring is the smallest I could find.


  10. dude...glad to hear you caught it before your trip for sure....i hear you on the depepndence and sometimes we get reminded of it in very real watch for me for years...

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  12. Good to hear things are back to normal for you. This is one of the most dreaded disorder of modern times. Life rocks like a pendulum, at times our way of living tend to rock it much more faster. I believe you are a much more wiser SAGE now:). Perhaps the link below can be of some help for you. Take care. God bless.

  13. Don't sweat the eye thing...the floaters and blurriness goes away but it is good that you are learning the new language of your body. High BGL's are more difficult to feel than low but you will learn this language of that much I am absolutely positive because you are just the curious type who wants to know about everything that comes your way.

    Just don't become Wilford Brimley and make ten thousand insufferable commercials for that medical supply company by mail place.

  14. Good to hear you're feeling better, Sage, and that the insulin seems to be getting things under control.

    You make some wonderful statements and observations in this post and the previous one about life and health. I had a bit of a scare last year and it definitely left me with that renewed appreciation for each and every day.

    Take care, friend.