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Watercolour Moggie

I’m a Fujifilm camera fan.

Sometimes I wish they’d have a zoom lens that doesn’t weigh a ton and cost a fortune.

So I picked up the diminutive Sony HX90V. It’s ultra zoom lens sees forever, it weighs nothing, and can be had for not too many shekels.

It has a watercolour feature.

It makes the ginger cat sympatico.

Swing low sweet chariot

Our steadfast routine is to walk for an hour around dawn every day. It never disappoints.

I try to keep my blood sugar above 4.0 mmol/L (72mg/dl) at all times.

Especially during the night.

Occasionally I stuff up, and it dips into the threes. A little too much insulin injected, a bite or two less into my pie hole at dinner, or a slightly faster pace or longer distance during my daily walk will do it.

Rarely do I sleep through a hypoglycaemic episode.

Instead, I have vivid dreams about food and my inability to get it.

Or, deeply frightening nightmares.

My wife’s response: “There, there, it’s all OK, now go and check your sugar”.

She’s lovely.

It ain’t necessarily so

Digging to China? Finding crabs? Learning about diabetes?

In Diabetes 101 I was taught that:

  • cells of my body have a ‘lock’ on them
  • insulin is the ‘key’
  • without insulin to ‘unlock’ the cells, no glucose can enter the cell where it is used as fuel
  • my pancreas stopped secreting insulin
  • dietary glucose ‘dams up’ in the bloodstream and rises to very high levels
  • I must inject insulin to drive blood glucose down by allowing the cells to access glucose from the bloodstream
  • the brain MUST have enough glucose at all times, if not, it shuts down and dies (me too)
  • when blood glucose drops too low, the pancreas secretes the hormone glucagon, which causes the liver to release it’s glucose store and to start making new glucose (gluconeogenesis) from protein or fat

Insulin is the master hormone that controls the uptake of glucose by the body. Glucagon is merely an emergency standby.

It would appear that since the 1970s Professor Roger Unger and others have shown this model of insulin action to be incorrect.

In actual fact:

  • insulin is not needed to enable uptake of glucose by the cells
  • the brain MUST have enough glucose at all times, if not, it shuts down and dies (me too)
  • in order to ensure enough glucose for the brain, the glucagon hormone is always ‘on’, causing the liver to always make glucose via gluconeogenesis
  • when blood glucose rises too high because of dietary glucose or homebrew glucose, the pancreas secretes insulin to turn glucagon ‘off’
  • mine secretes no insulin, therefore my body has no way to turn glucagon off
  • gluconeogenesis becomes a runaway process, flooding my bloodstream with my own homemade glucose
  • I must inject insulin to turn off this runaway process by suppressing glucagon

Glucagon is the master hormone. It is always on as an evolutionary measure protecting the brain. Insulin turns it off when required. Not the other way around.

A complete 180° reversal of what is taught as gospel truth to new diabetes. G-d knows why, maybe.

I’m trying to get my head around how I can put this glucagon-centric model to good use, to better my management of diabetes.

Please leave a comment if you have already worked this out. Other comments welcome too, of course! 🤩

 

 

Hope

When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about four years ago, the doctor was blunt.

“If you don’t keep your blood sugar under control, then you will get diabetic complications: blindness, loss of limbs, kidney failure, heart failure, nerve damage, and last but not least: impotence.”

Doc set the goal, but offered no path.

The standard diabetes management offered by Annabel, my credentialled diabetes educator, wasn’t going to cut it. Still, I am very grateful to her for her care.

The search for a path that would lead to stable blood sugars and death by old age began. I had nothing to lose and tried anything.

Always hoping to avoid doc’s dire warning.

Ellen Davis’ and Dr Runyan’s ketogenic diet delivered good blood sugars, but made me ill with off the scale cholesterol levels.

Dr Bernstein’s version of this diet wasn’t much better.

I call him Doctor Killjoy. Carbs are evil, and you can only have ONE cherry tomato with your salad.

I pursued the low carb high fat path for 18 months.

An epic fail.

My new endo yelled at me, for having close to normal blood sugars (!) and sky high cholesterol.

She challenged me enough to change tacks.

Then I found new hope offered by the plant doctors – McDougall, Barnard, Greger, Fuhrman, Carney et al.

“Give up animal based foods and eat only very low fat plants. Focus on starches, and you will reach your goal.”, they said.

It worked, for a while. Blood sugar was fairly stable, weight went down, insulin usage down, and cholesterol: how low can you go?

For two years I cheerfully deprived myself of fructose, protein and fat.

Slowly, the kilos lost were regained, and they brought lots of buddies along for company. Calorie intake declined steadily. I became cold. I peed gallons all night every night. Insulin usage higher than ever. Blood sugar creeping up. No resilience to the common cold. Heart rate slowed to a ponderous 46 beats per minute. I felt like a bear going into hibernation.

Upside: I farted my own private hole into the ozone layer. The local sewage plant needed an upgrade to cater for my thrice daily epic dumps.

I allowed this n=1 experiment to go on for far too long. I probably damaged my metabolism.

So, it’s so long to the plant doctors, and thanks for the farts. You may stick your starch up your bony bottoms, and inflict your ideology on some other sucker.

Where to from here?

Dunno, but tonight the childbride will take me out to celebrate with a high calorie, high carb, high sugar, high protein, high fat and therefore maximum pleasure dinner: pizza followed by pavlova.

When properly fed I’m ready for it!

Hope?

Meh 😒.

Language and thought

Our genes still remember our home, the ocean. Thousands of people find peace at water’s edge. Also this beautiful couple.

The most fearsome boss I ever worked for was of the view that precision of thought is impossible without precision of language.

Was he right?

I have diabetes.

The term is meaningless. It conveys no useful information.

It does not define the cause, symptoms, treatment and prognosis of my condition.

There are many types of diabetes. One is reversible by going for a walk. Another by giving birth.

There is no cure for mine. Only feeble attempts at management in order to postpone the inevitable for a while: death through disability.

The current discourse is flooded with the diabetes meme.

99% is irrelevant, if not damaging, to me. Especially internet doctors and ‘experts’ who spruik a cure or management regime for ‘diabetes’.

A tropical tribesman who has no word for ‘snow’ can be excused.

Not these.

Clueless.

Ignorant.

Bastards.

 

 

Invisible Disease

Wandering down the Cairns Esplanade, my camera spied this suitably attired lady enjoying a spot of exercise. Much nicer than Lorna Jane!

My wife’s work means she is Someone. I, as housekeeping spouse, am Noone.

Wherever we go together, she is greeted, her well-being inquired after.

I am invisible.

My usual response when people make a fuss of her: “I’m good too, thanks.”

😏

I’m on an aeroplane hurtling from hither to yon at dizzying height and breakneck speed. The plane is full.

A voice inquires: “Something to eat?”, while a cardboard box lands on my tray table.

Time for the ritual.

I take the phone out of my bag, and scan my sensor. Hmm, sugar’s a bit high.

I unwrap the goodies that is lunch, guess at what’s in it, and do a stab in the dark as to how much insulin I need.

I find my insulin pen and a new needle. I unwrap the needle, and screw it onto the insulin pen. I dial 2 units. I aim the needle toward a spot unoccupied by people. I press the button. A squirt of insulin arcs up, just missing seat 12C on it’s descent.

Primed.

Nothing like the smell of insulin on a crowded flight.

Slowly I unbutton my shirt. I reach my hand into my pants, and pull out a roll of, well, fat.

I dial 6 units of insulin.

I gently prod the white flab with the point of the needle, looking for a spot without nerves. Usually a blood vessel hides behind a nerve. Don’t want the drama of blood on a full plane with 180 passengers and crew.

The needle finds a spot, and in it goes. I push the button, and count to 10.

Then the reverse happens, unscrew needle, secure and stow pen, store needle in safe place, return all my diabetes sh*t to my manbag, push the aforementioned roll into it’s usual spot, button up my shirt, and tuck it neatly into my pants.

Ready for lunch.

The bloke next to me is hoovering up the contents of his box, oblivious of the medical intervention that took place 20 centimetres from his face.

The hostie chants “Something to eat?”, right behind me.

The lady 35 centimeters to my left across the aisle intently studies her iDevice.

Nobody noticed.

Not a thing. Not the needle, not the squirt, not the naked belly, not the almost blood.

am invisible!👻

 

First we eat

Full moon about to set. Nothing to do with the post. Just a nice pic.

An internet diabuddy blogged recently about the issues women with type 1 diabetes have to reckon with.

Exercise got a special mention. It lowers blood sugar, sometimes to dangerously low levels.

When she was diagnosed she was advised to eat a sandwich before sex. “Mood killer and all that”, she lamented.

Blokes with type 1 face worse issues. Imagine building a boat, I’ve just mixed a batch of epoxy, slapped it on a sheet of ply, and am about to laminate the cabin top of the new boat. Should only take an hour, but can’t be interrupted.

Halfway through: the dreaded light feeling in lower abdomen and upper legs, the need to pee, shakes.

Hypo!

Should have eaten a sandwich first….

Rip off the gloves, run to the house, scan the sensor: 3.2 mmol/L and crashing! Race to the fridge, stuff my face, then raid the jellybeans.

Back to the boat. Epoxy, time and tide, wait for no-one.

Mood killer alright!

There is a silver lining. The blood sugar lowering effect of sex can be put to good use.

“Darling, my blood sugar is high. Shall I inject some insulin, or will you fix it?”

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