Friday, February 11, 2011

Too Stupid To Live

My body is an idiot.
That's pretty much the only way I can think of to describe it.
"Hmm, maybe I should use all of this sugar that's floating around in my blood as an energy source." Pause. "Nah, I'll just use some of it for that and let the rest of it just beat the living shit out of my cells. It's a win-win!"
At this point it's been close to a year since I found out that I'm a diabetic. In that time I've changed my diet and exercise habits considerably, and I've lost more than 40 pounds.
I don't mean to diminish what I've accomplished - after all, it's pretty remarkable, especially given my inherent laziness - but sometimes it doesn't really feel like I've actually accomplished anything.
I mean, really, what have I accomplished?
I've gone from being in constant pain to being in slightly less constant pain and from being tired all of the time, even though I was getting plenty of sleep, to being tired all of the time because I'm not getting enough sleep.
And I'm always hungry.
And gassy.
Really, the biggest thing I've accomplished is learning that the expression "damned if you do, damned if you don't" is the best way to sum up my life.
Consider this:
One of the things that finally drove me to seek medical attention was the intense pain I would sometimes feel in my feet. Seriously, you can't imagine how painful it was. It felt like my nerves themselves were on fire.
Once I got my sugar under control, those sudden attacks of sheer agony went away, only to be replaced by a steady amount of pain as I recovered some of my damaged nerve function, which allows me to feel pain that I had previously been unaware of due to numbness.
Sure, it's not as painful as those attacks were, but it's pretty much always there, and there isn't really anything I can do about it, as it's pain that's caused, essentially, by simply existing.
So yes, my reward for successfully dealing with the cause of the frequent attacks of pain in my feet is to be able to feel the constant pain that was there all along.
Most of the pain is caused by troubles with my back, which are in turn mostly due to a car accident I had more than 20 years ago, and some basic structural deficiencies that I was born with.
I could, I suppose, start seeing the Chiropractor again in the hopes that this might provide some relief, but I've been seeing more and more reports linking treatment from Chiropractors to other health problems, such as strokes.
So, yeah. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
Then there's the whole exercise issue. As mentioned, I'm tired most of the time because I don't get enough sleep. This is beause I have to get up early in the morning to exercise, since, after putting in a full day of work and dealing with traffic I don't always have enough motivation to exercise when I get home. I'm better able to get myself to exercise if I do it first thing in the morning, and if I'm going to to avoid the worst of the morning traffic when driving in to work (and, turn, avoid the worst of the afternoon traffic at the end of my day), that means getting up really damned early. Attempting to get anything accomplished when I get home from work - those few hours just fly past at breakneck speed - means very rarely getting to bed in time to get a sufficient amount of sleep before starting the whole thing over again.
(As an aside, is it any wonder that I don't actually go out into the world and do things? I have no time as it is.)
Beyond that, while losing weight and getting exercise are good for controlling my diabetes, there's an irritating balance that I always have to struggle to maintain. If I get a lot of exercise and burn a lot of calories, I feel better about myself and feel like I've accomplished something, but I actually end up raising my blood sugar levels.
For example, yesterday morning I put in 30 minutes on the elliptical, burning 500 calories. So, you know, go me! That's a good thing, right? Not really: my blood sugar was 152.
This morning I dialed it back and did 25 minutes - with a lower resistance - and burned 370 calories. My blood sugar was 91.
Eliminating fat is, in the long term, a good thing for my diabetes, but actually burning the fat causes my sugar levels to spike, which in turn raises my A1C levels.
On the other end of the spectrum, if I keep pushing past a certain point, and go for say, 45 minutes to an hour on the elliptical, my blood sugar may end up dropping to dangerously low levels. (And in order to put in that much time exercising I'd have to get up even earlier and get even less sleep.)
Still, 370 calories is nothing to sneeze at, but when I know that I have it in me to do a lot more than that, it's frustrating.
And ultimately, that's what this is about: frustration.
I'm not feeling sorry for myself, or looking for sympathy, or to come off like I think I have it so much worse than everyone else.
But I'm frustrated as hell.
And I admit that some of the issues I have are my own damned fault for living as unhealthy a life as I did up until a year ago, but the majority of the issues are things that are beyond my control.
Some of it, too, is a problem of patience, or a lack thereof: I want to be in better shape right now, dammit.
It certainly doesn't help matters any that my family history tells me that there are even worse things in terms of health - beyond the inevitable declines that come with age - looming in my future no matter what I do now...
But ultimately, what's driving my frustration is that I'm putting forth a good faith effort to work with the body I've got, genetic issues and the damaging affects of ruinous living and all, and finding that it seems to flatly refuse to work with me, or that it's just too goddamned stupid to do it.


Merlin T Wizard said...

Yeah, that sucks, dude.

Stardust said...

I feel for ya. It is frustrating when you want it NOW but can't. I'm sure you have read about diabetes and exercise and most likely talked to your doctor, but would eating carbs before and after help at all? Good carbs too...whole grain stuff. Swimming is an excellent workout too if you do swim that is. I don't know much about diabetes but decided to throw this out there. I hope you find a solution. In the meantime it seems like a lesson in patience. Just do what you can.