Thursday, 28 July 2011

Welcome to Diabetes World...

Today, I got a new blood glucose 'monitoring system'.  It comes with an impressive looking pouch, test strips in a test 'drum', a 'proven' least painful soft-clix plus finger pricker, lancets, batteries and a 'welcome pack'.

Now I don't know about any other diabetics out there but 'welcome' seems a bit of a laugh.  It is not a cozy club I've joined here, it's a pain in the tushy. It is boring more than anything.  If you are diagnosed and intend to manage your diabetes properly, most of the time you will be thinking about food - even if you don't want to, aren't hungry, are ill and can't face food - you have to think about it.  What you have had, what you will have, what you can't have, what you should have.  And, what you have to do to balance up any screw-ups you've made. In addition to which, you are always bearing in mind that even a change in the weather, a sniffle or a bit of a stressful day can throw everything up in the air and make it rise or drop wildly - totally without logic. It is not something I'd want to 'welcome' anyone to.  Oh and don't start me on the potential complications - it is toooo depressing.

Moan over. Don't misunderstand me, I'm really not complaining about having it - that's just one of those things.  I am complaining about misconceptions about what it is really like.  I know this is one area I can't make right - unless you have it, you can't understand it. But it is in my nature to try to explain stuff (once a teacher...).  The fact is, without the medications and all their attendant complications and side effects things would go wrong very quickly.  So having those things is great, but hard work and by no means straighforward. It is not, certainly for the 'younger' diabetic about taking a pill or jabbing in a bit of insulin and away you go. But that is for the most part what most people think and it is frustrating. It is a degenerative condition with a pretty shitty outcome unless you are diligent (and lucky) and the only way to deal with it is to work hard.  Let's be honest, that's not always going to be possible or desirable, you gotta live for heaven's sake.  But what if I don't work hard most of the time? Definitely a shitty outcome.  At least by trying I'll not be able to blame myself.  I don't know who else I would blame but I'd have jolly good try - a passer by would do! In all seriousness, I've learned the hard way that at diagnosis, if you are given the chance to manage the condition with diet alone, the sensible person does just that. The Selenas of this world do three weeks of holiness, then decide there's been a mistake and go back to shovelling the wrong things down the cake-hole.  This ends in medication.  With some startlingly scatalogical side-effects.  THAT ain't welcome either!

So, new glucose monitor, to go with my new 'lose weight, eat right' attitude.  So far, so good.  I'm 104 pages into the 200+ page instruction booklet, I have worked out what goes where, which bits need reading and how to extract blood (Yes, of course it bloody hurts!).  I've even managed to do a test and put everything back in the pouch in the right order (there IS a right way and a wrong way, it says so in the instruction booklet - and there was an extra sheet with a diagram to prove it). 

Taking control of my own body, health, weight etc is not something I'm naturally inclined to do.  It's going to be a major and lifelong battle but I do have an aunt whose experience of the same thing does at least give me support and inspiration.  I'm constantly aware that I have to try at this, and that if I were a naturally sporty, healthy type, I'd maybe have held this off a lot longer than my early 40s.  So I either get on with it now or shorten my life by a very long way.  My period of denial is over and my taking control has begun.  I'm doing my best to take a positive approach as there are so many worse things that could happen.  Like I could carry on ignoring it and hit that shitty outcome in no time at all.

The silver lining to this new kit is not just the speed, accuracy and attractive, handy rubber effect 'pochette' - it also boasts a GLOW IN THE DARK DISPLAY! Now, that is worth the effort!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

For anyone interested in the poses mentioned in tonight's post...

The Plank

The Tree

The Warrior

and of course:

The Meditator

Meditations on... meditation

Yoga. It is flipping hard work if it is done right.  I hurt more today than I ever have from the gym (for 'ever' read 'a couple of weeks').
So, I went to a new Yoga place last night.  They have an unlimited classes for twenty quid offer so I thought why not? Also, I have long wondered about going to a 'proper' place to see how it is in 'real' Yoga circles.

It seems that how it is done is with more noise - well, not everyone - just one person to whom I will return.  Who was it? You ask (you might!).  It was not skinny, young woman who made no eye contact, nor was it the clearly bonkers middle-aged woman with halter-top AND bra with standard straps. This is not a good look for anyone but bonkers people in Yoga rooms may wear this 'style' with impunity and even some elan where a similarly aged woman in any Sarf London high street just looks like a raddled old chav. She was, despite the lunacy very smiley and made polite conversation about the room temperature and so I allowed her to be liked.  Until one of her feet found itself uncomfortably close to my face during a particularly tricky move.  This wouldn't usually bother me too much - but this foot was of the type even a hardy chiropodist would retch at... it took me a moment to re-gather myself but I pushed on... through the noise of the only man in the group.  Yoga men: very specific type usually but he didn't seem to fit the usual.  He looked more like an accountant who used to do rugby at university but is more of a watcher than a player nowadays.  He did make a brief nod in my direction when he arrived, hint of a smile and then straight to HIS mat (my guess is, if someone else went there next time, he'd be a bit put out - a touch of the towel on the sunbed about him).  He settled himself, a few feet away from me so (ideally) out of reasonable ear-shot. He falolloped down and began to breathe.  Of course, he'd been breathing when he arrived - he was definitely alive - but this was special breathing.  Noisy YOGA breathing. Or rather NOISY Yoga breathing.  I wish I could explain it adequately - it was kind of tricky to categorise.  It was uninhibited, let's just say that - oh, and that it was upheld for the entire time we were doing the physical yoga - he did shush once we moved to meditation.  Thank goodness manky-foot-woman arrived shortly after him.

Others at the class included a woman who was clearly way beyond beginners group but graced us with her bendiness as she was accompanying her pal (almost wider than she was tall) once the class had started thus I call them the 'two disruptively late women'.  They were ok though and with the bendy pal to live up to, I felt rather sorry for wider-than-tall woman.  She wasn't as bendy as her friend and was not good on one leg but a game girl and didn't give up - you have to admire that.

I did ok at the physical side of things - didn't fall over during 'the Tree' or fart during 'the warrier' or indeed, crash to the ground begging for mercy during 'the plank' so was, all in all quite pleased. Now we move to the meditation section of the proceedings.  Usually in a Yoga class you do about an hourish of bendy, stretchy, fall-y-over stuff and then do the lying down with a blanket, thinking about your points of energy and flowers and such.  It is my favourite part and after the physical stuff, it really does feel wonderful. 

So, lying on my mat, cushion under head, blanket over me, eyes closed, I was ready to relax.  The teacher lowered the blinds and lights to a gentle darkness, candle light at the other end of the studio flickered (ok - opened my eyes to see what she was doing).  It was the perfect time to let all those worries and anxieties slip away and focus on the breath (that's what you do - obviously noisy-breath-man was prepping for the meditation from the get-go).  We did the conscious relaxation of hands, feet, legs, and so on.  We felt the heaviness; we gave ourselves up to the stillness... drifted... into total...

Sleep.  I must have gone out like a light as the next thing I knew, I was awakened by a loud snorting, snore.  At least I'm pretty sure it was loud; it woke me up.  And it was definitely not the noisy-breath-man or manky-foot-woman who were my nearest mat neighbours. I know my own particular brand of snore - it had all the hallmarks. I'd like to think only I heard it but the fact that the teacher made creaky steps towards me at the moment I came to consciousness kind of suggests she'd heard it too. 

I can only hope manky-foot-woman was so caught up with her own lunatic thoughts she didn't notice, and noisy-breath-man is a fair enough sort of a fellow to accept the failing of annoyingly noisy breathing issues in others.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Getting started...

So, as I said before, the reason behind starting this blog thing is my rather sudden face to face with proper health issues.  Diabetes, cholesterol and the attendant plop that comes with.
So.  Hard to describe just how far away from a gym-bunny I am but if you imagine a cross between Jo Brand and Ruby Wax attitude wise, that's about it.  I'm not sporty, cannot catch a ball (or anything thrown at me - my instinct is to SAVE MYSELF!). Nor can I run in a way that is anything other than 'girl'.  If anyone remembers an  episode of 'Friends' where Phoebe runs - you have the picture.
To make matters worse, not only do I love to cook, I love to eat. I do not understand why anyone would subject themselves to a diet and the Kate Moss line "nothing tastes as good as being thin feels" (or something like that) - leaves my jaw a-hangin... I could make a list of things I believe I've eaten to disprove this but the fact is, I'm supposed to be doing an MA dissertation at the moment and really don't have 4 hours to spare!

So, I get the talking to from the Doctor, I sit myself down and have a think.  No brainer really... stop with the pies or meet your maker way earlier than you planned... So.

Gym, diet changes, Yoga and take control. 

The Yoga I have done before, Pilates too.  I loved them and really wasn't too bad, however, after falling on someone (attempting a shoulder stand way before I was up to it) in the Yoga class and farting loudly in the Pilates class (there is a LOT of waving of legs in the air - these things happen when you pass 40)... I gave those particular disciplines a rest.

The diet changes are straightforward enough - stop eating the stuff you like and start eating the stuff you pretend to like if you go somewhere fancy to eat.  Although, I draw the line at broccoli - as far as I am concerned, it is the work of a fiend.

And so to the gym.  As I stolled back through the doors (I've made one or two half-hearted attempts before), Shaun the trainer (person, not item of footwear - but with the sporty theme you might get confused) looks up, beams at me "Hi!" he says "So, here we are again".  It was more resignation than either a question or a statement of fact - he looked a little older I felt, a little weary.  But manfully, he took me on again, went through my program of torture with me and is kind enough to hide his surprise each day when I reappear.  I'm taking him some eggs in on Wednesday - my chickens love to share.  I think he needs building up a bit.