Saturday, September 1, 2012

Up For Air!

Gasp! Up for air. It feels like I’ve stroked several lengths of the pool underwater.

Never would’ve thought any several month stretch would be too crazy to even tweet, much less post to the blog. But then I suppose anyone who thinks they know the limits of what life may offer them is asking for surprise. There are no limits.

I write about health through my lens. It’s the only one I’ve got. That’s not likely to change, but the focus will shift now, assuming some new definition of stability materializes. And assuming that within any modicum of calm I choose to write.

But I will write not so much about LADA. I’m more interested in a wider angle shot of life and health. It’s all too integrated to spotlight just one chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease, the one I happen to have. Looking at any piece of this puzzle in isolation distorts. It’s why western medicine is failing so miserably at this. It’s why it’s obvious the eastern approach has much of it right.

But of course nobody else has it exactly right. Nobody that’s not you can. The utterly individual nature of the solution to perfect health means that absolutely nothing written or espoused in any way will be exactly the right template for you. Until you research and write your own. I happen to think the same is true of religion – that while the standard templates may have been right for the guys that wrote them, the chances of any one of those cookie cutter molds fitting you properly is slim to none. We are all snowflakes, aren’t we?

On the other hand, all the individual ingredients that might be part of anyone’s unique healthy and happy life-living-recipe are probably already out there and identified. You don’t have to create any new elements. You just have to find the right mix and dosage. OK, “just” is not a good word. Empirical self-testing is grueling. It’s too hard. Many of the choices related to being healthy are entangled with guilt, fear, denial, self-loathing, etc. that it’s no wonder most people just grab a diet or a religion off the rack, even if it’s two sizes too small or 89% polyester.

I would measure my success in one way by the extent to which my template for health and life is at least a starting point for those looking for their own answer. Some percentage of what I’ve found is universally applicable. It’s a starting place that you can tweak from. That’s what I offer. None of the access compartments to my Rube Goldberg Device are labeled “Warranty Void if Opened”. Go ahead and open it. Flip a switch or spin a dial to a different setting. See what happens.

"Beluga" is our new home.
Expostulation of theory only goes so far, so expect to also see case studies from my self-experiment. First, for those left hanging in June when I dropped off the radar, I’ll try to bring the timeline up to date. From a health standpoint, this intense period of transition and moving targets is particularly relevant considering the weight I attach to stress. I know it’s critical, but the absence of the expected significant rise in my blood sugar during this upheaval means it may be more nuanced than I’d thought. It may be as simple as the difference between long-term (hopeless) stress and finite-period (toward a desired goal) stress. The stress of a crappy job and being a cog in the machine damaged my body. The stress of losing that job and embarking on a bold plan without all the details worked out and exposing family to risk appears to not have had harmful effect. Perhaps because the option Kathy and I found was a long term soul goal – selling the house and much of the “stuff”, buying and moving aboard a sailboat, living by our wits at an age where many just want to make that last payment on the recliner lounger on the den…

Somehow the mind-boggling logistics, tight timings, depended upon luck and friends, epic cross country U-haul drive, and unexpected rerouting (house selling in a week, last minute switch in east coast destinations, and hurricane within days of purchasing boat) have not erased one bit of the miraculous recovery of my pancreas and insulin production. We’ve been on the road pretty much since early July and so my consistent routine of yoga and meditation has suffered. Only the diet and supplements have been relatively by-the-book during this stretch, yet my numbers, if you throw out one low of 94 and one high of 133 have all been between 101 and 122. Now that’s only about 8 data points because I decreased my testing to just once a week. My last A1c was just before my old insurance ran out and had ticked up a few tenths to 6.1 during the peak of the “what the hell are we going to do” stress phase. After we set our plan (however crazy it is), my numbers trended down. I’m sure my next A1c will be back under 6. I also halved my metformin again, down to 500 mg/day. It didn’t seem to matter.

It’s likely that reduced testing and less focus is probably a positive factor. So is being active. I can’t wait until we’re in our new home and in one place form more than a day. Getting some routine back will be good for the head. Just being able to cook is something Kathy’s been pining for.

Stay tuned for snapshots and reflections of this new life and health. I’ve also been hoping for time to work on a cookbook with some of what I’ve been eating the last year, all lean and fairly green.

As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome.