What I’ve Learned (2018 Edition)

Eight years ago today (sort of), I sent my first story to a professional science fiction market. So every July 4th, I like to review my lessons learned in the past year.

But this past year, most of what I’ve learned is not directly writing-related (except that being healthy is important for writing)…

  • That tiny lump that has been in my back since 2009 or so was a sebaceous cyst. Mostly harmless, but…
  • Sebaceous cysts can get infected.
  • Infected sebaceous cysts can turn septic.
  • Sepsis can kill you.
  • The odds of sepsis go way up if you have diabetes. To fight off the infection, your liver converts fat to glucose; but because you’re diabetic, your body doesn’t process glucose efficiently. Glucose builds up in your blood stream; and glucose is a great growth medium for bacteria, so your infection grows. So your liver produces more glucose…
  • I have Type 2 diabetes, undiagnosed until I ended up in the Emergency Room with a septic infection.
  • With discipline, Type 2 diabetes can be controlledEvery patient is different. I am not a doctor, and this is not medical advice. It is what I have experienced and what I have learned and what has worked for me. Please see your doctor if you have questions.
  • I recommend that treatment start in a diabetes education class. I learned a lot.
  • Treatment should include regular monitoring of glucose levels.
  • Treatment may include regular injection of insulin. In my case: I started with one form of insulin before each meal, and another at bedtime.
  • Treatment may include monitoring and reducing grams of carbohydrates (“carbs”) in your diet.
  • In my case: treatment includes limiting carbs to 60 per meal (minimum 30) and a 20-carb snack at bedtime. Other patients may have other targets.
  • In my case: managing my carbs (along with other lessons below) has reduced my blood glucose readings to normal ranges (usually 80-100), and my Hemoglobin A1c from 10.4 when I was diagnosed (danger territory) to 5.3 (healthy normal).
  • When your glucose and A1c are under control, you may be able to get off insulin injections. With approval of my diabetes team, I stopped taking insulin at the start of June.
  • Type 1 diabetes (not my type) is when your pancreas does not produce insulin.
  • Type 2 diabetes (my type) is when your body has insulin resistance. Your pancreas produces insulin, but your cells don’t use it well.
  • Fat cells have higher insulin resistance. This is why obesity is correlated to diabetes — but is not exactly a cause of diabetes.
  • Muscle cells have lower insulin resistance.
  • Therefore losing weight and building muscle is a one-two punch to reduce insulin resistance.
  • In my case: moderate carb reduction, calorie management, and regular exercise (mostly treadmill walking) have worked to both reduce fat and increase muscle.
  • I have lost 68 pounds since September.
  • My waistline has shrunk 12 inches since September. (I now have the waistline of a 30-year-old Japanese male.)
  • I am stronger.
  • I have more endurance.
  • I can walk an hour on my treadmill.
  • I can run.

This is a big change. In retrospect, that infected cyst may be one of the best things that ever happened to me.

*****

Meanwhile, here’s my writing news since last year:

So over all, a good year for both writing and health. Let’s hope this year is even better!

2 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned (2018 Edition)”

  1. Thank-you for sharing. Diabetes is a silent killer. The cysts can develop tunnels like tree branches, then all the tissue has to be cut out and the wound left open to heal. Takes months of bandaging. Your dedication to exercise is inspiring. Meanwhile, looking forward to enjoying more of your writing and here’s to your continued good health.

    1. Thank you! My wound healed quickly, but slowly. The wound vac and then the picovac shrunk it rapidly; but there was a little cyst wall left, and so it wouldn’t close until they excised that. Now it’s closed and healed. (But it itches sometimes…)

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