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 controlled. Every 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:
- Baen Books will be publishing Today I Am Carey, my novel based on “Today I Am Paul”. Look for it next fall. (I can’t share the cover yet, but the art is stunning.)
- Old Town Press published Family Secrets, a collection including “The Mother Anthony”, “Mama’s Little Angel”, and “One Last Chore for Grandpa”.
- “Scramble” appeared in The Jim Baen Memorial Award: The First Decade from Baen.
- “Today I Am Paul” appeared in Neil Clarke’s anthology More Human Than Human: Stories of Androids, Robots, and Manufactured Humanity.
- “Action Figures” appeared in Avatar Dreams: Science Fiction Visions of Avatar Technology, edited by Kevin J. Anderson and Mike Resnick.
- “Today I Am Paul” also appeared in The Future Is Nigh: A treasury of science fiction & fantasy, edited by C. Stuart Hardwick.
- “A Hamal in Hollywood” appeared in The Year’s Best Military and Adventure SF, Volume 4, edited by David Afsharirad.
- Old Town Press published a collection of my Blue Collar Space stories (with a fantastic cover by Luca Oleastri).
- And more news soon!
So over all, a good year for both writing and health. Let’s hope this year is even better!