Man in the Mirror
Accountability | Fixing ME | Week 3 Day 6 - Friday 12/2/2022
NOTE---I had been doing this all on Facebook but I decided I'll create a blog instead. So we're kind of joining this story "in progress."
NOTE---This blog post is rather uncensored.
Anyway, let's get down to it.
Week 3 Day 5, Friday 12/02/2022: I really didn't want to be there tonight. I still have a headache and blah blah blah. But I went.
I'm now at 9.91 miles on the week, so if I push it on Saturday I can still meet my goal of 12-14 miles for the week. Which ain't great by any means, but it's 12-14 more miles than I walked 3 weeks ago.
Did a full upper-body set on the Cybex machines after the treadmill. I hate that I'm only doing 2-3 plates for my reps. Most men would be lifting 3 times that much.
Since I'm doing this whole journey publicly, for this blog I'm going to share something personal. Stop reading now if you want.
The man in the picture above. Some days I really viscerally hate this man. Many days I am that man's worst enemy. Oftentimes he can't do much of anything without f##king it up. I don't like the way he looks. He's fat and old, and is not going to win any beauty contests. When I did medical transcription work in my former life, he would be labeled "deconditioned," "obese." And diabetic, duh, because of life choices. I believe he has the charisma of a doorknob.
I RARELY ever share selfies, because I hate the way I look, and NEVERRRR a "body shot" like this. It took a LOT for me to share this... I don't blame yall if my friend count drops.
Throughout August and September, when I would get home from work, I'd fall asleep in the car in the carport. I'd put the car in park, and then an hour later Nathan would be banging on the window to wake me up. There were a couple of days that I did not remember driving home from the school; I would remember being AT the school and I'd remember being AT home at suppertime, but nothing in between. One time I caught myself running a red light in Whiteville. I had 'zoned out' and realized, when it was too late, I was running the light. No harm, no foul, but ... it was one of those "WTF" moments, you know?
I mentioned it to my therapist at one of my appointments, and he said that's not a good thing. He asked me to schedule an appointment with a medical provider to get things looked at. But I didn't at first.
Finally around the first part of October, he told me if I didn't call and schedule an appointment, he was going to do it himself. Fine, I scheduled an appointment with Ashlee Allensworth at Whiteville Medical Associates. At the initial visit, they did a fingerstick, which was 465 mg/dL (for those unaware, a "normal" blood sugar for a non-diabetic person would generally be between 80 mg/dL and 120 mg/dL). This was at about 4 PM, after work. So... hell yeah, the diabetes monster is out of control. Then she did a full blood battery and the real "holy shit" occurred: My A1c result -- 12%. That's critical. This means that over the past 3 months leading up to the test, my average blood sugar was running north of 300 mg/dL. A normal, non-diabetic A1c (known as the hemoglobin A1c) is less than 6%.
It took a while for the reality of that number to set in... and the depression got real. It got even more real when I got this damn Dexcom meter and I was seeing numbers north of 400, sustained, day after day.
Ashlee called me and needed to schedule a relatively urgent follow-up, but I ended up rescheduling because of work. I don't like using PTO because my afternoon class needs me there to teach. Anyway, I saw her and she's like... dude... this is bad.
I told her if we just left this all alone, didn't do anything or change anything, what would the timeline be?
"A couple of years." "First you'd lose your legs, probably within a year or so, you'll go blind, your kidneys will fail, and that'll be that."
Hm. Would I live long enough to see Nathan graduate high school in a couple of years?
"Probably... but I don't like where this conversation is going."
I told her that before I got that meter I was blissfully unaware.
She said, "yeah, committing slow suicide."
In a couple of years nobody'd notice the difference. /shoulder-shrug/
She started me on Farxiga, which brought me out of the 400s and down to the upper-200s to mid-300s. Tim Duncan, our church leader, voluntold me to get a membership to Bodyshapers. So I did... it ain't cheap... so if I'm spending this money (that I really don't have), I've GOT to make the most of it and be there more often than not. The first few times on the treadmill, it was about 1 to 1.25 miles over 30 minutes, a DREADFULLY SLOW pace. Everything hurt. But, it's kinda cool, I'm here. Ashlee had said at my follow-up appointment, the fact that I can still feel my feet is rather surprising, but it also means that it's not too late to kind of reverse the trend.
Oh, by the way, an off-label use for the antidepressant Prozac, which I take, is to treat diabetic neuropathy symptoms.
At my most recent appointment, Ashlee put me on Xigduo XR, but it's a high dose ... Farxiga 10 mg and metformin ER 2000 mg. She said this is kind of the last point before we go on insulin. I REFUSE to go on insulin. I'm not going to be stabbing myself in the gut with a needle halfway through my work day. Hell no.
I'm eating better. I'm cutting way back on the diet Pepsi that I consume, and switched from white bread to whole wheat. I still love my Franco's pizza, but John has said he can make a thin crust, and I've found that it doesn't spike my sugar all that bad. Salads are great. I'm still learning, though, and some things will spike the numbers into the upper 200s. Notice I said upper 200s... instead of 400s. I still feel like crap, though, if the number drops lower than about 120. My body is used to being so high for so long that when the number reaches close to "normal," I'm kind of in a state of shock.
I have found support from so many friends. I'm truly grateful for that support and the words and encouragement. I'm glad I started going to the gym; I started talking with a few people there, and Grant Merritt has been good about helping me stay accountable... if I'm not there 2 nights running, he's messaging me saying "get in here."
I'm working on my Masters degree for Science Education. I *LOVE* my job, every last bit of my job, every minute of every day. I can clock in at 7:30 AM and forget everything else going on in life. I have ninety-nine (? I think that's the number) 7th graders. I teach a couple of small-group Math classes, for students who are sometimes on the struggle-bus and need some extra help. When I'm not doing that, I'm assisting in the Science classes. For 5 weeks I ran the 7th grade Science classroom while we were in between certified teachers. It was the greatest 5 weeks I have ever spent. I was other-worldly tired and half the time I felt like I had no clue what the hell I was doing, but it was a taste of being in the major leagues. I knew it was temporary and I was okay with that, but ... not gonna lie ... coming back after the fall break and resuming the old position was a little tough.
My final course for the first semester in my Masters program really pushed my resolve. That, combined with the sudden health crisis and a bunch of other things ... I'm very much overloaded. Some very good friends, along with Ashlee and my therapist Jonathan, were like, "uhm, you're doing this."
A final bit of motivation came quite recently. Our ELA teacher had her students write an essay about someone they admired. One student wrote extensively about ... me. I was given this essay, and as I read it, I fought the tears. Eventually the tears won. Of all the people in the world this student could write about, the student wrote about me. This student's words, that neat cursive handwriting on that sheet of paper, I have read over and over again. The student said I could just "throw it away, it's okay, I don't mind." I said THAT request is DENIED. It is taped to my desk so when I have that 'feeling sorry for myself' moment, I can look down and re-read that essay yet again.
My admin coach at the school asked me right after our September break what one of my goals was this year, and I told her, "move the needle." Well, reading that student's essay, and talking with some other coworkers, friends, and relatives of students, I've done that and then some.
So... ugh. This is going on and on and on and I need to shut up.
My son needs me. I'm his only parent since his mother died. I still believe to this day (it has been 6 years, 3 months, 17 days) that the wrong parent died, but that's neither here nor there. As for my son... I'm not getting into any public details but ... my son needs me. And he will need me alive after he graduates high school. I also have ninety-nine 7th graders who need me, and apparently I do matter to at least some of them.
I need to fix me. I'm a very broken individual. And I'm going to be selfish. I have to fix me, or I'll die. And that's not my being melodramatic or any other bullshit, that's being real.
I'm doing this for me.
And for 1 here at home.
And for 99+ at the Classical Charter School of Whiteville... and my work family.... and that student who wrote about me, who now has a friend for life.
I promise that future blog posts won't be as long. Thanks for reading and sharing the journey.
If my sharing this publicly helps one person to think about making a change in life, then it's worth it.
Chris. Just... Chris.