Paul Cathcart has diabetes; type 1 I’m guessing. He contacted me by email and wanted to share a chapter out of his book, Persona Non Grata With Diabetes: A Self-Portrait of the Diabetic Condition. The only modification I’ve made is to translate mmol/l to mg/dl for my U.S. readers. Here ’tis.
The Three Bears of Blood Sugar
How do I make myself better?
Fat bear: too much insulin. Skinny bear: sugar too high. Just right bear: healthy, happy diabetic.
Let’s for a moment, forget the experts and let us concentrate on me the diabetic instead.Like the cave man my body does not expect to eat every day. My body by default, collects and stores energy till it seeps through my diabetic veins, peaking my sugar levels, disrupting my salt levels, polluting my blood into acidic syrup; and after fifteen years, making me cry out for help: all anyone could tell me was to have more insulin.
Insulin makes me fat; it’s a foreign synthesised chemical hormone injected into my body to process sugar, storing the excess energy as fat. The more insulin I take the more my body resists. The more my body resists the more it blocks and backs up, creating insulin pockets. These pockets then randomly infuse with my system as a massively unexpected dose, leaving me in one hell of a hypo, and my body burning off fat and muscle producing sugar to fight it. And there I go, straight back up into the high blood sugar numbers tail spin again.
Carbohydrates make me fat; my body cannot digest them in a timely fashion with the insulin. They cause spikes in my blood sugar, which peak and trough out of phase from my five hours analogue insulin timeline. They don’t really catch up and round off, Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating (D.A.F.N.E) style, but slowly degrade the quality of my blood, and clog my organs forcing my body to react in the early morning trying desperately to process them with dawn sugars; and there it is back up to “18.0” again when I went to bed with sugar of “7.2.” [18 mmol/l = 324 mg/dl; 7.2 mmol/l = 130 mg/dl]
High sugar makes me skinny, unable to properly digest food, hold water or heal; my body melting into a puddle of acidic sugar as it did prior to first being diagnosed with diabetes. Easy to slip back in and out of when combining too much insulin, in meeting with the requirements of feeding off the wrong kinds of food for energy, topped up by too much sugar in chasing the tail of excessive insulin.
These very same ups and downs are what aggravate my temper, tire my soul and over time negate my character. Far simpler to digest protein and green leaf vegetables; easy, slow burning energy matching a, small quantity, five hours insulin timeline: synchronising my body while negating fluctuations. I’m far less likely to build up pockets of insulin under the skin, avoiding numerous side effects at later stages. It’s metabolic meditation. We are all just flowers really; I can feel myself begin to wilt after only a few days of uneven blood sugar, then after only two of even levels I feel uplifted as though the sun has come up. It’s really ninety percent diet, ten percent insulin, to be in control.
Taken from, ‘Persona Non Grata with Diabetes.’