Sugar, Sweat and The Vanishing T-Zone

Our experiments in snake-oil continue apace. The Boy slipped a bit in his adherence to the program, so we’ve kind of been hanging fire for a couple of weeks. Even so, he’s using half the per-meal insulin he was a couple of months ago, and starting to lower his daily insulin.

The interesting thing to me is how exact the predictions have been. Just as predicted, his blood sugar dropped low, and he had to lower his insulin. Then it came back up, so he had to raise it again. Just as predicted, he started spilling sugar in his urine; when it stopped we were to lower his insulin till it started again. And the cycle of stopping and starting was supposed to speed up, which it has done.

He’s still not quite in the zone where things are really kicking in, which is a sort of frightening thought. Although diabetics are controlling for high blood sugar, the short-term danger is from low blood sugar, which can happen if his pancreas suddenly starts creating insulin while he’s injecting insulin. (We’ve had a few rather low readings since starting this, but mostly The Boy has been very aware, very cautious and very diligent.)

Meanwhile, I’ve had a few interesting phenomena arise. My weight’s held steady after dropping those 20 pounds (and the doctor looks concerned about me dropping more) though even though my weight hasn’t changed in a month, people seem to be noticing more. So, I think something is happening. (I haven’t gotten to my mom’s gym for a fat test yet.)

On anther front, my “T-Zone” vanished, sort of. This is kind of amusing, because I can’t seem to find anyone who remembers the “T-Zone” commercials. If you have oily skin (which I always have) but you have dry skin over your eyes, and down your nose, you have a “T-Zone”. I forget what they were advertising, exactly, but it was probably some sort of moisturizer. (No, I didn’t do anything about it. Why would a guy care if he had a “T-Zone”?)

Well, mine started getting extreme (as had happened occasionally before) with all kinds of dry, flaky skin, and then, over the course of a week, it started shrinking, until it was sort of an “i-Zone”. Now it’s just sort of the dot (the tittle, technically speaking) over the lower-case i.

The doc says, “Oh, that’s just vitamin A deficiency.”

Also, I’m sweating. I’ve never been a sweater. Em. I’ve never been one who sweats. I mean, sure, when working out in 100 degree heat in our tiny dojo back before it got A/C, I did some sweating. But not as much as other people by a long shot.

The theory being batted around at the time had to do with playing a lot of sports as a kid and developing your sweat glands at a young age. It’s not a crazy thought, really: The body does a lot of things in reaction to activity. (You’re not born with hip sockets, for example. They’re created by the action of crawling.)

The theory might even be true. But my doctor offered another theory, since she has lots of guys who are suddenly sweating a lot: The body doesn’t sweat because it’s dehydrated.

Well, duh.

That’s one of those things that’s so obvious when you think about it, you feel stupid for never having thought of it yourself.

Weirdly, I’ve written a fair amount of (unpublished) fiction. At one point, when I took stock of what I had written, I became aware of how much I wrote focused on water. People being thirsty or dehydrated. (I even thought at one point of collecting all my water-themed stories together to make a movie.)

Wild, huh?

Even more interesting, according to this program, once you’re up to snuff, your body actually makes most of what you need. You only take a couple of calciums (which are not in our foods, unfortunately).

White Devils

I detailed my eight month treadmill desk experiment here and also my water drinking, and noted that neither of them caused any net weight loss. I’m sure I must have swapped some muscle for fat in those eight months, but as the water drinking was accompanied with a reduction in my soda drinking habits, I was expecting some sort of net weight loss. But no dice.

Of course, I started doing the Reams program in solidarity with The Boy and, much to my dismay, it worked. So, now I’m eating a largely vegetable diet, with meat two, three (okay, sometimes four) times a week. And there are things I am not eating.

No white flour. No white sugar. No white potatoes. Also, no corn syrup, and really, I’m not supposed to be eating corn (unless it’s white corn on the cob). I do have popcorn and soda at the movies.

Well, I guess it’s not mystery where my extra pounds were coming from. I’ve lost 20 pounds in two months. Without any exercise at all. I’m not supposed to exercise too much yet though I am finally back on that a little bit.

My interpretation of the various food prohibitions fall into two categories: Some foods are bad because they are actually harmful while others are bad because they take up the space you’d normally have for nutritious food. Shellfish, pork, protein bars are examples of food in the actually harmful category–something about the high protein content. (Again, this is my casual impression. I’m not claiming to understand this.)

Sure has made weight loss simple, though. If you call this living….

When Numbers Get Serious

A week ago, The Boy and I took one of our not infrequent road trips to visit the dietitian. I’ve been a little suspect of his devotion to the whole regime of vegetables, and I thought he’d been a bit lax with some of his supplements (vitamins and minerals).

But the numbers came back great. Mine came back pretty good, too, which sort of surprised me, since they’d been so bad before. I’m allowed to exercise a little and eat a little meat. (This diet discourages heavy meat eating. Three times a week, maximum.)

I spent a year and a half as a mostly-vegetarian. That is, I didn’t eat any meat during the week, but since I went home for weekends and mom considers vegetarianism a personal affront, I did eat fish then. It was actually very difficult for me to start eating meat again. I mean, just contemplating it was sort of appalling.

Weird, eh? Well, I just spent six weeks as an actual vegetarian and I assure you my celebratory hot turkey sandwich was quite welcome. (I’m not even a turkey fan but–well, I’m not going to food blog just yet, but the sandwich will be back.)

I could observe that I continue to benefit from this program, and The Boy continues to reduce his insulin, but I see the government has already established that alternative forms of treatment are pretty much universally bunk.

Well, not really: They’ve apparently spent $2.5B paying other people to test them, in God knows what fashion. I’ve linked to this guy, Phil Plait, instead of to the direct article because he captures so well the attitude I’ve seen of some: It’s vitally important to them that nobody ever believe anything that can’t be proven in a double-blind study.

Frankly, I don’t think most of these things work, but since placebos (called “dummy pills” now, apparently) have something like a 20% success rate, I tend to think the placebo is under-prescribed. I mean, I doubt those “male enhancement” pills have any effect whatsoever, but if a guy believes that they do and benefits from that belief, how cruel to take that away from him!

Most of the programs I’ve seen that seemed very effective were not really pharmaceutical replacements, they were regimens. Lifestyle changes. You could argue (successfully, I think) that the gains were from a variety of banal things, rather than, say, distilled water or walnut tincture.

And I wouldn’t really care if you did, so long as I’m free to do whatever crazy thing I want.

My concern, of course, is that the government will get both wrong: Prescribing things that don’t work while proscribing things that do. In fact, I can guarantee you that already happens, routinely.

Water, Minerals, and Incredible Things

Well, The Boy has been on this new diet for two months. So far, everything that the nutritionist has suggested would happen has happened. He’s had a few crashes that slowly came back up, but now we’re at the point where his body needs less fake insulin, or so the theory goes.

In practice, he’s reduced his per-meal insulin by half, while maintaining excellent blood sugar levels. He’s less thrown off by dietary lapses, as well. Too many carbs raise his blood sugar less dramatically and for less long. (It used to take him days to get it back under control sometimes.)

As for me, well, I’m losing weight. Sort of funny: I think the walking for 20, 30 plus hours a week built up muscle as much as it reduced fat, so no weight change. Not losing weight drinking the water is a little harder to explain, except that I was very dehydrated.

I’m not supposed to be exercising right now and meat is out, to say nothing of the various junk foods, and it’s difficult to impossible to maintain my weight without those things. (No tragedy; I can stand to lose a few pounds.) I am missing exercising, though.

Encouragement to be as good as I can so as to get my body in good enough shape to actually use it, I guess.

All Clear

OK, so tests came back and everything’s fine.

Phew.

Everyone’s happy with the results. No need for further tests. And my dietary numbers look good, too. Well, not good, but better.

I’m still not allowed to exercise. Exercise may have contributed to the situation, actually. (Though my money’s still on the antibiotics.)

In any event, I’m good to go. I live…again.

UPDATE: And pardon my manners. Thank you all for being so supportive here. Means a lot, even though I wasn’t all that communicative about it.

Medicine and Technology

The Boy and I watched an interesting demo today on a device that monitors blood sugar continuously for 72 hours. I was a little disappointed by it, because I thought it was going to be something like a watch you could look at to see your blood sugar at any time. Instead, it doesn’t transmit the information at all. After the 72 hours you remove it and a computer reads the data.

How positively medieval.

This is all a come-on for an insulin pump. If I had known that, I probably wouldn’t have bothered. Two extra trips downtown (one for the demo and sensor insertion, one to drop off the sensor later) for something I don’t think we’ll be using, but it was kind of interesting. The basic premise is simple enough: You wear an external device that acts sort of as a pancreas.

The pancreas does more than produce insulin but, hey, it’s a start.

Anyway, the boy raked the rep–who was, of course, cute and hot, as all such reps seem to be–and the doctors over the coals: What were the bugs? What could go wrong with the system? His syringes sometimes leak, what if that happened? What if his blood sugar dropped too low at night? How would he know what his blood sugar was at any given moment?

The technology is pretty good, though, and delivers small amounts of insulin over time rather than big loads, and apparently can actually do so based on blood sugar readings from the sensor. (Via wireless bluetooth! Now we’re talking! The rep said one guy had the readings hooked to his car GPS.)

Part of the appeal of this is that you can eat whatever you want, whenever you want.

But, you know, what if that’s how you got into the mess you’re in in the first place?

The Boy’s numbers are looking good anyway. In the two months since we started the diet his scores have dropped 20% (lower is better), and he’s started lowering his insulin again. (This time, theoretically, he should be able to keep the insulin lowered.)

The outlook for me is not so rosy, unfortunately. My numbers are rather dire and getting worse, and despite a checkout from a doctor, I’ll be having X-rays and bloodwork done tomorrow. So wish me luck. (Again.)

Drink Too Much (b)

I’ve been drinking too much water, according to the latest tests. (The doctor has advised and tested me on the basis of me needing to be alive to pay for The Boy. Smart!) I haven’t had any negative symptoms (e.g., headaches) but I’m reducing the amount of water I drink, and adding some fruit juice in.

The Boy, unfortunately, backslid a bit in the past two weeks. He’s been having trouble keeping track of his water bottle and I think his guesses were on the low side. He’s also got to start getting more aggressive as far as changing his diet. He’s been good about trying new things, but if he finds something he likes, he’ll eat it to the exclusion of all else. Variety is key.

Some of you asked about this program; I finally got the guy’s name right: Carey Reams. This is just the first thing that came up on Google, so I don’t know how accurate a representation it is, nor should it be considered a validation of other things on that site. (Or an invalidation, for that matter.)

Years ago I knew a woman with a mess of inoperable brain tumors who did this program and got rid of all of them. It took her a couple of years to go from “terminal” to a clean bill of health, but in the next ten years or so, she didn’t have a relapse.

I just remembered that; interestingly, there’s no connection between her and my doctor.

Stay tuned.

All You Need Is Loaf?

For February, The Boy’s blood sugar averaged 155. In the last two weeks of February, about the time we started with the water, it averaged 122. He seems to be keeping it in that low range, despite having cut his mealtime insulin by 25%.

This is good. The doctor reminds us that he’s not actually on the program yet. He’s just gearing up with the water and the green drink. (The “green drink” is basically a bunch of leafy greens fed through a juicer. Tastes as good as it sounds.) He’s been doing some changes in his diet, as well, though that’s been milder than it probably will need to be once we’re actually on the program. But besides blood sugar, he’s been sleeping well, and longer. The sickness passed last weekend, and he has only a mild nausea (also predicted by the doc).

As for me, well, the phenomena mentioned in earlier posts continue to persist. I didn’t really mention the energy thing because “I feel so alert and full of energy” is such a cliché, and easily the most placebo-influenced effect at all. (Really: Change up your diet and exercise and start a new plan, and you’ll find morale-related effects kick in immediately, even if the diet and exercise aren’t very good.) A very concrete effect I’ve noticed is that after a difficult night (which is not rare when you have a bunch of kids) that gets cut short, I can still function very well and without the mid-afternoon drowsiness. I’m still tired and I fall asleep in the evening if my sleep is cut short, but my awake time is not overwhelmed with the urge to go unconscious.

There are also things I didn’t mention because I’m not Titus. (Suggested in the title of this post.) Things have definitely improved in the area of his favorite subjects.

In the interest of full disclosure I should point out that I just lost a tiny piece of a molar. No pain; it just came out while flossing. The tooth pain I described earlier that went away is still gone. (Hmmm, but this piece is on the same side so I need to get to a dentist to figure out what’s going on.) The mouth phenomena could be a complete coincidence.

Also, I’m feeling somewhat “acidic” at night, which, given the changes in body chemistry the water and juice might be bringing is worth watching. (The doctor wants me to do the full program at the same time, but I’m not sure I want to shift the focus away. On the other hand, the tests involved keep you from going too far one way or the other.) Come to think of it, though, this may be akin to the nausea the boy is feeling.

And, while it’s not easy to drink this much water and still eat enough to maintain one’s weight, I’m in there pitching. Still haven’t lost anything. Heh.

Up Till Now, Everything Was Okay

It is a characteristic of men that they are stoic. Not to say that all men are stoic, and certainly I know some who play up minor illnesses and injuries in a bid to win sympathy from their significant others. But stoicism is a manly feature. To the point of stupidity, even: Men will let health conditions go too long, until they’re untreatable.

Up till recently, I’d not thought of myself as particularly stoic. I’d noticed a few things and I attributed them to getting older. Unlike, say, Instapundit, I’m not particularly concerned about death, but I’ve always–especially when younger–wondered which features normally attributed to senescence were not due to some other factors.

In my case, apparently, a lot. But until I started drinking the water, I didn’t know how many.

I mentioned stiffness and morning vision blurriness, but in a week I’ve noticed that the occasional tinnitus, digestive issues, farsightedness, fatigue and a few other things I just assumed were me “getting older” have rolled back.

As I said, stoic to a fault: It’s one thing to endure and another to be so accepting you never try to improve things.

We’ve started to add in some juiced leafy greens, which isn’t as bad as it sounds.

The Boy’s blood sugar has been coming down but it’s still not quite under control. He’s had to undergo some dietary changes, and I think he’s somewhat depressed about that, though he is being a good sport. A big change is that he’s waking up faster: Most of my kids have a “need that first cup of coffee” kind of wake-up cycle, The Boy especially so. The doc attributed that to low morning blood sugars. The water’s made a big difference there.

I’ll keep posting on it, as the story progresses.

Water, Water Everywhere.

Day two of drinking copious amounts of distilled water and feeling really, really good. Almost suspiciously good.

Assorted fleeting aches and pains but oddly alert and energetic.

While I seldom get sick these days, and feel myself to be in pretty good health, there are little things here and there which I sort of associated with getting old. Like a certain degree of stiffness and my vision being a little bit blurry in the morning.

I imagine it can’t last forever, but so far so good.