“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucius
I have been thinking for the past few weeks (months) it is about time I got back here, looking at my last post it has been 18 months since my typing graced my little corner of the internet. It isn’t that I haven’t had time, haven’t wanted to post or even been unable, it is just that I have not known what I’ve wanted to say, or how to say it.
That really hasn’t changed, but some things need to be done, not because you want to, but because you need to, and today that need is strong.
A lot can happen in 18 months, and for me it has, and it hasn’t. Mentally I am still getting stronger, this is through situations I am pushing myself into. I have always performed under pressure, and a unique volunteer organisation I have been involved with for 25 years is increasingly giving me the opportunity to test myself. In the next 12 months it is possible I will take things there to the next step; our current leader locally is ready to stand down from his current position and I have been asked by several colleagues if I would step up to the roll. While it is not something I would have ever seen myself doing, it is not something I would back away from and am beginning the mental preparation for if and when it happens. It is reassuring to know that your peers believe that you can do something that you never thought you would.
“The only antidote to mental suffering is physical pain.” – Karl Marx
That being the case, as my chronic pain increases, maybe that is why my head is becoming clearer? Who knows, not me, and Karl Marx has not been of this Earth for 130 odd years, so I am not counting on him to come over for tea and scones and elaborate.
I have known that there are issues with my cervical spine for years, earlier this year my GP (finally!) sent me for a CT scan to investigate further. As it turns out I have several severely herniated discs in my neck, as well as bone spurs growing from my vertebrae into nerve roots where they exit my spine. Sadly while there are procedures that could assist with rectifying the issues, the odds against me ending up up a paraplegic or quadriplegic are way too high. While I would like to be pain free, or even suffer less pain, I am happy to keep the use of my legs and arms for now.
Over the past few months I have been experiencing a lot of lower back pain. I had put this down to getting older and also to the fact that I have no arches in my feet, never have. These arches are part of the shock absorbing mechanism for the body. Imagine driving a car without shocks and springs, not good for the car, and no arches is not good for your body as it allows the shock of your feet hitting the ground to propagate throughout the whole body and having other bones and joints taking the impact. A couple of weeks back I awoke to my head pounding and being able to hear the sound of my pulse within my ears. Immediately I went for the blood pressure meter, and it was sky high, around double what it should be. Considering the anti-migraine meds I am are also used for persons with high blood pressure this was an extreme concern. So off to the docs it was, blood pressure check there (a little high) and then blood tests. While I was there I mentioned the lower back pain I’ve been having, so a lumbar spine x-ray was also organised.
Back to the docs a week later for the results there were two things I learned; I had a high fasting blood glucose level (previous blood test a few years before showed elevated blood glucose as well, so this prompted more blood tests) and the report accompanying the x-rays diagnosed that I have sometime in the past suffered several vertebral compression fractures. As a result I have some deformed vertebrae in my lower back that instead of appearing square when looking side on, they are wedge shaped. Well that is the source of my lower back pain, and why I experience pain after standing or walking for a period of time, not good at all. While the fractures are log healed, there is nothing that can be done at this stage. Fusion really isn’t an option. One small consolation is that there are no signs of arthiritis in my lower back.
Skip forward another week, another trip back to the docs, and more blood test results. The last test was for HbA1C. This is a more long term indication of blood glucose. As a result I now have a new (best?) friend. While I am not diabetic I am now classed as pre-diabetic.
I have to be honest, the thought of monitoring my blood glucose twice a day was a bit daunting. Test strips, lancets, finger pricks, blah, blah, blah. Every time I have had to have my finger pricked in the past it felt like a poorly sharpened butter knife was being used, and once the sample was taken the bleed would continue for some time, even minutes. I have got to say I am so glad to have done my research and spoken with a diabetes professional otherwise I may have never found this little gem.
The Accu-Chek Mobile doesn’t use individual test strips, it has a 50 test replaceable cartridge within, no fumbling for test strips and dropping them, great! This is combined with the Accu-Chek FastClix lancing pen. It is affixed to the side of the glucometer and can easily be removed if need be. No individual lancets either, it holds a drum containing 6 lancets, enough for 3 days of testing for me, no sharps container needed for disposal. Truly ingenious!
My diets has had to change. Not that I thought it was that bad, but I also have to drops some kilograms. Smaller meals, less carbs, less red meat, more fish and chicken, not bad, but I do love a good steak, now when I have one it will be a treat!
Anyway, things with regards to my glucose levels are hopefully heading in the right direction. In the 3 days that I have have had the meter my glucose levels have been reasonably good, nothing like the last two blood tests that were sent off to pathology. Top this off with losing a bit of weight and I am happy with myself so far. Not sure I’ll have ripped abs when I head to the beach after Christmas for some fishing, but I’ll hopefully be feeling a lot better when down there.