It’s been a while since I did one of these posts, and there’s quite a bit to catch up on. Heck, to be fair, I’ve barely touched the blog outside of the Photo Blogging Challenge, so I need to kick it.
The one thing I always loved about this monthly post was the accountability that it gave me. Without it, part of my accountability goes away.
And my numbers have shown it.
I also realized I started writing one of these posts in February, and I never finished it and posted. So I am going to take things from that one and add a little more, so this could be a little longer. But that’s OK. I realize not a lot of people read these so it’s, for me, usually a way I can get my thoughts out there about how things are going.
So where to begin?
As I write this, we are a year into the current pandemic. We’ve all been going through issues over the past year. The world is still crazy, mad, scared, upset, and every other feeling and emotion you can come up with.
It just seems everybody reaches a breaking point and, at times, I feel I’ve reached said point more than once.
First … the numbers
Since I’ve written about this last, I’ve had two A1C tests and they are up. But this was expected. I knew I wasn’t doing the best. The second one actually went down a smidge, but that’s because of how I rebounded in the final month. If I hadn’t, I can’t imagine what it would be.
And why is this?
I explained to my primary (after the first test) that yes, I knew, but I also knew what was part of it – everything going on. From the pandemic, to the political world, to everything else – I wasn’t being smart. I ate like shit, I wasn’t watching things, and when my finger prick checking of my blood sugars wasn’t great (even when I was being smart), I got frustrated and pissed off.
So I’d eat.
Yeah, not the smartest thing in the world, that’s for sure. And I knew it wasn’t smart, but I had no self-control. It was a crutch.
That being said, I was keeping up my walking, for the most part. I’d stay as active as I could, but my free time was often on a computer and kind of tuning out life.
Look, the past year has been tough. Everybody has their own story or narrative about the year. And if you are in different parts of the United States, or in another country – everything going on has a different impact on you. Some have taken it worse than others. The suicide rate is up. Depression is up. Tension is up. Some people haven’t worked in months. Others are working too much. Some want to be working. Some would rather be in their home away from everything.
The way one person has been dealing with the past year won’t be identical to the next person.
But, because this is from my eyes, let me outline a few quick snapshots.
When this pandemic started, I was in the corner that we’d figure a way to contain it and we’d be back at it by May or June. I came to this conclusion based on things that had happened over the past 20 years (Ebola etc) where the world didn’t have to shut down. As it wore on, I realized it wouldn’t be a quick fix. I, like many others, had to come to terms with that.
So, I buckled down and went at it. My workload from March through June was incredibly high. I did more hours in that span than I can account for, but it had to be done. And ever since, it’s been up and down with normal hours to many more. All part of life.
But the little things get to you. As you look back and reflect, you can start pinpointing different aspects. I couldn’t go to baseball games. I didn’t want to eat out (I still don’t). I didn’t go geocaching or explore. I didn’t go on photo trips. I didn’t get to travel at all. I barely saw family and friends.
This is the type of stuff that really gets to you.
And what else did it? The presidential election in the United States. It doesn’t matter what side of the spectrum you were on for this – it was overwhelming. You have a global pandemic going on, social justice movements, and an insanely polarizing election cycle. No matter who one backed, there was tension. There were heated arguments and then add in social distancing (or lack thereof) and it got worse.
No matter who one backed – we all had part in this situation. And the sad part is that it didn’t end in November, or even December, or hell, even January. It’s still going. We’re a nation divided and it doesn’t help with people and their mental well being.
I’ve learned the block/unfriend/unfollow/mute buttons are very helpful in the social media world when it comes to a lot of this. I do it quietly, though. I’m not one of those who screams out I am leaving a group or I am eliminating people off my lists … I just do it. And believe me, I’ve done this to people on both sides of the political spectrum. It’s been nice that things have been relatively quiet, too. We know neither side is perfect — that’s for sure — but things being quiet is nice.
Depending where you live, this may or may not be something you are dealing with, too. But this winter near me has been shitty. It seems like we can’t go a couple of days without snow. And it’s not like we are getting feet at a time. It’s that steady, annoying, an inch or two here and there sort of snow.
Sometimes it’s fluffy, sometimes it’s that “wet” heavier snow – like snowball weather.
This really messes with your mind, too.
There’s a day of sun and blue skies and you feel, even if it’s cold, that maybe something is turning. Then what happens? The next three days it snows. Two inches one day. Four the next. Three the next. It’s depressing.
And it also forces me to stay in more. While I don’t mind walking in the cold, if I am out shoveling multiple times over a two- or three-day span, my energy is drained.
And sure, shoveling
The weather has been starting to turn for the better, though, so I am hopeful. But, I never think winter is done in my area until March ends. That being said, I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
Into my small world
Though I was a bit more outgoing and “free” when I was younger, I’ve become way more of an introvert in my adult life. “Adulting” absolutely wears me out. Small talk drives me crazy because nobody knows where to end a chat and all. Sometimes, I just want to put on some headphones and block out the world.
I’ve had my own bouts with different things. If I have a day or two where my blood sugar is too high, I can go in several directions. I can get angry. Or frustrated. Or upset. Or any other emotion. It’s a battle that goes up and down based on my daily mood.
The stress of work doesn’t help, either.
The stress of life, too.
I’ve been looking to buy a house, as well as a new car sometime this summer. I’ve thought about a dog (which I think would help me), and I’ve looked into buying a kayak this summer. I’d like to explore more and ride my bike more. And walk more. Some of these are big, some are small. But they all add up to make it hard, at times, to keep focused on other things.
This is real.
Think about yourself through all of this. Have you had any mental health issues? Has it taken a toll on your health at all? How’s your blood pressure? If you have diabetes, how are your numbers? How are other things? Are there any other underlying issues that have worsened during this time?
I have had my moments, that’s for sure.
Overall, though, I’ve taken it in stride the best I could. I’ve found ways to cope – whether it be a walk or binge watching something on Netflix, or trying to figure a way to shape my new personal journal (which may be one reason I haven’t blogged as much). Too often, I tend to slink back to the computer and that needs to change a little. The computer can be fun, be it some games or surfing or researching — but turning off the screen is important as well.
I’m trying to find different ways to do things to ease stress and I think that will help overall. The warmer weather will help. I plan to start playing some golf again as the weather improves, and I’ll be walking the courses more. Maybe I’ll get back to playing some disc golf. I want to explore some state parks. If a dog comes along, well … that can only help. Home ownership could help as well with all that it would involve. I want to do more with photography, and especially videography.
It’s the little things that will help.
OK, we get it … the numbers.
So … about those numbers
The last two A1C reports were in the upper 8s – obviously not where I want to be.
A month ago, I met with a dietician. She was uber helpful. She helped shape my meals. She offered ideas based on what I like to eat. She talked about calories, and carbs. She explained certain things. And we worked on what I could do.
The results have been crazy good.
I made a spreadsheet to document what my finger prick readings were for the past month and it’s quite wild to see it drop. Over the course of four weeks my numbers have gotten much closer to where they should be and for that, I am excited and thankful. It gives me the drive to keep it up and see what I can do.
Look, the reality is this – I don’t want my medication upped. In fact, I want it downsized. For this to happen, I need to do the right thing. I also requested a new blood glucose reader – one that syncs up with the MySugr app, so that should help as well. I’ll be excited when that arrives.
And when I saw my doctor earlier this week? I’m down 11 pounds. So that is also a good thing that helps in many ways. If I can continue my progress and do things right — maybe I can finally build the habits I need to get healthier.
I have some goals for this year. I’d like to continue the weight loss. I’d like to get a bit more active with my walking (pick up the pace again), and hike/explore some. Maybe do some biking and kayaking. All that will help. And by the end of the year (I would have 2-3 more A1C tests this year as I go every three months), I want that A1C staying under 7 – as low into those 6s as I can get.
And, I need to get blogging about these things more – not just this monthly write up, but the other features I have on here that have been neglected – such as the walking with a purpose and On The Trail.
I can’t guarantee I’ll be full force, but I am going to try and do a bit more. I’ve really crawled into a shell and I need to come back out and experience life a bit more.
And in the end, I think that will help me overall.
I hope everybody is getting through this pandemic. Be safe. Mask up when needed. Have some distance. Be healthy. Be happy.