Very Old, Very Healthy Diabetic

...or die trying.
I was diagnosed in 1998 at the age of 33 with NIDDM or Type 2 diabetes. I come from a diabetic clan. I even married a diabetic. Are you on the diabetes road, too?
This is my goal: to become a very old, very healthy diabetic by day to day choices regarding eating, exercise and medical management. Walk along with me...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Uncle Pesky

I really must get Uncle Pesky to start a blog. This man is my Dad's older brother. Dad is a "dyed-in-the-wool" liberal, according to Pesky. Pesky is a "set-in-his-ways" conservative, according to my Dad. (Well, actually that's not true. If they're in conflict, my Dad doesn't want to say anything bad about his brother, so he doesn't say much at all.)

Pesky grew up in Seattle, although he spent some formative years on a grandparents farm in Missouri. In his young adulthood, he moved to Alaska. He worked and hunted and fished there, married wife #2 there, raised kids, mentored younger workers, etc. Pesky looks like a guy who could get you safely through a week or a month in the wilderness. He's the standard apple shaped diabetic and could, like the rest of us, lose some weight.

I'm not sure if he got his diagnosis as a diabetic while he was in Alaska or later, after he moved to Louisiana. Wife #2 is a kind-hearted woman with enough strength and backbone to put up with Pesky for years-I cannot tell you how much I admire her and yet find her choosing of and staying with somewhat perplexing. Auntie Perplexing has children and now grandchildren in the south. They've since moved to a different southern state. What I do know is that they were not in Louisiana during the time Hurrican Katrina hit.

Pesky is a a fellow who loves to argue and discuss. He'll express an opinion just to get the conversation started. I think that one could probably annoy him to no end simply by agreeing with everything he said and not giving him any toeholds to expand on his thoughts. He believes that every household should own guns. I think he may think that the only problem with President Bush is that the [deleted] democrats have not permitted him to implement each and every idea that has ever flitted through his head (or the heads of his advisors, perhaps). I think he's of the opinion that we should invest more public funds in prisons than in schools. I know he admires the arizona sheriff who has made prisons a much more prison-like experience. He didn't move to the south because he was a redneck, but living among rednecks did not daunt him.

When I was dating my husband, who I refer to as Dr. Parts, I mentioned to Pesky that Dr. Parts had a great big Dodge truck (heavy three-quarter-ton Ram diesel). Pesky asked if he had something that he towed with the truck, because he thought it was pretty dumb to have a big truck like that if you didn't have something big to tow with it. Dr. Parts did, but since his marriage, he's gotten rid of it. He's started mentioning boats a lot, though.

Pesky has a diagnosis of macular degeneration. Since he got that diagnosis, he has driven across the country at least four times that I know of. I know, it's a progressive thing and he probably was OK to drive when he did it. He also has heart trouble. He once wrote me that he was out for a walk and had to crawl to the porch of a neighbor's house to get assistance to get home. I'm not sure about the state of his kidneys. There are things you don't tell your niece.

He also has a tiny cute little dog, probably a silky terrier, who he loves to distraction. I love this glaring tenderness in this otherwise gruff and rough man.

Pesky can tell a joke or a story and keep you entertained for hours. He has thought about writing, and he is a talented writer, but, to the best of my knowlege has never published anything. He loves to tell stories about hunting, about being in the bush in Alaska, about encounters with bears and with people at work-sometimes those are the same stories. He has stories about serving in the military; I think he was an MP and I know he served in Korea. His dad, my grandfather, was a good storyteller, too.

On my other blog, I wrote a post, talking about my husband and me doing some target practice in the wilderness. I sent it off to Uncle Pesky, saying , you should read this in my blog today, you'd be proud of me. He wrote back, saying, what's a blog?

Come on, Pesky, blogs were made for guys like you!

When I was diagnosed with diabetes, my thought process went like this: this disease represents a radical threat to my lifestyle. I am willing to radically change my lifestyle to counteract this threat. I think that, for me, the adoption of a low-fat vegan diet is the best dietary response to diabetes.

Uncle Pesky has kinda taken this as a personal challenge. I wonder if he thinks that by eating like a vegan that I've joined the anti-hunting lobby, the radical environmentalists, the nutty animal activists who, he thinks, want to take away his guns. Not so, although I do see less and less value in killing animals just for human pleasure. And I still use animal products-leather, silk, wool. I don't think we can save the planet simply by eating vegan style. We're still doomed.

He's trapped, perhaps, by his addiction to the pleasure he associates with eating. He believes that no other pleasure can replace the pleasure he gets from eating bacon, country gravy, steaks, fried chicken, and desserts. And since he doesn't see a lot of other vices in his life, he doesn't see a clear need to give up the one he treasures. Even though, IMHO, it's contributing to his disease.

Not that I'm an always vegetarian. I am often a lapsed vegetarian. I wish that I always chose excellent and health-supporting foods. I don't. I don't believe that eating dead animal flesh is sinful; I do believe that eating dead animal flesh is self-destructive and not healthy. And I mean that it's not healthy for you and me, the humans, the eaters.

So many of us diabetics talk about what we'll eat when there's a cure, the foods we miss, as if we're stranded in a lifeboat or behind prison fences. Those foods are what got us here in the first place. Why eat them again? It's like Hansel and Gretel going back to the witches house to nibble some more. Didn't we learn anything the first time around? I guess not.

But I think if Pesky blogged, you might get a hint of a life that has been changed by diabetes and by the health challenges he faces. The many visits to the doctors, the juggling of medications, the struggle to continue to live the way he wants to live, when his body keeps saying no. You'd also hear a lot of really cool stories.

Don't get me wrong. I know that he has changed his eating habits and is doing better at his eating choices than he once was. I know that he's made progress. And I admire him for doing that.

He and my dad love to remind us that no male relative on that side of the family has lived beyond his sixties. Pesky & Dad are both in their middle sixties now. Don't give up, guys! Just because that's what happened to the others, doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to happen to you.

I hope he lives a good many years. Because he has so many stories to tell. And I love hearing his stories. And I love him.


  • At 8:29 PM, Anonymous Uncle Pesky said…

    Pesky is in the BLOG!

    My most elegant and intelligent Niece.
    Thank you for those kind words about me.

    I could correct a couple of simple things.
    Sheriff Joe Arpayo is the Most successful lawman in the last two centuries. Including J. Edgar Hoover.

    What I'd do if I were suddenly put in charge of prisons would certainly cut down on Recitivisim, and even the longevity of the prison population.

    On School funding. I'd starve every prisoner to death, and use the money I saved to get low interest loans for furthering the education of every American kid that qualifies.

    I was first told I had a tendency toward Hi Blood sugars in 1974.
    I ignored the information, same as nearly everbody I know who languishes in the warmth of the four basic food groups.
    Pizza, PopCorn, candy bar's n' Beer!

    That's food. You get the other stuff when you go to Mom's for Christmas Dinner.

    Now I'm taking pills and shots. I got some new shots, in the 'Pen' called Humalog!
    25/75 twice a day, and the other Humalog shots per the BG readings at the two Hr Post Prangial.
    I carry the stuff with me in an Ice Bag, and my Cell Phone is my alarm clock. Cool. I'm living with it.

    Somehow I'm able to keep from snacking between meals now. Much better than before.

    We eat good though. My wife could make a delicacy out of Road Apples.
    Lot's of Vegatables, and some meat at every meal. Lean meat though. Eggs in the AM.
    Chicken, Fish or something else at the two other meals.
    I'm slowly losing weight from 245 down to 234 so far.
    The Doc says 175 is the target weight.
    Yup, when I've been in the Box about a week, I'll be down to the Target weight.

    It's come to me as I write this BLOG, who the heck am I writing to?


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