Diabetes Begins

I look forward to writing the post that will be titled Diabetes Ends. I was delivered the shock of news last week. I am diabetic. Any doubt I had about the Gig Economy being unhealthy was proved correct, at least for me. The bad news was delivered by someone who created a safe place for me to hear it; and yet, the impact was severe. The good news is that I have a lot of tools available for fixing this fractured lifestyle. Let’s get to work.

Thank you, Molly Fox, a naturopath who began practicing in Langley, within walking distance of several coworks and offices I use. We’ll get back to her in a paragraph or two.

I thought I’d written a post about my return to dealing with doctors. Here’s a synopsis because I can’t find the right link.

Life’s been so busy with working seven days a week and having seven bosses that the story may have rattled around in my brain without finding its way into the blog. Go back about eight years and find that I had a series of bad events with conventional medicine. (That lead to Walking Thinking Drinking Across Scotland.) The highlight was trying to pass a stress test the day the hospital held a terrorism drill. Evidently, my blood pressure spiked that day. Several other episodes had a similar theme; “We’re going to measure this to see if you’re going to die of that.” After enough repetitions, just hearing the blood pressure cuff inflate would kick off a three-day anxiety attack. Silly? Maybe. But true. Then my Triple Whammy hit. Losing almost everything meant any visit to the doctor was a opening to a bankruptcy, or so I imagined and no doctor dissuaded me. Friends called me for rides to the hospital for emergencies that I knew I couldn’t afford, even with insurance.

But, I knew I had to get back to regular health care. So, I scheduled a meet & greet with the last clinic I’d used, explained the situation, and nervously showed up early. Instead of a simple, informal conversation just to get used to the place again, they launched into the conventional routine stressing the “need” to get their data. I’ll skip the details, but they kicked off the very anxiety attack I was trying to avoid. I was trying to become one of their patients, told them how that could happen, and watched the system (not the people) work exactly against that.

To their practitioners, most medical systems are conventional. I’ve tried a few others and have noticed that the non-mainstream or non-Western ones tend to take a different approach; less bureaucracy, a greater emphasis on health, less expensive, and much more personal. I decided to give Molly a try. Within the first few minutes I felt at ease. She listened to my concerns, filled out a few forms but with a casual manner, and did something I thought was brilliant. Rather than try to find ways to get the vital signs that would ironically make me feel less healthy, she worked with simple things that would be familiar to the old-style family doctor. Evidently, she learned a lot from a stethoscope, the weird little hammer to the knee, and generally examining me without making me uncomfortable or feeling threatened. The conversation was a long list of things that were healthy. Imagine that, a health care professional emphasizing health – with of course the suggestion that I could lose some weight. But I already knew that.

I agreed to return for another test, this time a blood test, which brings us to last week’s news. The good news was that almost everything was fine. As gentle as she was, the one bit of bad news was worse than I thought, though not as bad as it could be. I may be diabetic, but it isn’t to the extent of pricking my finger or giving myself injections. It also can’t be ignored, and I’m not ignoring it. Hence, this post; because such things influence personal finance on both the income and expense side.

Work is probably the main cause of the condition, and is necessary to pay for the cure. Actually, that is incorrect. Working too hard wasn’t as bad as working so hard that I didn’t exercise, meditate, or relax enough. My fitness dropped. My weight climbed. Simple things like bad ergonomics allowed various aches and pains to accumulate. Work is not, however, necessary to pay for the cure; money is. Right now, unless I’ve won the lottery, money comes from work. Until there’s an excess of money, I must maintain about this level of work.

That’s life in the Gig Economy. As I said on Marketplace, working in the Gig Economy is expensive. Here’s a case where I pay for hundreds of dollars per month for insurance, but for far less than that I can find good health care. Those hundreds of dollars going to health insurance come from days of working. If I could swap that money for time to exercise, meditate, and relax, I might not be in this condition. That is an option I am considering, not carrying health insurance so I can be healthy. Then the biggest penalty may be whatever the government imposes.

I took a day to reflect on work, life, health, and anything else that came to mind. (My apologies to those clients whose work was delayed by a day. I think I may have lost one or two because of it.) The news was better than I thought. In general, my work schedule has been full; but the last three months had a perfect storm of rush jobs, reworks from redefined tasks, and the real storm of terrible weather for working out. That was temporary. Spring has returned. Already my work calendar is returning to normal, I’ve identified some adjustments, and found at least three full time island jobs that would be a great improvement. I’ve already applied for the position of Executive Director for the Port of Coupeville, and Communications and Outreach Specialist at Whidbey Camano Land Trust; both are jobs that fit personal passions: sustainable economics and environment.

Regardless of my place in 1099 and W-2 economies, I have to add one more task to my list: me. Exercise; hey, I rode across America, hiked the Cascades, and walked across Scotland. I can do this. Diet: I enjoy cooking, now I get to invent new recipes that avoid gluten, milk, cream, and grains. As one person said, “Sounds like bacon and eggs three times a day.” Intriguing. There may be pills involved. There will definitely be more tests involved. One of my sources of optimism is that there is always change involved. I couldn’t have predicted I’d be in this situation, so I don’t know what comes next. But, as another friend said, “What?! Diabetes!? Haven’t you had enough bad luck? It’s time for something good to happen to you.” I agree.

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About Tom Trimbath

consultant / entrepreneur / writer / photographer / speaker / aerospace engineer / semi-semi-retired More info at: https://trimbathcreative.wordpress.com/about/ and at my amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0035XVXAA
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8 Responses to Diabetes Begins

  1. Jo Meador says:

    I have been trying to negotiate with this disorder since 2012 to little success. I’d go down in numbers then up, while my weight was a constant companion. This fall I tried the naturopathic route and my doctor there tried a new approach: to deal with my constant intrusive stress. Under her guidance my numbers are dropping and my weight is dropping as well, something that has not occurred in 15 years. My new plan started in November and things are steadily improving. And she’s local as well, in Freeland. A real blessing for me on so many levels.

    Jo Meador

  2. Erin W says:

    Best wishes on the diabetes learning curve. You are so not alone statistically and there but for grace go I someday. I do read about diet changes potentially causing complete reversal, but seems half doctors argue with the other half about which diet works. Slower loss seems better than rapid for long-term (whatever that means after a certain age). I commiserate with the unhealthy part of working 7 days a week. I have the ambitious goal of losing 50 pounds by end of 2017 in part to prevent hearing your diagnosis, and so far it’s 1 pound a week and holding steady. All I’m using is Cronometer.com 5 minutes a day which is free if you don’t care about ads popping up or $5/month without ads. It is helpful to me to see all my daily nutrients broken down in living color and helps me find the right balance for myself. I hope you do land work that gets you more time away from the screen, because I believe we weren’t really made to sit in front of these darn things 7 days a week. I’m always looking for an alternative as well.

  3. Pattie Beaven says:

    I’m am inviting you with all seriousness and out of friendship to join me and Chris for our outdoor workouts. I have worked with people ranging from experienced athletes to severe limitations and everything in-between. While I program some intense workouts, I also modify as needed, and I’m never in a rush. I make working out fun, with games and laughing and enjoying ourselves. It’s hard not to have a great time when we’re outdoors, too.
    So, sunny days, Chris and I are at Castle Park. With our lifestyle, we aren’t on a strict time schedule, but it’s usually between 3-5:30, and we usually have a roughly 1 hour workout.
    So, it would be amazing to see you there. You have my number? Give me a text to see when and where we are meeting up.
    I have no other words of advice. I know a little about nutrition, and from my own experience, I know how hard a sustainable healthy diet can be. I feel I’m on a good path, though. I spend most of our monthly expenses on groceries, and I try to buy not just healthy options, but environmental and sustainable options, too. Your frugal living, at least from your blog posts this past year, indicates you tend to eat a little on the healthier side as well.
    Rant over. I’m in your corner, and I’ll do whatever I can to help you out.

  4. Well, crrrrrap! But glad you found Molly—the alternative care world has answers. I’m remembering the last MD who had the clinic in Langley. He’d done a lot of tests on me and come a cropper. “Well, that’s all I’ve got. Now you need a naturopath.”

    Hope having a quiet desk lately has helped.

    >

  5. Tom Trimbath says:

    Good to hear about the improvement. Thanks for the encouragement.

  6. Tom Trimbath says:

    “half doctors argue with the other half” – So far I’d say everyone disagrees with every one on the details, but agree that it is reversible. That’s a good thing to agree on.

  7. Tom Trimbath says:

    Thanks for the offer. One of my first exercise routines to restart is my karate practice. Of course, if someone wants to join me, well, that makes that easier, too.

  8. Tom Trimbath says:

    The use of the empty desk was definitely appreciated – and is the topic of the next blog post. (Thanks for the opportunity to include a teaser.)

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