What a Difference a Little Insulin Makes

It’s scary, actually.

My numbers bumped down Wednesday at noon, gave me a below-200 Thursday, and I bottomed out last night with a too-low number of 55 after taking 2 units too much insulin (I’d planned to eat some fruit and yogurt, but ended up deciding I wasn’t all that hungry, and went to bed). I tossed and turned until 10pm, when I realized my rapidly-increasing heartbeat and inability to sleep meant I should probably check my sugar.

I over-medicated myself with three graham crackers and a piece of chocolate (I think I was just so happy that I was low that I was like “Screw it” and ate 1 too many carb servings. I should have just eaten the graham crakers). So I was above 200 again this morning, but if all goes well, that should come right back down here at noon. In fact, I already know it’s lower, because I can concentrate on the computer screen without getting a headache, and I don’t have to blink all the time to clear my vision.

Also, I have a lot more energy. Everything is beautiful! Life is beautiful! I want to sing! And dance around the office! And go running!

Ah, yes. What a difference.

For the first time in a long time, I’m also back to my usual book-devouring pace. The first year I was here, I’d read about 2-3 books a week (I have about 15 hours of communting time each week; plenty of time to finish several books). As life started to get crazier, and I started to get sicker, I was lucky to finish 2 books a month. I tended to just space out during my commute and either try and work through various personal problems, or, toward the end, just try and get some extra sleep cause I was always so damned tired. And hungry. And thirsty.

So this week I finished Palahniuk’s collection of essays, Stranger Than Fiction, and Susan Sontag’s Regarding the Pain of Others, and I’m almost done with Mao’s On Guerrilla Warfare (these last two are very short books). I’ve also come up with some ideas for a sequel to God’s War, though that’s not something I’m going to seriously plan unless I sell GW and it does well. Still, the ideas are there if it turns out they become useful. I do so love these characters, and this world.

Planning to work on GW this weekend, again. Hoping my numbers stay good so I can actually get some writing done (not coincidentally, I think, the weekend when my numbers were the best was the weekend I went from needing to write 75 more pages of GW to needing to write 55 more pages. It’s a lot easier to write when you can think straight).

I was emailing Jenn the other day (yes, I conduct much of my socializing via email, even with people I live with. How odd is that?) about stress and feelings of not being “good enough” or “successful enough” at all aspects of our lives.

I mean, life is hard. It just is. And life has been kinda shit for me. Not… bad. There have been so many good things. But it’s been hard, harder than it’s ever been. And there are things in my life that I bombed out on. I mean, I’ve been crappy at relationships. I’ve been completely shunned at work, and all of a sudden I’ve gone from being a project coordinater who traveled and did reports to a lowly admin again whose sole job is to update a database for an hour every day. I completely ignored my health and let myself deteriorate to the point where I nearly died.

What I’ve been putting everything into, the thing I’ve been focusing on to the detriment of everything else, is my writing, and it’s the only thing I’ve had any success at this last year. And that’s because it takes up everything I had (and when I was sick, that wasn’t much). And, you know: still not huge successes. I don’t have a four-book deal or hordes of adoring fans or crowds following me around at cons. Yet I’ve sacrificed everything else in my life just to get this one little thing moving even a quarter inch. I mean, I hated it when I realized that some people just didn’t have to work as hard to get the same result I did if I killed myself, but that’s how it works out sometimes. I can work as hard as I want, but some other writer will always be more talented, more prolific, more brilliant, more famous, more well-regarded than I am, and they’ll do it while raising four kids and competing in kickboxing championships and opening restaurants in their spare time.

It’s like with me and maintaining my weight, or learning some kind of skill that involves physical coordination. I have to work harder than other people just to be seen as in the running. And that doesn’t mean I’m a loser, or that there’s something wrong with me. I’m just different. It sucks. It’s shitty, but it just *is.* And I either accept that or lie around and whine about it and not get anything done.

And I really, really want to get healthier, because there’s a lot more I want to do besides writing, like reading more, getting back to boxing, teaching myself some Arabic, and taking a refresher course in basic French.

I’ve gained ten pounds since I got out of the hospital, and I lamented over it for awhile. I worried that it would never stop. I worried about having an out-of-control body. I already had a broken pancreas. What if my metabolism was broken, too?

But the thing about that, about finally putting back on weight, is that for me, for myself, without looking out at the world, without thinking about how other people regard me – I really like being more substantial. I like having my biceps back. I like being able to get up the stairs without wanting to pass out. I like being able to get back to my regular workouts without feeling like I’m so tired I’ll die.

And sometimes, I get so angry. I get so angry that I live in this society that tells me I’m overweight and unhealthy because I don’t fit into their boxes, because they know nothing about my life. I’m angry because this body that I can train to do such great things isn’t valued as much because it takes up an inappropriate amount of space. I’m angry, because secretely, I do like myself. I like the way I look. I like having hips, and broad shoulders, and muscles I can flex. Watching myself melt away was really scary there, toward the end. Looking at myself in the mirror at Wiscon, I marveled at how much my torso had straightened out. What was happening to my hips? I had no shape. And my biceps? How come I work out every morning and they stay so spindly? What’s happened to me?

I guess I’m saying that no matter how much or how often I logically reject the social pressures to be small and fem, I still feel those pressures. They don’t go away, not when I’m bombarded with those images every day. I have those times when I want to cut everything away, and then I realize what I’m doing, remember how weak I was with less of myself, and I say, “What the hell are you thinking?”

Because I’m so much more powerful a person when I’m healthy, and substantial.

And have enough insulin…

There’s a time and a place for fighting. Sometimes you have to fight for your life, your beliefs, your sense of self. But there are times when fighting means becoming your own worst enemy, when you realize one day that it’s not other people who are out to get you, it’s not the world that’s keeping you miserable, it’s yourself.

And, maybe, a lack of insulin…

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