THE AUTHOR

Ian Casselberry is a freelance writer, currently based in Asheville, NC. He is an editor at The Comeback and Awful Announcing

Previously, he has been a contributing writer for Yahoo! Sports' Big League Stew, MLive.com and SB Nation. In addition, he was a lead baseball writer for Bleacher Report. 

You can also find him on Twitter and Facebook, where he craves your attention.

He still plans to write that novel someday. 

("Pearls Before Swine" © 2005 Stephan Pastis)
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« My new low-carb life | Main | Surgery? Hospital? Me? Life can change so quickly »
Wednesday
Oct292014

As healthy as I wanna be? Not even close

First, I want to thank everyone who read my last blog post about undergoing surgery and reached out to express sympathies through Facebook, Twitter and e-mail. Even the sports talk radio hosts I talk to each week had kind words to say on the air, which was surprising and touching. 

I'm doing really well with my recovery. My wound vac came off a couple of weeks ago, far sooner than I ever would have imagined. But my surgical wound has been healing so well that there was no longer a need for it. I'm grateful that I was able to get that machine, however. Not just to accelerate the healing process, but to save us from what would've been a torturous, grueling 2-3 times a day ritual of changing those dressings. 

I thought I'd have to carry that thing around, hooked up to me, for at least another month. I'd actually gotten used to being connected to the device all the time, having to remember I was attached whenever getting up to flip a light switch or what-not. Since I was basically toting a purse with tubes running out of it, I'd get a few curious looks in public.

The worst was a woman at CVS who saw it and said — a bit too loudly, I thought — "WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?" Really? She hadn't seen worse or stranger with all the elderly people passing through? Or maybe they all go back to the pharmacy, while the front counter deals with people buying candy, chips and pop. 

Anyway, that's the only mildly uncomfortable situation I can recall, so the entire experience couldn't have been that bad. I briefly felt some separation anxiety when the wound vac was taken off, but the freedom of being able to move around and not lug that thing everywhere (or deal with the tubes while showering) quickly made up for that. 

Now, I'm dealing with the longer-term ramifications of what happened to me.

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The infection I developed grew out of control because my blood sugar was extremely high. The A1C test taken at the hospital revealed a blood sugar level twice as high as what's considered healthy. Part of the reason I stayed in the hospital for four days — in addition to my surgical recovery, obviously — was because my blood sugar had to be constantly monitored and brought down to manageable levels before I could go home. 

My name is Ian Casselberry, and I am a diabetic.

(No, I did not have to watch this in the hospital, though I was asked to watch several videos on learning to live with diabetes and taking insulin. They get you while you're bedridden, man.)

I knew there was a pretty good chance of this, since my mother was diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic a few years ago. Being overweight certainly made me more likely. But since I didn't have health insurance, I never went to a doctor to get that checked. Plus, I was always afraid of what the answer would be. 

I figured if I exercised and ate right, the problem would take care of itself. And maybe it did, up to a point. I really don't know how long this thing was cooking in me. But over the past five years, I've exercised pretty regularly. During the past year, I feel like I re-dedicated myself to it and was seeing some very positive results.

However, I really wasn't losing that much weight. And I know I wasn't watching what I ate as carefully as I should have. Summer has so many temptations with fruits, pies and ice cream. There were various times when I tried to cut down on my carbohydrates and concentrate more on eating protein, vegetables and fruit, but I never truly committed to it for more than a couple of weeks. 

From what the diabetes education team at Asheville's Mission Hospital later told me, it probably wouldn't have mattered if I changed my diet or not. My weight and extra belly fat made me more susceptible to insulin resistance. My mother comes from a region of the world — Southeast Asia, particularly the Phillippines — where the rate of diabetes is high, which could have been another influencing factor. But it was mostly the weight. And that shouldn't really surprise anyone (though I was probably in some denial).

Once my surgical wound healed and I was able to exercise again, I was going to have to change how I worked out. Previously, I emphasized weight training, trying to get stronger and bigger. I did cardio mostly just to warm up. That would have to change and become a far larger part of my daily and weekly routine.

And of course, I would have to change the way I ate. But how about I devote the next blog entry to that, since this one is going on a bit long and I don't want anyone to feel like they're reading a Russian novel. So I'll have the rest of the story in my next post. Thanks for checking in. Part 2 of this whole thing will be up very soon.

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Reader Comments (3)

Okay okay okay okay okay. I GET the message, cosmos. You see, earlier this summer my blood tests showed the same diagnosis. My A1C is 6.7, so not as bad as yours My fasting glucose was 115. Again, not bad but put those two together and you get a diagnosis of DM. Add the family history and the current state of my weight and it was inevitable. But I've been in denial pretty much since then. Haven't made any real changes. And remember, I WAS a Certified Diabetes Educator (till I let the certification lapse cuz I didn't want to pay $300 to take the test when I'm not doing diabetes education any more) But I know what I have to do. I can give you a carb count of any food you name.

So -- here you come along and tell your story. And it's slapped me in the face and made me take a good look at what I'm doing. I accept that now. Thank you.

October 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDee

Good luck...and crap.

I'm probably right there myself. A year ago I went to a weight loss MD, but also because diabetes is a worry. I was already in the pre-diabetic warning level.

I bought a glucose monitor yesterday because things have been feeling off lately (along with some more alarming symptoms), need to get the test strips delivered (btw, check Amazon for MUCH better pricing) and have some data for my doc when I see him again in a couple of weeks.

I also, just haven't been dedicated enough *consistently*.

I quit smoking in 2004 and I am twice the man I used to be...literally. It's easier to quit smoking cold turkey than try to regulate something you have to continue to do.

Anyway, thanks for the post, man. Good luck, and I guess I'll go hit the exercise bike right now.

October 29, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpsiu

Thanks for the tip on checking Amazon for better prices on test strips. That will save some significant money in the months (years?) to come.

And thanks to both of you for the encouragement.

November 7, 2014 | Registered CommenterIan Casselberry

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