Last night my now former endocrinologist sent me a very formal goodbye and good luck email. It was kind of sad, because I truly do like and respect him, but having to go to Kaiser for insurance means giving up a private practice doctor. At the end he still took good care of me, hooking me up with a Kaiser endocrinologist he knows personally.
Anyway, the note was kind and gracious. In it he said how much he had enjoyed having me as a patient and to not hesitate to call his office if I had questions or desired a second opinion in the future. He also referred to me as a “statistical anomaly” amongst his patients in making so much positive progress in such a short period through ongoing lifestyle changes.
I am pretty proud of that. When I started training with J, I had super secret hopes of adequate progress to at least not increase medications, as had been the trend for the last couple of years. Never in my wildest imaginings did I see eliminating fast insulin in my future, much less cutting dosages on the oral medications I am taking. Since that last adjustment I have not had another low event. The closest I have come has been morning readings of high 60s, and since I typically go to the gym after I wake up, I have been watching carefully with plans to add some additional protein if needed. Thus far it’s been fine with the protein shake afterwards; missing that tends to have very poor results within about 90 minutes after I get home from the gym.
The email has buoyed my mood and bolstered my resolve about the lifestyle changes I am slowly implementing. While it would be lovely to say I have lost zillions of pounds and gained zillions more lean muscle and dropped 12 dress sizes as a result, my focus has never been on the appearance aspect of the journey. It’s been nice buying smaller sizes; it’s been nice fitting into smaller sized things in my closet. Behind my health, it’s truly all about the clothes for me. But I have noticed no measurable changes. And it’s okay, even preferred.
It’s been months since M has expressed any concern about swelling in my ankles and feet, so long that I have actually forgotten about it ever being an issue. The unending bruise-like marks on my lower legs from the diabetes are noticeably fading. These are thing M noticed and was worried about, and so the improvement there is worthy of positive feedback. I appreciate that. I also feel like my biceps and upper arms have more definition, less batwing, although I cannot be sure because I honestly did not bother looking much before. If my arms are bigger and more muscular so be it; as long as the batwing skin is not consuming more real estate I am fine with it.
Other than those little things, though, I simply don’t worry about it much. Further refinements and adventures in cleaning up my eating will have to wait until the new year, because I’ve far too many other things competing for my attention in December and to a lesser degree into January. But I have made significant progress thus far. I’m eating less crap, definitely drinking more water and iced tea without sweeteners, one cup of coffee in my protein shake most days. There is more to do – a lot more to do – and I will get to it. Just not today, this week, or even this month.
M believes I should just leave my bathroom without a scale. He has one in his bathroom that he uses daily, and for him it’s not the source of angst, despair, and disappointment it is for me. The measuring sticks of health and fitness are everywhere, though, and I certainly do not need to add to my own hysteria on the subject.
I was chatting with J earlier about goals and such, and why my lack thereof is not a bad thing at all. Immediately following this discussion was another text from a long-time friend wondering why I was not more worried about my “lack” of progress. Ummm … excuse me? Did you miss the posts and emails and tearful messages about getting off insulin? Or the one about reducing diabetes medication? After so much time of progressively more medicine for uncontrolled diabetes, seeing any kind of reversal or retreat in medical treatment is a huge step forward.
But she lives in a very appearance-oriented world and it impacts her feelings on the subject. I understand this and like her anyway, but it can be annoying. When you grow up with an honest assessment and feeling that the typical beauty pageants from kindergarten onward are not for you (i.e., not pretty enough to compete with those judged conventionally or classically attractive) you tend to cease making trying to fit that mold a priority and resolve to focus on becoming the girl with the great personality and/or the kind heart.
From my friend’s perspective as a trophy wife (her term, not mine – I adore her husband), appearances matter. I love her dearly but had we met in the last 10 years we would not be close friends. She counts calories, cardio minutes, gray hairs and wrinkles as her job the way I have to count dollars and cents. She is thrilled I am caring for myself, but wonders why I am not making more visible progress. Am I trying hard enough?
I laughed out loud when I read that. Having known each other since we were 15, I understood the spirit in which she asked the question and was not offended by it. But I think this is a view shared by many in my world. Maybe they are not quite so blunt about it, but the unspoken judgment is there all the same.
M remarks that many in our orbit measure progress in ounces and inches so it is to be expected that their enthusiasm for my program and progress will be muted. Most of the time I am fine with muted; it is when the “where are you headed with your training?” type questions that stump me. “Better health” seems to be inadequate an answer, but it’s about all I have right now. I am going to continue to shrug it off to the best of my ability. I am doing fine and feel good about the training and the practice.
Just remind me of this post every time I start whining about my lack of specific goals. “Better health” covers a myriad of things and does not require soul-destroying measurements to track progress.