Last year at this time (May 2015) my doctor in Seattle said that my hemoglobin A1c was 9.4%, and that it was time for me to start insulin therapy; I would have to inject myself with insulin twice a day, through a syringe. Wait, I said, I’m going to quit my unhealthy job, move to LA, and go back to a carless lifestyle, like when I lived in Manhattan and Shanghai, where my diabetes was under control. The doctor agreed to hold off on insulin therapy, telling me that moving cities is a bad time to start insulin anyway.
In November I met with my new doctor in LA for the first time; he said nice to meet you, your A1C has dropped to 8.4% which is a nice drop but still dangerous, have you thought about gastric bypass. And I said, oh, doctor, nice to meet you, I’m JP.
Two months later, I told the doctor I was ready to think about getting my stomach cut out, and he sent me to a bariatric surgeon, who sent me to a dietitian. Because of my diabetes I qualified as a candidate for gastric bypass, but they don’t just hand it out. They want to make sure you’re not going to be one of the people that gets the surgery and then gains all the weight back anyway, which is a mess. This was in January, and they also did an A1C test and didn’t tell me the results.
At my first meeting with the dietitian, she asked me what I had eaten the day before, and when I told her, she said, ” I notice you didn’t have ANY FRUIT!” and then meta-morphed into a werewolf. The werewolf went into a well-rehearsed monologue about whole grains and protein-centric eating.
For my part, my eyes glowed orange and flames shot around me as I shook the earth with the words, “WHITE PEOPLE HAVE THE MOST DEMORALIZING HEALTH FOOD ON THE PLANET.” As I said the word “planet, ” I hovered about a meter above the Living Simply sofa. We didn’t speak for the next twenty minutes, listening to a windstorm outside the shuttered window, sitting quietly.
That was the first meeting. Weeks later at the second meeting, I told her, “I’ve stopped eating land animals, and I’m starting crossfit in the next cycle.” For her part, she said she thought a lot about how ethnocentric a lot of her information was, and thanked me for bringing it up. She hadn’t realized how most of the industry’s recommendations were by and for white Americans, and that for people like me, changing cultures to eat healthy was an added stress.
Last week (May 2016) I had another appointment with my doctor. He told me I had lost 15 pounds since my last visit and that my A1C way back in January was 7.4%, just above my target of 7.0% where it’s considered “well-controlled.” The following day I went for another blood draw.
The results from that blood draw came back this week: 6.7% “well-controlled.” I am no longer a candidate for insulin therapy. To celebrate, I ate a whole pecan pie.*
In future posts: the land animals, the crossfit.
*I did not actually eat any pecan pie.