Vanity

Do you ever ponder your body ? Do you think about changing something about your looks, often ? Are you obsessed with the way you are ageing?

Since beginning my gym career, I have realized that Gym Mirrors work against you, ALL THE TIME. It does not matter that you wear; tights and loose t-shirts and fitness clothing. Mirrors never lie, and in my humble opinion, the mirrors at my gym tend to accentuate the one part of my body that I am most self conscious about, my tummy.

Twenty five years ago, when I was diagnosed with AIDS, I was much thinner than I am today, MUCH. It did not help that I was terminally ill and slated for death. Many AIDS patients developed what is called “Wasting Syndrome” where your body fat melts and you become skin and bones, which usually led to a very speedy death.

I was on that road for a while. Until my doctor found the miracle drug that would change the game forever. MEGACE, was an oral suspension liquid that was dosed in shot form, once a day. You filled your little shot glass and hoped that it would do the trick.

IT DID.

Hunger is one thing that sick people loose from the get go. Things are really bad, and if you do not eat, or cannot eat, then the slide into death is fast and furious. Even today, we see it in patients who are terminal, and especially in the elderly population. It’s like they know the end is nigh, and hunger leaves them, and people stop eating, or their caloric intake falls exponentially. Hence, death is imminent.

Over a years time, I progressed from 98 pounds to almost 200 hundred pounds. I got so fat, I outgrew all of my clothing. With the weight gain, I gained what is called lypodystrophy. Which is fat gain in certain parts of your body, like your ass, your stomach or your chest.

I also suffer today, from a genetic dystrophy because of my diabetes. And I have a base layer of fat in my stomach, that no amount of exercise or stretching or crunches has ever been able to mediate.

Not long ago, I saw a young guy on Instagram talk about “Cool Sculpting.” This is a cosmetic procedure that freezes fat in the body and the frozen fat, works its way out of the body after each cycle of treatment is completed.

I thought to myself, I’m gonna go check this out and see if I could be a prospective patient. I filled out the questionnaire and had my intake appointment this afternoon. It was all straight forward. They explained that we have two types of fat, One, Fat that is attached to our organs, and Two, fat that is loose in the body, and not connected, that can be suctioned and removed by treatment.

I had both …

I think to myself that I have a few issues that are vanity related that bother me to no end. One, is my teeth situation, which is being worked on at this very moment, so I am spending money hand over fist for oral surgeries, every other week. They begin the rebuild in the coming weeks, so they will begin putting teeth back into my mouth, instead of taking them out.

The other vanity issue is my physical body. And I think, at fifty one years old, is vanity really a problem? My one mantra that I maintain is that:

I will not become Gay, Old and Fat !! Nor Frumpy for that matter.

I am not the run of the mill fifty year old, as compared to the men in this same age bracket, I call my friends. I really don’t want to become any of them either. Each has their own issues, looks and attitudes.

This little exploration of Vanity was vetoed over dinner.

I guess that is that for now.

Maybe if we hit the lottery, we can ponder vanity when it is more cost effective.

Tuesday Thoughts

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I stepped on the scale, a few minutes ago, and it read: 151 lbs. My diabetes doctor had told me that in order to reach optimum numbers of 6’s and 7’s, that I would probably have to up my insulin, one click a day, to reach them. This morning I clicked 25 units.

I have been hitting steady 7’s in the morning, depending on whatever I had eaten inside the 12 hour window from post dinner to morning. I’ve dropped 10 pounds in the last week.

When we began this little “I think I am looking a little sexy” project in February, originally I had lost 10 pounds, down from the 187 back in November. When I realized that I actually lost weight, for the first time in forever, it only jump started my desire to regain sexy. Because I had not felt sexy in as many years.

I had stuck with frumpy acceptance that I would never shed my “pear shape.” I have shed that frumpy “pear shape.”

Since February, I have only worn pants twice. I have one serious wardrobe full of sporty tights and shirts. The other night, Thursday, I was at a meeting, and had I not extended my hand several times, nobody would have noticed me sitting in the room.

At the end of the meeting, one of the old gay buzzards, whom I have known my whole sobriety, got up from his chair to participate in the final prayer, stopped in front of me and gave me one serious look up and down, as he shook his head in dismay, as if to say,
“Why are you dressed that way?”

Need I explain to people who have not been inside the arena with me over the last year?

NO.

People don’t seem to understand that this is my party. And that I don’t accept that the older I get, the frumpier I should look. I’ve been at this physical fitness regimen and Keto diet since February. I’ve lost 36 pounds as of tonight.

That is a small child.

My gay friends are more critical of me than my straight counterparts.

Because I am not one of them, nor do I wish to be.

This holiday season, I am not doing anyone any more favors. I am through being kind to people who don’t reciprocate, and just blindly expect me to give because that is what I have done since I got sober.

If I don’t call my friends and fellows, my phone won’t ring. If I don’t make the out call, nothing gets done, save two sponsees.

They, call me every day.

I go to meetings. I participate. I do service. I give of myself.

People don’t seem to know what reciprocation means and how that works.

Because everyone assumes that
“Oh, Jeremy will do it, so I don’t have to worry about stepping up.”

Not this year …

Thanksgiving is just 19 days away.

Christmas is 97 days away.

Egg Nog is being sold at grocery stores. One of my mentor men’s wife went grocery shopping last week and brought home a jug of Egg Nog, and he tweeted the picture, which ended up with him being interviewed by the CBC in Alberta and made the National News.

I haven’t seen Christmas decorations yet. But that could change at any time.

Fall begins this week. My favorite season of the year.

The turning of the trees, the falling of the leaves, and the very first snowfall are, for me, almost religious observances.

More to come.

Tuesday: Harmonization FAILURE !!!

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I have been riding a wave of feeling good, looking good, and hopeful that my medical condition was about to get much better with labs on the table coming today.

I was terribly Disappointed with my doctor visit today.

  • Yes, I have lost some serious weight
  • Yes, I have been on the Keto Diet since the end of March 2016
  • We added Edurant (HIV) medication (once daily dosing)
  • And upped my Trulicity (dosage weekly)

My HIV numbers are stellar. Cd4’s are above 1000, but:

  • My sugar test stick at the clinic was 20.7
  • My resting fast was 20 on paper
  • And my sugar number was 9.5
  • My Triglycerides were high as well (they have been see sawing for ever)

It was obvious today, that the Harmonization Tests of both types of medication have Failed. Either the drugs are conflicting still, the dosage is wrong, or put bluntly, my doctor could not find an “on paper reason” for my numbers to be so, “out of whack” today.

With serious weight loss, and corrective diet, and reworked medication, a change should have appeared on paper, and didn’t.

My doctors had a phone conference as I sat there, when they decided to test me right then and there to check my sugars, by test strip. Which landed at 20.7.

I test at home and my numbers bounce from 10, up to 20 on any given day. Even if I have a restricted diet, and I am not putting bad food into my system and I am eating a restricted diet, the numbers should be working in my favor, but they are not.

Friends have said that I need to keep my head on and wait to see what the Diabetes clinic says at my emergency appointment on Friday morning, and not jump to any conclusions.

I might need insulin corrective medication added, or just rework my insulin regulation  or they are going to change the mix again.

Some people, I have heard, cannot regulate their sugars successfully and need serious medical intervention. It seems I am at that point myself.

Stay tuned …

Thursday: Dueling Dragons …

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It was a pleasantly BALMY day in Montreal today. This week, we saw temps that are darn right Springy … But we are warned that it won’t last, and that March is going to keep us in the cold for another month.

This week saw all kinds of change.

I live with competing dragons in my system. And either one can be in control, but not both at the same time. And one never knows who is in control until I drop labs. This round, my HIV is in good check but my Diabetes is all out of whack.

On Tuesday I went to clinic one for my lab drop session. Both brothers were in attendance, I got to kill two birds with one stone. The drawback is this, depending on who rules the roost, medication has to be adjusted, and you can’t adjust one side without adjusting the other accordingly.

Doctor Chris, over the years, has managed my medications very well. Because I’ve been testing drugs for him for many, many years. And if they work for me, (in our respective medical circle of drug testers), we are the main line to getting drugs approved in Canada on the whole. So what we do is very important for the community at large.

One by one, over the last five years, my twice a day drugs, have been dropped, opting for once a day dosing medication. But the Once a Day dosing takes time, because the new drugs in the pike were taking longer than usual to get to me, (read Us).

This week, new drugs came online finally. But, if you change one side of the equation, then you have to change the other in conjunction. HIV medications and Diabetes medications, don’t always work together. And I don’t know if one or the other is working well, without trial and error dosing.

If the trend drops either way, the HIV drugs come first.

If I don’t live, no other drug is going to make a difference. So Doctor Chris has to make sure that any new drug he gives me now, needs to plays nice with Diabetes drugs. This round, Diabetes lost.

A new Single dose HIV medication came online … EDURANT

Before I could take this pill, Doctor Chris had to make sure it would work with everything else I was taking already. It didn’t. Which meant my Diabetes drugs had to be tweaked.

Doctor George dropped my Janumet, because Metformin cancels out any good the Edurant will do. Which means I am down one Diabetes drug. And that was the end of that appointment.

Wednesday, I saw Doctor George at his clinic and along with his trial nurse, tried to figure out what they needed to do to make up the difference.

Three months ago, I went on Trulicity injections, once a week at a low dose. Now, it seems, that the low dose was not enough, because I am not managing well at all.

While they conferred together, I stepped on the scale and learned that I dropped ten pounds over the last six months. I knew something was up, when I put on a pair of hubby’s skinny jeans and they fit, WELL.

My Diabetes team upped my Trulicity to double the dose, weekly, along with Invokana, I have a bottle of Glyburide hanging in the wings if need be.

When I got home, I sat down with my nutritional map and planned another tweak to my diet, I am working to eliminate sugar intake at all levels. I put the new plan into action, and I have three months to see how all these changes work together.

If this series works, as it is hoped it will, I will manage both dragons better, and that is the plan. I can produce 1200 t-cells with my eyes closed. That is a given. I am over the ten year mark where my viral load is still undetectable.

Diabetes on the other hand is a capricious lady, who does not play well on the playground.

I have to test every other day to check my trends. I don’t have to prick myself every day any more. The Trulicity is a slow release, weekly dosage. Now that dosage is doubled, along with a moderated dietary plan, it should all work.

Now we dose for this observation period. And I hope to see further weight loss, and better numbers overall.

**** **** ****

Tonight’s take away … I would be ok, if everyone would just leave me alone.

How many of us got to this point before we stepped into the rooms.

Our speaker tonight got sober in December of 1994, the same year I got sober the first time, and I was reminded that had I stayed the first time, I would be 23 years sober now.

But that was not meant to be, and as he said to me, I had a hiccup.

 

 

 

Sunday Sundries – He Said “Hello”

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Life is busy. Fall has come. Single Digits followed. The A/C unit is in its box until next Summer. And we have the windows open until it gets cold at night, and they have to be shut.

Thanksgiving is 2 weeks away. And then PUSH for Christmas will begin.

UGH, God Give Me Strength !!!

For a few weeks now, folks have been in a funk. The funk of untreated alcohol/marijuana addiction. There Is A Solution. It just seems that not many people WANT that solution, and I am totally frustrated with how hard my friends want to make life, when it could be much easier.

Let’s go back to Friday.

I had a doctors appointment in the morning. BOTH my doctors have been bemoaning the fact that my sugars are up a bit, and my triglycerides are high again. Not that they’ve managed to fall with all the pills I put into my body.

My diabetes doctor wants me to further curb my diet, when I don’t even eat three meals a day, because I just don’t. I might eat lunch occasionally, when I am bothered to go get something to cook. That happens here and there. On Thursday I always treat myself to some Burger King on the way to the meeting, if I am not book shopping, or I do both.

My HIV doctor has been giving me the same complaints …

I was dumbfounded when, on Friday, Dr. George says to me …

OH I HAVE A MAGIC PILL THAT WILL DROP YOUR TRIGLYCERIDES TO ZERO …

I was like, how long have you had this ACE in your pocket ? You’ve been on my ass about this for a year, and now you decide to drop this little pill into my life now ? Now we add another pill called EZETIMIBE to my regimen for a month to see what happens. I have another appointment on Tuesday for my HIV doctor and I am going to chew him out as well.

The day gets better from there, Friday …

The Book of Mormon …

I walk back to the Metro at Acadie and I am standing on the platform and a couple of CUTE Mormon elders came down and stood next to me. One walks a little further away, and One stands just off to my left. We stood there for a few minutes, when the young Elder says to me “Salut” in French, ( Hello for those who don’t speak French) I said Hello to him in English.

He let out a breath and sighed … “Oh God, you speak English!”

Wiping his brow …

We got on the train, and a flurry of conversation began. When we got to the terminus of the Blue Line (Snowden) I was transferring to the Orange line to get to a job I was working next, our young Elder handed me his card and smiled … Call Me Anytime.

The next afternoon, I did call him back. We have a date for coffee on Tuesday evening.

I rode the Metro to Vendome and walked several blocks to a small church in Westmount where I had been hired for the day to do a theatre installation for a photography group in the meeting hall.

The group had paid $7,000.00 for a theatre sized motorized screen that needed to be mounted and hung in the rafters above the stage. This monster weighed about 400 pounds and it took 5 guys to build the framing, figure out how we were going to hang the beast and make it all work in less than five hours.

We made a trip to Home Depot and bought the supplies, and returned to build 2×4 trusses for the rafters, from which we would hang the screen. My friend (in the program) is in construction, so he had all the major tools we would need. It was a precision job to get the screen up and hung. It was a great success.

In hanging heavy machinery, you need good framing. You need solid metal works, and you need to double your fail safes, in case the brackets on the end caps of the screen give way and fail. We used high quality chain in the rigging and solid metal works for the hooks and clamps.

When all was said and done, on the way home, I said to my friend that, we might want to secure the chain looping in the rafters further, because there are two clamps on each end that connect chain to the screen. and the chain hangs from large hooks in the framing we had already hung.

If one of the clamps on the screen end caps fail, the chain is going to go into the rafters, come out of its ring, and the failing end of the screen is going to fall to the floor, and probably bring the other side down with it. My thought was, if we secure the hanging ring and the chain with a larger C clamp, that will prevent the chain from running loose and bringing down the screen.

At $15.00 dollars an hour, my advice is not cheap.

Light and sound is a great business to be in. Having built a nightclub from the ground up in the past, and working in the nightclub industry, this job was right up my alley.

The job ran me right up to my Friday night departure at 6:15. I had twenty minutes to spare when I got home. Enough time to unload groceries and change into clean clothing.

While at the doctors earlier in the day, I had updated my apps. And I’ve never seen my battery go from 85% to zero in like thirty seconds. Which meant my phone was dead for the rest of the day, because I had left my charger at home.