Two Feet Underwater With Diabetes Fatigue

My two feet under water; July 05, 2008 – Photo by Me.

Turns out if you’re having problems falling to sleep or getting too excitable over the day the answer lies in overloading and permanently damaging your pancreas. Then wait at least five years before getting treatment.

The longer you live without getting treatment for diabetes the more your body gets used to the crap diabetes does to it everyday, and the less obvious the symptoms become. I was diagnosed with diabetes a few months ago. A month ago I was prescribed Glyburide, and two weeks ago I saw a nurse who specializes in diabetes care.

She had gone through my “permanent record” and found evidence in my old blood tests of my having had diabetes since 2005. But I’m pretty sure I’ve had it since at least 2002 because, just to see what would happen, I convinced my diabetic friend to let me do a test on his monitor. Normal is in the four to seven range (of what I’m still not sure), and I was an eighteen.

When I started doing the tests a few months ago I was averaging in the high twenties, with a 30+ at least every other day.

Yet, because I had been untreated for so long, I wasn’t exhibiting any of the symptoms. The manic depression and the medications I take to treat the disease also have side effects and symptoms somewhat similar to diabetes, so they probably masked some of the diabetes stuff, but according to my nurse it’s not unusual for the body to just adapt.

The problem I’m having now, and over the past week, is this first round of Glyburide has brought my levels back down into the “normal” high range of twelve to fifteen. And my body is now reacting badly because those levels are completely new.

So now I’m hungry right after eating a meal, my vision is blurred about half the time I’m awake and I’m just dead tired most of the day. But not in a good “I’ve been up forever and now I need some sleep” tired. I’m fairly sure I’ve also lost some weight, but I haven’t been on a scale in over a month.

I think I’ve also been drinking more often… which is weird because I thought I was already drinking about as much as a human being could possibly drink in a day.

Something I’ve been doing since April to avoid drinking litres of juice and pop everyday is fill a glass almost to the top with Club Soda, then top it off with a low sugar (no fructose) juice. It’s healthy pop. Blueberry is probably my favourite, but raspberry juice is really refreshing.

I’m getting better at taking the Glyburide, it’s meant to be taken twice a day just before a meal and I’m getting closer. I do carry it with me in my too-cool satchel. I haven’t actually changed my diet yet. I am eating healthier, but my diet is still “normal” and nothing at all what I expect it’ll be once I see the dietitian later this month… actually I see her on Thursday.

From what I’ve been told the diabetic-diet will consist mostly of cardboard and bugs. And I’ll have to use a scale to measure out portions. The good news is the disability program (Ontario Disability Support Program) I’m on pays for the whole thing.

The bad news is I think I’ll have to start saving receipts, and my memory sucks huge for stuff like that. ODSP allows me to recoup the costs of taking a taxi to my doctor appointments, as long as I bring the receipts to the disability office… it’s $38 to his office and back. I see my doctor twice a month, I may have brought in three receipts. I just get lost in thought, I’ve actually written a note on the back of the hand I used to pay the driver and forgotten anyway. Thankfully I’ve managed to arrange a regular ride since last summer.

Diabetes is a strange club to be inducted into. Buck, a good friend of mine, just lost a foot to diabetes and someone else I’ve known almost forever has pretty much totally given into the disease. Walter’s not monitoring his blood levels anymore and is eating whatever he wants. I ran into him a few days ago at the grocery store. He was in intensive care for two weeks back in May/June over heart issues brought on by the diabetes.

Walter lost fifty pounds while he was in there. He’s in his late 60’s and lost his wife a few years ago to a long battle with cancer that sucked his bank account dry, and I’m pretty sure it did the same to his will to live.

It’s a strange thing to be warned about this stuff after living so long with the idea of dying. Like the nurse and Walter and Others are laying out the consequences of diabetes on the table in front of me and I’m not sure how I’m supposed to react.

It’s like they’re telling me “you could lose a foot” and I’m thinking “in a lot of my fantasies over the past twenty years I turned out a paraplegic”. Or “you could die from heart disease” and I’m thinking “depressive episodes knock years off your life so I’m pretty sure I’ve got until next Tuesday”.

I am taking this disease seriously… at least as seriously as I can. Maybe as seriously as I take most things. I’m taking the pills, and planning for the diet but I haven’t used the meter in over a week. I’ll be changing one of my medications in a few weeks because of the diabetes, as one of its long term side effects is diabetes… my doctors have me ditching the Seroquel, they’re just trying to find a substitute.

It’s just strange that now the manic depression’s under control — and for the past year it has been — I still have to relearn how to care about living. Or start doing things which will ensure I’ll continue to live into modest old age and beyond.

Getting the diagnosis wasn’t a surprise. As soon as my doctor said “blood test to confirm” I was sure I was diabetic. It’s just weird that of all the things in my life right now it’s basically only diabetes that has me looking into the future.




About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at
This entry was posted in Bipolar, Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, Clinical Depression, crazy people with no pants, Diabetes, Health, Living With Manic Depression, Manic Depression, Salted Truths. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Two Feet Underwater With Diabetes Fatigue

  1. darkentries says:

    cardboard and bugs.

    Is cheese allowed? Tasty Cheddar?
    I tell you though…this recovery business is hard work. As soon as you get one thing sorted, something else pops up and fucks you over. No wonder we were fucked up in the first place!

    I have but one thing to say to you…
    Take the fricking pills.

  2. Gabriel... says:

    It’s all the stuff we should have been taking care of but were too preoccupied with being nuts. Apparently I can eat cheese but I’m allowed to substitute cheese with meat. Which means cheese, even chedder, will probably not be in my diet.

  3. Soire says:

    Low GI eating takes some adapting, but it can be tasty.. a lot of my family is borderline type 2, so I’ve been chasing them to watch it.

    I’ve always marveled at how well the body adapts to
    the shit we throw at it. It’s amazing.

    Re: Juice – fizzy or flat water + lemon juice (or lemon slices!) and fresh mint leaves = yum! It’s a summer favorite here!

  4. darkentries says:

    Yes. Bailiffs keep turning up at my door demanding all my stuff, apparently due to some misdemanor that occurred while I wasn’t paying attention. Surely those things shouldn’t count. I should get a pass or something?
    Luckily I don’t have much stuff, and a regular income or I’d be truly fricked. Or I would have to move, which is what I had been doing for the past 15 years. Worked pretty darn well though.

  5. colouredmind says:

    I am sorry that the bipolar meds covered up the symptoms of diabeties so it took so long to find out that you had it. Hope the new meds work well. Hannah X

  6. exactscience says:

    Urgh. I really wish that not being sick meant the same as being well.

    I told a friend I was fine, and he basically said oh yeh? Then reminded what fine is for normal people.

    Just as you have adjusted to what being well and not not sick due to bipolar you will do the same with diabetes.

    Take care dude

  7. nursemyra says:

    sorry to hear that gabriel xx

  8. Oh *hugs*

    I mean…why do we keep having more shit piled on our plates?

    Indeed…you need to ditch the Atypicals.

    Take care nin-JAH. I need you in top form for our future battles!


  9. Is it wrong that the only thing that I think of when I hear “diabetes” is Wilford Brimley?

  10. Gabriel... says:

    Holy crap, I think I’m a week behind in responding…

    Hi Soire… the mint sounds great, I’ve been adding ReaLemon and ReaLime to cold water for a while now. When I was searching for a pop replacement a few years ago I remembered that when I was a teenager and working on farms sometimes the farmer would have a cooler of ice water with lemon halves… it’s actually very refreshing. I’m heading down to the grocery store right after I’m done with this response so I’ll try to find some mint leaves…

    Sut mae Dark Entries… “Luckily I don’t have much stuff, and a regular income or I’d be truly fricked.” While I’m on ODSP (disability) the collection agency has no recourse or I’d be totally fricked as well.

    Hi colouredmind… it’s not just the medications I take to fight manic depression which hid the symptoms of the diabetes, the disease itself prevented me from taking care of myself. I’m sure you know that when you spend all day wanting to die you tend to neglect the little things like diabetes, tooth decay and that dark spot.

    Madainn mhath Scott… that’s great advice dude, just make sure you keep it in mind as well.

    Thanks Nurse Myra, I appreciate that.

    Hi Purple ninJAH… thanks, I should be ready to continue the fight in a couple of months.

    Hello Finicky Penguin, I think Noa Briqualon actually did die from diabetes.

  11. Just wanted to say that that picture is a great one to use for this post.

  12. Gabriel... says:

    …no one’s ever mentioned that. A few people have commented on the photos, but except for stuff like the dentist shots no one* has commented on the photo as part of the post… great, now you’re making me all verklempt and crap.

    When I started putting pictures at the top of my posts last year I was using photos I found on Flickr that I thought were appropriate, but I stopped that pretty quick.

    I do actually try to find one of my photos that matches what I’m writing, that connects to what I’m trying to say. For a lot of my posts choosing the photo has actually been the most time consuming part of the process… but others are totally random and mostly chosen because they were taken around the time period I posted the piece.

    Thanks Justin.

    *If someone has, I apologize for forgetting.

  13. thordora says:

    I haven’t had anything to add to this (especially considering my never-ending addiction to Pop) but I was wondering how you were.

    Haven’t got to the ocean yet, but will.

  14. my heart goes out to you.
    like you don’t have enough shit on your plate.
    it’s easier said than done to be diligent with looking after ourselves since the whole thing with that manic depression thing prevents us from being routine and diligent.
    but do try your best with taking those pills…

  15. darkentries says:

    I love the photos as part of the post. I feel no need to comment on them.
    If I did that, I would spend way too long choosing a photo too.

    Any chance of a Gabriel Diabetes update?

  16. Clare says:

    G. I’m sorry I haven’t kept up my end…my time is not my own, it seems.

    I have a history of diabetes on both sides of my family and one of my medications (Zyprexa) possibly increases the odds I will develop it. But so far I am in balance.

    I am hoping I can be a better communicator soon. My mother is recovering well from major surgery.

    Hey–watch that maple syrup intake!

  17. Gabriel... says:

    Thanks DarkEntries, have you thought about adding some photos to your blog? The diabetes thing is coming along nicely, the meds are really kicking the shit out of the disease. I’ll have a full post on it next week.

    Bonjour Clare. Don’t worry about that stuff. It’ll happen when it happens. My own syrup intake has been nil since I was diagnosed so I can almost feel The Canadian draining from my system.

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