Cresting One Hill Brings You To The Other

It’s been a hell of a month and half, with the recovery of a physical injury I sustained at the beginning of April, only to get sick with some kind of flu or virus immediately after. And no, before anyone panics, it isn’t COVID-19! But for those of you who may not have read earlier posts from a month ago, I attended a karate seminar and took a strike to the left rib cage, which resulted in a sharp, piercing pain that I assumed, at the time, was a broken rib. Although x-rays negated that possibility (allegedly) the pain and limited movement has kept me pretty isolated and unable to train and move freely for well over a month.

For about two weeks, despite the stiffness and slow movement I have been recovering well. I can breathe and move somewhat normally and can now sneeze, cough and fart without nearly passing out in pain, which is something you don’t necessarily recognize or take for granted until you can’t do it. This week, I contemplated returning to karate, which would be my first class in 46 days. The fact I’ve been counting those days should give you some indication as to how anxious I am to return and how much it means to me. Monday classes are usually at 8 pm, which is a later start than I’ve ever had at previous dojos. For this reason, I’m usually on the fence about attending on Mondays.

Last Monday, i got home spent and exhausted from my day’s work and opted for my usual, which was to skip. This sounds pretty bad and it’s not something you would have heard out of me, twenty years ago. but as one gets older and wiser, quality over quantity becomes the new norm. By Tuesday afternoon, a wave of nausea and clamminess struck me. I was dizzy and felt physically ill. I worked my way through the rest of the afternoon but by the time I got home, I was done for the day. not only did I find myself unable to eat, I spent my evening cradling a bucket and wound up sleeping downstairs so I wouldn’t wake the entire house if I retched and threw up. Lovely.

The irony is that Wednesday would have been my first karate class since the injury, having skipped on Monday. I had full intentions of attending but of course fate had other plans. I had hoped whatever this was would pass during the night, but I woke up still feeling like shit on Wednesday morning. By Wednesday evening, I made my peace with the fact I wouldn’t be attending. Come this morning, I still feel like crap. Things have a tendency of turning on a dime for me, what with the whole Diabetes thing. So you never know what this evening may bring or whether I may be able to attend. Just one more step towards understanding that life doesn’t care about one’s plan.

Since I’ve never caught “man flu” in my life, one can safely assume that if an illness is bad enough to slow me down or stop me, it’s likely because it’s serious. Not serious enough to put a stop to me, of course. I’ll get over this like I get over everything else. It just pisses me off that it had to happen RIGHT when I had recovered from an injury and intended on returning to karate. Such is life. I’ll get there. The irony, and the good part I suppose, is that none of this seems to have affected my blood sugars. Even skipping some meals. Small favours… ☯️

The Iron Maiden…

Iron plays an important role in the function of the body. In fact, it serves a number of different roles, including helping the body to make hemoglobin, which is the protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. It also contributes to make myoglobin, which carries oxygen to one’s muscle tissue. oxygen is kind of important to, well… stay alive, so y’all can see how maintaining good iron levels can be extremely important. As with all things in life, the key aspect is to strike a proper balance between too much and too little.

People don’t often realize it, but iron also helps convert one’s blood sugar to energy, which means it plays an integral role in Type-1 Diabetes and the proper overall control of one’s blood sugar levels. All of that, combined with the fact that it will also help to strengthen one’s immune system makes iron a pretty tough supplement. Get it? Tough? Iron? No…? No one gets it? Very well… Moving on! There are a number fo different sources to get iron in one’s diet. Let’s look at a few of my favourites…

Spinach: Besides having a reasonable level of iron, spinach is also high in Vitamin C, antioxidants and can decrease inflammation in the body.

Legumes: Most people don’t necessarily know what’s meant by “legumes,” but they’re far more common in people’s diet than they realize. For example, my wife and I enjoy beans in our homemade chilli. Beans, along with lentils, peas and a few others, are high in iron as well as a reasonable source of folate, magnesium and potassium. they also tend to pack a decent fibre punch.

Red meat: Alright, if things are misspelled from this point on, it’s because I’m drooling at the thought of a decent-sized steak, brazed over a hot grill with delicious seasonings, and served with a side of steamed greens covered in butter… FML, I’m hungry… but seriously, most red meats contain zinc, selenium, B vitamins and, you guess it! Iron. There’s no need for me to tell you that red meat contains a reasonable protein punch as well, making it a perfect all around food to accompany whatever side you see fit.

Dark chocolate: Sign me up! Besides the fact that dark chocolate has a decent dose of iron, the higher the percentage of cocoa, the lower the total sugar. It apparently has to do with the difference in process from making milk chocolate. Who knows? What am I, a chocolatier??? All I know is that my wife and I usually prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate anyway, so life is good.

Fish: What can I say? I’m a Maritimer, born and raised. I love fish in all its forms and all its preparations. And fish have a bunch of stuff that’s good for you but it’s also high in iron.

Although all of this sounds great and you’re likely writing up your grocery list for a kick ass barbecue, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Too much iron in one’s body will result in organ damage, organ failure as well as cirrhosis and even lead to Type-2 Diabetes. Moderation is key. A simple blood test will reveal your iron levels and where you’re sitting. So, what if your iron levels are too low? That’s what we’ll cover next…

If you read that first paragraph again, you’ll notice that one of the main functions of iron is to carry oxygen. Lack of oxygen in the bloodstream will cause numbness in the limbs, weakness, pale skin and fatigue. You may also experience headaches, dizziness and blurred vision. How do I know all of this, you may ask? I could be a smart ass and say I looked it all up. And you’d be right. But I also know all of these things because my wife recently discovered numbness in her right arm and fingers. Considering we both have fatigue and weakness, it was hard to think much of it until she pushed the issue at the doctors office and a month later with iron supplements, oxygen flow to that arm is back to normal and no more numbness.

We often think that since we’re not hungry after we eat that all is well. Nutrition is about more than just filling one’s belly and not being hungry. But when it comes to something as important as iron, finding that happy medium for YOU is important. Too much iron, big problems. Too little iron, also big problems. Finding the balance, as with all things in life, is the key to ensuring proper nutrition and proper health. Food for thought… ☯️

Never A Smooth Journey…

Lack of education is a consistent problem within medical circles, meaning that many people view certain illnesses through a lens that’s not befitting or may not be appropriate to the actualities that a sufferer feels. One good example are all these videos you see on line where someone will approach a driver parking in a handicap spot and start betraying them Fort parking there, despite having a handicap placard. The ‘complainer” has no fuckin’ clue what internal issues that person may be dealing with, but they always seem to assume they shouldn’t be parking there.

The same can be said of Diabetes… When I was first diagnosed with type-1 Diabetes, I can easily admit that I thought very little about it, other than the fact I was getting free food while in the hospital. To my credit, I was only 4-years old at the time but even as I got a bit older, the innocence of childhood kept me rooted in the belief that nothing would happen to me because, well, I was a kid! And bad things don’t happen to kids, right? Oh, I was so wrong…

Throughout my life, I’ve gotten some of the worst comments about my Diabetes. Any of you who have read previous posts will already be aware that telling me that “it could be worse” is without a doubt one of my biggest pet peeves. What an absolute verbal slap in the face, to tell someone with a life-long autoimmune disorder that has no cure and debilitates, that it could be worse… Sure, I know it could. But that doesn’t make my journey any less difficult.

I have no illusions that Diabetes is alone in that arena but the reality is that there are a number of issues that a person with Type-1 faces that anyone external looking in may not notice. One good example, and likely the best, is the lack of access to insulin. For most people, they’re of the impression that so long as you eat well and take insulin, Diabetes pretty much leaves you alone. unfortunately, this is about as far from the truth as one can get…

Insulin is required for more than just controlling blood sugars. The reality is that prior to the creation and wide distribution of insulin, someone with type-1 Diabetes usually only lived for about 10 to 14 days, at most. Diabetic Ketoacidosis would kick in and the patient would soon succumb. That’s why I always have a bit of a laugh when someone says, “Why don’t you just eat completely carb-free to and exercise to keep blood sugars down?” Ah, if only it were that easy.

So, here’s problem: what if you can’t easily access or afford insulin? What do you do? Just curl up and wait to die, I guess? Not a year goes by that I don’t read about the rising costs of insulin and how some people will go to such extremes measures as ordering insulin over Amazon or crossing borders to get it cheaper in another country. Imagine that? besides feeding and supporting a family and trying to make a life, yo-yo need to wonder where your next shot of life-sustaining hormone will come from? It’s through that lens that I write this post today.

I’ve lived through periods where I had to choose between buying food to get me through the week or splurging on a bottle of insulin to stay alive, albeit while starving. I’ve dealt with having to ration and manage how much insulin I used, stretching a single vial to twice or even three times it’s intended capacity, in order to make it to that next paycheque that would let me get another bottle. I’ve also dealt with failing health care systems that don’t acknowledge the fact that like many other illnesses, this isn’t going away, it’s for life and that life will dramatically shortened if I don’t have the benefit of proper medical attention and the medications I need to live.

These days, I’m pretty fortunate and I count my lucky stars because I’m in the employ of a career that provide medical coverage for everything I need. The insulin pump and continuous glucose monitoring has been a life-altering option that’s almost guaranteed to have added years to my life. Not everyone is as fortunate, which is why when I post about nasty side effects, the negative side of Diabetes and how I’m just tired of it all, it’s done for educational purposes and not necessarily to complain.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way… Although life has had some rough climbs, over jagged rocks and while barefooted, I’ve managed and fought my way through. Life is worth it and only by fighting for it can one keep a grasp on it, however tenuous… I may look healthy, I may eat well, live reasonably well, exercise and maintain myself but make no mistake; beneath the veneer of all my efforts lies a tumultuous storm of complications that I’m keeping at bay. And the first time I fall asleep at the helm could be all it takes. Food for thought… ☯️

Like Riding A Bicycle

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and despite the fact some of my followers may have wondered why I didn’t post about that yesterday weren’t here to see my two sons and I showering my wife with gifts and taking her out to eat before relaxing at a park so the boys could burn off some energy. Combine that with the fact i spent an hour on the phone wth my own mother and I think we’re good. Mother’s Day is one of those holidays where one need only to open their favourite social media platform to see the words plastered a few dozen times by a few dozen people. But I digress…

Once everything was said and done and I had hung up with my mother, I decided to take advantage of the unexpectedly nice weather (it was supposed to be raining) and take my first bike ride. I had been putting it off for days, despite some rather balmy weather we’ve had in Regina but since everything was said and done and my wife had settled in for some television and cross-stitch, I decided to blow the dust off… Although my original thought was to ride a short, 10-kilometre stint that should only take me about half an hour, I stopped just shy of 7. Out of breath and sweating profusely, that 20-minute ride was enough to show me that I have plenty of work this summer, rebuilding what’s been lost while my rib cage healed up.

Once I got back to the house and sat down to rest with some fluids, I looked at the punching bag and decided to tentatively throw a few “light” punches to test the waters… That is to say, i wanted to see what would still hurt and what wouldn’t. A couple of straight and hook punches on each arm showed some mild aching but no sharp pains or debilitation. This meant that should be able to slowly start doing some work, physically, over the next week and slowly introduce myself back into karate. My plan for the week is to start doing some short sets with light weights in order to strengthen newly healed muscle and get things nicely stretched out. Once that’s done, I should hopefully be able to sneak my way back into by next week. Fingers crossed! ☯️

Let’s Get Physical… Therapy…

The body has a number of redundancies in place that happen when healing from a wound or injury. This includes the fact that if your go without using muscles for a significant period of time, they’ll shrink, wither and potentially get weaker. There’s also the issue that if the injury INVOLVES the musculature and it needs to Medan be regrow, the new muscles will need quite a bit of work before they can be used at the capacity that they were prior to the injury.

A good example of this is reflected from the fact that for just a little longer than a calendar month now, I’ve gone without karate classes and basic exercise. And no, this doesn’t make me lazy! No, YOU shut up! I’ve slightly reduced my food intake, within reason, and I’ve kept myself moving. I simply haven’t been training as hardcore as I usually do. As a result, I’ve dropped from 217lbs to 209lbs (or 98 to 95 kilograms, for you metric folks).

Despite the weight loss, it isn’t great news. The pounds I’ve shed come as a result of lost mass, not weight reduction. My muscles have shrunk by virtue of being used significantly less in the past month and doing next to no physical activity. So, I started trying to do a few little things. I started by raking my front yard, which probably wasn’t the greatest thing to start with, since the movement puts direct stress on the area of my torso that I injured. It also doesn’t help that my 7-year old was supposed to help but ditched me in favour of playing with his baby brother. Damn kids. But i digress…

For some people, physical therapy, or physiotherapy as its also known, is required in order to get back up on the proverbial horse after an injury. This usually involves an actual therapist who will use hot and cold, massages and certain exercises to help recover from injury as opposed to using prescription drugs or mainstream therapies. You may be asking, “But can’t I get massages, apply heat and cold and exercise on my own WITHOUT using a therapist?” Why, yes. Yes, you can. The difference is a therapist will have certain specialized and focused methods of getting you there faster and in a safer manner.

I’ll admit that I would be the first one to injure myself further by doing too much, too soon. hence why I’m trying my damndest to take it slow and ease back into things. That being said, I’m chomping at the bit to start doing stuff, especially in light of the fact that the weather has been so nice in my area. The other important aspect besides one’s weight and muscle mass, is that absolutely EVERYTHING affects blood sugars in someone with type-1 Diabetes. So it becomes all the more important to closely monitor your blood sugar readings, especially if your level of fitness and your food intake are changed. ☯️

Let’s Get Some “Cycles” In…

I always get a kick out of the term “putting some cycles in.” It’s a term my boss uses as a unit of time measurement when referring to projects and things, rather than just saying how much time it takes. “I’ve spent a lot of cycles working on this…” Love it! But my title mostly refers to an actual cycle, or bicycle. With the warmer weather kicking it into high gear and the snow having apparently made a disappearing act for the season in Saskatchewan, getting my bike out and prepped for as many kilometres as my body will permit has become my seasonal challenge.

Since my trips out on the bike can often reach the hundreds of kilometres in one sitting (I only achieved 100kms on one occasion, it’s usually closer to 60-80 kms), I’ve many people Diabetic or not, ask me how I manage such distances, in the heat, without severely low blood sugar levels and avoiding dehydration. I did this last year but I thought I would provide the list of things I ensure I carry with me when going out on the bike.

First, I should point out that I have a couple of attachable bags on my bike frame; one that sits up beneath the seat and one that sits on the top bar of the frame in front of me. The one underneath the seat carries a small, basic travel first aid kits with gauze, disinfectant and bandages (and band-aids) because you never quite know when you’ll fall off the bike and cause minor injuries that shouldn’t sit untreated, especially if you’re far from home. this small pouch also carries at least one version of fast-acting carbs, which for me, means jellybeans or Swedish berries. If I have room after all that, I’ll also jam a couple of granola bars and some protein. This location is great for all of that because being under the seat keeps it all out of the sun so it stays cooler, for the most part (it also keeps the chocolate chips in my granola bars from melting).

The pouch on the top bar has a windowed cover, which is supposed to allow me to display my iPhone. this is so that I can watch the mounting mileage counting on the screen. The two issues I’ve found with this, is the summer heat will often cause the phone to overheat and stop functioning until it cools or will outright kill the battery. The issue with the former is that I’m stuck either sitting still in the summer heat until my phone cools down or I keep peddling, all the while not logging the right amount of distance due to the phone cancelling out. So now, I just keep the phone blanked and hidden inside the pouch.

I also keep my wallet or at minimum, SOME form of identification in the event I’m in an accident or get lost, etc. I usually bring my debit card in the event I need to purchase further food or transportation home if I get sick or something of the sort. If I’m using a source of music that can’t be clipped on my clothing, it also sits inside this top pouch. Last but not least, I carry a bottle of water on a bottle rack on the frame as well as a bottle of water on a belt pouch around my waist, equally to roughly a litre of liquids to stay hydrated.

Some people don’t find this to be a lot but the reality is that even on a long-distance ride, you need to find that sweet spot between staying hydrated, not filling your gut to the point it starts sloshing around in your belly and preventing the intake of TOO much water while simultaneously losing mineral salts through excess sweating. This causes a condition known as hyponatramia. This is where you have too much hydration versus the amount of mineral salts in your body. That’s why electrolyte drinks can be useful. I generally keep a bottle of water and a bottle of sugar-free Gatorade and alternate between the two.

Spending the nicer seasons out on a bike can be liberating and it’s great exercise. But whether you have Type-1 Diabetes or not, it’s important to be prepared, especially if you plan on being out for a significant distance. proper preparation (say THAT three times fast) can mean the difference between a fun ride in the sun or a potentially harmful medical situation. Happy cycling! ☯️

Can’t Walk A Mile In Someone’s Shoes When It’s Painful…

Well over a month ago, I suffered a pretty painful injury during a karate seminar as a result of trying to spar like I was still in my twenties. I was doing pretty good, for a few minutes. In my head, I was moving with the same speed and grace as I did when I was first graded as a black belt. In reality, I was moving with the level of grace that a thick sap slowly moves its way down the trunk of a tree. And I paid the price in pain…

My opponent caught me with a straight punch to the upper ribs, with his dominant hand, no less. There are three important lessons to be learned from that experience; one for me, one for him and one for both of us. The lesson for me is that I shouldn’t have walked into an oncoming punch. Although I was throwing an attack of my own at the time, focus should be on preserving and protecting oneself first. You can’t protect yourself or others if you get taken out.

The lesson for my opponent is that at his level of skill, he should have been able to control his strike and even halt it short of impacting. One of the differences that I’ve noticed with Shotokan as opposed to Uechi Ryu, is that the practitioners are all in, on every strike, even in practice. Although this can be useful in developing strength to your strikes, it can be detrimental to one’s overall control. But I digress…

The lesson for the two of us, is that even a strike that isn’t at full power can still be devastating when properly applied. After all, if a strike from 1 to 10, where 1 is a light touch and 10 is the intention to kill, I seriously doubt that my opponent, who just happens to be a practitioner in the same dojo as I am, had ANY intentions of killing me. But the results of that strike have been enough to keep me on my ass for the past month, proving that an effective strike doesn’t have to be “all in” to be effective.

The past month has been increasingly difficult, especially in the first couple of weeks. I’ve had a hard time moving and every little thing, including but not limited to sneezing, coughing, burping and farting has sent me into spasms of pain where I’d be seeing stars for several minutes before it would finally subside. Don’t even get me started on the challenges of showering or using the washroom. A month has passed but the pain has not, although it is getting better. Damaged muscles can take weeks and even months to heal. But I’ve learned to appreciate some important aspects along the way…

My father has been wheelchair-bound for almost 20 years, now. Cursed with a degenerative spine, he’s been living with constant, 10 out of 10 pain for years. Nothing has ever worked for him or is expected to. It’s pain he simply has to live with. And although my pain is nowhere near at the level his is, I can appreciate certain aspects that constant pain causes. Here are a few things that you should never say to someone who is in pain:

1. “The pain can’t be that bad.” I’ve spent years hearing people talk to my mother and make that very comment about my father. For one thing, what’s only a 5 out of 10 pain to one person may be much, much worse for someone else. No one has the right to gauge your pain for you.
2. “Why are you so tired?” Constant pain is exhausting. People don’t tend to think so because when a person is in pain, their last thought is of getting sleep. The problem comes from managing that pain over a long period of time. It takes its toll on the body and can be devastatingly exhausting. Most chronic conditions will be like this. I have a dear friend who has fibromyalgia (hopefully I spelled that right) and although she wears a brave face, the constant pain makes getting through the day with a smile quite challenging.
3. “You’d feel better if you got up and did something.” No, no, I would not. I’ll be the first to admit that one shouldn’t just flop down and refuse to move until ALL pain has subsided. Besides the fact that sitting idle can be a problem for someone with type-1 Diabetes due to poor circulatory and nerve-related issues, there’s the danger of stiffening up from doing nothing, which can extend the amount of time required to heal. Don’t even get me started on loss of muscle mass and atrophy. But sometimes you gotta baby that injury and allow your tissues to heal. This can mean putting your feet up and letting the finely-tuned machine that is your body do its job and fix the injury before you push yourself.

Everyone’s pain is different. I can honestly say that although I’m not on the same pain level as my father, I can certainly sympathize with some of the issues he faces with his back being out of commission. Makes me appreciate all the more, how some people, even medical professionals, try to push him in ways his body is incapable of responding. Don’t ever judge someone else’s pain. You can never tell how an individual may be feeling or dealing with a particular pain. And no one has a right to gauge your pain but you. Food for thought…☯️

Fizzy? Bubbly? Gassy?

Trying to find something enjoyable to drink when you have Type-1 Diabetes can be somewhat difficult. Despite the fact that the best thing a person can drink (and the easiest) is water, sometimes you just wanna gulp down something flavourful and different. Having a cold beer during my down time isn’t ideal, since beer is totally loaded with carbohydrates and tends to bloat a guy. Plus after one or two of them, you feel full and uncomfortable. There’s a reason why they call it “beer gut.” But I digress…

For the most part, health professionals don’t recommend consuming carbonated beverages regularly because of the sugar content. After all, the average red-canned drink (you know the one) contains 39 grams of sugar. if you decide to over-consume and drink one of those 500 millilitre bottles, you’re looking at over 50 grams. It’s great if you’re suffering a low and want to boost your blood sugars. Not so great if you care about things like weight gain and tooth decay. But what if you’re consuming sugar-free carbonated beverages? That should be fine, right?

Maybe not. The problem doesn’t just lie in the sugar content (or toxic artificial sweetener). Some of the issue may lie in the carbonation itself. Willingly ingesting carbonated liquids can lead to a number of nasty side effects that most people don’t usually consider prior to pouring them down their gullet. For myself, I’m a big fan of these sugar-free carbonated waters I get from Costco. Despite the great flavours and sugar-free option, there are certain things you need to consider when gulping down carbonated beverages.

First and foremost, it can cause heartburn. Since carbonated beverages are loaded with CO2, they can cause an increase in stomach acid reflux due to the pressure it places on the abdomen. That same pressure will cause bloating and excess gas. Also, artificial sweeteners have been linked to weight gain and Type-2 Diabetes (do some research), none of which are a good thing. The best bet would be to simply not consume any carbonated beverage at all, sugared or not.

So, what about some non-carbonated, non-carbohydrate “adult” beverages? Well, a snippet of red wine can have some definite positive properties, as long as you don’t down full bottles at a time. Pure alcoholic spirits are carb-free and can offer a tempting option to substitute on a day off while relaxing in one’s garage during a sunny Sunday afternoon. But an excess of these drinks (besides the liver damage) will also cause an increase in one’s potassium levels, which can be hard on cardiac health.

At the end of the day, water is still the best overall go-to drink for something that won’t cause a bunch of issues on the side. You can get some sugar-free water flavourings that won’t break the bank and will let you stay hydrated without all the pitfalls of carbonated beverages. And should you opt for the carb-free and carbonated-free option like whiskey, remember that moderation is key. Food for thought. Or rather, drinks for thought… ☯️

You Gotta Fight, For Your Right…

I was diagnosed with type-1 Diabetes when I was 4-years old. And even before that, the majority of my existence was spent in hospitals as my older brother was unfortunately blessed with a failing body that caused issues more often than not. So it stands to reason that I’ve seen almost all of the good, bad and ugly within the Canadian healthcare system

Nowhere else in my life do I enjoy such an intense love/hate relationship with a person or entity as I do with the healthcare industry. Anyone who knows me, recognizes that one of the biggest pet peeves in my life has been the need to “convince” a healthcare professional that there’s something wrong or that I’m injured. Today’s healthcare system is almost a revolving door of treating symptoms as quickly and easily as possible and shuffling folks out the door.

Just to be clear, this isn’t the case in ALL situations. My personal physician is a wonderful, attentive woman who has always given me the best care. It’s just unfortunate that she’s located in a city that’s three hours away from me by virtue of my time as a Mountie. It makes it pretty hard to walk in for something on the fly, without scheduling an appointment weeks down the road.

Yesterday, I woke up for the third day in a row in my living room lounger. Cramped, stiff and in pain, it took several minutes of moving around in order to get good blood flow and loosen up my back. This is the result of a strike to the ribs I took during karate class, all the way back on April 2. Although I had seen a doctor a couple of weeks ago, the muscle relaxants I was given did nothing and I was in bad need of a good night’s sleep.

Since the lack of sleep was starting to affect my work, my cognitive abilities and last but not least, my overall fucking mood, I made the decision that I had to get back into. The clinic and see the same doctor for a follow up. There were no scheduled appointments available, so I took a half day off of work and made my way there as a walk-in patient. Besides the usual wait and delayed response in being brought in to the examining room, the doctor walked in and I was able to remind him of the injury and that I was still in serious pain.

His offer was for a stronger muscle relaxant in order to help me sleep. Although this is good in theory, it doesn’t answer the important question of what, exactly is the injury and what can be done to repair it. Despite having been x-rayed, I was only imaged at the back. There’s a very real possibility that a rib is broken/fractured at the front and the lancing pain has me believing it’s at the back. If it’s a torn muscle, it could potentially require surgery to repair. None of these issues seemed to faze the doctor in the least.

I tried to put myself in the doctor’s shoes… After all, having your bicycle stolen off your front lawn may be devastating to you but to the police officer who deals with assaults and murders, it likely isn’t high on their list. This is somewhat akin to that. But his wantonness to simply treat the symptom without examining the cause vexed me, to the point where I thanked him for his time and explained I would find a different doctor to examine the issue. It wasn’t until that was said, that he opted to send me for an ultrasound to see what may be happening inside.

I’m a pretty easy guy in general rot get along with. But one thing a person should never have to do is FIGHT to have treatment when it’s available. I know that some areas of the world don’t have the level of medical care we have here, in Canada. I also know that even just 100 years ago, many people would have suffered indefinitely because of simple things because the technology and knowledge just wasn’t there. But this is 2022, people! If I tell you there’s pain, let’s figure out why!

The good and bad is that I took the stronger muscle relaxant last night and actually got a full night’s sleep (hence how late i the morning this post is). The bad part is that since I slept without waking, I never adjusted when I was in a position that may have aggravated the injury and as a result, I woke up stiffer than ever. As with all things in life, this too, shall pass. The question remains as to how long that will take and how hard I’ll have to fight to get treatment. ☯️

Spicing Things Up…

I grew up in a French Acadian household, which meant that our family’s solution to feeding several individuals was tossing meat, potatoes and various vegetables into a large pot and stewing it until it congealed. It wasn’t all bad but whenever we went to my grandparents for Sunday lunch, that was almost EXCLUSIVELY the meal we had. If we were lucky, dinner rolls would be served as well, which is where I developed my weird affinity for a buttered roll will mustard.

But even within my immediate household, spices and flavourings were never really a thing. My older brother’s illnesses kept him from eating anything spicy and my father and I have ALWAYS had stomach issues (I had ulcers as a child) so our meals, although varied, usually lacked a little “oomph.” Ever try eating baked fish without ANY spices or seasonings? Not quite my thing…

That’s why when I got older and ventured out into the world on my own, I started to indulge in the hottest foods I could find. This included a rather unfortunate incident in Ottawa when I ate at an Indian restaurant and nearly threw up from the excessive spicy food I ingested. Worth it. Totally worth it. Obviously, spicy food can mean more than just bringing the heat and I’d like to go over some of those spicy facts, today.

One of the consistent things I’ve read about spicy food is that it potentially speeds up your metabolism and slows down your appetite. This can be helpful during one’s fitness journey and trying to achieve weight-loss goals. The effects aren’t massive, mind you but every little nit can help. The spicy spices, like chili peppers, have even been reported by some sites as helping to slow and destroy cancer cells. Kinda makes it seem like all those spineless meals during my childhood had me missing out…

Obviously, when I say spices I mean all varieties, hot or not. Some spices have been shown to have positive medicinal effects, as well. But if we’re talking strictly about hot spices, it’s important to remember that in order for there to be a balance, there has to be some bad to the good. Consuming large amounts of hot, spicy foods can cause some nasty and unwanted short-term effects,

Some of those effects can include stomach pains and diarrhea. This usually happens because your nervous system gets overexcited at the heat you’re bringing. Depending on your digestion, you can also experience heartburn. Contrary to what was believed years ago, spicy foods won’t cause stomach ulcers and can actually be helpful in preventing them. But as with all things in life, it’s about moderation and knowing what your body can handle. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m craving buffalo chicken bites…☯️