When I was what some might call, “a little shaver”, I was a sickly child. I had spinal meningitis when I was 3. For some reason, my body chemistry was peculiar. And I would have severe reactions to certain additives in foods. I guess for a lot of reasons. My parents never told what those additives were. But suffice to say, that between the ages of, I think about 2 and 4, there were a lot of nights when, during those years, I would end up in severe distress “tossing my cookies”. And, after the meningitis, there was a fever that, so I was told, and from what I can remember, almost killed me. And then, I got the Mumps. Which happened when I was 5. After the Mumps, I lost all of my “baby fat”, and became, so it was believed, hypoglycemic. though the hypoglycemia was not properly diagnosed until years later, when I was 13.
After the Mumps, maintaining weight began to become an issue. I was short and very thin. When I was 13, and the hypoglycemia was diagnosed by Dr. Bernard Kryle of the Cleveland Clinic, it was then believed that the peculiarities of my body chemistry, had issues with certain types of carbohydrates, in foods. To the point, where Dr. Kryle believed that the carbohydrates may have actually altered my body chemistry, along with the meningitis, and the fever that almost killed me. Plus the Mumps, to produce an intolerance to certain carbohydrate additives in food. Which was made more severe by my metabolism, which had changed as the result of the mumps and the fever, producing the hypoglycemic condition.
So, at that point, the rules were basically changed. Dr. Kryle said that certain “artificial” or “artificially” created carbohydrate additives, would only magnify my hypoglycemic condition. Therefore a more protein diet was established. As this happened, my weight began to slightly increase. Though my metabolism was still pretty much like a drunken runaway horse. So, I was put on a regimen of having a certain amount of, at that time, “measured protein” every 4 to 5 hours.
Dr. Kryle believed that my metabolism would eventually slow down. Which it did, to some extent, as I got older. But that there was a slight thyroid imbalance, and/or variation, that was causing my pancreas to fall prey to the hypoglycemic condition.
Thus, never in my life, for example, could I tolerate various types of “hot” peppers. Not so much because of their interactive chemistry with my stomach. As much as their chemistry, having negative effects on my hypoglycemic condition.
Fast forwarding now, to present day. I of course stay away from heavy carbohydrate foods. The basic rule I follow, and have had to follow all of my life is that whatever I eat has to have at least 2/3 more protein than carbohydrates. If the food I am eating is 2/3 protein and 1/3 carbohydrates, I will have, what is called, approximately 4 to 5 hours of stability. And subsequently, if I have food that greater than 2/3 protein, the timeline on “stability” is lengthened.
Stability means, the length of time when my pancreas has the proper amount of glucose, so that it will “not” become spastic. Thereby causing the hypoglycemic condition known as “dumping the sugar”. Which means that the pancreas is behaving in such a spastic manner, that it is pretty much just dumping almost all the glucose it has, which should, under normal conditions, be delivered to the system in a slow and regulated manner. Is instead just dumped into the system in a very irregular, and spastic manner. Whereby, within anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, the glucose levels of my body will fall to a point where what is known as “hypoglycemic shock”, will set in. And hypoglycemic shock, at least with me, generally means, nothing more than it become hard for me to breathe normally. I become slightly disoriented. Gastric imbalances can set in, or manifest. Stress levels can increase.
Over the years, and with Dr. Kryle’s help, I developed a system for measuring the timeline of pancreas stability, which many who suffer from hypoglycemia know as, or have called at one time or another, “playing the sugar game”.
Playing the sugar game means simply measuring the timeline of pancreas stability, as a result of eating different types of foods. For example, if I drink an 8 ounce of a glass of low fat milk, my pancreas will have approximately 5 to 6 hours of stability. If I eat a regular portion of steak. My pancreas will have approximately, up to, 7 hours of stability. Then, if I combine proteins, like a glass of milk and a piece of steak, I can get up almost 12 hours of stability. By the like term. If I have a milky way candy bar, I can have approximately 90 minutes of stability.
And with hypoglycemia, when the timeline of stability comes close to ending, different things happen. If the pancreas has been put into a state of “stability” as a result of eating a candy bar, the end of the timeline of stability is rather abrupt. Meaning that when approximately 90 minutes has passed, within a matter of minutes, my ability to breathe normally will severely decrease. A condition, that people with hypoglycemia sometimes, refer to as “losing their air”.
If, on the other hand, the stability timeline passes as a result of protein the decrease can be just as severe but might take approximately 20 minutes to be fully realized physically by the body. So the end of the timeline of stability is sometimes, or perhaps more than sometimes, referred to as, “the crash”.
In actuality, when a “crash” happens. Slowing yourself down, can actually slow down the crash as well. So, if, for example, I have eaten a candy bar, and approximately 90 minutes passes, I will of course begin to lose my air. At that point, I can simply slow down everything I do. Slow it down to a point where instead of breathing normally. I am taking very slow, shallow breaths. And instead of walking at a normal speed. I’ll walk much slower. Doing this extends to causing the body, and the associated chemical processes to slow down as well. And doing that can actually buy or give, someone dealing with hypoglycemia “more time” to get the opportunity to take in protein, in order to re-establish pancreatic stability.
Playing the sugar game is never an advisable way to go for people who have hypoglycemia where they metabolism is slower. Meaning if their body weight is heavier. Because playing the sugar game, can, with a heavier body weight bring on a crash than can affect other organs in the body, in addition to the lungs. Whereby, a heart seizure, or even a heart attack, or perhaps other potentially severe conditions can take place.
So, playing the sugar game is generally done by people like me. Who have a faster metabolism, whereby their body weight, is generally less, and/or lighter. Still, as one gets older, playing the sugar game can result in potentially dangerous conditions.
So, for example, when I feel a crash becoming immanent. Using my mind, I immediately slow everything down. From my thinking, to my breathing. To doing anything. And, as a result, over the years, I have been able to extend the crash timeline, in many cases, if not most of the time, up to almost a hour.
Now, about sugar. Taking in something that has far more carbohydrates, and/or sugar, and/or fructose, than, protein, can actually bring on a physical condition that can resemble intoxication. Which is why, when I used to be more active in my life, and I might be at someone’s home for dinner. If they were to serve say strawberry shortcake, for desert, and if I had driven to their home for dinner. I might jokingly (though not really joking at all), say, “sorry. I’m driving”. The somewhat typical answer that someone might give as an excuse for not drinking at someone’s home.
Because that’s what a high dose of sugar, fructose, does to the system. It can actually make the body feel as if you had just had perhaps two drinks of some liquor. Which is why, I have always had a candy bar, before seeing my psychiatrist for years. As I have always said. “it’s hard enough for me to honest with myself about some things. Let alone trying to be so honest and open with some guy or lady who I don’t know that well. “ So when going to see a psychiatrist, whether I have seen them before or not. I always have a candy bar. Because it alters my blood chemistry to the point where my body takes on the characteristics as if I had just had a couple of drinks. Sort of like getting a buzz on. And I laugh. I tell my friends. It’s much easier to go in there and talk about that kind of stuff if I’m a bit looser.
Of course, when I do this. I also have to keep an internal clock running in my head, so I can measure the amount of time that has passed from when I had the candy bar. So that I can make sure that before the crash, I’m somewhere where I can have some protein.
By the like term, for me, a cup of coffee accelerates my metabolism to the point where the timeline on any protein is of course also accelerated, meaning shortened. Which is again, another way I play the sugar game. So if I have a glass of milk, which will most of the time give me about 6 hours of stability. And then have a cup of coffee with cream, or with cream and sugar. That 6 hours then becomes reduced to about 3 hours. And in some cases 90 minutes.
So, as I go through my day, I’m always measuring units of time, against the foods that I eat, and the current state of my chemistry, which I can generally have a good idea of, based on things like my breathing, or how quickly I can process or understand certain types of information. Or even my reading speed.
Now, with the foregoing. There is one carbohydrate additive, that I have not been able to identify, in one o the Uncle Ben’s instant rice, specifically one of the brands of “cheesy rice”, that brings on a very severe, and I mean really severe negative gastric reaction, in my body chemistry. The carbohydrate additive has such a negative effect that it can take me several hours, to be able to gain any kind of gastric stability. Meaning that I’m so bloated, that I’m basically passing wind from both ends, so to speak. And the condition becomes highly uncomfortable.
So of course, I, if I can help it, always avoid certain carbohydrate oriented processed foods, if I have any indication that a severe gastric reaction might take place. Because when a severe gastric reaction takes place, that is one factor that I do not have control over, or of, where my hypoglycemic condition can basically go berserk. Meaning that none of the sugar game time lines will mean anything. Because the chemicals in my stomach are not being processed right. Due to a particular carbohydrate additive, that, when taken in, becomes so acidic, that it, as I said, basically throws my chemistry out the window.
Now, tonight was such a night. One of the cans of processed soup that I got from the food center last week, to get me through the end of the month was a kind of chicken and vegetable canned soup. Generally I can tell, by the density of the liquid as to whether the protein level is high enough to give me the timeline I’m looking for. As I opened this can of soup last night about 6pm. I just had a funny feeling that the soup portion, meaning the liquid portion, just didn’t look quite right. Meaning that my gut feeling was I thought it might be what I call sometimes “carbo-loaded”. Meaning that, while there were chicken bits in the soup. That the liquid portion was high in carbohydrates, and potentially acidic.
And low and behold. I was right. At about 10pm, My body felt like it had been thrown off a cliff. Heartburn. Accelerated sugar dumping. Gastric reactions off the charts. It being the end of the month, I’m out of milk. Well, out of pretty much everything. Yeah, so what. No big deal. I took some baking soda. Put a teaspoon full into a cup of water, and drank it. Within about 5 minutes, the acid level was going down really fast. The heartburn was gone. And I was sounding like a bullfrog, and basically eliminating gas.
So, finally by about 11pm. The chemistry then stabilized. And realizing that I’m out of sugar for my coffee. But that I still had some creamer, I made myself a cup of coffee with creamer. Now I also did this. Because while the gastric condition was basically blowing me out of the water, the change in the nighttime temperature had been so rapid that I began to have breathing problems, to the point where I was having major post nasal drip, which generally clogs up my throat so badly, that it can actually make breathing harder.
Realizing that I had to fix both conditions at the same time. Meaning stabilize the gastric condition with some form of “base”, protein. But at the same time, have some hot liquid to clear my throat so that I could breathe easier. Coffee with cream was the option. Which I have been having with one cup for about the last hour. The post nasal drip is gone. The gastric attack is gone. And my sugar level is about what might be considered to approximately 20% off. When a sugar level is to a certain percentage, “off”. That means that the timeline of stability has been shortened, or altered. So, 20% off, means that I probably have about 2 hours of stability. Which is no big deal.
The Silver Bullet:
There is what I call “the silver bullet”. This is where a condition takes place when you sleep, where your metabolism actually speeds up. But does so in such a way, so that it generally, will “not” at the same time speed up the pancreatic release of sugar. And, if I meditate myself to sleep, I can actually slow down the pancreas by slowing my body down, by first going into deep meditation, and then going into sleep. Where, when I wake up, my body chemistry will be more stabilized. Meaning that the length of the timeline has not changed. But the severity of the crash has.
Which then means, for example, that right now, my sugar is about 20% off. Okay. So, If I have 1/2 teaspoon of grape jam, which I have in the refrigerator. While I finish my coffee. First, I’ll get a slight “buzz” from the sugar. But a the same time, since it’s natural jam. My pancreas will get a dose of glucose. Which will lengthen the timeline. Then, I’ll meditate myself to sleep, so my body chemistry will process, initially much slower, as I am meditating, before my metabolism accelerates slightly while I sleep. Which will then have the effect, when I wake up, of giving me about a 3 hour window of stability.
At which point I’ll have a bowl of long grain rice which will give me about a 5 hour timeline. While a the same time the protein in the rice will stabilize any of the left over gastric reaction.
Sometimes, in a pinch, I can actually have a 16 ounce bottle of water, in the space of perhaps 5 minutes. And the water itself can actually change my body chemistry to the point where the timeline can be extended sometimes for an additional 75 minutes.
But in this case, the foregoing is what I’m going to do.
And the foregoing is one of the reasons that I tend to stick with only certain kinds of soups, and certain kinds of rice preparations. Part of my thinking is that the what I am thinking is the unidentified carbohydrate additive, might simply be a higher degree of salt in the preparation. But with all the other junk I have to keep track of, I’m not to concerned about identifying the carbohydrate additive, in as much as I want to be aware of what brands, and/or types of food, produce the gastric reaction, like what I just went through.
So, it’s now 1:18am. And I’m going to do what I have said above. But I have to say. It’s times like this. Or nights like this, where I end up feeling like have just gotten off a really bad roller coaster ride. With the temperature outside finally settling down. I shouldn’t have any more nasal issues. And because I need to do deep meditation, leading to sleep. I’ll probably just put on some new age music in the background, to keep the energy level more sedate… And then get up about 4:30am. And everything should be back to normal.
What a night. I love nights like this. (not). I mean, I feel like I got in an elevator and someone forgot to tell me that the elevator car was out for repairs. Like how hard can I hit the ground. LOL.
Thanks for reading…