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From The Writer's Chair Tired Boy

Paul Whybrow

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My adult health has been good, apart from a minor stroke at the end of 1995, at the age of 41, after what had been the most stressful year of my life. This crisis prompted me to give up drinking booze after 27 years of alcoholism. I don’t miss it. I’ve never smoked or done illegal drugs.

Since returning to creative writing in 2013, I’ve penned 600 song lyrics & poems, several novellas and a dozen short stories. I’ve written and self-published five novels in my Cornish Detective series. After reading publishing industry reports of a 34% rise in audiobook sales during lockdown, I acquired recording equipment and turned my crime stories into talking books. That took me the last nine months of 2021, as detailed in this thread Narrating Blues.

I also recorded two novellas in my Art Palmer Post-American Civil War series, the equivalent of another novel.

I’ve done some horrible jobs in my life, but this was the worst! I had to force myself back to the microphone each day, often working 12 – 16 hours. I was determined to get both series for sale by Christmas, which I managed. o_O

I only realised how much I’d overworked while corresponding with a professional voice actor and narrator who was amazed at my work rate, saying she normally took four to five months to narrate and edit a 350-word audiobook.:rolleyes:

Deciding to devote 2021 to promoting my work, I intended to add to my writing blog and websites devoted to my two fictional heroes, participate more on Twitter and my Facebook business page, as well as organise such things as interviews with local radio and newspapers and attending book festivals.

I didn’t know what I was doing, but that’s never stopped me before. All the same, I felt exhausted. Having the first two Covid-19 vaccinations made me even more tired, finding it hard to think straight and maintain enthusiasm for anything, including my books. With foggy thinking, a known side effect of the jab, I figured my malaise was temporary.

It wasn’t, my lassitude dragged on through the year. I dislike being idle, but I did no creative writing or self-promotion—some of which, admittedly, would have been impossible in lockdown. Was burnout from overworking on the audiobooks and being turned into a zombie by the AstraZeneca vaccination enough to explain things?

My libido was at an all-time low. Could I have low testosterone? Doctor Google showed that my symptoms matched those of low testosterone, so I arranged a doctor’s appointment, asking them to check my prostate health too with a PSA test.

I didn’t have a problem with peeing, though the pressure was low. Every man’s prostate gland swells with age, constricting the urethra which runs through it and slowing urine flow.

The results showed that my prostate gland and testosterone level were fine, but that my blood sugar was high in a pre-diabetic stage—known as Type 2 diabetes. The diagnosis kind of surprised me, though remembering my comfort eating during lockdown, I probably brought it on myself. Like many a writer, I spend too much time at the keyboard, not doing enough exercise.

I was prescribed two medicines, neither of which I’m entirely happy with, as they have multiple side effects. Metformin wards off type 2 diabetes. It also makes me fart a lot! And, it’s exterminated whatever sex drive I had. My doctors’ practice suggested tackling my cholesterol too, so gave me Atorvastatin pills. They supposedly prevent strokes and heart attacks but checking the instruction leaflet, I saw that they’re not meant to be taken by anyone who’s already had a stroke, as they could cause another one. I had a minor stroke 27 years ago. I’ll be asking for alternative pills.

I’d prefer to control blood sugar and cholesterol through diet and exercise, so, in the last month, have changed what I eat, eliminating anything sweet (apart from fruit, which I’ve reduced) and cutting back on processed carbohydrates, though keeping complex carbs. I'm doing more callisthenics.:flexed-biceps:

Glad to know what’s been making me feel like one of The Walking Dead, I’m confident I can turn things around. Already, I feel brighter and I’ve lost three kilos in weight. Things could have been a lot worse: I could have been facing a battle with prostate cancer.

I’m seeing the diabetes nurse on Thursday, for a foot test, which will be followed by a retinal eye test.

For those diagnosed with prostate cancer there have been recent reports about new treatments:

The breakthrough year for prostate cancer

New prostate cancer test procedure could 'greatly reduce' risk of infections

Two men’s experience of diabetes & prostate cancer:

PAUL FERRIS: The truth about prostate cancer every man must read

Tom Watson: How my father’s death almost brought my Type 2 diabetes back

Do any of you have experience of diabetes?

I’m thinking of buying a blood sugar tester. There’s a new generation of devices that don’t require pricking fingers to get a blood sample. Has anyone tried one?


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RG Worsey

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Thanks for sharing; it's brave of you.

Google PCRM Reversing Diabetes. There's some really interesting case studies of how a wholefood plant-based diet has worked wonders for some people and kept them off the drugs with the side effects that you mention. I know people who have had similar results. There's a lot of will-power involved, though, such as resisting things like cake and crumpets.

I was diagnosed with cancer a few months back, which was pretty intense, though it wasn't diet-related and after surgery I think I've made a full recovery. I can relate to the emotions it brings up, though. When I got a phone call from the Macmillan Nurses, it really brought home that I was "a patient" and knocked me sideways.
 

Emily

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Ah, Paul, I am sorry to hear you haven't been well :( I have been intermittent fasting for years, - it clears my brain I feel! - and have recently been interested in the process of fasting and autophagy which is a fascinating rabbit hole. This video is wonderful and sensible; I've watched it a few times, each time learning something new. He talks of everything you've mentioned, how the very simple natural process of fasting can reverse type 2 diabetes, increase libido, collagen, energy, literally recycling and cleaning your cells. Good health to you going forward! X
 

Paul Whybrow

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Thanks for sharing; it's brave of you.

Google PCRM Reversing Diabetes. There's some really interesting case studies of how a wholefood plant-based diet has worked wonders for some people and kept them off the drugs with the side effects that you mention. I know people who have had similar results. There's a lot of will-power involved, though, such as resisting things like cake and crumpets.

I was diagnosed with cancer a few months back, which was pretty intense, though it wasn't diet-related and after surgery I think I've made a full recovery. I can relate to the emotions it brings up, though. When I got a phone call from the Macmillan Nurses, it really brought home that I was "a patient" and knocked me sideways.
Thank you for sharing.
I'm fairly sensible about taking precautions with my health. I had an endoscopy and a colonoscopy in 2009, getting an all-clear. I did so because my father died at the age of 53, after ignoring symptoms of bowel cancer for 15 years, being too embarrassed to see a doctor to be examined 'down there'. He ate a lot of sugar—10 teaspoons in a cup of tea! I don't add sugar to anything. I no longer eat cakes, biscuits, rice pudding, ice cream, chocolate, sweets and desserts.
I'm a stubborn old mule, so will keep on track with my diet and exercises. I'm up to 100 press-ups daily.
 

Hannah F

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Beetroot is great for helping to reduce cholesterol levels (something to do with the way it promotes oxygen intake in the red blood cells.) Just remember you've eaten beetroot, though, when your pee comes out blood red.
 
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