A nice milestone hit for me at the end of March; I finished the month weight under 370, the first time I’ve been this low since sometime in 2005, and which puts me a full 45 pounds below my high weight. I’ve lost 15 pounds in 2017, which matches my weight loss for all of 2016, and I’m ahead of schedule on my plan to lose 50 this year.

All of those numbers make me feel good. So did cleaning out the closet and drawers and bagging up a lot of stuff for donation, because most of the clothes I wear no longer fit. Where I was wearing mostly 5XL pants, I’m now easily into 3XL sizes and the old stuff simply wouldn’t stay up without enthusiastic use of the belt and a couple of prayers. All the old stuff is going away, which if you think about it, is a commitment to myself that I’ll never go back there — even as I buy replacements in the new, smaller sizes.

All of which makes me happy, even though buying clothes isn’t high on my list go life goals. And knowing that if this continues, I’ll likely have to do something similar again within the next year. At least, I hope so. It looks like I’ve taken about four inches off the waist, and I can feel the difference.

45 pounds. That seems like a lot. It is a lot, but it’s hard for many people to visualize what this means, so consider this: a two liter bottle of soda weighs right around five pounds, so every time you put on five pounds, imagine yourself strapping one of those bottles onto your body somewhere and walking about with it all day.

And 45 pounds is nine of those bottles that are no longer strapped to mine. And that’s about 25% of the weight I want to lose. it sometimes seems like an unending battle with little progress, so it’s nice to hit a milestone like this.

Having said that, though, the last few weeks have had their challenges. I ended up in the Emergency Room again, having ended up dehydrated. My doctor keeps telling me any time you can walk out of ER needing only a bag or two of saline it’s a good thing, but I’d rather not use up a bed there if I can help it. Out of that, though, I think we’ve finally found the root cause of this gremlin we’ve been chasing. The ER doctor suggested my sugars were too high for my kidneys and so they were thrashing trying to keep up with everything, and he suggested we get more aggressive at getting them down, and suggested we consider shifting my treatment to insulin.

After discussing this with my doctor, we decided it made sense to try, so we changed my meds again and I’ve been adapting to using insulin and dialing in the appropriate dose for the last couple of weeks. It takes some time to dial in the dosage, because if you overshoot you can go hypoglycemic and that’s also bad, but what the insulin’s done is really bring down the peak highs, and my overall daily average is down about 35 points from before the last ER visit.

Subjectively I feel massively better, and my activity levels are way up; I hit 5000 steps for the first time in over a year, which is close to double what I’ve been averaging the last four months or so — and I didn’t even realize it until the nanny watch told me. That’s not because I started exercising, per se, but because I’d start working on things, and I simply didn’t get tired as fast, so I didn’t need to sit down.

This dehydration gremlin started last October after we started changing up some of the medications because they were keeping me from losing weight, and we ran into an unexpected bad reaction when we tried what should have been a fairly standard combo — which spiked my blood sugars, which triggered the dehydration. And even though we stopped that drug right away, the sugars simply never came back down, and we’ve been chasing how to get them under better control ever since. Ultimately, it looks like what worked was going to the tried and true old-school drug, insulin, at least for now. Our current thought is to get completely stable and at a good sugar count and in a month consider starting up the Victoza again and using the insulin to supplement it if still need it.

Some might wonder why we started changing out the drug regimen when things were working and stable, but the answer is simple: almost 35 pounds lost since we started, and an average weight loss of almost 5 pounds a month. That’s why, and I don’t regret it a bit, especially now that I think we’re almost back to stability again. Boy, I hope so.

The joy of debugging analog systems like the human body…

Occam’s Fireaxe

As I write this, I’m getting the next episode of Occam’s Fireaxe ready for publication, and it should be out in the next few days. This new episode covers a couple of interesting books including John Scalzi’s new Collapsing Empire, which I really enjoyed, and Leviathan Wakes, which is the first volume of the Expanse series, which is also now a TV show on SYFY. I really enjoyed both books and recommend them to you, and you’ll be able to hear why once I get the podcast published.

Missing Yosemite

The downside of the insulin shift was that the timing made it impossible for my to get to Cocoaconf in Yosemite this year, so I had to cancel out at the last minute. My apologies to those of you I’d talked about getting together with during the conference. I probably could have done it, but if you think about it, guessing wrong could well have led to a helicopter ride out to Fresno, and that just wasn’t a risk I wanted to take or impose on anyone else. I do feel that if the conference was today, I’d be comfortable going, but there have been a couple of minor bumps along the road as I acclimate to this new regimen.

This is, unfortunately, two straight Cocoaconf’s I’ve had to pull out of while we’ve tried to sort out this dehydration problem, but I now think we’ve finally nailed it and I’m starting to think about a trip to replace the one I didn’t take for the conference. Maybe I’ll try to time it for the flowering of the Dogwood in Yosemite for a few days. I was also thinking about maybe a trip into Carrizo Plain but I really want another week to fully get things settled and the numbers in the final range before doing more than an overnighter, and by then, I think I’ll miss the best of the wildflower bloom down south.

So I do think I’ll do something, 2-3 days maybe, maybe yosemite, maybe elsewhere. If nothing else, a nice test of my travel habits to make sure they’re compatible with the current drug setup and that I can eat out more and still manage the diet to this. All of which I know is going to be okay, but it never hurts to do a test flight…

I am no longer a Canon photographer

After starting my move to the Fuji Mirrorless platform back in 2014, I’ve now sold the last of my Canon gear, and I’m now 100% shooting Fuji. My 7DmkII and my big bertha 150-600 lens didn’t even get pulled out for last winter’s refuge trips and I didn’t miss leaving them behind, so it’s pretty clear I’ve moved on and I’m really happy with my gear set. I’ve just updated my Camera Bag page to match what I currently carry, so you can see how my get set is currently set up.

And the funny thing is, when I got the check for the gear after selling it, I sat down and asked myself what camera gear I should buy with the funds, and I realized I was good where I was. I did end up buying another one of my current favorite travel tripods, but that’s for my birding spotting scope, although I’ll use it as a spare when I need it for time lapses or video. I’m also starting to experiment with capturing audio as I experiment with capturing video, and we’ll see how that goes down the road.

But the end result of this is I’ve finished my process of shifting from Canon as a camera platform to Fuji, I’m really happy there, especially given that my big birding rig is now 3.5 pounds and not 8. And while the things I talked about at the top of this has reduced my shooting time a lot, that, too, is changing for the better, and when I have gotten out, I’ve been happy with the results.

And seriously, how often do you hear a camera person look at a catalog and think “hey, I’m good”.

And at that…

And to close this out… One of the things I’ve been working on in the background is no, not the app (which I need to get back to, but which requires concentration that I’ve struggled with when I’ve felt off) but a redesign of the web site. Yes, the time honored tradition of tearing things apart and rebuilding them to avoid other work you probably ought to be doing.

But in my case, even though I redesigned the site about a year ago, I’ve found my goals for it are changing again, in ways I can’t easily fix with a tweak. For one thing, I really need to create some visibility for the podcast. For another, I’ve been thinking seriously about trying to sell prints again, and the current setup isn’t conducive to that, either. my current plan is to probably set up an Etsy shop for them and tie that into a site that better promotes them. My plans for this are still in progress, but it is clear I can’t wedge this stuff into the current design, and even if I don’t move forward with the prints, the podcast is a design problem that’s driving me crazy and won’t let me ignore it until I fix it. Now, how much work will that be?

Oh, stay tuned…

And hey, it’s spring. We survived another winter! And I hear the Yosemite waterfalls are amazing this year (and I’m annoyed to have missed them at Cocoaconf). So, soon, hopefully. And hopefully, I’ll get back to writing here more reliably. To be honest, I’ve had too many days where I simply didn’t feel up to writing, and when I tried, I hated the results. It’s been an interesting few months, but hopefully, they’re now behind me.