Monday, December 30, 2013

Futility, the pros and cons of expressing defeat

One stage, quite consequential in dieting, is the inevitable feeling of futility. If one has a genetic 'psycho-physical' predisposition to be fat... And you know who you are... You will feel defeated, on the bathroom scale of self-awareness, each and every New Year's Eve.

In your mind's now tearing eyes, you will walk through a dozen cycles of enthusiastic new beginnings... the Paleo Diet, Raw-Vegan, Low Carb, High Carb... Eating as a Pleasure, Eating as a Sin, Fasting for Penance, Fasting as a New-Age feel-good remedy... spilling out in a tangled web of impressions... swimming, cycling, walking, a whirlpool of sacrificial moments on the quest for less.

And then that inevitable sinking confirmation of defeat.  I have been this high before, fought myself down to a new exhilarating low, and then reluctantly watched the 'all too easy' weight gain back up the rudy scale. The bear climbed over the mountain. The bear climbed over the mountain, and what do you think he saw? He saw another mountain. He saw another damn mountain.

You can just climb so many mountains before tedium turns into disgust. So you feel the feeling. Futility pours its wicked scent from your skin, vaporizes in a foggy steam of discontent, and you resolve yourself to do better next year.

You don't know how, but you pledge anyhow... to try again. You had let go of perseverance, to fall back into gleeful decadence, and so now drenched in self-contempt, you take a shower under the purifying waters of again letting go.

Let go of hopelessness. Who needs hope anyhow?  Let go of all expectations. Feel the freedom to be without goals, and settle on being settled on being who you are. Post-futility, past defeat, uncomfortably aware that you are a fuck-up when it comes to maintaining your weight. Yet... comfortably aware that the opposite of over-weight is no weight at all.

In the celestial cesspool of after death probabilities, in which death is steeped in post-mortal weightlessness... angels and devils have no weight issues, and recycled Buddhists and Hindu are inevitably thin... Body weight is an issue only for the living.

Alive we are emphatically engaged in eating. And what we eat determines, in a greater or lesser extent, how long we get to live. So, like it or not, to live is to be on a diet. To eat well is to live a bit longer. Feel futile, if that's being honest.

Then go have a salad.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Living in Paradise with Parkinson's

When you get diagnosed with Parkinson's it isn't a complete surprise. Chances are you have been living with unexplained symptoms for a very long time. Most likely there were many dismissive friends, doctors, and family members who took your complaining as just signs of getting old, an inability to keep up, or just more bitching. Nobody likes a complainer, so you live with your body, until the signs are so damn apparent it becomes a chronic condition with a name.

Being diagnosed doesn't change much. You still have the same damn aches, pains, and twitches, only now you have a convenient name for it. Doctors are still dismissive, because they can't really do all that much, and they get tired of saying that each time you are forced to see them to renew your medication. Friends and family continuously express concern, but there just isn't anything much they can say or do. Nobody but you can be proactive, and only you who knows how very little can be done.

I have a brutal stiff neck, like I always had when I slept wrong, had too much happening at work, etc. except now it won't go away. True too for the back pains, and innumerable other physical discomforts. Parkinson's means you live with it all. An endless loop of adjustment. You live with it, because you want to live, and the fact is you have no other viable choices. 

Parkinson's is a possessive proper noun, which owns your ass, and there ain't much more to it.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Eating for Parkinson's

Despite living in Japan, I have been blessed with a qualified young doctor willing to carefully answer my questions and explain my options in English. I am new to this world called Parkinson's Syndrome and there is a great deal to learn.

The doctor's advice was 'to lose weight', and find an appropriate medicinal mix of L-DOPA + dopa agonist.  Japanese doctors are always amazed at my size and remind me with gleeful consistency to be less. And so, here I am again with a sense of impossibility, being less than me.

Hohen and Yahr Stage 2 is my official status. In Japan, stage 3 thru 5 moves you into handicap status, a statistical advantage I'd sooner delay. This doctor estimates two to three years of negotiating symptoms, for near normalcy. A bit less than the three to five years I had first heard at the initial assessment... perhaps with two years lost to improper diagnosis. No matter, there is only one option. Dealing with whatever happens, whenever it happens. 

Despite discomfort and a general lack of enthusiasm, I am officially on a diet, a kind of religious calling, to a die-in-the-wool atheist. In my twenties, a diet meant simply having no job or the natural result when recouping from a broken heart... Later I experimented with fasting and 'diet pills'. The ill-tempered emotional state from this foolishness guaranteed more the loss of friends than weight. Life was emotional and in motion, weight gain a sign of solvency.

Hard core walking in my thirties became a better solution. As a performance artist, in line with Richard Long, I joyfully tracked every street and avenue on the isle of Manhattan. And later in a flight of fancy, as a Buddhist pilgrim, I walked the arduous eighty-eight temples of Shikoku Japan. Manhattan provided a wondrous parade of characters, an on-foot living fantasy. Japan lifted me to new heights of experiential clarity, with muscle tone to match. When you are happy, challenging your physical perimeters, life and body fall together. Manifesting a masculine integrity so beautiful to be.

In my forties I made a family. In an endless task of busy-ness, life and body become entangled. Working hard becomes less physical perfection, more an acidic mix of anxiety and responsibility. Becoming a widowed dad of two young power houses, my fifties had me radicalising my diet in a desperate search for food as sacrament, a solution to the emptiness of soul. I dabbled deeply into raw food veganism, workshopping and wheat juice fasting with my children at the Ann Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico.

There was also success, then bounce back, with Atkins, and then success again, when Paleo allowed me my meat lust madness again. And now in my sixties I am an unbeliever, too jaded with verifiable inconsistencies, depleting the wisdom of both my meat eating no-carb brothers and high strung animal lover veg-kins. I eat these days on inspiration, an uninspiring hodgepodge of guilt ridden delicacies. 

While I'd love again the pure simple environment of a health food community, I am sure it would be more likely 'libido' opportunism than any honest appraisal. When I walk, even for only blocks, or simply stand to do the dishes, pain envelopes my being. And being in pain brings me down, undermining whatever will I had to diet. 

It is true, I'd love to be a believer. But believe in what? In need of a simply sense of what is best, a food faith for these sacred few remaining tears... a diet with teeth and heart. Man again in both body and spirit, wilful assuredness in what I do and how I do it. That would be sweet!

StageHoehn and Yahr ScaleModified Hoehn and Yahr Scale
1Unilateral involvement only usually with minimal or no functional disabilityUnilateral involvement only
1.5-Unilateral and axial involvement
2Bilateral or midline involvement without impairment of balanceBilateral involvement without impairment of balance
2.5-Mild bilateral disease with recovery on pull test
3Bilateral disease: mild to moderate disability with impaired postural reflexes; physically independentMild to moderate bilateral disease; some postural instability; physically independent
4Severely disabling disease; still able to walk or stand unassistedSevere disability; still able to walk or stand unassisted
5Confinement to bed or wheelchair unless aidedWheelchair bound or bedridden unless aided

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Boracay Bylines with Bo and D

Past sixty has been a bizarre entanglement, with an array of physical symptoms and serious self esteem issues. Basically my left arm has gone beyond "GoJuGata" (over 50 bum shoulder) and evolved into a bitter mix of muscle degradation, uncontrollable twitching, an arthritic clenching, tightened together in a general numbness. I have a left leg twitch for polar consistency, and back pain that prevents standing or walking in comfort. Down the tubes, at a remarkable rate, which makes even typing this awkward.

Yet I have my home, three great kids, and enough passionate love and friendship to fill all the bamboo bungalow here on Boracay. I am blessed, yet pursued by unfulfilled expectations. Remarkable how many bucket list resolution accompany a man into his sixties. Not the bungee jumping variety, but grand delusions of manly successes, great prestigious aspirations as impractical as they are unattainable.

Not that I haven't the time and resources to carve a small kingdom of prestige and an appreciative inkling of ego gratification, I just lack the fundamental belief, the necessary spark, a feeling of relevance. I imagine this wall of dull inefficiency is fairly common for my generation. There may even be books about this in my roof to floor library, or something I could listen to on audible. If my eyes were better I could take digital books on the subject to read here on the beach, or simply write one myself.

Lazy latitudes, fruit shakes on the shore of white sand perfection. I was told I would end up here, in a self fulfilling potpourri of half-happy pleasures... a leaky boat of unresolved emotions rocking close to shore. A rum and coke would work if it weren't for the hangover, so instead, I write to you, knowing you would understand.