Pascal Derrien

4 years ago · 5 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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The Little Things (Me, My Diabetes and Me)

The Little Things (Me, My Diabetes and Me)

It's Been a While

I like the number 7 for some reasons. Yet a concentrate of life challenges were sent my way precisely between the age of 7 and 17. 2017 started like any other year but it became soon apparent that it would be different for a number of reasons. Call it etiquette, discretion or caution but I would like to ask you to allow me not to disclose them all on social media. What I can say though is that I was relishing being released from a lengthy corporate contract and was looking forward to a self imposed sabbatical. When you have time on your hands you think, some say you may even think too much.

In one of those musing moments I thought that while I had witnessed tragedies, challenges and other heartaches near and around me, I had been personally spared. On some aspects life had been on auto pilot, I guess we all sense it when the road is way too flat to really test our driving skills. Although deep down I had this non broadcasted but tangible feeling that something was building up. It has been a while I thought to myself.

Just a Few Words

A before and an after, as black and white as thunder and lightning. This is how it felt when the experienced GP confirmed that the symptoms I was experiencing were indeed diabetes related. That particular word exchange took place a few months ago but I still remember vividly how just a few words turned my world upside down in a matter of seconds.

As I revisit that moment with you I cannot help but still fail to grasp the state of confusion and emotional turmoil I experienced that day. I was shocked but in a way not surprised (if that makes sense?), was my dad not a Diabetic himself?

I took it on the chin but I was a bit groggy. Multiple thoughts were going thru my mind at any moment in time, it felt like there was an on going battle between the wave of positives and negatives and my head was slowly overheating. The whole experience made me feel like a castle of glass and my take on the situation was changing every 30 seconds. Struggling with the facts, I became so shaky I could sense I was only a few inches away from a knock out.

At best I thought this ain't going to define me, this is just a hiccup. Millions of people live with this. There is even an all diabetic pro-cycling team. Maybe I can help and lead the way by setting up diabetic friendly runs or cycle spins? Maybe there is something good about this?

At worst I could only envision burden, hypoglycaemia disasters, life immobility and professional stigma. The sinister thoughts were also fuelled by flashbacks of my father threatening to give up on life so much the state of his illness was taking a heavy toll on his own sanity.

By the end of the day and despite all appearances I had broken down and was begging for superior forces to take it all away. Could somebody get that shit out of my body I would murmur to myself. In retrospect I felt overly powerless, almost like a disarticulated puppet riding silver clouds towards a doomed stage premiere. Managing this thing looked like an unachievable prospect, this was not helped by the first round of meds side effects. Less than one hour after I took them I became uncomfortably nauseous. I had enough and I just aspired to shut down and go to bed. How can I escape this nightmare I told myself? How is it going to be? This was only day one and I had already enough of this.

The morning after I had picked my self up, not only for me and my family but also out of respect for others, the true heroes dealing with far more consequent life changing events such as Cancer, MS, accidents and other life afflictions.

Damocles and his Little Sword

"The Sword of Damocles", an allusion to the imminent and ever-present peril faced by those in positions of power. This is really how I felt the first few weeks. Diabetes can be a burden especially if you are dependant on insulin, the thing is that it can strike at anytime, diabetics are four times likely to suffer from depression. You don't have to be obese or snack on sugar 24/7 to become diabetic. If you have a relative you have 15% chance to actually be one too and that's my case. I don't fit the usual suspect profile but my captors are on strike, ah well that's what you would expect from  French genes after all :-)

On that note I think I owe a public apology to my father. For years I thought his condition was the result of a past lifestyle, little I knew that I was completely wrong and little I understood what diabetes actually was. He is no longer around but apologies on a postcard are in order: sorry Dad I was an ignorant jerk....

Paranoia and the Sugar family

I had a bit of a head start on my diabetic journey insofar as sport was already a part of my routine .My diet did not need major adjustments either or involved giving up on alcohol since I did not drink. That's said I am forever indebted to my wife  the medically brained and scientifically trained member of our family :-) She is the very best thing that has ever happened to me and she has been instrumental in helping me to understand the do's and don'ts of a basic diet. In a way this made me truly realize the amount of crap some of us are feeding our bodies with.

Listen you can relax, I have not joined the food police but I had to adapt and learn to read more carefully ingredients and various components composing my daily meals. I had to give up on my favourite treats and balance as much as I could my food intake. Not knowing if insulin would be part of the menu I had to be constantly vigilant. To do that I reintroduced myself to some childhood habits such as eating tomatoes as if they were apples. The flipside of the learning process though had been giving up on my beloved chocolate and other French patisseries. Not a big sacrifice I would say, a very small price to pay to extend one's life journey.

The Little Things

Then little by little I built reflexes, I got used to scrutinise menus and started to feel more comfortable with the condition even though it was early days. Despite meds dosage being increased in response to an intermediate blood test I could see that I could still easily spend three or four hours on the bike or run my fastest 10K. One day in a non diabetic related encounter I bumped into a consultant at a local clinic who introduced himself as a fellow diabetic, he was thinner and younger than me, he had a big smile. He probably had no idea how pivotal that brief chat was for me.

Another day I discovered a French chocolatier not too far from where I live who mentioned he was making free sugar chocolate when I refused the first samples he kindly handed to me. No sweeteners but some extracts of strawberry or raspberry instead of sugar, obviously it can only be a treat every now and again but it's delicious and it tastes great with a coffee too :-)

Little Mermaid

Life went on until I had to attend a milestone check up with my general practitioner. I was very worried and apprehensive, I was dreading to go. This one would probably define the foreseeable course of action and this could well include insulin injection. I hate water but thought I would have rather been transformed into a little mermaid rather than attending that appointment that morning.

A few minutes before my name was called out I remember clearly telling to myself. This is one of those defining moments mate !. When the doc asked me how I was, I pathetically bragged about my recent sport achievements as if this last minute pep talk could influence his decision.

Numbers don't lie as they say. He put me at ease straight away, the results were good in fact they were excellent. He said I was doing exceptionally well and that he would lower the dosage for the time being. This was just a battle won not the war, it may progress by stages and when he mentioned that some school of thoughts would think I could probably manage with diet only, he also added with no sugar coating that I would probably have to take medication the remainder of my life. I nervously thought I'll take that man (pun intended ).

He ended up by saying that I had been too drastic with my diet and that I should reintroduce a few treats. I left the surgery and high fived the sky.... until the next time.



A few words about Diabetes since we are talking about it. It's a chronic condition. It affects the way the body metabolizes sugar (glucose),

•Type 1 DM results from the pancreas's failure to produce enough insulin. This form was previously referred to as "insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus" (IDDM) or "juvenile diabetes". The cause is unknown.[2]

•Type 2 DM begins with insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to respond to insulin properly.[2] As the disease progresses a lack of insulin may also develop.[9] This form was previously referred to as "non insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus" (NIDDM) or "adult-onset diabetes". The most common cause is excessive body weight and not enough exercise.[2]

I am the second. There is no cure to date.


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Puppet of the earth

Written Material 2017 Copyright - Pascal Derrien -

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Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #72

thanks for reading Paul indeed many bad things are going into our bodies and the paradox is that is that you don't have to be obese to fall into that trap :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #71

Indeed Ana Elisa Gomes Borges many thanks for reading :-)

Martin Wright

4 years ago #70

I hear you there brother.

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #69

thanks Martin Wright some days it is very easy and others...... just the smell of something I like kills me and I almost need to b e restrained :-)

Martin Wright

4 years ago #68

the need to change your diet is tbe hardest thing i have found, things you used to enjoy you can no longer have. Woth me its lactose intolerence and it is a bitch. But one finds a way through.

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #67

I have big feet and will sure be practising kick outs with the hope to increase my efficiency in that part of the game. :-) Indeed your comment is spot on :-)

🐝 Fatima G. Williams

4 years ago #66

You go kick these diabetics thingy right in the butt (winks) I'm super glad you're doing much better. Remember all of the love in store for you from the people around you and yourself. Everything will be worth the effort you put in on this☺☺☺☺☺

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #65

thanks Paul Waltersl that's a touching thought :-) :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #64

thanks I am not far from that routine except meat maybe and I will investigate your link I have already 5kg but have nothing left to lose :-)

Paul Walters

4 years ago #63

Pascal Derrien Tomorrow I return to Bali and once there I shall offer up 7 prayers for your continuing well being

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #62

ah cheers Paul \ :-) I actually don't have much to lose and if I lose more I am going to lose a bone. I am OK with the whole wheat brownies carbs family I actually need some as I do a lot of sport and I kind of like them, but I agree on the refined stuff its a constant battle., it must be such a relief to be off insulin !!!

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #61

many thanks Tricia for dropping by and very grateful for all the pointers had a similar discussion with a physio friend of mine recently 😀

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #60

Think beans and quinoa! The latter has as many amino acids as a serving of beef.

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #59

thanks Shelley Brown yeah I read it myself what a drama queen I can be sometimes 😀 The good thing about this is that I got lighter on the bike and faster on the runs 😀

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #58

reading this while eating a salad (sauce on the side) we are actually almost a vegetarian house hold almost ecxcept for fish chicken and prawns I will gladly PM you I still need proteine as I am doing more sport than the average punter but if Paul finds me a substitute 😀

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #57

No wonder you love her!

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #56

I think if you gradually weaned yourself off of meat, you would find the transition easier. Start by eliminating packaged food from your diet. That crap will kill you for sure. Then perhaps have a 2-3 vegetarian dinners per week, and then slowly take dairy out of your diet and then eliminate high fat animal protein and then take it all out completely. Learn to love Indian food and experiment with different grains. This could be fun if you are adventurous with food. How you frame it in your mind will make a big difference in the way you adjust. Vegetarian food takes only a few minutes to prepare, doesn't spoil as quickly and can be very satisfying to eat. I'm a good cook and can give you some of my recipes, if you like. Just message me if you want them. Paul \ could probably give you quite a few as well.

Immortality is dashed when one of these diseases takes residence in our lives. All sorts of thoughts swirled through my mind when I discovered I was ill. I can imagine what you went through. It gets better, and from your story, it is already moving in that direction.

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #54

thanks Ali for the words of encouragement, not huge pile of choice the way is forward and doubts will be part of the journey :-)

You are a man and a strong with your willingness to cope Pascal Derrien. You will

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #52

Thanks Lisa \ud83d\udc1d Gallagher I still need to find work around and other practical solutions but once the decision process leads you to make decisions it gets slightly easier to deal with it :-) many thanks for the share too :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #51

Georgina Young Many thanks doc your words are very powerful but I am just a regular guy like millions of others :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #50

ah CityVP \ud83d\udc1d Manjit there must be a touch of summer rain here in Ireland as my eyes are a bit wet when reading your comments :-) Got to be pragmatic and adjust maybe it is going to slow me down a bit but ain't going to stop me :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #49

Ah Franci\ud83d\udc1dEugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador these are strong words I am not sure I should accept them some people maybe more deserving but I agree like anything else that a bit of positivity does help not to be confused with denial which very often the case for middle age men in particular :-)

Lisa Gallagher

4 years ago #48

You are one strong man Pascal Derrien. I hope you give yourself the credit you deserve. Some people would allow diabetes to rule their lives, you chose to take control. You are the captain of your ship and I admire that in you. Which reminds me, I need to get my fitbit ON and start keeping myself accountable! Amazing how that little thingy reminds you to keep moving.

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #47

Most welcome :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #46

refining the diet is indeed the key :-) Cyndi wilkins A few months in I actually dont really crave for stuff and learn to like new tastes

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #45

this is indeed a possibility Ren\u00e9e \ud83d\udc1d Cormier kind of a holy grail but I would like to remain realistic about it too :-) The vegan diet crossed my mind I need to check that further.

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #44

Joyce \ud83d\udc1d Bowen Brand Ambassador @ beBee even thought I never met you, you were actually quite present in my mind when I wrote this Joyce. FIngers crossed on the blood sugars #

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #43

Gert Scholtz cheers man I know I can always rely on you for support :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #42

ah thanks Lisa Vanderburg for a few minutes I thought you were talking about somebody else :-). There is indeed a feeling of coming out. not living in the same country I only my mother last week :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #41

thanks Joanne Gardocki there is indeed a genetic element in this. Thank you for the hugs too :-)

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #40

#43 Always pleased to make someone laugh. BTW, that line is etched in my brain, being the reply my wife gave when I first suggested getting married.

CityVP Manjit

4 years ago #39

I wish I had read this post before I wrote my post just know about humility, because this is humbling. Even though it is clear you are adapting to this and you will define your life by who you are and have always been and not on the infliction, Type 2 Diabetes by its very nature is an awful infliction. If there is a way of eating differently to reverse this, I am sure you will find it but I take stock of your current assessment that it is more likely not reversible - or at least the type that is your affliction. Diabetes is not going to get the better of your creativity, your sporting prowess, your humour and zest for life but it sure sucks to be told that it is present. Sometimes not putting window dressing on things is an honest reality and then there is a life to get on with and you do good at that. That Pascal is the same Pascal we have got to know, respect and love.

You have a role model attitude toward diabetes, Pascal Derrien. A positive attitude is important in facing any disease. I am a borderline hypoglycemic and like Phil Friedman, I have to eat regularly. If I don't I get a spike in my sugar and get the jitters, then I become very tired and have no energy. My hypoglycemic condition has improved steadily over the last several years, which I attribute to watching my diet. Phil Friedman, you make me laugh too.

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #37

Phil Friedman, you make me laugh.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #36

Louise, at one time I had a personal flotation vest specially designed for Laser sailors. It had a couple of vinyl lined pockets to hold a power-bar or two and even a small water bottle. Bananas are good too when sailing -- although if you eat too many, you can raise your potassium levels too much and interfere with your heart rhythm. Gotta be careful if you're taking certain BP meds. Of course, I doubt you'd have enough bananas on an afternoon Laser race. Fair and steady winds!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #35

Renee, some years ago, someone suggested to me that I could cure my ills (and improve my personality) by becoming a virgin -- but it was too late. My apologies, Pascal Derrien, but the conversation was taking, to my mind, too dark an overtone. You have always struck me as a proactive personality, self-possessed and with clearer vision than most of us. So I am moved to say that I am confident you'll prevail handily in this situation, as you have in others. That is not to say or imply that the challenge is trivial, for it is not. But my instinct is that you are not looking for sympathy, but rather to encourage others to face their personal challenges with resolve. Hence, my injection of a bit of humor. Cheers, my friend.

Cyndi wilkins

4 years ago #34

Awe...and I just thought you were 'grumpy' Phil Friedman...You've gone and let the cat out of the bag! Now I have a whole new perspective on you;-) You know Pascal Derrien...It's funny how we do not seem to crave certain 'sweets'...until we find out we cannot have them...Diabetes or not, we can ALL do without refined sugar...Best of luck to you;-)

Renée 🐝 Cormier

4 years ago #33

Pascal, a few years ago, my mother who is now 88, reversed her diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol completely, by adopting a vegan diet.

Nice to hear of positive progress. I think any illness that causes life changes is a challenge. My numbers are slowly creeping up, and doctors do not seem to understand how I wish to avoid diabetes. You've put a face on this disease and made it less scary. Thank you.

Gert Scholtz

4 years ago #31

Pascal Derrien Very glad to hear that things are improving Pascal. An important post as there are many who themselves have encountered diabetes or have family with the condition. Uniquely written as you do and sharing this one - thanks.

Lisa Vanderburg

4 years ago #30

Oh well done Pascal Derrien!! On 'coming out' with your disease! It's a toughie - that fearful knowing of a condition that could well end up in catastrophe, yet you grabbed it by the horns...nothing quite a sobering as that little taste of mortality. I'm sure you have, but please forgive yourself whatever 'judgement' you perceived towards your father - I'm sure he understood all to well. Today, my man - you're the hero!

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #29

thanks @Julio Angel \ud83d\udc1dLopez Lopez No fortune Teller Knows if you don't tell them is a great summary :-)

Julio Angel 🐝Lopez Lopez

4 years ago #28

It is obvious that outwardly nothing changes friend. No fortune teller knows if you do not tell them. We are fortunate to be well surrounded. Those of the 7 we have excellent women;-)) Thank you for your writing Pascal Derrien

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #27

Okay, I am borderline hypoglycemic. I need to make sure I eat regularly or I get freakin' grumpy and tend to bite peoples' heads off. But if that's the worst thing I have to face in my life, I consider my self lucky. I think you are right to urge people to seek diagnosis if they are feeling something is wrong. Cheers!

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #26

thanks Don \ud83d\udc1d Kerr for the kind words for the shares on here and elsewhere:-) a great guy that Horace was he diabetic :-)

Louise Smith

4 years ago #25

I used to sail a Laser (My Club ) I raced every Saturday with about 30 boats. I was the only female. It took between 2 & 3 hours. I got exhausted so tried taking some food with me. Chocolate melted and was hard to unwrap, same with Muesli bars & they got soggy. So in the end I took a banana. The perfect energy food & very good banana's grow right here near Brisbane, Queensland. Also the skin could be composted in the Brisbane river unlike wrappers. Sometime later, one of the other sailors told me that to have a banana on a boat is very bad luck. ( I am not superstitious. Most of my "accidents" were learning experiences !

Louise Smith

4 years ago #24

" thanks @Louise Smith you always show up on important posts " I wonder why that is? There's Type 2 diabetes in my family too. When I was ill last year, I thought I had it but was lucky (?), I didn't and I was relieved.

don kerr

4 years ago #23

Another solid and insightful contribution from my Gallic/Irish friend Pascal Derrien.

don kerr

4 years ago #22

Pascal Derrien “Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.” — Horace Thanks for sharing your story Pascal.

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #21

thanks Louise Smith you always show up on important posts :-) great quotes :-) actually I can have some stuff on long runs or bike rides I just need to adjust and understand better with a nutritionist what the story is there :-)

Louise Smith

4 years ago #20

“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, sugar, and a monthly salary.” ― Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Louise Smith

4 years ago #19

“If there are no spots on a sugar cube then I’ve just put a dice in my tea.” ― Robert Rankin, The Antipope

Louise Smith

4 years ago #18

Pascal Derrien I still think "giving up on my beloved chocolate and other French patisseries is a big sacrifice " Maybe you can have treats occasionally? From the berry sugared chocolate? Sounds yum ! Sounds like a long journey in a short time. What's amazing is the support you received "by chance" from the consultant at a local clinic who introduced himself as a fellow diabetic. It always helps to talk to someone in the same boat ! That's why there are so many support groups.

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #17

too bad but sure I understand you don't want to break the internet :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #16

Diabetes sucks but cycling and running don't :-) an great runner I know told me once that the key thing in front of challenges is to find solutions... and treat yourself ( I made up the latter :-) ) thanks buddy Always good to see you here Aaron \ud83d\udc1d Skogen

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #15

Sorry Pascal, but I don't think you have the security clearance to see me in my Superman gitup... In reality, posting it may cause undue stress to those who are sensitive. While I still have a six-pack, my wife reminds me that I am keeping it well insulated these days.

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #14

thanks Vincent Andrew for taking the time to read and comment, I think it is probably the only time I will write about it because somewhat I had to... but I am not planning to dig on the subject any further :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #13

thanks Kevin Pashuk the good thing with diabetes is that you can lose weight and look sexier in a superman outfit it has some advantages :-) This is not stopping me I am adapting and adjusting. Thought I would ask if you have a pic of you wearing your Superman PJs :-)

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #12

It's always a defining moment when life flips us a reminder that we are not invincible, and untouchable by disease. I do truly appreciate how you have worked through this Pascal, and it certainly appears that you (thanks to your wife) will thrive in spite of diabetes. As for me, I am approaching a milestone birthday that sound like 'sexy', and I am watching many friends start acting old and succumbing to various ailments. While my Superman outfit of invincibility may be a bit frayed, I still plan on living a full life.

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #11

thanks Ian Weinberg part of the chilling process is to be open about it , I am good. I actually had two treats on the day related in the last paragraph :-) (shush) And fun is still on the menu :-)

Ian Weinberg

4 years ago #10

Thanks Pascal Derrien for reminding me how it feels on the other side of my desk. Actually the important milestone in an MD's career is the acknowledgement that we have the same organs as our patients!! And yes we're all destined to carry our collection of maladies - just requires some ongoing life adjustments: Chill, be reasonably appropriate and have fun (I would indulge in the 'treats' from time to time - what the hell!)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #9

cheers Puneet Srivastava good wishes much appreciated :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #8

That's makes laugh big time that one :-) Ken Boddie you need to TM that tag line :-)

Ken Boddie

4 years ago #7

You just can't sink a rubber duck, mate.

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #6

Cheers Chas \u270c\ufe0f Wyatt :-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #5

thanks Phil Friedman nice words. This is not about me per se but about all the diabetics out there in all their various scenarios and more especially for those who are but don't know it yet, go get checked !!!

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #4

Pascal Derrien speaks of his malady with his usual balance and insight and without over-dramatizing his personal travail(s). Definitely worth reading -- even for those of us who find most articles of self-revelation to be TMI.

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #3

Thanks Sara Jacobovici it means a lot coming from you :-) that one was a few months in the making but I did have the script for the last chapter until very recently :-)

Sara Jacobovici

4 years ago #2

Pascal Derrien writes, "The whole experience made me feel like a castle of glass..."

Sara Jacobovici

4 years ago #1

You, sir, are a power to be reckoned with! Thank you again Pascal Derrien for putting into words what is mostly beyond words. Your writing makes a difference. I wish you well in your current curve in your journey. I have no doubt, like the lyrics to the music you chose to pair off with your story say; when you drive yourself, your light is found.

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