This is the view from the top of the Cable Car on Mount Storsteinen (421m/1381ft) near Tromsø, Norway. The island in the centre of the picture is Tromsøya which is where Tromsø is situated. At almost 70° north, Tromsø is 217 miles north of the Arctic Circle and the biggest European city in the extreme north.
I have been fascinated by Scandinavia and the extreme north for some time, but until now I had only visited Oslo (Norway), Stockholm and Arvika (Sweden). The opportunity came where I had some time between jobs and the flight prices were reasonable enough to consider it. It is a very very beautiful place and it fulfils my quest of being cold – It has not been above 10°C (50°F) the whole time I have been here, the average summer temperature is not much higher.
I suppose I should be proud of myself recently, for despite some issues, I managed to finish a contract job and hand over to someone who is taking the job on permanently. However, recently I have had a lot of pain my back and so I go to my GP to ask for help – is almost immediate reaction is “you are overweight”. Cheers for that, I couldn’t have seen it myself! 42% of men in the UK are overweight (BMI >25 <30) and 24% are obese (BMI >30 <40).
If this is the truth, then I have no idea how I am going to tackle this, I have enough on my plate to worry about as it is, without feeling anxious about every crumb that passes my lips. Yes the pain might be relieved if I lose weight and maybe I will have better diabetes control if I lose weight, but I do not consider myself to have a problem in the general scheme of things. My BMI is 29.7.
It is very easy for anyone sitting there to say “you can do this” and “don’t give up”, but they don’t understand what that is like for me. Being different is hard, end of story. You then add in having a disease that you have to treat multiple times per day which if you did not treat could leave you blind or seriously disabled then basically you are screwed. When I first realised I had diabetes, it wasn’t such a huge deal and I could cope with it fairly well. But back then, I needed far less insulin to reduce my sugar levels to what they should be. You should not confuse this as being a weight issue like Type 2 diabetes – the longer you have Type 1, the more likely it is you will more insulin, there is often a so-called “honeymoon period” when someone is first diagnosed, this may last from a few months to a few years. Also you must remember that the cause of my diabetes was damage to my pancreas by pancreatitis, the longer this has gone on, the more damage that has been done. I would be surprised if I had any beta cells now, these are the cells in the pancreas that make insulin.
Every day I become more depressed about life in the UK – whether it be from the way the poor and disabled are being treated by the government, the rise of UKIP and right-wing views, destruction of the NHS and the welfare state or the increase in hate crimes against people who dare to be different. I want to leave these islands and find somewhere that is better, but as fast as I am trying to do that – I hear that perhaps it’s not all as rosy as I thought it was elsewhere. It seems the march of the far right in Europe has stepped up a pace recently and I fear we may not be far from similar events to those of 75 years ago when WW2 started.
The reality is this: if my GP does think that there is nothing other to my back pain than weight, then it will be very hard to get a referral to a specialist who might have further insight or be able to use better imaging techniques to work out what is going on. A plain x-ray has been done but I will not know the result until next week. Also I think from a money-saving point of view (which the NHS has been trying to do for many years) then blaming and shaming the patient is a very easy way for them to save money. I pay taxes and in return I expect to have free healthcare, a welfare state to support people in times of need and to be treated equally and fairly by my government. THIS IS NOT HAPPENING.
I do not know what to do anymore, except that I will probably continue treading the boards until something strikes me down and takes me out. Please let it be soon.