When the battle is won but the war has only begun: Thailand 2016 part 4
Sweat is pouring down my face. I walk out of that ring victorious. Ate a hard shot to the ribs but I am fine. I see my opponent roaming around in the back of the stadium afterwards. He is limping. I am not. I was lucky. He was a big guy, probably thirty pounds heavier than me. Young too, at least half my age, but not skillful thankfully. People came to watch me fight. They are happy. I am happy. All is good with the world. All the pre-fight turmoil replaced by the adrenalin filled ecstasy of victory. Who would have known the battle was just about to begin.
The fight was on a Saturday. It was monday and I was at training by 7am. The head coach of the advanced section, Robert Thanewat looked at me and said "what you doing here?" I said I am here to train. He smiled and nodded. The first few days were fine.
One of the major problems that came about after the fight was money. i transferred a good chunk of funds to a different account so that I could access it in Thailand. And of course it disappears into internet limbo... Great. i won my fight! and now I am broke.
after contacting both my banking institutions I am tolled the matter will be resolved in around 2 weeks. I have a few thousand Baht left, mostly fight earnings. So I make a budget and move to a diet filled with Pad Thai. The cheapest thing I could get. It should help me last the two weeks. There's only one problem. I'm diabetic.
Now I may or may not have mentioned by now that I did not bring any Metformin with me (my diabetes medication) because it ran out just before I left and didn't have time to get my new prescription, but in the grander scheme of things it was actually a mute point anyway. Little did I know then but I was misdiagnosed anyway. It turns out I wasn't even a type 2 diabetic, but rather a late onset form of type 1. So either way, I was screwed. Why? Because Pad Thai is a carb rich, sugar providing food. And I was about to start slowly killing myself and medication that wasn't going to help me anyway was unknowingly irrelevant.
I had also like an idiot stopped monitoring my blood sugar levels. It was all very new to me this whole diabetes thing and I just didn't care. But at least now I can discuss with you from first hand experience what it means to be hyperglycemic.
I can tell you that after a week of eating nothing but carbs and sugars from Pad Thai and fruits, my sugars went from like 300 to a number my reader couldn't actually read. Yes, it literally went up high enough that my reader couldn't tell me. That means over 500 with the particular brand I have. What do these numbers mean? To an experienced person with Diabetes type 1, 300 is like "oh my god that is so scary". So above 500 is like "how the fuck are you still standing" levels.
How does it feel? Well, by the beginning of the second week of training after the fight, I was getting weighted legs. It's a really strange feeling. It feels like your legs weigh five hundred pounds each. Everything is a little slower, or in my case, too fast for me to process. The "drain" is real. Like being high kind of, but not pleasant. I still went to train, missed a couple of sessions though. I sparred but it was excruciatingly difficult. I was getting worse, not better. Getting beat up by guys that were mediocre. My pad work was slow and lacking energy. One of my trainers, kru Bunplaeng Dihae Immediately saw the change and gave me an inquisitive looked, but I think he chalked it up to being older and tired from over training. In fact a few people told me I was over training. But I new better. i knew my body, and I had the reader. I was hyperglycemic. I decided I just needed to get to that point where my money was found and I can go full on ketosis diet to lower my sugar levels. The money was an issue because just one cooked chicken breast was 80 baht, as much as two Pad Thais. I could make it I thought.
By the end of the second week I felt the heart. That was scary. I was training. Trudging through my runs. Dying on the pads (no pun intended) and getting my assed kicked in sparring. Then it happened. In the middle of training, my heart started to go. I can't describe it. It was beating fast, which was normal, I was training after all, but it wasn't under control. Something was wrong. I felt short of breath. I felt confused. I stopped. I walked off and told the trainers I wasn't feeling well and left. I went home that morning and rested. Took the day off. The next day I was right back in the gym because I am of course, before anything else, an asshole...
And that's when one of Tiger Muay Thai's top trainers, Kru Lamsongkram called me out to spar. Lam is big and tall and lean. I mean I am 5'11" and he has height over me so for a Thai you can imagine how tall he is. He helped George St. Pierre on more than one occasion when preparing for fights, and was one of the better known trainers in the island.
I said yes because, well it's an honor, but I just didn't have my senses. We started and even though his power side push kick (teep) came from a million miles away I just couldn't react. He would put his guard over mine and push a hand down and punch right over it and catch me. A trademark move of his I later learned. He caught me again with a knee using a variation of the same technique again and just knocked me back so hard I dropped. I looked up at him from the floor. I had nothing. No energy. No sense of time. No way to react. Nothing. So I looked at him and got up and put my hands up. He was going hard, that much I knew, and was concerned I did something to disrespect him and didn't notice it in my slightly off state. It didn't matter. My hands were up and I was ready for another beating. Then Robert walk by him and whispered something in his ear and he pulled back. We finished the round but he toned it down. I don't know what was said or what was going on. didn't really care either, but I needed to be careful. I was not in a good state for this kind of thing. Then again, who gives a fuck.
By the next week my money was recovered and I immediately switched my diet to chicken and low calorie vegetables. I didn't stop training. I accepted that I would be at twenty percent. By the end of the third week I was regaining my energy. I started to feel less like a zombie and more myself again. I was now entering my last week of training. I was through all this, believe it or not, trying to get another fight. I let my trainers know right after my previous fight that I was ready to fight again. But by my second week post fight it was obvious they were not going to find something for me before it was time for me to leave. I entered my final week of training.
Kru Tukkatatong Phetpayatai was a frequent pad holder of mine. I was lucky that I had some of the better trainers seek me out. Tuuk was great for developing defense as he was very tricky with his offensive pad work style. He would kick me from all kinds of weird angles while holding pads and I found it extremely difficult to see him coming. It was always a clinic with him on pads. Until our last time that is.
It was my last couple of days in the gym, and I was disappointed. even more after my last session with Tukk. I took the fight after thirty days of training but I had been out of commission for over two years because of a motorcycle accident. Between that and having to work, I really was a shadow of my former self. I did about a month of boxing training just to get back into shape, but of course the real grind was at the camp. So when i took the fight I still felt "asleep". I wasn't all there technically yet, but fuck it, I wanted to fight and I did thirty days of training and managed to pull a victory out of my ass. But when I did my last session on pads with Tukk, something happened. I saw everything. Every trick, every weird angled kick, every punch meant to expose a hole. I stopped everything and hit the pads with good power. I was so disappointed. Now I was really ready to fight.
Somehow, getting through the dark time with my blood sugar levels did something. Training with my brain on slow mode somehow made real time slower as I got better and in better health. I shot up level wise. Now, keep in mind my sugar levels are still in the 300's, but for me that's good. At least at that point in time. Man was I ready to fight, but it was time to go home. A good thing as I would have probably killed myself out there anyway (insert awkward smiley face).
I made it back to new york, sad that I didn't fight again, but in good spirits. My doctor strapped me to an I.V. to hydrate me and said I was going to die and should probably take it easy until we figure out the diabetes thing together. Eventually we realized I had a rare form of diabetes some refer to as late onset or LADA. It is typically misdiagnosed as type 2 because of the manifestation in the later periods, around forty years old or so, and knowing this allowed me to get on insulin, which has been a big help. I am alive, surviving crazy situations, and looking good doing it. As Jim Carrey as the Mask would say, "somebody stop me!"