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27/06/2016 10:28

Finish Strong Even in the Middle

Is everyday a big day?  Perhaps it depends upon what we define “big” as.  My perception of a big day changes based on how my health is cooperating.  When I feel especially well I nearly always fall prey to the over the top list of things that I am positive I am going to accomplish that day.  I swear that when I feel well I get an exponentially high amount of stuff done & that feels pretty great.  There seems to be a mechanism within me that also believes on some level that I can make up for lost time…you know lost time after recovering from whatever health issue has slowed me down prior to the feeling on top of the world day.  This usually results in the hamster on the wheel syndrome of overdoing things & then slowing down a couple of days later.  Yesterday I woke up & felt like the energizer bunny on steroids.  “Great” I thought to myself out loud with a bit of a “go me” kind of attitude.  I believe in celebrating wins in life big, medium & small.  I told myself that I did not even need to pour my usual quota of caffeine down my throat to get out the door yesterday morning.  Instead I just had my really gross drink that I start out with every morning & headed out the door to my big day.  As an aside the gross drink is a mixture of half a squeezed lemon with 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar in hot water.  It was a drink that was recommended to me a couple of years ago & I just kind of chug it down & then look forward usually to having a cup of strong black coffee as a reward afterwards.  I know the person that recommended the lemon drink would not approve of my cancellation policy of drinking coffee right after the healthy drink.  That is how rascals deal with the gross drink though.  I figure I have balanced things out though because I am not giving up coffee…ever.  The more birthdays I celebrate, the more I celebrate the marvel of coffee & the stronger I like my coffee.  Okay, back to yesterday.  Powered by rascal will alone I decided that before breakfast I would get several things done.  There should be ominous music playing in my brain when I tell myself to delay breakfast.  I have a 100% track record of going into low blood sugar if I delay my breakfast for more than 90 minutes (unless I have switched onto a different basal rate, etc).  That takes planning though & sometimes I just plain like to be spontaneous.  Yesterday was one of those type of mornings.  At 7:45am I was off to the farmer’s market for the first time this season with the excitement of a kid in a candy store.  Fresh veggies & fruit from Ontario are absolutely a treat & strawberries are in season & they are indescribably delicious during this 2 week window of time.  In the coming weeks I will be like a coyote with a taste for chicken awaiting fresh carrots.  My nickname is “bunny rabbit” & humorously I guess I earned that name by my over the top energy levels most days & my unwavering love of carrots.  It was lovely choosing the fresh veggies & fruit & speaking directly to the farmer that grew the food.  He noticed my British flag change purse & asked me if I was from the UK as he was originally from there.  “No”, I replied, “but my gran was.”  The next thing I knew the gentleman was describing his journey across the pond to Canada several decades ago & I happily shared my Gran’s story of making her way to Canada as a war bride.  The grocery store was next because yikes I am a mom to 3 growing boys & man can they eat!  At 8:55am I finished up that shopping & was in the process of checking out the groceries.  I handed the check out gal some cash & told her I would pay $30 cash & the balance would be interact.  She looked at me like I was not the sharpest knife in the drawer.  I realized that look was because I had handed her $60.  I jokingly (although it was the truth anyway) said that I am not too bright before I have had my morning coffee.  In what was left of my logical brain at the time I knew without a doubt that I was in low blood sugar.  I am sure my IQ drops to an almost indictable level temporarily the lower my blood sugar goes.  “Well, this is going to slow me down” I thought to myself for the countless time.  Because I am human I realized that I was out of fast acting sugars in my purse which is a mistake I try to avoid obviously for safety reasons.  “Rats” I thought & frankly said out loud.  Seeing the glass as a pretty full situation I thought to myself that this was the perfect excuse to have breakfast & get my IQ back up again before returning safely home.  It was a sign (ha ha) that there was a Starbucks right next to the grocery store so I headed in there.  It was a deviation from my regular healthy breakfast but it was delicious & got my blood sugars up in record time…Starbucks for medicinal purposes then.  I added a double espresso & felt like I could take on the world again.  As a sidebar, I have had the same Starbucks gift card for about 6 years & I just reload it.  My mom gave it to me & it is has what I think is the coolest picture on it.  It is of Sir Paul McCartney & I have had a ton of compliments on it when I use it.  I always say one of two things:  “He always stays cool” or “Sir Paul is treating today.”  I am glad that I had the good sense to keep this card because it never fails to make me smile when I bring it out for a coffee treat. 

Somewhere along the way my afternoon got derailed yesterday.  The list continued with some extra things to do including washing my “Arctic Hare” aka my new white vehicle…white because well…oops.  I can see it will be a labour of love keeping it white however it is good exercise washing it & it will hopefully teach our sons about taking care of things.  Dinner was all planned out & I had even told my husband what that was going to be.  Oops.  Intending to do things but not accomplishing them is just a part of life.  I realized that I did not have any of the standard things needed to actually wash a vehicle because well I did not bother to wash our previous 17 year old dogmobile.  I figured it would not take long to find the stuff for washing the vehicle though.  Have you been to Home Depot?  That is a rhetorical question.  I had a headache after attempting for 45 minutes to find the stuff & then like a rascal was hit with the fact that I had run out of time & had to pick up one of our sons so I abandoned that store & that mission.  Our youngest son was happy about that not working out since he loves to be involved in anything that includes exercise or the outdoors.  We decided we would head over to Canadian Tire together & quickly pick up the washing stuff & then get the job done & dinner ready & then be off to his baseball game.  Everything takes longer it seems then estimated right?  Once we found the huge isle for car washing we had to study the zillion different things to decide what we actually needed.  Alex, our youngest son is a yoda of a fellow with maturity & a quiet sense of humor.  “Don’t get distracted by shiny stuff Mom” he said knowing that we only needed some basic stuff but that I could easily get carried away.  A kind elderly gentleman approached Alex & I in the isle & asked if we needed any help.  Naturally I thought he worked there but it turned out that he was just a nice person that noticed that I might be outside my area of expertise.  He & Alex quickly agreed that many things in the isle were a “rip off” & not needed.  He recommended a shampoo & a few other things & then was on his way.  We had a super nice gal at the check out that we had a nice chat with as well.  As a funny aside, although Alex insisted that several of the cleaning things were completely unnecessary he did convince me that a Toronto Blue Jays car flag would serve a multitude of purposes so it made its way into the cart.  The Blue Jays rock!  On the way home I got the reality check via the clock that not only did we no longer have time to wash the car but I did not even have time to make dinner before heading out to Alex’s baseball game.  Oops.  Although we had gone into Canadian Tire for car washing stuff we had spent an equal amount of time in the sports section courtesy of Alex.  We quickly grabbed a couple of pizzas for dinner for all the boys. 

My son Alex is on a baseball team that has struggled up until last night.  Wow wee though last night it all came together for them as a team defensively & offensively.  There were even 3 home runs for the first time.  The boys were floating on air by the end of the game & you could not have measured their huge smiles.  Two additional sweet surprises happened during the game as well.  I arrived in my haphazard way without a soccer chair but one of the other parents had brought & set up an extra chair & immediately offered it to me.  It is the little things…it was even in the shade…sweet!  Unexpectedly minutes later my husband showed up with a nice cup of tea for me…sweet again. 

Diabetes can provide oodles of road bumps during our days.  Can we smooth out the bumps?  Sometimes we begin the day strong, hit a bump or many.  We are indescribably tenacious while living with type 1.  We have to be.  What is the alternative anyway?  We can start strong, or get strong in the middle of the day or finish strong at the end of the day or a myriad of permutations & combinations. 

My heart’s hope for you is that you give yourself a fist bump frequently & celebrate your strong beginnings, middles & ends.  Enjoy all the wins big & small.  Exercise your ear to ear grin just like those 12 grass stained jubilant boys last night on Alex’s baseball team!

Smiles, Saundie :)

Have a sweet week & as always be gentle with yourself!  Next Monday’s story is somewhere in the creative spider webbed ether of my mind.


13/06/2016 11:22

Random Weirdness & Welcome Surprises

Is weird good or bad?  Maybe it depends don’t you think?  I try not to be a black & white thinker & it is not difficult at least for me because my brain often has a circus going on inside of it.  A lot of us gals may agree that we are proficient multi taskers.  Layer on being a Mom and having type 1 diabetes & the escalation for muli tasking skyrockets I have experienced.  In our home there is Mom & Not Mom.  We fill a lot of roles as parents that’s a certainty.  And if we live with type 1 then we may feel like a type of parent to a frequently melting down , spazzed out, tantrum filled toddler of roller coastering blood sugars.  You cannot take a break though from type 1.  A vacation or even an afternoon off would be delightful from type 1 don’t you think?  That is not our reality though…far from it.

A random weirdness that I tried to neutralize in terms of stressing out about occurred this past week.  You know the deal about once there is 1 autoimmune disease we are statistically much more likely to go on to have additional autoimmune diseases?  There are lots of outliers & of course everyone has a very specific tendency towards the level of health they are experiencing & most importantly I am not a medical professional as a reminder.  I am repeating what I have read & been told by my healthcare team who are phenomenal.  (Hats off to them all for having the patience to deal with rascal me).  In my case I have 4 autoimmune diseases & I manage the hell out of type 1 diabetes. (and the rest of them)  Diseases are not fair though.  I try not to fixate on the fairness of anything.  I am a fortunate rascal to have the life I have so I choose to be grateful for the weirdness & surprises of day to day life.  This comes with some swearing at type 1 & its nonsense. I loathe the land of denial.   I remain upbeat (for the most part) & a realistic rascal who guzzles way too much espresso (never going to stop) who faces adversity head on.  My weird yet welcome surprise day started out like any other weekday.  I put on the school bus catching (no correction, bus chasing literally) music for our middle son as the timer counted down in the kitchen to the time we would need to leave the house to catch his bus without being late.  June has been especially challenging for our sloth like in the morning son as I think he has run out of gas so to speak for the school year so he is getting even more sloth like in his speed each morning.  Hyper me has tried various creative approaches to trying to remedy the sloth speed however to no avail.  As a humorous aside the bus catching or chasing music that I play each morning for our sloth like son is “Rush Hour” from the movie “Planes, Trains & Automobiles.”  It is the instrumental piece from the scene in which Steve Martin is trying to hail a cab because he is running late & Kevin Bacon steals his cab & Steve Martin flips out.  That is my favourite movie of all time.  I laugh my face off each & every time I watch it.  It was a rare, smooth start to the morning on the day I am about to share with you.   At 7:54am it was bus catching time & we arrived with a whole bountiful 4 minutes to spare.  Our youngest son was off to school at 8am & I then had a full hour before I needed to be across the other side of town to make my appointment with one of my specialists.  I became overconfident about the amount of time I had to get to the appointment which is usually only a wee 15 minute drive.  I believed that I had a plethora of time & some to spare.  I didn’t & did it turns out.  It was Camp Day at Tim Horton’s that day.  Doing a small part to help send a child to camp is a cause near & dear to my heart.  It is a win win too since my coffee addiction is no secret so once both our younger sons were safely off to school I headed for the nearest “Timmy’s.”  (a 1 km drive)  You know the saying, “so close yet so far away?”  That could have been the perfect description to what happened next.  The Tim’s was within sight & all I needed to do was make a quick left at the lights.  Once I got to the traffic lights though there were police officers holding flares all over the place blocking off traffic (as well as even pedestrians).  We were all diverted right & naturally the result became an instant bottle neck of traffic congestion when you layer on the morning rush hour traffic.  We went along at a snail’s pace & because I am beyond stubborn I went ahead & got to the next Timmy’s 3 kms away but it took a half hour to get there.  2 coffee cups in hand (one for my husband who I had planned to pick up from home to come with me to my specialist appointment & one for me.)  To make a long story short by the time I left the Tim’s parking lot the traffic jam had gone from bad to worse.  I ended up needing to call my husband & have him meet me at the specialist’s office.  Although this specialist tends to run at least 45 minutes behind I could not count on it with my appointment being the first timeslot of the morning upon their office opening.  I felt quite disheveled literally running from the office parking lot to my appointment once I arrived at the specialist’s office with 2 minutes to spare.  Then I proceeded to do something that you will be very familiar with & that was to wait 50 minutes anyway.  If only there were a way to be alerted ahead of time wouldn’t that be a dream?  I initially felt grumpy about the wait time yet then restored my better attitude.  I reminded myself that other patients may be there for emergencies so I decided to stop being negative about wait times.  The welcome surprise came when my specialist took a generous amount of time with me during the appointment to answer all the questions that had been perplexing me for months & in some cases years concerning some of the challenges with psoriasis.  It is a curse provoking autoimmune disease as well with no cure in sight.  The specialist gave me different avenues that I could pursue.  I love choices & I love knowing that I am the one in charge of my own health decisions.  I finally admitted to her that it was time to see the rheumatoid arthritis specialist about the budding psoriases arthritis as the joint pain has really ramped up.  I am really concerned about the possibility of having to go onto biologics (not the needle part obviously) but more the affects since my immune system is already pretty sucky.  Being an adult about it can be difficult because rascal me just does not want to add yet another specialist or more tests, appointments & prescribed drugs & more to my already prescribed drug regime.  Still though, I know I will learn more by going to see the specialist for this & maybe just maybe there will be better options than the ones that I am dreading.  Be in the present right?  That is a work in progress for me because I continue to be challenged in the patience department & tend to skip ahead to the possible outcomes well before needed.

A random welcome surprise happened last week when I was flipping through the channels on the tv one evening & saw a commercial for Banting House in London, Ontario for the first time.  It was wonderfully done & brought back amazing memories of the visit that my family & I made there a few years ago.  Standing beside the flame of hope is indescribable.  If you find yourself near London, Ontario I urge you to go to Banting House to experience that feeling too.  I have a painting that my husband purchased for me a few years ago for Christmas that was painted by Sir Frederick Banting.  Ironically the painting is of a tree lined shoreline in Georgian Bay where I was fortunate enough to grow up.  I love that painting doubly because it reminds me of home & it also warms my heart as it is created by a person that is responsible for providing life sustaining medicine for those of us living with type 1 diabetes & insulin dependent diabetes.  Yes, I do love what the painting represents to me:  home & life. 

Random weirdness was present musically last week as well.  My husband has taken up the drums which I encouraged.  When he shared with me several months ago that one of his regrets was that he wished that he had learned to play the drums during his youth I looked him square in the eyes & said, “Do it now.”  For many weeks he has been practicing stick control & struggling to get the beats down since he admits that he is trying to think the music versus feeling the music.  Suddenly last week the music came together for him after all that practice & I heard awesome drum music coming from his efforts.  My sons & I gave him a standing ovation & celebrated the win that he had on getting to the music & creating something very cool musically.  Hours earlier weirdly (in my opinion) someone in our neighborhood was belting out Josh Groban on their stereo.  Josh Groban for sure is a talented young man however to hear one of his opera like tunes bellowing out at such a loud decibel was weird.  The antidote was to laugh a little & close the front door & turn up some 90’s music within our home.  The initial song for the antidote that I had in mind was released way before the 90’s & it is “Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones.  Some music just plain has staying power.  And on a light “note” (pun intended) I think that song is a mantra of life with the “no satisfaction” of diabetes management…the no satisfaction of the blood sugar highs & lows for no logical reason.

There has been weirdness & welcome surprises diabetes wise lately too.  The weirdness is there more often than not.  You will know exactly what I mean if you live with type 1 too.  Blood sugars spiraling up & down for no logical reason is ongoing & aggravating.  The welcome surprise is that for 2 weeks I have not experienced a low blood sugar in the night.  So yes, all in all I celebrate the weirdness’s of everyday life with my bus catching/chasing music turned up Monday to Friday & I say bring on even more of the welcome surprises.

My heart’s hope for you is that anything approaching weird can be turned into an adventure or a win for you.  And may the welcome surprises be countless & infinite for beautiful you!  Smiles, Saundie ;)


May all your adventures be weirdly wonderful & as always, be gentle with yourself.  The next story sharing will be in 2 weeks time on Monday June 27th & it will likely include some treasured memories with our youngest son aka "the Alligator" from yesterday & the intersection of diabetes. 


06/06/2016 15:53

Temporal Loops & the Eyeball Roll

Since last week I more than met my quota of swear words, this week I will insert the eyeball roll instead.  Some things in life may just be worthy of the eyeball roll & not much more.  They are the instances of inconvenience & reindeer like games yet nothing monumental.  There are 2 recent experiences that gave my eyeballs a work out.  One is like a temporal loop & the other is an eyeball roll with an end in sight.

Have you found yourself losing track of the number of times you have the same variation of previous conversational topics?  Hey, I am not referring to the “hot enough cold enough for you” or the “are you working hard or hardly working” lines.  Those are truly annoying I find however worthy of a mini eyeball roll at best.  If you are a parent you have likely at some point or perhaps on countless occasions heard the words from your child(ren) of “it’s not fair because {so & so} has {insert material object} & I don’t.”  For the umpteenth time our middle son used that looping sentence with me last week.  In my opinion our children are beyond fortunate to live in a corner of the world that offers immeasurable freedom, safety, a picturesque tree lined street, all the healthy foods & baked yummies a person could hope to enjoy, a comfie home, a family that loves them & the list goes on.  Still that keeping up with the Joneses thing is alive & well in society.  I guess that is something that carries on if we let it.  Comparison though I have found is far from comforting.  I am grateful for the life I have complete with the mess of type 1 & more.  My life is my beautiful mess & I feel comfort in knowing that I am far from perfect & my life does not need to be either to be cherished & accepted.  I give the idea of keeping up with the Joneses the dramatic eye roll that it deserves.  And I extend the concept of keeping up with the Joneses as well to diabetes management.  Some of my type 1 friends have A1C’s starting with a 5 & some friends have A1C’s higher than mine or the same but each one of us is a beautiful original.  When I see a chat starting up in a support group with fellow people living with type 1 & fingers start getting pointed or judgments are handed down for blood sugar numbers that are too high I get the heck away from that.  I am not interested in arguing about who has better diabetes control.  The variables in each one of our lives are infinite & I look at my wavy line of blood sugar swings through the eyes of a process control with faulty brakes but not a faulty operator.  I know I work overtime on the process control involved in diabetes management.  If you live with type 1 you most likely work overtime too.  I send you a wink versus an eyeball roll & I add in a smile for good measure.  There is no need to compete in the wrestling ring of diabetes management.  Instead, I am choosing to cheer on my fellow battle buddies living with type 1 versus trying to keep up with anyone one way or another.  Wow wee, I have now deviated big time. And now back to our son’s words of entitlement.  My response to him was, “does your friend seem happy with all those things?”  And I added, “Do you know anyone with less stuff who is pretty happy?”  Our middle son is a beautifully honest person & immediately responded with “no my friend with all the stuff is not that happy but seems to want more.”  Next he said, “I get what you mean.”  Extrapolating from that to diabetes I realize that I am every bit as happy now as I was prior to being diagnosed with diabetes.  Although my health kind of sucks some days I don’t feel like I am or have less than enough.  I did not & do not welcome diabetes into my life but despite type 1 I am still grateful me.  And I am still a feisty rascal working on patience & I suppose high blood sugars don’t help in that process.  High blood sugars make me want to swear more but this week I am committed to the eyeball roll.  The week is young so I will have my work cut out for me ha ha.

The second eyeball roll is temporary but aggravating.  Some things remain fresh in our minds don’t you find no matter how much time goes by?  That can be a blessing at times if it is a memory of a treasured experience.  Other times the memory may not be that great.  Again this is eyeball rolling territory version of not great & nothing more.  Here is an aerobatic eye roll of an example.  The perpetual statement that I have made for the past 5 years of just getting one more years use out of my vehicle has come to the land of reality.  While I would like to update my now 17 year old mode of transportation before the floor boards rust right through & I am driving a Fred Flintstone like car, the process of replacing the “dogmobile” is aggravating big time.  I am not too interested in bells & whistles, the cat & mouse game & doing the hokie pokie  involved in car negotiations.  The smoke & mirrors game that takes place while trying to make a vehicle deal drives me up the wall.  You know it is time to say goodbye to a vehicle when even your mechanic is encouraging an upgrade.  Frankly as I go through the hours & hours of hassle involved with car deals my rascal brain tells me to insist that they throw in a brand new fully functioning pancreas to seal the deal.  That would make it all worthwhile.  More double espressos will fuel my reluctant self to get this deal stuff over & done with.  And because I am a kid at heart I am going to reward myself with a cupcake from my favourite gf bakery.  As a humorous aside, when I was a kid I had a moment that I most certainly remember taste wise.  It was the time that I got the brilliant idea that it was time to taste soap as a kid which is a bad idea it goes without saying.  There has only been one cupcake flavor that I found less than enjoyable from the addictive gf bakery in our small corner of the world.  It was one I had just after mother’s day which was a lavender cupcake.  At the time it just looked, smelled & seemed like a real girly girl cupcake that would be perfect with tea so I saved it for a special occasion tucked away in my freezer.  The cupcake though brought me back in time to that taste of soap so lesson learned.  Eyeball roll at myself for not having a bit more foresight to choose a cupcake flavor that smelled more like perfume than a bakery treat.  It kind of looked like the cupcakes from the scene from The Cat in the Hat which is strangely not a bad thing (the version starring our Ontario born Mike Myers).  Canadians are funny.  I love that. 

So it turns out I have nothing to actually curse about I know.  Basically most of this stuff does not really even qualify for an eyeball roll.  Even without a properly functioning pancreas I realize my life is still pretty sweet.  It is a perfect mess some days yet I know that I have what I truly need.  And on top of that I am a lucky enough rascal to be surrounded with inspiring & encouraging friends & family.  I am pointing at you.  Here’s the wink & smile & no trace of eye ball roll.

My heart’s hope for you is that you are having the kind of week that requires at best an eyeball roll & better still the knowledge that you have everything that truly matters.  Smiles, Saundie :)

Have a gentle week.  Next Monday's story is percolating in the creative ether that is my brain :)


30/05/2016 16:06

Dark Sides

There are dark things in life that can be magnificent like bold, full bodied, spoon dissolving, strong black coffee (with Beaver Valley Honey) & delicious dark chocolate (Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups).  And a double espresso at exactly 2pm is medicinal I find.  A dark night’s sky with a full moon in the forefront is a vision as well.  And they say that in order to appreciate the light first you face the dark.  There can be much darkness living with a chronic disease or 4 however the antidote is present as well.  You already know my feisty views on free will.  You know that I am vehemently opposed to victim mentality or the pity party for one.  My motto is to jump over hurdles or through them or whatever with feisty free will.  Some days we may feel physically stronger than others.  There is no point in denying that the struggle is there but we are strong rascals right.

Of course no one enjoys getting even a temporary illness much less something more permanent.  If you live with type 1 you will know exactly what it feels like when a temporary illness surfaces on top of the already pain in the ass that diabetes serves up.  My sick day management is less than stellar although I work like hell to improve my “scores” during sick days.  I am one fortunate rascal to have the diabetes health team that I do & I do not take that for granted.  For instance during my follow up appointments with both my endocrinologist & my diabetes centre nurse & dietician I received nothing but encouragement.  Thank goodness for big & small mercies because left to my own devices I would be very critical with my diabetes management (well really the results).  As I mentioned in a previous story my A1C started with a 7 this time around.  That bugs the hell out of me honestly.  There is something seriously ominous about the 7% & above A1C numbers for me. (Everyone is a beautiful original so the A1C goal that you & your doctor have will be specific to you.)  Early on it was drilled into me by my first diabetes care team (not the same one as I have now) that 7% and above placed me in the danger zone of complications.  Of course that scared the hell out of me.  And yes, this writing piece has more swear words in it likely than all my other ones combined because my blood sugar is sitting at 15 (Canadian measures) & that is after 2 corrections so my level of frustration with sick day management is approaching the red zone.  How about though when you receive a very human response?  My endo. literally told me to stop beating myself up about the results of my sick day management when I had been sick for a full month.  She commended me on not having to be hospitalized or having anything beyond trace ketones.  That was refreshing.  She knows that I work my ass off at fighting the battle with diabetes daily.  How great not to have to feel like I am in the defense box, penalty box, principal’s office or in the “comfie chair” (reference Monty Python).  (Why?  Humour matters…it really does)  (And no one enjoys “the Spanish inquisition…again Monty Python reference intended).  As a sidebar, when my husband was in his last year of University, the school added a huge building called the “William Davis Centre.”  It was a freaky looking building with a massive library that had wonderfully old smelling books & the best coffee on campus.  It also sported rooms with wing back chairs randomly & strangely placed that my then boyfriend (now husband) & I referred to as the “comfie chair room” that was meant for interrogation.  Humour matters.  Comfie chairs represented the threat of interrogation from that point forward ha ha.  Now back to the present.  My appointment with my diabetes centre nurse & dietician was 2 weeks after my endo appointment & again I received encouragement.  I am grateful big time to have a team of diabetes health care workers that treat me like I am not a deli number.  It is a human experience & I appreciate this.  We are on the same side & that matters.  It is difficult enough battling the beast of type 1 frankly without having to “sit in the comfie chair” during appointments.  My team know that I am an overachiever by nature so if my numbers suck that simply means that had I not been working my guts out my number would have been big time worse.  More times than I can count I have reminded myself to stop beating myself up.  That is a work in progress.  I am number fixated.  I did not use to be prior to type 1 diagnosis.  The dark side of diabetes are the thoughts that are always simmering in the back of my mind about complications.  That scares the hell out of me.  Why would it not.  The thing is though that I keep those thoughts at the back versus the forefront of my mind because if I am already working my guts out then fixating on the worse that can happen could potentially take over my life.  I will not let that happen.  Diabetes takes enough already so rascal me just plain moves on to a place of greater light by choice. 

Have you found yourself super sensitive to media out there that refers to type 1 diabetes?  My experience is that most often popular media gets type 1 wrong but sometimes the content is pretty accurate.  Two recent experiences of the dark side of diabetes come readily to mind.  One is comic relief because that is how my rascal mind works.  The first example is one that left me feeling sad & grateful all at once in a flurry of emotion.  I was watching an episode of an addictive series called “Outlander.”  The heroine in the show who is a nurse was asked to diagnose a patient who was incredibly tired, losing weight, thirsty & hungry all the time.  She accurately diagnosed this patient with “sugar diabetes.”  That apparently was the term for type 1 diabetes in the 18th century & that was the time period that this episode of the show was depicting.  The nurse in the episode added that the patient would not survive the month.  That made me feel physically sick to my stomach.  The truth is that up until one of Canada’s finest heroes, Sir Frederick Banting of small town Ontario (Alliston, Ontario) helped to create insulin type 1 diabetes was a death sentence.  I turned off the episode & gave myself a reality check.  It consisted of realizing that some days I complain too much about the efforts needed to manage type 1.  How would it feel though to be told that type 1 was terminal though a hundred years ago & beyond?  There would have been countless people that would have been ecstatic to have life sustaining insulin…not the cure however the answer to a pray all the same.  And to have an insulin pump would be mind blowing during those times of course.  While I sit here listing the pros & cons of potentially applying for a Dex I realize that I am one outlandishly fortunate rascal.  There are still parts of the world today that type 1 is a death sentence.  That saddens me beyond words.  It is because insulin is not readily available due to the corner of the world that people live in & access to health sustaining & life sustaining therapies.  There are campaigns like “Spare a Rose” that make a huge difference in corners of the world where insulin is not readily available largely due to financial difficulty.  Thank goodness for organizations out there that make a difference in the lives of people living in these conditions.  The second dark with comic relief example of life with type 1 occurred last weekend.  Our middle son & I went to see the movie “Angry Birds” at the theatre & about half way through the movie I tested my blood sugar.  Sugars were in range however just a wee bit lower than I felt comfortable with while out in public.  For sure we all hate low blood sugars.  How about those lows though in public?  Man those suck big time right?  That can be humiliating I find…those lows in public when I feel like a one eyed drooling freak when I am in a low slurring words & acting like what I believe to be a madwoman.  In reality 99.9% of the time I am behaving exactly normally or at least no one is noticing in the least.  Anyhow right after I tested I proceeded to clumsily drop my lancet onto the floor in the pitch dark of the movie theatre.  It may as well have been the zombie apocalypse that many of us living with type 1 joke about from time to time.  I trying lighting up the floor with my tiny light from my insulin pump to no avail. “ Crapatate” (yes yet another made up word) I thought as I realized that I would have to wait until the end of the movie & the lights to be turned on until I could find my lancet in the goo of the gross floor of the movie theatre.  You talk about semi panic attack.  You know the saying “keep calm & carry on?”  Yeah, I did not do that.  Instead it was “panic & insurance.”  My brain kept repeating “what if you go low here in the theatre & start acting like a madwoman?”  Next the brain demanded that I inhale my package of stuck together gummy bunnies just in case.  Then my brain screamed out at me about the probabilities of people walking along the row I was in & stepping on & crushing my lancet before I could find it.  Then I did something that only a feisty rascal can do.  I told my thoughts to shut the hell up.  I ate the bunny gummies which unbeknownst to me until an hour later sent my beautiful in range blood sugar numbers into highsville unnecessarily.  A glucose test kit without a lancet is pretty useless.  The lancet did get reunited in record time once the lights came on & before that I went ahead & enjoyed the rest of the movie.  This is just one of many silly examples of how nonsensical life with type 1 can be.  I also lost a lancet on a water ride at Disney World.  That’s life.  If I can’t manage to hang on to lancets then I know for sure that I would not be ready for a zombie apocalypse.  Well thankfully a zombie apocalypse is low on the law of probabilities right.

Sometimes I just plain feel vulnerable while dependent on many diabetes related gadgets.  The bigger feeling though is gratitude that here I am still living my rascally life after nearly 10 years living with type 1 diabetes.  For sure I am going to apply for my Joslin 10 year medal because to me that represent something physical that tells me loud & clear that I remain a feisty rascal that is grateful to be here with my family.  Every day is not great but most days are freaking beautiful.  Most days are somewhat of a beautiful mess & that is beyond fine.

My heart’s hope for you is that you find the balance between the light & dark too.   Be gentle with yourself & as someone profoundly wise says often, “don’t beat yourself up.”  Be big time gentle with yourself.

Smiles, Saundie

Next Monday’s ideas are in the usual creative ether & the only thing I know about it for sure is that there will not be anywhere approaching the number of curse words in it like todays:)  Be especially gentle with yourself.


20/05/2016 10:25

Next Story Sharing

There will be a wee delay with the next story sharing.  Unfortunately I have caught a nasty "bug" & am fighting the feisty fight with that this week.  Priority one is keeping ketones away.  The next story will be shared Monday May 30th.  As always be gentle with yourself.


09/05/2016 11:53

Been Tested

Humour saves.  It can save your perspective, relieve stress and serves a myriad of other positive responses within us at times.  Thank goodness for humour right? 

There are a few shows on tv that have staying power to permeate into society with a fortunate permanence I think.  Two that come to mind easily are “Seinfeld” & “The Big Bang Theory.”  A couple decades after going off the air, expressions from the Seinfeld show are alive & well.  If you enjoyed or enjoy that show you will be nodding your head with a grin too right about now.  When it comes to The Big Bang Theory show hyperbole thrives in the character of Sheldon.  His character has made being a geek cool.  Best of all the character has & does provide many teachable moments I have found with our middle son.  Sometimes he is not overly flexible yet when I point out to him that he is being a “Sheldon about it” he gets it & as a result is open to other choices.  It may be somthing a lot of us can relate to that gets the point across in many situations.  At times perhaps each one of us has some Sheldon moments or in other words felt pretty comfortable doing things the same way.  That show is just plain entertaining & in the spirit of Harold Pinter, it is enjoyable just for the sake of entertainment.  Why bring Mr. Pinter (famous author) into this?  It is the way my mind weaves & has its many sidebars.  I choose to laugh at that too.  To connect the sidebar here I will share a short explanation of how these two things relate.  (Harold Pinter & the show The Big Bang Theory)  When I was in 2nd year university, I had the fortune to take an English Literature Course that featured some of the gems of authors specializing in topics of the absurd.  It gave your brain a workout.  It was taught by a marvelous Scottish professor with a heavy Scott’s accent who had no patience for nonsense or anyone who chose to shovel the brown stuff.  He was most abrasive with the students who sat eagerly in the front row & had their hands up all the time.  It was comical many times.  There was a student in this class in the front row that seemed to have his hand up almost before the prof asked a question of us.  That particular student carried the invisible shovel & the prof was amused & ready accordingly.  When we arrived at the portion of the curriculum about Harold Pinter books there was a moment of laughter in the room.  It was right after the front row kid (who was always wearing a stripped winter scarf like the Cat in the Hat’s every class) shot his hand up to spout off a bunch of bull about what the book was all about.  The prof simply grinned, and in his heavy Scottish brogue stated, “Relax man, the book is not about anything.  It is just written to solely entertain us.”  At the time I thought that reminded me about the show Seinfeld as it was meant to be a show about nothing & it was just plain hilarious in the process.  Okay, enough sidebars for now.

The line that the Sheldon character says from time to time that never fails to elicit a laugh is “I know, my mother had me tested.”  If you & I live with type 1 diabetes we have to get tested more than we will ever want to right.  Last Friday I went to the lab to have the test done to prepare for this Wednesday’s endo appointment.  In the last 8 or so months the lab has begun releasing the entire lab report within 48 hours to the patient.  I love that.  I like knowing what my results are before my doctor’s appointment.  If it is good news I get to start celebrating sooner & if the news is not stellar then I get to choose to make some needed changes right away.  I also don’t want to be disappointed in front of an audience if the news is not great.  So, the news is not great according to the recent lab report this time around.  It is not horrible by any means but it is nowhere near my goal & there are some flags on the report.  Some of the stuff on the report I understand & a couple of things are like Greek.  My A1C is too high but I did bring it down several decimals in the last month so that is a step in the right direction.  The winter months can be tough I find since I tend to catch everything going around.  Kids going to school seem to bring home all kinds of contagious colds & flus & strep throat & more from that environment.  I catch them all & then my blood sugars soar & I try with all my rascally might to bring them back down into range.  My A1C gets destroyed during the winter months accordingly.  The report is what it is.  I have worked my guts out & I realize that had I not done that then I would have a really scary lab report in front of me right now.  Next appointment should be much better.  I am still learning to stop beating myself up over a disappointing lab result.  After this endo appt & then the diabetes centre appointment the following week I will let the report go.  It is time for a fresh start & I will be able to keep a close eye on A1C fluctuations since I still have 6 at home A1C tests that I plan on using monthly.  I am doing my best with the given technology I realize yet it is still an uphill battle not to feel super disappointed that the effort in has failed to prove itself in the numbers.  That is diabetes though.  Insert many swear words of your choice!

The interesting thing about getting the report was that I was able to see how accurate the at home A1C test was.  It was bang on.  Also I could see that my previous vitamin regime actually does make a difference.  Racally me stopped taking my vitamins from about the beginning of January to yesterday.  The lab report though screamed out at me that I have an incredibly low iron count & other gaps that did not appear when I had religiously taken my vitamins.  It convinced me that I need to stop experimenting with going on & off my vitamins.  Everyone is a beautiful original so what works for me or does not work for me will be different for you.  Always, always be sure to check with your doctor about what is right for you.  Having a profoundly low iron count explains the lack of energy that I have felt.  It will likely take a few months but my goal is to restore my iron count to normal range.  When you get tested, you know & with this information we get to do what we can to feel as well as we can.  I hate the idea of getting tested for the sake of testing or in other words because big brother is watching.  In order to keep qualifying for my insulin pump & supplies there are hoops that the provincial government insists upon like tests at certain times of the year.  The tests tell me necessary information as well thankfully so it is not a test for the sake of a check box in some beaurocrat’s department.  Yep, big brother is watching my testing results but I am watching them too.  And the difference is that I have a personal stake in my own health so I am not looking to check off a box but rather to improve my health with the information.  The information can be top drawer or kitty litter liner…I still learn something & do something with the information. 

My heart’s hope for you is that you live the healthiest life you can within any diagnoses.  And when you are tested, whether the results are great or not, please continue to be one determined rascal.  I think the world needs more determined rascals.  Disclaimer…I am biased.  Smiles, Saundie :)

As always, be gentle with yourself.  May there also be plenty of humour to keep you laughing too.  The next story will be shared in 2 weeks on Monday May 23rd.


25/04/2016 13:33

Twice the Everything

Type 1 has magnified absolutely everything in my life.  How about you?  Whether you are the person who was diagnosed with type 1 or you are a family member or friend who is a battle buddy to the individual living with type 1 you too may feel that magnification too.  We may feel some things at an exponential of 2, 10 or 100 times or anywhere in between.  The great news I have found is that the magnificent experiences in life since November 29, 2007 (the day I found out I had the sentence of type 1) are without a doubt magnified by at least a hundred.  Often in life we are told that the important moments are those that appear to be the little moments.  They are the things that are free to each one of us like the sound of a loved one’s laughter (or our own), watching our kids sleeping peacefully, the macaroni art made by our children, the sweet poems & priceless handmade artwork presented to us again by our children, time shared with a Dear Heart, a walk in the woods, a bright sunny day & the list goes on & on.  For those of us living with type 1 the list may also include those moments albeit fleeting whereby our blood sugars are in that beautiful 5 point whatever range. (Canadian measures)  As a light aside, I also add to my list of fun moments the smell & taste of gluten & dairy free snickerdoodles which I have finally perfected.  Just saying “snickerdoodle” to someone kind of makes me laugh.  I have lost track of the number of the  homemade snickerdoodle cookies that I have promised friends “on the next rainy day.”  It has been so beautiful out that I decided that instead of being cooped up in the kitchen for hours on end baking that I would enjoy the outdoors more on the sunny days & make the promised snickerdoodles on the next rainy day.  The smell of these cookies baking is heavenly if you enjoy the smell of cinnamon.  Okay, so many of us may agree that somewhere along the way type 1 has naturally led us to appreciate the little moments with greater zeal.  How about the aggravating moments & times?  We each answer that question for ourselves.  My answer is that the not so great moments & experiences get magnified with the unwelcome addition of life with type 1 diabetes.  As I have shared many times, I am an emotional (profoundly sensitive) animal.  Sometimes my thoughts blow events out of proportion & I find myself choosing to check my thinking.  For instance when an ugly 19 point whatever appears on my glucose meter my thoughts become a runaway train.  The “what ifs” appear big time.  My mind tells me things like:  “what if my blood sugars go even higher & I end up with ketones or needing to go to the hospital” or “what if I correct & go to sleep & my blood sugars suddenly bottom out & I go dangerously low & don’t wake up.”  If you are familiar with CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) you will know that thoughts lead to feelings & actions that may serve us well or not.  Personally, I have always been a huge advocate of CBT.  The neat thing is that you can learn it pretty easily & use it every day.  When I was first diagnosed with type 1 for example I invoked CBT on the panic attacks that I had.  I literally found it almost impossible to go to sleep at night for fear that I would not wake up the next morning.  Sleep deprivation does not help in any way & I find that with that too come even more magnified emotions & flawed thinking on my part. CBT together with an indescribably caring small group of encouraging & loving Dear Hearts brought me out of the panic in those early days of life with type 1.  Everyone is a beautiful original so what may work for me may not be the bee’s knees for you.  Always, always speak to your doctor about what is right or not right for you.   Few things in life are a true tragedy thankfully but have you noticed yourself & others around you saying things like that is “horrible, a tragedy, a nightmare” & other over the top descriptors for an otherwise more like an inconvenience of a situation.  One of the things that I learned many years ago was that words matter in more ways than imaginable.  The words we say or don’t say & especially the words that we speak to ourselves.  Instead of calling an inconvenience a “nightmare” I learned long ago to reframe the wording to “inconvenient, a hassle, a bummer, a drag” & words like that.  It made a difference at least for me.  If you are interested in learning more about CBT be sure to speak to your doctor who will have resource information available on this subject & professionals who provide CBT in your area.  Again, this may or may not be right for you.  What works for one person is not always the answer for another individual since we are each beautiful originals.

The usual diabetes related nonsense has me feeling those magnified emotions.  It is that feeling of twice the everything.  Specifically, I am referring to the twice a year trip to the blood lab in preparation for my next appointment with my endocrinologist.  I know I am fortunate that I only go to the endos two times a year.  Some of my fellow friends with type 1 have to go 4 times a year.  My heart goes out to them.  My endo is exceptional.  Still though, I feel that twinge of stress associated with the upcoming visit to her office to find out what my current A1C is & to hear the results as well about cholesterol, kidney function & more.  The rascal in me wanted to know even ahead of going to the blood lab where my A1C is sitting at currently.  I go to the lab in a week & a half.  The trouble is that for the last half of February & the first week of March I was very sick with a punishing flu & that sent my blood sugars soaring into the 12 & above range 24-7 for nearly a month.  Those numbers are naturally in my A1C average & that frustrates me to no end since I manage the hell out of diabetes but my average will not defend my hard work.  That is the nature of type 1 diabetes.  You work your guts out yet at times the numbers don’t necessarily reward us.  Rascal me went out & bought a do it yourself at home A1C test for the first time a few days ago.  Since I detest instructions I thought I could figure out how to conduct the test kinetically.  Long story short, that did not work out & thankfully my husband came along, read the instructions & the second test worked.  I could not believe the number though that the test provided me with.  It is the worst A1C I have ever had.  That just plain sucks.  The fact that the A1C starts with a 7 point something % will not sit well with my diabetes medical team.  It sits even worse with me as well as the rascal overachiever who remains in me.  The same rascal though refuses to throw in the towel in somehow trying to shave off some of those percentage points before my “real” blood lab in just over a week.  My understanding of how A1C works is that the heaviest weight of the numbers is placed on the most current month.  February & part of March were crappy as far as the glucose numbers go for me but the last couple weeks of March & all of April so far have been pretty ok with a few freaky exceptions.  Can I pull a rabbit out of the hat A1C wise?  Maybe or maybe not.  The rascal in me will try.  It may be unrealistic to believe that I can turn that 7 point whatever percent into something starting with a 6 but I am going to try with all my rascally might all the same.

During the last few months I have tried something a little bit upside down with myself/my thinking.  I have tried to take negative challenges related to type 1 & turn them into little bursts of gratitude.  That is not always easy.  Here are some examples:

  1.  Several times I have been woken up in the night with low blood sugars (haven’t all of us experienced that living with type 1) & I am thankful that my guardian angel works nights so that I got to wake up to another precious day the next morning including this morning.
  2. The day after our youngest son’s most recent birthday he knocked on our bedroom door that weekend morning when I did not wake up at the usual time.  I had been up the night before extremely late fighting a very high blood sugar so was especially exhausted.  Alex kept knocking though & then opened the door & insisted that I check my blood sugar.  It was 3.2 & I am grateful for the knock at my door.
  3. My all over the map blood sugars which can fluctuate 6 or 7 points within 20 minutes for no apparent reason are likely going to lend support for a future cgm.  That would alert me to highs & lows in real time.  That would provide peace of mind.  Hopefully my body will cooperate with an additional device in the future.  That’s a long story.  I am however grateful that I have a pump & access to potential further technological “buddies.”
  4. I am even thankful to have the information from my at home A1C test.  The result stinks however I would rather know about this percentage ahead of time.  Additionally it will interesting to see if the next 10 days of tighter than tight blood sugar control will reward me with something starting with a 6 or something at least less than the current A1C home result. 


The thing that I have noticed without fail about the extraordinary battle buddies living with type 1 is that each & every one of them has at least twice the determination & strength & this is inspiring beyond words.


My heart’s hope for you is that your list of the people & things that you are grateful for is at least twice as long as the challenges that you face each day. 

Smiles, Saundie


Go ahead & be twice as gentle (at least) with yourself in the coming week.  Celebrate the wins & never, ever throw in the towel on the days that stink…those are the days we perhaps need at least twice the rascally determination.  The next story will be shared in 2 weeks time on Monday May 9th.  Happy Mom’s Day on the 8th to my beautiful Mom & all Moms.


18/04/2016 11:25

Enthusiastic on Purpose

Does some hype give you a headache?  Do some motivational sources leave you shaking your head in defiance?  Have you caught a case of the grumbles & curmudgeons?  It can happen to even the most positively spirited amongst us at times.  Some days we may just have to push our own boulder of joy uphill to realize desired results.  I am grateful that I come from a long line of determined, enthusiastic & inspirational family legacy.  The word “quit” does not exist in the vocabulary that I learned within my family.  I love that big time!  That is great news because when life comes at you with one of those hurling balls catapulted like the game “Krush the Castle” there is fight enough & more & the rascaliness(yes I know I just made up yet another word) to keep trying.  The realization that even on the bad days I will plough through contains no room for denial of the challenge or rah rah emptiness of flakey words or strategies. Rather it consists in the knowledge that along the way to adulthood I have undeniable evidence that all the strength I need is there for whatever fight comes along.  Some days are a willful confrontation of the truth.  Those are the days when type 1 has been an especially punishing beast & it would be the easiest thing in the world to feel sorry for myself aka accept the role of victim.  The rascal in me refuses to be a victim period.  You hear a lot of people say “I have diabetes but it doesn’t have me.”  That is true although I use more rascally words then those when I describe the battle over daily life with type 1.  One thing I know for sure is that days turn into weeks & months & years & it would be very possible to have a large collection of bad days if I chose not to step into the ring of choosing which thoughts to keep & discard each day.  Life is precious & type 1 obviously was not in my plans however it does not reduce the preciousness all the same. 

Speaking of inspirational legacy, my Dear Heart Dad sent along an article by Dr. Bradberry outlining habits &  impacts on emotions. Within the article,  the brilliant quote by Benjamin Franklin chosen  by Dr. Bradberry describes the essence of our choice over our thoughts:  “The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness.  You have to catch it yourself.”  The rascal in me believes with every fiber of my being that joy is a choice best not left to chance because life is short & precious.  While I am not crazy about motivational content I am a huge fan of inspirational content.  We are each beautiful originals so we can disagree on this & more & still remain the greatest of friends.  Personally I find a lot of motivational content empty, flakey, false, technique (y) , and  brain numbing.  Inspirational content however is the polar opposite & embraced in my personal experience.  Motivational content may point us to “get over something” aka deny the validity of whatever the struggle is.  Come on!  The absurdness of that is beyond hollow & insulting I believe.  Inspirational content though provides us I believe with hope.  Others have gone the distance that have had similar struggles to us & they did not give up even though it was beyond difficult.  What sets these giants of inspiration apart?  Could it be their thoughts?  Did they get to joy on purpose or did it just happen?  We each answer that question for ourselves.  My answer is that these every day heroes found joy on purpose. 

From my youngest childhood memory I remember my Dad being a huge pillar & example of the enthusiastic attitude in action.  I am grateful for the gift of having had (and continuing to have) such a strong leader & example of kindness & compassion in my Dear Dad.  I learned early on that attitudes are created on purpose versus happenstance.  It is fitting indeed that about a month ago my Dad sent one of his lovely notes to me with the link to the author of a book on the topic of emotional intelligence.  The  specific link was to an article by Dr. Travis Bradberry who is the author of the book, “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” entitled “10 Troubling Habits of Chronically Unhappy People.”  I found this article to be fascinating & bang on.  Please be sure to seek out the article on the Huffington site to enjoy the entire article.  In the meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the following quick list of the 10 troubling habits outlined by Dr. Bradberry.  With this knowledge we then get to do something pretty powerful & that is to turn things around that need tending to because hey, no one wants to be unhappy right!  Dr. Bradberry’s list includes: 

  1.  Waiting for the future.  (I have fallen prey to that one & failed to live & enjoy the present moment & continue to tackle that one)  How about you?
  2. Spending too much time & effort acquiring things.  (very cool stats on how certain levels of money can actually detract from contentment)
  3. Staying home.  (It is the principle of do it anyway…the things that will help  to encourage us to have a better attitude are difficult to do when we are feeling down)
  4. Seeing yourself as a victim (I feel allergic to that idea…how about you?)
  5.  Pessimism (we all likely know someone who is a negative thinker no matter what help they are offered or how much brighter their lives become)
  6. Complaining (It is one thing to share honest feelings yet quite another to become a chronic complainer about everything)
  7. Blowing things out of proportion (I remember learning during my university days that words we use carry power as well…like calling a flat tire a “disaster” or a party that did not go as planned a “tradegy.”) This is doom & gloom thinking on steroids.
  8. Sweeping problems under the rug (face problems head on is my motto)
  9. Not improving (letting life happen to us versus getting in the game)
  10. Trying to keep up with the Joneses (comparison may make us feel quite inferior & we are each beautiful originals so why choose this behaviour?)


If we soul search do we find ourselves falling prey to any of the 10 habits outlined by Dr. Bradberry?  Congratulations if you answered yes to any of the above because it just means that you & I are human.  The great news though is that we get to choose to do something meaningful & positive with the information.  The 2 of the habits that I have fallen prey to over the years (especially since being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes) are number 1 (waiting for the future) & #3 (staying home).  I put in enormous effort to combating #1 & # 3 and  have learned to conquer  # 3 by telling false thoughts off.  I don’t want to become a bully to myself so number 3 does not get to become a runaway freight train of isolating myself versus going out into the world even on my especially bad days living with type 1 & the other 3 autoimmune diseases.  If I made another choice I would miss out on some pretty amazing experiences.  The rascal in me refuses to be less than in the game of life.  You won’t see me climbing any mountains & stuff like that (although a friend of mine that I admire who has type 1 diabetes did climb Mount Kilimanjaro) yet you also will not see me quit or throw in the towel.  It just is not in my genetic makeup.  Thanks Dad xo.


My heart’s hope for you is that you take a long loving & gentle look within yourself & realize that you have come a long way.  Some days you have carried the weight of the world on your shoulders.  Our struggles can be profoundly invisible to others yet our strength is like a neon sign of inspiration to many.  Eyes are upon you watching to see if you are going to choose as much joy as possible for yourself struggles & all.  Be that light of inspiration.  I bet you already are.

Smiles, Saundie :)

May you be joy filled on purpose this whole week.  Next Monday's sharing is in the creative ether.  As always be gentle with yourself.


11/04/2016 10:49

Decluttering Down Memory Lane

It is a blink of an eye.  What exactly is “it?  Did you use to laugh & wonder about adults who stated that time accelerates as you get older?  I remember kind of shrugging my shoulders with deference as a child on the inside at least regarding these words.  The timeless thing about kids seems to include the perception that a day goes on & on for the most part.  What could it be about adulthood that creates a faster spinning of the clock?  For me the first time I realized that time was going by too fast was during university.  The deadlines for the myriad of papers would come due right around midterm time & finals time.  There seemed to be just barely enough hours in the day to finish the papers & study for exams too.  It was a flurry of activity for sure.  Ok, I have to be honest & admit that back then I did not exactly have stellar time management skills so in first year university I actioned my studying & paper writing just in time.  Some papers still had wet ink as they were so fresh when they were handed into the profs.  By the last year of university time management skills had finally set in yet time marched by far too fast all the same.  Time seemed to travel by at the speed of light not just during the heavier workload time but also during the fun times too.  The memories remain & I smile to think of younger me.  How about you?  And I realize that life is pretty damn great even with the 4 autoimmune diseases that accompany me each & every day.  And time…time passes by faster than ever I find.  For our youngest son time drags on for the most part & he shrugs his shoulders with a sense of disbelief that adults around him don’t seem to have enough hours in the day.  It is all the most natural thing in the world.  

By nature I am not a super organized person.  My chaotic system worked though for a very long time.  As time goes by the system is becoming non functional.  Against my nature I have come to realize that I need to get a least a little bit organized so I at least know where things are so that I don’t have to waste a bunch of time searching for items which is so beyond frustrating.  Although I put reorganizing many rooms in our home at the bottom of my priority list I finally just decided that I would put a deadline on these boring tasks because rascally me does not want to see these mundane chores on that list anymore.  This past week I have spent hours every day in our basement with the ‘90’s tunes blasting.  This September marks 10 years in our home.  Wow, that is unreal that 10 more years has zipped by.  Ten years ago I did not have type 1 diabetes or the other 3 autoimmune diseases.  Ten years ago I was in perfect health.  I had more hours in the day for sure because I was not managing the hell out of my health.  Of course I also had very young boys so the days were full all the same.  The cool thing about doing a mundane, almost mindless chore like organizing the basement is that you can let your mind wonder & declutter too.  As I have shared before I am a profoundly sentimental person.  Throwing something out or donating items is an exercise in letting go I find.  I made a rule for myself as well that if I have not used something in 5 years then it was time to part with it unless it was something special from a loved one that would be passed down to our sons in the future.  My favourite part of decluttering the basement was discovering cherished keepsakes that I had not looked upon in many years.  One of the boxes that was pretty awesome to come across was the box filled with my husband’s hockey related days memorabilia.  I put that box close to the front under the storage space under our stairs so that the next yucky day outside when I hear that age old declaration from our sons that they are bored I will bring that box out & show them these keepsakes from their Dad as a kid.  The other box that I delighted in coming across was one filled with my own cherished keepsakes.  The container was filled with pictures over the many years, a few newspaper clippings, some university stuff & something from my childhood.  I sat down & went through that box of gems & smiled the ear to ear smile that only a rascal can wear.  My favourite newspaper clipping is from 1985 with my Dad on the front page with our first dog.  The dog was getting a raby vaccination yet the way the newspaper photographer took the picture it really looks like my Dad is getting the shot.  It is a hoot.  Naturally I emailed a photo of the article to my Dad on his birthday last week.  The clipping brought back great memories.  Then to my amazement I happened upon a puck from my childhood days of the hockey team that my Dad & I cheered for, The Collingwood Blues.  There are no words big enough to express my delight in those memories.  The puck is now displayed in our family room & looks totally out of place in an in place kind of way.  Life is meant to be ascetic for our family.  Next, my smile grew even bigger as I looked through hundreds of photos from over the past few decades.  The majority of the photographs were loose but there were also about a dozen in frames of various sizes too.  Okay, so I reorganized the basement & did bring 9 framed photos upstairs & placed them on our fireplace mantle.  The love of my life is in most of the photos & I pinch myself to realize how fortunate of a rascal I am to be loved by the same boy (my husband) …that same boy that I fell in love with when I was in grade 12.  Of course our sons commented that they could not believe that their Dad had ever been that young.  It should blow their minds one of these days if they go to their grandma’s house & see their Dad as a little kid.  The pictures of my Mom & Dad, my dearest girlfriends & our sons as little wee kids are absolute treasures.  Finding this box of cherished items was my reward for completing the basement reorganization.  It was time well spent.  At times I looked at photos where my husband & I were making goofy faces in our first married days & thought about all that we have been through together.  Type 1 for me, a couple of health issues as well for my Dear Heart husband & other family challenges have made us stronger.  It has not been easy but it is not easy for anyone.  The struggles are real for each & every one of us.  The love remains & best of all it is stronger.  In a year & a half my husband & I will be celebrating a marriage milestone & I know I am one blessed rascal for that alone.  How this girly girl came to welcome 3 sons is a hoot too.  I could not imagine a day without our noisy, enthusiastic, snuggly sons.  And yes, I sure love it when I still hear them say that they are “Mommy boys” & want to accompany me on mundane errands.  We do try to turn any outing into some sort of adventure.  And I love, love love that our younger sons read a chapter (albeit Goosebumps) to me each night before bed & try to gross their mom out.  And I also love, love, love it when our oldest son shares his illustrations & writing pieces & other creations with me.  We live a beautiful mess of a life that happens to include diabetes & other health challenges.  It can be tough some days yet together we are all strong rascals in our family.  I think type 1 has taught each of us to be more compassionate & accepting & rascally fully alive.  It sure has taught us that every day is precious & that no one throws in the towel when the going gets tough in any aspect of life.  I am one grateful rascal beyond measure, mess & all.

The benefits of getting organized will pay off in spades I am sure.  And I am also sure that items will slowly get messed up again & that a declutter will happen into the future again & again.  That is ok because it provides the opportunity to appreciate the past & present once again & to savor the photographs over & over again.  For the kid in me, I decided to reward myself for a job well done by picking up the brand new cookbook that I have been waiting on to be released for almost 6 months. The lady working at our local Chapters store was so gracious when I arrived at the store bouncing off the walls with excitement about finding the book.  The book was not on the shelves so I asked the lady for help.  It turns out that the book is so newly released that it was still packed in the box in the storage room.   The lady working in the store graciously went to the storage room & retrieved a copy for me.  She asked me why I was so excited about a cookbook & what made this one different from others.  I told her with the excitement of a sales & marketing professional.  She declared that she would be purchasing the book for herself as well.  That book should fly off the shelves…it is not good…it is beyond great!  Later on today I am definitely taking a trip to the grocery store to pick up some of the ingredients for some already ear marked cooking creations from the cookbook.  And I look forward to having 2 young chefs in training (our 2 youngest sons) help make the chocolate chip cookie sandwiches in particular.  Our oldest son I am sure will be up for the task of being the taste tester extraordinaire.  I want to give a huge shout out to the amazing Mother-Daughter team that wrote this fantastic cookbook.  Whenever I have enjoyed their bakery or main course creations my blood sugar has not spiked or gone haywire…not even with a cupcake & I am flabbergasted at how little insulin I need to cover off for these treats.  The recipe book includes main courses & delicious goodies & they are all gluten & dairy free as well as egg free.  The name of this gem of a cookbook is “Made with Love” by Kelly Childs & Erinn Weatherbie.  Gluten & dairy free are finally delicious again thanks to these two food miracle workers.    

My heart’s hope for you is that all your walks down memory lane bring a rascally smile to your face too.

Smiles, Saundie

As always, be gentle with yourself every day.  By the way, the cookie sandwiches turned out amazingly well!  Even my husband who is self professed gluten free/dairy free recipe detester/protester could not tell that these treats were gf,df, egg free!  If you know someone that is allergic to gluten (or celiac), and or allergic to dairy & eggs or is on a vegan diet, this cookbook would make a perfect gift for them in my opinion.  As an aside, another cherished item that I happened upon in my container of treasured keepsakes was my boat racing trophy from university…no water or boats were involved however in the winning of that trophy ha ha!  That is a story for another day.  Next Monday’s story is in the creative ether however my Dad sent me an amazing idea that will be the basis of the writing piece next time. I consider my Dad to be a master writer  that I admire & cherish. 


04/04/2016 11:01

Satirical Buffet

Welcome to life’s parody of the buffet.  If you are a willful rascal with a good measure of feistiness then you may find yourself nodding your head a few times throughout this story.

Many of us will recognize the phrase “life is a buffet so choose accordingly” readily.  Is the buffet large & are the choices as vast as we believe?  There will be varied answers from each one of us.  The gift of free will is the antecedent to the opportunities to discern within the context of life’s buffets.  Maybe living with type 1 diabetes as well as celiac provides me with the choice to even laugh a little at the description of life as “buffet.”  Food buffets are risky if I take hyperbole to its highest denominator.  Over the past number of years I have found ways to be super creative when I am invited over or out for a meal with a Dear Heart.  Food type outings if I let it could be complicated.  What is most important is sharing time together though & not the meal.  I have found that taking a homemade dish or two over to a friend’s home allows for the simplicity of enjoying our time together versus fixating on the long list of foods that are going to elicit adverse affects.  The nasty thing about gluten for instance is that even if a food is cross contaminated I suffer the consequences for about 12 hours afterwards.  It is just not worth the risk.  Then there is the matter of eating foods prepared by others where type 1 diabetes is concerned.  That can feel like food roulette.  How many carbs are in the foods we ask ourselves.  Then we bolus & do a glucose test a couple of hours later & 90% of the time I end up needing a whooper of a correction bolus.  This can go on for hours & hours depending on what is going on with blood sugars.  You know the drill only too intimately if you live with type 1 diabetes 24/7.  Sure there are a ton of food choices out there but my buffet has frankly been greatly reduced due to two of the autoimmune diseases that accompany me everywhere I go.  This is as usual though no woe is me tale.  I have found many recipes that are way tastier than some of the dishes that I have given up.  And best of all I discovered the ultimate dessert shop (bakery specializing in scrumptious gluten free, dairy free cupcakes) that is cupcake heaven on earth just a short 20 minute drive from my house. I have been known to create factious celebrations to warrant one of these addictive cupcakes…you know like it being Wednesday for instance ha ha!  Luckily, my husband includes gift cards to this bakery for me on my birthday, Christmas, anniversary, Easter, Mothers’ Day & Valentine’s Day so I can celebrate Wednesdays if I want to.   They make the most delicious espresso & tea there as well.  I am not deprived in any way that’s for sure as far as the enjoyment of choices.  How great is it too that these cupcakes are made with bean flour which seems to really cooperate unbelievably well with my blood sugars.  I cannot believe how little insulin I need to cover the carbs in a cupcake at this shop.  During the times when I am sharing time with a friend & the food choices are outside the “non consequence” zone I choose to simply have a cup of tea.  As a wee aside a study was conducted outlining the average tea consumption per person in a given year in each country.  Canada scored close to the top & I think I did my part in the stats for that ha ha!  (The Canadian average is 1lb of tea leaves per person & for sure I am many times beyond that).  I always feel quite at ease with a simple cup of tea even if everyone around me is feasting away.  On a funny note, what I really do have at home is a tea buffet of my own.  I am not joking in some facets because I have literally a whole cupboard devoted to just different blends of teas.  Sometimes when Dear Hearts come over to our home I will make a few different pots of tea at once & declare that we are having a tea buffet.  Of course we have treats too but the tea is the main event. 

 Type 1 diabetes in a sense has caused my buffet to become larger in an upside down kind of way.  My food choices have changed.  I want to feel as healthy as rascally possible within any diagnosis.  Willful rascally me has learned that when it comes to diabetes management it is optimal to partake of the entire “buffet” of care.  This means that I try to choose daily to keep all the legs of the chair on the floor like:   eating foods that are as healthy as possible (but also enjoying a treat once in a while), exercising (unbelievably brisk walking by someone under 5’5”), stress management (process in progress) and spiritual devotion.  Being exactly a human being means that every one of those areas take continuous effort & are works in continuous progress.   When it comes to diabetes management it means that nutrition, stress management, carb counting, exercise,staying on top of the learning curve on diabetes care technologies, attending the never ending medical appointments & tests are the big “buffet.”  And the rascal in me has learned that that is a buffet that I need to accept & live in its entirety.  I would love to say no to many (well all) of the diabetes management components.  The outcome of doing that though is a consequence that I am unwilling to risk.  The buffet of life after all is not just about me anyhow.  The buffet & choices affect my family.  I want the best for my family therefore each & every day I try with all my rascally might to do the best I can at diabetes management.  You hear so many people out there in the world declare that they “just want to be happy.”  What the heck does that actually mean I wonder?  The most joyful times in my life have been times when I have witnessed the joy of someone I love.  The most gut wrenching times have been (and always will be) the times when someone I love has been deeply sad.  The buffet of life means at least to me that just wanting to be happy sounds a little flat.  Just like type 1, there are good times & bad.  The good days are great days I find.  There is no “just being happy” or static days with type 1.  All you have to do to see this is look at my line graph on any given day of glucose results.  They are all over the map or page.  The buffet choice within that though is for me to choose to be grateful for the things that are going right & the list is long.  I choose joy even within the struggle.  Would I love to be told that there is a cure for type 1 & diseases in general?  Of course I would.  Again, I am not putting life on hold for a potential cure.  I choose life’s buffet living every single emotion with honesty.  I choose to continue to be a feisty rascal & advocator. 

Recently I had a humbling experience.  These are grounding times I find & necessary for me.  Sometimes the rascal in me needs a bit of checking.  I decided that I would participate in a 33 day course but that I would only do the parts of the course that I thought were necessary.  That is free will being taken to the ends degree at least in my case.  A couple days into the course I realized that my formula for completing the course on my terms was flawed.  I went back to the beginning of the materials & completed all the components.  After checking my inner rascal at the door I embraced the buffet of the whole course & it lead to much better results.  I realized that if I took my approach to diabetes management in the same fashion as I had at first attempted this course as a pick & choose thing that it would lead to undesirable results.  So I decided to be a smaller rascal with a big buffet attitude about life.

My heart’s hope for you is that the buffet that you partake of includes huge helpings of experiences that make you the healthiest you that you can be within any diagnoses.  And may you go up for multiple helpings of joy & love & friendship.  Maybe you will add a wee side of rascal to help with positive advocating that needs action in your wee corner of the world.  How about remembering as well to add an abundance of gratitude onto your plate.  Don’t forget to pile humor onto your plate in infinite measure. 

Smiles Saundie :)

Have a gentle week.  Last weekend our nuclear family started a brand new Easter dinner tradition.  Our younger sons asked that each family member tell everyone what the best & worst part of the day had been & then finish with a goofy joke.  My husband is not renowned for saying much at all let alone bringing levity into the atmosphere but even he caught the spirit of the new tradition.  He shared his silly joke:

One man says to another, “I see your dog has no nose.”  The other man asks, “How does he smell?”  Answer, “Terrible.”

Next Monday’s story is in the usual creative ether.




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