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Ho Ho Hold On
Yikes, it is 3 days until Christmas. Are you ready? Are any of us ever really ready this time of the year or do we simply just keep going until we run out of time? Our messy, imperfect Christmas celebration is coming together in a way that I am simply & finally okay with. I chopped off the bottom half of my to do list & unceremoniously ripped it up & giggled as it hit the recycling bin. And my attitude is finally, so what. So what if everything does not get done. It really will not matter 100 years from now, 100 days from now or 100 minutes from now. I am cutting myself a break so that I don’t have to enter into that pretend zone of having it all together & it feels amazing big time. The most important parts of Christmas I am embracing big time & the rest of it is just not on my radar. Man, it has been a process & a lot of years to get to this point finally. How about you? How is the stress out zone going for you this year? My heart’s hope is that you can give yourself a break in one way or another unapologetically.
The holidays can be complicated even when we try to unravel it all. The more people involved in our Christmas celebrations, the more potential layers to confusion, chaos & stress at times. Do you know some folks that are just a big ball of travelling stress? It can be exhausting spending time with that type of behaviour I find or worse, the doom & gloomer who puts a what if this or that goes wrong spin on everything. Come on is my attitude. Type 1 diabetes has taught me a thing or two over the years about not going down the road of doom & gloom. I am not interested nor do I welcome the upteenth story of someone’s 6th removed relative who had horrible things happen to them due to diabetes. How is that supposed to be helpful on any level? And really, is there another chronic illness that you can think of that people tell you the worst thing that could go wrong versus offering either silence or encouragement? I cannot think of another one. But diabetes is different it seems. People often feel like they should offer some sort of dramatic doomish story about diabetes. I use to grit my teeth & silence myself in response but no more. Now, I take people to task on those types of stories of doom & gloom & ask them why they would think that is appropriate, encouraging or human to volunteer such unkind words. Sometimes I think people have to be startled into reality by being told that what they are saying is just not okay. How would that person like to hear such uncomforting words? They would not I am sure of it. So my motto is kind of “hold on, cut it out” & that type of thing. Those of us living with diabetes know the reality of diabetes only too well & do our best to manage a disease that is like a moving target. It is a beast to manage & manage is a misnomer anyhow because what works one day may go totally hairy or awry the next day. There are a zillion variables that can cause blood sugar fluctuations. What will manage diabetes? A freaking cure would. That is on the top of my Christmas list again this year…a cure. 95 years ago Sir Frederick Banting gave us hope in the form of insulin & that means life while we are waiting for a cure. Insulin though is a balancing act because it is either our salvation or our demise. In just the right measure, it gives us in range blood sugars at a given time & other times can lead to frightening results. So it is not the cure by a long shot obviously. Please don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for insulin every single day & I respect it too because I know I cannot take it lightly or without complicated math or without concentration. And I wish for a cure for the countless other chronic illnesses that continue to plague our world as well as an end to hunger, homelessness, violence & loneliness in the world. If Santa puts that on the sleigh, there will be more than a little rejoicing. But Santa needs help. He needs help from people with the bravery, talent & more of “elves” throughout the world. The “elves” I think that will cure the countless illnesses will be moms & dads & brothers & sisters & friends of people living with these diseases. It all starts with caring about the people living with these beasts of illness versus following a money chain. There is no motivator stronger than love I believe. For parents who are in the unique position of being doctors who have children with chronic illnesses, the motivator to cure must be beyond description. I believe this is where our collective Christmas miracle one day will come from in the form of cures. In the meantime, my steadfast thought in action is that we need to continue to encourage one another & be lovingly human to one another.
As I mentioned, one of my mottos is “ho ho hold on.” Over the course of the past month there are 3 examples of holding on that I will share with you. We are only human so sometimes we hit bumps along the way with diabetes. I am usually a “good diabetic” in that I make sure that I have one or 2 fast acting sugars & a couple of slow acting sugars in my purse for emergency lows. My purse frankly usually feels like there is a brick in it with the various supplies I need to carry. You will know what I mean. A couple of weeks ago I dipped into my purse while I was out when I tested my blood sugars & saw a dirty rotten 3.4 looking back at me. Unfortunately I forgot that I had eaten the last of my emergency fast acting sugars on a previous day while in a low. I have had more lows in the last month because likely similar to yourself I have been on the go more hours of the day than usual while preparing for Christmas. Anyhow, instead of silently verbally beating myself up about my lack of preparedness I just went & lined up for a juice at a store. Does time really stand still? It sure feels like it when you get behind someone in the check out who somehow manages to complicate a simple transaction. That was what was going on in front of me. Inside my brain was screaming out a myriad of phrases in not so sugar coated language. When I finally was able to pay for & inhale my juice I was grateful. Man diabetes is annoying. It is also invisible so people around us at times give us some very strange looks when we are shaking or sweating (in the middle of winter in the cold) or we cannot put a coherent sentence together. This leads nicely into story number 2 this month. I had my cleaning appointment at the dentists (oh joy) & stress sometimes sends my blood sugars high & other times it sends it low. You just never know & that is problematic to say the least. As the cleaning progressed I could feel those unmistakable physical characteristics of an on the way low. Hold on I told my body. Hold on for 15 more minutes blood sugars & then I will test you & try to fix the situation…just hold on. Diabetes of course is like a 2 year old having a tantrum…hold on is just not going to cut it. Ah, the shakes & the numb tongue were in full force by the end of the final 15 minutes of holding on. Thankfully my sense of humour though was still with me. I told the hygienist that although it was about to look like I was drunk (at 10am) that I have type 1 diabetes & that I needed to test my sugars as I was sure I was in a low. The hygienist like so many other health care professionals as well as just people in general assured me that she knew all about diabetes. I really did not want to hear her take on diabetes during a low blood sugar. How about you? I tested & sure enough a number in the 3’s appeared on my glucose meter. “Don’t worry”, the hygienist told me, “I am going to go get you a juice box.” My purse was across the room & my thought was that if she could just hand me my purse that I would grab my fast acting & all would return to “normal.” Before I could get the words out though she was gone from the room to get the juice. I work hard at leaning on others for help as I am fiercely independent. Over the years though I have come to realize that relationships cannot be one sided with me giving of myself & then refusing to let others reciprocate when they want to. The thing is though that when it comes to diabetes care I really have come to realize that being independent about looking out for myself is pretty much bang on because I really cannot afford to entrust my life to someone who really may not be in a position to help. This was the case I realized quickly when the hygienist returned 5 minutes later with a glass of water instead of juice. In my mind I was thinking that I would be very well hydrated but that was all with the water so I simply thanked her & got up & got my purse & took the fast acting sugars that I had in my tortoise of a purse…it really must be bigger on the inside than the outside with the stuff I carry in it. The third ho ho hold on story happened just this past Saturday night. I was at Mass & because I have celiac as well I receive only from the chalice. The majority of people choose to just receive the body of Christ & this of course occurs before the chalice so you wait behind these folks. The trouble is that sometimes I end up going back to my seat in the pew after the people that were behind me in the line so I have to catapult over them to get back to my seat at times. Last Saturday night though when I returned to my pew the 6 or so people that had originally been behind me had already seated themselves & were praying on the kneelers so I did not want to disturb them. I was really surprised at how much though I was freaking out on the inside realizing that I was separated from my purse for the remainder of Mass. What I was freaking out about was being separated from my glucose tester & fast acting sugars. Ho ho hold on, Saundie, it is not that long & you will be okay for 10 minutes I kept reassuring myself. My blood sugars were fine I found out afterwards but the panic of being separated from my diabetes supplies was daunting. Ho ho hold on has been happening in one form or another a lot lately.
My heart’s hope for you is that the only ho ho hold on that you have this Christmas season is the ho ho hold me a little tighter & longer in hugs & squeezes from your dear loved ones. Blessings for a gentle & beautiful Christmas season Dear Hearts xo.
Smiles, Saundie :)
Next Monday's writing is yet to be written. Blessings for an absolutely blessed Christmas filled with love xoxo