Our Diabetes/365 Community IS our cuppa!

Just Call Me "Slartibartfast"

28/09/2015 09:37

Recently, my husband took me out on a mini date to Starbucks where I admit that I am addicted to heavily laden caffeine beverages…specifically the lime refreshers & double espressos.  He would seem like an intimidating fellow to most however he is in fact a teddy bear with a huge heart.  I have lost count of the number of times that Greg has looked me in the eyes & said, “I would take that (any of the chronic illnesses that I have) on if I could.”  There are no words to describe my gratitude to my best friend for loving this rascal for over 2 decades now in words & actions.  One of the things that Greg does from time to time is to take me out to Starbucks for my caffeine fix even though he prefers Timmy’s & that is putting it mildly.  His face generally gives away his utter distain for going into what he describes as a complicated coffee place.  He does not like being asked for his name for the cup & only likes the hot chocolate there.  (who doesn’t!)  The last time we went there for our 45 minute date I waited for it…for the lady working there to ask him for his name.  What kind of mini rant was going to happen this time?  Would our photos be placed on the walls of this coffee shop forbidding us from returning I humourously wondered.  “What is your name for your cup sir?” the coffee jacked up Goth girl asked my husband.  Without a moment’s hesitation the response from him was “Slartibartfast.”  The girl’s response in a polite voice was “how do you spell that?”  That kind of was funny in itself though because if there is one thing that my husband loves it is spell check since spelling is something that remains his nemesis.  He is a mathlete & spelling is not his talent so I had to jump in there to spell the name for the cup.  The girl working there though sadly missed the joke because she did not get the reference.  If you have experienced the movie or the books “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” then you get it.  If you haven’t read or watched this classic then it is well worth it.  As an aside the girl at the coffee shop spelled my husband’s “name” correctly however instead of being “Saundie” I was “Cassandra.”  Oh well, autocorrect usually renames me to “Saunders.”

Do you sometimes feel like you are part of the concept in that story line outlined in “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?”  Specifically, do you at times feel like the mice are the ones running the show & we as humans are actually the lab test subjects?  The thing about humour is that some truth often resides there be it ever so absurd don’t you find?  I am the first to admit that daily I feel like a human test case especially when it comes to diabetes management.  There are experiments that we conduct on ourselves like seeing if exercise at a certain point will make insulin more “productive.”  There are countless experiments that we conduct to see if this time around our results will be similar to previous ones where the outcome was a beautiful in range blood sugar result.  If we have other “365’s” then no doubt we have tried various trials of potential things or strategies that might make the illnesses better.  An easy personal example comes to mind regarding the celiac that I live with & that is simply giving up wheat, gluten & dairy.  Wow, what instant relief.  When gluten sneaks in there from getting accidentially cross contaminated or not identified properly on the outside of a food product I am quickly reminded through participating unwillingly in this experiment that it is a chronic disease & it is certainly not cured.  It is strange though the number of people out there that will say things like “you are cured because you gave up gluten” or “you are cured because you have an insulin pump.”  What?  The thing is though that people generally don’t understand an illness unless they are living with it.  Sometimes people will ask me strange things like “do you miss foods like croissants, Cinnabon & donuts?” Other times they say “do infusion sets or injections or glucose tests hurt?”  Not being a robot you can insert my feisty response.  As an aside, recently a Dear Heart needed to go to the hospital & one of the things that they needed as part of their care was a needle.  The nurse said to me “I am sorry about the needle that is about to happen.”  Being a feisty one I simply said that I am not sympathetic about needles as I use to have to give myself 4 every day plus 12 finger pokes so it was going to be a suck it up buttercup moment.  I did feel very badly however for my Dear Heart when it was time to get the repeated what seemed like student training for the iv.  Yikes!  Personally I believe that iv’s are needles from hell.

Inadvertently I found myself in a when baking & when psoriasis & celiac & type 1 diabetes collide kind of experiment this past week.  For the past week I have been making apple pie & crisps & have been one peaceful rascal while doing this.  It is a labour of love & with my Grandma’s apples from her orchards this time in the kitchen has been even more precious.  I started out making the “normal” wheat flour pies for my Dear Ones but I did not think that one through I discovered for 2 reasons.  It would have made more sense to start with making gluten free pastry & pies I realized after the fact because it would not have been so arduous to get the counter “unglutened” had I begun with the gluten free flour & pies & then done up the wheat flour afterwards.  Mental note has been made for next year…live & learn.  This is my first adventure with making gluten free pastry.  Frankly I had procrastinated it & kind of convinced myself that it would be brutal to pull off a decent tasting & looking gluten free pie.  I had read up on the techniques & they are much different from making wheat pastry & quite finicky.  The other thing I found out the hard way was that actually making the wheat flour has affects on not just the obvious one of celiac but also on the psoriasis & hey of course type 1 diabetes always wants the loudest voice it seems so it got involved in this unplanned experiment as well.  When you smell fresh wheat crust apple pie cooking it is an exercise in supreme will power to not eat it but I knew that I might have a decent gluten free apple pie to look forward to so will power was invoked.  The repercussions of eating wheat are nasty & I don’t need to say anything beyond that…maybe you live with celiac too.  It is not uncommon to have type 1 diabetes & celiac.  Unfortunately one autoimmune disease begets the next one & I now have 4 but this is no woe is me tale.  I was made for a feisty fight & that is what I will do until I don’t have to anymore end of story!  Long story shortened, I found out the hard way that wheat flour makes the psoriasis (autoimmune disease) go berserk.  When I make pastry I make a mess & flour goes everywhere including on my skin.  The wheat flour took the psoriasis to a whole new level of agitation.  Thankfully there were just 2 days working with the wheat flour so hopefully the psoriasis will get a hold of itself man so to speak.  The link to diabetes…the flowchart always seems to arrive at the bully of diabetes & its loud screams if another “365” is having an outburst.  With the super flare of psoriasis came inflammation & parallel subsequent high blood sugars.  Rats!  It turned out to be less of a hassle to move on to working with the fragile gluten free pie crust dough.  If you haven’t made gluten free pie crust I found it to feel more like working with the salt dough that most of us made in grade school only even more fragile prior to being baked & much sticker & prone to breaking than wheat flour.  The great news though is that once I baked up a mini gluten free apple pie our curious sons insisted on trying it & they all said that they like it even better than regular pie.  Honestly it does not quite taste as delicious as wheat flour pie but it is pretty darned delicious so I am happy…really happy because I am eating a slice of it right now while writing.  Gluten free baking is coming along better I am finding although it does take longer & lots of experimentation (and espresso & feisty determination).

In the last several weeks the medical appointments for me & a couple of Dear Hearts have ramped up.  All of us have felt like part of experimentation at times.  As a funny aside, one of the appointments that I had was my annual trip to the optometrist.  If you have diabetes then you know that feeling of almost holding your breath while you await the test results each year from the eye exam.  The parking lot & perimeter of the optometrist office building was surrounded by massive construction this year.  There was a strange maze like way of getting into the building that made very little sense & there were many people frantically trying to get to appointments while doing the maze.  One lady came out of the maze & said to me “if you figure out how to make it into the building you pass the psychological test.”  That gave me a belly laugh.  The best part is that my eyes I found out are perfect…no diabetic eye complications phew after living with type 1 for coming up on 8 years now.  With a couple of medical appointments that I attended for Dear Hearts there were medical students doing part of the exam or procedure.  That can be a little unnerving & I admit that I asked the doctors in both cases to double check the students’ work not to be disrespectful but just plain because I want the very best for my Dear Hearts (who wouldn’t).  The most recent experiment that I just started is for the psoriasis & I am so hopeful that the treatment will send it into remission.  That would be a bonus for sure.  It involves going to the hospital 3 times a week for the next 4 months so that is a bit of a hassle but if it works it will be worth it.  This afternoon I guess I will be in human experiment mode since I have yet another doctor’s appointment for a newly emerging medical issue that of course has the type 1 diabetes screaming its brains out sending me without warning into highs & lows all over the map.  That ticks me off because these current blood sugar numbers are going into my A1C for my next appointment & they are terrible & I will have to explain it all.  Thankfully my endo & nurse are outstanding so my appointments are an adult experience vs feeling like a little kid being sent to the principal’s office.  Having a calendar filled with medical appointments drives me up the wall but I am working on focusing on the things that I am grateful for instead like access to medical care.  Bigger than that I am focusing on being more peaceful & more okay with whatever each day brings.  That is a new experiment since my natural tendency is to be hyper, a worrier, controlling where my health is concerned, and to pack too much into any given day.  Also I am trying not to be such a contributor to our family swear jar.  I will blame high blood sugar a bit for that though. 

Here’s the thing that I discovered about homemade apple pie & that is that it is a mood lightener.  I love the smell of apple pie baking in my little oven.  I love being in my kitchen & I am as grateful  as I was 9 years ago to be baking in this wonderful chaotic home that we moved into.  When I walked into the kitchen 9 years ago I knew it was home.  When you have 3 sons let’s face it, you spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  I love it here.  I love my family & I love it when my friends come over & I get to share laughter & life & pie or cake or anything homemade with them.  I love being that friend who seems to have too many teapots until friends discover that I put out a tea buffet along with the treats because having just 1 or 2 or 3 types of tea is just not how I do things. 

My heart’s hope for you is that you find countless things to be grateful about.  Chances are they are the things that are not things at all.  Gratitude makes a huge difference.  May you always have someone in your life to share the ups & downs with.  Maybe it is the person that asks for a second opinion or maybe it is the person that makes you homemade pie.  And yes people with diabetes can eat that!

Smiles, Saundie :)

May your week be filled with bounty from the harvest.  The farmer’s market is filled with absolutely gorgeous veggies & fruit.  Thank a farmer while you are at it.  And if you are in my neighborhood just give me a wee bit over an hours notice & come over to my happy, chaotic kitchen for a tea buffet served with warm apple pie.  Next Monday’s story is in the creative ether as it often is ;)