Our Diabetes/365 Community IS our cuppa!
Life, 42, and Help Me
Who’s on your team? “What team?” you may be asking. It is the one that I consider to be the ultimate team of teams. It consists of all the MVP’s. We have previously talked about the team that we put together for our health management if we live with a 365 or several. Today though, let’s go way beyond that & to the place where our ultimate players reside. The idea is that the players on this team are for keeps so we choose wisely & then some. The ultimate team requires strength, steadfastness, courage, compassion, ability to think under pressure and an extra large side serving of love. There can be no quitters & no flakes, no part timers & no fakers on my team. The stakes are high. The game is life although I don’t personally consider life to be a game but rather so much more precious.
Do you find that there are times in life where certain messages collide so blatantly & there is no missing the neon signs? I think this happens more often than I realize because life these days can be filled with a zillion distractions so being present in the moment is an extra tall order. Most recently the game of baseball has made a neon appearance in my life after more than 2 decades. Everywhere I turn, there it is…baseball. When I was between the ages of 8-12 I quite enjoyed playing baseball for fun in the small town that I grew up in. Frankly, I was not good at it unless you consider bench warmer a position on the team. Our coach was a nice enough person however she was highly competitive & she wanted to win each game so much that she lost sight of the fact that it was meant to be a league played for fun. There were many players on the team that were excellent ball players. I got benched. I got benched a lot. Even at that age though I decided that I was not going to be a whiner. At that point I was painfully shy so I did not have the courage to speak up for myself & ask to get in the game. I did decide however that I did have the bravery to cheer for my team & be an encourager even from the bench. I learned to make the best of things. That was one big thing I learned from being a baseball game bench warmer. Once I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes & then subsequently 3 more chronic 365’s I still had that make the best out of the situation. The thing I developed during baseball as a kid was my attitude & I am grateful for that big time. Best of all is the fact that I got to keep & build on the attitude of making the best out of situations plus I found my voice. That’s a double play!
Our youngest son, Alex loves baseball. His 2 favourite teams are the New York Yankees & the Toronto Blue Jays. Being the mom to 3 sons meant that it is a no brainer that my husband & I would surprise the boys by taking them to a MLB game at some point. This felt like the summer for exactly this. While our sons were away on a fishing trip with my Dad I ordered tickets to a Blue Jays game for the first day of our sons’ summer holidays from school. We were so excited to share the news with the boys. On June 29th, we went to the Jay’s game & it was very cool being there. The last time I had been to a Blue Jays game was the year the team won the world series…1992. As I enjoyed the game & enjoyed watching the boys having fun, many things hit me at once about baseball. Baseball is a lot like life with diabetes minus the 3 strikes & you are out! Some days life with type 1 is like a home run. Those are the days where we nail it with our blood sugars & we are able to internally cheer ourselves on. I know I cannot help being over happy on the great blood sugar days. Those days are better than Christmas for me. Those days are a gift. Just like in baseball, we try for those homerun like days every day but just like the pro players in baseball there are lots of days of misses. We try again though each up to bat chance. What does our average look like? We each answer that question for ourselves. For me I would say I am 60-40 good days to bad however I am highly motivated to better my average. The high balls are high blood sugar days which suck big time…as in suck the literal energy out of us…as in suck the Lake dry with the amount of water that we have to drink. You know what I mean. The low balls are low blood sugar days. Those are the days where we might need to sit down before we fall down complete with a helping of slurred words, the sweats, numb tongue, confusion & the superpower of being able to inhale the contents of a juice box faster than light. As an aside the last time I had a hair appointment I went into a low & simply told my hair stylist that I was not drunk at 10:00am although I might appear to be & then I had my juice & then we laughed about it. She then asked me several questions about diabetes as she said that she had not been feeling well & wondered if she should get checked out. Something positive can come out of a low ball, low blood sugar at times after all. You never know where or when you will be advocating for diabetes awareness that’s for sure. How about the designated hitter? To me it is the person that plays for me when I am temporarily benched. My designated hitter is my husband. He is cool under pressure like no one else that I know. He is the guy who prints off & analyzes my assorted blood sugar charts, fills up the “tankards” of cartridges for my insulin pump, gives bear hugs, is the voice of reason, an exceptional listener, everyday hero and the love of my life. We are not the “Ward Family” from the show “Leave it to Beaver” by any stretch of the imagination but our family is about love. The best thing about the designated hitter is that they help out before things get too tense if possible. Most of the time I catch any low blood sugars when they are in the 3 point whatever range & I don’t need a designated hitter. I find a designated hitter helpful if my sugars go under 2.5 (Canadian measures).
There are 3 words that I almost choke on. They are the ones that are beyond difficult for me to say. All 3 of them however I have learned to at least whisper since being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The first word is a complete sentence or at least could be if I let it. I have shared that word with you before & it is the word “no.” I still struggle with saying no as often as I should because I loathe disappointing others. I have worn myself out completely at times as a result. The great news is that it is a work in progress & my batting average with using the word “no” is improving big time & I am committed to improving the average even further. An exhausted yes after all I don’t think can be too filled up with enthusiasm & I refuse to lose my enthusiasm within my lifetime…I am a self professed rascal that way! This brings me to last Thursday night & the other 2 words that I find brutally challenging to say out loud. These words for sure have been screamed (silently) within me many times but people cannot read our minds. The other 2 words are “help me.” I am fiercely independent so asking for a favor or help is big time tricky I find. Last Thursday night at about midnight I had an unmistakable gut feeling that I needed help. I don’t question my gut feeling. It could be my guardian angel tapping me on the shoulder I have come to learn. I think my guardian angel works the night shift because I have been awoken many times in the night out of nowhere to discover that I was in a full fledged low blood sugar. The sleeping hours lows are the ones I fear the most. On Thursday night I was almost asleep but something kept nudging me to stay awake & to go get my designated hitter that was still up watching tv because he is a night hawk. It turned out that I was in a low blood sugar but worse of all was that it was one that I kept trying to outrun by taking in the fast acting sugars, then retesting but the low sugar just kept going lower. I was trying to outrun something bizarre that thankfully does not happen too often to me. For 3 solid hours I kept taking in more quick acting sugar & for 15 or so minutes my sugars would start to come up & then sink lower than ever again. I felt panicked but my designated hitter was cool & stayed up with me until 3am as I took in the sugar & kept checking my blood sugar every 15 minutes. I knew & know with 100% certainty that my life was & is safe with my designated hitter. On Friday morning I woke up to what felt like a hangover, a feeling of dehydration, a dirty rotten 19 on my glucose meter, a thunder banger of a headache & the energy of a sleeping sloth. The point is though that I got to wake up. And the point of the point is that I also get to choose to make the best of this situation. I get to be thankful for life…precious life. For some reason, this rascal gets to keep choosing to send out what I hope are ripples of feisty love into the world. What’s the answer to everything? 42! This is a message within a message.
The number 42 emerged twice this past week I believe for a reason. The first time, the number was in reference to humour. I love humour. I need humour. I seek out humour & sometimes I am the comic relief. I am okay with that! If you have watched the movie, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” then you will get the reference to the number 42 & it being the answer to all of life’s questions. If you haven’t watched that movie then go ahead & enjoy it. It has been a heavy 4 days in particular since I had that scare starting with Thursday night & worse because 2 little ones (aged 4 & 5) died this past weekend from type 1 diabetes. I grieve these losses along with my D brothers & sisters. I also know though that I am already an intensely emotional & sensitive person so I do allow myself to take breaks to rebuild my strength for the journey as well. We never know when we will be a designated hitter for someone else in life either in a physical sense or emotional or spiritual sense. We keep ourselves strengthened by filling our well so we can take a drink when needed. I can feel joy & sorrow at the same time after all. We are each 3 dimensional so we get to feel the whole range of emotions. Anyhow, the answer is 42 lightening myself up again. The second time that I saw the number 42 was on the back of a baseball jersey. Our sons had wanted to watch the Jackie Robinson story so we rented the dvd. Ironically, our sons got distracted by something shiny so to speak & only watched about half the movie & my husband & I ended up watching the whole thing together. It is not a movie that we would have picked out for ourselves but the movie did choose us I believe. The inspiration within the movie is breathtaking. I absolutely loved it & the owner of the team played by Harrison Ford is remarkable. I encourage you to watch that movie & you will be glad that you did. That brings me to the thread between 42 (Jackie Robinson’s jersey number) & our diabetes community which really has become a family within a family to me over the past 5 or so years. I learned at the end of the movie that every Spring all the players in major league baseball wear the number 42 one day in honour of Jackie Robinson. Wow wee I love that! Do you know what that reminds me of? It reminds me of November 14th! On November 14th each year the players on our collective team either wear blue or draw a blue circle on him or herself or turn a blue circle into his or her profile picture to show that we honour our team members. And I love that big time.
My heart’s hope for you is that you have incredible team members on your team within your journey of life. And may you also always know that you are part of a team of D brothers & sisters & we each wear an invisible 42 every day of the year. I am cheering for you!
Smiles, Saundie :)
Be gentle with yourself & remember that there is no shame in asking for help especially in urgent situations. Make sure you have a designated hitter that you can rely on day or night. And on the rainy days why not snuggle in with a pot of tea & watch the 2 movies each with the inspirational number 42 in them. Next Monday's story is again in the creative ether. In the meantime, just know near or far, I am cheering for you!