Our Diabetes/365 Community IS our cuppa!
Liquids & Solids
Have you made the time yet in your life to stand before one of the countless waterfalls in nature’s backyard? What do you see & hear while you experience this marvel? Are you standing there with someone you love? I hope so. Have you gone as far into a quiet area as you can to see a waterfall with someone dear to your heart? It is a gift. I know because long after this experience I have the same smile of joy as if in some way we take a piece of nature with us each time we really breath in with our eyes & soul the time there.
Water carries so many life giving properties. It quenches the physical thirst obviously and provides for our spirits & souls too. We are drawn to a fountain often in life with the big questions. The water quenches restlessness within me always in one form or another. As an aside, it takes a pretty brilliant source of water to make the perfect cup of tea. We may think that water tastes the same everywhere but I will say that I don’t agree with that at all. To me there is nothing like sipping the perfect cup of tea. It all starts with an incredible water source. I would add that the company adds to the deliciousness of a cuppa. We can be our own special company as well don’t forget. Although I am not a diva, I always drink my tea at home from my loveliest of teacups & saucers. To leave these gems behind the glass of my china cabinet is to me a lot like choosing to shut ourselves off from the beauty of the world. It is kind of like knowing that there are paths outside to walk with glorious fir trees or areas with waterfalls or walks along the shoreline to take & choosing instead to shut ourselves off in our own little world of something so much smaller. Why choose to be a prisoner? Let’s set our water beside us for a time while I share with you 2 other clear liquids.
If you also have type 1 you will be nodding your head very shortly. What comes in a 10ml glass container that your life depends on literally & you have a stash of in the butter compartment of your refrigerator right now? It sometimes seems inconceivable to me that a container that small saves my life from one minute to the next & that 10ml keeps me alive for 30 days. A few days ago it was time to fill up a new insulin pump cartridge. I looked at the tiny vial of insulin & as 1/3 of the vial was manually transferred to my insulin cartridge my husband said, “ah, I see that you are about to have a full tankard of insulin.” I laughed because 3.3ml in many ways does represent a tankard to me. It represents around7-10 days of whatever life is going to bring my way including meals, stress, sick day management corrections, corrections for no logical reason due to kooky high blood sugars, and countless other day in & day out activities. 3.3 ml gives me those freedoms to live my life as close to “normal” as possible. It is a given that means that I am still doing math every waking hour of the day for diabetes management & sometimes in the middle of the night too but without these 3.3 ml of insulin I would not be here. Less than 100 years ago type 1 diabetes was a death sentence. It is still a beast of a disease however you & I are here & you & I are not giving up on any day of the week period. Insulin receives not only my gratitude but also my respect. Too much insulin is dangerous for example with devastating consequences. You get good at math because literally your life depends on it with insulin. I loathe math. I am laughing because I am married to an engineer & our youngest son has also declared his love of math & that he is going to be a mechanical engineer one day. I hear the merits of math often from the mathletes in our home. And I hear the words that my husband said to me when we were dating in grade 12 when I declared that I detested math & would never really need it. He simply replied, “You need math in many areas of life Saundie.” 3.3ml of insulin for around a week & a serious amount of math is what & I need to keep myself alive. Our individual amounts of insulin will be different for each person living with diabetes so my “tankard” will look different from yours. We share the reliance on insulin though & the responsibility that this entails. The second clear liquid that has an impact each day comes in a slightly larger container. 60grams is still a tiny container with what I hope will be promising results. This container does not help me to sustain life however it does give me hope & a bit of a game plan on one of my other chronic illnesses. I will pause here to yell, “stop attacking yourself flawed immune system!” at my body. I was warned that one autoimmune disease can lead to more autoimmune diseases. Maybe it is a crap shoot but either way I am fighting whatever comes my way in my feisty fight never giving up. A couple of weeks ago I was referred to a new specialist for the psoriasis that I now have had for a full year all due to last March’s bout with strep throat. My new specialist is fantastic. She gave me quality answers & information in a no b.s. type of way. Who really wants a side order of b.s. anyway? She gave me the good, bad & ugly lowdown on what I am trying to send into remission because there is no cure for this. Too many of us living with illnesses hear the words, “there is no cure.” I am not just referring to the 4 chronic illnesses that I live with. I have said it before & will say it again, and that is that the cures to the devastating chronic illnesses will come from someone who is deeply touched by the disease because those are the people that “get it” that it is time to stop with the smoke & mirrors & get down to providing opportunities for the brainiacs to come up with the cures. There is no shortage of brain power. My specialist gave me a game plan. I love that. It does not mean that the first game plan will work but it does mean that we keep going until this autoimmune disease is sent into remission. Unlike type 1 (another autoimmune disease) at least psoriasis has the potential to be sent into remission. I accept nothing less than my best effort so I accept the challenge of sending this sucker into remission & I will let you know when not if this is a reality. The specialist gave me the truth in a no smoke & mirrors way & did not speak to me like I am a dooh head. I am thankful for that. If bad news is coming, it is good at least to have it delivered in a respectful way. She did tell me that with my combination of 365’s that I am at least 2x more likely to sustain a heart attack & that I am very susceptible to psoriatic arthritis which can becoming debilitating to the point of being in a wheelchair. She looked me in the eye & told me that although I was predisposed to getting psoriasis as she said it is hereditary that I am in the driver's seat as far as reduction of risk factors for complications from this. Then she gave me information on how to best live day in day out to reduce my risks of these things. The great news is that I do not smoke & I realized that I am not much of a drinker since I have had only 3 glasses of wine in the past year. The exercise component is something good for everyone & I love brisk walking with my personal trainer aka our big, goofy, sweet golden retriever. My eating habits are very good. My doctor told me that I am on the right track & then added, “How is your stress management?” Truthfully it needs improvement. I am a profoundly sensitive person so I feel everything at a level of depth that is indescribable which at times means that my stress level is quite elevated. I did not go into detail as I answered the doctor however I was honest & told her that I have work to do. It gives me a great deal of peace of mind to say that I have an excellent team of doctors & that the relationships are based upon mutual respect & honesty & solid game plans. I hope that you have this too.
Let’s get to the solids now. Solids can be foundational or nonsensical I have found in life. We can choose to live a life of fluff or substance for instance. When you live with chronic illness perhaps there is a perspective builder at work. It is like an instant ability to sift through what matters in what life & what is nonsense that comes with living with a “365.” It is not so much that I don’t have time for nonsense because we all make time for that which is important or what we think is important. Here is an example of a solid that you really don’t want to be holding onto but in a metaphorical way if you too are living with type 1 or another “365” we get left holding this bag at times. We purchased an older home close to 9 years ago. One of our neighbors told us about a neighbour a few houses away from us that had a no nonsense way of dealing with people. Apparently the owners of the home that we live in (this is about 20 years ago) at the time had a dog that they allowed to wonder around the general neighborhood quite often. For some reason this dog turned Mr. M’s front yard into his permanent bathroom daily. Mr. M finally got to the point where he had quite enough of cleaning up after the dog. One day Mr. M picked up the dog dew dew & put it in a paper bag, rang the doorbell of the owners then of our home & handed the bag to them & gave them a stern talking to. Sometimes in life unfortunately we are each handed a bag of dog dew dew so to speak in a different form. Type 1 is a great example of being handed a bag of dew dew & it is totally unfair. It is unfair because type 1 is not something that we have because we have caused it. The same thing can be said of countless other illnesses. Let’s not spend any time though going on about how unfair it is as you & I are not victims. We are warriors. What can we do with a steamy bag of dew dew? I would answer, “a lot!” We can take our struggle & reach out to someone else in significant & loving ways because we know exactly how it feels to have to fight for our lives. We get it. We don’t do smoke & mirrors. We do real. We do real & we do it big time. We are all in. This leads beautifully to the real solid to share with you. Last weekend a friend shared a simple thought that stuck with me. He was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer recently. He said, “We don’t have all the time in the world to behave in a flakey way.” He went on to say that “the time to get real is always now.” This fellow spoke this way long before he was diagnosed as well so this was his way of tapping others on the shoulder in a way that given his diagnosis may just shock some folks into reality. That is a choice though as well as to what level of embracing of any truth we will accept. I will share that because I am excruciatingly sensitive that I don’t have the capacity for smoke & mirrors & I put my heart out there in a way that sometimes means that I get hurt in this world. Not everyone obviously thinks or behaves as we do. There is nothing wrong with that as we are all meant to be beautiful originals. Even though our hearts can get hurt at times I refuse to ever let that result in me putting up a roadblock with others or between my heart & others. We each choose our behaviours & I choose to concentrate on the examples of goodness instead of choosing to become bitter & a prisoner to myself or cave in on myself. The best remedy I have ever found for my wounded heart is to immediately find a way to reach out to someone that needs an act of kindness. Some of the best acts of kindnesses come out of the blue & completely anonymously. There is nothing flakey about that. When you find yourself needing a little push in this path of thinking & behaving a quote by the Blessed Mother Teresa has never failed to propel me in this direction. I will not quote the whole passage here but simply say that it is the one that contains within it “people will sometimes be unkind & unreasonable; be kind anyways...” In no way am I saying that we simply accept the smelly paper bag when it comes our way & do nothing about it. Yes, doing something with that bag makes all the difference between the smoke & mirrors that can be prevalent in the world (or as my friend referred to it as flakey behaviour). If we help someone who is suffering in any way then we have built a foundation of substance. My husband is a no nonsense person with a soft heart for those suffering. Many people see him as a wolf but he is really a sheep in wolf’s clothing. Because he does not enter into fluffy banter nor comes off as warm & fuzzy many people find him intimidating. That is too bad but it does not bother my husband. He does not enter into small talk, gossip and he keeps his ego very disciplined. When things get tense he remains calm & he easily forgives others. He does not shine a light on the kindnesses that he does but prefers to do them in an understated fashion. He is able to do the right thing because it is right no matter what the personal consequence is to him. I admire these gifts of character within him. He provides a foundation that is solid for his family. Yes, I am the emotional one & feel things so deeply & this can get exhausting at times especially while fighting diabetes & the other stuff at the same time. My husband though takes something emotional & turns it into something foundational by his example so many times. He listens & then will say things like, “right is right whether it is popular or not.” He also is forever saying, “Remember the serenity prayer.” He is a quiet person who does not say much but when he does speak it is not to share anything flakey at all. He does not do flakey period. We balance one another out & together we can do so much more with the bags of dew dew that diabetes and other stuff sends our way.
There are just a few thoughts that I will close off with this week. The first one is to share with you the words that I say to our 2 youngest sons each morning before they head off to school. I say to them, “be kind because the world needs your kindness.” Next, here is my own personal mantra that I don’t say out loud but rather choose to live it by action & that is, “make a difference in this world but take no shit!” Please pardon my indelicate way of putting this. What I am saying here is “Stand up for what is right no matter what & send out love no matter what.” Here is the thing & that is that being real is a decision. Being real does not mean being popular or a yes man or yes woman. If we each look deep within ourselves courageously then we know what getting real is for us as individuals. In that spirit, let’s end with a powerful quote by Theodore Roosevelt that the feisty me loves:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” (Theodore Roosevelt)
My heart’s hope for you is that you fill yourself with both life giving liquids & a solid foundation no matter what life throws your way. You are a warrior. Keep fighting. You are loved.
Yes, it seems like a long winter this year & we may be feeling a bit worn out but keep going; keep fighting the good fight. Take the best possible care of your health & of you & those around you. Fall down we will & get back up we will!! Next Monday's writing sharing is, "The Collision of Courage."