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09/02/2015 08:46

How would you describe February?  We may think of it as literally the middle of winter.  Instead we may look forward to it at this point as it can be both a celebratory month as well as a perspective grounding one.  February in my little corner of the world brings the gift of Valentine’s Day & Family Day.  That means that we get to enjoy celebrating the sweethearts in our lives two days with even more enthusiasm this month.  February is also the beginning of a 6 week timeframe whereby I take a brave & honest look at how things are going in many aspects of my life.  Strangely I have come to see the gift of this February mini personal taking inventory of where my habits are lingering, what needs tweaking, my attitude, relationships & of course diabetes self management.  It is the month where I kick it up a notch.  To be aware is to give ourselves the ability to straighten up any aspects of our lives that have gotten beyond messy.  For the past 7 years the consistent point that I have found within February is that I am offside.  Little by little I have gotten off course.  In the Spring, Summer & Fall I find it pretty easy to keep my exercise habits, socializing, creative projects, eating habits & diabetes care top notch.  During those seasons I feel naturally stoked.  My energy level is high & I take things on with enthusiasm.  How about winter?  Okay, confession time…no not so much.  I kind of drag myself through the months of December & January until mid February.  Then I do my getting real with myself thing & realize that yes, here I am again offside.

In the spirit of being a Canadian, I will use a hockey analogy or a few.  I have been a hockey fan since I was a wee girl.  This girl was a fan complete with the homemade corny oversized fan signs.  My Dad purchased season hockey tickets each year to the local hockey team, The Collingwood Blues games.  It is with a huge smile that I remember learning about the sport from my Dad in the chilly arena stands with a hot chocolate in one hand & a program listing out everything about the team in the other.  If you mentioned the names Garth Beer & Peter Crawford to my Dad even after all these years I am confident that he would remember those players.  My Dad taught me the rules & the “hockey talk” like what actions qualified as penalties, power shots, why you might pull a goalie out, the CAT line, what side of the blue line a play was to be made in, a hat trick & many other hockey related “need to knows. “ My Dad is & always has been one “cool cat”…pun intended Dad.  He has an infectious humorous side complete with a joke file in his filing cabinet.  My Dad was my first stand up comedian & there are a number of jokes that I remember him telling to this day complete with the voices that he did.  He sure had the patience with me during hockey season especially when I disagreed with a rule.  Some did not make sense to me especially when it came to penalties.  I came to realize that rules are there to keep things civilized & orderly & to make the sport more fun.  They are what they are.  It took me a while to get that but I finally did.  Off hockey season, my Dad tried to teach this girly girl how to fish.  Even though I would only use corn niblets for bait & would talk too much during fishing, my dad never gave up on me & my potential in any area of life.  I guess in some ways I was an offside fishing buddy.  I was what I was though & my Dad accepted that with a sense of humor & a lot of love.  Off side is one of so many gifts that my Dad grounded me in growing up & he still has that way even from almost 200kms away of doing this. 

Offside…shooting from well over the blue line…icing…that is kind of where I find myself in yet again at virtually the same time of year again this February.  Complete with a case of January blahs still in play, a bit of a penalty box attitude & a little less than the needed brawly spirit needed especially for the moving target of diabetes management to combat diabetes is where February finds me yet again. As an aside if you talk really fast there just is no such thing as a run on sentence ha ha!   Whether I feel like it or not I know I need to get back on track to analyzing my glucose graphs & trading some of my plays when it comes to managing the beast of type 1.  And no, I don’t feel like thinking about diabetes right now much less looking at what looks like some epic fails of glucose graphs & coming out with a new play book for myself moving forward.  Here’s the thing though when it comes to hockey & diabetes management & that is that to get the results that we strive for takes huge work.  It means that feeling like doing something or not has nothing to do with it.  It means rising above emotions & concentrating on the goal.  My Dad taught me that by his example & his words which is a rare & beautiful life lesson.  Diabetes is what it is & whether I feel like putting full effort into combating it or not  I know that I have a bigger yes to do this than no on any given day.  On the days where I don’t feel like doing what I need to do I just remember that my family needs me to be here & I love them indescribably so yes, I will combat type 1 & whatever else every day no matter what.  Thank goodness for the gift of the bigger yes.

Let’s go back in time for a few minutes to those Collingwood Blues hockey games.  My Dad helped me create 2 big time corny fan signs.  One was, “Let’s Cheer for Beer; go Garth go” & the other was “Crawford is the coolest Cat.”  (Crawford played on the cat line).  Each & every game, I took those signs along to the games & cheered like a maniac.  These are special memories of this small town Canadian girl.

It is an honor to share my Dad with you in a couple more especially dear stories.  Our thread of hockey enjoyed together continues in both of these following stories.  Fellow Canadians, you know how difficult it is on many levels to get tickets to a Toronto Leafs game.  When I was 12 years old, my parents surprised my cousin Lindy (Lindy Lou, my Heart’s Sister is what I call her) & I with an overnight stay in Toronto at a hotel complete with dinner out anywhere that we chose & tickets to a Leaf’s game.  This was a huge deal to get to go to Toronto, which was 2 hours drive away from my wee town (population 1200) & go to a Leaf’s game.  Lindy has always been more of a sister to me & so when we discovered that not far from Maple Leaf Gardens there was a restaurant called “Lindy’s Steakhouse” we instantly agreed that was the dinner spot.  We were thrilled too when we discovered that there was mini juke box at each table & my Dad handed Lindy & I some coins to feed the juke box.  The piece de la resistance was the fun that my Mom, Dad, Lindy & I had at the Leaf’s game.  Many memories have stayed with me & this one is as clear as if it were only a few days ago.  My next hockey thread memory with my Dad is more recent & whether you have diabetes or not you will be blown away by the act of love that I am about to share with you.  The first year with type 1 diabetes was especially difficult I found.  I was fighting that I was going to be stuck with diabetes permanently every step of the way.  One thing that drove me up the wall on a daily basis was the medical rule within my geographic area that I could not even apply for consideration of the insulin pump until a full year of multi injections had gone by.  4 needles a day minimum for a full year is what that meant.  I wanted the pump so badly & I had my eye on the one I longed for.  I counted the days down on the calendar as if Christmas were approaching.  At the same time I inadvertently also put my life on hold.  That first year with type 1 I declined more social invitations with a perception that I was safer to do that.  For sure I was at the beginning of a steep learning curve when it came to type 1 & the other thing that I found was that a zillion things affected my blood sugars in either direction so being around others or in unusual circumstances was too risky that first year.  That made for frankly a pretty miserable me that year.  I am a social animal by nature so I had imprisoned myself that year.  I missed the opportunity to go with a friend to see Maya Angelou in Toronto which is only about an hour away from where we live now.  I missed that chance because I had imprisoned myself or immobilized myself with fear.  I had the “whatifitis” pretty badly that year.  Do you know what broke me out of that state?  Fittingly, it was the thread of hockey yet again.  My Dad called me up one day & invited me to a Leaf’s hockey game.  My emotions screamed at me that a zillion things could go wrong with my blood sugars.  I was at that point still literally breaking out into a sweat every single time I had to give myself a needle.  I was panicking about so many things when it came to diabetes.  Diabetes scared me…insulin scared me at the same time as it provided blessings.  It was a trapeze act balance.  Insulin is of course like that anyway but I felt it in a way that magnified it that first year.  My Dad bailed me out though with the one thing that was bigger than my fear of what could go wrong if I went too far away from home that first year & that was with the bond of hockey.  Against my beating heart & cool sweat, I heard myself reply that I would love to go with my Dad.  We decided that we would have dinner downtown before the game.  My Dad was aware of my needle phobia & somehow knew that I would be worrying about this when it came to dinner out away from home but neither one of us spoke of this beforehand.  When we arrived at the restaurant, my Dad looked me in the eye & said, “Saund, don’t worry at all about the insulin needle before dinner.”  He went on to explain that he went to his doctor’s office the week before & had an appointment with the nurse there to learn how to inject insulin in case I needed help.  He told me about learning by injecting into an orange & how his nurse is the best at giving needles.  He said, “I’ve got you covered Saund.”  There are no words to say how loved I felt at that moment in time & how it is frozen in my memory as one of the most loving acts I have ever received.  I found that I was able to give myself the injection at dinner that night without breaking out into a sweat & we just laughed & enjoyed the dinner & the game.  As an aside on the way into the game, security checks bags & purses & they insisted that I could not take my emergency juice box into the game.  “Don’t worry about it Saund, we will get an emergency pop just in case.”  We just laughed that off & enjoyed every single moment of the hockey game together.  You know who has my back & always will…my Dad.  We have never spoken of the incredible act of love & how it helped me to break free of my diabetes fears.  I am grateful beyond words to & for my Dad.

I love my Dad.

My heart’s hope for you is that you treasure the Dear Hearts in your life that have you covered too.

Smiles, Saund :)

This week please find a way to honour someone dear to your heart.  Do that something special today.  Live without regrets for taking that moment to give someone dear a hug, a smile, a card, a cupcake, a phone call, a poem, a drawing or whatever is in your heart to give out of love.  Next week's writing piece is steeping xo