Our Diabetes/365 Community IS our cuppa!
What if we could write our own review each year of our life experiences over the past 12 months? Oh right, we can if we want to. As a humorous aside, sometimes when our oldest son is either giving grunt like responses or zombie non responses, I like to say one of two things which kind of get his goat. One is “good talk son.” The other is “dear diary, today I got to spend time with my mom;it was the best day of my life…” I only mention the aside because we can choose something as simple as journaling our year which can sometimes help clarify our own thoughts. When I was growing up I had several old fashioned diaries that I would drone on in about well, boys. Then I would lock the diary with the dollar store like key that came with the diary convinced that it was as secure as Fort Knox & then as an extra layer of security I would usually hide the diary under my mattress. I kind of wish I had saved the diaries because they would be a hoot to read now but each time a break up occurred my go to action was to destroy my diary & all evidence of the angst. Those were the teenaged years & everything seemed like a huge deal. I am sure that is the most natural thing in the world. My hiding places were so stereotypical that I am really laughing about it now.
I like to do a mini review of how the year is going 3 times a year: once at the end of December, again in February and then sometime in the spring or summer. I like to ask myself how it is going. Do you find that in one way or another that you do the same thing? And when I do these wee reviews I like to drink massive amounts of coffee & tea interchangeably. That is exactly what I am doing today...coffee, then English Breakfast tea, then espresso, then chai tea, then dark roast coffee again & so on. It is a tradition, a ritual or something along those lines & I kind of embrace the whole kit & kaboodle.
Here we all are just 3 days away from the beginning of a brand new year. It sounds extremely cliche to say that this past year has flown by yet it sure has. I distinctly remember January 1, 2014 & the feeling of hopefulness especially convincing myself that it was going to be a super healthy year. Perhaps the foreshadowing of the year though was that we ended up inviting our oldest son’s most pessimistic friend over for dinner. I am kidding of course about the foreshadowing because I am zero percent superstitious. It was a fitting start to the year though as I look back. It is such a blessing that we can only live one day at a time & we do not know what each year will bring. 2013 had been a challenging year frankly & I was good & ready to write 2013 off & bring on 2014. In hindsight, my eagerness would not been diminished had I known then what I know now.
You know the symbol that has an intermix of black & white? That sure represents life. Of course 2014 was not all good nor all bad. It had a mixture of both. Is this what you found too? Last January straight through until the end of March included one cold bug or flu bug one after the other. I wondered if I had any immune system at all at that point. You will know exactly what I mean when I say that we don’t simply fight flu or colds or any other virus but rather we have to figure out the parallel strategies for high blood sugars that go along with viruses. It is like doing double battle. I will admit that when I come across the odd person here & there that whines about having the sniffles but is otherwise healthy my nonsense meter goes to maximum. Most of us know someone like that & if there were a bubble captain above my head it would likely say something like“get ahold of yourself man!” Colds & flu with diabetes can turn into dka & that is big time scary so diabetes gets the front seat while fighting any kind of virus. It will not be ignored that’s for sure. Enter March break & the list of fun activities that our sons & I had listed out. Day 1 of March break I woke up with the absolute worse sore throat of my life to the point that it was brutal to even swallow & there was no sleeping through it either. I had come down with strep throat I soon learned. I had never had strep before & sure thought that the whole memory of it would be far behind me once the antibiotics set in. 10 days later I woke up covered in sore red spots which were misdiagnosed for 4 weeks. Finally I Found out that the strep had caused me to get psoriasis which runs in my family. Of course I thought I would just put the prescription on them & they would be gone & a distant bad memory. In life I have so often found myself in the outlier zone & guttate psoriasis was to be no exception. I am still fighting the fight with this & I will find a way to make it go into remission no ands, ifs or buts. It is the one & only visible chronic illness that I have & it is frankly the one that I feel most able to make go away at least for a while. None of the chronic illnesses are better or worse than one another but I feel most able to find a way to get a break from psoriasis so that I can focus on the others & better still on living this beautiful messy life that is all my own.
Okay so January to March were a challenge health wise. At the same time last February I decided that I had had quite enough of the nausea & stomach agony that had plagued me for 4 years & had not been properly diagnosed. I went through it seemed like every test known to man but in the end it was worth it. At the end of last June I found out that I have celiac as well as dairy allergies. That explained a great deal & it was a relief to know this information so that I could do something about it all. It is complicated preparing foods but so worth it & on a very positive note I love to cook & bake so I had found ways to make treats that fall within the celiac as well as the dairy allergies & my tummy feels amazing for the first time in 4 years. I know this way of eating is lifelong for me but I do not feel badly for myself in the least. I can manage this & with a great attitude. It means that I have to take the meals wherever I go but it is like a travelling picnic & I get to stir in the love for others to share the meals too & tasting is believing for them that gluten & dairy free can be delicious with practice. Lets face it, type 1 diabetes is the battleground of preparation for complicated right. So 2 new chronic illnesses made their debut in 2014 but I am going to be just fine with those as well. I don’t have to like having 4 chronic illnesses but I do need to make a choice about how I am going to live my life with them. There is no pity party for one for me I decided 7 years ago. It is a beautiful messy life no matter what gets thrown my way.
The thing that I have learned along the way & continue to learn is that when I focus on gratitude I really live my life with profound joy even though there are health challenges. The great thing is that I can be very real about it all. I can admit when some days are going south & yet still find something every day to be grateful for...family, friends, the changing colours of the leaves on trees on a Fall day, a fresh winter’s soft snow fall, and the sound of my children’s laughter. It is all big time messy beautiful. In that spirit, I took the bull by the horns last summer & every single day my sons & I did something small that we had never done before. And there were lots of days that I felt unwell but bigger than that I still had the joy of simple experiences with them anyway like racing after them with the garden hose & getting a good soaking myself if I opened up the back door & got nailed by one of their super soakers. I prepared picnics with the new celiac & dairy free friendly ingredients & some of the dishes were given huge thumbs down by our sons. That is ok. It is a learning experience & some of the gluten free dishes tasted awful like the pizzas I made up. we have laughed about the dishes that were total mishaps but we have developed some awesome recipes along the way too that the boys have declared taste better than the “normal” recipes. That is cool.
At the end of last summer, my husband & I decided that there just is no perfect time in life to do some of the things that we have on our wish list. We had been planning on doing a small family trip back to Quebec for over a year & it had landed in the “someday” zone over & over again. We decided to just go ahead & plan it out for Thanksgiving weekend. It was complicated health wise yet I was big time up for the challenge & I am so grateful that we went ahead & had that trip with our sons. It was a beautiful time together full of laughs & happy tears too. Touch wood but I also learned of a proactive antidote I think for colds last summer & started to take it every morning & this is the first Fall and early winter in 7 years that I have not had a single cold. Maybe I have just been lucky but either way I am incredibly thankful.
The rave review continues for the month of December which is pretty rare. I kept my perspective leading up to Christmas season for the first time ever. I was in a take it as it comes mode which frankly is a first. It was not a perfect December just like I am sure that it wasn't for you either. Two family members ended up in the hospital with serious conditions this month yet I continue to have faith that full healing will happen for both family members. I am grateful that we have hospitals within the area with such specialities & that the family members were given warning signs so that they could get prompt medical attention.
There would have been a time when I would have gotten bent out of shape about a lot of things around Christmas. It was not this way this year even though the day was beautiful messy. I woke up at 4am Christmas morning with the shakes & sweats in a full tilt low blood sugar but bless my mom & dad & our sons for letting me have a sleep in. That resulted in dinner being served the latest that I have ever served any dinner which was 9pm. We were all ok with that though with a late lunch, snacks & perspective. My husband went to his parents place on Christmas afternoon when they were both ill for many hours yet that is the gift of being part of a family & that is that we each help one another no matter what. I feel beyond thankful to have a family to love & love me, a warm roof over my head, healthy meals and incredible friends. That is one of the ravest reviews of them all...new friendships & older friendships strengthened. I have made some spectacular friendships both new & ones that traveled with me prior to 2014. I am big time thankful for all these friendships. If you are reading this right now please know that I consider you to be within my circle of friendships too.
So here I am sitting here with coffee & tea buffets happening in a chain drinking sort of way & I am giving this past year a rave review even with the new health challenges. Even though my blood sugar is stinking out at 14 right now & my neck has gone into spasm because I must have been stressing more on the inside than I realized & I feel brutally tired, beyond this I still feel joy. As an aside, my Grandpa MacDonald had written home to his family during WW1 that he had tea with some “older broads.” That stuck me as funny because the gals were in their forties which most of us would agree is not old but to him at just 17 years old I am sure it would have seemed that way. I realized that I had never used the word “broad” in that sense in my life yet when the term comes to mind it hits me as describing someone pretty strong. Well, here’s a first...I consider myself to be one blessed & strong “broad.” I never really realized just how much we can truly handle when it comes at us one day at a time.
My hearts hope for you is that you have countless blessings in 2015 & take it as it comes & know always that you are always strong enough. Some days the strength comes from angels disguised as people.
Smiles, Saundie :)
Next Monday's writing is yet to be written :)