Friday, December 05, 2008

Phase 2 Mittens

Shucks, winter is here. We are getting some heavy snow right now - that's Minnesota for you.

I am thankful that I have a big supply of warm clothes and accessories. Inluding my walk to the bus stop and then the wait, I can be out in the elements anywhere from 10-30 minutes. It's best to be prepared.

These are my Phase 1 gloves, from the Dollar Store. I always lose them so will buy 4 pairs at a time. Phase 1 weather is between 20-40 degrees.

Then we come to Phase 2, about 0-20 degrees. These are mittens I knit and the pattern called them "Traditional Latvian Mittens", but we all know that things change over time and continents. There is another wool mitten inside, but, they are really not as warm as they look.

And finally, when it's below zero, we have to call on the big guys. The Phase 3's are lined with goosedown. I ordered them from Canada 10 years ago and guard them with my life. See that big diagonal ridge? That's where the down has lumped up, but if I put them in the dryer on low, the lump will disappear.

Today was a Phase 2 day. As I was getting ready to get off the bus, the woman next to me said, "oh, are those the mittens with that insulin from 3M"? Obviously she meant
Thinsulate, a synthetic product made to add warmth to outdoor clothing. I told her no, they weren't, but I had some insulin in my purse. She replied, "well, that's good - you can't go wrong with a nice warm handbag".

No, I guess you can't.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

D Blog Day - Convenience

I am in a bad mood. And, like a lot of people, it's about money.

A couple of weeks ago my '99 Honda Civic, Phoebe, began having some problems. Hondas are good cars, but the older ones are vulnerable to headgasket problems, which are expensive to fix. I was looking at a bill of close to $4000, which was a lot, but I thought I could swing it.

That same week, we were told at work that there would be a 10% paycut, begining in '09. We also had 2 lay-offs in my office, leaving the rest of the staff feeling irritable and anxious. Then we got our benefits info for '09. My HMO was no longer offered. I will be switching to Blue Cross and my cost per pay period will rise from $58 to $125. I currently am paying nothing for test strips, but next year will have a 10% co-payment. I also pay nothing for lab tests, but next year another 10% co-payment. All of these 10%s can add up to a lot of dough. Some of the younger people with good health are choosing to not have insurance at all. I cannot take that risk.

I am giving up the car. At least for now. Minneapolis has a reasonable public transportation system, and I am already taking the bus to work. I won't have to shovel it out for snow emergencies, or worry about it starting after a stretch of below-zero weather. I have lots of warm clothes and the extra walking will do me good.

I can clearly feel myself blaming the diabetes for this. It is convenient to blame the db for everything that goes wrong in my life.............

I am getting old and don't like it...blame the diabetes.
I think I saw a strand of grey hair ...blame the diabetes.
I am no longer comfortable wearing high heels all day and feel like a frumpy school marm in flat shoes ...blame the diabetes.
My dvd player is broken.. blame the diabetes
My neighborhood is no longer quiet and quaint...blame th ediabetes
Winter is coming to Minnesota...blame the diabetes.

Last weekend I was out doing errands. It was cold and gray. Then, I came upon this (and fortunately had my camera):

We had already had a hard freeze, yet still these little guys were showing themselves, magnificent against the shriveling brown vines. And, my favorite shades of blue. Now, had I been driving in my car, I would have missed out on this blatant message that there is goodness and beauty around us - just keep your eyes open.

This next year I'm going to try to put the db into it proper place in my life - and shoot, I don't know what that might be. Too much focus and I am preoccupied and overwhelmed and conveniently dump all of my discontent into the db box; too little focus and I feel unwell and my life is shortened. DB is just one of many threads woven into the structure that we use to define ourselves. And I need to decide where it fits in.

Happy D Blog Day to all of my precious friends. You're the best!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Walking on Eggshells

This last weekend, my sister F and niece Emily made the 70 mile drive to central Minnesota to look in on my mother. We'd received a call from assisted living that she was coughing a lot and also very tired.

We took her to the dr, who said that she "perhaps" had pneumonia. They couldn't tell by a chest x-ray because there was too much scar tissue from the emphysema, nor could he tell by listening to her lungs. I said "pneumonia is very serious in someone with existing lung problems, right?" He then muttered that we should hope that it was pneumonia, which could be treated. Worsening emphysema cannot - one just progresses further down the tunnel of poor health. My M does not have much of a margin left before her quality of life is totally hosed.

So, it was not a happy visit. On the way home, Em and I were sitting in the backseat, playing travel bingo and working on learning some old Beatle songs. I took out my meter and lanced my finger. Em said, "wow - is that blood?". I told her that yes, it was blood, and that I was going to put it on a little piece of plastic and then a number would show up on the screen. We waited and looked at the number. I told her that the number tells me what to do next to take care of myself.

A few minutes later we pulled into a gas station and F turned around and shouted "don't you ever do that again - Emily is traumatized". Well, that was news to me. Em was singing "Good Day Sunshine" somewhat offkey but with a lot of gusto.

In truth, it was F that does not want to be reminded that I have db. She was very close to one of my cousins that died from it a couple of years ago. None of my immediate family has ever seen me take an injection, and I've always discreetly treated my hypos. It's a lot to keep up with. But no, I musn't upset anybody.

When we got back to my place they both came in to try on a sweater that I'm knitting for Em. F was in the kitchen and saw a piece of paper on my frig. Plain and simple, it is a list of all my meds and db stuff that I need to pack when we go home for my M's final days and/or funeral. F knew that and then again blew up. "You've already got her dead and in the grave - how can you think like that?" I calmly told her that the list had been written 9 months ago. I took it and moved it to the side of the fridge.

F is a high strung person, and my M's illness has been difficult for her. She refuses to talk about the funeral when M brings it up, but, I have. I don't know how to handle these episodes but to keep my mouth shut and not stir the pot.

I've talked to my friend Elise about it and told her that I was willing to make the compromise so that I could be a part of Emily's life. She said, "but there's no compromise involved. You are letting F dictate all your actions - she is not giving up anything". Hmmmm.

Well, hopefully she's cooled down. I'm tired of tiptoeing, and need to take the stage front and center, with everything that belongs to me. DB and ailing mother included.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Complicated Fear

I have had two moments in my db career disrupted by a fear so acute that I felt like I was being devoured.

One was 12 years ago, when I tried Lantus and ended up with a "reaction" which put me in the hospital for 8 nights with symptoms of heart failure. That was a lot of time to think about death and disability. (My heart is fine.) The second was 6 years ago when I had emergency surgery for my detached retina and had to lie face down, not moving, for 7 days as it healed. The doc said the outcome could be anything from being able to recognized shapes to possible 20/60 vision. I recovered to 20/30 vision and remain one of his "best success stories".

I figure that at some point my luck will run out...................and thought I was at that point a month ago.

I'd had a high fever for a couple of days with no other symptoms. I went to Urgent Care and the doc was mystified. She kept going down the list and said in addition to a chest x-ray they would do a urinalysis to see if anything showed signs of infection.

After a long wait back in the exam room, the doc came in and asked if I had kidney disease. I told her no, and that my last a/c ratio (albumin/creatinine ratio) was normal and that had been done 4 months ago. I told her that I had some urine spillage about 6 years ago that subsided after I started on an ace inhibitor. She explained that I had a "huge amount" of protein in my urine and I interuppted and said "well, that could be due to an infection, right" and she then said there were no other factors which indicated an infection and that this was probably "acute onset diabetic nephropathy".
Oh. My.

I got home and my inner monologue was something like this - "....ok, my kidney's might be failing.......maybe it's early in the process....... maybe I've lived long enough.........maybe I'll die and then not have to deal with all this crud anymore........". One of my relatives had just been taken off
the kidney/pancreas transplant list because his condition had weakened to the point where he would not survive the surgery.

The next morning I called my pcp's office and asked that the doc review the notes and call me back. The nurse phoned back in 20 minutes and said "the dr. wants to see you immediately - you need to come in today - we'll make room for you". Gulp. By then I was in that robot-like numbness where I send myself when things get too scary.

Dr. Steve came in the room and said that yes, this was a problem and needed to be addressed. We'd start with a 24 hour urine collection. Fortunately, the creatinine level in my blood was normal, but, it doesn't start to elevate until about half your kidney function is gone.

So I waited a few days to calm down and then did the collection. I brought the jug to the lab on July 17 and was told that my pcp would call me with the results, usually within a few days. The next week I jumped every time the phone rang at work and held my breath while listening to my messages at home. I made a couple of significant errors at work and was overtly mean to a couple of good friends. No news.

The next Monday, the 28th, I called the clinic and said I wanted the pcp to call me with the results. I was told he was on vacation. I asked to speak with his nurse and no, only the doc can give you the results. I asked to speak with whoever was covering for him but never got a call back.

I decided that I didn't care if I was dying or not - and conveniently erased the prior 3 weeks from my mind and stumbled about on auto-pilot.

Then, last Friday, August 15th, I got a letter from the doc. He wrote "Kathy, your kidneys look good. I don't know what the episode was about but presently there is nothing to indicate any damage or to be concerned about. See you in 3 months.".
Soooooooo.......I wasted a month of summer walking around like a zombie. I am too emotionally exhausted to be angry, and then, who would I be pissed off with? Maybe it was a lab error; maybe it was the body trying to tell me that I need to pull in the reins and improve my control; maybe it was a higher source reminding me that I am very lucky. Sigh..................

On a closing note, we have a lovely party last weekend for my mom's 81 birthday. She has had several major episodes of illness in the last 2 years and been in assisted living since February. Sometimes when I call her she is in la-la land. But, on the day of the celebration she was extremely good, as you can see on the picture. With her is my precious niece, Emily. Em came to be with our family just before her first birthday, and cracked open all of our hearts with the soft tap of one tiny finger...........sniffle, sniffle.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Dr Steve

Dr. Steve is my primary care physician. Because I do not pump and do not have an A1C over 8, my insurance will pay for one endo visit per year. The others are with the pcp.

Last Tuesday I was at the clinic for cholesterol bloodwork. I got there at 7:30 and knew that I was crashing - the really bad crash where you sweat buckets. The phlebotomist came to get me and I stood up but did not follow her - just stood there. I was able to explain that I was T1 and low. She said, "oh, my aunt has diabetes and she takes Glucophage" (what's that got to do with the price of eggs?).
She asked me my date of birth and I couldn't remember. She asked me how old I was and I guess I answered correctly. Then she had to peel all the little labels off my sheet and carefully attach each one to a tube. Finally the blood was drawn and she brought me a can of juice which I gulped in one swig. "You're feeling better now, right?" I stumbled out to the reception area and fell into a chair.

I got up to Internal Medicine and sat in the exam room for 50 minutes. I do not like sitting in exam rooms - I get freaked out and my mind races about illness and death. The copy of Ardhitectural Digest was of no interest. The nurse came and took my bp and it was 135/75. That upset me more. Plus, I was exhausted from the hypo and my hair was flat and stringy from the sweat.

Dr. Steve came in looking quite frazzled. He said my LDL was 118, up from last time and that in pwd it should be less than 100. "Let's get started on Zocor right away."

I respond how I usually do - started crying. I was upset and then started spewing off how I felt like I was always a bunch of numbers on a piece of paper and no one at the clinic treated me like a person. Poor guy, he did not deserve this. I have been eating poorly -making very unwise choices, using my mother's illness as an excuse. I was not surprised at the higher reading.

I need to cut the doc a little slack. After all, the numbers on the paper give him the information to make the proper decisions for my care.

He left with the agreement that I would try a small dose at night for 6 weeks and then we'd retest and reevaluate. No biggie.

Patients who have a high bp reading must at the end of their appointment go into another room and have three more readings done at 5 minute intervals by a machine. By then I'd calmed down and the average was 116/68. Good.

Yesterday I got the letter from Dr. Steve with all my results on paper.

Note how he altered the salutation...............that meant a lot to me.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Don't Blame the Bagels

When things go wrong on the db front due to me ignoring the facts, it's very tempting to put the blame outside of myself. DB is so hard to live with. I hate it. Blah blah blah.....

I work in an office of 90 people. It is an unwritten tradition that people bring treats on their birthday. Usually it's bagels, because Brueggers is nearby and they deliver for free (!!)

If asked the question re which food really plays havoc with my bg, bagels are near the top of the list. Those dang bagels. They always cause me to spike. It's not fair.

But it isn't really the bagsl's fault. A standard Brueggers bagel has over 60 grams of carb. I did not realize this until 10 years ago when I was in the hospital and the dietician was discussing what I usually had for lunch. I told her I brought my lunch to work but on occasion I'd go and get a bagel sandwich. She told me that a B. bagel had four carb exchanges. Yikes.

I am very sensitive to carbs in the morning and sometimes even delay breakfast until about 9 a.m. My ins/carb ratio is 1/5 at the beginning of the day, but by evening I'm at 1/20. Thinking from a logical standpoint, there is no way that I'm going to come through 60 grams of cho at 7:30 a.m. withput a spike. Rapid acting insulin is great, but it can only do so much.

So this morning when we got the "treats in the lunchroom" e-mail, I had to consciously remind myself that a better choice would be to take 1/2 of a bagel and save it for later in the morning. It worked. And involved only a small compromise.. Hopefully I can practice this enough times for it to become automatic, minus the self-pity.

To the collective bagel community, I apologize for casting you as the villain. Please forgive me.

Happy Independence Day. Enjoy the long weekend, travel safely, and cherish the freedom and opportunity this country affords us.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

No Way

I had a bone scan a couple of weeks ago and am going to get the results this week when I go for my pcp appointment. I am already very anxious about yet another test, waiting for results, and maybe having to take yet another pill. No way!

In addition to insulin, I also take oral meds for blood pressure, thyroid, ace inhibitors for my kidneys, antidepressants and sleep meds. As each one of these was added, I felt an immense sense of failure - yet another thing going wrong with an already trashed body. Maybe I'll have to get an extra-large M - S compartmentalized pill box - my current ones barely fit now. I hate it...............

I need to reframe this mindset. Many of my relatives did not make it to the 34 year anniversary, and I have. As we age, we all tend to get "regular-people" stuff. I am convinced that the ace-inhibitors played a big part in returning my kidney function to normal. And, the anti-depressants help me to not run through my days from one crazy woman meltdown to the next. I have already broken an ankle. If I have thinning bones, then another med may protect me from a broken hip, or something worse. I have good insurance to pay for these drugs. So, if necessary, I can do this.

Today while coming home from the grocery store, I dropped my keys on the edge of the sidewalk. There was some really beautiful foliage growing adjacent to it, and after taking a closer look, discovered that they were Lily of the Valley leaves, and that there were tons of perfect little flowers hidden among the leaves. So I picked a few (well, actually, sort of stole them, but I don't think anybody cared) to remind me that as we go through our days, little bits of pleasure are priceless.


See Birdie's post dated May 27 for discussion on a similar theme.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, May 16, 2008

"10 Things" Meme

Donna, my fellow Lynryd Skynryd and Chicago fan, has tagged me for the "List 10 Weird/Random Facts About Yourself" Meme.

1)My real name is "Kathy", not "Kathleen" or "Katherine". My favorite uncle always called me "Katrina".

2)When I was a little tyke, I used to go ice fishing with my dad. Ice fishing was very well depicted in the "Grumpy Old Men" movies. You sit in a little wood house and drill a hole in the ice and drop your line in. You shouldn't talk as it might scare the fish. Then you drink something hot from a thermos. Then you go and visit the other houses. Finally, your toes are numb and it's time to go home.

3)My favorite fragrance is gardenia.

4)In 1972, when I was in high school, my girlfriends and I took my dad's car (without permission) and drove to St. Cloud (where Milemaster Sarah lives) to see our very first concert. We did not know much, if anything, about the performer, but heck, it was a real true concert. The artist's name was Elton John.

5)Several years ago I worked weekends at a living history farm. It depicted life along the river in the 1800's. I answered questions and told people not touch anything. I wore the full costume, complete with ankle boots, bloomers and a corset under a long sleeved dress with high collar, plus a bonnet. It wasn't too bad until we got into summer - try being enthusiastic about the settlers when every inch of your body is oozing sweat and you can't breath......

6 My next door neighbor has two standard poodles, names "Arthur" and "Guinevere". They are often out walking as I leave for the bus. During the winter, he lets their fur grow shaggy for warmth, and each spring gives them the traditional pom-pom cut. Well, today they had gotten their cuts and were so stuck-up they pretended not know me - prancing around like they were royalty. (I love them anyway.)

7)I do not like the insulin pens - find them much too bulky - I can squeeze a couple of syringes and two vials of insulin into a very small zippered pouch, and that works fine for me.

8)I have a habit of buying way too many birthday cards - probably have a couple hundred. When someone's day is approaching, I lay some of them out on the floor and spend long moments contemplating which one to give. It is such a hoot to find the absolute perfect one, that I may have bought years ago before I even knew that person.

9)Both of my grannies were first generation immigrants - my mom's mother from Denmark, my father's mother from Norway. There was a bit of competitiveness between them regarding traditions and customs, but they both enriched my life beyond measure.

10)About 10 yewars ago, when I was trying to make a difficult decision, I went camping by myself. I chose a big family type campgrounds where I knew there would be lot of people close by. It was the most frightening night of my lfe. My imagination got away from me and I was certain there would be a big sharp knife slashing through my tent, with some psychotic prison escapee reacy to chop me up.
That night of fear helped to put things in order, and when I left I was thinkng clearly about the situation and very confident about what to do next

Any other weirdos out there? If so 'fess up and consider yourself tagged.
Have a great weekend, everyone.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Five Things................

I’ve been tagged by BetterCell for the .
"Five Things You Can't Learn From A Book" meme.

I would strongly agree with everything said by those who have already posted - great wisdom and insight. Thank you all. Here are my 5 to add:

1) Complications do not make you a failure. I have dealt with retinopathy, frozen shoulders and a trigger finger. It would be really tempting to blame myself. Yes, I had long periods of time when I didn’t take care of myself. Part of it was lack of the proper tools in the early years; part was my long-standing depression; part was the fact that I had witnessed several relatives die from db and I didn’t think that I had a fighting chance, no matter what. I currently try to keep in mind that all of us living with db face a big job, every day, and we all put forth a noble effort, depending on our circumstances. I am proud of that.

2) It is never too late for improved control. Just start where you are and move forward.

3) If you come to a place where you need oral meds, such as for hypertension, it’s okay. Several people have blogged about being upset when they had to start “yet another” prescription in addition to insulin. Be thankful that there are drugs available to help with a variety of ailments.

4) Question authority - that means doctors, nurses, pharmacists, CDE’s, psychiatrists, psychologists, etc. Just last month my pharmacy switched to a new supplier for synthyroid. When I got home with my prescription, I noticed that the pills were a different color and different shape. I called them and the pharmacist, who I’ve known for years, said, “gosh, Kathy, we dispense a ton of this and you are the only one who asked…….”

5) Laugh when you can.
Cry when you have to.

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Sussy Epilogue

A couple of months ago several db bloggers participated in the first certifiably cool and awesome Sussy Circle.

My sussy was Amalas, who sent me some lovely yarn

Here is what I made.

No, it is not a wall hanging. It is a scarf/mini shawl.

Since I only finished it a day ago, it will be new and fresh for next winter. As I carefully folded it to be put away, I thought of all of my db blogging friends, of my love of the craft, and of the many, many days of warmth and sunshine that will come my way before next winter.

Enjoy the season of hope and renewal. Happy Spring.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


SuperGeorge, also known as "skinny", has tagged me for the Six Word Meme.

I trust life (between the lines).

Since the rules have already been printed a b'zillion times, I'm going to skip them here.

I tag: Molly, Log Cabin Heidi, BetterCell, Lili, Zazzy

Monday, March 17, 2008

Mom (and Me) Update

Landileigh left a message on my last post wondering how everything was. I guess it's rather rude to describe an upset in one's life and then not keep everyone advised as to how things are going.

My mother made it back to our hometown and was placed in a skilled nursing facility. Three days later we got a call saying that she was retaining a lot of fluid and might have to be rehospitalized - another "wait and see" situation. It resolved with an increase in the diuretic pill. My sister, niece and I went to see her that weekend and I was shocked to see that she was in a wheelchair. I tried hard not to cry. I spoke with the charge nurse and she said "well, most of the residents here are in wheelchairs - we just don't have the time to get them walking".

Can you imagine how hard it was not to bop that woman upside the head? Mom had obviously weakened since she was in the hospital here in Minneapolis. That Monday, when the nursing supervisor was back on duty, I called and told her that we wanted her in physical therapy immediately. She asked if she was able to walk before the crisis and I told her yes, she walked quite well. I guess nobody had documented it and they assumed she couldn't.

So now they have determined that she can transfer to the "intermediate" facility, which are small studio apartments with your own furniture. She will eat all meals in the dining room, but can also have a microwave and little refrigerator in her room. We are planning to do that move weekend after next.

She wants to talk about her funeral. I was willing to do this, but my sister said "don't put her in the grave before she's dead!" and stormed out of the room.
Yup, emotions are running high between all of us. My sisters are twins, 7 years younger than me and we at times don't communicate very well. It takes tact and patience.

I still have the crud, plus a urinary tract infection, so have been on nonstop antibiotics for a month. The doc said the respiratory thing "has a tail on it" and I could expect to be coughing for several weeks. "Ordinary people illness" is double crummy on top of db.

Our branch audit by the New York Stock Exchange was a great success. Now it's just the stock market in general that's not doing so good.

I want to tell you ALL how very touched I was by your comments - wnat a beautifully supportive community. I had a session with the family therapist that I've been seeing since M became ill and told him about the OC and TuDiabetes. He said, "do you mind if I write those websites down? I have several patients that might benefit from something like that."

Of course, I gave him the addresses. Embrace the good and pass it on.

Happy St. Patrick's Day everybody.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Many Layers of the Black Umbrella

The last couple of weeks have brought a lot of junk into my life - like a big black umbrella blocking out the sun.

Several days ago my sister phoned me to say that my 80 year old mother was being helicoptered to a major hospital in Minneapolis from her small town in central Minnesota. She has been struggling with both emphysema and heart failure and her condition was serious.

I raced over from work and found her on the cardiac floor, hooked up to tubes and machines but still smiling and saying she was glad to see me. I spent the night in a recliner in her room, getting up every so often to pace the halls because my restless leg syndrome was acting up. The next day the woman who helps her with housekeeping said she'd found 11 days worth of untaken meds shoved in a drawer. The doctors concluded that the episode was brought on by noncompliance with her diuretic, which helps control the buildup of fluid. I asked her about this and she said she was sure she'd taken all of her meds.

They got her through the physical crisis and suggested an evaluation for cognitive function. Even though I knew that she was failing mentally, I heard myself tellng the social worker that I didn't think it was necessary. (Yeah, Kathy, just refuse to face it and maybe it'll go away.)

The day of the evaluation I woke up with a raging sore throat and fever. I went to the Minute Clinic in Target and was given some Zithromax and told that I absolutely could not visit anyone in the hospital until my fever had been gone for 2 days.

As I laid in bed, staring up at the ceiling, I started to feel these great waves of fear and sadness - thinking about her death and also my death (maybe from diabetes) and what lay between. I microwaved a Lean Cuisine but forgot to take any insulin, and later in the day my bg was 470. I corrected, but really didn't care. I was sinking deep into the "life is hard and then gets harder" mindset.

My mom's evaluation determined that she has "moderate dementia" and cannot live alone primarily due to the possibility of medication error. She also will not be driving anymore. My other sister had driven to M's home and found a large array of unpaid bills strewn about, and a frig full of old food. Two more days and her utilities would have been shut off. She had fooled us, always saying everything was "ok".

She transfered to a full care facility in her town this last Mondayand will remain there until an apartment becomes available in the assisited living wing. I did not get to see her because I am still not well. I went to my internist and he said "well, your lungs sound good - I guess you'll just have to wait it out". Last night I was coughing so hard my neighbor above me came down to see what was going on. After I shut the door I started crying, asking why everything has to happen all at once.

Now this afternoon I got an email that I have to be at work tomorrow because my company was visited with a surprise audit from the New York Stock Exchange, something which happens about every 10 years.

I am ready to blow a gasket. I am not good at dealing with multiple stressors. If anyone has any magic tips, do tell.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Wonderful Sussy Came My Way!

Last night I came home from work and my sussy had arrived. The box felt very light and made no sound as I shook it. I also did not recognize the sender's name and could make no connection with the return address...................hmmmmmmm......

Of course, I opened it without taking my coat off. I had said my favorite color was vibrant blue and that I collected beads and yarn. I was impressed to open the box and see beautiful blue tissue paper. Inside the tissue was a lovely cloth bag, also in blue, with something soft and squishy in it.

At the ends of the drawstrings which closed the bag were two little blue beads wrapped in wire.

I opened the bag and it contained two skeins of luxurious yarn - Peruvian alpaca/wool by Cascade Yarns and kettle dyed merino yarn by Malabrigo. Mercy - this person must be a crafter herself, for she knows her stuff! (Aplaca is yarn made from llama fur; merino is from a particular kind of sheep, known for its softness.)

The gears in my head were already cranking with ideas for what I would make from it.

After taking off my coat, I folded the bag up neatly. But wait, there was something else in it. Beads. Blue beads. Beautiful blue beads.


My sussy is Amalas, over at Plastic Pancreas. We have not met, but I am hoping to have a very interesting and talented new friend. Thank you, Amalas, for the thoughtfully chosen sussy. I will be sure to put up a pic of whatever I decide to make with the yarn.

And super thanks to the soul-sisters,Amylia and Beth for organizing this very fun activity.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Poorly Timed Vacation

I had my big annual bloodwork done at the beginning of December. Thankfully,, the numbers were all ok, and, as usual, I had been fretting about it for weeks before.

This was on a Thursday, and I decided that as a little reward, I would take a short "vacation" from diabetes - Friday through Sunday - three days. There would be no logging, no middle of the night testing, and no carb counting/dose calculating. I would of course continue with my insulin but lower my testing from 7 to 4 imes per day. BAD IDEA.....................

A month has now gone by and I am not back on the wagon yet. In fact, this slacking has taken on a momentum of its own and the longer it continues the more effort it will take to reverse it. I know that. Yet I continue.

I am now down to testing 2 times per day - at 5 am and 10 pm. I have not logged in over a month. This is my most major lapse in over 6 years and I feel terrible about it - shameful that I, as an adult, can't make the proper choices to support my health. Why am I acting like a fool? I blame it on holiday stress (well, sister, the holidays are now over), the greyness of winter, db burnout and a deeply set sense of apathy. And perhaps a "I am mad as hell and not gonna take this anymore" mindset. I am acting out my passive-aggressive anger toward diabetes by not acknowledging it as an overriding force in my body.

Sure, there are cycles to the depth of our self-care and coping. Some days are better than others.

Here is my grandmother tree, just standing patiently through the endless seige of grey and cold, trusting that the days will get longer and soon the tiny green buds will appear, ready to begin a new growing cycle.

But it is not in my best interest to wait, to keep thinking that I'll simply wake up one morning and be ready to resume "the grind", as Chrissie calls it.

I received a calendar for Christmas. This is the January page.

When I put the calendar up on New Year's Day, I thought this was a lovely phrase to focus on for the New Year. Yet, "dwell" also suggests to me a sense of being stuck - apathetic, complacent, unwilling to initiate movement. This isn't gonna work in my situation. Sure, I can recognize the possibility that a) I have successfully taken good care of the db for long periods of time and I can do it again; b) there is help available to me if I want it and c) I can shift my focus from deprivation to responsiblity. I can't afford to "dwell" anymore - gotta get going in the right direction.

I don't think db vacations are such a good idea for me. I should have gone and had a massage instead.

I hope everyone's New Year is off to a great start, and may it continue