Sunday, September 30, 2007

Looking for Some Parental Guidance

Not for myself, but for a friend.

Please take a minute to pop on over to Blogabetes and check out my post there. A friend of mine is in need of advice from my esteemed friends in the OC - especially from parents and people who've lived with diabetes since childhood.

I hope you all had a great weekend!

Saying Goodbye

I've written a few times here about my good friend Gertrude. This week, she turned 97. Before I met Gert, I'd never known or had the opportunity to really talk with someone who's lived that long. I am grateful to her for giving me a new perspective - for opening my eyes to struggles I had never known - for sharing her wisdom with me - and for appreciating what I brough to the table of our friendship.

This year's birthday wasn't exactly the happiest day.

About a month ago, Gert was hospitalized for anemia and dehydration. She spent two weeks in the hospital - getting thinner and sicker, despite the IV fluid and transfusions - by the day. After she was moved to a nursing home, the decline continued. Two weeks into the nursing home stay, she was moved back to Rhode Island Hospital, where it was confirmed that the colon cancer she has twice battled succesfully - has returned. Because of her age and how far the disease has progressed and because of how weak she's become and because of her wishes, it was decided that radiation and chemotherapy were not viable options. On Thursday, her 97th birthday, she was moved to a nursing home with a hospice staff.

I am struggling so much with how to go about saying goodbye to my friend. Although she has some very good days, days when I think she just might pull through this, I know that that's foolish thinking. I can see in her eyes, that she knows it too. And it is breaking my heart into a million tiny pieces. Many times in the past, when Gert has been sick, I was heartened by the look of sheer will and determination in her eyes. It was a look that said, "I'm going home from this place. I'm GOING to get stronger. I'm GOING to defy the odds." That look is absent this time. Her eyes tell me that she's tired, really-truly tired.

I suck at saying goodbye. It is just not something I'm good at. Especially now - with Gert. I feel like by saying goodbye, by letting my heart let go a little, by trying to come to terms with the world losing this wonderful soul, I am giving up on her. I am wrestling with two distinct, at-odds emotions - grief and guilt. Is it OK to grieve the decline, even though I feel like I'm quitting on my friend by doing so? Is it OK to prepare my heart for what will ultimately happen - or is this short-changing her strength (I mean, maybe she *will* pull through)? And how do I sit with her, holding those hands - so small, but that have held a whole world I'll never know -and not cry? How do I keep my emotions in check? How do I bring the most positive, strong energy I can to her when a piece of me is breaking inside?

This is not the first time I've lost someone. I realize that these are all normal emotions. But this time, this loss, feels so final. I have no grandparents left living - I have no great aunts or uncles. Gert has been a connection to the past that has meant the world to me. I see in her the same strength, born in hard-work and struggle, that I saw in my grandparents. I have found in her a connection to history. And she has inspired me to take advantage of my own ability to stay strong, to work hard, and to make the most of every able moment I get.

I know these next days - weeks - months? will be trying. I hope that I have the strength and the will to help my friend to stay as graceful and as steely as always as she makes her way onward. And I hope with all of my heart that she'll know, as she exits, what a difference she's made in my life.

Your good thoughts and prayers would be appreciated.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Diabetes and Napoleon Dynamite....

Just one more post over at Blogabetes for this week. Please check it out.

My several days worth of great bloodsugars took a turn for the worse last night into this morning and it rather threw me for a loop... Or took me for a crash. You know how that is - right?

I'd like your feedback here - too. I hope you'll all just see the posts over at Blogabetes as an extension of CuriousGirl. I'm proud to be a part of the team over there - sure, it's a paying gig (but trust me, I'm not quitting my day job) BUT the best part is - it allows me to do something that I love to do - to write - and to share honest, frank discussion about life with diabetes with people who understand it perfectly well - or who are interested in understanding it better. To me, it's just another addition to this amazing community. What are your thoughts so far?

Green-Eyed Monster...

My mother used to reference the green-eyed monster whenever one of us kids would covet what someone else had.

"Aw, look at that dog, they've got such a cool dog. Mom, I WANT a dog like that."

"Stop being such a green-eyed monster. Envy isn't attractive."

I wonder what my mother would think about my post today at Blogabetes. It's about how envious I am sometimes of people who have a working pancreas.

Would my mother tell me to stop being such a green-eyed monster? Or would she understand how I might look at a person with a normal-functioned metabolism and ache for a body that worked like that?

I hope you'll go take a look - what do you think? Should I stop coveting my neighbor's pancreas?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Overdose... And you called me what?

Holy, posting, Batgirl! I'm on a streak....

So - if you're down for a Nicole overdose this week, please take a jaunt over to Blogabetes and read about my recent conversation with the receptionist at my friendly diabetes supply company. I cannot believe she called me that!

In other news... My father's 60th birthday is next weekend... He's coming in from South Carolina and that's ALL I can say (shhhhhhh..... Don't try to get me to tell you more about my plans for that weekend!) I cannot wait to see him, as I miss him like crazy! So, this weekend will be spent preparing the house for both my dad's visit and the coming winter months. A few things to do in the yard, some closet cleaning and organizing, and other stuff... I am hoping that the manual labor will help me to continue the "I think I'm cured" great bloodsugar streak I've been having of late. I've had only three out of the 70-140 range bloodsugars over the past three days.

I've discovered this week, that there are fine lines in every life and that I'm not very good at walking mine. More about this in coming posts... Probably here - maybe a few over at Blogabetes....

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

That's as happy a face as you get....

That guy's doing a happy dance for me!

First - the comment capability is UP at Blogabetes. So - visit some posts and comment away!

Next - remember yesterday? Well - take THIS diabetes! Down with anxiety - up with good health! And with getting in even better health. Please - if you have advice or ideas on the goals I've set out - let me know!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Anxiety Inspired Writing

I am ANXIOUS about my endo appointment tomorrow.

I'm not necessarily in a bad way - just an anxious way, you know?

I have been having weird dreams focused around what I'll find out. I wrote an "ode" to these dreams over at Blogabetes. Please check it out!
Things are busy here. I am amazed at how distracted I've gotten and how much I've let things slide that I shouldn't have. I'm going to try to get some of them back on track - others, I'm going to abandon, because it's clear they're not doing me a lot of good.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I Think I Need to Find a New Grocery Store...

Back in July - I posted about some efforts I'd been making in the interest of improving my health and about an experience I had at the local grocery store. I've posted an update about the exercise and other business at blogabetes - here! Please check that out...

But for all the girls who were curious about my grocery store adventure... I think I need to find a new meat market... At least for my deli products... Last week, the deli counter was mobbed! I picked #422, they were serving #400. As most of you know, in deli time, 22 numbers is an eternity. So, I dug in my purse for Blue, my Ipod... And dug. And dug. He was nowhere to be found. Damn it... I pulled my cart back as far from the ant-on-attack-like crowd of deli product needers... And waited...

Then I heard someone say, "What number do you have?" I turned slightly.

A tall, rather cute, dark-haired gentleman stood there. "You don't remember me..." He remarked, "Still got that boyfriend?"

"422," I say.


"Oh, I've got number 422... Um, and yes, I've still got a boyfriend."

"Too bad," he says, "I don't have a number, just thought I'd say hi."

"Oh, um... Thanks."

"See ya."

"Yeah." Blushing tremendously and shuffling my feet...

Now, anyone who knows me will tell you, I am not shy - some people might even say I'm a flirt. But the combination of rushed, nervous, impatient energy, and the return of my deli friend was all too much to take. I gave my number to the next person I saw at the ticket machine and went and checked out. I proceeded to the much less crowded, much more expensive local mom and pop deli counter, where I proceeded to spend the most rewarding $15.00 for $8.00 worth of deli products I've ever spent. I guess I need to further "ugly it up" for the grocery store. WTF?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Super Secret Plan - Revealed!!!!

The cat's out of the bag!!!!

And I'm so excited. I am honored that dlife has asked me to be a part of an exciting new project called Blogabetes. This super-secret project has been in the works for a bit now...

I hope you'll hop on over to my blog there to read - and maybe comment... Or just lurk... And I hope you'll check out the fabulous posts written by my Blogabetes colleagues. I am really honored to be counted among this amazing group of writers "telling diabetes like it is."

See you there....

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Kerri Threw This My Way....

And I figured I'd catch it... Rather than catch up on my work....

So, thank you Kerri!

Total Number of Books Owned: Um, way way too many to count - hundreds? Maybe over a thousand? I have books still packed from our move last September - and I still have more than enough to read and re-read... Something about books - the way they feel and smell... It goes beyond the words for me. There's no feeling like being curled in a blanket with a good book.

Last book bought: I have purchased a kazillion books this summer... Probably to replace those that are still packed away. I think the very last one bought was Snow by Orhan Pamuk. A friend of mine recommended it - and I was able to find a cheap used copy - but I've not yet gotten around to reading it.

Last Book Read: The last book I read was The Girls by Lori Lansens. A good read. A little fluffy in places - but well-written and compelling enough for me to have gotten past that minor flaw.

Five Books That Mean a Lot to You: I would agree with Kerri there are SO many.

1. White Nights and Other Stories by Fyodor Dostoevsky - The opening line of White Nights is one of my favorites... “It was a wonderful night. The sort of night that can only occur when we are young, dear reader. The sky was so starry and bright, that one glance was enough to make you ask yourself: surely ill-natured and peevish people can’t possibly exist under a sky like that, can they?” Beautiful, isn't it?
2. The Treasured Writings of Kahlil Gibran and The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. Gibran wove Eastern and Western theology, a mastery of language, and a clearly active imagination into poems, stories, and philosophical meanderings that get me. Every. Time.
3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - I was two years old when my Aunt Kaye and my Papa presented me with this book for Christmas. I can remember at four or five, my mother reading to me from it. I so related to the characters in that book, though their lives were clearly much different than my own. This book taught me about how reading can take you away from the present time and place - and give you insight that you'd never get in the world of your own experience.
4. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - The 'newest' - most contemporary? - book to make my list. This book made me ache - and the writing was amazing.
5. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein - This book makes the list because it reminds me - and will remind me always of the Clara Barton Camp. Imagine finding a world of company just when you really, truly thought you were alone. That's Barton. And this book played a central part in closing ceremonies. Every time I read it to my niece or nephews, I am reminded of friends for whom I'd do anything - and who'd do anything for me.

Best Five Books You Read in the Last Year:
1. Chances Are: Adventures in Probability by Michael & Ellen Kaplan - So surprised I got through it and need to read it again - but given the subject matter - an excellent book.
2. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling - I loved this book and it only made me love the series more.
3. Shakespeare's Comedies edited by some guy whose name I don't know. Has Midsummer Night's Dream, Taming of the Shrew, All's Well that Ends Well - and a host of others. I know lots of people don't like reading plays - they like seeing them. But reading them is grand fun, when it's Shakespearean Comedy. The guy (whomever he was - have you seen that whole debate?) was brilliantly funny.
4. Goodbye Mr Chips by James Hilton - I found a very old copy of this in the basement of our new home and decided to read it... So very glad I did. Also came with lots of notes from Bob's granddad - which made it even better.
5. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire - Yeah, yeah, I'm late to the game, but this was good.

So, I'm not tagging anyone in specific... All you readers out there - this is an open tag!


Well, sort of. Actually, not really at all. I wish.

Lately, life has just been life. Work is nutty. Meeting other obligations is nutty. Planning my father's 60th birthday party for the beginning of next month is nutty.

I have been a bad. Bad. Blogger. And I am very sorry.

Right now. I'm supposed to be working... So that's what I'm going to go back to doing...

But I figured I'd pop on and wish you all a happy "Talk Like a Pirate Day." Ridiculous. Aaaargh!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Before and After

Remember this day.

But LIVE in the after....

Take time to tell those you love that you love them. Make a difference. Do something. Be better.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

New Banner - And Awareness

I love that the OC - and the bloggers who call this community "home" - are dedicated to their own diabetes self-management - and are aware of the medications, technology, and research that have made - and continue to make - our lives with this disease more manageable. We are lucky to have the resources it takes to live well with diabetes.

There are so many people, though, living with this disease, who are not so lucky. Their life circumstances keep them from learning of advancements - and poverty keeps them from being able to afford even the most basic diabetes treatments. Imagine having diabetes and not knowing what a glucometer is. Imagine having diabetes and not being able to afford insulin. Imagine having diabetes in a place where the nearest doctor is hundreds of miles away - and where your feet are your only form of transportation. Imagine the number of people who die everyday from undiagnosed diabetes because they, their family, and their friends lack awareness about the symptoms - or the number of people who die because they don't have insulin - or because they've been overcome by complications caused by years of inadequate medical care.

As you've imagined these things - they've been happening.

And it's time - again - for our community to step up and make a difference in the lives of people we don't know - and might never meet. You know we do it everyday as we support and advise each other - we have a chance, though, to impact the global community - and those who don't have access to this same level of support and advice.

I received an email this morning from the International Diabetes Federation. They've asked me to put a banner up on this blog - and to spread the word about the first United Nations-observed World Diabetes Day - to take place on November 14, 2007. The theme that's been chosen for this day of worldwide observation is - Diabetes In Children and Adolescents.

Some excerpts from the email follow -

It is estimated that over 200 children develop type 1 diabetes EVERY SINGLE DAY and there's no question that the disease often hits disadvantaged communities the hardest, and that children in the developing world can die because their parents are unable to afford medication. In many countries diabetes is still considered an adult disease and as a result can be diagnosed late with severe consequences, including death. Even after diagnosis many children experience poor control and develop complications early.

This is why one of IDF's key objectives for World Diabetes Day this year is to double the number of children covered by the Life for a Child Program. They also want to encourage initiatives that can help to reduce diabetic ketoacidosis (diabetic coma) and to promote the sort of healthy lifestyles which can prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes in children.

Here's what I request of our OC members. Please take a moment to check out the links below - and add a banner for World Diabetes Day to your blog sidebar.

A version of the diabetes circle, the icon used - and that can be seen on so many DOC websites - for the Unite for Diabetes Campaign has now been adopted for World Diabetes Day and the IDF has produced a number of web banners that you can view and download here.

We all know - we've all proven - that together, we CAN make a difference. I hope you'll consider being a part of raising awareness about World Diabetes Day - and this year's theme.