Monthly Archives: August 2011

Not quite home.

Still my house, not quite home;

Only a few signs I ever lived there.

Where I dwell, not quite home;

Only a few signs I even live here.


It seems a thousand miles away.

Sunset approaches and I look to the east (8-27-2011).

Friday cat blogging.

Me and Perl, hanging out, watching football.

Patients for a Moment: Wordless Wednesday

Welcome to the “Wordless Wednesday” edition of Patients for a Moment.

Sometimes pictures tell much more than words, and all of this edition’s participants showed the impact of their chronic condition(s) through powerful photographs.

Selena at Oh My Aches and Pains! used free stock photos to demonstrate “A Few of My Least Favorite Things“, which are a result of her multiple chronic conditions (including fibromyalgia, type 2 diabetes, chronic hepatitis C, and dysautonomia).

Kat at Join the Club! shows what she brought home from the pharmacy over the course of the year to treat her well-controlled allergic asthma in Wordless Wednesday 8/17. On top of that, she deals with a severe latex allergy, dyspraxia, and PCOS.

Diana at Somebody Heal Me chose to display her “My Chronic Life in Pictures” in a slideshow, detailing life both inside and outside multiple chronic conditions (chronic intractable migraines, occipital neuralgia, type 2 diabetes, PCOS, and depression).

Another slide show detailing how she truly lives with multiple chronic conditions, with both happy and frustrating moments, comes from Kelly at Fly With Hope. “Chronically Living” depicts her life in spite of migraines, Meniere’s disease, fibromyalgia, IBS, asthma, food and environmental allergies, and anxiety.

Kitty at My CFS is “sick of the sight of Brian Molko’s beautiful made-up face” after spending too much time in bed lately with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Happy at Just My Life shows off the walker her family decorated, as well as her faithful canine companion in “My ME/CFS in Pictures“.

Every wonder if someone with diabetes actually fills a sharps container? Scott comes close now and then with type 1 diabetes.

A fibromyalgia flare can throw a twist in a blog carnival submission, as Jenni at ChronicBabe describes in a couple of telling photos in “(Slightly) Wordless (Not Quite) Wednesday: Jenni Has a Flare-up“.

Finally, Phylor will be hosting the next edition of Patients for a Moment, but for now she shows “the faces of [chronic] pain“.

(EDIT 8/27:  Dana at I Already Gave My Right Arm To Be Ambidexterous! came up with an amazing pictorial detailing her life with multiple chronic conditions, but due to an e-mail mishap, I inadvertently left her entry out – sorry again, Dana!!)

ChronicBabe meets #dsma.

Are you a woman with diabetes? Do you participate in the Wednesday night #dsma chat on Twitter? Are there topics you would like to discuss, but not in the public forum of Twitter?

Through a joint effort with ChronicBabe, Cherise (founder of #dsma) and I are happy to announce a chat just for women with diabetes.

When: Monday, September 12 at 8pm CT. (That’s 6pm PT, 7pm MT, and 9pm ET.)

What: An example topic is how fluctuations in hormones lead to fluctuations in blood glucose control – from menstruation to pregnancy to menopause.

Where: ChronicBabe forums.

How: You must be a member of the forums in order to participate. Once you are signed up, please join the DiabetesBabes group and check out the chat area. I will be sure to greet you and answer any questions you might have about being a member.

If you want to see how a formal chat runs over there, join me on Thursday nights at 8pm CT. I know, I know, that’s the same time as the DSMA Live podcast (sometimes I multitask!).

What she sent.

That certain someone’s package arrived Friday afternoon. Perfect timing, with me being down for the count with nasty crud.

I am not sure if Minnesota Nice knows that there is a soft spot in my heart for Eleanor Roosevelt and all she did and said and wrote.  But here’s this:

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

- Eleanor Roosevelt

Thank you, K. I need that reminder, day in and day out.

Being cared for.

This is another August writing prompt provided by WEGO Health.

Share a story about a time you were cared for by someone else. How did that feel? What did you appreciate most and what was the most challenging part? What do you wish your carer knew at the time?

Monday, December 7, 2009. Roughly 48 hours after the exploratory laparotomy. Nausea due to pain medication.

The nurse’s aide simply shoved an emisis basin in my lap and briskly walked out of the room. No gentle touch, no help lifting the basin towards my mouth with my weak hands, nothing.

I needed my mom. But I knew my brother also needed her, a thousand miles away, for help with the infant twin girls.

I thought back to the last time my father saw me in pain and anguish, seemingly a lifetime before when stitches were required to sew up the jagged cut on my forehead. No, I thought to myself, he might not do so well as the painkillers left me in nausea, even if he could be there.

Just as the waves of nausea began to turn into the urge to vomit, in walked the in-laws. They were a source of support throughout the entire crisis and its aftermath, but this was the moment I needed someone most. My mother-in-law became the one with the gentle touch, helping me with the basin, as I suffered through the side effects of all that pain medication.

I never felt I could never adequately express how blessed I was to have them both help me as my own parents were so far away – through the initial surgery and recovery, down the road towards the second surgery, and the emotional fallout from it all.

Part of it is this ongoing notion that somehow I never deserved such outpouring of love and kindness (see also the care package post), from them or from so many who sent well wishes, cards, and flowers during the difficult five months. Part of it is that despite my way with words, I always falter when it comes to say “thank you”. And then of course, a bigger part of it is that last fall, the husband and I began to start down separate paths. The only thing harder than being apart from him, is being apart from the people who were so good to me for so many years (but especially when I most needed it).

Had reality taken us down a different path, perhaps a celebration would have been in order last December 5 to mark a year since the major health crisis. One to thank everyone who showered me with love and kindness; most of all, the in-laws. (Thank you.)


Just a couple quick bits to acknowledge this morning…

  • Time to get your art on again, with Diabetes Art Day 2011. Last year’s entries were full of inspiration, and sorrow, and most notably, creativity. I am getting started on my own project over the weekend and I cannot wait to see what the rest of the DOC comes up with this year.
  • I forgot to mention in my WildFit recap the other day that many of the Team Wild cycling team members are participating in this Saturday’s Tour de Cure Colorado. Go Red Riders and Go Wild!

Two years old!

Dear nieces C and L,

Wow – what a year. The two of you have gone from toddlers to little girls, from barely walking to running all over the place. A baby brother, first haircuts, and the beginnings of potty training, too.

I feel lucky that your parents post so many pictures and videos on the internet, so even though I can’t visit as much as I’d like, I can still watch you and your brother grow up. Not that long ago, when your cousins were younger, I patiently waited for photographs and videotapes to arrive in the mail to watch them grow. (I’m glad it’s easier and faster these days!)

I will never forget the day when your daddy wrote to me to tell me that he and your mommy were having two babies – and then the day when they found out you were two girls – and most special, the day when you finally arrived two years ago today.

Happy second birthday, sweeties. I miss you very much, but I will see you very soon.

Love, Aunt Rachel

Care packages.

Somebody informed me the other day that they would like to send me something, though they did not have a current mailing address. It led me to wonder if I am the only person out there who thinks “I don’t deserve it” when somebody cares enough to want to do something nice like this. (Or who thinks it will not be truly appreciated on the other end should I send one.)

Interestingly enough, an August writing prompt from WEGO Health involves care packages, asking the following questions:

  • If you were to receive a care package in the mail tomorrow – what would love to find inside?
  • If you’ve made someone else a care package – what did you include?

Notice it is not asked if such a concept makes one uncomfortable; instead, it is that everyone is deserving of such a treat. After thinking about the above questions as well as a related one, I came to the conclusion that I should indeed accept whatever it is that is coming my way.
If I were to receive a care package tomorrow, I would love to find:

  • flavored herbal tea from somewhere other than Celestial Seasonings (with which to make iced tea)
  • a CD with soothing music for bedtime
  • giraffe-themed trinkets (after all, they are my spirit animal)
  • a book to make me laugh and laugh
  • fun colors of nail polish
  • warm socks for the coming cooler months

Care packages on my end have included candles, or books, or simply letters written on notecards depicting favorite photographs or paintings.

If I were to send a care package tomorrow, the following things might be included:

  • How To Be Sick by Toni Bernhard for my friends with chronic illness
  • The Way of the Happy Woman for female friends near and far, at every stage of life
  • Snack mix prepared by me, keeping in mind any dietary restrictions
  • Eye pillow for nighttime relaxation
  • A small rendition of Van Gogh’s Starry Starry Night
  • Handwritten inspirational saying with a touch of my own art

Breaking down WildFit.

WildFit is over, though a renewed interest in being as healthy as possible in spite of type 2 diabetes is just beginning. As I continue to be inspired by the more serious athletes of Team Wild, the changes coming to the organization in 2012 will make it even better.

What WildFit Did for Me

The biggest accomplishment is that most weeks (10 of 12), I worked out five times per week. I may not have hit the exact workout time that Coach Lynnda Best-Wise set forth each week, but I made a solid effort to go walking, or go to the gym, or get on the balance ball. Exercising five times per week is what has led to weight loss and weight maintenance in the past six years since initial diagnosis, and once again it shows with a 13 pound drop in the twelve weeks of WildFit.

The Plan Going Forward

I am committing to two days a week of workouts on the elliptical, or exercise bike, or treadmill – with a goal of 50 minutes each. Another two days will be spent strength training, which for now will continue to be balance ball workouts utilizing yoga and pilates techniques as well as repetitions with the wimpy dumbbells. (Although I may have to upgrade to a heavier wimpy dumbbell – the three pounders are starting to feel too light!). The last workout of the week will be something outdoors – a long walk, hike, bicycling, or when the weather turns wintry, snowshoeing.

Taking Lynnda’s advice, I will turn one week out of each month into a “rest” week, where I might cut out a strength training workout, or reduce time on the cardio machines. From what I have learned from The Way of the Happy Woman, I may choose to do these “rest” weeks when I am on my period, to give my body the rest it deserves.

Notice what I have not yet mentioned – diet. While I certainly appreciate the efforts of Coach Jennifer Smith with her advice, I felt that it was too directed towards athletes with type 1 diabetes. I simply cannot consume the amount of whole grains she recommended without ending up with high blood sugars – as someone managing type 2 diabetes with diet, exercise, and metformin – even on the toughest workout weeks.

Instead, I am slowly transitioning into what I call a pseudo-Paleo diet, with a little help from a nutritionist friend (more on her to come!). While a traditional Paleo diet does not allow for any whole grains, beans/legumes, or dairy, I am allowing lentils and Greek yogurt. Basically, it revolves around real food like meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, and nuts while using healthy oils such as olive and coconut as well as pastured butter. It is surprisingly easy to cook this way, especially for just one person.

The last diet soda was consumed Friday, and soon I will stop putting Splenda in the only cup of coffee I drink each day. Water is the liquid of choice, with occasional pitchers of iced herbal teas available in the refrigerator. For now, alcohol is being avoided, both to follow traditional Paleo and to account for the new anti-depressant.

Two weeks of eating and drinking this pseudo-Paleo way and I see no impact on ability to exercise to the WildFit level – if anything, I have more stamina and more energy.

Team Wild at the Ironman Wisconsin Triathlon

While WildFit made a huge difference in turning around pessimism about the future by getting me moving again, I have to admit that the TeamWild women preparing for the Ironman Wisconsin next month are that much more inspirational. Training for such an event is grueling for any athlete, but to add type 1 diabetes into the mix makes it that much difficult. While I wish I could cheer them on in person, I will be thinking of these Team Wild athletes on September 11 as they participate in this significant challenge.

Team Wild Going Forward

Recently, Mari Ruddy announced that Team Wild will look and feel a bit differently in 2012. Not only is she including men with diabetes (with an updated acrostic of “We Inspire Life with Diabetes”), but the organization will become one based on membership instead of “teams”.

In the meantime, she is planning another round of WildFit in the fall. I encourage any woman with diabetes looking to either start an exercise program or to take their current program to the next level to consider signing up for this last edition of WildFit.


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