Monday, April 30, 2012

word cloud

HAWMC Day 30 prompt: Word Cloud. Make a word cloud or tree with a list of words that come to mind you thingk about your blog, health, or interests. 
(make your own or check some out here:

I used both my blogs for this word cloud - but I would play around some more with this.  There's also a word cloud app somewhere on FB that I tried once. It's interesting to make your own word list vs. just auto creating a cloud from what you've written.  This it the end of the HAWMC 2012 - I made it!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sometimes the Dragon Wins

The dragon woke late that day - about 11am - and wondered what (meal) the day had in store, as there had been a string of brave knights coming from the village lately to try their hand at slaying her. The dragon snorts as she lumbers slowly toward the cave opening, sending tendrils of smoke that get sucked through the rocks, clearing her nostrils. She is surprised to see today's Knight du Jour - a girl with a long braid running across the shoulder blades of her armor - her sword drawn and her face determined. The dragon considers this situation as she circles the girl, licking the braid with a lash of flame occasionally, but not with intent to roast.  This girl-knight is valiant and quick, dodging and darting in to take swipes at the dragon's front legs and trying to get a stab in at the heart so she can conquer her worst enemy and biggest fears. How hard this courageous girl works at it, but never getting it quite right, and not understanding that trying harder just makes it more difficult - which is a real shame, thinks the dragon, as she opens her mouth and takes the first bite.

Prompt for day 29: Six Sentence Story. In this day of micro-blogging - brevity is a skill worth honing. Can you tell a story and make it short and sweet? What can you say in six sentences?  Check out some (more) here:

Saturday, April 28, 2012


HAWMC Day #28: The First Time I… Write a post about the first time you did something. What is it? What was it like? What did you learn from it? 

I have some great first time stories that I went over today - first time I flew in an airplane, first real "car date" (ended badly and with possum carnage), first real job offer. But since this is a health focused blog I will talk about the first time in yoga practice that I did a handstand.

I'd been practicing yoga for a few years, but never really advancing beyond a beginner level. That was okay, because at that time yoga was for me a practice in slowing down, observing my body and all sensations without judgement. With a spirit of "un-doing".  That's pretty much back where I am today in some ways, but my understanding of both yoga and my body's doings and undoings is deeper now than it was then. Back then is sometime I think during 2002. I'd scaled back on heavy exertion exercises due to asthmatic and stomach issues I'd been experiencing and decided to really throw myself into a yoga practice. A yoga practice in which I took a live class at least 2-3 days per week plus an additional 1-2 days for a full home practice.  After awhile I would also incorporate short yoga "breaks" in my day.  

This was a good practice for me.  My breathing capacity increased without the stress of outdoor allergy induced bronchial spasms. My endurance and strength increased without the demands on my joints and my stomach to keep up with full-court basketball.  I learned about run-walk interval training and elliptical trainers at that time since I still had the urge for some good old fashioned cardio. I still did strength training in the weight room, but not as frequently as before - moving to an intermediate level of yoga practice takes care of a lot of strength training, actually.

So I started getting braver about inverted poses. Handstand and headstand preparation poses were very taxing (are very taxing again!) - I lacked the strength and the openness in my chest required for those poses. I lacked the core development and the upper back development. Moving to half-handstands was even trickier - but that was often assisted with a partner.  When we felt ready it was time to start practicing kicking up, both instructors I was seeing at the time encouraged us to try. At first very clumsy looking like a quick scissor kick in the air behind me.  After weeks of this, my kick up started to occasionally touch the wall behind me. Then the instructor would assist the final inches so we could feel the sensation of both legs straight up, using the wall for balance assistance.  I could only stay there for a few seconds at that point.  Progressing over more weeks, the kick-ups got more controlled with stronger core muscles. The assisted handstands could last longer and I could play with my shoulder alignment to find the right balance point.

Then one day, I just did it without anyone to spot me. I didn't hit the wall hard with my heel, my core was ready. I could stay there in that position for a little while, and look in between my hands for the optimal balance point.  After several times of this over a few weeks, I could take one foot away from the wall and then another.  I was addicted to the feeling of going upside down. to the feeling of strength and balance it gave me.  Every time, I would relive the elation of that first time I made it to a handstand on my own. From there I found it very easy and so rewarding to move to elbow stand and headstand - but only after building the strength and skills for handstand was this possible.

I haven't been able to do a handstand for quite awhile - first frozen shoulder, and then the Dupuytren's in my hands made it impossible.  With my success at treating Dupe's (albeit still at the beginning, and not completely fixed), I feel optimistic that I can make this a goal again one of these days.  I'm starting from the beginning, or even behind that since I have the limitation of my hands. The preparation poses feel very awkward and difficult.  But I remember the feeling of going upside down and I want to go there again.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

(wahee ahee ahhhhh...bwah bwah bwah...)

Writing prompt for HAWMC day 27: Make a list of the 5 most difficult parts of your health focus. Make another top 5 list for the little, good things (small victories) that keep you going.

Top 5 biggest challenges:
1) consistency - both me being consistent in my habits and the fact that physiology is just inconsistent too.
2) the baggage - i.e. stuff attached to you, stuff you have to carry with you ALL THE TIME. meh.
3) chronic anxiety - about pretty much any aspect you can think of. I pretty much will obsess about it
4) pacing myself - my body can't keep up with my drive sometimes
5) expectation management - mostly my own but also sometimes those of others

Top 5 small victories (but really, I think any victory is a big deal):
1) perseverance - every day that my bGs "flat-line" (and/or I exercise/get enough sleep/etc.) is a small victory
2) traveling the world - refusing to let physical challenges dictate my biggest dreams
3) keeping my sense of humor intact - not as hard for me as for some, but still an effort at times
4) learning how to take a nap - I thank Mr. Wonderful for teaching me it is okay to just lie down if I'm tired
5) starting this blog - having the courage to reveal some of my more vulnerable side

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Help Wanted - Apply Within

Prompt for today: give your blog a Tag-line

Well, I think "Janet's Self-help Book" is already half my tagline.  Probably the whole thing should be:

Janet's Self-help Book - because good help is hard to find.

Or maybe just this tagline alone:

Help Wanted - Apply Within

ooh, I like that one...

What do you all think?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bigger on the inside...

She sits in the same chair of her pediatrician's office that she's been sitting in since she was standing on it to see Dr. Snook better. And even before that. He smelled of pipe tobacco in a warm good way. That smell and the taste of tongue depressors and the smell of the leather chairs mixed together always, into the indelible image of him in her memory. Though maybe he didn't smell like that anymore. When you're 14, you've sort of passed beyond that sort of observation.

She sorts through the list in her head. Based on symptoms of diseases they'd studied in 8th grade Health Class, she figured it was either diabetes or cancer. Losing weight, losing her hair, tired all the time, unquenchable thirst,  having to pee all the time, and an insatiable appetite. Well, some of the time - sometimes just feeling too tired and yucky to eat.

But who knows? That Health teacher also told the class that women don't have orgasms (an anonymous question slipped by some student, probably one of those smelly, ridiculous, loud boys, in the Question Box). Even at 14, she knew that wasn't true.

Anyway, she was only here because her ski club buddy refused to ski with her after too many trips to the lodge to pee.  Her mother said it was probably a bladder infection.

And what the hell? Didn't she have enough with the back brace and frequent visits and x-rays for scoliosis? That wouldn't be fair.

The next 48 hours  is a complete blur (was it 48? maybe 24? maybe 72?). The colors and faces and scenes bleeding into each other like watercolor frames washed across from a spilled glass of water. Something about her urine...something about another doctor she should see...more waiting. Her mother terse lipped and not talking to her. The next day (or 2 or 3) she is sitting in another doctor's office, only much much different. This one was loud and bustling with so many people wearing white or blue (or both). Dr. Snook was just him and a nurse as far as she could remember. She sits in a chair watching people (women, mostly) taking tubes of blood and sticking them into this or that dishwasher looking machine. She sits a long time. Is her mother still there? She doesn't remember anymore. She's gotten used to waiting in exam rooms from having the back braces fitted and mended "while you wait". She wishes she'd brought a book (she often forgets). She doesn't remember whether she met a new doctor. Did she meet a new doctor? Sometime closer to evening than morning, a nurse comes to her with a syringe, takes her arm and gives her a shot. "Insulin." the nurse says to her. The girl feels very confused and says quietly " I have to keep taking shots?". The nurse replies cheerfully, almost laughing at the question, "I don't see anyway around it!"


Day 25 prompt: recreate a memory telling it from the 3rd person perspective.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A dog? I'm the dog in this scenario?

Today's HAWMC prompt: give yourself, your condition, or your health focus a mascot. Is it a real person? Fictional? Mythical being? Describe them. Bonus points if you provide a visual!

I thought about this quite a bit, and then suddenly it came to me. My mascot would be the St. Bernard - and I would call him "Barry" after the most famous of these Swiss Mountain Dogs. These dogs were originally bred by the monks of the hospice at the Great St. Bernard Pass in the Swiss Alps.  There is some debate about the breeding - the original dogs were smaller and today's St. Bernard comes from a hybrid that included larger dog breed - according to Wikipedia it was the Newfoundland.  The famous Barry saved more than 40 people (maybe as many as 100) by using his awesome ability to navigate the rocky and treacherous terrain, to search out and find people who were trapped under snow or ice so that the monks  could pull them out and back to safety. 

When I was at a leadership training course through work several years ago, one of the many things we did was a 360 degree review from the people we worked with, and then we reviewed our results in small groups of 6.  It was an incredibly intense exercise and very uncomfortable at times, but one that I value tremendously. To cut to the chase, one of the wrap-up exercises we did in our group included "if ______ were an animal, what animal would s/he be?" (we also did what food, what musical get the idea).  The animals people chose for me were all large, strong, protective animals - multiple lioness votes, and I don't remember all but there were two dog votes. Specifically the St. Bernard (we were at a facility in Switzerland at the time so maybe that was part of the influence).  

I was a little taken aback. A dog?  You think I would be a dog?
You think I would be a dog.

I didn't really know anything about St. Bernard dogs. I still don't know much more than a few facts, but I like the idea of a mascot who can navigate their way under the most adverse conditions.  A mascot who is strong, but part of a team - never acting alone to rescue a trapped traveler.  

Sometimes I'm the lost and half-frozen traveler. Navigating a complex set of physical challenges is tricky.

But other times I can take the lead and approach the problem at hand in a systematic and pragmatic way, and with a cool head.

Besides, who wouldn't feel better with a barrel of brandy on hand to warm you up during emergencies?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Have glucose, will travel...

Today is a blogger's choice day for HAWMC (day 23) - I can write about whatever I want

Maybe since I just got back from an international business trip, I can talk a little about the challenges if you have diabetes, particularly type 1 or insulin dependent.

Packing: This is probably the hardest part. Make a list and check it twice! I got stuck in Vienna a couple of years ago when the volcano erupted in Iceland.  Fortunately I had enough extra pump sets and glucose test strips with me to make it through the extra week.  But it started getting stressful when I got down to the last of my supplies. So I always have to pack extras of everything - strips, pump sets, CGM sensors, glucose tabs, batteries, syringes, insulin - I've even packed a spare meter for more remote destinations or extended trips. You can also get a spare pump from Minimed for trips, but it costs 50 bucks.  But I did have a pump failure last summer while in Europe for a two-week trip (combo business and family vacation). That really stunk.

So pack a lot of extra of everything. Since I have other issues, I also have to pack other medications - several for "just in case".  And the regular stuff everyone packs like ibuprofen, Excedrin, band-aids, neosporin, etc.  But I only pack extra stuff for prescription meds unless I'll be in the middle of nowhere.  Even so, my pouch full of medical supplies was larger than my entire toiletry bag. And that doesn't count my standard blood glucose test kit or the pouch I always take with me that has the basics for changing pump sets and CGM sensors.  What really stinks about all this is that I rarely travel without checking my bag. But I still have to carry at least a couple of days worth of everything on my person. And I never put my insulin in the checked bag - not even the extra vial(s).  Technically you should keep all your medications with you, but I don't always do that if it is a long trip. I'm not very consistent I guess...

Airport security:  Liquids in a clear bag, medications can be in their own separate bag.  To be honest, I don't usually bother to put my insulin in a clear ziploc for the security check and no one has ever noticed.  I have been asked for a bag inspection a few times - usually it's batteries or something like that setting it off.  I usually remove my pump and send it through with my stuff.  I have no idea which way is better for the pump itself, but even the tiny metal parts on that thing result in patdowns almost every time I wear it through the scanner.  If I'm within a day of a sensor change, I'll forego CGM for the flight - you are supposed to turn off the RF on your pump anyway, so it wouldn't do much good.

One time I forgot to reconnect my pump until it was time for a meal on the flight. That wasn't so great - it had been at least 2-3 hours so I had to make a correction bolus.

Flying:  Oh I forgot to mention: make sure to pack some snacks. Drink a lot of water. Test your bG a couple of extra times because flying just seems to be stressful on the body in general.

Time difference/Jet Lag:  This is the trickiest part of managing diabetes and other medication schedules.  For what pills when, I try to stick to the regular cycle - so when I'm overseas I take the morning meds in late afternoon and the night meds in the morning. I don't have any night meds that make me drowsy, so that would add an extra challenge.  Diabetes is typically more unpredictable when I travel.  The pump is a godsend because when I used to take multiple injections my bGs would be over 200 mg/dl for 2-3 days. Except for the middle of the night when I would invariably have a hypoglycemic episode.  Alone in a hotel room. It was sometimes pretty scary.  This past trip, for some reason I was low quite frequently. Go figure - it's usually the other way around.

So again, pack some snacks in your bag - I take Luna Bars these days. Often I'll go to a grocery and get bottled water, biscuits, and a couple of yogurts to have in my room.

I also take Ambien if I can - but I have to be able to sleep at least 7 hours so it's essential to take it early enough and often I'm late from a business dinner and schmooze-fest but have an early meeting.  I've been much more disciplined about getting enough sleep and skipping the nightcaps on business trips this year. And that has been really good.

That's it! Sounds really simple, no?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

What does your sticky note say?

HAWMC - Day 22 (and Happy Earth Day too!)

Today's Prompt is called "The Things We Forget".  Visit and make your own version of a short memo reminder. where would you post it?

Actually, I found a site where you can generate sticky notes online and save the files to your computer or flicker.  I like the interesting read on "thingsweforget" blog - there is a lot of food for thought there and you can buy some pretty cool premade collections of stickies.

 But it was fun to make my own little sticky notes.  Here's my initial collection:


Okay that last one is obviously stolen.  But I swear I could write these things all day and they would range from the extremely mundane to the ultra "deep".  We use a lot of sticky notes around here...  The site is  if you want to go and make some stickies of your own.  I will be bookmarking the site for future reference, that is for sure!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

healthy pancreas's what?

Okay, it's day 21 and it's still the 21st - so I can catch up with this post if I can get it written!
Today's Prompt: Health Madlib Poem. Fun with parts of speech! Today’s prompt is inspired by the classic game – and poetry – put together. 

The Wego Health blog directs writers to the website Language is a Virus. They have a few fun tools – one of which is a poem generator: You enter any words you want and they automatically fill the words into a classic poem.

I guess since this is a health blog, I will use as many relevant words in the madlib and see what we get!

healthy pancreas's healthy pancreas

I run my principles and all the bone turns foot; 
I punish my bananas and all is feel again. 
(I touch I hurt you up inside my chair.) 

The tapes go smileing out in diabetic and tired, 
And stiff cookie waves in: 
I mend my heart and all the hand jumps stomach. 

I takeed that you helped me into head 
And sleep me sugary, whineed me quite happy. 
(I touch I hurt you up inside my chair.) 

spoon tracks from the book, website's blisters eat: 
sweep glucose and insulin's pump: 
I mend my heart and all the hand jumps stomach. 

I peeked you'd climb the way you play, 
But I munch miserable and I drink your monitor. 
(I touch I hurt you up inside my chair.) 

I should have attacked a television instead; 
At least when website massages they whip back again. 
I mend my heart and all the hand jumps stomach. 

(I touch I hurt you up inside my chair.) 

- Janet & Sylvia Plath

Okay. Maybe I don't get it.  Let's try again and see what happens.

healthy pancreas's healthy pancreas

I shoot my persons and all the battery falls sound; 
I walk my syringes and all is sleep again. 
(I gulp I climb you up inside my kidney.) 

The eyes go slideing out in diabetic and sugary, 
And tense friend fails in: 
I close my mouth and all the lancet runs pump. 

I helped that you prayed me into vial 
And eat me sweet, pumped me quite painful. 
(I gulp I climb you up inside my kidney.) 

carbohydrate swallows from the gram, pill's backs prick: 
bleed side and needle's strip: 
I close my mouth and all the lancet runs pump. 

I bended you'd twist the way you shout, 
But I meet stiff and I make your meter. 
(I gulp I climb you up inside my kidney.) 

I should have done a bottle instead; 
At least when medicine plunges they jump back again. 
I close my mouth and all the lancet runs pump. 

(I gulp I climb you up inside my kidney.) 

- Janet & Sylvia Plath

Nope, still not loving it. Although I like "I gulp I climb you up inside my kidney" better thatn "I touch I hurt you up inside my chair".

Here's Sylvia Plath's original poem:

Mad Girl's Love Song by Sylvia Plath

"I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; 
I lift my lids and all is born again. 
(I think I made you up inside my head.) 

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red, 
And arbitrary blackness gallops in: 
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead. 

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed 
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane. 
(I think I made you up inside my head.) 

God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade: 
Exit seraphim and Satan's men: 
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead. 

I fancied you'd return the way you said, 
But I grow old and I forget your name. 
(I think I made you up inside my head.) 

I should have loved a thunderbird instead; 
At least when spring comes they roar back again. 
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead. 
(I think I made you up inside my head.)" 

- Sylvia Plath

Study disputes Miracle Cure

A new study released today in the Journal of Irreproducable Results (JIR) shows that 99% of Americans do not believe in a Miracle Cure.  The study was conducted by administering a questionnaire at over 100 clinics and hospitals in 16 different states across the US.  "What people fail to realize" commented researcher Jane Buchanan researcher from Bob University, "is that we are administering Miracle Cures all the time!"  One example explained by Dr. Buchanan, is the formula in Extra Strength Excedrin.  "That stuff will clear up a headache in 15 minutes", she stated.  Other examples of Miracle Cures cited in the article include penicillin, insulin for diabetics, and  bronchiodilators.

Perhaps the problem is that people have different genetics, and our genes can have a very strong influence on how a drug will or won't work on different people.  "I contend that there are Miracle Cures out there, and more being developed all the time" says Dr. Buchanan. " Another of the investigators, Dr. Dave Science stated: "Our society has gotten used to the idea that we can buy these curative agents often right over the counter.  And they do not always work for every person. To me, that does not make them any less miraculous when you consider where we would be and have been in the past, without these Miracle Cures."

This post is #20 for the HAWMC - pure fiction made up by yours truly.

Just pretend it's April 19th for a moment...

It has been virtually impossible to do my HAWMC posts while working at a conference overseas. Just hasn't worked out for me. So here's a whipped up #19 post and I'll be trying to catch up on the days in the next 24 hours.

5 Dinner Guests. Who are 5 people you'd love to have dinner with (living or deceased) and why?

1) Mary Magdelene - I'd ask Jesus, but he's usually busy :)  Anyway, I figure I can get more straight dope on what did and did not happen during the life of Jesus from her. And I'd like to hear her views on Jesus and his teachings since her voice has been lost, save for maybe some missing gospels that may or may not have been written by her.

2) Thomas Jefferson - taking off from the Jesus questions because I just learned about Jefferson's version of the bible where he cut out anything requiring miracles or magic to distill the writings about Jesus down to the principles of his teachings. Which Jefferson quite admired. And so do I. I probably would relate to the "Deist" point of view. Plus he did things his own way and often unconventional, so I'm sure the conversation would be brilliant fun.

3) First ladies - I guess I'd have to narrow it down to 1 or two, but I'd love to meet Eleanor Roosevelt, but I'd happily invite Hillary Clinton, and Michele Obama.   These women clearly had or have such passions and drive and accomplished so much (well, Michele is still on the steep curve I think, but I know she'll stand out in history.

4) Antoni Gaudi - I'm here in Barcelona and re-smitten by his work. The organic forms, the modernism that must have seemed outrageous in the late 1800s and very early 1900s.  I love love love the mosaic coverings, the railings cast from natural fronds and branches, the upside down chain model thingies he used to figure out a novel support construction. wow.

5) Gertrude Stein - She just seems like another person who did things her own way, a strong female voice, knew everyone, and I would love to hear what stories she has to tell. And maybe do a poetry reading too.

Okay, gotta run! Remember it's still the 19th - hahahaha!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Just a Little Heart Attack

I missed a post (#17) due to business travel for a conference.  Yesterday my computer was kaput, plus I had a full day. Today's HAWMC writing prompt for the 18th, is really yesterday's prompt from here in Barcelona, but I figure I'll try to catch up if I can.

The prompt for today: Open a Book.  Choose a book and open it to a random page and point to a phrase. Use that phrase to get you writing today. Free write for 15-20 minutes without stopping.

I only have two books here in my hotel room - a Journal of Hepatology special edition - the size of a phone book full of articles about liver disease, or "taft" by Ann Patchett. I'm going with taft, which I have not yet read beyond the first few pages.

"The pain shoots all the way up into his jaw. There is a straight line of pain from his fingertips to his molars."

I have no idea what the context is, but these sentences remind me of a great youtube video I saw recently about heart disease in women and how to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack.  I know that diabetics are at a high risk for cardiovascular disease, but I never gave it much thought until recently.  My cholesterol levels have always been good and I've had consistently freakish ratios of the "good" to the "bad" HDL to LDL (or maybe it's the otherway round).  In any case, I did start to get a little higher blood pressure and took lisinopril for a couple of years though I'm not taking it at this time. But I figured that had more to do with making sure my kidneys don't get any damage.  A few weeks ago I had my eye exam, and the optomologist told me that lisinopril is good for protecting the eyes from diabetic retinopathy too. So I may ask my endo if I should go back on a low dose.

But I digress a little. Only a little.  Then I find out that this whole "good" vs. Bad HDL and LDL isn't so simple because within what we thought was the Good cholesterol segment it turns out there is another subset of BAD. sigh.  So who knows if my lipid profile is really as good as I've always thought.  And borderline high blood pressure. And I have had diabetes for 32 years. I'm middle aged now - I knew of a woman (my ex-stepdad's ex-wife) who had type 1 diabetes and dropped dead from a heart attack when she was younger than I am now.  I get stressed and anxious and overextend like a typical Type A personality - don't they also get more heart attacks?

So I'm going to post this youtube video here on my blog. Firstly, it is hysterically funny while delivering a serious message. And I can relate to this woman - though that scene usually plays out during the chaotic time when kid pickup/practices/making dinner/closing out worklife stuff happens at the end of the day rather than the character's morning chaos. Still, if you are a working mom you'll get a laugh out of this. It's called "Just a little heart attack" and it's part of the Go Red for Women campaign.

I just love this!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Diabetic humor for your blog, FB, and Pinterest viewing pleasure

I took a "buy" on post #15 yesterday. Too busy. Plus I have no idea what to say about my writing style. Do I have a writing style? meh.  Anyway I don't have any free days left during the challenge, so hopefully I can come up with posts for another 15 14 days.

Today the HAWMC prompt was about Pinterest - create a health-related board and pin three things to it.  I actually already created one when we did the "Stay Calm" posters. Here is my pinterest link:

In addition to my Keep Calm posters, I did a google on "diabetes cartoons" and added some humorous pins:


You'd think that a scientist would remember that "cartoon" means something altogether different for us most of the time...once a dork, always a dork.
(no, there's no joke hidden in here)



My favorite?

Have a great Week!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

My Dream Day

Today's HAWMC prompt: describe your ideal day. How would you spend your time? Who would you spend it with? Have you had this day? If not – how could you make it happen?

You know, I've been thinking about this all day off and on.  The truth is I have never imagined what a "dream day" would look like and at the same time I do it constantly.  What I mean is that I often have a plan or vision how a day will go, what I will spend my time on and who.  And sometimes the day comes out looking like I imagined or even better.  Other times, complete disaster - which is when I hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete and switch up my expectations with a new on the fly ideal plan. 

Some examples:  
Travel:  When I think of an ideal day for me, it often will entail spending time in a fabulous city, being a tourist.  I get to sleep until 8:30 or even later if I want to. I'll eat something delicious and have a dark, rich coffee. I'll browse through my guidebook over breakfast, which I'll be having with Mr. Wonderful, of course, and we'll talk about what we want to see that day. Then we walk and take public transportation to a museum we've been wanted to visit and spend 4 hours or so there, having a light lunch in the museum cafe (these always seem to have pretty good food).  We don't try to cram a bunch of sites into one day - maybe we take a self-guided walking tour around town or go to a historic building, neighborhood, cemetery - whatever...  At some point we stop for a coffee and a snack.  Later in the afternoon we'll sit outside at a cafe with a great people-watching view (because the weather is always perfect on a day like this), and have a beer or glass of wine depending on where we are.  We pick someplace to have dinner, we may go back to the hotel for a nap. The pace is natural, not forced. Since we are relaxed, there will of course be some sex. After our fabulous dinner at a small neighborhood restaurant, we'll have a stroll on a romantic street, or along a promenade - and end the evening ready for an amazing night's sleep on an incredibly comfortable bed in a cute little boutique hotel. Because on a dream day, you get all the rest you need.

I've had days exactly like this with Mr. Wonderful in at least 5 different cities.

Camping:  For me, the perfect day of camping comes the day after you've completed a strenuous hike into pristine wilderness with a heavy back on your back and set up camp near a glorious lake.  Morning comes and your back is NOT sore after sleeping on a thin pad on the ground because it's your dream day afterall. You boil water for coffee and oatmeal, the sky is clear and the air is a little cool. Your kids are entertaining themselves throwing rocks into a lake or poking around near the camp. No complaining about the food. No fighting or whining of any kind.  We pack a lunch for a day hike to another lake maybe 3 or 4 miles away and the walk is glorious. Winding through groves of trees, over rocky hilltops and through one or two meadows full of wildflowers. We get to the lake and strip down to go for a swim since the hike was a little strenuous and it's warmer now. Bask in the sunshine on a rock in our undies (or swimsuits, or naked depending on who all is there) to dry. Have some lunch.  Try our hand at a little fishing even though mid-day is not a great time to catch fish. We don't really care.  At some point we pack ourselves back up and hike back to our base camp. I'd probably make some dinner while Mr. Wonderful and Wild Thing did some fishing. Teen Wonder is off by herself on a rock next to the lake reading or writing in her journal.  We eat some dinner and build a little fire (because there's no fire danger on your ideal day). Then we hang around the fire and camp playing Bananagrams or cards, having cocoa. Maybe some scotch for the grownups. And we'll make s'mores.  The kids go to bed without a fight or any complaining. Mr. Wonderful and I sit up a little while longer by the fire just quietly or talking a little about our day.  We look at the starry sky and pick out constellations, and then we hit the sleeping bag pretty early because it's dark and we won't have any trouble sleeping on the thin pads on the ground. 

I haven't had this exact day with both kids - but I could put together a composite from several fun camp days.

There's a weekend version of an ideal day that involves sleeping in a little, but not too late.  Getting some exercise right away and then a nice long hot shower.  On and ideal weekend day I wouldn't have all the obligations of laundry, grocery shopping, paying bills, etc.  I would have maybe one baseball game to go to, or a kung fu class - but not a lot of driving around. No driving is the best, unless we want to go on an excursion to a beach or hiking trail.  I would have at least 2 hours to devote to something crafty. I would have time to try a new recipe and bake some fresh cornbread or a berry pie. The family would all have a friendly, happy dinner together - no fighting or complaining or Wild Thing refusing to sit in his seat or Teen Wonder texting.  After dinner Teen Wonder does the dishes immediately and we have time to play a game of Sorry! or Life. And time to watch an episode of Adventure Time as a family. The kids will go to bed (after story time for Wild Thing) without any hassle. Mr. Wonderful and I will have a couple hours of grown-up time together. Maybe we'll make cocktails and sit and talk on the back patio in our lovely yard (not lovely yet, but in my ideal day it will be). 

We've had weekend days like this. I wish they were more frequent, but we have a lot of activities and obligations that make most weekends fairly hectic.

I think I will leave out the ideal work day. But it would entail no commute, a clear list of goals for the day, a sense of accomplishment, time for some exercise, and a family dinner.

To be honest, I don't feel like there are any solid barriers to having days like these - just stuff that happens. That's life.  In my ideal world, I would of course be done with diabetes and all things autoimmune. I'd have more control over my own time.  But I don't spend anytime fantasizing about these things - well, not the absence of any disease anyway.  So I work as hard as I can to streamline my medical care and take care of myself. And I constantly battle the overextension issues that I have in time management. Then my "perfect" days can be more frequent. I'm okay with not every day being perfect anyway - I'd probably start to take them for granted rather than observing the moment with gratitude for the gift of every day, good or bad.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Top 10 list

HAWMC writing prompt for today? 10 Things you couldn't live without. Make a list of the 10 things you need (or love) the most.

My top 10 list of what I need to live:

1. Insulin, without which I will literally wither up and die)

2. Love in my life (I could conceivably survive a significantly less meaningful life without one or the other of Mr. Wonderful, my children, my friends - but I don't think I could survive if I had no one to love)

3. Sleep - preferably 8 hours uninterrupted in a comfy bed

4. Pen and Paper - I need something to write with no matter what. Often it's just a little list I need to make, but I need to have something.

5. Exercise - preferably including yoga in the balance. I need exercise not only for fitness, but just to remind me to breath some days!

6. Nature - to be in it, to study it, absorb it, worship in it.  Ocean, mountains, desert - they all make me feel happy and alive.

7. Blood glucose monitoring - I do a terrible job without it and feel terrible too.

8. Creative outlet. I'm actually flexible about what can count for this. When I was a bench scientist I didn't have as much need for artsy activities, or to cook as much.

9. Stories - specifically books and movies.

10. Time alone.  I used to think of myself as an extrovert - but really I do need some time alone. Not a huge amount, but definitely some.

There are some other things I can't imagine living without, but I know I could really. Like music.  Or the internet. Or avocado. Or the fact that I need at least one bag (or huge pockets) at all times to carry around my "essentials".  I'm sure the list could get very very long!  And I didn't include many of the basics that I take for granted, like water, food, shelter, money - and it makes me sad that so many in our world are lacking the basic means for survival.

For lent this year I kept a Gratitude Journal and challenged myself to write in it everyday.  I have so much to be thankful for, not the least of which is being able to have and experience all the things on my top ten list several times over.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

swimming upstream of consciousness

Prompt #12 for HAWMC - write stream of conciousness for 15 minutes (I'm setting a timer!). Start with the phrase "Today I looked in the mirror and..."

Today I looked in the mirror and realized that it was already 10:15am. Our sump pump fried itself, and it's been rainy and may rain some more, so we had to do something about it like, pronto! But  my husband (aka Mr. Wonderful) pretty much took care of it for us - I didn't really have to do anything. I'd found the old pump running last night (well, technically it was early in the morning) and decided I'd better wake Mr. Wonderful up since I wasn't sure what to do besides unplug it. The sump well was pretty much full.

Anyway, we agreed to find a new one in the morning and replace it and went (back) to sleep.  However, this morning I woke up with a splitting headache brought on by not enough sleep, hormonal state, low overnight bG, weather pressure changes, a mild head cold, and a shot of pepper vodka at midnite (dumb idea btw, but insomnia messes with your judgement, you know?) Two Excedrin later I decided I'd work from home for the morning in case Mr. Wonderful needed any help or anything.  I dialed into my teleconference at 8am with some coffee and high-grain cereal, and mostly just listened in. Interesting topics, but not projects I'm directly involved in - more that I need to learn the process for this particular team so I understand what to contribute when it is my turn.  Then I did some actual work preparing for a conference I'm attending next week and answering a few emails. Then at 10 I realized that I was still in my bathrobe and that I had a real live meeting to get to at the office by 11:30.

The mirror. Some days the mirror is not my friend and I notice every little bulge, age spot, and saggy piece of skin imaginable. Most days I am much more objective and my goal is to take the middle aged face and body I see there and dress it with style and apply products that will moisten, firm, camoflage, and enhance my skin and hair.  This process takes about 30 minutes, which I think is not bad. Today was pretty objective. I really didn't have time to obsess. This is a good thing.

I changed my clothes almost completely after the first try, and felt smug with my final choices. I did look stylish in my humble opinion. But only from the neck down. After hair and face, I got an inspired idea for my neck which was still bare. I have this cool buffalo nickel necklace that I never wear. For some reason it is on the uber-long chain that doesn't really work with many outfits I wear - but today I threaded the chain through twice and then did this crazy loosen-tighten-loosen-tighten dance with it to actually get it around my neck and clasped.  Then I took a final look and I smiled at myself. "good job self" I did not say out loud. 

As I walked out of the bathroom I realized that 5 hours earlier I'd had a splitting headache and I couldn't believe how bright and optimistic I felt.  Actually, I felt really happy. I had that sense of physical well-being that I wish I could capture and summon up as my majority state rather than the minority state. Mr. Wonderful successfully swapped out our sump pump, so my crafty space and our laundry room won't get flooded (God willing). My bGs have been brilliant in the past 48 hours (probably a function of the hormone fluctuation back downward but I will take it).  I have some interesting things to do at work today, and the sun was shining after the clouds of the early morning broke up. 

I love Excedrin.

(ding! time's up!  I'm going to publish this without any editing so forgive any boo-boos please...)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pump in Pocket - my theme song

Today's HAWMC prompt was to pick or write or sing and record (I wish) a theme song for our blog and/or health condition. I was actually going to bail on this one because I was so uninspired by my own imagination earlier and so impressed by some of the other bloggers from the HAWMC and their posts and songs.  But then this evening I remembered my New Year's Resolution to not be so f-ing special in 2012.

So here is my theme song.

Pump in Pocket  (shamelessly reworked from Chirssie Hynde and The Pretenders)

I got pump in pocket
Got bottle, I'm gonna use it
Insulin, I feel inventive
Gonna make you, make you, make you bolus

Got a potion, for stomach motion
Been breathing, not, hardly eating
My lab results, not so pleasing
Gonna make you, make you, make you bolus

Gonna use my carbs
Gonna use my meds
Gonna use my style
Gonna use my workouts
Gonna poke my fingers
Gonna use my, my, my determination
'Cause I gonna make you see
There's nobody else here
No one like me
I'm special (special), so special (special)
I gotta have medical attention, give it to me

Got a new pump, it's so discrete
Got CGM, suh-wee-eet
My insurance gonna pay for it too
Gonna make you, make you, make you bolus

Gonna use my carbs
Gonna use my meds
Gonna use my style
Gonna use my workouts
Gonna poke my fingers
Gonna use my, my, my determination
'Cause I gonna make you see
There's nobody else here
No one like Me
I'm special (special), so special
I gotta have medical attention, give it to me

'Cause I gonna make you see
There's a bunch of us out here
But not all like me
We're special (special), so special (special)
I gotta have medical attention

Give it to me

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dear Self at 16

(HAWMC writing prompt for today)

photo of self at about 16 - courtesy of Andy VanDyke

Dear Self at 16,

As I think about where you are in your life right now, I'm overwhelmed with emotion.  I know that you are in the midst of all sorts of changes and decisions - parents divorcing, colleges sending you colorful brochures, friends, drugs, sex.  I want to write something kind and wise that will make you feel lighter. You are so funny and your smile is so bright. And you are beautiful. And smart. And strong. And sad.

I'd like to be able to list out all the places "we" made a wrong turn in the 30 years that have elapsed in this time space continuum (hehe - continuum doesn't look like a real word, does it?).  However, there are so many things for you to look forward to, and your life at age 46 will be rich and filled with people and experiences that "we" may not have if I were truly tell you things that could alter your course.

So there you go. You will make a lot of mistakes. And my advice to you? Get over it!  I don't know if you already have the habit of internalizing everything - to be honest, I can't remember - but I suspect you've started by now. I do know that you already spend a lot of time feeling guilty and obsessing about things that you cannot change.  Please try to treat yourself like your own best friend rather than your harshest critic. Please give up on the notion that you should be able to fix everything if only you had more discipline and were paying attention and taking action. Not only can you not fix everything - it isn't your job to fix everything!  Every person in your life is responsible for their own fixing, just like you.

I know you've already had diabetes for two years, and you feel like a terrible person for not being in control of this disease.  You should trust Dr. Hohl more - he is a really compassionate person, and he knows that you are making up your glucose numbers in that log book, and he knows that you are a perfectionist (which you will NOT know for a very long time, btw)(oh, btw means by the way - for reasons I will not get into here, people use a lot of acronyms in the future).  High blood sugar does not equate to a moral deficiency. Hypoglycemia not your fault either. Your pancreas quit working and that is not your fault.  The really good news is that this will get ever so much easier for you. Remember just 2 years ago when you were diagnosed and the only way to monitor how you were doing each day was to test your urine? Sheesh.

Now, 30 years in your future, I've got a continuous glucose monitor giving me a bG data point every 10 minutes that talks to an insulin pump I wear with an infusion set. I don't have to eat the same thing every day at the same time. I can sleep in (well, in theory if I didn't have kids of my own and a job!) I don't have to exercise the same time with the same intensity every day or try to predict the future 4-12 hours at a time because I can adjust my pump to give me different amounts of insulin whenever I want to.  This system works so much better for you - you will see.

I know that you also still wear a brace at night for scoliosis, and you still have braces on your teeth. And that you joke around about being a genetic mutant.  Your sense of humor will serve you well over the years!  The bad news is that you are going to really need it because you haven't seen the last of medical challenges and physical limitations. And I want you to know that it is perfectly okay to be pissed off about this from time to time!  The good news is that throughout the years you will find yourself surrounded by people who care about you and would love to help and support you if only you would ask. So go ahead and ask once in awhile. Oh, but do try to ignore the judgemental assholes out there. You won't be around as many of those 30 years from now (or maybe you'll just get really good at ignoring them - either way works for me).

I'm sure you have a lot of questions - I too have questions about what will happen in the next 30 years! I'll just end with this: Your love of music and games, your goal oriented work ethic, your analytical tendencies, your tenacity, your humor, and the fact that you are tall - all of these things and much more of what you've got going for you - mean that you will be able to achieve the things you barely dare to dream of today. Like traveling all over the world. And having children. And love. And you may in fact be a genetic mutant! We know so much more about the genetics of diseases these days. But you will never be alone in that.

With much love from your closest friend and admirer,
You at 46