I am an Endless Legend

This morning I scan Facebook for motivation and laughs.  I hate the news. Rarely do I search out news.  I am skeptical in its presentation versus reality.

Within the search, I find this.

Seb’s video motivates me.  Focus on today.  Small steps.  That’s all I hear.

Tonight I find a hoodie with my Maiden name which has a saying….

“I am an Endless Legend.”

And I feel like I can be a Super Hero.  Yep that’s right.  Click on the link to see what motivates me to write about it.

http://www.sunfrogshirts.com/DOUGHTY-3254-White-29514080-Hoodie.html?23035

My maiden name is Doughty.

Today our temps reach above 0C.

I am closing in on living with Type 1 diabetes for 40 years.  Exercise, activity, healthy eating and keeping myself in shape and healthy is important to me.

BUT, It’s been a rough few months exercise and otherwise for me. Winter and I don’t get along as far as energy and ambition.  The month of February in Ontario was the coldest on record since 1875.

Word on the Weather Network is temps will reach upwards of about 6C.   It will feel balmy if it is true!  No wind would be nice too!  I haven’t heard about the records set for wind this winter but one must exist!!

Today I work from home finishing up some Admin that’s been driving me crazy. The sun shines bright all day. The bright sun gleaming through the windows blinds me at times. Despite that, I embrace the intensity of it.

Suddenly the hope appears with the time change and the increase in the intensity of the sun.

About 5pm, I take a break from the Admin work I focus on all day.  I put on my ear buds and hook up my music. I make my way to the ‘super mailbox’ up the road to get our mail. It feels so good to get out.  I can’t stop looking to my left, smiling at the sun as it made its way down the sky to sleep for the night.   Today, I am thankful for the gift the sun has given.

I wish the roads allowed for me to put on my running shoes and go, but I can’t stand wet feet…and not good for the well being of them either.

Knowing I can’t let this time go, I take the ‘long’ walk home.

Thankfully, we live right off the Trans Canada Trail…it is just a few minutes walk from our home. I am excited to make my way there as soon as the snow melts and puddles aren’t ankle deep to get my running gear on and go…for miles and miles.

Despite the fact I wear my Blundstones, to keep my feet dry tonight, I want to run so bad. It is so hard not too.

In anticipation of this, I find a post on FB of a T and hoodie that include my Maiden name…and I fall in love. So, I ordered a few work out T’s and a hoodie.

And one for my Dad…cause if it wasn’t for him….I wouldn’t be an Endless Legend!

What do you do to motivate yourself to move?

P.S. Pink is my favourite colour…of what I ordered, I picked a bright pink tee…and I while I wear my fav colour I will remember while I am running or lifting weights…. “I am an endless legend.” for so many reasons.

I’m OKAY!! Really!?

Wedding Cruise5With the exception of the time we dated in high school, my husband Steve is diagnosed with Type 1 spousal diabetes for just under four years.

It may seem silly but I assumed in all this time he knew diabetes like I did.  I can’t even tell you why I thought he would learn 39 years of living with Type 1 diabetes as I have experienced by observing signs, symptoms and random sharing of how I feel in certain situations.  He has never had formal education in the less than 4 years we have been together.

The moment I understood I need to share my life with diabetes more?

We arrived in Lima, Peru.

After settling on the last leg of our journey we decide to head out in search of a few markets and sites for some art pieces.

On the way back, my pump alarms that my sensor is telling me my blood sugars is 4 mmol/L.  My sugar is going down.  Stupidly, I have no sugar on me…Steve is so good he usually does have lifesavers in his pocket…but he has none.

I feel it is lower than 4 mmol/L.  But I am stubborn.  Steve asks if I want him to go into a store and get sugar.  I say it’s OK .

First, when my sugar trends towards low but I feel like I am not in danger, I don’t treat with rapid acting sugar, I set a temporary basal rate.  I think it’s a control thing.  I want to change the stupid system that really works…just to see if I can make it better.  I am so anti-sugar….I really want to take it…mental block.

So…I say to Steve, it’s okay, I’ll set a temp rate.

And we keep walking.

And several minutes later I become dull.  And quiet.  I lack my bubbly, sunshine Type A personality.

Steve knows but doesn’t know.  He hasn’t experienced such an extreme moment like this.

I personify strength.  Knowledge.  Power.  Ability.  I am never the victim.  He trusts that. Even thought his gut tells him different.

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So he trusts me and my choice.

Until I mumble I want ice cream.  And he asks further questions.  And I am indecisive and vague.

We end up in a grocery store a few blocks away from our hotel.  He asks me several times what I want to get….I don’t know.  In my mind I want to ask him to help me.  Save me from this terrible prison in my mind of wanting to be in control.  Not to ask for help.  I will take care of myself.  I won’t confess I have failed.  I won’t ask.  I refuse.  I won’t.  I have done this since I was a little girl.  My (mis)behaviour trumps my voice.

I am no good to anyone.  I know it.  I am too far gone to say that.

Steve finally suggests and I agree.

We pay out at the cash and I inhale.

Many minutes later Tracy returns.

Later that night we debrief.  He tells me…”I knew, but I didn’t because you know!”, but I did.  And I failed to tell him.  Thankfully he saw it today. Exactly what I just described.

He tells me “…from now when when you say “It’s okay, I’ll set a temporary basal rate.”  I am going to pop into a store and buy some candies.”

And he will tell me.  “You need this candies”.  And I now I will take them.  Regardless of how bad I want to be in control.  Because, we have this consensual contract.

It’s good to share my diabetes.  A liberation.  Enlightening.  It is a relief to give a very small piece of it to someone else.  Even though it is only a very small piece of what my mind thinks of 24-7-365, if feels good. Despite how much control I want.  And how hard it is to let go.

Full Circle

“No matter the deviation, all things come full circle. You begin and end your journey in the same place, but with a different set of eyes.” – Abram (Jennifer DeLucy, Seers of Light (Light, #1))

This time last year we were in the midst of a ferocious battle of closing what should have become our dream home.

We began to plan our dream wedding. Live the dream life.  On the lake. With a picture perfect view.

Our plans all laid out. Exactly how WE wanted.

It was made known to us very quickly in 2014 that this was not the plan God had in store for us. No matter how hard we tried.

In February 2014 I feel fear, failure and intense anxiety as one of the last times I pull into the one kilometre lane that is to take us to our dream home. It is dusk. Darkness ensuing. It feels like our world is crumbling before us.

As I pull in the lane, I see in the distance my husband sitting in a Bobcat. Uncovered. Temperatures hovering in the -30C with windchill. The wind bites my cheeks. It sends a chill through me as I walk down the lane to summate if my husband will be able to have the snow filled, long lane cleared to the standards needed for the mortgage inspector the next day.

It doesn’t look good. It looks grim. I feel a wave of hopelessness.

I ask Steve into the car to warm up. He is covered in frost and snow.

I ask him. “How bad do you want this?”

He gives me a flicker of hope. He thinks he can have it done.

He wants this. So do I. We’ve come too far.  We have entered into a committed agreement we will not fail at.

There are these beautiful pictures we have drawn in our minds and on paper over the past 3 months of how this will turn out.  It has to be that way. No exception.

We kiss good bye. I ask him to keep me up to date. I drive home with the dogs in tow.

4:00 a.m. the next morning I wake with a jolt. I roll over. I reach for him. He is not there. Is he OKAY??  What has happened?

I text him. I call. We finally connect. The news is not good.

Throughout the night the snow continues to blow across the lane. With the darkness of the night it is hard for Steve to tell how far he has progressed.

As the sun breaks the horizon he is in shock. He is no where near completion. He calls on a dear friend for help. When all is said and done, the lane is cleared in time for the inspector.

Once again we believe the end is near.  Our dream will finally come true.

Within a few weeks we will begin the renovations and transition to our dream home.

Fast forward to a few weeks later.

It is Thursday, March 6, 2014. I am at the Diabetes Education Centre until 9:00 pm where I work as a Registered Nurse.

The whole reason we found our dream home. The only reason why we plan on leaving our hometown.

In the past week a series of events (which I cannot share due to legal agreements) have occurred in which I’ve been waiting for a phone call telling me that despite a series of unfortunate circumstances beyond our control, we will finally close what will be the home of our dreams.  Our resting place.

My cell phone rings. It is our Real Estate Agent. The tone of his voice does not give me hope that all is good. He apologizes. He is so sorry. He is informed that our dream home has been sold to someone else. The selling of our dream home is beyond our control and there is nothing we can do.  We have a sense of the wrong doings of human beings that have caused this BUT there is nothing we can do to get our dream home back.

I sob uncontrollably. Our house is sold. Our dream home is gone. Our wedding plans no longer.

I am in shock.

But I’m not.  There has been this whisper for sometime telling me this wasn’t going to end up the way we planned.

Going back to that cold, hopeless night at the lane something or more appropriately Someone was shaking His head. I could sense it.

I suspect He was saying to Himself:

“How many roadblocks do I have to put up before they realize this is not part of My plan for them?”

The next step was to call Steve. I have to tell him we lost ‘the Cottage’.

We need to find a home now. A home we didn’t think we would have to look or settle for.

We have three months to come up with an answer whether we purchase or rent. Our current home is piled high with boxes.  It has been for two months.  The thought of living out of boxes for three more months seems overwhelming and unbearable.

The next most important discussion we have after shifting gears is how committed are we to my career at the Diabetes Education Centre. It is becoming evident the two hour daily commute is taking a toll on my heath.  The past year has been the most sick I have been in several years.  The stress of the drive and long days does not pair well with my diabetes.

As equally important which marries with our career discussions is; what direction are we heading with Steve’s business “VERGEbuilders”. Steve’s business is growing fast on the commercial and residential side. As the year rolls on so does the work, resulting in hiring more employees.  We did not anticipate the speed of growth.  With that we have to decide where our residence best supports his business.  We see this as critical.

At the end of a series of conversations we decide it is best to stay in our home town. We feel that is where we belong. It is hard for us to imagine moving out of the area we called home since our childhood.  This is also where 2 of our 3 children live for the time being.

It isn’t a simple decision. But, at that point we know my career at the Diabetes Centre will not be long term. We don’t know what, when or how but we are hopeful another opportunity will eventually present itself. We create a long term deadline for my current career with a ‘plan’.  In the meantime, I will continue to commute.

This is our plan.

Little did we know we don’t need to make any plans. It is already in the works.

We begin our search for a new home.  Nothing clicks.  We feel defeat & frustration. Fortunately, the purchasers of our current home agree to extend closing by two more months.

In the meantime we begin to discuss wedding options. The caterer and photographer are booked for our dream wedding in July at our dream home we no longer have. It is another dig at the wounds of losing our dream home as I cancel them.

When we originally discussed wedding plans, all I could envision is Steve and I on the beach together. I could picture the dress, the sandals, the peace, the simplicity of it all.

As time goes by, I ignore what I really want. I begin to sacrifice what I always imagine in order to accommodate to my thought of how happy others will be taking part in sharing our vows. My compromise is getting married on the lake at our dream home.

As we cross paths with our family and friends we hear comments…”Are you guys married yet?” “When are you guys getting married?”

We want to get married but not to ‘just get married’. We want it to be the right time at the right place. We also agree we won’t do it to please others. It has to be for us. Isn’t that why two people come together in matrimony?

As we search with painful disbelief for the perfect abode we discuss the options for the perfect time and place to legally become husband and wife.

It circles back to a beach far away.  Just the two of us.  Simple.

This decision seems the easiest to make among all the others before us. We decide to announce our intentions.  Of course the ones we love give us their blessings and support.

April 2014…we spend the day with our Real Estate Agent again. We look at houses. Nothing feels right. It just doesn’t feel like home. I’m sure mostly because I’m bitter and still in disbelief.

The last house we look at is a newly built home in a subdivision development. Despite it being bright & open, the rooms are too small, the choice of decor is not what I would choose for our home. It triggers a curiosity within me that leads me to ask our Agent if we can view the model home to see what other options are available.

We arrive at the model home. We tour through it. I love it. I can picture us living in a home like this.  It has big windows, an open concept and we can reconfigure it to accommodate to our needs.  The only con is the 40 foot lot.  With all the benefits it has and where it is located, the small lot in the city I can live with.

We talk with the Builder’s Sales Rep. There is only 1 lot left. There are others preparing to put a deposit down. We go home and grab the cheque book. The lot is ours.  The Sales Rep is surprised at our timing.  There were no other opportunities available for quite some time that suits our needs.

Both Steve and I have built before. I throughly enjoy the process. For Steve the process itself is a means to an end.

Knowing our current home and the closing of our new home will not coincide, I begin the search for a short term rental property that will accept our fur babies. It is no easy feat. No one wants short term tenants or fur babies.

In desperation I place an ad on Kijiji. I search on line every night.  A few months go by. Then, one day I receive an email. It is a response to my search. We arrange to meet. As we finish introductions, the owner informs us we will probably not get the rental as he has people viewing the property who are interested in long term. We take a deep breathe, quickly look through the main floor of the tiny bungalow. If we can get it, it will work just fine. I am thankful the kitchen is huge compared to our current home.  I have a tinge of excitement at this.  We are told we will be notified either way in two days.  Just the thought of being told we won’t get the rental seems to be too much right now.

Less than 12 hours later, my phone rings. It is the owner. The rental is ours!  What a break!

In the meantime we decide to get married on a beach. Just the two of us. We begin to plan. It feels good to not have the burden of guest lists, decorations and agendas. We keep it simple by booking with an on line wedding agency. We decide to get married on Magen’s Bay Beach in St Thomas in May.

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Despite all that happened in such a short period of time and the about face we have made with major life plans, we feel like everything is going to be ok.  The day of our wedding is so perfect it seems nothing can take us down.

Throughout these changes and plans, we decide it best for me to start researching alternate career plans. With Steve’s business we decide it a consideration for me to look into a career in Real Estate. I have felt for some time I need to take a break from the world of diabetes (minus my own and my sons) and the daily two hour drive.  This past winter road conditions were too much.

I consult with our Real Estate Agent to gain some insight as to whether this career choice will be a good fit.  As I make my way home from work I discuss the pros and cons with him.

Then, another change in plans we are not part of.

I arrive home that same evening I am on the phone with our Real Estate Agent. I hear an email come in on my phone. I open it. It’s from an old colleague who is a Sales Rep for Bayer. We occasionally partnered when I worked for Medtronic as a Territory Manager. It has been about 1 1/2 years since we have been in contact. It was at that time I went through an interview process with Bayer. In the end, after four interviews it was between me and one other person. They chose to hire the other person.

In my Colleagues email she introduces the fact the person that was chosen over me that previously represented the territory which is small and close to home resigned. She asks if I’d be interested in applying for the position once again.  It is Medical Sales in the Diabetes Division.

I give Steve a brief summary of the conversation I had earlier in the evening with our Real Estate Agent.

All of a sudden we have two career opportunities presented in one day that permit me to shorten my commute time and balance my personal and work life.

We decide that the pros of going back into Medical sales is way too good of an opportunity to pass up. I keep trying to escape from the professional world of diabetes but I see it is also not part of the plan for me.  I apply and am subsequently offered the position.  My role as an Diabetes Educator to Health Care Professionals seems to be a big part of the plan in my life.

In a matter of a few weeks in May, I am offered a new job, I resign from my position as a Diabetes Educator, we begin the process of building a home and we fly off to the Carribean to be married.

We return from our wedding/honeymoon starting my new job.

It all sounds like it’s coming full circle, doesn’t it?

Well, almost.

In all of these plans that have came before us there comes another ‘glitch’.

With my new career comes a probation period. My probation will not end before we need to close the house. It will impact the type of mortgage and down payment required.

I stress over how to get around this. I approach the sales rep for the Builder. I ask if we can extend the closing. It has been extended three times already by the Builder. We are only one month difference between closing and my probation ending. No deal. The closing date will stay as is.

I throw my hands in the air. Once again I have no control. I have to pray and trust that what will be, will be. I put an alert out to our families. We need a lot of prayer that somehow the closing date will be extended.

Two weeks prior to the closing date a miracle happens. I can’t disclose the events which unfold due to a waiver I signed with the Builder. What I can say is despite the stress of what occurs next, which in the very moment of realization feels like another broken shoelace, comes the answer to our prayers.  It takes a few months for me to understand this is in fact an answer to prayer.  In the first 4-5 weeks it looks like our world has fallen apart again.  So much so we begin to look at options of where to live.

As a result of these circumstances our closing date is extended two weeks past the end of my probation.

Amongst all of this we also experience a dramatic shift in two of our children’s lives. One moving to Edmonton, Alberta and one to Wellington, New Zealand.

So here it is, after all is said and done. In 2014 there are many major deviations in our plans. Most times we can’t make sense of why.

The stress, sadness and changes are unbearable at times.

Regardless of the changes of events from our original plans at the end of 2013 and into the beginning of 2014, the outcomes stay pretty much the same.

We are married. I began a new career, shortening my commute time. In a few days we will take possession of our beautiful home in our hometown. Steve’s business is flourishing.

Besides the plans, how did our view of these events occurring in 2014 change our point of view?

1.  Our faith.  God has the right plans for us.

2.  Our acceptance that we do not have the control in our lives we think we do.

3.  We don’t always have our own best interest at heart even though we may think we do.

4.  Understanding. When a situation occurs, the outcome will be what is meant to be even if we don’t see it yet.

5.  To see that in the end of every journey, every circumstance, big or small, there is a lesson that will help us see with a much needed different set of eyes.

To bid 2014 adieu, we stand in the Andes Mountains at an elevation of 15,100 feet.

I try to absorb the grandiosity of what my eyes see and the complexity of what happened in 2014.  In these moments I try to realize that I will always have the ground under my feet, the sky above me, water abounding, food on my table, a roof over my head and people that love me.

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Here’s to seeing 2015 with a new set of eyes and having the faith to allow the plans that are in the works for this year be according to His will, not mine.

Gobbling It Up

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I was very guilty of this for many, many years.

Pursued & got the 6 figure job. I worked long, exhausting hours running an extremely successful career all while raising 2 amazing kids.

I thought my career & being the ‘perfect’ Mom would fill the void of what I was really looking for. I also thought building a dream home would make everything okay.

I knew why I did it, but couldn’t put it into words or stop the search. I didn’t stop ‘gobbling’ up until the past few years.

It took a lot of choice, non-choice & learning to accept all the ‘things’ I lost to put what mattered into perspective.

In the end finally finding a love that accepted me for who I was without having to prove myself ultimately stopped that seemingly endless search.

It’s an amazing release from something you are always looking for but can never find satisfaction.

Not that I don’t get sucked into it once in a while & have to step back & say to myself ‘whoa!!’…but I know beyond a shadow of doubt that I won’t ‘gobble up’ like I did. My search is over.

“We’ve got a sort of brainwashing going on in our country, Morrie sighed. Do you know how they brainwash people? They repeat something over and over. And that’s what we do in this country. Owning things is good. More money is good. More property is good. More commercialism is good. More is good. More is good. We repeat it–and have it repeated to us–over and over until nobody bothers to even think otherwise. The average person is so fogged up by all of this, he has no perspective on what’s really important anymore.

Wherever I went in my life, I met people wanting to gobble up something new. Gobble up a new car. Gobble up a new piece of property. Gobble up the latest toy. And then they wanted to tell you about it. ‘Guess what I got? Guess what I got?’

You know how I interpreted that? These were people so hungry for love that they were accepting substitutes. They were embracing material things and expecting a sort of hug back. But it never works. You can’t substitute material things for love or for gentleness or for tenderness or for a sense of comradeship.

Money is not a substitute for tenderness, and power is not a substitute for tenderness. I can tell you, as I’m sitting here dying, when you most need it, neither money nor power will give you the feeling you’re looking for, no matter how much of them you have.” ― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie

A New Year, A Lifetime of Change

January 1, 2011 was the beginning of a New Year.  I did not realize that my ‘year’ would last three.

Today is January 1, 2014.  It is traditionally the beginning of a New Year.

Thoughts, discussions, intentions and commitments for change shared. Summaries spoken and written of the year gone by.  Sentiments of regret and thankfulness for the past year or for the start of a new one expressed.

The thought of taking one year out of my life, summarizing it as a huge event and determining what the sentiments of regrets and/or what I am thankful for seems like such a small measurement of time in the 44 years I have been on this earth.  My ‘year’ is defined as a stage as opposed to a calendar year.

My last ‘year’ began in 2011.  Many events and themes which I did not want and which I thought would never happen occurred.  These events and themes have been on the front lines of my life since 2011.

My Mom and Dad gave me this coffee cup for Christmas.  When I opened it I fell in love.  It will be my ‘go to’ cup for my new ‘year’ because since I was a little girl it is who I am.

In my ‘year’ I have experienced death of a marriage, loss of a six figure income job, multiple, costly court hearings, moving 3 times, unemployed with no income for 2 years, major illness, major surgery, a sick parent, new love, the purchase of 3 houses, selling 2 houses, new job, managing a rental property, becoming engaged, living with my fiancé, moving my daughter twice back and forth to Toronto, my daughter living out of province in a remote area that provided little communication for 8 months, my son’s up’s and down’s as 20 year olds do, ‘adopting’ another son, on-line harassment for the past 2 years by my fiancé’s ex, commuting 2 hours a day, acquiring a puppy and a 4-year-old kennel dog and finally, living with Type 1 diabetes for 38 years and being a Mom of a young adult living with Type 1 diabetes.

In my ‘year’ I cried, I cursed, I have been so angry and so sad that I said things to people I didn’t mean and regret.  I made decisions that I regret.  I beat myself up daily and wish I could say and do differently in certain situations.

Why do I write this and open myself to you?  I do believe that I need to share my experiences to help others.  I have decided this is the end of this ‘year’ of events.  I want to move on.  It’s time for a new stage in my life.

Even though I feel it is time to start a new year and celebrate this, based on the events and experiences of the past 3 years I have learned some very important lessons.

1.  Change is inevitable.  Despite posts and quotes online about the fact one CAN control their life and think themselves into the perfect life, I don’t.  I can plan all I want but my plans are not God’s.  That is different then having a cup half full attitude.

2.  Acceptance creates change.  Acceptance of what I can’t control allows for freedom to focus on what’s important and what I can change.

3.  Let go, selectively.  In my life, I have experienced 3 lives.  My childhood, my first marriage with my children as a family and my current life with my fiancé Steve and blended family.  Advice is abounding, telling us that if one doesn’t let go of the past and move forward then one will never grow.  I refuse to ‘forget’ my past and ‘move forward’.  If I did that I would be letting go of the experiences my children and I have had that are important to us, good and bad.  My past has made me and my children who we are today.  When I dwell on a moment and it creates an emotion, I have learned that it is time to decide why I am dwelling on it.  What is the lesson?  How can I use that moment for my present life?  I believe past and present are a marriage which promotes personal growth.

4.  Always know there is a Plan B.  I am a dreamer.  Dreams come true.  Dreams stay dreams.  When the dreams don’t come true, know there is another way or leave it as a dream.  Not all dreams come true.

5.  It is okay not to be spontaneous.  Spontaneity is fun and I will always be a spontaneous person.  BUT, I have learned that when I really think I have a brilliant idea I want to carry out NOW, it’s time to step back and give it 48 hours.  I have a team of people I trust that I consult with.  I get their thoughts which gives me a different perspective which allows me to make the right choice.

6.  Be thankful everyday.  After I think of all the people and ‘things’ in my life, I imagine all of those that are less fortunate than me.  Those that are lonely, abused, destitute, unloved, sick, dying and sad. I have met those living in such circumstances and they are thankful for what they have.  They have a ‘cup half full’ attitude.  I ask myself, what reason do I have to think my life is anything less than abundantly blessed?  What reason do I have to express less than a ‘cup half full’ attitude?

7.  Act on it.  What I have learned in my past ‘year’ is by delaying action on deadlines not only causes inconveniences for others but consequences for many levels of mine and my loved ones life.  I have learned in this ‘year’ that the stress I have caused over the years by choosing to delay the demands of life has been far more painful than acting on it right away.

8.  Move.  From 1992 to 2011 I have taken very good care of my body by moving.  Through various sports and activities I kept myself well and in good shape.  In this ‘year’ I have put that on hold.  I conjured up many excuses as to why it was okay not to keep the commitments I made to my body.  I am only blessed with one body.  I may think it feels good to sit around and relax after all of the stress is laid before me instead of moving but after a few years my body has sent me a very different message.  I am re-learning that if I move my face glows, I sleep better, my muscles ache from stressing them from movement, they become stronger, my thoughts flow easier, my mood is brighter, my motivations increases.

9.  Try to keep it simple.  Living in this day in age is so complex. I’m learning in this ‘year’ it’s okay to let go of what isn’t important.  It’s okay to do nothing.  It’s okay to not always be thinking about something.  It’s okay to turn off the radio in the car and have it silent.  It’s okay not to worry.

10.  Love.  Don’t let past experiences stop you from falling (in love) again.  It feels so good AND yes it hurts sometimes.  And some loves that are no longer will cause sadness to the end of time OR until you cross paths again.  Don’t hold grudges over past loves unless you are committed to change it, they don’t know you are.  It only takes up space in your mind and robs your energy.

11.  Own a hairy or furry pet that is not nocturnal.  I have always had dogs and cats in my life.  In February 2011 I had to leave my dog behind but took mine and my children’s 3 cats.  I thought that would be enough.  It was not the case.  In October 2012 we brought 8 week old Samson into our lives.  In May 2013 4 1/2 year old Belle became the newest addition to our Samoyed husky family.  With 4 cats & 2 dogs our home can be a hairy circus but the personalities and activities that entertain us every day keeps us laughing and counters the work involved.  I can feel the stress leave my body as I see their excited faces looking for me as I ascend the steps to enter through the door returning home.  As I walk into the house and see their ‘smiles’ I feel an overflow of joy swell up within me by their unconditional greetings.  As I pet or hug one of our pups any stress I have experienced melts.

This is my ‘year’ in summary.  These are the lessons I have learned.  I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life.  I open my arms to the events that will unfold and the lessons that will be re-enforced as well as the new ones I will learn.

Happy New Year and Cheers to you and yours, Tracy

Make the Call

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Make the Call

This is the first thing I saw as I opened my eyes on June 18, 1996, the 5th Birthday of my daughter Cayla. A toilet.

As I open my eyes and look around I realize I am sitting on the floor of the bathroom. I am freezing cold. I am covered in something sticky. It is in my hair, on my face. It is all over me. My lips are numb. My left thigh aches.  I note I have on the same clothes I wore to bed.  An oversized t-shirt with the decals that celebrated the Toronto Blue Jays World Series wins in 1992 and 1993.  The t-shirt is so soaked in cold sweat it could’ve been wrung out. I am shaking profusely.

I then look over to my left and see my then husband. He is sitting on the edge of the tub. I mumble to him “I’m low.”. I see that he is holding my glucose meter.  As he shows me the face of it, evident he has just tested my sugar I notice his hand is shaking. He says “No, you’re high.” and shows me the number on the meter. I feebly argue I am definitely low despite the number on the blood glucose meter. I then say my leg is sore and ask if he gave me a needle.

He then explains to me the events that occurred that lead to this point.   As he is sound asleep in bed he feels my arm fall across his chest in bed. As he grabs my arm to remove it from his chest, he realizes that it is very cold and clammy. So cold and clammy he wonders if I am alive. After placing my arm back at my side, he nudges me and ask if I am okay. According to him the only sound out of my mouth is a moan. He continues to tell me that he then picks me up out of the bed and carries me to the kitchen where he attempts to feed me honey, as he tries to tuck the honey into the corner of my cheek to allow it slowly drain into the back of my throat, down into my stomach where it will begin to raise my sugar, I fight.

According to those who have cared for me during a severe low, I am not a nice person.  Despite my small stature I am a fighter & don’t like to cooperate.  I have been known to be holding my son Kurtis when he was a baby, refusing to give him up, insisting I need to protect him.  When I injected my insulin using vial and syringe I made a habit of leaving a new syringe and vials of insulin on the kitchen table so I didn’t forget to take my insulin.  After being carried from the bedroom, unresponsive and seated at the kitchen table, while my caregiver gets the honey out of the cupboard, I have been known to unconsciously draw up my insulin from the vials into a syringe & insist I MUST give me my insulin.  With adrenalin kicking my mind into fight mode, I have been known to hold the syringe full of insulin tightly in the air, making it challenging for the person trying to save me from my low to get close enough to treat it.  I have been known to place both feet on either side of the outside of car door to prevent my caregiver from getting me in the car to take me to the hospital.  Yes, I am one of THOSE in a severe low.

He continues to attempt to place the honey in my mouth.   According to the story I hear the # on the BG meter reads high, well above target.  As a result he re-adjusts his plan and determines that when he found me in bed I was not low but high. He injects 10 units of Humulin® R (regular) insulin in my left thigh. I don’t remember any of it.  It is 5am when he found me cold and clammy in bed, it is 10am when I wake up to see the toilet.

After I come to my senses in front of the toilet, he helps me clean up and leads me to the couch. I feel so guilty. Not because I had the low…it was considered inevitable with that type of insulin and I always tried to convince myself it wasn’t my fault. Back then the insulin I took caused me many severe lows.

I feel guilty because it is Cayla’s 5th birthday and birthdays are important. My Mom always made birthdays a very special day and I made a point of carrying that tradition on for my children.

I felt guilty because I am not able to get up and make Cayla’s morning as special as I typically did. I am not able to smile, hug her and wish her a Happy Birthday. I felt guilty because I can’t make her Birthday breakfast.

Instead, she is witness to her Father trying to bring her Mother out of severe low.

I feel guilty because I have to lay on the couch testing my sugars every few minutes to make sure I don’t bottom out from the 10 units of Humulin® R I have active in me.  I feel guilty because I am a bystander as I watch her Dad present her with her new bicycle. I feel guilty that on that day, her special day I feel like a failure as a person, a parent, as a person living with diabetes.

The learning I received from this morning is that she was more worried about me then how the morning of her 5th Birthday unfolded. She smiled as he presents her with her new bike. Then she says to her Dad, ” Daddy, I think you should’ve called for an ambulance.”

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference….” –Reinhold Niebuhr

Meaning

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Meaning

If you didn’t live with diabetes would you be the same person you are today? What has changed about you & your family as a result? Has it been a positive change?

Without a doubt I have a passion & a purpose that I believe would have been more difficult to discover had it not been for living with ‘my’ diabetes. Although there are days I wonder how much more energy (many without diabetes say I have more then they could harness so I hesitate to wish that upon anybody! LOL) as well as how much easier & clearer my mind would be to think & process daily thoughts (that again scares people that if I thought & processed more than I do I would be a very overbearing person). Maybe I am just really good at hiding how crappy I feel somedays. BUT, in the end, I have no regrets or misgivings about being handed this lot in life. Especially now that I sit with peeps & their families that live with diabetes & appreciate that I am their coach. I love sharing my experiences of 38 years of living with diabetes, as well as 13 years as a Mom of a child with diabetes to help others.

On the other hand, I do find at this point in time challenging as a parent of a ‘child’/young adult living with diabetes. At time of diagnosis & since he became a teenager I wish it had never happened or that I could keep him at the age I was able to manage him fairly easily. I tell myself that someday I will not feel that way. He too will find his rhythm, as I did, living with T1 diabetes. I don’t think there is a parent out there that can say that their family, them or their child is better off because of having diabetes.

My Mom’s perspective? Now that she knows I take great care of my diabetes & have a career that I love as a result of it she doesn’t worry as she did years ago. With that being said, I know she still has this ‘old’ diabetes mindset that one day I will announce I have kidney failure or I’m going blind. But as each day goes by I know she sees this will not happen…not in this day in age.

How Green is the Grass?

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How Green is the Grass?

This pic is where the movie Laura Croft Tomb Raider was taped. We were there when we visited Ta Prohm at Ankor Wat in Cambodia. I’m a big Tomb Raider fan. it was pretty amazing to be where it was filmed. The tree you see in the pic was jaw dropping. It was also amazing to think that something with such grandiose roots, reaching for the sky could survive in such barren conditions. It seemed it was in a totally foreign environment in which it needed to survive, yet it thrived & boasted so with its huge roots.

Thinking about that tree I reflect back in time. I remember being a “Diabetes Consultant” i.e. a sales rep for Novo Nordisk Inc. I fought hard to get that position. I knew I was fortunate to be there. I also was confident I had the passion to move it forward & benefit others, namely Health Care Practitioners. My goal was to influence so they would improve the lives of those living with diabetes en masse. I wanted to change the world of diabetes. I had been on the other side working in I.C.U. & I wanted to stop the madness. I believed that the best way to make that impact was in this way. Because I believed so passionately & so deeply about ‘my’ cause I passionately believed Novo Nordisk’s products were the best out there. No other pharmaceutical company selling insulin, pen tips, insulin pens or Type 2 oral agents could have a product as good as the one I sold. Their pipeline & success was overwhelming. Based on my steadfast belief & guidance from those who taught me to sell, I learned to sell & I sold well.

Did I sell like a pharma rep? I have & will maintain I didn’t. I had a hard time asking for the business, closing the sale. Instead, I believed through building relationships, earning trust & education inadvertently I did sell. When I left the company I was vying for 1st place out of 65 reps in less than 5 years. When I began the territory I looked after was flat lined, when I left it was growing in double digits. I steadily climbed the ladder of sales success. My drive wasn’t because of the money or recognition. Why did I ‘want it all’? Because I wanted to tell others that I succeeded based on building trust, relationships AND most importantly educating my clients with passion because I believed. I believed in the best for people living with diabetes & I wasn’t afraid to say so. My clients reassured me voluntarily they heard me loud & clear & I lead them to believe. They wrote the products I sold because they trusted that I would provide for them what was needed to take care of their patients living with diabetes. I would give them the information they needed to help them empower their patients.

Little did I know I was establishing my diabetes roots & standing out in an environment that is tough to penetrate. I was often asked why I wasn’t a diabetes educator. I just couldn’t envision myself doing it. I liked the rush of sales & the impact I made. I loved the relationships I had. I could walk into clinics & see Docs that other reps couldn’t. I didn’t think there was anywhere else I could make such a huge impact.

After my tenure with Medtronic, I honestly didn’t know where I belonged & believed exiting the diabetes world may be best for me to take care of myself & my family. What I learned was, when the roots are deep, it’s really, really hard to transplant somewhere else.

Seven weeks today I have been a Diabetes Nurse Educator at the most amazing clinic for Type 1’s. I don’t know of any other like this. As I said, first, I didn’t think I’d ever be an ‘educator’, which now I see I always was. Secondly but most importantly & the reason for this Blog is the deep roots I have established with the relationships & trust I developed over the past 9 years. All of these things have brought me to where I needed to be. Many I work with were my pharma clients, now they are my colleagues.

The greatest thing I have learned in the last 7 weeks? For all the products; insulin, meters, insulin pens, pen tips & pumps….my passion for certain products has dissipated a lot. I have realized & I have preached it…each persons diabetes is unique. It is their own. The product needs to chosen for the lifestyle of the person living with diabetes…not the other way around. I sit at my desk listening to my patients & I ask…what tools & education can I share with you to empower you to live with your Diabetes Beyond Borders?

The roots just keep getting deeper.

The Stealth Fighter of Diabetes

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The Stealth Fighter of Diabetes

I liken a Stealth Fighter to an undetected low blood sugar. Until I started back on my Continuous Glucose Meter a few weeks ago I thought I was overwhelming tired at times because there was too much going on.

Until I experienced a few incidents…one thankfully I detected & treated by finger poke thanks to the prompting of my fiancé & subsequently, the next detected by CGM.

The first happened shortly after I woke up. Our routine involves enjoying coffee & tea while catching up on local & international events & updates. I became extremely tired soon after reading updates on my computer. By the time I was in the kitchen making eggs, my heart was beating fast & I began to have a hard time breathing…not symptoms I usually have with a low blood sugar. In my mind I reviewed the things that may be overwhelming me. I am forever making a list in my head of the days & weeks ahead. I thought maybe I was getting ahead of myself too much, putting myself in a bit of a frenzy. I realized it wasn’t that, BUT I just couldn’t put a finger on the pulse. As we sat down to breakfast & I began to eat the poached eggs the racing heart & difficulty breathing continued. As I ate my poached eggs, I realized I was having a hard time eating. I felt nauseated…almost like a brick was in my stomach. I began to tap my foot in an attempt to focus on what the issue was. Within a few seconds of tapping my foot my fiancé Steve asked me what was wrong. By this time I had tears in my eyes & a lump in my throat. In my mind I was thinking “What the heck is wrong with me!!”. I said to him, “I don’t know.” He summated what could be causing it. Then he asked if I had checked my sugar. I agreed that was a good idea. I was 3.2 mmol/L!! It didn’t feel like a low I would usually have! Once treated, these crazy, weird symptoms disappeared.

Shorty after, I decided it was in my best interest to start wearing a Continuous Glucose Sensor again. I have to be honest, when I have a sensor in I love it. It truly is the ultimate advancement in technology that I never thought could exist given what I have experienced in 38 years living with Type 1 BUT I have a huge block with taking the time to prepare, insert and calibrate. It’s not that much more work than I do with wearing a pump, but I guess it’s just that one more step or three that I just don’t want to do. The motivation to take those extra steps becomes exponential when experiencing a stealth fighting low like described above.

The second undetected one I had was shortly after I had the first sensor in. It was shortly after breakfast (do you see the morning BG’s as being my source of trouble!). Again, I became tired. Not the same tired I get with other lows…I didn’t think so. I went upstairs to have a shower. I checked the CGM graph to see what my BG was at. It was 5.4 mmol/L. Good! I have my cell in the bathroom for those ‘just in case’ moments. I never stop being a Mom even though the kids are in their 20’s. Although none of them were from my kids I hear my phone ring, text tone and email going off. I border on irritation as I promise myself that for the few minutes I’m in the shower the world & my kids will survive without me having access to my cell, thus me having a peaceful moment in the shower. Still feeling not quite right & overtly irritated given how good natured I usually am, I am not able to put a finger on it. My pump begins to go off. It is alarming like crazy. By this point, I realize I’m quite low. I finish as quickly as I can & get to my pump. As seen in the pic above I am 2.4 mmol/L & still going down!! I put in a temp basal of 0%, put some clothes on & head downstairs to get some fast acting sugar. It took an hour to have the residual symptoms subside. Boy was I ever tired!! It scared me.

It occurred to me that I had been having these incidences many times a week for quite sometime. The reason why I didn’t pick up on the lows by finger poke? Each time I tested when I felt tired except for that day at breakfast, the lowest I tested on my meter was 4.1 mmol/L. Even that morning after my shower my meter only tested to 4.0 mmol/L. Which do I trust? Based on how I felt & the technology I decided that these lows were truly stealth-like. Based on the fact that glucose meters can ‘ideally’ have a variability of 20% in tests, I decided it was time to take action.

It has taken a lot of work in the past 3 weeks to nail it all down, but changes have been made & I notice a huge difference. Be ware of the Stealth Fighter of Diabetes…it is alive, well & undetectable.

 

Pain: Motivator or Deterrent?

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Pain: Motivator or Deterrent?

We read this sign as we entered S-21, the prison where Pol-Pot & the Khmer Rouge imprisoned, tortured and killed about 1 – 3 million Cambodians, approximately 25% of the total population.

As I read the “Regulations” I try to imagine what would go through my mind if I were a prisoner. I see pictures of what they endured. I ask myself, would these rules motivate me to do what they say, not because I feared the punishment, but with the hope of living and someday escaping? Or would it deter me from abiding by these rules because I felt hopeless and defeated, feeling like I wouldn’t succeed anyway?

Although it may not seem to be life and death, there are many events that occur in our daily lives that should be considered in a similar fashion.

No, it doesn’t appear that we are in a situation where we will experience terrible electric shocks or hang by our hands with our arms behind our backs until we pass out. These things are inhumane and disturbing at best.

BUT, what will the end result be in trying to ignore the things in our life that should be a priority? It certainly is not as acute or terrifying as what the Cambodians experienced but keeping that top of mind we have to decide what motivates us and what deters us if we know the ultimate price may be painful.

Would you read the “Regulations”, whatever those may be in your life and agree that your motivation to stay within those boundaries are worth living a full, satisfying, healthy life? Or are you deterred by the outcomes you have experienced so far and feel hopeless and defeated?

I want to encourage you that no matter where you are in your diabetes management or that of the one you love, there is always a reason to stay motivated. Move past the pain and look forward to what you want in life.

I urge you to start day dreaming. If you need to step away from your situation to do this, go for a walk, sit in a park, go to the library or book store. Visualize the final outcome. Take a piece of paper and write a letter to yourself like you would another person you care very much about. Explain to yourself the pain you are experiencing, the struggles you are feeling. In detail, describe what you want for yourself. List the steps on how you are going to get there and the length of time, short and long term. When you are going to get there? Take an envelope with a stamp and address it to yourself. Drop it in the mailbox. In a few days when you get it, read it, store it somewhere safe where you can pull it out and refer to it and act on it.

I met a man at the S-21 Prison in Cambodia, one of the last survivors. He wrote a book about his experience. I sat down beside this man and wondered how he could be so strong after enduring so much. Here he was, an old man, smiling, sitting in the same place that caused him so much pain. In his hand was the book he wrote. I imagine how difficult it must’ve been for him to write it. Recalling not just the pain he endured, but hearing people screaming and begging for mercy as they too were tortured and killed. Why would he want to write a book, sit at the place that he should never want to see again? Even in his old age it was apparent to me that the pain he endured did not deter him from the motivation to live life and be heard.

How do you want to live your life and what do you want to say? What will motivate you through those moments of pain?