Obvious

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Obvious

The tabby cat in the picture is Oscar. Yes, he is wearing a cast. He broke his leg in our basement shortly after we moved in to our new home last June. How? We have no clue. Young Oscar just wanted to be cuddled & cared for by our 12 year old Midge. How did Midge sense that Oscar needed some down time & snuggling to heal? Who knows. BUT…it is obvious to anyone looking at the picture that there is a cat with a cast. Something is wrong with him. Shortly after this photo op the cast fell off. For the cost of re-casting & the misery we caused him by doing so we decided to let him heal without it. He limped & hobbled around for several weeks, obvious he still had something painfully wrong with his leg. It was difficult to watch. Today you can not tell he broke his leg just a year ago. Does it hurt him still? Does it ache? Maybe. But as cats do, unless it is serious they can’t, won’t or don’t have the ability to communicate that. They act like all is normal. They keep to themselves & prove they can rebound from the impossible.

I hear time & time again the frustrations of people living with diabetes. Where is the cast, the seizure, the wheelchair, the appearance that tells those around them they have a chronic condition that somedays can make them feel like they’ve been hit by a bus? Aside from having a hypoglycemic seizure what are the obvious signs that one living with diabetes has had a series of highs or lows that have left them feeling like they want to be cuddled & cared for until they feel better? Words can only express the experiences one has. How can bystanders relate?

The frustration for many is to call into work or not go to school because they had 2 low BG’s in the night, woke up really high in the morning & just want to nap a few more hours to get the sugar back on track & clear the cobwebs out of their head. This is near impossible if one wants to continue to be a productive member of society….which is the expectation…because diabetes is not obvious. To the contrary, many living with diabetes attempt to hide it from others, compounding the exhaustion of managing it & recovering from the times of variability that come with it.

There are pros & cons living with a ‘not so obvious’ disease.

We hear about the cons all too much. Let’s focus on the good. Consider anyone living with diabetes that are in the spotlight & those that achieve many feats but have not gained the recognition. Examples which I encourage you to Google & research…Team Novo Nordisk (a team of cyclists competing in various events), Chris Jarvis (Olympic Rower & founder of iChallenge), Sebastien Sasseville (1st Canadian with T1 diabetes to summit Mount Everest, completed the Ultra Marathon Sahara race & 5 IronMan races to date), Chloe Steep (Founder of Connected In Motion), Steve Richert (Founder of Living Vertical), Kerri Morone Sparling (Six Until Me), Shawn Shepheard (Sugar Free Shawn), George Canyon (Country Music Artist), pilots, doctors, nurses, pro sport & not so pro athletes, trades, heavy equipment operators…these are just a few. There are so many it would seem like you are reading the Census in the book of Numbers in the Bible….but far more exciting!!

By living with a ‘not so obvious’ disease, people with diabetes accept that because we appear as ‘normal’ we want to supersede normal, we want to communicate that despite living with a not so obvious chronic condition we can & will accomplish whatever is put before us. We want to prove we are different in a good yet obvious way. Sometimes to the point of achieving near superhuman achievements.

Is that a good thing? I have heard time and time again from many..”I am thankful for my diabetes because I am healthier living with diabetes then if I didn’t.”

Many living with diabetes see themselves as healthier as those who don’t because they become more aware & pro-active in their health. Initially one with diabetes becomes healthier & begin to set goals beyond what they knew existed by no choice of their own but ultimately by the drive, strength & tenacity that become product as a result of the benefits they experience by living that way.

There is an obvious that surfaces by living with diabetes. That is the incredible accomplishments & outcomes that result in living with the not so obvious.

A Masterpiece of Engineering

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A Masterpiece of Engineering

Standing, walking, pushing, squeezing, scrunching, running, kicking and again standing…shifting from one to the other, crossing your leg one way, then another, shift again, supporting your weight, the weight of your babies, toddlers, supporting the weight of your older parents or grandparents as they walk, groceries, gym bags, gym weights, bags of soil, stones, buckets of water, walking the dog, rising up and down on the stirrups of your horse, riding your bike, jumping up and down in excitement at a sports event, gardening, taking the garbage out. Whether you weigh 25 pounds or 300 pounds, your feet are your body’s greatest support.

Unless we feel a protest such as an ache, blister or spasm we expect our feet to carry on without giving them much respect. We bandage over any problems and push on. We refuse to baby them. In our mind they are infallible. They take us where we need to go, that’s their job, no exception. They must work at all costs. After all, they should be more forgiving than other parts of our body such as our heart, lungs, kidneys, brain. Right?!? They are just two feet with ten toes.

Now, the other side of the coin…once in a while we decide to treat ourselves…not necessarily to reward our feet but because it helps reduce stress, forget our woes, be in a space where nothing matters and life is simple….the Spa. Today, Nail Spa’s are everywhere, just walk through the mall. At any point one can walk in and sit down to forget it all and feel good.

Once in a while, I ‘treat’ my feet to some TLC with a Pedicure. I climb into the big, soft, lounge-like chair that is accompanied by a remote. This enables me to choose a variety of luxurious massages. Trashy entertainment magazines allow my mind to go into another world and offer mindless entertainment. There is nothing better than a foot and leg massage with the final product of walking away with a pretty colour on my toes feeling like a million bucks!! Years ago, I didn’t give much thought as to where I went or who was doing my pedicures. In my naïvety I assumed wherever I went and whoever did my pedicure must know what they were doing. Thankfully I haven’t had an infection or cut.

My eyes were opened the day I had a conversation with one of my clients as a Diabetes Consultant with Novo Nordisk. She lives with Type 2 diabetes. Upon visiting her one day, I notice her foot bandaged up. She informed me she went with her daughter for a pedicure. She ended up with a major infection. Scary stuff!! She was several months healing from this. She said that she would never go for a pedicure again. The risk wasn’t worth it.

So here is the educator in me giving some advise. You knew it was coming didn’t you! LOL.

In this day and age it’s very difficult to take the time to care for ourselves, whether we live with diabetes or not. BUT, in living with diabetes, if we don’t make that time, it will catch up with us. We will be in a place where we wish we had made that time.

Here are some things to consider to save you time spent with regret:

1. Inspect your feet daily.
2. Keep your feet warm and dry.
3. If you develop a sore spot, blister, callus or cut have it looked at by your physician and treated accordingly.
4. Cut your nails straight across. Don’t cut them too short.
5. Consult a professional to buy proper fitting footwear.
6. If you have an infection, ulcer, cut, blisters or neuropathy do not have a pedicure.
7. If you are free of complications and are healthy a pedicure is okay. (It would be nice to say “don’t do it” but since many are going to anyway…good to promote guidelines around it)

Pedicure Guidelines:

1. Search out a reputable salon and ask about their sanitation practices.
2. Inspect the foot tub before putting your feet in. Ask how it has been cleaned.
3. Ask how the tools are sterilized? Are they stainless steel? Stainless steel tools are more sanitary than wood.
4. Be open with the technician. If they are serious about their profession they will respect your concern for your feet.
5. Make sure the water is not too hot.
6. Ask the technician to avoid using sharp instruments including clipping the cuticles and filing your heels and calluses.
7. Ask the technician to massage your feet gently.
8. Do not shave your legs 2 days prior. This is to prevent the chance of bacteria or fungus getting into sores, cuts or nicks on your legs from shaving.

“The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.” – Leonardo da Vinci

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Be Ware!!! Nutritional Nightmares

Attached is an article posted in The Toronto Star.  It’s easy to believe that a food item listed as Vegan, Organic, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Healthy, Low Fat, Fat Free is good for you.  Many products sold with these labels are, but as we read in this article, there are products touted as such but aren’t.  I urge you to read the ingredients listed, the Nutritional Facts on the packaging or go on-line or ask the company about gaining access to this info.