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.


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.


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.

Will you Be My __________???


Will you Be My __________???

I am not a marriage counsellor by any means but this is my lesson to all of those that think 1 day is a make or break of their relationship.

Isn’t that we have been made to believe?

As long as I can remember I believed Valentine’s Day was a make or break for love. I don’t even know where that belief came from. Do you?

It conveys there is only 1 day in the year that opens up the opportunity to tell your ‘Valentine’ & show them through a date or a dinner how much you love them.

In conversation leading up to Valentines day 2 years ago, Steve tells me he feels that ‘it’s just a day’ that commercialism has promoted to make money. I argue the point. I say it is the one opportunity in the year to highlight our love for each other. He justifies his belief the Valentines day of that year by coming home from work with nothing. In the days preceding I had thoughtfully bought him a well versed card and 2 dress shirts, ironically for him to wear for our weekly date nights. I am so disappointed in his dismissive attitude to the ‘special day’ that I convey anger to him as best I have in me. I have to go out on an errand and out the door I go. When I come back I come home to a beautiful display of roses in a gorgeous red vase and chocolate hearts spelled out “I LOVE YOU” on my pillow of our bed.

I am touched. So much so I take a picture. I shed a tear. I have a selfish, emotional “hey it’s all about me” moment. I don’t understand then what I did or the action that occurred are forced out of my expectations not a spontaneous moment we created together to display our love for each other.

So this year I dedicate this Blog to Steve.

The actions, dinners, conversations, selfless acts, starting my car to warm up every winter morning, making my coffee every day, filling my water bottles, words, song lyrics, music you play just for me and other messages you convey throughout the year have shown me how much you love me. If I had to wait until one special day in the year to force your hand at showing or telling me you love me but I was not witness to it the rest of the year, I would be more upset then you showing up empty handed with a lyrics, poem or sayings created by someone else on February 14th. The day this happens will cause me great concern.

Thank you for teaching me this. xo Tracy

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

Pain: Motivator or Deterrent?


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?

Never Prepared


Never Prepared

In all the years the kids were in primary and yes, even high school, I only missed one year of their first day of school. In my mind it was a given I would be there. I had to be there so I could take, what would become, the “First Day of School Picture”. It was very important to me and I felt for them, to be there to tell them to ‘have a good day, be safe, I love you’, giving them hugs and kisses before they got on the bus. The picture I took each year measured many things. Growth, happiness, anticipation, excitement, love, memories, health. I wanted to make sure the kids knew that school was a big deal. It was a positive place to be. Learning at school was as important as at home. This is a pic of Cayla, 9, and Kurtis, 7, in September 2000. Today I showed Kurtis the pic. He tells me he doesn’t like the picture, he thinks he looks like a geek. :p

In this photo, Kurtis is less than 2 months away from the day he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

Not knowing the ‘stats’, from the time my kids were born, I kept an eye on how much they drank, peed and gained weight. It didn’t occur to me to look up the ‘stats’ on being a Type 1 parent and the chances of ‘passing’ it on to my children until after Kurtis’ diagnosis. According to the American Diabetes Association, the stats read like this:

Both parents (neither have Type 1) have inherent risk factors that contribute to a child developing Type 1.

A child with a Dad living with Type 1 has 1 in 17 odds of developing Type 1.

A child with a Mom that had him/her before the age of 25 has a 1 in 25 chance of developing Type 1.

If Mom has her kids after the age of 25, the odds go up to 1 in 100.

A parent diagnosed with Type 1 before the age of 11 provides a risk of double that their child will develop it.

Regardless of the stats, in my gut I knew. I spoke with other parents who live with Type 1 diabetes that have the same worries as me. But is the effect of the diagnosis the same as a parent that has no idea until diagnosis that their child may develop it?

I try to put myself in my parents shoes as neither one of them have Type 1. Now mind you it was 1975, but hear me out. I am imagining myself as a parent living without Type 1 who has a child that is diagnosed with Type 1. The ‘radar’ saying “I will keep an eye out, just in case.” doesn’t exist. When that day comes. When my very sick child is before me and the Doctor tells me that he/she has Type 1, finally, because heaven knows in this modern-day of technology and knowledge it seems the awareness of signs and symptoms among many health care professionals still does not exist. I am told he/she will take injections of insulin to sustain them for the rest of their life. My mind would spin. I envision myself being whisked off to the hospital or clinic with my very sick child where I would be expected to take a crash course on how to keep my child from having lows so severe they could die and highs so high they become very sick with ketones with the risk of developing long-term complications, possibly dying from these complications. I would be expected to learn how to titrate a medication that is life saving but can cause death if not treated with respect. I have to learn how to poke my precious child with a sharp needle not once a day but several times. What are kids most fearful of? Pain. What do glucose tests and needles cause? Pain. What does a parent try to protect their child from at all costs? Pain.

I can’t tell you it was easier for me. If it was, it would be difficult to relate to the feelings of a parent not living with Type 1 prior to their child being diagnosed. I was ‘blessed’ to have more experience and knowledge. That’s all. At the end of the day, I am a parent first.

Kurtis’ ‘road’ to his diagnosis began 2 years earlier. He was 5, the same age when I was diagnosed. On one particular day he seemed to be drinking and peeing more than usual. I don’t know how, as he was my strong willed child, but I convinced him to poke his finger without much fuss. His blood sugar 2 hours after he ate his meal was 8.2 mmol/L (148 mg/dL). My jaw dropped. My stomach flipped. I called the Family Physicians office immediately. The receptionist told me to check his sugar after having him fast 12 hours. Now, I do have to say, this was not funny at the time but as a parent and now that I speak of it, it is. 16 hours later, I finally promised Kurtis I would take him to McDonald’s. I never took my kids to McDonald’s!! I was SO desperate & scared, I promised if he let me poke his finger I would buy him a McHappy Meal. He agreed. It is now 10am!! He must’ve been starving! Kurtis’ sugar was 4.8 mmol/L (86 mg/dl). I called the Physician’s office to report back. I wasn’t convinced that this made it all right. I had that gut feeling a parent gets when they “know” something isn’t right.

Fast forward to September and October 2000. From the time Kurtis was a baby he had a history of ear and sinus infections. He lived with one ear infection after another. From one sinus infection to another. He would finish one round of antibiotics and would be onto the next.

As usual, Kurtis had a healthy summer. On the first day of school, as pictured, he seemed great, looked healthy. Once exposed to the school environment of germs, sneezes and coughs, his health slowly declined to a point I knew he was going to be sick. Dark shadows under the eyes and very pale. I would keep him on a tight schedule of bedtime and keep him fed well with healthy, home cooked meals. It didn’t seem to matter.

But, this time was different. Kurtis had that ‘look’ I was familiar with. I was perplexed, he wasn’t getting sick. At that time, for his age group, track pants were the fad. He was always a big boy. Always in or over the 90th percentile in height and weight for his age. When he had a growth spurt he would get chunky and stretch up. Being 7 years of age, I didn’t weigh him often or become concerned if he thinned out a bit.

October 31, 2000. I had sent Kurtis to school with a plate full of treats for his classes Hallowe’en party. As well as making a point of being there in the morning to put them on the bus, I tried my best to be there to see them come home from school as well. As Cayla and Kurtis walked in the front door, I was excited for them. I looked forward to carving their pumpkins and get dressed up for our night out Trick or Treating. As I prepared and fed the kids their after school snack, in the conversation of asking how their day was, Kurtis’ informs me that he didn’t eat much at his Hallowe’en party because he felt sick to his tummy and peed and drank at the water fountain all day. I wanted to throw up. I knew. I didn’t even have to check him to know. But of course, I did.

After explaining to him my suspicions and what I needed to do to confirm, come hell or high water, Kurtis was not going let me check by finger poke. I did a dipstick of his urine. I wanted to cry. The test strip showed 4+ sugar. It was 4:30pm. I called the Family Physicians office again. In the background I could hear Kurtis crying “I hate diabetes” “I don’t want diabetes”. This time I knew it wasn’t going to be instructions to check his fasting. In my mind at that time, all I could think was, I GAVE my baby diabetes.

I believe my emotions with Kurtis’ diagnosis may be a bit different, but not much then parents who don’t have diabetes. In the end, I have come to terms with the fact, it doesn’t matter. It is what it is. BUT, with that being said, and why I write this post is that there are two things I learned that I want to pass onto you. Whether you are a parent that has ‘passed’ on Type 1 to your child or parents that carry those dreaded inherent genes that we know little about ….

1. I cried to my Mom many times about the fact I ‘gave’ Kurtis diabetes. I felt SO guilty!! Being the amazing Mom she is, do you know what she asked me? “So, if you were to chose whether you had Kurtis or he had diabetes, which would it be?” OH MY!! There is no choice! I would have him a thousand times over!!

2. A year later of Kurtis & I grieving (separately mind you, he never saw me grieve) he would sit on the couch trying to inject himself (he insisted) for a minimum of an hour morning and night. I would listen to him cry and wail about how much it hurt and he can’t do it and he hates diabetes …so painful to watch. I finally realized I was enabling him to be pitied for something he had no control over. I don’t believe in enabling people to be pitied. I then realized I needed to empower him. I told him he had no choice. I told him it sucked living with diabetes BUT he could do whatever he wanted to do! I asked him if he saw me wailing and crying over taking my needles? Did he see me feeling sorry for myself? I told him I would no longer tolerate pity. He could share his feelings but could not use his diabetes for pity.

Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future. Nelson Mandela

Finding Balance


Finding Balance

I just completed The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale.

In 1967, psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe decided to study whether or not stress contributes to illness. They surveyed more than 5,000 medical patients and asked them to say whether they had experience any of a series of 43 life events in the previous two years. Each event, called a Life Change Unit (LCU), had a different “weight” for stress. The more events the patient added up, the higher the score. The higher the score, and the larger the weight of each event, the more likely the patient was to become ill.

Below is the score Interpretation

300+ You have a high or very high risk of becoming ill in the near future.

150-299 You have a moderate to high chance of becoming ill in the near future.

<150 You have only a low to moderate chance of becoming ill in the near future.

Upon taking the survey, it did not consider that I live with diabetes, I have a 19-year-old 'child' living with diabetes who has recently experienced complications, I am still going through court proceedings trying to settle with my divorce, starting two new businesses AND most recently after months of severe undiagnosed pain I finally have a diagnosis in which I will be going for major surgery for in April.

So, not including the above mentioned, the score I 'achieved' is 687. Of the 43 items listed, I have experienced 22 in the past 2 years.

I am not writing this to have you think to yourself "Oh poor Tracy".

I am writing this for 2 reasons:

1. Understanding that everyone has life events that are very stressful. Sometimes when in the middle of it all, as these events pile up one on top of another, it is very difficult to step back and see what has occurred. It is even more challenging to see the positive or how to take care for yourself in the midst of it all. There are many events in life that we cannot change. It is important to accept this and decide ways to find balance by taking care of ourselves.

2. I need to write this to help me. I have wanted to do the survey for a while. I knew the score would be high, so it was not for that purpose. I took it today because I am so tired. So tired, I needed to make myself take the survey so I could sit down & figure how I could find balance among all of it. I am not taking the best care of me as I have in the past. It's time to change that.

The picture posted is from my walk yesterday. I had 2 choices yesterday; sleep or walk. My body felt full of toxins from the stress. I haven't been listening to my body as I should. Although I was extremely tired, my mind urged me to go for the walk. I needed to get the blood flowing and help my body clear out the toxins and my mind.

We ended up driving to a park in the city. We took the puppy and started through the park. I felt like I was in the country. No traffic noise, lot's of trees and snow. We didn't talk much. We both just needed to 'be'.

Initially in my mind, I didn't want to go far. I have an ongoing list in my head of tasks that need to completed at home both on a personal and business level. But as I walked further, I realized that this list never has nor will it be finished. That's life. For this walk I needed to let that never-ending list go and enjoy the moment for my health's sake.

We ended up walking 10 kilometres over 2 hours. Towards the end of the walk, the tightness in my chest and my inability to take a deep breath began to disappear. It felt so good to take a deep breath.

Today we will do the same. I will leave that list behind. I will leave the items I have marked off on the survey behind. I will envision taking these items and tucking them away in a closet only to taken out when absolutely required. But not on the walk.

I urge you to take the survey. Determine where you are at in your life when it comes to stress. Then, decide what you can do to balance these items. Whether it be reading, going to the gym, taking a long walk, yoga, stretching, having a long relaxing bath, lighting some candles and listening to music, playing with your kids, hugging the ones you love.

"Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop." –Ovid

"Its not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it."
–Hans Selye

A Parent’s Love


A Parent's Love

It’s so hard to be a parent of a ‘child’ with diabetes. Kurtis has lived with Type 1 for 12 years.

My 19 year old ‘baby’ had his eyes examined & the results were not good. Two eye exams ago he showed signs of a small hemorrhage at the very back of his eye. It healed. We explained to him why (he knew) and what to do to change it (he knew). This time, as a result of poor control (he doesn’t test & does not see his diabetes team which is typical for this age), he has 2 new hemorrhages in the back of his other eye. The damage is correctible IF he improves his control. Definitely a bright light in the long dark tunnel it feels it is becoming.

To keep calm & be the bridge he needs to cross over to the next journey he needs to take is so hard, but as a parent we know it is a necessity.

I always want to view the glass as half full. With that being said, Kurtis asked about laser eye surgery for correction of his vision (by birth he only has 20% vision in one eye, he vision is very poor). Both myself & our Optometrist piped up that he needed to get his diabetes under control & correct the damage done before that was even a consideration. It seems that is his ‘carrot’ that dangles in front him for motivation. We did not lecture, we just briefly stated facts.

I asked him if he’d like me to book a diabetes clinic appointment and he declined. It’s hard but I have to let him figure it out on his own for now. Balance as a parent is so hard at this stage of the game. So hard. But necessary. If I smother him with harassing comments & overbearing actions he will continue to rebel. I need to let him sort it out and support him when he is ready. And pray…a lot.