Thursday, November 12, 2015

It hit when I least expected it.  Last Saturday afternoon I started to cough a little more and then before I knew it I was into a full fledged chest cold.  This is a little unusual for me.  I usually get head colds - you know those messy waste baskets filled with used tissues days.  But this hit me right in the throat and chest.  I am on day 5 without a voice.

I wasn't ready for this yet.

Sometime each fall I realize that cold and flu season is upon us and I check to make sure that we have medicine ready so that if one (or both) of us gets sick that we have supplies.  I had not gotten to that point yet this fall.  So, there was a quick trip to get some Mucinex and throat lozenges.

Back when Silent Sam was diagnosed with diabetes, we were told that we should be prepared for when colds and the flu will strike so that we have supplies on hand. 

Just like everyone else who read or saw that instruction, we did not prepare. Although, I will admit that I do go through the over the counter medicine drawer (yes, we have it in a drawer) to check for expiration dates and see what supplies we need a couple times a year. And this is definitely that time of year. I have only done this for the last couple of years and it is not foolproof but it has helped. There is just something about feeling sick and going to the drawer and finding either nothing in there or finding out of date medicine. 

Don't wait until it is too late.  Take a few minutes to check your stock of over the counter medicines to see if you are prepared.If you have not discussed with your doctor what over the counter medicines you should use, then now is the time to ask. People with diabetes need to be careful about the ingredients in their over the counter medicines.  It is far better to ask than to find out that your blood sugar is spiking because of your cold medicine.  Your levels will be affected when you are sick and you don’t want to add to the problem with the medicines that you are taking. 

You might want to check your kitchen cabinets also. Are you prepared with food for when you are sick?  One of the hazards is dehydration. Make sure you have fluids that you will drink to help keep you from getting dehydrated. Soups are good but they also can be a source of lots of sodium.  Check those labels and select soups that the sodium levels are not as high. Once again, talk to your doctor and/or dietitian for their recommendations.   

I suggest that while you are getting out the sweaters and turning up the heat, you take a few minutes to make sure you are ready with a plan for if you get sick. You will appreciate your efforts if you wake up feeling awful one morning. 

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Sometimes there are issues that are so well explained by others that I don't think I should mess with their message.

So this week, I urge you to check out Karen Graffeo's blog, Bitter~Sweet  about urging Congress to approve GCM's for Medicare patients.

You can also check out the message from JDRF. (Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund)

Thanks for reading this message.  I urge you to contact your Congressional representative and tell them that this is an important issue and changes should be made.

Friday, October 30, 2015

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Are you wondering if that makes any difference to you? Well, probably not. (Honest, right?)

I am so bored with my recipes. Not only that, since Silent Sam is living by his job during the week that means I am cooking for myself. That is not easy. I suppose if you cook for one all the time, you get better at it. I find that since I work from home that I have a tendency to have my bigger meal at noon. I am not as tired then and it is easier. But even those meals are not anything to write home about. And sometimes I find that the dinner I have is not very healthy.

(In case you have missed this in the past, I am not much of a cook. I don’t care that much. )

So where to get new recipes? The ADA website is a good source. On their site, you can sign up for free recipes and meal plans. You can also sign up for a free 12 month program that includes recipes and 6 months of their magazine. There is also the recipe section of the site. With the holidays coming, you might appreciate the holiday meal planning section.

My favorite recipe book

I often use Pinterest for recipes. If you use the search term “diabetes recipes” you will see an amazing array of recipes come up. There are also some other search terms that they suggest like “easy” (that’s my kind!), “crockpot”, and “Type 2”. As with all things you find on the internet, please think about what you are reading and if it sounds too good to be true, check it and make sure it is true. When you look something up on the internet and it is contrary to something that your diabetes team has told you, listen to your team first and foremost. You can always ask at your next visit. 

Do you have recipes that you think would be good for you but you aren’t sure? There are several web sites that you can use to evaluate the nutritional facts and calorie count for a recipe. I have used one called Calorie Count before but if you use the search term “recipe nutrition calculator”, you will find several different calculators and you can find the best one for you.

My other suggestion is to buy a binder and those dividers that they make for binders. When you try a new recipe, put a copy of the recipe in the binder. This has really helped me over the last few years. I find that I forget about recipes that we like and will find them in the binder.  Also when making out our grocery list, it really helps to have the recipes all in one place. 

I hope you have a great week! Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Taking a New Way

                                                                                         Photo by Radion Kutsaev

I have a confession to make. I collect quotes. I have a subscription that sends me daily quotes and if I like the quote, I print it and glue it in a  little book. I would like to say that they are all by famous people that inspire me. I do not know the person quoted most of the time; nor do I know the context for the quote. The words speak to me so I keep a copy.

I did not immediately recognize the name Misty Copeland. Thanks to the internet, it takes just a second to find out who she is and why she would be quoted. Misty Copeland is the first African American female dancer with the American Ballet Theatre. If you would like to know more about her, you can see an interview from CBS Sunday Morning. I had seen another interview with her and she has quite an interesting story.

But the point of me sharing this quote with you today is that I think sometimes we box ourselves in to thinking that we have to do something a certain way to get to a goal. Using myself as an example, I had success using walking as exercise. Yes, it was combined with an eating program but I enjoyed walking. I had a path by a lake and I would see lots of different people and enjoy the fresh air. Unfortunately, my knees have betrayed me and taking long walks are not possible for me right now. I do like to swim but it is can be an expensive form of exercise and there is something about going to a pool and changing in a drafty changing room in the winter.

So, since I can’t walk as I did, I have found lots of excuses not to exercise.

The path to your success is not as fixed and inflexible as you think

You can probably guess what the upshot of this is – I have gained weight. I find it very easy to get up in the morning and come in my office and work all day. Before Sadie the rescue dog came into the house, I didn’t even get up and just walk around as much as I should. Now, I have a little face that comes in and bothers me to get up and take her outside. As much as the interruption sometimes drives me nuts I know it has been a good thing.

The problem is also that I let myself stop because I could not do one form of exercise. It was as if that was my only choice and since I could not do that, I could not do anything. I have been so busy looking at what I can’t do, that I am not looking for what I can do. What can I do? I can ride a stationary bike. I can do exercises that strengthen my legs (which helps my knees) and I can work on upper body strength (of which I have none.)  There are classes that I can take that I might even enjoy if I tried them.

How about you? Are you stuck on thinking that you have to do something one way but yet you can’t? Is it time for you to think about how you are going to change and accomplish your goal by taking a different path? Here is a suggestion. Go outside with a pad of paper and a pen. Look at the sky, the clouds, trees, and the roofs around you. Just look for a few minutes. Then think about your obstacle. Think about what changes you can make to get around it. Write them down. Let your mind go and write down silly nonsensical ways around it. The sillier the ideas the better. Laugh while you are writing. Write down 5 -10 ways around your problem. Then stop. Look at the sky again and think about that color blue and wonder how many types of birds live in your neighborhood. Think about your best experience outside and smile at the thought. Then revisit your list. I think you might find an idea of how to reach your goal in those silly (and not so silly) ideas. Take that idea and start to incorporate it slowly into your life. If you find it doesn’t work out, what have you lost? Not much. Try the exercise again. Or you might find that you wake up some morning with the answer. You just need to seriously pose the question to yourself and let you mind have a chance to work on the answer without you trying so hard.  

Sorry, I need to go there is a little face that wants some fresh air.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 2, 2015

How Our New Dog is Like Diabetes

I am going to try it again this week. I am going to write about things totally unrelated to diabetes and see if I can make them be about diabetes.

Because in reality, all roads lead to diabetes. (If you let them and if you have a bit of an imagination.)

Two months ago, not knowing that our life was going to change again, we adopted a rescue dog. Of course it is not quite that simple because we are not doing “simple” right now.

I think German Shepherds are beautiful dogs. I have always wanted to get one. This was going to be my chance. So I filled out the application for a German Shepherd rescue organization and crossed my fingers. When you are filling out the application, you tell them about traits that you want in the dog. Due to our experiences with the last two dogs we adopted, we had some requests.

(We had a wonderful dog that was great with people. She was sweet and lovely. Until another dog came anywhere near her. She then looked like a killing machine. It was very surprising at first and then a bit scary. We always had to be careful. Dog obedience classes did not work out well.

This is Kirby - loved dogs not so much children
The next dog loved being around other dogs. He would cry if he could not go play with them. Of course after the time he urinated on the head of a small dog, we had to be a little careful with him. His problem was that he did not like children or teenage girls. Since we had a teenage girl when we adopted him, there was some tension but she grew up and it all worked out.)

As a result of these experiences, we wanted a dog that was good with dogs and children. We have small children next door and we wanted them to be able to play with the dog and not have to worry.
We sent off the application and within a week or so we got a call. They were going to bring over a 4 year old male dog that they thought would be perfect. I did ask several times about the dog getting along with children and stressed that it was important. I thought that the answers were a bit vague but I didn’t push it more.

And then the dog arrived. He was a big shepherd and was full of energy. We decided that we would foster the dog for a few weeks to make sure it was going to work out. It seems that the dog had been found roaming the streets and had been picked up by the rescue organization. The dog fell in love with Silent Sam. Not just really liked him but was mesmerized by him. He could not exist with being able to see him. To the point that the dog found a way to break out the back door of the house when Silent Sam went out to run some errands. It was a bit over the top. Then our son came home and the dog felt that he needed to attack the stranger in the house. It was not a pretty scene. Our neighbors were not very happy either. They were sure the dog could jump the fence and attack their children.

This is how the Shepherd looked to our son. 

So, after 48 hours we called because the dog had to go. The rescue people were very nice about it and suggested that perhaps we had too many people coming to our house to be a good choice for a shepherd.

This experience took the wind out of our sails for a few weeks. In giving it some thought, it seemed to me that perhaps a Labrador Retriever was a better idea for us. Before we adopted our last dog, I had applied to a Labrador rescue organization and had discovered that they had a long waiting list. Since I was not exactly in a hurry, I filled out an application for the lab rescue.

I got a message from them within an hour. No kidding, an hour. They had a dog that they were bringing up from Texas (??!) and would like to bring her over the next day so that they could do a home inspection and perhaps we would want to keep the dog.

Ah… okay?  Once again, I was assured she was good with kids and dogs.

When I opened the door the next afternoon, I had one and only one reaction. “She is kinda small, isn’t she?” We have always had big dogs and here was this dog that was certainly not the size of any lab that I had ever seen. She did seem very sweet and went right up to the little girl next door. We decided to foster Sadie for two weeks.

Well, since I started by saying that we have had a dog for two months, you might conclude that we still have Sadie. We do. The day after she arrived, the rescue people called to say that Sadie had heart worm and hook worms and would need medicine and an overnight vet visit. We made it through the month of meds.

As with all rescues, she has a few quirks. She is slowly getting better. We actually call her scared Sadie most of the time. She was scared of everything and spent most of her time with her tail tucked so far under her that you would not have known she had a tail. She now has her tail up and wagging most of the time. She still will not go outside by herself and will get scared when the children next door make a lot of noise around her. She would not even take a treat from me for the first six weeks. She now has no trouble taking treats. 

We have not been able to cure her of going on the furniture but most of the time she does not do it when we are looking. She is in dog obedience classes. She was the belle of the first class because she was so obviously scared that everyone thought she was adorable.

She did not bark for the first six weeks she was here. Now she will usually bark when the mailman comes and yesterday she did try and protect me from the heating technician. It might have been a bit more believable if she had gotten within 5 feet of the guy but she had good intentions.

Are you wondering how I can relate this long dog story to diabetes?

Like Sadie, diabetes is pretty scary when you are first diagnosed. It takes time to get it sorted out and find your way to a new normal but soon you will adjust to a new way.

There is a nose nudging me to say it is time to go outside. Unfortunately together. I have to get this solved by winter….

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

What to Write - Ups and Downs

I know you might find this hard to believe but my diabetes “well” is a bit dry at the moment. There is a lot going on around here.

Silent Sam lost his job right before Christmas because the company he worked for closed. This was a ten days after our son got married and two weeks before my Dad died. Those three events happening so close together were like having the sand wash out from under your feet. It has taken me a  few minutes to regain my balance.

 Silent Sam was a company guy. He had worked for the same company for 35 years. He worked long hours and would go the extra mile.

 And then suddenly he was home.

Let’s just say that it was an adjustment for both of us.

He was not used to working from home and missed the day to day interaction with people and deadlines. I was used to being alone in the house and working at my own pace. (I have worked from home for a long time and would never want to work any other way.) 

We did find a new routine and got used to being together a lot more than usual. It did help that his office is upstairs and mine is on the first floor. We could go to our separate corners during the day. 

And then it changed again. 

Silent Sam found a job. He has been working for about a month. He is very happy. The people he works with like the company and the mood in the office is much better than it had been with his previous company.

So, we went from him working long hours to him being home all the time to him going back to work – in a different city.

So we are now a commuter marriage. Silent Sam moved into his own apartment in the other city last weekend and we will be together on weekends.

Change does not blow in on a soft breeze here. It seems to be more of a tropical storm. I know it will be fine but it is the day to day that will be the hardest to get through. So, in a way, it is like diabetes. If you are on the right track, your long term prognosis can be great if you keep working on it but it is the day to day that can wear you down.

See, I found a way to talk about diabetes.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 27, 2015


"Change your thoughts and you’ll change your world"

 – Norman Vincent Peale

Are you familiar with the author Anne Lamott? If not, I think you should read one or all of her books. She writes about faith from someone from the perspective of one who has hit rock bottom, found God, and remembers what rock bottom feels like. While she does talk politics and religion it is not in any preachy way – in fact I think when she talks politics she is preachier than when she talks religion. (Oh and if you find 4 letter words offensive, she may not be exactly for you.) But she has some great quotes. She talks about the negative tapes that play in our heads and bring us down. Those self-doubt tapes we plat that keep us feeling bad about ourselves. She is very open about the tapes that play in her head and that is part of her charm.

“I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out the cat dish.”

- Anne Lamott

When a person has diabetes, it is easy to be hard on yourself. You have a meter that will pass judgement on you several times a day. You will go to the doctor and have you A1C checked and your weight. I don’t think anyone looks forward to going to the doctor but that A1C is a killer. 

And here is the thing – it is not completely your fault. Okay if you drank a liter of pop then perhaps you do bear the responsibility but there are times that you didn’t do anything that you thought was wrong but still the results aren’t what you think they should be.

Let’s just say it – this disease stinks.

But when you have diabetes, you need to practice some positive thinking along with all this checking. You need to remember that you are human and that you will do better the next time. Maybe it is just me but sometimes I can get a bit stuck on all the things I have done wrong and forget that I am not a horrible person. Flawed but not horrible. So when you are feeling down, you might want to have something to fall back on that will remind you that you are a good person. (I sort of remind myself of that Saturday Night Live skit with Al Franken when I say this but I mean it.) 

So the next time that you are listening to a voice in your head that tells you that you are not good enough, just remember –

“Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.”

                                                                                                                             Anne Lamott

Thanks for reading!