Sunday, July 13, 2008

Diabetes is my Leprechaun

Dealing with Leprechauns is deceptively simple, in all the stories: you stare at them and they can't get away, and you end up getting their pot of gold.

For me, keeping good diabetes habits is the same way. I focus on them, integrate them into my life, keeping my eye on the diabetes pot of gold - a future without complications.

Then it seems like I blink and it's all scurrying away. My habits turn into mirror images - snacking on carbs instead of avoiding them, and I wonder if those gold coins are slipping through my fingers.

This is less a frustration rant, and more an acceptance that it's time to reel myself in again, and reach for a plate of cheese instead of a granola bar. Maybe I should cut my cheddar into little circles to remind me why it's so important...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Bad Days

Not anything diabetes related, but my stress level the past couple of the days is just through the roof. I've been doing a lot of internal rants in my mind, and a lot of teeth griding over what other people are doing.

This has been the kind of week that really brings home how little control you can have about what goes on in your life. I'll be taking some steps to try and make sure that it doesn't get quite this upsetting again, and hopefully it'll help.

What frustrates me the most is the feeling that I should have been able to do something different, had more foresight, different priorities, I could have avoided it. Logically I know this is an illusion, but sometimes it's easier to blame myself for not having planned well enough than accept that there will be obstacles in my life I can never avoid.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Diabetic Moments at the Stampede

We went to the Calgary Stampede today - if you've never been or heard of it, it's sort of a combination rodeo/agricultural exhibit/carnival/state fair thing that is a huge deal every summer in Calgary. We all wear jeans and cowboy hats to work for a week, all the store windows are painted with cowboy designs and pancake breakfasts are scattered throughout the city.

If you'd asked me as a child I would probably have said it was my favorite 'holiday' after christmas! It was a lot of fun, though we just didn't have the energy to stay for the free mini concert at the end of the night - Hedley was playing, darn it!

Of course, I had a few diabetes moments. It's "Marathon Sunday" in Calgary today too. On our way to the stampede grounds, we passed the finish line for one of the marathons. I saw a couple of ladies with 'Team Diabetes' t-shirts who had completed the race, which was cool.

At the marketplace, admist the knife displays, three kinds of blenders, this amazingly weird water massage booth, and various sellers of cowboy hats, I found these cooling neckbands filled with some kind of polymer that soaks up water and keeps cool for (apparently) days. I bought one, and wondered if it's the same stuff that's in a Frio Wallet. Not that I have any insulin to keep cold, but it was my first thought.

Finally, after avoiding the fresh squeezed lemonade all day - I love lemonade but it's way too much sugar - we finally noticed a tiny line noting they had 'diabetic lemonade'. This turned out to be water, a fresh squeezed lemon and a packet of splenda. I enjoyed it - but I drink lemon water pretty frequently. It wasn't 'lemonde' to me, because it wasn't sweet (perhaps a couple more packets of splenda..), but I really appreciated that someone was making an effort to provide alternatives for those who can't have sugary drinks. And it was a very tasty lemon water.

Of course, it was an 'off plan' day in part - I don't think i found a single veggie in the grounds, though I'll admit to not looking that hard.. but normally I'll at least try to get veggies and dips if I can find them. I did have some okay beignets for breakfast, and half a really tasty smashed potatoe for lunch/supper. The smashed potatoe place is there every year - it's a regular baked potatoe, but they flatten it with a large wooden mallet before you get your toppings!

I'm soo tired now, so it's time for an early bed.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Another use for Lancets

My family is very big into board games. My younger brother collects them - he has over a hundred - , so on game days, we'll alternate between old favorites and something new. I'm not sure how we'd manage to pass an evening without board games, it's such a habit!

One game we played needed counters to keep track of part of the score. We pulled out the old coin bin to sort out pennies, nickels and dimes but needed more. So I went to the closet and pulled out a box of lancets.

Plenty of counters, and it just made me smile to see them in play.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Farmers Market, yay!

The farmer's market is quite different in summer. They've re-arranged it now that there is fresh produce. Fresh local produce!

I felt like a kid in a candy shop, or transported back to summers working at my aunt's fruit stand. Piles of fresh fruit, fresh veggies. No blemishes or bruises or waxy coating. We got corn, and tomatoes and pale yellow carrots and dark blue carrots. And raspberries, and strawberries. I barely resisted the cherries and the blackberries.

I forget, going to the grocery store, what a difference freshness and a lack of industrial handling makes. There's no picking through for that one apple without an obvious bruise or a tomato that isn't somehow off, or that box of strawberries that hasn't started to get soft or moldy.

Nope, just reach in, pick something up, and enjoy the goodness.

I've only eaten the raspberries so far- most of the rest is for a family dinner tomorrow - but oh my goodness, SO GOOD! Sweet, tart, and seemingly right off the vine. The grocery store ones have lost some vital essence, but these were a reminder of summertime at my grandmothers house. We'd be given ice cream buckets and sent to pick raspberries from the bushes that lined the garage wall.

I think even as a child, if you'd offered me a choice between raspberries and candy, the raspberries would have one. Raspberries would beat chocolate, sometimes!

If there's a farmer's market in your area - check it out some weekend. It'll be worth it!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

When to say something

I try not to talk about other people too much on this blog. Even if I don't use names I don't like to discuss people where they aren't aware of it. But I had a conversation the other day that I do want to bring up.

Someone I know commented to me that their doctor was very surprised they didn't have diabetes, given their weight gain over the past couple of years. I nodded along - after all, not everyone gains weight because of diabetes.

I asked what test they'd been given, ready for complaints about that awful orange drink they give you on a glucose tolerance test. And then I hear they were just given a fasting glucose test.

I stared blankly for a moment, then commented "I don't like your doctor". Who diagnoses diabetes based on fasting levels! I tried explaining that the 2 hour test was supposed to be the standard. And that often, by the time the fasting levels are elevated, you've already got a damaged pancreas.

Unfortunatly I don't think they were interested in listening. I'm going to try and lend out my copy of Blood Sugar 101 - perhaps that will make a difference.

It's not my body, it's not my health. But I have to try and pass on some kind of information here!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Salad Day

Wednesday is now 'Salad Day' at work. Instead of ordering in burgers or pizza or sushi or other food, we make salad for lunch.

I love ordering in lunch. I don't have to worry about having leftovers or making a lunch in the mornings. We save money on groceries because work buys it. And I get to eat a variety of things.

Most of those things aren't very good for me. If everyone's eating pizza and I'm eating carrot sticks, I feel deprived. It's really hard to make good choices day after day, and I've completely fallen off the 'lots of veggies' lunch wagon.

Instead, since I know I'm eating something carby, I try to reduce my portions, or order something that is easily adjusted to be lower-carb. Only part of my burger bun, only a few bites of noodles, only 3/4 of my pizza. It's becoming habit, and I think it's a reasonable way to handle things - unless I get a nasty A1C.

Even though I'm being more consistent with dealing with high-carb lunches, I'm happy we have salad day too. If everyone is eating salad and veggies and cold cuts for lunch, I don't feel deprived. And I know that at least one day a week I'm eating like I should!