20 December 2009

A View of Catalina Through the Lens

Some pictures from my last Catalina trip, a three-day jaunt to brush up on my navigation skills and get some time on the water.

Sunrise over the water our last day out. Something I have wanted to see for a long time.

The first day out, after anchoring in Two Harbors, we hiked to the other side of the island to watch the sunset. This is the view looking back at Cat Harbor from the edge of the island.

24 November 2009

Inside the Mind of a Diabetic

If you have ever had the unusual pleasure of having a meal with a diabetic you might have noticed that moment when they look off to the left, appearing deep in thoughts somehow not entirely related to the current conversation. If you have ever wondered what it was running around in their head, here is a small glimpse into the things they have to think about on an almost constant basis.
A little background, last weekend I went on a sailing trip to Catalina with 4 fellow sailors. It is an entirely new situation for me as far as dealing with diabetes goes. Most of my adventures since acquiring this "medical challenge," as my mom puts it, have been very active, hiking the grand canyon, running triathlons, surfing for hours on end. This one would involve sitting or standing for hours on end which can be a total disaster with diabetes. I, also, would be stuck on a boat if anything went south.
Friday morning I wake up high, 241 at 5:30. Correct with 1 unit for every 50 points above 100. 240-100=140/50=Push 2.8 units. I'd been battling bronchitis for 5 days, the extra bacteria will send my sugars

10 November 2009

Putting Flesh on the Bones of My Dreams

My life seems to be cluttered with half finished projects. A poster size map of the Inter Coastal Waterway, a book of architectural designs and master plan of a New Urbanism community, the twelve-string guitar I once knew how to play. They were all so easy to drop, too. As soon as I have that picture in my mind of what it will look like when it was finished, I no longer felt the need to create it. It is finished in my mind and that is good enough for me.
Sometimes I wonder if this trip will become another of those projects. I think I have bitten off a little more than I can chew. Sure I have dreamed of going off to sea in a 25' Catalina, spending months on board, eating eggs and cantaloupe for breakfast for weeks on end. The dreams started my freshman year in college and have grown stronger and clearer just as my responsibilities and forays into adulthood have multiplied. But, lately, I've been wandering around in the thoughts that it was too soon, that I know too little, that I have far too many other things that need to get done. Before, I had plenty of time to get it all done, over a year. Over a year

15 September 2009

Rebellion at Club Med

The last time I can remember packing them was early one Thursday morning last spring, before anyone in the house was up. My insulin pump had kinked up and failed to give me any insulin during the night and a night without insulin makes for one hell of a morning. My blood sugars had steadily crept up during the night, I was flying high around 500 when I struggled to pull myself from bed. It was still dark when I made my way to the bathroom, thinking I might soon need it to empty my stomach, one of the side effects of going without insulin for a night. After accomplishing what I had set out to do in there, I made the decision to head to the Emergency Room. Fortunately, on this trip I had a few moments to pack before driving myself for a brief stay in Club Med. I grabbed my laptop, a movie or two, my cell phone to give updates to Tony on my condition so he wouldn’t worry too much. And I grabbed my REI’s.
You see, my REI’s had become legendary in my house, so much so that they developed their own moniker. You know that pair of socks, the ones you got last year for Christmas from some relative, the

03 September 2009

Signs You're a Triahtlete

1. The water bottles in your house out number the cups.
2. Your concept of a date night with your husband is to get a babysitter, go on a 25 mile bike ride, and then stop in for some recovery nutrition.
3. To get ready for a night out, you don’t spend 2 hours getting showered and dressed, you spend 2 hours on a run to burn off the calories you plan to consume at dinner later that night.
4. You coordinate your wedding site with the site of your race later that week.
5. You mistake your Body Glide for deodorant.
6. Watching a movie is no longer killing time, but is an essential part of your recovery plan.
7. Your three year old recognizes Andy Potts on a magazine cover and your six year old can rattle off the names of over 10 pros including who won the first Ironman at Kona.
8. The walls of your home are no longer covered with fine works of art, but are plastered with your race numbers.

13 August 2009

My Greatest Diabetic Tool

One of the greatest finds in my diabetic life was really not a diabetic product at all. One of the main problems with having diabetes is needing to keep the amount of sugar in your blood within a very narrow window. There are a hundred factors you have to balance and calculate. And most of the time, you’re really just estimating. There is no number for how hard you pushed on your last swim or the quality of sleep last night. No stress number or hormone level number. The numbers we do have are not much better either. My blood glucose meter is allowed to be off by at least 20%. TWENTY PERCENT! So let’s do some math. Your meter says 400. And with a few expletive flying out of your math, you start to calculate. 400 equals 6 units of insulin to drive that sugar out of your blood and into the muscle. And so you coast back to your window of 80-120. But what if really you were 320, 20% lower than your meter said. So now you are sailing 80 points lower than you expected. Let’s see…80-80 =0. That 20% puts you at zero sugar in your blood. Absolutely none. And I’m sure you can figure out what zero sugar would do to a person. Just like zero gas in your car, you aren’t going anywhere for a long time, or really ever again.
With estimating being so unsure, you need to have a Plan B. Plan B usually consists of some easy to eat, easy to carry, easy to digest sugar source. When I was first diagnosed, I followed my doctors

23 June 2009

Brown is Much Easier Than White

              Last night I found myself in an unfamiliar kitchen shoveling down brown sugar in front of a somewhat concerned and scared lady.  It was the first night of a Bible study a friend invited me to where I knew nobody. Johnny, my CGM, alerts me that I'm low, so I go to my truck parked outside to find I have once again forgotten to replace my emergency stash of sugars.  I had to ask the hostess if she had any sugar.  She is staying at her parents house. Dad is "some other type of diabetic," as she put it, and being a good boy he has annihilated all traces of sugar in the house so he won't be tempted.  So we're scouring every nook and cranny for some source of sugar.  Everything was diet or sugar free.  Maybe he forgot to replace his emergency stash too.          
              So. I spot a small crystal bowl on the counter next to the coffee pot and have to ask if it is in fact my  savior.  Luckily it was brown sugar (much easier to eat than white, in case you have ever wondered.)  Without even asking I am scrambling through drawers to find a spoon and start to dig in as her

11 May 2009

Never Never Land

I think I have done such a good job of convincing myself that I can do anything with diabetes and that it will never stop me-- I surround myself with Diabetics who are conquering the world, I read the thoughts of those who are pushing the limits of what is possible, I talk with the experts who are pushing for us to go harder--- so much so that I forget entirely that I am sick. And I am sick. Sometimes, very sick.
I live a near normal life most of the time. Most people who know me have no idea I have this hidden life. The only people at work who know have been told so that in the case of an emergency someone will be able to tell the paramedics that the reason I am lying unconscience in front of a room of 11-year-old, terrified school children with a partially drunken juice box laying nearby is not because I am a passed out drunk, but because I have Diabetes. Most people I socialize with may have heard something about it, but really have no idea of what it means. They get the shooting up thing and they have some faint notion that either I caused it because I ate too much sugar as a kid (which, of course, I did) or that I now can't have any sugar. They have no idea how sick I am. I do a good job at keeping that under wraps.
Even with the diabetic friends I now have, I am always tempted to don the Good Diabetic face. I will

10 May 2009

He's In

               Finally, after years of listening to the complaining, he's in.  He's one of them.  Every Saturday and Sunday in Encinitas (home of the tri) there are more bikers than cars.  And, accordingly, they do take up a lot of the road.  Each morning I would sit next to Tony in our car listening to him complain about having to share the road with the clippity-cloppers.  (derived from the latin, meaning to make way too much noise as one walks in to Starbucks still in ones clip-ons.)  He does have some reason to complain. We have had bikers pound on the side of our car and scream at us even though I was aware of their presence and gave them more than adequate room.  Some people think they need to educate the world.                            Most however are awesome.  Each morning they are a constant reminder that I need to put in a ride when I get home.  I look longingly at the tight, wind-tunnel designed clothes and wish that I could again commute to work. (With 2 kids to drop off at school and a 7 o'clock leave time it just wouldn't work. At least not this year.)
     Each time he complained, I would laugh and remind him that he would be eating his words when he finally got it.  When he became one of them.  Well, today is that day.  He may not have the bike yet; he is pounding the dirt in an old mountain bike.  He doesn't even have cages on his pedals.   But, last weekend he finished his first tri.  With the "I just want to finish" race out of the way, his sights are

27 April 2009

Wildflower Warning

        So, I'm winding down in my preparation for my race this weekend.  Starting to do a little more packing and planning and a little less training, not that I did all that much training for this one.  I set aside 12 weeks to go hard to prepare for this race.  I had kept pretty strong in the off season and my training was starting to really take off.  I was getting faster than I ever had and more mentally prepared as well.  That is until I got sick 4 weeks in.  And I mean really sick. It started off as the flu, but was quickly followed up with my lungs getting swollen and inflamed leaving me unable to get out more than a sentence without getting lightheaded and tingly.  After walking about 10 yards, I would have to stop to catch my breath.  And it lasted about 4 weeks.  It took another week or two to be able to get through a workout without that same feeling or being stopped by tears of frustration.  With about 3 weeks left till race day I finally felt strong again but no where near where I had been.
       I did Wildflower 12 years ago.  It was my second tri.  I was hoping to beat my time.  I was hoping to finally place in the top half of my division.  Not too lofty of goals, usually somewhat out of reach for me.  Now I have to sit back and hope that all the mental training I did will carry me through the lack of real

08 April 2009

July 2010- The Plan

So here's the plan...
July 2010. Fly into Miami, grab a car and drive to Marathon, about halfway down the keys. Check Continuous Glucose Monitor to see how sitting still for 6 hours has affected my blood sugars. Adjust accordingly. Find a place to stay and get some grub at a nearby eatery. Bolus. Try to find an internet hookup to update blog, revel in the fact that most people down here are too busy living real life to worry too much about having internet connectivity in every possible location at every possible moment. Think about moving here for that very reason. Walk back to my shack. Stop in amazement at a sunset over land. A new thing for this west coaster. Get some sleep, probably the last I'll get for a while. Morning of Day 2, calibrate sensor so I get good readings on my CGMS, go meet Pagan Charm, my 27 foot Balboa that will be my home for the next 4 days, get familiar with the boat. Load the food for the trip that has become both my savior and my tormentor. Set sail. Play around with my basal rate to try to get it to match the change in activity that you make when on a boat. First stop, Big Pine Key. Anchor, check out Key Deer,

06 April 2009

A Good Silverstein

The sea is a-roarin’, the sea gulls they screech,
The bosun he rants and raves.
And the whole scurvy crew
Says, it’s true, yes it’s true,
Ol’ Captain Blackbeard’s shaved.”

We had buried some treasure (and bodies as well)
And was just sailin’ back from the cave,
When he calls fer boiled water
And stomps down below
An’ gor’ but he comes up shaved.

There’s a chickenish stubble, and fishbelly skin
On that face, once so blazin’ and brave.
And his ol’ faithful parrot

Where Did All the Fun Go?

Do you remember the time in your life when all your responsibilities for the day could be filled in about 20 minutes?  Get up, make your bed, feed the dog and clean your room.  The rest of the day was yours.  And each day seemed to last forever.  They stretched out for ever in front of you.  LIke an eternal adventure you never knew in which direction it would blow.  Stretch 3 months of those days together and it became forever.  You'd suck every opportunity out of every last minute, too. Roll out of bed at 9 to a warm breakfast and then off to swimming all morning in the ocean until your hands turned blue and your lips would match.  Then running up to lay on the hot sand until you thawed out and finish it up with a lunch of a jelly-jelly- sandwich and a thermos of warm Strawberry Falls Kool-Aid.  Or sitting out on the curb in front of your house past 9 on a warm summer night with a few friends you just met that day trying to stave off the moment your mom would appear in the lighted doorway to call you to come in for the night.  When all was about fun. Every minute was about fun.  Where is all that fun now?
   My last Thursday looked a little more like this. Up at 4:30, out to the garage for 40 minutes on the bike trainer, shower, get kids fed and ready for school, find missing shoes and mismatched socks, chase

02 April 2009


For 13 long years I have contended with Diabetes on my own. Of course I had family and friends to lend their support, a husband who was amazing at helping me deal with the emotional side of Diabetes, and good doctors to give me Diabetes Basic Training and to run their tests, but I never knew a single other person with Diabetes.
You see, Diabetes is a tricky opponent. The goal is to keep the amount of sugar in your blood at a constant level between 80 and 120 mmol/dl. In a healthy person the pancreas works like a thermostat turning insulin production on and off to keep it even keeled, like a heater in your home to keeps it a perfect 72 degrees. It does an incredible job, seldom a moment does it miss. In my case, I have been entrusted with this never-ending job. And so I balance. I balance everything to keep it steady. I balance my food, my exercise, the insulin I give myself, and my Symlin (an extra medicine given in a shot at meal times). I have to account for stress and all the other “normal” illnesses. Even things as simple as a scary movie can throw things out of whack. With so many variables to balance, the math becomes difficult and complex. And it’s hard to get any valuable information on the finer points of management from a doctor who has to specialize in so many different diseases. When I came up against a new

18 February 2009

How to Be Character #6

How to be character number six in ten steps...

1.  Need to arrange your silverware at a restaurant neatly at the edge of your napkin.
2. Be man enough to let me beat you at basketball (not that you could have stopped me :) )
3.  Watch those stupid chick flicks with me without telling anyone I had succumbed to them. (oh crap, I think i just let that one out of the bag)
4. Be able to walk down the pier with me slowly, without really needing to get anywhere.
5. Figure me out quickly enough to know you'd need to trick me into a date to get around my psychosis. And know just where to take me to get me to agree.
6. Be the grounding practicality to my dreaming wander lust.
7. Never allow me to cry alone in my closet.  Demand me to talk about my feelings (a hard feat, I'm sure you know)
8.  Be just jealous enough to show you care but not jealous to the point that it's smothering. 
9.  Want with all your heart to be a pastor but not be satisfied with the state of the American church today to settle for just any position offered.
10. Never know just how talented you are.

15 February 2009

The Revolt of the Body - Part 4

                 I can remember lying on the couch for hours, after everyone had retired for the night, arguing with myself about how wise it would be to wake him up and tell him where my heart was at, to tell him we could make a go of it, that I could deal with his past even if he couldn't, that I could even get past his grown out, mountain-man, sloppy hair. But, alas, as is true to my nature, I did nothing. Nothing , that is, except continue a senseless argument with myself until, at last, my body took over and shut my mind off for the night. I left that weekend once again wondering. Wondering what he was thinking and what might have happened if I had some guts.
                  This weekend, though, it looked like I might have another shot at it. With four hours of a less than entertaining game, I would have plenty of opportunity to find out. The 49'ers had done their part in scoring 14 points in the first minute and a half of the game. That at least took the distraction of a nail-biting game out of the way. Now all I had to do was open my mouth and ask. Ask why he ended things, what he thought might happen that he worked so hard to prevent. And all those overly-girlish questions like "was it something I did" and "was there someone else?" I figured I would start small and go from there. And so after much deliberation I went with. "Aren't you bummed you're not snowboarding?"
"Right now, not really." Good. A lead in. Sounds promising. And so I spent the next three hours plotting my next move, settling on what to say and then trying to get my mouth to cooperate with my brain. To actually voice all the hundreds of questions and statements that were running through my head at brake-neck speeds. When I accepted the fact that my mouth was useless, I thought maybe just a gesture would work. A hand on his shoulder as he sat mere inches away, maybe I could wrap my arm around him. I think that would get my point across. Unfortunately, I found my body even more useless and unwilling than my mouth. At least I could open my mouth to start (not that I could get words to follow, but in the world of paralysis ever a moving pinkie is worthy of celebration). My body on the other hand would not budge. It had called a strike in my time of most desperate need. And so I sat motionless, watching three hours of a game that had been won in the first 2 minutes.
                I would like to say that those three hours worked in me the courage to never let the paralysis win again. That it gave me the fortitude of mind to never let a moment pass where I didn't ask those questions. That I never listened to a lame excuse to end a relationship or that I never let a friend leave without knowing what I meant to them or what they meant to me, or letting them serve up some lame platitude like "See you at the next wedding or funeral" without calling them to the mat and finding out what had driven them away or how far they intended to run.
                  Unfortunately, I am slow to learn these lessons and even slower to pick up the skills to demand my mouth listens to my brain and my body no longer revolts, and mostly to quiet the voice in my head that says don't let them know you are unsure and confused, don't let them know you care more than they do and never let them make a fool out of you. After loosing out on knowing those I cared about and knowing more of myself in the process, I am finally starting to get there. And maybe someday, I'll have the opportunity to ask the questions I had so long ago. I only hope they still have the answers.

The Revolt of the Body- Part 3

                With us there had always been a lot left unsaid. I was a lot younger and far more new to the dating scene. I never wanted to look like a fool. So when he would try to talk to me about things, I would agree like I knew what he was talking about, always so afraid to ask, "what exactly does that mean?" When he ended things, he gave me some explanation that was so vague that I could not make heads or tails of it. It's not that he went for the old stand-by's "It's not you, it's me" or "I need some space." I just remember getting the message that things were over because he couldn't trust himself to be around me. I took that unclear explanation and assured him I understood exactly what he meant when, really, I had no clue.
           In a lot of ways, I was in over my head dating a guy like Matt, not maturity-wise or in my ability to carry on a relationship, but in life experience. I was 17 and he was 21. But it wasn't so much the age as what we had done in those years. He had lived a full life before he met me and we were in such different worlds. He was always so afraid of having his past life somehow tarnish me that he kept a lot to himself. Matt moved to California from Florida where he was living with his girlfriend of two years. I had never really dated with the exception of a few boys in Junior High. But we didn't date as much as "go-around" whatever that meant. I hadn't kissed a boy in four years and Matt, well, Matt had been living with this woman and all that that implied.
                   After Matt ended things, we stayed friends. Maybe even better friends than when we were dating. We both went off to college after the summer and sustained our friendship through letters, calls and the occasional visit. Leaving was hard. Two days after I moved into my dorm room, I was right back home because Matt was visiting that weekend, too. It was during a visit at his school that I first really noticed the paralysis. It was my second visit to his school, only this time it was a bit different. He had moved off campus, away from the strict oversight of the Administration of the Bible College, away from the no-fraternization rules where boys and girls could never be alone together (an oxymoron I never understood) and from the "Safe Zone" five feet from every dorm room door. I had to stay with a female friend at the college and if I wanted to see Matt, I couldn't call (no phones in the room and this was before the days oft he ubiquitous cell) I had to knock on his door and immediately jump back five feet before he opened the door so as not to violate the "Safe Zone".
             Now he shared a cabin with two coworkers at the camp where he had taken a job as a cook. I got the couch and we got out from all the legalism. Without the oppressive safety net, the tension once again began to rise and with it my ever increasing paralysis. Maybe it was only in my mind or maybe it was in both our minds, but, either way, I was powerless to find out. It seemed we were always teetering on the verge of picking up right where we left off. However much I could convince myself that all the signs were there, I couldn't convince myself to act on it.

The Revolt of the Body - Part 2

         And so the next morning, after the cold had added insult to injury by freezing my now mangled joint, I was left behind to wallow on what was one of the least crowded days of the year. While I should have been riding run after run of near empty hills, I was sitting, leg elevated and iced on a couch left over from the crazy decorating trends of the seventies, an itchy brown-orange tweed that, over the years, had its original pattern removed by use only to be replaced by a new pattern consisting of a chili dog that missed the plate and a belly full of strained peas that had not agreed with its six month old consumer. But, at least, it meshed well with the rest of the cabin that time had forgotten. It probably served as the receptacle for all of the owners' old stuff when common decency called for its replacement in their primary residence.
            As I flipped on the pre-game show and settled in for a day of self-indulgent pity, I realized I was not the only one who had forgone the best snowboarding day of the year. Matt sat down on the floor next to the tweedy nightmare with a soda and a bowl of chips, which he promptly offered. I obliged.
            Matt was a soft-spoken character who a year earlier had played the role of my first boyfriend. Even though that word has never been thrown around, in my story , it was who he was to me. Or maybe he was just the first boy I dated. Either way, our dating was short-lived and was, fortunately, followed by a good friendship, but a friendship where there was always that lingering possibility...
               I'm not sure the reason he gave that day for staying behind, maybe it was out of pity for me having to spend the day alone, maybe it was to spend the day alone with me, or maybe he just really liked football. Whatever it was, he stayed. For some reason, I can't remember him ever offering an excuse, just him walking across the hardwood floor in socks, sitting down and offering me chips.

The Revolt of the Body - Part 1

So I thought I would try my hand at a narrative. It comes to you in four parts, in four days. Let me know what you think....

             The snow outside had built up to a good twenty-four inches overnight. The whole reason for coming on this trip was shot. I would be left behind when all my friends would take off to hit the slopes. Left behind to watch one of the most quickly won Super Bowls, one of the most boring in years, and one of the most memorable. The day before Super Bowl Sunday a couple of us had been outside playing in the snow. We had borrowed a friend's cabin and were spending the weekend away from the ever-warm and snow-free Southern California. We had gone into the snow like a bunch of giddy kids, throwing snowballs, slipping on icy streets, and enjoying being young.
            I found a pile of freshly fallen snow and decided to climb to the top and claim "King of the Mountain" or rather "Queen of the Mountain", my ignorance of the snow glaring as I quickly sank knee deep into the mound of snow as white and glimmering as a starlet's newly bleached teeth. Eric, never one to pass up an opportunity for physical humor, seeing me trapped, thought it might draw a laugh if he pushed me over. He only partly succeeded. My top half went down like a felled tree. My leg from the knee down stood motionless like an impersonation of an English Royal Guardsman. Walking became a sad impression of Groucho Marx and snowboarding was definitely out of the question.

11 February 2009

Another Shower Epiphany

I was in my thinking spot, more commonly referred to as the shower, the only place I can get a period of time long enough to complete a thought in my head, reflecting on my last piece of writing and more over the tone of the last 4 months of my writing, when I realized that I had once again fallen into the depressing part of my emotional tide chart.  Just like the tides come in and out with some predictable regularity, so too I tend to fluctuate between the heights of optimism, a I-can-conquer all attitude, and the depths of my dark humor and despair.  I rode the tide of the dark side for long enough and decided it was time to see the moon pull on my side of the earth for a while. 

            The last thing I wrote was a simple exercise in letting the mind wander as I inspected me, 25 random things about myself.  I realized how easy that was and thought I might be up for a bigger challenge, 25 good things Diabetes has brought into my life.  I am sure I could rattle of a good 5 or 6 typical responses but to get to 25 I would actually have to think.  I thought it might be interesting to see how many would be up for the challenge to look at their own tragedy or trial and try to see how many they could come up with.  Maybe it’s just what the doctor ordered.  And so it is, 25 good things diabetes has brought…


1.  It wasn’t cancer or Leukemia.  Those were the other options my doc proposed that my symptoms would match. 

2. It has brought great discipline to my life. I have always been an undisciplined sort and had been praying that God would give me more discipline for about 2 years before he obliged.  Little did I know…

3.  It gave me a greater appreciation for what an amazing body God has designed in that it can balance the amount of insulin released from the pancreas, the amount of glucose released from the liver, the signals of fullness after a meal, the amount of stress hormones flowing around and the ever changing needs of muscle tissue for sugar.  And it only allows the amount of sugar running around in my blood to vary less than 40 milligrams in every liter of blood.  When I am left to the task I sometimes can’t get it to stay within hundreds of milligrams.

4.  It has allowed me to team up with some pretty amazing people who are charging and changing the face of diabetes.  People who challenge the notion that diabetics need to be mellow when it comes to pushing their bodies to the limit.  People crazy enough to do the Ironman Triathlon, to climb mountains and to run a 200-mile relay over 24 hours.  They inspire me to push myself harder every day I am out training.  Without diabetes I would never have pushed myself to join a group (I was never much of a joiner)

5.  It has made my life hard enough that I often get to the point where things are so bad that all I can do is resort to laughing at how ridiculously hard all of this is. What else can I do when my blood sugar is so low that I can barely control my impulses and have come within seconds of pouring an entire box of cereal over my head because it seemed like it might feel nice.

6.  Without Diabetes, I would not have found out so quickly how great my husband, Tony, would be at taking care of me and forcing me to talk about all that I was feeling.

7.  Diabetes gave me the ability to take off an extra 6 months during my pregnancy with Eli.  That was time that I got to be a stay-at-home-mom for my eldest, Shea, time I treasure.  It also gave me 9 months off when Shea was born. 

8.  Diabetes gave me a reason to write a book, or maybe I should say, be in the process of writing a book.

9.  25 is going to be hard…

10.  Diabetes really drove home the divide between spirit and body.  I can remember in the early days walking out of my doctor’s office in Los Alamitos and realizing my body was now broken.  My pancreas just didn’t work like it was supposed to.  But my spirit still remained as it was.  It forever divided the two in my mind.

11. If Diabetes is the worst thing that has happened in my life, I have led a charmed life.  There are many worse things that can happen.

12.  I get to bring my own candy anywhere I want, movies, meetings, etc.

13.  It has humbled me in a way that I needed big time.  Being an arrogant, pompous fool never benefited anyone.  I figured out real quickly that I was just as susceptible to harm and tragedy as the next guy. The invincible teen years ended before their time. 

14. Diabetes started my running, swimming and triathlon career.  When I was diagnosed my doc said I had to exercise everyday.  I was in college so I couldn’t really join any teams, wasn’t quite good enough for college ball.  So I did what I could do alone and with no equipment, I ran.  One of my friends got me into swimming at the pool at UCSD between classes and I already rode my bike daily (the result of personal budgetary restraints and expensive parking permits on campus.)  My competitive spirit put all three together and I started tri’s.

15.  My daughter is well trained in calling 911?

16.  I think it turned the balances in my favor in getting sponsorship with the Power Puff Girls/Cartoon Network for surfing.  I wrote some cheesy paragraph in how I am just like the Power Puff Girls because I fight my own monsters.  Yeah, I know, I played the D card.  But every now and then you have to.

17.  I have a great relationship with my doctor because I see him so often.  He is so comfortable that he’ll sit down and rap with me for a while about the good ol’ college days.  So when I do have a problem he always takes the time to hear me out.

18.  I can always look back and say the reason I got a C in O-Chem is because my sugars were in the 7 or 800’s when I took my final (even though when I took O-Chem C I got a C too but I was fine.)

19.  I never have to pony up a doctor’s note for an absence if my employer asks because I have a chronic condition.  (Anyone up for a Tuesday morning surf when the Santa Ana’s are blowing and everyone else is at school or work?)

20.  It has on many occasions forced me to face my own mortality.

21.  I have met a few good-looking firemen and paramedics when I have had to call 911 because my sugars had gotten too low.

22.  Diabetes makes sailing solo through the Florida Keys for four days more than a self-indulgent pleasure cruise and turns it into a chance to inspire others to do what people have told them they couldn’t because they are supposed to be good little diabetics and not push themselves to find new ways to conquer what in their Pre-D lives would have been commonplace and so easy.

23.  It gives me a cause to raise money for.  Insulindependence.com has this same mindset of helping Diabetics push themselves and inspire other diabetics to do the same. Check them out. (And if you want to help me, check out http://www.firstgiving.com/erinspineto.) Yeah I know it’s a shameless plug, but what can I say?  It is an advertisers world.

24.  Maybe diabetes has just allowed me to give you a reason to see the bright side?

25.  Diabetes gives me a reason to come up with 25 reasons that diabetes has been good to me and spend the last hour practicing some writing skills. 

08 February 2009

25 Random Facts

So I was asked to write 25 random things about myself.  what follows is the answer...

1. i am a procrastinator. look how long it took me to do this. I am so behind on the trend.
2. i am a diabetic, type 1, who runs triathlons and sails to prove that i am in control, not my broken pancreas.
3. i am writing my memoirs on doing #2.
4. i hate capitalizing stuff when i type.
5. i want to sail single handed around the florida, keys. alone. by myself. without any one else (starting to get the point of the trip?)
6. i am not actually a writer
7. biochem degree from UCSD and a minor in visual arts just to give my brain a rest ( and because secretly I am an artist- just don't look to my work for confirmation of that fact.)
8. married my best friend after telling him that, even though he was getting the word from God that we were going to get married, i too had been praying and getting the opposite answer. One of us was wrong and it certainly wasn't me. (not the last time i was wrong, or "mistaken" if we are using p.c. speak)
9. married an artist, an oil painter to be more precise. so i guess i put that art degree to work after all. i try not to sound too stupid at all the gallery openings we have to get all gussied up for.
10. kind of random, but i guess that's the point... hadn't kissed a boy in 8 years when i first kissed tony after he proposed
11. want to do lots of traveling but mostly with in the 30's. (that's latitude for the geographically disinclined). no need for the rolling forties or roaring fifties near where its way too cold for people to actually exist without 42 layers of clothing.
12. live in encinitas, ca because its a community where on saturday morning most of the kids at the coolest donut shop on earth are only in their trunks and never have their hair combed and are only making a quick stop before they hit the beach until sundown and sometimes after. Their parents, most of the time, match.
13. wow... really... 25?
14. i have 28 teeth?
15. lived with a different group of 6 girls for the last 3 years of college with at least one each year with an eating disorder.
16. think that the only acceptable source of caffeine input should be Diet Dr. Pepper. no coffee, tea only if i think i am writing while sitting on the floor at a barnes and nobles after the kids have gone to bed for the night
17. had a birthday party when i was 10 that no one showed up to. i would like to think it was because it was the same weekend as halloween parties (dumb planning) but really it probably wasn't. too much grrr in my early days. didnt learn to fake the bubbly perky until later in life and still dont do it well
18. just had to get up and test my blood sugar because it often drops when i write. probably from all the energy i have to expend to come up with all this super "deep" stuff :) <---that is the silly little symbol people type to show that they are making a joke? right? i think id rather go with a "ha" from deep within the belly, kind of like one santa would do if he got drunk and forgot his lines, "ha, ha, ha" "isnt that the stupid line they always give me in all those sappy, crappy movies aired just before i get my break in jamaica?" 22. Yeah is kipped a couple.. what of it? 23. i just learned to spell piece when i was 25 when my 6th graders got sick of my misspelling on the overhead and leant me the silly little saying i still repeat in my head each time i spell it. "piece of pie." translation piece starts just like the word pie p-i-e 24. i still can only tell my left from my right when i picture myself taking off on a wave. i instinctly know my right is front side and my left is backside. the whole put your pointer and thumb out to make an L doesn't work for me because they both look like L's to me . sorry I had a hard time flipping my letters as a kid. think they should have put me in special ed and medicated me for that one. (insert another lame symbol or maybe we should dod the LOL thingy here) 25. i have just finished this thing

25 January 2009

Socially Retarded, Who Me?

It has been so long since I have felt so socially retarded.  For those of you who knew me in high school and college you know how socially inept I can be.  Get me in small groups or in a card game or around any sport and I am on my game.  But when that group grows to 15 or 20 or it becomes a party carried only by conversation and I freak out.  I go someplace in my mind and can't seem to come back out.  And the worst part, I think, is that I get this look on my face as if I were going to kill somebody.  Don't really know why.  I guess that's just the way my face kinks up when I go to that place.
So, today my social ineptitude hit again.  With out any warning.  But I think I found at least one of the many triggers.  I am trying to make my way into a new group of people.  Trying to befriend a couple people.  I went to a party with about 25-30 people. First mistake.  And its a post-marathon party.  Mistake number two.  The conversation naturally went from did you race today to how did you do?  So I am getting stories of P.R.'s and beating personal goals.  And I start doing a little math on their numbers and am realizing just how fast they are and how slow I am.  Now running has never been my strength, I am really more of a swimmer, but in the last year I made some huge improvements in my running. 
 I could dismiss a few people as being faster than me, (my dad told me long ago, there will always be someone smarter, someone faster, someone more talented)  but every one of them was far and away way faster than I could ever dream to be.  The slowest ran 13.1 miles at a faster pace than I can even run one.  And so I am all of a sudden thoroughly intimidated and feeling like crap.  Not to mention that I am already completely intimidated by a few of the Ironman triathletes in the group.  You know those insane people who swim 2.4 MILES, then get on a bike and ride 112 MILES and then, because that couldn't be enough, they run a marathon, 26.2 MILES.  Some of these guys I am so intimidated by that I can't seem to carry on a normal conversation without either stumbling over my words or resorting to my old standby, sarcasm, and not the kind-hearted type.
So after 34 years on this planet and finally, post-high school, learning to fake it pretty well, I am back in that 6th grade dance paralyzed with the fear of a huge group of people and no idea of how to navigate it. I guess I can get over it, just need a good-nights sleep and a fast run tomorrow.  I just hope people had enough to drink to overlook that stupid girl in the corner not saying a word and looking like someone just drank her last beer.

Why Sail?

Type 1 Diabetes is a multi-talented killer.  It kills quickly, it kills slowly and it can kill by stripping you of any desire to truly live.  One slip up in your dosing math, one time you forget your safety sugars, one underestimation of how hard that workout really was and the amount of sugar in your blood plummets to the point where there is not enough to support your brain and heart function.  I’m sure you can guess the outcome of that, and it can happen in the blink of an eye.  We all do a pretty good job of staying on top of it, but slipups do happen in the diabetic community.  It’s a tribute to all of us that it doesn’t happen more often. 

            But even if we can prevent the Superlows from happening, it is virtually impossible to keep from getting too much sugar in your blood from time to time.  Whether its that hot fudge sundae you’ve had your eye on for a week, a forgotten bolus of insulin because one kid’s crying, one was screaming and that pesky telemarketer just knew it was the right time to call, or you got sick and your body decided that it just doesn’t feel like responding to the triple dose of insulin you had to give it.  Then little by little your blood gets thick with those killer glucose molecules that like to attach themselves to any available red blood cell like an over-40, still-single, overeager, “my-biological-clock-is-ticking” woman when she finds any man who shows even the smallest smakeral of interest in her.  So what if your red blood cells get a little bigger?  So what if trying to pump those enlarged cells around your body will wear out your heart a little quicker or that they start to tear at the littlest capillaries like a three-year-old through presents on Christmas morning?   Those capillaries aren’t in anything really important anyways, just your kidneys, eyes, hands, feet and one other really important part.  And so very, very slowly Diabetes silently wears out your body. We all work hard to slow this process.  We all use the latest technology, we analyze all sorts of data and walk around like Robo-diabetic with pumps, meters, and continuous glucose monitors strapped to our bodies, belts, and in every bag, backpack and purse we own all in attempt to slow the coming tide.

            But, I think worse than both of these, is Diabetes’ ability to strip you of all desire to truly live.  Your doc tells you never again walk barefoot, no flying or scuba diving, forget Ironman training, just walk for 20 minutes a day.  Everything in moderation, he tells you.  And that’s the killer, Moderation.  When was the last time you got the least bit of a thrill from Moderation?  Have you dreamed about your Moderation for two years straight, saving every extra penny, telling everyone you know, being possessed by your Moderation?  Never.  But talk to any diabetic who has stepped out of the cloud of Moderation and they will turn your ear bloody talking about their training plan and what their blood sugars were every 15 minutes during their last sub-4 hour marathon and every detail of their next trip climbing Machu Pichu.  They are truly living.  And they are talking to anyone who will listen.  But for years they were talking to those who didn’t know much about diabetes, those who don’t know Type 1 from Type 2, those who couldn’t help with the right basal rate reduction for an 11 hour hike, those who don't know a thing about the low blood sugar induced Midnight Munchies.  That is until a few of these diabetic athletes happened to sit down together at a table together at a conference and started talking.  What was born out of that conversation was the plan to build a community to get diabetics together to talk and to support their moderation-busting adventures.  

I, too, have been bit by the bug to abolish moderation.  For me its a sailing trip.  Four days, alone on a 22 foot Catalina, in the Florida Keys. To sit alone for 96 hours, to sail, to think and to write.  To get a grasp on what diabetes has done to my life and what I am going to do to diabetes.  And to support others who want to do the same thing in their own way.  I have decided to use this trip to raise funds for Insulindependence and to spread the word that Moderation will never win.  We can't let it.

23 January 2009

Who are these people?

So do you recognize any of these people yet?  Give me your best guess.  I'm sure a couple of you have recognized yourselves...

21 January 2009

Numero Five

You know the drill...

1.  Be able to eat mac-n-cheese with me every Sunday for weeks on end.
2.  Be one of the few people able to sit and do absolutely nothing and still make it interesting.
3.  Be so easy to drive crazy just by moving a few items in your room just an inch, and tilting paintings a few degrees off center.
4.  Be able to grow up and not loose any of the good parts of yourself
5.   Be game enough to drive to Hollywood on a moment's notice to go to a movie premier of one of the weirdest movies I've seen.
6.  Be gullible enough to believe that I had no feeling in my right hand and compassionate enough to feel really bad about it.
7.  Bring me into the presence of God when you sit down with that guitar of yours and start to play worship.
8.  Want to be cool enough to hang out with the older guys but not realize you were even cooler for knowing, more than they, when to say when.

So I only got 8, not for any lack of character or interest...

Character Four

So here we go again.  If you want to be Character Four, here's what to practice...

1. Always be laughing.
2. Keep a beta fish in a shot glass.
3. Run 10 miles at a sub-6 pace and still be able to run your "recovery" runs with me slowly enough  so I wouldn't feel too bad.
4. Always ask "What did you read today?" so that I would have to read daily so as not to be caught without an answer to that one.
5. Be so concerned with doing things the "right way" that you don't let me roll my own sleeping bag because you would just have to do it again.
6. Be sustained by the music of Eric Clapton and Eric Goranson.
7. Peel the label off your beer bottle with your thumb and throw it inside.
8. Introduce me to my loves of Jimmy, fish tacos, sailing, and Jerry Bridges.
9. Be enough of a romantic to wear your parents wedding ring but disguise it by telling people you picked it up at a garage sale one day.
10. Never show your cards.

04 January 2009

Bouncing along as Character Three

Let's try to keep this one to a real 10 steps... Character Three

1.  Be willing to give, never asking for anything in return.
2.  Have an abundance of energy.
3.  Have your head bowed when a camera appears.
4.  Be able to share a 10'x10' apartment with 4 other guys and not loose your mind. (Or maybe you did at times.)
5.  Never stand for the cheesy Christianeeze constantly being thrown at you.
6.  Supply me with my first real knife. 
7.  Give a person the shirt off your back... literally.
8.  Enjoy the characterization of a children's book.
9.  Be ready at all times to step in when I, or any girl you know, is being threatened.
10. Put up a total stranger for months on end, rent free, just because he's a friend of a friend.

02 January 2009

Character Two

In 10 steps or less how to be Character Two
1. Play House of Pain way too loud and way too often.
2. Use coupons for everything.
3. Write me letters in college just so I wouldn't have to find an empty mailbox once again.
4. Always take a picture whenever we hung out before the days of the camera phone.
5.  Play baseball in a way that made me want to come out and watch.
6. Take me out on a date without me actually knowing it (not hard to do when I was so clueless).
7. Drink too much.
8. Be the leader of your group of misfit friends.
9.  Dump your girl on Valentine's Day.
10. Barter my attendance at a New Year's Eve party for yours at a crusade.
11. Be the typical irresponsible teenage boy except when it came to taking care of your sister.

Character One

If you ever wanted to know how to play the part of one of the many people in my life..  Here's your 10 step program

To be Character One
1. Teach me the finer points of snack shack hot dogs made at home and a Dr. Pepper eaten on the roof of your house on a beautiful summer day.
2. Be moody.
3. Be willing to drive up a mountain at 5 in the morning just to get a better view of the sunrise.
4. Count the steps to the top of Diamond Head.
5. Dare me to kiss my first boy.
6. Love to do logic puzzles with me as a kid.
7. Teach me to shave my legs.
8. Become catsup sisters because we were to afraid of blood (oh the irony of now being a diabetic).
9. Be loyal even when we had grown into two very different people.
10. Be able to brawl with me, throw me down a flight of stairs, hit the bottom,  start laughing and be over the whole fight.
11.  Be the first person I ever met that made me feel like I found someone who understands me (these are unfortunately too few and far in between).

31 days of character sketches

Since it's the new year I thought I would try to become a little more disciplined.  So I am going to put a little more effort into this writing thing that I have been doing.  For 31 (ish) days I am going to work on some character sketches (it's one of my many weaknesses). One a day for every day in January.  And being the slacker I am I have already missed a day, the first day. Oh well, you screw up, you apologize, make restitution and move one.  So I am sorry, not that any of you were depending on it since you didn't know it existed, my restitution will be 2 character sketches tonight and I have moved on.
Since I don't want to reveal something about a friend they may not want out there, there will be no names. Feel free to guess.