Category Archives: Beginnings

The Rogue Project

On September 1st, I had every intention of blogging a “Happy New Year!”  post.  It didn’t happen.  Then, the other day, I wanted to post something called “The Leona Papers” (my name is not Leona, but is actually Erika).

Instead, I’m posting the Rogue Project.

How to explain it… well, it’s something like this: get fitter, eat healthier, reduce stress, become smarter.

Ambitious, no?

The Rogue Project isn’t actually new.  In fact, it actually started out as Operation Transformation and was a new year’s resolution that went the way of the dodo bird.  July 2nd forced me to change my focus and actually change my life because, well, it really does boil down to a matter of life or death.  I like steaks.  I like French Fries.  I’m not willing to die for them though.

So I got to thinking, and this is where Leona comes into the equation (Leona is another friend of mine.  A single mum, raising two girls and somehow not totally pulling her hair out doing it).  We had been talking and Leona’s in a bit of a rut.  Work/life can get overwhelming for most of us, I can’t imagine how one tries to keep it together with two kids as well.  And so the story went with Leona: life is in a bit of a rut, food is becoming the companion to turn to for comfort, broke, stressed, well, let’s just say that I can relate.

At first I thought it may be a good idea to suggest one of those 30 day challenges that are making the rounds on the internet, but I remembered the comment on one that said, “Remember, don’t expect a miracle……..it can take 6 months to one year of intense training to build those dream Glutes!”  and so my thoughts on the 30 day challenge are that they are a great way of getting started and making small, generally attainable results, but if you want something to really make an impact, it’s going to take more than 30 days.

So now it was less about Leona and more about Erika.  What does she want?  What does she need?  What will make her less cranky and more at peace in her world?  Of course I want dream glutes!  I also want to be less in debt, or better still, not in debt at all.  I want to be the mistress of my destiny and, as an aside, live with diabetes.

I want to kick ass and take names!

Charcoal

I’m also a realist – I can’t do everything I need or want to do in 30 days.  30 day challenges?  Those are for wimps!  I’m doing a hard-core 365 challenge.

What that really means is that I’m going to lay the foundation over the next year, for how the rest of my life will be.  I will constantly be on the hunt for inspiration and motivation.  I will become accountable by making sure I regularly post.  And learn!  I wasn’t sure that I wanted to continue on with my nutrition certificate, but for the moment, if for no other reason, I will continue to learn and grow if for no one else but myself.

And yes, I’m going to adopt some of those 30 day challenges but the idea, for me, is to not stop after 30 days.

But for the immediate moment, I need to look at my finances, cut out some of the unnecessary expenses and reign in the spending, get off the sofa and get moving more and tackle the next 365 days like no one’s business.

Dare to Jump


Onward and upwards.

This has been a weird, difficult week for me.

It’s funny to think that, this time last week, I was in the midst of a long weekend, I was getting laundry together, doing grocery shopping, getting clothing and such together to donate.  I felt good.

Tuesday I said good bye to my little fur ball and that has had my heart repeatedly breaking.

Wednesday, a well meaning friend came over with sugar free ice cream and an attempt to distract me from my broken heart.  Problem is, my well meaning friend is a doctor (I’ll call her Dr. M) and her idea of distraction was to go on and on and on about how I am diabetic.  It was like being diagnosed all over again.  “You can’t be angry about this.”  “You need to get over this.”  “It’s just like, I know I can’t eat item X because I will put on weight.”

I may not have been diabetic for long, but gees, not eating a chocolate bar because it will make you fat is not the same thing as having diabetes.  Knowing that there are foods (bananas are one for me) that you shouldn’t eat because it sends your blood sugar doing stupid things – well it’s harder still because it’s not like a banana is junk food.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever shown Dr. M this post, but I need to articulate how she made me feel on Wednesday.

I had my friend walk in the door to offer support, but I had a doctor take over the day.

My feelings of anger and frustration, feelings of shame and fear, feelings of deprivation, were completed discredited.  My feelings were dismissed.  I was told that, while my BG readings were within the “normal” range, “People without diabetes don’t ever have readings like (mine).” Apparently the medical profession has tested the blood glucose of everyone in the world and us diabetics?  Well the range that associations like American Diabetes or Canadian Diabetes have are just to make us feel better?  Because, were I normal, my two hour post meal BG wouldn’t be that high. It’s really comforting to know that I’m not normal.

I am struggling with the emotions and I’m struggling to understand what’s going on in my body and how I can be the one in control, and not be controlled.  I’m struggling with the title diabetic  and the whole diabetic diet.

I’m feeling really lost right now, a little betrayed.  It’s bad enough my body is doing stupid stuff and depression is hanging around like an unwanted STD, but to have my friend dismissing my feelings on top of it?

I don’t recommend being angry always, but I do believe it is part of a normal grieving process, one of which, I was unaware, there is a time limit on.


So I’ve been meaning to write…

It’s funny, I’ve had a lot of things that I’ve wanted to write, but then I end up looking at another amazing blog and before I know it, time has slipped right by me.

First, it’s been three weeks since I was diagnosed.  In that time I’ve been angry, stressed, hungry, cold, tired as all hell, and angry as all hell.  But let’s back track to one week ago.

I was sitting at my desk at work and talking to a colleague who knows that I have been recently diagnosed with the ‘betes.  She’s an absolutely wonderful soul and I really do feel that she actually cares about what I’m going through.  She’s encouraging without giving me the “I have an aunt/brother/sister/cousin/friend/hair dresser/paper boy/etc. that has diabetes, so I know what you’re going through,”  spiel. On the other hand, I do have a colleague who, new to the company, joined in the conversation with us.  Before I knew it, I was justifying what I had,  “eaten for breakfast/lunch/dinner, yes I can eat fruit, I can eat whatever I want, no I don’t drink soda/alcohol” etc. etc. etc.  Suffice it to say, I was in tears before long. 

I mean, I’ve only been an “in the know” diabetic for two weeks.  Sheesh.

But damage has now been done – she went to human resources with concerns that I “wasn’t dealing with the diabetes diagnosis very well.”

TWO WEEKS!

In two (now three) weeks, I’ve been pricking my fingers, learning how to count carbs, struggle with emotions that could rival the swings of someone who doesn’t manage their BS/BG very well, relearning everything I thought I knew about nutrition and you want me to keep a freakin’ smile on my face and pretend that all’s well?  I’ll get there, of course, but not in two weeks!

I was mortified that she had spoken to HR at all.  More so because, I hadn’t even spoken to HR yet.  Thanks for letting that cat out of the bag.  To continue with that same train of thought, I’m also well pleased that said colleague feels the need to not only check out, but comment on, the nutritional value of my meals.  Blerg.

Okay, now that I have that off my chest, on to the “good” stuff!

Since July 1st (note: pre-diagnosis) I have been walking almost regularly to and from work.  Sometimes there’s a little more walking, sometimes a little less, but basically, I’m walking about 40 minutes a day for five days (no, I’m not breaking records here, but I’m not sitting my fat ass on a bus either!).  I’m eating a relatively vegetarian diet.  It needs a lot of work still but Rome wasn’t built in one day either. Oh, and I’ve lost just over 5% of my body weight.  There’s a lot more to lose, but I’m still a loser, and that’s alright in my books.

The lethargy.  It’s still bugging me but after speaking to my pharmacist (I just may have the greatest pharmacist in the world!) and letting her know that I supplement, I asked her what her thoughts were on adding in a B Complex vitamin.  I’ve been taking the B Complex since Saturday and I’m already starting to notice a difference!  I’ve stayed up until 10 (Oooh! Such a late night rebel am I!) the last couple of nights, and managed to get up relatively close to when the alarm goes off.  And walk to work!  There’s still some of that morning fog, and I am by no means bounding full of energy, but I’m starting to feel a little better now, energy wise.

I’m also meditating daily.  I keep being told to keep my stress in check, and I know exercise can do that for me, but there is something to be said for taking some time out just reconnect, in a quiet way, with one’s self.

As weird as this is for me to say, I’m actually looking forward to this coming Monday (woo hoo!  Long weekend!) when the latest “meditation challenge” from Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey starts.

Finally, I came across Lizzy’s Lounge via another blog I follow.  To say that it has become a game changer for me would be to put it mildly.  Lizzy has Type 2.  Lizzy isn’t a medical professional.  Lizzy gets what it’s like to be newly diagnosed and have no idea what to do, where to look for info, rant, cry, and then deal with the ‘betes.  I’ve only scratched the surface (and pricked fingers five times so far today!) of her blog, but some seriously awesome advice has been found.  Speaking in terms that the lay person can actually understand, I must say that this will be one of the many tools in my arsenal to keep ‘betes my bitch, and not the other way around.

So now that I’m at week three, I think this is the first time, in what actually feels like forever, that I have a bit more hope, and bit more… positivity.

Early days, but need to build on that!


For Annie.

This is not a blog about diabetes.  Or at least, the whole of it is not.  It has to be said though that, as someone newly diagnosed, it’s something I’m bound to beat to death.  But really, the goal (“goal” makes it sound so lofty) of this blog is to just be a general commentary on life.

But this post?  This post is about anger and my friend Annie.

I made the “mistake” of going for my physical on June 28th, 2013.  I had to get the complete physical done because, well, I needed my birth control refilled.  No doctor is going to refill without an exam.  And I’ve been kicking myself ever since.

See, I don’t do birth control to prevent me from having babies.  I do it because, otherwise, I’d feel like I was dying on a monthly basis. Getting my plumbing removed seems like an awful extreme step, so I opt for an injection in the butt and I’m gold for three months.

But back to the physical.

I fasted.  I scrubbed behind my ears. I made sure my breath was fresh. I prepared for the obligatory “step on the scale” and the myriad of emotions that inevitably follow after the number is read and recorded. At no time did I prepare myself for a diagnosis of diabetes.

The results of the blood work came back lightning fast.  By July 2nd, the temp. doctor (my “real” doctor is on mat. leave) had labelled me diabetic. Not a cushy “pre-diabetic”. A full on diabetic.  I was angry. I refused to believe her. My fasting blood glucose levels were at 4.4, how could I possibly be diabetic? Diabetes does not run in my family and I am sure I do not wish to be the first person diagnosed with it. Yet after demanding the two hour glucose test, drinking that nasty drink, I am, apparently, diabetic.

Being handed down a life sentence, strange things have happened:

  • I’m angry.
  • I don’t eat a whole lot.
  • My sleep, which hasn’t been great in forever, is getting worse again. Dreams of being diabetic, or discussing diabetes or anything to do with diabetes, have been dominating my sleep. Or have prevented me from sleeping at all.
  • Shame is not something I was expecting to feel, and yet I am amazed how much shame I feel because of this diagnosis.
  • My depression, which had been all but gone for the past year, is rearing its ugly head again.
  • The self-loathing is incredible.
  • I cry and am hyper-emotional.
  • Did I mention I’m angry?

Now I should mention that, in the world of diabetes, I suppose  I am one of the “lucky” ones (there is nothing lucky for anyone labelled with the diabetes tag). I am not being put on any sort of medication at the moment. I was told that “a glucose meter isn’t really necessary for medical purposes.” although I fail to understand the rational behind that statement from the Johnny-Come-Lately doctor that diagnosed me.

In fact, first the fear of God was put into me (saying nothing and leaving me to my own devices to figure this out on my own is crazy, in my opinion) and then I’m told “it’s not that bad!”  Have I missed something about diabetes being a good thing?

According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, I can no longer get pedicures, go barefoot – anywhere, cannot wear sandals or open toe shoes, cannot wear shoes over 5 cm in height and this is just talking about feet.

There’s a whole lot of you can’t do this anymore! but so precious little about what I can do. It should come as no surprise to anyone that 25% of diabetics develop depression. You’re not giving us much hope about there being any pleasures to living.

Now let me just say that this is very much early days for me.  I haven’t lived with diabetes. If friends have it, they keep it to themselves. No family members have it. I don’t know a whole lot about it other than it zaps the life out of spontaneity and my fingers hurt all the time now. Oh. And I refuse to wear diabetic socks.

But back to the anger for a moment.

I need to vent my spleen to the universe (or, you know, just here) about how angry this makes me. I’m angry that I wasn’t told what I’m supposed to do with my used lancets and test strips (apparently throwing out bio-hazardous materials in the regular rubbish is frowned upon). I’m angry that I’m absolutely paranoid to eat or drink. I’m angry because my fingers hurt from testing multiple times a day. I’m mostly angry because I’m so angry.

Which brings me to Annie.

I adore Annie.

I met Annie many moons ago, and back then, well if I’m being honest, until very recently, she scared the hell out of me.  Annie’s no nonsense and I like that about her, but I’m chock o’ block full of nonsense, so many times I feel like I’m this goofball fool that she has to suffer gladly (or not). Annie is fiercely strong, independent, smart as a whip, funny, gorgeous and humble.  She’s a total package.

I said to Annie, sometime earlier this year, that she always comes across as having her shit together, whereas I am my own shitstorm. She assures me that she isn’t this level of perfection that I’ve made her seem, but I don’t know. I tend to beg to differ.

Annie runs. I don’t mean for the phone, or a bus, but actually runs.  You know, those crazy distances that us mere mortals think it’s insane to run, Annie does those and I am so wickedly proud of her.

So when Annie took the time to check up on me (I’ve cut myself off from all sorts of social situations be they in person or virtually), I managed to respond with a scathing email that held back no vitriol.

To put it succinctly, she didn’t deserve that.

I’ve realised since then, that I cannot respond to emails from friends because I’m not dealing well with this at all. I am too emotional, too raw at the moment, to be able to respond to emails or texts without wanting to just let the torrent of anger spew in all directions.

I know I need help in figuring all of this out and pushing away people I love and respect isn’t very clever but I don’t know how to handle this.

I’m trying though.  Truly. Apparently, the trick is to keep breathing.


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