Category Archives: Education

Why November is rapidly becoming a month I’m not lovin’ so much.

I have a problem with the month of April.  Really crappy things have happened in the month of April and now, whenever that month rolls around, I sort of wish we could skip over those thirty days and get on with May.

November is a bit of a rough month though too.  I was born in November and, seven and a half hours after I was born, my maternal grandfather died of lung cancer.  Exactly one week later, my paternal great-grandmother died.  I’ve grown up with the memories of others in regards to these two individuals and, I must confess, I always feel a little ripped off.

But for the most part, November is a wonderful month.  I love fall and the crisp, clean(er) air it brings.  I love the colour changing and wearing berets and, yes, I even love the cold, wet weather too.

This time though, I’m not loving November quite so much.

For those of us in the diabetic community, it’s Diabetes month, except that, for those living with the disease, every month is diabetes month and we’re all painfully aware of it.

Until this year, I had no idea there was World Diabetes Day (November 14th this year, in case you’d like to “celebrate” it).  I had no idea that there was a blue circle to “brand diabetes” and “give diabetes a common identity”.  Ignorance, as they say, was bliss.

But then I got diagnosed and the last four months have been anything but easy.  And I’ve been on the internet ever since learning about my diabetes and trying to understand the other diabetes out there.

“So what’s your type?”

Mine is the suck ass kind and after reading another (much admired) blog post on World Diabetes Day, I’m not sure I will ever want to answer that question again.

It shouldn’t matter what type you are. Diabetes, all around,  supremely sucks sweaty monkey balls.  No, I can’t relate to having my tubing getting caught on a door knob (I can only imagine!).  I don’t know what it’s like to have to take insulin on a regular basis for the rest of my life in order to survive, but I can learn about it and try to empathize and not be so obtuse to that type.

So imagine my surprise, as I was reading this blog post, that I started getting the general sense that I, along with anyone else who has been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, that I somehow asked for it.  That I made a lifestyle choice to get diabetes.

I am going to stop for a moment and say that the rest of this post is born out of the anger and frustration of being a diabetic and knowing I am actively doing things to improve the quality of my life and, I hope, for others.

I did not sign up to become a diabetic.

Sure.  Maybe T2D is largely preventable.  It’s much more largely preventable if it’s actually talked about.  But in my case, I wasn’t ever told that I could be running the risk of getting diabetes.

I had no idea the constant stress I was under was making me a candidate for this shitty disease.  I had no idea that my poor sleeping habits weren’t helping the situation either.  I thought I was doing good – I don’t drink any alcohol, I don’t smoke (and I miss a good cigar!), I don’t do recreational drugs.  Hell, I don’t even go to McDonald’s!

Yes, I could have been a bit more active or not had that bag of crisps or whatever, but again, I did not sign up to become a diabetic.

I absolutely resent (many things actually) that my diabetes was a lifestyle choice.  I did not knowingly ever make a lifestyle choice to become diabetic. Never once did I have a medical professional or a pharmacist or anyone say to me, “Hey, you know… you’re getting older and you’re not as active as you once were.  Did you know all that stress and being less active and not eating as healthy as you should could lead you to a path of diabetes?”  It was never in the equation.

Would it have made a difference?  I don’t know.  I’d like to think that perhaps it would have, but I’m not sure.  I am not the same person I was this time, last year.

Maybe there is a huge bias in this year’s awareness campaign towards T2D.  I’m sorry for that.  I almost feel personally responsible because, and God knows, T2D’s are taking over the world one body at a time.

This is in no way meant to diminish the severity of Type 1.  Again, I can’t imagine what it’s like to have Type 1 and I’m not going to pretend to try.  I try to understand it better than some, I try to learn things from those that are afflicted with it and I want to be someone that helps in the battle to find a cure for it.

But I want to find a cure for Type 2 as well.

Maybe that is “diet and exercise” for the masses, but for fuck’s sake, someone start saying that out loud; louder than it’s been said before.  Because while T1D’s had absolutely no control over their disease, and while a percentage of T2D’s may have a predisposition, nobody sets out to become diabetic.

I get enough guilt thrown at me from my government and health care professionals.  I would hope the diabetic community wouldn’t start throwing guilt at T2D’s too.

(As an aside, I have found far more many blogs about T1D than T2D.  I wondered why that was but… I think I get it now.)

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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


Get to know your disease

Perhaps it’s because it’s still early days for me, or perhaps it’s because I don’t feel I have enough to do already, but I thought I’d share something with all of you.

If you haven’t heard of Coursera, it is this fantastic resource for post secondary education from some of the world’s top universities (see? Told you I was a bit of a nerd). Coming up October 28th, a five week course on Diabetes: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Opportunities.  This is being presented by the University of California San Francisco.

Whether you’re a veteran to being diabetic (both Type 1 and 2 are discussed over the course of five weeks), a newbie, such as myself, or you care about someone who has been diagnosed with the “D”, this may prove to be of interest.  And since it’s free, why not take a look?

Or if that’s too heavy of a subject, The University of Rochester is bringing back its course on the History of Rock, Part 1 starting September 2nd!  🙂


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