Category Archives: Hope Floats

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


I am not a number.

I’ve been trying to write something for days now.  I have lots on my mind, so there’s no shortage of ideas, but trying to articulate them is another story all together.

For those of you with diabetes, regardless of type, I am not about to say anything new or revolutionary.  For those of you who don’t, some of these statistics may shock you.  If they don’t, they should.

An estimated 285 million people worldwide are affected by diabetes. With a further 7 million people developing diabetes each year, this number is expected to hit 438 million by 2030.

Today, more than 9 million Canadians live with diabetes or prediabetes.

Approximately 10% of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. The number of people with type 2 diabetes is increasing dramatically due to a number of factors:

  • The population is aging.
  • Obesity rates are rising.
  • Canadian lifestyles are increasingly sedentary.
  • Aboriginal people are three to five times more likely than the general population to develop type 2 diabetes.
  • Almost 80% of new Canadians come from populations that are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes. These include people of Aboriginal, Hispanic, Asian, South Asian or African descent.

The personal costs of diabetes may include a reduced quality of life and the increased likelihood of complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, amputation and erectile dysfunction.

  • Approximately 80% of people with diabetes will die as a result of heart disease or stroke.
  • Diabetes is a contributing factor in the deaths of approximately 41,500 Canadians each year.
  • Canadian adults with diabetes are twice as likely to die prematurely, compared to people without diabetes.
  • Life expectancy for people with type 1 diabetes may be shortened by as much as 15 years. Life expectancy for people with type 2 diabetes may be shortened by 5 to 10 years.

The financial burden of diabetes and its complications is enormous.

  • People with diabetes incur medical costs that are two to three times higher than those without diabetes. A person with diabetes can face direct costs for medication and supplies ranging from $1,000 to $15,000 a year.
  • By 2020, it’s estimated that diabetes will cost the Canadian healthcare system $16.9 billion a year.¹

When I was diagnosed, a whole seven weeks ago, this was the information I was reading.  It comes as no surprise to me that 25% of all diabetics are also dealing with depression.  These numbers go well beyond the, “No more pedicures!” and “Eat less, move more!” information that was supplied to me by the medical professionals.  Reading all of this made me depressed.  It also made me angry.

I read on a blog, the other day, that an individual who had been diagnosed had gone through this horrible period of adjustment that his medical team had equated to mourning a loss.  That’s exactly what I had been thinking and, I must confess, that it was nice to see validation from someone else.

For the newly diagnosed, there has to be time allowed to mourn the loss of the spontaneity in life, especially when it comes to food and drink.  There also needs to be a degree of understanding, or compassion, that we’re not all mourning that we’ll never be able to eat poutine again, or that we’ll have to give up whatever sinful food you want to come up with.  For me, and I’ve mentioned this before, it’s hard to grasp that, seemingly healthy foods are messing with my blood sugar.  Bananas and pineapple should not be seen as evil, and yet, I know I shouldn’t really be partaking in them.

But more importantly, at least in my humble opinion, the medical profession needs to look at each new case of diabetes and treat them equally and not making the assumption that dropping a diagnosis on someone and providing the sage medical advice of “Diet and exercise” will suffice.

I am eternally grateful, at least right now, that my diabetes isn’t being controlled with oral medications and / or insulin.  I do take low dosage meds for high blood pressure and cholesterol, but they are low dosage.  Would this not be an excellent time, as a medical professional, to talk to me and see what I’m feeling about all of this and how I can become one less statistic?

I have no intention of adding myself to the litany of statistics posted by the Canadian Diabetes Association.

I do have every intention of utilizing all the resources that are supposed to be made available to me – ophthalmologist, dietician, CDE, anyone else who wishes to participate in my health – so that I am not the burden to society that diabetics are made to feel.  So that I am not the poster child of the middle aged, obese diabetic.  Nor will I be the depressed diabetic in need of meds just to get happy.

I can’t do this alone.  I do need help, and resources, and I’m not afraid to admit that, but I am not prepared to be set adrift to figure this out on my own and hope for the best.

I want to write a piece that gives hope to newly diagnosed diabetics.  I want to be a person that can show someone else that it’s not all doom and gloom and that there are really good people out there that are trained to help diabetics adapt to a new lifestyle.

I want to be the sort of person that I came across on other blogs, the diabetics, regardless of type, who told me that it is a difficult adjustment but that it does get easier.  That shared what knowledge they had and have been so patient in listening to me rant.

So now to plan for the next steps.  Buckle up kids, this could get messy!

 

Character - by Helen Keller

¹ Canadian Diabetes Association – The prevalence and cost of diabetes.

 

 


Sometimes, you’re just too tired to come up with a clever post title.

The last week and a half has been something of a holding pattern for me.

Through it, I’ve been reading other people’s blogs, making the odd comment here and there and generally have been feeling sorry for myself.

But today, something happened.  I can’t say it changed the roller coaster of emotions I’ve been feeling, but it put things to perspective, at least for the moment.

The last few days have been spent dealing with a horrific bout of lethargy and exhaustion.  I think it can be attributed to my not having done much walking lately, plus I’ve been feeling a wee bit under the weather.  I also think it’s because of this oh woe is me thing that I’ve been wallowing in.  So along with the lethargy and being totally zapped of any energy, I’m forgetting everything.  Monday, it was forgetting to leave out a back up laptop for a co-worker.  Tuesday I couldn’t remember to get half of the tasks I needed to get done a work completed.  Today though… I forgot supplements and my glucometer at home.  Doh!

I knew full well that I wasn’t getting enough food into my system.  I could sense my BS dipping.  I had that horrible light-headed feeling that comes right before the room starts to spin and the floor sways under your feet and that’s when it hit me.  All of those blogs that I read, ones that focus on a life diabetic and are predominantly Type 1, that talk about the struggles with maintaining that balance, getting that perfect reading, counting carbs and the like.  The ones that women are trying so hard to get their BG and A1c levels to a “normal” level so they can try and make perfect little babies.  Those folks?  They can’t forget their glucometers at home.  I realised that, even though I have this amazingly captacular disease, there are those that have it worse than me.

My struggles are in coming to terms with my having the ‘betes.  Others struggle with not just coming to terms with it, but also with the desire to do things that normal people do – like have babies.

My petulance can sometimes shock even me, and today was one of those days.

So while there will still be moments of petulance, moments of self pity, I truly hope this is a turning point for me.  And while there are many people to thank, there is one in particular that I feel I need to acknowledge.

Sarah Wainwright writes a beautiful blog.  She’s Type 1 and she finds the positive even in the darkest situations.  Her faith sustains her and even though I will never meet her, her kinds words soothed a very ravaged soul this week.  Wise beyond her years, through Sarah’s writing, I know I will learn much.

So Sarah, if you read this, thank you.  I hope you know you have the power to change people for the good. 🙂


And only surrender will help you now…

Music, for me, has always been a sort of salvation.  I am not an eloquent writer, nor am I artistic or talented enough to compose or play an instrument, but thankfully, there are many who are.

At times, I’ve tried to imagine what the soundtrack of my life would be.  It generally changes to what I may be listening to at any one given moment, but I would like to think that I can pick out a few now that would make absolutely no difference how popular or hip or whatever a song may be.

When things are particularly dark for me, this is one of those songs that starts to pull me out of my funk.

Lacey Sturm is the powerhouse belting out the vocals on this track, although she has since left Flyleaf to pursue other opportunities.  Taking a look at her website has given me just a little more hope: No matter who you are, what you believe, what you do or what you have done…God Loves You.

Again – Flyleaf


The good, the bad, and the ugly.

One thing I love about Monday mornings is when they are part of a long weekend.  Today is one of those Mondays.

I woke up to one of my cats pawing at my nose (lately I seem to be wrapping myself up in my duvet as if I were a burrito) wanting me to feed her.  The day, apart from the duty of feeding my cats, was mine to do as I please.

Walking into my kitchen, there are dirty dishes everywhere, the floor needs to be mopped, the cats bowls haven’t been washed out and I’m dealing with another cat that is suffering from an ailment that will not go away.

I sigh.  The day I have no plans for, is quickly slipping from my grasp.

After feeding the cats, I opted for 45 minutes of meditation.  It didn’t quite clear my head of all the clutter, nor did it centre me completely, but it did put into clarity that there is unbalance in my home.

I am not overly fond of cooking.  I like the clean up even less.  Learning how to be creative with food because of the ‘betes is a challenge.  If I was only cooking for me, then I’d learn to suck it up and deal with the pile of dirty dishes etc., but I cook for two, and knowing that my husband is a picky eater with his own current issues, well part of me just wants to go on strike.

But the dishes will still be dirty.  Food will still not be prepared.  The floor still not mopped.

So right now I will drink my coffee, I will settle my unhappy spirit, and will buckle down to get what needs to be done today, done.  I will also pray that the dh’s eyes will be opened to the unbalance that is taking place in our home and that he’ll start lending that helping hand that he used to.

Until then, just call me Super Woman.  🙂

Battered and bruised, I always come out on top.

Battered and bruised, I always come out on top.


Hope springs eternal.

Today was a good day.

I had a very dear friend of mine, whom I’ve known since I was 15, spend the night at my place last night.  We stayed up late, and while we did chat about old boyfriends and past regrets, the what if’s? we had, the best part of the conversation was talking about the ‘betes.  See, my friend grew up to be a doctor and while it is terribly presumptuous to think she’d dole out free medical advice (wait, I live in Canada – that’s what doctor’s are supposed to do!), she did offer up a little.

Truth is though, I don’t really need a doctor to tell me my BG levels are “normal”, I had sort of gathered that all on my own.  But it was nice to have that confirmation from a professional.

But enough about that.

Right now, I’m riding high on a cloud of nerdiness.  Mama’s going to Fan Expo in a few weeks!

Oh it’s true, it’s true!  I melt at the oft inappropriate humour that is uttered by the Nathan Fillion character Richard Castle.  Now there’s a chance to bear my breast and have him autograph it!  Okay, perhaps I’m not really going to whip out a tit and say, “Sign here!” but I am pretty excited to see on of my favourite Tweeters (and fellow Canadian) live and in the flesh.  Add to that my absolute mad love for Norman Reedus, which the goal there is for a pic of the two of us flippin’ the bird (if you follow Norman anywhere, you know he posts a lot of photo’s of himself flippin’ the bird), and I’m just about to hyperventilate with excitement.

Sadly, I’m having a weird, awkward teenage moment, when I was still underage and couldn’t get into a local nightclub to see Duran Duran play, so instead sang happy birthday to Simon Le Bon in the hopes he’s take pity on those of us who couldn’t get into the show.

Anyway, it’s this little thing in which to look forward to, that is giving me hope and, more importantly, determination.

I don’t “got this” yet, but I’m going to work my butt off in the next few weeks to just build on the feeling I have right now.  Discipline, track, exercise and, my favourite thing, laugh.

 

twd-norman-reedus-22 whiteroom-nathan

 

 

 


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!


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