18 January 2012

Finally a Useful Upgrade

 I just received the new Minimed pump. It now asks stupid questions to remind me to do things I instinctually do because I have been pumping so long. 

After I prime the tubing, it asks me, "Do you see drops at the end of the tubing?"
I usually yell at it, "You think I would have stopped priming if I didn't?"
I wish I knew how to hack into its software and program it to ask more relevant and helpful questions. Maybe questions Stewart Smalley would have been proud of.
"Did you know you are a really good athlete?"
"Did you know that book you're writing is going to be read and loved by millions?"

Or maybe it could just make statements.
"You deserve a vacation today. Take the day off and don't even think about feeling guilty for it."
"All the work you do to take care of your diabetes everyday is paying off. You are a better person for it and will live a long and complication free life."

Now that would be an upgrade I would pay for.

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17 January 2012

My New Super Power

  Since I've had this radiation treatment, I've been asked several times if I am going to have super powers. I laughed it off, humoring them for their silly questions. 

But now that I have been radioactive, being out among people today, I realize I do have a super power no one can see. An evil power, but a power none the less. 

I can sit down right next to a person in a restaurant and literally take days off their life without them even noticing. They can't feel it happen. 

I can leave invisible radioactive hand prints to radiate anyone who passes by.  I can take a jar of my radioactive piss and hide it under someone's bed to nuke them all night for weeks to come and they would never be the wiser. 

So I do have a superpower? Sure. It's just not one I plan to employ, unless of course you really piss me off. And then you'll never see it coming.

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13 January 2012


Today I hit a wall. A writing wall. It was probably because I spent the last seventy-two hours in front of a computer. I thought with all this time off I could accomplish great feats of writing, maybe even finish a book. But instead I have accomplished very little on the book front. I have left far too many status updates on Facebook and read far too many articles and books and blogs and theology (though I could never get too much theology.) I even read a, I think they call them, Paranormal Romance short story which I typically would never read.
   Today was going to be the day all that changed. I have gotten over the initial shock of radiation and isolation.  I can be out in public just long enough to order breakfast out at my favorite coffee shop and eat it in the one chair that gets sunshine on the patio in the morning with everyone else a safe twenty feet away eating inside.  My computer was charged. My chart notes were out ready to be cross-referenced for trip details.
    And nothing.
    I could write nothing. I sat for over an hour writing nothing.  I considered an early morning drink.  considered writing in a new section of the book.
    And nothing.
    I gave up. No sense wasting good sunshine doing nothing.After a quick run and a shower I took off in my car, camera in hand to fill the well.
    I once read The Artist's Way. Not much I remember except the concept of filling the well.  Artists need a reserve of creative capital in order to create.  If we draw and draw and draw out, eventually that well runs dry.  It's a good practice to regularly do things that will put the creative capital back in. Usually, for me, this means sunshine, a good lunch outside, a dose of nature, and enough silence to let my brain run free, unencumbered by chapters to plot and scenes to write and dialog to remember.
           First stop was an open patch of land for a hike. Not more than fifteen feet in, I saw a guy sitting shirtless in a beach chair, soaking up the sun.  Now that's what I need to be doing, but with my shirt on.  So I gave up my hike, found an open field up on the left and sat.  The bands on my brain began to loosen.  I shot some pictures of small stuff nearby, a technique I'd been wanting to play with but hadn't found the time.
      Hunger jumped into my thought stream, so I was off to obtain another fish taco in some more sunshine.  The knots in my brain started to untie themselves.  Finally I had found a way around one of the biggest problems of my work in progress, trying to make my villain(ess?) not completely evil, because they say a villain must have some redeeming qualities and also because she isn't really all that bad.  With that problem solved the other ideas began to flow.  Lucky for me I had my notebook and pen I carry to jot down these ideas before they run away.
     Ice cream was now a must and a chance to work out on paper what had been swirling in my head.  Now I am off to resume my role in reality; pick up the kids, clean the house, toss the food containers and silverware I'd been collecting from breakfast, lunch and ice cream into my radioactive trash pile, take the kids to the pool to play at least ten feet from me and watch them enjoy another seventy-seven degree January day in sunny San Diego.

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12 January 2012


    What a completely different experience than yesterday. I woke up feeling hungover.  I don't think my body handled the twelve hours of hyper that was my day yesterday. I was dragging all morning until I passed out for two hours. After that I felt a little more human. But the solitary confinement is starting to wear on me. I realized today the reason I love to have eight hours a day to write all alone is because I come home to an amazing family. Now that I can't hang out on the couch with the kids or sit around and talk about my day with Tony, that isolation is a bit overwhelming.
  Only twelve hours left of the damned low-iodine diet, which also made today unbearable.  After eleven days of eating the same meal again and again I am ready for a change. I am thinking a big plate of fish tacos tomorrow is definitely in order. I made the worst batch of low-iodine blueberry muffins, but had to eat them because there was nothing else in the house on the diet.
    The only good thing that happened today was that I got tired at 9:30. It has been over five years since I have gotten tired by ten without taking one type of pill or another. I hope this is a sign of things to come.

11 January 2012


      My day started at five am so that I could get one last meal in before six hours of fasting in preparation for my thyroid ablation today. I was back in bed by five fifteen after yet another bowl of oatmeal and plate of egg whites- some of the only foods I could find that are easy to prepare, somewhat appetizing, and on the low-iodine diet I've had to be on since the first of the year- but since I have been off the anti-thyroid meds for five days, there was no chance I'd be able to go back to sleep.
      I saw Tony off to work at seven with a big, gotta-last-for-seven-days hug and got the kids ready for school. I dropped the kids at school and had coffee with a friend, or rather, I watched a friend drink coffee-damned fasting rules- while sitting in the morning sunshine. Then off to the doctor's office to swallow a pill they brought to me in a lead vial. "Don't touch it. Just take it straight out of the vial," the doctor told me. I do wonder what on earth I'm doing taking a pill that isn't safe to touch. And thus began seven days of solitary confinement.
      While everyone was at school I had free reign of the house, but once the kids were home, I was confined to my office in the garage. Once Tony got home and had to do a workout in the garage, I was sent to the upstairs bedroom.  If I had to enter the common areas, I found myself calling out to warn everyone of my presence. I felt like a leper calling out, "Unclean. Unclean." I have dutifully used paper plates, cups, and utensils, double bagged all my trash separately and stored it outside.  I have stored all my radioactive clothes and towels in my now radioactive office and always flushed twice. I waved goodnight to my kids and gave them air hugs from down the hall. My evening ended with a quick hazmat sweep of the upstairs bedroom and making my bed downstairs all alone.
      Since I could not spend any time with my family, I spent most of the day writing and editing and I have to say, I absolutely loved it. Although I miss my family desperately, six more days of my writer's retreat and I should be one very content writer.

07 January 2012

The New Year's Bet

       I made a New Year's bet that I am now regretting. I had some other New Year's goals-to finally finish the book and get it published and to rebrush my teeth after the 2 a.m. sugar fest to fix the low blood sugar. But this one was much more difficult. I was to give up Diet Doctor Pepper. Really, I had to give up all soda. I know of the perils of soda, how the carbonation can rob your bones of calcium and leave them open to breaking and weakness. And how the nutrisweet could possibly cause some sort of cancer thirty years down the road. I know my mom hates that I drink so much. The caffeine dehydrates me so that my athletic performance dwindles. I know it is not even a real food, how it is made in a lab by scientists in lab coats who play with the right 23 different chemicals (they call them flavors) to make it taste just so good.
        I've also noticed how pervasive this habit is within the diabetic community. Every where you look you'll find a diabetic toting around a twenty ounce DDP as we have affectionately renamed it. At parties there will be a sea of two liters of the magical liquid. And I've found Diabetics are often the worst offenders when it comes to overindulgence of the stuff. It is not uncommon to find ones who drink upwards of twenty a day. Most have some sort of habit. When I first joined the diabetic community (I had been absent from it for the first twelve years) I was comforted in finding that I was not the only one who drank mass quantities of soda. And it got me to thinking why it is that this habit is so pervasive int he community and I realized it is one of the few joys I  have that diabetes has not taken from me and twisted into a stressful mess. the simple pleasure of fodd has been taken away.  It is still good and enjoyable, but simple it is not. I must measure carbs. I calculate insulin. I plan ahead.  I'm never to be caught without a source of food and sugar. And I'm never to overindulge without consequence.
       But DDP is free. It needs no insulin to cover it. I can overindulge without consequence. I can have it whenever I want without having to stick to a schedule to match the curve of insulin firing off in my veins. I can drink it without thinking, without stressing. And it tastes good. Especially after a long, hot day on the water, there is nothing better than coming onto land and grabbing a thirty-two ounce fountain soda with a straw and sipping it as I tidy up the boat. I've been known to jump overboard to swim a quarter mile to shore in fifty degree water, walking into a store in my soaking bikini just to get one.
      Diabetes is such a pervasive disease that I will live with for the rest of my life. It creeps into every aspect of my life, into every relationship. After a few days without soda, I realize I deserve one thing that cannot be touched by diabetes. I don't smoke. I rarely drink. I exercise daily. I eat simple, healthy, unprocessed foods. If the only thing I do is drink some diet soda than I think I am doing pretty will.
   Now I just have to pay off that bet. (And if it's not too entirely humiliating, maybe I'll even post the video.)

03 January 2012

Sunbathing on the First

Laying out in the sun in eighty degree weather on the first day of the year sure makes me grateful to live in Southern California where I can train outdoors year-round with no problems whatsoever. I don’t even own running pants. Most days I can barely stand to run in more than shorts and a running bra. But it also means I never really have a good excuse to wimp out of a run or bike. It's this time of year that I understand why we have to pay the big bucks to live in San Diego.
      It’s also the time of year when I start to put together my plans for this year's race/adventure calendar. And it’s loading up fast. My last race was February 2010 when my thyroid finally won and I had to admit that I was no longer capable of any sort of physical exertion. Finally, after two years of finding a diagnosis and fighting this disease with meds, I have the upper hand. I am, for the first time in a long time, looking forward to a full year of racing and adventuring. 
      First up is the Carlsbad Half-marathon. For me this means an entire weekend of fun and events. Insulindependence is a major charity for the race and makes it worth your while. The weekend starts with a Torrey Pines hike and a time to meet the athletes in from all over the country. Saturday morning means breakfast and a surf session or watching the kids race at Lego Land. Of course there is the carbo-loading dinner the night before the race and the celebratory party after the race. There is nothing better than celebrating with over one hundred diabetics and diabetic friends after a huge race. 
    Next up is the race that ended my 2010 season, the Race On the Base in my hometown of Los Alamitos, CA. It’s an early season reverse triathlon which means you run then bike and then swim. I love these because there is nothing better after a four mile run and twelve mile bike than to jump in a super warm pool and rinse off. You finish the race squeaky clean and smelling of chlorine. This year it is also the first race for each of my kids and hopefully the beginning of a whole new love for them. It may make Eli one of the youngest bilateral club footers to finish a triathlon. He is following closely in his father’s footsteps as he may become one of the first bilateral club footers to finish an Ironman Triathlon next November.
    In February I may also be applying for a Captain position for the Insulindependence A1Sea program.  This is, I think, one of the greatest parts of Insulindependence. If I get accepted it will include a week at Insulindependence University in late June, a possible sailing trip to Florida next February and a possible trip to Hawaii in June of 2013 to spend a week mentoring the group of Junior Captainsand taking advantage of all the aquatic opportunities Hawaii has to offer. The Captainship also includes some work fundraising.
      Other than my races, I will be spending a large amount of time and energy trying to bring down my A1C’s which have shot out of my comfort zone while I have been battling this thyroid thing. And more time trying to finish the book. And, of course, I was silly enough to swear off all soda, so it should be an interesting year.