BJ Barber

When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, my doctor told me I would need to exercise everyday. I started running the first week and rode my bike ten miles a day to school and work. Both of those felt like work to me. But there was one exercise I started that year that I still love to this day. Every time I jump in a pool I am transported back to the summer days that I would waste away in the pool finally getting out at nine at night with my lungs burning with the exertion and chlorine.
   If I was going to swim as an adult I would need to learn some of the rules and technique I had skimmed over as a child. Enter Bernadette BJ Barber. BJ was one of my friends in college who showed me the ropes of swimming laps. She gave me a few tips and didn't laugh too hard when I could barely make it across the twenty-five meter pool.  Just a few weeks later I was swimming like a fish. I have never forgotten BJ's influence in my life in driving me to a sport I love every minute of. And thanks BJ for once again supporting me by becoming a Kickstarter Backer. You're the best.

Sailing Into a Sea of Diabetes


Here's a quick look at the video I made for my Kickstarter Project.  It will allow me to publish Shoes on the Deck- a Diabetic Sailor's Memoir. To become a backer you can go to my Kickstarter Page.


video


Letter to a Diabetic Mommy

I read a blog post recently about the affect Diabetes has on our children. it was something I haven't given too much thought to. When I think about the Type 3 in my life, I think Tony. Shea is now getting to an age where she can clearly express the affect diabetes has had on her life. Since she is such a good writer, even at nine, I thought she might feel more open to express her thoughts if I let her write a guest blog post. So below is her blog post, spelling errors and all (the spelling handicap is hereditary).

Having a diabetic mom has its ups and downs. Sometimes my mom can not play with me as much. My mom can only palay outside for 15 to 20 minutes [mostly due to years of battling thyroid disease not diabetes]. When my mom can play we normally play cards, playing school, or playing American Girl dolls. My mom is super fun when she is playing softball outside with y family and I love when my mom is playing outside with me. My mom is super fun when she is not to low or to high. Having a Diabetic mom is 75% awesome and 25% not so awesome. My mom is to low or to high alote which affecs playing with my mom.
My mom does great things for having diabetes. My mom runs triathlons. My mom is a super fast runner,  [If only she knew how slow I am], biker and swimmer. My mom is a great person and I love her to death even though it is hard sometimes I try to make the best out of the ups and downs there are that come with having a diabetic mom. I love my mommy.

Check the Rearview


       In getting ready for the next phase of the book project, I've had to take a close look at the beginning of the process to remind myself of why I am doing all of this. I thought I would repost one of the posts that really clarified in my mind one of the things I was trying to accomplish.


An Aptitude for Solitude

The Pacific from Eli's Bedroom Window
        I snuck out for a few moments on my way to Back to School Night Tuesday and saw the horizon out of my open car window. I smelled the ocean and pictured myself for a moment out on that ocean with nothing surrounding me but the sea, watching the sun rise and the sun set for four days in a row. I realized how much my soul needs some version of extended solitude.  Some people are made for that kind of thing, some think it torture.  For some it cleanses their souls from all the sludge that builds up on land and brings them back more ready to attack life, for some it drives them to madness.  I am a member of the former group.  I have always had an amazing aptitude for solitude. It is what often has made me forgoe going out with a group of friends to finish a project at home.  It is what allowed me to survive one very lonely freshman year of college where I would go for days on end without talking to anyone except for the guy who made my sandwiches for lunches. It is, also, what has driven me to plan this solo adventure, to push the boundaries of what is thought possible for a diabetic, and what has caused me to spend countless hours planning and arranging and seeking out sponsors to get it off the ground.
       Many people have asked me why I couldn't bring someone else along with me.  A few were concerned for my safety, a few trying to solve the problem of finding a boat to charter from companies that seemed to outlaw solo sailors. I tell them there is an extreme difference between sailing solo and going with someone else.  It's in the freedom to indulge every whim right when it hits.  To go out as far from land as I want without having to consider another, to see what I want to see, to stop where I want and to drive on when I want to meet a goal.  It is so unlike my life on land where it is always a compromise, when I am pulled in a million directions other than the one I truly want to go. Work pulls. Bills pull.  Even having to choose a place to eat involves balancing the needs and wants of everyone else. Tony needs to eat clean foods and needs to eat in the next fifteen minutes.  Shea won't eat meat. Eli will only eat foods that involve begin dipped in ketchup. I need to sit in a place that involves direct sunlight on my face and all of this has to be done for under twenty dollars.  But, it is not so when you are solo.  It is all me.  It is simple to balance the things that I want.  One opinion to sway the vote, one need to satisfy, one desire to fulfill. 
     It's not just about indulging my will, though.  It's about testing myself without having any fallback.  No one else to confer with or lean on when things go wrong, no one to brainstorm with if something breaks, no one to choose a course or to figure out where we went off course and what point on the chart that huge tower actually is.  It will just be me. When the wind picks up or the boat gets grounded, I alone will have to fix it.   If you want to know yourself, to truly know of what you are capable, you have to put yourself in those situations where there is a chance that you are in over your head.  It is only then that you can find the outer extents of what you are capable of.  If you never get to the end of your rope, how can you ever know how long it is? I hope I am able to find that point so that I can come back knowing that I can handle anything this pedestrian, land-locked life can throw my way.  We will have to wait and see...