Friday, November 29, 2013

30 Days of Truth, Day 16 ~ Something You Definitely Could Live Without

It seems like every time I start one of these prompts, I'm evaluating just how different things are than they were just three years ago when I did this the first time.

Back then, I wrote about my desire to banish cancer from the world.

I still would like to do that, incidentally, though maybe not as wholeheartedly as I once thought. Cancer is awful, don't get me wrong. It has killed people I love, it has changed everything in my life, it has done some no good, terrible, awful things.

It's done all those things, but I know that I wouldn't have the kids I have if cancer hadn't showed up when it did. I'd probably have kids, but not these particular ones.

I wish it away, but sometimes I am thankful for it in the most ass-backwards bizarre way.


Day 16 ~ Something you definitely could live without

Sigh.

This one, unfortunately, is easier to answer as an absolute.

I could do without mental illness.

I could totally get behind a world where things like anxiety and depression and borderline personality disorder and bipolar and OCD and PTSD mess with me and the people I love.

I know, I know, I know....they are part of who we are, and without them, we would inevitably be different people.

We'd be less tortured souls, though, that's for sure.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Gratitude

One thing that I've said too many times this year and listened to too many people around me say is this:

It is what it is.

And it is. 

Life isn't always pretty.

Life isn't always fair.

Life isn't always easy.

Life isn't always fun.

As much as life can test us, as much as it can put us through, as hard as it is, as cruel as it is, it is always something else too. 

It is always beautiful.

Take a minute to look at the people around you today, to just watch them be.  Watch them laugh, watch them smile.  Give them your undivided attention.  Give them your time.  Give them your love. 

Forgive them.

Share stories and share memories.

Cherish every second that you are given. 

Be grateful.

Embrace the moment.

Time is fleeting, time is short, so make the best of what you have.

Life is what it is, and it is beautiful.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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This post first ran here last December.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

30 Days of Truth, Day 15 ~ Something or Someone You Can't Live Without Because You Have Tried

The last time I wrote this seems in some ways like it was a million years ago. In reality, it's been less than three years.

But wow.

The first time I answered this one, I wrote about coffee...which is still true I suppose. I probably could stop drinking coffee, but I have no desire to do so.


Day 15 ~ Something or someone you can't live without because you have tried

The answer I'm giving this time around shouldn't really come as a surprise to many of you, since it should be fairly obvious that what I do here is therapeutic for me.

I can't live without writing.

I've tried.

Oh, how I have tried.

There have been a few times in the past three years that I have tried to stop writing, that I have willed myself to walk away from the keyboard, that I refused to tell my stories. I did it out of self preservation or stubbornness or the need to just walk away for a minute.

I couldn't do it.

I would last a day or two at the most. I would find myself writing privately and just not hitting the publish button. I started secret blogs to hide the things I didn't want people to know.

I have to let the things in my head out in order to survive.

Happy Birthday, Dad

Dear Dad,

I've been thinking about you a lot lately. It always seems like this time of year makes me think about you more than I ordinarily would. Your birthday, the holidays, the drama.

The garbage disposal that always stopped working when there was a house full of people, like clockwork, and how you'd have to put in the very expected emergency call to the plumber, a family friend, and how he'd always end up eating just a little bit and taking some more home with him.

There are times that I wondered if you did that on purpose, you know.

I know that his life wasn't easy, that he never had enough to make the ends meet. I know that he wasn't a great plumber, but he was lucky to have a friend who always needed him in a pinch, then sent him home with something more than money.

He was lucky to have you.

We all were.

I miss you, but you already knew that.


This year has been a tough one. I'm hoping that you and Mom are together now and that whatever hurts were in the past are gone. I hope that all the rest of it has dissipated now and that the good is left. I hope she's finally at peace now.

I hope.

I hope that I didn't let you down. I don't think I did. I don't think you would have ever asked me to do what I did, what I felt like I had to do. I think that you would have told me to walk away sooner than I did. I believe that to be true. I don't know, though, and that unknowing hurts.

The wondering.

I know that you wouldn't want us to feel like we failed you. Or her. Or anyone.

I try to push it away, really, I do.

This grief thing, it's hard. I see it now. I knew that you weren't in a good place when you lost your father. Your brother. Your mother. I understand it now. You spent so much time being the strong one, and I feel like you passed that on to me. I have to be strong because I just have to be. It's not worth discussing because there's nothing to talk about. It just is.

This week has been hard. It won't get easier. I know that.

I won't have the anxiety about waiting to catch you or Mom on the phone, of waiting for it to ring, of timing it right. I won't feel torn about where I should be anymore.

I'll just be.

Here.

I know that is all you ever wanted for me. To be fully present in my life, to live in the moment, to stop fussing over the past, to stop worrying about the future.

I'm here now, but without you.

And that's not fair.

Life never is. That lesson you tried so long to teach me, I've learned more now than ever.

When you came to visit us here, you spent so much time wandering around outside, staring at the sky, at the mountains. You told me that you hated that I moved away, but that you understood. You knew me so well, back then. Better than I even knew myself, I think.

Thank you for that.

Thank you for everything.

I'll be here this week, right where I should be. I'll be fully present and I won't feel any guilt anymore about where I'm not.

At some point, though, I'll talk a walk outside and stare at the sky, look towards the mountains, and say hello.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

I love you.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

30 Days of Truth, Day 14 ~ A Hero Who Has Let You Down

I'm not the kind of person who generally puts people on pedestals. Never have been. The last time I wrote on this prompt was tough, because it forced me to be completely honest with one of the most painful experiences of my life up to that point - the death of my grandfather.

I was almost exactly the age when my grandfather died that my youngest daughter was when my Dad died. I promised myself that things would be different for her, and they were, though I'll never be sure if they were better or worse.

It was a hard post to write.

Since then, I've been let down by a lot of people. Too many of them.


Day 14 ~ A hero who has let you down

I first wrote this post a little over a year ago, a few days before the news about him broke. I knew it was coming down and couldn't hold this back any longer. I'll spare you an introduction...the letter explains it all.
--------------------------------

Dear Lance,

You don't know who I am, and I am fairly certain that you don't care. We've never met, even though it feels like I've known you a long time. In fact, I'm absolutely sure that you'll never catch wind of this message I'm about to write to you. I'm not sure that anything I could say to you would matter right now, as you watch the illusioned world you created fall apart around you.

But I'm going to say it all anyway.

Because I need to. Because there is a side of this that isn't going to be talked about enough today. Because right now everyone is focused only on the lies you told to the sports world. Because there is a whole different dimension to the betrayals. Because there are people out there who seem hell bent on defending everything about you. Who immediately rushed to your side, decried those who spoke out, some going to far as to accuse everyone else of being liars, who have slammed those brave enough to blow the whistle.

Everyone else isn't lying.

You are.

Then again, it seems like you always have been. That's what I take issue with here today.

I needed you to be who you pretended to be for all those years. I needed you to be the guy that can inspire hope. I needed you to be the guy who came back and beat cancer, who defied the odds, who became a father, who realized the fragility of life and the importance of family. I needed you to be that guy.

I never cared a bit about the damn bike. It wasn't important to me. I didn't look up to you because you won races. I didn't want to root for you because you seemed unstoppable. I never much cared about who crossed that line first.

I cared about you and your life, about your cause and your mission. I cared about all that for another reason entirely.

I cared because a few months after you won your first Tour de France and the world started to notice you, my husband was diagnosed with the same thing you were.

I cared because the only other person we'd ever known to have testicular cancer died.

You didn't die.

You fought, you survived, you thrived.

You gave me hope. You gave my husband hope. You gave our family and friends hope.

You got married to your beautiful wife just a month before we married, and the timing of your story paralleled ours for so long. Your son, born just days after my husband's surgery, gave us the hope that we could overcome the side effects of the treatments. That we could still have kids. That sperm banking and all the cost and humiliation involved was worth it.

We could beat this. We could still have the future we planned for.

I still didn't care about the bike.

Then I got pregnant before my husband started his treatment and we thought maybe we got lucky. It was a miracle. And it was, until I heard the words spoken by a man in a white coat in a dark room that no pregnant women ever wants to hear.

Your baby's heart has stopped beating.

In my sorrow, all I could do was be grateful that we'd banked that sperm. Even if we could never get pregnant again without help, we had that hope to hang on to.

You helped make that happen. You and your wife and your son gave us that hope. The hope we clinged to even more after hearing more words that a young married couple doesn't want to hear.

The treatments have done too much damage. You won't be able to get pregnant. Be thankful you saved sperm.

We had kids, by the way. Without help, and plenty of them. Turns out that the doctor was wrong.

Then, one day in the fall of 2003, I got a bill in the mail from the cryonics lab. Now the parents of two, we had to decide whether it was justified to keep paying for storage of sperm. I held that bill in my hand and cried. Even though we'd been able to get pregnant without help before, would it ever work again? What if we wanted more kids and couldn't have them them, if the prior pregnancies were flukes? Miracles?

I didn't want to let that hope go.

As I held that bill in my hand, ironically in that very moment, a story on the news broke. You'd left your wife, the woman who had endured your training schedules and long times away from home. The woman who'd undergone the hell of IVF multiple times to get pregnant with your three children. The kids? You left them too.

You didn't just give us hope to have kids someday. You gave us hope of normalcy, of stability, of family, of the silver lining on the dark cloud.

Then, just like that, it was gone.

Within weeks you were dating rock stars, though you'd show your true colors even more a few years later when she got sick and you left her too.

About a year after you left your wife, I planned my husband's 5 year survival party. You know as well as we do that if you can make it to five years out with a clean bill of health, you're as close as you'll ever be to cured from this disease.

I bought everyone that came to our celebration your yellow rubber Livestrong wristbands.


I bought them because I thought that in addition to showing support for my husband, we were funding research.

Only your organization had quietly stopped funding research. Places like Radio Shack and sporting goods stores still pushed them happily at customers who wanted to do the right thing. What most people thought was an organization devoted to cancer prevention and research had really evolved into a well-oiled public relations machine for the benefit of one person.

You.

How much money have you raised under false pretenses? How many people like me have given what little we had to a man who misled everyone about what it would be used for? How can you possibly explain the huge reserves your foundation possesses and the small amounts used for actual programming? How are you going to justify the lucrative personal contracts you signed through the contacts you made using this PR machine?

Sure, you started Livestrong with the best of intentions. Or at least I hope you did. Back when you were in recovery yourself and no one knew who you were. Back before those dollar figures were dangled in your face and you started chasing greed on wheels. I want to think it at least started for the right reasons, even if you steered it off course over the years.

Now, today, that foundation with it's automatic association to you, has been built on lies.  People donated to you because your were this so-called inspirational athlete. You were the guy who won seven times. People gave because of who you were and what you'd done. Except it was all a lie.

I don't care at all about the doping scandal except for the part where it affects people who are better people than you are. You know them, all those former teammates and assistants and reporters who tried to out you in the past. Who you turned your rage and revenge on. The people that donated to your foundation without knowing who you were? Yeah, they are better than you too.

You cheated. So did most cyclists. I'm not one of those naive sports fans who believes that you will all play fair. You will, I assume, at some point start pointing fingers yourself. Once the truth comes to light and you can no longer deny it, you'll turn on everyone else. That's what you do. The difference between you and them? You were the kingpin of it all. With the elaborate schemes. With first dibs on everything. With the most weight to throw around, with the highest level of unashamed intimidation. You didn't care about ruining other people's careers and lives. You stepped on anyone you had to in order to climb to the top.

No one else, nothing else mattered to you.

And that's the part that I just really don't understand. You'll have to forgive me for this. I just can't wrap my head around how someone who has walked the path of cancer, who has escaped death, who has overcome insurmountable odds can care so little about other people.

You make it look good, you send out your videos online, you wrote that inspirational book. You take a great picture for the press. You seem like the good guy. Deep down, though, you're not.

And the world is about to learn who you really are.

You're a guy who leaned on those you needed most until you didn't need them anymore, then you discarded them. You're a guy who manipulated and used and skirted the system in any possible way you could. You're a guy who told blatant lies to the world for over a decade, then pretended to act surprised when reality came raining down on you. You're a guy who takes other people's money and figures out a way to twist it and shape it to your benefit. You're a guy still trying to distract the world from the inevitable truths that are coming to light with each day.

And, to me, you're just a disappointment.

There have been many who've said that we shouldn't idolize athletes, that it's wrong. That it places impossible demands on them to be somehow perfect in a flawed world. I would argue they are absolutely correct. I never wanted you to be perfect, I never expected you to play fair, I never wanted you to be a record breaking cyclist.

I never cared about the bike.

What I cared about, what I expected was for you to be a good guy who went through the same hell we did and made it to the other side with your integrity intact. Who saw the fragility of life. Who valued those people you should.

You failed.

And it had nothing to do with the bike.

Sincerely,

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the hypocrite, knockout, faux hunting and bad customers edition

I'm not actually here right now, and I actually wrote this yesterday, so in the event that something happens in the world today that deserves mention, my bad. My oversight was actually due to too much planning ahead.

If you know me well, you know how out of character this is. I am generally a professional procrastinator.

Anyhow, off we go.

Elected Hypocrites
Let me preface what I am about to say about drug use with this: I generally object to the criminalization of it. Anyone who has dealt with drug use personally or professionally has some level of awareness of the fact that the vast majority of drug use is tied to other conditions, many of which are mental health conditions. Instead of offering adequate treatment to people, they are left to their own devices and turn to self-medication which often turns into addiction which can lead to criminal behavior in and of itself, away and apart from use and possession (which themselves aren't really crimes in my opinion, but I digress).

Anyhow, what IS pissing me off is this guy. Trey Radel.

The guy who favors drug testing for welfare recipients, but himself has a bit of a problem snorting the white stuff.

Hypocrisy at it's finest.

Apparently, he is now taking a leave of absence.

I hope that while he's on holiday he takes a good long look in the mirror.

Do as I say, not as I do doesn't work with kids, let alone with adults.

Mama said knock you out (but what she meant was assault and battery)
There appears to be this new trend now that involves sucker punching innocent people, sometimes it's racially motivated, sometimes it's just for the hell of it.

It's called the Knockout Game.

Which is insane. The perpetrators are usually teenagers, who usually think it's just funny and not that big of a deal. Except that life isn't a video game, real people are getting hurt for no reason other than cheap entertainment and kids are going to jail for something insanely stupid.

I don't want to climb back up on my soapbox about how this is all an outward symptom of a society greatly lacking in empathy, so I won't.

But seriously??? 

What the hell, world? What the hell?

The Cowardly Lion Hunter

“An incredible day hunting in South Africa! Stalked inside 60 yards on this beautiful male lion…what a hunt!”

So, that happened.

I'm not a fan of hunting for sport anyway, BUT this makes me so sick that I can't even form words when I look at the picture.

I don't care that it's technically legal. I don't care that it's still somehow legal for her to bring this back to the United States as a trophy (and WHY is that still  legal??? Someone answer me that, please).

This isn't about people who hunt for food or sustenance or to make a living. This is about sick sport. This is about how you can't kill the apex predator of an ecosystem without it fucking up the entire food chain. I get really riled up about apex predator hunting...if you've been here a while, you already know this.

Nevermind the fact that there really isn't even any sport involved in killing a creature like this one because of all the reasons given in this link.

It is sick, and this woman should be ashamed of herself.

I'll Take a Burger With a Side of Asshole
At what point in our society did it become permissible to be a total jackhole at a restaurant, not because you didn't receive good service, but because you don't like who you received it from???

This bullshit has to stop.

Seriously.

Everyone in the food service industry works their asses off, and if you don't believe me, go put on an apron for a few hours and wait on the assholes. Oh, and also....they aren't even guaranteed minimum wage because of the wonder that is the restaurant industry - THEY DEPEND ON YOUR TIPS TO SURVIVE.

If you don't want to be served by a lesbian or a Muslim or a black woman or someone with tattoos and piercings or whatever else it is that your sheltered, biased ass doesn't like, GO SOMEWHERE ELSE. Don't let them bring you food, wait on you hand and foot, then pontificate to them about whatever it is that you don't like about them.

Maybe in some alternate universe, there are restaurants with only your kind working there, you homophobic, intolerant, racist jerks...but they don't exist around here.

JUST STOP IT.

Monday, November 25, 2013

30 Days of Truth, Day 13 ~ Band or Artist That Has Gotten You Through Some Tough Days

This one is one on the easier end of the spectrum in the challenge, I suppose, but mostly because my entire life is narrated by background music.

When I originally wrote this, I wrote about the Foo Fighters, specifically about one song of theirs that spoke to my heart at a time when I really needed it.

There is a great deal of irony that they are the band I chose that day, though I'm not about to reveal the reason why here today.


Day 13 ~ Band or artist that has gotten you through some tough days

If I would have revisited this challenge last year, pretty much at any point last year, I would almost certainly be writing about Adele. The pain evident in her voice, the haunting lyrics, the times when you question how the hell she has had her heart broken so badly at so young an age.

For a while, she was the background music in my head.

Not anymore.

I still love her, don't get me wrong....but I'm different now, so the music that speaks to my soul must be too.

These days, if I had to pick one artist I relate to more than anyone else, it's P!nk.

She's edgier, she's blunt, she's completely honest. She sings about what living with a really messed up relationship is like, and she doesn't use flowery metaphors to do it. She strips it down and tells it like it is.

She's always been someone that I adore because she embraced who she is a long time ago and makes no apologies about it.


Embrace your weird. You're already awesome. If other people can't figure that out, it's their loss.


This is still probably my favorite live performance of any song in the history of time. The fact that I completely related to it at the time, just made it more so.

Recently though, it's just been...well...more that we share.


Try was a song that I heard for the first time when I was at the bottom of the Adele well. When I was sad and reflective and tired and was getting close to being done fighting. I needed to hear this song, and the first thing I did when I heard it was send it to my husband. He needed to hear it too.


This one, a reminder that it's all worth fighting for as long as you can remember what the reason you're doing it is.

And finally, this one. The song that has become the theme song of my marriage, of my life, of everything that I've been fighting for, that we've been fighting for. Goddamn I love this woman.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

30 Days of Truth, Day 12 ~ Something You Never Get Compliments On

This is one of the more bizarre prompts in the challenge, because it forces you to not only think about something worthy of compliments, but something that you never actually get complimented on. So you have to be kickass at something all ninja-like so no one knows...or something like that.

The first time around, I actually did dig pretty deep on this one, because I wrote about how I have spent most of my lifetime actively suppressing my intelligence. I don't do that anymore. I'm a head case and I don't care who knows.

I've not been looking forward to this day in the challenge.


Day 12 ~ Something you never get compliments on

Before I begin, let me just say that I know why I don't get compliments on this one often. It's because I work pretty damn hard to make it look good.

My life is crazy. It's complicated. There are times that I have been hit with drama, tragedy, pain from every possible angle.

I learned to stop tempting fate by saying things like what else could go wrong a long time ago.

I've written about some of it, but not most of it.

As things spiraled out of control and I started to talk about what was going on with a few people, I learned pretty fast to keep most things close to the chest. It became obvious very quickly that most people couldn't handle what was going on with me, that it was too much. I learned, the hard way, that there is no benefit to confiding in someone if it backfires. I spent more time trying to make other people feel okay with the things that were happening to me than actually getting any cosmic benefit from telling them that I just stopped doing it.

I can count on one hand the number of people who know it all (or most of it). They will never know how much their unyielding friendship has meant to me these past few years.

They understand how hard I have worked to keep my shit together. They know that when I joke about how today was a good day because I didn't end up on the news or in jail that I'm not being even a little bit facetious. They know how much hell I have been through, how hard it has been for me to pick up and carry on and act like things are good. They know how hard it has been for me to create the illusion of stability. They know how much I want to just run away sometimes, how vengeance and anger could allow me to make some really bad choices if I let them, how the high road completely sucks but I force myself to walk it every day.

They know, this small handful of people.

Everyone else, not a clue.

They have no idea because I don't talk about most of it, and I refuse to let the free world in on it.

A few times, I have been accused of being melodramatic, always by someone who clearly doesn't know what I have been dealing with.

Sometimes I just let it roll off my back.

Sometimes I mutter things under my breath and smile.

Sometimes I sit them down and tell them.

They don't accuse me of being melodramatic anymore.

If being good at keeping your shit together is something worthy of compliments, I'd be deserving for sure...but since almost no one really has a clue, they wouldn't ever compliment me on it.

And that's just fine with me.

Friday, November 22, 2013

30 Days of Truth, Day 11 ~ Something People Seem To Compliment You The Most On

I'll be honest.

At first I was going to go totally superficial on this one, like I did last time. Last time I wrote about my eyes, because they are without a doubt my favorite physical asset. The picture I included was awful though....and tells me that I've come a long way with my photographic skills.

I intended to write about my hair this time, but I stopped myself because that's actually a pretty loaded issue for me.

Being the stumpy acne covered four-eyed brunette in a sea of thin gorgeous blondes will do that to a girl. And I'm not just talking about the whole societal comparison thing, here. For me it was more personal. A lot more personal. I was, quite literally, the black sheep of the family and the most obvious part of it was the color of my hair.

I made my peace with who I am a long time ago, but it took me a very long time for me to get to that point.

Anyhow, we're going deeper this time. Remain seated please.


Day 11 ~ Something people seem to compliment you the most on

At this point, I've had a few public spotting experiences. What I mean by that is when I have been out in public somewhere and a fan that I don't personally know recognized me. The first time it happened, I have to admit that it freaked me out a lot. The first time that someone I didn't know commented on my blog did the same thing, just like the first time that I picked up a follower I didn't recognize. It's weird and surreal, I have to say.

I forget sometimes how much you all know about me.

I forget that, until someone starts to compliment me on my writing abilities. Inevitably, they talk about some post that touched them or some topic I am passionate about. I mostly blush and stare at the floor. Most of them, the people I know personally and the fans that I don't, usually say something about how I am an open book. How I carefully articulate things. How I lay it all out there.

They tell me that I am brave to share the things I share.

It sure doesn't feel that way.

I expose some of the ugliest pieces of who I am for the world to see for a reason. I have done it in part to share the story, in part to keep myself honest. If I admit that I have anxiety or PTSD or trouble focusing or depression I will be less able to hide it from the world. If I tell you that when things get rough, the first place my mind goes it to starvation, it's more likely that I won't let myself go there.

I do it because I have to.

I know that there are many people who think I reveal too much.

Am I brave? I don't know. I certainly don't feel that way most of the time.

Am I losing my mind? Maybe.

Most of the time, I'm just a girl who is scared of the person staring back at her in the mirror, of the person she's been, of the person she could be, the person she would be if she tried to keep too many secrets.

I can't keep them or they'll keep me.

There are times that it takes everything in me to hit that publish button.

Maybe from the outside it looks like courage.

From here it's just a refusal to let fear win.

Gestational Diabetes - When Someone Else's Life is Depending on It Too

I have four children. I have dealt with gestational diabetes all four times, with it getting worse with each pregnancy. With my oldest, I wasn't diagnosed until my third trimester, then was able to control it with diet alone. He was admitted to the NICU for prematurity and never had issues with his blood sugar. With my second, I was diagnosed a few weeks earlier than the first time, but still able to control it with diet alone. She was also taken to the NICU as a precaution, but had no blood sugar complications.

Then I became pregnant for the third time. I developed hyperemesis and started having hypoglycemic episodes almost immediately. By that point, well acquainted with blood sugar monitoring, I started checking it at home from the beginning. About halfway through the pregnancy, I began taking oral medication which helped with the high sugar, but also caused more hypoglycemic episodes. That labor was traumatic and scary - after crashing from a reaction to something in my epidural and requiring two shots of epinephrine, my blood sugar tanked and then skyrocketed. At birth, she was hypoglycemic and needed formula supplementation for the first two days to stabilize her.

The fourth one was more like the third in terms of the blood sugar itself, but I was better equipped to deal with it than the time before. I was also on oral medication and intentionally avoided an epidural because of what had happened before. He was transitionally hypoglycemic, but required formula only a few times to stabilize.

All of my children were premature. None of them were large babies, they were all delivered vaginally. The most I gained with any single pregnancy was 24 pounds, but most were in the 15-18 range. 

I saw an endocrinologist once in all of that time. I refused dietary counseling after the first woman I saw condescended to me and talked to me like I was a child. She shamed me for coming into the pregnancy with some extra pounds, never bothering to ask why the timing worked out the way that it had. I wasn't about to explain the cancer or the miscarriage or the infertility to someone who didn't seem to think I could wrap my head around portion sizes.  

Help might have been nice. Instead I was shamed. Warned about all the things that could go wrong. Shamed some more. Told that I would need a c-section because the babies would be huge. I told her to just give me the monitor and I left.

I taught myself how to count carbs in a hurry. I knew it wasn't just my life depending on this. My blood sugar was always very tightly controlled. When it edged up, I called my OBGYN (who was smart enough to realize that I was smart enough to manage it) and we adjusted my dosages. I did struggle with fasting sugars, though, and for the last three pregnancies would get up in the middle of the night to eat and check myself.

Pregnant women need real resources to deal with this condition. Shaming them about being overweight and pregnant will not do anything to help them right now. Not long after I dealt with it for the first time, a friend of mine developed it as well. My very thin, very healthy, very athletic friend. Seriously, she's probably the most in shape person I have ever met in my life. And she still had to deal with it.

It doesn't just happen to the big girls. Honest.

Gestational diabetes has a genetic component to it, just like every other form of the disease does. It's fairly uncommon to have symptoms of GD, because the desired blood sugar range is smaller than with T2. Often the only way to catch it is with screening, and the mild form of it most often doesn't show up until the third trimester. For most women, it will disappear after birth (the placenta disrupts your body's use of hormones, including insulin), but approximately 50% of women who have it will develop Type 2 down the road, with those odds increasing with each GD pregnancy.

With 4 GD pregnancies and family history, I'm screwed.

There ARE real risks associated with this condition and I don't mean to diminish them, but I can tell you that scaring pregnant women isn't the way to go. 

My plea to those working in the fields of endocrinology, nutrition and obstetrics:

We don't need more shame, thank you very much. We're already terrified enough as it is. We're already beating ourselves up for having this. We're already worried about what might go wrong. We're already feeling bad. I promise. Don't make it worse. We want to be able to call you for help. Give us actual useful hints and tips about quick snacks, about restaurant menu items, about starchy vegetables and condiments and how they will affect our sugars. Tell us that we'll figure it out, that we'll get through this, that we'll learn to say nothankyou to all of the people in the world who try to feed pregnant women things we can no longer eat. Tell us that you will help us get through this, that we are a team and will do whatever it takes for a healthy baby. Tell us that this can be managed, and that it will be hard, but that we can do it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
With love and respect, the stories of other women who have dealt with this condition.

You mentioned the other day about having GD with your pregnancies. I was recently diagnosed and am having to learn that 1. We don't really have a diabetes friendly food supply. I literally find myself spending an hour or more at the store reading labels trying to find something that I "might" be able to eat. 2. You would think that with how common GD is (well diabetes period if we are being honest) that there would be more support from the medical community. My experience has been "this is where we want your numbers, so make it happen" and "well I'm sorry that having the numbers we need makes you feel out of it, you're just going to have to learn how to deal with that." I have honestly gotten more support and guidance from other moms than I have from with my dietician or OB.

If we are being honest I am finding that diabetes is in many ways like mental illness. To most people it is a big mystery and in many ways kind of taboo. We claim to be supportive and that we are working to make it easier to live with. The reality though is that we seem to just want to push medicine. I am one of those moms who won't even so much as take a Tylenol while I am pregnant because I don't want that to get to my baby. So how do you think it makes me feel that instead of getting any kind of guidance on how to make it work with my diet I am told "well we may just have to put you on a pill or do insulin shots"? I honestly think I have cried more in the last month than I have this whole pregnancy.
- Whitney Cauthen


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

When I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, I didn't realize how scary it could be. I managed it well, for the most part. Controlled it by strictly watching what I ate and when. 

There were a few times that if my family hadn't been around, I don't know what would have happened. We hadn't been to one of our favorite Chinese restaurants in a long while. I thought, I will skip lunch and snack, so I can eat a little more there. I remember sitting on the computer and suddenly it was like I had no control over my body. I tried to stand up and immediately fell back onto the chair. I was shaking uncontrollably and freaked out. I remember telling Anthony I didn't feel so good and him asking what I needed. He brought me half a pb sandwich and some of his Dr. Pepper. When I stopped shaking enough to test I was at 52. I don't know how low it got, but it scared me enough to get it into my thick skull how important it was to mind my diet very closely. 

The rest of my pregnancy went well, and when Lydia was born, she was 9 lbs, 10 oz. She is 9 years old now, and am borderline diabetic. I have blood sugar drops, not nearly as scary as the time I told you about. I am trying so hard to eat decent meals, because I never want to live with diabetes again. My mom has type 2. My grandma (her mother) died from complications of type 2 and cancer. A cousin, barely 45 died from complications uncontrolled type 1. Several more cousins have had gestational diabetes. This disease runs amok in my family and has caused all kinds of pain and suffering. I hope eventually there will be a cure. Thanks for bringing awareness to this horrible disease. Hopefully someone will be helped by the things they read in your blog. 
- Rebecca Osborne

Thursday, November 21, 2013

30 Days of Truth, Day 10 ~ Someone You Need To Let Go, Or Wish You Didn't Know

Some of these questions are easier to answer than others, and this one goes into the easier category.

When I answered it the first time, my answer wasn't a whole lot different than it will be this time, but the reasoning was completely different.

What a difference a few years can make...


Day 10 ~ Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn't know

At the end of the day, the answer is the same as it was last time, which is essentially that no one fits that criteria.

The reasoning is different now, though.

Back then, I still firmly believed that everything happened for a reason and that I was intended to have each and every experience I did for the purpose of teaching me some lesson, whether it was obvious or elusive at the time.

I don't believe that anymore.

I don't know that I really believed it then, if I am being totally honest here. I know that I wanted to believe it, because it lends some comfort to life if you believe it all happens for a reason, whatever it may be.

Then the last three years unfolded the way that they did, and I learned the hard way that sometimes horrible things happen to people who do nothing to deserve them, that sometimes bad things just occur, that logic and reason often has nothing to do with any of it. I have learned that life's experiences aren't always limited by your ability to handle them, to manage them. PTSD taught me that the hard way. I couldn't process everything. I couldn't handle it. I've paid the price for that inability many times over. I'm working on undoing it all now. More likely than not, I will carry some of this for the rest of my life.

What I have learned in the last three years, even with all the hurt and pain, is that I have to protect myself because I can't count on anyone else to do it. I have to draw lines in the sand, I have to erect walls, I have to set boundaries. I have to keep myself safe.

Part of that means that I have needed to remove people from my life, and as much as it hurts when it has to happen, it's required for my survival and for my sanity.

I don't keep people around if they exist only to hurt me, to hurt those I love. Not anymore.

I've learned to let the bridges that should, burn.

If you're still here, there is a reason.

If you're not, there is one too.

There aren't people I wish I didn't know, regardless of the reasons others might give. I do still believe that each and every person we encounter in this life provides us with something - some anecdote, some wisdom, some lesson, some warning - the bad even more sometimes than the good. Without all of them, we wouldn't have the perspective we do, so I don't wish any of them away.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

30 Days of Truth, Day 9 ~ Someone You Didn't Want to Let Go, But Just Drifted

This challenge doesn't get easier, you guys.

The last time I answered this one, I wrote about a dear friend from college. We've since reconnected, though still not as often as I would prefer. One of these days, I WILL get out to see her and her new baby girl. Distance is such a jerk, sometimes.

Like everything else it seems, the answer to this one will be different this time, and not because I ever wanted it to be.


Day 9 ~ Someone you didn't want to let go, but just drifted

I could take the easy way out with this one, come up with someone or something else aside from what is actually on my mind. But I won't because I am forcing myself to do this the right way this time, no matter how hard it is.

The person that comes to mind immediately isn't someone that I just drifted away from, though. It was a conscious choice. A heartbreaking one. Probably the single hardest thing I ever had to do.

It hasn't come without consequences for me. I've been vilified by many, misunderstood by more. I may wear my heart on my sleeve, but there are a great many untold stories in my life, and one of them revolves around this person.

My Mom.

In the last few weeks of my father's life, he asked me and asked me and asked me, pleaded with me with tears in his eyes to take care of her. I tried. Oh, how I tried. I want with everything in me to believe that I didn't fail him, that I didn't fail her.

I'm not convinced.

I tried.

It didn't work. She wanted to destroy her life, and there wasn't anything anyone could do to stop her. We tried. We all tried.

She pushed us away, then reeled us back in. Over and over and over.

It was eating me alive, this game of manipulation and lies, the things hidden, the words said to other people to turn them against me. I could have handled it if it was just my sanity, my heart on the line. I can take it. I could take it. My ability to put my head down when I have to and do what needs to be done has been tested several times. I could take it.

My kids couldn't.

They were being thrown into the middle of it all. They were being manipulated. They were put in danger, usually emotional, but sometimes very real physical danger.

I couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't let it happen anymore.

I had to protect them, even if it was from her.

Trust me when I tell you that if you've never been put in that position before, you never want to be there. You never want to spend hours on the phone with the police and the district attorney and social workers. You never want to have your hand forced to the point where you tell the school not to release your children to your own mother.

I had to do that.

I didn't want to.

I wish, oh how I wish that things could have been different.

I loved her. I miss her. But I had to let her go, even if no one understands.

In fact, I wish no one ever had to understand.

I'll carry this burden because I have to. I hope you never do.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

30 Days of Truth, Day 8 ~ Someone Who Has Made Your Life Hell or Treated You Like Shit

This damn question.

I hated this one three years ago, and I reached a bit, writing about the woman who asked my grandmother who I was at my grandfather's funeral, then insisted that I couldn't have been related to the rest of them because I looked so different.

Black sheep, I am. Literally.

Seriously, that complete stranger did a number on my self confidence.


Day 8 ~ Someone who has made your life hell or treated you like shit

Oh, now...you see...there is a list.

There was a list back then and other people I could have written about, but chose to travel back in time to that church after the funeral. I answered honestly because that one conversation really did mess me up in more than a few ways for a very long time.

This time, though....damn.

I could go so many ways with it.

I guess I will talk about that former friend that I already wrote about a little bit, about how I need to forgive her.

She doesn't deserve it, for sure...not after what she did.

When you've been there for someone in ways that no one else has, when you have been the shoulder they cried on, when you've been the shelter they hid under, when you've been the one who encouraged and pushed them towards the dream they wanted to pursue even when no one else supported them...you would think that they would feel something, anything for you.

You would think.

I did think.

Turns out that I was wrong.

Very wrong.

I couldn't have been more wrong about her if I tried.

But then, you never think that someone you considered a best friend could be capable of hurting you like this.

Everything I ever did for her, all the phone calls and the messaging and the times spent together. All the help and the love and the support that I gave her meant nothing.

Or it did, but it didn't mean enough.

Pure selfishness drove her to hurt me. Repeatedly.

She was willing to step on me, to betray me, to use me, to lie to me. She wasn't just willing, she did all of those things and more. Then did them again.

Then pretended to apologize, all while continuing to do them.

With friends like her, I don't need enemies.

I forgive her, but I will never ever have anything to do with her again.

Don't let the door hit ya.

Things That Piss Me Off Tuesday - the chicken, turkey and is anyone really surprised edition

I tried, really I did. I tried not to rant too much during November. I tried to do whatever it took to avoid writing my TTPMOT pieces during this month.

Last week, I was super duper distracted by the piece I was writing about diabetes and my mother, so I wasn't really in the place to rant anyway...which was good.

This week?

Oh, it's on.

If Your Kid Is Wearing A Dead Chicken....
I really try hard not to judge other people. Like, I bend over backwards to do it, give them the benefit of the doubt for probably a lot longer than I should, try to assume the best about people. Honest. I do.

There is a line though.

And when you've seen some of the things I have seen - good parents hauled into CPS investigations for misunderstandings and a system of mandated reporting for even the most happenstance occurrences, where good parents are afraid to discipline their kids at all because of the legal system....then on the other hand you see cases of blatant abuse and neglect ignored by the system, courts turning kids back over to horrible parents, kids in foster care being abused by the very people who are supposed to be shielding them from abuse in the first place, it gets harder and harder not to judge.

Then when there is an epidemic of stories in the news about parents intentionally abusing their children in the name of discipline, claiming that they are just following the advice of a book written by people who advocate beatings, it becomes impossible not to judge.

When all you have to do is search the title of this book and most of the items returned are of cases of children taken from parents because of abuse, where children have died at the hands of their parents, where the few raving about how great the book is admit publicly that they've beat their children into submission, there is something very wrong. 

I won't name the book. I won't even name the writers. I won't. I won't talk about the specifics of the cases coming out in the last week, and I won't tell you about all the situations in the past where kids have been beaten in the name of discipline at the behest of this so-called parenting advice. It makes me physically ill.

Parenting is hard. Parenting a child with anger and rage issues is hard. Parenting an unstable child, a rebellious one, a violent one...is hard. I know how hard it is because I am living it right now. I would never, ever, ever think to raise my hand at my child though. Never.

Thanksgiving Rantsgiving
I am shockingly not bothered by the early Christmas decorations this year, by the annoying commercials, by the music even. I'm not quite sure what the reason is.

I made this last year. I thought you might enjoy it.


What does bother me is the whole online debate about when shopping should start.

I've written before about the fact that I worked in retail in the past. I've shopped Black Friday in the past. I've stood in line for hours in the freezing cold to try and grab a good deal. I won't do it anymore.

I won't do it because the retailers are pushing and pushing and pushing the shopping to start earlier and earlier. Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day off for everyone to spend with their families. If you work in retail, you don't get to ask for days off this time of year. You work, or you get fired. There is no stay home with your family option. I've lived it.

If you honestly think the shoppers are the ones who are pushing for the times to be moved up, you're wrong. It's the companies who want another shopping day before Christmas. Their bottom line means more to them than anything else, because that is how corporations work. They want a captive audience of people who need the cheap gifts to make Christmas happen, so they edge it up by a few hours every year, and they know it will work because they know that the only way you are buying that expensive gift is if you can get it for cheaper. They lure you in with cheap electronics, with $5 toasters, with exceptionally limited quantities of everything else in the ads.

Most major retailers are opening at 8pm on Thanksgiving night this year. Which means that the employees are being forced to be there even earlier.

There are some who argue that the employees don't mind because they want/need the overtime pay that working on a holiday brings...which may be true for many people, but the fact that it is true is even more indicative of a problem. People shouldn't depend on one day's pay to make a holiday happen, they should be paid enough that they don't need to work on holidays just to make ends meet.

Speaking of these giant companies not paying their employees enough, then forcing them to work....guess who is actually hosting a food drive for their own employees this year????

Yep. You guessed it. Walmart.

If that isn't possibly the single biggest argument that they do not pay a living wage to their employees, I don't know what else it would take for people to get it.

If You're Surprised....
Florida's favorite gun toting son is back in the news again. George Zimmerman was arrested again yesterday, this time for pointing a shotgun at his pregnant girlfriend.

Is anyone really surprised?

Good guy George....I wonder what his reason was this time.

I'm sure it's a good one. Wink, wink.

Monday, November 18, 2013

30 Days of Truth, Day 7 ~ Someone Who Has Made Your Life Worth Living

Oh, this challenge.

It's a tough one, for sure.

The last time I did it, I wrote about my husband. Things were different then. They're different now.


Day 7 ~ Someone who has made your life worth living

What I am writing as my answer this time shouldn't come as a surprise, not to anyone that has children anyway. My kids are the center of my universe, they are why I do almost everything that I do.

With that responsibility, though, comes more.

It means that I've had to do things that I may not have done otherwise, things that I didn't want to do, things that I was forced to do, things I wouldn't allow myself to fail at.

I have to protect them, sometimes from each other, sometimes from family members.

I had to protect them from my own mother because I couldn't be a good daughter and a good mother at the same time. I couldn't justify exposing them to the things that they were seeing, the events and choices that happened, the manipulation and abuse. I couldn't. It was already damaging them and that damage is something that I have to deal with on a daily basis now. Something that I hope they don't have to deal with forever.

I had to choose. I could do the best I could for her and make everything worse for them, knowing that what I could do for her would never be enough and that it would eat at me every day...or I could choose to do what I had to do to protect them.

I had to. I didn't want to.


I had to because my job as a mother was more important.

I've been reminded of that a lot lately.

I had to stay and fight for my marriage, not for myself, but because this is the only set of parents my children have. They made me stay and fight.  As I've said in the past many times, you get to a point where marriage isn't about love, because love isn't enough. It's work. Hard, awful work and it's the kind of work that needs motivation. Sometimes it needs a lot of motivation.

They are my motivation.

They are my world.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

30 Days of Truth, Day 6 ~ Something You Hope You Never Have To Do

When I did this the first time, I talked about never wanting to take a pet on that last walk. I talked about how hard it would be to put a deeply loved family pet down. Less than six months later, the puppy that we brought home to fill a void left after we lost our first baby, the dog that became a part of our family, the beagle that alternately drove me crazy and made me laugh had a seizure.

Or at least we think that is what it was. It was serious enough that she was fully disoriented. My son found her on the garage floor in the spot where she always stood after my husband left for work. She couldn't get up. Her eyes were all glazed over and she wasn't responsive to me at all. Her heart was about to pound out of her chest.

I took a blanket out to her, lifted her on to it and took the kids to school, promising them that I would take good care of her.

I got home, hoping she would be up and running around, howling at the neighbors like she always was. She wasn't. She was in the same place. My heart broke. I sat with her in the garage for a good long time that morning before I made the call. First to the vet to set up a time to bring her in, second to my husband.

I carried her into the office for the last time and let her go. It was as awful as had imagined it would be.

I'm almost afraid to write whatever else I might be afraid to do, just in case the cosmic worst case scenario gods that seem to be following me lately take me up on the offer.


Day 6 ~ Something you hope you never have to do

Gulp.

I hope with everything in me that I never have to file the divorce paperwork that I have filled out three times now.

I hope I never have another reason to fill out those papers.

I have stayed, I have fought, I have tried everything I could to keep my family together.

I hope that it wasn't all a waste of time and energy.

I hope that we can find a way to fix it.

I hope that I never have to worry about shared custody and holidays without my children.

I hope that I never have to sit them down and tell them it's over.

I hope.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

30 Days of Truth, Day 5 ~ Something You Hope To Do In Your Life

In preparing for this entry, I did some background research, only to find that something I had long believed to be true wasn't.

I hate that about life, sometimes.

I've lived most of my life believing something about my ancestry that isn't accurate, though the actual story is fascinating for its own reasons.

The first time I wrote on this topic, I talked about all the places I wanted to visit one day.

This time, it's a smaller list. For a reason.


Day 5 ~ Something you hope to do in your life

I still want to travel and see so many places in this world, but if I had to just pick one, it would be simple. I want to visit Ireland.

I want to visit the village where many of my distant relatives still live. I want to drink in the beauty of the rolling hills. I want to sit in a pub and listen to old Irish men tell old Irish stories.

I want to find the grave of my great, great, great, great uncle, James Clarence Mangan. I want to sit there for a while and talk to him. I want to channel his energy. I want to spend time in the place where he rests. I want to be inspired.

I just want to be where he is.


You see, for almost all of my life, I have believed that he wasn't just a writer, but that he was friends with Poe. The Poe.

Which would have been awesome, of course. I'd been told that they were friends and wrote and did a great many drugs and drank together, which all makes for a fabulous story.

Alas, as I discovered just yesterday, it's not true. They never met in real life. They weren't even in the same part of the world.

Sigh.

The things they had in common, though, might be just as fascinating.

They were both writers, they were both troubled souls. They both wrote dark tales, haunting poetry. Only one of them is famous the world over, the other you have never heard of. For a while, there were many who accused my kin of taking from Poe, of using his style, of copying his methods.

It was actually the other way around, if one of them was ever inspired by the other at all. My uncle wrote and published his most pivotal works before Poe did. Whether the two of them ever knew of each other and to what extent, no one may ever know....but whatever the connection is, my uncle did it first.

And that's pretty kickass.

My distant uncle was a fabulous writer. He never got the credit he deserved, especially outside of Ireland. Even if he and Edgar never knew each other, they lived what seem to be oddly parallel lives, both addicts, both disturbed, both writers, both even dying within months of each other.

Someday I'd like to go visit him.

I think he and I would have a lot in common.

The poem below is probably his most famous piece, Dark Rosaleen,

O MY Dark Rosaleen, 
   Do not sigh, do not weep! 
The priests are on the ocean green, 
   They march along the deep. 
There 's wine from the royal Pope, 
   Upon the ocean green; 
And Spanish ale shall give you hope, 
   My Dark Rosaleen! 
   My own Rosaleen! 
Shall glad your heart, shall give you hope, 
Shall give you health, and help, and hope, 
   My Dark Rosaleen! 

Over hills, and thro' dales, 
   Have I roam'd for your sake; 
All yesterday I sail'd with sails 
   On river and on lake. 
The Erne, at its highest flood, 
   I dash'd across unseen, 
For there was lightning in my blood, 
   My Dark Rosaleen! 
   My own Rosaleen! 
O, there was lightning in my blood, 
Red lightning lighten'd thro' my blood. 
   My Dark Rosaleen! 

All day long, in unrest, 
   To and fro, do I move. 
The very soul within my breast 
   Is wasted for you, love! 
The heart in my bosom faints 
   To think of you, my Queen, 
My life of life, my saint of saints, 
   My Dark Rosaleen! 
   My own Rosaleen! 
To hear your sweet and sad complaints, 
My life, my love, my saint of saints, 
   My Dark Rosaleen! 

Woe and pain, pain and woe, 
   Are my lot, night and noon, 
To see your bright face clouded so, 
   Like to the mournful moon. 
But yet will I rear your throne 
   Again in golden sheen; 
'Tis you shall reign, shall reign alone, 
   My Dark Rosaleen! 
   My own Rosaleen! 
'Tis you shall have the golden throne, 
'Tis you shall reign, and reign alone, 
   My Dark Rosaleen! 

Over dews, over sands, 
   Will I fly, for your weal: 
Your holy delicate white hands 
   Shall girdle me with steel. 
At home, in your emerald bowers, 
   From morning's dawn till e'en, 
You'll pray for me, my flower of flowers, 
   My Dark Rosaleen! 
   My fond Rosaleen! 
You'll think of me through daylight hours, 
My virgin flower, my flower of flowers, 
   My Dark Rosaleen! 

I could scale the blue air, 
   I could plough the high hills, 
O, I could kneel all night in prayer, 
   To heal your many ills! 
And one beamy smile from you 
   Would float like light between 
My toils and me, my own, my true, 
   My Dark Rosaleen! 
   My fond Rosaleen! 
Would give me life and soul anew, 
A second life, a soul anew, 
   My Dark Rosaleen! 

O, the Erne shall run red, 
   With redundance of blood, 
The earth shall rock beneath our tread, 
   And flames wrap hill and wood, 
And gun-peal and slogan-cry 
   Wake many a glen serene, 
Ere you shall fade, ere you shall die, 
   My Dark Rosaleen! 
   My own Rosaleen! 
The Judgement Hour must first be nigh, 
Ere you can fade, ere you can die, 
   My Dark Rosaleen!

Friday, November 15, 2013

30 Days of Truth, Day 4 ~ Something You Need To Forgive Someone Else For

What a difference three years can make. When I did this the first time, I spun it in my sarcastically humorous way and talked about needing forgive my husband for making me get rid of a pair of boots.

God, I must have seemed shallow. And I was, I suppose, but it was totally intentional. I wasn't really writing about the first thing that came to mind, if you know what I mean. I was struggling with my father's illness and impending death, and that was as good as it was going to get.

This time around, I'm really trying to push myself with the prompts, and at least get closer to my first answer.

This one won't be about a pair of shoes.


Day 4 ~ Something you need to forgive someone else for

There's a list, and it's much longer than it was when I did this three years ago. I have spent most of those three years working towards forgiveness for the greatest of them all. Though I will never forget, I've forgiven the one who needs it the most already.

Truly.

I try to let little things go. I even try to let the bigger things go. Some hurts though...they stay with you.

Some things hurt too bad to just get over and move on.

I've tried. I've told myself that I forgive her. I've told myself that she did what she did because of her own messed up reasons and that none of it ever had anything to do with me. I've told myself that she didn't mean to hurt me, that I was collateral damage. I've told myself many things. Many, many things.

When someone you considered one of your very closest friends in the entire universe betrays you, though, it doesn't matter what you tell yourself. You can't hear any of it.

She was a part of my life in so many ways, in too many ways. There were too many things I had to process, too many memories that were altered, too many pictures that needed to disappear. Too much time spent wasted in trying to help her, only to have her turn on me in the worst way imaginable.

I've lost a lot in the last few years.

Losing one of my best friends is up near the top of that list.

I hated her for a long time, but then I realized that I was expending too much energy on someone who clearly hadn't bothered to give me the slightest hint of kindness, of grace, of friendship back. I was wasting my time on someone who, even when the betrayal had been revealed, just couldn't help herself and had to keep making it worse. I was wasting my time on someone who apologized but didn't mean it. I was wasting my time on someone who would never stop hurting me as long as she was a part of my life at all.

Over twenty years of a friendship, gone. Just like that.

I was always there for her, no questions asked.

And I was disposable.

I meant nothing to her.

I know that now.

I need to forgive her. I know that I do. In some ways I have, but not enough.

I forgive her now.

But I will never, ever forget.

Type 2 Diabetes - Living With and Loving Those Who Have It ~ Stories of Family Members

My deepest and most sincere gratitude to those who were willing to share their stories with me. Diabetes is a complex disease as it is, but the fact that so many people have an emotional relationship with food makes it worse. Add in the fact that food is a necessity to survive, and it becomes more so. We have to eat. Having diabetes just makes every meal difficult. Every choice becomes important. Every indulgence dangerous. The food you need to survive could be the very thing that kills you. 

Some people can't accept the lifestyle changes that are part of this disease. Some pretend they don't have it, minimize it's impact in their lives, convince themselves that they will escape the complications that happen to other people.  

With love and respect, their stories.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My dad was diagnosed as diabetic at age 66. My mother had suspected for about 5 years that he was becoming diabetic. There were 2 problems in getting a proper diagnosis: He is extremely doctor-phobic, and he was getting close to retirement. Since mom prepares all of his meals due to his severe food allergies, she started trying to regulate his diet as much as possible. Also she made him cut down on sugary drinks and snacks. After he retired she finally got him to see a doctor.

She told the doctor all her observations and had to basically bully the doctor into doing a blood test because "I couldn't possibly know what I was talking about." Yeah Dad's blood sugar was in the 500s. Mom got a LOT more respect from the doctor at that point.

It took Dad about 3 years from diagnosis to be able to say "I'm diabetic." Mom did all the meter stuff, charted how well each different medication worked and consulted with the doctor until they found the right "mix". She still regulates his diet, hands him his meds on schedule, all that stuff.

Unfortunately, going that long undiagnosed had a very bad effect on Dad's eyesight, to the point that he can no longer drive and has trouble seeing large print. I'm sure there are other complications that they haven't shared with me.
- Joy

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I'm not totally sure where to start. My step dad, Bill Boye, came into my life when I was 15 yrs old. Since I had a strained relationship with my real father, Bill immediately became my hero. He had already been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes for about 15 yrs at that point. He and my mom got engaged, he moved into our house, that's when diabetes really became a part of my life. Blood glucose meters on counters, watching carbs and sugar grams on packages, seeing the different attitudes with the different sugar levels. Bill always said "I don't drink alcohol because I'm diabetic" .. Yet he was the 1st in line for chocolate cake. Regardless of his illness Bill was my rock, he supported me thru so MANY things, defended me when I made mistakes, lifted me up higher for my accomplishments. He encouraged me to apply for a dispatcher position w/ SDPD, I did and got the job, he was soooo proud. He was my DAD. 

As the years went on, Bill continued to not mind his diet, his weight was never under control. He ate junk food in secret, his car was full of wrappers and trash that he tried to hide from the family. My mom would get so frustrated, all of us would. We'd lecture, cook him meals, make him walk with us.. But just like leading a horse to water ... You can't force someone to take care of themselves. When I was 25 my real father died, February of 2003, hardest month of my life, so many unresolved issues and I felt like he didn't know I loved him. Bill hugged me, told me he loved me & he knew my dad was my angel. Then Bill got sick, ended up having quadruple bypass, heart valve replacement surgery. I went to see him after surgery & he didn't know me.. It was devastation all over again. He did recover though, thank god. He was forced to stop being a patrol officer, a job that defined who he was, he went to a desk job, retiring within 2 yrs. Even after his surgery he didn't eat right, didn't exercise. His legs were so sore and his circulation so bad that he got his 1st gangrenous sore, it was disgusting and painful. It healed slightly, but never fully. 

He and my mom decided to move from sunny SoCal to the wilds of Idaho, well Cour D'Alene, for their retirement. Very far from all their SoCal family, but something they wanted to experience. During the brief 3 yrs they lived there Bill became totally insulin dependent, but just didn't want to take it, he would take his oral meds, just not injections. He then went into total renal failure, got another gangrenous sore on his leg, this one led to an amputation just above his left knee. He rehab'd, sorta, he refused to try the prosthetic leg, stopped showering regularly, refused to shave his face. He became VERY depressed.

My mom and he moved back to San Diego, she needed her family to support & help her. 

My mom injured herself lifting his wheelchair in and out of her SUV, I had to go over there and help any time he needed to go somewhere. Of course, I did it, but it was hard.. I was a single mom who worked at least 50 hrs a week, I lived 30 mins from their house. I was the only one who he allowed to take him for haircuts, I shaved his face on a regular basis. I put diabetic lotion on his hands. My mom became very depressed. As mothers and daughters will do we fought. I got really mad at her and she got really mad at me. That was the weekend of July 4th, 2009. Bill was facing an amputation, from gangrene on his right hand. I had yelled at my mom to go see a counselor and get on depression meds. She left, Bill and I were alone, I convinced him to let me clean up his haircut and shave his beard. We chatted about a SWAT incident that I had worked and he had seen on tv. We laughed, I left for work. My mom left for a weekend at her moms, about 75 miles away in Hemet,CA. That Monday, she called me, I almost hit ignore for the call, but answered. All she said was "baby I need you, Billy is being transported to the hospital from dialysis. It doesn't sound good." I made it the 30 miles to her house in 15 minutes. We drove to the hospital and learned he had died from a massive heart attack. He was only 65 yrs old. 

I still think of him daily, I just got married this past Sunday and dedicated a "memorial" table with pictures of Bill, my father Dave and my grandpa, John. My husband reminds me SO MUCH of Bill. He's a police officer, he smiles just like Bill, he'd give you the shirt off his back just like Bill.. He however takes care of his type 2 diabetes with diet. Yup.. I married a man with type 2, even living thru that nightmare, I know that some can own the disease.. Eric is one of those. 

- Amber Miller

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My family has a history of diabetes. Two of my Aunts had it and had heart problems and strokes eventually. My older brother has recently been diagnosed with it and it's like he's given up. He won't walk anywhere, he rides a scooter. He's only 50. He won't come to family occasions anymore because he can't get the scooter up my 5 porch stairs. His legs are starting to swell probably due to inactivity and he's had a pacemaker put in. All in the past year. 

When they try to take him off his pain meds he throws a fit and won't take his other meds until he's back in the hospital again and gets more. He used to complain that no one would help him and then we finally got him some help and insurance and it seems like he's just gotten worse. He's getting to the point where he's getting does on his feet all the time and he could get nerve damage if the swelling continues. 

My younger sister also has diabetes and she has to use catheters to pee, she's only 40. She had to check her sugar at least twice a day and hers can go either way so she had to carry glucose tablets with her. 

Lately when I go to my Dr, she keeps checking my sugar, says it's fine, has ran blood tests that came back fine, but she still lectures me on diabetes. I find it very stressful and it's causing me to stress eat, lol. I actually want to avoid the Dr now cause I don't want the dumb diabetes lecture. I know about it. I see it everyday. I thought about switching Drs and decided that I was going to discuss it with her at my next appointment instead.
- Melissa

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My husband has been having medical issues lately. His last lab test showed sugar in his urine. Having a daughter with Type 1 Diabetes, we knew what that meant. The doctor was not diagnosing it yet and wanted to do an A1c test. 

The A1C showed slight elevation but the doctor still was not confirming what was inevitable. Meanwhile, our daughter's Diabetic Alert Dog started catching blood sugars over 200 in my husband. With the dog being able to find the high blood sugars and reporting it to the doctor, my husband was able to be diagnosed much sooner and we could start taking care of it right away.
- Anonymous

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