Sunday’s Healthy Reflection

On Monday…..ooops.

What reason weaves, by passion is undone.

– Alexander Pope

Do you follow what your heart craves?

As odd as it sounds, sometimes our logical minds can hold us back. Have you ever wanted to attempt a new career, run a marathon, or start your own business? Our brains might scream at us that it is safer to do what has been tried and true in the past, but don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you! We all spend a lot of time worrying and little time examining the calling of our own hearts. What are you passionate about? Is there a way that you can honor these feelings in a responsible way? Trying new things can be terrifying, but following our passions can make us feel alive and become some of our most memorable moments in life. The thrill of love, the depths of grief, and the joys of a new career…all would be impossible without passion.

Brought to you by Sparkpeople.

* * *

First off, my apologies, this wasn’t posted on Sunday. I woke up at three am Sunday morning very, very ill. I am rarely ill. I don’t know if it was a bug or if I just had too much chili at the annual chili cook-off.

All I know, is when I have trouble getting Pepto down the ole gullet AND am fearful it won’t stay down. It’s not a good thing. I wasn’t quite right all day yesterday. I started feeling a tiny bit better in the evening.

This morning I feel fine, whoo-hoo!

As for the reflection, I have mostly been a heart follower my whole life. I moved to a ginormous city (alone) at seventeen. Moved up the ladder at the company I began working for within six months. After a terrible loss in our family, I was brave enough to try and have another baby which resulted in Sydney.

My whole life, my heart has led most of the way and I am glad of it. There have been many instances where my mind took over. Doubt dominated the decision. I suffered needlessly because of it. Fear is a very funny thing, once it takes hold, it is very hard to shake.

NaNoWriMo would be most recent worry. My mind tells me I can’t do it, my heart says the story must be told. I hope by the time I get done examining it, the thirty days is not up.

My other head vs. heart battle is my current relationship. My heart loves Jason heart and soul with no doubt at all. My head tells me, being a step mom and trying to work with their mother, would be a very tough road. Don’t get me wrong, I love those children with ALL my heart, and if that’s all there was to it, I’d be in good shape.

The safer route? Definitely staying in my world, the one I know without a doubt, one primarily with me and Sydney. Maybe that one seems more in my control, definitely less danger. The heart route? Jason and the girls, a lifting and turning of a beautiful dance that might be hard to learn the steps, but so beautiful and rewarding when complete.

The unknown, a great abyss of doubt and wonder. The known, a river that flows gently with no dips or turns. The mind is certainly easier to tame doing what you know and staying safe. The heart is a little riskier, but with a greater achievement, a greater wealth of wild exaltation.

What is your battle today? Do you recognize your struggles? Will your passion win? Or your logic?

What would you do?

What would you do if someone you loved developed an autoimmune disease? A disease that attacks the insulin producing beta cells that live in the pancreas.

What would you do if they could die from this disease if not treated by insulin injections? Insulin injections that must be administered by needle six to seven times at day – minimum – to keep their blood glucose levels at a normal healthy range, their entire lifetime.

What would possibly be the root of this assailant on someone you love? This aggressor would be Type 1 diabetes. A debilitating disease. A disease of mystery and power.

This disease knows no bounds. It could attack you. It could attack me. Research has not proven why, or how. They know an autoimmune response is triggered. Maybe from an infection, maybe from an inherited gene, maybe even from not being breast-fed as a child. In addition, not everyone that has an autoimmune trigger develops diabetes. Some do. Some don’t.

The first person I ever knew with diabetes was my paternal grandfather. He died in 1975, I don’t remember him. I missed a chance to know him – he died too young. I never really knew anything about diabetes, despite my grandfather having had it. I was just a little kid. It didn’t affect me. I had no reason to find out why I didn’t grow up with my grandfather.

What did get my attention was another man who had Type 1 diabetes. His name was Uncle Bub. I would come to live with him and his sister during a separation from my second husband. It was a turbulent time of my life. Uncle Bub was my saving grace. He was my friend. Someone I would talk hours to. His health had deteriorated quickly with Type 1 diabetes.

In the previous years, He hadn’t taken care of himself and let his blood sugar levels get too high. He didn’t inject the life saving insulin. His body began failing. He had a stroke. He lost all feeling in his fingers. He developed heart disease. He lost his right leg, from above the knee down. He lost all his toes, except the big one on his left foot. He was near blind.

This six foot two inch tall man of such stature and pride, a leading manager for over twenty years with an oil company, was reduced to near helplessness in a wheelchair. His life stricken and battered by this autoimmune disease. He could no longer live by himself, nor take care of himself. This independent man had to rely on others. It was harsh and painful. The disease, left uncontrolled, wrought havoc on his fifty year old body.

When I came to live with him, I helped him as many ways as I could. His strength weakened, lay coiled inside. He was a fighter. Most men would have given up, faced with the nightmare, but he fought and he lived. I would load Uncle Bub’s insulin shots every morning for him. He could administer the shot himself, just not prepare it. His fingers, without nerves, could not navigate such a delicate task, nor he could his damaged eyes see the fill lines.

I would take him as many places as he wanted to go. Often to the computer electronics store, or Walmart, or to out to eat. I would throw his wheelchair in the car and off we’d go. Nothing could stop us. He never let his disability keep him down. In fact, he got the biggest kick out stuff – like when I searched, and searched for his matching sock. Um, yeah, he only needed ONE sock. Boy, did that give him belly laughs for the longest time.

We even got to take our girls to Orlando together (his granddaughter, my daughter). Airplane, car rental, two hotel rooms and two little girls ages ten and eight trek across the country. I wheeled him all over Universal Studios. He wore a cowboy hat everywhere. No matter who we met, they called him Big Tex. To make the trip truly memorable, a hurricane hit Florida. We rode it out in the hotel. Hurricane Charlie. He smiled and entertained the hotel guests all day during the storm. It took their mind off it. His smile lit the whole dreary room.

He was the first man I knew and loved with Type 1 diabetes. My heart ached over his disease. He died a year and half after our trip. Heart disease and complications of Type 1 diabetes. What a shame. What a loss. He had so much life in him. He was such a dear confidant to me. He wasn’t even MY uncle. He was first husband’s uncle. His love for me shows , what an incredible man he really was.

The second man to enter my life with Type 1 diabetes? My boyfriend Jason. He developed the autoimmune disease while serving in the Marines, diagnosed February 1997. He was 22 years old, in the pinnacle of his youth. What a shocking blow. But what could he do? This was his fate. There is no cure. He dealt with it, like the soldier he was. Twelve years now, he has tested his blood sugar, by puncturing his finger, taking a drop of blood, and feeding it into a meter.

If it’s high, he takes insulin to bring it down. He has to pierce his skin with another needle, using pressure, to inject a shot. It’s as painful as it sounds. If it’s low, he has to take in sugar to bring it up. If he goes too low, he could go into a coma. If he goes too high, he has to take another insulin shot. It is a dangerous game. It is a guessing game. Most days, there is no winner – just the constant ups and downs.

The highs and lows don’t come without a price. The highs, are edgy causing light headiness, thirst and nausea. The lows, are blackened vision, spots – an inability to stay alert. Imagine those things happening to you. Imagine how that would affect your moods and your nature – while working, while parenting, while sleeping, while exercising. It’s no cake walk. Welcome to their life.

In my quest to understand, I decided to check my blood sugar. I pricked my finger. I fed the meter. Mine was normal, of course. I did it ONCE. He does it, six to nine times a DAY.

One time during lunch, my blood sugar dropped. I was sick, anxious, and nervous. My leg twitched constantly. I wanted to rotate my head several times around, thinking that MIGHT make me feel better. After I ate, it took thirty minutes to kick in and stop the madness inside my skull. ONE TIME. Jason does this on a daily basis.

My hearts grieves over this disease. Not because one, but TWO men I love dearly have their lives directly affected by it. One’s life was cut short. One’s life could very well be cut short, if they don’t find a cure soon. I can try to put myself in their shoes, but I will NEVER truly know the pain of living with Type 1 Diabetes. I only know the pain of watching a loved one, bear the burden of Type 1 Diabetes. I pray for a cure. I long for a cure. I have hope for a cure.

October 24, 2009 – I will walk for a cure. I will walk next to the man I love with his beautiful children. I will walk in honor of Uncle Bub’s spunk, that encouraged me during a very low stretch in my life. I will fight for Jason. I will fight for the millions affected. I will fight to see him healed and free. I have to believe…we’ll win this fight.

What would I do? I would do anything.

If you’d like to join me in this cause -please do!- I would consider it a privilege. Even as little as $5.00 could bring them closer to solving this mystery. From what I understand, they are very close.

If financially this is impossible for you, then all I ask is that you say a prayer for those enduring Type 1 Diabetes. Pray for their strength, pray for their journey, and pray for their families – who love them and ache to see their strain. Lift them up.

Pray. Hope. Believe.

Diabetes – Walk for a Cure- Click here to visit my page and make a donation.
*Link updated for October 2010 walk for a cure.*

***edit and update September 17, 2010**
This year’s Diabetes walk is Oct. 23, 2010. We have “registered” for donations. This time I am asking family and friends attending our wedding October 10, 2010 to gift us the greatest marriage gift we could accept. A hope for a cure. The link above has been updated to this year’s walk donations. We deeply thank-you and send you love and blessings in return.

Love is not a fight

I’m gonna be honest. It’s been a rough week. I am typically so happy & so positive & so over & above GRATEFUL so grateful for everything I have.  So grateful for every moment that I can see the sky, touch the flowers, watch a child smile, a couple holding hands, even a chatty check out guy :-).

But this week it’s been hard to keep my chin up. I’ve had many looming things come down on me.  My step-dad’s death is coming up on one year. I can hardly believe it. HOW? How in the world did a whole year go by without him? How is this possible? Isn’t he supposed to just roll his wheelchair back in the door? I can’t see him chuckle anymore or laugh at Mom or be that rock that he always was for me. I miss him with all my heart. I wish Jason could have known him more. They were so much alike with their Computer Science degrees & programming. If only we had more time.Thank you Lord that they got to meet the Sunday before he went to be with you. I know that was your doing. I am so very grateful. 
I miss you Poppy soo soo much. ❤

Writing the Cooper story. That was hard! I don’t want to re-live those last moments. I still can’t believe something like that could happen. It really seems impossible. How do we not hear about these things?? Why have those collars not been outlawed?? Will I ever forget it?? Someone actually called me a murderer over it. That went along the lines of what I thought myself right after. It had to be my fault! OF COURSE! I always bring disaster with me. But no it was an accident. I hope & pray everyone who reads it knows that. I hope & pray their heart softens that they could say such a terrible, terrible thing about something so horrific Jason & I may never forget nor stop re-living in our minds.
God help us.

Another reason for my glum is that my daughter’s Dad moved away my ex-husband. He is someone I consider a best friend. I know I can tell him anything. I know that if Sydney ever needed anything he’d be there. He is a wonderful man & a good husband to his wife Kim & Dad to his baby son Tyler. They moved to Mississippi where his sister lives. It’s about 9hours from here. For the first time I truly feel like a single parent. I finally feel that void of I’m-on-my-own stomach drop. But it is kinda silly. I’ve always been on my own. I always supported myself financially. But just the general help. Taking her out for a meal. Taking her to an ortho appt. Nowadays she takes care of herself but when she was a baby WOW he really helped a lot. I know she will miss him too. I really wish the best for him. I may not have seen him every day but we talked often & were always there for each other. We always lived close her whole life. The last few years he lived 6 doors down on the same street. It was so awesome that Sydney could walk between our houses. What a great way to show our TRUE LOVE for our daughter to set aside all bitterness from the divorce & go on to be friends. REAL friends not just fake but true. I truly love & care for him. He is the reason I have my beautiful daughter. And I am so GRATEFUL. Thank you.
Thank you for her she is a miracle.

And lastly I should be CELEBRATING soooo much this coming up week. It will be one year July 4th that I met my boyfriend’s two daughters. ONE WHOLE YEAR. Do you have any idea how much a 2 & 4yr old change in a year?? A LOT! I am so GRATEFUL to know them. They have their mom & dad’s brains they are sooooo smart! And so adorable & sweet it will make your teeth hurt. The littlest one turns 3. It just blows my mind. I am little apprehensive about the upcoming birthday party. For one some things have come to light that I was blissfully unaware of til this week concerning their mother. It really threw me for a loop. I had no idea. She was the nicest , cutest person when I met her. I had no idea I offended her so badly & I certainly never meant to. I could just kick myself because I really did want her to like me.(dumb,dumb,dumb) Jason had told me how great she was so I never thought otherwise. I had a dream it’d be like my ex & his family we all just keep getting along because we loved Sydney so much.My gosh I could never take her place nor would I want to. My role is kinda like the fun teacher. We just have a good time but I don’t try to be their mother. In fact they would tell me their mother was magic and I thought that was soooo cute! I nodded and agreed with them. Your mom IS magic. HOW? they ask.
I don’t know Mom’s just are. 🙂

I made a pact w/my ex that we would never talk badly about each other. Even with this family I’m obligated to hold that pact true. I feel like it’s a divorce positive pact. Divorce is SAD. Divorce is AWFUL. Divorce is a BRUTAL BRUTAL LOSS. Just a loss all around to everyone involved. I want to at least TRY & bring some good out of it. So her birthday party is fast approaching & I hope I can smile & mean it because I really do want to move forward past the remarks into a spirit of LOVE. And it’s hard for me to smile & not mean it. I wear my heart on my sleeve.

I’ll leave you with this. I thought about doing nothing tonight. It was a VERY busy day at work. GADS it was nuts. My fingers were tired & especially my bad hand from where I broke my wrist & it never healed right. I wanted to sit on the couch with my dog & just watch cable mindlessly. But something told me hey why don’t you go to the store? Why don’t you make a meal? HA! I thought not me I don’t cook. I pity the fool. (chuckle) Plus it’s HOT. 103 frickin degrees & I should heat up a kitchen??? Uhhhh no! But the thing is I have been cooking more for Jason & my family & it IS nice. Not the cooking itself. UGH. But the serving of it. To serve someone & know they can sit & eat a hot meal they didn’t labor over. It’s blessing them & it’s blessing me to bless them. So Jason, I slaved over a hot stove instead of putting my toots up & watching millionaire matchmaker with Salem by my side. I’m glad I did.
I hope it’s edible ;-).

Love is not a fight. But I will continue to fight for my gratefulness. For my positiveness. I will fight to shine. I will fight to keep the spirit of Love surrounding our families immediate & extended.

Please if you have time watch this video below and listen to the words.