Wow… ok, so much for my New Year’s resolution about sticking to a more consistent blogging schedule! LOL! Maybe my new resolution should be to work on better resolutions! I’ll add that to this year’s list. Jot that down.
So, I am going to justify my “leave” by saying that a ton of stuff has been going on this year that has kept me insanely busy – to the point that I have not stopped to give you the time you deserve! So, let’s take a break, grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and curl up on the couch to catch up. Actually, my couch doesn’t fit that many people, and I’m not a fan of PSLs, so how about I just blog about it? 😉
In order to not overwhelm you with the many new updates of my increasingly ceaseless lifestyle (yes, I’m being totally sarcastic…kind of… it HAS been busy), today, I’m only going to focus on the biggest recent change – travel. I say “change”, but really, it’s a return to my life pre-transplant/sick-time…just different. On one hand, I’m absolutely LOVING being “on the road again”, however, the highway is less straight and wide open than it used to be, it’s now filled with twists and bumps! Before I got sick, I used to travel a lot for work. I loved it! I was adventurous and fearless trying new foods, meeting new people, dancing till my feet would literally throb… anything that created the most fun and crazy stories and memories! These days, my travel has a completely different feel. I’ve become this overly cautious grandma! What??? What happened to me? Who am I?
Well, I’ll tell you what happened… my “new life” happened. I once had a panic attack in the middle of one trip fearing what would happen if I got sick while in a “strange” city. Who would know what all my “issues” are if I couldn’t speak for myself? Where is the nearest hospital/ER? Would they be able to treat me? (In one case, they even admitted they couldn’t!) No one knows me or would even know what to do to help!
I am still going through a lot of changes post-transplant that require adjustment. And that’s how I’m regarding this… an adjustment. It’s all about being a boy scout. (Not literally… I have no desire to be a 7 year-old boy!) I have to be prepared. I have to think 10 steps ahead of everything I do, and I’m learning more with each trip I take.
When I fly now, I have to be very careful of the recycled air and germy, nasty fold-down tables in the plane b/c of my low immune system (yes, I pack clorox wipes for this reason). I have to take into consideration where I travel – no 3rd world countries – so even some work trips are a no-go. When I am in a new city, I have to do extensive research on where I can eat due to the Celiac disease (there’s an awesome app for that – Find Me Gluten Free). When I’m in large crowds, I have to be aware of who’s coughing, what I’m touching, where the nearest “exit” is in case I get glutened, and so on and so on. It’s exhausting, but I’m learning to adjust to this “new life” one step at a time (as are my very patient friends – God bless them!).
Now, back to my resolutions… with this blog, I thee vow that I am making progress on my “accepting my new self” resolution. I am no longer the same carefree Cameron Diaz character I once liked to believe I was, but I’m able to go out and see the world again and if that means I have to be more Howie Mandel with my actions so I can do so, I’ll gladly take it! 🙂
Things I’m thankful for today:
1. Getting to spend an amazing weekend in Nashville with my Jersey girls – Jen and Carm! It’s so glad to see that sometimes some things don’t change. 🙂
2. Luck! After accidentally taking a big bite of a panko-covered fried banana (I thought it was a GF cheese bread ball), I did NOT get sick from being glutened!
3. Virgin Airlines – they have a fun and modern take on the flying experience, AND they offer safe GF food/snack options in-flight! Woohoo!
4. All beef hot dogs – for when there is nothing else in an all-fried/deli-filled food court to eat that’s safe to eat.
5. That my mom’s foot is healing better after her 3rd foot surgery within the last few months. Mom, your new toe will be something to show off in sandals for our Hawaii trip! 🙂
6. My new gray sweater/cardigan – definitely the most comfy, squishy, warm sweater I’ve ever bought! It’s like the perfect blanket for all those freezing planes (and meeting rooms).
7. Shout out to my friends Elissa and Nick – they are going to have their first baby this Christmas! Congrats to you both! 🙂
One of my favorite parts of the holidays is the food! Everyone with me on this? I’m trying to prepare for my impending food-baby belly by being very careful not to overeat before Christmas gets here! 🙂
As someone with Celiac, though, there is one problem – parties/pot-lucks. I USED to really look forward to seeing what creative specialties everyone brought to the table (literally), however, now it has become my most dreaded thought. Is there going to be anything I can eat? If so, which items CAN I eat? Can I trust the home-made dishes when they SAY they are GF? Do I really have to ask them for the list of ingredients for every dish?
I’ve learned the safest and easiest way to survive food-based parties is to follow my new eating motto – “When in doubt, leave it out!” So, instead of being that pain-in-the-ass picky girl asking 50 bajillion questions about the food, I just quietly look for the salami and cheese cubes, and I always bring in a GF dessert that I know I can eat. That way, I know there’s at least ONE thing I can eat safely…AND it allows me to focus on and enjoy the rest of the party and not have to obsess about just the food. It’s worked so far, and it keeps me from over-indulging!
So, in light of the many office pot-lucks and holiday parties that are starting to pop up on our calendars, here is a funny Celiac video to give you a laugh. 😀
And yes, I’ve met every single character in this video… several times.
Things I’m thankful for today:
1. Beautiful poinsettias! Thanks to my friend Christi, I have won pretty much any pissing contest regarding the biggest or most beautiful poinsettias in the office! They are absolutely gorgeous! Thank you Christi… 🙂
2. My nail girl who gave me the cutest Christmas nails – all red, with one finger having a Santa belt on it. 🙂
3. My Christmas stuff! It’s been about 4 years since I’ve been able to put up my tree, so it was quite literally like Christmas opening up the boxes and going through all the goodies and decorations I had forgotten about. With all the new stuff I’ve been able to add, I absolutely LOVE my tree now!
4. Christmas sales. I was able to stock up on a few cozy, cuddly sweaters at the mall the other day for an awesome bargain!
5. For that matter, Christmas shopping! I know I always brag about getting all my shopping done online to avoid the crowds, however there is something warm and fuzzy about being in the midst of all the hoopla. The decorated windows, the random stocking-stuffer ideas at the cash register (offering things I never thought of), the Christmas music playing, the huge tree in the middle of the mall, the excitement of wondering if the gift I chose will bring a smile to that person’s face, the amazing sales… the amazing sales…
As always, I am late. I’ve been told (on NUMEROUS occasions) that I will be late to my own funeral! However, this time there are no annoyed people waiting for the star of the show to arrive! 😉 Just kidding. *Enter every single one of my friends and family members slapping me upside the head and rolling their eyes*
I am one day late to celebrate National Diabetes Awareness Month (November). I didn’t want it to go by without some sort of mention, so to give everyone a glimpse into life with Type 1 Diabetes, I thought I’d share something we experience many times a day – our roller coaster.
The other day, I was making some brownies for a work event, and as I was mixing the chocolate mix in the bowl, the aroma took over. My stomach started grumbling. (I hadn’t eaten yet…big mistake!) Then my mouth started watering. So, by the time I finally poured the last amount of mix into the pan, I went to TOWN on that bowl, licking it spotless and eating every tiny spec of brownie mix left on the mixer blades! Followed by a nice ice-cold glass of milk, of course. Culinary nirvana in my mouth!
Mmmmmmm… but then I’m instantly slapped back to reality as I remembered, oh crap, I didn’t measure how much I ate! How much sugar was in that amount? How much insulin should I take to cover that? I should’ve taken my shot BEFORE pigging out on the scraps! Now my sugars are going to fly through the roof and damage my precious Kirby (and all my other organs I shamefully haven’t named)!
Yeah, the satisfactory “moment” was very short-lived, and ironically, this type of guilt and fear is very common for anyone who has diabetes when indulging in even the smallest amount of food we “shouldn’t have”.
I’m not perfect. No one is. We all partake in those small (or sometimes big) “treats” to ourselves… our fave pizza, an extra beer… because it TASTES SO GOOD! Who could blame us? I mean, this is what living is about, right??? Don’t you hate it, then, when that little angel wearing the doctors’ wings on your shoulder starts shaking his head in disappointment? I hate that angel. Such a killjoy (does anyone ever say that word anymore, or is that a total 50’s thing? LOL!). I have to give it to him, though, he sets me straight. I know it’s a treat I can’t eat too often because, while those treats could have the same effect on everyone regarding the extra poundage we might gain, the sugar has the added effect of tearing up my organs to pieces… in a very slow and drawn out process that only us lucky diabetics get to enjoy. Weeeeee!
As I grudgingly pulled out my glucose monitor to check my sugars and see what kind of damage was done by my brownie mix tear-down, I got angry. First at myself for being stupid enough to go hog-wild on something that I knew could be bad for me. Then I start to get angry because I SHOULDN’T be getting angry at myself. I’m human! We only live once and I don’t want to live with regrets! It’s just a freakin’ brownie for Pete’s sake!
Then I start getting cocky… why am I so worried? It’s not going to cause any immediate damage to me NOW. It’ll take YEARS and bathtubs full of brownie mix before I ever start seeing any kind of damage! Right? Then I get a bit scared… wait… Um, hello?! I’ve ALREADY been seeing those damages. What the hell brought me to my current situation in the first place!?! Will I lose my kidney again? What if I go blind overnight? I’ve heard that happens! Why did I eat that brownie mix!?! And why did I follow it up with a stupid glass of milk (added carbs)!?! I’m going to lose my foot now!!!
Then the guilt sets in. I can’t believe I allowed myself to place myself in such danger… I don’t want to be an amputee! I don’t want to go blind! I don’t want to damage and possibly lose Kirby (whom I’ve fought SO HARD for)! I’m never going to eat another brownie again! NEVER!
All over a few stupid fingerfuls of brownie mix.
Ok, so seriously, I don’t bust into an all-out panic attack with every bite I take, but there is always a quick 5-minute wave of the entire process above that shoves it’s way through my mind when I veer from my usual, approved meal plan. Most of that, I know is due to the years of fear tactics my doctors have shoved down my throat. (They have to. We wouldn’t take them seriously if they didn’t, especially when we never see immediate damages!)
I’ve been lucky enough to manage these feelings of guilt and fear by educating myself with the facts. I’ve been taught how to correct these sugar overloads, which aren’t “mistakes”, they’re “human”. I’ve learned to discipline myself and not go overboard with any of the foods that can badly affect me. I’ve learned it’s OK to have the occasional “treat” if I cover it with enough insulin (note – “occasional” is key word here).
So the next time you grab a donut (or two…or three) at the office this Friday, or stop at an ice cream shop just because you have the craving for a double-dip vanilla cone, stop and observe what your thoughts are when you eat it. I’m not asking you to feel guilty because you can more easily eat these items, I’m simply asking that you understand the difference of what the thought process is behind your treat and ours. And please don’t ever guilt us into something by saying “oh, a bite or two won’t kill you” because, again, you’re setting off that entire emotional process above that shouldn’t have to go with enjoying a bite or two…
Things I’m thankful for today:
1. If you’ve gotten to this point of today’s post, I’m thankful you actually took the time to stick around and read this whole thing! Whew…
2. Sooooo thankful that my first Thanksgiving turkey dinner went off without a hitch! Everything turned out so yummy and I had a blast cooking it all! (I should also be thankful that my family actually liked it all! hee… )
3. Manini’s GF All Purpose Flour – the Cadillac of GF flours! This flour allowed me to make the best, fluffiest, softest dinner rolls I’ve had since being diagnosed with Celiac! SOOOO good! No brick breads for me!
4. That I was able to spend fun quality time with my closest friends and family during the holidays! (Shout out: Steve, Nick, Elissa, Kim, Matt, Mom, Dad, Barbara, Ladonna, A.Kathy) 😀
5. I’m thankful that my Aussie kidney friend, Maria, has a chance to share her experience via a possible book deal! Check out her website here! Good luck Maria – we’re rooting for you!