A Matter of Perspective

I went to a yoga class this weekend at the gym/community center where I work as the coordinator of preventive health programs. The yoga teacher knew me as such, a coordinator of a program for people with diabetes, not as a person with diabetes. With Type 1, I was still under cover, even though my omnipod sticks out in my tight yoga pants and threatened to give me away.

After a few moments of opening meditation and one or two poses, she walked over to my mat and said, “Hi Katie, nice to see you here.” I was surprised she knew my name, but we had met before and we pass each other in the hallway: usually she walking zen-like to class and me in a half-run back and forth to the fax machine. She squatted down next to me as she spoke and asked me if there was anything going on with my body she should know about like past injuries, issues, or any concerns at all. I scanned my internal landscape silently, and then sort of shook my head and shrugged ‘Nope.’ Usually at a studio I will mention to the teacher that I have type 1 and they may see me eating glucose tablets or drinking juice in the middle of class, but at the time I felt pretty stable in my bg and had my tablets handy, so I just went with that everything was just fine. She looked at me as I shook my head no and began to shake her head yes. She replied almost before I had spoke, “Yeah, you’re a pretty healthy lady,” as if to acknowledge her asking was just a formality, that she could see my health in a force field around me. And I felt a wave of gratitude for this part of me, the healthy part, which is always there with me even when diabetes is throwing me for a loop. The part that exits simultaneously with the other parts that throw me into exhaustion, dehydration, and frustration. We are not just a sum of the whole, but we are who we are based on the perspectives we allow in. So I am remembering today that labeling me with a chronic disease is just medical pragmatism, not the only reality. Find what works for you.

On the Road with Diabetes

Lately I’ve been on the road a lot. Which is a way I love to be! I love the adventure of navigating a new place. I like to go at it without a GPS (which is good since I don’t own one) and ask for directions as many times as possible from as many different people as I can. This seems strange, I know, but it is a fabulous way to discover the hidden nooks of a place and to get a sense of the general friendliness and openness of a community.

When you ask a local for directions, you can often tell right away how they feel about that place. People will light up when describing a route to you through a town or countryside that they love. They will shake their heads and look down and make scoffing, grunting sounds, or else, like when I landed in the worst neighborhood in San Francisco dragging my big red suitcase, with no cash, they will make purse-lipped, “Mhmm,” sounds with a furrowed brow and tell you not to make eye contact and to just keep moving. That’s not my style, so I asked a cop for directions further down the road hoping he might offer to transport me in his squad car. He didn’t, he just made more, “Mhmm,” sounds of worry and confusion for me.

When I’m traveling half of my mind is engrossed in the outer landscape and the other half is engrossed in my inner physiological landscape. I simultaneously hate and appreciate this. As much as I try to tell myself beforehand, “I’m going to just not care what my blood sugar is on this trip,” I always still do! When I have high blood sugar and have an hour or two of a drive yet, I feel like frustration is swelling inside of my heart. Having high blood sugar already makes me feel like a caged animal, and having it while being in a car is like that feeling times two. I can’t even (quite literally) shake it off, by going for a walk, or jog, etc. And I’m always puzzled between the fine dance of ‘conservative’ bolusing, so that I don’t go low if I’m driving, and extra bolusing or increased basal for the more sedentary time of travel.

Diabetes management thrives on routine or else requires the operator (me) to become a lot more involved. Which is the opposite of what I want to do on vacation. I want to say to my friends, “I don’t care where we go to dinner, take me to your favorite place!” Or, “Yeah, cheesecake sounds great!” Sometimes, I have an impulse to do that thing called…relaxing, where your mind sort of goes blank and you stop strategizing for the best possible way to achieve balance and you just sort of…veg.

But instead I pack a rigorous cooler full of literal veggies and nut butters, snack foods of all kinds, instant coffee (can’t really attribute that to diabetes, but it helps), and try to picnic as much as possible. The picnic is key because usually a good spot for picnicking is also a good spot for walking, which is a really useful tool on car trips. Often I park far from my ultimate destination and play the ‘ask for directions’ game on the way to wherever I’m going, which usually helps me get a good walk in. But I think the best outcome for me on the road comes from that good cache of snacks that I can use to fill-up a little before and meal at a restaurant that might not have as much to offer in the way of non-spiking foods or to munch on in the morning before my companions wake up. I would recommend the noble avocado, as the perfect snack for morning, afternoon, or night, compatible with sweet and savory, filling, and rich in happy making omega-3’s. I have more to say on this topic, but for now I’ve got to move.

Recipes To Not Try

This was actually some really good purple soup that I made the other day…couldn’t really tell you how though.

Hello Dear Readers,

Sometimes living with type 1 diabetes means that you have to experiment with certain substitutions and switches in your diet in order to achieve better blood sugar control. Often I use romaine lettuce instead of tortillas, make ‘pasta’ out of raw zucchini, or I eat lentils instead of rice.

But sometimes adventurous substitutions can go too far.

I got onto pinterest so I could follow my officemate’s cooking interests. She is an amazing chef who cooks “Rainbow in My Tummy” style food for the kids who participate in the programs where we work and she also regularly tells me about the professional grade cakes, soups, and vegetable dishes she makes. I actually have many friends who are excellent chefs and who’ve managed the art of following recipes to such an extent that they can now improv successfully.

I don’t think I’m there yet.

On pinterest, people have boards full of ‘recipes to try.’ I would like to offer you what might be the first in a series of blog posts called:

Recipes To Not Try

I’m Sure It Will Be Good Soybean Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 can soybeans (minus a few bites)
  • garlic powder (shake it)
  • chili powder (a shake)
  • olive oil (just whatever amt happens to splash into the container)
  • lime (a squeeze)
  • salt (some)

Step 1: Dump all that into a hand-blender approved container and blend on low or high, just whatever feels right at the time.

Step 2: Blend until viscous

Serves: not even your worst enemies

Because here is the thing with soybeans: even though at first, when blended up, you might be tempted to call this soy hummus ‘creamy’ the truth is that it’s slimey, and that even throwing it into the trash is a disturbing experience.

So tack this up onto you dispinterest board and don’t assume, like I am oft to do, that you can just ‘wing it’ yet again (or if you do, let me know so I can add it to my own virtual tackboard).