Welcome to Reflections of a Buddhist Pole Dancer!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Man, it's good to be wrong.

"Mommy...Can I have a drink of water?"

As parents we've heard that line a bunch of times. Usually we think it's a ploy to stay up a little bit later, to come into our bed, to avoid what we cherish-- sleep. At least we thought that way until six months ago when we woke up to the fact that excessive night thirst is a sign of diabetes. With Macy's diagnosis came a new parental perspective on so many things. But this isn't about Macy. This time it's about Brendan.

The past few nights he'd asked for water.

Worry tapped at my heart.

Today I returned from dropping Macy off at camp (half-day, less than a mile away, and still I was completely on edge), Brian announced that Bren asked for a big glass of ice-water as soon as he got out of bed.

"Don't panic," I tried to tell Worry, but Worry couldn't hear me as it banged on a big bass drum.

"Let's play a game!" I tell Brendan. "You pee in a little cup, we'll dip this little stick in it, and we'll see what color it turns!"

Having no idea that I was testing for the ketones that would indicate diabetes, he agreed.

And the neutral colored test patch turnd scarlet, indicating moderate to large ketones were present in his urine.

Just like when Macy was diagnosed.

Worry screamed "I TOLD YOU SO!"

Through tears I demanded an appointment with his doctor. They got us in immediately and took another urine test, this time looking for not only ketones, but sugar....which there was none of.

It turns out that the reason Bren was asking for water, and ketones were showing in his urine, was because he's dehydrated.

No, really....he was asking for water because his body was soooo thirsty....that's it!

We immediately took him to Jamba Juice and tried to let our brains recover from this latest family mindf**k.

Man, it's good to be wrong.

Friday, June 12, 2009

First Things First

When I do the following I stay happy, balanced, somewhat sane and ready for full participation with my family and friends:
  • Eating Right: No sugar, lots of fresh foods at regular intervals
  • Sleeping: Eight *uninterrupted* hours, please!
  • Engaging in Daily Physical Activity: Running, kickboxing, kettlebell workouts
  • Playing: Pole, please!
  • Reading stuff that keeps me focused
  • Spending Quiet Time In The Morning (dare I say meditation?) when I can set my day.

Doing laundry, cleaning the kitchen, picking up toys and running errands are NOT on my list! But truly I spend more time prioritizing those things than fitting in what really matters. Is this an AHA moment? Heck no! I've known this all along. Then why don't I follow my own owner's manual? Like all the owner's manuals for important things in my life, I often don't know where it is. I'll have to think about that one for a bit...

I'm excited about being an Honoree for the Santa Cruz Team In Training Marathoners! I meet them tomorrow for a picnic in the redwoods. It feels good to be stepping outside of myself and getting involved in something great. It's been a while.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

And the theme for June is....

JOEY! No, no, no...I haven't succumbed to my mid-life crisis and gone gaga for some guy named Joey who calls me babycakes and uses the phrase ba-da-bing a lot. You know me better than that. June is actually about j-o-y, but because that's my mom's middle name and she spells it j-o-E-y, and since she's the most joy-filled person I know, I thought I'd spell it that way too!

I thought of many themes: mindfulness (been there), play (done that), awareness (lighten up! It's summer!) and Joey is the one that sticks! Imagine the fun I can have with Joey! Joey in being with my kids, joey in my spiritual experiences, joey in my body, joey with the moment! The possibilities are endless! I can't wait for tomorrow, so I'm already feeling the fun of this theme today on the last day of May.

My mom gave me a great idea for the summer. We're going to create a schedule starting mid-June for Mac&Bre's (like Mac and cheese) Summer Camp. Each week of "camp" will have its own theme that will come with a designated craft, lesson, story, and excursion. For example, if it's animal camp week, we might make animal masks, learn about zoos and why they're important, take a trip to the SF Zoo, and read a chapter from a classic animal story each night (my mind blanks here, but I know I'll find a fantastic book!). Other themes that Mac and Bre have shown interest in are: Dog Camp, Art Camp, Earth Camp, Camping camp, Hannah Montana Camp, Beach Camp and Pirate Camp. The creative possibilities are mind-blowing! If I follow through with this fabulous idea it will put a loose purpose around time that can slip through our fingers as one summer day melts into the next. I love that there's plenty of room for flexibility, too, should other plans come up.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A few questions for me

Is today the day?
Is it the day the bullsh*t stops?
The day that only truly important things matter?
Is it the day I do what I say? Do what I want?
Is today the day that I do what my heart begs me to do?
Is it the day of beginnings or the day of endings?
Will I be happy with what I've exchanged one day of my life for when I slip under the covers and nod off to sleep?
Will I get another chance or is today all I have left?
Will I get to play again? Will they ask me? Invite me?
Will I still matter to them? Is it too late?
Will he still want me? Will he still want to be mine? Or is he too tired...too?
I am nervous with anicipation,
reluctant to move forward because I'm fearing the end.
Wanting to hold the pause button as I get myself together and can finally be who I am supposed to be.
Is today the day I press play?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Running From, Running Toward

Five miles. I made up my mind this morning to run the full five miles on West Cliff, something I hadn't done for a long, long time. A brisk, beautiful day, the waves, less savage than the stormy days prior, reached the shore with faded enthusiasm. Not me, though-- I was just getting started!

What I'm running FROM:
  • The feeling of helplessness: Fear of Macy's lows. Particularly at night or when she's at school. I often feel like it's my fault-- did I give her too much insulin? Too little food? Am I so bad at math that I miscalculated her carbs?
  • Anger: See above.
  • Muffin top: The way I see it, Oil spills. Milk spills. But mid-section spills? Enough of that already!

What I'm running TOWARD:

  • Peace of mind: I sort so much out when I run.
  • Strength: Five miles! I love the way it feels when I push myself a little bit more.
  • Balance: Running is one of the only things I do by myself, just for me.
  • Health: Fresh ocean air and my heart is pumping!
  • Joy: I absolutely love running!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Fair-Weather Runner Gets Water Wings!

One tired girl plus one rainy day equals one big nap if given the chance....at least that's what I thought I'd do when Brian took Brendan for a while today. Since I don't run in the rain (one of my personal rules), I might as well rest. Cooking, cleaning, laundry and course work didn't appeal at the time (nor did they any time, really). Like the children in The Cat in The Hat, Miley and I solemnly stared out the window wishing for a brighter day. Actually, Miley didn't give a damn what the weather was like. She was patiently waiting for the next unauthorized dog to walk by so she could yap her little head off. To heck with it, I thought, I'll run despite (to spite?)the rain. And so Miley and I took off.

And we didn't even melt.

It was a fantastic run! Whenever I see someone exercising in foul weather I always assume they got stuck outside when in started raining and now are headed home. As I looped past my house three times I realized this is not always the case. Thanks to newly-downloaded Queen on my ipod, I even did some tough hill work at the end. Yay me!

Today I am thinking about:

  • Ways to stay present and keep Macy centered when she goes low and/or gets frustrated
  • Why my ears, scalp and legs and under-arms get so itchy after showering
  • That the cherry blossoms are absolutely gorgeous and I should take the kids to stand beneath them
  • That anyone interested in learning what a diabetic low feels like should visit www.sixuntilme.com and watch Kerri's 2/5 vlog. Amazing insight.
  • That I can learn a lot from Miley about enjoying the moment
  • Quiche (I'm making it for dinner)
  • Polka dots

Monday, February 2, 2009

If she's right can I please wake her up now?

Tonight Macy and I were having some close time together after dealing with another "low." Hoping to get an insight to how she sees this all, I asked her why she thinks she has diabetes. Her reply (verbatim and spoken very matter-of-fact-like):
"I don't think I have diabetes. I think I'm in a really long dream. And it's a nightmare."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Dog Training 101: Lessons from the Leash

On this sunny Sunday I was afforded the luxury (read: time) of running on West Cliff Drive. What a morning! The sky was clear, the temperature was just right for running, and I actually had energy! I took our 1-year old mixed spaniel, Miley, with me. I've found that not only do I like her company, but running with her is a great way to reinforce her training. I took note that I said only five phrases to her throughout the whole run: Leave It, Stay Close, Let's Go, Almost Home and (with much enthusiasm) Good Girl! Miley responded to all really well and we had a wonderful time.

For once I tuned out my ipod (not bothering to turn it on except for the stopwatch feature) and just listened to the waves, seal lions, and - of course- my internal chit-chat.

As I coached Miley away from dogs and birds and toward the home-stretch I mused about the commands I use with her. What if I applied them to my own personal training-- my training to be the best I can be? I saw it clearly: the Leave It command, spoken with authority, could redirect me when I travel with too many circular thoughts or venture too close to the cookie jar. Stay Close would remind me to stay on track and to stay with what I know to be good, right and true. Let's Go might gently push me when I lag and Almost Home would renew my commitment when I near completion of a goal. Finally, Good Girl!, delivered often with authenticity, cheer and at least one exclamation point, could reinforce positive behavior and just make me feel loved.

The beauty of this dog-training for people-training approach is its simplicity and familiarity. But I refuse to eat freeze-dried liver treats. :)

A poem I love...

I put on my rose-colored glasses
I sit down with them on
look around.

By Renea Jo Zosel, author of Diabetes: An Emotional Journey

Friday, January 30, 2009

I had it all the time

A while back I got this bug up my butt about getting something to keep my cell phone in while running. Because of Macy's situation I now take my cell phone everywhere with me and on runs it can get kind of sweaty as I clench it in my palm. I knew my need was logical, but soon it became a have-to-have-it type of thing. My plan was to get something affordable and practical, so one day off to the running store I finally went. I left the store ten minutes later with a twelve dollar "aquapod" that clips my phone (bulkily) to the inside of my running pants. I wasn't loving it but figured it would do the trick. Obsession quelled.

That evening as I prepared for my run I noticed something on the back of my running pants...what was this? A cell phone pocket? There it was, cleverly designed with a zipper so I can reach my phone with ease. Go figure...I had what I needed all the time.

The situation was rather Dorothy-and-the-ruby-slippers to me. While it was no big deal overall, it made me reflect on how often I distract myself from the present by looking for things I already have, whether spiritually, physically, emotionally or materially. Sometimes it's a lipstick I covet (how can I possibly be okay with out the newest shade of nude?) and sometimes it's a self-help book that I can't possibly do another day without, or a bowl (or two) of the kids' cereal that promises to take away my emotional pain. Other times I long for more esoterical "things" such as love, time and happiness. My favorite necklace is a Mobius strip that says, "There is no way to happiness-- happiness is the way." I'll put it on now. What a great reminder for me today.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Did PollyAnna get the blues?

...just wondering, 'cause I hurt so much right now. Now I fully understand where the term "heart break" comes from -- mine feels ripped apart. This has nothing to do with romance, though, but rather a mother's love for her daughter and my inability to make her "all better."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Quality Time, Any Time?

"Uh-oh. Looks like Strep," Brian said as he peered at my tonsils and off to Urgent Care I went. Not a hypochondriac-type, I don't rush to the doctor for any ol' hang nail, but when my throat hurts to the point of not wanting to talk or eat (two of my favorite things!), I'm willing to do something about it. One hour later the doctor reported that the strep test was negative and I was on my way back home. Waste of time? Hardly. I got uninterrupted time to read two more juicy chapters of Club Dead (from the True Blood series). Escapism? Not to me. It's all about enjoying the moment. (I have to laugh when I realize that it takes a trip to the doctor for me to get time to myself, though!)

I first learned about mindfulness and being aware of the present when I went through treatment for leukemia in 1997. I've been studying it since and often feel that I am no closer to mastering it than before. How elusive the obvious can be! So often the day to day moments escape my attention while I focus on that perpetual to-do list or the mental chit-chat in my mind. Macy's diabete's diagnosis gives me another opportunity (and a swift kick-in-the-pants reminder!) to tune in. You see, when it comes to Macy, I freeze with fear when I think too far ahead. Worrisome, unanswerable What-If questions sprout in my head and I am stuck in a future place that does not exist. When I remember to be mindful- knowing that all I have is this moment- I look at Macy, I see her smile, and life is good.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Macy in the Sky with Diamonds

It's said that life can change on a dime. I've known that to be true before, and I've recently experienced the truth of that idiom again. After a very-merry-Christmas my family of four was turned upside down with the type 1 diabetes diagnosis thrust upon our seven year old daughter, Macy. Sure, she'd been guzzling water for weeks, but she said she just loved it and liked to call it "beauty juice" as referenced by her Auntie Leslie. Maybe she had too much salt in her diet. And so she had a voracious appetite, but kids go through growth spurts, right?

It wasn't until that day at the beach that I really began to believe something was wrong. On Monday (12/29/08) we went to Manresa to play on the beach while Brian surfed. It was a cloudless day, a bit chilly, but gorgeous and welcomed after several days of winter rain. Our four-year old, Brendan, quickly busied himself with shovels and pails, while Macy (normally the more energetic of the two) sat still on a blanket, energy drained.

Flashback to a Tuesday in February of 2008. My twelve year old dog, Emi, the dog-of-my-life, my "soul dog," was diagnosed with cancer and the doctor said that while unsure of how long she had left, we would know when it was time to let her go. My mom said that I'd know Emi was ready when she wasn't happy at the beach. That Thursday I took her to the beach and tears streamed down my face as I accepted her obvious apathy. The beach, her stomping ground and play ground for twelve plus years, couldn't even bring a wag to her weary tail. The following Sunday we said our final thank-yous and good-byes to Emi.

Back to Manresa: Lesson learned: Something was wrong. The following afternoon I took Macy to the doctor who, after examining a simple urine test, proclaimed her as a type 1 diabetic. He arranged for Macy to be admitted to Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford the same evening. As he walked us to our car he said carefully, "Don't dally," meaning that we needed to get our girl under professional care immediately.

Two nights later we returned from Stanford skilled in insulin injections, gluclose counts and carbohydrates. Whose life was this? How did we get here? Can I please re-read the script?

And so life changed on a dime.

Our learning curve is a steep one as we negotiate the treatment of diabetes. Four to five blood gluclose checks and three insulin injections a day for Macy are the new "normal." I am grateful, furious, optimistic, broken-hearted, and strident all at one time. Macy is AMAZING: Cheering me on when I give her a shot that doesn't hurt and encouraging me that it will be better the next time when I give her one that does. She carefully watches and approves every finger prick and injection as if she's a doctor overseeing a first year med-student. She's barely complained and inspires me daily.

As I ran yesterday I played word games with diabetes. I hate that it starts with D-I (as in d-i-e). I tried to think of a more empowering D-I word. Immediately I pictured Princess Di, but shook off the image as I imagined her death. Diocese? Nah, too controversial nowadays. Diagonal? Doesn't make sense. Diagnosis? Scary. Diamond? YES! Diamond! Macy is a big, brilliant DIAMOND. She is strong, she is beautiful. From now on, diamonds will symbolize her beauty and strength as she travels her life path with a diagnosis of diabetes. One day she will have a diadem of diamonds.

Life changes on a dime. And now it's symbolized by a diamond. Works for me.