Wednesday, April 15, 2009

O is for . . . Openness

Today tastes like olives and okra, oysters and oatmeal, Oreos and opopanax.

Well. Where to begin?

Tonstant Weaders will no doubt recall (because every word here is a pearl without price, ha-ha) that I've written about how fall tends to be the sucky depressing time in my life, filled with the smell of loss and frost even as the days shorten and the few leaves turn.

Fall 2008 was the maggot-ridden cherry on the pus-covered excrement sundae of Worst Fall Ever.

I went to the doctor's office for my semiannual urinary tract infection. I came out with Type II diabetes. (Rather like the Englishman who went up a hill and came down a felon. That was NOT what I had in mind!!!)

And here's the thing. I am an intensely private person in so many areas of my life. I share odds and sods, and sometimes surprise people with what I'm willing to say out loud, but this . . . well, this was different.

Honestly, if DH Gareth hadn't been with me at the hospital, I wouldn't have told him for a while.

As it was, I held onto to my secret for weeks, smoldering like wet leaves on fire, wrapped up in my judgment and perception of how others would judge me. If I hear one more person pontificate on how diabetes is TOTALLY avoidable, I will rip their living heart from their chest and eat it in front of them, saying to their glazing eyes, "THAT was totally avoidable, dumb-ass."

Hey, it's just protein, salts, and water. Shouldn't screw with my sugars too badly. (Thanks for your concern.)

And yeah, that's a lot of where my head was at. Three times a day for the rest of my life I get to stick a lancet in my skin and be reminded that I am TOOO STOOOOOPID to TAKE DECENT CARE of myself; can't even manage to FEED MYSELF RIGHT, F'R GODSAKES; and probably shouldn't be out among the ADULTS WITHOUT A LEASH. Anger and shame flambe with a sidecar of fury and humiliation.

Is this like pregnancy? Never having experienced the latter condition, all I know are the anecdotes that get told about how random strangers walk up and put their hands on your belly, how everyone has at least one horror story about how they were in labor for eighteen weeks and couldn't have any pain medication at all, and how their friend/sibling/third cousin twice removed tragically lost their child due to some ham-handed fuckup by the medical profession that left Little Turtle Dumpling dying in momma's arms, whispering, "Why did you fail me, o mother mine? How could you have brought me here like this? I loved you . . ." with their last gasping breath.

And it's kind of the same way. Others in my circle of friends have come up snake eyes on the sugar cube dice, and when they speak up, everyone has a story about an uncle or a friend or a friend's uncle who had the condition and either lived a long and happy life or had multiple amputations, starting with the toes and working inwards until he went blind, had a stroke, and finally died of a heart attack after being reduced to a drooling torso in a wheelchair. At fifty. And it's too bad, because diabetes is so easily avoided. *slowly I turn, fingers flexing, step by step, inch by inch*1

So. Not counting on much support from that end of things.

I don't intend to turn this into Spike's Sainted Blog, where it's all Chronic Disease all the time. However, it is a part of my life now.2 It won't get better. There is no cure at this time; just management. Kind of like addiction, only I can't take a vow of abstinence and stop drinking.

Although not eating would cure the condition, as much as it can be cured. Three weeks or so, and I wouldn't have diabetes any more. The side effects though, the side effects of that cure are a bitch. And permanent, to boot.

Back to openness, and secrets, and spilling your guts. (Not literally. I haven't heard you say the "A" word yet. Which "A" word? "Avoida--" *slowly I turn, fingers flexing, step by step, inch by inch*)

I've been telling the people it directly affects--the people I (used to) break bread with first, so we can plan around grains and carbs and meals when I may or may not be allowed to eat. The folks at the office, so they understand when I suddenly turn white and clutch the wall at about 3:35 p.m. when my sugars crash with an audible thud.

Ah, but the 'rents.

The damned disease makes frequent appearances runs gallops up and down both sides of the family tree. And yup, there's a genetic component. According to the American Diabetes Association, there's a certain amount of risk simply due to the way humans are constructed--it's a design flaw. Raise that to 1 in 13 if you have a diabetic parent who developed the disease after age fifty. 1 in 7 if you have a diabetic parent who devloped the disease before 50.

Anyone want to guess what happens if you have two diabetic parents? Anyone? Bueller?

Your risk is one in two. Flip a coin; tails you lose.

Can someone gimme "avoidable"? *slowly I turn, fingers flexing, step by step, inch by inch*

Yeah, choose your parents carefully.

And speaking of parents, how does one break the news that you have the family disease? "O hi, Mom, how's the weather? Uh-huh, and Dad? Uh-huh, and by the way Ihavediabetes. Isthatthedoorbell? Nicetalkingtoyoubye." Mmmm. Not so much. And I surely don't want them to read it on the blog. (Reason number 493 not to let your folks know where you keep your diary . . . Hi, Mom!)

It's not going to be easy. That much I know. So I'm tying up a shoe of Damocles here with this post, written ahead of time. (And even writing this has been tough. I keep running away and circling back. I've spent over five hours on this.)

I need to have broken the news before this publishes. If I don't, and I get a Rowling-style Howler from the 'rents, then it's my own damn fault for being too much of a chickenshit to put on my big girl panties and pick up the phone.

There. I've set up an auto-publish, and *gulp* the date's a lot sooner than I thought it'd be.

Well, I've said it before. I don't need inspiration. What I need is a deadline. And now I have one.

1. Hmmm. A human head is often compared to a cabbage in terms of consistency. I wonder if SKIN is much different? I'd think not; there's a lot of bone in a head. And you can avoid the rib cage handily . . .

2. Hence the tag, "Too Sweet For My Own Good." Read 'em or dodge 'em, but that'll be the thrust of these posts. I can feel several rants coming on . . .

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

I is for . . .

Well, today it's for interruption. I had another post written, but did not have time to take pictures, without which the post makes absolutely no sense at all (as opposed to the usual word salad rambling sense rife with digression you've come to expect here).

So. Today tastes like irritation, idiopathy, interference, and iodine.

My natal anniversary was this past Saturday, and it feels like this one was a corner-turning one.

I've had them before, some at the usual and expected points (eighteen, when childhood ended) and some not (twenty-four, when adulthood began; or thirty-six, when I started to feel like I could art).

This one . . . this one I feel Lord Shiva dancing in my heart. I is for immolation.

I feel that some significant chapters need to be closed. I'm not going to slam the book shut, tempting though that is, easy though that would be, but some of the principals and semi-laid plans I had are not going to come through the way I initially thought they would. If think is the correct word. I is for intuition.

I love my paper arts, I love my fiber arts, I love my charity knitting, but my studios are in chaos. I can find what I seek, but the finding means moving everything in an N-puzzle algorithm. Move the duffle bag so I can move the couch so I can get to the coffee table, open the door, and then spread the contents out until I find that ball of yarn/piece of cloth/bit of ribbon--then reverse the steps to put it all back.

The time has come 'round to pick the next layer of low-lying fruit and kiss the things I no longer find motivating goodbye. To decide on the ground-level goals, to plan out the 500 foot-level goals, and to see the big picture from space. I am weighed down with shoulds and promises I have made to no one except myself, even though the products may go to others.

Lord Shiva says to open your hands, to clear the path, to sweep the land clean for Brahma.

I is for inspiration.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

H is for . . .

Today tastes like habaneros and halva, heliotrope and hippocras1.

A lot of things start with "H" apparently. Let's start with hoo-doggies2.

So . . . I caught my annual turn of the season cold, which has developed into bronchitis (as it usually does) but I learned my lesson in 2006-07 and STAYED PUT for the run of the sickness. That meant not going to the gym till this week.

Which doesn't sound like a hardship, but I've worked very hard at developing that pattern until it's become as automatic as putting on clothing before I leave the house. Wouldn't think of doing it any other way . . . until I knew I'd better not.

So I went back this week, and the workout, she has kicked my butt.

Not to mention that I've added on a cash-out to the routine for core and shoulder strengthening. Raising the resistance on the pull-ups taught me right where the weak spots in my shoulders were. So now, as DH Gareth bemoaned, we do the workout before the workout (the warm-up), the workout, then the workout after the workout (the cash-out). Getting old is not for wussies.

Let me add that H is for Havi Brooks. From her, I learned about dialoging with your negative emotions--your fear, your pain, your whatever--which always makes me think of throwing a little tea party in your head. (Hey, better than throwing a tantrum in your physical body, and less disturbing to those around you.)

I played with it, a little, and love the results. Goofy and twee, sure, but it allowed me to actually process the emotions rather than wadding them up in a little bitty ball and cramming them into the closet. O, that closet. The one in the corner . . . breathing. Someday maybe I'll be ready to open the doors and process what's in there, rather than pretending I don't see the eyes in the night.

But along those lines, H is also for hair. Yes, indeed, my vanity is showing.

I have worn my hair very long for most of my life. I cut in once when I was about ten to fit in (regretted it madly about three days later, when the novelty had worn off and my classmates returned to making my life a living hell their usual behavior), then when I was seventeen (into a lion's mane to celebrate passing a milestone as I was a senior and graduating soon, then my best friend died, and I cut it all off from grief)and four years ago, as I was getting a convertible.

I enjoyed the last four years, don't get me wrong. This was where I was, with my hair blowing in the breeze but too short to tangle. (I mean, SHORT.)

But now . . . I miss it.

So I’m hanging on to my patience by my stubby li’l fingernails, taking my vitamins, sleeping on satin pillowcases, using a horn comb, and most importantly NOT CUTTING IT while I wait for it to grow.

And it is growing. Bless digital cameras, since pixels are free. I can take back of the head shots and prove that the hemline is slowly slowly creeping down to my shoulders, slowly slowly inching its way along. When I compare March to January I see the progress I’ve made, and having the photo history of the growing out period may be useful/amusing at some later date.

Meanwhile, I am at the awful stage where I can’t even put it all up in a ponytail. And thanks to the wonders of the intarwebs, I have found beaucoup styles that all require long hair to perform . . . including one doozy where you mold giant pincurls into a stylized rose wreath. Le sigh.

So–an open letter to my hair.

Dear Topper:

I recognize that we have had a long and tulmultuous relationship. I grew you out and gnawed your ends, I left you to tangle in the wind, dry in the sun, and basted you in chlorine. I changed your shape; I changed your color. You hung with me through it all. This last time . . . well, I cut you off and swore I would never never change until you went completely white.

And now here I am, asking that you come back one last time.

I have nothing to give you but promises. Promises of oil and honey, of patience and protection, of care and loving treatment. Why should you trust me this time? Why, after the purple and henna and high tight cuts should you believe I'll let you go your way this time?

Because, dear Topper, I've learned my lesson this time. I've found that I feel more like me when the two of us are together. I've learned the pleasure of long lazy time, time where everything else can be set aside, where I can demand that the world turn without me for an hour or so.

I will treat you like the vintage textile you are, with no harsh chemicals, no demands on your shape, and with care for your delicate ends. If you will only come back this last time.


She Who Lives Beneath

1. A medieval spiced wine, served hot.

2. A doleful ejaculation particular to my family. "The stock market just lost another 347 points!!!" "Hoo-doggies! Did you go short, I hope?"