Monday, July 29, 2013

Do not forget how fragile we are

When my friend shared the link on my Facebook, the hairs in the back of my neck stood up instantly. A good girlfriend of his, was missing after a wonderful night out. She was supposed to take public transportation to her car that was parked just outside downtown Ghent. Her father was expecting her at a funeral she was supposed to attend the next morning, but she didn't show up. That was nothing like her, her father claimed. He reported his 29 yo old daughter missing. People were asked if they knew her whereabouts or if anyone knew where her car was. It was no longer parked where she had left it the night before. My friend was very upset with her disappearance. Aurore Ruyffelaere was a young and promising teacher. With plenty of friends, she enjoyed life and she had a bright future ahead of her. So many people were out there, looking for her and hoping for the best. The night before Aurore went missing, a man had attacked another woman in an attempt to steal her purse. The police was investigating the possible link between this man and the disappearance of Aurore..

Tonight, at 22:17, the newspapers made the announcement that the search for Aurore had stopped. She will not come home. She will have no more wonderful nights out nor teach history class to young teens. Life has come to an end for this young woman. She had just started life, living all by herself for the very first time. She had a dog she was looking after and she was loved by her family and friends.

What has happened to this world, that people decide they can take someone else's life? How sick are you, when you murder an innocent person? Nobody deserves to die like this.. Neither did this young girl... So many lives have been torn apart again. The life of her family will never be the same. Life has stopped July 29th 2013. There will be an empty spot in their heart that can never be filled. RIP beautiful girl... 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The downside of D

Most of the time, D doesn't bother me. It's not that I could care less or that I don't take care of myself. On the contrary, I do whatever I have to do to keep my numbers in range. Most of the time though, I feel like diabetes is as difficult as science. Every time you think you have finally figured out the correct settings on your insulin pump, something new lurks around the corner to bite you in the bum. It can be really frustrating, you know. Why can't D behave every now and then? Let's say once a month? Is that too much to ask? I'm not even asking once a week, just one day a month or even one single night a month? No lows, no highs, no unexpected swings in that blood sugar. Wouldn't that be the best thing ever?
I don't like to whine about diabetes. It doesn't get us anywhere, does it? It is what it is and we have to take it as it comes. Things have improved quite a bit since I started using CGM Dexcom 5 months ago. The average number on my graphs is lower than it used to be. I'm getting better at understanding the alarms it gives me and I'm doing better at preventing highs and lows. The sad thing though, is that you can prevent the lows, but you have to prevent them by eating or drinking carbs. I can feel the carbs cling to my hips and tummy and that really upsets me. I have come so far and I was so proud of the weight loss. Now it seems like my pants have downsized and my pretty blouses open their buttons all by themselves when I take a deep breath. Me not like.. If only there were a pattern in the lows and highs. It would make it possible to change the basal settings on my insulin pump. But hey guess what: what's new??? There is NO PATTERN! No pattern whatsoever! Are you playing tricks with me, stupid diabetes? Gimme a break, okay? I'm trying to look after myself here. Just bear a bit with me, will ya? Grrrrumble...

I'm done with the rant now. I'm going to correct that high (nowadays 145 is high) very carefully. I have put small boxes of chocolate milk on the way upstairs, to help me beat those nighttime lows, if they will present themselves tonight. Tomorrow is another day. And D will still be there..

Monday, July 22, 2013

Paris s'éveille

Il est 5 heures, Paris s'éveille..

There is a small chance that you will wake up this early to slip outside to take pictures of your
Photo Thijs Penny
favorite city Paris. You have been given the unique chance, to spend a week in Paris with one of your classmates and his mom. Completely excited and thrilled to go, you packed your bags and got a train ticket to complete this wonderful journey. The sun will be out all week and there won't be the need of getting that umbrella out of your backpack. Thanks to the Internet, you were able to look into finding great spots to visit and plan the week with your friend. He's a great guy and the two of you are hilarious together. He makes you laugh and his laughter is so contagious it brings tears to my eyes.

There will be so many stories to tell. Every now and then we get a text message from you or an update on your Facebook profile. It's good to hear where you are and despite the burning sun, you are having a ball. Enjoy your vacation pumpkin. It'll be a week to remember.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

In a perfect world..

Photo Eva Joos
.. shoes would never hurt, clothes would always fit like a glove and hair would shine like in TV commercials. No need to complain about your eyelashes since yours are the thickest and longest since Maybelline started selling their products. Beauty specialists would sigh by the sight of your perfectly shaped eye brows and natural make up that gives you the glow you deserve. Your teeth would be sparkling white and your nails long and manicured like those of a movie star. You would have a long neck, perfectly straight shoulders, a dazzling cleavage and slim arms. Your waist would resemble the waist of Cher and your hips would be wider to represent that hour glass shape we all envy, ending in a firm Jennifer Lopez bum. Who said you couldn't have legs like Cindy Crawford and well shaped feet to fit those towering Louboutins?

There is no need to aim any higher. You're perfect, just the way you are. You look like a princess and you have the ability to conquer anyone's heart... That young man who will pick you up in a couple of hours time, is the luckiest man ever, for he can call you his girlfriend. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013


If I would still have had my gall bladder, I'm sure I would've felt bile coming up my throat..

There were 4 of us in the car and it was only 5:15 AM. We had just turned on to the Highway on our way to Bruges Railway Station, when we saw this black, sporty car. It was not looking its best. The roof of the car had been scraping over the street. Since it was still 18°C, the window at the driver's side was rolled down. We could see a young male, wearing a white short sleeved T-shirt. He was in deep trouble. A young couple in a black Mini Cooper had just stopped and was running towards the car that had landed upside down on its roof. A truck was involved into the accident as well.
It was not looking good at all. My stomach twirled and I told my daughter to look the other side. I tried to keep my eyes focused on the traffic light and it had never taken so long to jump green. A bunch of young people - I assume around 8 - were in despair, walking around the car and looking for help. Despite the warm morning, all of a sudden I was really cold. Whose parents would get a phone call, this early in the morning? In which house would a mom howl like a wolf for her lost son? Whose dad would try to keep back his tears, his arms holding on to the woman who once put this child into this world?

Was there a technical problem with this car that made it cause this accident? Was it speeding? Were alcohol or maybe drugs responsible for this awful ordeal or a combination of? I don't know. I could only hope there were no other youngsters involved. Somehow I felt the presence of friends in this car and all of them had gone out together and were on their way looking for some more fun. The good weather must have made them feel invincible. So many lives will be torn apart again. All this grief and pain and sorrow for a night full of happiness and laughter.

Am I crazy for picking up our daughters after a night out? Is it selfish to ask them not to get loaded or forbid them to get into the car of a driver who's been drinking?
This is not what I was thinking of, when I told my daughter to get up early this morning, to be in time to leave for the Railway Station. She couldn't understand why we had to get going at 5 AM if the train wouldn't leave till 6:25? I told her there could always be obstacles on the road and I didn't want her and her companions to miss the train to Paris. Her friend's mom told me, her older son had not come home yet, from his night out. It freaked her out to see this accident. My daughter thought she saw her cousin looking at the wrecked car. I hope he was in bed, where he should be at this time of the day.

I wanted to go back to sleep, after I came back from Bruges. Blue police lights and orange lights from the towing service, were there to prevent others from bumping into the wreck. I saw nothing but uniformed men. The ambulances had already left the scene and the bystanders had gone home, trying to get this experience out of their system. I knew I would be checking the newspaper regularly this morning. It will be a while before this devastating image burned into my brain will have faded..

Only a couple of hours later, I read the newsflash. A truck driver was crossing the highway, when this young man wrecked his car by speeding a red light, into the back of the truck. Severely injured, but alive, and with alcohol in his system, the driver of the car was taken to the hospital. Let's keep our fingers crossed he will come out of this accident without too much damage...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Let's call that progress?

I normally write my blog in English, but I will make an exception this time. This blog has to be written in Dutch, because I want to reach Dutch people, since they are possible customers of car company Cardoen. We have had very bad experiences with this car company, for they have sold us a "brand new" car (that was one year older than they told us) with tons of defects. Especially the arrogance and  rudeness of this one particular concession in Dendermonde (they avoid taking their responsibilities), is something that is totally unacceptable. We are still waiting for their apologies and a compensation for all of the aggravation and unexpected bills we have paid so far...

I posted the message on Facebook July 13th. I posted the same message on TalkToo, since Cardoen is willing to solve problems through this website. They haven't called us since or made any attempt whatsoever to find a solution for the shitty situation they have put us in. Does this mean they could care less? Do they not care about safety? How about their conscience, selling us a car that was full of defects, pretending it was new and carefree?

We are counting on you Cardoen, like you counted on us for paying you for this car.

Bij Cardoen vind je meer dan 1000 nieuwe auto's & jong gebruikte aan de laagste prijs,met een keuze uit 25 merken ! Ook open op zon- en feestdagen ! Bekijk hier de auto's die net zijn binnengekomen :

Vind ik leuk · · Delen

This is the message Cardoen sends out to (potential) customers on Facebook. It really pissed me off to read it and I couldn't but react, especially after just having picked up my fixed car and having paid another 1200 euros because of the lousy car they sold me...

My reaction: Auto gekocht als zijnde nieuw, in april 2010, bij Cardoen Dendermonde. De auto werd echter al ingeschreven bij Cardoen in april 2009.

Autoradio met stuurbediening installeren was te moeilijk voor Cardoen. Oplossing: dan maar geen stuurbediening, zelfs niet na het aankopen van een nog duurdere autoradio.

Verschillende lichtjes branden op dashboard. Oplossing: zekeringen worden gewoon uitgetrokken en het probleem is opgelost?

Auto gaat aan het slippen zonder aanwijsbare reden. Geen regen of gladheid of overdreven snelheid. Oplossing: geen!

Auto begeeft het in het midden van kruispunt. Kan niet meer gestart worden en moet weggesleept worden. (niet door Cardoen)

Auto kan niet meer optrekken en heeft niet voldoende kracht meer. Auto moet weer weggesleept worden (niet door Cardoen) Oplossing: verkeerde zekering. Werd vervangen. 

Lichtje airbag blijft branden. Oplossing: sensor kapot of airbag kapot? Geen idee?

Auto kan niet meer bestuurd worden. Stuurhuis kapot! Cardoen wijst alle verantwoordelijkheid af. Stuurhuis wordt op onze kosten vervangen bij een andere garage. Het vertrouwen in Cardoen is helemaal weg.

Verschillende lichtjes branden: airbag, ESP, HDC en ABS. Auto maakt akelige geluiden bij remmen. Auto binnengedaan bij SsangYong Hoofdzetel. Oplossing: nieuwe batterij, nieuwe wiellager, nieuwe sensoren. Wiellager was volledig verroest! En dat voor een auto die 3 (4?) jaar oud is?

Ondertussen gehoord van andere klanten die met dezelfde wagen rijden, ook van bij Cardoen Dendermonde, dat zij dezelfde problemen ondervinden. De betreffende wagens zouden in een opslagplaats in Polen onder water gestaan hebben!!! Dit is niet wat wij gedacht hadden toen we deze auto aangekocht hebben als zijnde een nieuwe auto, zonder problemen!

Voor een auto waar wij 23.000 euro voor betaald hebben, is dit zeker niet iets wat we verwacht hebben. De houding van Cardoen Dendermonde is ronduit arrogant en absoluut niet behulpzaam. Geen vervangwagen ter beschikking, neergooien van de telefoon als je om meer uitleg vraagt. 

Na mails/telefoon naar Cardoen Antwerpen, zijn we nog niets wijzer. 

Wat zal het volgende probleem zijn en vooral: wie draait op voor de geleden schade?
43 minuten geleden · Vind ik leuk

Reaction Cardoen Oei, dat klinkt niet leuk. We bekijken dit intern en zullen je zo snel mogelijk contacteren !
17 minuten geleden · Vind ik niet meer leuk · 1

I am stronger than yesterday

Last week I went to visit a friend, who used to be my French teacher. We are from the same region by origin and there is something that keeps the friendship going, although we don't see each other that often. She has a wonderful orchard and I was invited to pick fresh cherries and red currants, while she was picking fresh greens for our lunch. She's a coach to many people and she always has good advice. I like to talk to her and broaden my mind. It's not the first time we talked about work and making money. It's not that I don't want to work or earn money, honestly. I think something is holding me back. I don't have a good relationship with money. That is, money is not that important to me anymore. It's a bit hard to explain. I like to spend money and it feels good to have (plastic) money in your pocket. I think it's the fear of having money to my own name. I don't have good experiences with money in my own account. It can be taken away from you. Maybe that's the main reason why I spend money so easily and don't mind working without being paid?

I'm ready to leave those experiences behind me and move on. I want to make money of my own. I want to contribute more to our savings account and I want my husband to be proud of me. I'm looking into finding ways to earn some extra money. I've been to a meeting this week, to learn more about one particular job I could combine with my love for cooking. I won't rush things this time. I will think things over as long as it takes. I already have an income and a job. This is extra, on the side. I will get there, just give me the time I need. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Cutting the apron strings

You were totally confident about getting a student's job. Although we live in a small town and finding a job here is not easy, you said I had to trust you and confide in your ability to find a job. So I did.
You had been talking with Sister Erika, who has been the head nurse in a hospital in Ghent all her life.  Since she is the sister of your grandma, you know her well and the two of you make a good pair. She promised you a job at the hospital. All you had to do, was fill out the forms. You were 100% convinced that the job was yours. And you were right!

Tomorrow at 7:00 AM sharp, you will be present in the kitchen of the nursing home. The tasks on your contract include making sandwiches, cleaning the kitchen and washing the dishes. Pretty versatile tasks, I would say. It's not something you are used to doing, but I know you will do well. You are stubborn and determined to make some money of your own. You want to be more independent and earning money is a good start. You can't believe how much we look alike. I recognize your determination and your eager to move on. It will be hard and you will sweat and your feet will be sore on day one. But you'll get used to it. There won't be a cell phone to text your friends and you won't be able to have a drink or a snack whenever you feel like it. But there will be chores to keep you busy and colleagues to talk to and of course, there will be the residents to take care off. They will be so happy to see your smile and your youthful attitude. I'm sure you will give the elderly a hug when they ask for one. You will ignore the spit and the smell of the dirty diapers. I know you will be brave and you will bring your job to a good end. Work hard sweetheart! The people at the resort are counting on you. Make them proud and best of all: make yourself proud. It's another step towards adulthood. You're ready to make that step. The safety of moms wings is no longer necessary. It's time to flap your wings and discover another world. We're proud of you.

Pinky promise

I believe he promised his little girl, that he would take care of her. At all times, for always. I was sitting in her room, 7:20 PM sharp. She was ready to go to bed. She could tell things were not normal, since normally, I'm not there at nighttime. She was a bit restless and distracted, so I sat down. Her daddy had put down a chair for me and he had asked me not to speak in her room. We didn't want to disturb the routine, as that is very important for the little Princess. I totally agreed and I sat down and watched. Only the dimmed light on the bedside table was on and the room was dark and ready for the night. The only noise to be heard, was the humming sound of the aerosol and little Princess breathing in the fumes of her medication. Daddy was stroking her hand and she held on to his index. I sat there, very quietly, enjoying this serene ritual. I was proud of this little girl. I was happy and honored that her parents let me in to this part of her world. It was moving to see the love between a father and his 5 year old daughter. No words needed. Love was ubiquitous. Tears were in my eyes, for this love is so pure, so unconditional. I kissed her goodnight, in the air, for I didn't want to wake her up or disturb the sound of silence. We sneaked out of her room in total darkness, tiptoeing to make sure not one sound would wake her up. Sweet dreams, little Princess... I'll see you tomorrow x 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Fatty Pierre

Can you imagine my astonishment, when you told me you and your boyfriend had come up with a different nickname for me? I burst out in laughter and at the same time I was offended by the idea. Go figure! You had been reading some posts I had written on the diabetesforum and you were talking to your boyfriend about it. He wasn't too sure about the contents and he told you not to trust the Internet. After all, we don't know who's behind the nickname, right? When your partner told you, this "meurtelken" person could be a totally different person in real life, you were a bit shocked. Maybe the She was not a she, but a he. Maybe the She was a enormous fat and lonely guy, looking for some companionship. OMG... He even named me Fatty Pierre! But then again.. he's right. You never know who's behind a nickname. A picture doesn't say it all. It's so easy to copy someone else's picture and pretend it's you. I know I have thought the same about other people I met online. They would always stay away from meetings so it made us wonder if the online person was truly the person he claimed to be. Be careful, when you're out there surfing the net. Be careful when you are confiding in people you've never met. I'm sure there are plenty of Fatty Pierres and Creepy Carolines online. Trust your own instinct and check out who you've been talking to... It might lead to a new friendship or it might teach you a lesson in life.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Eyeballing the carbs

I'm trying to straighten out the basal patterns on my insulin pump. It can't be that difficult, can it? You just write down what you eat, how much insulin you shoot up to cover that meal and what your numbers think of that. Big deal... or is it a big deal after all?

It takes a lot of work to write it all down. I have made a template that I can use all over again. Still, you need to think things over. I wanted to start by having carb free breakfasts, three days in a row: no bread, no cereal, no oatmeal, fruit or dairy products. I could have meat or a cucumber salad, but I decided to go for a diced pepper and tomato omelette. I never minded having an English breakfast. Thinking of juicy sausages and a piece or two of streaky bacon, I swallowed that last bit of omelette. Done. In an ideal situation, my blood glucose shouldn't peak now, because I skipped the carbs. The thing with diabetes though, is that you never know. You can have this breakfast one day and have great numbers afterwards and you could have skyhigh readings the next day on the same breakfast. There's not much we can do about that. I guess diabetes has mood swings, just like us.

The first day on my carb free breakfast, I was surprised on the numbers increasing. I did not expect my numbers to go up like that. But they came down without a correction of insulin as well. Weird. I like to watch my Dexcom and learn more about D and my body interacting. I was looking forward to day 2, to check if that graph would be similar or not. The fun thing about carb free meals, is that you don't have to eyeball the carbs. That's always a tricky part in your treatment. Prepackaged food is the easiest in counting carbs: you just read the labels on the product and you're done. With home cooked meals, things are a bit more complicated and I don't always feel like getting out that scale and nutrition label, so I make guesses...

So day 2: omelette and diced pepper and tomato breakfast. Same amount, same preparation. I had my breaky a bit earlier this time. Just because I got up earlier, I guess, no other reason.
Things weren't that different, BG wise. What would they be like on day 3?
Unfortunately, it was day 30 on my Dexcom and it needed to be replaced. No way I was going to poke my fingers 20 times to be able to read the progress. So I guess I'll have to check some other day.

I could do carb free lunch though!
I decided to go for a crispy, flavorful Caesar salad. Sadly enough, carb free means: no crunchy croutons in my salad today. I replaced the bread by baked chicken pieces (I'm so happy with my freezer, that held a Ziploc bag full of cooked chicken cubes for quick lunches), topped that with Parmesan and a home made anchovy dressing, that is typical for this wonderful salad. I did wanted something else to give my salad more body, so I decided to finally try out that Oopsie bread I had been reading about. It is not really bread, that's why they call it "oopsie"..  I don't really know what happened, but my afternoon was just crappy. Highs and lows followed by, well, more highs and lows. Once I'm on that rollercoaster, I know the rest of my day will be ruined. I no longer feel like completing my food diary. I even forgot to change my pump site, so I ended up with numbers that were not normal. O well, I'll give it another go next week... after all, diabetes is chronic. It won't go away. There's always time to give things another try..

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Strike a pose

I can't believe you have turned 46. To me, you don't look much older than you were when I first met you, 19 years ago. And trust me: 19 years has been a while. Does that mean you looked old back then? Or have you stopped aging since?

Unfortunately, you had to spend your birthday by yourself most of the day. I'm glad the girls were home to keep you company and you had chores you wanted to finish in your backyard. It wasn't until 5:30 PM before I had the chance to give you a hug and wish you a very happy birthday. We'll catch up, I promise. Last night, you were so anxious to find out about your birthday present. We let you read the card that had a rebus you had to solve. It was your job to find out what we had planned for you. We love you. We hope you will love your present!

These were the hints: