Friday, August 30, 2013

Prepping yourself

It's been on the news, you can read it in the papers. The new school year is going to be there soon. Kids are getting ready to meet their new class group and teachers. Exciting, scary at times and sometimes with some degree of anxiety, our daughters are preparing themselves. Books are being delivered, school supplies have been bought and labeled. There are books to be covered and pencil cases to be checked. Maybe backpacks need some dusting off as well. I feel their excitement (okay, my excitement is a bit higher than theirs at the moment)! I want to cover those books, I want to pack that backpack and go. I loved school! I'm sure there have been times I didn't like school so much, but overall, I didn't mind going. September 1st will always have some magic to it. There will be stories to tell once that first school day has come to an end. There will be grumpy faces and I'm sure not all teachers will be popular, but deep down, I just know our girls like to go to school. It's just not done to tell your friends that you don't mind going back.

In the meantime, I'm cutting wrapping paper and printing labels to cover those books. Can you believe I want to sharpen crayons and sort them out by color? It's like being a student again..

Thursday, August 29, 2013

He loves me, he loves me not

Being a teen is never easy. Being a teen in love is drama. Still discovering yourself, you need to think about how you look, how others feel about you, if what you say is interesting and what you do sufficient. You feel insecure and not loved and some days, you just don't know what to do with yourself. Include hormonal mood swings and we all know teen moments can be really hard. One day you feel like a queen, to fall apart just a couple of hours later.

I remember being in love and I mean, like completely in love with this guy. Not knowing how he truly felt about me. He was a couple of years older than me and I was not his first love. Feeling pretty insecure about myself, I would have done anything to please him. Just thinking about losing him, would make tears well up into my eyes. I would scribble down little notes for him and try to see him as often as I could (we attended the same class, although he was older than me) and most of the time he would flirt back and be nice and caring. At other times, he would like ignore me and hang out with his friends and give me the feeling I wasn't important to him. That would literally shatter my heart. At times it hurt so bad, I thought I would never get over it. But then he would glue the pieces and make me feel better.

I'm older now. I no longer depend that much on what others think of me. Being a teen can make you feel so insecure about yourself. You only want to love and be loved. It feels great if the other significant in your life tells you how pretty you are or how you make him laugh. Being together and make out is the most wonderful feeling and all you can think of is: how not to end it. So much energy goes into your relationship that there is almost none left for you. You forget to pamper yourself and do things you like and hang out with your friends without thinking or talking about your crush. Nowadays, I can look back at those teen years with a smile. It were hectic days at times. Love can be very complicated. If I had known back then, that it is as important to love yourself as to love someone else, it would have made things easier. You don't have to depend on others to feel good about who you are. Embrace who you are, love yourself for who you are. It makes loving others easier and less complicated. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

It's all about the details

You're a very sensitive and considerate young lady. There's this part of you, that feels for others and makes you very lovable and a good friend. You have a good eye and fine ears, to figure out what interests people and what keeps them busy. I wish I had a bit more of your talent. I'm more of a talker and I'm sure you could teach me some skills.

My birthday was coming up and without my knowledge, you had been searching the Internet for the perfect birthday gift. I didn't expect any presents from anyone, but knowing that you have been thinking about the best present, warms my heart. You know how baking and cooking is my cup of tea. My book shelves are packed with cook books and I'm picky about the ones I buy. Not just any cook book gets a special spot. I read those books like I would read a novel. Fifty shades of Grey is boring and nothing, compared to some of my cook books that I can read over and over again. So when you picked that one special cook book for me, you did the right thing! It was not yet in my cabinet, the contents looked very promising and it was full of pretty pictures (I love food pictures and hate to prepare recipes that don't come with an exciting photograph). I was truly amazed by how well you know me and how well you did in finding me the right cook book. Days have been pretty hectic around here lately and I haven't had much chance to go through the book, but this morning, in the early hours, I found the time to sit down and start reading. I fell in love with the book immediately. I like the way Sally Butcher (how twisted is that, to write a vegetarian cook book if your last name is Butcher?) announces and documents her recipes. It's like being invited to sit down with her at an enormous dinner table, filled with exotic and delicious food platters. I can see her hands stained with pomegranate juice, clouds of lost flour in her hair and a sink full of pots and pans that need to be scrubbed down. Because that's what she does, this Miss Butcher. She makes you long for her recipes and you can't wait to go grocery shopping and enter your kitchen for days worth of fun.

Thank you cutie face, for reading me so well. I'm really happy with my new cook book. I'm not sure your daddy will like the vegetarian dishes but I know I will (he's Mr Meat). I hope one day, you will find a gap in your busy schedule to dive into that kitchen with me and have some mommy and daughter time. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Jump out of your seat

You're a busy and energetic girl. There are always activities to attend and outings to plan. By no means one could call you a couch potato. It's just how you are: full of life and enthusiastic to do things and make life interesting.

You were away on camp, you came home to wash your laundry and pack for the next camp. Still exhausted, you were copying more than 1500 photographs that you have taken from the youngsters you guided on camp. Their parents will be very pleased with the result. Are you sure you don't want them to order copies of those snapshots? I know I would want some!

Yesterday morning, 6:30 AM, your dad and I got up to kiss you goodbye and wish you a great stay in Merksplas on your Krinkel Kamp. You're not much of a morning person and you like to be left alone that early. So we left you to it and didn't bother you too much.

A kiss and a big hug and off you went. Tanned legs, red socks pulled up all the way to your knees, short Chiro skirt and the blue blouse that holds your very special whistle. You didn't look back, but we didn't expect you to. Saying goodbye is always difficult, even at the age of 18. We won't be hearing much of you, since you won't have access to electricity. So no phone charging, no Internet. You'll manage. I'm sure there won't be time for social media. I was told 3000 youngsters would be present to attend this summer camp! That's quite a lot! It'll be a one of a lifetime experience for you and I'm happy you and your friends subscribed. College will start before you know it. Have a ball, sweetheart! You are writing history and stories to be told by the campfire later on.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A ticking timebomb

Will it be postponed, or will they let us take that plane to Hurghada?

 Our oldest daughter and her friend were planning their first holiday abroad together. It took them some time to find the perfect destination for what they had in mind. They wanted sun and fun and far away and lazy time by the pool. So they ended up with a beautiful hotel in Hurghada, Egypt. All summer long, they were looking forward to their vacation and tanning their skin before college starts. Lana and her friend will be attending the same college education in Bruges this fall and going on a holiday together was going to be the perfect start. Never did they expect problems in the country they planned on going to.

Things haven't been going well in Egypt lately. There's just too much commotion going on and the turmoil is not calming down yet. Jetair has cancelled its flights up until the end of October. Lana and her friend booked their trip with Thomas Cook. Now they have to wait until the last day of August, before they will know whether their plans are still in the running or not. After all, they would be leaving September 2nd, so that's not that far off.

What does one do? Do you take chances and decide to go to Egypt besides all the negative comments on the News?
Do you cancel your trip, loose your money and try to book some other vacation with a different agency?
Or would you postpone your vacation and go some other time?

It's never easy. But the most painful part of all, is that many innocent people in August are being terrorized by this awful situation. They have lost their beloved ones, their home, their jobs and their income. Tourists cancel their visit and spend their money on a different location. They are the true victims here. We are lucky to be able to pick Egypt as a holiday destination. We don't have to live there. The turmoil is not part of our daily life.. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

She's here!

It was on Christmas Eve, when our sister-in-law gave the inlaws a letter to read. We were all touched by the contents and some of us even had tears in their eyes. Although 9 grandchildren are a bunch, there's always room for one or two extra. It's been a while since the last baby was born (he's 7 by now) so all of us were happy for the newcomer. Right away people were speculating on the sex of the baby. We were excited and although September 1st was still far off, we knew months would go by fast and the baby would be more than welcome with all of those cousins to take care of it.

Baby's Mommy was doing real well, looking after herself and the three other children in her household. We had never expected baby's Daddy to become a father for the fourth time, but the glance in his eyes proved we were wrong. He's a man of little words, but he has a big heart and plenty of love to give. He's happy again and it shows.

I wanted to stroke The Tummy, but I remember how awful I found it when others touched my pregnant tummy, so I withheld myself. I tried to imagine what the baby would look like, but I found that very hard. There was nothing left but wait and be patient.

By the 15th of August, we knew the baby would not remain in Mommy's womb until September 1st. It was ready to be born and we were counting days and guessing the estimated birth. We must say: it was worth the wait. The final phone call arrived and we were so proud of our sister-in-law for making us all happy. Little Nora is gorgeous! See for yourself! 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Stay focused!

We were having our talk over lunch at Milano's in Antwerp (check the link - you have to go and try out their menu - you won't regret it) when I told my friend about how difficult it was to stay focused at times. He was looking at me with recognition and his mouth open wide. Do you really think this is diabetes related? Are we the only diabetics who get lows when too many impulses hit in? Like standing in line at Ikea or picking out shoes or having a cooking workshop surrounded by nothing but good food and 10 people asking questions? Been there! Those moments really suck! They happen at work when Kiddo needs my full attention and they happen at job interviews or other important conversations like in a meeting with your doctor. The lows smack you in the face and they make you numb and it's getting harder to talk in a normal way. All eyes are set on you and you hear voices but you have no idea who's speaking. It's like the voices are further away and your head is empty like a scooped out coconut. You have your juice and you need some time to recover but guess what: there is no time! These are just random situations you cannot just sit down and wish for the low to go visit someone else. The more you keep going, the deeper your low gets and the worse you feel. You start making mistakes (it's not the best plan to make payments at this time), you can no longer answer to simple questions because your brain blocks. They go into survival mode and nothing else but sugar is important.

Before I got diagnosed with D, I was really good at organizing things and do 12 things at the same time. Having to admit it's not that easy any more, is hard. You keep trying and you don't want to give in (or up), but those are moments D rules, no matter how hard you fight it. Some days, it's like I can't get anything done, because I can't remember what to do first. So I make lists and I check off the things I have done (some days I can only check off one item), but there are always so many more to complete. Screw you D. You're a very badass at times. I have to embrace you and love you, for you are always with me, but sometimes I really want to punch you in the face. You won't get me. I'll find ways to get around the problem, trust me. I don't give up that easily. There's too many of us out there. We will beat you one day, remember that. We will beat you!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I can do red carpet

I admit it, I admit it. It flattered my ego to get all the birthday wishes on my cell phone, Facebook, sites I frequent, .. It was fun to read the special wishes. I know quite some people and I can honestly say I put a lot of time and energy in keeping up with everybody. So thank you all for having me in your thoughts today.

I haven't had much time to spend with my beloved ones today. It was one of the busiest days in the last month, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I do admit I'm exhausted now and tomorrow will be another hectic day, but it'll be great fun to have this bunch of people over.

Does 42 feel different than 41? Not really. I'm still thinking about what this extra year has meant to me. What have I done in the past year and what are my goals for the upcoming year? I have some thinking to do. It was special to hug my girls tonight and to know I'm still around to be their mom. I'll be happy to have my sensor restart in 15 min, so I can go to bed and crawl up against my husband and kiss him goodnight. I have a good life. At the age of 42, I can say I'm happy to be around, alive and kicking. Maybe not in ship shape and a teeny bit overweight, but my mind is young and my energy is coming back. Goodnight to you all. xx

Monday, August 19, 2013


"Bonsoir, c'est Freddy, c'est pour la commande"... I hated those phone calls. How I truly hated those phone calls. Us kids dreaded Thursday evenings. We would make sure we were not downstairs around that time of night, when my dad's French customers would call in to pass on their order. I was like 14 or 15 at the time and my French was not that good to comprehend the fast as lightning French sentences. You know how those Frenchmen can rattle? Well, they didn't care we were only kids and French was not our maternal tongue. My father wanted us to learn French and school French was not sufficient. I don't recall us learning about "quatre fûts de Jupiler" in school. I had no idea what "fûts" meant and most of the time, I would scribble down: fuut. I would say: "oui" and more "oui" although I didn't understand a word of what that Freddy-guy was saying. It was really stressful and I knew my father would ask me if I had written everything down correctly. To be honest, I had no idea. I was supposed to repeat what I had written before putting down the phone, but I never did. There were no cell phones in those days nor caller ID. We never knew in advance who would be at the other side.
Was it helpful? I guess so. Do I speak French fluently? Absolutely not, but it's probably a whole lot better than the French my peers speak. I'm still not crazy about speaking French, but I manage. Je me débrouille, if you know what I mean. And if you don't know, it's probably because your father didn't run his own business and he didn't have a Monsieur Freddy call in weekly to place his order...

Sunday, August 18, 2013

It takes one to know one

People without whippets, don't understand whippet people. Whippets are not really dogs, you know. They are, well, how could I phrase it? They are like,.. no, they are more the .. what the heck, they are whippets! It's a unique breed and they come with a user's manual.

This afternoon, we had a lovely lady come over, with a bunch of 4 whippets. It was my mistake to think they were all boys, but one of them was a girly girl. Her name was Nebel and she appeared to be the more quiet one. Don't underestimate Nebel though! She's the leader of the pack and all the boys have to listen to her. But isn't she right? Don't all men need a strong woman by their side?

Zanobi was the rather shy boy. Beautiful colors and a gorgeous face, he adopted the wait and see attitude. His mommy told us, Zanobi was pretty fond of men, so we called Hubby to see the effect and truly, Zanobi socialized and Hubby was even allowed to pet him. What a lovely whippet Zanobi is. He doesn't have to be that timid. He has such a pretty face and guess what: for one moment, we saw him investigating Inthe. She was spreading herself on the deck, when Zanobi felt the butterflies in his tummy. He strolled over to where she was getting her sun tan and stroke a pose. Unfortunately for him, Wolfke spoiled the fun. He's a young, vibrant male and full of energy. Wolfke may think all girlies belong to him, but he's still very naive and learning. I think Nebel will have to tell him about the game of seduction.

Zanobi and Inthe decided to give it another try. So Inthe went back to her spot in the sun, spread herself all over the floor and there he was, Mr Loverboy. Straightening his shoulders, he stepped towards Inthe and even made an attempt to give her a good sniff. Yes! she didn't wave him off, but she didn't give in either. It was a good try Zanobi. It was the first time the two of you met. Maybe some other time?

Hokus*Spookkus.. what a delight. Quiet and not a show off at all. He knows where to get the goodies. Putting his nose in my lap, his beautiful eyes meeting mine, I couldn't but feed him some signature made doggy-meatballs. It was like he was talking to me, his mouth opening and shutting, without his teeth hitting each other. He's a funny guy! He was looking for some shade underneath the table on the deck. But maybe he just wanted to be close to the treats? We don't know. He didn't say. He did keep a close eye on the pig's ears. He saw Nebel collecting and guarding some. He didn't try to steal them from her, for he knows his place in the flock.

Wolfke, on the other hand, he was not embarassed at all to steal Nebel's goodies nor Zanobi's new crush Inthe. He's such a macho man! I've been reading Wolfke's Blog for quite a while now, and it's like I have known him forever, even though this was our first real encounter. I always found him looking a lot like Inthe, but now I've seen him, they don't look alike at all. That doesn't make him any less cute though. He's so tall! Loved the way he jumped right on to the table, to serve himself. I guess he knows his ways and he won't miss a good treat. Can't blame him. Rebba didn't really know what to think of it. She's normally always wary of any rivals in the area. It's like she wants to protect Inthe. But this time, she was more relaxed and chill about these new friends coming over. They behaved well. They did leave their marks all over the garden, for Rebba and Inthe to remember them. I'm sure Rebba will try to flush the piddles with her own wee-wee tomorrow. She's too tired now. Relaxing in the bench with Inthe, they are dreaming of this fun experience.

Ilse is a lucky mommy. She's privileged for having these 4 cute faces in her home. I'm pretty sure they bring her quite some luck and good times and absolutely a lot of unconditional love.

I think this will not remain a once in a lifetime meeting. I like this bunch! They are welcome at any time. I'm looking at the girls, while I'm typing this and both of them agreed. Deal?

The party pooper

We took his car, because mine was too filthy. For a second I thought of moving DEB (my Diabetes Emergency Box) from my car to the other one, but then I was like: what the heck? I had checked my purse for glucose strips, needles, infusion sets, small cans of regular coke and insulin. All present, so no need for DEB. As soon as we got to the party, the first low kicked in. I was a bit annoyed, because we had not been offered a drink yet and I desperately needed some glucose. I didn't hear much of the conversation, because my brain was focused on getting sugar. That's when I remembered the small cans of regular coke in my purse (thank goodness for my organisation talent when it comes to D, even in smaller purses). I turned around to have my coke, for I didn't want anyone to notice I was having a drink before them. It would be kinda rude to the host, to bring your own drinks and give them the impression they were late serving drinks, right? They noticed the drink anyway and hubby told them I probably had a low to fix. The host felt embarrassed and asked if they could bring me something to get over it? I shook my head and finished my coke and turned back to join in. Great entree... Not that I'm ashamed to admit I have D, not at all. It's just no fun to focus the attention on yourself meeting people for the first time.

Guests kept coming and the party got started. We were having a good time and a pleasant night. Every now and then, I would take a glance at my Dexcom G4, to see how the readings were and I was fine. I decided not to have any alcohol, not only for the reason I'm the driver when we go out, but also because I don't want alcohol to influence my judgement when it comes to D. I was responsible for taking both of us home so I needed to A. stay sober and B. maintain good BG.

The host had marinated shrimp that were so juicy and big, that saliva nearly dripped down my mouth. He was nervous and entertaining at the same time. I expected food (carbs) to hit in pretty soon, so I went ahead and bolused for the meal we were going to have soon. Oopsie, my glucometer warned me for low batteries. Darn! no new batteries in my purse. No problem! DEB holds plenty of batteries, for my glucometer and my insulin pump! Bummer... DEB was at home, in my car. Hmhm.. I could have asked the host for batteries or I could've gone home to get some, but I decided not to. Again, I didn't want to draw any attention to myself. I wasn't used to not switching batteries immediately when the LOW alarm appeared on my screen, but I was sure I would make it through the night.

One of the guests was showing off his singing talent and the crowd was laughing in tears. I had a hard time joining in, for I saw my numbers creeping up. I had not had that many carbs yet, but still my numbers were going up. I decided to have another mealtime bolus and a correction bolus. Dexcom warned me of the highs several times. It was getting dark out there and the food kept coming. Maybe I should not have that jacket potato or crispy bread and just stick to the meat and veggies? I hate high numbers. Things have been different back then, but nowadays, I really don't want my numbers to skyrocket anymore. For a moment, I was jealous of the others, for not having to deal with this stupid disease. That feeling went away pretty fast, because at some point, we all have our flaws and obstacles in life and I didn't know about theirs, so I'd better hush and move on.

Let's have another glass of red wine! my husband cheered. The bottles kept coming and I must admit: the wine smelled wonderful and the 9 empty wine bottles said it all. I wanted to go home and change those batteries. So I asked hubby to call it a night, but he wanted another glass. Can't blame him... by that time we had moved from the dark outside to the cosy inside of the garden shed. People were still having a great time, holding their glasses of wine and telling stories by the dozen. Diabetes spoiled the moment. I just wanted to go home and correct those high numbers. I just wanted to go home....

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Stepping out of your comfort zone

I remember you saying things like: I will never ever have children or Children or nothing but a pain in the bum. Then your dad and I would look at each other and exchange glances. I remember how I used to state those same lines. But we ended up with two lovely daughters and nothing compares to that feeling of unconditional love.

You're away now, with a bunch of small children. You are their parent for 10 days and you will have to comfort and feed and play and read stories. Nights will be short and days will be long and you will be exhausted by the time you come home. It asked many hours of preparation to come up with a theme, activities and craft moments. There were organisation skills involved to figure out the amount of food needed for the whole crowd during their stay in Booischot. There were moments when you ran out of inspiration, but it didn't keep you from surfing the Internet to find what you were looking for. Because that's who you are: your perseverance and enthusiasm is inimitable. The kids are lucky to have you around. Strict but righteous, you will let the children have a great time but still have them obey the rules. They won't fight you, for they know the limits, since you will have determined the boundaries for them, not to be misunderstood.

It's pretty quiet around here. Every now and then, we read an update on Facebook and we see pictures come by. You're having a wonderful time. Your vacation was packed with outings and fun stuff and yet there is more to come. Another camp isn't that far off and your first holiday abroad with a friend will be there before you know it. And by then, it will be time for college... Enjoy the kids, enjoy your friends and have a ball!

Something has changed within me

That's what you must have thought, when you asked your daddy if he could help you repaint your room. You wanted a fresh start, a new slate to write on. Both of you have been working for a whole week, meaning you had to get up early in the morning. That's a big issue for you, since you hate getting up early. But you did, without moaning or complaining. No time to fuss around in the bathroom or blow dry your hair, because your daddy was waiting for you to sand the walls. It was a good thing, the interaction between you and your father. Quality time with a good ending, because that room deserves some credit now! It's completely what you wanted. All white and clean and spotless. I'm sure you will enjoy your room a whole lot more now. It will bring you positive thoughts and happy moments.

Your daddy is a good lad. I can no longer count the number of times he went up those stairs all the way to the attic, bringing in paint and brushes and helping you make those walls white. I know how much he wanted to spend some time outside in the sun, to celebrate his holidays. But he loves you and he found it as important to give you the room you wanted.

Enjoy this fresh start cutie. I saw your eyes shine today. But your boyfriend coming over today, will probably have helped as well..

Friday, August 16, 2013

I'm sorry I don't understand

Diabetes has become epidemic. Worldwide and all over the nation, this disease is being talked about on a daily basis. Nevertheless, not many people know what it's really about. They know there are different types of diabetes and they know insulin and lows may be involved, but that's about it. Then how come, so many of these people are commenting on our lifestyle and diabetes treatment like we're not doing the best we can? I just don't get it? They strive to give good advice and they point out what you should and shouldn't eat. They love to share the horror stories of deceased family members (may they rest in peace) with diabetes and they look horrified when a tiny drop of blood comes out of your fingertip after you have poked it to test your glucose levels.

Last night, we had a wonderful BBQ with people I had never met, but who are friends of my husband. My husband must have told them I have T1 diabetes, for the host asked me if she could get me something special, like regular coke or water or whatever I needed. Regular coke??? Hmhmhm... exactly.. She was real nice and very concerned and she had honestly worried about whether I would be able to eat what she had in mind. So I went to see her in her kitchen and told her I could have whatever she had prepared for me. She listened very carefully and nodded and I noticed she didn't understand. Being seated around the table - what a fabulous scenery and I just had to compliment the host for having created such a fairy like garden - we were getting acquainted and since it was a warm summer night, I took of my jacket and without any warning, the first question popped out of the mouth of one of the guests: what's that little box on your upper arm? So I told the group I had T1 diabetes because my pancreas stopped making insulin. Therefore I needed to provide my body with insulin whenever it called for it: to cover food, to exercise, to be able to live and to cope with emotions. They were interested in this device called Dexcom G4 and they thought it was awesome that now I was worry free and ready to lead a totally normal life despite the diabetes! Well.. I told them diabetes is not that easy, notwithstanding that I have an insulin pump that makes my life easier, despite my Dexcom G4 that shows me the trends of what my blood sugar is doing. They complimented me for doing so well and then went back to the stories of the people in their surroundings that have been "blessed" with T1 as well. How awful their life was, for having swings in their blood glucose every day. For how they had to poke their fingers like 6 times a day! It hurt to hear them say those people didn't do the best they could, because they didn't seem to have their diabetes under control. When I asked them why they would think so, they answered: if it would be under control, they wouldn't have blood sugar rollercoasters and they wouldn't have highs and lows..

Why is it so hard to understand? I started the night with a low and I ended up high. Am I a "diabadass" now? Am I not doing the best I can? Will my toes turn black and will my kidneys fail on me? I wasn't ready for a pity show and it was pretty confrontational to hear others discuss and judge people with diabetes. I felt like I had to defend them and it threw some sort of shadow over the party for me. I don't think anyone noticed, but for the first time in a very long time, my diabetes feelings had been hurt. I know I can't blame them for not knowing. It's just painful, that's all.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Tupperware cabinet

If you would open my cabinets and ask me: do you need any more Tupperware? I'm pretty sure the answer would be: of course I do! How could I not want more Tupperware? I mean, come on, get real! I couldn't imagine my cabinets without it!

Most people have like one Tupperware cabinet. I'm sure I have one cabinet without Tupperware.. It's just everywhere! There's the food containers, there's the cabinet with kitchen appliances, the microwave cabinet and the baking cabinet. There's a drawer filled with Tupper lunch boxes and the container with kitchen aids like whisks and spatulas and large spoons and so on. There's Tupperware for any occasion and my collection keeps growing. You need at least a couple of cookie containers and cake boxes. Your fridge has to hold some Vent Smarts to keep your veggies and fruit fresh and once you have used the Speedy Chef to whip that double cream.. Get the picture?

I have been asked multiple times to become a Tupperware consultant, but I never ever thought someone would draw me over the line. Maybe I wasn't ready for it on previous occasions or maybe I didn't have the guts. I have always shown great interest in the product and I love to collect Tupperware. Did you know I even order Tupperware when we cross the ocean to Florida? It is so exciting to buy Tupperware overseas and bring it home. Only other Tupperware addicts can relate to this feeling I guess..

My first party is coming up. There will be a crowd and I'm sure we'll have a very good time. It will be a culinary party and I truly believe that will be my cup of tea. I love to bake and cook and to share that love with others. Isn't it great that now I have found a way to come up with recipes, share my love for cooking and Tupperware with my friends and family? I'm looking forward to my first night. No stress, no cold sweat. It's my hobby, remember?

So if you want me to host your next party, give me a buzz or email me. I'll be happy to come over to your place and work something out for you to give your guests a pleasant evening. I'm ready for you!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Just because it's invisible, doesn't mean it's not there. It's there, trust me. Not visible for outsiders, but absolutely present for the person with D and their beloved ones.

Today, my employer wanted to thank me for driving all the way to the beach to take care of their little girl. They know how I love to cook and bake and they decided to buy a wonderful rice cake from a good bakery. Right after noontime, they came home with the pie and offered me a slice. My numbers were still a bit high, since I had eaten lunch recently. So I decided to wait and told them I wanted to save my piece for later that afternoon. They looked a bit disappointed. I felt sorry for them but I didn't want to go skyhigh because of a piece of pie, no matter how appealing it looked. They had their piece and I couldn't wait to have mine, for it looked real yummy. My employer was a bit surprised that I couldn't have the treat right away. He knows I need insulin for the carbs I eat, but he doesn't know what diabetes really is about. It's about counting carbs and poking your fingers and trying to keep your numbers within range (70 - 120 mg/dl would be great) and feeling sick when your numbers are too high and loosing your mind when you're lacking sugar. It's about making decisions all day and trying to eyeball the carb contents of the food you're going to have. You are constantly aware of D since it haunts you if you decide to pretend it's not there.

My BG was pretty much within range and I had planned a long walk with Kiddo, so I decided it was about time to have that piece of pie. I estimated the carbs to be around 60 grams, but knowing I was going for a long walk, I decided to give insulin for 35 grams of carbs. After all, I didn't want to go low on the walk, for I am responsible for this little girl. Bummer! Not too long after I left the apartment to go to the beach, my Dexcom G4 warned me for an upcoming high number. I had not brought along my glucometer, for I didn't expect any highs at all. I did bring a bottle of glucotabs to help me beat lows, but they are pretty worthless when you're high... I guess I made the wrong decision. That's also part of D. Weighing pros and cons and making the best decisions you can at that time. I felt stupid for having eaten the pie and I cursed for having diabetes. My calves were real heavy and cramping and I had a hard time moving around. Little kiddo desperately needed her walk and I was too far off to go back to the apartment to get my glucometer. I could have bolused on my pump, but it was hidden underneath my clothes and not within reach. So I kept going and was very relieved to be home. I corrected that high right away and had like one liter of water to wash away those excess sugars in my blood.

On my way home, I was thinking things over and trying to evaluate the situation. Because that's what you do when you have D. You try to learn from every experience and you try to prevent things in the future. It's just always there, wherever you go or wherever you are. I had just attached my Dexcom to its car holder, when I saw the 86 with an arrow pointing downwards. Remember the 70 - 120 mg/dl range as being perfect? And 86 is within that range, right? Well, guess what? Wrong answer! This 86 is not perfect at all. My CGM is warning me of an upcoming low. If I would have read that 86 on my glucometer only, it would've been a perfect number. Now that it's on my Dexcom screen, it tells me something else. Of course it could be worse, showing a double arrow downwards. This was only a single arrow, but nevertheless: not safe enough to drive the car without having some glucose first. So I pulled over, opened my bag to see what I had left. There was the choice of candy, cookies, glucotabs, a sachet of hypofit (glucose gel) or a banana. I was hungry (that's what lows do to you) so I decided to have 20 grams of carbs eating the cookies. I waited some longer, checked my Dexcom to see the trend go up again and that's when I was ready to move on. That's what D is about. It's about coming late at your next appointment because stupid lows hit in. It's about pulling over your car because you need to fix yourself to prevent accidents from happening. It's always there... always... invisible to you, but very present to me.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Aunt Flow

Women do these things. They have special words or phrases for men not to understand, when they are talking to their mom or friend on the phone. It makes subjects easier to talk about and it gives them some privacy while speaking in public. I'm sure every family has their own slang when it comes down to talking about Aunt Flow. I remember us calling it Aunt Mary. Before I was around that age, I didn't comprehend who my mom and sister were talking about, when they were discussing Aunt Mary. I didn't have an Aunt Mary so who were they talking about? Why did they say Aunt Mary was in town? It was not until a couple of years later, before I got it. No secret Aunts in my family anymore!

Me and my girls, we don't use any secret language. There's no Aunt Flow, no Aunt Mary, no kitty with nose bleeds nor a war in Virginia. It is what it is. Can I be happy my Aunt Mary died 10 years ago? I didn't grieve over it. I don't miss her one bit. She didn't make me feel feminine at all. People gave me that weird look when I told them I was going to let go of Aunt Mary. We had a good relationship as long as it lasted, but she became a real burden once D got involved. She totally screwed me up and that's when I decided it was time to let go of her.

I wonder if men have secret language too... I guess they won't fill us in?

Monday, August 5, 2013

You're not alone

An old man was walking down the street, in a consistent and determined pace. He was bent forward a bit, his familiar cap on his head. The blue outfit strapped over his shirt and trousers, woolen socks in black slippers, he didn't look up once. Very well aware of what he was doing, he continued his way home. If you looked closely, you would see a bundle under one of his arms, held tight to his body. His other hand in his pocket, clamping his keys firmly. He didn't let himself get distracted, for he had one goal: he wanted to get home as soon as possible. The distance between him and the narrow, white townhouse was getting smaller. Nobody noticed him and nobody asked him where he was headed to. He pulled his keys out and opened the front door. He was appalled with the furniture in the hallway and started to move things around. This was no longer the place he remembered. This is not how he had left the house just a few weeks ago. Where was his favorite chair? What happened to all of his belongings? He couldn't understand and he felt sad and lost and lonely. Why could he not come here anymore? He didn't like the new place. He didn't ask to move. They made him. They said it was too dangerous for him to stay home alone. It was his home.. it was everything he owned and everything he had worked for. He had nothing else to keep him busy. He missed his garden, full of juicy goose berries and tart stalks of rhubarb. He missed talking to the neighbors and stroking the pierced coins on the railing of the stairwell. He knew they were going to come for him soon. He had been in this situation before. The white jacket people would bring him "home". Home??? This was home! That brick building he would never call home. He didn't belong there. It wasn't familiar to him and there was nothing to keep him going. He hated the place. That's why he kept coming back, not understanding why other people had moved into his house..

It's your birthday today. You've been gone for a long time now. But it's still your birthday. I wish I could give you a hug and kiss your skinny, shaved cheeks. There were always some traces of beard left on your chin, for the nurse didn't do the best job shaving. When I close my eyes, I can almost smell you. I remember the night we were at the theater, watching a play. We got this phone call, that you had fallen down the stairs, again. The little red apples in the basement needed to be washed and peeled, for you wanted to enjoy their sweet taste. The basement was dark and the steps too narrow for your big feet. What must you have been thinking, lying on the floor and not being able to get up? Were you afraid? Were you in pain? We never talked about it. I came to visit you every now and then. I wanted to take you for a walk in your new backyard. You said you couldn't. The white jacket people had told you not to leave the premises anymore. They would strap you down if you made another attempt. You had to accept this new life, although you didn't ask to be there. I liked you, I loved you. Happy Birthday grandpa. x.  

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A wake up call

For the past 11 years, I have been dealing with Type 1 Diabetes. The first couple of years, I worried about complications a lot. My at-the-time-endocrinologist had made me watch a video on kidney failure, amputation of limbs, blindness and all the other "bad" stuff die-a-beetus can bring you. It horrified me to see this documentary on the day of my diagnosis. It was terrifying to go to sleep at night, so I stayed up real late and set my alarm to poke my fingers several times during the night. Sometimes I would catch a low and sometimes I would have great numbers. I couldn't go to sleep (my endo told me) if my numbers were below 180, which resulted in high numbers all night and a high reading in the morning. After 4 years of injecting insulin, I switched to the insulin pump and I did so much better. There was no reason to have a 180 number before bedtime. In fact, I could go to sleep with a 100 on the screen of my glucometer. And I did.. My numbers were better, but I was never rested in the morning.

February 27th 2013. Another date that will be tattooed into my memory. On February 27th 2013, I started using Dexcom G4. I was completely excited about this device, as I had read very good reviews on the accuracy of the readings. A personal visit from a Dexcom rep and a couple of hours later, I could start interpreting the numbers on my receiver. The first nights were horrible. One night I was alarmed of 4 low readings... It was scary to realize the danger you had put yourself into, for having had diabetes all of those years without a warning of nighttime lows. Never before had I come down to this. I always believed my body would warn me if my BG was going too low. NOT! What a bummer.. I must have had a very, very good guardian angel all those years. No emergency calls in the middle of the night. No rushes to the hospital.

Last week, I read about this young mom that did not wake up from a nighttime low. She was found in the morning, in bed. Her life had come to an end, thanks to this stupid condition called diabetes. Just like that, a life is lost. Does that justifies why I wanted this Dexcom G4 so badly? Don't you think all of us are entitled to using a life saving device? Our children deserve to have a mom and a dad. They shouldn't have to fear their parent not waking up in the morning. This device is not some gadget, it is a life saver, as you can see from the graph below. There should be reimbursement for all of us. CGM is important, even more important than our glucometer, since that tool does not come with arrows showing what number you are headed to. I love my glucometer, I really do, but it does not alarm me of upcoming highs and lows. It does not show me the trend of my blood sugar.

I'm getting a bit emotional over my Dexcom G4. You may get excited about getting the latest iPhone or fast car or a trip to the Bahamas, but I get excited about a device that saves my life over and over again..

Friday, August 2, 2013

A good catch

I quote:

Dear Cathy,

Thank you so very much for the delicious cookies. We really enjoyed the treat. 
Congratulations with your daughter Eva. She is very particular, very sweet, hardworking and very punctual when it comes to making agreements.
I wish both of you the very best.


Sister José

What a lovely note, aunt Erika gave us last night, when Eva was getting prepared for her last day at work. Sister José and aunt (sister) Erika have been best friends for a very long time. This community of 13 sisters live together in Gentbrugge. That's where Eva has been staying for a number of days in the previous month. She blended in real well, since one of the sisters started to call her "sister" Eva. I don't think Eva will ever become a nun, but she did make herself really beloved in the group. How could she not be loved?

I'm proud of my little girl. It was hard labor and the days were hot and long. Eva got along well with her colleagues and she proved to be an industrious, responsible co-worker. It's great to hear that your children do well and that they complete their tasks without moaning or complaint. She's happy she accepted the job offer and had a chance to prove herself. We'll be happy to have her home again, because we did miss her quite a bit. August will be the month of catching up and enjoying each other. Some day outs with friends, some shopping and dining out, watching movies together and maybe bake a cookie or two. I know I'm blessed with our daughters. Both of them bring us happiness and joy.

We will keep this friendly note. I'm sure Eva will be able to go back next year, to complete her task in the kitchen of the nursing home. Her co-workers will be happy to see her and she will have another great time, living in the community of these 13 sisters..

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Blend in

"What does it say?", one lady asked her friend, who was holding her arm as they approached the restaurant. "It says: Gourmet burger", her friend replied. "Oooh, I see, isn't that where you are supposed to cook your own little burgers in a small pan?" The three ladies were all excited about their adventure in the big city. They sat down, ordered three glasses of beer and kept on chatting, waiting for their adventurous lunch.

"We have to tell you some terrible news, kiddo", this mom told her approximately 10 yo old son, who was sitting at the opposite side of the table. He looked up from the menu and the man, sitting next to the young boy, put his hand on the arm of his new girlfriend. "While you were at daddy's house last week, mommy had a miscarriage. We know how much you wanted this baby and how dreadful this news must be for you", she announced, clearly emotional. Her eyes ping ponged from her son to her new partner. The son opened the menu and said: "I don't mind too much, I never wanted a brother or sister anyway..". 

I was waiting for my friend to arrive. He was a bit later than usual. Opening the iPad, I decided to type him a message, to make sure he had not forgotten our appointment at the Antwerp docks. The cute waiter (did you see how skinny he was???) handed me my glass of cold cava and asked me if I had already made a choice of what to have for lunch. Yes, I had, but I was waiting for my friend to join me. If he could come back a bit later to take our order? Absolutely ma'am! I knew my friend would like the look of this young man and I was right. Just a little bit later, he showed up and I was glad to see him. It had been too long. We hugged and kissed and soon after that, we sat down and started our conversations like we always do. I missed him... I didn't have that much time, since my daughter was shopping and she needed a ride home. But we agreed to schedule another date in August. I love our conversations.. and I love overhearing other people's conversations too. So next time you're late, don't worry. Because I always find a way to keep busy and blend in. And our very long lunch dates have become notorious...