Category Archives: Diabetes

Me experiences in living with diabetes

Weekly photo challenge: Love

Enjoying Wellington Harbour, 29 Jan 2013

Enjoying Wellington Harbour, 29 Jan 2013

We love summer!

I went down to Wellington’s spectacular waterfront today to have in ice-cream. Being a diabetic, ice-creams are not recommended. However, having decided to treat myself to one (why not?) – it had to be the best on offer. If you’re going to sin, you might as well sin in style! An ice-cream from Kaffee Eis – plum to be exact. And it was worth every loving lick!

To compensate, I went extended my walk.

Photographed at lunchtime today – just one of the many people enjoying a brilliant summer’s day on the Wellington waterfront.

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Weekly photo challenge: Deliciously delicate

Mills Reef Mille Feuille

Delightful, delectable and delicious – my mille feuille at Mills Reef Winery

I know the week this challenge was put out, is long gone. In the absence of another challenge, here is my interpretation of delicate.

Diabetes be damned – there are plenty of days in the year for denial and this wasn’t one of them. I lovingly savoured every heavenly mouthful.

Mills Reef Winery is situated in the little hamlet of Bethlehem in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty – not far from Tauranga. A fabulous destination with great food.

Weekly writing challenge: Trading old ways for new

A salad for kings … and Estonians

This year I began with the resolve to cook, on Sundays, a virgin dish – something I’d never cooked before. The resolve lasted about four weeks! Those four weeks were magic. I’d start planning on Saturday night, pouring through my huge stack of cook books and Cuisine magazines, and listing ingredients to buy on our regular Sunday pilgrimage to Moore Wilsons (an institution for Wellington foodies).

I’d spend time reading the recipes making sure to begin preparation early enough, and then would spend all afternoon in the kitchen – humming as I worked revelling in the challenge. I would proudly deliver my resulting efforts to the table to requisite squeals of delight from my partner or whoever else happened to be there, knives and forks aloft.

Then my youngest son returned home with his Estonian business partner. To stay. Both of them.

Just when you think your life is sorted and when after years and years of child-rearing, you can please yourself with what you eat, when and how – your bubble bursts!

Don’t get me wrong, I adore my son and love having him back home. But – and a BIG but – my darling carnivorous son, who had always loved all manner of meat, especially rare beef, schnitzel, green chicken curry, malaysian chicken curry, motorway chicken, crusty lamb racks, barbecued lamb, meat, meat, meat – you get my drift? Well he returned after 12 months away proudly announcing:

“I’m a vegetarian now, Mum. You won’t have to cook meat for me.”

My New Year’s resolve came crashing to the ground. All of a sudden the gloss went off my new and fabulous meat dishes, yummy scrummy pies, marinated rumps, and a thousand-and-one-way chicken recipes!

“No, no, no I’m not interested in a diet of chick peas and lentils … it’s bad enough having diabetes. Don’t do this to me…please …”

Mr six-foot-two-inch Estonia looked at me with puppy-dog eyes beneath his floppy Hugh Grant fringe,

“Oh, but I love meat – I love meat a lot,”

and smiled … pleadingly.

So began two and a half months of catering (while working full-time of course) to my fitness fanatic vegetarian son and our meat and sugar-loving Estonian – a fella who could down a batch of baking in two days flat.

“When I finish my work (he’s a computer Geek as well as being Estonian!), I reward myself with a cookie. I love your cookies.”

And he’d smile … pleadingly.

They came up with a compromise to help me cope with the changes to my perfect life. They’d cook one night a week, I’d cook the other six. They thought it seemed fair…

Mr Estonia turned his talents to cooking. Well, not cooking exactly … but he became very good at making salads, cutting up the ingredients and arranging them in the salad bowl. He took his time, really laboured over the task, and I mean laboured. That was how he approached everything, except cookie crunching. Slow. Methodical.

To their credit they did the dishes every night which was a whole new experience for Mr Estonia who’d never ever seen a tea towel in his life, let alone used one!

“Oh it is a very strange to do these dishes. It is very family isn’t it – it is fun.”

You know that game of flicking the wet tea towel at the legs, arms and butt of whoever does the washing? You know the game where screaming takes over from the task at hand and ends in tears? I was the one pleading for mercy – the youngest and only girl in the family! I had two older brothers who used to make me do the washing up and then subject me to relentless torture while my hands were in the sink. Some game!

Well, Mr Estonia knows that game now. I pity his poor partner as he inflicts the wet tea towel torture on his unsuspecting sons, that if, of course, he’s able to break centuries of chauvinism and lure them into the kitchen.

When his visa came to an end, Mr Estonia returned to the other side of the world to his partner and children, determined to impress everyone with tales of his New Zealand adventures AND his new found cooking skills. For a man who throughout his whole 35-yr life had barely stepped foot inside a kitchen this was major.

He contacted me recently to ask for the recipe for his favourite ‘cookies’ – which have weetbix in the list of ingredients.

The biggest challenge for him is finding weetbix in Estonia.

So what of my New Year resolve? Well, I’m now enjoying the vegetarian adventure. Meat is still on the agenda – and I’m being far more experimental with all else.

When my son takes off again – as he will – the challenge is to continue this new regime…not just one day a week, everyday!

Weekly photo challenge: Wrong – never!

Just one of the errors on offer at Little and Friday

All the books are wrong when they attribute gazillions of calories to the harmless donut! There’s so much air in them …

It’s totally inconceivable and WRONG that something so delightful, so delectable and so delicious can also be bad for you.

Perhaps if I’d photographed a cross-section – you’d have seen the minute air particles in the dough. Fewer calories.

Note to readers: This scrumptiously wicked donut was NOT on my plate but on that of  a skinny looking woman two seats along from me. I suffered from the most dreadful pangs of food envy as it was placed on the table – which were satisfied, in part, by devouring the donut with my lens instead.

Confession time: I had just eaten, with feelings of extreme guilt and retribution, a seriously good lemon coconut and cream-filled sponge cake. Lemons are good for you … especially with strips of peel adding necessary and highly recommended fibre.

Anyone who dares tells me differently is WRONG.

Absolutely divine – and worth every diabetically guilt ridden thought!

Following every indulgence is a commitment to do better … right.

Photographed at Little and Friday, Auckland on Saturday 11 August.

The strength I haven’t yet used … and hope never to

Beaches are a relatively short distance from anywhere in New Zealand

I’m a swimmer.

It’s a strength I work at having in the knowledge that I can draw upon it in the event of an emergency. I would hate to be in a situation, at a beach, lake or swimming pool, where I saw someone in difficulty and felt powerless to do anything. I know I can contribute, I know I have the strength and I know I have the stamina. I hope never to be put to the test.

I learned to swim at about the same time I was learning to walk. I have photographs of me in the paddling pool, howling my eyes out as my big brothers poured buckets of water over me …

As youngsters we swam competitively which required huge parental dedication. We were out early doing our swim training before the sun was up at least three morning a week. The pool we trained in, even though there was one nearby, was about 30km from where we lived.

We were also taught life-saving skills throughout all our years in school. You see, New Zealand is surrounded by water – beaches are never too far from wherever you are and if you are further inland, a lake will only be a stone’s throw. Learning to swim is essential.

The other day at the pool a young man in the next lane stopped me to seek help. I could see that he was struggling a bit … his stroke was awkward and slow. He’d seen me the day before and wanted to ask me something. He explained that he’d recently had a kidney transplant (his wife being the donor) and was trying to build fitness and strength. He wasn’t a native New Zealander and hadn’t learned to swim as a child. He was having difficulty coordinating his breathing and stroking. I did what I could to help wishing at the same time that I’d learned how to teach what comes so naturally to me.  He was very sweet and very appreciative … I really admired his determination, his courage and his wife’s generosity!

I’ve had brief breaks from swimming over the years but always return to the element in which my body feels its best – the water.

My primary aim is to retain fitness and strength and to do as much as I can to keep insulin dependence at bay. I’m lucky I can do that.

In my mind always is the guiding thought that if I had to save a life, I could.

Eeeks – my teeth are falling out!

Funny things happen in dreams ... thankfully I've never dreamed of drowning in the loo. Perhaps I will tonight.

Recurring dreams. Interesting but pesky interruptions to a good night’s sleep.

I confess to not having had this dream for a while. When it does take over my sleeping hours it feels so real. My teeth are falling out – as I bite into some tasty morsel a tooth comes loose and embeds itself in the food; I’m talking with friends and out spits a tooth; I can feel them all going off-kilter, detaching from my gums and dropping like flies.

It’s so real, so much so that when I waken I run my tongue over my teeth to make sure they’re all there.

I’m sure there’s a simple explanation as to why I have this dream. I know for sure it doesn’t foretell:

  • coming into a bucketload of money
  • a new, exciting and torrid romance or
  • hugely magnificent singing success leading to a fabulous international career with loads and loads of travel.
Maybe it’s telling me that I’m overdue for trip to the dentist, have a dreadful case of doggy breath (halitosis), or that I should take extreme measures to curb my sweet tooth. Girlfriend, you’re a diabetic – get with the plan and lay off the licorice!

Living with diabetes: coffee with the workmen

Cheese scones loosen tongues ...

I don’t know many people with diabetes – I’m not one for joining support groups and the like. Not yet anyway.

So it was a huge surprise this when giving our four workmen their morning coffee to be asked who if I was diabetic. It tunes out that two of them have Type I and the third has a wife who is diabetic.

I immediately offered Olivio instead of butter for the yummy cheese scones! Laughter … none of us fit the profile … none were willing to deny ourselves butter …

We got to talking about how and when we were diagnosed.

Geoff had been on a real bender for his 30th birthday  – far far too much partying – and woke next morning with what he thought was a hangover. It persisted. His pounding headache refused to abate, likewise his intense thirst and frequency of toilet stops. His wife, being a nurse saw the signs and took him off to the doctor. He was diagnosed within minutes.

Brent, our youngest workman was diagnosed at 10 years of age after complaining of the same symptoms.

The glazier’s wife had a similar experience to me with gestational diabetes being the forerunner. I kept my final symptoms to myself … no way was I going to divulge in a room full of men.

The conversation for that half hour was focused on diabetes, how we and our families live with it.

A real eye opener for the odd-one-out – whose partner has celiacs disease. They have different issues to deal with. Not your usual morning coffee discussion – particularly with tradies!