Sunday, July 19, 2009

Remembering Wally, Part Deux

In direct comparison with my son's words, my husband, separately and alone, wrote a eulogy that came from his heart, too. What follows is my husband's speech given to attendees of Wally's funeral a little over one month ago.

Dad, the Hero Next Door

Many of you may have heard the story of the millionaire next door. The man who quietly goes about his day, not dressing the part or acting the part of a millionaire, while quietly enjoying the financial reward of his his hard work. Today, I would like to talk about the hero next door, My dad, Walter Proehl. He did not wear a cape, and he did not fly over buildings, but he was indeed a hero to many.

One of the things that made Dad so extraordinary was his ability to make every person he encountered feel important. His smile and grace were infectious and brought a ray of life to every person he met.

I would like to relate some of the qualities that I remembered about Dad. If you remember him or these or other qualities, I hope they bring a smile to your face and a joyous memory to your heart as they do for me.


Dad was a teacher. At a young age, he taught me to have pride in our name, telling people when they pronounced it incorrectly (it is not PRO-EL - it is PRAYLE).

He taught me charity as we delivered food to the needy at Christmastime and fixed lamps for little old ladies who could not afford to buy new ones.

He taught me the importance of doing the job right. To this day, I can still see examples of his work in many places: wrapping tape around your wires just so, placing the holes for the wire straight and at the proper height.

Dad selflessly shared what he knew with anyone who wanted to learn. When Dad did not know how to do something, he found someone who could teach him.

Dad was thrifty. He knew the value of hard work, and he knew how to save a dollar, whether he was buying a car or a Christmas tree.

When you asked Dad how much something cost, he would always be able to tell you the cost, which was great. But when you got to hardware store, you realized that sometimes that prices he quoted you were in 1950 dollars.

Dad was patient. There are ten years between my sisters and I. For ten years, Dad waited for his son, and as I gre, he taught me how to check your parts and read the directions before you start.

Dad was strong, his muscles firm from years of turning screwdrivers and climbing ladders.

Dad could fix ANYTHING. When yo asked Dad to fix something, he would take a small notebook out of his pocket and write it down. He would methodically work through everything on his list until it was done. It was not until a few years later that I learned that Dad had more than a few notebooks in his pocket.

Dad appreciated a party, and he was never afraid to be on stage. As a teenager, I found it a little embarrassing, but as a man, I wondered how I could even get a small sliver of that charisma.

Dad was faithful; he loved the peace he felt in church and drew comfort from the prayers that he said every day of his life.

Dad showed the world how to love, as he walked through life hand-in-hand with Mom, even arranging for her to get flowers as he lay in the hospital.


In 8th grade, for my science project, I decided that I wanted to make a demonstration of the hydrological cycle or the life cycle of water, if you will. When I told Dad my idea, he never showed ay doubt as I described what I had in mind. As was his way, Dad rolled up his sleeves and worked next to me several evenings for the next week. When I walked into school the morning of the science fair, I had a two-foot-by-four-foot box that had a desert, mountains, an ocean, and clouds that actually rained.

No matter what I wanted to do, Dad never said, "No." Instead, he said, "Let's go." Dad was not a big outdoorsman, but when I wanted to go shooting, he took me. When we went fishing, and there wasn't much biting, he knew that sometimes a twelve-year-old boy has as much fun driving the boat as watching the bobber. When I wanted to try hunting, he took me. Even on days when we got nothing, he took joy from spending a day in the woods with his son.

When I joined Boy Scouts, he bought a tent, and we went camping. Dad was there even when it meant going when it was 12 degrees outside.

When my sons joined Scouts, and no other adult stepped up to help, it was Dad who spent a week with me at summer camp. We slept in tents, went for hikes, and walked about a quarter-of-a-mile each way three times a day for meals in the heat of St. Louis in July. Did I mention that Dad did this when he was 76 years old?


Dad was a gentle man, and all of you who knew him saw this in his actions and in his words. Dad was never one to use foul language. This does not mean that Dad never uttered a bad word. On a couple occasions, he would get really frustrated with something or someone and let loose. Mindful that there may be young children around, Dad would harken back to his German roots, and declare, "Scheisst!"

The other occasion when you might hear Dad say a cross word would be when he was driving. Dad has never been qutie as heavy footed as Mom, and as with many aspects of his life, Dad was pretty deliberate in his driving. Sometimes in our travels, we would encounter that rare breed of drier that even wore down Dad's patience. It was at that point that he would declare that person to be a "JACQUES."


Dad loved to travel his whole life and was fortunate to see all 50 states and many foreign countries. A vacation with Dad was sure to be an experience you will not forget. Dad was not able to sleep late or lay on a beach all day. He was up at 6 in the morning and ready to roll; there were places to go, and things to do, and he did not want to miss a single thing.

When we traveled to San Juan Capistrano to see the swallows and got there to find the gates locked, Dad climbed the fence. A few years later, when Dad and Mom went to Campobello Island in Canada, the home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dad clambered out on the rocks to get down to the beach. Although his trip proved a little more eventful, not even a broken arm could slow down Dad.

I am so fortunate to have my own family that continued the tradition as we have crossed the country seeing the Grand Canyon, the sands of Myrtle Beach, the monuments of Washinton, D.C., and the geysers of Yellowstone. What a beautiful world that Mom and Dad showed us.

For Those That Are Still Here

For Dad, his journey on this Earth is over, and he has been set free. For those who are still here, I would like to share one part of a short homily I heard a few years ago.

In 1982, two friends set out from Baltimore, MD for Albuquerque, NM on a 9-month sabbatical from teaching. These friends had lived in Baltimore all their lives and wanted to go someplace where they could look out the window and know they weren't on the East Coast. And if you have ever been to Albuquerque, you know you aren't on the East Coast. You are barely in the US. One friend followed the original plan and went back to Baltimore after 9 months. the second friend had a 5-year journey in the high desert of New Mexico. "I learned that there are more shades of brown that you could ever imagine. I did not see the different shades at first. I thought the whole state was just brown. But after a while, I started to see the nuances, the different shades of brown into green. The desert requires careful attention to detail. I learned that the desert blooms, and blooms amazingly after a rainstorm. Little buds and blossoms and flowers and insects and animals come out after a storm, for a short period of time, often not to be seen again, until the next rainstorm. They survive on those droplets of rain. I learned that water is both powerful and precious. The ground is so hard and dry that the arroyos and ditches and intersections flood quickly in a rainstorm. Children in New Mexico learn at a young age to move to high ground as soon as a drop of rain falls, because otherwise, it might be too late. Water is so precious in the Southwest. I saw amazing efforts to conserve water because it is so scarce. And I learned that while some things are essential for survival in the desert - food, water, shelter, blankets (the desert gets cold at night), gas (one of the first things I learned in Albuquerque - make sure you have a full tank of gas when driving through the desert) - other things just weigh you down, are excess baggage, are unnecessary. The desert is a place of stripping down, of embracing what is essential, of identifying what is necessary. A time to name what I needed to let go, and what I needed to hold dear. I ask you to remember the story of Moses and the Israelites in the desert. They had left a familiar place (even thought it was an oppressive place, it was still familiar), and they were wondering if their dreams of a Promised Land were worth the trouble. They were hungry, thirsty, frustrated. Maybe we should go back. Maybe this isn't worth it. What does God say to Moses in the midst of this crisis? God says, "Moses, you are in a hard place, and I want you to find the hardest thing in this hard place - a rock in the desert. And I want you to touch this rock and believe that living water will flow from it." And Moses does, and water flows. It was just enough for the Israelites to continue their sojourn through the desert. They learned that God is in the hardest place in a hard place. And I think about us. We are on a journey through the desert, in a kind of hard place right now, wondering whether our dreams are worth this trouble, this stripping down. We are thinking of what is essential, what we need to let go, and what we need to hold dear. Like Moses and the Israelites, God is asking us to believe that God is in the hardest place in hard place - to believe that living water will flow if we but touch the rock in our desert. Remember, Moses had to do some work - he HAD to touch the rock.

Dad is done walking in the desert. For all of us who are still here, when you think of Dad and you start to feel a little sad, I want you to remember, he has left the familiar place and gone before us. Like Dad did his whole life, he has done the hard work, and he was the living water. Dad has touched the rock, and water has flowed. We should all be so lucky to drink from that water!

And that, my friends, is such good news that we ought to say a resounding Amen.


Dad was never in doubt about his priorities in life. He had an incredible integrity demonstrated as he showed his faith to God, Mom, family, and country.

I could write many more pages, describing the qualities of this wonderful, caring soul. I could write many more pages filled with the stories that each of us shared with Dad.

But today, I can think of no better way to conclude than with this thought: Dad, thank you.

I can think of no better higher compliment than could be given that to say, "He was like his father."

Remembering Wally

I guess because I watched the movie Fireproof with my husband Friday night, in which a man's father features a prominent role as an advisor to his son during his troubled marriage, and because I am about to visit my sons and their father, my husband, at Boy Scout Camp this coming Thursday during Parents' Night, during which either Wally was always there or I accompanied him, I am thinking about Wally's influence on my life, and how I will miss his influence on the lives of my children.

I miss him. I also owe readers and him the blog I promised I would write - detailing my youngest son's impromptu speech about his grandfather at the funeral. My husband also wrote one, which will be featured in the second part of this entry.

In comparison, these two men approached their task very differently. My husband, who is often at a loss for words, took almost four days to write this speech, putting final touches on it as the limo drove to the cemetery for Wally's final resting place. My son whipped out this piece of paper and thoughtfully crafted it as he reminisced about his grandpa the night before the visitation.

Either way, the true spirit of Wally's personality lies in these words. I strive every day to live in honor of Wally, to see Christ in everyman, like he did, and to live as he did, forgiving those who trespass against me.

Here is the text of my youngest son's speech:

When I was born, I hadn't yet witnessed the fortune I had. I am John, the third and last grandchild. My grandfather, Walter Proehl, was my idol, not Vincent Van Gogh. Besides, why would I want my idol to be some guy who cut off part of his ear. No, I wanted my idol to be someone courageous, someone kind. That someone was my grandfather. All through my life, he has helped all; if a light needed to be fixed, he would repair it. Task by task, he was even fixing the world. An enemy to none, but a friend to all. He was a joker, but never hurt a single feeling. I remember him taking my brother, Drew, and I to go fishing. We never caught anything, but it was exciting just being out there. When my brother and I would fight, he would make us so happy we would just forget. I learned a lot about him when I had a school geneaology project. He gave me all the information. The entire time I have spent with him I have never seen him frown. He always made time to play with us even so we lost several ping pong balls under the shelves of his work shop. He was my grandmother's best friend, a wonderful mentor to my father, and an idol to me. A wonderful man, there was nothing else to ask for. May he reflect on us all, so we can be just like him.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Too busy driving to get gas!

Do you ever feel like this? I remember doing this myself in my gifted education classroom to demonstrate to the kiddos the necessity of doing FIRST THINGS FIRST - making your priorities. We could translate this into homework, projects, assignments, sports and extracurricular activities as well, but somehow I always got lost in translation.

For the past school year, I was no longer teaching the 7 Habits to my 7th graders, and I missed having Franklin's words of wisdom remind me to "sharpen my saw."

And I felt like a salmon swimming upstream.

Add the little things that I never expected, such as caring for Wally while he was in the hospital, and helping my mother-in-law survive the after-effect of losing her life partner of 54 years, and diabetes control thrown in to my lap, and I didn't handle it as gracefully as this high-powered business woman made judgments as she thought out loud.

This video, shared by another colleague on Facebook, really was shared with me at a poignant time. I've been lounging around, feeling sorry for myself, thinking about catching up on all I've missed throughout the school year, as I often do, but just to extreme this summer.

My house is falling down around me, as it's been one of those little pebbles I tried to take care of first. My health is also falling down around me, as I tried to put out fires that came to me first, rather than fitting it in first which is what I should have been doing.

For anyone who has experienced burnout, this video will definitely set you on the straight and narrow path.

Whether or not I can master this philosophy, I don't know. But I'm sure willing to give it a try and go back to Covey's words of wisdom that I extolled to my own students.

How about yourself? What are your big rocks? What are the little pebbles that are getting in the way of you prioritizing your First Things First?

Friday, June 26, 2009

PSA: CheckUp America (Male)

This is a great video! Even when you're willing to change, it's hard - I won't kid you! It will take a lot of work to "reverse" diabetes, especially if it's in your genes. But don't let this condition do what it's done to me or my dear father-in-law. Step out to help me fight diabetes. Ask me how!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Join me in the St. Louis Diabetes Leadership Institute

I need my friends to help me out on this one. This would be a perfect opportunity for all the St. Louis area diabetics or PWD to get involved personally in advocacy and diabetes awareness.

Thanks to Kaycee Connell, the St. Louis diabetes Examiner, I found out about this free program. It just so happens that my endo, Dr. Garry Tobin, also promoted this program to me in May when I went for my twice a year check up.

What Eric and Garry want to do is create a community of PWD's who will volunteer their time to be educated (ha - like we aren't already) and lead sessions of 6 awareness and education topics in their community. It could be at your church, your synagogue, your school, your sorority, anywhere you can muster up a small group of people. Eric and Garry don't care whether it is 2 people or 20.

This effort is lead by the St. Louis Diabetes Coalition, but is also supported by Wash U's Endocrinology Dept., of which Garry is the head.

I was able to get my husband, Joe, to attend with me - only because I think he felt guilty that he didn't meet me for a happy hour the evening before [:-)], and he tested his sugar on the free Accu-Check Aviva meter Roche was handing out at the event - YAY! He was 106 before eating, and 114 after eating some fruit (1 hour post-prandial). This is the first time Joe has ever tested himself, and he's lived with a diabetic for some 15 years!

With the event of his father's diabetes coming so close to him, I was able to finally get him to get a closer look at his health. And boy, did he ever. He was able to see the connection between his dad's possible loss of his leg and his cardiovascular disease to a less than aggressive treatment plan for his diabetes of 28 years.

Not surprisingly, all the attendees were T2's, with the exception of a couple of caregivers of and one CDE who were T1. We were the youngest in the room by 10 years.

My husband was educated on proper foot care, kidney disease, and nutrition. It was a wealthy bounty of information that was very helpful, sometimes the first time some of these diabetics had ever heard.

Of course, they were able to give us a free lunch, and there will be a free dinner at our next meeting.

Eric, the PhD side of the team, presented to us a nice slide show regarding the growing statistics of diabetes in the Metro area. We, of course, discussed the sensational statistics that T2 diabetes is becoming an epidemic of obese proportions.

Garry echoed that by far his practice was filled with more T2 diabetics than T1's. It was cited that there are over 150,000 people with diabetes in St. Louis - that's Busch Stadium filled during a triple-header.

Of those diabetics, 48% are of healthy weight, 21% are obese, and 31% are overweight. From a public health perspective, the better we manage diabetes, the less expensive the condition can be.

The St. Louis Diabetes Coalition's goal is to bring control up in order to lessen the cost and the burden on the system, as well as improve the quality of life for diabetics.

Only 49% of diabetics here in the area have a controlled bgs Hb A1c less than 7.0, 51% check the bgs at least once a day, and 44% have even taken a self-management class.

One thing Garry said that really rung true to me was the answer to many of the folks' questions about T2 guilt, blame placing and fault at our lifestyles. "I'm a lumper, not a splitter," he said while pointing out that all of us, T1's and T2's and Others face the same symptoms and consequences. "It's NOT which drugs define you," he said - pointing out that NONE of us deserve this diagnosis.

Won't you come with me to the next meeting and help facilitate more education and awareness to some of the hardest to reach people? I challenge you!

Come enjoy a free dinner and some great conversation!

Twitter me @MomsL8 0r leave a comment here, and I'll meet up with you before the meeting!

Click on the link of this blog title to learn more about the St. Louis Diabetes Leadership Institute.

Our next meeting will be in Eric Armprecht's office on the 1st floor of the Salus Center at 3545 Lafayette, (the old Incarnate Word Hospital), St. Louis, MO 63104, on Monday, July 27th, at 6 p.m.

Here's to our health!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Wally's Funeral Mass Booklet

For those who aren't able to be at the funeral tomorrow, here is the booklet I produced. Enjoy - Dad loved Mass and loved singing, and he would be honored for you to sing along at his funeral mass.

Wally's Memorial Video Tribute

I've embedded the video played at Wally's visitation tonight. We hosted over 400 people who paid their respects to this gentleman's gentleman, who even suffered graciously in his last days. I believe it gave most people who didn't know Dad a glimpse into the kind of person he was and helped those who mourn the loss of his life to find comfort in these memories. He would have been proud.

Remembrances of Wally from Jill Proehl on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rest in Peace, Wally

The link in the above title will take you to Wally's obituary in today's St. Louis Post Dispatch. The funeral arrangements are as follows:

Visitation - Kutis Funeral Home on Lemay Ferry
Thursday 6/11 3-9 pm
Friday 6/12 - 8:00 -11:30

Mass Friday 6/12 at St. Matthias the Apostle Church at Noon

Burial Friday 6/12 at 1:15 pm at Jefferson Barracks

Thank you everyone for all your support during this difficult time during my life. Thank you for being there in Spirit with Wally.

For those of you who can't be there, I'll post his funeral mass booklet and perhaps the slide show of the presentation of his life in pictures, if it's not too large.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

For the Love of Wally

I wanted you all to get to know Wally and love him as I do. Here is a slideshow of pictures - and a thank you note. At the end, my youngest has taken some video of Dad at the hospital. He is still the jovial man he always has been despite his struggles. It's a touching video, and I debated whether or not to include it. But I want everyone to know what a great man he is.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: In Gratitude
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

National Diabetes Alert Day!

Today is Diabetes Alert Day, sponsored by the ADA. My friend, Rachel, blogged about it at Diabetes Daily, and I tried to repost her post, but Blogger wouldn't cooperate this morning. So Rachel, beg your pardon, but I'm adding on to your post to alert everyone I know about our friend, D.

Every fourth Tuesday in March, the ADA issues a "wake-up call" for advocacy and education about the seriousness of diabetes.

If you've been reading my blog or following me on Twitter, you know how serious I take this, as my dear father-in-law, Walter Proehl, went in for triple bypass on Tuesday, March 10th, which ended up being quadruple bypass and 8 hours on the table on a bypass machine (which you may or may NOT know is not good for diabetics). He made it through the surgery ok, but only to end up back in ICU on Friday, March 13th (and yes, this is a haunting story) for observation for renal failure.

His creatinine was creeping up slowly. Instead, he was given the wrong medicine, which put him into a coma for 7 days.

Now awake, it will be a long haul until I hear my jovial father-in-law joke and tell me what to do in order to make sure my house is electrically safe.

He got in this position in the first place from our friend, Diabetes. Welcome to the world of suck, Dad!

The man was fit, except at 51 when he was diagnosed - a little overweight - but he quickly lost that and controlled it with diet and exercise. There isn't another 79 year-old man I know that climbs ladders, shovels snow, and works in attics on ceiling fans and lights.

To say that his Type 2 were caused by his lifestyle would be a slap in all of our faces. And this friend, this Diabetes, has caused an otherwise healthy man (no high cholesterol or high blood pressure) this heart disease.

The ADA says diagnosis can come 7 to 10 years after being symptomatic. And as you see, complications can pile on insurmountably and quickly.

To learn more about Type 2 diabetes, the ADA sounds the alarm today for everyone - loved ones as well as those who might have a family history - to take the Diabetes Risk Test. The test and the videos are available on the afore linked page on the lower right hand side.

Forward this to anyone you know - don't let years pass between symptoms and diagnosis and treatment and complications - for the love of Wally, please!

And....stay tuned...I will be posting a special pictoral thank you to all my friends for sticking with my beloved father-in-law so you can meet the man you've been praying for.

By the way, if you're in St. Louis, check out these free screenings offered near you:

Tuesday, March 24

Free Diabetes Risk Tests

9:00am – 5:00pm
8 Gold’s Gym Locations
St. Louis, MO
Contact: Michelle Micheletti

Free Diabetes Risk Tests

9:00am – 6:00pm
Comfort Shoe Specialist
11693 Manchester Road
St. Louis, MO
Contact: Nancy Jacobs
(314) 822-3300

Diabetes Screenings

5 Locations in Florissant, MO
Contact: Christian Hospital
(314) 747-WELL

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pray for Wally!

An update I've sent to friends:

I'm hoping to download a song that he and Yvonne first danced to - in order to stimulate something - we know he's listening and looking. Then I'm taking the kids up there after Joe gets home from Jack's soccer game. Joe's mom, Yvonne, and his sisters, Mary and Terri, are there at the hospital now.

We take turns and shifts. Yvonne is anxious, and we're looking at getting something to calm her nerves.

He just opened his eyes, when Mary, Joe's sister from DC, just flew in and came into the room.

Wally is my 79 year old dear father-in-law. I love him like my own father. In many respects he has been more of a father to me than my own father.

Wally has had T2 Diabetes since he's been 51 years old. He was overweight at that time (he worked for Anheuser-Busch for 15 years - case of beer a month, so he'd have a beer and a cheese sandwich or a pretzel every night! :-)

But he lost about 40 lbs. and managed his disease with diet and exercise until he was about 65, when he went on Metformin (he really should have been on meds sooner, but that's another story - and that's why he's in this shape to begin with).

Around that time is when I was dxed GDM - so we were diabetes partners together. He helped me, and I helped him. We've been Dbuddies ever since. We played on the same team - always! And yes, we cheated together, and we kept avoiding the diabetes police together :-).

He then started Glyburide probably when he was 70.

Five years ago, we were hiking up a hill at Boy Scout Camp, and he told me he didn't feel well. Never mind that he was sticking with his internist (who didn't treat and manage his D right to begin with), but he did go in to see him, who told him he probably had a heart attack. (He did not have chest pain - just nausea and shortness of breath.) Doc never sent him to a cardiologist or anything...just a stress echo.

Forward a couple of years later....went for angiogram...learned he had major blockage. Went on Lasix...still no statin or bp heart meds.

He then went on Insulin about a year ago - maybe a little longer. That scared him. I was there to remind him that I did it, too - and while pregnant.

This Christmas, he was feeling poorly - shortness of breath, getting sick a lot, appetite suppressed. He decided to finally see a cardiologist but still wouldn't consent to see an endo yet!

We found out he was blocked 100%, 99%, 70%....told that he would have no choice but a bypass.

He deliberated, and finally scheduled a triple bypass Tuesday of last was supposed to take 5 hours, took 9 instead...he began bleeding out.

After giving him 5 units of blood, he came out of surgery to sedation in ICU.
He woke up the next morning...looking very pink and doing well, eating some jello, joking with the nurses (he is a big flirt)!

But yesterday, he couldn't keep most liquids down.
Then, his rhythm was off - so they shocked him last night. His kidney function was they were calling in a nephrologist.

In the middle of the night, they were giving him some meds...the nurse did NOT cross check the meds with the orders...

He was given meds designed to paralyze you right before general anethesia...he crashed.

He was Code Blue for 5 minutes, not breathing.

He then went into a coma.

They are now concerned with getting his system rid of this drug because his kidney and liver function is decreased....

They are talking dialysis.....

And they don't know when he will wake up.

Please....any God you believe in...anything you love...anything you have power in....any way...any shape...any how...please....ask God not to take him as our diabetic angel...not now.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Eat Out for a Good Cause

If you love Steak 'n' Shake, like I love Steak 'n' Shake, now's a time to eat out for a good cause.

Someone at work here has distributed this flyer to eat at Steak 'n' Shake on March 11, and SNS will donate 20% of the profit to JDRF.

Go on - have a shake on me!

I'll probably be at the one at Gravois Bluffs in Fenton around 6:30 if you wanna stop by and say hey!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Will the Real Shaq Please Stand Up? those of you who know me - even a little - know I'm seriously addicted to Twitter. It has become my latest obsession. It helps me laugh, and laughing, I hope will help me live a more positive, stress-free life.

And those of you on twitter know I follow some seriously twittering celebs. Take Shaquille O'Neal for example - I'm not particularly a basketball fan, although I went to college at a school which DID NOT have a football team, so our homecoming was a basketball one, but I love Shaq's generosity on Twitter. Here's an example of a meetup that Shaq challenged Twitterers to recently.

He's constantly hiding out or not hiding out at places and telling people the first person to touch him gets free tickets. I just love reading and hearing about Shaq on Twitter.

So, one of his greatest fans @PhoenixSunsGirl created a video contest for his birthday.

Here's the hilarious entry a fellow twitterer posted! (And you can find out Shaq's Twitter address at the end of the video.)

.: Birthday Love for Shaq-Fu :.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Diabetes Marathon

I'm not sure how everyone will react to this blog post, but I feel very strongly about it, so therefore, I must blog it.

As of late, I've seen a lot of Persons With Diabetes competing with each other, most especially in the online community, over who's sicker, whose numbers are worse, whose vlog or blog is better, who has more complications, which type has it worse.

Does it really matter?

Aren't we all facing a chronic illness?

Does it matter whether or not we shoot up in public, shoot through our clothes, fumble with our testing supplies, publish or share our numbers, have a good day or bad day, overeat or eat clean, take our meds with soda/coffee or water, exercise too much or not enough?

Don't we all
still have diabetes?

Is there a competition we entered when we signed up for this gig? Oh, no, I forgot - NONE of us signed up for this rotten, lousy disease. We didn't choose D; it chose us, for whatever reason. Like in life, we're fat, we're skinny, we're short, we're tall, we're black, we're white, we're blonde, we're bald - we are all different! Isn't that what makes the world go 'round?

But one thing remains constant and certain: we are all Persons With Diabetes. Every single one of us.

Does it matter that I go to an endocrinologist while some of you might still be with your GP? Does it matter that I am on an injectible drug while some are on the pump? Does it matter that some of us have other conditions while others are managing quite comfortably?
Does it matter more that some are Type II and others are Others?

Do any of those answers diminish anyone else's Diabetes?

Last I looked, I wasn't racing toward the finish line of this disease. I'm plodding ahead, sometimes getting further than others, sometimes holding back to wait for my friends, sometimes sprinting ahead because I can see the light ahead at the end of the tunnel.

But I didn't commit to racing a marathon with diabetes.
Certainly not against people I consider to be my peers, my support, my network, my clubmates.

There are people in the community, online and in real life, who know a lot about this disease, and there are people who blow a lot of smoke into mirrors about this disease. Does that make me respect any of these two types of people less? Not any more than it makes me have respect for the many kinds of people and their bodies reacting to their diabetes.

Aren't we all playing for the same team?

I hope I've been a support to many Persons With Diabetes. I know students and faculty come to me at school because I get it - I know what they're talking about. I understand.

I hope that I can provide the support, the restraint needed to listen, the bent ear, the lack of judgment (read NOT judging - not lack of GOOD judgment) that it takes to tell Persons With Diabetes that we all matter.

How do you think you measure up? Or does it matter to you?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I teach, therefore you learn… or do you?

I found this fascinating quote today:

If you search 21st century skills on YouTube, more than 1700 videos come up. There is a mind boggling wealth and variety of resources on this topic on sites like YouTube or Slideshare.I teach, therefore you learn… or do you?, Feb 2009

You should read the whole article.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Do You Test or Shoot Up When You're Out and About?

So, Mike asked in this week's episode of the SweetTalk podcast if we've ever tested in a funny or odd place. Since I am not on insulin, and only need to test or shoot up before or after a meal, I haven't had too many of those experiences yet.

But I recently contributed to a discussion over at saying I wish we weren't relegated to going to the bathroom to test or shoot up, which I often do, depending on where I'm at or with whom I'm with. People really got upset and told me how dirty bathrooms are. But I have had 1) stares, and 2) people tell me it grosses them out, and 3) people tell me I'm obsessed with diabetes, and 4) do I have to do that here?

So...again, depending on the circumstances, just to avoid the hassle, I find myself spreading my junk on top of the toilet paper dispensers, ever so carefully, so I don't touch anything, and doing it there.

Sometimes, it ticks me off, sometimes, I don't care. Sometimes, I'm too lazy to get my meter out and do it at a time when I really should (like this instance - where I really should have tested during the play, but lack of light, and um, sitting on top of others really discouraged me from doing it right then and there).

I'm sure you all know how I feel. Sometimes, I'm proud to test and/or shoot up, and either advocate for myself, and educate others, and sometimes, I just wanna get off this merri-go-round that day.

In any case, I am sharing with you testing tonight during my Valentine's Day Dinner and date with my husband, who does a great impression of the Diabetes Police during this vlog.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Do You Know Your Number?

So, I've had a lot of my colleagues really become interested in their blood sugar numbers because they love me (Aww, I love you guys, too - Erika and Beth!).

I was happy to share my meter and test strips and lancets with them (fortunately, I have good insurance that allows me enough on my supplies - knock on wood). And they were under 100.

I know that if I wasn't blessed - and yes, I do say blessed, with gestational diabetes in my 20's, I wouldn't have known what a risk I was to my condition.

If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't know my number. I wouldn't have followed it like a hawk follows its prey for 20 years. I wouldn't be obtaining the tight control I now have because I watch my number and advocate aggressively for treatment with the best doctors.

Do you know your number?

Friday, February 13, 2009

15 Tips for Great Candlelight Photography

Here are a few tips on how to get that perfect candle light portrait!

read more | digg story

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Exercise is the key!

So...I lost two lbs. this week in the Biggest Loser D Style competition, even though I ate out a lot this week, and because I was frustrated that the lab I go to on the weekends was backed up and messed up my standing order, I ate a Cinnabon cinnamon roll afterward when I went to Apple training and to attend the Women's Heart Healthy Fair.

It appears that if I'm going to see "onederland," as my good friend, Jaimie Hernandez, says, I'm going to have to step it up. Exericse helped me lose that. Becoming sedentary after being very active in my younger days is probably what put on the weight in the first place, as much as my poor diet. What does that say for us T2'ers? To know that we have that much in control is good, but it is still like living a prison sentence. It would be nice to know others who don't have T2 who struggle with lifestyle issues as much as we do. But unfortunately, all we're seeing is that we're the only ones who have to watch what we put in our mouths and watch what we do to keep fit.

Frustrating! At least to me it is.

Anyway, I did get one walk in this week. I'm going to try to maintain that, and add some kettlebells to the mix, once I get them.

I'm also getting the HUGO water jug out - I'll post a pic of that later this week. And maybe another vlog showing me getting into some strength training.

On a random note, I so wish I had an iPhone. I'd be posting pictures of the great lunches and breakfasts I've been preparing myself - I'm darn proud, if I must say so, that I am following a great diet !

Enjoy walking with me!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Prayers for Wally

Originally uploaded by MomsL8
This is my father-in-law with my two boys this summer at S-F Boy Scout Camp in Farmington, MO. I had to take his hand and guide him down the dimly lit path to beside the lake where he did not get to witness my son being elected into OA (big family upset there).

I fear this may be his last summer to see my boys at camp. He used to help Joe, my husband, every summer since the boys were Webelos in Cubs.

Twenty-eight years of diabetes, now controlled by Glyburide, Metformin, and Insulin, have ravaged his cardio-vascular system.

Today, he went in for exploratory surgery for his weak heart. They found almost 100% blockage in three main arteries, too much to stent.

Two weeks from now, he has to undergo an MR of his heart; if there is too much necrotic tissue, he will not be a good candidate for bypass.

Although he is 80 and has lived a full-life, he is angry about his disease and angry with his prior internist who did not refer him to further specialists.

Wally is a jovial, good-natured man who will be missed by many.

Please keep him in your prayers, thoughts, and special intentions.

Although fellow diabetics will have another angel by their sides, we would like him to remain here as long as he can.


Friday, January 30, 2009

The Story of the Brain Tins

Ok, so I teased George about my funny story about brains. He waited patiently, (well, I think he went to do other things off-line), while I fiddled around with the camera nonsense for the vlog. it is!

A long time ago, my mother-in-law, a staunch Scrubby Dutch South St. Louis German housewife, inherited old-fashioned tins where brain meat were kept (in old-fashioned days where people had ice boxes). They were her mother's.

Ever since I've known my mother-in-law, she kept opened packages of crackers, cookies, snacks, etc... in those tins in her pantry. Her mother used them for storage, and she felt they kept opened packages pretty fresh. So she did this as well.

When my daughter began going over to their house, she rarely wanted to stay to eat there. She would come home famished, and whenever my mother-in-law would offer DD something, she would refuse it.

Over the years, my DD would cry and inquire if Grandma thought she was as smart as the rest of the family, and she pondered if Grandma really loved her. I had no earthly idea where this was coming from.

It wasn't until years later, into her teens, that my DD explained that she would NEVER eat at Grandma's house, because she saw Grandma taking out the tins that said, "B-R-A-I-N-S." My DD thought Grandma was trying to feed her brains, because she wasn't smart enough.

It wasn't until she saw her brothers or her dad eat out of those tins that she ventured to try it.

I would never eat out of the tins, nor would her Grandpa, because we were diabetic and cutting carbs. So she figured if Mom won't eat it and Grandpa won't it, it must be bad.

We all had a resounding laugh at the holiday meal table when we found this out.

I'll never forget Brain Tins from now on.

My First Vlog

I linked this to the actual YouTube video also, but here it's goofy, but heck, I got it done! Landileigh says I sound like Bonnie Hunt, but I'm thinking a little Sarah Palin-ish?? I guess I never dropped the Chicago accent! :-) And it's reallll short!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Top of the Morning to Y'All

Well, after two days of respite due to weather (as one of my colleagues and friends, Paige Hereford, says: Snow Days are like powdered donuts - you have one, but then you want one more... - ha, can't we all relate!), I'm back at school working.

Yesterday, my sugars rebounded quite well after the pizza episode. I waited until 2:30 when my sugar was at 101 to eat lunch, and then I watched my carbs pretty well.

This morning, I had a great appointment with Barb, my CDE. She's always so helpful, loves that I'm such a self-advocate, and asks me questions she knows I might lie about, but then helps me to feel good about telling the truth. My numbers were excellent, and I am down 10 lbs. from December 23 when I last saw her when my equally wonderful endo put me on Byetta. She's good at evading my questions, when I ask her since my BS has been down closer to 100 if I could get off the BP meds and statins, and not yelling at me when I don't adopt everything right away that maybe Doc wants me to. She also totally understands when I get frustrated at the internist who still insists that I can do this without meds.

So I talked with her about my charlie horses, my short of breath while walking, my edema in my hands, some female issues, and the urination deal. She thinks some of that is due to perimenopause (I've been waiting for this for A LONG TIME). She chuckled when she suggested I go see the perinatologist I went to in order to deliver my kids when I was last down at the Center for Advanced Medicine (a couple of them argued as to who was going to tell me that I shouldn't have any more kids).

And even though I'm doing well, they're still going to up the Byetta to the 10mcg because they said I'll probably plateau and then not be able to maintain the good sugars as this rate.

Uggh - another roller coaster ride of nausea and dizziness. But...hey...I lost 10 lbs when they did this the first time. I guess I'll try it again.

She questioned why I wasn't on more Metformin, and I told her about my infamous GI issues. So, we'll see - I'll keep in close contact with her to see if I tolerate more Byetta or see if they want to do more Met, which I would not relish.

I have bloodwork this Saturday - Vitamin D and Lipids again. Hopefully, those lovely oily Vitamin D's I've been mainstreaming (I feel like that - it's such a high dose) will help. She pointed out some research that might be confirming that Vitamin D may help diabetics get off BP meds.

I'm pretty satisfied. I'm glad I got aggressive and begged my internist to go down there.

I owe some people a vlog about me exercising, most especially my brave friend, Jaimie, plus I want to show you all the snow before it leaves (especially for my friend, Gaelyne, down under).

I'll try to get on that later this afternoon. I have to get in a walk tonight, I'll take you all to the gym with me perhaps.

Next step: water....ugh......

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I am Paying for a Carbo Overload This Morning

So, because of the snow day, I ordered pizza. Now, I can't have - really AT ALL - my favorite Chicago-style thick crust pizza that I love so dearly. So instead, I order one of our local pizzerias, one of our favorites, Cecil Whittaker's. It's very thin crust, and usually, it doesn't affect my BS in the way I'll pay for it later.

So after I've been on the Byetta, I'm thinking, wow - I feel good today, I can eat some more pizza (more than my allotted two pieces), and I do. Combined with the salad dressing, which I know was high-fat, and the excess pizza, I woke up with a rock in my stomach today.

I haven't had a bout with loose stool on Byetta yet, but this morning was a close as it's come so far.

However, it still is not as bad as with the Metformin alone, so I guess I should be thankful that my carb binge didn't put me on the couch on a touchie donut all day.

After I eliminated the pizza and high-fat salad dressing, breakfast this morning was 6 oz of diet crangrape Ocean Spray juice (only 1.5 g carb for 1/2 of 12 oz serving), 3/4 c non-fat cottage cheese with 1/3 c sliced no-sugar added frozen strawberries, and two whole-wheat English muffin halves (yes, that's a lot of carbs), smeared with sugar-free peanut butter, non-fat strawberry cream cheese and a smidge of Smucker's sugar-free grape jam.

Hopefully, my pp and before lunch tests will be ok - but I'll update later!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Thanks to Gina for the nod!

So one of my friends from the Diabetes OC and Biggest Loser - D Style has given our new podcast a nod. I thought I would return the favor. Gina is a fun-loving gal who doesn't let her Dness stop her from trying anything. I am quite entertained by her Tweets, and she keeps my spirit high in this friendly competition. Thanks, Gina! And guess what???? We're now listed in the iTunes directory! YAY!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Yeah! We're on the air!

So....I have returned to broadcasting....

What? You might thought I was a teacher.

Well, I've made two great friends on, and we are now doing a podcast.

Mike Lawson is incredibly talented - and he works with kids in learning how to access and produce digital media - way to go! I love his casual wit and humor.

Landileigh Nelson is so very informed and intelligent on the issues, and she and I stay up late talking some nights.

I'm so fortunate to have found these two new friends and recorded this podcast.

But we need listeners - so hop on over, and subscribe!

See ya on iTunes or on every Monday for our Sweet Talk podcast!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

OMG - My Nemesis

Okay - this is a corner cafe by my house, started by a former student in the Rockwood Schools. Love Russell, love his mom, Kate, and I used to eat there like every week. Of course, I had to partake of his patisseries - he's a pastry chef, for crying out loud.

Well, last year, I started only coming in on the weekends. It really doesn't help that at the end of the day, Kate usually marks the breakfast muffins and such as buy one get one so they can make a fresh batch the next morning. Kate noticed...and now?

I ate one of their decadent chocolate covered marshmallows before I saw the endo...and I haven't been in since.

This ad is a lure to the devil for me! I refuse to NOT eat a chocolate covered strawberry for Valentine's Day - my hubby has known since he has met me that these delicious treats are the key to my heart...and probably anything else he wants that day.

I am going to make a mini-challenge for me to eat ONLY one or two...notice I did NOT qualify myself to eat only one. There's no way I can do that. Two at the most - ok???

FDA Petition from the Diabetes Community

So Kerri Morrone - who is the author of the award-winning SixUntilMe patient blog on diabetes wrote a great summary of what the diabetes community is asking.

Take myself for example: I am on Byetta, a new drug that has caused some 6 patients to die as a result of pancreatitis. I am frightened to be on this drug, yet it works.

So many drugs for diabetes have been linked to heart conditions and other life-threatening side effects. I want the safest, yet most effective treatment out there for both me and my fellow diabetics.

The FDA needs to have balance in including voices from the Diabetes Community on a committee which would assist in making decisions and advocating for action.

This will be part of our focus on a new podcast project with Landileigh Nelson and Mike Lawson, two prominent people in the diabetes community.

Stay tuned for more info!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Still Chugging Away at 43things

I took the 43 Things Personality Quiz and found out I'm a
Self-Improving Healthy Extrovert

Finding My Way

So....I think I'm finding my way again. It took me until today, when all the kids and hubby were gone, to hear myself talk. I'm almost comfortable being alone again, when now, I have to go get ready to go to a friend's hubby's 40th birthday. I feel like being alone.

So I've definitely been better about my eating habits and my lifestyle, and I feel like I'm just getting reacquainted with life. I'm feeling more energetic, so therefore, I feel like I can clean and organize my life a little more (if my husband reads this, pretend I'm feeling sick today)!

My life seems to have roadmapped itself this way: teens - angst and passion for my identity, 20's - following and belonging, 30's - lost and tethered, 40's - rushing and bustling, and now, maybe I can look forward to a Renaissance during my 50's?

I sure hope so, because this shuttling kids, volunteering, losing my body image and fitness, getting sick, falling apart kind of middle age truly sucks!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Biggest Loser - "D" Style

I'm participating in a weight loss/lifestyle management contest with Landileigh and other fellow diabetics.

Wanna join?

Click on the title of this entry or the graphic to go to Landileigh's page for more information!

So I Just Learned....

that Joe's cousin has cancer - all throughout her body. When I read the email she sent, and her Caring Bridge page, I cried. She's 10 years older than me. Joe was in her wedding. With Father Gerry having lung cancer, and now Joe's cousin, mortality is all too real for me.

I shouldn't be focusing on the negative. I'm not that kind of person. But I'm scared to die like my Uncle - dropping dead of a major coronary infarction at the age of 47. I mean that's only 4 years away for me.

I like being active in the diabetes community, and I'm relishing my podcast opportunity with Mike and Landileigh, but I want to live - whole heartedly. I don't want to focus on my disease.

So I went to a new internist, and she's pretty holistic. I'm going to try to lose 20 lbs just this year. And walk - every day. And eat better and take my vitamins and supplements. If I can give my body its fuel, and if I can take better care of my body, I'm hoping to outlive my diabetes until my pancreas or my heart gives out.

Wish me luck!

Monday, January 19, 2009