Thursday, 2 December 2010

The Diabetes Toad

My cousin, Maggie, lives in Ottawa and kindly sent me a special feature from The Globe and Mail all about Diabetes.
She, herself, was diagnosed with Type 1 in her forties.
A huge shock and I happened to be over visiting when the doctor rang with confirmation of the diagnosis.
I remember her son, Jorin, hugging her and them both crying and I quietly left the room to let them talk and be together before I spoke to her later about what it meant and how she felt.
I was clueless.
She handled it then and handles it now with her usual, and enviable, forthright attitude and determination to look it in the eye.
With Frank's diagnosis, somewhere around fifteen years later, I was still clueless.
Maggie never made a big deal of it but just got on with it.
Nothing was hidden, but I never asked many questions either.
Now we see each other every six months and have so much to talk about.
Not that we ever struggled but the Big D does make an appearance in our conversations now more than it did before Frank's diagnosis.
Knowing what I now know, I feel ashamed of this, of not finding out more and being more supportive
So, Maggie ticks along managing her Type 1 brilliantly. She chooses to not have a pump and that works for her.
We want a pump for Frank to let his tiny body have less daily invasions.
We are all doing great.
And then I sit down to read the articles from The Globe and Mail supplement.
I read a few lines and this incredible physical, totally physical, feeling rises in me, like a submerged toad that has been in the pit of my stomach, rising and rising to my (now constricted) throat and I close the paper, and feel the hysteria subside.
What on earth is that?
It's the Diabetes Toad.
It lies there, watching and waiting and rising to strike when you let your guard down for a second.
All seems well and then all of a sudden up pops the freaky toad, all full of its own importance, and I am knocked for six again.
Like it happened two weeks ago not two years ago.
I have been pondering this post for a few days now and was interested (and relieved) to read both Meri's and Reyna's posts saying very similar things.
Sometimes the magnitude of DIABETES and not the numbers or the carbs or the exercise hits us all and we crumble a bit.
For a while.
And then, well, what are our choices here?
Let's be honest.
Are we able to say, "Nope. Can't do it anymore. Too scary. Gonna give it to someone else?". Ha!
We want to do it because we need to do it because we have to do it.
The momentary wobbles are about looking into the abyss and then going back to the coal face (crazy mixed metaphors, I apologise!).
And at the coal face is where we belong.
I certainly wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
So, day to day, the Diabetes Toad is pushed down by life. Everyday life.
And to lighten the mood here are some images and thoughts of this week so far:
  1. I've been sewing to YouTube of The Dick van Dyke Show. I love him so much. And I hear even porpoises love him these days. I've always said porpoises have good taste ...
  2. We've got snow and lots of it. Frank is a happy boy.
3. Snowmen have been built. This was the first one after just a night of snow. He's kind of small but the latest two are much bigger.
4. A Christmas Cake has been baked. I soaked the required tonne of dried fruit in brandy for a day and then made the cake. We don't normally have one but Sev and her friend Louise are with us over Christmas, along with my parents and aunt so a cake might be called to do service!

It gets wrapped like a parcel before going in the oven for three hours.

And looks like this when it emerges.
I will "feed" it with brandy every few days up until Christmas and cover it with fruit and nuts and then glaze it with apricot jam.
Traditionally it is eaten with a chunk of crumbly cheese but most people these days probably go for a cup of tea alongside instead.
I will happily post the recipe sometime if anyone is interested in cakes that are so heavy with fruit they could sink a ship!
It tastes great, I assure you.

5. Mr Muffinmoon is out at a Poetry Slam this evening, performing as Fred Slattern: Slum Poet. What have I planned? Tamari cashews and a gin & tonic, that's what! Oh, and knitting like a mad witch as it's already December and I've been slutty with my handmade promises ...
Much love and peace and great BGs to you all.


  1. I am interested in your SLUTTY handmade promises Jules! WTH??? LOL. I like your post...and the coal eyes...the the toad...very true the toad has been sitting in my constricted throat...luckily I am back to living my daily life and dealing with one number at a time. Thank goodness for my blogging buddies to pull me out of the abyss. I swear I would get stuck there for longer periods of time without everyone's wisdom and insight. Love to you Jules...and your cake looks YUMMY. I am hoping to try your granola recipe next week.

  2. I did wonder whether the Handmade Promises sounded too much like a euphemism! Maybe it's where the reader's mind is at that makes the point?!

  3. I so love your post(s). That cake looks awesome! ((hugs)) I too have been in the big picture for the last few and yes, thank goodness for Meri and Reyna! HA!

  4. Yummy cake!
    Snowy England!!

  5. What a darling snowman! We had some snow here but it's all melted. More tomorrow, though.

    The toad has been visiting us for an entire month, it seems. I'm read for him to go away! He got me all choked up tonight, out of the blue, when I realized we'd been at this almost 2 years. Blech to him!

    Great post!

  6. OMGosh...the toad, I have been choked up by him too many times. When I really allow myself to think way past the numbers, oh my word, let the flood gates open and bring on the tissues!!!

    Loved your post and yes, the cake looks yummy!