Category Archives: Sajablife

General posts about my life, usually not about diabetes, although sometimes they are about diabetes, because diabetes is part of my life.

Ode to Smokey


I remember when we first found you. My dad was taking me to softball practice. I was 14 years old and we were still living in Drexel, MO. We nearly ran you over, when Dad said you were a cat I made him stop and we picked you up. He held you while we practiced. The other girls held and petted you too.


We took you home that evening and Mom was a little furious. She did not like cats. She thought we were clearly NOT cat people. Not to mention the fact that we’d been through puppy after puppy without much luck, always giving them away. She went to the grocery store (the only one in town) and looked for a sign for a missing kitten in the window. All she saw were free kitten signs. This is when we realized you had probably been dumped.


I thought you were a girl and wanted to name you Amelia. Everyone else voted me down and we chose Smokey for your color. Apparently a 14 year old girl could not tell girl parts from boy parts on a cat because when you returned from the vet with your shots and sans claws, you were also sans kitty-boy parts. “We neutered him” said the vet. My family thought this was hilarious. I didn’t care, in my eyes you were my cat and that’s all I wanted.


That summer, a few months later, we moved to Springfield, MO. After growing up in very small towns it was a scary experience. The summer wasn’t too bad, our neighborhood was safe enough to ride bikes and I spent a lot of time playing with the little kitten. You were there to comfort me during school when I couldn’t find any friends.

Mom used to let you explore the back yard. When she was finishing her college degree, she made the screened in back porch her “office” and let you out where she could see you. Sometimes you climbed on top of the privacy fence but you never ran away. When we adopted the big dogs we thought they might eat you so we didn’t let you go out anymore. You didn’t like that, so sometimes we let you out in the front yard. One night we thought we lost you, but after looking for you with a flashlight you were waiting patiently on the porch for someone to let you back in.


The time you were there for me the most was during a tumultuous relationship that lasted more than three years. Every time I was at home and he and I were fighting, when I’d get off the phone crying, there you’d be, rubbing your face against my leg, begging you to pet me. It was nice because when you were smaller you didn’t want much attention.

When you got older you  started liking to sleep up against a human. Several nights you slept with your back pressed against mine on my bed. The older you got, the more affectionate you became. I truly appreciated that because I always wished you were more affectionate when you were smaller.


Now we have new baby Wiz and I am thankful that you taught her your kitty ways. She not only looks just like you, but she begs for food the way you did, she kneads my bed before she lays down the way you did, and she even sleeps in some of the same positions you did. Once I even caught her rubbing her face against my computer the way you did. Crazy cats. She’ll miss playing with you.

I’ve never had a pet die, at least, not while being directly aware of it


and not one I was so close to. I always think of pets as animals that can be replaced, and while I still do think this to a certain point, I will not let you go un grieved. Maybe it’s cliche to call a cat one of my best friends, but without going past the crazy point, you sure were. I love you smokey, smokester, big, biggun, lil buddy, Smokey my cat. I’ll remember you forever.


12 Things I Want in 2012

Get Employed
Get Healthy
Get out of my parents house
Get a 4.0 twice
Get some cooking skills
Get rid of caffeine addiction
Get better at blogging
Get on the bike for Tour de Cure
Get out of debt
Get exercising
Get more sleep and a new bed
Get a mental health professional

One a month seems doable, right?

Looking Back

Entering myself in the barrage of new year posts, I have come to realize that blogging about goals and accomplishments each new year has it’s benefits: keeping track of the goals I set to see if I reached them somewhere I can’t lose so long as I have an internet connection.

In 2011, a lot of things didn’t happen that I had planned. I was supposed to be continuing my work for the Park Service. But, when I faced a bout of severe depression, I decided that it was better for me (and what I really wanted) to continue on the track to becoming a Diabetes Educator. And overall, that’s the decision I was most proud of this year. It will take 2.5 more years, but I am very excited what those 2.5 years will hold!

Here’s my list of some of my 2011 goals:

1. Be healthy, look good, feel good.

Well, while I may not completely feel like I have met this goal, I didn’t go without trying. And I have for one felt better this year, with my parade of depression medications – but I’ve also felt some of the worst days. However, I have at least come to terms with how I look, and accepted my recent weight gain. And I didn’t gain any significant weight throughout the year; I weigh about the same as when I got home from UT. So that’s pretty exciting.


2. Read, one book a week is the goal.
This didn’t happen, but I did read more than I usually do.

My local "four states"

3. Live in 4 states
Well, I did have the opportunity to live in four states, but I didn’t take it. I decided to give up jobs in South Carolina and Wyoming in favor of going back to school.  So this year, I have only lived in two states.

4. Run a 5k.

I didn’t even train, uberfail.

5. Ride in the Tour de Cure
GOAL ACCOMPLISHED!  I registered at the last minute, and raised 300 dollars in 10 days so my dad and I could BOTH ride, but it was an amazing (yet difficult without training) experience. 16 miles doesn’t sound like much, but I live in the Ozarks. Talk about some hills. 

Dad and Me

It's pretty.

6. A1C under 7 – and to be quite honest, I have no idea what my A1C is right now, but I am guessing it is well over 7. This one will take lots of work and persistence.
Well, I only had my a1c tested twice this year (don’t judge! I have an appointment in early February). Most recently, it was 8.4. I have been letting diabetes slide to the back burner as I deal with depression. More on this in later posts. (Besides, I’m learning that its just a number).

7. Attend at least 1 Diabetes Conference

George Simmons, Beatrice Dominguez, Me, and Scott Johnson in San Diego, 2011

Technically I went to the Roche conference in San Diego last summer, but I wanted this to be one I funded on my own. I also went to Simonpalooza, a large meet-up in Kansas City in October, which wasn’t a conference but was a lot of fun. I have no regrets on this one but still want to attend a “real” conference.

8. Start paying off student loans.

I made one payment before I went back to school. So yes, I “started!”

9. Forget about the past and live life with no regrets. If you know me personally, you probably understand what I mean here, at least a little. I’m done with school (for now, the dream of CDE still remains in the back of my mind) and ready to get on with my life. Bring it on, 2011!

I don’t know what to say about this goal. Personally, this year was exciting to say the least. I’m not sure how I feel on the regret front, but I definitely feel better about this past year than I did about 2010. And that “dream” that was in the back of my mind is now the first thing on my mind and my sole purpose in life at the moment. Believe me, that is a good thing.

I’m not sure who really enjoys reading about other people’s goals, but since I have kept this blog strictly for me and not for others, I am not going to worry about that part. Tomorrow you can read about my goals for 2012. I did remove a few goals from this list that pertained to work with the parks service, or at least being in an area where I had easy access to things like rock climbing and backcountry camping. This year I plan on doing the same: making goals that will be easily attainable based on my lifestyle, but realize that, like last year, the things I have planned could change, even drastically.

But above all, I resolve these two things:

I can do this

Just keep swimming


Merry Christmas!

Heads up, the new year will bring new content and some surprises. I hope that you and yours have a fantastic holiday season, whatever religion you may be. I will be spending lots of time with family and counting lots of carbs!

Wishing you a holiday season full of good blood glucose levels!


“Is it Winter or Something?” – Dealing with Diabetes Guilt

Finally caught up on my DOC reading, I have noticed a trend.

Negativity – and not in a hateful sort of way, but in an “I’m really frustrated with myself because I feel like I’m failing” kind of way.

While my first instinct would have been encouragement, I honestly can say right now that I don’t feel like I have any weight to encourage anyone, because I have to say I feel the same way.

My blood sugar monitoring has dropped to pre-DOC levels. Some days I don’t test at all. I could blame my “Other D” resurgence, I could blame my lack of continuous glucose monitor, or I could blame a genuine disheartening. But playing the blame game does absolutely nothing for my health or myself.

In some ways, the last few weeks have left me feeling better. I (dangerously, and would not encourage ANYONE to replicate my decision) discontinued use of my anti-depressant, which I suspected was giving me side-effect headaches. The headaches have declined but have not gone away completely. My depression symptoms have increased, but not much, which leads me to believe that the meds were not doing their job. One bonus is that I have been sleeping at night, although not through the whole night – I have been waking up almost every night between 3 and 5 am to blood sugars of 200 mg/dl or higher.


Is it the weather? Is it the time change? I know that last year, this type of thing started around this time, but I blamed it on being alone most of the time since my roommate had just left, her internship tenure expiring. But this year I’m safely with my family, and have a lot of social interaction with friends. I am jobless again, which doesn’t help, but seriously. December is supposed to be a happy time, and I admit, Christmas traditions both old and new have been helping me cope, but sometimes it just isn’t enough.

Things get overwhelming quickly. I want to buy my loved ones gifts, but I am broke. Cleaning and organizing my things would make me feel better, but I can’t find the energy to do it. Staying at home, I’m experiencing blood sugar spikes almost every time I eat anything with a small amount of carbohydrates, I end up with a nap inducing blood sugar spike. I basically feel like I am in a fog.

So much of diabetes care has to come from within us.

To really feel as though we are living healthy, “normal” lives, much of our care depends on our determination and ability to continue to do the same things over and over again: count carbs, change the infusion set, bolus the insulin, test the blood sugar, let go of our hard-earned dollars to buy the precious medications that keep us alive. Check for ketones, and make the decision whether this episode of the flu warrants a trip to the emergency room or not. Burnout sneaks up on us like a grinch stealing Christmas. All we can do is all we can do. The trick is to not look at the numbers, not feel guilty for past mistakes. It can be hard. I am terrified of the day I realize my life is shortened because of my own mistakes. For the time when I am told I can’t have children because of my lack of control. When I lose the use of my feet or my hands lose feeling, and I lose the ability to play the piano or type a blog. When I lose my sight and can no longer drive a car, losing my personal freedom. When kidney failure causes my family to lose me. But these things are not things that should be dwelt on. Each day is a new day. The other day I posted this facebook status:

“Things seem ok when you take it one step at a time.” 

Test this meal. Count these carbs. Drag my butt to the gym today. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Forget about yesterday. One step at a time is the only way to live life with diabetes without bogging yourself down with guilt.

 And it’s the only way I want to live.


I’m going BIG this time.

Currently I’m taking Human Nutrition in preparation for nursing school. As part of the course, of course (see what I did there?), we are required to do a nutritional analysis. This means logging every bit of food and every minute of exercise to an online site where our teacher can access it and then analyzing our results.

We have to do it for 4-6 weeks. I’ve been doing it honestly for two weeks, and let me tell you I am not happy with what I see. I’ve also been toying with the idea of going gluten and dairy free and forgetting the red meat for a long time now. I’ve decided to implement these changes into my diet between now and Thanksgiving. The goal is to see how I feel, see if some of my issues clear up, and see if I lose any weight (with my slight insulin resistance, I’m not sure this will happen).

On top of that I’m attempting to work out one day on, two days off at the gym including weight lifting for the duration of the month (Thanksgiving is exactly 30 days from tomorrow. That’s crazy). I am pretty excited about this. After a shopping spree at the new Hy-Vee in Springfield (if you’re from the northern part of the Midwest you know about the wonders of Hy-Vee), I am set with gluten free essentials and a healthy amount of fruits and veges that I am hoping will get me though the next couple of weeks. It really is going to be a “detoxification” process, because I am pretty sure my body is addicted to processed sugar and artificial sweeter and caffeine. Not to mention salt, but the sodium question will not be addressed this time around. I’m resolving to only eat out once a week, so that means with my family birthdays upcoming I may have to skip out on some after church meals on Sunday.

Here are some things I jotted down during nutrition class this evening, things that are always on my mind but may be implemented in steps rather than all at once:

Food Plan:

Goal: 10 servings of fruits and veges a day (note: these are goals, not requirements). This is to implement more fiber in my diet.
Goal: no red meat, gluten, or dairy products except for greek yogurt for the protein content.
Goal: balance carbohydrates and protein
Goal: drink at least 64 oz of water a day.

Exercise Plan:

Goal: Start doing yoga again (for stress relief, because tonight my nutrition teacher said belly fat can develop as a result of stress! I didn’t know that!).
Goal: One day on, two days off regular exercise plan for a month.

Other Thoughts:

Limit diet coke intake (yeesh!)
Green Tea (yum and good for you)
Fish or tuna twice a week (tuna is fish, but it’s whatev)
try to eat a few carrots daily for eye health
Try to replace sweet tooth to crave fruits instead (this sentence doesn’t make sense, but you get the gist)
Monitor Blood sugar levels (duh)
eat at least 4 times a day, try to equal amounts (ie no big meals, just several small ones).

And finally, the logging that needs to go on for both my sake and my nutritional analysis:

  • Food Intake
  • Exercise
  • Blood Sugar
  • insulin intake
  • water intake
  • hours of sleep
  • waste output (gross! But necessary)
  • pedometer

I make plans like this c-o-n-s-t-a-n-t-l-y.

And I always sincerly hope that I will keep it up, but hopefully this time the added motivation of my required nutritional analysis (and being able to explain how much better I felt at the end of it, maybe I’ll get bonus points!) will keep me motivated. I mean, how much of it, besides food elimination, isn’t just healthy habits to have?


The Biggest Thing

The biggest thing that I am looking forward to maybe actually be able to stick with is the exercise. I have a gym membership, and even though two days off, one on may not be the recommended amount of exercise, it’s still a hell of a lot  more than I put in now, and the ultimate goal is to switch to five days of cardio and three days of weightlifting once I’m used to this less frequent plan.

Can you help me out?

I’m going to attempt to post on facebook and twitter regarding my progress, and of course, use my blog as November will be a big blogging month for me anyway. What I need is support and encouragement. If you have a success story, please tell me! I’m not trying so much to lose weight as to feel better and improve my overall health. What do you think? Too much at one time, or do you think I’m doing well? Do you have any suggestions?

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional! My blog is not intended to be medical advice. I have a health care team that is supervising me in my undertakings. If you plan on drastically c hanging your diet, beginning an exercise routine, trying to lose weight, or undertaking any other kind of health-related lifestyle change, it’s important to consult a doctor before beginning. 

Seriously, I just want to be cool.

I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember writing.  I started writing short stories when I was little, kept journals off and on, and countless times started (and sometimes, finished) “novels” about my daydreams (primarily about boys) when I was in jr. high and high school. I’ve been blogging since the early high school days, using old standards like Free Open Diary and Xanga, back when those sites were cool and everybody used them to gossip about one another and talk about our new boyfriends.

I never really thought about blogging about diabetes until I “accidentally” stumbled across the DOC two summers ago and realized, ‘Hey, I’m like, living with this thing that is pretty complicated and hard but also kind of entertaining.’ And I never wanted to blog about depression (Because OMG my future employers are probably reading this as we speak! HI GUYS, HIRE ME!) until I realized how common it actually is in America (a veritable mental health crisis comparable to the obesity epidemic – maybe related to – there is a thesis topic for you) and if an employer didn’t realize that a high percentage of his or her employees is probably already dealing with this disease and their company is functioning quite well, thank you very much, then I didn’t really want to work for them anyway. (Whew. Run-ons are my specialty).

But seriously, I just want to be cool.

No, I don’t have a personalized URL or any fancy advertisers and no, I don’t come up on the first page when you google “diabetes blogs.”  But all I want to do is become a certified diabetes educator and write and talk to people about diabetes for a living.  Is that so much to ask?

I even went so far as to list Sarahndipity as my employer on my facebook page. Heck, even my neglected LinkedIn profile focuses on my work in the diabetes community.

The bottom line is, living with diabetes isn’t easy. No one has all the answers, and that’s really the message I want to send. The whole damn thing is about trial and error, over and over again, and it’s a bit of a far reach for a perfectionist like myself. (Hear that, future employers? My weakness right there in grey and white – now you can skip that awkward question in my interview). (But it’s ok if you don’t).  But that’s the whole point of d-blogging, right? To let others know that they are not alone in their frustrations and idiosyncrasies that come with having a chronic illness?

Ron Burgundy is kind of a big deal. People know him.

Sometimes, we just have to remind ourselves of that. The reason we’re here, the reason we wake up at 5am and can’t sleep because we have too many bloggy thoughts floating around in our brains (well, I mean, I do that).

I mean, this isn’t 2001. There are a lot of bloggers out there in the interweb world. And, for now, I don’t feel like I stand out. But honestly, I don’t have to be kind of a big deal (although I wouldn’t mind it), so long as I am helping people along the way.

That’s the most important thing, right?


Everybody struggles with the way they feel about themselves from time to time. I think it’s time for some good old fashioned self empowerment. Let’s do this.



Ok, I’m glad I got that out. How are you today, blog world? I’m warning you, I’m on a spazzy, unprofessional kick because I’m kind of excited about my new found self esteem. And all it took were those three words. I’m going to try this again. Now, if you are my mother, grandmother, or someone else’s grandmother, you should probably avert your eyes:


Woah! That feels so good! I am really glad I got those things out, because quite frankly, they are true of me, and they are true of you too. Especially if you have diabetes or you support someone who has diabetes. Hell, if you have any type of chronic illness or condition or support anyone who does, you rock, and you should let the world know it.

Some things I like about myself:

I know how to handle road flares.

I am pretty OK at hiking up mountains


I am obviously not afraid of bears.


I am also not so bad at skiing for a beginner.

I am also kind of ok at dancing from time to time.




AND SO NOW, Dear Reader, please tell me what you like about yourself! And don’t forget to tell yourself that you are AWESOME!

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

The past few years of my life have been a massive monsoon of change and uncertainty. Four years ago,  I was happily living in Kansas City and going to a small liberal arts college. Since then, I have moved 8 times, gone to two different colleges, and worked nine different jobs, not including two unemployed stints (counting the current one).

Sometimes I wonder why I torture myself so much.

But for real. In that time, I have felt both the lowest of lows and the highest of highs. I have felt physically great and physically horribly.  But really, a cloud of depression, or as I like to call it, “The Other D.” And while I hesitate to write about depression very often, hence the last few weeks’ lack of posting, because I am trying to get a job and googling my name does bring up my blog, it’s part of my life, it’s part of my diabetes, and statistics aside I know for a fact based on my interactions with other PWDs that I am not the only one who deals with both “D’s” at once.

Which means I want to make my voice heard. I want others expending all their energy on taking care of their diabetes so that they feel absolutely exhausted in all other aspects of their life to know that they are not alone. And to let those who let their diabetes care slide because it takes everything they have just to get out of bed in the morning know that someone understands how they feel.

For me, the last few weeks have been a turning point. Sure, I’m still unemployed. Sure, I still haven’t unpacked since I got home last month. Sure, I’m 24 and still living in my parent’s house, driving their car, and using their phone. And sure, where I’m going to be and what I’m going to be doing in the next six months is still very much up in the air. But (Friday night aside) I’m working on better sleeping habits, applying for jobs like a crazy person, and in general feeling better about my life. I’m eating better, eating less,  and feeling motivated to at least move around during the day.

So even though I’m writing this at nearly 4am, and even though there are things I need to do that I’m still putting off, and even though I’ve still got a lot of growing up to do, I can say that I’m ready, willing, and able. And that’s something I haven’t been able to say in a long time.

“New Year” And Project Birthday

I like starting my “year” on February 1. I was born in February 7th, and February seems like a better month for me to start things. Last year, I started my failed D365 project on February 1 and I’m doing the same this year. I’m also starting to used a pedometer on February 1.

I’m also starting a year of what I’m calling “Project Birthday.” It was inspired by my own birthday and my observation of the February “Birthday Blitz” (Springtime is for lovers?) (Inappropriate, sorry). A lot of people I know, including many in the DOC, have birthdays in February. I’m turning 24 this year (more on that in about a week), and I realize that once you hit a certain age, birthdays lose their meaning.

But for me, and for PWDs in general, I think that birthdays should be a BIG deal, as big of a deal as diaversaries. We have this disease that, less than 100 years ago, would have taken our lives almost immediately. But now we have insulin, and pumps, and cgms, and so much to keep us alive. But people are still lost. And a birthday, to me, means another year to live, another age to see.

Project Birthday will celebrate that. And I’m asking for help from PWDs and D-parents. You can participate in two ways.

The first way is not really your choice, as a PWD. If you tweet your birthday or if you have it posted on your facebook, and we’re friends, you’ll get at least one video. From me.

The other way I’m asking for your help is that I’m asking you to do the same. If you see that it’s a PWDs birthday, send them a vlog! Record it on your webcam, camera, or phone, and upload it to facebook, twit vid, or leave it as a comment on their blog.

I’m posting this very late on Monday. Tomorrow, I hope to have a really awesome kickoff of this project for you, although it will probably be late afternoon/evening before I get it up.


I hope you enjoy this project, even if I wind up being the only one doing it. We’re all in this together, and we should celebrate one another’s achievements, even if it just means celebrating making it to another year of life.


quickly thrown together late at night. Will add links and photos tomorrow.