Archive for October, 2012

Mosaic: Sea Horse
October 23, 2012

Mosaicing the sea horse was challenging because of all the curves.

I completed the mosaic at a weekend workshop offered by Ann Bidstrup of  Heart Art.

Ann’s husband cuts out the shapes for the mosaics.

The sea horse was created for my new home.

Charcoal Drawing: The Downs of Change
October 17, 2012

Messrs. Fear and Anxiety, my old friends, why are you visiting now?

Here I am pursuing my next adventure full of confidence and excitement

When you decide to remind me of my vulnerability and deep seated insecurities

Giving me a sharp reality check

Gnawing away at my belly

Robbing me of rest, peace of mind and my appetite.

I know when I set the right course,

You will release your grip and depart.

And I can get on with it.

I have sold the house where I have lived for 25 years and am in the process of packing up and moving to Central Victoria. Last week, it all became too real and I have been dealing with a sick, anxious stomach. Some things never seem to change. 

My internal landscape over the past week – not good!

Diabetes and Me
October 6, 2012

My diagnosis of Diabetes Type 2 was not a surprise but still unwelcome – like an unpopular family member moving in to stay. I had all the risk factors: fifty, family and fat. The immediate effects were emotional – anger and resentment and psychological – grief and depression.

The greatest impact was on my relationship with food. There is nothing about food I don’t like and I have a sweet tooth. Now, it seemed food had become my enemy. Too much of certain kinds of food mean higher blood glucose levels which can lead to long term poor health.

I was strongly encouraged to shed kilos. The food buzz words  became low fat, low sugar, low salt and small portions.

Consequently, my relationship with food has been evolving over the past eight years and is still a work in progress. My diet has been changing and I have been trying new foods. After a trial period, I have rejected those foods which for me are unpalatable. And yes, I still eat, in much more modest quantities, those foods which I love.

My sister, a pharmacist, was very supportive. She arranged a blood glucose monitoring device and membership of the National Diabetes Services Scheme and recommended I contact my local community health centre to arrange to meet a diabetes educator.

I’ve also had the help of a podiatrist who knew about the benefits of a Continuing Care Plan. I learned as much as I could by obtaining information from Diabetes Australia and attending an information session for people newly diagnosed with diabetes at the Knox Community Health Centre. It was challenging and depressing – but helpful.

Now I walk daily and have added gentle yoga and strength training classes to my weekly level of activity.

Until I was 50, I barely saw a doctor from one year to the next. Now appointments with health professionals litter my diary. Adding to my support team, a new G.P. who is proactive and knowledgeable about diabetes has been a big bonus.

Whilst attending a Better Self Management of Chronic Illness course conducted by the Knox Community Health Centre,  I met a small group of women who have become my friends. It is great having support from people who know the ups and downs of living with a chronic illness.

I have been strongly motivated to manage the diabetes as my plans for the future depend on remaining as healthy as I can. Getting my blood glucose levels under control meant the unexplained lumps, rashes and fungal infections which existed prior to diagnosis disappeared. To date, I have not experienced the health complications which can occur over time.

It is important to me that I manage the diabetes. I am responsible for my health. I need assistance, but ultimately I am the one who needs to determine what works for me.

This is the edited article ‘Diabetes and me: Margaret Griffin’ which appeared in the  July 2012 edition of the ‘Bayswater Buzz’, a local community newspaper. 

What has really helped over the years since the diagnosis of diabetes has been:

  • Supportive family and friends
  • Getting the facts from people who are knowledgeable about the disease
  • Ignoring well meant but ill informed advice
  • A proactive GP who is willing to refer me to relevant services and government funded schemes
  • Access to the services of the Knox Community Health Service.

The support of these people made the decision to go onto insulin injections much easier.

Having plans about how I want to live my life has meant I focus on health and living rather than on illness and disease.

I have included this drawing of lilies as they represent the optimism I feel at present.