Your Health Starts With You

I was having a conversation about Diabetes and A1C readings with my wife this past weekend, when i started to discuss and bring up many of the other folks I’ve known through my life who have Diabetes. It made me realize that for the most part, almost everyone I know who has either Type-1 or Type-2 Diabetes has failed to take care of themselves to the extent that they’ve caused damage to themselves that can no longer be repaired. It’s made me realize just how involved my care has been and how far my training and efforts have brought me.

After four decades of living with Type-1 Diabetes, I enjoy the pleasure of retaining all my limbs and digits, have a clean nervous system, clear kidneys and have the heart of a horse. In fact, I ran a stress test just a few short years ago and even ran the PARE two years ago in New Brunswick against other candidates half my age. But such health didn’t come naturally or on its own. It took a lot of time, training and effort to maintain this level of health and avoid many of the symptoms and side effects of Diabetes that many of my counterparts have had to suffer through.

Before getting on an insulin pump, a lot of my Diabetes control had to be done by feel. Carb-counting wasn’t something I was familiar with and I still adhered to the concept that sugar was what I needed to avoid. That being said, I worked pretty hard on my physical health, pushing myself and my body until I managed to grow and develop without many of the limitations that Diabetes has brought on others. When I joined the martial arts, it gave me tools and methods to ensure I could continue to maintain my health well into my years, which is a practice I still observe today.

None of that is easy and it would absolutely be simpler to just sit back, take it easy and let my body rest. That would likely feel much better but time and others have proven that such a path is what causes quicker complications and a sooner death; two things I’m trying very hard to avoid. None of this means that I haven’t gone down some difficult steps before. In my youth, before I had full control and say into my treatment, I suffered through comas, vision complications and high A1C’s. But once I took ownership of my therapies and the course of my life, I was able to make a measurable difference. And that’s the key takeaway; Diabetes has no feelings, no emotions and doesn’t care whether one lives or dies. This is why it’s up to the person themselves to take steps to maintain one’s health and ensure a longer and healthier life. ☯️

May As Well Start Weaving A Hand Basket Now…

Poultry is without a doubt one of the most versatile sources of protein a person can consume. You can bake it, fry it and even boil it (I’m not kidding, it eliminates all the fat and almost tastes like a hot dog). You can have it battered and in the form of nuggets, strips, burgers or tossed into a salad or a wrap. Truly, there are endless meal options when chicken is involved. You can also spice and season chicken in SO many different ways, leading to a different meal experience every time you eat it. But can you guess what I’ve NEVER seasoned my chicken with? NyQuil. That’s right, we’re doing this…

Have you heard about this latest “trend?” I always get a kick out of it when one of these total shows of idiocy are referred to as a “trend.” A trend is loosely defined as a general direction in which something, including society, is developing or changing. Doing something enormously stupid can’t, and should not, be referred to as a trend. But I’m getting off track here. As if eating Tide pods and snorting condoms weren’t bad enough, they’ve come out with this new thing called the “NyQuil Chicken Challenge” that appears to be making the rounds on, where else? TikTok.

This challenge involves dropping a couple of chicken breast into a frying pan and marinating it with NyQuil and heating it up. Then you eat the “sleepy chicken” right before bed. It’s become something of a running joke but it seems as though like most of these things, people are jumping into it and trying it out. The FDA came out with a warning against the challenge and many claim that it had very little attention… That is, until the FDA issued its warning.

There’s plenty of blame to go around when something stupid like this comes out but some of the important key points that the FDA mentioned is that “boiling a medication can make it much more concentrated and change its properties in other ways. Even if you don’t eat the chicken, inhaling the medication’s vapors while cooking could cause high levels of the drugs to enter your body. It could also hurt your lungs.” You can read the FDA’s post on this here.

I think about how things were in my youth… How by the time we were in our pre-teens, a lot of us had part time jobs, helped our parents and our neighbours and were more concerned with having some free time to play on our original NES system or playing outside than we were with doing a lot of this stupid shit we see nowadays. Oh, I by no means assume we didn’t have our fair share of idiots back in the day. The nice part is that the internet wasn’t there to document and spread all the idiocy so that others could try it.

More now than ever, it appears as though the world is going to hell in a hand basket. In some ways, I get it. Between the pandemic and all the issues with Russia, the younger generation are no doubt trying to find easy and comedic ways to entertain themselves. That’s all well and good but once they all fried their brains with all the household chemicals and boiled medications they’re ingesting, there won’t be much of a world left to be in. Kind of makes me glad I’m not immortal. ☯️

Don’t Get Into A Slump…

Having a routine can be a good thing and can help ensure that there’s some consistency and smoothness to one’s day. If I take myself as an example, I’m comforted by the familiarity of waking up, making my son’s lunch for school, grabbing some cold caffeine and preparing for my day at work. Routines also allow us to save valuable energy as developing some muscle memory almost allows one to operate on auto-pilot, first thing in the morning. If it weren’t for auto-pilot, I’d likely show up to work in pyjamas instead of a suit. But I digress…

As handy as routines can be, it’s also important to recognize that they can bring a certain level of complacency to one’s day. And as we all know, complacency can be harmful, especially if we frame it in regards to something like martial arts. being complacent and set in our routine can be harmful because it could leave you vulnerable in the event of a real-life combat situation. This is why it’s important to throw in something unexpected once in a while.

Breaking one’s routines is also extremely helpful in keeping you from becoming bored with your fitness. If you ALWAYS do the same batch of exercises, every time you work out, you’re more likely to get bored and not WANT to work out. This is especially true in karate, where doing the exact same warm-up for every class will have some of your students’ eyes glazing over in a pinch. By changing things up and incorporating different workouts, it keeps things dynamic and engaging and will help with retaining students.

In my younger years, we would occasionally train outside during the summer. It was a small change and pretty rare but it added a little something. On occasion, I would train while under water. Not my head, mind you… I’m rather fond of breathing. Once in a while, I would train with my bo staff next to a local fountain. All of these things added a touch of flavour to my overall training that kept things interesting and exciting. If all one does is show up to the dojo, train for that class and go home, over and over, chances are you’ll hit a slump and be far more likely to do that whole “temporarily quitting” thing. ☯️

Tik Tok, Motherf&%ker…

Ah, social media… The cause and solution to all of life’s problems… I remember a time when life was far simpler. Maybe I’m aging myself here, but it’s true. Throughout my childhood, there was no internet, no smart devices and no “big brother” watching everyone’s every move and uploading it, as soon as you fell flat on your face. I’m actually pretty grateful for that last part and like most of my generation, I am eternally grateful that all the stupid things I did in my youth haven’t been documented on YouTube or Facebook.

That being said, the advent of modern internet changed the game in a. Lot of different ways for the world. Besides having the world’s information at one’s fingertips, which is not ALWAYS a good thing, communication with friends near and far became an instant possibility. I remember the days of ICQ… Ah, good ol’ ICQ… This was an instant messenger program that one could use on the computer to “chat” with other ICQ users. Unlike modern messaging apps, you had to know the handle of the person you wanted to add and you both had to be on for the program to be used. The familiar chime of receiving a message still rings in my ears, though…

Then came MSN Messenger… A bit more modernized and tethered to one’s free, web-based email accounts, it had a number of features that previous programs didn’t. With the advent of the smart phone came apps, and all the glorious social media-related bullshit that goes along with it. Although my post today is intended as a bit of a rant against what seems to be an unfortunate trend, it’s also allowing me a brief walk down memory lane, proving that even when discussing something negative, there’s some positive to be found. But I digress…

One of the issues I’ve noticed in recent months is the use of TikTok. Yes, yes, it’s been used for longer than that; that isn’t the point. TikTok was developed less than a decade ago and is a social media platform primarily used for documenting short videos, music clips, memes, you name it! It’s popularity has skyrocketed, with many of my friends trying to encourage me to use it. No, thank you but the app is no different than anything else that gets released and becomes popular. In the years to come, there will likely be something else that gets released. Such is modern life.

The trend I’m referring to, is something I ironically noticed through Facebook. Although mainly there, I’ve also come to realize that various news articles feature this unfortunate trend on news pages, as well. I’m talking about employees and staff recording TikTok videos of themselves doing bad things on the job or ranting against customers, managers, the public… whatever! This surprises me, because we live in a world where once you put something out there, it’s out there. There’s no taking it back.

My question is, what do these folks expect that they’ll do if their current employer sees this? Some of the antics I’ve seen clips of, would certainly be fireable offences. What’s even worse, since it’s now out in the world, if one were to get fired for these clips, how would one avoid having prospective employers see it and refuse to hire them as well? Given that Google and Facebook searches are a pretty common tool when looking to hire someone, it would make sense that searching for such clips would be a logical next step.

Despite my love/hate relationship with social media and its many forms, it’s here to stay with no danger of disappearing. What’s important to bear in mind is that there is n going back when it comes to posting things. Once it hits the internet, it’s up there somewhere, forever. This is why it’s important to be mindful of what one does online and what one posts. It can mean the difference between success and roadblocks. In my time, we had the benefit of telling stories about our rambunctious youth. Nowadays, one’s foolish decisions are out there of all the world to see. Not so great and a hell of a thing to try and explain to one’s grandchildren someday. Food for thought… ☯️

No Rest For The Wickedly Sick…

It’s been something of a difficult week for me, having gotten sick late last week and having whatever evil typhoid infecting my body carry into this weekend. I pride myself on not being the type of guy who does “man flu,” meaning I’m not the type to complain about not feeling well as a general rule. But even I can only take so much and sometimes an illness will put me down just as easily as the next person. It rather sucks, especially since I JUST started karate the week before last and missed all of this week due to illness. Not to mention I have my eye injections, this coming Monday. If I don’t heal up and feel better by Monday, I get to experience the shitty feeling of being sick WHILE getting needles jabbed into my eyes. Ah, life…

It usually seems that no matter the type of illness, one always seems convinced they could handle ANYTHING else. For example, if one has a stomach flu and is throwing up, they’d usually be inclined to say they wished it was anything other than a stomach flu. One gets a sinus cold where one is stuffed up and has difficulty breathing, one will be convinced they’d manage fine if they could just breathe and were sick with ANYTHING else. Illness, not that any version of it is fun, is a bit like always wanting what you can’t have. For me, the biggest pet peeve is being unable to sleep. I can’t sleep worth a damn at the best of times, between Diabetes, PTSD and nightmares. Add coughing into the mix and it’s simply a recipe for poor recovery.

Imagine having a dry, rasping cough and being unable to control when it hits. And no, before everyone jumps to conclusions, it isn’t COVID-19. Not every cough or sinus problem is COVID-19. But all bitterness aside, you feel like shit, you take some meds and nasal spray and lie down gingerly in bed with the hopes of getting some sleep in order to allow your body to recuperate from whatever illness is plaguing you. You just start to slip into a state of sleep when you feel that familiar itch at the back of your throat. You swallow in vain, hoping the minimal saliva will help prevent you from hacking up a lung, but to no avail. You end up hacking and retching, barely able to catch your breath. It only lasts about twenty seconds but the damage is done; you’re now awake and have to work towards trying to sleep. Wash, rinse, repeat and cry.

This has been my reality for the past week. I’ve woken up most mornings this week with dark, sunken and bloodshot eyes. As is the standard definition of ironic, I usually wake at a point where I was soundly asleep and likely could have slept for hours, had I not needed to get up for work. Such is life. I stumbled through my week, getting my work done and running the necessary errands, happy in the fact that I don’t have to operate heavy machinery and even happy that I no longer have to carry a firearm, otherwise I might have a problem. Given that it’s been over a week I should likely get checked. But given the current state of Canada’s health system and wait times, I likely have time to crawl into my grave and pull the dirt on top of myself before I’d see someone and get effective treatment.

So bad has it been that despite the fact I intended to get home from work yesterday evening and enjoy a beer and a cigar to relax at the end of my week, I was outside for fifteen minutes before coming back inside and retreating to my bed. Maybe I’m making it seem dramatic but I want to illustrate that whatever this is, is more than just a casual case of the sniffles. Couple that with the fact that my blood sugars have been all over the place and my meals have been sporadic and there should be plenty to talk about in a month and a half, at my next endocrinologist appointment. But i digress…

The big problem is that sleep is not cumulative. It’d be a lot cooler if it was… (cue Matthew McConaughey voice, if you know, you know!) Imagine having a day off and sleeping for a full 24 hours and not having to sleep for the next three days??? Imagine the productivity and things you’d get done? It’d be cool, but the damage caused by lack of sleep can’t be made up later on. Lack of sleep will cause blood pressure issues, headaches, fluctuating blood sugars and poor concentration and cognitive reflexes. None of that is good when you wander the adult world.

The fact that I’m rambling should tell you just how ill I am. I’m sure I’ll recover. Everyone recovers from illness. Until they don’t. But if I post tomorrow, I guess that means I’m on my way. I make fun, but as I get older I recognize that my body’s ability to recover is becoming less and less effective. Of course, my grandfather lived until his late 90’s, having survived every illness under the stars, including cancer. My father’s spine is slowly degenerating and he’s still fighting like and angry warhorse; emphasis on the angry. I’ll keep y’all posted. ☯️

A Chilly Reminder…

It’s somewhat difficult to believe that the summer season is already starting to dwindle… Just last week, we actually had a frost warning for the early morning hours in Regina. A little bit hard to believe, since we’ve spent the majority of our time fighting through laboured breathing brought on by extreme heat just a week or two prior. We’ve had some warmer days since, obviously. But the vestiges of summer are starting to disappear, with the evenings coming on earlier and a colder chill on the morning air reminding us that fall will soon be upon us.

With the change in weather comes a change to one’s body chemistry and a propensity for catching colds and all sorts of other fun stuff. As a Type-1 Diabetic, I often harp that just about everything affects my health and my blood sugar levels and an overall change in weather is no exception. As tends to happen at least twice a year when the weather changes to an extreme, I recently caught a pretty nasty illness that saw me bed-ridden whenever I wasn’t actively doing chores or working.

Getting sick definitely sucks and speaking personally, I’ve been through enough in my life without having to deal with every little bug that floats by. Unfortunately, such choices are not up to us and none of us are immune to the effects of changing weather (see what I did there?). That’s why it’s important to continue to work towards the betterment of one’s health and make sure that smart choices are taken.

Ensuring that one is properly hydrated is the first step towards those smart choices. Good hydration not only helps maintain good blood sugar levels but it helps with all sorts of other things as well, such as blood pressure, immune system and also helps to keep your heart from working harder when pumping blood. Keeping the heart happy is kind of a good thing from a, you know, staying alive standpoint. I’m definitely guilty of this since the majority of my fluid intake (at least in the mornings) are in the form of caffeine.

Eating a healthy diet is also very important as one needs all the food groups and a proper balance of vitamins, nutrients and minerals are required to ensure a strong immune system and over all health. This can be difficult, especially if you do shift work, have little or no time for meal prep or somehow manage to have fresh produce go bad before you actually have a chance to consume it. Given that the cost of everything is going up these days, spending that much money on stuff can seem redundant if all one does is toss it out.

Last but not least is exercise. It’s no secret that exercise can be an integral and important part of one’s weekly and even daily routine. It’s pretty hard to focus on exercise when one is sick and honestly, if you’re feeling like a bag of smashed ass, it may not be the time to start trying to beat your personal push-up record or breaking a heavy sweat. You could end up doing more damage than good, compromising your immune system and making it take longer to heal. On the flip side, sitting idle for long days on end isn’t the greatest, either. The idea is to find that “sweet spot” where you do something to keep your blood flow going and prevent undoing any of the progress you may have been making before getting sick.

Getting sick sucks but there’s no way to avoid it completely, so taking steps to mitigate the effects and the damage are important. Naturally, one can’t go running to the ER for every batch of sniffles (especially nowadays!) so if you get ill, you should prepare for a few days of fighting through it at home. If you see that it’s been well over a week and you’re still ill with no signs of getting better, you may want to consult your doctor or medical practitioner as it could be a sign of something that will need a push in getting over. ☯️

Silence Is Golden: A Review…

There’s no debating that life gets pretty noisy. Between the hustle and bustle of the outside world AND the hustle and bustle within one’s own household, finding a few moments of silence can be daunting. That being said, there are other ways to find a moment of silence besides loading up and physically leaving your house. Bluetooth listening devices are all the rage and in fact, have been for quite a number of years. While Bluetooth used to refer to a single-eared device used to answer one’s phone, it’s become a standard means of connecting devices without cables and wires.

Wireless, Bluetooth earbuds are all the rage at the moment, with Air pods being the expected standard when using such devices with one’s phones. My workplace actually gifted their staff a pair of Bluetooth earbuds last Christmas but I quickly discovered that the shape of my ears wouldn’t accommodate the earbuds. I tried buying a set of generic ear buds to see if it was maybe the specific set, to no avail. It seems that jamming something into my ear doesn’t work for me. Go figure. I noticed months ago that one of my valued colleagues invested in a set of Bluetooth headphones, which allow for a better level of comfort and is supported by the head instead of trying to stay inside the ear.

I think I belong on GQ… Thoughts?

I decided that it might be worth looking into. I examined several sets from different brands until I landed on the pair I’m wearing in the photo above. Between the several retail locations I stopped at and all the brands I looked at, I started getting a little flustered. There are a LOT of different headphones out there. I was trying to balance price, quality and functionality, since I knew these would cost a small fortune no matter where I went. A few years ago, i purchase a small JBL Bluetooth speaker that has a carabiner on it, allowing to be hung or attached in various places. I absolutely LOVE that speaker and frequently use it when working out and cleaning. Since I was familiar and comfortable with JBL, I figured that was a great way to go.

I landed on a set of headphones, model JBL LIVE660NC. I purchased them because they were on special, came from a brand name I trusted and boasted a noise-cancelling function. Once I charged them up and got them tethered to my phone, I discovered that on top of ambient noise cancellation, it also allowed for sound and track control, answering phone calls and the noise cancellation is trippy. I mean, I can put the headphones on and hear my own breathing in my ears. I turn the headphones on and the sound of my breathing disappears. It’s quite weird but it’s a good thing. It allows for things in my environment to be blocked out so I can focus on either meditation, exercise or whatever.

If you can get your hands on a pair of these headphones, I would highly recommend it. It can be useful in the workplace, during exercise and even just during typical, household chores. It’s also an effective way of getting some white noise in your ears to help calm oneself and improve one’s overall mental and physical health. Go grab yourself a set, you won’t regret it. ☯️

Freedom Has A Price

People often assume that I have it good, because they can’t “See” my condition. Diabetes is not something that becomes visible or well-known to others, at least not until you get so bad that you go blind, lose a limb to amputation or suffer organ failure that either leaves you incapacitated or you die. And yes, as morbid as all of those things sound, they are very real effects of Type-1 Diabetes. But like most unseen illnesses and I know that some of my friends and readers can relate, just because you can’t see someone’s pains or illnesses, it doesn’t mean they aren’t still severe.

The problem is that when you encounter someone who works hard at maintaining their health despite their condition, it can be off-putting to hear that they’re still having their difficulties. And many, there are. I’ve worked hard to maintain my health and keeps things balanced. In my youth, especially, I went through a number of Diabetes-related complications that set me back and did permanent damage. High blood sugars, vision problems and elevated A1C’s… I even suffered through several comas. True story… The longest was about four days long. Nothing is quite as disorienting as going to sleep on a Monday and waking on a Thursday, especially when you’re a young child and have no idea what happened. I was about my son’s age, in fact.

The point is, that balance can become exhausting and as much as I can appreciate how lucky I am to have all the benefits that I didn’t have, even just twenty years ago. Things like my advance glucometers, access to modern healthcare, insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring, proper nutrition and exercise all make a difference when trying to keep my longevity for as long as I can. So what happens when all the things that are a benefit to maintaining one’s health becomes burdensome? It happens, and that burden can cause the kind of exhaustion that see someone letting their guard down…

Last Saturday, my wife and followed through with our typical weekend plan of taking the boys out for an outing. We usually try to incorporate something that will involve other children so that they can socialize and play with kids; something that happens less these days, thanks to the pandemic. We opted for a large, well-put-together outdoor park named “Candy Cane Park.” It has one of those rubberized surfaces with tons of structure to climb and play on. We started our morning by picking up some burgers and finding a place to sit. We cut the boys loose and they went off to play. Oddly enough, it didn’t take long for Alexander to come waddling over and sit with us.

Nathan played only briefly before confessing that he wanted to leave as he had no one to play with and wasn’t interested in being at the park. I don’t blame him; the summer heat is still pretty intense these days and I preferred not to be outside in the sun in that weather anyway. We loaded the boys back into the car after being at the park for less than an hour. Nathan confessed he preferred to go to an indoor pool and I could totally get where he was going with it. It was agreed that we’d bring my wife and Alexander home and that Nathan and I would go to the pool together. Since my CGM sensor was set to expire in a couple of hours, I removed it and set it to charge while we would be swimming.

I also noticed that I only had about 8 or 9 units of insulin left in my pump. An interesting thought came to mind. Since I wouldn’t be wearing the pump in the pool and would need to switch out the infusion set anyway, I removed EVERYTHING. People who don’t wear an insulin pump won’t understand the unbelievable freedom behind removing all the tethers associated with Diabetes. Even as I got into the car, i noticed that little things, like adjusting and shifting the pump to allow me to sit properly, didn’t need to be done. Going to the washroom becomes an easier and quicker endeavour, since I don’t have to wrestle with tubing and removing an infusion set.

Nathan and I wound up going to a public pool location we hadn’t been to before, since our usual go to pool was closed to the public to promote the city’s new outdoor pools. That seemed counter-intuitive to me, a bit like closing a fast-food restaurant to promote a food truck, but what do I know? We wound up at the pool location that I found, which was closer to the downtown core. It was HUGE… Olympic-sized and contained three different sections, a massive whirlpool that could accommodate plenty of people without feeling that they were sitting in each other’s laps and several diving platforms.

Nathan and I had a blast, playing games, going on the diving boards and occasionally relaxing in the whirlpool. The feeling of being able to go everywhere and do everything without worrying about my sensor’s adhesive melting off or my infusion set popping out goes beyond description. We spent well over two hours in the pool before I finally called it quits because it was supper hour. I felt that it was one of the best outings that Nathan and I had taken together and we both enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. I even felt generous enough to grab him a burger on the way home as he was complaining he was hungry.

I was feeling pretty good about my day, by the time I got home. Minutes after I was home, I began to feel the tell-tale signs of high blood sugar. Although my levels were normal when I left and I had insulin in my system before I removed my pump, I had gone more than three hours without a basal rate being added. By the time I got downstairs and changed my infusion set and tested my blood glucose, i was sitting at 18.5 mmol/L. For you non-Diabetic folks, that’s ridiculously high and not a healthy way to maintain one’s balance.

I installed a new CGM sensor and slowly started trying to get everything back under control. I had to eat, so I had little choice but to bolus accordingly and have something to eat. It took several hours, some caffeine and some patience, before my blood sugar finally started coming down. Our evening ended somewhat early and everyone went to their respective slumber but I was awoken in the middle of the night by my pump. Seems my blood sugars didn’t STOP when they reached a normal level, they kept dropping. Half an hour and some fast-acting glucose later and I was back to sleep.

The experience was fantastic and I had a lot of fun at the pool with Nathan. It was nice to be reminded of a simpler time when I wasn’t hooked up to portable machines like a dollar-store cyborg. But that experience was costly. It was a sober reminder of how quickly things can go south when I let my guard down and choose not to maintain control. Diabetes can take over quickly and in fact, one can’t live without insulin for more than a little under two weeks. That little bit of freedom came at a price. And given my age, it’s not one I can pay easily. Or often. ☯️

Back To School, The Parent Edition…

Yesterday, I wrote about Nathan’s reluctant return to the classroom as, like most children, he started a new school year. Then it dawned on me that I’ll be enjoying something of a return to school, myself. Albeit on a more leisurely level. This coming week, the dojo re-opens for karate class and I intend to be there; front and centre.

I had started with a local school of Shotokan last year and despite some injuries I sustained early this year, I quite enjoyed it. They closed out for the summer break, which is apparently pretty standard for schools out here. When I was back in New Brunswick, Sensei would never have contemplated shutting down simply because it’s summertime. In fact, I used to be the black sheep of my friends since I would quite literally pack up and leave fun afternoons of swimming in the woods in favour of attending a class. But I digress…

My point is that stopping for the summer has never really been my thing but it happens a fair bit, out here. I recently discovered that the Kempo school I used to train with never re-opened its doors. Although sad to hear, it made me feel a little bit better about never being contacted over the past two years about class. But Shotokan has been quite good. The dojo is a mere five minutes from my home and their style is similar in many ways to my own Uechi-Ryu.

This year, I look forward to continuing my martial arts education and adding new forms, techniques and lessons to my overall karate toolbox. It’s important to keep an open mind when training in a dojo whose style differs from yours. It can be a difficult journey and I acknowledge that I’m no longer what I used to be. But with some overall steps to ensure that other negative factors in my life are lessened and the room for growth is permitted, I’m sure it’ll be a great year.

So I guess that much like my son Nathan, this coming week will see me going back to school… Karate school, that is! I’m looking forward to it and it should be a nice addition to an otherwise stagnant fitness routine. Stay tuned… ☯️


It’s funny sometimes how I recognize that I’ve become dependent on things that I never had during my youth. Air conditioning is a good example… As a child, I have NEVER lived in a residence that had site conditioning. In fact, I remember one particularly hot summer where my bedroom was located in the upstairs of a small house. It was one of those upper floors that included angled walls because you were right against the roof. This means you also had the sun’s mighty gaze bearing down right above your head as you played in your room.

I often think about how more comfortable I might have been and how my blood sugar control may have been tighter during my childhood if I had the refuge of a cooler environment during the summer months. Although total temperature rarely gets beyond the high 20’s (Celsius) in Northern New Brunswick, the humidity adds an extra level of hell to the mix. But I digress…

The sun er heat can have a significant impact on a person’s overall health, especially as it involves Type-1 Diabetes because, well… EVERYTHING affects Type-1 Diabetes. But rather than be facetious, I should probably explain the how’s and why’s behind that statement. After all, this is a hot issue… See what I did there…? Summer heat? Hot issue? Alright, carrying on…

It’s been a bit of a hellish week in Regina, Saskatchewan, with daily heat reaching the mid-30’s and making the possibility of spending any time outdoors without my cut off jean shorts (I believe the kids call them “jorts,” now) an impossibility. Stepping outside during the day brings about difficulties breathing, sweating and a general sense of discomfort that most people don’t enjoy. Don’t get me wrong; I’ll definitely take hot, sunny weather any day over the cold of winter and shovelling snow. I’m not complaining, here…

I have the benefit of having an individually climate-controlled office, which allows me to work through my day in the relative comfort that I’ve come to enjoy in my older years. I also have a brand new air conditioner at home, which we had installed last fall. Although my basement is sometimes a bit on the icy side, I have the benefit of maintaining a cool living space in the upstairs, which is a benefit that my children have that I didn’t get to experience as a child.

Although the summer is winding down, it’s a great time to provide a reminder that being out in the heat brings about a certain number of issues as we work out or deal with Diabetes. For one, extreme heat will expose us to the possibility of dehydration, which is not only dangerous but can cause rises in blood sugar. Working out for prolongued periods in the heat can bring about dangers of heat stroke and exhaustion, both of which can be quite dangerous if one does not recognize the signs and grab some shade to rest.

Remember to stay hydrated, take shelter and take breaks and don’t be afraid to switch up your fitness routine to accommodate exercise in an air conditioned environment. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been on my bike. I sure do miss being out and about on it, but it’s a fair price for pay to maintain my health. Check your blood sugars often and drink plenty of fluids (no, beer and coffee don’t count!). Even if it’s a bit cloudy out, be sure to apply sunscreen as the su’s UV rays will still reach you. Enjoy the heat, but safely. ☯️