Thursday, June 30, 2016

July Break

Hello my blogsy people, this will be a rather personal non artsy post, so don't say I didn't warn you. ;-)

I have been a diabetic (type 2)  for about fifteen years. I may have mentioned it here at some point, but this is an artsy blog, not a health blog so it doesn't really seem relevant to talk much about it here. And since things were going well, why would I? My glucose levels varied between good and acceptable, I felt fine and my other blood results and eye checks and all the things that come with this disease were always great. No damage whatsoever. I was not fantastic in my active control (oh carbs, how I love thee), but it was good enough. I took some pills, I took some care,  and that was that. Somehow there was a workable balance.

Since about the beginning of this year however something has shifted and I'm no longer doing so great. Don't get me wrong: I felt fine, but my glucose levels got way too high. So after trying to tweak my medication without the wanted result my doctor decided it was time to start me on insuline. Well partly anyway. Some pills were dropped and one was kept and now I inject a long working insuline called Lantus every night.

Now in a way I am lucky because I grew up with a diabetic mother (there's a lot of it on her side of the family). This means that injections and things like that don't really scare me and as for checking my own glucose levels I have been doing that on and off for years, so a fingerprick doesn't scare me either. In fact if I compare the two I'd much rather shoot insulin than stick a needle in my finger for a little drop of blood. Those things can be nasty! Anyway, don't feel sorry for me about the whole injection thing, it's no big deal.

My first batch of insuline and a brand new glucose meter.

What is a big deal is that I'm out of balance and we (doctor and me) still have to find the correct dose. We are now at a stage that things are definitely improving and my fasting glucose is within limits, but my non fasting can still go too high. After weeks of back and forth with the doctor (at first I had to go to her office every time, but later we did it by phone every few days) I am to keep up the current dose for a few weeks and then we'll do an extensive blood test again halfway July to see how my average levels are now. I'm quite sure they will be better than two months ago and I'm also quite sure they will still be too high. So I'm also sure there will be more tweaking after that.

I am also fiddling with my diet and counting carbs (thank god there's an app for that) like an obsessive person trying to find a middle ground that will get things in balance again without going too high or too low. It's a frustrating process I have to tell you, because even now that  I'm being a true saint about my food my levels are still not good. This really sucks, but maybe I want too much too soon. We've only been at this for a month after all (it feels a lot longer). These things take time.

What is the hardest for me is that where my higher levels a few months ago didn't really seem to affect me, all this tweaking and back and forth is wearing me out. It's both physically and emotionally straining and I'm simply tired and have much less energy. Being so overly focused on glucose levels, food and doctor's appointments is really not how I want to live, but it's necessary right now to find my balance again.

My lowest non fasting glucose level in the past month. I took the pic just to prove to myself it's possible. ;-)

It doesn't help that the first half of this year has been pretty stressful for all sorts of reasons, varying from several  sick people in my close surroundings, some deaths even of more distant aquaintances and a bit too much stuff at work. The first weeks/months with Spooky were pretty stressful too. Nothing dramatically major, but just a lot of goings on at the same time. Enough to make me worry too much and sometimes even lie awake at night.

Now, I've always been a thinker with a full head of thoughts and ideas, but I'm really not a worry wart by nature. So this is not a good thing. I have had nights where I'm wide awake before, but that's usually when I have too many ideas for creative projects or things I could do and I'm just too excited to sleep. This is different.

Mostly though I sleep a lot. I find it harder to get up early on my days off and I find it harder to find the energy and enthousiasm for my art. If I could summarize my current condition in four words they would simply be: "I am just tired."

So as part of my self care I have decided to take it easy for a while and give myself some space and rest. Part of that is taking a blog break. I love doing this blog, but I think it would do me good not to have to think about it for a few weeks. For now I'm simply thinking of not blogging for the month of July and to come back in August. I'm sure I will miss you all before then.
I will also take a brake from my Morning Book. Not from art, but from the discipline of getting up early every morning to do that  particular thing before breakfast.  I will simply do art when I feel like it for a few weeks. Or not. It's all okay for now.

I will not be going offline. I'm not looking to escape the world or something and I have to be practical, since this is not a full vacation. I'm just trying to take it down a notch. Also posting things on Instagram and Facebook always keeps me looking for the good stuff in my life: the beauty of my island, the love for my cat, the enjoyment of drawing and colouring and other things that make me happy. So if you miss me you can follow me here or here.

If you want to contact me you can mail me at c.m.j.winkelman[at] or through the contact form in the sidebar.

I see this as a vacation for the mind and July, the midst of summer, seems a good time for it. I wish you all a wonderful and artsy month and hope to see you back here come August. I shall miss you!


  1. Een heel verhaal , we zullen je missen maar geduldig uitzien naar je "come back " op het moment dat je jezelf er terug top voor voelt , je gezondheid gaat voor ! See you on FB & Instagram , veel liefs, sterkte en rusttttttttttt !

  2. Though I will miss seeing your daily art and beautiful pictures, I am happy you will be taking time off for yourself to get better. Sounds like more rest and relaxation is a great idea. Enjoy July and hopefully I'll see you on fb! Hugs to you and take care of yourself.

  3. I'm very happy to hear you are taking off for a month and send you strength! I appreciate you sharing because as always, your "more personal" blog posts are usually very important inspiration for me.

    I'm not diabetic, but I have some kind of imbalance with my sugar metabolism as well as some other dietary limitations (lactose, acidic foods). When I'm on a very low carb diet, I function much better, but such a diet entails a lot of work and concentration on my part, because I don't eat like most people.

    I've had years at a time when I had found the right balance of diet for me, and as well, stretches of years when I was off balance and constantly tired, run down, and very frequently sick with one thing or another. Part of those situations was that I was just not willing to do what you are doing now - to sit down and keep experimenting and figuring it out until I had an answer as a very important act of self-care. So good for you.

    When I was able to start my current regimen, I forced myself to go into it with the attitude that it was an experiment (I'm prone to wanting absolute situations and answers - I hide it well from others most of the time but it blows up in my face when it's just me, myself and I). This has helped me with the ups, downs and important lessons learned.

    I wish you a complete and speedy healing in every way. You are continually an example to me of how to listen to myself, respect what I hear and act on it. And that is not such a common thing!!

  4. Rest well dear friend across the miles. take care of yourself and let spooky give you loves and cuddles (cats are the best comforters!). and maybe try something totally new in terms of art and creativity. Lekker rus! Much love from South Africa

  5. Wens je het allerbeste en rust goed uit !
    Liefs van Rini

  6. Caatje ik denk dat je een heel goede beslissing hebt genomen. Ik wens je rust en evenwicht en vooral weer een goede bloedwaarde. (Liefs van een lotgenoot!)

  7. I am glad you are taking time for yourself.... it's the most important thing you can do. (((((Carin)))))

  8. Ach meis toch... dat gezondheid en (het niet hebben van) energie toch zoveel roet in het eten kunnen gooien... doe jij maar rustig aan en ik hoop dat je heel snel in balans bent! Wij wachten gewoon op je hoor, hier online. Ennuh, ik weet je ook te vinden op Facebook dus ik volg eventuele updates gewoon daar. Ennuh, geniet ook van de zon/zomer in Juli! Liefs van mijn (schier)eiland!

  9. gewoon ff lekker rustig aan. Doen waar je zin in hebt, niets moet, alles mag. Geniet van de zomer en straks zien we je weer terug :-)

  10. Ik geloof niet dat je een echte zomergenieter bent, maar er is ook nauwelijks sprake van zomerhitte, je wordt ontzien. Ongedisciplineerd creatief zijn lijkt me een goed idee.
    Sterkte met de zoektocht naar de balans.

  11. Fijn dat je dit ook deelt met ons. Ik kan me voorstellen dat deze hele situatie in combinatie met de eerdere stress dit jaar dit een zware wissel op je trekt. Gezondheidsproblemen en noodzakelijke veranderingen in je eetpatroon kunnen je aardig in beslag nemen weet ik ook uit eigen ervaring. Ik hoop dat het loslaten van e.a. deze maand je goed zal doen en je je balans weer terug gaat vinden. Veel goeds voor jou en je kleine maatje...


  12. I am so sorry that you have to go through all of this, but it sounds as though you are doing all the things you need to do to take care of yourself - including taking a break from your blog. You will be missed but we would rather have you feeling good. I look forward to continuing to follow you on Instagram (I'm christie_jz on IG). I'm not much of a FB fan.

  13. Hi Carin-I so agree with your idea to take time for yourself and just "be" with things in your life. Then, you can listen for what your body wants and needs and be there for that. I've always felt that we should be able eat what we like and enjoy it, and I also have learned with a husband with diabetes, that it is otherwise. We have been able to work things out with diet and a pill for him. I can say there are times I wish he could just eat it all, but he's been wonderful about it all, so it's working.
    You give so much to us, your readers, and it makes me happy to see you rest and recover. We're all closer than we think, sometimes! All the best to you, and be well.

  14. Carin, I have learned so much from you. Your insight into many different areas of life and circumstances has always impressed me. I know that you have made an impact on me and my way of thinking. The past few years have held more major stresses for me than most of the other years of my life combined. I sort of just kept going, without taking the time or making the effort to stop and try to sort out my feelings and actions. It seems as if I stopped caring about myself and was on "auto-pilot" as a way to cope. The result is that I stopped caring about what I was eating, stopped taking care of my self, my home, and until recently even pretty much stopped making art. I think maybe reading your blog post for today is an inspiration for me to start paying attention to some things again. I will look forward to seeing you back in my mail in August. I hope you feel much better by then and have your health concerns in check and you and Spooky be back with us all.

  15. Glad to hear you are looking after yourself. Hope you feel lots better very soon. Sending hugs from across the world xo

  16. Hi Carin, Just wanted to let you know that I'm thinking about you and hoping that you're feeling better each day. Take good care of yourself, friend. (Hugs)


  17. Hi Caatje, I hope you are regaining strength and energy as July moves forward. I think you are making a great decision to take some pressure off yourself, while you handle these new unavoidable pressures. I hope you are able to find some equilibrium with foods and medicines. Sending hugs!!


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