Cooking Class: Mediterranean Food

For Jacob’s birthday last week, I bought him a seat at a cooking class at Harmon’s Grocery in downtown Salt Lake.  They were going to be cooking Mediterranean food, so lots of veggies and some fish.  I dropped him off and waited outside because I didn’t buy a spot for myself, but a few minutes later they came out and got me and said I could join them for free!  This was the first cooking class we’ve been to, and it was fantastic.  About twenty people came.  We discussed the recipes with the chef, watched him demonstrate how to chop tomatoes properly and how to “French” onions.  He even had bought an octopus from a local Asian market (for only $5!) to saute for us to try.  It was really simple– the octopus was already cleaned, so the chef just chopped it into bite-sized pieces and sauteed it for a just a few minutes, then added some lemon juice in towards the end.  The octopus had been soaking in salt water, so it was already plenty salty… and SO good!!  I could eat that stuff like candy.

We split into groups and made the three recipes given to us: sea bass plaki, tabbouleh, and baba ganoush.  I’ll have to post the recipes on here, because they were awesome.  Really easy steps and simple ingredients.  It was fun to have a chef helping us and making suggestions on how to be more efficient with chopping and cooking, and the best part was that we didn’t have to do the dishes!  They also had lots of ingredients already prepped for us, just like they have on the cooking shows.  I class took about two hours.  The other people at the class were fun, and it was a great experience.  For dessert, they had made for us dates stuffed with goat cheese, drizzled with honey and dipped in almonds.  It tasted like cheesecake, but so much more rich and delicious.  We really loved it!  I highly recommend going to a cooking class, because it was totally worth it.

 

-Maliss

Type 1 Diabetes

So, I have Type 1 Diabetes.  I’m learning that I need to become an education tool for Type 1 and to be very vocal about what I’m going through.  Here is some information about the new Taryn:

Type 1 Diabetes is very different from Type 2, so forget everything you think you know about diabetes.  Type 1 is rare– 8.3% of the US population have diabetes, and of that 8.3% only 5% have Type 1.  Type 1 is an autoimmune disorder and is actually more in relation to other autoimmune disorders like Rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and Celiac’s disease than it is to Type 2 diabetes.  

An autoimmune disorder is when your immune system makes a mistake and attacks a part of your body.  With Type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the Beta Cells inside your pancreas, the Beta Cells are what produce insulin.  Insulin carries the sugars from the foods you eat into your cells to give them energy to use.  So without insulin, sugars stack up in the blood stream and cause all kinds of damage, and your cells are without energy.  When the cells can’t get energy they start burning off the fat in the body (which is why I’ve lost so much weight over the last year) and the by-product of the cells burning fall is called ketones.  High levels of ketones in the blood can lead to a serious condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).  If blood sugars aren’t constantly monitored, within hours a person with Type 1 diabetes can develop ketones in the bloodstream and become DKA, go into diabetic shock and die.  When I was admitted to the hospital on New Year’s Eve, I was in DKA.  My doctor at the hospital said if I hadn’t come in, I would have been dead within two days.  A normal range for blood sugars is 80-100.  My average blood sugar for the past 3 months is 407.

Type 2 diabetes is when the cells become resistant to insulin.  The cells won’t accept the insulin and so sugars can’t get into the cells and remain in the blood.  The pancreas is still producing plenty of insulin– and so a Type 2 cannot become DKA and doesn’t run those risks.  Because they have excess insulin in the blood stream that isn’t being used, they do run higher risks for other related problems like heart disease.  Type 2’s can decrease insulin resistance through good diet and exercise.  The better you eat and the more you exercise, the more efficiently your cells use insulin.  Because Type 2s still produce insulin and because they can manage insulin resistance through diet and exercise, Type 2’s usually don’t have to monitor blood sugars or take insulin as constantly as a Type 1.  Often, they don’t need to inject insulin (since insulin production isn’t the problem) and can manage blood sugar other ways.  A Type 1 cannot change their diabetes through good diet and exercise, nor is the disease brought on through poor diet management.  No matter what I eat, my body will still not produce insulin.  There is no cure, there is no making it better or decreasing the affects.  It’s a matter of managing my blood sugar and insulin levels for the rest of my life through injections and blood tests.  With Type 2, Insulin resistance can happen because of genetics or poor health/diet management, or it can just happen.  Type 1 is not genetic.  It’s random bad luck.  Think autoimmune disorder, not the genetic-and-diet-based diabetes we all think of (which is Type 2).

It’s interesting for me to think that just 100 years ago, anyone with Type 1 diabetes just died.  There was nothing to be done.  In essence, the body starved itself to death.  I am so lucky to be alive.  I am one of a very select few in the history of the world with Type 1 diabetes who has a chance of surviving it.  I’m lucky to still be here as a mother for my boys, and I’m soaking them up more everyday because of it.

There are a myriad of side effects to diabetes.  High blood sugars damage nerves, cause poor circulation, and dehydration, which is part of the reason that diabetics often have to have limbs amputated or lose their eyesight or feeling in their feet and hands.  With diabetes, parts of the body have to work harder than usual– such as the kidneys– and so diabetics often get kidney disease.  

With high blood sugars comes poor circulation which means the smallest cut or wound will take forever to heal.  Surgeries are risky for the same reason.  Also, because the immune system is compromised a diabetic who gets sick with a simple cold or fever is usually three times as sick as a non-diabetic and takes twice as long to recover.  Even being sick presents a whole new issue because illness causes the blood sugars to rise, so blood sugars must be monitored even more closely during illness.  Blood sugars also rise when diabetics travel, or are stressed.  Diabetics are also at risk because their bodies cannot fight infections very well.  Also, up until about 10 years ago, they would tell diabetics that they could not have babies.  Doctors allow it now, but it takes a crazy amount of monitoring, risk management, and effort on the part of the mom and the doctors.  Seems like every day I am learning something new about Type 1 diabetes.  I am re-learning how to live, how to eat, how to go through a day, but I am so thankful that I have that opportunity.

With Type 1 diabetes you have to CONTINUALLY monitor your blood sugars and CONTINUALLY give yourself insulin.  As in constantly.  As in all throughout the day.  As in I poke myself at least 12 times a day.  There isn’t an hour of my waking life that I don’t have to think about managing my diabetes.  I am a walking pin cushion, and yes it hurts each time, and yes I am covered in small bruises and tiny red dots.  If my blood sugar is ever over 250, then I also have to check for ketones in my blood with urine test strips, and my blood sugars are rarely under 250 in these early weeks where the doctors are trying to find the right levels of insulin for me.  On the other hand, each Type 2 diabetic has their own individual situation that dictates how often they have to monitor or even if they need to use insulin injections, but overall they don’t need to monitor it as closely and usually only need to take insulin if they’ve been diabetic for many years. They still produce insulin, it’s just that they’re cells aren’t accepting the insulin, so after years of overproducing insulin the pancreas wears out.  It isn’t until that point that they have to begin to take insulin injections.  And again, they can decrease their diabetic symptoms with good diet and exercise, and may even be able to prevent the possibility of needing to take insulin injections later on.  

Not with Type 1– if I want to eat an apple I have to: pull out my slew of supplies, prick myself with my lancet, put an (expensive) testing strip in my blood sugar monitor, wait for the monitor to activate, dip the testing strip in my blood, wait for the result, write the result down in my tracking booklet, perform a math calculation to determine the amount of insulin I need to correct my blood sugar, then perform another math calculation to determine the amount of carbs in the apple I want to eat, add the numbers and write them in my tracking booklet, pull out my insulin pen, put a new needle on, turn the dial to 2 units, squirt the 2 units into a sink or garbage can to prep the insulin pen, turn the dial the correct number from my calculation, stick myself with the pen in my belly and inject, count for 7 seconds then slowly pull out, safely remove the needle and discard according to state regulations (depending on which state I’m in if I’m traveling), and return items to my carrier.  And then I can eat the apple.  I eat a lot less snacks.  Just not worth it.  If I don’t do this each time I eat, then there is no place for the sugars from the apple to go.  

This whole scenario is even more complicated when eating out, or eating with kids, or eating at work.  I’ve had three hypoglycemic episodes in the past week (when my blood sugar gets dangerously low).  They are horrible and scary to say the least.  There is also the added difficulty of getting my extensive and expensive prescriptions filled.  I’ve spent hours at various pharmacies, sometimes crying and making a big scene just to try and get my prescriptions filled.  And then there is work.  They’ve been unsympathetic and horrible– disciplining me for the time I spent in the hospital.  I’ve been thoroughly harassed and discriminated against for the times I physically could not come in to work, or even stand, and discriminated against for having a life-threatening disease.  I’ve been there at work when I shouldn’t have been, without any appreciation.  But, for now I’m glad for a paycheck.

Something funny about this is that one of the first things I was concerned about in the hospital when learning about all of this is my ability to go camping and hiking when I want to.  Insulin has to be kept at specific temperatures and is only good for so long.  I’ve also been thinking about how to make sure I have what I need if there is a zombie apocalypse. ; )

It’s been frustrating dealing with everyone’s preconceived notions about diabetes, which really don’t apply to my situation and Type 1 diabetes so I guess I just wanted to give everyone some perspective on what I’m going through.  I’ve found that it’s hard to have perspective until you go through something yourself.  I’d appreciate for people to understand that this difficult and my whole world is different and changed.  It’s been even harder to not be given the space and time (from work) to figure this out and deal with it.  I’m not looking to push some sob story and make everyone feel sorry for me, just some understanding would be nice.  Very few people seem to understand diabetes.  I think there is a stigma with diabetes that “you caused it through poor diet” and so many are unsympathetic.  Or they just don’t know that every aspect of my life and how I have to live is different now, and everything is harder now.  I certainly didn’t understand diabetes before now, or really any life-threatening illness and I’m a little ashamed at having been less sympathetic to others in similar situations.  Kinda like when I had my first child and everything changed, and I had no perspective before.  

I am so thankful for mom, dad, and Shayne for their help and understanding.  I am so thankful for Quintyn and Corbyn for being angels in my life to help me along.  Sometimes I think they help me way more than I help them as a parent.  I used to think that I was assigned to be their mom because I could help them in a unique way, but now I know that they were sent to me to help me in a unique way.  

Anyway, love you all.

Transitions

So I thought I would give an update as well.  We’ve gone through three months of continual transitions, and I still feel like we haven’t landed yet.  I started two jobs at the beginning of August– one working for the school the kids are going to as the school’s bookkeeper, and the other at a call center owned by a friend in my ward, as their bookkeeper.  Both jobs were in horrible situations with their bookkeeping needs, and I ended up spending massive amounts of time to pull them out of the mud.  It was very difficult to spend so much time away from the kids– not only did I jump head-on into a full-time job situation, but I was working large amounts of time “after hours” to help them.  Very appreciative for mom and dad’s help, as well as Shayne’s for watching the kids.  The kids also started school at the beginning of August.  A difficult transition, but they’re doing well.  It all leads to a complicated schedule where Quintyn goes to two schools, Corbyn goes to one and then goes home for a nap, and I worked at two different jobs and could be at either one depending on the day.  Again, thanks mom for helping coordinate that.

In September I was offered a job at an accounting firm, at a better pay rate.  It was a tough decision, but I accepted the job and hoped it would un-complicate our schedule.  I started the new job at the beginning of October, putting in even more time with my old jobs to try and get them to a point where I could hand them off to someone else.  Unfortunately, I’m still trying to finish up projects from my old jobs in my spare time (spare time? said the single mom who is working full-time).  I do really enjoy my new job, I work with really great people.  I do a lot of payrolls for companies, as well as their taxes, and various Quickbooks projects.  I did over-extend myself for too long though and have seen too many consequences in the last week or so.  Trying to say “no” more, trying to scale things back so I can take care of myself and my kids and meet our needs.  

My divorce was finalized back at the beginning of October.  Shayne has his own apartment now and regularly has the kids on Sunday night/Monday during the day as well as us going to spend time with him there throughout the week.  Things have changed a lot for the kids but I make sure they spend as much time with both/either one of us as often as they can.  Shayne has changed a lot as a father as well, and always looks forward to spending time with the boys, has more fun with them when he is with them, and clears his schedule to help take care of them and be with them.  A huge blessing for me.

Right now we’re still transitioning.  Things haven’t settled into a regular schedule for me yet– my newest of my new jobs is still too new and every week we’re re-coordinating to make sure everyone is where they need to be.  I can’t wait for some kind of “normal” to surface.  Everything is still new and different with our family structure and every week brings new situations that make me wonder how we’ll apply it now that things are different.  So much transition–It would be nice to know what and when to expect for a paycheck, and also for the schedule for each week.  Maybe after the holidays that will happen.  Of course that will be tax season and very busy for me.  Can’t wait to be able to address my own goals as well as our goals for our family and not be stringing along with three jobs.  It will be nice to be able to spend more time enjoying the boys.  

Love you all,

Taryn

New House, New Car, New Job

Hello! 

It’s been a long time since anyone has posted on here, so I thought I’d give an update on what we’re up to…

I think you all heard the fiasco with Jay and Naoma.  To the relief of everyone involved, we were able to find another place to move the last week on June (if we didn’t find a place to move by June 30th, J&N were going to make us pay for the whole month of July; not sure why because they wanted us gone as much as we wanted to be gone).  So we now live in a duplex in Millcreek/Murray/Salt Lake City (all of which work for our address).  We love it!  Jacob is obsessed with caring for the lawn and using our compost pile, and we even have our own small garage.  We’ll be planting a garden next season in the backyard.  Our duplex is two-bedroom, so come visit us!  We haven’t talked with Jay and Naoma since the day we moved out, and since they sent us the deposit which they ever-so-graciously descended below themselves to give to us earlier than the contract allows.

Our ward is great!  I am the first counselor in the YW presidency, which has been a huge learning experience.  The president (who served a mission in Armenia with Sharlee Robles! Who, by the way, will be home from her mission next month) is a great girl, has been married for a year, and is only just under a year older than I am.  She and I have been working well together and have a similar view.  The second counselor is also just under a year older than me, and has been married for a year and a half.  She has been, for me, a little bit more difficult to get along with because she tries to do as little work as possible and doesn’t think we should make everything we do spiritual, i.e. no “spiritual” lessons for mutual.  She’s surprisingly pushy about it, too.  The president and I were originally working really well together, but she now is trying to make both the second counselor and me “happy” instead of really going for her own vision.  Major learning experience.  Jacob is teaching Sunday School the the 14- to 18-year-old’s and loves it!

I got a job back in March at an architecture firm, and have enjoyed it.  I do computer drafting and some general office stuff.  It’s a great job, though learning how to communicate with three 40-year-old guys who have worked together for the entirety of their careers is difficult.  But they’re nice guys.  I commute down south using public transportation, one-hour each way.

We bought a car just a couple weeks ago because my ’92 Honda Accord had pretty much had it.  We were able to sell it for $800, and bought a 2005 Hyundai Sonata, which feels like a luxury vehicle to us.  It’s been really nice!  Though selling my first car was bitter-sweet.

Nothing too exciting otherwise.  Both of Jacob’s grandma’s on either side of the family passed away within the last month, so we’ve been to a lot of funerals.  But it’s been good to be with his family.

I’ve heard that Shaun is on a business trip??  I’m probably the last to hear about it.

Update on Grandpa

I thought I’d give everyone an update on grandpa.  He’s been having a lot of problems with his kidneys– water retention, dizziness, etc.  His doctor finally gave him a prescription for the water retention and he lost about 30lbs in a week!  Dad says he looks good.

Dad has been spending at least one night a week with Grandpa, and taking him out to basketball games and track meets.  Dad told me this morning that Grandpa fell during the night last night– for the third night in a row.  He was even using a walker when he fell this time.  I guess he cut his head pretty badly when he fell and was laying on the ground for 4 hours before he could get up.  Dad and Joel are trying to schedule family to spend nights at the house so they can make sure he’s okay.

Update on the update***

They took Grandpa to Pocatello to run some tests on him.  They found out that he did not have a heart attack– it had appeared that way because his kidneys aren’t doing well.  Dad said that his kidneys are working at 19% right now.

Everyone is very frustrated with the doctors and specialists that grandpa is seeing.  He was supposed to have electric shock therapy a year ago– they still haven’t done it.  The doctors decided he needed to go on oxygen in December– they still haven’t done it.  And the list goes on.  There are a lot of things that need to be done for grandpa, but the news right now is that he did not have a heart attack.

-Taryn

Holiday Festivities

Lots of family time recently!  Thought I’d post on our end of it all.

Grandma Blackburn’s funeral in Blackfoot on December 7th (Taryn’s 30th birthday! what what?!) was very good.  Highlights were Kevin singing a Christmas song that he would always sing over the phone to Grandma for Christmas, Dad’s great talk about the Plan of Salvation and life after death, and me singing solo (yikes!) “Taps ’til Reveille” with Kara on the flute.  It was a beautiful funeral.  I found it very touching to see Grandpa and four of his sons, with their arms wrapped around each other, standing in front of Grandma’s casket before it was closed.  Mom fearlessly lead the opening and closing hymns and Jacob played prelude and postlude music.  Tanner dedicated the grave in the FREEZING cold Moreland Cemetery  and then a delicious (yet hardly healthy) family dinner at the church.  It was great to spend the time with all the family.

Thanksgiving dinner was spent with the Moench side of the family.  My mother-in-law, Nancy, does a flawless job with parties.  She doesn’t like to have any help in the kitchen (especially cleaning the disaster after the meal), so it makes it even better for the rest of us!  Hah!

On December 23rd, to Moench family had another annual dinner at Darrell’s (my father-in-law) country club for Christmas.  We received gift cards and books from Jacob’s parents, and heard funny stories of Christmases past.

Jacob and I drove up to Idaho Falls immediately following the dinner to be with Mom and Dad for Christmas.  Dad received snowshoes for Christmas, so Jacob, Tess, and I went snowshoeing with him at Kelly resort.  It was a great, exhilarating hike!  The following day we went roller skating at the local rink.  Mom, Jacob, and I went saw The Hobbit in theaters. Good, but not as good as the other LOTR movies.  The main bulk of our time in Idaho was spent with Jacob watching TV while I cleaned like a mad woman.  Mom and Dad’s house definitely needed it.  We also played lots of games, some with Grandpa Blackburn who spent the holiday with us as well.

We are now battling the chocolate “hang over” from New Year’s Eve!  The Moench’s always have a party with their chocolate fountain for New Year’s.  We also played some new (to us) games that Mom and Dad cleared out of their game closet and gifted us.  Carcasonne is a hit, as well as San Juan.  I highly recommend them.

A blog I subscribe to (simplemom.net) has posted some questions to ask yourself as 2012 comes to a close– reflection and goal setting.  Here are the links: 

http://simplemom.net/new-years-eve-question-printable/

http://simplemom.net/new-year-new-goals/

 

Enjoy!  Love you all.

Maliss