Health and Wellness as Moving Targets

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I have been fortunate to have learned from great input and research how to care as well as I can for dear Sophie, my Shorkie (Shitzu-Yorkie) girl who has a diabetic condition. It has not been easy but we have had a very good regime going in recent months; we are over four years in (she is eleven now) to managing the situation and she is doing well.  I cook all of her food from scratch and give her all the necessary supplements (plus some!). Even so, in December she will need a dental cleaning, and such events can throw our balance off at least in the short run. Any extra stressors can require close monitoring and adjustments for weeks or months to follow. 

Sophie and me by Lake Ontario

Recently at my new PT job I have met a lady who has only recently learned her dog is diabetic, and so far she and her husband have not been having a lot of success in getting their friend’s glucose levels to balance out. I remember all too well the panic and fears that come with the enormous responsibility of providing the insulin and establishing a successful diet and exercise routine.

For any of you readers who might be dealing with a diabetic dog (principles are different with cats), here are the most basic elements to consider (I can email you my entire diet if you respond and ask me for that):

  • To lower glucose:
    • Use low glycemic veggies (I use ½ cup of a blended 10-veggie mix, 1/3 cup complex carb, and ¼ cup chicken or grass fed beef with each meal);
    • Use complex vs. simple carbs (e.g. barley, oatmeal)
  • High Protein
  • High Fiber
  • Essential vitamins: incl. taurine, Provite Plus multivits, bromelaine, turmeric, pre/probiotic enzymes, pure d-mannose to prevent UTIs (no cranberry), bilberry, Ocuglo (see for eyes, below), ECO-Virome drops (also to prevent UTIs);
  • Daily, regular exercise
  • Routine (insulin 12 hrs apart; if any treats, a regular mid-day of same diet as breakfast 4 hours after breakfast);
  • For eyes (preventive of cataracts): OcuGlo (I give two sprinkled capsules per day), and pure Bilberry (1 per day, also sprinkled). Plus I use tacrolimus and ketorolac eye drops to keep her eyes moist.
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images (except my photo) are from pixabay.com

One valuable life lesson working with Sophie’s condition has taught me is that health and wellness are moving targets, requiring constant mindfulness and fine tuning as life conditions and schedules change.  I am truly grateful for the love and care we share every day. Walking with her about a half mile a day helps me get exercise too, and seeing how diet can help her has also helped me pay attention to my own dietary needs.  We are true Soul companions, and being with her always lifts my own spirits just as she lifts others as we meet neighbors on our walks. She is a great giver of Divine Love to all, so I am blessed to be in her company!

Better Endings Story Seed:

Health and Wellness as Moving Targets

What about you? Have you found that health and wellness have at times been moving targets for you and your loved ones too? How have you managed to cope with these challenges? Contemplate and/or journal in your Better Endings Journal (or any journal notebook) about the lessons you have learned and the challenges you have faced or do now in the realm of health and healing. Feel free to comment here at the Better Endings blog, if you wish!

How I Beat Diabetes II (You Can, Too!)

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After a blood test around 18 months ago, my doctor told me my A1C score: 164, which indicated I was in the diabetic range. I asked my good doctor, “What can I do?”

“Stop eating anything white,” she responded.

I followed her directions. I cut out all bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, flour, and most processed sugar. (I could still have low carb yogurt every few days at 8 carbs). I started eating lots of cheese, meats, more vegetables/ salads, and exercising at the YMCA 2-3 times per week.

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The weight fell off almost magically as soon as I established a low carb diet. I studied carb content at the grocery stores but I did not have to count calories. The rule of thumb I used is anything I eat should be under 5 carbs (now maybe 8-10 after I have achieved the weight loss I was after). I started at 163 lbs and now I weigh in at 118, after 18 months. I lost the first 30 lbs in 3 months on this new diet.

My last A1C reading was 153.  My new doctor has reported to me:

“You had diabetes, and now you do not have diabetes.”

I am not even in the pre-diabetic range! I am still, however, quite careful to maintain my low carb diet and exercise regime.  Sure, now I will have a 7 carb piece of chocolate every 2-3 days. But still I am not eating bread, pasta, rice, flour, most sugar, or potatoes. This is a lifestyle change for me, not a temporary diet.

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It is ironic that around two months ago my dog Sophie was diagnosed to be diabetic. I am hoping my own newfound awareness about the importance of changing to a healthier diet will help Sophie, too.  I now cook for her based on researching a diabetic dog’s dietary needs.  I believe we are doing pretty well so far in stabilizing Sophie’s glucose. Insulin, two meals 12 hrs apart with a small, low carb treat mid-day, and walks after every meal and treat.

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images are from pixabay.com

 

The Art of Healthful Cooking (for Sophie)

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The Life Theme of HEALTH is very appropriate for a January focus. So many of us make our New Years resolutions around our health issues, whether it is about improving our diets for weight and related issues or about eliminating unhealthy habits in our lives.

I’d like to share with regard to the HEALTH Theme about what I have been learning recently as I am now cooking 100% of my dog Sophie’s ‘diabetic diet.’

Dog diabetes is a daunting condition, as any of you know who have dealt with this.  Apparently almost all dogs who are beset by diabetes develop Type 1 such that the pancreas can no longer produce insulin. Many also develop cataracts that leads to blindness. And the first six months are the most dangerous for getting the condition under control and developing a good management program to maintain glucose level stability.

So Sophie and I are dealing with this big time. She is just 6 1/2 years old.  I have shifted her diet almost 100% to home cooked food and we are exercising 3-4 times per day plus I give her insulin–I call it “bacon boosts” because it is developed in pigs–twice a day.  Our excellent vet is a very caring person and we are trying to get the glucose down to a good level, though we have yet to achieve that in a stable way so far as I can tell after about 6 weeks.  We are down to an allowable range but are still working on all the right doses, etc.

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Cooking for Sophie truly is an art as well as a science.  With a good friend helping me at first to develop the right portions and ingredients, we now use about 1/3 three complex carbs per cup that I rotate with more that 1/3 pureed, low glycemic but high protein and/or high fiber veggies, and a little more than 1/4 cup of either chicken with liver, turkey with liver and beef with liver. The carbs are either low carb oatmeal or quinoa in the morning and, so far, pearled barley for dinner. I also give her one mid-afternoon treat usually without the complex carbs in that. We have the insulin after the morning and dinner meals and go for a walk after all three meals, at least.  In addition I give her a multi vitamin the vet gave us, plus taurine, bromelaine, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, turmeric, and Glipizide (to add a bit to the insulin force).

The veggies I use most are broccoli, zucchini, parsley, asparagus, pumpkin, celery, clover sprouts, some garbanzo beans, and green beans, occasionally adding some spinach or kale. I puree the veggies with some meat/ veggie broth and add the apple cider vinegar to the puree, the after warming everything I blend  it all together in the food processor, then add the vitamins.

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images are from pixabay.com

We see the vet next this coming Saturday: wish us good health! We are also going to an ophthalmologist the next Thursday to get a baseline on her eyes’ condition.

If anyone has advice or suggestions from your own experience, please share your Comments!

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One more note about this photo of Sophie from my previous post. Notice the stuffed animal hedgehog at her front paws. I hadn’t even realized that was there. Hedgehog is a very positive animal symbol that betokens persistence and overcoming obstacles. Go Sophie!

A Te Sante: Running with Sophie

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Happy New Year to all!  This post begins a new year of Better Endings. This year we will be focussing on Life Themes: those recurring kinds of situations in our lives that form the core substance and weave the patterned fiber of our/your Life Stories. Each month we will focus on one of twelve Life Theme topics that are commonly identified in Life Path Mapping (also see menu tab: Monthly Topics):

January –   Health

February – Romance/ Relationships

March –     Vocation

April –        Work

May –         Family

June –         Adventure/ Travel

July –          Friends

August –     Relocation/ Moves   

September–  Education

October –     Spirituality

November – Pets

December – Life Lessons

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To begin this New Year of Better Endings, for this month of January we will focus on the Life Theme of HEALTH. This is particularly appropriate for me at this time, as I am in a process of adjusting to and learning about my dog Sophie’s condition of diabetes. What a daunting diagnosis this is, knowing all the possible complications and wanting to improve her condition in every way possible. (BTW, your helpful suggestions are quite welcome! Please Comment if you have positive suggestions!)

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My Dear Companion, Sophie

Sophie is more than a Friend; she is my Soul companion. We have adventured on six cross-country trips from Colorado to New York already, and she is six and a half years old. We have another BIG move to look forward to this August, after I retire and we and our two beloved cats Loki and Emily relocate to New York state for good.  I discovered around a month ago that my girl Sophie has a diabetic condition. I now am cooking for her and providing supplements, exercise, insulin, and lots of gratitude and love.

Today I will just post about a typical morning walk’s meandering thoughts, from this morning:

I love you so dearly, my Friend. I worry as much about my own attitudes or worries as I do about the therapeutic measures themselves. I do not want to overreact or do things that may harm more than help. Let’s do our best and keep things simple. If cataracts develop, we can remove those. For the liver, kidneys and pancreas, we must be observant and do our preventative best. Most information affirms that as long as we change the diet properly and have the right amounts of protein, fiber, low glycemic veggies and complex carbs and the proper amount of exercise, this can be managed and complications improved.

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This dog looks so much like Sophie in her new coat!

Running With Sophie has become itself a Theme in my current life activity. We have been exercising three times a day, after meals and the mid-afternoon dried liver or small veggie and meat snack. She runs a good 1/4 or so of her walk time, which I am grateful for. It helps her lower the sugar content in her system and gives us both a healthful Time Out.

This theme of Running with Sophie also pertains to an earlier theme seven years ago of “the Running Dog.” This was about my previous dog Ellie, whom I lost and tried to find in greenways of Denver for six or seven months unsuccessfully. People would notify me on Craigs List that they thought they had seen her, often running. So I would go up there to where she was “spotted,” rain or shine, looking for and calling for her, but to no avail. I can only hope someone did take her in, as she did not get picked up at any of the pound or lost dog facilities as far as I could tell. Anyway, that is seven years ago. I wanted then to write a story about “The Running Dog;” now I would add to that story, “Running with Sophie.”

As Soul Companions, Sophie and I (and our additional, feline family members Loki And Emily) mean more to me and each other than can possibly be expressed in words. Love is Love. This morning the thought came to me (while on our morning walk) that :

Since God is (in) Everything

And God is All Good

Then Everything is God;

Life is Good.

I do believe this (above).  Everything is God, so Everything is Good.  Live or die, succeed or not so much, EVERY condition, every thought, word and deed, every life experience is an experience in Living, and everything is Divine. We can learn from any experience; experiences do not DEFINE us but they can help us grow spiritually and in wisdom, courage and compassion. Another thought from Running with Sophie this morning:

Gratitude and Love

Go Hand in Glove;

And:

True Love is Reciprocal,

All Ways.

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images (except mine of Sophie above) are from pixabay.com

So “A Te Sante!” To your great Wellness and Good Health in 2018 and forever on YOUR Soul Journey.

Better Endings to You Always!,

Linda

 

 

Groundhog Day and The Razor’s Edge—Two Tales of Rebirth of the Hero

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The film Groundhog Day provides a wonderful story about reincarnation though based on a fantastical “time loop effect” whereby the weatherman protagonist, Bill Murray’s Phil, recycles through the same day, a Groundhog Day in small town America.  This man who starts out this day as a crass, cynical boor of a person, learns through trial and resurrection—again and again, gradually—to reorder his priorities and strengthen his  Self. Phil transforms as does a caterpillar to a butterfly, shedding his old, earthbound self to emerge as a spiritually enlightened Being.

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This story reminds me of another that Bill Murray also starred in a version of: Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge, which is one of the greatest spiritual novels of all time. In The Razor’s Edge, a man, Larry Darrell,  disillusioned by classism, modern urban squalor and insincere human relations makes a personal pilgrimage to India, where he gains enlightenment and then returns to Chicago. Played originally by Tyrone Power in the 1946 film version of the story, Darrell’s (Power’s) eyes are blazing with the enlightenment or ‘holy fire’ he has gained after his Return, bringing the opportunity of mercy, growth and healing to his former fiancé and other ‘ugly American’ types.

So, resurrection and rebirth does not only apply to spiritual giants or exceptional Souls. Each of us, all of us—human and animals too—have the capacity for growth and learning, for trials and transformation of our life conditions and our very character. For it is character, not ego or personality, that we may aim to develop as we reflect deeply on our dispositions, forged through habit often, and make conscious choices to amend and improve our state.

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Currently I am dealing with a diagnosis that my dear Soul friend, my dog-friend Sophia, is now diabetic. The doctor I have been led to promotes a healthful, radical change in Sophie’s diet, to virtually a vegetarian diet. This is hard for both myself—not a vegetarian—and for Sophie (but probably mainly hard for me to accept and fully administer). My goal of course is Sophie’s longevity and for her to beat this disease altogether.

Change is always challenging. But active change allows great opportunities for personal growth, spiritual advancement, and improvement.

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images are from pixabay.com

What about you? What transformative change have you experienced or do you seek to undergo? Go for it!

I welcome YOUR comments and story!