I suppose I should be clear about something. There are no frequently asked questions. If you must know, there are no infrequently asked ones either. No one has asked me any questions. But I feel that if I manufacture a din of noise surrounding this blog and my fundraising project, I can project an illusion of legitimacy that will cause bank accounts to magically start leaking in my general direction, to the tune of $10,000. (I must pause here to say that I have been floored, absolutely floored by the generosity of the donations I have received so far. Sometimes people's wonderfulness amazes me, and this is one of those times.)
The other thing I should mention is, this has nothing to do with sex and I don't use drugs (unless you count the ones to treat the SFD). But I know how people are -- who doesn't want to read about someone else's sex and drugs? Most especially the sexiness and drugginess of a suburban mom. I wanted you to click through. It worked. See?
Anyway I fancy myself a psychic and I'm pretty sure I've picked up on some questions that are running through the minds of the kind people who've given any attention at all to my half-marathon challenge and my fundraising efforts. Since everyone is too shy to approach me with them, I'm just going to go ahead and jump to step 2, where I open myself up like a book.
1. Wow, you're going to do a lot of running in the next year. How impressive that you are such an elite and gifted athlete. Tell us when you first realized your gazelle-like build was designed for running, and please explain what tragedy of human error kept you out of the Olympics.
I am such a gifted athlete that I meticulously avoided nearly all physical exertion for close to the first quarter-century of my life. I didn't want to risk an injury, or maybe a sweat stain, while my physique was still so young and tender. Ok haha funny. The point is, I'm not a naturally athletic person. I have short legs, an impatient mind (my biggest enemy on longer runs is not physical fatigue but rather mental boredom) and blood sugar issues -- cough! -- that can mess with my ability to push myself. Though I've been a pretty active person for most of my truly "adult" life (I lived in California for 13 years; it requires more willpower to sit still there than not), this is still a steep challenge for me. Like a lot of stay-at-home moms (I do still work, but I'm a freelancer so it's all at home), I've turned to exercise to provide me with an escape and a few little slivers of time that are for me and only me, when I can visualize Big Thoughts and wonder what I would do with them if I had the time. I had been wanting to do some diabetes research fundraising, and one of those Big Thoughts came while I was running a month or so ago, and ... I lost sight of rational thought.
2. What is your least favorite part of running?
Dead squirrels. I am a new resident of North Carolina, where behemoth, behaviorally challenged squirrels outnumber humans by a factor of 57 to 1. I live in a wooded area where there are no sidewalks, so I run in the street, and I swear on some days it's like a steeplechase event to avoid slipping on the scores of flattened squirrels. I saw one get hit once, too, which was horribly upsetting.
3. Back in 1997-'99, when you lived in Chicago and were broke, it's been rumored that you used to put away a massive box of Hot Tamales on a regular basis, like maybe every day at work. They cost $1 at Walgreen's, it's been said. Also that you used to eat a lot of bagels. Tell the truth: Did you wear out your pancreas?
Thanks so much for asking this. I know it confuses a lot of people. The term "diabetes" gets thrown around a lot in the media and in big pharma ads and in political debates, and in general the implication is that it is a problem caused by Americans' refusal to follow basic guidelines of self-care, such as not sucking on a stick of butter for dinner and washing it down with 64 oz. of high fructose corn syrup.
Unfortunately, the distinction between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is often lost. I know that Type 2 has been linked with certain lifestyle choices, such as a poor diet. That is all I'll say about that, because I'm not an expert on it (visit the website of the American Diabetes Association for a lot of good info on Type 2). What I can tell you is this: I did not wear out my pancreas in order to achieve Type 1 diabetes. It was a victim of SABOTAGE. By whom? Why, by my own body, of course. My immune system went all paranoid schizo and got destructive. It mistook the insulin-producing beta cells in my pancreas as a threat, a virus perhaps, and decided to vanquish them. Most people can eat massive boxes of Hot Tamales all they want; hopefully you are one of them. Go ahead and try it. You won't get Type 1 diabetes ... at least not from that. (Visit the website of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for more details.)
4. Do you ever fantasize about saying, "I used to have diabetes?"
I do. I have lurid fantasies about that. I also fantasize about long and luxurious nights of sleep, during which I am not woken up by my continuous glucose monitor (CGM) buzzing to alert me to hyper- or hypoglycemia, or by a general sense that my brain and body are slipping into a deep dark hole (hyperglycemia, which my CGM sometimes misses -- it's a highly imperfect technology -- and which is the condition that occasionally causes diabetics to expire during the night). I fantasize about being able to wear sundresses without having to strap my insulin pump to my thigh (I believe it looks like I'm carrying; you can detect an outline of it through most fabrics, and I wonder how many people are extra-nice to me because they don't want to become a statistic). I fantasize about pounding an entire huge box of Hot Tamales (see question #3) or a humongous glass of lemonade on a hot day. I fantasize about having a smooth abdomen that is not riddled with scars and scar tissue from all the needles. I fantasize about my grown children having dim, confusing memories of Mommy fiddling around with a lot of syringes when they were younger and wondering how to ask me when I kicked the heroin habit.
5. You mentioned that you're a new resident of North Carolina. What do you think of the way people park their cars there?
I've been wondering when someone would ask me this. Yo, people here do not know how to park a car. They are completely flummoxed by the mazework of white lines that are all over the place on the pavement in parking lots, and they seem to respond by instantly throwing the car in park and fleeing as soon as they realize they're surrounded by them. A few special people take the time to carefully, oh so carefully make sure their car is squarely straddling a white line before they depart. Others partake in some kind of contest to see how tightly they can get it in, parking as closely as humanly possible to the car in the slot next door (usually mine). They neatly roll their tires on or over the white line on the passenger side and proudly stride away from that 3/4 inch gap that DOES NOT ALLOW ME ENOUGH ROOM TO PUT MY BABY IN HIS CARSEAT. I hasten to say that the people I've actually interacted with in NC have been awesome in nearly all ways. Maybe all these innovative parkers have drifted up from South Carolina or something.
I am certain that as time passes, other questions will be asked more frequently ... or asked. I shall answer them in the order they are received.