Princess of Pavement: Moving On

we have moved on black road sign

Dear Readers,

It’s been more than 2 years since I’ve written on this site, and I think it’s safe to say I will no longer write another post for PoP.

It’s been a fantastic journey of diabetes/life/running/cycling highs and lows, but there comes a time when you just need to move on.

A few months ago I started a new website, Diabetic to Dietetics, speaking to all things sport and life with type-1 diabetes that incorporates my personal experience with this disease as well as evidence-based knowledge to back up my writing.

You should totally check it out:

Happy Reading 😀

The invisibility cloak of Dear Diabetes

About a month and a half ago, my feminine ego was kicked in the teeth. I had just got on Skytrain. It was during rush hour and it was busy, not a seat to be had. I grabbed hold of the bar nearest the door and pulled out my cell phone, as so many of us socially inept souls tend to do. The woman in one of the priority seats, designated for seniors or those with disabilities, sprang up and tapped me on the arm.

“You can have my seat,” she offered.

I smiled and said no, no I was fine.

She insisted.

It was then that I realized I was wearing a dress with an empire waist.

Oh. No.

No, I am fine, I said, my face flushing.

I have not worn that dress since.

Fast forward to today and I wish I was wearing that dress.

Again, I was on the skytrain. Again, it was rush hour, and it was busy, not a seat to be had, barely a space for my feet.

It was the first time I have ever used my diabetes to gain a seat.

I didn’t want to do it.

I battled the inner demons within me. I didn’t know 100 per cent if I needed the seat. I didn’t know if it was claustrophobia combined with the humidity causing the feelings inside me, or if it was Dear Diabetes gaining the upper hand.

I had been fighting low blood sugars all afternoon. It was the first real day of classes. I had a super early start, which I had been trying to prepare for over the last week, but can you ever really prepare when you have your lovely little frienemy Dear Diabetes constantly throwing you monkey wrenches???

The last class of the day was super hot and humid, the bus home had no air circulation, by the time I got on Skytrain, I had already food medicated two lows, surely they couldn’t still be low.

Oh yeah, they could.

I was dripping in sweat. My hands were shaking as though I were in the final throes of Parkinson’s (no disrespect). Yet, I’m sure to others I looked fine.

Unless I were on the floor, shaking uncontrollably, this is an invisible disease.

I bent down to face the lady sitting in the seat for seniors, or those with disabilities, and said:

“Excuse me, would you mind if I sat here for a few minutes, I’m having a bit of a medical situation?”

I do not practice religion, but I would just like to say: bless her.

She did not give me a dirty look. She did not question me. She did not ask what was wrong. She got up quite efficiently, and as another woman was about to take the seat, she said, no, this woman needs this seat, and she helped me sit down.

I tested my blood sugars. They were 2.7. This was an hour and a half after I had eaten a Larabar without insulin. This was a half hour after I had stuffed my face full of Werther’s without insulin. I downed a handful of dried apricots and sat feeling guilty.

I shouldn’t have felt guilty.

I have a disease that is considered a disability. I was nearly rendered incapable of standing. I needed to sit. I needed to eat. But, in my mind, those around me did not see a disability.

Dear Diabetes wears the invisibility cloak day in and day out.

Note: my blood sugars continued down the dark rabbit hole of lows. By the time I got home, I was nauseous and could barely eat dinner. I drank orange juice and vomited it back up again. I was bent over in pain, my stomach a giant, solid rock. My head aching. I tried the quick sugar route, I tried the healthy route, but by 8 p.m., after 5 hours of constant lows, I said to hell with it.

I ate the last of my son’s Dairy Queen birthday cake with a topping of strawberry Breyer’s ice cream.

Eat that Dear Diabetes!

5: My baby, forever you will be

Dear Little Ring,

The other day you came home with an eraser in hand. You were determined to erase the “white lines” on my legs. You scrubbed and you scrubbed.

“It’s not working,” you said, your eyes wide with confusion.

It took everything I had not to burst out laughing as I explained why stretch marks would not erase away.

Dear child, you crack me up.

Every day.


Little Ring dancing – Elaine style! (Photo courtesy of David Eklof Photography)

Tomorrow you are five years old.

I’m not ready for that.

People warned me the time would go fast. I knew it would. But still, I’m not ready for you to be a big boy.

My baby, forever you will be.


First moments

I don’t want to lose our moments: your squishy hand warm in mine; your emphatic, operatic moowhah smooches; our nose-to-nose kisses; the pointing of your finger to your cheek silently calling on mama for a tender kiss; your Oscarsized hugs; the sweet sound of your voice calling out for mommy; the quirky, newness when you say “awkward” or “well that’s so embarrassing”; your knock-knock jokes that always end in banana; our snuggles.

Oh, those precious snuggles.

I do not live in a dream world. I know one day, maybe even one day soon, those moments will lessen.

Every year, shucks, every day, you grow more independent, more sound of mind, more a boy than a baby. A friend recently told me your voice is maturing; I chose to sing tra-la-laaaa (as you so often do) in my head. So many comment on your intelligence, telling me you are beyond ready for kindergarten; I look at them with pride, but also continue to silently sing tra-la-laaaa. You have been telling me for more than a year now that you are no longer a baby; tra-la-laaaaah.

My baby, forever you will be.


Heart-shaped Little Ring (Photo courtesy of David Eklof Photography)

You have grown so much this year, tall enough to go on the bumper cars, a ride you had anticipated a whole year to go on at Playland after being turned away last year. Seriously, we heard about those cars for months, and you had us measure you on the height scale repeatedly. You were determined.

It was the first ride you went on this year.

But still:

My baby, forever you will be.


You still love the roller coaster the most!

Determination is a common theme of your young life.

When presented an opportunity to go down the water slide at Granville Island earlier this summer, you so desperately wanted to give it a try. That first day you repeatedly walked up those steps only to turn back around, the fear of the unknown holding you back. The second day, again, you walked up those steps countless times, and again turned back around. But then, halfway through the second day, something changed in your eyes. I saw it. I watched you climb those steps. I told your daddy he’s gonna do it. I saw you at the top, I saw that focus on your face. There wasn’t a smile, just sheer determination. You sat your butt down and slid.

The smile on your face as you came through the bottom is a smile I will never forget.

And still:

My baby, forever you will be.


Wish upon a dandelion.

For another of our adventures this summer, you convinced me to rent a bike with a trello attachment so we could ride the Seawall together. But as soon as you were on the bike, you didn’t like the idea of not having control of the brakes.

You like control.

You are stubborn.

You climbed off that bike and sat in the middle of the Seawall’s bike lane with the biggest quivering, pouty lip I have seen to date.

That is NOT a place for a kid, or anyone for that matter, to be sitting.

I told you we’d return the bike and go find a nearby park. This satisfied you enough to get out of the bike lane. As I pushed the bikes up the hill back to the rental place you told me you wanted to sit on the trello attachment. Apparently it was okay as long as I wasn’t on the bike too.

About a minute into the push you exclaimed: “Heyyyy! This isn’t so bad. I can do this. Let’s ride!”

And just like that we spent two hours, you and mama, riding (and getting lost) around the Seawall.

You are not a quitter.


My baby, forever you will be.



That smile, melts me every time.

You watch things so closely, silently trying to master them in your head, whether it’s learning how to golf with granny and grampy, or learning the crab walk at soccer, or how to do a three second head tap while riding your bike at your cycling superhero camp. You like perfection in action. You have a fantastic sense of humour, an infectious laugh, but you are also wary of newcomers. You like playtime with others, but you also like your alone time.

Mornings are not a time for others.

I know you are growing. I love that you are growing. I love that we are now reading Harry Potter, and that you can write your own name, and can count to 100 (I find it especially warming that you get 30 and 50 mixed up). I love that you want to learn new things, and that you ask me about the spellings of words we read in books. I love that you are broadening your vocabulary (I silently laugh, and don’t correct you, when you repeatedly use detached instead of attached). I love your sincerity and interest in my disease. I love how your little mind solves daily puzzles. I love our moments now, and I know I’m going to love our future moments.

And yet, still:

My baby, forever you will be.

Happy 5th birthday my baby bug! Mama loves you! Always ❤

Ps. We’re totally playing hooky from life tomorrow!!!


My baby. My superhero.



Diabetes vs. Cortisone

This has not been a good week for me and Dear Diabetes.

In the last five days I have had 55-60 total units of insulin shooting through my body. Of that, 30 units is continuos basal.

That’s a lot.

To put it into perspective, normally I average 17-21 total daily units of which 12 is basal.

Right now, I am triple dosing.

Yet, my blood sugars are high.

Abnormally, dangerously high, unable to crack below 13 mmol most of those days.

Generally, I am rarely above 10.0 mmol.

The resistance is strong.


This photo was compiled late Friday afternoon. By end of day, my total daily dose was at 57 units.

The culprit: a cortisone injection in my right hip joint that was administered Thursday morning to counter the effects of a labrel tear.

Apparently it is well known in the medical field that cortisone (and other steroids for that matter) can often wreak havoc on diabetes management. Yet, I was never made aware.

Not from the surgeon who booked the appointment.

Not from the nurse who prepped me for the cortisone.

Not from the doctor who administered the injection.

They all knew I had Type-1 diabetes and that I was on an insulin pump.

When I met with the surgeon, our initial conversation was about surgery, and I flat out asked how surgery would affect my diabetes. He told me, minimally. When it was decided a cortisone shot would be the best course of action, I did not ask about my diabetes. Maybe that was my fault, but given that I had asked about it for the surgery side of things, you would think, if it was an issue, the surgeon would have notified me.

He did not.

Prior to getting the cortisone, when sitting in the radiology waiting room, the nurse had me fill out a form that asked if I had diabetes. I checked yes, and added that I had type-1 diabetes and am on insulin pump therapy. (A similar form had been filled out at the surgeon’s office as well.)

In the exam room, I asked the nurse if I should remove my insulin pump. She said no.

She did not tell me the insulin would essentially be like water going through me following the injection.

When the physician came in and informed me of the procedure and the effect the cortisone may have on my joint, and the small chance of infection, he said not a word of my diabetes. He had every opportunity. I had to move my insulin pump out of the way. When the procedure was done, I got tangled in my insulin pump wiring and he helped untangle me.

No one said a word.

Thursday night my blood sugars had crept up to 13.7 mmol. after dinner. It was a burger dinner, and I thought maybe the ketchup or bun had an effect. By the morning, they were at 16.4 mmol. I thought my infusion was faulty, maybe there was an air bubble in the line, or the canula had bent. I switched it out. Two hours later, they were at 16.9 mmol.

I was beyond frustrated.

I do not do high blood sugars. I rarely have them. I do not know what to do.

I raged bolus. I increased my basal by 100%. I ran the insulin through the line, checking that it was actually going through. I questioned every dose I had administered. I re-reviewed everything I had eaten. I switched out the old insulin, for a new, in-the-fridge bottle.

None of it worked.

Nothing made sense.

By dinner, I was near tears. I had no idea what was going on with me.

I was scared.


12:30 a.m. Friday: scared.

I was worried about ketones. I was worried about the incessant itching of my legs, so bad I drew blood. I was worried about my perfect hemoglobin A1c.

Big Ring asked if the cortisone could have had an effect.

Light bulb.

My fingers swiftly tapped over the Google keys and sure enough it was there.

Cortisone is a beast for diabetes.

Are you effing kidding me? Why did know one, not one of those doctors, inform me? Why?

I posted on Facebook asking all my T-1 peeps for advice on how to deal. So many suggestions. So many expressions of shock that I was not notified ahead of time.

It’s still not perfect.

My basal has been set at a continuous +200%, which is the maximum basal dose for Animas pumps, for days; if it could go higher, it would. I’ve been testing my blood sugars every two hours, and at nearly every test, I’m doing bolus corrections. Since getting the cortisone, I have dosed, both by pump and syringes, 235 total units. I go hours without eating. I fear food, and the effect it will have on my blood sugars. I’ve cracked the extreme highs for the most part, now sitting between 8.0 and 10.0 mmols, but that’s still with the crazy increase in insulin. I feel sick inside. I feel lethargic, winded. Even talking is an effort.

I don’t know when it will come down.

I don’t know when I will feel better.

But I do know, every step of the way, I was failed by the medical system.

That is not acceptable.


Planes, Trains and Automobiles – re-imagined

Again with the timing of appropriateness.

Twelve years ago yesterday, after about a month and a half of tinkering with the idea, Big Ring and I made our togetherness official. For 12 years, he has been my number one cheerleader, my number one support, my number one bestest friend of all. The things he has done for me, the love he has given me, the specialness of him, I cannot imagine life without his hand in mine.

And the story I share today is a perfect example of his greatness.

Let’s go back about five or six months. Back to those strained months before I got into dietetics.

I told Big Ring if I got in he would have to throw me a party, a big party, a huge party. This was going to be a party for me, but also very much for everyone that helped me. And there were a lot: those who helped edit my resume and cover letter;  who helped with the interview preparation; who took Little Ring so I could study; who helped me study; who repeatedly gave me confidence boosts; listened to me rant; acted as shoulders to cry on; even that one person who provided a word that my brain refused to grasp on its own.

Yes, I did lose a few friendships along this journey, as was mentioned in the last post, but there were so many others who became strong pillars for me. So many who I appreciate and love for all they have done. And I wanted to thank them in a huge way.

But the thing is, Big Ring, he’s not so much about the party scene, and planning a party, oh man, that’s like nightmare causing for the man. He offered an alternative:

“What if we went on a trip?” he suggested.

Dear friends and family, travel always wins!

Big Ring told me he was taking me away on a little adventure. He didn’t tell me where, he didn’t tell me what, he just told me the dates, and promised me oodles of fun. Trust me, he said.

Last month, his plan was executed.

I’m not the greatest at handling surprises. I’m not the greatest at letting go of control. It was a mystery right up to departure day, and it was a mystery every moment of every day of the tour. It drove me absolutely bonkers… and gave Big Ring great amounts of glee.


Day 1 of the Katie Got Into Dietetics Mystery Tour: We stayed at the Opus Hotel, where we stayed 12 years prior, and went to the Queen concert as well as dinner at Chambar, a restaurant I hadn’t been to in years, but recall the last time drooling over the lamb. This time I got halibut, which wasn’t as tasty as the lamb of my memories, but the atmosphere and company were perfect.


Day 2 of the Katie Got Into Dietetics Mystery Tour: We had breakfast at Musette, a cycling café in the heart of the city and watched stage 3 of the Tour de France. Again, with the atmosphere. The café had recently reopened after an extended closure. The tables were made using wood from the track of an old velodrome that was demolished in Antwerp. There were booths patterned after the shower stalls of the velodrome in Paris where the Paris Roubaix, a spring classic, finishes. The table flags were bib numbers from the Tour and the Giro d’Italia.

So much character.

And sitting there, eating my oatmeal (oh man, that oatmeal was good!!!) with morning cyclists all around me so enthused about the outcome of the stage, excitement all around, it was just a really perfect way to start the day.



From there we walked along the Seawall for about an hour before picking up our suitcases and heading to the waterfront where we caught a HELICOPTER (!!!) and flew to Victoria.


I’ve been on a blimp, I’ve been on a float plane, I’ve been on a stunt plane, but never a helicopter. It was awesome. It was a perfect day, and because it was a holiday, and he wasn’t having to worry about work schedules, the captain took us along the longer, scenic route.

So freaking beautiful.

The ride was only about 45 minutes. There was a guy next to me who I am sure had flown helicopters multiple times because he nodded off instantly. But me, I couldn’t stop looking out the window. I couldn’t wipe the amazed smile off my face.

A helicopter!!!

Day 3 of the Katie Got Into Dietetics Mystery Tour: We rented cruiser bikes from the hotel that we were staying at (The Oswego: super cute) and rode along the Galloping Goose trail. I was channeling my inner Euro as I rode in a skirt with a baguette in the basket. I totally loved it!


And Big Ring pretended he was racing against Ryder Hesjedal 😀


Those bikes were crazy heavy so I was pretty impressed with the 25 km ride we did. And I only had one skirt flying up incident… of course, it was right in downtown Victoria, a nicely congested area of people all around! Oops! There was also an incident of the baguette flying out of the basket subsequently getting run over by the bike. And yet, when we pulled it out of the paper bag for a picnic lunch a short while later, it did not look any worse for wear!

My favourite part of Victoria was Munro Books; I got completely lost in that bookstore. It was inside a beautiful heritage building, and the books were displayed so perfectly, with old wooden chairs situated throughout giving you an opportunity to flip through the pages. I didn’t feel rushed. I didn’t feel obligated to buy (although I did on my second return to the shop.) It wasn’t just the books capturing my eye, but the scenery and friendly atmosphere too. Everything about this place said “stay”.

Big Ring and I were also really drawn to Fan Tan Alley, a super narrow alley, just three to six feet wide and 240 feet long, that’s located in Chinatown. Going in, I didn’t know the history. The initial draw was an artisan ice cream shop we’d read about that turned out to be as good as its review. But the history of the building, the hidden nooks and crannies, the cute little shops, and the fact the alleyway was smaller than the width of my outstretched arms all had me wanting to learn more.

Fan Tan Alley was a hotspot for gambling clubs and opium factories in the early 1900s!


Day 4 of the Katie Got Into Dietetics Mystery Tour: We travelled from Victoria to Seattle by ferry.


I was soon discovering this trip was as much about the locations as it was about the modes of transportation. First we had the helicopter, then the ferry, what would be next?


Day 5 of the Katie Got Into Dietetics Mystery Tour: We went to a baseball game. It was long. Really long. At one point I said to Big Ring: Baseball is like the Energizer Bunny, it just keeps going and going and going and …


It is funny, though, the last time the two of us were at a Mariners game was 13 years ago when we were both working for the local news media, and hadn’t even yet developed a proper friendship, and were sent on assignment to cover local boy Justin Morneau’s intro to the big leagues. Needless to say, this time was MUCH different. Big Ring was not on the field shooting, and I was not in the men’s locker room blushing, or the press box dodging fly balls that landed in one journalist’s soda cup!


Day 6 of the Katie Got Into Dietetics Mystery Tour: Homeward bound – on a train!


Seriously, this trip was like planes, trains and automobiles – re-imagined!

And that, my dear readers, is the way this man loves me ❤


The journey begins

It seems appropriate I write this post today. It’s a post long overdue. Some of you already know, some have forgotten, some don’t know at all.

On this day three years ago, I pulled my editor out of his holidays, I told him it was urgent he meet me. My stomach was full of nervous bubbles, it was a day I had been counting down for 10 months prior. It was a day I never believed I would ever have a count down for.

Time did not make it easy.

Three years ago I told my editor I was leaving the world of journalism, the world of my childhood dreams.


Journalist me: so many adventures!

Today, I am four weeks from starting on a path I have been building up to for the last six years. On May 17 I was officially accepted into the dietetics program at the University of British Columbia.


The year leading up to this day there was a lot of nervous tension. This is a highly competitive program: over 100 hundred applicants; 50 of who get interviews; and 30-34 accepted. I spent years working towards acceptance. I interviewed several dietitians, I volunteered in areas I knew would boost my profile, I spent months looking over my application, working on my interviewing skills, anticipating the questions that may be asked. I spent countless evenings studying, perfecting my knowledge, ensuring my grades were above par. (It didn’t always work to my favour: math and chemistry were like bones constantly jabbing my confidence.) I lost friends in the process.

All for the goal.

170807studying me

Studying me: pretty much anything in the loft was fair game for my studies: whiteboards, walls, spare paper, even my arms!

People kept telling me I was in. They’d be stupid not to take me, they said. My history, my vision of working with Type-1, athletic diabetics, it was solid. But I’d met other candidates and they, too, had solid stories. Deep down, I believed in myself. But on the surface, the what ifs had clouded that belief.

I remember walking out of the interview, which by the way was crazy intense, with a smile on my face. Big Ring was waiting outside and as soon as he saw my face, he knew I had nailed it. And I thought so too. But the thing is, five minutes into the car ride home, that evil little devil on my shoulder started steering my memory into a negative direction. I started thinking about things I didn’t say, or the fact that I was so sure they would ask right off the hop why I wanted to be a dietitian, and that’s how I started to answer, only to realize 30 seconds into answering that oh freaking hell, that’s not what they asked at all.


The application was in. The interview complete. The only thing left to do was reflect.


It took about a week and a half for the worrying pit in my stomach to release.

Thanks to a great friend.

We had been chatting about the interview, and I told him the odds just as I did for all of you above. He broke it down into the most simple terms:

“So, do you really think, honestly, that you could be one of the 16 NOT selected?” he asked.

Hmm. No, no I didn’t.

A huge smile washed over me. Another week and a half and I had my acceptance.

Dear readers, I AM going to be a dietitian!!!!!


And surely that warrants an ice cream celebration!


No Surgery for Labral Tear

I was sure surgery was the only option.

Last week I received word that my MRI came back positive for a small labral tear in the right hip. I suspected this would be the diagnosis, and frankly I was happy to finally have a diagnosis after a year of suffering the chronic pain. Back when I was still going to physio, he was treating me as though I had a labral tear. After a couple months of weekly appointments, sometimes bi-weekly, there was minimal improvement. That’s when we decided it was time for x-rays and an arthrogram MRI.

Time has not healed. Physio has not healed. Like I said, I thought for sure surgery was my only option to heal.


Friends gave me teary eyed emojis at the mention of surgery, family tried convincing me otherwise. But the thing is, I don’t want to spend my life in pain. I don’t want to be the mom who could only play a few minutes with her boy before succumbing to the aches. I don’t want thoughts of a rapidly aging body to cloud nearly every movement I make. And frankly, I bloody well want my once extremely flexible body to get that gum-like stretch back.

Surgery was not scary for me. A life of a pain was.

Still, I thought I would have months to mull it over. Surgeons usually have crazy long waitlists; the doc told me to expect at least a four-month wait before even talking to the surgeon. But then, just one day after meeting with the doc, the surgeon’s office called. Apparently one of the benefits of going through the university hospital is students get preference. Five days after learning the diagnosis, two days after seeing the doc, I was in the surgeon’s office.


“I would HEAVILY caution against surgery,” the surgeon said, almost right off the hip, er, I mean hop 😂

Hip arthroscopic surgery is a straight-forward procedure for the surgeon, he told me. It’s day surgery, just 1.5 hours, no biggie – for him. For the patient it sucks, he said.

Because the hip is tricky, he would have to dislocate the joint to get in and have a look around. I got queasy just hearing it. Patient recovery is extensive. Inflammation is severe. I would be on crutches for a month, no running, no weight-bearing activities, no carrying my kid for at least three months. Full recovery would be a minimum six months.

I suspected almost all of that and had come to terms with most of it – if it took the ache away.

There’s a high probability it won’t, he told me.

There’s a very real chance it could make things worse, he told me.

You may be even more limited than you are now, he told me.

Possibly no running at all.


So here’s the thing no one told me: labral tears are common. Sixty to seventy per cent of the North American population in their 40s (not quite there!) suffer labral tears, sometimes without even knowing.

My labral tear is small. The MRI, which scanned eight sections of my right hip, detected “focal detachment of the anterior-superior labrum” in images seven and eight, which indicate a tear. The rest of the labrum appeared intact. What this means is I can’t squat for long periods, I can’t sit criss-cross apple sauce, or plain just sit for extended periods without my body painfully revolting. Yet, it does NOT prevent me from running. Running causes it no pain, not during, not after.

Surgery could take that away.

That’s not cool.

The surgeon spent a good 20 to 30 minutes going through the surgery process, recovery rates, alternatives. He told me he would do the surgery, but every two seconds (or so it seemed) cautioned against it.

I listened.

Instead of surgery, I have opted for the less invasive procedure of getting a cortisone shot injected into the joint to see if that helps take the annoying ache away. It’s not a perfect solution. Apparently I am limited to a total of three cortisone shots in one joint in my lifetime. Cortisone can eat away at cartilage, which also really kinda sucks. We’ll wait and see what happens.

In the meantime…

I run!!!