Judy’s Update (Re: Kidney Transplant)

In brief, and right off the bat, Judy is doing well – exceedingly well.

After seven years of dialysis treatments three times a week, this kidney transplant is a miracle.  Strange to say or even appreciate, she is able to urinate on her own.  As a dialysis patient,  this particular body function was halted.  I cannot imagine…

Also, her second day after surgery, she is eating like never before.  For instance, French Toast and an egg with coffee for breakfast; corn/clam chowder for lunch; lasagna for supper.  The corn chowder is what startled me.   “Corn?” I repeated in great surprise.  “Gosh, that kidney sure is doing its job if you are able to digest and pass corn!” 

Before the transplant, she was unable to drink most any liquids or fluids.  Her food intake was minimal.  This ever-so-stringent diet included no more than a tablespoon of water – per day!  Always a hot tea lover, I know she will now be able to resume this fondness.  OMG.  Wonders, wonders, wonders. 

Transported to a ‘regular’ hospital room just this morning (Saturday, May 15, 2010) after ICU for two days, her doctors are gleaming with delight.  Dr. Shimul Shah, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Organ Transplantation at UMass Medical School had told her that day, March 12, 2010, that it was his birthday.  “And you’re getting the presents,” he said.  Dr. Jeffrey Stoff, nephrologist, visits with her, of course, checking the incision and adjusting her insulin along with the other required meds.  Yuck, I hate meds.

Due to her being on a ‘dextrose’ drip, her blood sugars have escalated.  As she realized what was happening, her terminal feisty attitude toward self-care  awakened.  “I need more insulin!” she told a nurse.  It is just plain good that she knows what is going on.  Forty years with diabetes, she knows better than most, including medical staff.  Ha, that is the same attitude I carry!

Yes, she was given a larger dose of insulin and is leveling off, so to speak.  Yes, the immunosuppressant drugs, her pain meds, and whatever other required medications are working, but not without consequences.  Her body is “puffy,” as Judy describes it. 

All in good time with concentrated prayers, she will get through this – and so will the rest of us!  Halleluia!

A. K. Buckroth, www.mydiabeticsoul.com

A LARGER History on Diabetes

Keeping up with knowledge and highlighting what I know in many facets of my life, I occasionally peruse the local library.  As the neighborhood library is an exact mile from my house, walking there and back is an extra positive for my daily diabetes care regimen. 

While there, I came across a childrens’ book on Diabetes.  No longer a child myself and having lived with diabetes for over fifty years, I was curious to see what writings, books, were available to the newly diagnosed diabetics, especially the children.  Not much has changed, really.  All of the avialable childrens’ books pertaining to diabetes are uplifting, encouraging.  That was certainly not the case when I was a child in the 1960’s.  Oh well. 

I found one particular book entitled plainly “Diabetes,” by Gail B. Stewart, copyright 1999.   I learned something!  Chapter 1 immediately details the history of diabetes as I have never known.  I re-write this for you here:

A History of Diabetes

  • 1500 B.C. – First description of diabets in the Ebers Papyrus, an Egyptian compilation of medical works containing a number of remedies for passing too much urine. 
  • 400 B. C. – Susruta, a physician in India, records diabetes symptoms and classifies types of diabetes.
  • A.D. 10 – Celsus, a Roman encyclopedist and author of a comprehensive medical text, develops a clinical description of diabetes.
  • 2nd century A. D – Aretaeus, a Greek physician, coins the term diabetes.  (Diabetes is the Greek word meaning “to siphen” or “to pass through.” )
  • 1869 – von Mering and Minkowski observe that diabetes develops when an animal’s pancreas is removed.
  • 1921 – Banting and Best obtain and purify islets of Langerhans from an animal pancreas, inject the material (insulin) into a diabetic animal, and find a fall in blood sugar level.

I thought this important to share with all of you.  It is just as simple as that!

A. K. Buckroth (www.mydiabeticsoul.com).


KATIE MAXWELL “Writing Achievement Award”

Among many other daily affairs and involvements, the Sacramento Suburban Writers Club (SSWC) has become one of my social passions.  In this day of explosive social networking, the SSWC helps to keep me grounded as a human being.  Here is a small background:

“SACRAMENTO SUBURBAN WRITERS CLUB, established in 1955, is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving writers in the Sacramento region.  The club meets monthly, in Fair Oaks.  New writers and experienced writers are encouraged to join.”

So be it.  Having been a member for less than a year, I was throughly encouraged to get my book published.  Such a facet was accomplished as of March, 2010.  With that in mind, three days ago I was granted the “Katie Maxwell Writing Achievement Award For Outstanding Achievement In Writing.”  Phew!  What a fantastic surprise!

Such an accomplishment could not have been achieved without the social interactions, inspirations, and encouragements from the other members.  With that being said, I strongly encourage wannabe writers to search out writing groups in your areas.  Your muse will find you.

A Kidney was Donated!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010, at approximately 1:45pm, I received a telephone call from my sister’s mother-in-law.  Yes, that is unusual and frightening at the same time.  Former moments that I have heard from the woman is to tell me that my sister, Judy, of Worcester, Massachusetts, is in the hospital – again.  For good reason, I often think the worst and hesitate to answer the phone.  I answered it today.

“Hi Andrea.  It’s Avis.”  she said with a brightness to her voice.  “I have some wonderful news.  Judy is in recovery right now from a kidney transplant.”  “Whoa,” I thought.  “OH MY GOSH!” I exclaimed.  That’s excellent.  Having asked for more details, I just wished I was there.

Judy will “remain in recovery at UMASS (University of Massachusetts Medical Center) before she is wheeled to ICU (Intensive Care Unity) for about two days.  The care nurse assigned to Judy was Karl’s nurse (Avis’ son and Judy’s husband) when Karl had his transplant.”  Halleluia!

You see, Judy was diagnosed in 1964 as a diabetic.  This actually occurred on her fifth birthday.  She was the second child to be diagnosed with this disease in a family of five children.  I was the first at age two in 1959; Gina was the third at age 12 in 1970.  Judy married a man, Karl, who was diagnosed in 1978 at the age of fifteen.  Okay, so between the four of us, we’ve been through it all!

To make a long story short, Judy has been undergoing dialysis for the last seven years.  This one diseased complication pertinent with diabetics, nephropathy, took over and disabled her young body.  This also means she has been on the “Kidney Donor List” for that long.   

I can only guess at how much longer she would be able to survive on dialysis, three days a week.  I am grateful to the donor and the donors’ family for granting my sister and me and my family this present.  Thank you.  Thank you so very very much.   Organ donations are a matter of life and death.   I wish more people felt and believed in this fact.

Good health to all!  AK.

Polish Diet (Chapter 4, “My Diabetic Soul”

  “…The Polish diet is very bland yet healthy and safe as far as calories are concerned. Kielbasa is boiled, peirogis are boiled, chicken is boiled for soup or typically baked, beets are boiled for burak zupa (beet soup), and you already know about the cabbage. It took me a long time as an adult to adjust my taste buds to spicy foods. Fried foods were unavailable in my mother’s house. It was very rare that I indulged eating fried foods if only because I did not like them. Therefore, through my Polish upbringing, my diabetes and I have had a healthy start in life! I consider this factor as not only a great advantage, but a blessing as well.”  A. K. Buckroth

Remember Shakespeare?

Many of us, I will not say all because that is too presumptuous, are familiar with the writings of Willam Shakespeare, a fifteenth century author turned playright.  Personally, I have found all of his writings to be an inexhaustible source of pleasure.  Through compulsory reading in the United States’ educational system,  many students have read no more of him than was required.  Due to my mother being a Professor of English Literature, the writings of William Shakespeare became more prolific and appreciated in my life.

With that being said (written), I recently audienced a different twist of Shakespeare’s ever-popular drama “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.”  The characters Rosencrantz & Guildenstern, courtiers in the original, centuries old manuscript, are the main characters in this particular play.  Entitled “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead,” written by Tom Stoppard and directed by Scott O’Neal, is done so in jest of the original and  particularly famous play. 

Here is how it goes:  “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead” shares the plot of the original Hamlet by William Shakespeare.  “(1.) Hamlet’s father, the King of Denmark, dies.  (2.) Hamlet’s Uncle, Claudius, becomes king and marries Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude.  (3.) Hamlet’s father appears as a ghost and tells Hamlet that he was murdered by Claudius.  (4.) Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, school friends of Hamlet, are enlisted to find out what has been bothering Hamlet, but Hamlet does not trust them.  (5.) Players arrive; Hamlet sets a trap for his uncle by having the players re-enact the murder of his father.  (6.) Hamlet pretends to be insane to Ophelia, his lover.  (7.) Claudius leaves the performance, greatly disturbed.  (8.) Hamlet kills Polonius, thinking he is Claudius.  (9.) Hamlet is placed on a ship to England where, according to a letter provided to Resencrantz and Guildenstern by Claudius, he will be executed.  (10.) The ship is attacked by pirates who take Hamlet prisoner but then return to Denmark.  (11.) After her father is killed, Ophelia, goes mad and drowns.  (12.) Laertes, Ophelia’s brother, fueled by revenge, plots a duel to kill Hamlet using a sword with poison on it.  (13.) Claudius prepares poisoned wine for Hamlet to drink in case that does not work.  (14.) Both Hamlet and Laertes are wounded by the poisonous sword.  (15.) Gertrude mistakenly drinks the poisoned wine and dies.  (16.) Laertes tells Hamlet about the plot, then dies.  (17.) Hamlet then kills Claudius and dies.” 

Phew!  It is definitely much better when seen in person.  Having been creatively innovative, I congratulate not only the actors but the production staff as well.  Long live…well, everybody!

A Raccoon In The Attic

You know how the story goes…”it’s always somebody else…”  Well, my husband and I are that somebody.
Yep, we have one, a raccoon in the attic. 
Now, I’ve heard lots of stories of one person or another having to deal with a raccoon and/or its young living in a basement or attic.  I’ve even seen animal television shows featuring such critters and I was creepily mesmerized as to how, what, when and where such instances could and do happen.  However, I never thought that we would have one right here, in our attic, on our neighborhood street in rustic, woodsy suburbia.
You see, my husband’s wood shop is  an outbuilding on our property.  Having noticed a slight molding effect, a growth, last summer on the north ceiling of the shop, we kept our eyes on it, realizing that a new roof would be in order “one of these days.”   We didn’t think too much of it, but one of our eyes glanced at it occasionally.  After all, it was such a small growth looking like more of a water stain than anything else.  No big deal.  It was ignored. We went about our business as usual.  However, our calculations ran a bit short.   
Mold, caused by dampness, further weakens its host.  Well, the day has arrived, this day, to-day!   Mold feasts on damp-to-wet sheet-rock/dry wall.  A lesson has been learned right there!
As my husband was doing his usual puttsing in this, his beloved shop, just this morning, when, after tweny minutes or so, what to his wandering eyes should appear, but a section of caved-in ceiling!  Closer examination with a ladder and flashlight concluded that there is a hole in the roof, right through to the big glorious blue sky.  Further examination revealed poop droppings, bigger than a rat or mouse’s.  AHA!  there was a twinkling eyed raccoon nestled in the insulation. 
After calling ‘Mo, Curly, and Larry’ (sarcasm for two area businesses that supposedly deal with such conundrums) about this finding, one guy wanted $160.00 to come out with other $85.00 to trap – but not remove – the critter.  The other guy never called back.
So hubby, in his infinite wisdom, rushed over to Harbor Freight Tools, purchased a specific type of ‘racoon trap,’ put dog food and peanut butter in it because that is what his brother told him to use, and somehow rigged the trap to the roof.  For some reason or another, there is a yellow nylon rope  securely fastened from the north side of the structure to the south, extending about 10 feet.  I didn’t ask.  Neither did I inspect this rigging apparatus but trust he knows what he’s doing.  I certainly do not have the know-how and would end up paying big bucks for the critters disappearance!
So, I needed to share this with you.   Hubby has been checking the trap every couple of hours.  But I know what’s going to happen: after we settle in for the night, a loud crash, bang, boom will sound meaning that the raccoon is caught in the trap and unhappy – unhappy is the key word.  And the rest you can probably imagine for yourselves.
Ahh, such is life and living in the woodsy, nature filled suburbs.  It’s okay, though.  I chaulk this up to another one of our wonderful adventures!  I look forward to sharing the outcome in days to come!
A. K. Buckroth
Hope all is well with you both!  Hopefully I will have a good ending to this story very soon!

Childrens’ Summer Camps!

YAY!  Going to summer camp was always a favorite time of year for me – knowing that in July or August, I would be gone from home for two or three weeks.  I looked forward to it all year long!  Being away from my siblings, my mother, my daily chores, my summer boredom was relieved through summer camp.

From my recollections, January was the time when I was initially informed about being able to go.  This means, parents, that research needs to be started, applications filled out, then onto the inventory list once your child is accepted.  Much of the decision-factor is on a first-come, first-served (accepted) basis.  Analogous to a preferred school.

Heres’ a list of summer camps in California I researched for you: Bearskin Meadow Camp, Camp Conrad-Chinnock, Camp De Los Ninos, Camp Wana Kura, Larry L. Hillblom Teen Camp DJ Sequoia Lake, Larry L. Hillblom Youth Camp, Teen Cruise Camp, and The Diabetes Society of Santa Clara Valley.

Your local YWCA and YMCA’s have a list as well.  Network with the parents and teachers at  your childs’ school to learn about more.

Good luck!  AK.

Yard Work!

The title of this particular blog may flash visualizations of a lawn mower to include a rake, perhaps a pair of gloves and the safety of having to wear socks and [work] shoes, so be it.

 In order to get myself away from this computer – to enjoy the limited days’ sunshine and look/scan/admire what my neighbors’ paid-for-gardeners have accomplished – I do it myself.  Ahh, spring!  It brings forth such energy!

My accomplishments include six hours of (1.) mowing the front lawn.  The back yard is another days’ story.  Not liking the way the grass edges were crookedly meeting with the sidewalk, (2.) I killed it.  Yep, just ripped it out and put the excess in the “Green Waste Bucket [barrel].”  Onto the front yard walkway, (3.) I couldn’t help but think of my mailman, wondering if he would, in fact, comment on  any possible improvements.  He never does, he’s in such a hurry to get his chores done.  Without his opinion, I used my imagination.

Onward I go!!  In the end, my picking, pulling, weeding, chopping, cutting, electrified hedging, de-rooting, de-weeding, etc. etc. etc., looks glorious – to me.

And that is what matters on this beautiful day!



Hmm.  This word, “relationship,” has been on my mind of late.  Flatly, a relationship is a connection.  As humans, we have a relationship with, to and for other people.  That is the easy part.  Such an intangible begins as a kinship through family and extended family.  It’s a people thing. 

As we progress and mature, we unknowingly come across a wide gamut of relationships.  For instance, one with nature, one with the law, a medical team, and another, perhaps, with business (work).   When I think about it, the list can be endless.

However, I would like to narrow down this noun with the relationship we possess with ourselves?  With your self?

Have you ever had anyone ask you “How is your relationship with you?”    Hmm.  Cause to pause.  Simple answers are more easily forthcoming through being asked simply “How are you?”

Analytically, a relationship with your self is private and may produce an in-depth, complicated answer.   It is easier to reply with the factors of your involvement with another person or persons, with your work routine, your environment, the causes you support, your political and/or religious views, etc.   

My relationship with me involves caring for my physical needs first, then onto my emotional needs.   My relationship with myself is not always as shiny as I may portray.   I cater to the harmony of myself in order to be aware and attentive to others’ needs and requirements.  A little too heavy?  Well, I thought it interesting to at least think about!

So, how are you?!  How is your relationship with yourself these days?