Thursday, February 13, 2014

LungLeavin' Day

As you probably know by now, I had Gestational Diabetes when I was pregnant with Jake. It was a diagnosis that seemingly came out of no where. In fact, I was so sure that I'd passed the test with flying colors, I was out celebrating with a sugary Iced Cappucino when the nurse called to tell me I needed to see a specialist as soon as possible. I'll never forget the way the nurse spoke to me - all full of accusation and failure. It still haunts me. Because to her, just seeing numbers on a chart, she probably assumed I was another unhealthy pregnant girl that deserved this.

I spent the remaining months of my pregnancy upset, fearful, and exhausted. It was a blessing in disguise, because following the GD diet really led to me feeling like a new woman, and my eyes were opened quite a lot, nutritionally speaking. It was still hard for me to go through - never knowing what the doctors would say each time, and being continually scared when I read up on things - like how organs can fail and nerves can die if you aren't managing your blood sugar properly. I wanted to get through that pregnancy and to the other side of it as quickly as possible.

Since then, I have been very afraid of developing diabetes. Every one says to me, not only will you most likely have it again if you have any more children, but you are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes when you're older. At my recent physical last week, my doctor told me to just go ahead and shy away from carbs indefinitely. That's not something I wanted to 29. I mean, really?

Aside from that really upsetting me, it also enhanced my fear. And yes, it's a fear I have all the time now. Every time I look at a cookie, I worry about the possibility of having to inject myself with insulin someday. I can't stand the taste of fake sugar, so the whole no carbs and sugar future looks so dim to me. It's not how I want to live. I don't want to be afraid and guilt-laden about everything I eat.

It's not a fear I want to live with.

Recently, I was contacted by a couple who dealt with something far more serious. A woman named Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma when she was only 36 years old, shortly after giving birth to her daughter. Can you imagine? I learned that she had to basically give her baby to her parents while she was receiving treatment for a few months, and the though of not seeing my brand new baby for that long just makes me want to cry! She was so strong and positive through her entire battle, though, and despite being given a life expectancy of 15 months at the time of her diagnosis - she's been a survivor for over 8 years now! She had to give up her left lung to get here (literally!), and her story and experience is so incredibly inspiring, it really needs to be shared!

In the face of fear, she and her husband started a wonderful tradition on what they named "LungLeavin' Day" which occurs on February 2nd. They gather around a fire in their yard, and write their fears on plates which they then smash into the fire. Sounds kind of fun, doesn't it? It's a practice in shattering fears and celebrating life, and I just love this idea so much! They created an interactive page where you can smash your own virtual fear plate, and learn a little more about Heather's story.

I urge you to watch THIS video about Heather's experience to learn a little more about mesothelioma, find strength in her positivity, and then hug your family a little tighter!

My fear seems small in comparison to what Heather and her family had to go through, but the fact remains - fear isn't the way we should lead our lives. Whether through a warning, or a death sentence. There is always hope and joy to be found. I'm not sure how exactly to drop my specific worries (maybe it's still too soon?), but for starters...I'm off to smash a virtual plate ;)

Thank you for the inspiration, Heather! And congrats on 8 years!


  1. Wow! I'm so happy Heather has pushed beyond the 15 months she was given. 8 years is a miracle! I'm sorry about your GD too. Have you checked out paleo options? There are some pretty good treats that you can make that don't contain sugar or any of the fake sugar junk. Good luck!!

  2. Hi - I had gestational diabetes with my last pregnancy. I hated all the blood tests and restrictions of what I could eat.

    The thought of Type 2 diabetes hangs over me a bit too - though in last few months have starting losing weight with Slimming World - want to be fitter and healthier anyway.

    Stopping by from SITS :)

  3. Thank you again for this, Jenn! Love it.