I Shouldn’t Have Worn This!

Sierra Sandison Miss Idaho 2014

Sierra Sandison Miss Idaho 2014

At Miss Idaho 2014 I made the decision to wear my pump on stage while competing. That decision took me two long years to make. When I first started competing, I was using injections rather than a pump. I didn’t want people to see a weird-tubey-machine-thing attached to me all the time, and could not wrap my head around having a medical device on my body for the rest of my life.

Then, I heard about Nicole Johnson: Miss America 1999. She wore her pump while competing at Miss America. My whole perspective changed.

The media often tells us this lie: if your appearance deviates in any way from cover girls, movie stars, super models, etc., it is a flaw and something is wrong with you. Well, guess what? Miss America 1999 has an insulin pump, and it doesn’t make her any less beautiful. In fact, in my mind, it enhances her beauty! So, a year after I was diagnosed, I got a pump. It helped me get even better control of my diabetes, and made my life SO much easier. Working up the confidence to compete with it was an entirely different journey, but this summer at Miss Idaho 2014, I finally did it.

As I nervously walked out of the dressing room the first night of competition, the first person I saw said, “What’s that? Is that an insulin pump?”. My stomach flipped upside down. “I shouldn’t have worn this,” I thought, “everyone is going to be confused and wonder what I am wearing”. But, the inquisitor happened to be McCall Salinas, the current Miss Idaho’s Outstanding Preteen. She shared with me that she had diabetes as well, but didn’t want a pump because of similar reasons I had had. Through out the night, she stood backstage cheering me on. We bonded over diabetes and pageants, and by the end of the night, she told her mom she was ready to get a pump. It brought me to tears. The thought that I could be one person’s “Nicole Johnson” meant more to me than I can ever put into words. Now, with the title of Miss Idaho, I have had a million new opportunities to spread the word about diabetes and overcoming obstacles! I am overwhelmed with hearing how many lives have been touched by me simply wearing my pump on stage. It means so much to me, and I hope I can touch many more during my year as Miss Idaho.

Credit: This has been written by Sierra Sandison and has been compiled from her blog post “Defeating Diabetes“.

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Degrees Fahrenheit

Thermometer Cold

Degrees Fahrenheit:

60º Californians put on sweaters (if they can find one).
50º Miami residents turn on the heat.
40º You can see your breath, Californians shiver uncontrollably, Minnesotans go swimming.
32º Water freezes.
30º You plan your vacation to Australia.
25º Californians weep pitiably, Minnesotans eat ice cream, Canadians go swimming.
20º Politicians begin to talk about the homeless, Miami residents plan vacation further South.
15º Cat insists on sleeping in your bed with you.
10º You need jumper cables to get the car going.
0º Alaskans put on T-shirts.
-10º Eyes freeze shut when you blink.
-15º You can cut your breath and use it to build an igloo, Arkansans stick tongue on metal objects.
-18 Miami residents cease to exist.
-20º Cat insists on sleeping in pajamas with you, Politicians actually do something about the homeless.
-25º Too cold to think, You need jumper cables to get the driver going.
-30º You plan a two week hot bath.
-40º Californians disappear, Minnesotans button top button, Canadians put on sweaters.
-45 Your car helps you plan your trip South.
-50º Congressional hot air freezes, Alaskans close the bathroom window.
-80º Hell freezes over, Polar bears move South.
-90º Lawyers put their hands in their own pockets.

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Stand By Me

This is a remix performed all over the world by more than 100 musicians, including some very talented street performers. It shows us the transformative power of music and the connection music provides us. This has been produced by Grammy winning Mark Johnson.

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Divine Mother And the Great Mother said:

Come and give me all that you are.
I am not afraid of your strength and darkness,
of your fear and pain.
Give me your tears.
They will be my rushing rivers and roaring oceans.
Give me your rage.
It will erupt into my molten volcanoes and rolling thunder.
Give me your tired spirit.
I will lay it to rest in my soft meadows.
Give me your hopes and dreams.
I will plant a field of sunflowers and arch rainbows in the sky.
You are not too much for me.
My arms and heart welcome your true fullness.
There is room in my world for all of you,
all that you are.
I will cradle you in the boughs of my ancient redwoods
and the valleys of my gentle rolling hills.
My soft winds will sing you lullabies
and soothe your burdened heart.
Release your deep pain.
You are not alone and you have never been alone.
~ Linda Reuther

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The Meaning Of Time

Paul Kalanithi savors moments with his daughter, Cady.

Paul Kalanithi with his daughter Cady.

The clock unrelentingly tells us the time. But what does it really mean? Time can have different meanings based on our situation. A neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi explains:

In residency, there’s a saying: The days are long, but the years are short. In neurosurgical training, the day usually began a little before 6 a.m., and lasted until the operating was done, which depended, in part, on how quick you were in the OR.

A resident’s surgical skill is judged by his technique and his speed. You can’t be sloppy and you can’t be slow. From your first wound closure onward, spend too much time being precise and the scrub tech will announce, “Looks like we’ve got a plastic surgeon on our hands!” Or say: “I get your strategy — by the time you finish sewing the top half of the wound, the bottom will have healed on its own. Half the work — smart!” A chief resident will advise a junior: “Learn to be fast now — you can learn to be good later.” Everyone’s eyes are always on the clock. For the patient’s sake: How long has the patient been under anesthesia? During long procedures, nerves can get damaged; muscles can break down, even causing kidney failure. For everyone else’s sake: What time are we getting out of here tonight?

There are two strategies to cutting the time short, like the tortoise and the hare. The hare moves as fast as possible, hands a blur, instruments clattering, falling to the floor; the skin slips open like a curtain, the skull flap is on the tray before the bone dust settles. But the opening might need to be expanded a centimeter here or there because it’s not optimally placed. The tortoise proceeds deliberately, with no wasted movements, measuring twice, cutting once. No step of the operation needs revisiting; everything proceeds in orderly fashion. If the hare makes too many minor missteps and has to keep adjusting, the tortoise wins. If the tortoise spends too much time planning each step, the hare wins.
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