Finding the light, and a blueberry muffin!

To be totally honest, sometimes my life doesn’t just feel like I have my share of things that are difficult, but that anything that might not be difficult, always finds a way to be. This past week was definitely overwhelmed by that feeling. However, I want to highlight the positive, as I always try to do to keep my emotions and stress under control the best I can [apparently not very well these last few days as the stress has sent blood sugars soaring though the roof!]. Nonetheless, here goes nothing:

Just to set the stage here, the University of Michigan has several sections of campus—Central Campus, where most of the activity takes place including all of the Literature, Science and Arts classes, restaurants, bars, Greek Row etc. Then there’s North Campus, where the College of Engineering, School of Architecture, and School of Theater, Dance, and Visual Arts, as well as most of the freshman dormitories are located. There are several different bus routes that run between the two campuses, taking about 15-20 minutes depending on traffic. Then there’s South Campus, where the football stadium is located, and lots of off campus housing for older students. I live on Central Campus, and this term the majority of my classes are on Central, as I finish out my pre-requisites. The upcoming years, all of my classes with be on North Campus, but this term I am “on North,” as we call it, so that I, as the coordinator, can meet with my staff advisor for weekly Peer Mentor Program meetings.

So, when I had to get to North earlier this week in the cold, on the bus, with miserable blood sugars, and overloading work and stress, I was not a happy camper. I was ready to head home, and crawl into bed and never leave. But, as with everything, I kept pushing through and made my way to North for a lunch meeting between classes. After arriving to North early, I decided to go to a small convenience type store called Ugo’s that sells all types of hot and cold food in the North Campus Union, called Pierpont Commons. Every time I go into Ugo’s, I am happier and more and more surprised at the absolute volume and number of gluten free options available. Considering I find myself on a campus that really fails to provide gluten free, and allergen free, options in general, having one place, albeit on North Campus, to grab a quick bite, definitely increases my happy value for the day.

This week, I stopped in Ugo’s and had to obviously prevent myself from buying food for a month. So, I decided that my brunch would be Colby jack cheese sticks, pistachios, fresh cut strawberries, and an individually packaged Udi’s blueberry muffin from the freezer section! I was beyond thrilled, and immediately made my way to my advisors office to pop it in the microwave for 15 seconds, as I definitely couldn’t wait for it to thaw. [Just in case you don’t know Udi’s products, which if you don’t then you’ve never had good gluten free, here’s their link: Udi’s Gluten Free]

Look at that perfect Brianna-friendly lunch.
Look at that perfect Brianna-friendly lunch.

After my little pick-me-up of a lunch, my week continued to be difficult as my freezer/fridge broke, but the following day managed to get replaced and I proceeded to get an email that night telling me I was one of less than fifty graduate and undergraduate students selected to present my research at a symposium in April at MIT. [Take a look at the Symposium here: Scientista Symposium] Finally, some reprieve from the stressful week.

Just a quick little update on my Dexcom experience: so far, so great. It has been the biggest de-stress, and wearing it in my arm has not only been accurate, but not itchy! I’m using it to gather some information about my blood sugar patterns that I obviously can’t see with the finger sticks, and thus am working hard to adjust insulin and lower my A1C by my next appointment. Beyond all of this, with the minor problems I have had, their 24/7 technical support line has been invaluable.

Lastly, I hope that each and every one of you, readers, finds an important person in your life. But by important person, I don’t mean a boyfriend/girlfriend/fiancee/wife/husband/lover. I mean the kind of continuous support that only comes from your best friends. And not just one, because after about age 8, we all know that there’s no way to declare a single person as your best friend–there’s a best friend for every single part of your life. And in those moments of sheer breakdown in your single apartment away from home, there’s little better than your best friend who arrives in a split second to not only take the load off by trying to fix your fridge while your strip yourself of every bit of cat hair from a house you had to spend two hours in [cats unbeknownst to you] but to really hold you while you cry. And to James–your endless kindness and love, despite the fact that you know that “you’ll never really understand,” are unusual and invaluable. I know that myself, nor my family, could ever express enough gratitude for you being the person you are, and for being in my life. I am so lucky.

"A best friend is someone who knows all about you and loves you anyway." - Elbert Hubbard
“A best friend is someone who knows all about you and loves you anyway.” – Elbert Hubbard

So, long story short, there was a silver lining to my difficult week. Never forget to find the light, as my mom always tells me, and just put yourself in it.

Take it easy, but always take it.


PS- I realized it’d been awhile since I’d posted a recipe so here’s one of my favorite quick dinners- Brianna’s Salsa Salmon!

-Ingredients: Salmon fillet, shredded cheese [I prefer mozzarella, but cheddar would be great as well!], salsa [I like Medium Tostitos brand], and frozen corn

-Directions: Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Take out a Pyrex baking dish [or any type of pan], put aside.  Create a large double layer foil sheet {to turn into a little pouch of sorts}. Place the salmon, then salsa, then cheese, then corn and seal up the foil pack. Place the foil pack in the dish, so it doesn’t drip in the oven, and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Open the top of the foil pack and continue to cook for about 20 minutes, or until cooked to liking!

Super delicious, super simple, and super quick! Enjoy everyone!


The girl behind A Different Survival Guide. Known on social as breezygfreezy.

  • glutenfreebestfriends

    Great to hear you are wearing your dexcom on your arm! I'm gonna give that a try! I was told "stomach ONLY" but I'm gonna go for it and move it around! Thanks!

    • briwolin

      It's actually fantastic! For me, I'm no longer itchy and there's no reduced accuracy. Be sure you avoid the muscle areas, and learn not to sleep on it (only real accuracy issues happen if I find myself laying on it!) Please let me know how it goes- probably a good thing to try a new place for the variation! -Brianna

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