Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Under Pressure

Lately I've been thinking about the early days after Emma's diagnosis...how I would feel a lot of pressure from others about putting her on an insulin pump. It seemed like everywhere I turned, I was bombarded with people telling me that I NEEDED to get her on one...how it was so much easier...how I was missing out...depriving her of normalcy. I tried to take it all with a grain of salt...but I must admit sometimes it was a little overboard and I let it make me feel like I was a bad parent.

Now that she has been pumping for almost 4 years now, I see the same thing happening online to other people. I see the pump pushers trying to convince non-pumpers to switch over to their side. I always try to keep my distance from discussions like that unless I'm directly asked for my opinion because I remember that feeling of pressure. Yes, I LOVE Emma's Animas pump and I know that it has been a game changer and made life so much easier....but I am also a firm believer that everyone needs to do what works best for them...be it pumping or injections. If they decide to switch from one to the other...that's entirely their own decision and they shouldn't feel any type of pressure from others...fellow d-parents or doctors or anyone.

I think we have moved into a second phase of pressure these days unfortunately. I seem to be a magnet for people suggesting in one way or another that I should get Emma a CGM (continuous glucose monitor). Just to clarify, I think they are fantastic devices as well...however...Emma has made it quite clear that she does not want another device attached to her body 24/7.....so as her Mom, I must respect her wishes...because it is in fact HER body.

I'm familiar with this type of pressure now. We've been at this for a lot of years. I know that people generally have the best of intentions when they make "suggestions" as to what we should be doing or not doing in our diabetes management. I get it. It's human nature to want to help others who are going through the same experiences you are. If something works for you, of course you want to see it work for someone else, right?

I wish though....that life in our little world with diabetes along for the ride could be a little less about pressuring others to do what you do....and more about embracing the beautiful fact that we both somehow manage diabetes differently and still make it work.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Cake

Every year when I blow out the candles on my birthday cake, I always wish for a cure for diabetes.
I see the flames twinkling and casting shadows across the pretty flowers made of icing.
I squeeze my eyes shut tight.
I say the words in my head, "I wish for it to happen this year...please let it happen this year...let this year be the year a cure happens."
Every year I do this.
I know some people probably think it's silly or ridiculous...a waste of a wish...juvenile...or stupid.
I still do it every year though.

I turned 38 today (technically yesterday now at this point of the night) and it was such an incredible day. I spent time with my little family and really saw them...I wasn't distracted by crochet orders or needing to wash the dishes in the sink...or even by the fact that I am another year older. I saw them. I saw my husband...his smile...his eyes...the way he looks at me. I saw my daughter...the dimples in her cheeks as she laughed...the light in her eyes as she handed me a bracelet and card she made for me. I saw them...really saw them.

Today was a good day...amazing actually...one that I will think about years from now and smile.

Yes, diabetes was there...it's always there...sometimes more in the spotlight than I'd like...but for the most part after all these years, I've learned how to see everything else first. I don't mean I ignore diabetes now...because obviously I don't. I mean that I have learned how to see her dimples....her eyes...the way she walks just like me...the grin that spreads across her face when she reads something funny and she doesn't know I can see her. I see these things first...I see these things in the spotlight.

No matter how many more birthday wishes I choose to use on a cure, I know that as I am saying the wish in my head and blowing out those twinkling flames....I will see her face in my mind...smiling.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Artificial pancreas?

So, a few days ago my newsfeed on Facebook was blowing up with links to an article about a young Australian boy having been the first in the world to receive an artificial pancreas.

At first, my heart skipped a beat thinking...oh my God...what happened while I slept last night? Was it some sort of miracle? Had things progressed right along in the wee hours while I slept making this device I'd been dreaming about for nearly seven years finally reach completion and get the ok from the powers that be ensuring it's safety?

My second thought was.....no....calm down, Amy.....you know this game...you've played it many times before...stop and read the article first before you let that spark of excitement turn into a full blown raging fire. So, I clicked on it....and after the first few lines realized that it was merely a case of sensationalism. The title of the article proclaimed great things....and the actual content of the article turned out to be an explanation of how this young boy had received a wonderful new insulin pump that has the capabilities to shut off when his blood sugar was low. I was crestfallen, to say the least.....BUT....like I said...I've played this game before...I know how the media is...I know how things that seem too good to be true....likely are.

Don't get me wrong, I am ecstatic for this young boy to finally have such an amazing tool in his life with diabetes. It's a game changer for him, I am certain! It made me smile like only another d-mom can smile to see his little face sitting beside his loving parents. I love that his family can rest a little easier now that this device is in their hands.

My issue...plain and simple...is with the author of the article....more specifically, the person who thought the title was a good idea.

I know the term "artificial pancreas" can be open to interpretation. However, in my eyes...and the eyes of many who read those words....what was described in the article was not in fact an artificial pancreas...but rather an insulin pump. In my eyes, an artificial pancreas would be a device that is worn and has insulin as well as glucagon in it....it requires little to no input from the user to be functional...if the blood sugar drops too low, it will automatically dispense glucagon and if the blood sugar is too high, it will automatically dispense insulin.....essentially...it will function like a real pancreas...but....an artificial one because nothing beats the real deal, right?

I saw many friends share this article with excitement and hope and tears of joy. I saw them realize what it actually was describing in the article and their joy turned to sadness...to feeling that overwhelming sense of being let down again....and it hurt my heart.

So, I'm writing this on the off chance that any writer may come across it. What you do matters. What you do means something to so many. What you provide the world is important. Please take a minute to ask yourself if the words you are choosing are more for gaining readership and following the path of sensationalism.....or if the words you are choosing are more for providing a service...a voice...an accurate and truly honest description of something that means a lot to so many. I hope you will choose to go with the second set of words...not the shiny eye catching ones...but the real and honest ones...because THAT is what we as readers want to hear...that is what matters to us...that is what we consider meaningful.

To the writer of the article about the precious young Australian boy receiving a brilliant new device....I applaud you for sharing his story because he deserves it and we in the diabetes community love to read about members of our family making strides in this life. I just wish you had chosen a different title....an accurate one...one that wouldn't have let us get our hopes up only to be let down once again.

Words are powerful...we must choose them carefully.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Six years, four months,and twenty-nine days

Diabetes sucked today. Plain and simple. It sucked.

Notice how I didn't say that I was the one who sucked? Yea...me too. I guess I'm making progress in that aspect. In six years time, I've learned that when numbers suck and everything seems to be going wrong...that it's not my fault...but rather that it's diabetes fault.

Emma was high all day today...all freakin day..and it took me until almost 10pm to figure out why. I kind of feel like I've just run a marathon to be honest...which is strange to say, because it wasn't me and it wasn't my body having to go through the high blood sugar extravaganza...it was hers. Nonetheless, it's how I feel right now at 10:30 on this particular Sunday night.

I realized though...that while I do know what it's like to fight this bastard of a disease day in and day out for six years, four months, and twenty-eight days.....I don't have a clue as to what it's like to fight it for six years, four months, and twenty-nine days. I don't know what will feel like. I don't know what tomorrow will bring. I don't know what numbers will show up on the screen of her blood sugar meter. I don't know if it will be another battle of highs...or maybe lows...or if it will be an average typical day of decent numbers.

I don't know. Because I'm not there yet.

Back when she was first diagnosed, I used to think ahead all the time. I used to wonder if she would be ok...if she would catch a stomach virus at school...if she'd have to endure struggles because of this disease. I would dwell on it. I would worry about it. I would get caught up in a never ending mental loop of "what ifs?"

I don't let myself live that way anymore.

I focus on today. I focus on the here and now. I live in the moment with her...because the moment is what I have in my grasp. I keep trying.

And when tomorrow comes, I will try again. I will know what it's like to do this for six years, four months, and twenty-nine days tomorrow...and that's how I will handle things then.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Have you ever?

Have you ever closed your eyes for a second after dinner and woken up two hours later wondering what day it was...where you were...what the hell your kids blood sugar was...and why she wasn't getting ready for school...even though you come to find out it's actually 10:30pm on a Friday night?

Have you ever driven around town running errands with the volume on your cell phone cranked to full blast AND the vibrate feature turned on and the phone placed in your lap just so you can turn up the radio when your jam comes on and still be able to hear if your kid is trying to reach you from school because she is low or high?

Have you ever unintentionally placed all the items on your pantry shelf with the nutrition info label facing outward just so it's easier to see what to bolus when your kid wants a snack?

Do you know the carb count for an Oreo cookie by heart? 8
How about a turkey sub from subway? 46 for a 6"
How about a cookie dough blizzard from DQ? 104...yes...one hundred and freakin four!

But yet, you can't remember your husbands cell number...and you have to REALLY think about what year he was born?

Have you ever measured out a cup of water for your kid to drink...only to realize immediately after pouring it, that water has no carbs and that whole task just took a whole lot longer than was necessary?

Have you ever found a used test strip in the litter box?

Or in the refrigerator?

Or in the lint trap of the dryer?

Have you ever had to kneel down to look in the eyes of a real life hero?

Have you ever held their hand and stared at the thousands of tiny black holes in their finger tips and felt your heart ache?

Have you ever wondered how you managed to stab your own flesh and blood in the fingers, the arms, the legs, the belly...thousands upon thousands of times for more years than you care to think about at this point...and managed to not kill them in the process...or lose your sanity along the way?

I have.

I've done all these things and more.

If you have too...

Thanks.

Thanks for making me feel like the impossible is entirely possible.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Denial

I read a post online today from a newly diagnosed D-parent. She shared how she is only 2 1/2 months into this life and she felt like she was in denial. She asked if this was normal.

I don't know why, but this post hit me. I read countless posts every day that are diabetes related...and many of them stick with me...many I feel compelled to reply to...offering up support or encouragement. I am usually able to carry on with my day and the post is gone from my thoughts for the most part.

Except for this one.

I can't stop thinking about this parent. I think because that parent was me...six years ago.

I remember taking Emma to a children's museum just a couple of months after her diagnosis. I remember watching her run around with the other kids there...playing...laughing. I remember thinking how this just couldn't be true. I mean look at her! She looked just like those other kids. She didn't look like anything was wrong. She didn't look unwell. I remember thinking that maybe the doctors were wrong...maybe I would wake up tomorrow and she wouldn't have it anymore...maybe the doctors would call me one day and say that they had made a mistake...she didn't have diabetes...she just needed an antibiotic of some sort and she would be right as rain before long. I remember thinking if I just went to bed that night...and closed my eyes extra tight...and slept the night thru...that I would wake up in the morning and this all would have just been a really long...really horrible nightmare.

And then I took her for lunch at the little cafe in the museum.

And diabetes smacked the denial right out of my head again. I pulled out her meter and jabbed a needle into her tiny little finger...saw her wince from the pain...just for a second though...a quick second...because at that point needles in her fingertips were already no big deal to her...she didn't cry anymore...she didn't voice to me that it hurt...it was already just her accepted reality. I scoured the menu for something that I knew the carb count on...I ordered that even though it wasn't what she wanted...because at that point I still wasn't comfortable guessing the carbs in her food...and I didn't know that many by heart yet. She got her food...ate it...and I jabbed another needle in her arm.

I lived in denial for a while. It was something I held onto for dear life. I had to. It's what got me through those first few weeks.

Looking back on it now, I think I confused denial with hope. I hoped it wasn't true. I prayed it wasn't our reality.

Here we are all these years later and I still sometimes will randomly feel that waking nightmare scenario seeping in to my thoughts. The way we as parents cope with this life is really a beautiful thing if you think about it. We grieve the loss of what will never be. We strive for unattainable perfection. We hope.

So, to you, the newly diagnosed parent sharing your innermost thoughts today....I say thank you. Thank you for being brave and speaking from your heart. Thank you for allowing yourself to feel whatever it is you're feeling whenever you're feeling it. Hold on to each day...hold onto it with everything you've got...and know that you can do it....know that you ARE doing it...and it will be ok...I promise you that.

Monday, September 22, 2014

I believe

I believe
I believe in love at first sight
I believe in dreams come true
I believe in wishing upon all the stars in the sky
I believe in that inner voice whispering to give it a try
I believe in perseverance
I believe in fate
I believe it can be done
I believe it will be done
I believe in choosing happy
I believe in hope.

I also believe in facts
I believe in experience
I believe in making mistakes
I believe in making mistakes
I believe in making mistakes

I believe in learning from my mistakes

I believe in trying my best
I believe in you

and

I believe in me.