Monday, January 31, 2011

Endurance is key....and a snazzy pair of running shorts

Being the parent of a diabetic kid means that you need to be a lot of things. One thing that I have learned over the years that you really need to have is endurance. There are no breaks from diabetes. There are no vacations. It's always there. It keeps you on your toes and forces you to make your best attempt at seeing into the future on a daily basis. Guessing how a certain activity will affect blood sugars hours from now, guessing how a certain food will affect your child hours later, etc. I never really considered myself to be one of those people with a lot of endurance. I remember back in high school we had to run a mile once a year in gym class. It was timed and was part of our grade. I was never a fan of long distance running really...I much preferred sprints. In any case, there I was every year...lined up with the rest of my class anticipating the mile ahead. It was a hot late spring day...the gym doors were open to let in some air...the track looked enormous. It looked like it would take a lifetime to run around it for the total mile. I was one of those people who would start out fast and try to get ahead of the boys so I could just get it finished and over with as soon as possible because I hated it! Well, needless to say...I didn't pace myself and I would wind up struggling the last half.
I think of that memory a lot when I am having a rough diabetes day with Emma. I think about how I need to pace myself...i need to have endurance to make it through the difficult times. I can't run full out, feet pounding the floor, lungs burning....I need to control my steps...keep a pace slow and steady.
This weekend Emma has a cold. Just your run of the mill average ordinary common cold. Well, it is totally and completely wreaking havoc on her blood sugar numbers! They have been insanely high to the point of making me feel like I must just be injecting her with water instead of insulin. On a normal day, Emma has to get 4 needles total. Well, today she needed 8!!'s a little frustrating to say the least. No ketones though thankfully! Anyway, I had to dig deep today and practice my skills in endurance. I don't know if the rest of you do this...but I tend to have little conversations/arguments with myself in my own head. Yea...I'm not least not in the "medically insane" sense of the word! All day long I was arguing with myself...checking blood sugars...cursing the high numbers in my head...mentally picturing myself taking the meter out to the driveway and backing the car up over it to smash the cursed thing for telling me such crappy numbers! I held it together though. I just kept plugging extra needles...checking ketones...over and over and over all day and night. I kept a good pace...I didn't freak out and panic...I didn't get angry (much) and curse and yell...I just kept putting one foot in front of the other...breathing in and out...fixing the current number and not worrying about what was ahead. I just kept my head down and focused on the steps in front of me...the number I was currently dealt. Endurance is not an easy thing to aquire. It's not a trait that everyone has. It really has become a huge part of my existance though since diabetes jumped onto the track with me almost 3 years ago. Diabetes may pull ahead of me on the straight-aways sometimes...I may stumble and fall around the turns...but I will continue to get back up, dust off my snazzy running shorts, adjust my Super Diabetes Momma cape, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. I will catch it....I will keep moving...keep focusing on the steps in front of me. I will catch up to diabetes and i will stick my tongue out at it and give it the finger as I steadily run by passing it on the outside to cross the finish line.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Lights all around the world

I think it's pretty crazy/amazing how connected parents of diabetic kids and diabetics themselves are. Before Emma was diagnosed, I was on the computer like normal...probably not as much as I am now I suppose...and I had "friends" on Facebook just like most everyone else out there in the world. It was never really anything majorly important to me. I didn't write a blog. I lived in my own little bubble in my own little corner of the world. I was totally oblivious to there being any Mom out there struggling to keep her child's BG up, or staying up all hours of the night checking for ketones and battling an illness with their diabetic child, or pulling their hair out trying to get their child's school to be more supportive. I was clueless as to what the big bad world really had out there...I was naive. Since Emma was diagnosed, I have met so many amazing people who are affected by this disease every single day....just like we are. They are always there to support and listen...always there to offer advice or a shoulder to cry on...they are always there to be our cheerleaders when we need them most. I can't believe how special it is really. I know Mom's thru the internet that are all over this world...Canada, US, Australia, South's beyond amazing to me that this one thing has connected us all. When I read about one of them having a rough time with diabetes...barely hanging on by a thread...stressed out or the hospital with their child, it hurts my heart...I wish I could be there in person for them if even to just offer a hug....and a coffee of course...diabetic parents are never ones to turn away a coffee! But then I realize that they must feel the same way I do....they know that all they have to do is turn on their computer and here we all will be to support them too. It's an awesome thing and I am so greatful. I'm pretty sure I would have lost my mind long ago if not for all of you.
I remember one night a couple of years was around 2:00am and it was the first time Emma had a stomach virus since being diagnosed. I was so completely over the edge with worry and stress over what to do. I was crying my eyes out and praying for help...praying for this all to stop and for me to be able to have my little girl back to normal. I was having the hardest time keeping her BG above 3.0 and I was exhausted. So, I got on the computer and went on Facebook. A friend that I met on a diabetes group happened to be online...she lives in Florida, so it was 2:00am for her as well. She had a diabetic daughter who actually passed away as a teenager. She was there for me...she talked me through everything...she offered support and advice...she even gave me her phone number and told me to call any time if I ever needed help. I will never forget that night. I will never be able to express how greatful I was for having her there to support me. Diabetes is such a mean and unfair is greedy and relentless...but I have learned to spot the good things in it. I have learned to find that silver lining....that good light in all this messy darkness. I know I can always turn on my computer and find that good light out there...that supportive friend who truly it here at home in Canada...or all the way on the other side of the world in South Africa. I am greatful for that.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The dingo ate your baby!!

So I am officially "off my rocker" according to Emma. The other day I was laying up in her bed with her for a few minutes before bedtime...just like we do every single night...and like usual the goofiness started to happen. Emma had a baby doll, a scarf, and a sock monkey that she was playing with. She decided to tie the scarf around the babies belly and fling it over the edge of the bed and pretend she was fishing. for babies??? Not sure how she came up with this game, but I went along with it none the less. Well, after a few minutes of pretending to struggle with reeling in the "big catch of the day"...she finally pulled the scarf all the way up...only to realize that the "big catch" got away!! The scarf came undone from the baby doll and she was lying on the floor still. Well, instead of pointing this out to Emma...I shouted in my best English/Australian/???who knows what accent, "The Dingo ate your baby!!!" Well, Emma thought this was absolutely THE most hilarious thing she had ever heard and burst into giggles. Her laugh makes me laugh uncontrollably every single time. So there we were laughing away to the point of tears streaming out of our eyes and basically no sound coming out. It was the best. I love moments like those. Those little snipits of time in our lives are what it's really all about. Laughing until you can't breathe and your belly hurts....giggling away with your kids to the point where you can't even make eye contact with them without bursting out into uncontrollable laughter all over again.
I spend so much of my time worrying about Emma's diabetes. Stressing about everything that it entails. Wishing that there was some sort of crystal ball that I could look into and make sure that Emma will be ok tomorrow, next month, 30 years from now. So, it is nice when those moments come along and make me forget about diabetes. It also makes it all the more sweet when Emma said to me afterwards, "Mommy? I like that you are funny and not strict like other people's Moms." That made me smile.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

You wanna give me a PAIR of what??

After lunch today when i dropped Emma back off at school, I heard a commerical on the radio for some night club in Toronto. Their way of enticing people to come in this weekend is to offer the chance to win a Harley Davidson motorcycle for the guys....or a pair of breast implants for the ladies....ummm....ok? There are just way too many things wrong with this. First of all, what if the ladies would like to win the Harley? What if there is a man out there looking to win the implants for either himself (strange i know...but whatever!) or for his special lady? Why did they feel the need to emphasize the word PAIR in the statement "a PAIR of breast implants"? Is this supposed to show that they are really THE place to be on a Saturday night because they are offering you the chance to win not just ONE implant...but a PAIR of them?? What a weird world we live in. Anyway, I am now thinking of opening up my own nightclub and starting a promotion for the chance to win a PAIR of butt implants...not just one cheek from us...we are going all out and offering BOTH cheeks! To win the contest, you must either be the last man or woman standing in a marathon dance-off to that old Sir Mix-a-Lot classic "I Like Big Butts". UGH...How ridiculous people are sometimes!
Anyway, I know this post has absolutely nothing to do with diabetes...but I just felt the need to share. In conclusion, just to give this post a sense of belonging with the rest of my diabetes related posts...all I have left to say is diabetes diabetes diabetes diabetes diabetes diabetes diabetes diabetes diabetes diabetes diabetes diabetes diabetes diabetes diabetes diabetes diabetes diabetes diabetes diabetes diabetes diabetes diabetes diabetes sucks.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Where the heck is that pause button?

My kid is growing up way too fast and I wish I could slow it down a bit...maybe even stop it all As we were walking up the path to her school this morning, she passed by a friend from her class whom she calls her "brother from another mother" case you've forgotten, my kid is 6. Anyway, he shouted to her, "Hi Emma!!" and she waved at him and shouted, 'sup Chris?! took everything in me to not start laughing. We are getting to that age where she isn't always sure that she wants her friends to see me kiss her goodbye in the morning...sometimes she doesn't care...and sometimes she does and gets totally embarassed. It is a good thing and yet a sad thing also for me. It makes me happy that she is growing up and becoming more independant and has her very own personality. I love that she has her very own life away from me when she is at school. On the other hand, it makes me sad...she will be 7 in about 3 weeks now....she is most definitely not a baby anymore. She doesn't need me as much as she used to. She is getting taller and loose teeth are falling out (2 teeth in the past 2 days now! sheesh!) and she actually cares what clothes she is wearing and how her hair looks. It makes my heart hurt when I look at her sometimes and see that she doesn't really have that baby face anymore...she's a regular kid now.
I wish I could just pause time for a little bit so I could grab ahold of her and hug and cuddle her...imprinting it in my brain forever. Hold her hand while walking through the store and file that feeling away in my her little hand feels in mine. Listen to her giggle over and over and get to that point where she's laughing so hard that no sound comes out. I want to hold that sound in my heart always. In my almost 34 years on this Earth....there is still no other sound that comes close to topping it....except maybe hearing her little voice say, "I love you, Mommy!"....that is the best.
I do know I can't stop it and I know I can't even slow down time. So, for this moment in time...I am just going to be greatful for what I have, hug her extra hard, give her lots of kisses, and tell her how much I love her and how much she means to me.

Monday, January 24, 2011

2:00am...Man vs. Food and the Toothfairy

Ahhh old we are again. I have a love/hate relationship going on with Sundays. I hate them because it usually involves laundry, getting things ready for the week ahead, and there never seems to be much good on TV all day unless you are a big fan of TBS movies starring Stephen Segal. I love them because usually my husband does not have to work and he will get up with Emma and do the whole food/insulin/diabetes management duties and let me sleep in. I love it. It is like I'm able to refill my sleep tank which makes me feel slightly more normal and slightly less zombie Mommy-ish. It will usually tide me over until at least Wednesday...and then the tiredness starts to creep back in. Well, in any most of you D-Moms and Dads out there will agree with I am sure...sleep is an amazing thing that we all are lacking in. In fact, I told my husband the other day that I think if someone offered me $1000 or the chance to sleep in as late as I wanted to...I would choose sleep hands down! I actually slept in today (technically yesterday at this point) until 1:00pm. I woke up feeling refreshed and like a brand new person. It was amazing! My only issue with this here I am sitting at 2:00am...completely 100% not tired in the slightest. I have to be up in about 5 hours to get my daughter ready and out the door for school. It's almost not even worth it to go to sleep! I should though...if I don't, I think I will be regretting it come supper time tomorrow (today?) Ugh...I can't even blame my confuzzled thinking about what day it actually is on lack of sleep!
Anyway, I've been watching some sort of marathon of the tv show "Man vs. Food" tonight. I highly recommend it if you are ever awake at 2:00am....he is quite a guy. I can't help but think what this guys poor pancreas is having to handle as he is sitting there eating this stuff! 5 bowls of the world's hottest chili? a 12 patty burger? a 6 pound milkshake?  woah.
Well, one final thought before I attempt to go lay down and sleep...Emma lost her 3rd tooth tonite! It was one of the front top ones this time and she looks absolutely adorable. I must now go do my tooth fairy duties and make the switch...pull the tooth out from under the pillow and slide the money back under. It's a good thing she is such a sound sleeper!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Monitors, Guilt, and my MacGuyver skills

I have been having baby monitor issues the past two days. Yes, my daughter is 6...will be 7 next month actually...but I still have a baby monitor in her room because I worry and I don't think I would be able to sleep if it wasn't in there because of her diabetes. I'm sure at some point I will get rid of it...maybe when she's Anyway, I originally thought it was just that the batteries were dead...which is unusual because this monitor takes rechargable batteries only and when you plug it into an outlet it automatically recharges the batteries currently in it. Well, last night I ran out and got new batteries only to find that it is actually the plug that is malfunctioning. So, here I sit watching the little circle on it flash orange at me...over and over...blinking away...mocking me. Saying "HA! And you thought you were actually going to get some sleep tonight! Think again you silly woman you!" It is currently 12:50am and I am not about to run out and try and find some 24hour Kwik-E-Mart type place and pay $500 for some AAA batteries. UGH.
So, here I sit...thinking away about times past instead. For some reason my mind has drifted to the time just before Emma was diagnosed. Sometimes I decide to take myself on a guilt trip just to make things interesting...and this is one of those times...grrr. Anyway, just before she was diagnosed she had started to drink LOADS of water at bedtime and had actually started wetting the bed again. I know now obviously that these are two of the most common signs of diabetes...but at the time, I had no idea. I vividly remember getting so mad at her for chugging the Dora sippy cup of water that I would give her to take to bed. She would chug it in a matter of seconds and ask for more. It got to the point that I actually yelled at her to slow down and stop chugging it all down...try to make it last!! There was one night that I must have refilled that thing 10 times...and during that night she wet the bed three times in a span of about an hour and a half. I would go up to her room to check on her and it would be soaked! So, I would have to change her and the bed and fix everything up. I had been so angry because I was SO tired and did not want to have to keep changing the bed at I yelled at her please just call for me if she had to go potty...just come downstairs and go to the bathroom! Well, needless to say the next few days after that night totally explained everything. She was diagnosed with diabetes. I was the worst Mommy in the world because I yelled at my baby for drinking too much water when she was probably dying of thirst...she couldn't help it...she wasn't doing it on purpose. I carry around so much guilt for that still to this day. I feel horrible for getting mad at her. I have apologized to her since then for doing that and for getting mad and she has forgiven me very easily. I wonder if I will ever be able to let that guilt go. I wonder if I will carry it with me forever. That memory and that feeling isn't always in the forefront of my mind...but every now and again it will bubble up and come to the surface...stabbing me in the heart each time...just to remind me that it's still there lurking around. If I could turn back time, i would have had such a different reaction to everything that went on that night.
Anyway, I am off to try and MacGuyver something and fix my baby monitor...I should try and find a stick of gum, a shoestring, and a paperclip...that always seems to work for him!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Strep throat? I can do this blindfolded

I just wanted to share how proud I am with myself because I know that all you diabetic parents out there will be able to relate to this. This morning started out like any other up, dressed, ate, and sent Emma off to school. When I picked her up at lunchtime, she seemed a little "off" to me though. She looked pale, seemed tired, and her voice sounded different. I kept asking her if she felt ok or if something was wrong...and she gave me her usual response of "I'm FINE, Mommy!" I think she must get sick of being asked if she is ok so many times during the day, that she has just resorted to answering this way just to make me shut up and stop asking. Anyway, I went to pick her up from school at the end of the day and she looked even worse to me. I mean she was running around the playground and chatting away with her friends...but something still just seemed weird. My Mommy-radar was going off big time! Well, we got home and I asked her again if she was ok...only to get the same response. I then basically had to threaten her with a trip to the hospital to get her to tell me the truth. I told her that if something was wrong she had better tell me now when there was still time to go to a doctor, instead of waiting until the middle of the night and wind up having to go to the E.R. So, she 'fessed up and told me her throat hurt. Well, after dinner we hopped in the car and headed out to the doctor. She did a swab and said that it was strep throat! I KNEW something was wrong! It must sound horrible to say, but it made me happy. I was so totally and completely proud of myself for knowing. It felt good to realize that I really do know my kid. I really do know her better than absolutely any one else in the world. I can sense when even the littlest thing seems off. I heard it in her voice and I saw it in her eyes. It was such a nice validation. I am also not in the least bit worried or nervous about this illness. She got her antibiotics and her BG's are not horrible...a tiny bit high...but nothing major...and no ketones. I feel like I can handle this no problem. I will take strep throat any day over a stomach virus! I can handle this one. It makes me feel like I am the one in control and I can just stand up and do my Mommy duties and take care of this one. I don't have that helpless, panicked, stressed to the max feeling I get when she has a stomach virus. This is easy. It must sound so wrong for me to be saying these things and sounding so happy with the diagnoses of strep....but I can't help it. Diabetes has made me feel so lost, out of control, and constantly worried for so long....that I LOVE it when i actually have to deal with something that is somewhat easy. Anyway, our plan for tomorrow is to be lazy and relax on the couch all day watching movies and eating popsicles. First on the list is "Mary Poppins"...and then I think she has decided on the entire Shrek I can't wait.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

If I could only run fast enough

Diabetes is hard. It's unfair. It's stressful. I can't believe that we are almost 3 years into this and I still have moments where I feel like this is all just a bad dream. I can't believe that my brain or my spirit or whatever, still will not give up that feeling. I mean I know this is my reality...I know that this is our life and always will be until a cure is found. So, why do I still feel like this from time to time? I'm usually able to just drown out all of these false hope feelings everyday because life is always noisier and distracting during the day. I find myself once again sitting at the computer...the house is quiet...everyone else is asleep. Here I am sitting with my heart hurting...trying to win the fight with my eyes and not let the tears fall...I have cried enough tears for diabetes and I don't want to give anymore.
Yesterday when I picked Emma up from school, she seemed a little down...which is very unusual for her. Normally she is a chatterbox and will tell me everything exciting that went on that day. Well, yesterday she was very quiet and looked upset about something. I asked her what was wrong and she told me that she was sad because she had to miss out on most of the recess times. I asked why and she explained to me that it was because she hadn't finished eating the snack I sent for the teacher made her stay in and finish it before joining the other kids outside. That is actually what I would want the teacher to no problem there. The problem was that Emma was feeling left out...she was feeling different and left she wasn't able to be like the other kids because she is diabetic. Another piece of my heart broke off and crumbled away to nothing. I spend a good portion of my days trying to stop this exact thing from happening. I don't want her to feel different...i don't want her to feel left out or left behind...i don't want her to ever think that she can't do something BECAUSE she is diabetic. I want her to know in her heart that she can do absolutely anything IN SPITE of the fact that she is diabetic. As far as the snack situation goes, since day one of junior kindergarten I have always sent in two seperate snacks for morning snack and two seperate snacks for afternoon snack. For example, I would pack a container of grapes and a cookie....or a container of strawberries and a piece of candy. I always split them up so it would equal the amount of carbs that she needed to eat. Emma just thought that this was always the way things were going to be. She thought that she didn't have a say in the matter. She though that because she is diabetic, this is what she had to do. It absolutely kills me to know that there she was sitting in the classroom, hearing all of the other kids outside screaming and laughing and playing...trying her best to eat everything in her bag as quick as she could so she could join in the fun for a few minutes. She probably felt so different. I hate this disease. It is trying SO hard to beat me and win this fight! It is forever hitting and hitting and hitting. The high and low blood sugars I can handle...the illnesses, the worry, the stress, the lack of sleep....I can do it. I may not like it...I may make mistakes...but I know in my heart of hearts that I can do it. When diabetes hits below the belt though and tries to make my child feel alone and different....that's when I makes me want to scoop her up and run as far away as I possibly can. I wish I could run away from this disease...i wish I could just carry her off, and if I could just run fast enough...i would win...i would outrun diabetes and be free from all of this. I would run until my legs gave out from under me...and then i would continue on crawling on my hands and knees. I would run until my lungs were on fire...and then I would continue on gasping with each step. I would run to the ends of the earth and to the end of time for her.
When Emma was born, I finally realized what it truly meant to love. When she was diagnosed with diabetes, I learned what pure hate is. I may feel sad about what went on yesterday. I know I will get over it...I just need to let myself be sad for a minute.
To solve our snack/recess/time issue at school, we came up with the solution of just sending in one snack for morning and one for afternoon....just made the carbs equal out to what the two snacks were before. Everything went well today...Emma was happy and got out to recess at the same time as everyone else. She didn't feel left out or different. She was smiling and chattering away when I picked her up today after school. That makes me happy.

Monday, January 17, 2011

An entire bag of chips and a

During my adventures today, I had a conversation with a Type 2 diabetic woman. I won't go into the boring details of why I was at her house in the first place...instead I will focus on what occured as I was trying to leave her house. She stopped me at the door to ask me what I feed my daughter...because she is having trouble finding things to eat that don't affect her blood sugars too much and still are satisfying to her. Well, I flipped the switch on my internal broken record and told her that Emma is allowed to eat absolutely anything she wants...I just have to count the carbs and give her insulin accordingly. Well, she proceeded to tell me that she is the only person she knows who since being diagnosed with diabetes has gained weight instead of losing weight. I tried to help her out with some low carb meal ideas that I could pull out of the mental recipe book section in my head. She then told me that every Friday she lets herself splurge and eat whatever she wants just so she can keep her sanity. For example, last Fridays lunch consisted of an entire bag of chips and a Coke....that's all...woah. I really did not know what to say to that one. I agree with the whole idea of splurging every once and awhile...just to treat yourself...maybe birthdays or holidays....but every single Friday? I got the impression that she was looking to me for some sort of miracle solution to her food problem simply because my daughter is diabetic. Don't get me wrong, I am always one to step up to the plate and help out...but I was really at a loss here. Towards the end of our conversation she also mentioned to me that she would rather live life happy and do what she wants and eat what she wants and possibly die next week....instead of making a few life changes and just prolonging the inevitable. I really don't understand people sometimes. I mean here I sit...fighting day in and day out, battling this relentless disease...struggling to keep my daughters blood sugars in range...trying to keep her healthy...praying and fundraising for a cure. And this woman just shrugs her diabetes off like it is nothing more than a papercut? Shrugs her life and health off like it is all pointless anyway? Ugh...people are exhausting sometimes.
On a side note, I played a nice game of "worse-case scenario" this afternoon. My daughters school had a practice lock-down just before lunch. I sat there after I dropped her back off at school...envisioning all of the horrible things that could happen if an actual lock-down ever occured. Picturing my daughter's blood sugar dropping...seizures....her 1st grade teacher panicking and not knowing what to do...etc. Good stuff...what the hell is the matter with me sometimes? I really wish i could stop playing that game. I'm sure if there was a scoring system for it...I would definitely have the #1 high score would see my initials up there for sure. Here's to hoping for less excitement tomorrow...diabetes has definitely made me a fan of the boring life!

Getting used to the air....and 80's shoulder pads

So, I was talking to a friend the other day about how annoying it is to get up in the middle of the night to check our kids blood sugar. Lying in bed...all nice and cozy and warm...blankets pulled up around you...all snug as a bug in a rug. Who would ever like having to get out of that cocoon of warm sleepy goodness and step onto the cold floor, go downstairs to get the meter and tiptoe into their kids room to check? I know, it's no fun for the actual diabetic kid either to possibly get woken up and disturbed...but wow...I can't tell you how many inner arguments I have had with myself at 3am to just get up and do it. Parenting a diabetic kid takes a lot of perseverance and dedication. I can honestly say I am fully committed to winning that inner fight with myself. It's a good thing my husband is a sound sleeper or else he probably would think I am even more crazy than he already does. Seeing me lying there with one leg out of the blankets testing the air temperature...trying to convince the rest of my body to just get up and do it already. I honestly don't know what good I think I am doing by sticking the one leg out. I am usually one of those people though who will ease my way into the water at the beach or pool...and tell everyone not to splash me because I am just trying to "get used to the water" first. Really all I am doing is prolonging the torture...inching along until the water gets to my stomach and I lightly splash the water onto myself thinking that's going to make things easier. I'm such an I wish i could just run out and dive right in the water and get it over with in one fail swoop...kinda like ripping the band-aid off really quick. It's that moment in time though that stops me...that moment where you are completely under the water and it is SO cold that you lose all the breath in your lungs. So, instead I inch along as slow as I can....Now, I do the exact same thing with getting out of bed in the middle of the night! I should just fling the blankets off and get the job done...instead of trying to accomplish the ridiculous feat of "getting used to" the cold air. Ah of these days.
In the meantime (is that one word or two? I'm gonna stick with one because it looks weird as two and I'm too lazy to look it up), my friend and I got to talking about that wonderous invention....the Snuggie...I will pause for the "oohs" and "ahhs"......ok, yes I got a Snuggie for Christmas as a joke. Turns out that I love it...unless I have to get up and walk around...then it kind of sucks. It falls down right off of your shoulders because there is really no way to keep them up there unless you are built like an NFL player or still wear your favorite shirt from the 1980's complete with giant shoulder pads. I suppose that wasn't the true intent of a Snuggie really. I think it was meant to wear while sitting on the couch and lounging while watching TV or reading a book. At least that is what I have seen the woman on the TV commercials doing while wearing her Snuggie. So, anyway...I was discussing this with my friend and I mentioned that they should make a Snuggie for parents of diabetics! They should make a special version of a Snuggie that will somehow attach and stay up on your shoulders even if you have small, narrow, bony shoulders like I do. That way when you have to get up and check blood sugars in the middle of the night...there is no need to freeze your bum off! You can hang on to that warm and cozy cocoon feeling and move about the house freely and all Snuggie-fied while checking for low blood sugars at any hour. I need to make this happen. I can even picture all the fabulous designs we could put on them...a nice print pattern of juiceboxes dancing in a conga line....test strips forming tic tac toe lines...blood sugar meters wearing those cute little night caps that no one wears anymore (why DOES no one wear those anymore by the way?! i love those!) Anyway, I could think of more I am sure...but it's currently laundry o'clock for me..such a fun filled life I lead.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I'd give my left arm to eat a hot meal

Ok, so do you want to know what I hate about being the parent of a diabetic child? I never, ever, ever get to eat a hot meal. I know this usually goes on with any Mom really...especially with children who are young...but when Emma turned 4, she was starting to become pretty good about meal times and I was starting to be able to actually sit down and eat my food at about the same time as the rest of the family. Well, that only lasted a few months really, because then she was diagnosed with diabetes. So, it's been roughly 2 years and 7 months since I have had a hot meal. Hell, I would settle for a "warm" meal at this point. Meal times consist of preparing and cooking everything, getting Emma to wash her hands, getting Emma to clean up her mess of toys and papers all over the table so there is room to eat, checking her blood sugar, going to write it down in the logbook and realizing that either (A) Emma has stolen my pen...or (B) my pen has fallen in that impossible to reach area between the stove and the counter and now I have to find the broomstick to reach it and drag it to myself so I can grab it without getting my arm stuck in the small space or inadvertantly pushing it right under the stove to join the graveyard of dust bunnies and lost cat toys...or (C) my pen is out of ink and now I need to search for a new one...realize i can't find one...and settle for using a crayon, scented marker, or pencil crayon, then plating her food and giving it to her, counting the carbs in her meal, writing down said carbs, checking my chart for the insulin dosage based on carbs, giving her the needle, putting the needle supplies away, plating my own food, getting Emma a drink, getting Emma a new fork because she's dropped hers on the floor and now it has cat hair on it, getting Emma more ketchup, chicken, noodles, or whatever, herding the cat to the other end of the room so she will stop begging for Emma's food (my cat thinks it's a dog), sitting down at the table, and finally eating my own food which is now about as cold as it was before I began cooking it.
I can honestly say that I will never run the risk of burning my mouth on food that is still too hot. I could eliminate one of these steps and get Emma to check her own blood sugar and write it down...but getting her to stop playing long enough to do that is about as easy as putting a collar and leash on the cat and taking it for a walk. So, I continue to do it...and I continue to eat cold food. I'm assuming one day this will stop? Possibly one day when Emma is grown and out of the house, I will actually get to eat a hot meal? can always dream.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The mind of a 1st grader

Since my kid has started school, I have had the privilege of getting to hear a few nuggets of wisdom from the mind of a 1st grader pretty much every day. So, I thought I would share a few here in no particular order.

1) It's all about the picture on your backpack/lunchbag/waterbottle. Apparantly what's inside it really doesn't matter at all. You could be drinking squirrel pee at snack time...but as long as it's out of a water bottle with a cute monkey cartoon on it, that's all that matters.
2) Having to practice writing your letters out more than 10 times justifies the need to tell the teacher that you "need to take a personal day".....lolol...yes a 1st grader in Emma's class actually said this.
3) In order to have a baby when you are a grown up, you have to get a giant needle in your back. hmmm...what??
4) Apparantly boys dirt.
5) Apparantly girls smell like flowers.
6) How many teeth you have lost is like a competition and a status symbol.
7)  Learning how to put on your own scarf with no help from the teacher is about as difficult as performing brain surgery blindfolded
8) Absolutely anything and everything is a competition...who can get dressed for recess time the fastest, who can eat their snack the fastest, how many times you can hop on one foot, how many brothers and sisters you have, etc.
9) And finally...whoever smelled it, is not necessarily the one who dealt it.

Ahh to be a 1st grader again....good times.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sneakers and to do lists

So, I have reached that age where I have to make lists. I have to write down things that I need to do so I can remember to do them...otherwise I will forget. Lovely...I will be 34 next month and I'm already making lists. I just hope that when I am turning 74, I won't have to write things like "brush teeth" or "eat breakfast" on my list. Anyway, I was trying to cross off as many things on my list as possible yesterday and one of those things was to stop off and pick up more lancets at the pharmacy. As I was walking back out to my car, I happened to glance over at the car I passed by and saw a JDRF sneaker magnet on the back. We have one on the side of our car as well. I actually looked around to see if I could see who the owner of this car luck though. It's kind of funny how that little sneaker is like a badge of recognition though. It's not your typical pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness or I am sure that most people out there in the world wouldn't really know what the sneaker is all about unless someone in their lives is diabetic. For me is totally different. Whenever I see that sneaker it makes me feel like I am not alone. It reminds me that there are a lot of other people out there living lives that are very similar to mine. It's like we are all part of this little army...the diabetes brigade...promoting diabetes awareness in our own way...raising funds for research...searching for a cure. I've said it myself and I've read it from other people on here as's like we are all members of a club that we never wanted to be a part of. We are all card carrying members paying our dues day in and day out. None of us want to be in this...and I think all of us would do absolutely anything to be kicked out of the club...but here we are. So, when i see that little sneaker magnet I always smile...I know that whoever is in that car is a member of the club too...fighting right next to me...pushing along one day at a time. I think we should all get a secret handshake or some sort of secret hand gesture we can do when driving by each other.
I'm going to keep this short and sweet so I can go add that to my to do list...."Come up with new secret hand gesture for diabetic families"...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Am I the only one?

I wonder if I am the only parent of a diabetic kid out there (or a diabetic themselves for that matter) that gets sick of hearing or talking about diabetes. I know we all get sick of thinking about it simply because it is ALWAYS there...either in the forefront of our minds while giving insulin needles, checking blood sugars, carb counting, or during emergency situations and illnesses.....or in the back of our minds while our kids are off at school, playing sports, at playdates, or even just sitting in the other room. It never goes away. It's like that annoying and irritating unwelcome house guest that just doesn't know when to leave...except usually those people will eventually go away I suppose it's not really like whatever, it's really annoying, ok?! Sometimes I would like to just be able to occupy the entire space in my head all by myself. There's not much room in there as it is, so it would just be nice to be able to stretch out in there all alone every once and awhile! Once again i have gotten off my original train of let's turn back and begin again.
Sometimes I find myself really not in the mood to hear anything about diabetes or even talk about. I get so sick of it! I don't want to talk about her blood sugars, I don't want to hear about ways to make her BG stay level over night, I don't want to talk about how many carbs is in whatever, I don't want to explain that my kid is diabetic to the university student who is coaching her at gymnastics, I don't want to tell people what the signs for low blood sugar are, I don't want to hear about so and so's grandfather who is type 2. Sometimes I don't even want to get my bum up off the couch and go up to her room and check her blood sugar at night! I don't want to refill prescriptions for test strips or needles or insulin. I don't want to go to the pharmacy and pick them up and have the girl behind the counter talk to me about Emma's diabetes. I don't want to hear her say how it's such a shame that Emma's diabetic and give me the sad puppy dog eyes and pat my hand and tell me that it's all going to be ok. I don't want to have to write down every damn thing she eats all day, every day. I don't want to write down her BG's and insulin doses. I don't want to do any of these things anymore. Sometimes I get so sick of even saying the word or hearing the word "diabetes". Even the word "sugar" drives me crazy sometimes. That word used to have such a different meaning for me and put such different visuals in my head whenever I heard it...candy, cakes, cookies, treats, YUM! Now, it makes me think of carbs, insulin, diabetes, highs and lows.
Anyway, I guess my whole point of this post is that I am looking for some validation or something from others in this diabetic family of ours. Am I the only one who feels like this? Regardless of how sick I am of talking/hearing about diabetes from time to time or how much I don't want to do the things I need to do in order to manage my daughter's diabetes...I still will continue to do it until a cure is found. Simply because I love her beyond all measure and I would do absolutely anything for her.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A typical morning in the Ermel house

This morning our mad rush to get out the door and off to school before 8:30 was just as jam packed full of fun as usual. I find it absolutely amazing how I can be running around from room to room trying to pack Emma's snacks in her backpack, get her clothes, brush her hair and teeth, breakfast, needles, etc...all the while screaming at the cat to get OFF the coffee table and stop trying to drink the water out of Emma's cup. And Emma will be sitting there curled up on the couch taking a bite of her breakfast....chewing for what seems like 200 times...swallowing....daydreaming for about 10 minutes....take another bite...repeat. Totally oblivious to the fact that we need to speed things up a bit. She is completely unfazed by my repeated attempts at getting her to hurry up. During mornings like these, I always think to myself that I should set the alarm for a bit earlier and avoid all of this chaos...but I never do...because I am tired...and stubborn. I always recall the times where I wind up sleeping in (which is more frequent than I care to admit) and finally wake up having roughly 25-30 min. to get her to school on time...and I always do it! I figure if I can make things happen in that amount of time...I should be able to get 'er done in the normal time!
So, anyway...there I was in the driveway brushing the snow off of the car assuming Emma was inside getting all of her winter gear on..snowpants, coat, hat, etc. Well, I finished the car and popped my head back in the front door and asked her if she was ready to go....that was a big NO. She managed to get her snowpants on and one boot...and was sitting there on the floor watching a show called "The Last 10 Pounds". I'm not sure if you are familiar with this show...but it is definitely not anywhere close to being your typical 6 year old watching morning cartoon programming. I asked her what she was doing and how come she wasn't ready yet? She looked up at me and stated matter-of- factly, "Ah sorry! I was watching 'The Last 10 Pounds' Mommy!! I LOVE this show!"....yep...she's 6. In conclusion, we did make it to school on time...just barely...thank God it's Friday.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Just do it

So yesterday afternoon was a stressful time for me to say the least. If you've read my last post, you know that Emma went on her first playdate without me staying there with her. All went well...blood sugars were good..and she had a blast! Anyway, it got me thinking though how important it is in life to sometimes force ourselves to do things that are stressful or make us uncomfortable. I know for me personally (and I'm sure there are others out there), I tend to get complacent and find comfort in the familiar...the normal...the day to day routine of lfe. Before diabetes, i was never that way really...I rarely planned things or liked doing the exact same routine every single day. Since diabetes, that is completely different...i love when things are the same because it means that USUALLY Emma's blood sugars will stay the same too. I have realized though how important it is to change things up and challenge ourselves. I know it may seem like a really minor simple thing....a short playdate. For a diabetic 6 yr old though...that's not the case. There is so much more involved in the planning and that brings about the added worry and stress. I always worry about whether or not I am teaching Emma the right things in life. Whether I am teaching her the necessary tools to be able to manage her life and her diabetes when she is older. I am proud of us and what we did yesterday. I think I taught her that she can handle things...she can have a good time with friends and still remember to look after her own health. I once again taught myself that I am in fact stronger than I thought I was. I made it through that stress and that uncomfortable feeling...and she came home to me in one piece. I tend to panic and have these horrible visions in my head of what COULD happen. It literally is like a movie screen in my head showing me getting a phone call telling me that Emma passed out from being too low...or me running to the car and speeding over to the friends house because something happened to Emma. Its horrible that I do this...I can't stop it though...I wish I could just close the curtains on the stupid movie screen that is my brain. We made it though...we endured the stress and made it through the other side ok. No matter how uncomfortable that feeling is in the height of that moment of stress...I think it is important to stick with it...sit in the midst of it and just feel with it...prove to yourself that you in fact CAN do CAN wade through the nasty panicked can handle it and everything will be will be that much stronger at the end of it and confident in your ability. Perseverance is such a great thing to have I think. Diabetes has most definitely given me that ability and I am greatful. As much as I hated that stressfulness of yesterday...I am thankful that I was able to persevere.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tick tock Tick tock.....

Tick tock tick tock tick I sit feeling the panic and worry and stress rushing through me. My daughter is officially out of school and on her way to a playdate right now. This is her very first one without me staying there too. I hate this feeling....diabetes is being such a bully to me right now. I know in my head that I have provided the Mom of this friend with all of the necessary information about low blood sugars, high blood sugars, and carbs....but in my heart I am freaking right out wondering if she is taking it as serious as she should be. She is a VERY nice woman and a very good Mom to her own children...but I still worry. I know that is a Mom's job to worry about her kids. I hate it though. Adding diabetes into the mix just magnifies the worry to an almost unbearable level. When I dropped Emma back off at school after lunch today, I hugged her tighter than normal and kissed her and told her I love her. I hate watching her walk away and just having to be content with hoping for the best. Being forced to put so much faith and trust in another person is just madness. Being forced to put so much faith and trust in a 6 year old little girl is insane. I am struggling with being able to trust that she will actually stop playing and tell the Mom if she is feeling low. Her playdate is only until 5:00...which is only 1 hour and 45 minutes from now...the longest 1 hour and 45 minutes of my life really. I am sitting here trying to convince myself that everything will be fine...I need to trust her...I need to let this happen...I need to let her go and be independant...I need to teach her that she can rely on herself to manage her diabetes (to a certain extent right now...more so later)...I need to let her gain this confidence. It's killing me though. As I stood there watching her walk away, I felt like this was one of those proverbial "chapters" closing in our lives. She is not a baby anymore. She's growing up whether I like it or not. Diabetes is a part of her. I need to teach her things to make her into a strong independant woman. UGH...i CAN do this...i CAN do this...I hate this inner battle going on in my head right now. I'm sure this post is going to read like just a big bunch of nonsense blobbed together....but I need to get it out or I am afraid I will just freeze. Diabetes takes a lot away from us no matter how hard we try to stop it. But I am going to attempt to try to not let it take away this moment. No matter how much I hate this and how stressful this NEEDS to happen. I am just going to have to be ok with that fact.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My kid is DEFINITELY a morning person...WOAH

The other day I woke up to find Emma's face mere inches from mine...close enough to feel her breath on my nose. I opened my eyes and she instantly started chattering away. My kid is definitely a morning person...I on the other hand am not. She was talking away about anything and her morning was so far, what she had eaten for breakfast when her Daddy had woken up with her earlier, what her friend had told her at school 3 weeks ago while playing at recess, what the cat was currently doing...everything. I have learned to love this chatter. I think it's because I have experienced more times than I would like to have experienced...the flip side of that coin. Where she is ill and not talking...just laying there, pale, quiet, tired. Even though I am always tired when I get up in the morning due to having to get up and check her blood sugar during the night, I LOVE seeing her talking a mile a minute like that. I have always been one to shuffle and stumble around in the morning until I get my first cup of coffee in me. If I had things my way, we would all stay up all night and sleep till noon every day. I remember as a kid, when someone asked me one time what I wanted to be when i grew up, I said that I wanted to do something where I could work night shift like my Dad did. Even back then I was all for staying up at night and sleeping during the day! Some things never change I guess. Anyway, after she managed to pause for a second and take a breath while talking to me that morning...she shoved a piece of paper in my face and told me that she had written me a poem. Seeing as how I couldn't focus my eyes quite yet, I asked her to read it out loud for me instead. It was I thought I would share it here:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
May i say I love you?
A dove is a peaceful bird like a nerd
The dog Molly is so not like a dolly named peaceful Polly!
Do you think so Joe?
Maybe no
hamster would
hamster should
6 year olds pick up sticks and help to mix
The end

I love it!! I think I will keep it forever and show her when she is older. One final note before I go, this morning when i got Emma up to get ready for school...she started chattering away as soon as her eyes were open as usual. I learned that she knows how to count by 5's all the way to 1000....awesome...lolol...what a goofball.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Secret Agent Emma fighting crime in the Produce section

Today was the last day left of Christmas break from school for Emma and we got in every last minute of playtime we could before it's back to the same old routine tomorrow. It was fun and I am definitely going to miss my little buddy tomorrow. I love spending time with her. She makes me laugh and we genuinely have a good time together. It's hard to let her go. It's hard to let her grow up. It's hard to settle it in my mind again that I will have to go back to that old familiar routine and have to trust my daughter's life with her teacher once again. I know the break was only 2 weeks...but it was so easy to slip back into having her around me all the time and being able to see her 24/7. Don't get me wrong, her teacher is absolutely fantastic and Emma really loves her...but it's just not the same as knowing that I am the one looking out for her all day long. Emma will be 7 next month...not a baby anymore by any means. It's an interesting thing to witness...seeing her go from a 4 year old little girl who wasn't able to recognize her lows to an almost 7 year old girl who is able to know when she is low almost every time. From a 4 year old innocent sweetheart who didn't really understand much about what was happening to her in regards to the diabetes other than the fact that she was getting needles and finger pokes all day an almost 7 year old girl who can tell you how many carbs are in her favorite foods, check her own BG, give herself some of her needles, and check herself for ketones. It makes me sad...and yet at the same time very proud of her. Instead of looking at it like I am now putting all of my faith and trust back into her teacher....I should also try to start looking at it like I am putting some of my faith and trust in HER also. She "gets" it...she knows her body probably as good (if not better) than I do. It's a difficult thing to look at my baby girl and put that trust in her. She's still my baby...she always will be. I look at her beautiful little face and I see all of the shadows of what she's endured lying there beneath the surface. I see all of the highs, lows, struggles, and triumphs. I wish I could erase those shadows...I wish I could take them all away and just be able to see the innocence of a little girl. Alas...I can I choose to look at it from a different perspective. I choose to see those shadows beneath the surface as wisdom. The experiences she has been through in the past almost 3 years have all played a role in making her who she is today when I look at her. I love what I see. I love everything about her.
This afternoon is one example of many reasons why I love her. She decided to take some construction paper, string, and markers and made herself a cute looking mask right before we had to leave to get groceries. She put on the mask, her winter hat (which looks like a monkey), and winter coat...and off we went. She wore the mask all thru the store while riding on the back of the cart. Some people stared...others smiled at her and I, one even gave her the thumbs up. She was oblivious to it all...she was just having fun playing make-believe "secret agent spies in the grocery store trying to capture the infamous produce section burglar" or something. I loved it. I love that she could care less what people think of her or what she was wearing or doing. Diabetes has made her stronger. I think it has shown her that she can make it through even the most discouraging struggles...and still come out on the other side wearing a secret agent mask and helping keep the grocery store a safer place. That makes me happy.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Sippin on ginger ale

I'm starting to think that I start too many of my blog posts with the intro of "So...." I am going to rebel and not do it this time. It reminds me of how my daughter is always telling me what her new catchphrase is...she's forever changing it though, which sort of defeats the purpose of what a catchphrase really is.
Anyway, it is officially January 1, 2011. Happy New Year to all! I am hoping that 2011 brings in healthier days than the end of 2010 did. I either had food poisoning or a stomach virus from hell last night which was not my idea of the perfect way to ring in the new year. Such is life. It got me thinking though...being the Mom of a diabetic child is always a challenge in itself...but trying to perform those same tasks are even harder when you are sick. I think I have been sick like this only 1 other time since Emma was diagnosed thankfully. It is brutal though. There I was lying on the bathroom floor with my Snuggie (or Snoogie as Emma calls it) wrapped around me, shivering, sick to my stomach, wondering how in the hell I was going get up to check Emma's blood sugar to make sure she wasn't low. I lay there on the little bathroom rug that I usually stand on when getting out of the shower weighing my was either crawl on my hands and knees out to the kitchen to get her meter and then up the stairs to her room to check and hope that I don't throw up along the way? Or crawl out to the living room, grab my cell phone and call the house phone to wake up my sleeping husband (who was also sick...but not to the extreme as I was) and get him to check her? I chose option 2 simply because it required less movement on my part...and with the room spinning as it was, I thought that was the best way to go. Needless to say, we made it through the night and I am feeling a little better today. It made me realize though that I am in total awe of single parents who have diabetic children. I don't know how you do it. Honestly I don't think I would have been able to check on Emma unless I had my husband around. During the day she is getting to the point where she can be pretty self-sufficient as far as checking her own blood sugar and telling me what it is or grabbing what I tell her she can have for a snack. During the night when she is sleeping though...that is not an option. It is scary really. What if I didn't have my husband around and what if I wasn't ok enough to go check her and she turned out to be low and had a seizure? She could have died. Plain and simple. I wonder if people outside of the diabetic community think about these things. Probably not. Why would they really?
In any case, another fun and exciting chapter in our life with diabetes saga has passed and we all survived. As I sit here sipping on my glass of ginger ale, I hope that 2011 brings healthy days, fun times, and a cure for diabetes.