Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Riding the emotional wave of diabetes

I guess I sort of had an epiphany yesterday. Kind of strange really. I have noticed that even though we are a few years into this D-life, that I have kind of been in a funk lately. It's sort of weird really how you seem to ride this wave of emotions when it comes to parenting a diabetic. At diagnosis you are left feeling like you are flailing about in the deep dark waters of the ocean...struggling to keep your head above water...somehow the knowledge of how to swim has left your brain...you can't even remember how to float. You are choking and splashing about...your tears mixing in with the salty ocean water. Eventually as the days turn to weeks...months...years...you remember. You are no longer feeling numb from that shock...no longer feeling as lost as you once did. You are able to float again. Days come where you find yourself swimming that marathon with the best of them. You feel powerful...in control...like you can do this. Days come where you struggle...illness wreaks havoc on your kids blood sugar, you are dealing with a growth spurt, stresses, emotions...out of control numbers. You find yourself once again struggling and flailing about swallowing mouthfuls of that bitter salty ocean water...waves crashing into your weak and exhausted body...the undertow threatening to pull you under with each kick of your legs. You want to give up...you want to stop struggling to stay afloat...but you can't...you won't...this struggle is different than the beginning because you have experience on your side...you have a bit of knowledge of this life tucked in your back pocket and you draw strength from that.
The emotions that come with this life are extreme. The good days are GREAT...and the bad days can be dark, horrifying, frightening, scary places. And then there are the days where you are indifferent...you are just there...just going through the motions...just present enough to get by and avoid any dangerous situations......those days are harder than the dark bad days sometimes I think. Those days scare me. I thought about it on Sunday night actually...how lately I have been voicing my indifference...my negativity...too much. I haven't bothered to censor my thoughts in my head...or out loud for that matter. I have noticed how drained I feel...how little I smile...and in turn I noticed the negativity being reflected back at me from Emma. No I wasn't going around saying I hate diabetes...it sucks...blah blah blah....but I was making it the forefront of our daily lives...and it was affecting her. She didn't seem happy...she seemed too grown up...too mature...too many serious thoughts were running through her mind....she didn't even look like a little kid to me anymore. So, I made a decision right then and there to stop it. I decided that regardless of how indifferent I was feeling...or how sad or mad or upset diabetes was making me....that I would no longer let it affect my daily mood. I was taking back the power...the ability to make that decision in my own head to choose to be positive...to choose happiness...to put the focus back on having a good day and squeezing as much fun as possible out of every single day that I can. I talked about it with Emma even. I told her that our main goal every day is no longer to keep that BG # perfect....but to have as much fun as possible...to be a kid...to enjoy her childhood before it is over.....because it goes by way too quickly. And when her childhood is over...when she's all grown up...I want her to look back on her time as a kid and the thing that I want to stick out in the forefront of her mind is all the fun we had together....not the diabetes. So....we did...we had an amazing day. We made snow angels, we chased the cat around the house, we played together, the house was filled with more laughter than it has been in a long time....deep, lose your breath, screaming, hysterical belly laughs. It was amazing. I plan on trying to make every day that way. It is worth it to me. I refuse to let diabetes take that away from us ever again.
Yes, I will still strive for the perfect BG #'s....strive being the key word. I will continue to take care of her the best way possible. I will fight this disease. I will keep her healthy. But I will not let it be the main focus of our day anymore. Yes, it will be a daily struggle....I know those dark bad days will come....but I am learning...I am becoming fond of the distraction method...lol...when I start to get down on myself for the bad times or bad #'s...I will distract myself instead of dwelling in the negativity. I will laugh with Emma. I will act like a fool. I will dance with her, sing with her, play in the snow, and be a kid with her before it is too late. Life is precious and I would rather spend the time we have in her childhood laughing and loving. It is worth it to me. I know it will be hard somedays....but I will do it...because it's worth it to me.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Random Food For Thought...Sunday Edition

Just some random thoughts for you this fine Sunday evening....

Sometimes I think it would be fun to be a pro wrestler. If I was a pro wrestler, my name would be D-Momma Dynamo and my signature move would be the BG Body Slam.

I think those people on "Extreme Couponing" are just show-offs....and seriously...no matter how much you swear that you donate some of your items and no matter how much you swear that you actually use all of the items in your stockpile.....there is no possible way that a 17 year old boy is going to donate or use all 50,000 boxes of tampons he has acquired.

I wonder if TV commercial announcers talk that way at home? Do you think that when they tuck their kids in bed at night, they kiss them on the forehead and say things like, "and this goodnight kiss was brought to you by Hallmark...when you care enough to send the very best. And now back to our regularly scheduled programming...goodnight and have a pleasant tomorrow."

I'm a little offended at the card game "Old Maid"....I seriously know quite a few grumpy old men...why is there not a card game out there called "Crochety Old Man"???

I've decided not to get mad at those people who leave their Christmas lights up all year long anymore. I think I have been a hypocrite all of these years....I mean I refuse to make my bed every day. I do not see the point in doing so...I am just going to get back in it at the end of the day! Maybe it would be different if my bedroom was down on the main floor where guests could see it as they walk by to get to the bathroom...but it's not...it's upstairs...behind closed doors...and I don't see the point. So, I can respect the thought process of leaving the lights up all year....they would just have to go back out there to put them back up again eventually. I draw the line though at those people who still turn the outside Christmas lights ON every night...in July...not cool people...not cool.

I think it would be fun to change my name sometimes....not permanently...just every so often when I am out in public or meet someone new...I would like to give a different name. I think I would like to go by Samantha Micelli once or twice....I miss that show..."Who's the Boss?"....Tony Danza was a rock star in his time....and now look at him...sheesh.

I think life would be more fun for a lot of people if bus drivers and cab drivers decided to dress in costume sometimes. I know if I hopped on board a city bus and was greeted by a gold lamay (sp?) jumpsuit wearing, mutton chop sideburn styling, big rhinestone studded sunglasses wearing bus driver behind the wheel......I would totally smile...and probably say, "uh huh huh!" and shake my hips a little. Or if I climbed in the back of a cab and there to turn around and ask me where I was headed was a guy in full KISS makeup and hair....I would be totally stoked to ride in his cab.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A whole lot of opinion

I think there's a lot of talk about what's right and what's wrong...what we are supposed to do and what we should never even think about doing. I think there is always going to be someone out there who is going to try and make you feel like you are an idiot...and that you should be doing things their way. I think there is never going to be an opportunity where you will be able to please everyone all of the time. There will never be a moment in your life where you will have every single person in the room agree with you...whether they make it loud and clear that they disagree with you....or secretly disagree with you in their own heads...silently convincing themselves that you are wrong and that they are right. I think there is really no point whatsoever in trying to get people on your side...trying to convince them. It isn't about that. It shouldn't be about that.
I think that we all need to take a step back and realize and recognize that the multitude and magnitude of our differences is what makes this world special. The fact that we all have the ability to think and choose and decide and feel and act upon our feelings. We have that right. Each and every single person you come across in this world is different. Sure, we have family and friends that could have very similar thoughts, beliefs, and morals....but i guarantee you that there is always going to be something unique and different in each of our thoughts as well....and that is what makes us special.
I think the world spends entirely too much time trying to convince everyone else in it that their way is the right way.....that how they think is the right way to think. I think we should all try to focus on not only accepting those differences....but rejoicing in them...loving them...looking at those unique and sometimes unusual things and realizing that the world wouldn't be the same without that difference in it.
Sometimes it amazes me how caught up people (myself included at times) will get in the fight...the anger...the feeling of hurt that boils up inside our gut and forces us to shout...forces us to lose sight of the beauty in those differences...the feeling that comes along with someone not understanding us...or getting us...or agreeing with us.
Since diabetes came into our lives, I have learned the hard way...the not so pretty way...that not everyone will see things my way. I have learned that not everyone will agree with me....not everyone will understand...not everyone will have the most up to date current and accurate information out there. I have learned that while yes, I do have friends and supporters who know this life...they understand this life...they GET this life because they live it too..........even though I have all of those friends around me.......diabetes is still a disease that I must stand in alone in some respects. I must stand up and fight for my daughter....stand up and hold my ground and do what is right in my mind...and do what I have been told by our team of medical professionals. I must stand there and take that ignorance and old school way of thinking that is thrown my way. I must smile and let it bounce right off of me. I will stand up for Emma and take care of her to the best of my ability for the rest of my life. I will do what is right. I will research the latest news, I will educate myself on current events regarding diabetes, I will be informed and up to date and do what is right. I will do these things because she is my daughter....she is my heart and I would do absolutely anything for her.
Having said all of that, I now recognize that I need to work on not trying to change other people's opinions on diabetes management...I need to realize that they are entitled to their own opinions just as I am entitled to mine. I know in my heart that I am doing the best...and that Emma is healthy and that is all that should matter to me.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Car accidents and miracles

So the other night I was talking with a friend about accidents that happen to us. She had fallen on the ice on her driveway and we were talking about how certain things tend to hurt a whole lot more and for a whole lot longer now that we are adults. I remember being a kid and falling on the ice at school, rolling down the hill at the park, or even flying off the monkey bars while hanging upside down and landing flat on my back resulting in the wind being knocked right out of me. All of those falls or accidents hurt at the time...but I just got back up, caught my breath, and got right back up there to try again. As adults, we now tip toe precariously balanced on the edges of our winter boots inching along and holding our arms out for balance...hoping that we don't slip and fall. As kids, it was always full speed run as fast as you could and see how long you could manage to stay standing upright while your arms were flailing about...all the while laughing like a loon. It's funny how things change.
During the conversation with my friend, I brought up a severe car accident I had gotten in when I was 19. A couple of friends and I were out driving through the mountains way out far away from any other people. We drove down this gravel road...the only car in sight...away from the city...just looking for a particular swimming hole hidden away in the beautiful mountains of Oregon. Well, the driver of the vehicle was speeding and sliding all over the place...which began to scare me actually...but I was still naive...I still thought that I was invincible and nothing would happen to me....however I did decide to put my seatbelt on just then. We approached a bend in the road and sure enough...the driver didn't slow down and we went sliding right off the edge of the cliff. The car was rolling...and rolling...and rolling. I remember thinking how strange it was to be in a car that was upside down...it just felt wrong. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion, but I didn't really have any time to think of what could be happening...that those moments could very well be my last on this Earth. I didn't have a single thought other than holding on...holding on to the seat and the roof and knowing that the car would eventually have to stop. Well, at the bottom of this cliff there was a stream of water flowing with jagged rocks all along it's edge...and there was one small tree oddly growing out of the side of the cliff. The car amazingly rolled straight for the tree...and hit it with a thud that made my teeth chatter. That one small tree saved my life, I am quite sure. I was sitting in the front passenger seat and when the car finally stopped (landing upright thankfully), my door was facing parellel to the road. In my shocked daze, I tried to open the car door and get out...but I found that I couldn't move my arm...I thought that I must have broken it. So, I sat there for a minute trying to get my bearings and decided to climb out of the open window. I was able to move my arm finally and it appeared in tact...so I pulled myself out and raced up the gravel edge of the cliff and sprinted to the road at the top. I have no idea how I made it up...I remember thinking that I couldn't even feel my feet touching the ground below me. At the top of the road, I stood there and looked down at the wreckage below...and then out to the horizon. It felt like I could hear birds chirping miles away...squirrels running through the trees, and the sun was more bright than I had ever seen it before. Everything seemed so clear...so vivid. Moments later a car happened to drive up the road towards us...which was very surprising seeing as how we were out in a pretty remote location that was definitely not well-travelled. They stopped the car and asked us what happened. What happened next is what caused me to believe in miracles for the first time in my life up to that point. There were three people in the vehicle......and all three of them were emergency room doctors....they were out driving around enjoying the scenery on their day off. They looked us over and drove us back to town and we went to the hospital to get checked out. I managed to walk away from that accident virtually unscathed...I had whiplash and injured the base of my skull because when the car rolled over, even though I was wearing my seatbelt...I hit my head on the roof of the car. I had severe bruising all across my chest and abdomen from the seatbelt....but I was alive...still breathing...still here. I went home and had to sleep that night on the living room floor because my neck was so sore that a pillow was killing it. No sooner had I fallen asleep when the phone rings. It was my Mom who lived across the country from me. It was way past the time that she is usually awake when she called. I answered the phone and the first thing she said to me was, "Amy, are you ok?" She knew something was wrong...she had a gut feeling...Mother's intuition....from across the country.
I guess I don't really have a point to sharing this story other than to share a little piece of myself with you all. I learned two things that day...one being that the bond and the connection between a Mom and her child is stronger than most people realize....distance, circumstance, or situation do not matter...a Mom knows..she feels it. The second thing I learned was that it was not my time to go that day. I was not meant to leave this world at the young age of 19...I had bigger things to do with this life...this precious second chance I was given. Now that 16 years have passed since that day occured, I truly believe that one of the reasons I was spared that day...was Emma. I was meant to live so I could have her....so I could bring her into this world and share the love with her. So, I could be made to deal with the heart wrenching diagnosis of diabetes...so I could learn to live with that heartache and choose to make it a good thing...choose to make it a positive...choose to help others living this life...choose to be there for them and to educate the world and advocate for my daughter and all of the other diabetics. I was spared that day and I am beyond greatful.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

House of Cards

You open your mouth and nothing comes out
but a meek little whisper
without any clout
you sit there cowering on the cold hard ground
fingers tracing the cracked cement
as you look around.
It could be worse
you heard them shout
even though you aren't a nurse
this feels like a curse
just HOW could it be worse?
Like a missing puzzle piece
a button that is lost
you wring your hands in a tight little ball
and bite your bottom lip
as you watch that house of cards crumble and fall
gather the numbers up one by one
straighten and shuffle until it calms the inner storm
and begin to build again
for that is who you are
what you do
what you know
build again
and again
and again...

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Hunger Games and diabetes

So I've been lost the past few days...lost in a world of the future...a world that is somewhat familiar to me on a certain small scale...the every day aspects of it...the basic necessities. However, on a much grander scale, it is a world that I would never be able to relate to...a world beyond my comprehension...a world that is scary and yet astonishingly beautiful to me.
I've been lost in the world of "The Hunger Games". It is one of those few books that I have come across where I literally feel like I can't stop reading it...I have to know what happens next...what will become of these characters in the story. I find myself getting hooked into the emotions they go through. I find myself wishing that I could have someone hold the book up for me so I can continue to read it 24/7.
I know there are probably many of you out there that love the series as well.....just as I know that there may be others that think it is awful...juvenile...a cheap knock off of the old classic "The Running Man"....well, to that I say...I have read both...and they are completely different. There is a whole different vibe about the two stories...so please do not be so quick to judge. I do realize that not everyone has the same likes and dislikes when it comes to books, music, art, literally anything in life I suppose....and I respect that...in fact I love it...because that is what makes this life interesting...the differences among us and within us and all around us. Imagine how boring this world would be if we were all the same. I mean...yes I can make myself laugh pretty much on the regular...but I am positive I would even find myself boring sooner or later!
Anyway, I love coming across books like this. I am and always have been a HUGE fan of words...writing, books, poetry, everything. I love the expression. I love the weight that written word can carry. I love how by simply reading someone elses thoughts...their ideas...their fantasy...ideas plucked straight from their imagination and put down on to the paper which I grasp in my eager little hands......I love how those words have the ability to transport me somewhere else. Those words can force my own imagination to travel to a different place...a different world...one that I may or may not be able to relate to. A world with people in it that I am lucky enough to hear their inner most thoughts and feelings all while having a front seat window to their lives for just a brief moment in time.
I love how these words...these stories make me forget about my own stresses...about diabetes, blood sugars, carbs, insulin, and all that comes with it. I love how I am able to quietly slip away into their world and forget that I have ever known anything about diabetes. I love that I can sit down on my own couch in my own living room and feel like I am somewhere completely different. Reading is seriously the cheapest way to travel.
Anyway, I know this post is not really about diabetes very much...but I just wanted to share it...because I think it is important whether you like to read or not...to find your own way to escape now and again. It is a nice thing.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Diabetes does not care at all

We had a scary situation at the store today...a low that could have turned bad VERY quickly. Like always, when things like this occur I sort of feel like there are all of these thoughts crashing around in my head...thoughts that are sad, scary, depressing, lonely, angry, and always overwhelming.
Diabetes doesn't care if you are out shopping at the store. It doesn't care if you just have to run in really quick and grab a few things. Diabetes doesn't care if you are stuck waiting in the checkout line behind someone who appears to have bought out the entire store and has decided to pay for it all in pennies. Diabetes doesn't care if you have already given your type 1 kiddo ALL of the snacks and juice you have packed in your bag-o-diabetes stuff, your purse, shoved into your coat pockets, or even in that space in between the lining of your coat that you always seem to find that package of fruit snacks sliding over into because your pocket actually is ripped and you have yet to sew it because you are too tired. Diabetes doesn't care if you have had 4 hours sleep the night before, 2 hours sleep, or even no sleep at all. It doesn't care if you have a cold, if your type 1 has a cold, or if you both have the world's worst stomach virus ever and it drains all of your energy to even lift your head up off the floor to go and test her blood sugar and make sure she is still alive...still breathing. Diabetes doesn't care if you are trying to fix dinner, do the dishes, help with homework, and prepare an insulin pump site change all at once. It just doesn't care. Diabetes doesn't care if you have researched and counted the carbs on the food she is about to eat while out at a restaurant. It doesn't care if you are out enjoying the day sledding, playing a board game, or out at the movie theater. It doesn't care if you are at the mall, at school, at work, or simply sitting on your couch at home. Diabetes doesn't care if you have been doing this for 1 day or 75 years. It doesn't care if you are awake or fast asleep in the safety of your own bed. It doesn't care if you are home alone or in a crowded concert hall. Diabetes doesn't care if you think you have all your basal rates, insulin to carb ratios, or insulin sensitivity factors set perfectly. It doesn't care if you just put a new vial of insulin in your pump. It doesn't care if you are on your last infusion set for your pump. Diabetes doesn't care if you are rich or poor...beautiful or ugly...happy or sad...loved or loathed. It doesn't care if you have brown hair, blonde hair, or no hair at all. It doesn't care if you are tall or short...fat or thin...old or young. Diabetes doesn't care how much or how little time you or your parent spends worrying, stressing, or panicking about it. It doesn't care how many tears you or your parents shed because of it. It doesn't care how you try to live your life as normal as possible. It doesn't care that you flourish in spite of it. It just doesn't care.

Diabetes just does not care at all.

Diabetes has it's own agenda...it's own plan...
Diabetes is a cruel unrelenting bastard of a disease that will never leave you alone...it will never give you a break...it will never let you forget that it is there...24/7/365....it's always there. Yes it has taught you many wonderfully beautiful and amazing things  that you would probably have never known had it not come into your life...the strength, the bravery, the love, the savoring of each little moment of life. However, it is still there...lurking in the shadows...or screaming and spitting in your face....always there to remind you that diabetes just does not care at all.

Score one for the D-Momma's today!!

OK so we all know how rare it is in this diabetic life to come across those good moments with the numbers working in your favor...you figure out the perfect basal rate with the perfect insulin to carb ratio at the perfect time. It is EXTREMELY rare in my opinion....to have all the stars align so perfectly and wind up with fantastic results...good blood sugar numbers....stable numbers....numbers that stay consistant for hours at a time. It's rare. I know I spend a good lot of my time beating myself up over the bad numbers...the ups and downs. The feeling of confusion and simply being at a loss of what exactly to do or adjust to fix the situation. It at times can seem so overwhelming...like you are stuck with this hurricane of numbers swirling around in your poor exhausted head. You get to the point where you feel like if someone simply tries to tell you their phone number, or you try to remember what your kid's current shoe size is when buying new winter boots, or your forget what date and time your next dentist appointment is at.......you feel like if you try to cram one more of those numbers in your brain...all hell will break loose and you will wind up sitting in the corner mumbling about a-b-c's and 1-2-3's. Well, I was at that point last night. I was struggling for days trying to figure out the right combo of basal rates versus insulin to carb ratios to stop Emma from dropping low or skyrocketing high come 11pm. I was useless...felt like I had tried everything...every possible combo...and nothing was working.
Then a friend of mine suggested adding in another basal rate for that time frame. It was like an "aha!" moment for me. I could not wait for bedtime tonight to try it out! After days of feeling like I was wandering around aimlessly in the dark...I had finally felt like I could see a ray of sunshine in the distance.
Needless to say.....it WORKED!!! I made the changes knowing logically in my mind that they should work...but also knowing the nature of the beast that is diabetes, so I wasn't getting my hopes up. The old "expect nothing and you will never be disappointed" approach I suppose.
But it WORKED!! I want to scream it at the top of my lungs! I want to run right out my front door and sprint to my friends house (clear across the country by the way...so i know this could never truly happen...lol) and hug her and do the happy dance and thank her for sending out that ray of sunshine for me!
I wanted to share this with you all because I think it is important to share the joys...share the triumphs...share the times that WE WIN the battle with this stupid disease! So, I am raising my glass and cheering myself, my amazing friend, and ALL OF YOU for all that we do as D-Mom's and D-Dad's...all that we do every day to win the fight for our kids! Score one for us today my friends!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My independant 7 year old

So last night Emma and I were playing a game while she was taking a bath...I would give her a name of someone and she would say the first word that came to her mind. There were some silly ones of course (wouldn't expect any less from her! LOL) but when I said my name...her response almost had me burst into tears...she said, "diabetes hero"....as soon as I choked back the tears I told her that means the world to me...especially coming from her. She told me that she thinks that about me because she feels like she could never stay up all night checking someones blood sugar...that she could never know all of the carbs on everything and she could never know all of the stuff that I do every day. I felt like scooping her up out of the water and hugging her...just holding her and never letting go. I told her that SHE is the true hero...SHE is the one living with this disease every day...and she is MY hero.
It got me thinking though about how things will be for her when she is grown and on her own. There will come a day where she will know the carbs on almost every food she eats. There will be nights where she will have to stay up or set her alarm and get up multiple times to check her own blood sugar. That time will be here before we know it. It scares the crap out of me honestly. Not because I doubt her ability....but more so because I picture her sitting there at 3:00am...low...scared...and watching the clock..waiting for her BG to come up so she can get some sleep. I don't want her to have to do what I do every day and night to keep her healthy and alive. I wish I could take this on for her for the rest of her life. I wish I could make it easier for her.
Then I realize that all of the seemingly little things I do every day to teach her about managing her diabetes are the things that will stick in her head...they will be the things that she will remember while she is sitting there at 3:00am...she will hear my voice echoing in her mind. Lately she has become more interested in learning the ins and outs of her pump. She figured out how to bolus pretty much from day 1...but lately whenever I make a basal change or adjust a carb ratio she wants to do it...she wants to know how it's done and why it's being done. Whenever I have to set a temp basal to help fight off a low or high BG, she wants to be the one to push the buttons to do it...she wants to know why it's being done. I am thrilled that she is maturing and has a desire to learn about this stuff. It gives me piece of mind about her future. Yes, it scares me...I see her growing up and I see the room for error happening and I see the independant version of Emma emerging like a beautiful butterfly from a coccoon.
I know that during these past few years there have been many times where I will hear the echoed voices of our good friend and dietician from our clinic (who is our angel and been my rock throughout this whole new life)...I hear her voice guiding me...reminding me...helping me get through difficult times. Yes, they are echoed voices from dark and scary times in the past with diabetes...but they are forever etched in my brain...and for that I am greatful.
I hope that Emma will find comfort in the sweet echo of my own voice someday when she is lost in the dark and scary moments with this disease. I hope she hears me and I hope it helps and comforts her.

The DOC, just not the same safe place for me lately

OK, maybe it's because I am tired....4 hours of sleep will do that to you. Or maybe it's because I am typically and unfortunately an overly sensitive person. Or maybe I am just off my rocker...which is entirely possible................but I have noticed something that I wanted to write about.
I would like to know why there seems to be so much division amongst members of the DOC. Why am I constantly coming across statements made by people that are rude, angry, and a bit self-righteous? Why do we as members of this community find ourselves having such issue with things that other people say...that we will take it to the point of arguing...or belittling...or making it into a competition? Why do I seem to get a sense of elitism...some believing that they are better than others? Why do I find that even in the DOC there seems to be cliques? Why do I find myself feeling like I am back in high school trying to "fit in" or "be accepted" by some of these people?
It's ridiculous to me that we all can't just get along and respect each others opinions and methods of managing this beast of a disease. It's ridiculous to me why we can't come together as a community and focus on being there for each other...supporting each other even if we do not agree or understand where that other person is coming from. It is ridiculous to me that there is such a level of superiority in some. How can other people who are living basically the same exact life as me behave in such a manner? I do not and will not ever understand. Being a member of this diabetic family (in my opinion anyway) should mean a welcome of open arms...a shoulder to lean on with no judgement, a million others to seek advice from as well as share your own advice with. There should be no ignoring. There should be no feeling of hesitation when posting something...fearing what someone else will say in response. We should all be able to live and learn and accept each other regardless.
It really saddens me to know that being nice to others and trying to help them doesn't always wind up being the best decision. It's horrible. If we can't count on each other, then who exactly can we count on?
We all share one common goal.....a cure. Researching, advocating, educating, understanding, fundraising, hoping.....for a cure. That is it...that is all. I truly hope the drama and the snobbiness and the cliques and the nonsense will disappear and we can all take a minute to step back and remember what this DOC should really be about.
Again....I'm sorry if I have offended anyone...hurt anyone...etc. I am exhausted from fighting low blood sugars for the past two days. I just want a safe place to land when I am falling in this D-life and I am disappointed to learn lately that it is just not the same.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I dream of your eyes

The remnants of a dream that fade away
as soon as morning light awakens the world
drifting off into the mist of a strange beautiful land
I reach for you as I open my eyes
sighing aloud as I realize that you're not there
you are gone
I snuggle down deeper into the pillow
pull the warm and familiar blankets up to my chin...
squeeze my eyes shut
against the glaring light of reality
the harsh unforgiving light
the waking nightmare of countless days
I try to bring you back
try to go back to that beauty
try to press play on the dream that was so abruptly stopped
vanished in the blink of an eye
Willing my mind to sleep again
to drift away
just so I can savor one more moment
one last brief glimpse into the laughter and your smiling eyes
innocent eyes
naive eyes
sparkling child's eyes
Eyes that ease the tension on my heart
Eyes that haunt my days now....and still...
lighten my spirit.
Eyes that I adore.

Monday, January 16, 2012

8 months of pumping!!

As I looked at Emma's school calendar this morning to see if there was anything special going on, I realized that tomorrow is the 17th. The 17th is a special date for us each month actually. The 17th of May is when Emma started pumping with the Animas Ping. Tomorrow will mark 8 months of pumping! I can not believe that it has been 8 months already to be honest. There are many days that go by where I feel like we just started and I have no idea what I am doing. I am proud of us though...proud of her for being brave enough to start this part of our journey, brave enough to handle site changes like a pro, brave enough to learn how to operate it herself in such a short amount of time. It's amazing.
I know 8 months isn't a special or typical "anniversary" to be celebrated...but I wanted to dedicate this post to our pump anyway and share all of the things I have learned since that day back in May.

I have learned that just because my child is now on an insulin pump....it does not magically solve all of our blood sugar problems. I've learned that it is not some miracle device that will somehow stabalize things and make her blood sugar numbers stay steady and behave and result in us having no crazy highs or dangerous lows.

I have learned that the pump takes a LOT of work. It requires constant tweaking, constant management, constant adjustment, constant focus. It has not solved all of my night time woahs...it has not let me sleep through the night uninterrupted by checking her numbers as she sleeps. It is exhausting trying to keep on top of it.

I have learned that there are a whole new set of "situations" and "scenarios" and "options" and "chances for error" that can occur on a pump. There are a whole new set of things that could be the reason for wonky numbers. Bubbles no longer conjure up this image of fun summer days for me...instead they make me think of high blood sugars...because of bubbles in the tubing of her pump!

I have learned that my kid is tough. I always knew she was strong and brave and stubborn...but I had no idea just HOW strong and brave and stubborn she could really be until the first couple of site changes I saw her endure. I mean seriously...would you be able to suck it up and have someone else stick a giant needle into your belly every three days? Would you be ok with that person being someone who is NOT trained in the health care field whatsoever? Would you be ok with that person having 100% control over your life? Your well-being? Your pain? Keeping you alive? I know I wouldn't be ok with it.

I have learned that I can do anything. I was beyond terrified to put this device on my daughter and trust that it would do what it is supposed to do and keep her alive. I was afraid to trust something that runs on a AA battery. I was afraid that she would go into DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis...google it if you don't know what it is please) because of my own error in managing the pump. I was afraid I would make a fatal error in giving her insulin through it and she would die...and it would be my fault...I was afraid that she would hate it once it was on. I was afraid that it would get ripped out, she wouldn't be able to sleep with it on, her friends would make fun of her, she would be embarassed to have others see it when out in public, that she would hate me for the rest of her life for causing her pain, that the pump would malfunction and give her too much insulin on it's own and she would die, that she would make a mistake at school and give herself too much insulin and she would die. I was afraid that I was putting all of my trust in this little pink device...and it would fail me...that it would kill my daughter. I was afraid that I wouldn't get it right...that I wouldn't be able to do it. I was afraid.

I have learned that the pump is an amazing thing. It has lowered her a1c number (again...if you don't know what that is...please google it) by an incredible amount. Her blood sugar numbers are SO much better than they were before. It takes a lot of work...but it is all worth it...because the proof is in the pudding as they say...and I am loving that pudding in seeing her numbers becoming more steady than they were before.

I have learned that all of my late nights, interrupted sleeps, exhaustion, zombie-like brain.....it is all worth it. It's worth it to me because I see the look on her face. I see the freedom she feels. I see the way that she laughs and smiles and shows off her pump to people. I see her attachment to it...physically and emotionally. I see her love for it. I see the look in her eyes when she takes it off at bath time and sets it on the counter....I see her feeling weird without it on and rushing to get it back on once bath time is done. She loves her pink Ping pancreas and that makes me smile. I see how proud she is of herself when she learns a new function on it...how to bolus herself, how to set a temp basal, how to change an insulin to carb ratio, how to change a basal rate...I see the pride and it makes my heart sing. I see her running and playing with her friends and being a kid. I see her eating when she wants...be it 5:00 supper, 11:00pm snack on New Year's Eve, or a 1:00pm birthday cake at a friends party. I see her breaking away from that set schedule we had to live on for years and I love it.

I have learned that the pump have somewhat given us our old life back. Since we have started down this pumping path, I feel like we are able to have a life that is as close as possible to how things used to be before diagnosis. Yes, she still has diabetes...yes she still needs insulin because her pancreas does not produce any on it's own anymore...yes we still deal with pain and needles and blood and carbs and the whole bit on a a daily basis.......but it's different....it's better...it's more freeing.

I have learned that we can do anything....all thanks this little device that she wears every single day. We can do it...and I am proud of us.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

All the tears I have cried

Today was hard. Really hard. I feel like if I see another low blood sugar number screaming at me from the screen of that meter, I may just whip it across the room and crawl over to the corner, sit on the floor, and cry........just cry...let it all out...let all of the frustration wash away down the front of my shirt and out of my head. I feel like all I did today was run around in circles and bang my head against the wall. I feel like diabetes downed a Red Bull, put on it's boxing gloves, and just wailed away on my head...my heart...my whole body. I tried...I really did. I pulled out my best D-Mom skills, I tried to be smarter than the pump, smarter than the average pancreas, smarter than diabetes....and I just didn't cut it. I felt like I was scrambling around stumbling over my own feet grasping at anything I could. Juiceboxes, fruit snacks, test strips, blood everything was just a blur after a while.
One point during the day really sticks in my head and is actually still stinging. I was sitting on the hallway floor of Emma's gymnastics class reading my book waiting for her class to come out for snack time. The doors opened and she ran over to me. As I sat there watching her come over to me, a million thoughts were racing through my head. Was she still low? She was 2.9 just before class started. Is she pale? Is she high now? She came over to me and I got the meter out and everything ready while she searched through my bag-o-snacks to find something that caught her interest. I took out a test strip and put it in the meter...heard the beep indicating it was ready...took out her lancet (device that has a needle in it that will quickly jab into her fingertip once I press the button on it) and wiped off her finger. I held the lancet to it and pressed the button...just like I have a million times before...just like she herself has a million times too. I was instantly met with a drop of blood all set to be smeared on the test strip. As I watched the meter countdown 5 seconds to give me the result, I was overcome with the smell of blood. I don't know why this time was any different. I have smelled blood countless times in my life...i see it every single day. Somehow today while I was sitting on that cold tile floor staring at her meter, the smell hit me....it filled my nose and made me sick. I felt like crying. I hate having to take blood from her so many times everyday. I hate it. I hate how it has become such a normal everyday occurance....for her and I both. I hate how I have tested her blood in every imaginable public place with no care of who sees us. I hate how it means nothing to me anymore that I hurt my child every single day. I am so numb to diabetes now that it doesn't even register in my brain anymore that I am hurting her everyday. Sure her fingertips are so scarred now and she is so used to it that she doesn't really even flinch anymore....but still. It is just wrong. I am hurting my child....every....single...day. I hate that this is the first time in a long time that it has actually hit me like this.
Diabetes got me today....it hit me hard and it got me...so I cry...I sit here and cry...because it's all I can do. I can't take it away...I can't make it better. I can't make it not be. So I cry.
I hate all of the tears I have cried for diabetes.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The yellow Sharps container

I walk through my kitchen countless times everyday. It's just the room where food and drink are. It's the room that I have to go through to get to the living room. I spend a lot of time in there. Dishes, cooking, cleaning, laughing, dancing with Emma....a lot goes on in the kitchen. As I was standing at the sink today doing the dishes, I looked up at the counter to set something down and spotted the big yellow Sharps container. For those of you that do not know, a Sharps container is a plastic container that has a locking lid on it to put your used needles in to dispose of them safely. Well, our Sharps container resides right next to my sink. I don't know why I decided to put it there....I just did...and there it has sat since that first day. Granted we have filled up a few containers over the years...so it is not technically the same exact container sitting there, but you get what I mean. Anyway, i caught sight of it and for some reason it really got to me. That bright yellow container...like a big bright reminder that someone with diabetes lives in this house. It's sort of along the same lines as when you are out driving and happen to see one of those big flashy lemon yellow cars going by..the bass from their music is loud enough to make your teeth rattle in your head, the windows are tinted so black that you start to wonder if anyone is really actually driving it...or if it is just Kit from Knight Rider reincarnated. As they fly by you going down the highway, you catch sight of their license plate and it always says something like "DONT H8T" or "PLAYR69" or something stupid like that. You watch them drive out of sight over the horizon and you go back to your own personal karaoke session singing along to your tunes in your own car.
Where was I going with this again?.........oh yea....the Sharps container.....
So there I was standing in the kitchen, soapy dishes in my hands, and a pain in my chest. I hate that box...i hate the Sharps container and everything it stands for. I hate that it takes up counter space in my little kitchen. I hate that it is such a flashy yellow. I hate that it is there. I hate that I have to see it everyday. I hate it. I know it probably seems like such a silly thing to hate in the grand scheme of things...but I can't help it...I do.
I am completely not a violent person, but I think that when a cure is found...after I cry my eyes out and scream for joy and see the look in my baby girl's eyes when she learns that she doesn't have to live this diabetic life anymore.......after all of that is said and done, I would like to take a sledge hammer to that Sharps container until there is nothing left but dust.....
...and then put a vase of beautiful flowers in it's place on the kitchen counter.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Memories and lessons learned

There are many things about Emma's diagnosis that really stick in my mind...things that I will never forget for the rest of my life I am sure. Many of them I would like to be able to erase if I could...and yet there are also many that I am glad to have imprinted there forever. Those particular ones are not necessarily good moments or happy moments only. They are also moments that broke my heart. They are moments that taught me something. Moments that were like a slap in the face to me to wake up and see what was truly going on around me.
One particular moment that I will never forget is the day I took Emma to our family doctor to find out why she was constantly going to the bathroom. I thought that possibly she had a bladder infection or something of the sort and it would be a simple in and out visit...leaving within minutes holding onto a prescription and making my way to the pharmacy. Well, the night before I went there I had been speaking to my Mom on the phone and she had kind of mentioned to me that the frequent urination and constant thirst were actually signs of diabetes. I kind of blew it off as ridiculous at the time to be honest. There was no way that MY baby could have a disease. I mean she was perfectly fine...playing, walking around, laughing...nothing was wrong.
So, there we were sitting in the doctor's office and I was telling her about Emma's symptoms. She was typing away on the computer and asking questions. The conversation I had with my Mom was nagging me...like a constant jab in the back of my head...so I offhandedly brought it up. I mentioned it to the doctor and she immediately said to me, "No...it's not diabetes, if it was diabetes she would be really sick too!"........so began my journey of not trusting the medical profession I think. All it would have taken was a 5 second finger poke to confirm if she was diabetic or not. Regardless of what she had eaten in the past 12 hours...if she was diabetic, her blood sugar would have been abnormally elevated.

All it would have taken was a finger poke.

Instead I was given one day of false hope. One last day to believe that there was nothing serious going on inside my daughter's body. I will never understand why it is not a requirement to ensure that every single doctor's office has a blood sugar meter. I guarantee that so many children's lives could be saved by simply having this meter in the doctor's offices. If a patient comes in showing any of the signs of diabetes...a doctor should take the meter out and test...right then...right there.

I can't even describe the difficulty that I have going in to see this same family doctor for whatever reason since that day...since she uttered those words to me, "No...it's not diabetes..." I always have that doubt in my head screaming at me whenever I take Emma there for even the most common of things like an ear infection or a sore throat. I always wonder...I hear the echo of that memory in my mind and I doubt. Sometimes bad memories are horrible and need to be forgotten..erased...and moved on from. Sometimes bad memories teach us something...they are horrible to go through and yet they turn out to be a good thing at the same time. Had it not been for this particular bad memory, I would have gone the rest of my life putting my full 100% trust and belief in every single medical professional I came across. I would have been naive...and the world is a scary place when you are too naive.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A gentle breeze

Softly rocking in the corner
head between her hands
Her hair falls slowly across her knees
hiding her face from the word disease
Sunlight shines through an open window
showcasing the dust in the air
twinkling and flittering about like fireflies
Tears fall from her eyes
her blue grey eyes
like color of the ocean on a dark and stormy Sunday afternoon
They drop from beneath her protective hands
and land on the hard wood floor beneath her.
Puddling and spilling into the cracks between each board
Each hitching breath she takes leaves her feeling empty
used up
Thoughts scream through her aching mind
pounding against the cushion of comfort and familiar peace
A gentle breeze blows through the open window next to her
above her head
It carries with it the sweet sound of love
the beauty of a thousand voices
that have travelled over a thousand years
across thousands of miles.
Voices in perfect harmony with the one inside her own head
She removes her tired hands from her tear stained cheeks and
lifts her face into the breeze
letting it dry her fears...her worries...her struggles.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New D-Mom's...Please don't believe the hype!

OK, I've had enough. I go on Facebook for a few different reasons...to catch up with friends/family from back home, to see how friends that live near me are doing, and to give/receive support from the DOC (diabetes online community). Well, for the past couple of days my computer screen has been bombarded with comments and threads regarding a specific couple of people who are claiming to have reversed their child's type 1 diabetes by putting them on a special alkaline diet.
So...naturally I feel my blood begin to boil at the ignorance and the greed shown by these people because of course they are not just offering up the miracle cure...they are requesting payment to even speak to them on the phone! I am the furthest thing from being a confrontational type of person. I am a big believer in "to each his own"...everyone is entitled to their own opinions...you live your life how you feel is right and I will do the same. I would never and have never expected anyone to agree with the manner in which I manage my daughter's diabetes. She is MY child and I will do right by her and keep her healthy to the best of my ability until my last dying breath.
However, when I hear about people like this preaching a cure or a reversal...it kills me. First of all because type 1 diabetes is NOT reversable. There is no cure for it...it is not preventable...there is absolutely nothing that I or any of the other people in the diabetic community could be doing that we aren't already doing. We know. We got this. My heart hurts when I read posts about these scam artists because I picture a newly diagnosed family...a Mom sitting at her child's bedside in the darkened hospital room...searching the internet to learn as much as she can about this disease that has most recently ambushed her family and taken over her house. I picture this Mom sitting there with tears in her eyes...heart beginning to pound...relief threatening to take over her mind...as she comes across this alkaline diet proclaiming to cure her child. I picture her getting her hopes up...rushing to tell her husband...jumping up and down with the belief that diabetes does NOT in fact have to be in their lives. I picture her rousing her sleeping child and telling them that there doesn't have to be any needles...any finger pokes...any worries...it will all be fine! I picture this little scene and it makes me want to scream. It makes me want to throw my hands in front of her computer screen and block that heartache from her eyes. I want to shelter her from that horrible couple giving her false help...leading her down the path to another major disappointment. But I can't...I can't shelter her...I can't control what she finds or what she sees on the computer. I can't control the idiots of the world who choose to let the almighty dollar lead their way and compell them to take advantage of people in the most vulnerable state of mind. I can't stop them from doing it. I can only control myself. I can only control my own feelings and share what I know about this disease after having lived with it for so long. I can only share and advocate and educate and hope. I can join Facebook groups like the Blue Heel Society and be a part of an inspirational group of people who are there to set the record straight and offer up a place to discuss the pros and cons...a place to make you feel like you belong...a place to make you feel like you are not just blindly sitting in front of your computer screaming in frustration.
I have heard many, if not all, of the miracle natural ways of curing my daughter of her type 1 diabetes now. I have heard of the diets, the books, everything. I recall an elderly man calling me one day...he was a complete stranger to me...just happened to see an article in the local newspaper about Emma and I and the fundraising we do for JDRF. It was about 4 months into her diagnosis and he called to tell me that he could cure Emma. He told me that he had a book and I could borrow it if I wanted it...it was a miracle book and it could cure her. I remember being cautious and worried that this man was bold enough to even call me. I remember having that little spark of hope in my heart that there was possibly something out there that I didn't know about that could end this nightmare for us. I am writing this post in the hopes that it will reach a newly diagnosed Mom out there. Please do not believe the hype. Please do not buy into the miracle diets and cures. I know it is breaking your heart to accept this new life. I know it has made you feel out of control, lost, overwhelmed, and terrified....I know....I really truly do. Hang in there and know that no matter how much you feel like you can't do this and how scared you are and how badly you want to believe these heartless people proclaiming cures....please take a look in the mirror and really look at yourself...look in your own eyes and know that I get it...I have been there...I am you...we are all in this together and please don't believe the hype...don't let these greedy ignorant people mislead you.

Ode to Insulin

Cheesy 2nd grade style poem for my favorite discovery...INSULIN!!

Insulin Insulin you are my friend...I will love you until the end.
You keep my daughter alive everyday.
You give me the chance to see her play.
So, I am writing you this little poem,
to tell you I am greatful you're in my home.

I is for I love you and all that you do.
N is for the nights you help get me through.
S is for the sugar you help move through her body.
U is for the unbelievable job that you do.
L is for the loss I would feel if not for you.
I is for I love you...yes it must be said twice.
N is for the life I have thanks to you...which is nice.

So, there you have it....that's all I can say...Insulin Insulin, thanks for being there every single day.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Who am I to judge

Sometimes I feel like I am lost in the shuffle. The monotony is like anarchy to my poor exhausted brain. I zombie-walk throughout my day and smear a smile upon my face. I rub my eyes to clear my head only to find diabetes is still here. Still living in my house. Still taking up space in my daughter's body. Still trying to run the show. Still fighting me blow for blow. I wonder if the general public actually knew...actually had a small inkling...actually felt the true mind-numbing and body-draining and emotional sucking brand of exhaustion a D-parent feels....if they would still consider diabetes to simply be about "eating right and cutting out the sugar" or "taking a pill and exercising"? I wonder if they had to feel the sleep-deprived insanity that threatens my every move on a daily basis...if they would change their opinion. There was actually a point today when I was out driving Emma to her piano lesson...and it hit me...I am tired...I've hit the wall...diabetes knocked me down to the ground and I am struggling to get back up...I'm numb...all I want to do in life is park the car, turn it off, put the seat all the way back, and have a nap.......but I can't. I can't because I am the Mommy, I have to not only do the daily Mommy duties of school, piano, meals, bath, homework, etc.....but I also have to play the role of Emma's pancreas. It's hard. It's the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. I wonder if people that I know and come across in our day to day lives actually know how tired I really am. I wonder if they can see it in my eyes...hidden behind my smile and laughter. I wonder if they know that all it would take is for me to just sit down for two seconds on the couch...and I would be out like a light. I know it must seem to a lot of people that I am just complaining...constantly complaining about being tired...when in reality the simple answer in their minds would be to just sleep...just go take a nap. It's not that easy though. I have to consider diabetes as well. I have to schedule time to sleep. It has to coincide with a time that my husband is home from work because I have no one else to watch her. It's not that easy. I think that is what I struggle with...the need for wanting to make people realize that it is not that easy. Diabetes is somehow threaded through everything in day to day life. Who am I to judge their ignorance though I suppose. I am merely a supporting character in this play...Emma is the lead actor...center stage...currently learning her lines and waiting for her time to shine.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

I have saved her life...the mindgame of a low blood sugar

As parents of diabetics (or diabetics ourselves), we spend a good part of our days and nights worrying about low blood sugars. The causes, the effects, the dangers, the juiceboxes to fix them. It is just a part of our lives...day in and day out...every single day. I think about them when Emma is with me, when she is in gymnastics class, when she is at school, and most terrifyingly when she is asleep. I know how they make me feel. I know how my heart pounds when I see that 2.0 screaming at me from the screen of her blood sugar meter. I know how I break into a cold sweat as I scramble around finding something...anything with sugar in it to give to her to make that disgusting low feeling go away and to make her blood sugar come back up and to prevent her from passing out, having a seizure, or even dying...yes dying. There have been many times over the years now that I have prevented these things from happening...many times where I have saved my daughter's life and stopped diabetes from winning the battle for good and taking her from me forever.

I have saved my daughter's life.

I do not feel like a hero for doing it one time. I do not feel like a hero for doing it the countless number of times I have done it. I am simply her Mom. I am doing what any Mom would do to ensure her child's safety. I am doing the tasks that need to be done to keep her alive. I do them not with the intent of getting praise or thanks or being looked upon as being special. I do them for selfish reasons mainly. I do them because I would die without her. I do them because I want her to live so I can see her smile another day....so I can hear her laugh again...so I can play games with her...so I can sing and dance like a fool with her...so I can have another minute to love her with my whole heart. I do them so I can see her grow up healthy and live her own life...maybe meet the love of her life...get married if she desires...have her own children if she chooses to. I do them so I can see her achieve all of her goals and hopes and dreams. I do them because I love her.
I am ashamed to admit though that I have never thought how she feels about lows. I mean I KNOW how she feels when she is low because I have hypoglycemia myself...I know the gross feeling...the nausea, the dizziness, the cold sweats, the shakes....I know what that is like. I am talking about the other aspect of it though. I have never thought about how it affects her mind and her emotions. Does she get scared when she sees those low numbers? Does she worry when she has a low at bedtime? Is she terrified to let herself fall asleep because of the low number? Does she worry that she will drop even lower if she just shuts her eyes and falls asleep? Does she sit there in bed silent...listening to her own body...trying to tell if she will be ok...trying to feel the signs and notice if her blood sugar is finally coming back up? Does she worry about it? Is she scared?
It hit me tonight that I have never thought of those things before. I have handled lows by the book...following the steps I was taught 3 1/2 years ago...test, juice, 15 minutes retest....lather, rinse, repeat. I have shoved down my fear when dealing with that number....pushed the wildly morbid and frightening thoughts way down deep so I can focus on the number and deal with the situation laid out before me. I have never thought about how it must be for her.
I think I will start to think about that more. I think tomorrow I will talk to her about it and ask her. I think I will try to remember to look at things from her perpective a little bit more with this disease...because it is in fact HER disease.

A diabetic amongst the butterflies

So today Emma and I went to the butterfly conservatory for a little outing. I love that place! In fact i think I have actually blogged about it before. However, this time rather than write about the actual experience there...I wanted to share something interesting and diabetes related about our visit.
A couple of years ago Emma's class went on a field trip there and while we were sitting there listening to the tour guide talk with the kids, I noticed that she was wearing a pump herself! I pointed it out to Emma because this was still during the time that Emma was anti-pump all the way and I wanted her to see it up close if possible. I remember feeling that old familiar bonded feeling while talking with the guide. It was one of those random moments that seem to occur every now and again to remind you that you are not alone in this. Well, ever since that particular visit we had never run into this particular guide again....until today that is!
Emma and I were walking along the beautiful pathway spotting butterflies all over the place and laughing at the tiny little birds flying by and landing in front of us. As Emma was checking out a display for the kids to touch showing them what a chrysallis and cocoon looks like, I glanced up and my eyes were instantly drawn to the pocket of this woman's workpants. I saw a pump tube coming out of it. I immediately grabbed Emma and pointed in the guide's direction to show her that she was working there today and I swear you would have thought that we had seen the most amazingly beautiful butterfly in the room....instead of just a regular old pump tube. The guide was busy talking with another group of kids, but she noticed our excitement and kind of shook her pump tube at us and gave us a smile and a nod.
We left the conservatory this afternoon talking about it and how fun it is to randomly meet up with other diabetics while out in public. It's sort of like a secret club really. It got me thinking, we all are so busy rushing around during the day doing our everyday things...running errands, taking the kids here there and everywhere...without a second thought as to who is around us usually. We stand in lines at the grocery store with tons of other people around...and we assume that we are the only diabetics in the bunch (I suppose I shouldn't generalize and say "we"....it's more like "I" assume this). I think I am so pre-programmed into thinking that we are the only ones out there...mainly because in my day to day life, of the people we associate with the most in person...we ARE the only diabetics in the bunch. It can be an extremely lonely feeling if I think about it too much actually. Sure I have other D-Mom friends in town and on the computer....but as far as everyday living goes?.....it's just us.
I have met a few diabetics out there in the great big world over the years. One woman I chased down at Walmart actually because I spotted her pump on her belt as we crossed paths. I didn't have anything in particular to say to her....just "Hi, i saw your pump. My daughter has one too!" I met a diabetic Mom (not a D-Mom....lol...an actual diabetic woman who is a Mom) at the park once. I saw her pull her pump off her belt and stand there bolusing herself while pushing her daughter on a swing. Naturally I had to say hello to her as well. Then today with the tour guide...I wasn't able to say hi because she was busy working....but we gave the smile and knowing nod right back at her. It feels good. It's comforting to know that just like us....there are countless other diabetics walking around in public...shopping, standing in lines, waiting at stop lights, eating at McDonald's,...and teaching people about the beauty of butterflies.
For as much as I loathe diabetes and what it does to us......I love being part of this club...part of this family...part of this amazing group of people out there doing the exact same things we all do...and living life to the fullest.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Deep thoughts by Random Amy

Eveytime I paint my nails and I get to having to do my right hand....I always curse people who are ambidextrous a little bit....not fair. I wind up having fabulous looking nails on my left hand...and my right hand looks like I have been fingerpainting with my kid all day.

Why do tall people who are standing in the same aisle as you at the grocery store always stand there with a smirk on their faces and rarely offer to help you as they watch you scale the shelves like Spiderman to reach some item that you need on the top shelf...way in the back?

My daughter may not resemble me very much in the looks department...but I am proud to say that she has some mad sarcasm skills just like me....and she eats a Subway sandwich in the same manner as me...top part of bread, meat, toppings, bottom part of bread....never just pick it up and eat it like a regular sandwich.

I often wonder if the people in my life that I consider friends would still be my friends if they knew half of the crazy thoughts that go on in my head every day....or if they would be the first to call the men with the straight jackets to come take me to a "nice farmhouse upstate"?

Sometimes I think that it would be funny to watch my cat play with some of Emma's craft pipe cleaners....and then I remember what I found in the litter box last time she played with one.

What is the deal with the name "Rhonda"? I mean seriously, why the "h"? what is the point of throwing an "h" in there? If you remove the "h" you will still have the same sound. Is it just to make it look fancier? I like to pronounce it "Ra-Honda"....just to be a jerk

I think the world would be a much nicer place if there were regularly scheduled naptimes for all.

Sometimes I read about, think about, talk about, write about diabetes so much in one day that it makes me feel physically ill.......so I give myself a time out.

I've discovered that Kraft makes special cheese slices that are thicker than your average cheese slice...and they are made specifically for grilled cheese sandwiches. Yes...it's true. I think I have probably eaten a grilled cheese everyday now since I have discovered this little slice (HA! pun totally intended) of Heaven.

My kid told me today that she was annoyed with the commercials on a kid's TV channel she was watching...because "they all like yell at us to buy what they have and they keep playing it over and over and over again......UGHHHHH!".....yes, she learned the annoying lesson of advertising/marketing today.

and....that's all I got tonight.....LOL

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Sometimes if I let it....it takes over every single thought in my head.
Believe it or not, I met my husband online....I was living in Oregon and he was living here in Canada. We talked on the phone and chatted on the computer for countless hours over a year, I visited him a couple of times, we connected. We talked about things like having more kids (he already has two...at the time we met they were 5 and 2 years old)....so it really mattered to me to find out if he wanted to have more kids before I was ok with continuing on any further with things. I have always wanted a lot of kids. Growing up it was only my big brother and I and I always envied friends of mine who had many siblings. Their houses always seemed so full...so full of life...so fun. There was always someone to play with, someone to talk to, someone to help you. So, I knew when I grew up, got married, and got to the point of being ready to start my own family....that I wanted a few kids at least. At the time, he told me that yes he did want more kids....so I thought all was good on that front. To make a long story short...I moved here to be with him and we got married. As you all know, we had Emma...and life was starting to come together. My husband then decided that he was done...he didn't want any more kids. I don't know if it was due in part to the fact that Emma was diagnosed with diabetes and he was afraid of that happening to any future kids we would have.....or if it was just a matter of him being done seeing as how she was his 3rd child. Financially having more kids would definitely be difficult...seeing as how I can't really find a job that would be ok with me leaving randomly throughout the day every day to go help Emma bolus when she eats at school...or if there's a problem with a low or high blood sugar. I wouldn't be able to find a sitter that would look after her either...because of diabetes.
So, here I sit...with a deep aching in my chest every single day...the days turn into weeks and turn into months and turn into years. I will be 35 on February 7th....and Emma will be 8 years old one week later. I sit here feeling this ache and this longing for wanting another baby. Sometimes I want it so badly that I am willing to do anything to make it happen. Sometimes I am greatful that he doesn't want anymore because I sit here and think that it would be hard...it would make my life a lot harder trying to take care of a newborn as well as keep Emma's blood sugars as stable as I can. It would be difficult...I would be even more exhausted than I already am. But that knowing doesn't erase that ache and that longing. The fact that Emma is diabetic means that any siblings of hers would have a hugely greater risk of being type 1 themselves. How would I be able to live with myself if my husband actually changed his mind and wanted more kids and that child turned out to have diabetes too? I would feel an unbelievable amount of guilt. However that too does not erase that longing and that ache for wanting another baby.
I walk around in public and see pregnant women and I have to choke back the tears...because I wish that was me. I see women in my life who have 2 or even 3 kiddos of their own and I see the bond they share and I am jealous. I see the siblings playing with each other and looking like each other and having that big family feeling....and I am jealous. I want that for Emma. I want that for me.
I wish there was a way to make this feeling go away because I am tired of feeling it...so I am hoping by writing it out on here that it will help a little bit. I am hoping that I am not the only one out there in the world who has felt this feeling. I wish I could stop it. I wish I could just feel what it feels like to be pregnant again and have another baby again. I wish that I had known when I was pregnant with Emma that it was my one and only time of being pregnant...I think i would have enjoyed it more...lived in the moment more...cherished it more. I am honestly at a loss as to how to make this better for myself and make these feelings go away for good. It scares me that they will never go away...that I will always feel this way. UGH....

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Just bring the kid a water already!!

Over the holidays my family seemed to go out to eat quite a bit more than usual. It is always a challenge to guess at carb amounts in those lovely restaurants that have no idea what you are talking about when you ask for a nutrition guide...or those 17 year old waitresses who give you the blank stare when you ask for one...or the gigantic binder they carry over to the table containing every last bit of info on every last crumb served in the entire building....yea...it makes for some fun times in the life of a diabetic. So, to make life easier on everyone I usually wind up just guessing the carb amount, crossing my fingers, saying a little prayer to the Gods of good blood sugars....and go from there. I've gotten much better at guessing over the years I suppose...trial and error will do that to ya.
Anyway, I witnessed a bit of humorous/annoying behavior over all of our outings lately that I thought I would share. Without fail, every single time the waiter/waitress would come to the table and ask Emma what she would like to drink....Emma would always say water....not because of her diabetes...not because I was forcing her to choose water...simply because she is and always has been a water drinking kind of girl. And without fail, every single time she asked for water...every single server would question her as to why she didn't want juice or pop instead. They would take it to the point of almost harassing her..like they were trying to make her feel weird for NOT choosing juice or pop. I used to always try to fight the battle for her and firmly but kindly say that YES she really honestly just wants water please. However, now that she is 7...I am kind of trying to give her the opportunity to stand up for herself more and speak up for herself more. So, I sat there time and time again and heard her say "YES...i DO want water please!"...with a tone of annoyance thrown in there for good measure. I have to say that I was proud of her.
After about the 4th time of this happening in the past couple of weeks, I got to thinking...why do these people feel compelled to push juice and soda on kids? Why do they practically force them into choosing something higher in sugar and not as good for them as plain old water? Don't get me wrong...Emma does drink juice and soda whenever she wants it...I have never denied her. Yes it is diet soda and usually the juice is actually crystal light just because I have a really hard time figuring out how to make regular juice not send her blood sugars soaring and then crashing yet. Seriously though, diabetic kids can drink or eat ANYTHING they want to...if they choose some drink with sugar in it and their parents are ok with it....then fine. If they choose water...then leave them the hell alone and bring them a damn water instead of harassing them and making them feel weird for choosing water!! As you can tell, this is a bit of a sore spot with me at the moment. I just am frustrated with the way some people behave I guess.
My husband came to the rescue though after Emma was venting her frustrations about the whole waitress/water/juice issue. He told her that the next time this happens she should look up at the waitress and calmly and matter-of-factly say, "no thanks, just water for me tonight...I'm driving!"
Yep...I married a good guy!

Monday, January 2, 2012

My old man diabetes

I think at this point diabetes is sort of becoming like that one old man who lives down the street. You know the one I mean...the guy who shuffles along down the sidewalk in front of your house on his way to the grocery store. Sometimes he just grunts at you and your kids as he goes by...other times he shouts a deep bellowing hello with a big smile on his face...and still other times he will even stop to tell you about the various medications he is on and how he found a deal on toilet paper at the grocery store clear across town last month...which actually turns out to be December 1952...and it was actually at a grocery store in Alabama.
Sometimes he is dressed in his finest duds...brown plaid pants, fedora tilted just so on his freshly brill-creamed hair, wool sportcoat with the leather patches on the arms keeping his warm...and newly polished brown loafers (or sandals with black socks pulled all the way up...depending on the season naturally). Other times you will see him wearing a ratty old pair of grey sweatpants and slipperes that have soles about as thin as that toilet paper mentioned earlier. And still other times you will find him looking comfortable and stylish in a pair of jeans, suspenders, and white button down shirt.
This old man has many stories to tell, he has many wrinkles on his adorable old man face. When he smiles his eyes twinkle brighter than the sun and you catch a glimpse of the adventures he has had in his long life. When he keeps his face down and eyes set upon his feet...one step in front of the other...just keep moving...just keep moving....you feel his pain...you catch a glimpse of the adventures again...and how some of them were not always easy.
After 3 1/2 years, diabetes is sort of like that old man for me now. Some days it is my friend...it helps me see patterns in Emma's blood sugar, it plays fair with good numbers, it fades away into the background and lets us live our lives uninterrupted...peacefully. Some days it is in my face bellowing and grumpy...making me feel a little lost and confused...overwhelmed...my only hope is to focus on one moment at a time...just keep moving...just keep moving. Some days it works, some days it doesn't. It is an adventure in and of itself and all I can do is enjoy those joyful good days full of smiles and stories....and muddle through the hard days where I feel like I am going to lose my mind...keep putting one foot in front of the other...and just go...just hold on until the bright sun rises on a new good day again. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

What is Your Favorite Year?

So tonight at bedtime Emma asked me what my favorite year has been...since I "have been around for so many years now"...thanks for that hidden dig at my old age, kiddo! I stood there while she brushed her teeth and did the usual bedtime routine...and I really truly thought about it. I didn't want to just give some random answer and speed up the process of getting her tucked in. I know she likes to prolong that time of night as much as possible...what kid doesn't really? So, I stood there thinking it over...there were so many different answers I could give really. I have many fond memories of when I was 5 years old...in kindergarten. I learned to read in that little kindergarten room, made my first best friend Mandy, and enjoyed having the teacher put a small dab of pink lipstick on the end of our noses around Christmas time while we all sang and danced to "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." So, I would say 1982 was a pretty sweet year for all of those reasons for sure. I also was a big fan of 2nd grade...mainly because of the teacher I had...Mrs. Gemig. She was one of those truly special teachers out there in the world...teaching her students all that she can as well as making them feel good about themselves. She gave me confidence, she boosted my self-esteem every time she told me that I was a special little girl, she gave me a hug and dried my tears when I had fallen on the playground and got hurt...she was a Mom figure to me every school day and I decided that year that I wanted to be a teacher just like her when I grew up. I had many good years as a kid...amazing teachers, wonderful friends, good times and good memories. I didn't want to choose just one year though to tell her. I thought about the most significant times in my life as I got older...getting my license, first job, taking a trip to France and getting to see Notre Dame cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, the Mona Lisa in real life with my own two eyes, Jim Morrison's final resting place, and the beautiful and breathtaking Medeterranean....yes 1994 was definitely a good year. I thought about going to University, moving away to live on the west coast in Oregon, meeting some of the most incredible people out there who are now like my 2nd family. I thought about the random chance meeting of my now husband, traveling to visit him, falling in love with him, and marrying him...yes 2002 was one of my favorites for sure. How was I to pick just one year to tell her? Impossible. Then my thoughts turned to her...the moment I found out I was pregnant, the first time I felt her kick inside my belly, the first time I heard her heartbeat, actually giving birth to her and looking at her beautiful face for the first time ever. Yes 2004 is at the top of the list for sure. All of the little moments though along the way stopped me from saying 2004 to her...I thought of her first steps, first words, first day at school, when she learned to read, hearing her laugh, taking her to her first concert, watching her grow up before my eyes...I couldn't choose one year.
So, I told her that 2004 is definitely at the top of my list because that is when she came into my life and I fell in love with her. I also told her that I believe that there are a million things that have happened in my life though that have made many years great.
Then she asked me what my least favorite year was. In as much time as it took me to blink...I answered 2008. She looked up at me and said, "Mine too Mommy".....because that is the year diabetes moved into our lives.
When I asked her what her favorite year was, she replied with, "Well, I know it's only the 1st day...but I think this year is Mommy! I just feel good about it and I feel good about turning 8."
...and with that...she was off to bed.