Thursday, June 30, 2011

The many hats we wear

I was just sitting here doing my usual "wait until 1:00am so I can check Emma's blood sugar" thing and I was checking out Facebook. I came across a status update of a friend and fellow D-Mom who is currently dealing with her son's high BG reading. She mentioned how she hoped that he wasn't getting ill and that the high was simply a result of a forgotten bolus while her son was at his father's house. It really got me thinking about how we all deal with those mystery high's and low's. The fear of an impending illness is horrible. It is something that is constantly floating around in my brain. I know from experience just like all of you do what it really truly is like to deal with a "simple" stomach bug in a diabetic child. It's a tortuous battle of ketones, dehydration, throwing up, low BG's, and no sleep. It brings us to the brink of insanity sometimes...before backing off finally. Diabetes forces us all to be so many things to our, nurse, dietician, therapist, mathematician, and even detective.
I was watching an old episode of "The Suite Life On Deck" with Emma yesterday and there was a character on it who lived on this island and he basically held the position of police, judge, taxi driver, pie maker, everything. Each time he would "switch" roles...all he did was change hats...police hat, judges wig, etc. I couldn't help but think of our D-Mom roles while watching this guy. We walk through life appearing to be just like every other Mom out there...doing the "normal" Mom things like taking our kids to the park, making them supper, going along on field trips at school. To the untrained eye (i.e. the rest of the non-D world) nothing seems different. If they really truly knew the life of diabetes though, they would see the slight differences...they would see the doctor hat we slip on while testing BG's at the park hoping not to see a low, they would see the dietician hat we slap on our heads when we are reading nutrition labels or totally guessing the carbs in restaurant food before bolusing our kids, they would see the Sherlock Holmes style hat we bust out of our purse and wear while we are trying to determine what in the world caused such a wacky out of target range BG while riding on the school bus on that field trip to the fire station. We wear many hats during the day and right into the wee hours of the night. We wear them proudly. We wear them with a love for our kids that is so fierce and so unconditional, that no one could ever really understand it. We wear them during our most joyous and hard fought victories with this disease....and we wear them as we sit up in the middle of the night with tears streaming from our eyes, praying for the strength to continue on, praying that our child will make it through this current stomach bug unscathed and not have to make that dreaded trip to the hospital, praying that the researchers looking for that cure will find it soon. We wear our many hats in silence. We wear them as we attempt to educate the world. Most of all, we wear them for our children...and we will continue to wear them rain or shine, tired or well-rested (what is that again? I've, sick or healthy, happy or sad. We wear them because we love our kids.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Slippin and slidin all over

A couple of days ago we experienced our first ever birthday party on the pump. I was totally naive and completely oblivious to the fact that things could possibly be any different than they were when Emma was on insulin pen injections. It was a beach theme party which meant bikinis, swimming, water slides, sprinklers, and apparantly blood sugars of 24.6(442)!!! Based on past behaviour ( why do I feel like Dr. Phil when i say things like that?) I thought that Emma's blood sugars would stay within range or be slightly lower for the duration of the party and then start to climb after all was said and done. No no not the case!
We arrived at her friends house excited for some party time fun, and Emma quickly changed into her black and white Hello Kitty bikini. We decided that the safest place for her pump was to just attach it to her bikini bottom for now because I still have not gotten a pump pak for her that won't get ruined in the water. Mainly because there has been a postal strike here in mail for like a month now...craziness. Anyhoo, after a quick BG check to confirm that she was at an ok number, she took off running around with the rest of her friends. Of course my kid makes a b-line straight for the slip and slide hill and instead of sliding down it on her bum...she decides to go down on her belly! We quickly realized that her pump was not going to stay put where it was at if this manuever was going to we moved her pump to the INSIDE of her bikini bottoms. All was going well until she stood up after one slide and I burst out laughing at the sight of her..ahem...package in her bottoms...lolol. Thankfully Emma and the other grade 1 kiddos didn't put 2 and 2 together and realize what I was laughing at!
The water fun continued, hot dogs and veggies were enjoyed, cupcakes were consumed, presents were opened...and BG check after BG check confirmed that apparantly the boluses and corrections I was giving her were doing absolutely nothing for her. I sat there in my lawn chair pondering my I give yet another correction? Do I tell her to dry off and that we must leave early because I needed to check for ketones since she has been so high for a couple hours now? Do I let the big "D" win this round?....My D-angry Momma brain gave me a resounding NO for all questions asked. I wasn't going to let D beat us this was Emma's 3rd year D-anniversary as well, and I did NOT want to have to admit defeat on this special day. So, I let her run around (hoping that some of that damned sugar would burn off because of it), I made her down water bottle after water bottle (hoping that would help flush some of it out as well), and I waited the last 45 min. out. We went home and I checked for ketones (none there thankfully!). I gave another correction...and we finally got a decent BG reading. Whew!
Thanks for teaching me patience, diabetes.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

3 years ago today

3 years ago today Emma was diagnosed with diabetes. 3 years ago today I thought the tears would never stop falling from my eyes. 3 years ago today I thought that I would never stop mourning the loss of our carefree life. 3 years ago today I learned what it truly means to be scared.
I answered the phone call from the doctor telling me to go to the hospital with Emma immediately...and our lives were forever changed. It took that split second to turn my world upside down. I was so naive. Emma looked so normal to me. I was in denial. I couldn't believe what I was hearing, and yet way deep down in my heart...I knew. Way down in that core part of my soul that few people ever get to see...I knew.
3 years ago today that innocent version of myself died. 3 years ago today that well-rested and virtually worry-free version of myself died. 3 years ago today I stole my 4 year old daughter's innocence when I uttered the words "Emma, you have diabetes" to her. 3 years ago today I injected my child for the first time...I stuck a needle in her arm and gave her the insulin that her little body could no longer make on it's own.
I learned that it is possible to turn sorrow into strength. I learned that there is absolutely nothing in this world that I wouldn't do for Emma. I learned that in the face of heartache and fear, I will still continue to heart will continue to beat. I learned that it beats for her. I realized that complete and total despair is no match for the love I have for Emma.
In these past 3 years, I found out that I am a lot stronger than I ever thought I was. I found out that even when my brain is telling me I've had enough and I just can't keep doing this anymore...I will still keep marching on. I know now that it is entirely possible to have a hero who is only 7 years old. I know now that it is entirely possible to admire a 7 year old and her bravery and strength more than any one else on the planet.
I've learned that it's ok to feel weak. It's ok to cry. It's ok to be angry. I've learned that tomorrow is a new day. The sun will once again rise. The clock keeps on ticking. I've learned that sleep is something to be cherished. It's ok to hope. It's ok to believe that a cure will come. I've learned the true meaning of patience. I've learned that I'm not a perfect pancreas substitute. Diabetes is not a black and white disease. We have learned to live in that gray area...we live in it and not only do we make it work, but we do it in style.
I've learned that it's tremendously important to not let diabetes define our lives. We were Mommy and daughter...Amy and Emma...long before diabetes came along, and we will continue to be Mommy and daughter long after diabetes is finally kicked out of our lives for good.
Happy D Anniversary to you my sweet girl. I held you in my arms 3 years ago today and told you that everything would be ok. I consoled you and wiped away your tears. I held your hand in mine as we walked out of those hospital doors beginning our new life with diabetes. I want you to know that even if you are 77 years old and there's still no cure, I will still hold you in my arms and promise you that everything will be ok...and I will mean it. I will still console you and kiss your tears away. I will still hold your hand in mine as we walk through this life. I will be there for you no matter what...simply because I love you.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I think I'm trapped on the crazy train

Ever had one of those days (weeks!) where you just want to crawl back into bed and wait for the storm to pass and brighter days to appear? Um...yea...that is what I am considering at this point in time. It all started yesterday after school. Yes, I live in Canada and they make those poor kids go to school until the bitter end of June. It's madness really, it seems like everyone else in the facebook/blogger world already has their kiddos home for the summer! I keep hearing the "Phineas and Ferb" theme song in my head..."There's 104 days of summer vacation....blah blah blah"...and I'm getting antsy! I'm just ready for it to be our turn already to actually be on summer vacation! Anyway, I walked to school on my usual route to get Emma...actually more like hobbled along to the school. For some reason my heel was killing me! It literally felt like I had stepped on a nail at some point during the day and I am quite certain I didn't because I had spent that entire afternoon painting monkeys on Emma's bedroom ominous or sneaky nails hiding out on the floor ready to jump out and slide under my foot as I walk by! In any case, I arrived at the school to find the 1st and 2nd graders playing on the playground waiting for the bell to ring. I think the teachers really have nothing left to teach at this point...they are just kind of hanging out with the kids and letting them play for the most part.
Well, the bell rang and Emma full out sprinted towards me like she was in the Olympics trying to break some world records and bring home the gold. As she was running, I noticed that her pump was jostling and bouncing along on the waist of her shorts...I'm mentally willing her to sloooow down...stop running...just walk to's only ME, there's no need to bolt over here! No such luck though. She continues to run and her pump bounces out and crashes on the sidewalk with a bang...she instantly comes to a screeching halt, grabs her belly in agony, and bursts into tears. She is holding onto where the site was in her's still attached, but I am positive that the little tube under her skin has now been ripped out. ARGH. I console her and she goes off to play on the playground with some friends for a bit as I stand there trying to decide what to do. I see in her logbook that her BG at snack time was 9.3 (a little high, but she's just getting over a sinus not bad.) and I figure that there's no way of knowing for certain that the site is ripped out until some more time passes. So, she plays, we walk home, about 45min.-1hr. has passed and I check her again...she's now 19.2...yep, site is out. DUN DUN DUN! I hear the suspenseful music in the back of my mind as i try to think of my next step. I check for ketones and there are none thankfully. I give a correction and stand there smelling her belly for another confirmation that the site is out...yep the old familiar "band-aid" insulin smell fills my nostrils...gross. So, I unplug her and change the site. Then I sit there wondering if I should now give another correction because the first correction I gave probably didn't go in to her at all?
Emma decides that she wants to walk to Subway for off we go. The sky is getting darker and darker and I realize that I forgot to bring my umbrella...and I only have 1 test strip on me....awesomesauce. Could this day get any worse? So, to make a long story short...we eat our supper, walk home, get caught in the rain, and that's that. She winds up being slightly low 2 hours after her bedtime snack, 4.8 to be i give her 10 carbs without bolusing. By 1:30am she is 20.2..........for f*%# sakes! I correct her and she wakes up this morning at a nice low 3.8....GOOD GRAVY! Oh, did I mention we woke up at 8:08 and school starts at 8:30??? Yea...good least we made it on time though...I am an old pro at the mad dash in the morning.
I need a vacation.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My favorite Snoop Doggy Dog

The project of late around my house has been painting Emma's bedroom (the boss lady has requested purple walls as a background and for me to paint goofy monkeys all around). Before she was born, I had it all decorated with baby Snoopy pictures and designs. I love Snoopy...always have and probably always will. For some reason that goofy little dog cracks me up when he is pretending to be the Red Baron while sitting on top of his dog house. When I was around 2 years old, my Dad bought my Mom a stuffed animal Snoopy, and apparently I decided to claim it for my own. I remember carrying that thing around with me all the time. I slept with him every single night. I brought him to sleepovers at friends houses. He was always there for me to cuddle with when I wasn't feeling well or when I woke up in the middle of the night from having a nightmare. He came to Florida with me on a family vacation. I even recall the parents of a friend of mine driving quite a distance to go to my house and pick up Snoopy when I forgot to bring him along to an overnight camping trip with school. I was panicked and afraid that I wouldn't be able to sleep without him. I vividly remember standing at the edge of a gravel driveway at this camp and seeing my friend Jane Ann's parents drive up to me with Snoopy sitting in the back belt on and everything. I still have Snoopy actually. He currently resides on the shelf below my night stand. He is battered and not quite as fluffy and white as he once was. His nose is barely hanging on by a thread. The stitching on the back of his head is coming loose. His poor tail just sort of dangles there nowadays. Snoopy has really been through the ringer. He's been with me for 32 years now.
Sometimes I sit here and think about those past versions of myself. I sit her and wonder if I knew back then how my life would turn out, would I do anything different? Would I still make the same choices? Would I still make the same mistakes? Probably. Since diabetes came into our lives, I find that I am slowly but surely gaining confidence. For the longest time I would second guess my choices and decisions in dealing with Emma's diabetes. I would always feel this overwhelming fear that I was going to be making a mistake, so I would hop on the phone and seek out some confirmation from the nurse or dietician. I sort of felt like I was frozen with the fear of failing and somehow hurting Emma. As we are approaching our 3 year Anniversary of Emma's diagnosis, I honestly feel like I can say that I finally have a tiny shred of confidence in myself and the day to day decisions I make. I don't immediately go into panic mode when something stressful happens. I actually attempt to think it through and figure it out and make a decision and stick with it.
So, when I finally lay my head down on my pillow at night (assuming I actually make it to my bed instead of my "D-Mom induced pseudo-narcolepsy" striking again causing me to fall asleep on the couch and wake up at 4:00am to the TV blaring some Spanish soap opera that my husband turned on before he went to bed as a joke, or to the ear pounding waves crashing on the late late late night movie "Titanic" causing me to suddenly feel the urge to use the restroom...lolol), and I glance over at my scruffy looking old Snoopy doll...I can't help but smile and think of how far I have come and how much I have changed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Never ending carnival rides

So, there are only 7 days left of school here and I find myself sitting here thinking about how quickly this year flew by. It feels like Emma just started 1st grade yesterday. I guess it really is true what they say about time flying by once your kids start school. It's sort of a bittersweet time of year for me. I am looking forward to sleeping in, being lazy, and not having any agenda for our days. I'm excited to be able to just do whatever we want to do whenever we want to do it. On the one hand I am looking forward to being able to have Emma with me all the time during the day so I can keep an eye on her blood sugars. It's like I will once again be able to breathe a sigh of relief at 9:45am and 1:45pm when I know that she would be having her snacks at school. I won't have to sit here holding my breath waiting for that dreaded phone call from the school telling me that she is low.
On the other hand, I will miss her teacher a lot. I have gotten used to being able to count on her to look after Emma and her blood sugars for 6 1/2 hours a day 5 days a week. It's a nice break for me. It's time that I have been able to use to get things done that needed to get done. It is so incredibly comforting to know that I can come home from dropping her off at school and just lay on the couch and take a nap if I want to. This school year, Emma's teacher has proven to me time and time again that she can recognize lows just by the look on Emma's face. She has shown me that she is willing to go above and beyond to make sure that Emma is ok. She has forewarned me of days that she was going to be absent or in meetings, just so I would know that someone else would be looking out for her. I've tried to explain to her these past couple of weeks how much she really means to me. I've tried to find the right words to make her really truly understand how much I appreciate what she has done this year. In a sense she has become like a second Mom to my daughter. Not only has she taught her so many things, but she has done it while managing her diabetes as well. She took it upon herself to educate herself on diabetes just so she would know what to do in any given situation. When I was struggling with deciding on when to start Emma on the pump, I spoke with her teacher first. I felt it necessary to ask her if she would be ok with things if I started Emma on it before the school year was over...or if she would prefer that I waited until this summer. I will never forget that day standing in the school hallway. I was a nervous wreck because I was struggling with what to do and with knowing what would be the best decision for all involved in Emma's life. Her teacher stood there with a caring and reassuring look in her eyes. Without hesitation, she told me that she thought I should start her on the pump as soon as possible. She said that she thought it would be better and easier to just start it right away, so we could learn how Emma's body would act on it during school and then we would be able to just relax this summer and enjoy our time off. She told me that she was more than willing to learn what needed to be learned regarding the pump. Her main concern was keeping Emma healthy. She told me that the way she looked at things is that she would want her own children's teachers to treat them the same way. She would want them to be taken care of in the best possible way of course she would do the same for us. Honestly I don't think I would have had the courage to start the pump that soon, if not for Emma's teacher. I would have probably waited. Her teacher gave me the strength and the reassurance that we could do this. She made me feel like we were all on the same team in this daily battle with diabetes. She made me feel like I wasn't alone. She stood there looking at me...comforting me...not only as a teacher speaking to a parent...but as one Mom speaking to another Mom. I could never thank her enough for that.
So, here I sit...excited for the summer...and anticipating the next school year already. I've already asked Emma's teacher if she is available to be rented out this summer to help me out dice on that one! LOL Instead I will sit here worrying about the future and the 2nd grade teacher and hoping that she will be as willing to be on our team as well. Hoping that she will also get to that point in the school year where she will know my daughter as well as this years teacher does. It sort of feels like a carnival ride that I can never get off of. It just keeps going around and around and no matter how much I scream at the carnie who is running the ride, that I want to get off already....he just continues to stand there smoking and drinking his muddy coffee with his hearing aid turned off, smiling and waving as I continue to go by...ignoring me. We are rounding the bend on this years ride right now...nearing the station again...waiting for the stupid carnie to wave again. I guess I better sit back and keep my arms and legs inside the vehicle as we start to climb back up that first steep hill again. Hopefully 2nd grade will turn out to be as fantastic an experience as 1st grade was.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Dad

Seeing as how today is Father's Day, I've been sitting here thinking about how lucky I am in the Dad department. When I was a little girl, I believed that my Dad was the strongest, most brave, and smartest man in the world. I knew that if I ever had a problem with homework, my car, stress about life in general , I could also count on my Dad to be there for me. He always knew how to fix things. To me it seemed like he knew everything. One particular memory of my Dad that I wanted to share is from way back when i was probably around 5 or 6 years old. It was Halloween and my family decided to make a trip to the pumpkin patch and pick out our pumpkins for the holiday and check out some of the cool looking displays set up. My brother had his mind set on walking through the "Haunted Bus"...I was a big chicken though and the thought of joining him just made me tense up and brought tears to my eyes. I remember walking along the hay strewn path looking at Halloween displays like Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin. I was holding my Dad's hand as we walked. I remember looking at his giant hand holding onto mine. It felt safe and comforting. It felt strong and warm to my little hand. As we walked along, my Dad was actually swinging his other hand at his side. All of the sudden a bee flew by and stung him in his hand. My Dad simply shook his hand for a second and continued on down the path like nothing had happened. I stood there next to him completely amazed. I knew for certain right then and there that my Dad was amazing. I was beyond impressed that he wasn't standing there crying or holding his stung hand. I remember looking way up at him (my Dad is a big man) with awe and admiration in my eyes. That was the first time in my life that I knew my dad was my hero.
I still believe that my Dad is the strongest, bravest, and smartest man in the world. He may have a few more years under his belt now, but he is still my hero. He makes me feel like I can be a good person. When I talk to him about Emma's diabetes, he makes me feel like he is proud of me for doing a good job. He makes me feel like he really believes that I know what I am doing. He makes me feel like he trusts my judgement and knows in his heart that I will keep his grand daughter as healthy as possible. Because of my Dad, I feel like I am smart enough, brave enough, and strong enough to handle diabetes. For that I will forever be greatful.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Magical pumps and mirror images

In 2 days in will have been a month since we've been pumping insulin. I think back to how things were before that and I can see the changes...the differences are so blatantly's like a smack right in the face. Before pumping I thought that the pump would be this magical thing. I thought that it would solve all of my problems in managing Emma's blood sugars. I thought all I would have to do was get her past the fear of the infusion set needles and we would have smooth sailing from there. I thought that it would control her numbers better than I ever could and it would be the answer to my prayers.
I now know that is really only partially true. I now know that the pump is simply another tool for me in my battle against those numbers. It's not really "against" those numbers I's more in controlling them...making things happen so I can get that magical balance of perfect. I know that will never's a lofty goal, and it will never actually happen, but I still hold on to the idea of it. I hold on to that hope and strive for that goal day in and day out even though I know in the back of my mind that it will never happen. What will I have though if not for that goal? What would I have to hold on to every day as I manage this disease that tries to rule my daughters life? What would I have to strive for? To hope for?
I think that is the one thing that still bothers me the most after these almost three years....the fact that it is never-ending. Diabetes is relentless and beyond my ability to master. The majority of people out there in the big bad world really have no concept of the magnitude of this disease. They think it is just a matter of not eating sugary foods anymore and exercising. They believe that if I check my daughter's blood sugar before she goes to bed and it's a good number, that it will stay that way all night. They don't see the sleepless nights or the worry. They don't understand why I always look so tired. They don't know that I get up in the wee hours of the morning to check on her blood sugar and make sure that everything is in an ok range...just so I can be assured that when I go to wake her up in the morning, that she will actually still be alive. That is probably one of the hardest things for me still. I know in my head that people will never understand unless they live it every day...but in my heart I usually feel so alone in it. I feel different and in a category all by myself.
I read blogs and posts in diabetes groups. I read stories of parents taking their diabetic children swimming or to parties. I read of how they too are dealing with the ignorant masses. I know that they are living mirror images of my own life, so in fact I'm not alone. It's a difficult with diabetes.
I have gained a little comfort though in the fact that we now have the pump. It is not a magical device that has given me leave from my duties as a pancreas. It needs me as much as I need it. We work together to help ensure that Emma gets to lead a "normal" healthy life. So, even though I know my cohort Jumanji (Emma's and I will probably never reach that goal of perfect blood sugar numbers...we will still keep on step at a time.

As a side note, I just wanted to share that last night I finally finished writing my book. Now that I am done, I feel ok about calling it that...a book. It is probably one of the biggest and most important things to me that I have ever accomplished. As the Queen of Procrastination, I never thought I would actually finish it...but I did.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

finding my inner Rocky Balboa

I'm down and out....friggin diabetes is kickin my ass today and I am just about on the verge of tears. I'm stuck in that rut between tears and anger though. I'm so exasperated and upset that Emma's blood sugars have basically been high all day today due to our own error. I'm so ANGRY though because I feel like I am correcting and correcting and banging my head against the wall trying to get them back down without causing a crash into the land of LOW-ville. I guess the one bonus in all of this mess is that she has not developed ketones at all. That's just one teeny tiny little spark of light and good in the day. UGH though!
It all started this morning at breakfast. My husband didn't have to work today, so he decided to make it a special morning and have a "daddy daughter breakfast" at McDonald's and let me sleep in. Her blood sugar was a perfect 5.0 before she ate, he bolused her, they ate, and came home. I haven't been able to show Shawn (my husband) how to do a combo bolus yet, simply because he has been super busy at work...and I myself actually didn't get up enough nerve to attempt a combo bolus until last Friday when she ate pizza. So, needless to say...because of all the fat in McDonald's food...she skyrocketed to a lovely 18.2 later on...awesomesauce. I corrected her in the book store parking lot because we were actually out buying Shawn some Father's Day presents at the time. About an hour later at our next stop, I checked her again and she was 21.9...FAN-FREAKIN-TABULOUS!...I corrected again and we went home. To make a long story short, she was fine come supper time....until I completely under-estimated the carb count on her baked potato....I guessed 25...I couldn't have been more wrong. This caused a 15.2 at bedtime which was once again corrected....and then a 21.1 just about 20 minutes ago which was also corrected. Good gravy. I feel like I have been going rounds with Mike Tyson in the boxing ring or something. Diabetes has really taken it all out of me today.
The icing on the cake was when Emma asked me if I was mad when I saw the 21.1 reading. There's a knife through the heart right there! I took a deep breath, turned to her and smiled, and explained to her that no...I wasn't mad....I wasn't mad at her at all or at her BG...I was mad at myself. I told her that I was mad that I miscalculated the baked potato...and that I never showed Daddy how to combo bolus. I very calmly and gently told her that none of this was her fault...I would never be mad at her for a bad BG number or for anything involving her diabetes. I was simply mad at myself.
So...this day diabetes has tried it's best to break me. It's knocked me down over and over and over again...trying to keep me down for good....but I won't let it...I will never let it as long as I still have air in my lungs and my heart continues to beat. I will win. I will get back up today. I will jump up...start shouting/singing "Eye of the Tiger" at the top of my lungs and channel my inner Rocky. I will knock you the eff out diabetes...and I WILL BEAT YOU...I WILL WIN!!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

It's all about the color of your pancreas

As parents of type 1 diabetic kids we are always out there advocating and attempting to educate people in our lives about diabetes management. We listen to the repeated questions, we hear the misconceptions, we try to set the record straight. We do these things day in and day out sometimes feeling like a broken record honestly. Well, since Emma has been on the pump...I've started to notice how much she is advocating and educating as well. It makes me smile and it makes me sad all at the same time. Emma was diagnosed 2 months before she started junior kindgarten here and she goes to a fairly small school as the kiddos in her class are most likely going to be the same kiddos in her class all through the years (or at least until she gets to high school) because her school goes up to 8th grade. These kids have been around Emma and witnessed her finger pokes, needles, low blood sugars, and all of the extra times her Mommy has to come in to help out with things. They have seen it all. They worried about her when she missed school for 4 days because she was in the hospital with a nasty stomach virus. They celebrate her victories with her (i.e. getting the pump!). They go above and beyond to help her fundraise for JDRF and would like for her to be cured probably about as much as she would like it! They are a good group of kids and I am so greatful that they take it all in stride and do not judge her or single her out or do anything to make her feel "different" or "weird".
With all of that being said, I thought I would share a couple of things Emma has come home from school and told me about regarding other kids and her diabetes. She came home the one afternoon and had a disgruntled look on her face. I asked her what was wrong and she explained to me in a very exasperated tone of voice..."Mommy...(so and so) at school told me that the reason why I have to wear my pump is because I have diabetes and that means that I have problems DIGESTING my food! I told her she was wrong...I told her it's because my pancreas doesn't work anymore and it doesn't make insulin anymore...but I CAN SO digest food!!" lolol I had to hold back my giggles at that one...she was so angry and yet for some reason I found it adorable that she was so adament about it and defending herself and what she knew was right. Another occasion I got to hear an entire conversation between Emma and two boys in her class. One boy said to the other boy that "everyone has a pump in their bodies...but some people like Emma have to have theirs on the outside cause the one on the inside doesn't work anymore." The other boy replied with "everyone doesn't have a PUMP in their bodies ya goof! Everyone has a PANCREAS and Emma's just doesn't work!" Then they started talking about how they wondered what color their pancreas' were and how it wasn't fair that Emma got to choose the color of her pancreas (it's a pink Animas ping!)...they wished they could pick their pancreas color too! It was hilarious! I learned a big lesson that day...for 7 year old kids, it's not really about the fact that Emma has diabetes and has to wear a's more about the color and how cool it looks...:o)
And one final story, one of those same boys walked up to me one day and told me very proudly that he had to help Emma untangle herself from her pump tubing the other day and he was very careful about it. Apparently my kid was hanging upside from the monkey bars and when she flipped over off of them, her arm got caught up in the tubing and she couldn't get it this boy came to the rescue. I told him that he did a great job and I thanked him for helping Emma out...what a good kid.
So all in all, I love that Emma is helping set the record straight for the next generation. I love that her peers are so accepting of her and so supportive of her. It gives me great hope for the future of our society. Being there for others and helping them out is definitely a lesson that the majority of adults in this world could learn from this group of 7 year old kids.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Edible flower advice from a 7 year old??

It was beyond hot today...but I'm not complaining...i hate the winter, the snow, and the cold weather. (I know what you're thinking...and you live in Canada, Amy? Really? yea...I never claimed to be the sharpest tool in the shed! lolol) Emma and I decided to BBQ dinner tonight and eat out on the deck in the gazebo. I always giggle at that word...gazebo...for some reason it makes me think of some hoity-toity snooty person named Muffy or Francis or something like that. 'Ahhh yes...let's dine in the gazebo this evening Muffy. You musn't forget to wear your good pearls either. I'm off to get a shvitz and shall return by worries dear, I shan't be late!'.....anyhoo......we ate our dinner and Emma decided that she wanted to take a walk to the store to grab a new notebook of paper and maybe get a treat. Who am I to argue with that? It was a reasonable request and the temperature seemed to be dropping slightly with the sun off we went.
There is a small field around the corner from our street on the way to the store and Emma loves stopping to pick wildflowers anytime we walk by. So, I carried on walking and got a short bit ahead of her as she was crouched down listening for crickets and picking the perfect bouquet of flowers for me. I think that is going to be one of the things I will miss the most when she is older...I love when she comes in from playing outside and hands me a big bunch of flowers, dandelions, grass, or whatever. I think it's cute how she looks up at me with her hand thrust out...big huge grin plastered on her face, dirt all over her hands, some of the flowers still have the roots attached to them from being yanked out of the ground so hard by my sweet girl. I love it. Anyway, she caught up to me and handed some over and I noticed that she kept a couple for herself. We kept walking and I heard her a few steps behind me saying "Mmmmm...not bad!".....ummm....what? I turned around and saw her with a flower stem hanging out of her mouth and chewing away on the actual flower itself! Good gravy my kid is crazy! I must have had an odd shocked look on my face, because she immediately blurted out that some of the kids at school told her that this particular flower she was now digesting was ok to eat and that it tasted really good! was so much easier before she was in school hearing random off the wall suggestions from other kids...lolol! She proceeded to tell me that it was good and it in fact tasted like broccoli...apparently that makes it ok...because it tastes like something that I am always telling her is good for her. Sheesh! Needless to say I made her spit it out and promise not to eat anymore random plants growing anywhere...even if her 7 year old friends tell her it's ok. She promised and a few minutes went by and she stopped dead in her tracks with a panicked look on her face and shouted, "MOMMY! I don't know how many carbs was in that flower and I didn't enter it in my pump!!!" That is most definitely without a doubt the funniest thing I have heard all day. What a kid.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mad Max, Tina Turner, and Flo

It's nice to know that I can always count on my good buddy Flo when I need her to take over. She's always kinda lurking around there on my shoulder..just hanging out...watching me do most of the work while she sits back in her lazy boy recliner eating a bowl of fruit loops and reading the latest issue of Crazy Lady Digest. Whenever the stresses pile up to capacity for me and I need some help...she is right there to step in. For example.....
This afternoon was our 3 month clinic appointment. Joy oh joys! Definitely not one of my most favorite places to be on the planet...but we have to I slap a cheesy grin on my face for Emma and off we go. My husband is working a different shift this week and needed the car, so he drove me to pick up Emma at school and then drop us both off at the hospital. We walked in and took our usual spots in the waiting room. Emma sat there coloring and trying to play some sort of I Spy game. I sat there staring at the same old posters and paintings that I have stared at once every three months for the past three years. Another Mom and kid sat across from me while we waited...I gave the obligatory smile and nod that we all do when forced to sit in close proximity with strangers. I sat there and couldn't shake the feeling that someone was staring at me...not just that little glance kind of stare was a full blown assault of the eyes really. I could "feel" the other Mom staring away and it was driving me nuts. I'm ok with starting up a conversation with people to pass the time...but if they are just gonna sit there and stare at me like I'm some sort of monkey in the zoo swinging from my tail....then I'm not really in the mood to introduce myself and find out anything about them.
So...instead...crazy Flo decided to take the wheel for a while and came up with the idea to stare back...however, not stare directly back at this other Mom...just stare slightly off to the side of her head....and see how long until she reacts. Yep....that was my entertainment for the afternoon.
Blah blah went just like it always does. We left and had to phone a cab to bring us home seeing as how my husband had the car at work. Well, we hop in the cab and are on the way home when all of the sudden I hear a strange beeping noise EmmaNating (heeheehee...i love using that now) from my daughter's belly. At first I thought I was hearing things and just decided to ignore it. I mean seriously...there are so many devices we have in our lives that beep or ring or play a little tune at's kinda hard to keep track sometimes. Well, minutes later Emma's belly started beeping again! She noticed it too this time and took her pump out of her pouch to look at it and informed me that the battery was low. we are in a cab still quite far from home...and I remembered reading that once that alarm goes off, I only have 30 min. to change the battery. It was a race against the clock...crazy cabbie guy at the helm steering us through rush hour traffic with the skillz (yes...i spelled that with a "z" on I mapped out my plan of action ahead of time...go in house, put numbing cream on Emma's belly (because it was also site change day today!), flip open my Animas book and learn how to change a battery, start dinner, wash of numbing cream, change battery, change site, finish dinner, Ka-POW! Done....done....and done! We did it. Flo had us giggling the whole time with her color commentary. (by the way...i hope everyone knows that I seriously do not have multiple personalities...lolol...i joke about's all in fun) Saying things like "Time's running out folks! Can she do it? Will she get the new battery in there on time? Or will she have to do the walk of shame?" and singing tunes like "We don't need another herooooo! We don't need to know the waaaay hooooommme! blah blah blah blah blah blah...the THUNDERDOME!" lolol...apparantly managing multiple diabetes/pump related tasks at once is done best while channeling my inner Tina Turner and singing songs from "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" or whatever that movie was called....
Most days I feel like I don't know what the hell I am doing. Most days I feel out of control and lost.
Not today.
Today I kicked some diabetes ass.
I won today.

Almost drowning and sinking pumps

I'm going to start this post by stating that Emma has not ever taken swimming lessons. Not because I don't want her to...or because I have some sort of aversion to wanting my kid know how to swim...simply because she can't get past the whole "not wanting to get her face wet" thing. She LOVES the water. She LOVES swimming. She just greatly dislikes getting her face wet for some reason.
So, anyway..after school Emma and another friend were invited to go swimming at yet another friend's house. We walked home, got our suits on, and headed up the street to the house. I sat down at the side of the pool with the other Mom and the three kids jumped right in and were splashing about having fun. The other two kids were more experienced swimmers and so they were totally comfortable with going in the deep end. I told Emma that she wasn't allowed over there...I didn't want her to go past the line  of the shallow end unless I was in the pool with her. She agreed and promised me that all was well. She gave me the usual eye roll and look of "Geez Mommy...I'm not a baby anymore!" I, as usual, pretended that I didn't see it and continued enjoying the sunshine. Well, after about 30 minutes I noticed that Emma was inching closer to that deep end line. The kids had been using foam kickboards to play with in the water and I saw that the one Emma had been using seemed to have gotten away from her...and she was following after it...right for the deep end. Instantly my Mommy radar began blaring and I could feel my Mommy senses tingling. I saw her go under...all I could see was the top of her head bobbing up and down. As I leaped up to jump in after her, I was mentally willing her to bob back up and reach her hand up and grab the edge of the pool. She didn't. I flew over the side of the pool...with my clothes on. I practically landed on her because I jumped so far in the pool. I grabbed ahold of her and pulled her up to the surface. She was crying uncontrollably and choking. I set her on the edge of the pool and she instantly let out 3 loud long burps which caused her and her worried friends to laugh like lunatics...I asked her if she was ok...through her choked giggles she managed to answer yes...and it was over just like that. She was fine...jumped right back in the water and began playing with her friends again. I swam to the edge by the stairs and sat there. My heart was still racing, my Mommy senses were on overload and I was trying to calm them down and resume breathing like a normal person again.
Did I forget to mention that this was our first experience of swimming with the pump? yep. This was our first time testing out the whole waterproof-ness of her pump and our first time of trial and error with blood sugars while having the activity of swimming out in the hot sun. yep. I know I've mentioned this before, but I am continuously amazed at how I never seem to be able to do things easy. I always have to pile on a multitude of blood sugar jazzer uppers and activities all at once. Hot sun? Sure...bring it on. Swimming with the pump? Why not?...let's DO THIS! Near drowning and giving Mommy a heart attack as she sees the top of her baby's head bobbing up and down under water? YES PLEASE! major UGH-ness
When Emma was a baby I was paranoid that she would stop breathing in her sleep...I thought that she would become ill and I wouldn't know what to do. When she was diagnosed with diabetes, I was honestly flabbergasted that the hospital staff thought I was smart enough to bring her home and keep her alive. Now, adding all of the other day to day accidents and possibilities for's a wonder she's still alive really. In any case, we survived....we lived to tell the tale once again...the clock keeps ticking away and the world keeps turning. I guess my Mommy skills and cat like reflexes are better than I thought they were.
About 20 minutes after the near drowning, Emma came up to me with the sweetest smile on her face and blinking her big brown long eyelashed eyes at me and said "thanks for saving me before, Mommy."
We also learned that the pump does not in fact's a sinker. I love the Ping. It is definitely my most favorite of tools by far.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Beautiful Day for a Walk

Today was our Diabetes Walk for a was our 3rd time walking, and it was a beautiful day to say the least. Seeing as how Emma is this years JDRF Youth Ambassador, she got to be a little more involved in things than in previous years. After registering and handing in all of the money we raised (a grand total of $1960 this year! Woohoo!), we made our way out into the crowd to check out all of the booths and say hi to everyone that we know. I looked out across the open field and saw a sea of colorful t-shirts. There were groups of orange, blue, black, green. Friends and family...neighbours or strangers...we were all there together. It was like a little community of people all striving for that one common goal...a cure. For some reason whenever I am at events like this, I always find myself seeking out other Mom's in the crowd. I always seem to search for them and try to catch a glimpse in their eyes...maybe I am looking for that same-same feeling...maybe I am searching for that spark...that same spark I feel in myself. I find it fascinating really to know that I am standing in the middle of a crowded field and there is not one single solitary person there who does not know what we go through on a daily basis. The majority of the time when I am out there in the great big world, I tend to feel alone...I feel different...I feel like there is really  no possible way at all that I would be able to connect on such a deep level with another person as I do when I am around people in my D-family. It makes my heart feel full. It makes me feel like I belong. It makes me feel hopeful. It makes me feel strong. I caught a few moments here and there with other Mom's that I am most close to..Janet, Michelle M, Michelle B, and Nicola...I actually got to walk the entire route with one of the most wonderful, caring, and hilarious women I have ever met..Nadine. There were a few in our close group that I missed and dian't wind up running in to which was a little disappointing to me. Those moments that I spent with those women though, it was felt like "coming home" felt safe and comforting and familiar. I hope all of those women know how much they mean to me...I hope they know that they help me get through some of the most difficult times in my life. I hope they know that I would do anything for them. I hope they understand how important they all are to me. They are my family and I really do love them all.
At the beginning of the route, Emma actually got to cut the ribbon at the starting line. I stood there behind her watching her surrounded by all of the JDRF event people. I instantly got tears in my eyes and my heart felt like it was in my throat. I saw her standing there with the scissors in her hands waiting for the cue to cut...the sun shining down on her sparkling off her hair...she looked like an angel to me...a beautiful, strong, innocent angel. She cut the ribbon signaling the start of the walk and came running back to me with a huge smile on her face. As we walked, I talked with Nadine and looked at all of the people around us. I felt proud...proud to be a part of such an amazing group of people, proud to be walking...step by step symbolically bringing us that much closer to a cure for this horrible disease. I felt happiness and strength. I felt greatful to be walking side by side with all of these individuals who have all done their part to help raise money for a cure for not only their loved ones...but for my Emma as well. I also felt a huge heaviness in my indescribable sadness. This was our 3rd time walking...our 3rd time doing our part to help...our 3rd time being involved and teaching Emma that it's better to stand up and shout at the top of your lungs what you believe and what you want to happen...instead of sitting idly by and hoping someone else will take care of it for you. I was sad...sad that another year has passed...sad that there is still no cure...sad that all of these people walking beside me still have to fight every day against the beast that is diabetes...sad at the looming darkness hanging over our heads trying to block out the beautiful sun and extinguish our hope for a cure...sad that it sometimes feels like no matter how many steps we take...that cure might never be within arms might always be just around the corner..taunting us...driving the heart of this Mommy to the brink of insanity on what sometimes feels like a daily basis.
So, instead of letting the darkness take me over...instead of allowing the beast to win this round...instead of letting my spark and hope be extinguished, I made a conscious decision once again to just enjoy the day...enjoy the friends, the family, the hope, the sun, and the strength EMMAnating (lolol..ya like that one?) from all of us.
Here's to hoping that this will be our final Walk...our final journey...our final gathering...because that cure really is just around the next corner waiting for me to round the bend and take a flying leap at it and grab hold with everything I've got.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

D-Mom Army

Yesterday I spent most of my day waiting in line. It was definitely not one of my more favorite activities to be doing. I had to go to a mass registration at Emma's gymnastics club. They do this once a year to give people who aren't current members the opportunity to join and sign up for classes. Which means that everyone and their brother's cousin's neighbor is standing out there in line trying to secure their desired spot in the class their kid wants. Well, I dropped Emma off and school and made my way over to the club feeling pretty confident that it wouldn't be that busy seeing as how it was a Wednesday morning and most people should have been at work. So, I turned the corner only to be bombarded with the sight of a lineup of cars and people worthy of rivaling a Greatful Dead concert lineup. Not impressed. I heaved a huge sigh of despair and parked the car and made my way to the back of the line. Some teenage boy coach walked up to me and gave me a number and a registration form to fill out....I was number 186...not good. For the next 2 1/2 hours I stood in line outside of the building shuffling along at the sloooowest pace possible without actually moving backwards. I forgot to grab a coffee, I hadn't showered yet, I was still half asleep, and I had nothing in the way of entertaining myself while I waited with the rest of the pathetic parents out there.
As usual, when I am bored and trying to find ways to pass the mind tends to wander. I stood there thinking about how happy I was that Emma wasn't standing there with me because waiting in long lines with a 7 year old is never fun, I had nothing in the way of snackage on me, and boredom and long lines tend to mess with her blood sugars. I thought about all of the things that I could've been doing at that point and all of the things I would have much rather been doing instead. In any case, time kept on ticking away as it always does...and I eventually made it inside the building. I handed in my registration form and secured our spot for her class. I made my way to the payment line.
While standing there I happened to glance over across the room and instantly recognized a woman standing all by herself. I knew her through JDRF. I knew her son has diabetes. I knew her face and I could not for the life of me remember her name! This is a common occurance for me these days with my lack of sleep, so I simply waved and when she waved back I said like the moron that I am, "I know you from JDRF, right?" She said yes and asked me how my daughter was. It was probably no longer than a 10 minute conversation.
I left there that day though feeling pretty amazed and completely forgetting about my irritation at having to stand in such a long line. I found it interesting and really special that there I was standing in a crowded room and my eyes zoned in on a woman who for all intents and purposes lives a life very similar to my own. She deals with the same things I do on a daily basis. She knows the terminology. She knows the drill. She "gets it". Same-same. It made me realize that I need to stop living in my own little neck of the woods so much. I need to realize that we are out there...we are everywhere...we are like a D-Mom army of sorts...battling it out every single day no matter what happens or how we feel or what needs to get done. We all have a common keep our kids as healthy as possible for when that cure is found. We all do it for the same reason...because we love our kids more than anything in the world.
I wonder if she left there that day feeling that same warmth and same-same feeling that I had. Diabetes is a horrible thing to say the least...but I am truly honoured and greatful to be a part of the D-Mom army.