Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Stranger and a friend

The world in which we live is full of so many things...such extreme emotions...such extreme desires, wants, overwhelming needs. The world in which we live is so full of hope...and promise...and compassion. There are some things that occur that completely knock me off my feet. The depth with which a single human being can manage to affect someone...or countless numbers of "someones"'s just incredible to me. The beauty that lies within all of us can sometimes take my breath away.
I go about my day doing my usual things...taking care of Emma, attempting to be the best pancreas I can be for her, being there for my friends, my husband, my family. Without a doubt there are things that occur that upset me, anger me, or even sometimes make me feel like I could just throw my hands up in the air and admit defeat. Diabetes is hard. It's a never-ending. It takes everything from you. It forces you to become so in tune with each individual situation, each individual moment, each individual reaction that each individual body shows based on all of these individual things. It boggles my mind sometimes how I am able to get out of bed in the morning and function like a normal human being.
Sometimes I feel sorry for myself...sorry for my daughter. Sometimes I feel jealous of others. Sometimes I feel like this life is too hard and too unfair and if I think about it too hard or too much I slip over into that valley of depression and sit there and cry.
Then I read about other things that people in this world are having to deal with in this moment. Things that I believe would send me spiraling out of control into a fit of tears, rage, and panic. Things that happen to good people...people who are honest and caring and kind. People that are giving and grounded and speak from their heart. People who would be there for you in an instant if you needed them. People who would offer up their shoulder in an instant for you to rest your weary head and not think twice about the tears that are falling from your eyes wetting their sleeve. These horrific situations...scary terrifying mind numbing situations that happen to these good people. People whom I have never met...never spoken to...never even heard the sound of their voice. To say my heart aches for them would be an immense understatement. I read about their days and I find myself sitting here with tears in my eyes. Tears over the unfairness...the truly honest unfairness placed upon their shoulders, but also tears over their display of strength...their declaration of love...the immense power of their hope. It makes my heart swell to know that their are human beings like that out there in the world. It makes the tears fall from my eyes to know that these special souls are parents...they are shouldering this burden together...they are showing these children that the only thing that matters in this life is love....the love you have for each other...the love you show to others...compassion and is an amazing thing.
You have made me realize once again that our moments together on this Earth are fleeting and I can choose to make those moments I am blessed with as powerful, meaningful, loving, and kind. As much as I hate this disease and as much as I let it get to me and become physically and emotionally overwhelming, there is no comparison. Whether you know it or not, even in one of your most frightening are are are making a difference. There are no words available to explain how much I wish and hope and pray for this nightmare of yours to end. You don't know me and I don't know you....but please in this moment know that I am standing right there beside you, holding your hand, lending you my shoulder, and praying for your enormous worries to be gone so that your heart can be light again.

Monday, February 27, 2012

15 minutes

Phone rings on the first morning back to school after dealing with the tummy bug that just kept on giving. My heart begins to pound as soon as I see the school's number on the caller ID. Emma's teacher tells me in an eerily calm voice that Emma just tested herself at snack time and was 3.3 so they gave her an extra snack. I told her to tell Emma not to bolus for any of it and call me back in 15 minutes. I sit on the couch shaking uncontrollably. My mouth is dry...tongue sticking to the roof of it and feeling ten sizes too big for my mouth. My hands are freezing and sweating all at the same time. Crazed thoughts race through my mind as I watch the hands on the clock hanging above the pantry door in the kitchen...the only non-digital clock in the entire house. I am reminded of all the other times in my life that I have stared at the seconds hand on a similar clock slowly drag it's way around in a circle indicating a mere minute of time has passed. All of the times when I was younger, sitting in class, listening to a boring educational film...or a boring teacher speak of algebraic equations. I sat staring at that clock...willing it to move faster...make time speed by so I could get out of there and move on to something more interesting. All of the times I have stared at that clock in the kitchen waiting for 15 minutes to pass by so I could retest Emma and make sure the juice I gave her was working and that she was no longer low. Stuck in the low BG Mommy/Emma bubble of time. Nothing else matters, nothing else is significant or important...I merely wait...wait for those seconds to pass by in their wretchedly slow fashion. So, there I sit on the couch cell phone in one phone in the other...afraid to move...frozen in my own own personal hell. Emma is not within arms reach...she is off at the care of other full faith is supposed to be in their her hands. I sit there frozen..staring at the clock...and the phones in my shaking hands...praying that she will come up.
Phone rings again...15 minutes of hell have passed. Her teacher informs me that she is now 2.9. She has eaten roughly 40 carbs and not bolused for any of them and her BG has dropped even further. Warning sirens are blaring in my eyes instantly begin to burn and water. In a voice that is oddly calm and in control, I ask the teacher if she has given Emma another snack...which she has. Emma gets on the phone and I instruct her how to suspend her pump...stop all insulin from going into her body. Her little voice sounds so far away to she is really in another country halfway around the world...breathless...annoyed...irritated that she is having to take time out of her day to talk to her Mom. The pump is suspended and the teacher gets back on the phone. She too sounds oddly calm still. I wonder if we both are simply trying to calm the other...fool each other into thinking that we have this under control. I wonder if Emma knows how scared I am. I wonder if she is scared herself and just trying to make me feel better by not showing it. The teacher tells me she will check Emma again in another 15 minutes and call me with a number.
I hang up the phone and begin my ritual again. Watching the damn clock...shaking hands, pounding heart, having trouble breathing, praying, fear. I wonder how many times over the years I have endured this ritual...either alone...or with Emma. I wonder how many more times I will have to endure it. I wonder if there will ever come a time where any of those crazed thoughts that run through my mind will actually come true? I wonder if it will ever end. Will the ride ever stop? Will we ever be able to get off this roller coaster of extreme emotions? Will it ever end? If not, how can I ever expect her to be able to handle and endure this ritual all on her own when she is grown? How will I ever sleep again knowing she is out there on her own enduring such horrific feelings in 15 minute increments...all by herself? Will i awaken in the middle of the night...for no other apparent reason...heart racing...and just sit there staring at the clock...reaching for the old familiar phones to call her and make sure she is make sure she is not sitting there scared...waiting for her BG to come up...alone?
Phone rings again to signify the end of another 15 minutes passing. She is 5.9. Finally. We survived this 15 minute hell bubble once again.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Are you the Roadrunner or the Coyote?

So I came to the realization today while I was watching "Loony Tunes" with Emma...there are two kinds of people in this world. Two ways that we can choose to perceive things. Two ways that we can choose to live our lives. Either like The Roadrunner....or Wile E. Coyote. We can keep moving forward, a smile upon our face, feeling the wind in our hair as we fly along our path just like The Roadrunner.....or we can put all of our focus into the negative...seeking to catch that thing in our life that is causing us turmoil. While spending all of our energy on that revenge and that hatred...we miss out on all of the good things along the way.
I would have to say that since diabetes came into our lives I have struggled with that battle. Sure some days I am able to move ahead smiling...enjoying the days...holding my head up and plowing through life with positivity leading me. Most definitely though there are days where I am the Coyote. When I am in the midst of trying to decipher out of control blood sugar numbers, or when I am jealous of those that have no idea what a diabetic life entails, or when I am sitting up in the wee hours of the morning trying to think of ways to keep myself awake so I can make sure that low blood sugar is coming up before I finally let sleep overtake my poor exhausted mind. I let that anger and that jealousy seep into my thoughts and poison everything else around me...the sun shining down upon my face, the flowers blooming, how calm and quiet and peaceful the mornings are after it has snowed all night....everything twinkling and sparkling making the world look like a fairy tale. I let that anger at this disease muddy my thoughts and sort of put blinders on so I wind up missing all of the good things.
Even though the tummy bug Emma had been dealing with is now pretty much gone from the house, she was still complaining of tummy pains every now and again today. Because of diabetes, my mind moves directly to the worst case scenario....I worry about ketones, celiac, whatever...even though I know that it is probably just her stomach trying to get back to normal and it isn't able to quite handle regular foods full out yet...I mean today really is only day 3 of the illness. But for some reason I let those "Coyote" thoughts slip into my mind and I get angry. I let that angry spirit take over and I lose sight of the good things.
I think that is probably a constant battle for most anyone in life. It's impossible to be positive or happy all of the time....just as it would be extremely difficult to be negative and angry all of the time. Somehow though I believe that when diabetes or any other health issue that is with us on a daily basis is thrown into the seems like those Roadrunner and Coyote days are more extreme. It is definitely the extremes that go along with this disease that are hard. Extreme highs and lows...extreme situations...extreme battles for a healthy kid....extremes are hard. Here's to hoping this week I can get back to feeling like the Roadrunner.
p.s.   also was a little disturbed and grossed out to see Porky Pig eating a club sandwich on today's

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tummy bug extravaganza

It's kind of crazy how illnesses affect our lives. A simple cold can play such havoc on blood sugars. An ear infection can cause out of control ketones and send us straight to the emergency room trying to get them under control before ketoacidosis occurs. Headaches can have us giving extra corrrections until our fingers are tired from pushing the buttons on the insulin pump. However there is one particular illness that strikes fear into the hearts of every single parent of a diabetic....the tummy bug. When a diabetic child is sick vomiting or with diarrhea, they are unable to keep any food down...let alone any fluids to prevent them from getting dehydrated. The lack of food on top of everything can and will send their blood sugar plummeting to the dangerously low levels...flirting with passing out...seizures...coma...death. The illness in itself causes them to have ketones. The only way to get rid of ketones is to get food into them to be able to give them extra insulin...and force them to drink water to try and help flush them out. I have written about the ketone party before actually and I like to describe it as trying to juggle a chainsaw and a feather....sure it is "possible" for some to do....but it is beyond are always walking a fine line between causing even lower blood sugars...or causing them to go into diabetic ketoacidosis. It's madness...I don't know how D-parents do it year after year, illness after illness...and still come out on the other end sane...with a healthy child again.
For the past couple of days Emma has been fighting a tummy bug. We juggled, we fought, I barely slept, we camped out on the living room floor and I kept vigil over her sleeping weak and ill body...wrapped in a cocoon of danger. She was chalky pale, quiet, lethargic, and battling nausea like the prize fighter she is. I am in awe of her strength really. Throughout it all she helped me. She told me how she felt, what was hurting, what she needed. She was on the team with me...fighting this...and we won. We came out on the other side today. She awoke this morning with a smile on her face, pink cheeks, and asking for something to eat. She chattered all day long seeming to make up for all the words missed over the past two days. She ran around the living room chasing the cat and playing with a balloon. She danced, she asked a million questions, she colored, she played....and she ate...and kept everything down. Sure we had one low BG and a couple of highs tonight...but we fixed them...we are falling back into place...rejoining the land of the healthy and getting dressed instead of spending hours on end in our jammies.
After all is said and done, I have learned one thing in particular that I hope will stick in my brain from now on as opposed to slipping away with time. I have realized that I need to not get frustrated with the endless questions...the endless chatter...the boundless energy...the constant go go go. I need to remember that in the depths of the tummy bug times...the wee hours of the morning when I am sitting there beyond exhausted...watching her little sleeping body to make sure she is still breathing...praying for the illness to leave...the vomiting to stop...the ketones to disappear...the frightening lows to end....I need to remember that in a heart beat I would take the healthy days...the happy days...the busy days full of chatter. I would take them over seeing her unwell any day.
Happy to be back to normal and lesson learned.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pancakes and wondering how you would feel?

Seeing as how today is Mardi Gras....and pancake Tuesday for many people...including Emma's school, I thought I would share our experiences with it. I think I must have been deprived or left in the dark, because I have no memories at all of growing up with a pancake day or any sort of Mardi Gras celebration at school. Anyway, I think I have lucked out because Emma is actually not a big fan of she didn't want to partake in any at school this morning. Bing Bang worries about guessing carb counts or having her bolus for it...nothing! She isn't really an extremely picky child when it comes to food...but there are definitely some things that she flat out refuses to eat...pancakes are one of them.
Well, when I picked Emma up at lunch time to bring her home to eat like usual...she shared a little story with me about their pancake time. As we walked along our usual path, she began by saying how boooored she was sitting there watching everyone eat...waiting for them to be finished...just sitting there talking with some friends. She said that a very nice woman came around to the table to ask her if she wanted any pancakes. At this point Emma goes into her best southern accent (apparently the woman was from the deep south based on Emma's and tells me that they woman said, "Would ya like some pancakes hun?" Emma told her no thank you and the woman went on about the rest of the table. A little while later she came back up to Emma and said, "Aww are ya SURE hun? Can't I get ya some pancakes?" and Emma said no thank you once again. Well, I guess this woman felt like Emma was just being polite or something and pushed it once again. Emma then told her that no she did not want any pancakes because she's diabetic and she can't. Hmmmmm....hearing her retell this part of the story was kind of like a punch to the gut for me. I have always made it clear to Emma that food is never the issue...she can eat absolutely anything she wants to eat...because that is what our doctor and our diabetes team has told us from the beginning. (I know other places do not handle things this way...but ours does) So, based on kind of threw me off to hear those words come from her mouth. I have made it one of my top priorities to make her see that diabetes can not and will not hold her back or prevent her from participating in things and enjoying the exact same things as her friends. I think it's important.
I think Emma must have sensed my surprise at her statement to this woman because she looked up at me with an annoyed look in her eyes and said, "I KNOW MOMMY, I KNOW I can eat anything I want....I just didn't want to have to explain it to this lady...she kept bugging me and asking me and I just wanted her to that was the only way I could do it."
I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand I am proud of her for standing up for herself in her own round about way. On the other hand I am not so happy that she took the easy way out and used her diabetes as an excuse...and in turn further perpetuated the ignorance that is out there in the world about type 1 diabetes. On the other hand (wait...I don't have three hands , do i?! Oh well...stay with me on this one) I feel bad for not being happy with the option she took to get this lady to stop asking...I mean she is JUST a kid...she shouldn't have to sit there and explain and educate adults about her diabetes.
So, I am left feeling a little torn...a little confuzzled about it all. Curious as to how you all would feel about a scenario like this too?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sends chills down my spine

There are really few things in this world that will send chills down my spine anymore. I don't scare easily. I have seen too many things and had to endure too many things in my 35 years that have caused me to sort of build up this wall of safety around me. I have always been a risk taker. I tend to follow my heart as opposed to my head...which doesn't always turn out to be a good thing...but it's who I am.
However, since diabetes has come into our lives, I've realized that there are a few phrases that send me into a pure state of panic. One of them being "Mommy! I think I'm LOW!" As soon as I hear those words fall from Emma's lips, my heart begins to pound, my hands begin to shake, a sweat breaks out on my forehead...and yet at the same time my blood seems to turn to ice coursing through my body...numbing everything. Panic. Fear. Worry. Anger. Stress. Wondering if this time will be THE time. The time that I have to use the emergency glucagon shot. The time that I won't be lucky and I won't be able to get that low blood sugar to come back up. The time that she will pass out and have a seizure in front of my arms. I wonder if this time will be the time that I will hear her shout that phrase from her bedroom and I will race up the stairs with the blood sugar meter in my shaking hands and open the door to find her convulsing in her bed...eyes rolled back in her head...flailing about...seizing...or worse yet....unconscious....limp...her tiny 8 year old body motionless...lifeless...gone. I wonder these things everytime I hear that phrase come out of her mouth and it terrifies me.
It's really shocking to me that I don't read about more D-parents having heart attacks. With the amount of panic...the amount of immediate stress in those situations...the overwhelmingly pure feeling of fear. The things it must do to our insides....I am really surprised.
Yet, we soldier on...we keep hearing those phrases...we keep fixing the lows...we keep racing up those stairs and giving them life saving juice. We keep staying up all night. We keep checking blood sugars. We keep going...on and on and on like the Energizer bunny. We do it...and we all will continue to do it because we love our kids. It's an amazing thing if you think about it...the weight we carry around every day...and yet we still are able to smile, laugh, have fun with our kids, make them happy. It's pretty incredible in my opinion.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Another milestone reached tonight

There are many significant moments in a child's life that we as parents will always remember. Moments that stick out and are forever etched in our minds. The first steps...first words...first birthday...first day of school...when they learn how to ride a bike...first crush. It is as old as time and the circle will continue onward from our parents to us to our kids to our grandkids and so on. We celebrate these milestones. We reflect on past moments and past achievements as each new one arrives.
When Emma was diagnosed, I never really would have thought of any milestones occuring that would have made me stop and proud...and sad...and reflective all at the same time. I never would have thought that I would have included these diabetic milestones in my album of memories that I hold near to my heart....but I do. The first time Emma gave herself an injection when she was still on pen needles. The first time she checked her own blood sugar. The first day of school that she handled snack times on her own. The first fundraiser idea that she had. The first severe low...and the first crazy high. The first time she was hospitalized because of a nasty stomach virus. The first time she recognized a low on her own and told me about it. The time that she decided she was ready to go on an insulin pump. The first infusion site she had put in....fighting through her tears and crippling fear...letting her brave spirit take over. Day 1 of pumping..seeing her walk around proudly wearing this new device that would make her life so much easier. The first time she bolused herself before eating. The first time she showed interest in learning how to do a site change...and learning how to make basal changes and insulin to carb ratio changes all on her own.
It's been nearly 4 years now for us and I can honestly say that we have been through a lot...some bad...but definitely a whole lot that is good. Well, today I was able to add one more more milestone to my list for her. I was sitting on the couch helping her work on one of those little loom things that they sell for kids that you can make a pot holder out of. LOVE those things by the way! I have to giggle because I very vividly remember having my own and making a pot holder for my own 2nd grade teacher...being very proud of it and loving the smile on my teachers face when I gave it to her. Anyway, I was busy trying to finish it off for her and she stood up and walked into the kitchen without a word. I thought that she was just going to throw something away or grab a water or something....until I heard the familiar beep of the blood sugar meter. I asked her if she was low. She said that yes she felt low and was just going to check to make sure. My heart sank...........for a number of reasons. First one being the fact that she was in fact low. Second one being that she had taken it upon herself to go and check...instead of the usual thing of telling me she felt low and me being the one to go get the meter and check. It made me feel extremely proud of her...proud that she is recognizing lows more often, proud that she is confident enough to just go check for herself, proud that she is growing up and taking charge of her diabetes and managing it to the best of her 8 year old ability, proud....I was simply proud of her. For as much pride as I felt though...I also felt a deep painful sadness. I was sad that I was witnessing first hand once again how diabetes has forced her to mature way faster than your average 8 year old. I was sad that this is even considered an accomplishment in my eyes. Sad that this would be something to make me proud. Sad that I now had another milestone to record under the diabetes section of my mind.
So, we accept it and keep moving....realize that she is growing up...there's still not a cure...this is part of her life...and she is taking control of it and showing independance as each year passes us by. That is an impressive thing and I think I will try to shove the sadness down about it and just focus on the pride for now.

What it's like at 3:00am for a D-Mom

So I reached that point last night....well, technically this around 3:00am. I had the ugly cry going on in full force. Emma's numbers have been crazy the past couple of days because she was getting sick. She woke up today with a sore tummy and dark circles under her eyes and an insanely high blood sugar number greated me on the meter. Good times. UGH. Anyway, back to last night...Well, I made the ASSumption that I should give her a correction bolus of insulin while she slept because she had climbed quite a bit since her bedtime snack number. As always with any night time corrections, I never give her a full bolus...I always halve it just to be on the safe side seeing as how she is sleeping and doesn't always wake up for low blood sugars. Well, that split second ASSUmption and decision caused low after low after low all night long. I had to give her roughly 50 carbs and do a temp basal just to keep her above 3.9. It was awful. I was afraid to go to fact I was afraid to even lay down on the couch because I knew that my body and my brain would betray me and I would wind up falling asleep (or D-Mom diabetic induced narcolepsy as I like to call it!) and wake up with a mini heart attack at 4:00am wondering where I was and what her blood sugar was and just in a pure state of panic. I hate that feeling...heart pounding with fear, trying to shake off the sleepy head feeling and bolt to the kitchen to get her meter and run upstairs to check her...make sure she's still alive. I hate it. It's probably one of the worst feelings a D-parent has to deal with. We fight the battle with sleep all the time...and we are human...we don't always win the fight...sleep takes us and we drift away into the land of zzzzz's...oblivious to what very well could be occuring in our child's body at that point. It's sort of like the same feeling as someone creeping into your room...or next to the couch...silently slipping in..avoiding all of the creaks in the floor..holding their breath..silent...sneaking up on you...holding a bullhorn right up to your ear and all of the sudden shouting into it "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Your heart leaps up into your throat racing uncontrollably..your hands begin to hurtle yourself through the fog currently occupying your brain and the first thought screaming in your head is your child...what's their number? what's their number? what's their number? It's horrible.
Anyway, there I was midnight...1:00am....2:00am....3:00am...I saw the numbers on the clock rolling ever onward and with each change of the hour I grew more and more exhausted...depressed...lost...the only thing keeping me upright and on backup generator mode was my love for need to make her need to KNOW that she was at a safe blood sugar to make it until my husband awoke at 4:00am to get ready for work. That was it...I had no other brain power left to focus on anything. I was a zombie...sitting bolt upright on the couch...afraid...sad. After I checked her at 3:15am...and I saw a 4.9 on the meter...I lost it...I quickly left her room and trudged down the stairs to take up my post on the couch again. I sat there and balled my eyes out. I cried tears of frustration...anger...a deep aching sadness...jealousy at everyone else that was asleep in the world....hatred for diabetes...pure firey hatred coursing through my veins. I cried and cried and cried some whole body breath hitched in my chest. I just held my hands to my face and cried all of my exhausted tears until I could cry no more. Then I went upstairs...woke my husband up and told him I couldn't stay awake anymore...he had to get up earlier for work and keep an eye on her blood sugar because she had been low all night. I felt bad for waking him...because he works hard...all I can stay home and take care of Emma. He put his arms around me and let me cry more...I thought the tears were gone, but apparently not...he told me it would be ok...and he told me he would take care of it. I shut my eyes...and was lost once again in a silent from from lows....

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Would you feel like you did enough?

If it all ended today, would you be able to say that you did enough? That you made a difference? Whether it be a global difference...a difference in your own community...or even a difference in your own family? Would you be able to say that you feel like you accomplished all that you hoped to? Would you feel happy with how you you acted...or maybe more importantly, how you REacted? Would you feel like you did enough?
Or would you have regrets...sadness for moments that you let pass you by...moments that could have made a difference in even the smallest way in someone elses life? Would you find yourself wishing for just one more more more minute to do that ONE thing...take that one opportunity to make someone tell them how much they mean to say that you love them?
I find myself getting caught up in the monotony of this life so many times. Not just the monotony of diabetes...blood sugar checks, adjusting insulin ratios and basal rates, searching for patterns in activity or stress related blood sugar numbers, counting carbs. But also the monotony of everyday, teachers, laundry, dishes, groceries, homework, appointments, ignorant people. I find myself getting lost in those tasks and letting opportunities slip by....moments that could have been used to make a difference. Maybe it's because it was Emma's birthday yesterday...or maybe it's because I have been trying to support her latest idea of having a diabetic Barbie  or maybe it's just because I'm tired. It has been a zoo in my house and in my life lately with all that is going on. I need to remember to focus on the little moments and not let them pass me by. It's kind of funny how it sort of comes in waves....distractions and monotony....crashing against the shore....and eventually washing away and floating out to the horizon and bringing back in that remembrance of what truly matters. It's a struggle to keep the focus. I wear my life jacket and many times get pulled out with the tide...even pulled down by the undertow. Even though I know in my head that eventually the tide will carry me back in again and give me focus me to remember, it is hard. When I am floating along losing site of the shore, it's hard to convince my heart of what my head is so certain of. So, I simply hold on and hope for the best...let life lead me where it may and hope to make a significant mark in some way by doing some sort of good out there.
I don't want to have regrets or ever feel like I didn't do enough. I would rather fail at every single thing I have tried and at least have the opposed to reaching the end of my path and realizing that I did absolutely nothing other than just "get by" and survive each day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Valentine Memories

It's a day about All through my life Valentine's Day has held different meanings. When I was a kid in grade school it was always a fun day for handing out special Valentine's to my classmates and friends. I always looked forward to making the little Valentine's bags and getting to walk around the class room to drop my cards off in everyones bags. I remember making sure to choose just the right card to give to just the right person. If there was a boy I had a crush on, I always wanted to make sure to give him one that said something about "being my valentine" on it.
As I got older though, it never really held the same meaning for me. Sure it was nice on those occasions where I had a boyfriend. We did the cards, flowers, dinner thing...romance and lovey dovey. Even when I got married, it was never really one of my highly anticipated holidays. I didn't hate it...but it just wasn never my favorite day.....that is until 8 years ago. :o)
8 years ago today, Emma was born. She came into this world "sunnyside up" with her arm up and holding her hand to her ear. The doctor commented on how she was a girl because she was already pretending to talk on the phone. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever laid eyes on. She had chubby little rolls on her arms and legs...she was crying, I was crying, my husband was was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. As I held her in my arms, I stared at her face...imprinting it in my mind forever...noticing every little thing that made her uniquely her. I knew from that moment on that I would do anything for her. I would go to the ends of the Earth to protect her, make her happy, healthy, try for the rest of my life to make her feel the overwhelming amount of love that I have for her. I never knew until that moment in time just how lost I had been before..just how much she had completed me. It was like I had been walking around in a daze missing a piece of my soul...and then I held her and felt whole...felt there...felt right.
So, as we have done every year for the past 8 years...we celebrated Emma today. We had dinner, cake, and presents. I woke her up this morning with balloons and a big teddy bear. I gave her a special breakfast muffin with a candle in it and sang Happy Birthday to her. I held her and hugged her extra hard every chance I got today. I remembered that first night and shared stories with her. I told her how inexperienced I was in the baby department and forgot that you must burp a baby after feeding them that first night...and I spent a good long while trying to figure out why my baby kept getting the hiccups. We held hands as we walked to school. I told her I love her and called her my birthday girl all day. I did everything I possibly could to make her feel special make her feel make her feel important.
Oh yea....and diabetes was but a mere played nice and remained in the dark corner of my mind today....and I am greatful.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My niece and her run for diabetes

Seeing as how my family does not live anywhere near us, it is pretty rare that I am able to show Emma the true lengths to which a families love will go. Yes, we do have my husbands family here in town...and yes they are there for us...but everyone leads their own lives and like the majority of people...they are busy. This morning Emma and I got to feel that love first hand though. It was incredible. It was a cold, windy, and snowy morning here and we had the privilege to watch my niece participate in an 8k race for diabetes. We stood at the finish line in the cold staring down the path...waiting for her to appear. I have to admit that I was teeth were chattering...I couldn't feel my toes...and yet, I couldn't bring myself to complain. I thought about my niece...about all of the other participants...running...for the past hour to two the cold, the wind, the snow. I thought about them and I was in awe. First of all, I would never be able to run that distance without passing out I am quite sure. I was amazed and proud...honoured and overwhelmed at their spirits. As each person crossed that finish line, I saw the strength that radiated from their eyes...the determination with each foot fall. I admire every last one of them. I saw some people crossing with smiles on their faces...breezing through...obviously veteran runners. I saw some people with sweat pouring off of them, coughing uncontrollably, shuffling along as best they could...still very much showing every last ounce of determination themselves. I saw people with white hair, people my own age, teenagers like my niece, and I even saw one little girl about Emma's age. I stood there and wondered what all of their stories were. Where they diabetic themselves? Were they parents of diabetics? Siblings? Friends? Family members? Were they out there to honour the memory of a loved one lost to this disease? Or were they just out there simply to do what they raise money for a good cause? I saw that little girl running and it brought tears to my eyes. I saw her Dad running along side her...cheering her on...clapping and shouting her her that extra boost to make it those last few strides. My heart ached and I wanted to run out to her and scoop her up and hug her...thank her...tell her that I think she is incredible.
After a few minutes of witnessing all of these amazing people crossing the finish line...completing the race...reaching their goal, I saw my niece making her way up the path. It took every ounce of my strength to not burst into tears. She crossed the line...and was met by her parents, grandma, friend, Emma, and I. We all gave her hugs and it was incredible. I stood there looking at her...remembering her from when I met her and she was only 8 years old. Emma will be 8 years old on Tuesday. It was sort of surreal for me.
I am truly humbled and honoured to be her aunt. I hope she knows how much she means to me and how much I love her. I hope she knows that I think she is one of the most kind hearted people I know. She knows what it means to be a family. She gets it.
As we drove home from the race today, Emma said to me from the back seat, "Mommy? Jamie is awesome for running for me....she's my hero!"
I think that about sums it up.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lesson learned

I am a procrastinator. I usually...wait...who am I kidding?....I ALWAYS put myself and my needs last. My main goal (albeit a lofty one) is to make those around me healthy. I focus on keeping smiles on their faces and have a tendency to forget about myself. It's who I am...I have tried to change...I have tried to put myself first...and it never seems to work out.
Anyhoo, way back in October I went to the eye doctor for my regular eye exam. Got things checked scolded for wearing my contacs too much...and was given instructions to take them out more often, wear my glasses, and put drops in my eyes to help with the redness and dryness. Oh yea...I was also told to get more sleep....hmph! Well, I did my best to follow the instructions and returned months later to pick up my new contacs. This was last week actually...flag on the play for forgetting my own needs once again. Anyway, I went there and was once again reamed for not looking after my eyes...she told me that I was damaging them,  refused to give me my new contacs, and sent me on my merry way with some antibiotic eye drops to clear things up. I returned today and received much nicer news. I had actually put myself first in the eye department for once and managed to put the drops in, wear my glasses, and take a couple naps on the couch while Shawn played the role of Emma's pancreas.
This whole eye debacle got me thinking though...I actually think the real reason why I finally put myself first the past couple of days was because I was scared. I sat there imagining myself...blind...trying to figure out a way to take care of Emma and her diabetes. It would be impossible. The full responsibility would fall on her shoulders and Shawn's shoulders. I would be left in the dark...literally. I would not be able to bolus her for meals, I would not be able to even prepare her meals and measure things out, I would not be able to check her blood sugar, I would not be able to make necessary adjustments to her ratios and rates, I would not be able to do a site change.

I would not be able to see her beautiful face.

It scared me. It was like a slap in the face to stop neglecting myself...especially when it comes to my health. I am not really a control freak or anything...but I can not fathom not being able to be "the one" who looks after her diabetes. Yes, I complain every once and a while about how Shawn doesn't help as much as I would like him too...I complain about how it all falls on my shoulders because he works and I am home...I complain...but in reality...if that job was taken away from me...I would be scared out of my mind.
So, I think it is time to start taking a mental inventory of my own health and try to focus on me more often. What good would I be to Emma if I was not healthy myself? No good at all.
Lesson learned.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Emma's big idea.....Barbie

It never ceases to amaze me how pure and innocent and logically children think. If there is something that they want to do...they do it. Some are naturally impulsive...others a bit more reserved. For the most part though, they are always thinking...imagining...dreaming of ways to make their world better and more fun. I think it's a shame that adults tend to lose that ability as the years go by. Life gets in the way...bills, mortgages, careers, responsibilities...they leave us all feeling a little jaded at times.
There are obviously MANY reasons why I love Emma...I won't bother subjecting you to a bullet point presentation of all the reasons though, so don't worry.....for now :o) Anway, I would like to talk about one of the big reasons why I love her so much. She forces me back to that fun, dream-filled, pure way of thinking. Being around her and talking with's good for my soul. It's sort of like sitting down at the kitchen table to a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies...still warm out of the oven of course, a tall glass of milk, and watching the suns rays shine through the window on my outstretched arm...feeling the warmth on my face. Talking with Emma and hearing her thoughts and dreams and hopes gives me that same feeling.
A couple of weeks ago, Emma mentioned to me that a few friends of hers had been talking about a new bald Barbie that is coming out for cancer awareness. She asked me why there wasn't a diabetic Barbie out too? She told me that she wished there was one out so she could play with it and see her pump and it would make her feel good....because Barbie would be just like her. I stood there for a minute looking at her upturned face...her curious and thoughtful eyes...waiting for me to tell her why the people who make one of her favorite toys didn't realize that she wanted a diabetic Barbie to play with. I told her that I didn't know why there wasn't one out yet...maybe no one had thought to mention it to the Barbie makers yet....but I told her that I would try to make one for her to play with and see if I could talk with Mattel and find out if that would be even a remote possiblity. She took my words to heart and asked me daily if I had made a "pump" for her Barbie yet....and after a couple of weeks I finally managed to find the time to do it. She LOVES it! Seeing her face light up while she played with it made me think that I should really contact Mattel and see what they would say...maybe create a page on Facebook about it...something...anything to get this idea out there to possibly help promote Emma's idea in the hopes that another little girl or boy would get the chance to have that same feeling of same same while playing Barbies.
Unfortunately Mattel told me that they do not accept unsolicited suggestions for their products. So I created a facebook page and am trying to make a second attempt at this...make them see that it is an important thing. Little girls love Barbie...they imagine having their own dream house like Barbie...dream car....pretty clothes and shoes. Diabetic little girls would get SO much more out of it in the self esteem department if they had the option to play with a diabetic Barbie...see Barbie's BG meter, her pump, etc. I think this is a very important and much needed thing for kids. I am not looking to make ANY money off of this...I just want every little diabetic girl out there (or boy for that matter!) to have the same smile on their faces and feeling of comfort that Emma had....they kids deserve it.
Please take a minute to check out "Diabetic Barbie" on Facebook and "like" the page if you wish. Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My birthday

Today is my birthday. I turned the big 35. When I see that number typed out on the screen in front of is hard to believe. It feels like just yesterday I was only 8....and now I have a little girl of my own who will actually be 8 one week from today. 35....when I was little and I pictured myself at 35, I thought it was SO old. I thought that I would be married with a couple of kids and working in some fancy job, living in some fancy house, being some fancy grownup. As the years have flown by though, I have learned that being "fancy" or having "fancy" things is not at all what I want. I could really care less about living in a huge exquisitely decorated house...driving a fancy shiny new car...wearing designer clothes...and having my hair done every couple of weeks by someone named Giuseppe...or Jackee...or I have learned that it doesn't really take much to make me happy. A nice long extra large coffee...a phone call from a friend just to see how I am doing. I guess I have learned that all of those material things...those fancy things...are really just that...things. I don't need "things" to make me smile. I need people who love me for exactly who I am...people who make me laugh...people who care about me...people who take the time to bring me a coffee at the end of the day and wish me a Happy Birthday. That's what I need...people who all on their own will take the time to let me know that they care about me and were thinking of me. That means the world to me.
So, as I sit here enjoying the last few hours of my special day....I can't help but remember all of the birthdays past. When I was about to turn 16, all I wanted in life was my own car...of course a fancy red one...preferably a fact I secretly hoped that my parents would get me one and I would wake up in the morning to find it parked in the driveway with a big shiny red bow on the roof of it...just like in the movies. When I turned 18, I was excited to FINALLY be considered an adult. I thought that I knew it all and there was nothing that anyone else could tell me...I had finally arrived and the world needed to look out because I was on a mission to save them all and make the world a shiny happy peace loving place. (I suppose I still harbor some of that 18 year old still want a happy world full of peaceful loving people...with flowers in there hair and dancing through the meadows in the warm sun...smiles on their faces...sharing and being happy't judge me...I am a hippie at heart I guess!) When I turned 21, i was all about partying....being an adult...drinking as much as I could...just because I could legally go into a bar...or into a store and buy it now. Yea...the novelty has worn off on that front I think....still a fan of the drink...but not like I was at 21. When I turned 27, I was pain...ready for Emma to be born already. She was due on my birthday and took it upon herself to actually wait it out for another entire week before making an appearance into this world. She started out showcasing the drama...and is still the same way. The girl likes to make an entrance. When i turned 30, I started to panic....I was "getting old"....I worried that my 20's had gone past me in the blink of an eye...and that was it...I was approaching middle age Mom status. I began my search for the infamous "mom jeans" and went shopping for a mini van. I'm kidding of course, I decided to be a rebel and stick with my ripped jeans and SUV.
Now that I am 35, I am starting to be content with who I am as a person. I'm not perfect....far from it in fact. I am too sensitive at times. I take things too personally at times. I let my heart take the lead in many of my life decisions. I love deeply, I am a good friend...I will stick up for those that I love to the ends of the Earth. I will be there for them if they need me...I will be the first to comfort you when you are sad...make you smile and laugh and forget your woes for just a brief moment. I know in my heart that I was put here on this Earth to be a Mom. I was put here to be Emma's Mom. I am supposed to be exactly right where I am today...and I am greatful. I struggle still with wanting things that I do not have in life...not material things though...just life things. I am greatful though for what I have.
The two highlights of this day for me? Waking up to my beautiful daughter shouting "HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMY!"...seeing her tell all of her little friends at school that it was her Mom's birthday today...hearing her say "love you so much and Happy Birthday Mommy!" when I dropped her back off at school after lunch...and all of the hugs, kisses, and love I got from her and my husband today...and all of my friends. They truly made me feel special. The other highlight? Having a birthday dinner of chicken and bacon stuffed pasta, garlic bread with pesto dipping sauce, delicious chocolate yummy cake, and tollhouse brownie ice cream for dessert.....and having Emma's blood sugar be a 7.2 four hours after eating it.....perfect....I couldn't have asked for a better day...even diabetes was my friend today...and I am greatful.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Head injuries and blood sugars

Maybe it's because I have had the unfortunate experience of seeing my kid at 3 yrs old have to have a CAT Scan of her head from hitting it on the steel frame of her bed because she decided to do some gymnastics at bedtime....maybe it's because as a kid myself, I happened to be standing directly behind my brother while he was swinging a baseball bat and managed to get close enough to actually get hit square in the forehead with the bat...or maybe it's just because I have an aversion to hospital emergency rooms now and would rather not spend 8 hours sitting there waiting to be seen. Who knows....but whatever the reason, anytime Emma (or any other kid really!) gets a head injury....I panic. I go straight from zero to sixty in the blink of an eye. It's not stomach drops to my heart is pounding out of control...and I frantically search her eyes for any sign of serious problems.
Needless to say, Emma hit her head pretty hard today. She was playing inside this Crazy Doodle Glow Dome thing she got for Christmas. It basically looks like a little pup's black, has no windows, and is made out of the same material as a tent. You go inside it and velcro the door flaps shut behind you and she can "draw" on the inside walls of it with this special light pen that makes all of her designs glow bright yellow. It's really neat actually...aside from the whole claustrophobia factor...and the fact that the inside of it smells like stinky socks that have been inside winter boots all afternoon!
Anyway, Emma has discovered a new fun thing to do in the Glow Dome recently. She will crawl inside and lean her back up against one of the walls and tip it over...all the while giggling and squealing...thinking that it is the most amazing "ride" ever! I have to is pretty fun...I've gotten in there with her on more than one occasion.
Well, as usual we always make sure that there is sufficient room all around the dome before she goes in to tip it over...keep the cat clear out of the way...move all toys, etc. So, today as she was making her way out of the tent...crawling on her hands on knees...she went straight for the corner of the coffee table and managed to ram her head right on the corner...OUCH! She was screaming...instant tears...face beat red....and I about passed out from panic. I was afraid to see a gush of blood from her head (thankfully and surprisingly none!)...I was afraid that she gave herself a concussion...I was picturing the worst. I ran to her and swooped her up on my arms and held her almost 8 yr old body in my arms just like I did when she was a baby...kissing her face and her head...rocking her...trying to ask her where it hurt and trying to calm her down so she would start to breathe normally again.
Eventually, she was calm...I assessed the blood...a bit of a bump...a bit of a headache...but that was it thank God.
Diabetes has desensitized me to many of the bumps and bruises and scrapes of everyday childhood life....but I just don't think I will ever be able to get over that vision of my poor helpless terrified baby girl strapped down to the table sliding into a cat scan machine....makes me tear up even thinking about it now....such a helpless feeling...not being able to comfort her then.
I was scared today...I'll admit it...but she is ok now...and we move on about our day. As a side note, I wanted to mention for all of those not living this D-life....stress from accidents or injuries can wreak havoc on blood sugars too....Emma's dropped like crazy after hitting her head. It's truly amazing how much we with functioning pancreases take for granted....with all that can and does affect blood sugars.
Here's to an injury free week please!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sometimes it's hard

Sometimes it's hard. It's hard to keep moving. It's hard to find that light. It's hard to see through the fog of your own wants and dreams and hopes. Sometimes it's hard to force your feet back down to the ground and realize that what you have is all that matters...what you want is but a mere whisper through the treetops of the land which you travel. Sometimes it seems impossible to just keep moving...putting one foot in front of the other and just keep going. It's hard to lift your head up and focus on the path directly in front of you. Sometimes it's even harder to lift your head even higher and gaze upon the stars above...twinkling in the pitch black sky...seeming so far out of reach....sprinkled like dust around the far. Sometimes it's hard to convince your heart of what your head is so sure. Sometimes it's hard to convince your head that your heart must be wrong. It's hard to know...hard to decide...hard to take that small but giant leap from the edge of the cliff and let the fates take you where they may. Sometimes it's hard to trust that you are even on the right path...that you are even following the right signs and pushing ever onward towards to right light...the right hope...the right dream. Who has any right except for you to decide that it is the right path anyway? Sometimes it's hard to know if you are following along that unforgiving...rutted...fleeting path.....for yourself....or for another. Sometimes it's hard to know what is truly right....what is meant to be. I suppose we will never be given that reassurance of knowing if it is the right path until we have actually reached the end....if even then. Sometimes it's hard to breathe. Sometimes it hurts so bad that it feels like a ton of bricks has been placed upon your chest and you are forced to carry it around with you every waking moment. Every breath you are able to squeak out is like fire burning deep and strong in your throat. Sometimes it's hard to set that weight aside...even in the deep dark silent night....when you are all alone...listening to the chaos inside your own mind. Sometimes it's hard to silence that inner argument. It's hard to close your eyes on this day and hold on to that small hope...grasp it within your shaking hands...fingertips turning white from the effort that your heart is willing to put forth. Sometimes it's hard.