Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I'll sleep when I'm dead

It occured to me just moments ago as I stood outside of Emma's bedroom door...juice box in hand, blood sugar meter and lancet in other hand...flashlight in my mouth...just how relentless diabetes is. I walked up the same stairs I have walked up countless times during the night to check on her...make sure she's still alive...make sure her blood sugar is at an ok range. For some reason tonight, I paused.....I stood at the top of the stairs...just outside of her bedroom door. I stared at the poster of Nick Jonas hanging on the door. I stood there and for just a moment....just a mere breath of air in the exhale of my day...and thoughts of diabetes spilled over my wall. It overflowed and broke through the barrier I have built up over the past 4 years that protects me...saves me...hardens me...keeps me as sane as I can possibly be in this life. That wall is pretty sturdy, but tonight the waves of diabetes hate spilled over.
Here we are on the eve of our big road trip back home to Wisconsin to visit my family....and I am fighting low blood sugars. Diabetes doesn't care what is going on in your life. It doesn't care if it's inconvenient. It doesn't care if you need your sleep because you have a 9 hour drive ahead of you tomorrow. It just doesn't care.
So there I stood, staring at Nick Jonas' face and realizing that regardless of how this moment in time is not the most ideal for a low battle to occur.....I don't have a choice. I must suck it up, put on my proverbial boxing gloves, weild my weapon of choice (juice box) and fight on.
I'll sleep when I'm dead.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Victoria's Secret commercials

So I was sitting here tonight watching TV with Emma before bedtime. It's sort of our routine really...our time to cuddle and talk...just be Mommy and Emma for a little while after all of the noise of the day is done. It's nice to just be together and enjoy the quiet...enjoy the normalcy of the moment. As the commercials interrupted what we were watching, I actually sat there and paid attention to them for once. Usually when I have the time to sit there and watch TV, I kind of zone out and don't even realize that I'm watching anything. I don't notice the car commericals or the Old Navy sales. I just lay there like broccoli (lol isn't that a line from 'Pretty Woman' or something? "lay there like broccoli") Well, tonight as I sat there with Emma, on came a Victoria's Secret commercial. Giving their most seductive come hither pouts were 3 gorgeous women in their underwear. Not the mismatched bra and panties that I throw on after I get out of the shower in the sometimes., but rather the beautiful lacy pink or black satiny bra and panties that are saved for special occasions. These women were stunning...beautiful long flowing locks, makeup perfect, not an ounce of fat on their stomachs or thighs, no scars, no stretch marks, no wrinkles, no grey hairs, not a hair out of place actually. They looked perfect. I am quite sure they are the stuff that teenage boys dream about.
Well, it sort of hit me all at once......Emma was watching this. She was sitting there next to me watching these women. I felt this sick panicked feeling in my stomach and quickly tried to come up with the right words to say to her to make her realize that what she was seeing on the tv screen was NOT was NOT was NOT real. I was scrambling trying to think of the right way to put it so she would understand and honestly believe me and not think that it was just another one of Mommy's overtired rambles.
So, I looked at her and simply said, "You know those women on TV are not what the majority of people look like out in the real world, right? Those women are models. They are paid to stand there in their undies and look pretty so that people like you and I will see them and want to buy what they are wearing so we can look pretty like them. There are actually very few people out there in the world beyond our front door that look even remotely close to them. I don't want you to think that what you see on TV is normal...because it's not."
She replied with, "I know Mommy. I know they don't really look like that in real life. I've never seen anyone outside or at the store that looks like them ever. Don't worry about me thinking that though, cause I don't give a care...I don't wanna look like them anway...I don't wanna have a job standing there in my undies...gross! And besides, you told me before that pretty comes from the inside. People can be pretty on the outside....but if they are mean on the inside....that comes out and makes them ugly anyway. So, I wanna be pretty on the inside."
Huh.......she does listen to and remember my rambles......and I think she is absolutely stunning...on the outside...AND on the inside.

Monday, August 13, 2012


After reading something a friend wrote today, I was inspired. I love how powerful words are. I love how the proper placement of these words have the power to change someones entire way of thinking. I decided that I am not going to focus on the frustration in my life anymore...I'm not going to focus on the bad numbers, the bad days, the hard times. I'm not going to focus on the doubting voice in my head, the people that try to bring me down, the ignorance, or the obstacles put in front of me. I am not going to waste the time or the energy on being negative...wallowing in self-pity, muddling through the murky waters of the dark days this disease is guaranteed to throw at you from time to time.
Instead, I am going to focus on the good. I am going to focus on what I can do as an individual. I'm going to focus on what I can do to make my daughter see that SHE can do this...SHE can not only live this life with diabetes, but she can thrive with it. I am going to focus on the little moments in time that seem to pass us by so quickly...those moments that will be the things that I will reflect upon when I am old and gray. I am making a conscious decision to live in the moment and not beat myself up and not get down on myself for making mistakes...because really, what kind of a person would I be today if I hadn't made the mistakes that I made leading up to this point? I am choosing to focus on the good. I am choosing to be the best me I can be. I am choosing to stand up, do the right thing, and not care what anyone else thinks...because those that will be against me or not stand beside me, just are not worth the time. I am choosing to wake up each morning and acknowledge that while yes, I am tired.....I am lucky to have simply woken up. I want to make a difference. I want to leave a mark on this Earth...not for the recognition or the praise....but merely for the challenge...for the principle of the matter...for my child. I want to do right by her and I want to show her that she can do absolutely anything that she sets her mind to. I want her to know that there will be hard work involved, there will be obstacles, there will be negativity and people that will try to stop her or bring her down........but I want her to know that anything is possible.
I want to be kind to myself. I want to allow myself the right to screw up...the right to learn...the right to move forward and become a better person. I want to focus on the happy. I want to focus on the good...because deep down inside, beneath all the sarcasm and the jokes....I have a good heart...I have love...I have hope....and honestly, that is all you really need to change the world for the better.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sleepovers and gratitude

There are a few things in this world that are guaranteed to make my heart daughter being the obvious first husband, seeing my parents interact with my daughter, being in the same vicinity as a group of other diabetic families. I could go on and on, I suppose...but I really want to talk about one in particular here. Emma was invited to a friend's house yesterday for a birthday party. It originally was going to be a camping party and I would sleep in the tent with her to check her blood sugar and be her pancreas, but the rain put a damper (i love a good on those plans unfortunately. So, the party was moved to her friends house. The friends Mom offered the pull out couch to me for the night, but Emma told me that she would feel embarassed to have her Mom stay there too....totally we were left at the threshold of one of my greatest fears coming to life....the sleepover. I knew this day would come sooner rather than later...I mean really...she is 8 years's a normal thing to do. I have panicked about it many times over the years anticipating it, wondering what I would do, how I would handle it, if she would even be asked to a sleepover honestly. I would never in a million years expect another parent to willingly take on that responsibility for the requires setting alarms, waking up to poke a needle in another kid's finger, squeeze some blood out, and get a blood sugar reading.....AND know what to do with that particular number. How could I ever expect someone to do that for me? Just so my kid could enjoy the party too? I envisioned a sleepless night for me sitting at home worrying, a sleepless night for the Mom of the birthday girl sitting there worrying....pretty much the only one sleeping would be the kids...eventually :o)
Well, the morning of the party started out great...Emma had a good breakfast reading, ate well, looked well, as was well. Lunch time rolls around and I check her and she was low....not just your average low was one of those frightening kind of lows where she looks scared...she looks panicked...she is shaking from the low as well as the fear....AND she felt sick to her stomach. Well, no sooner did I get the juice in her when it all came back out. Then the real fear settled in....deep into my heart...her body...her face...her eyes......We got it back up thankfully...score another one for us in the "have you saved a life" department today. Then a couple of hours later she had a lovely rebound high blood sugar....which I overcorrected for and sent her plummeting back down to a 2.7 as we parked the car at her friends house for the party.
Yep...awesome....I was a stellar pancreas yesterday....stellar.
So....I told her that I wouldn't feel comfortable letting her stay the night because of the wacky numbers...and she understood...and it killed me. It shattered my heart into a million pieces because I have always said from day 1 in this battle that I would never let diabetes be the reason for her not being able to do something. i would never let it get in the way. I would never let it prevent her from being a kid. Well, there I stood.....saying these words to her disappointed face...she was crushed and I was screaming at myself in my own head that I was being a hypocrite and I was a failure and I was losing and I wasn't doing good enough because I failed and it was my fault that the numbers sucked because I am her pancreas and i failed...i failed i failed i failed....and I hated myself in that moment.
Well, we did what we always do...we moved on...we picked ourselves up and walked into that party with her chugging back that juice box like a pro.
In all the years we have been doing this life with diabetes...I have never left her at a birthday party either. I've always felt bad expecting the bday child's parents to watch Emma and pay close attention for lows. I mean it's their kid's party...why should they have to take that on and be distracted with diabetes too? So, I have always stayed. Well, until yesterday that is. The Mom of the party, who also happens to be a friend of mine, was fine with me leaving...she took over as Emma's pancreas for a few hours. THEY were a friend and Emma. She texted me to reassure me things were fine...she texted me to let me know blood sugar numbers and carb counts on foods Emma wanted to eat. She was doing it. They were doing it together and I was sitting at home....not being a pancreas. It was a bit of a surreal feeling honestly because the only other person besides my husband who has taken over pancreatic duties for Emma's teacher. I have never had anyone watch Emma family lives in the States, so they aren't around to help, we don't often talk to my husband's family either because they are busy, and my friends have busy lives as well. So, it has always been and school. It was weird for me to know that diabetes duties were happening a few streets over and I was not a part of it. It was an incredible relaxing feeling...and yet panicked feeling too......i know that makes no sense...but it's how I felt.
I think that my friend is amazing. She is one of those rare people walking around out there in the world who would do anything to help you...anything. She actually honestly cares about my child. She wanted her to be included and she wanted her to have fun. Even though Emma didn't sleep there, those few hours she got to just be a regular a birthday party...without her Mom there.....that was priceless. It meant more to me than I can even begin to explain. It meant more to Emma than I will ever know. Because of the kindness my friend kid was able to I sit here with tears in my eyes typing this...greatful that I have been so lucky to have a friend like this. I hope those of you reading this are lucky enough to have a friend like her too.
Oh....and when we got home, I checked her blood sugar and she was a perfect 7.4......not too shabby for a first time pancreas, eh? :o)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Banting House Museum

This summer is flying by right before my very eyes and I feel like if I blink just one more will be over..............and school will be starting again. I want to savor every moment I have with Emma. I love having her home all day with me. Every once and a while the thought of how much I will miss her again once school starts will creep into my head and make the tears and sadness threaten my eyes. So, I shove those thoughts away and we spend our days together laughing and hanging out.
There's a D-related summer trip that I want to share with you actually. Last week Emma and I visited the Banting House Museum in London, Ontario. It's only a little more than an hour away from where we live...and I have wanted to go for years...but for whatever reason, we had never made it. I talked about it with Emma ahead of time and she kind of shrugged it off as the "insulin museum"...not really expecting much out of it, but still willing to go anyway (the girl loves a good road trip!) We parked the car and walked up to the house seeing the "Flame of Hope", a time capsule, and a statue of Sir Banting himself along the way. As I stood there taking pictures of Emma next to all of these beautiful monuments, I could feel my heart hurting. There we were standing just outside of this house...the house that the man who discovered insulin lived in...the man responsible for the thing that has kept my child alive for the past 4 years....the man who has made it possible for me to look at in her beautiful eyes, hear the sweet sound of her laughter, hold her in my arms, and kiss her little face. How epic a feeling it was. Overwhelming gratitude taking over my entire body.
We walked around to the front door and I couldn't help thinking to myself, I wonder how many people have walked through these doors? How many lives affected by diabetes have come to these porch steps? How many have felt exactly what I am feeling right now? It was a very surreal experience.
We walked through Sir Banting's house, took in absolutely everything around us, and soaked in the moment. Emma spent her time reading all of the information hanging up on the walls, looking at the old furniture, desks, medical equipment, and learning about this man....this person who she has heard about for many years now...this person that essentially saved her life. I stood there in awe. I was torn between watching her and taking in her trying to see everything myself. We walked around from room to room and saw pictures of him, pictures of when the Queen herself came to visit and light the Flame of Hope...the flame that will not be extinguished until a cure is found. We saw pictures of his medals and awards, his paintings, wood carvings, drawings. We read about his accomplishments and marveled at the fact that not only was he a very innovative, curious, and intelligent man....but he was also creative and full of pride and honour. He was a teacher, a doctor, an artist, an innovator, a son, a husband, a father...he was an amazing man.
We made our way upstairs and walked down the hallway to his bedroom. We sat on Sir Banting's actual bed and looked around at the decorations...there were flowers on the wallpaper and flowers on the floor. The room was small and yet cozy. I sat there with my arm around my daughter as one of the women who works at the house took our picture. It hit me all at once. The magnitude of where we were and what it meant to us and so many people around the world. We were sitting on his bed...Banting's bed. The same bed that he tossed and turned in until the wee hours of the morning of Halloween 1920. He had a lot on his mind...a lecture that he had just attended, the fact that he was financially distraught, he didn't know what he would do. So many of us have laid awake at night doing the same thing....stressing out over life's problems and wondering how in the world we will make it through. Then it occured to him...insulin. He grabbed his "idea book"...wrote down 25 words....and as they say, the rest is history.
There are no words available to describe the deep impact that moment had on me. You may think I am silly or strange for thinking this...but I swear that you can feel a presence in that that house. You can feel his spirit it Banting himself...or simply the spirit of what he accomplished in his that house. It was a powerful feeling...a powerful moment. I have never felt that amount of immense gratitude before in my life for someone that I have never met...never laid eyes on...never spoken to. I have more love for that man than I can even explain. Because of him...because of that moment at 2am....because of his curiosity...his intelligence...his strength and heart is whole. How do you thank someone for giving you that? How do you even begin to express what that means to you? I sat there wondering what the Mom's and Dad's of some of his first patients said to him. I wondered if they just hugged him...cried tears of gratitude...for saving their children. I wondered how he reacted...what his response was...if he was humble. I believe he was in fact humble...from all that I have read about him, I can see him reacting that way.
It was a beautiful day...a beautiful visit...a beautiful moment that I will carry with me in my heart for the rest of my life. On the day a cure is found, I will think back to that day...sitting on his bed...and I will know that we made it....we made it and we struggled and fought and won.....we won because we were granted the opportunity to even begin the fight because of this man.

As we walked out the door and headed to the car to drive home, Emma turned to me and said, "Can we come back again please Mommy? I love it here! It makes me feel like I belong and I wish I could live here." I spent the car ride home driving...hiding my tears behind my sunglasses and listening to my daughter chatter and play with her toys in the back seat...enjoying the sound...and relishing in the feel of the tears upon my cheeks. Gratitude.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Toast, my newest 4 letter word...wait, 5 letter word! Damn!

Sometimes when I feel like I am fighting a losing battle with this disease....
Sometimes when I feel like I am not good enough...not smart enough...not strong enough...not enough...
Sometimes when I find myself complaining about how tired I my brain is mush from exhaustion...
Sometimes when I catch myself getting upset or angry or overwhelmed at life's little set backs....

I look at Emma

I look at her and I realize that I am the ONLY one who can do this for her. I am the only one who can do it right. There is no one else out there (aside from my hubby) that can love her like I do. There is no one else out there that can take care of her like I can. There is no one else out there that can be a better stand in pancreas for her than I can. It's me. It's meant to be this way. For whatever reason...this is the life that we were given...this disease is the thing which we must carry....with each step...with each breath. This is our life. I look at Emma and I feel at home. She is my home.

This disease can swallow you whole if you let it. It can consume every single thought in your head and it can drag you down to the depths of despair........if you let it. I think it is completely a process....this diabetic life. We go through highs and lows...literally and figuratively. We win some and we lose some. I lost yesterday. All because of a piece of toast that was eaten without being bolused for. Toast. Toast caused her blood sugar to, scratch that....diabetes caused her blood sugar to skyrocket....the toast was just the weapon that diabetes chose to use that day. Either way, I still hate toast now....and next time I have a piece of it I will be sure to chomp it down with angered ferocity over the havoc it caused us yesterday afternoon.
In any case, I believe that the bad days...the moments that send us sprawling to our knees in the gravel...those days are just as important as the good days...the victories. In the midst of the bad "toast days"...we are mad, frustrated, sad, and feeling defeated. After the room is calm again...after the beeping blood sugar meter is finished screaming those high numbers at you, the silence settles in again. The sweet silence and the time for reflection...for realizing that had you not just gone through what you did go through, you wouldn't have learned anything. Had you not just endured a few hours of would not be able to add that notch to your belt or that star to your D-Momma cape.
In a nutshell, I guess what I am trying to say is that the "defeats" (while being as sucky as they are) are making you a better person. They are making you a better Mom. They are making you a better D-Mom...and living a life with such a fickle disease as this....becoming better through your experiences is always a good thing.