Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Diabetes, Baseball, and Halloween

Sometimes I feel like being a D-Mom is sort of like being a player in the ultimate game of life or death baseball. Sometimes diabetes throws a curveball our way....or sometimes a fastball that appears to be directed right at our heads...or on a good day, sometimes it's just smooth and straight right across homeplate.

Sure, we strike out many times....we hit an easy pop fly and diabetes catches that ball in one easy stride...we step into it and hit that ball with all of our might only to grimace and realize that it's a foul...and sometimes....just sometimes...we knock that ball right out of the park.
You know the kind....a homerun...sailing over the fence...fireworks exploding in the night sky beyond the park lights...the crowd on their feet roaring in victory with us! Sometimes it happens and we get to trot around the bases soaking in the cheers and high fiving our teammates along the way.

I feel like I hit a homerun this morning. Today is Halloween and at Emma's school everyone got to wear their costumes to school. There was a dance-a-thon in the gym, treats, crafts, fun stuff for everyone. This is our 5th time celebrating Halloween with diabetes along for the ride. It's never easy to anticipate the way her blood sugars are going to react to all of the excitement and treats and activity. Sure I have 4 other Halloween's to base my assumptions off of....but you know what they say happens when you assume. So, I have learned to take it one step at a time. Not just "get through" the moments....but experience them....make memories...file them away for those days in my future where I will look back on my life and smile. I guessed this morning and gave her a little less insulin than her pump told me to give her for breakfast in anticipation of the dancing and excitement. I am a firm believer in it's better to have her run a little high on days like this at school, than to have to battle lows. I glanced at the clock at home when I knew she would be in full tilt dance mode at school. I said a little prayer for her safety. I wished for her to have fun and just be a kid....laugh with her like a goofball...just be an 8 year old girl. I sent all my good pseudo-pancreas vibes down the road to her. I reassured myself that we can do this....she can do this...I can do this...everything will be fine.
I picked her up at lunch time and giggled to myself at how impossible it was to scan her face for signs of a low...not very easy to see if she is pale through a bunch of zombie facepaint! We got home, I checked her blood sugar...and was met with a 5.2. It doesn't get much better than that.
I had my homerun. I had my victory. I had my moment to trot around the bases and pump my fist in the air.
Sometimes diabetes wins an inning...and sometimes we do. The thing to remember is that the game continues on...there is always another chance up at bat. It's an epic game of wills and I think we all know who will come out victorious in the end. I think we all know who will wind up on the jumbo-tron with a smile the size of Texas...jersey dusty and dirty from sliding into home.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A story continued....hope

A while ago I wrote a poem....that turned into a story. For some reason I have been thinking about that story all day today....and I feel like there is more to it....more to this is what I have been thinking of today...finding myself lost in this random world as I went about my day.

Her hair splayed out upon the grass surrounding her weary face like a glowing halo
The only sound...her own breath
the rise and fall of her chest seems to center her thoughts
Off in the distance a bird chirps and the sound of it's wings is magnified
inside her head....her weary head
feathers rustling against each other
As the sun shines down from a cloudless sky,
she wonders how she got here...
how did she wind up in this place
how long has her body been floating amongst the wildflowers and weeds?
The soothing warmth of the sun's rays feels like an old familiar blanket
soft...worn through...comforting.

The old man watches this vision of hope and beauty
a pillar of strength.
He leaves his post high atop the moss covered tower
descending the stairs one careful step at a time
His gnarled and spotted hand grasping the rail to his right
sliding along beside him
creating a high pitched twinge in the atmosphere between the cold stone walls.
His bones creak and his body shakes with each foot fall.
Determination causing beads of sweat to sparkle and shine upon his forehead
settling into the deep lines of wisdom
the crevices marking the monumental experiences of his life.
His breath is even
rhythmic and sure.
He reaches the open door at the bottom and marvels at the dust motes flittering by through the rays of light that shine through.
Each a tiny marker of a world unknown.
With each of his hands gripping the door frame,
the old man steps foot into the open world for the first time in centuries.
The light is blinding to his wise eyes
his pale blue ancient eyes.
With a shaking palm shielding his sight,
he spots the woman in the grass.

The woman is lost in a moment of solitude which he can not bear to disrupt.
He knows she needs it.
He knows the sun is replenishing her soul
filling her heart with light and life.
He is drawn to her and can not deny the need to hold her face in the palms of his hands.

The woman opens her eyes to a shadow blocking the sun and knows it is him.
She remembers now
remembers seeing his face across the land
high upon his tower.
Reluctantly, she leaves her place of warmth in the grass as she stands
leaving behind an impression
a summer snow angel.

The woman opens her lips to say something...
how are you...
i remember you...
she is stunned to realize there are no words.
She simply gazes up at his ancient face and marvels at the wonders that lie beneath

The old man reaches his arms out and ever so gently rests his palms against her cheeks.
The woman is surprised at the strength and the soft touch.
She is surprised to find tears falling from her eyes...
completely unaware of when they began.
Seeing a mirror image of herself in his eyes.
The old man whispers a single word....

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I like you

She laid her sleepy head upon her pillow
raised her little arms up to wrap around my neck
i felt the warmth of her breath tickle my ear
as she said, "Mommy, i like you."
my heart skipped a beat and my eyes filled with tears
for she is my life
and to hear she likes me
when all that is expected is for her to love me,
that is worth more to me than all the riches of the world
I squeezed her tight
feeling her smooth cheek against mine
smooth like satin
feeling strands of her freshly washed hair tickling my nose
smelling of strawberries and soap
and I relished the moment
I held her in my arms as I have countless times before
I held her and I stopped time
Thoughts of finishing the laundry
getting things ready for school tomorrow
phone call to be made
floors to be washed
all swept away with the blink of an eye
Our arms wrapped around each other
for but a moment
a ticking of the clock
a moment
a memory
that now resides inside my heart.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Just be Amy

Since diabetes entered our lives, I have learned that my cell phone ranks pretty high up there on my list of important tools used to manage the big D. It's right alongside the insulin pump and blood sugar meter honestly. I carry it around with me everywhere..when Emma is with me and when she's not. I feel the comfort in knowing that if some sort of emergency were to happen when we are out somewhere, that I would be able to use it get her help. When she is at school or a friend's house, i clutch it in my hands everywhere I go...anticipating that call..that text to tell me that her blood sugar is low and she needs me.
Tonight, we decided to pick up something for supper and my husband and Emma both decided they didn't want to go along for the I left the house and hopped in the car on my way to grab something to eat. I made it about two streets down from my house when I realized I left the cell phone at home. I instantly felt that sick panicked feeling in my heart was pounding...I contemplated turning the car around and heading home to grab it. I felt weird...I know it must sound silly, but I felt naked. I had one of those inner arguments with myself that I have sometimes...which i have noticed usually revolve around something diabetes related. I thought, if I turn around and go home and walk in the house to get my husband could feel like I don't trust him. He might feel like I had no confidence in his abilities to be her pancreas for the mere 20 minutes I would have been gone. I thought if the situation had been reversed, I would have definitely been offended and felt like he didn't trust me. I thought that if I didn't go home to get it, I would have to swallow that sick feeling and just deal with it....just live with it...just push through the naked feeling and focus on the simple task at hand of getting supper for my family. It wouldn't be so bad. Why was I making such a big deal out of nothing? Why was I arguing with myself about something so ridiculous? It's just a phone! It's not like she was going to plummet and have a seizure in the time it would take me to return home. I mean I checked her before I left and she was at a decent number. And that's all beside the husband was there! He was sitting right there next to her! Did I think he was some sort of idiot that wouldn't be able to help her if she was low?
Yes, those are just a few of the thoughts that raced through my head as I sat at the stop sign a few streets down from my house. I know what you're thinking....really, Amy? You are that OCD about a phone? Well, the secret's out....yes, yes I am that way about my phone. It has become a sort of lifeline for me....a connection that I can have with my daughter no matter the time, place, makes me feel better.
So, after a car pulled up behind me and became impatient with my stupid inner arguing and honked their horn at me to get a move on already.....I decided to just go. I turned the car....and I went. I realized I was being silly and just went about my business of getting supper.
After fate decided my path, I decided to make it worthwhile. On a normal day when Emma isn't with me, if I am in the car...I rarely turn the music up loud for fear of not hearing my phone ring if she needs me. Today, without my phone....I cranked the tunes. I turned Mumford and Sons up as loud as I wanted....I sang along with Marcus Mumford at the top of my lungs...I had my own private little concert right there in the car. It felt nice.
I've come to the conclusion that while the tools of my job are not things that I would have ever chosen to have....they still provide me with comfort. The tools I use every day comfort me as much as they do her.....but every once in a's nice to just be just be hands free of these tools...just me...the air in my lungs and my favorite song on the radio. It's nice to just be Amy sometimes.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

a1c anxiety...and machine guns?

We've all experienced a1c anxiety. We all know in our heads that it's just a number...not something that we should be beating ourselves up over. We all know it...and yet many of us still get nervous...still get upset...still feel like a failure when we don't wind up seeing a good number.
I don't know why, maybe just because it's human nature to want to see a good have a good feel like all of our hard work has paid off and we have a good result to prove getting a gold star or an A+ on our work as a kid in school.
Emma and I will be going to her clinic appointment this afternoon...t minus 2 hours and counting actually. I think the worst part for me is that moment before the doctor actually tells you what the result is. I think I have been so conditioned to always receive bad news while sitting in that drab room in the hospital clinic, that I just expect it. I mean really...that is the room that Emma was diagnosed in. That is the room where my life changed forever. That is the room where our innocence and naive way of thinking was washed away and flushed down the randomly hidden toilet that doubles as a cabinet in there. That is the room where my life as a Mom ended and my new career as a D-Mom and pseudo pancreas began.
It's the room where my 4 year old baby climbed up onto my lap and stared into my tear filled eyes as I explained to her that we would be ok...all the while feeling the overwhelming weight on my heart convincing myself that we wouldn't be ok. I felt suffocated in that room. I felt as if the light inside me had been rudely and abruptly extinguished and I would never be able to find a way to light it again. I felt like that room would swallow me whole if I let it.
It's the room where I learned how to give an injection for the first time. It's the room where the nurse forced the insulin pen needle into my shaking hands and MADE me stab a stuffed animal with it to practice.....MADE me stab myself in the stomach with it to learn....MADE me stab my daughter after she had eaten her first meal after diagnosis.
It's the room where I laughed through my anguish as I saw the receptionist lay bubble wrap out covering the entire floor...just so my daughter could have something fun to do while she was oblivious to the fact the her entire world was changing around her. I laughed hysterically...probably with a hint of lunacy as I saw her jump up and down...up and down...over and over again...across the entire room...POW POW POW POW POW each bubble on the sheet exploded. Her laughter filled the room as the people walking by out in the hall probably thought that world war 3 had begun and machine gun fire was happening in that little room.
That room holds so many memories for me....sad, depressing, full of despair....that room sometimes feels like an entity all it's own to me. Sometimes I want to go in there with buckets of paint...all of the colours of the rainbow...and just fling them at the wall....wash away the drab blue of pain....and cover it up with new hope. I want to change the way I see that room.
So, as I sit there this afternoon....holding my breath as those few seconds pass before the doctor tells me that a1c number......I will think of that change...and hopefully it will make it a little more bearable. I will hear the echoes of Emma's laughter and the machine gun pop of the bubble wrap...and I will focus on our life as a whole....and not just this one number...this one measurement of this one moment in time. I will try....and that's all I can expect from myself...just try.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mother's Intuition

We've all heard of "Mother's intuition" before, right? Certain random occurances that happen...things that we as Mom's know....things we feel...and there really is no logical explanation as to why they occured. I'm sure many people who haven't experienced this first hand would be skeptical and think that it's a load of malarky. I would have to say that before I became a Mom myself, I would also have fit into that category of skeptics.
In any case, I have now experienced it...I've felt it..I've heard about it and witnessed it first hand since Emma came into my life. I think the strongest moments that this intuition has occured have somehow involved diabetes. For example, last night I was sitting here on the computer...wasting away some time until I did my last blood sugar check for the night and got to lay my weary head down on my pillow and sleep. I still had about an hour or so to go before it was technically "time" to check her. I got this feeling in my stomach that wouldn't go away. It started in my stomach and I tried to ignore it...tried to keep doing what I was doing...wasting time. The tingling sensation started to travel up my chest and flow out my arms all the way to my fingertips. The best way I can describe it is sort of like that feeling you get when you are riding a roller coaster and your arms are high above your head waving like mad in the air...the wind rushing past them...feeling weightless...tingling. I felt like something was wrong...something was off. I felt this sense of urgency start to take over my body which made no sense to me I said, I was simply sitting there on the computer wasting time. I felt like if I didn't get up and move, that something bad would ignoring it would do no good. I stood up and all I could think of was Emma...I know it may seem like Emma is really all that is ever on my mind...but in reality, that's not the case. She is there a lot of the time, but I do have a life outside of Emma land. Anyway, I couldn't stop thinking of her and feeling that panic rise to the surface....that urgent tingling panic. I could feel my heart begin to pound...a cold sweat take over my body...that sick ball of fear growing with each passing second in my stomach. You would think that after nearly 9 years of being a Mom...4 1/2 of them a D-Mom, that I would know instantly what this feeling meant and I would react immediately and listen to my body and do what is needed to be done......but apparently at 12:30am, the ignorant portion of my brain has taken over. I stood there having an inner argument with I check her? do I wait until the "normal" time? what if she's low and I don't check her and something happens? I would never be able to live with myself. what if I am just a lunatic and am imagining this whole feeling? why am I still standing here arguing with myself....just go check her so you will KNOW! Yea, I never claimed to be brilliant at that hour...let alone ANY hour of the day....years of sleep deprivation will do that to you.
So, I grabbed my tools of the trade...blood sugar meter, lancet, flashlight held in my mouth between my clenched teeth...and I went upstairs to her room to check her.
She was low.
Who knows how much further she would have dropped if I had ignored that feeling...that mother's intuition...and just waited that hour to check her at the "normal" time I do every night.
She was low....and I only caught it and was able to save her....because I listened (eventually) to my intuition.
We as Mom's carry our children around inside of ourselves for 9 months....their heart began to beat inside us...that is a miracle in the truest sense of the word. Why would we ever think that a bond like that would or could ever be broken simply because they are now grown and filling their own space in this world? That bond is forever. That intuition is forever. What a beautiful thing.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Is this normal?

So I went out for breakfast this morning with a fellow D-Mom...a good friend...a sister in this life. She gets me. I get her. It's easy....and I am greatful for that ease and that comfort and that same same. As we sat there eating bacon and chatting away about things, it occured to me how strange this life really is. We go out about our day feeling exhausted, feeling stressed,'s always there...always in the back of our minds that at any gven moment the phone could ring and it could be our child's school on the other end telling us that our child is low....passed out...en route to the hospital. We live in that bubble of the constant threat of danger. Sure, we put on our happy faces and we pretend like nothing is wrong...we pretend like we got this...we can do it...we are fine! We pretend like we aren't tired and we aren't scared and we are absolutely perfectly ok.
For the most part, people believe us. For the most part, "the others".....aka...those that have not walked a day in the shoes of a parent of a diabetic child....they buy our facade...they believe our smiles and our reassurances....and our bold faced lies that we are ok...everything is ok. I don't know why we do it really. I don't know why we feel like we have to pretend to the others. Some of us even try to pretend to each other. Maybe it's because we want to seem like we are strong? Like we are capable? Maybe we act this way because we don't want to portray this image of weakness to others? Maybe we are just tired of the pity....tired of the sad eyes and the "oh I don't know how you do it! I could NEVER give my kid needles everyday!" that happened all the time in the beginning? I don't really know why we do it.
I think it is rather strange too how quickly we adapt to this quickly we make it our new we accept the fact that feeling exhaustion on a daily basis is just a normal thing now. We have embraced that fear and that worry and have gotten so used to it that we don't even realize that it ISN'T normal to feel that way. It isn't normal to be this tired all of the time. It isn't normal to walk through the grocery store and find yourself standing there staring at a shelf of spaghetti noodles realizing that half your mind...half of your thoughts are somewhere down the road back at your child's school...thinking to yourself...I wonder if that lunch bolus was too her basal rate to high?....she has gym coming up soon...I hope she will feel a low if it happens and remember to tell someone....does she have enough test strips in her kit at school still...only 3 more hours until I get to see her again and know that she is ok......ok what was I doing again?...RIGHT...pasta!! It is so strange to think that the way we walk around every day now FEELS normal to us because we are so used to it now......but in reality, it's NOT normal...and if one of "the others" ever had the chance to walk a day in our shoes, they would think we are mad....and not the "angry" kind of mad, if you catch my drift.
There are some that I have noticed see through the facade though. Some that stare just a little too long at your face...studying your tired eyes...knowing that they see something "off"....and yet not quite able to put a finger on what it is. There are also some D-Mom's I have my friend from this morning...that just know....she just knows without me even saying a there is no point in even trying to hide it. I find comfort in that. I find peace in that and it makes it a little easier to go about my day feeling the new normal that isn't so "new" to me anymore.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Kaleidoscope

I remember sitting in my room as a kid and holding a kaleidoscope up to my eye...squinting through that tiny little hole in the end...pointing it towards the light on the ceiling. I remember marveling at the beautiful shapes and colours that appeared as I twisted and turned the end of it...wondering how in the world it worked. How did the people who made it manage to get all of those shapes and colourful objects inside the end of the tube? I loved how each shape moved into the next one with the simple fluid motion of my hand.
Sometimes when I find myself lost in this life....worried about things that I can not control...things that I can not change...things that truly don't matter.....I think about that sunny afternoon in my room. I think about how warm the sun felt on my skin as it shined through the window next to my pink canopy princess bed. I think about my soft blanket and most special stuffed animals that had the honour of sitting on the bed instead of being put away with the other toys. I think about my white dresser with all of my little trinkets on it...all of the little shiny things that are special to a little girl. I think about how quiet it serene and quiet.
As an adult, I've learned that sometimes we don't have all the answers. Sometimes we really have absolutely no idea what we are doing. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we don't. The real fight...the real challenge...the real test of our what we do with the obstacle that lies in front of us. Do we sit there staring at the problem getting upset and thinking woah is me? Or do we turn the end of that kaleidoscope and change our focus...force ourselves to look at the problem from another angle...another perspective? Do we let ourselves get trapped in that one scene...that one mind-boggling issue? Our eyes zeroing in on the hard lines and the sharp angles of that problem. Or do we adjust....with the slightest movement...a mere twitch of our focus...and see that those lines and angles aren't so hard...and they aren't so sharp?
Sometimes it is definitely easier said than done to keep things fluid. Sometimes it feels like even attempting that motion and that change would take the strength of a thousand Rocky Balboa's. Sometimes it feels like it would just be easier...safer...more familiar to just continue to look at the same picture. Sometimes those colours and shapes we have been staring at for what seems like forever bring us a feeling of normalcy....and that is ok too. Everyone deserves that moment of ease. Everyone deserves that comfort. However, we need to remember to take that chance and make that shift...keep things moving....because who knows what we could accomplish and what problem we could solve if we made that slight shift. The possibilities are endless and the beauty of a new design and a new picture spread out across our vision is guaranteed.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Fog of Monotony

Do you ever feel like you are just going through the motions? Like you are just on auto-pilot...waking up in the morning feeling the exact same way you felt the day before...doing the exact same things you foot in front of the other...same thing...never ending...trapped in a continuous loop of mundane monotony? Do you ever feel like you have reached that point where you are losing sight of the big picture and seem to be a rut....of just "getting by"?
Yea, me too....
Sometimes I find myself checking Emma's blood sugar at night and seeing a number that isn't so good....knowing in my head that I should be sighing and trudging downstairs to get juice to fix it....knowing I should be feeling this sense of urgency and this panic...and yet, I feel nothing. I stare at that number and it is just a number....just one more number in the millions of numbers I have seen on that little more number that needs to be more number that needs to be more number that I can add to the list. Sometimes i find myself having gone the whole day while she is at school without having said a single word. I am stuck in that land of knowing that I have to get things done....and yet I don't want to...I just want to take care of myself for once and curl up on the couch and forget that I even know what the word diabetes means.
I must sound like the world's most selfish person saying that....and now I feel bad for even thinking it....but it's true. I'm not perfect...I have flaws. Sometimes I just want to sit down and do nothing. Sometimes I can feel myself slipping over that edge....knowing that if I let go, I will be stuck in that rut forever....not wanting to be stuck...not wanting to have to find my way back out again...but still having that threatening presence there looming over me nonetheless. Sometimes I'm just tired. Tired enough that I don't want to fight anymore...I don't want to hold on to the edge...I just want to let go.
Then I see my daughter's face....and I know that she doesn't now and will never have that option of just letting go. She will have this battle forever...long after I am the captain of her pancreas team. She doesn't have a choice. It is her disease....not mine. In the grand scheme of things, I will have this fight for such a short amount of time....just a blink of an eye. So what right do I have to complain? What right do I have to feel sad or depressed or angry or even exhausted? What right do I have to get upset and wish that the rut of neverending-ness would just end already? What right do I have to hate the monotony? What right do I have to feel bad?
I don't have that right. It's not my disease. It's hers. So I see her face in my mind and I keep walking...I keep foot in front of the other...because I do it for her. I endure it for her for the little while that it is mine to endure....because I am her Mom...and I love her more than the air I breathe and the life I live. At least the path in this rut is well worn and familiar...and at least I know I am not alone....I catch glimpses of other D-parents out of the corner of my eye. I know they are there....making their way through the fog of monotony with me...and I know we will make it back out into the sunshine again.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Moment of Beauty

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. First off, I would like to know who "they" are and what makes "them" such an authority on how the rest of us should think. In case you haven't figured it out by now, I am not a huge fan of being told what to do or how to think about things....I've always been that way, just ask my Mom about the lovely teen years.
Anyhoo, in this particular case, I would have to agree with them. What is beautiful to one, could be completely boring to another. I think a lot of us get so wrapped up in our busy lives that we tend to miss out on all of the beauty that surrounds us every day.
I was at a birthday party today for a little boy in Emma's class. I am starting to take some tentative steps in Emma's independence when it comes to diabetes. I am trying to teach her that while yes...she can most definitely have fun just like every other kid out there....and yes, she can eat that birthday cake and have that juice and play those games and run around like a maniac with the rest of her friends............she still has to remember that diabetes is there. She has to remember that in order to have fun and be just like all of the other kids, she must do a little extra. She must check her blood sugar, she must stop running to check and make sure she isn't low...and if she IS low she must drink that juice. She has to remember these things and develop her abilities to think ahead when it comes to things like activity level, excitement level, carbs consumed, insulin on board.
We are all a work in progress. Even though I have been doing this for almost 4 1/2 years now, I am still a work in progress. I am still learning. I will continue to learn for the rest of my life. The moment I stop learning or  even lose that desire to learn....I might as well be lost because I will be of no use to anyone...including myself. The key to understanding most anything in this world is education. If you find the beauty in education you will inevitably discover the beauty in understanding. The two go hand in hand.
So, back to the party.....I decided to check Emma one last time and leave her at the party. I left her meter bag with the birthday boy's big sister and got in my car and drove away. I drove away and that feeling of panic was not there. I felt..........good. I got home and spent the next while sitting on my husband's lap at the computer watching Felix Baumgartner make it into the record books by skydiving from more than 24 miles in the air. As I sat there, my husband's arm around me...our eyes glued to the monitor...I felt it again..........I felt....good. We stared at this man as he leapt from a tiny ladder attached to the side of a tiny capsule high above the Earth. I was in awe of the bravery and guts that this man be able to step off that ladder and simply fall. His words before he jumped? "I wish you could see what I see right now. Sometimes you have to go up really high to see how small you are."
To be able to stand there and look down at the world...I can only imagine how breathtaking that beauty must have been. Felix's vision of beauty today was on a grande scale of that not many of us in the world will ever be so lucky to witness ourselves.
I took my little moment today...with my husband as we watched this extreme skydive......I took it as a thing of beauty. To everyone else, it probably would seem like a boring every day occurance between a husband and wife...........but to was beautiful...and I felt good.

Friday, October 12, 2012

My reality tv show

Sometimes I feel like I am not me. I feel like I'm watching my life on a TV show or something. Like it's some bad reality tv show that just keeps hanging on...playing every 2 in the morning...and the only one watching it is me. I feel like I am staring at this character version of myself on the screen and thinking "oh that girl looks awful! why doesn't she just sit down for a minute? why doesn't she sleep already?" I feel like I want to turn the channel...I want to flip to the Disney channel and watch some stupid family sitcom where hi-jinx happen, someone winds up doing something outrageous, there is a heartfelt moment, and by the end of the half an hour all of the problems are solved and everyone lives happily every after.
Except I can't change the channel. The remote doesn't work...every time I try to push the buttons on it to change it, it just goes right back to my reality show. Everytime I get up and try to change it the old fashioned way right on the tv itself....same thing. I am stuck. Stuck watching this tired version of myself in a never ending loop. There is no laugh track to ease the tension...there are no commercials for toothpaste or dog food. It's just in and day out.
I find myself noticing all of the little things...the moments where I see the TV version of myself walk into the corner of the wall at night because she is so tired, her balance just a little bit off, her eyes set in a robotic glazed over she trudges up the stairs to her daughter's room to check her blood sugar. I see the monotony in her eyes....I see the never-ending-ness....I see the exhaustion. I notice as the years go on and the seasons run into each other that her hair is a little more gray...the lines around her eyes begin to form. I see just how much diabetes is affecting her whether she likes it or not...whether she fights it or not. I see the look in her eyes as she crawls into bed after a long day. I see the love she has for her child shining straight out from her heart...the core of her being. I see the two of them lost in a fit of giggles over some silly thing they talked about or saw or did. I see them lost in that moment in time....the world around them a blur of mundane intensity. I see the child walk beside her Mom...they have the same mannerisms...they walk the same...they tilt their head the same way when they are deep in thought. I see the child reach out and grab her Mom's hand with so much ease and comfort that it brings tears to my eyes. I see the adoration in their eyes. I see the strength between them. I see the power that pours from within each and magnifies between them with every beat of their hearts...every breath exhaled from their lungs.
I watch this show and I am overcome with emotion. I want so badly for them to win. I want so badly for them to come out on top and for that seemingly never-ending half an hour to end. I want the theme song to play and the credits to roll...I want the announcer to come on and say stay tuned next week for a reunion show starring the entire cast....except for diabetes...for you see, diabetes is gone....skipped town and is never to return. I want the theme music to slowly fade away and know in my heart that these characters I have followed since day 1 will be ok....they will live happily ever after.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Raising a little girl is hard

Ever since Emma turned 7, I have found myself becoming more and more irritated with the way things are portrayed to her in public. For example, when I go to the store to buy clothes for her....the store has sizes broken down into 3 sections....obviously the first being baby sizes, then the next is size 2-6, and finally the group Emma is in now, size 7-14. I am annoyed with this because in my opinion there is not a 7 year old out there that should be wearing the same style clothing as a 14 year old. There is a HUGE difference in the mindset of a 7 year old compared to that of a 14 year old!
So, I ask myself....why does the store do this? Why do clothing manufacturers make clothing in this manner? Am I the only parent out there that feels like this is something wrong or weird?
I walk around in public places and I see girls wearing clothes that cover about as much of their body as a pair of underwear and a bra would....girls that couldn't possibly be any older than 12. I look at them and I feel this uneasy fear in the pit of my stomach. I see them and I know that my own daughter is just a few years away from that age. It fills me with such a mixed sense of emotions that I have trouble even making sense of them sometimes.
On the one hand, I am probably the most liberal person you will ever meet when it comes to individuality and expression. I would never feel that it could be my place to judge someone based on their appearance. On the other hand, I look at my daughter and I can honestly say that I would never want her to feel that she had to dress that way to impress someone...a boy...her friends...anyone. I want her to not be judged on her appearance and how much skin she shows. I don't want her to be judged at all actually. I want her personality, her intelligence, her sense of humour to shine through and win people's hearts just as she has won mine. It kills me to see teen stars on tv, or in music, or movies, and magazines....being portrayed as a sexualized icon to my daughter and so many other little girls in the world. It kills me that I don't see more of a balance...for every one half dressed celebrity on the cover with her finger nail provacatively perched on the bottom lip of her open mouth......I wish there was a fully clothed celebrity holding a book...or helping a small child in need...or even involved in a fundraiser for a charity. I wish it was more balanced. I wish that these images weren't thrust at my daughter and her friends every time they leave the house. I just want to gather them all up and sit them down and tell them how important they special they are for just being they will only be 8 once...they will never again have another October 11, 2012, so they need to enjoy it being a kid....being 8 years old and playing with their toys...singing silly songs, dancing, doing cartwheels...just being a little girl! I wish I could tell them that and make it sink in before they go off into the world again to be bombarded with our over-sexualized society.
I know what you are thinking, there is no way you could change things Amy....this is the way the world is's not 1950 anymore...suck it up and just accept it. I know all of this...and I wouldn't expect it to be like it was in 1950. I love the fact that there are powerful women out there...women who fight for equal rights...women who stand up and speak their mind...women who work twice as hard as a man and stand as a shining beacon of hope for our future...women who are nurturing and caring and giving of themselves...women who have ideas, act on them, work hard, and make an impact on the world we now live in.
Please know that I am not blaming society for my woes. I am not blaming music or tv or movies. I am not blaming Hollywood. I am not blaming anyone. I am simply stating that this is something that disturbs me. I know it ultimately falls on my shoulders to teach my daughter how to have self to have confidence in her beauty (inner as well as outer) to shine amidst a muddied mess of chaos out to revel in her intelligence and share her humour with the world. I know that I must teach her these things and make her believe them deep down in her heart...believe that she is worthwile just being who she is. I accept the job and I will do my best to make her see these things and believe them about herself before I send her off to conquer the world on her own.
I think this means so much to me because as a kid I was not confident in fact I thought I was ugly. I hated my hair, my freckles, my shyness. I hated my teeth and how my eyes squinted when I smiled. I hated how all of the boys never saw me the same way as they saw some of my friends. I hated how I suffered in silence. I hated how I thought I was stupid in math. I hated how I felt like I was a nerd and not good enough or pretty enough or funny enough or popular enough or simply liked enough. Yes, I had a lot of friends...I had fun...I went to sleepovers and birthday parties and playdates...I did all of these things...but I never felt good enough.
I don't want Emma to feel that way about herself. I want her to BELIEVE In herself and KNOW that she is good enough. Without diabetes in the mix, this challenge would be extremely difficult. Since diabetes is also along for the ride, I will have just one extra hurdle to get extra thing to make sure doesn't affect her and make her feel different...out of place...not good enough. I hope that I can do this. I hope that I can instill these beliefs in her. Once again, I hope that I am good enough.
What a bizarre thing to realize that I still have those same thoughts that ran through my head 25 years ago. I guess there are some demons that never leave us.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Failure is not an option

After 4 years, you would think I would be able to remember not to put so much emphasis on one particular blood sugar number. You would think that I would know better by now not to beat myself up over it. You would think that I would realize that it is just one small number measured in one small moment in is not a reflection of how good or bad I have been doing. It is not a reflection of my crap abilities at being a pancreas. it is not a reflection of my skills as a mom. It is just a number. It is a big fat ugly number that seems to scream at me from the blood sugar meter. How can one number feel like it has knocked the wind out of me and sent me to my hands and knees sprawled on the ground? How can one number have that power? It's just a number! It's just a number! It's JUST A NUMBER!
You would think that I would have this etched into my brain after all of this time....after all of the blood sugar checks we have done...all of the carb counting...all of the boluses and injections. You would think that I would know this. You would think that I wouldn't be sitting here right now pissed off at myself for not being a better pancreas and being able to figure out why the hell i have been battling low blood sugars for the past month.....only to have her body pull a complete 180 on me and now be faced with numbers like 19.8 at lunch time. I know all of this in my head. I know it in my heart. I know it's just a stinkin number....but I still get mad....I still yell at myself in my head....I still blame myself...I still feel like a failure....I still do it. I know the old saying of how we are our own worst enemies. I know it and it is true. I don't think there is anyone else on the planet who is harder on me than ME. I hate it and I wish I wouldn't be like this. I think that I still after all of this time feel like because I am her Mom....I need to fix it...I need to fix the problem and make it right. Even though I know in my head from experience that you can not always fix can not always make it right when it comes to diabetes. It's just not possible.
Diabetes is not black and white. It is not a fan of keeping it simple and what works for you one day or even one month....will not necessarily work for you tomorrow. I hate the grey uncertainty...i hate the unknown...i hate it. I just wish I could take the two sides of myself and my thoughts and superglue them together so I could convince myself that the time I am wasting right now in even thinking the thoughts I am thinking and writing about is stupid. I am wasting energy in beating myself up over a number....actually a string of numbers over the past few days. I am wasting the energy. They are in the past and there is nothing I can do about them now. I need to step back....breathe....and move the heck on.
Because there will always be more numbers....always more checks...always more adjustments and always more changes. Change is constant in this life and whether I like it or not, I must accept it. It doesn't make me a bad person...a bad mom...or even a bad pancreas. Those things are defined by how I choose to handle the numbers....and how i choose to react to them. Do I sit here and waste more time getting pissed and angry and frustrated and overwhelmed and fighting the urge to wave the white flag in defeat? Or do I stop. Do I stop and tell that critic in my head to shut up?
I hung out in option A for long enough's getting me nowhere I am now choosing option B.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


The older I get, the more I have learned that the word family doesn't necessarily ONLY include people that you are blood related/marriage related to. I have learned that there are people we come across in our life, whether by chance or by choice, that wind up becoming a part of that special group of people that you hold in your heart. I am blessed to have quite a few of those people in my life.
I of course have my fellow D-Mom's and Dad's that I carry with me in my heart. They get it. They understand this life and this battle. I met them because of an awful thing that occured to us. Had it not been for diabetes, I would have never been graced with their presence....never had the opportunity to know exactly what it means to fully and completely understand and love someone that only resides inside your computer.
I have dear friends that I have met in my life that I met simply because of random occurances in my life...such as a place I have visited...or a place I lived...or a place I worked..or went to school. They all are with me every single day and I draw strength from the knowledge that they care about me and support me.
I found out some news yesterday that broke my heart. The neighbour that lives across the street from me was just diagnosed with brain cancer. This man has been a fixture in my life every day for the past almost 12 years. He is retired and his pride and joy has always been his yard. He has beautiful flowers and trees and plants growing all over, a couple of coy ponds, one of which has a lovely and serene waterfall flowing into it. Nearly all of my memories of him are outside. I remember sitting on my front porch enjoying coffee first thing in the morning and saying hello to him as he watered his flowers. I remember standing in my driveway in the beginning of February...bitter cold and snow everywhere...with my big pregnant belly...chatting with him as he brought his garbage to the curb. I remember playing in the front yard with a 2 year old Emma...her hair in short little pigtails sticking out from the side of her head...waving her chubby little arms in the air and shouting across the road, "HIIIIIIIIII TOMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!" at him and seeing him burst into laughter as he shouted hello back to her. I remember walking over to his yard with Emma's tiny hand in mine and chatting with him as Emma marveled at the fact that he had fishies swimming around in his yard. I remember him looking at me with tears in his eyes and hearing his voice crack as he told me how sorry he was to hear that Emma was diagnosed with diabetes, but that he knew she would be fine because she is a tough girl and nothing will stop her in life...she will never let any grass grow under her feet. I remember him always being the first one to want to donate to her JDRF support her hot chocolate sale help her in any way he could...monetarily or otherwise.
He is one of those truly unique and special people in this world that are hard to find. If you happen to discover one in your life, consider yourself blessed. He is good to the core. He is a good soul...has an honestly kind soul...he never would ask for help...and yet he was always the first to offer help. He is a good man. My heart breaks for him and I can't imagine living here knowing that when I go outside or back out of the driveway....that he won't be there...watering his flowers or cutting his grass...getting his mail...bringing his garbage out....shoveling snow. I can't imagine it. It won't feel right. I type this with tears in my eyes because I don't even know if he really has any idea how much he means to me and my daughter. I don't even know if he realizes that he has been more like a grandfather figure to her than I could have ever hoped for. I don't know if he knows how comforting his presence out there in his yard was to me. To know that I could always count on him being out there...making his little corner of the world a little more beautiful.
So, here I sit.....sad....and feeling guilty for wanting him to remain here...because I don't want him to have to live his remaining years in pain...or confused...or disoriented because of the tumors growing inside him. I feel guilty because I want him to remain here....and in my head I tell myself, he's not even my "real family"....he's simply a man I met because I moved here in this house. But in my heart, I feel it...and I know that he is a part of my family...he is one of those special people that I hold in my heart....and this hurts....even though I know it may sound silly because I am sure it hurts his family and his wife a million times more......but it still hurts nonetheless.
I hate cancer.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Questions for Adults living with Type 1

Sometimes I sit here with a smirk on my face and think about how different our lives have become since diabetes entered the picture. Not even just how different this life is compared to how it was before....but more so how things have progressed over the years. In the beginning days after diagnosis, I was worried all of the time...scared...I would panic over the little things. I would blame myself for the highs and lows. I would find myself constantly staring at her to seek out those potential low blood sugars...constantly asking her if she felt ok...if she felt low. I'm sure I was probably the most annoying person on the planet to my 4 year old Emma.
As the years progress, i am finding myself not AS worried...not AS panicked...not AS stressed. It is a whole new ball game because she is now 8 and she is able to help me figure things out more. I am truly greatful to have her on my team at this point.
I imagine that this is a normal thing for all parents of d-kiddos to go through. We make that transition from sole psuedo captain of the pseudo pancreas supporting role.
I have a few friends in real life and on line that are now adults living with type 1 diabetes and I am writing this post to them. I am at the point now in this d-life, where I am wondering if I am doing all that I should be doing...if I am handling things right....if I am supporting Emma in the way that she needs to be supported...if I am still doing too much..annoying her...if I need to step back more and let her make mistakes more so she learns? It's hard to not to question your choices in this life when it comes to the physical aspect of things and you see the numbers not play out the way you wanted them too. But I think it is also difficult not to question yourself when it comes to the emotional aspect. I want to set my kid off on the right path. I want her to have all of the tools she will need to make it in this life and to achieve all of her dreams. I want her to be strong. When she is grown and on her her own life...if she happens to see those lows or highs, I don't want her to get angry at herself..I want her to see the number, fix it, and move on.
So, I guess my question for all of you adults living with Type 1 is this......looking back on your childhood, is there anything that you wish your parents did differently or is there anything you wish they would/wouldn't have said? Is there something that stands out for you? Do you have any tips or advice that you think should be shared with all parents of children with diabetes?
I want to do it right. I want to raise Emma to be a strong, confident, and loving person. So, as we keep on truckin in this life with diabetes, I want to do my best to arm her with all that she needs to make it work. Thanks in advance!

Monday, October 1, 2012

No D-Day: I love Rocky

So in the D-blog world it is officially...No D-Day....that means I am not supposed to blog about anything diabetes related. Seems difficult at first...I mean I actually had to sit here for a minute to think about what I could write about. After 4 years, diabetes is a big part of our lives....whether we like it or not...but I do have a life outside of D believe it or not. I have friends, I have hobbies....and I really don't spend all day talking about all things d-related.
SO, I thought I would share a little tidbit about myself today. Not many people know this actually...and some might be a little embarassed to admit it...but I am an open book, so I figure..why not? here goes....I am a HUGE "Rocky" fan! I love the movies...all of them! My favorite is obviously the first one and the 4th one....I mean does it get any better than the epic battle between Rocky Balboa and the Russian Ivan Drago? I think not.
I think my love for the Rocky movies began when i was a kid. I have vivid memories of the Rocky 4 soundtrack blaring up from the basement of my house as my Dad was working out. I remember singing along in my room to "Eye of the Tiger" and thinking that my Dad was the coolest Dad on the planet and that he was just as strong as Rocky and he could take down that Ivan Drago just as quick. I remember sitting at the dinner table next to my Dad and he would hold his arm out to me and we would bump fists and he would have a smirk on his face as he said in his best Russian accent, "I must break you."....just like Ivan did in the movie. I would giggle like crazy and bump my fist right back on his. It was our little bond...our connection...our love for the Rocky movies.
To this day, everytime I hear the songs or come across the movies on TV...I instantly smile and am transported back to that dinner table. In fact just this past weekend, I discovered the first Rocky on tv and I had to make Emma watch it. Aside from being grossed out at the lovey dovey kissing scenes between Rocky and Adrienne....she really liked it! It makes me smile to keep the Rocky tradition going in my family. I hope that when she is my age, she will look back fondly on days like this and remember watching Rocky with me. Remember how strong he much determination he he wouldn't let anyone stop him from doing what he needed to do. I hope it makes her smile everytime she hears "Eye of the Tiger". I hope she tells her own children about her Papa and her Mommy loving the movies too. I hope she giggles as she tells them how their Grandma even had Rocky, Pauly, and Apollo Creed action figures. (Yes...I am THAT big of a mean fan!)
So, there you have it.....I love go to karaoke song is "Eye of the Tiger"....and one day I will own a pair of American Flag boxing shorts to go with my Rocky t-shirt! Just a little random tidbit about Amy.