Monday, September 30, 2013

I screwed up

So, yea.....I think I kind of failed on the whole D-Mom front this morning. I realized that I've been doing something....or rather SAYING something rather inappropriate over the years...and it makes me feel bad that it took me this long to realize just how important it is to pay closer attention to the words I choose to use.

Emma has a substitute teacher this morning...and I gave her my usual condensed version of type 1 diabetes according to Emma's body before school this morning. I walked up to her and began with, "Hi! This is Emma...she's the 'one with diabetes'......." Even hearing my own words echoing in my head now....makes me cringe. I realized that I have started out every conversation I've ever had with a substitute teacher that way. I guess in my mind I figured the regular teacher had left notes about the class and what the schedule was....and in turn would have included info about Emma and her type 1 diabetes. So, I was simply clarifying from the get avoid any confusion...that she was in fact, the one with diabetes that they had hopefully read about that morning when they arrived at school. I guess that was my thought process....but today when I said it...Emma happened to be standing in my line of sight and I saw the look on her face as the words fell from my lips. I can't really describe it.....annoyance? Exasperation? Sick of the monotony? Tired of the whole broken record shpeel?.......or more so, irritated at being referred to as "the one with diabetes".....especially by her own Mom.

My guess is the latter.

I feel like a jerk for not realizing how heavy my words could be. I feel like a jerk for taking so long to realize it. I feel like a jerk for so callously referring to my daughter that way over and over again to these substitutes.

I feel like a jerk.

Alas, I'm not perfect.....and my kid knows this. I make mistakes all the time. While I hate the fact that it took me this long to realize what I was actually saying, I am kind of greatful that it has given me the chance to show my kid that even though we've been doing this for 5+ years now, I still make mistakes....and that's ok. I'm happy that it gives me the chance to talk with her and apologize to her and make her see that mistakes are inevitable in this life.....and how we choose to handle those moments of screwing up is the real measure of our strength.

I screwed up.....and I will make it right.

Friday, September 27, 2013

End of an era

Well, it's the end of an era....I just dropped my car off at the junk yard because we are getting a new car this afternoon. I can't help but feel a little sentimental about it. I know it's feel such an attachment to a car of all things....but I do.

It was the first car my husband and I bought together after I moved to Canada. We brought our baby girl home from the hospital in this car. I remember that night so was a bitterly cold February evening and I sat in the back seat with her. She was so tiny...I was so scared. I remember thinking I had no idea what I was doing. We stopped at McDonalds on the way home because I was starving and I was afraid to even get out of the car with her. I felt safe in the my husband went inside and got the food for us. She was fast asleep in her car seat and I just sat there staring at her in amazement.

Fast forward 3 years....I drove her to the emergency room in that car after she decided to do gymnastics in her bed and hit her head on the metal headboard. The doctors at the clinic xrayed her skull and told me they thought she had fractured I needed to get to the hospital immediately. I remember driving there in a state of shock...and panic....her SKULL...I couldn't believe it! I am amazed I didn't get in a car accident on the drive there because I swear I spent the whole time staring in the rear view mirror at her watching her little pale face uncontrollably throwing up into a pail I had brought with. She had dark circles under her eyes and a serious goose egg protruding from her forehead...purple...angry looking. I was afraid.

Fast forward 1 year.....I drove her home from the hospital in that car after being told that she had type 1 diabetes. Again I felt I had no idea what I was doing. I was afraid of the unknown and worried that I wouldn't know what to do to keep her alive. I watched her sitting in her booster seat...small...once again fragile looking and yet full of smiles...playing with her collection of toys that always seemed to stay in the back seat by her. She was happy to be going home. She was happy to be in her booster her familiar and safe territory. That car ride was perhaps the longest of my life. I was in shock and had zero faith in my capabilities at doing this. The very next day, we picked up our cat Daisy and drove her home. She was a tiny fluff ball in the back seat meowing at Emma....her first car ride with us....and she hated every minute of it...but it brought her home to be a part of our family...and our hearts.

Fast forward 2 months....I drove that car to drop her off at school for the first time ever. It was perhaps the hardest thing I've done in my whole life....letting her go....letting her be a kid. It was the first time I made a conscious decision not to let diabetes control our lives. I kissed her goodbye and walked back to my bubble of safety...and I let out all of the tears I had been holding in. It was ok though...because I was in my car....and it was ok.

Fast forward 5 today...I drove that car for the last time to drop my kid off at school. She took her seatbelt off, wrapped her arms around the seat in front of her, closed her eyes tight, and said goodbye to the car....and thanked it for all of the memories and for getting her where she wanted to go her whole life. She got out of the car and shut the door behind her. She walked the path up to her school with tears in her eyes and said she was going to miss our old car. My heart hurt a little as I saw how attached she had become to it too.

I'm ecstatic to have a new car....I can't wait to make new memories in this one and become attached to this one too. But I will always be greatful for the old car. I know it's silly to feel this way about a car....but I can't help it...I'm silly...and I loved that car and all of the memories it holds.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Spilled Strips

So I spilled a brand new bottle of test strips all over the floor this morning. I was in Emma's classroom before school started because she was running low on strips in her kit and I had brought her a new bottle to replenish them for her. Maybe it's because I had only had one cup of coffee at that point...or maybe it's because I am not a morning person...or maybe it's because I was distracted by the fact that Emma's teacher had the Rolling Stones cranked on the classroom computer as he prepared for his day? Either way, there they were...scattered all across the floor in front of me like a mini version of that stupid game "pick up stix."

My first thought was of course oh crap....I hope the floor is clean enough so the strips aren't ruined now. My second thought was.....laughter? Yes, I burst into giggles as I knelt down to pick them all up. Emma was looking at me like I had lost my marbles. The teacher looked at me like I had just whispered some secret joke to Emma and he had missed out on the punch line. I knelt there laughing like an idiot because......well, was a smack in the face reminder that shit happens. Be it miscalculating a bolus or guessing the carbs on a meal and finding out two hours later that you were WAY off....or something so ridiculous as spilling a brand new bottle of test strips all over the floor. I was laughing because I realized just how much I rely on those tiny little white and gray plastic strips every single day. Emma and I use them so often that I don't even think about it anymore. It's just something that's always there....a part of the process....the first thing I grab when I want to know what her blood sugar is. Those tiny little strips of plastic make my day so much easier and I barely give them a second thought anymore.

I gathered them all up between snickers and tried to get myself together again and somewhat resemble a sane person and competent parent once more. I walked out of the classroom with a smile on my face and a bit more respect for those little strips that I rely on so much.

Monday, September 23, 2013


As I sit here at 2:30am for the 6th night in a row trying to get Emma's blood sugars to come down, I can't help but think about how amazing she is. She had a stomach virus for two days....returned to school...came home with a cold that day...been battling high blood sugars ever since....and all the while she smiles. She hasn't complained once from the extra finger pokes or the extra boluses or the times I've made her wait to eat because I wanted to give the insulin a chance to begin working to help bring her numbers down. She hasn't complained once over the extra water I've made her drink to try and help things come down...or the horrid feeling she must be experiencing inside with the highs. She hasn't cried...she hasn't felt sorry for herself....she hasn't questioned anything or gotten angry at the hand she was dealt. She hasn't expressed pity or frustration or sadness.

She just smiles.

She laughs and jokes around. She hugs me. She is patient. She is tolerant. She is easy going and forgiving and loving and strong.

Because of her strength and her spirit, I sit here in the wee hours of the morning...tired...but not frustrated. I feel powerful because of her. I feel lucky because of her. I feel loved because of her. I see the way she looks at me and the feeling that fills my heart is peace. She gives me peace. She gives me hope.

It's incredible to me how someone that can put up with a disease like this day in and day out can still manage to smile and take it all in stride. I have learned so much from her over the years....but perhaps the most important thing of perspective.

Diabetes is all about perspective. Life is all about perspective. If I choose to focus on the bad and the highs and the lack of sleep and the aching tiredness that envelops my entire body....I will not gain anything except for a black cloud hanging above my that pushes me further down into the sadness and the frustration. If I choose to focus on the fact that I still have the opportunity to see her beautiful smile every single day.....and feel her love...and laugh that special kind of laugh that comes straight from my gut whenever I spend time with her, then I will gain everything. I will gain a lightness....a peace...a confidence in my love as a Mom.

So, I sit here in the wee hours of just another Monday morning in my life.....greatful.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


The way I see it, it doesn't matter what everyone else is doing. It doesn't matter how anyone else handles their own personal battles. It doesn't matter to what extent everyone else will go to make a difference.

What matters is what you do...what you you handle the situations that you find yourself in. What matters is how you choose to continue on and how you choose to react to things. The way I see it is that you shouldn't put any limits on yourself. Make as many people smile as you can every single day because who the hell knows what tomorrow will bring.

We accomplish the impossible every single day and we expect no acknowledgement. We do it because we love our family member or friend who deals with type 1. We do it because we love them and want to keep them around. The world is full of assholes and ignorant's a reality. Type 1 diabetes is one of the most individual diseases out there...every one of us is different...every one of us is handling things in our own way and making it work for us in our own lives.

We can choose to sit back and accept defeat. We can choose to feel sorry for ourselves. We can choose to muddle through life with a frown and a tear and a feeling like we will never be good enough. OR we can realize that this disease is effed up. It's hard. It's relentless. Trying to manage it is like trying to juggle while banging your head against the wall and riding a unicycle all at the same time. We can accept that fact and keep going. Shake our fists in the air and scream and cry and be angry and feel sad. What matters most is what we choose to do from that we fall to our knees and let it win? Or do we pick ourselves up...pick each other up...and keep moving? Do we realize that this is simply one moment in shit string of numbers...and choose to shake the defeat off of us and keep moving?

We have a choice....we always have a choice. About the only thing we have in this world is the ability to choose. Don't squander that right. Don't talk yourself out of it. Don't argue with yourself and put yourself down. Don't convince yourself that it can not be done....because you know what? It CAN be done and you can do it! While you are picking yourself up and dusting yourself off, take one second to and spend those few precious moments convincing yourself that you CAN do this. You can do it because you are are are are stubborn. You can do it because you LOVE them and that love will always beat out diabetes...ALWAYS!

Don't give up on yourself. Don't let it win. Just keep that light glowing and keep moving. I believe in you. I know that you can do it. I know it because I am doing it too. I stumble...I fall...I argue with myself and am pretty damn good at convincing myself that I will fail and I am too weak and not smart enough. I get it. I truly do. Don't give up though. We can do it, I promise you.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The cool thing about being a D-Mom

Do you wanna know what's cool about being a D-Mom? Realizing that you can do anything...literally anything.

I spent 31 years of my life thinking I could do a lot of stuff...maybe not everything...but a lot of things, nonetheless. I spent 4 of those years thinking I could do a decent job at being a Mom. I mean I could take care of my child and keep her safe. I could feed her and clothe her and make her smile just by making a silly face. But ever since that fateful day that she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I truly learned that I could do absolutely anything.

I learned that I could keep another human being alive on a daily basis. I could stick needles in the one person I loved more than anything else on the planet. I could cause her pain...I could hold her down with one hand and jab that needle into her thigh with the other. I could do all of those things and then dry her tears and still make her smile just by making a silly face.

I learned that I don't need a lot of sleep to be able to function. In fact, I learned that I don't need ANY sleep to be able to function. I learned that I could stay up until the wee hours of the morning battling low blood sugars or high blood sugars...and still get up the next day and make her breakfast and get her off to school.

I learned that I have the strength and the determination to endure whatever life throws at me...whatever diabetes throws at me. I learned that I have the ability to adapt to any situation or any obstacle that comes my way. I can stand there in a crowded airport terminal...surrounded by hundreds of travelers...and still give my daughter her dinner and the injection of insulin she needs to go along with it.

I learned that I can be prepared. I may have doubted my abilities at being organized and prepared for any possible scenario before....but since diabetes entered our lives, I've seen that I can be ready...I can be prepared...I can be organized.

I learned that I have more patience than I ever thought was humanly possible. I can sit there on her bedroom floor at 2:00am staring at the clock...waiting for 15 minutes to pass before I can check her blood sugar again to make sure it's not dangerously low anymore. I have spent the last 5 years patiently waiting for a cure. I have hope....hope that the day will come...and realistic knowledge that it's possible that the day may never arrive in my lifetime.

I think the fact that diabetes invaded our lives is something that I accepted long ago. I had to accept it to be able to continue on with our lives. I am greatful that it has made me see that I am patient...I am determined....I am accepting.....and most of all, that....

....I am strong....

....and I can do anything.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Diabetes is hard

Being the parent of a child with diabetes is hard. Being the one WITH diabetes is probably even harder.

Sticking a needle in your child's body multiple times a day to keep them alive is hard. Watching them stick the needle into themselves is even harder.

Trusting someone else to do as good of a job as you when it comes to taking care of your child is hard. Trusting your child....who is still JUST a do what it takes to keep themselves alive is even harder.

Learning how to be ok with making mistakes is hard. Accepting the fact that your child will never learn unless they make mistakes too, is even harder.

Not feeling guilty when you make mistakes is hard. Sitting back and watching your child make a mistake without hovering and stepping in and controlling the situation yourself, is even harder.

Gaining confidence in your abilities to be your child's pancreas is hard. Seeing your child have confidence in themselves and their own abilities to manage things is...........



Taking control of your lives with diabetes is hard. Letting go is even harder.

Keeping them warm and safe and in your sole and constant care is hard. Giving them a little nudge out of the nest when the time is right, is even harder.

Emma just dealt with her first low blood sugar of the school year this morning. She called me...she had support from the school...from me...she handled it. She told me what her plan was and I offered some advice...and she handled it. I couldn't ignore that sick feeling in my gut when I saw her schools number on the caller ID. I couldn't ignore that old familiar need to tell her I would be right there...I would help her...I would fix it. The feelings never go away...I will always want to shelter her and protect her and do it for her. But I can't. I know that. I know that she needs to begin to do things on her own. She needs to do it so she can have the experience and the confidence...because one day...whether I like it or not....she will be the one doing it all the time...every day....just her. I want to set her up for victory...not defeat....and in my mind, the pathway to victory is lined with hills and valleys and potholes and mud pits. All of these obstacles are there to help us learn so that we can reach that finish line with our heads held high in victory. 

Diabetes is hard......but not hard enough to stop us.

Monday, September 9, 2013

I Get It

When I think back to the beginning days of being a D-Mom, one word comes to mind.....overwhelmed. So, when I read posts online from new D-Moms being welcomed into the club that no one in their right mind would ever sign up to be a part heart hurts. I want to tell them that I get it...I know what it feels like...those times when your heart is pounding with fear and worry as you prepare the needle for injection time. How you sometimes break out in a cold sweat while walking down the aisle at the grocery store...not quite sure what to grab off the shelf...not quite sure what you are looking for...kind of staring at everything and yet nothing all at the same time. I know how you feel like you might burst into tears if employee or a fellow shopper notices the anxious look in your eyes and asks if they can help you as you stare blankly at the nutrition information on the back of a package of spaghetti noodles trying to understand how you are ever going to figure out how many carbs is actually in 1/12th of the package...uncooked, of course.

I want to tell them that I know how it feels to lay in bed...your head resting on your pillow...your ears intently tuned on any and all noises that may or may not come from the next room...where diabetes is now sleeping with your child. You lay there....eyes wide...wondering if you will ever be able to sleep again...wondering if you should get up to make sure they are still breathing...wondering how in the hell your spouse can be snoring away sleeping so peacefully next to you....fighting the urge to elbow them in the stomach out of frustration and jealousy and exhaustion.

I want to tell them that I know how it feels to send diabetes off to school with your kid for the first time ever. How it feels like your heart may pound right out of your chest with fear. How every single part of you is screaming that this is shouldn't let them can you just send them off...this is shouldn't be doing one will care for them as good as one will pay as close one will be able to keep them safe like you. I know how hard it is to fight those kiss them goodbye....turn around...and walk away...leaving them there. I know how your feet feel like they weigh a thousand pounds each step further away feels wrong...and like you are lost.

I want to tell these new D-Moms all of this and more. I want them to know that I get it. I feel it. I am just like them. They are not alone.

I want to give them hope. I want them to know that it will be ok...their child will be ok...they will be ok.

So, I tell them so. I send my virtual hugs. I blink back my own tears of sadness over another family being a part of our club...and I offer up ear to listen...and my shoulder to lean on. It's what I do...and I hope that it's enough in that moment.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Come sail away

Life with diabetes is sort of like sailing. Some days the waters are smooth and crystal clear...the sun shines and twinkles out to the horizon. Some days the waters are choppy and the waves crash all around you making you feel seasick and dizzy and lost and like you will never find your way out again. Life has it's ebbs and flows like anything really.

I think if there's anything I have learned so far in this life as we are making our way into our sixth year of diabetes, it's that at some point you have to let go. You have to reach a certain point in this journey where you need to nudge your child out of the nest and watch them learn to fly on their own. You have to trust that you have given them the skills they will need...that you have imparted all your wisdom onto them...that you have prepared them as much as you possibly could....and simply just give them the chance. You see, WE as parents didn't get the chance...we didn't have anyone teaching us little bits at a time of how to do this...this life was thrust upon us and we learned as we went along. We hit the ground running and we made mistakes....lots of them. The good thing about where we are at now is that I have a few years experience under my belt. I've learned a lot...I still don't know everything and I probably never will honestly...but I've spent the last 5 plus years taking each hit as it came and struggling and fighting and crying and cheering and worrying and sharing it all with my daughter every step of the way. Even when I thought she wasn't paying attention....she was. Of course she was! It's her body and her disease after all.

She is 9 years old and I am letting her take the reigns more and more often these days. I'm giving her the chance to do it...the chance to try...the chance and the opportunity to use the skills that I have taught her. Yes, she will make mistakes. Yes, she will have victories. She will do her best though...and really that's all I could ever hope for.

I've taught her that this life is not about the numbers. It's not about the checks and the blood and the bolusing and the carbs. Is not about dwelling on a bad number or feeling guilty. It's not about depriving yourself of things. It's not about any of those things. I've reiterated to her over the years that this life is about living. It's about finding yourself and realizing....TRULY realizing that she is not "Emma with diabetes"....she is EMMA. I've taught her that anything is possible and there is nothing in this life that can't be conquered. Diabetes does not define her...and it will never stop her.

So, as I sit back and just observe for the first time in my life as a D-Mom, I can't help but smile as I see her using the skills I've taught her and not just "getting by" or "making do"......but rather kicking butt and taking control and LIVING her life.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Going to school with D

I had a talk with Emma tonight about diabetes and her first day of school tomorrow. This is essentially the 6th year I've sent Emma off to school with diabetes now. She was diagnosed just 2 months before beginning junior kindergarten...and she's now about to enter 4th grade. I think back to how scared I was to send her that first tiny she was...she was brand new to school and brand new to diabetes. Even back then though, I knew there was something special about her. She had the unique ability to just go with the flow...she didn't look at school as something to be afraid of...she didn't look at diabetes as a burden or something to be nervous about at school. It just was. She has always had the ability to be so matter of fact about things. She was told she would have to check her own blood sugar at she did. She didn't question it...she didn't feel sorry for herself...she didn't look at it as some unusual occurrence. It just was.

As the school years have gone by, I've seen her grow and mature too quickly due in large part to diabetes. She's seen and endured things that no child her age should've had to deal with. She's lived with this attitude of doing what needed to be done and somehow being able to be a kid in spite of it all.

Tonight I told her how I was nervous that she wouldn't speak up to her new teacher tomorrow during class if she felt low. I told her that I trust her more than anyone else on the planet when it comes to managing her diabetes...because it is in fact...HER diabetes. She told me not to worry...she would be fine...she's been doing this for five years now and she's fine...she said, "I got this, Mommy!" It made me feel relieved. I look at her and my heart feels like it could explode from the pride I feel. It shatters me that diabetes has forced her to grow up to quickly...but I'm also greatful that it did...because it has allowed me to trust her as much as I do. The way that she is so matter of fact about her diabetes is something that I admire greatly.

It kind of hit me all at once tonight, how different it is being a parent of a child with diabetes versus a person who has diabetes themselves. Yes, we know the same lingo....we do the same things...we play the role of pancreas...we get it on a level that people who don't live with this disease will never fully comprehend. However, a person that actually is the one with diabetes.....I get the impression that for just is. They don't dwell on how their lives could've been. They don't get caught up in the guilt that goes along with a high blood sugar or a low blood sugar. It just is what it is. They have this innate ability to take it at face value and live their lives in spite of it all. They have dreams...they have goals...they have hopes....and diabetes will never enter their minds as a factor that will stop them.

It's astounding and incredible and uniquely admirable. They live it. They feel it. But it is not even close to being the thing which defines them. It's ironic really, if you think about it.....this disease is in your face day in and day out...a constant reminder of being present and different.....and yet they are who they are regardless. People with diabetes amaze me. My daughter amazes me. THAT is matter of fact for me. Unwavering pride and support and love to all of you that live it every day....and I wish you and your children a new school year filled with fun and learning above all else.