Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Define me

I was chatting with some friends today about experiences that have happened in our lives. It got me thinking about things really...how I have certain memories in my life that seem so random and so bizarre that they have stuck with me all these years. Little things like how my dad used to take me to preschool at a local church. He would always get me there a bit early and we would sit in the car waiting...watching the clock. See, there were a bunch of big wheels and tricycles out for the kids to ride on first thing...and there was only ONE flower power big wheel...it was beautiful...pink and white and purple...with big flower decals all over it...all the girls would race to get that specific one to ride because it was the best. My dad would watch the clock for me...and tell me to get ready as he counted down the time...he'd tell me to open the car door, told me to have a fantastic day at school, and shout GO when it was time to leave. I would run as fast as my little 4 year old legs could go...heading straight for that flower power big wheel...determined to get there first so I could be the one to ride it.

The fact that my dad did this for me meant the world to me....here I am 33 years later thinking about it and I can still picture the big wheel...I can still feel my heart pound in excitement and with adrenaline as I anticipated him shouting go. I would be willing to bet my dad doesn't even remember doing this for me now...but I will never forget it.

Our lives are a series of moments...experiences...some good...some bad...some breathtaking and beautiful...and others so traumatic that we can barely stand to think of them after the fact. The night before I received the phone call from our doctor telling me the results of Emma's first blood test, I laid my head down on my pillow and went to sleep for the last time as a regular Mom. Just a few short hours later, I would become a D-Mom...my life forever changed...in the blink of an eye...all from a single phone call.

These moments all play a part in shaping who we are as individuals. We take things from them and we learn things from these moments. We can sometimes be changed irrevocably by these moments. Some might say we are the sum of all these moments and experiences. However, I prefer to believe that we are not necessarily defined by these things that happened to us...but rather grown from them. We live through them and we realize that we are more than we were before...we are stronger..or more vulnerable...or smarter...or capable. We see this spark of something new in ourselves that we didn't necessarily see before.

Yes, diabetes changed me. It opened my eyes to a whole new perception of myself. It made me see that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. It changed me...but these last almost six years as a D-Mom do not define me...because deep down inside...I'm still that little girl with fire in her eyes...her heart pounding with excitement...determined...loving.

I'm still her...and I always will be.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Comparing socks to the alphabet

Everyone is different. Your diabetes may vary. What works for one may not work for another...and it may not even work for the same one the very next day. To each his own.

Diabetes is unique...it's individual...it's sometimes so varied that it will make your head spin. I think a lot of times we tend to offer advice or comments to each other sharing our own experiences and opinions on how this disease should be managed. It's all fine and good...but should definitely be taken with a grain of salt, I believe. Just because your child learned how to test their own blood sugar at 2 years old, does not mean that every child should be doing it too. Just because your 12 year old sets their alarm for middle of the night checks and can treat their own lows and stay awake to retest before going back to sleep.....does not mean every 12 year old should. In fact, age should not really be a factor in the management choices when it comes to diabetes. Some kids are more mature than others. Some are more responsible than others. Some are more independent than others. Just because you still wake up to check your sleeping child's blood sugar, does not mean that you are a neurotic micro-managing parent. It just means that you are doing what you feel needs to be done. Own it. Don't be afraid to feel good about your methods and your choices.

I guess it's a tale as old as time really...once we become parents, we have a tendency to compare.....your kid started walking at 10 months? Well my kid is a year old and still not walking...does that mean I'm doing something wrong or that there's something wrong with my kid? Your kid can spell their name, recite the alphabet in Spanish, and count to 400 in under two minutes? Huh....well my kid can take off her own socks!

I'm not sure why we do these things really....why we feel the need to compare...or why we take offence to those who proclaim that we should be making our 10 year old handle their diabetes management on their own. We should be confident in our routine...our skills...our method to this madness.

It's not a black and white solution. You won't find all the answers in a handbook. Each kid is different and no one knows our kid better than we do. We know what they're capable of. We know what they can handle and what we still need to help them with. No one else does. Not our friends...not our family...not even our doctor. We know and our kids know and we need to remember to have confidence in that fact.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Sometimes I get so mad at diabetes that I can't see straight...I see the world through eyes that are tired beyond all belief...eyes that are pissed off...eyes that are jealous of others that have no idea what this is like...eyes that have never seen their child's hands shaking uncontrollably because of a low...eyes that have had to watch helplessly as their child lays there...pale as a ghost...lethargic...like a puddle of desperation...waiting....eyes that stare at the clock as they wait for the phone to ring assuring them that their child is ok...they survived...they made it through the low tunnel and to the light on the other side back to reality...back to the land of the living again.

Sometimes I get so mad that she has to feel these things...live these things...breathe these things. I get so fucking pissed off that this life was thrust upon her at only 4 years old...why her?! Why did it have to be her that was dealt this unfair hand?

Sometimes the furious questions and thoughts and feelings swirl around in my head so fast and so hard and it's so overwhelming that I'm scared to even open my mouth because I don't know what words will fall out...I don't know...and.....I don't care.

Sometimes I want to scream and cry and punch holes in my walls because of the extreme depths of emotions that take over my body as I live this life as a D-Mom.

But I don't.

I can't.

I have to keep it together because it's my job. It's my job to remain calm. It's my job to live it and deal with it and carry on. It's my job to teach her. It's my job to lead by example and show her that it's ok to be pissed.....it's what you do after you let that anger out that will define the measure of your spirit.

Sometimes I feel like I can't. Like I'm not good enough or smart enough or strong enough or capable enough to handle this gigantic task...this job...or even this moment.

It's not my disease. It's not my body that is feeling the effects.

But it doesn't make it hurt any less and it doesn't dull the pain at all...and it doesn't change the fact that even after all these years, I still need to find ways to let the anger out when it hits me all at once.

Anger doesn't make me weak...it doesn't mean I am letting diabetes win...it doesn't mean I'm not good enough.

It means I'm a D-Mom and I can do anything.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Think before you speak

So, I had to take Emma to the on call doctor a couple of nights ago. She has been fighting a cold for a couple weeks now and when she came home from school, she informed me that her ear was stuffy...and it sounded like she was under water. Seeing as how it was after office hours for our regular doctor...we had no other choice but to go to the on call doctor.

After we checked in, the receptionist/nurse had us walk over to the scale so she could weigh Emma before putting us in the room to wait for the doctor. The events that followed are what I am choosing to focus on in this post. The nurse...lets call her Sally...glanced up from her chart to look at Emma and said, "wow! You're a big girl, eh?" She made a huge production out of flipping over the weight on the old fashioned scale that would be used typically for adults weighing over 100 pounds. She had Emma step on the scale and said incredulously, "HOW old are you? You must be big for your age, I guess right?" By the way, she had to flip the weight thing back over...Emma is not even close to 100 pounds.

Well, I lost it......see....Emma is NOT big...she's not shockingly or surprisingly or even remotely noticeably large or plus sized....she's average. How do I know she's average? Because every three months she has to go to a diabetes clinic appointment where she is weighed and measured and charted...and she has consistently been in the 50-65th percentile....middle of the road....straight average...for her height and weight. Back to me losing it.....

Over the years I have heard many comments to Emma's size...when she was a baby, she had the most adorable little baby rolls on her arms and legs...she was my chunky monkey and everyone and their brother felt the need to point it out to me. I didn't mind...I found it precious. NOW however....when they make comments in front of my child as if she's not even there......it's the polar opposite of precious....it's rude.....it's ignorant...it's inaccurate...plain and simple. So, I said to this woman, "actually she's not big....she's one of the smaller girls in her class...in fact I think there's only 1 girl her age that is shorter than her to be honest. I think people have a tendency to forget just how big a ten year old is!" She proceeds to tell me, "Well, I guess maybe my kids are just tiny then." I rolled my eyes and said, "huh....I guess you just don't know what your average ten year old looks like then."

I was angry. I was fed up. Truth be told, every single time....I mean EVERY single time I hear these types of comments about MY size or my child's size, it's coming from another woman. What is this ridiculous obsession women have with feeling the need to comment on size...or looks in general? Why do we as women have this urge to say these things in front of young and impressionable girls? Emma's at a very vulnerable age...an age where she is seeing changes happen and she's growing up and things are different. Why do women...ESPECIALLY those in the medical profession....feel the need to act like morons and SAY these things in front of a young and impressionable girl?

When I was Emma's age, someone told me that I had big teeth and looked like a horse when I chewed gum. To this day I am conscious of that when I chew gum. Some idiot said that to me 27 years ago....and it's still with me. When I was her age, someone told me I had big thighs....it's been with me every...single...day since. It's in my head when I buy clothes, when I look at myself in the mirror...it's there with me.

When we left the doctors office, Emma asked me, "did that lady mean that I was big height wise?" I told her yes....that's what she meant....because I didn't want her thinking she was fat because of some asinine comment made by a receptionist/nurse who she had never met before.

So, for those of you reading this....especially you women...MOST ESPECIALLY those of you in the medical profession who may come across young girls in your workday, before you decide to make a comment about their appearance or size.....STOP....think for a second....ask yourself if the child will truly understand that you are joking or meaning no harm or simply commenting your opinion...ask yourself first how YOU would feel at that age if someone had said the same to you....THINK before you open your mouth. Help save the next generation of women from having body image issues that will stay with them for life because of some random ignorant comment you made. Thank you.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

You're back.

*I want to preface this by stating that i dont have type 1 myself....but I do have hypoglycemia....I have since i was a teenager actually. I'm not comparing the two...just sharing what a low blood sugar feels like to me*

Palms are sweaty...hands are shaking uncontrollably. I sit there staring at them...willing them to stop...but they won't. I can hear my heart pounding in my own head...it sounds like the drum beats at some concert hall downtown...boom boom boom... The voice inside my head is screaming at me to get juice...get something...quick...but my body won't move. I sit there arguing with myself...oh just lay down...just for a second...close your eyes and wait it out....that sick feeling will go away...the nausea will pass...just breathe...but you need juice...you need it...but the mere thought of the sweet liquid in your mouth makes you want to throw up even more. The simple act of blinking your eyes takes so much effort...your eyelids feel as if they weigh a ton. Each breath brings on fresh waves of nausea. You need juice...you need it...but the kitchen feels like it's miles away...so you roll yourself off the couch and stumble over your own feet into the kitchen...the refrigerator door in front of you. You see your hand reach out for the handle and it feels like it's not even attached to your own body...it's like your watching someone else do this...someone on TV...reaching...someone who needs juice...you need juice. You grab a brightly coloured juicebox off the shelf and rip the straw from the back of it...staring at the plastic wrapping around it...knowing that you know how to open it...you've done it a million times before...but you can't remember how...your brain is swimming around in your muddy head...searching for a memory...trying to recall what your fingers need to do to open it...it's just plastic wrapping, Amy...it's not under lock and key....open it...quickly...before you fall over and lose your lunch all over the kitchen floor...open it dammit...open it! You stick the straw in your mouth and bite the plastic off...pulling it apart like some sort of animal...you laugh as you think of your cat attacking her toys the other day...biting them...tossing it over her head and chasing it. You start to see spots in front of your eyes...furiously blinking...trying to make them disappear...Everything seems to be moving in slow motion as you try to stab the straw into the box...once...twice...three times...bending the straw...breaking it...you manage to puncture the hole on top and just hold the box to your lips...squeezing it...letting the sickening sweet juice pour into your mouth as you slide to the floor...waiting....waiting for it to kick in and take this disgusting feeling away...sweat pouring off your face...your fingertips starting to tingle and feel hot...your breathing starts to slow down to normal...your heart stops pounding...the drum beat in your head ceases....the feeling begins to pass....and there you sit...petting the cat who has stood by your side the entire time without you even noticing. You're back.

....and then you are reminded that this is how your child feels sometimes too. And this is how she will feel many more times in her life. And how some of those times she might be alone too.

...and that thought scares you more than anything else on the planet.

We need a cure.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Dear Emma

Dear Emma,

In a little over a week, you will be turning 10 yrs old. When I think about this milestone birthday, it makes my head spin a little bit. It feels like I just brought you home from the hospital yesterday. I still remember holding your tiny little body in my arms...feeling your warm sweet breath on my neck as I cuddled you close...kissing your soft cheeks...touching the fuzzy hair on top of your beautiful head. I remember just staring at you...all the time...I couldn't get enough. It was almost like I couldn't believe that you were mine. I sat there studying every little freckle...every little roll on your chubby baby arms and legs...the sparkle in your eyes. I knew you for 9 months as I carried you around in my belly...I felt every kick, roll, and hiccup....and then once you were here and I could lay my eyes on your face...look into your eyes...I REALLY knew you. All the days of my life leading up to that point were spent waiting for you...searching for you...holding my breath for the moment that I got to meet you.

We have laughed more times than I can count. We have made memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life. We have had our struggles...our tears...or worries....but we have lived. We have become more than just Mommy and daughter...you are my friend. You are the reason my heart continues to beat. You are my everything. You taught me what the true meaning of the word love is.

Time has flown by right before my eyes. You're no longer that little baby...no longer that little girl with pigtails that stuck straight up in the air...you're growing up into a beautiful and kind human being. You make me proud every single day. You are smart. You must have asked me a billion questions over the years...wanting to know how things work...why things happen...where things are...who made something...history, science, math, languages, art, the whole world makes you curious. Don't ever lose that curiosity. You are hilarious....in fact you are probably the funniest person I have ever met in my life. Don't ever stop laughing. Don't ever stop seeing the world through humorous eyes. It will make your heart happy through the years. You are kind. You care about people. You stick up for those that can't stick up for themselves. You root for the underdog. You are sensitive and you have a big heart. Don't ever lose that...the world needs more loyal and faithful people. You're a dreamer....and that is perhaps one of my most favorite things about you.

You are strong...stronger than I could ever hope to be. You amaze me with how you take everything in stride. You have never complained one time about all the needles. You have learned how to manage your diabetes at such a young age. It's breaks my heart and makes me infinitely proud of you all at the same time. You have endured moments of horrible pain...blood, headaches, nausea, your body shaking uncontrollably, moments where you have had to stop being a kid...stop playing...and sit down on the sidelines to fix a number. You've handled it...you've done what needed to be done to keep yourself healthy...and that gives me hope for your future. It gives me comfort knowing that you will be ok.

I want you to know that no matter how old you get, you will always be my baby. I will always look in your eyes and see that same sparkle I saw for the first time on Valentines Day in 2004. I will always hold you in my arms. I will always breathe in your beauty. I will always laugh out loud with you. I will always be proud of you...always...always...always.

I will always love you no matter what...because you are my heart...you are my love. You are the greatest thing I have ever and will ever create. I am blessed to be your Mommy. Thank you for making the last ten years of my life the best years I've ever lived.

Happy almost Birthday baby girl! I love you more than hearts and stars!