Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Diane Sawyer, I'm ready for my close up!

I've selfishly spent this month spouting off thoughts from my swelly brain. I have blogged every day in the name of Diabetes Awareness and I have yet to write a post that educates the masses. So here are my educating thoughts in bullet point form...just in case, one day, the world decides it wants to know the facts about Type 1 Diabetes.

* When you hear about diabetes on TV...chances are, you are hearing about Type 2 Diabetes.

* The notion of lose weight and lose diabetes is a complete hoax. Diabetes never goes away. If you have Type 2 Diabetes, You may be able to stop medication if you lose weight and change your diet...but even if you do, diabetes is still there waiting. It isn't gone. It will always be there lurking, and the fact remains that many can lose weight and still cannot go off their medication.

* When the word Diabetes gets tossed around, for some reason the first thing the world does is place blame on the person who has it. They think it is their fault. They think that they are lazy, and need to change their diet. This misconception is even thrown out there by trusted people in the media.

* You should know, Dr. Oz has no clue.

* Part of the problem is the television likes to talk about "diabetes." There is no "diabetes." There is "Type 1 Diabetes," "Type 2 Diabetes," "LADA," and "Gestational Diabetes." There may be even more types than this.

* My boys have Type 1 Diabetes. They have to fight the stereotypes and misconceptions every day...even though this disease has nothing to do with diet. It has nothing to do with lifestyle. Take everything you know about diabetes and flush it away, because 1: They can eat that. And 2: They didn't eat too much sugar to get Type 1.

* Type 1 Diabetes is an AUTOIMMUNE disease. They were born with the predisposition to get the disease and then there was a trigger that made the body attack itself. Was the trigger an illness? Was it an environmental trigger? No one knows for sure. But what the doctors DO know is there was nothing in place to prevent the process when the attack began. J was 8 months old and his weight was under 17 pounds when he was diagnosed. Not fat.

* Diabetes is all encompassing. It affects every system in the body...the complications are what type 1 and type 2 have in common. Because of this we need to keep tight control of the numbers, but that is near to impossible in ever growing boys. We take things one number at a time...but everything effects the numbers. Food, stress, exercise, weather, excitement, fat, protein, sleep patterns, illness...EVERYTHING!!!

* Diabetes never sleeps. Blood sugars fluctuate even at night. Because of this, most people with type 1 check their sugars in the wee hours of the morning. We have an alarm set for 1am every single night.

* There are no days off with diabetes.

* My boys test their blood sugars at least 8 times a day, each. That is on a good day. That is $25 dollars a day for test strips ALONE. Insulin is $100 a bottle. We use a 1 bottle every 5 days. And don't even get me started on the cost of pump supplies!

* The emotional toll of diabetes is oft not recognized. As a parent of three type 1's, the worry can be overwhelming. The cogs in my brain are constantly turning numbers around and figuring on the next step. When my boys get older they will take over the worry for themselves. As a mother, I wish I could always be their back up pancreas. I would bear their burden forever if I could.

* Insulin is not a cure. Let me say it again: INSULIN IS NOT A CURE. It is a volatile medication at best. Predictability is completely lacking. They can eat the same diet every day...exercise the same every day...keep everything constant...and everything WILL be constant, except the blood sugars. There are just too many factors to keep it all "level." Blood sugars fluctuate. It is a huge burden to bear.

* High blood sugars are uncomfortable, and scary as they lend to future complications. Low blood sugars are uncomfortable and ultra scary as they can lead to passing out, seizures, coma...death.

* My boys can't mindlessly eat. They must count carbs. They must give insulin for every morsel of carb that enters their bodies. There are very complicated ratios programmed inside their insulin pumps. Insulin pump? Their constant companion. They need insulin in their body 24 hours a day. Even a few hours without insulin can cause severe problems, even hospitalization.

* My boys can't mindlessly exercise. They must adjust their insulin, have an backpack full of emergency supplies. A blood sugar monitor. Test strips. Glucagon. Fast acting sugar...

* Did you know that apple juice is a life saving medication in our home?

I could talk for HOURS about Type 1 Diabetes. There are SO many things I want the world to know! But I'm going to let my three boys who live with diabetes end this post today.

8 year old L wants you to know this: "Changing your sets. That is the hardest thing about diabetes. It is pretty hard. You have to rip out your old set and then use a needle to put in a new set. It feels needley. You know what I mean? It just really hurts. Needles are not fun because they are dangerous...because they are sharp. And they are real."

10 year old B wants you to know this: "Diabetes is annoying. It is a lot of extra work all the time. I'm always bleeding! Shots are painful and I always have to get them. I have no choice. I want to be like normal kids. Like, it would be nice not to have to always type numbers into my pump. It would be really nice not to count carbs and always worry about my diabetes. Sometimes I really worry. The only good thing about diabetes is our dog, Lawton. We wouldn't have him if I didn't have diabetes."

14 year old J wants you to know this: "Diabetes is a mix of good things and bad things at the same time. Most of the good things are childish, like getting out of school for doctor appointments and getting good snacks when you are low. The bad things definitely outweigh the good things. If you don't monitor yourself closely you could feel sick and throw up. You have to prick your fingers every day, and every three days you have to get a big painful shot on your belly to change your pump set. Diabetes sucks for the most part. (Can I say sucks? Stinks doesn't seem strong enough.) The most annoying part is testing my sugar all the time....and to remember. If I forget to test I usually get high blood sugar and that comes with a headache, stomach ache and I get really grumpy. There is nothing really fun about diabetes."

And that my friends, ends day 30 of National Health Blogging Month. I have officially achieved my goal of blogging every day in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month. I am honored that you took time out of your day to read my blog. I plan to take the rest of the week off from blogging...but you know me...I might have to pop on earlier than planned to purge my emotions...or chronicle something hilarious. Bless you for taking the ride with me...

Here's to a cure.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I reject the reality, and substitute my own.

In reality, I should be rocking in a corner with drool running down the side of my mouth.

But in my own world, It's all good.

In reality, I should be completely bald from pulling my hair out.

But in my own world, I got this covered.

In reality, my pointer finger should be running up and down my know, like crazy people do in the movies?

But in my own world, I smile at the absurdity of it all.

In reality, I should be like a broken record screaming to God, "Three? Really? THREE!!!!"

But in my own world, I thank the good Lord for my many blessings each and every day.

In reality, I should have a therapist at my disposal 24 hours a day, 7 days a week...including and especially holidays.

But in my own world, all the therapy I need is drinking hot chocolate with friends who I know, "get it."

In reality, I should be a shut in. My boys should never leave the house and I should have a giant magnifying glass on them every minute of every day.

But in my own world, we live.

In reality, the technology that is there is not enough. I want more. I want a cure.

But in my own world, I'm thankful for every little thing we have to fight this disease. Including but not limited to, insulin, test strips, pumps, cgm's, ketone strips, 3 second countdowns and apple juice.

In reality, my heart should not be beating. The heartache should have shut it down long ago.

But in my own world, my heart swells with love for my children, my husband, my family and each of you who are the "same," who feel the "same."

In reality, there should be a bruise front and center on my forehead, marking the spot where I bang my head all the live long day trying to figure out basals and ratios.

But in my own world, I know...somewhere deep down...that I can do this.

The problems come only when the lines between the reality and my own world fade. Navigating the fog back to my own world can be a neat trick sometimes...but I always get there.

I like my world better than the real one.

Because in reality, I am the mother to four boys, three who have type one diabetes.

And in my own world...the three may have diabetes, but diabetes doesn't have them.

(Day 29 of National Health Blog Post Month is complete. Ya know I'm doing in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month. Tomorrow is the last day! Woo to the Hoo!)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Today's random Meri musings.

I laid out clothes for B and L today. They put on each other's outfits and they both fit. Sure B's jeans were just a tad short, and L's needed to be rolled up three times...but it was all good. (Of course I didn't realize the snafu until they were walking into school.)

Snack time sugars were pretty rockin'. I'll take that victory thankyouverymuch!

L called after his snack recess and said he was 123 but his body was telling him he was going to be low soon. Me, being the philosophical mother that I am, told him to have a little juice because he should always listen to his body. An hour and a half later he called in at 213. I don't want to say anything, but his body was totally playing him...

I need to clean out my purse. I'm considering having a Christmas Contest...whoever can guess the correct amount of stray strips in my purse wins. Stay tuned for that one.

In my book, Christmas lights equal happiness.

Hiding a pickle ornament on a tree and having your children compete to see who can find it first brings all kinds of joy.

There is a chance my boys may be a little too competitive. For the life of me, I have no idea where they get that from. (Though, I did kick butt at the family charades game the other night! BOO YEAH!)

Charlie Brown is a big deal around here, especially since Charles Shultz lived just down the road. I'm just going to come out and say it...Charlie Brown specials are boring. (I totally deserve the hate mail on this one, but the truth sets me free!)

I'm pretty much going to flip my lid the next time I am asked, "how many carbs?" when there is no plate in front of me to count. Seriously, the boys make their plates and then come into the OTHER room and ask me how many carbs without me having eyes on any portion sizes whatsoever. Yeah, I'm a good swagger, but I'm not magic people.

There is a funny story about the word 'barth,' but according to one of my boys, I'm not allowed to share.

Another two field trip forms came home today. I'm not kidding.

We are trying to wrap up our Christmas shopping. For L, our motto is quantity over quality. We learned our lesson from last year.

Two words: Christmas!!! Cookies!!!

A little something I've learned this week: Teenagers blame you for everything. Even homework. I can't get over how unfair it is. It's not like I'm CALLING their teachers and recommending assignments for crying out loud!

The drawer that houses my boys toothbrushes looks like a nuclear toothpaste bomb went off inside.

Because he is the baby of the family L needs to be prepared for more squishes, more kisses and hugs galore. It is out of my control. This mama needs to soak in all the love while she can, period.

My oldest is doing a project that is having him investigate different colleges and majors. I'm just pretending it isn't happening. Ignorance is bliss, right?

Bedtime numbers are being reported right this minute. B: 124 L: 101 (temp basal set for zero for a half hour.) J: 221. (Pretty sure he needs some basal changes, AGAIN. :P~~~~ to puberty!)

Songs that were in my head today: I've Got the Moves Like Jagger, and Dancing on the Ceiling. Random words floating around my head today: 'Xioa Dre'...from Karate kid/Kung Fu Kid. I can't make this stuff up!

And that is that!

Goodnight friends! Day 28 of 30 of National Health Blogging Month complete!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Let's make a deal...diabetes style.

Welcome Meri to Let's Make a Deal! WOOO HOOO!

Clap!!! Clap!!! Clap!!! Clap!!! Clap!!!

Tomorrow the boys start school again. As the audience well knows...all three of your boys have had higher blood sugar numbers during their break. Tomorrow they will be back on the playground and I know you are lost about what to do.

So let's do what you do best...GUESS!

Let's make a deal!

Clap!!! Clap!!! Clap!!! Clap!!! Clap!!!
To start out, you have three boxes in front of you.

Box #1 has you continuing to up their basals because of the highs as of late.

Box #2 has you Going back to the ratios you used before Thanksgiving break.

Box #3 has a temp basal inside. Up the basals just a touch in the morning.

It is time to make your choice Meri! Which will you choose?

Me: "Do I have to choose right this minute?"

Without a doubt, yes you do! School is just a short 12 hours away!! Come on Meri! You can do this! EVVVVVERYONE is waiting for you to make your choice!

Me: "I don't know what to do. Can I crawl into a hole and make my husband decide?"

It's all on you Meri, you know that! The clock is ticking...your time is almost up. Don't think about them passing out on the playground. Don't think about them spending the day at in the bathroom or at the water fountain. JUST CHOOSE!!
Me: Since I'm given no mercy to put it off...I'm picking box #2. Better safe than sorry.

Finally a choice! Tomorrow your prize will be made known unto you. There are three curtains with three carefully chosen prizes hiding behind.

One curtain hides a perfectly pleasant day with no big blood sugar surprises.

Curtain number two holds frantic phone calls, ALL. DAY. LONG.

And the third curtain brings constant troubleshooting for the entire day/week.

You will be notified of which curtain you win by 10:15am tomorrow!

Thank you so much for playing Meri! Best of luck to you!

You are gonna need it...

Me: And here I thought games were supposed to be fun...

(This concludes day number 27 of National Health Blogging Month. Three more days. You are all saints for putting up with me. For serious.)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day 4658

The battle is making me weary.

My armor is dented.

My weapons dull from constant wear.

My will is nothing to be depended on.

One minute I'm running into the fray, our battle cry screaming from my tonsils.

The next minute I'm curled up in a ball hoping no one notices me.

I'm going through the motions...dripping with emotional defeat, but not giving up to the numbers.

I beat every one of them. One number at a time. But I can't help but wish that the numbers would be whisked away...flushed...cured.

For now and for always they continue to swirl around my brain. The parade of numbers marching ever forward.

They are constant. No break. Ever.

Emotional roller coaster much?

But as I do the night check and see those sleeping faces...consumed in peace. It is fuel for my soul.

Those faces keep me sane. They make the battlefield seem like only a bad dream.

It is their laughter that frees my guilt.

I will keep moving forward. I will keep blogging my way through the emotions of it all.

I'll zig and zag my way through the number minefield and I'll find safety in our ratios.

I can do this. With my boys by my side...I CAN and will do this.

Self affirming pep talks help. Writing it out makes sense of it all.

This my friends is what you get after the 10:00pm check with three boys who are low.

Sometimes I just need to talk my way out of the tears.

This will wrap up day 4658 or our diabetic life...and day 26 of National Health Blog Posting Month.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Getting into the Christmas Spirit.

‘Twas the night before set changes and all through the home
Every boy slept quite soundly, nary a moan.

The monitors sat on the counter with care,
Anticipating a parent soon would be there.

The children’s fingers were hiding warm under their cheeks
Safely hidden from needles, a welcome retreat.

And I in my robe, and Ryan in his shorts
Had just settled down, for a napper of sorts.

When out in the hall their arose such a clatter
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the door I flew like a flash,
My feet not touching the ground, a hasty worried filled dash.

When what to my blurry sleep deprived eyes should appear,
But one little boy staring at himself in the mirror.

His eyes all glazed over, his face no emotion to show
I knew at that moment my son must be low.

More rapid than reindeer I flew to the kits
Stepping over Legos, being careful not to trip.

Now Lancet, now monitor, now wet napkin too
On cocking the lancet, we have blood drawing to do!

To a finger so callused and speckled with dots
Now dash away, dash away, dash away sad thoughts!

As I checked his blood sugar to make sure all was well
I saw a number that made me swoon and I fell.

And then in a twinkling I saw above me,
My husband holding a juice box, to fix that 43.

He was dressed in his underwear, not a sock on his foot
And his hair was all tousled…he gave me a look.

His eyes bright with love and a crooked smile to match
He looked like a peddler, a cute one at that.

The lines around his eyes so wrinkly and tired
But his face shown of kindness and a hope unretired.

He helped me off the floor and he gave our son juice
I knew in a flash, he got his much needed boost.

I turned to our boy who began to giggle with glee
His pump shook up and down from his tummy clippy.

He was out of it; his jolliness seemed out of place
But I chuckled despite that blank look on his face.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word but went straight back to sleep
His fingers under his pillow, shoved down there deep.

And giving him a kiss just the side of his nose
I went back to my room, cursing the lows.

I set my alarm and gave my husband a squeeze
I whispered to angels, “A little sleep help please?”

But I heard a faint echo ‘ere I closed my eyes tight
“Love you mom and dad…see you later tonight.”

(I must admit I was out in the wee hours of the morning with my husband getting some shopping done. My creativity is a bit hazy right now, so I had to lean on a more clear headed me. Last year I wrote this poem a couple weeks before Christmas...since we are putting up the tree tomorrow, I thought it would be a good one to re post. Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday with their families! Day 25 of National Health Blog Posting Month is officially complete!)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Not easy, but so worth it.

Today I am Thankful that life isn't easy.

The struggles and challenges our family has faced lo these past 18 years have only made us more appreciative of the simple pleasures life grants us.

We have been thrown a few curveballs for sure, but instead of curling up in a ball and giving up, we drew together as a family and clung to our love, our faith and our blessings.

I look at my handsome husband and my four beautiful boys and am overcome with emotion. I am so blessed that they are ALIVE. That my children are not only surviving with diabetes, but thriving with diabetes. My husband not only survived the odds against cancer, he slayed them. We have rough days, heck yesterday is a perfect example of that...but if you move past those days and look at the big picture, we lead a blessed life in so many ways.

I make a lot of mistakes. I am far far far from perfect. But I have learned a hard lesson that has helped me more than anything in life...and that is I can't do this all on my own.

We can't bear the burden of this alone.

Turn to your spouse.

Turn to your family.

Turn to your friends.

Turn to the Diabetes Online Community.

Turn your sights upwards. If you feel like you are alone in all of are not.

I know it with all my heart.

There is a purpose to this. Find it. Although it is hard to see when the sadness and helplessness cloud our view...the purpose is there.

And today I see that all of these challenges in my life...all the worry...all the constant constant worry...has helped me to appreciate the things that are right in front of me.

It took me awhile to learn to be happy with what I have. This might be as good as it gets, it is a waste to wait for something better.

And if this is as good as it gets, I realize that I have been blessed beyond anything I am deserved. Other than a cure, I can't imagine a more blessed life.

My husband, my boys and my family...they are all that I need. They are home. And today I want to recognize that regardless of the walls that diabetes puts up...we will go forward. We will find a way to climb over these walls...dig under these walls...go around these walls...and if need be, plow right through them.

We can do this. Making it this far has shown me that is true.

One day at a time, friends.

One blessing at a time.

Happy Thanksgiving to every one of you. Each of you are a blessing as you have lifted my burden. I'm not alone in Our Diabetic blessed am I to know this?

(This is me officially wrapping up day 24 of National Health Blogging Month in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

No insulin is no fun.

It can all go so wrong so quickly.

B has been higher since school let out. Is it the different activity level? Should we be switching to his weekend ratios all week? I was so sick of it that I upped his basal for most of the day yesterday and he was still running "higher." 200's. Nothing alarming or anything.

He went to bed in the 200's and shockerprisingly enough...he was 220 when I tested him at 1am.

I corrected and went back to bed.

It was almost 4:00am when he woke me and told me he was throwing up. ("Don't worry" he says, "I didn't throw up on my bed...I can still sleep there. I made it to the carpet.") His blood sugar was 390 and his blood ketones 3.8. His set had been ripped off and was in one sorry state. The cannula was bent in half and the sticker was just a big ball.

We did a quick set change, gave a good sized bolus and went back to bed. For the hour before he threw up again I didn't sleep. All I could think about was that cannula.

Why can't the genius engineers of the world find a way to let us know the cannula is bent? I mean, isn't that important? Our children getting no insulin even for a little bit of time is dangerous. "No Delivery" is no help at all...most of our bent cannulas are found after a lot of research and problem solving beforehand. They will be high for hours before we yank out the set and discover that little culprit.

Maybe I'm asking for the world...but there has to be a way to alert us to a bent cannula. I have a friend that uses the metal ones, and they still have problems. Those metal ones can bend in half too. (Seriously, ouch!)

Watching your child retch in front of the toilet and turn his head to tell you that HE is sorry between hurls is heart breaking to say the least. "Why are you saying sorry honey? I'm sorry."

"It isn't your fault mom...I must have pulled it out when I was sleeping."

Heart. Rips. Out. Of. My. Chest.

I am not talented enough to convey my anger at this disease today. I sit here having my silent temper tantrum so the boys do not see. I have seen them suffer through an improportionate amount of ketone inducing "problems" the past few months. Am I getting soft? Am I letting them down?

I feel like I am.

I was getting a pedi with a friend, (my very first one, thankyouverymuch!) and she pointed out that I am always feeling guilty about something. Truer words have never been spoken.

I have a lot of responsibility and I don't feel like I can put 100% into any one thing. I think that is common with parents with diabetes, or any other disease or disorder for that matter. Seeing your child suffer and knowing that maybe, if you were more diligent their suffering would never have happened, or perhaps could have been lessened? Well, that is enough to put my swelly brain into a tailspin. is on the ground right now banging its hands on the carpet...with its legs flailing like a 2 year old.

I am thankful that most days this disease has nothing on us. But the some days that it takes over and changes the trajectory of our happiness...well on those days I'm typing through tears.

Luckily, tomorrow is a new day...Thanksgiving Day for that matter. This incident will seem far removed, and I'll be able to concentrate on the things that matter most in life...

My blessings.

Thankfully, there are many.

(This is day 23 of National Health Blog Posting Month, where I am posting every day in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month.)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A common thread

A small reenactment of a conversation that happens between L and I over the phone more often than you would guess:

"Hi L! What's your sugar?"

"I'm going to say it in Spanish, ok?"

"Ok, if you absolutely have to."

"Yup! I do! Dos... Unnnnnnnno... ummm... siet.... no.... seisss... no.... serte.... no...."

"L, please just say it in English."

"No I got it!!"


"NO! 206!"

Another small reenactment of L telling me his blood sugar number before he goes to bed:

"L, what is your sugar baby?"

"I'm going to show you how many with my fingers, ok?"

"Ok, if you absolutely have to."

"Yup! I do!"

Then he proceeds to put up one finger, wave it around and turn it into three fingers, wave it around and turn it into nine fingers...wait, now it is eight...wait...he is changing his mind...some fingers are halfway up...I don't know what he is doing. My brain is swelling!


"Nope! Let me do it again!"

And he won't give up the answer...I have to guess correctly, that is the fun for him.

My last reenactment below takes place mostly in the early mornings:

"Good morning my love! What is your blood sugar?"

"I'm going to spell it out in the air, ok?"

"Ok, if you absolutely have to."

(You know he does.)

This is the hardest to identify. His hand swirls around the air in grand gestures and I must guess the numbers he is writing with his finger. Early in the morning my brain isn't awake enough to take all the random information in and make something of it, so I make him go one number at a time and guess from there. He usually has to give the number up to me, but not until I guess a good ten times.

I posted the last scenario on facebook yesterday and was shockerprised by the response. It seems that these things are universal to children who have diabetes. Children are seriously playing these exact same games with their parents around the world!

Why do they do it? Are they trying to make the most fun out of the least fun thing they have to do during the day? Are they trying to punish us for constantly asking, "What is your sugar?" Nah! It isn't revenge, right? I think it is all harmless. I try to wake up before the boys to check their sugars in the morning...just so I don't HAVE to ask them that question first thing...but L makes it a point to get up before I do and check his own sugar...just so he can play the game.

As much as these games swell up my brain...I always leave shaking my head with the biggest smile on my face. It is absurdly hilarious and brings L so much joy, how can I not play along?

In fact, as you are reading this there is probably a mother in Mexico asking her child what his blood sugar number is, and he is responding at this very moment, "Mama, voy a decliro en Ingles!"

It's a small world indeed!

(This is me wrapping up day 22 for National Health Blog Posting Month, in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month.)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Every Birthday a Blessing.

He still has scars on his inner ankles from when he was diagnosed at 8 months old, in fact he showed them to me yesterday. He was so dehydrated, the doctors had to cut there to find a vein. It is a memory etched in my brain for the eternities...and today I sit here feeling blessed beyond measure that he is here with us 14 birthdays later.

Last year I was very conflicted about J turning 13. I wasn't ready for another teen in the house, and I certainly didn't think I was ready to see J be catapulted into adulthood.

I'm glad to report that today J is 14 and we have both survived the first of his teenage years. He has changed so much, but I can't say it is for the worse. He is finally growing and has slimmed out again. His voice is in the constant state of cracking and he has a really quiet/hilarious sense of humor. His facial expressions are what he is all about these days and I find myself studying him so I don't miss them.

And he talks! I don't think I've heard J talk this much in the past 3 years combined.

He has found a balance between his responsibleness and his laziness. He is a teen for sure, but in a good way.

There have been instances when he missed an assignment. There have been instances where he missed a blood sugar check. Neither were blown off by me, because each are important and are not negotiable. Still, he has all A's and B's and a rockin A1C, all that were achieved mostly by his own efforts and not mine.

He is independent and has been making good choices.

What else can a proud mother ask for?

We have arrived. For the past few years you all have seen me freak out about J taking on independence in his diabetes. He is there. I have no idea what he bolused for dinner last night, but when I checked him at 1 am and saw a 129, I was impressed. L and B's weren't that good and I was responsible for their dinner carb counting. Who knows what the future holds, but for right now all is well!

For those of you that have tweens, or teens and are struggling, (which don't get me wrong from this post...we have struggled!) Below I have attached a link that has helped me more than anything put all this independence in perspective. I've found myself sharing it a handful of times in the last couple weeks, and I know that ALL of you...even those of you with littles, will benefit from this.

So click and enjoy! It is so worth sticking it through to the end!

And Happy Birthday J! Every birthday is a blessing. YOU are a blessing! We love you!

The link is HERE. Or you can copy and paste the below URL into your browser.

(This will wrap up day 21 of National Health Blogging Month, in which I am participating in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month.)

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I've been keeping track of how many people click on my blog for a little over two years now. Today I reached the milestone of 100,000 visitors.

To quote a post from earlier this year:

I like to think of my blog as my ark.

I was drowning, so one day I took my thoughts and built my ark/blog.

I filled the ark with my fears, my hopes, my belly laughs and musings from my swelly brain and let it sail!

It traveled father than I ever imagined, and has taken me to places I never knew existed.

The best place of all is the Diabetes Online Community. When I started this blog, I didn't even know the DOC existed. It was a happy coincidence my sister in law found another parent blogger and pointed me in her direction. Discovering Shamae's blog list was akin to finding the new world for me. I had found solid ground. I wasn't alone in the ark with my thoughts, like Noah's dove, I was able to set them free...and in turn, I could set myself free as well.

I want to take a minute to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to click on my link and see what I have to say. You have been my biggest support. Your being here means the world to me and has made all the difference in Our Diabetic Life. There is such power in knowing we are not alone, I had no idea of this when I started this journey. It is a comfort to me knowing that there are others like me out there saying, "same."

YOU make a difference in my life. Thank you. Thank you SO MUCH for that.

(This is day 20 of National Health Blogging Month where I am posting every single darn day for Diabetes Awareness Month. 10 days to go. Thank you for taking the ride with me!)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oh yeah...he can eat that!

What do you do when your little boy's dream is to have a pie eating contest at his tenth birthday party? Your little boy who has been obsessed with the word "pie" since he was four years old... Your little boy who's announced his favorite food is pie since he could form an answer... Your little boy who has Type 1 Diabetes and for one moment wants to be like any other normal kid out there...

What does one do?

Well, one boluses this boy 120 carbs and lets him have at it.

Best. Party. Ever.

Let them eat cake!...errrr...pie!

(This is me coming in right under the wire with my post for National Health Blogging Month in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month. I didn't post the pic of the other boys present as I don't have their parents permission...but take it from me, adorable! And in case you are wondering, he blew the other boys out of the water. B won by a landslide!)

Friday, November 18, 2011


They are our god given right. We all have the opportunity to make thousands of our own choices every day. Are they all choices of good and evil? No. In fact most of the choices we make are not black or white...they are no color at all. Choices can be as simple as what we are going to eat for breakfast or what toothpaste we are going to buy.

Some of the choices we make are more important. One example might be looking both ways when we cross the street, another might be wearing our seat belt.

As a mother of 3 children with diabetes, I make hundreds of choices for my boys on a daily basis. I know what the healthy/smarter decisions are. I tell them what snacks to eat...I tell them if they can or they can't. I tell them how many carbs to give. I'm REALLY good at making choices for them. So good that I'm afraid I'm not letting them feel the power of making good choices for themselves.

I had the opportunity tonight to listen to a few amazing woman, and during the conference this epiphany came very clearly:

My greatest job isn't to make all the choices for my boys. My greatest job is teaching them that making good choices will bring them good health and happiness now, and down the road. It is my job to teach them how to do that.

Instead of me telling them what healthy snack to eat after school, I should let them choose, and then talk to them about it. Explain the glycemic index. Explain why one snack would be better than the other. They are old enough now that I should be guiding them...not controlling or smothering them. They need their mother to give them enough room to make mistakes. Because we learn from our mistakes.

I need to be strong enough to watch them make choices that I wouldn't. I need to be brave enough to let them fly. It is so easy for me to say, "Don't look over there! Those choices will hurt you! You only have ONE good choice and it is here...the others aren't even an option!"

But in the real world it doesn't work that way, and my shielding them from things isn't the best training for the rest of their life.

All I can do is talk to brutally honest with them...teach them...and trust them that they will make choices that will end up being responsible ones.

Good choices:

Like bolusing before they eat.

Like putting strips into their backpack before school.

Like picking the right snack for a 50, a 60 or a 70.

Like eating one cupcake and not two.

Like listening to the alarms on their pumps.

Like rechecking their sugars 15 minutes after treating a low, to make sure all is well.

I can do all of this FOR them...but it is better to guide them. To encourage them. To find ways to help them remember, and help them understand that I'm not going to be there to make these choices for them forever.

My first instinct is to protect them and keep them safe. That is my job for sure. But I need to start giving them more power in their choices.

Because once they start making good choices on their own, I'll be more inclined to reward them with things like freedom...

And isn't that every child's ultimate goal? Freedom to go to their friends without mom calling every 10 minutes. Freedom to go on a field trip without mom sitting next to them the whole time. Freedom to...I don't know...leave for college????

If I make all the choices for them then they will not learn anything. I'm going to do it all in baby steps, in things related to diabetes and things that are not. Somehow I got J to be independent in his I know I CAN let them take over.

Sometimes though...for me, it really needs to be a conscious decision.

And right now I'm choosing to let them choose more often. (Not completely though...I'm not mental!)

(This wraps up day 18 in a fancy bow. I'm blogging every day this month for National Health Blog Posting Month in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month. Bless you for putting up with me!)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My October is a bully.

To my long time readers it is no secret that October is my least "favoritest" month.

Yes, Halloween has something to do with it. But mostly it is everything that is tagged along with it. It is the constant parties, costume changes, treats, trips and the bags and bags of candy.

Last year I had enough and told the boys, no parties. Only Halloween...and no kidding, it was the best year ever!

(For me anyway.)

This year I let them pick one extra party, and that was the school party. It didn't brighten my month or anything...there was a bake sale and a cinnamon pancake breakfast. But they had fun and that is what matters.

If it was just these two parties that made up the complications of October than I would be sitting pretty. But it's so much more involved than that. It is the accumulation of everything chaotic...too many straws on the camel's only takes one of those straws to make everything fall apart.

The older boys have report cards come in the mail the first Friday in October, and then the next grading period ends the last Friday in October. There is a lot of pressure to get them into the swing of their new year.

B and L had EIGHT field trips in the month of October, plus an additional three walking field trips to the high school track. This isn't normal, right?

Never mind that October seems to be the boys preferred month to have a growth spurt. I changed basals on each and every boy at least twice in October.

And then there is the normal everyday stuff, like the 750 times the boys sugars were checked. 750! That isn't a made up number! 8 times a day, times 31 days, times 3 is 748. And there was the day B had ketones, so yeah...OVER 750.

And the 30 set changes is something to be noted as well.

Why does October get to me? It is because I already live a life that is demanding on my psyche. Adding things to the list, piling on responsibilities, things to remember and WORRIES on my swelly brain makes my cogs overheat.

8 field trips. Are you hearing the words that are coming out of my screen? One time L and B had field trips on the same day and I had to let B go to Safari West without me. There is no cell signal at Safari West by the way. So I spent the day in silent freak out mode. I don't have good hair days when I'm in silent freak out mode. My lower back hurts when I am in silent freak out mode. I am not a fan of silent freak out mode...but yet October seemed to be littered with these episodes.

If you are not my friend on facebook than you wouldn't know about J's run in with an electric hedge clipper. He was lucky that he didn't lose his finger. It was grizzly to say the least. There wasn't enough skin to sew up so they left it all meaty for the skin to grow back. It has been a month and I can only now look at it without feeling woozy. TMI? Hey, if you want to understand what it was about gots to hears it all friends!

Sure, it wasn't all bad. There were a lot of family dinners, L learned how to ride a bike...which was a total epic experience on its own...we went on a record number of family walks and the weather was so sublime the heater was never turned on.

Just a lot of the same ol same ol too...


Which is just fine. But there is something about October that makes me really dislike...well, October. I get blue in October...I get completely overwhelmed...and I don't like feeling that way.

I'm not looking for, "Poor Meri." Although at the surface it may seem this way. I'm just trying to wrap my head around why October and I must participate in this sparing match each and every year.

I mean, November and I get along great. And December and I are seriously BFF's.

Maybe I do it to myself.


But I have a feeling October doesn't like me either. It almost feels like on November 1st, October yelled at me, "Don't let the door hit you on the way out!" It spends its 31 days trying to trip me up as often as it can, and I'm pretty sure there is some name calling in there because I always feel bad about myself during that time of year.

I guess I just need to come to terms with the fact that October and I will never get along...which would be easier to do if I didn't want it to like me so much.

My October is kinda' a bully...but I hear other people have very nice Octobers. So maybe it is all just the luck of the draw.

(This marks day 17 of my participation in National Health Blog Posting Month, in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

L-M-N-O PEE...

It's something none of us want to talk about. It is the one post I probably will get the most flack about when the boys are older, but darn it! It needs to get out in the open! We must unite in our secret shame...


And diabetes.

Man, back in the day when my boys were littler and high over night...forget about it!! Accidents galore.

And let's not get into the nights when it happened twice. I've found them curled up in the corner of their bed the size of a quarter to keep away from the wet spots.

And then there is the bathroom.

I have four boys. Seriously, sometimes I think there is a fountain of pee that springs up next to the toilet at night. Yesterday I honestly walked by the bathroom door and gagged a little.

Almost every day. I have to clean it almost every day.

Now...let me be clear. I've never BLAMED the boys.

When they have to go at night, I'd rather they make it to the bathroom blurry eyed and in a sleep trance than not make the trip at all and stay where they sleep. I know they are out of it. I know they are trying. I know it is hard to aim when you are sleep walking.

But has been a big part of my life that I need to get out there.


There! I said it!

I don't want to embarrass my boys...ok, maybe too late for that...but it took them a couple years after the initial potty training to keep them dry at night too.


Because they are boys?

Because they have diabetes!!!?

Because the sleep harder than normal people?

Because. They. Have. Diabetes!!!

I can't say 100% for sure...but I can tell you what a relief it was when my youngest announced a couple years ago, "I'm done with these nighttime things. I can do it!"

And he was done.

And he did...for the most part.

I just want you to know if you are knee deep in are not alone.

Children with diabetes pee more. It is a scientific fact. It is not their fault...also a scientific fact.

And yup¸ we've always restricted drinks after 7, and had them "go" before bed and at the 10pm check.

It is what it is.

As they get older the incidents are fewer and far between. My T1 teen doesn't have accidents ever, in fact it seems like years and years since he has. (PHEW! I saved one kid from holding this over my head forever.) It is true though. So I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us.

It just feels like a really long tunnel, you know?

Like one of those Subway tunnels...that smells like urine.

Ok. I'm done.

(This so "eloquently" ends day 16 of National Health Blog Posting Month, where I am blogging everyday in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The life cycle of a test strip.

I've been observing closely the life of a test strip for many years now. They lead a fascinating existence...inspiring in fact...and as such, I hope you will see their valor in my findings today.

They are born into groups of 25 and live in the dark for months before their true life begins. It is a drastic change from the quiet of their family as one day they are ripped from their cocoon and thrust into a world of people and noise and emotion.

They watch their brothers and sisters be taken one by one to be eaten by the monitor and they gasp at what they think is their bloody end.

Alas, for many it IS their end. Test strips are only good to us humans ONE TIME. After we apply the blood and read the number proceeding the countdown, they are completely useless to us. They are thrown into the garbage and they will sadly live the remainder of their days at the dump.

But for a resourceful some...this is not the case.

Some of these strips have a will to live that is stronger than the forces of human nature. They find ways to survive and as a result they can be found in the most outlandish of places.

Some dive to the floor where they hope they will be ignored, and eventually be able to quietly escape.

Some find their way into pockets...which in turn find their way into the washing machine. They clog up the washer filter and congregate with other family members hoping never to be discovered. But, a little water on the laundry room floor alerts the humans to their presence and they are most certainly found out and thrown away to their garbagy grave.

Some find their way to the car. They can live happily there for months until they are vacuumed up. Ironically they are happy to be with their own kind within the vacuum the rest, they are eventually thrown away.

Some live for years in the corner of a closet, or the bottom of a dresser, or underneath a bed. I'm still studying how they get there...but there is some kind of instinct they have to find a dark, quiet place to hide. They are rarely found alone, so my research suggests that they prefer to hide in packs.

The most popular colony by far in our house is the one that lives in my purse. They live contently there with hundreds of their sisters and brethren. They thrive in the deep dark recesses of my purse pockets. Between you and me, I believe they populate there too. Unfortunately, their offspring are 'used' test strips too, and as such, are no use to me.

And then there are the heroes. The few that go where no strip has gone before. Once, one was found in my hair. Another one was seen swimming in the toilet, and another two somehow made it to the gutter by the mailbox. A brave few have found the courage to base jump out of my car into the parking lot, and an especially bold one was found inside my bra in the summer of '99.

It isn't an easy life for a test strip, but those suckers are resourceful. They can be truly annoying at times, but you have to give them props for their ingenuity.

Unfortunately though, no matter how smart or resourceful they are...they ALL end up in the garbage eventually.

It is a sad life, but one I would like to honor today.

I would like to thank each and every test strip that gave up their quiet life in the vial so that my sons may live. There must have been over 100,000 so far, and their sacrifices are appreciated more than they will ever know. So to pay homage to their short life spans, I will put off cleaning out my purse another week...and maybe wait until Saturday to vacuum out the car.

It is the only human thing to do.

Rock on test strips. Rock on.

(This is day 15 of my 30 days straight of blogging for National Health Blog Posting Month, in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month.)

Monday, November 14, 2011


Sometimes at night, when the alarm goes off…I have a mini fit. I thrash my legs and moan like an 8 year old tasked to do the stupidest of chores. I am overcome with exhaustion. I roll out of bed walking back-bent-arms-hanging, channeling all my anger to the Legos on the floor, wondering when, if ever, I will get a good night’s sleep. Once I get to the boys though, my heart usually softens. Their sweet faces calm my shaking hands and my selfishness turns to concern as I check each boy and assess their situation. But when I get back to my bed, I fall in like a dead body; face first…KERPLAT…on to my pillow. Wondering if I’ll be able to fall back to sleep, angry at the exhaustion that has taken over my body. Sometimes.

But most of the time, I just hop out of bed and check. No biggie. I’m not angry, or tired, or anything. I do the deed and go back to bed. Most of the time it is just a simple correction or a little banana or pudding to get things back to where they need to be. I climb back into bed and fall asleep before my head hits the pillow. Done and done.

Sometimes I question myself. I’ll give the boys breakfast insulin and send them to school wondering if they will be ok today. Because sometimes I don’t do what the pump tells me to do. Sometimes I go rogue. I know that J has track, so I’ll scale back his insulin. I know that B has called me the last few days with higher numbers, so I give him a bit extra. I know that L has needed an extra snack for a week, so I give him less insulin. So I’m guessing. And sometimes when I guess…my entire body fills with worry sand, and I feel like I am 200 pounds heavier. On these days I feel clumsier in both mind and body, and I can’t think straight. And I pretend that I’m not worrying…I tell myself over and over and over that they will be ok. Sometimes.

But most of the time, I give insulin and I don’t worry. We have done this everyday for forever, and everything will be ok. And if it is not ok, then there was nothing more I could do. Most of the time I am at peace with my decisions. I know that my guesses are educated guesses. I live and breathe diabetes. I am not perfect…but I am capable. Most of the time. Done and done.

Sometimes, I’ll look at a pile of bloody test strips on the dresser, (aftermath from a long night,) and I get sick to my stomach. It is the grizzly reality of our life. Sometimes, there can be 20 test strips lying on the boy’s dresser from the evening before and a couple checks through the night. I pick each one up to throw in the garbage. It hurts my heart as some of them stick to the dresser. Tears come as I wonder if this will always be our reality. Wondering if there will ever be a cure. The image throws me…and validates all my anger towards this disease. I think of their callused fingers and I want to roar like a mother lion that is protecting her young. Sometimes.

But most of the time, I’ll clean up the strips and disinfect the area like I always do and it is the most normal of things. It is not big deal. Test strips are nothing new. Heck…they are EVERYWHERE. Normally the strips go straight to the garbage or in a cup I keep next to their supplies. I am thankful for being able to test. This instrument is fairly new in this world. How blessed am I to know what to do at any time of day just with a poke of the finger? I thank the Lord for that monitor. Most of the time. Done and done.

Sometimes I let my brain go to that dark place. The place where the seriousness of this disease is magnified and made uber clear to every one of my mommy senses. Sometimes, like this week, I hear the stories of children dying in their sleep from Diabetes and I have what I call, “a silent freak out.” I don’t talk about it. I pretend I am not worrying about it. But it is there in my mind. So when something else comes up that is frustrating, I lose it. I lose it over the littlest of things. Not because of the little thing, but because of this secret worry that has burrowed like a mole deep into my head and is planning to hibernate there for the winter. There is this background worry that affects every aspect of my life. It defines me, it puts me on edge. And at these times, I hate diabetes. Sometimes.

But most of the time, I am grateful. I see the blessings right in front of me. They are vibrant, smart, and amazing. They can do anything. Nothing can stop them from achieving their dreams…not even diabetes. I am grateful that they are alive…that they don’t live their lives in a hospital. That diabetes has made them stronger, more empathetic people. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. We are a close, united family partly to do with diabetes. We are blessed daily with technology that makes this disease manageable. We are a family that loves each other, and when it all comes down to it…isn’t that all that is important?

Yes, sometimes I am an emotional wreck. Thankfully, most of the time…I am Ok. That is why I am the Jekyll and Hyde of the blogging world. One minute I am preaching how manageable diabetes is, and that it gets easier, and that newly diagnosed families will adjust to the craziness of it all…and the next minute I am heartbroken…scared and unsure of myself.

I had a friend tell me once that I need therapy. That may be so. But I think for now, I won’t take that path simply because “most of the time” I’m still Ok. And the “sometimes” that I am not…well…those times don’t last long. Those sometimes moments are the reality of what this disease dishes out. Diabetes isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. I accept that. And I always know that that through the rain clouds the sun is always there. We just need to be patient…the sun will make itself known eventually. Sure, some storms last longer than others. But that is with every aspect of life.

When we were new to this life…when J was just a baby… things were different. The bad times seemed like they were most of the time. And it seems that only sometimes we got a taste of what was “normal.” As time passed…the two switched places. I often tell newly diagnosed families that things will get easier. It's too bad that easier doesn’t mean easy…but it does mean life will be better than it is now. So much better that you will feel normal again. You WILL feel alive again.

I get that normalcy most of the time.

And the sometimes that I don't...well, I blog. And it makes me feel better. :)

(This is a repost from a couple years ago, posted as day 14 on World Diabetes Day for National Blog Posting Month in honor of National Diabetes Awareness Month.)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I support the circle!

The diabetes community is as diverse as it gets. We are different people with different circumstances fighting the same stereotypes about diabetes every day.

Type 1...Type 2...the world does not know. What MOST of the world thinks it "knows" is that diabetes is a bunch of fat people that need to lose weight.

They don't know that Type 1 is an autoimmune disease. They don't know that my children didn't get diabetes from eating too much sugar. They don't know that not all Type 2 Diabetics can go off medication by losing weight.

The world is surprisingly in the dark. Even the medical community doesn't have their knowledge all together. They don't know the seriousness of it all. Not only do fingers bleed with constant finger sticks...but parents hearts bleed watching it all.

We are a small community with a big voice that isn't being heard. We are like the Who's Down in Whoville. We scream at the top of our lungs, "We are here! We are here! We are here!"

But the world is too busy to listen. If diabetes doesn't affect them or someone they care about, it is hard to get them to open their ears enough to hear our message.

Like the Who's...every one of our voices count. And if we band together the world WILL listen.

In order to do this we need something to unify us. That is why I support the Blue Circle Campaign. The blue circle is already being used by the International Diabetes Federation. It is the symbol of World Diabetes Day. I agree that JDRF and the ADA, and every other foundation that supports the diabetes cause should incorporate the blue their mastheads.

Like the pink ribbon, the blue circle would be more meaningful if we could get the world to recognize what it means. Our voices are stronger together, so I urge you to click the link below and sign the petition to make the blue circle the universal symbol for our cause.

Your signature could make all the difference...

Please click HERE.

(This concludes day 13 of my blogging every day in honor of National Health Blog Posting Month, in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month.)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The number's black magic.

He is a magician. Freakishly tall, sleek and smooth. He has that wry smile that makes us feel little. He has power...control...a regalness to his gait.

He cowers over us swirling his wand in the air, making the numbers dance in dark clouds around our head. They are dizzying. Captivating. All encompassing. We shirk in powerlessness...we get overwhelmed.

It is hard to function in such a state. We let the numbers rule. We let them control our actions.

I can see the image so vividly in my head and it makes me so angry. He sickens me.

And yet I let him get the upper hand sometimes. I GIVE him the pleasure of my miserableness and bow to his evil ways.

It is just wrong.

I need to fight it.

WE need to fight it.

We may need to physically take our own hands and turn our own heads away from the numbers. We may need to consciously walk away from them. I think sometimes it just needs to be that deliberate.

Sometimes we are fortunate enough to wake up to a sunny day and be able to see vividly the blessings and the meaning of this life in front of us...but honestly most days it takes effort to make the most of it all.

It is so easy to be hypnotized by diabetes. It is so easy to give in to the swirling numbers and to live our life by fear.

But fear never moves us forward. NEVER.

There is a quote: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”

Fear will always be there...but the knowledge that our children are more important is paramount.

If we let the fear control us, our children will certainly follow our lead. We need to find a way to break the spell of the magician. We need to find a way to make the numbers stay on the meters rather than swirling around our being, constantly obstructing our view to the "real" important things in life.

Because as it turns out, the magicians aren't real.

They are all smoke and mirrors. They make us feel like helplessness is our reality...but it isn't. We have the control to take one number at a time and fix it.

And then move on to the next.

We need to take that step away from it and let our kids be kids. They only have one chance at navigating the teenage years. If we don't let them make mistakes, how will they ever learn anything?

I'm physically and metaphorically lifting my head up right this moment. I'm taking it all in, and dismissing the number's black magic.

It is the only way.

(I want to thank my dear friend Raisa for inspiring this post. I was blessed to watch her express her feelings about numbers and her diabetic life through dance. The performance made me think, and brought my complex emotions to the surface. This will wrap up day 12 of National Health Blog Posting Month in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month.)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Reenactment: An 8 year old and his worries.

Driving to school yesterday morning:

L: "B...are you planning to get married and have kids someday?"

B: "Of course."

L: "When I grow up I am definitely getting married and having kids."

B: "I'm going to have lots of kids."

L: "Yeah, I'm a little worried about finding a woman that will like me though. I think that will be the hardest part about growing up."

B: "No, the hardest part will be going to college and making enough money so you can buy a house for your family."

L: "Nah. Finding the woman. That is what I'm worried about. She has to be kind, and be able to drive a car. She has to let me sit in the front seat too. But how will I find her?"

Me: "Don't worry about will find her when you least expect it. You will meet her one day and not even know it. She will be your friend and one day you will think, 'I love her, I'm going to marry her.'"

L: "Yeah, but she has to like diabetes...and not too many people like diabetes."

Me: "Do you like it?"

L: "Yeah. 'Cause if I didn't than I would hate it...and that isn't good. I mean I have to do stuff with it ALL the time! If I hated it, and my wife hated it...that would be bad, and sad."

Me: "You are so wonderful, you will find her. That is the last thing you have to worry about. Right now all you have to do is work hard in school."

L: "And test my blood sugar."

Me: "Yes, and test your blood sugar."

(This is me wrapping up day 11 of National Blog Posting Month in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month.)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Blogjacked by my phone: revisited.

Can you hear it? My brain is reaching its capacity in the diabetes department. It sounds a little like a helium balloon being filled up very quickly. You know that loud pitched "varoom" noise?

Diabetes overload friends.

I'm falling to sleep with Diabetes on the brain. I'm waking up with diabetes on the brain. There has been a lot of "mishaps" lately with the boys diabetes, which in turn has made my brain extra swelly with information all of the diabetes type.

And then blogging everyday...about diabetes. The writers block I am experiencing right now tells me I need a little break today.

I need to slow things down a bit and breathe.

So to lighten things up I'm going to repost the incident where my phone masterminded a blogjacking. As you know, my boys don't have nurses. They call me from school 4-7 times a day, and as a result my phone and I have become intimate friends.

He's a stinker though, and still up to his old tricks...

(This will be the finish of day 10 of National Health Blog Posting Month, in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month.)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

If you looked in our window.

If you looked in our window:

You would see a family. Blond hair, brown hair...and one with a tint of auburn in it.

You would see a family trying their best, and not always succeeding.

You would see a constant stream of blood droplets and needles. Set changes and pump checks.

You would see a saxophone in the corner and a trumpet in the middle of the floor.

You would see children eating with care. They would size up their food thoughtfully and then enter a number into their pumps.

You would see test strips on the kitchen counter, on two dressers, on the hallway blood sugar station, and on one end table in the family room.

You would see a mother on her computer and you would wonder what she was typing. But her gratified smile would tell you she is happy within the brightness of her screen.

You would see a father changing out of his starched collared shirt and into a comfortable white T shirt.

You would see kids hurrying to get their homework done so they can go on a bike ride with their dad.

You would see parents sitting close with their eyebrows furrowed, looking at the basal review screen on their son's pump.

You would see a refrigerator that doubles as a medicine cabinet and a linen closet that doubles as a pharmacy.

You would see children running around like monkeys trying to see how much they can rile up the dog.

You would occasionally see worry on a mothers face as a child informs her of a blood sugar number, or when the dog alerts to a low.

You would see children gulping down apple juice rather than sipping.

You would see reminder notes of doctors appointments.

You would see boys running to the bathroom without a second to spare.

You would see a blood ketone monitor sitting on the dining room table.

You would see brothers playing video games together.

You would see bravery as a child receives a set change with a needle that would startle you.

You would see that the carpet is more worn near the blood sugar station.

You would see one cabinet filled only with things that would help for a low, and you would see tiny specks of blood on the cabinet door from hasty blood sugar checks done seconds before.

You would see a constant stream of boys at the water dispenser on the fridge.

You would see a father helping with calculus, and mother helping with spelling tests.

You would see extended family coming for dinner and none of the above actions would phase them.

You would see laughter. Bickering. Crying. Joy. Sadness. Peace. Confusion. Calm. Frustration.

You would see happiness.

More than anything though, If you were to look through our window, I hope you would see that love lives here. And that the love makes it all ok.

Because if you stayed long enough you would see the children coming one by one to kiss their parents goodnight, and then you would see them sleep like they don't have a care in the world. You would see the children's perfect faith that their parents and the angels will watch over them while they sleep. And you would see their parents living up to those expectations, because their greatest wish is that their children sleep peacefully and receive this small respite from their diabetic lives.

You would see our family trying our best, loving our best and hoping our best.

It is our normal and our story...and I am thankful for all the facets this diabetic life brings to us. The good and the bad. After all, how would we know joy without knowing sadness too? The images in our window would be pathetic if we didn't try to make the most of the circumstances given us. The sadness isn't going to go away...all we can do is take it one day at a time and try to enjoy the ride the best we can.

(This will end day 9 of National Health Blog Posting Month, where I am blogging everyday in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month.)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My boys are different. So is their diabetes.

When it came to diabetes, J was perfect. Diagnosed as baby, I thought his responsibleness had to do with diabetes being all he has ever known...but it turns out that wasn't the case. It had more to do with his personality than anything else.

Back in the day, J was a private guy. More than anything, he didn't like the spotlight to be on him. He didn't talk about his diabetes, but if someone asked he would answer succinctly and be done. He didn't hide things like blood sugar testing, but he didn't flaunt it either.

He wanted people to see him as J. Not J the diabetic.

Because of this he KNEW that he needed to be very careful remembering to check his sugar and bolus for his food. I don't think he ever needed reminding from 1st grade to 5th grade. His biggest fear was passing out in front of his friends...that was his worst nightmare. Due to his diligence, that never happened. He was always super responsible and super careful. He was everything a D Mama could hope for, and more.

But he kinda left this legacy with the teachers that diabetes is easy and no big deal. I'm grateful for that, and pulling out my hair because of it too.

Now that B and L are making the rounds with the same elementary teachers J had, I'm getting comments like:

"Wow! J never had issues like this. I wonder why L's sugars are so hard to manage?"

"What happened the other day never happened with J. Why are B's numbers not as J's."

Ay yi yi.

Truth is J's sugars were a little easier to manage than his brothers...but also, J was so quiet in his management that his teachers were never made aware of his highs and his lows. He dealt with them on his own, or with me on the phone. He thought it was none of his teachers business, his numbers were very private to him.

Not with B and L. They are loud and proud diabetics. L especially. He will tell his teacher every number that pops up on his monitor. And when L is high he will check every 15 minutes to make sure he is going down. (Not something I encourage.) I get so many calls from him from school. "Mom! I just checked my sugar and It's 302!!" "Of course it is L! You just had an root beer float for your reading party! It will be down before I pick you up. Give your insulin time to work!"

B is almost as vocal, when he feels low he makes sure his teacher knows. He doesn't like feeling vulnerable. There was an incident at the track last week where B forgot it was track day and forgot to bring his monitor and his fast acting sugar with him. This resulted in a frantic call from his teacher saying B feels, "Lower than he ever has before."

Dramatic much? My mother lives closer to the track than me so she ran to take care of it all. He was fine, and not even close to "lower than I ever felt before." But his teacher couldn't help but say, "Wow, nothing like this ever happened with J."

Because J wouldn't have said a word. He would have waited until they got back to school and he would have dealt with it. Is that a good thing? No. Actually, to be honest this never would have happened because J never would have forgotten his kit. Kids are different.

But his teachers can't help comparing and I can only say, "Diabetes Varies," so many times.

Now don't get me wrong. My boys have AWESOME teachers. We are very blessed to have them. But it goes like this with anyone who doesn't intimately know diabetes like we do.

I'm thankful J had uneventful elementary years, but it is fun to see J turn into a teenager and actually talk all the time and be so animated when he talks. He "forgets" things once in awhile and has lightened up a bit too. He is not the same J he was. I think it was our service dog Lawton that brought him out of his diabetes shell. When he was in sixth grade J proudly wore his diabetes colors, and even brought Lawton to class with him some days. That dog made any reservations about sharing his condition disappear.

My children are my children, but they are also three completely separate identities who deal with their diabetes in completely different ways...who's numbers respond to food in completely different ways...who's carb ratios and sensitivities are not even close to one another.

What works for one boy, doesn't always work for another. They are three individuals. Three different sets of information that I need to store up in my cluttered attic of a brain. That is part of the reason I cringe when people give advice on the internet like it is the answer for everyone. Because from my piece of advice doesn't even work for all three of my how can one specific nugget of wisdom be applied to everyone in the general diabetes population?

I wish I could lump everything I know into one specific pile of information for all to read. But at best, all I can do is say..."This works for us," and sometimes, "This works for one of my boys." That is why I blog mostly about the emotional side of it all. But even then...Your feelings may vary too.

(This will wrap up day 8 of National Health Blog Posting Month, in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month.)

Monday, November 7, 2011

A case of the Mondays, on Sunday.

Today's blog prompt asks us to write about what gets us down. Last night was a perfect example.

Yesterday was L's special day...and how does he spend his birthday? In bed, and on the couch with high blood sugar and ketones. It was a perfect storm that led to all this, and it took MUCH longer than expected to get things back in order.

When your child is crying with stomach cramps...

When your child is throwing up with high ketones...

When your child's blood sugar won't budge...

When you have to do a site change and wonder if your child received the insulin from the previous site...

When your child gets a drink holder for his new bike with a water bottle in it, and all he wants is to open the water asap because he thirsts so vigorously...

when this happens...

A case of the Mondays doesn't even scratch the surface.

Why does the reality of it all have to smack us on what should be his happiest day of the year?

I could ask why all day long.

But instead of wallowing in the why, and the not fairness of it all...I'm going to focus on the fact that he made it through the day without having to go to the hospital.

I'm going to focus on the fact that I got to lay next to my son and rub his feet and hear his stories and his dreams. Because just when I thought I was finally going to lose my composure and give way to the tears...this conversation happened...

"Mom, can I tell you something?"

"Sure baby, what is it?"

"When I'm in the bathroom, sometimes it takes a long time because I just sit there and think about how kind you are to me."

And suddenly...everything is ok again. He is so good at making me laugh and sigh with love all in one fell swoop!

(This'll wrap up day 8 of National Health Blog Posting Month, in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month.)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I'm glad they are here. I think they are too.

Some of you may not know that L and B share a birthday, two years apart. Both are born on November 6th. Today I would like to re-share a post I wrote earlier this year. I am thankful for every day I have with them...and I think they are thankful for our choice to have more children too:

The most awesome thing I have done in spite of diabetes?

Hands down, easiest question ever...

These two little munchkins right here.

As most of you know, J was diagnosed when he was 8 months old. J is my second son...B and L wern't even on the radar yet.

It was scary, and deliriously confusing when we were told J had Type 1 Diabetes. We spent a week in the hospital…mostly for J to recover from his ketoacidosis…and a little bit because I needed to learn how to take care of my little boy. (The hospital obviously didn’t think this was too big of a deal, they sent me home with a book and my pediatricians home phone number. “Call him when you need to give insulin.” Yeah, that got old fast, for all of us involved.)

Anyway…back to the hospital….My husband or someone would try to come by once a day to give me a break. I would usually go down to the cafeteria and spend my time feeling guilty I wasn’t with J. I would silently sob in the corner and pick at my food.

One particular day I was in line for the food and already felt tears falling on my cheek. A friendly faced older lady put her hand on my shoulder. “What’s your story, honey?”

I told her how my second son had just been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and the new world we were being thrown in. I told her he was so sick and so skinny, it was hard to see him in such a state.

“Well you have two boys…since you won’t be having any more, you are very lucky to even have them considering what has been passed down to them.”

Say what the huh?

That hit me like a ton of bricks.

Really? I’m not having any more? Was she right? I mean that was the last thing on my mind…but did this mean it was the end of the line? Two and no more?

She wasn’t the only one to make this comment. Many others made comments to the effect that I better not have more, as I didn’t want to pass this on to another child.

Pass it on? Was I really passing it on? For awhile the answer in my mind was yes. I felt like this had to be my fault. I felt like J was being punished just so that I could learn to be a better person. (Diagnosis and lack of sleep do a number on your swelly brain!)

But the passage of time is a funny thing…

Time changes perspectives.

Time heals wounds, even mental ones.

And one day, I knew…we needed to have another.

And one day, exactly two years later, God sent us another.

And then yeah, THEN we were done.

Two years after our last son came into our family…diabetes made another appearance.

And one year later…another appearance.

Do I regret having these two boys? Heck to the no.

Do I feel responsible for their diabetes. No, no I don’t.

We are like lottery winners; no one could have predicted our lot. NO ONE.

We were told we had a 3% chance of having a second child with diabetes.

That is a 97% chance that we wouldn’t. But who cares about percentages. You never know where you will fall, so they are useless. All that is important is I have two of the most precious souls in the universe here in my home. Yes, they have diabetes. Yes, I wish they didn’t have to endure diabetes…

But they are thriving.

And they are happy.

And they are part of a bigger picture.

I can’t imagine life without B and L. Would I have had them if I KNEW they were going to have Type 1?

I think they would have hoped…that regardless of their circumstances, I would have said yes.

(This marks day 7 of National Health Blog Posting Month in honor of Diabetes Awareness Month!)