Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Letting out the belt loop on my brain

Here's some shockaprising news:

I was up worrying all last night.

I did the 2:00am check and didn't go back to sleep. 
('Cause nighttime is the best time to worry...you totally know it.)

You probably think I was up worrying about my sweet husband
and all of the scans and appointments he has today.

That would totally make sense. 

But no.

I was worrying about my 10 year old son and the epic field trip he is going on today.

I'm sure when the fourth grade teachers got together they were over the moon that they were going to take these kids a few hours away to Old Sacramento and let them experience the rich history of California.  I'm sure they spoke of all the educational applications within the trip, and the advantage of seeing history in action.

They are good teachers.  I'm sure they talked about all of that.

But what I'm sure they didn't do, was talk about B, and my capacity to handle the worry associated with this trip.  Not that they should have discussed such things...but I'm selfish, so I'm going there.

If they did discuss B and my brain, I'm sure they would have come to the obvious revelation that Meri has a lot on her plate and doesn't need the extra worry of her son leaving on an EXTENDED day, 8:30am to 6:00pm field trip.  (And yes, I do realize that this field trip has probably been planned for months and months.  But it was nighttime, and nothing makes sense in the nighttime, remember?)

Over the years my brain has been muscled up with worry.  It can hold a lot of it, that's for sure.  It was many years of conditioning and adding bits of worry day after day.  My ability to worry is quite impressive, my swelly brain is living proof of that.

But I'm at capacity people.  A hint more of worry and I might blow.

So I spent the night putting out fires in my head and quieting the tempests of my swelly brain with meal plans and diabetes supply precautions.

He's gone on field trips before.  B is a super capable kid.  B's teacher is on it, he is a great guy. 

But factor in the nighttime crazies, a mother who's brain is in flux, and my uncanny ability to worry about such things little things as having enough mayonnaise in the fridge and such big things as my husband's scan results ...well, you get the picture...no sleep.

Lucky for me the morning sunrise brings hope and a new day. 

Though, as wonderful as that hope is...I'm pretty sure I'm going to spend this day looking forward to the sunset, when my family will all be together again.

Because being together as a family is even cooler than learning about this great state we live in.

Family trumps field trips.

B may not know that yet.  But one day when he has his own littles, he definitely will.

And as for my brain?  Well, it has another hole in its belt loop I am sure.  It always finds a way to cope...and  since Ryan's friend offered last minute to drive Ryan around this morning, I think that coping will come in the form of scrubbing my bathroom.  (Or a pedicure...Terra?  Call me!)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sharing A1C's? It's complicated.

I read a great post over at The 'Mine today about A1C's andthe efficacy of sharing them.  I began a comment on their blog and after the second paragraph realized I should probably take it over here.

What is an A1C?  Ehow.com says this:  Hemoglobin A1C is the amount of the protein hemoglobin that has combined with glucose in a person's body. Diabetics test their hemoglobin A1C levels to monitor the average amount of glycosylated hemoglobin (glucose attached to hemoglobin) that has been in their blood over a two- to three-month period.

Basically, the A1C is thought to give you an average blood sugar number from the past three months or so.  It is considered in wider circles to be, "The diabetic's report card." 
Or in my case, "The mommy report card."

The thing about an A1C is you can get a number a couple ways:

By having sugars go up and down in wide swings.

Or by having them vary in smaller swings up and down.

Both can yield the same result.  Both have the same average blood sugar number.  Both have their own story.
One can also achieve a certain A1C from being low most of the time, or by being high most of the time.

I think that is the most important thing to note here:  There is a story behind every A1C number. 

So is it a good idea to share said number without sharing the story too?  Unfortunately, I think there is no hard and fast answer to that one.

There are the amazing A1C's.  (That number varies according to who you are and where you are in your life.)  If one receives the news of an amazing A1C, or even a better than expected A1C...doesn't one want to share this information with the world?  Can we fault them for wanting to?  Absolutely not, but the problem lies behind the story.  The way to that amazing A1C could have been reached in four different ways.  1) They are obsessive about blood sugars and check themselves or their child every hour on the hour.  Their life is completely absorbed in numbers and perfect A1C's.  2)  They have balance.  They or their child is not growing.  The numbers are falling into place like a magic puzzle.  There aren't too many lows, there aren't too many highs.  Nirvana.  3)  They are CONSTANTLY battling lows and spend their life feeding them.  4) Luck. Divine intervention.

Now writing down that your child has an A1C in the 5's or 6's  can get you the adulation you deserve, but it can also give many people the impression that this should be easily attainable.  "If this family can do it, why can't we?"  The fact is every person and child is different.  Every person reacts differently to food.  Every person reacts differently to insulin.  Why does my son B have the higher A1C of all my boys EVERY SINGLE DANG TIME?????  He has the same brilliant doctors, he has the same diet.  He has the same mother telling him what to do.  He is my most conscientious diabetic.  Why must he always be higher?

Because we are not the same.

A1C's.  Blood sugar numbers.  They are not one size fits all.  What works for one person may not work for another.  B can eat pasta ALL DAY LONG and not spike.  L on the other hand goes through the roof.  It's a crapshoot for J.

Comparing is dangerous.

But support is not.   In fact, it is essential.

Some people have spent years fighting to get their blood sugars down to their personal holy grail A1C number, and once they get there, don't they deserve a cheering section?  Some people can't get their or their child's A1C below 10.  Shouldn't they be able to share that heartache and receive the unwavering support they need so terribly? 

There is no easy answer to this one.

Sharing is important.  But it is important to share responsibly. 

 And as with anything in life:

Buyer beware.  There is a story behind every A1C number...and trust me, it isn't a short one.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Flip Flopping.

Something is wrong with me.

The last few weeks Ryan has insisted on doing EVERYTHING.  He wants to work.  He wants to see every customer.  He wants to go to every meeting. 
He wants to make big future plans.  He wants to "normal."
And for the most part I was ok with that.

Except there was a lot of me saying, "Ryan, you need to rest."

And, "Ryan, you just got out of the hospital 12 hours ago.  Why must you work? 
Can't you call your customers?"

And, "Ryan, you need to listen to your body.  You can't over do it!  Slow down!"

And, "Ryan, please go nap.  You've been running around like crazy all day."

Until yesterday Ryan said to me:
"I can't do it all."

"I'm so tired I need to nap."

"I can't see all my customers, I'll call a couple."

"I'm not going to be able to make that meeting next month."

And then I'm all, "WHOA!  What you talkin' bout Willis??!"

Well, I didn't say it out loud.  But now that he is agreeing with me...I'm upset and depressed and scared on so many levels.  I didn't realize at the time how awesome it was that he WANTED to do those other things.  I didn't realize how AWESOME it was that he COULD do those other things.

And I want to scream, "Yes you can!  GO!"

(I told you something is wrong with me.)

He's finally doing all the things I asked him to do and now I've totally flip flopped.

I took a definitive stance on the issue and now like a seasoned politician, I change my mind.

I'm lost.
Are you there God?  It's me Meri.  I am lost.  I think my swelly brain has hit capacity.

I change my mind.  

Run, Ryan.  Ruuuuuuuuuuuuun!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

All in.

The other day someone at church asked me how I was doing. (I get a lot of that lately...I'm sure you can imagine.) But as I opened up my mouth to answer his question, I was shocked to hear the following words fall out of my mouth...

"I'm all in."

He looked at me for a moment, brows furrowed, trying to figure out what I said. I returned the look, pausing to figure it all out myself...

"With my faith that is. I'm all in. I've laid it all down at His feet...I trust that He'll take care of us."

And I do.

And I'm functioning.

How am I not certifiably insane?

My head is immersed in the fog of uncertainty. Sometimes, at the end of the day I look back and wonder how I got through it.

And now I think I know...

It is because I am all in.

Going all in has allowed me to cope with all of this in a way that I never thought I could.

Ryan was in the emergency room this morning.  I won't go into the details, but needless to say it was a setback. Once I let the tears out there was no stopping them.
All. Day. Long.

But deep down...seriously...deep down at the bottom of this lake of tears I've cried...there is a peace.

Cancer fog can be so maddening. Diabetes fog can be so maddening. Hormone imbalance fog can be so maddening. The world’s fog can be so maddening.

Maybe in a weird way I am certifiably mad, as in Mad Hatter mad…

But more important than that…right now…I am certifiably coping.

And that is a miracle I cannot deny.

It's all or nothing. I'm pushing in my chips. I'm getting up from the table.

As much as it terrifies me to think we might lose...I feel confident that our needs are known.

No good questioning things now. I have faith or I don't.

Am I scared? You bet your sweet bahookie I am.

But I'm banking on my faith. Banking that my faith will always exceed my fear.

I'm all in.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

It's about now.

I've written about it before.  I was always the kind of person who couldn't wait until...you know...until.

I was always looking FORWARD to something.  When we have another baby.  When we get a new house.  When summer comes.  When there is a cure for diabetes.


That changed sometime in my early thirties.  I looked in the blue and amber eyes of my babies and realized that tomorrow doesn't matter as much as today does.  My dreams for tomorrow are gleaned from my actions right at THIS moment.  I realized I needed to take things one  day at a time.  Not one month, one year, or even one decade at a time.  On the hard days, I've learned to take things one hour at a time.  When ketones are present, or a stubborn low is looming...one minute at a time.  I realized it isn't about the cure, or the newer things, or the weekend.  It was about today.

My realization that today is more important than tomorrow didn't come in one moment, but rather many moments of making myself miserable waiting for when...

I thought I had learned that lesson, but now that Ryan has cancer, I'm back to WHEN, again.

When we hear these results...when we get the new meds...when he's off the old meds...when the scan reveals this...when when when.

It isn't a good place for my swelly brain. 
(And don't think I haven't pondered the irony of my swelly brain vs. my husbands.)

I was driving to pick up the kids from school last week.  Usually I listen to mindless semi-rap/pop/semi inappropriate music just to keep my brain in a safe place.  Any music with a message...forget about it.  I'm in a pool of tears.  But on this day...I decided I was sick of stupid music and tuned into a local radio station that is well known for its family friendly music.

Damn you Miley Cyrus.  Damn you.

Hit me like a TON OF BRICKS I tell you.  Like the windows of heaven had opened and angels were singing directly to my heart.  All the "stuff" I had been storing in the attic of my brain was let go, and only one thought permeated to my soul...

It's about the climb.  Damn it.

There will always be another mountain I'll want to move.  It will always be an uphill battle.  I just have to keep my faith and concentrate on the climb. 
When we are in rocky terrain, we don't concentrate on the meadows ahead.  We concentrate on the rocks that are right in front of us and we plan each step we take NOW carefully so that we can eventually get through this rough patch.  If I just stand here and wait for the future, then I'm not progressing.  I need to keep moving.  I need to do something meaningful today.

No more waiting.
No more...when.

Today is when.

We need to kiss our children today.  Have a talk with them today telling them how proud we are.  Approach that person today and have a conversation we have been putting off.  Start those books.  Let go of the anger.  Get those family pictures, don't wait until we are skinnier.  Go back to school.  Start those quilts.  Call our parents, or our sister or our brother.  Clean our rooms.


Today is what I make of it.  Life isn't going to be less crazy later.  Life is always crazy.  There will always be another mountain.
(I know, blah, she is the last person in the universe I thought I would be getting sage advice from...)

I don't know what the future holds for us.  I have hope that it is wonderful.  But today I will stop thinking about when, and start thinking about...
Now.       <------- Wow.  If you really look at it, THAT is a pretty powerful word.