Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What are D Moms made of?

We are a complicated concoction. 

D Moms are made of Glue:  We hold the entire family unit together.   Our children's challenges stick resolutely to us as we work to find solutions and wash away the unpleasant sticky residue of diabetes.

D Moms are made of Fire:  The bad blood sugar day our children had yesterday?  We burn it away into ash and begin the day anew.  Every day is the rebirth of new numbers.  The old worries are burned away and in its wake come new saplings of hope.

D Moms are made of Ice:  We can numb the pain...the sadness...with our love, our bear hugs and our empathy.

D Moms are made of owls:  At 2am we can see the smallest speck of blood in the darkness of our child's bedroom.   We are wise enough to make life saving decisions in the dead of night.  We bring food and drink to our child's cozy bedside nest to keep them safe.

D Moms are made of wind:  We are invisible as we check a blood sugar while our child watches their favorite show.  Other than the breeze from our departure, our presence is undetectable.

D Moms are made of crystal balls:  You ate that plate before I could see it?  70 carbs.

D Moms are made of dark chocolate:  We may have a bit of bitterness buried deep inside us, but the notes of smooth sweetness comes through more than anything else.  We are pretty comforting to have around.

D Moms are made of Cheetah: We are fast.  23 blood sugar?  We are up and to the snack cabinet before you can even blink.

D Moms are made of Diamonds: We shine through the hardest times.  We can stand insurmountable pressure.  That twinkle in our eyes when we look at you?  Nuff said.

D Moms are made of Bologna:  You know when our children are high with large ketones and we say, "No worries!"  We are really good at being calm and making you think that everything is ok, even when our insides look like an active pinball game.

D Moms are made of Bob the Builder:  Can we fix it?  YES WE CAN!

D Moms are made of encyclopedias:  Information?  We have retained it.  We are the go-to information source for our children's health.  We are the experts.  Yes...you can site that.

D Moms are made of butter:  We melt easily.  Give us those eyes and yeah...you can have that cupcake.

D Moms are made of steel:  We can be bent, dinged and manipulated...but we will not break.  We support the skyscraping circumstances with ease.  The world on our shoulders?  We can hold that.

D Moms are made of tears:  It is our breath of life.  Releasing the tears is the only way to keep the delicate balance within our complicated eco system of ingredients. 

D Moms are made of crock pots:  In the morning we cook up life by throwing together love, kindness, routine, determination and loyalty, and then letting it simmer all day long into a feast for our family by day's end.

D Moms are made of swords:  We live to conquer.  We were built to defeat what stands in our way.  Don't mess with a D Mom on a mission.  We will cut you.

D Moms are made of silver:  We may look frazzled and tarnished sometimes, but give us some TLC and we will shine so bright you'll need sun glasses to take us in.

Sure...we are complicated.  How can one exist by being fire and ice?  Butter and steel? 

It is a delicate balance...one not everyone can negotiate. 

That is why we were given this calling.

We are D Moms.

It is our job to make it work.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Who I am.

I hated the word.

Hated it.

I hate the word hate, too.  But in this instance...only hate would do.


Widow is such a lonely word.

It is old.  It is covered in black, and it most definitely has wrinkles.

That isn't me.

I've used the word a handful of times, and in each instance it was meant to be a joke.

"I bet you say that to all the widows."

"I was a grieving widow, and you expected me to retain that bit of information?"

"You wouldn't say that to a widow, would you?"

Every time I said it, a little something inside me died.  The word made me anxious, and angry.  It didn't define me at all. 

But the fact remains, today I changed my relationship status on Facebook to "widowed."

I AM a widow.

Damn it.  I AM A WIDOW.

What the hell?!

As I took to my treadmill today I tossed the word around in my head a bit.  The treadmill is the new shower for me.  I can think things out, and cry them out with exceptional satisfaction.  It feels good to run and cry.  It feels good to hash out in my brain things that I am struggling with.

I said the word out loud.  "Widow."

"I am a widow."

And as I said it out loud, it occurred to me that even though I am a widow...I am much much more than that.  For instance:

I am a mother.  I am a chocolate chip cookie lover.  I am a laugher at inappropriate jokes.  I am a night person, and all of a sudden I am a morning person, too.  I am the new cook of the house.   I am a decorator.  I am a writer.  I am a people person.  I am a family person.  I am a movie lover.  I am a sky-aholic.  I am a sister, daughter, aunt, niece, cousin, sister in law, daughter in law, friend.  I am a lover and a fighter. I am a Christ follower.  I am a hoper.  I am a joy finder.  I am a friend.  I am a music lover.  I am a realist and I am a dreamer.  I am responsible.  I am irresponsible.  I am passionate.  I am someone who appreciates small gestures.  I am a singer to the car radio.  I am neat, and I am a mess.  I am a speaker.  I am a motivator.  I am a pancreas.  I am a fast driver.  I am a PMSer.  I am a fierce advocate.  I am a hugger.  I am a crier.  I am a smiler.  I am an adapter.  I am a blessing counter.  I am a deep thinker.  I am someone who loves quiet and chaos.  I am a prayer. 

And yeah...I am a widow, too.  I don't want to be a widow.  But I didn't get a say in that. 
I am anyway.

I am a million different things.  So adding widow to the mix doesn't change too much.  Sure...it has changed my perspective somewhat.  Life is too short not to tell someone you love them.  Life is too short not to hug and laugh and try your best.  We only get one try at this life thing...it is a waste to live it without thankfulness in our hearts. (My widowiness taught me that.)

So why fight it?  I am going to take this widow thing and bring it up a notch.

Whether I want it there or not, it is piece of who I am.  And whether I admit it or not, it has made me a more grateful...dare I say better? person.  (Which really ticks me off.  Why do trials have to make us better?  Isn't there an easier way?)

I won't be afraid of that word anymore. 

I'm not going to put it on a t-shirt or anything.  But today I take ownership of it.

Because I'm ok with the finished product.  All those pieces fit neatly together to make me.  And although I am not perfect...I am starting to appreciate who I am.

I am Meri Schuhmacher.

I am not shady and wrinkled.  I don't wear hats with netting over the eyes.  I don't wear brown pantyhose.   I don't eat fruitcake.  I don't wear dentures.  I'm still in my 30's for crying out loud!  (For another month or so anyway...) 

I do like black though.  It's slimming.

Sure I am a widow...but that only scratches the surface of me.

Is that corny?

Because it's ok if it is...

It's just another part of what makes me who I am.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Try again.

When we guess the carbs in a pizza, and we fail miserably?

Try again.

Pizza is so worth it.

When we change basal rates and the lows become overwhelming?

Try again.

Getting things right the first time is called luck.

When we sleep through our 2am alarm two nights in a row?

Try again.

Sometimes it just takes a different ring tone to do the trick.

When pump sites gets ripped out three times in one day?

Try again.

Pumps have bad days just like everyone else.

When we get tired of reminding our teenager to test at school?

Try again.

If there is anything worth our time, it is that.

When we reach out to someone and they don't respond?

Try again.

Life is busy and crazy.  Maybe it isn't personal.  Maybe they are dealing with their own demons.

When the school administration just doesn't get it?

Try again.

We must let them see our hearts.  We can do this.

When the A1C is between here and the outer stratosphere?

Try again.

That number indicates what happened yesterday.  What will happen today is up to us.

When we forget the blood sugar monitor at home?

Try again.

Everyone forgets sometimes.  We need to cut ourselves some slack.

When diabetes brings only sadness and resentment into our life?

Try again.

Count our blessings.  Find some perspective.

When life hands us lemonade, make lemons...life will be all like what???? ~Phil Dunphy.

Try to laugh.

It makes all the difference.

When blood sugars are high all the live long day?

Try again.

Tomorrow is a new day.  The body begins a new rhythm.   Don't give up.

When we leave the kids to go on a date, and blood sugars drop low.

Try again.

There is nothing more worthwhile for a marriage than a night out.  Nothing.

When we feel like all we do is fail?

Try again.

Illness, stress...growth spurts...they are not our fault.

When our insurance denies something important?

Try again.

Insurances like to say no the first time. That is why there is an appeals process.

When it is blood draw day and our children are in tears?

Try again.

One day they won't cry.  Maybe next time will be the day they don't.

When the people in our life don't know how much we love them?

Try again.

It's what it's all about. Despite what diabetes wants us to think...it isn't all about diabetes...

Try again.

Try again.

Try again.

It is the story of Our Diabetic Life.

Not trying is not an option.

It is all we can do.

Trying today will change our tomorrow.
And besides.  If we keep trying...one day, we might even succeed.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The end goal.

It was the day Ryan passed away.  I was at my inlaws house with the boys and with family all around.  I was in shock.  I was scared.  I was tired.  I was distraught.  I was confused.  The house was warm...really warm, and I was feeling overwhelmed to say the least.

I needed air.

I grabbed my iPad and walked outside.  Sitting at the patio table I opened it up and clicked the Facebook icon.  I sat in the fading sunlight, quietly sobbing as I read the posts written on my wall, and the private messages that poured in from all around the world.  It was when the sky began to darken that my father poked his head out the back door.

"Meri, you really shouldn't be alone right now."

To which I replied:

"I'm not alone, Dad."

I know I've touched on this many times, but the friendships that I have gleaned online, specifically through the diabetes online community have saved me.

I never feel alone.  There is ALWAYS someone there to talk to...night or day.

How do I get through?  It is the love.  Love has changed everything. 

Yesterday was World Diabetes Day.   I packed the car up with my family and headed out to San Francisco to see the Ferry Building light up blue to commemorate Fredrick Banting's birthday and his discovery of insulin.

There I met Manny Hernandez from Tu Diabetes  and Mike Lawson from What Some Would Call Lies, and The Diabetes Hands Foundation.  I met them online, I am Facebook friends with them and follow them both on Twitter.  But they are more than statuses and updates...they are my friends.  Their kindness and good hearts are very real. 

Just like yours.

We spoke a lot about what I want to do with my life.  I fumbled through, trying to put into words exactly what my dream job would be.

And then as we were driving home from the city last night, it hit me.

I want to make other people feel the same way you all made me feel that night out on the patio.  I want to make people feel loved in the hardest hours.  I want to tell people, "I may not know exactly what you are going through, but I care...and I am here.  You are wonderful.  You can do this."

 I want to make people feel better.

There are so many people out there that feel alone.  I know many people like to use me as a worst case scenario.  "I thought my life was bad...but Meri's!  Wow!"  But I don't see things that way at all.  I have good friends, in town, online...all around everywhere that tell me they love me every day.  Friends that lift me up, and in turn make love a prevailing theme in my life.  There are so many people that don't have that.  They think they are alone.  They think no one cares.  They are scared.  They think their future has little hope.  Feeling alone and hopeless?  That is MY worst case scenario.
I'm not sure where I go from here, but I have a couple paths that I'm contemplating taking.  It's all very fuzzy right now, and some of it requires me traveling WAY out of the comfort zone of my computer keyboard, but I believe that even if I don't find a 9-5 job that fits that description, I'll find a way to do it anyway.

Because when I was/am in my hardest hour...words and love from good people like you have helped me.

I want to be that good person.

I want to help back.

I want to give back.

Moving forward, I'm going to make that my end goal.  And if I can make a difference in even one life, like you all have made a difference in mine?

Well, I'll call that an epic victory.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Love the pancreas your with.

I don't want to overly simplify my feelings towards diabetes. Complicated doesn't even seem to scratch the surface. All I know is that for now...diabetes is staying put. And since that is the case, I will now endeavor to riff off the old Stephen Stills song, "If you can't have the pancreas you love honey, love the pancreas you're with."

I've spent many a year loathing diabetes and its long line of insane protocols. When my third was diagnosed I'm pretty sure I melted into a puddle of tears and bitterness for a good nine months. Looking back, those deep seeded feelings of hatred and helplessness have only brought me three things: Heartache, TMJ from clenching/grinding my teeth, and Carpal Tunnel from writing it all out on my blog. Letting go of the anger isn't easy, in fact, I don't even know if letting it ALL go is possible. But what I do know is coming to terms with this disease, ACCEPTING this disease, loving our life WITH this disease...well that yields things like a better night's sleep, and a more relaxed me.

My children respond to my cues. If they see me worried...they are worried too. If they see me angry and upset...that angers them and upsets them too. Am I walking around the house singing praises to diabetes? Heck no! But am I trying to put it all into perspective? Yes.

I understand that everyone has different perspectives on everything. To one of us 80 is the perfect number, to another 100...to another 150. We all are individuals with minds of our own. In the spirit of New Year resolutions, I'm going to take what I know and mold it into something more beautiful. I challenge you to try too.

I know diabetes is hard.

I also know that enduring hard things molds us into more empathetic human beings.

I know that diabetes hurts.

I also know that the sensation of pure torture I feel when pricking my virgin fingers is completely different than the sensation my boys feel.

I know that diabetes is expensive.

I also know that my boys healthy futures are worth every penny of promising technology I can find.


Fighting diabetes...hating diabetes....it is ok. But letting those things take over is not. Hate is like acid to our body, literally and figuratively. It isn't healthy to live with perpetual sadness and helplessness.

Sometimes I just need to stand up and say, "They are ok! I am Ok! We will survive!"

Saying it out loud is liberating. Believing it is life changing.

We can love our lives with diabetes as a part of it. We can accept our lot in life and find joy in the little things even with diabetes strolling along side. Diabetes will always will be with us...which leads me back to the beginning...

Maybe our lives aren't everything we imagined they would be. But after diagnosis it is possible to imagine a new life. Can't we love that life too? Can't that life be just as amazing as the first? It may be a bit more complicated, but with diabetes in the mix, our victories are sweeter and the good days are triumphs in themselves.

I wonder if in the end, It all comes down to loving the life you're with.

(This is a repost from almost a year ago.  I had a few "I hate diabetes" days last week.  This week I'm trying hard to find joy in all things...my life...and even diabetes.  And PS  In the title of my post it is supposed to YOU'RE not YOUR.  Love the bad spelling you're with?)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The wave.

B and L had their first therapy appointments this week.  They both left with the biggest smiles declaring, "That was awesome!  When are we going back?"  A stark contrast to M and J's reaction. 

On the way home B shared with me an observation that none other than his school teacher imparted: 

"Imagine standing on the beach.  Happy, talking with your friends...and then out of nowhere a giant wave hits you.  That is how sadness works.  It washes over us when we least expect it."

No truer words have ever been spoken.

But this post isn't about grief today.  I want to twist the analogy a bit and see if it hits home for you.

"Imagine standing on the beach.  Happy, talking with your friends...and then out of nowhere a giant wave hits you.  That is how low blood sugars work.  They hit us when we least expect it."

Oh wait...here's a better one:

"Imagine standing on a baseball field.  Happy, talking with your friends...and then out of nowhere a metal bat hits you in the neck.  That is how low blood sugars work.  They knock the wind out of you when you least expect it."

Case in point, I saw two 40's and two 30's last week.

My head is still spinning.

The boys will have a few days when everything works as it should.  Basals are spot on.  Ratios are spot on.  All is right with the world, and then BAM!  Wave/Bat.  Out of nowhere.

The internal panic is so hard to describe.  As a parent I try hard to be calm and matter of fact. 

"Let's fix this."

But as a human being I begin my internal panic attack and think, "What if." All the while trying to pay attention to my protocol. 


Check for Insulin on board.

Temp basal if necessary.



There are a lot of important steps and wisdom that need to come to the forefront of my mind during a panicked incident such as a 30 with a load of insulin on board...

My brain is running on 50% capacity as it is.  I'm nervous I won't make the best decisions, and since I don't  trust myself lately I've been over compensating with more carbs than they need.

Because I can't lose them.
(Whoa.  Where did that wave just come from?)

It is the griever in me that gives in to the knee jerk reaction to get them out of danger, and get them out as quickly as possible.  No...I'm not going over board...but I'm not following the rules of thumb I always kept myself to, either.

I'm scared more.

Scratch that.

I'm terrified more.

Lately, I lay in bed at night and wonder if the boys are breathing.  I think, of course they are, them not breathing would just never happen.  Then I think...shiz happens to our family that just doesn't happen to other families.  How does God think I am strong enough for all of this?  And then I remind God that I'm on my breaking point.  I NEED joy right now.  Anymore sadness and I'll break.  I'm sure of it.  I'm keeping it together...but it seems my "together" is held only by lightweight thread and Elmer's Glue.

I'm hoping that by typing this out, I'll be more aware of my problem and be able to deal with the waves with a more realistic philosophy.

"A wave?  So we are wet.  We dry ourselves and move on."

And not:

"A wave?  We might get swept out to sea...wait...is that a shark?!"

I understand why I'm feeling this way.  I just need to move forward and trust that everything will be ok.

That is a lot of trust.  Laying it all at God's feet has never been more real for me than it is now.  Finding HOW to do that has been a process. 

It is so much easier said than done.

I'm working on it though.

And in the meantime I'll remind myself that my boys have woken up every morning  so far, and they've been perfectly fine.

I'll get through it.  These waves/baseball bats just need to back off.  I started off this blog saying this post wasn't about grief.  Organically, it turned out that it was exactly what this post was about.

Just goes to show that this blog is my best form of therapy.  I never know what I'm going to get when I start typing.  I've had a good cry.  Things make more sense.

I feel better.

It WILL be ok.  Not okay is just not a viable option right now.

I can do this.
Pep talk...CHECK.
Bring it.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Wacky Wednesday

Do you remember the book Wacky Wednesday by Dr. Seuss?  It was my favorite when I was a kid.

It starts out with a boy finding a shoe on his wall.  The book goes on to show all the wacky things he saw that day, all the while asking you to search for the things that are wrong in the picture.

It was/is a brilliant book.

This morning when my boys woke up with Halloween excitement hangovers, I couldn't help but look back at our Halloween and see ever so clearly how wacky our Wednesday really was.

To start off, B's best friend asked him to go trick or treating with their family.  Handling T1 on Halloween is tricky for a professional pancreas like myself.  To a layman pancreas, it's altogether complicated.  That didn't stop B's friend's mother from offering.  She was all, "I have your number, he'll call when he eats, we'll check.  It'll all be good."  And I was all, "((Blank stare.))"

I know.  Bizarro world, right?

Then after school my senior called and said he was going to hang with his friends and play video games all day.

Halloween with only two kids?  I can't make this stuff up.

I had Ryan's parents over, and his sister...my parents, my sister, her friend, and her kids.   We were a full house and the chaos was a good mask for the rainey day outside.

Then my sister and her friend took all the kids trick or treating.  All.  The.  Kids.  In the rain.  I got to stay home with my feet up and eat apple pie a la mode. 

B called with a 102 before he left to trick or treat, which led to me saying  "Eat 2 pieces of candy right away young man!" 

When he got back he was 69.  He got to eat more candy, and I got to not worry about it.

When L got back from his treating, because let's face it, there are no tricks when you're 8...he was 319.  Not surprising, excitement effects him that way.  But here is the really wackiest thing of all:

L looked at his number and said, "I don't really want any candy anyway.  I just want to trade."  He sat for the next hour trading candy with his cousins and was happy as could be.  When I told him to have a piece, he was very thankful. 

Where was my candy obsessed 8 year old boy, and what has Halloween done to him???

The boys went to bed 105, 114 and 179. 

And then an hour later they were all low.

I half expected to find a shoe on my wall the minute I walked into my bedroom to sleep.

Instead there was a picture of Ryan, smiling proudly that we conquered another day.

Wacky Wednesday?

You are welcome in my home, any time.
(BTW:  November is Diabetes Awareness Month!  Usually I blog every day in the month of November, but I have decided my swelly brain can't make that commitment this year.   I will be helping organize the World Diabetes Day Postcard Exchange, though.  Click HERE to find out more about it!)