Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Creative Diabetes

My endo isn't a fan of my diabetes shenanigans.

When settings are off I find my own way to deal with the problem.

Breakfast spike?  I add an extra 20 carbs to the breakfast pre-bolus.  My endo says, "Change the ratios and let the pump do the work for you."

I say.  "Why fix it if it isn't broken?  Besides, on the weekends I add 30."

Post lunchtime lows?

I just deduct 15 carbs from the total carbs consumed to counteract the energy exerted on the playground.

My endo says, "Change the lunchtime ratios."

I say.  "I don't do this for the weekends.  It's so easy to do.  Why make changes?"

Nighttime ratios off?  I compensate.

I would add a bit to the insulin dose for corrections at night for B.  I would take off A LOT for L.  J needed a smidge less...

My swelly brain's totally got this...

But something magical happened last week.  (Insert thought bubble over my head complete with pictures of unicorns, rainbows and sparkly glitter raining down...and a cupcake...just because.)

Suddenly:  All the boys nighttime ratios are spot on.

Suddenly:  If the boys clock in at 104, or 110, or whatever...I can leave them alone! 

Are you hearing the words jump off the page?


Usually basals are a bit strong, or the business of their day makes a 103 an unsafe number.

But SHAZAM!  I can leave them.  I don't have to shove food down their throats, or temp basal for an hour.

And they wake up with 120's and 98's, and 107's.

I need a baton.  A baton and some kind of awesome hat, so I can stomp around the house and do the happy march.  The "I AM THE BOSS" march. 

Ok.  So yeah.  I didn't DO anything to get them there.  But they are there.  And my swelly brain has shrunk three sizes because of it.  You do realize that this means a better night's sleep for me...right?  You do realize this is HALF the A1C battle nailed right there...right?  You do realize that I have managed to pull off something as rare as the blue moon...right?

How long is it going to last?  I give it a week.  (Wah  Wah  Waaaaaah) But while it lasts I will sleep sounder, smile wider and celebrate a little harder.  (That means a toast with the good stuff.  Chocolate soy milk, baby!)

I often read on Facebook people grappling with problems...someone last week even worried that their child hit an all time high of 220.


I wish I could worry about a 220.  I have bigger fishes to fry.

But thankfully, I've currently fried up a giant stinky salmon of a problem.

I'll enjoy my victory as it lasts.  Because we all know the only thing that stays the same with diabetes is nothing stays the same.

Last week I posted online that I pulled off another hat trick of sorts by getting all the boys on the same set change schedule.  Two days later L needed his site pulled so they are on different schedules...again.

I should learn my lesson and keep my victories to myself.

But whatever.

Hat.  Baton.  Marching.  This parade's going around the block.

Monday, February 25, 2013

What he did right.

Last week was one of reflection for me, mostly thinking of Ryan...and missing him.

It was a tough week.  Every song burned my heart. Despite the words, the melodies lingered in my head as background music to my story.  It was one eternal round of melancholy.

And then in the store the other day I saw a couple arguing.  No, they weren't yelling...but their body language was.

They were miserable.

And I just wanted to take their hands and say, "Appreciate what you have right next to you."

But I walked away instead and began to think about the times that Ryan and I would fight.  And why it was so when we did.

I do realize Ryan and I had a unique marriage.  We got annoyed all the time, that is for sure.  But fighting?  That came about once a year in a big blow up...usually about something we didn't even remember after all was said and done.  Something that had more to do with built up annoyances then the topic at hand.  Thankfully, we learned this later in our marriage, and learned to talk out the things that bugged us, and not to take them personally.

We had many conversations how woman and men see things differently.  Many conversations about how our needs are different.  We tried hard to see past our own opinions.  But even though our communication was pretty good, our marriage mostly thrived because of the person Ryan was. 

We all can learn from his example.  So I thought I would tell everyone, and remind myself, what made Ryan so special...which in turn made our marriage so special too.

~ From day one of our marriage he made it clear that he was never going anywhere.  That no matter how hard things got, that no matter how annoyed we got with each other...leaving (purposely) would never be an option.  I was stuck with him forever.  He reminded me many times.  I reminded him back.

~ From the time we began dating he looked me in the eyes and promised me he would never lie to me.  I promised him back.  We made a pact that if we used the word "promise" it was like putting our hand on the bible.  We would try to get around this by saying "Bromise" instead of "Promise," but we stuck to it...always.  Sure we hid things from each other.  But not big things.  Mostly a surprise or gift for each other.  He hid some of his symptoms from me in the end...and I hid that I knew about them.

~ He called me.  During the day, (before there were text messages,) he always checked in with me in the morning.  Always asked how my night was.  Always wanted to know how I was doing.  If I had a bad night he would sometimes leave the bakery to bring me a treat and to hug us all and then run back to work.  When text messages came into our life, he would text me a dozen times a day.  I took his lead and called him every afternoon when the kids napped to check in on his day.  If he was having a hard day, I would go visit him.

~ He told me he loved me every single day.  Sincerely.  With all the love and adoration usually kept for the first couple years of marriage.  He told me every day how beautiful I was.  I would catch him staring at me with tears in his eyes.  yeah.  He was that amazing.  I told him how amazing he was back...and how lucky I was to have him in my life.

~ He helped.  For the first 15 years of our marriage Ryan worked a 15 hour day.  But he still helped clean up the house, and in contrast NEVER complained that dishes weren't done or the laundry was piling up.  He was an amazing cook and delighted in making the meat for dinner.  He would make special breakfast just for me.  He happily played with the kids...he napped with them, and often would forgo his own nap to be with us.  To give ME a break.

~  He sacrificed for us.  Despite working 15 hour days, 5 days a week...he would often cater on the weekends to make extra money for us.  We used this extra money for a family vacation, or a weekend away for just the two of us.

~  He took me out.  Ryan knew I was overwhelmed with babies and diabetes.  He would make special dates for us, or simply make sure we got out of the house often.  When we were poor we would scour our drawers for coupons and old lottery tickets that we won $1 or $2 dollars on.  We'd cash those in and split a dinner at a restaurant.   He made those nights out happen, regardless of the circumstance.

~ He would say he was sorry first.  If we got into a disagreement, he'd usually be the first to come to me to say sorry.  Learning from his example, I began to try to beat him to it.  When one of us would apologize the other would instantly melt and all would be well.  We would talk about how it just wasn't worth it to be mad at each other, and how easy it is to let out our frustrations to the person we love most.    Saying sorry, sincerely, makes a discussion about the problems much easier to swallow. 

~ He was loyal.  To his family, to the people he worked with, to the people he loved.  He had your back, always.  If he loved you, he would defend you. 

~  He loved to surprise me.  No matter how tough things were financially, Ryan would take a couple dollars here and there and hide it away to surprise me with a thoughtful gift.  J just confided in me that some of his greatest memories were hiding gifts from Ryan to me.  J said he loved having a special secret with his dad and the fact that Ryan trusted him to find a place for something so important.  He made me want to surprise him too.

~  Which leads to this:  Ryan always found a way to make you feel like you were his best friend.  Sure, he told me over and over that I was his best friend, but I had DOZENS of people come up to me at his funeral and tell me that Ryan was their best friend.  They could confide in him, and trust him.  Trust him to keep their secrets, and trust him not to judge.  I tried to be the best friend I could be to him too.  Ryan rarely went out with his friends...he was all about our family.  But he found a way to connect with them, always.  He would call them on their birthdays.  He never forgot a birthday, or a phone number for that matter.

~  He was fun.  He laughed a lot.  He didn't take too many things too seriously.  He loved adventure and wanted to see the world.  He made me funner.  He was also optimistic about everything.  "Everything always works out in the end."  His motto.  His hopefulness made me more hopeful too.

Sure, Ryan had his faults...he'd be the first to point them out.

He wasn't organized.  At all.  He lost his keys every single day.

He wasn't motivated to do yard work, or clean out the garage.  But when I asked him to, he would.

He didn't have the best fashion sense.

Ummm...yeah.  That's all I got.

But because the list above was long, and robust...those little annoyances were easily washed away. 

He was full of crazy love.

And I tried the best I could for those 20 years to fill myself up with that love.

Pretty much, everything I am today is because of Ryan's example.  Sure, I'm human, and hormonal.  I have my bad days...not everyone can be as awesome as Ryan. 

I think Ryan's biggest lesson to all of us is to spend our lives telling the ones we love, that we love them...and showing them too.  Everything else will fall into place at home if we do.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pink Floyd

I'm pretty sure if the last week was set to a soundtrack, Pink Floyd would be a big part of it.

I woke up last Wednesday with pain in my mandibular joint that was so far off the charts of hurt, I can't even properly express it here.

I Advil-ed up and made it through the day, but noticed a peculiar thing.  When I sat down, the pain was infinitely worse.  Like, unendurable.  As I laid down for bed that night, lamenting all my outdated, empty prescriptions that usually help me through such problems, I realized that sleep would be impossible. 

I leaned against my headboard with my back straight up, trying to get the shut eye I needed, but my jaw throbbed with so much anguish I only was only able to get maybe 30 minutes of sleep, most of that by standing unpright with my forehead against the wall.

The next morning I was able to function, (Come on.  I'm a D mom after all!) And went about my regular routine.  Advil.  Advil.  Advil.  Yeah, Advil wouldn't even touch it.  The exhaustion began to weigh on me by noon, and the pain was so far reaching, my mind began to loose its lucidity.  All I wanted was to sit down...to rest for just a few minutes.  But that was not an option.  Sitting down meant torture for my jaw.  So I cleaned, and once in awhile stood with my forehead against the wall, my eyes closed, tears streaming down my face.

I called the doctor to refill my prescriptions and he (of course) insisted on seeing me.  The appointment would be in one hour.  I could do this.

Except the pain, possibly realizing its end, gave one last push in these minutes and took me to that place that made me wonder if just simply 'putting me down' would be cheaper than the meds the doctor was going to prescribe.

I texted my sister and asked her to pick up the boys from school.   Sitting in the car that morning was torture.  I couldn't endure it again.

"Do you want me to call you a waaaa-mbulance?"  She texted back.

"Maybe.  I'll let you know."

At that moment my friend showed up at the door with a dozen roses. 

'Cause maybe I forgot to mention it was Valentine's Day.   Oh, and did I forget to tell you I was having 8 people over for dinner for the occasion too?

As my friend knocked on the door, and I answered, with silent, tortured tears streaming down my face, the horror washed over her before I could say a word,

"I knew this was a stupid idea." she said as she hastily hid the flowers behind her back.

"No! it isn't that."  I exclaimed trying not to smile.  Smiling hurt.

I explained the pain and the exhaustion I was in, I used a pretty big swear word, and that was all she needed to come rescue me.  She drove me to the doc, and to the pharmacy, and I was in business with a set of four very powerful drugs.

The doctor asked me a myriad of questions, the funniest of which was, "This kind of pain is caused by tensing the jaw from stress.  Are you under any stress?"

"You're going to make me laugh.  Please stop."

"If you can find a way to relax, and not be stressed it would help you immensely."

"No really.  I can't laugh.  Please stop."

My mother in law called.  She would make the bulk of the dinner, I would only be in charge of the chicken...which I had the teenagers do.  And after seeing the wild eyed look of pain on my face as they walked in the door...they were completely happy to complete the task.

I took three of the new drugs 30 minutes before my dinner party.

I was able to greet everyone and fill my plate with food, take two bites and then promptly excuse myself where I plopped face first on my bed and completely passed out.  Getting up every now and then over the next 12 hours to throw up from said meds. 

Happy Valentine's Day, Meri!

I slept for a good three days.  In and out of a drug induced haze.  I dreamt of Ryan A LOT. 

I remember snippets of conversations here and there between the boys and my sister in law.

"Check your blood sugar."

"Put this away."

"Lisa, I'm low!"

Going to bed and putting the boys sugars in Lisa's hands wasn't very hard, but the guilt that constantly poked at me got pretty annoying.

"I don't understand.  They were all in the mid one hundreds at midnight, and then I checked them at 2:30 and they all popped up to the high two hundreds.  How?  Why?"

"Stop making me laugh.  It hurts."

"But it makes no sense."  She says.

"Please.  Can't.  Smile.  Hurts."

As I came to be more of myself and the pain began to ebb, I joined the family here and there, but was still a bit on the loopy side.  Four days of my life, a complete blur.  I couldn't drive.  Thankfully M was able to drive us to church and all the various places the boys needed to be to.

I remember the first hour of church on Sunday, But not the rest.

It was a really good lesson.  One I NEEDED to hear.  "How to receive inspiration." I tried so hard to listen and stay awake, and yet I was in and out of consciousness during the whole thing.

Sunday afternoon I needed to work on B's state report with him, but as I saw Lisa sit down with him out of the corner of my eye, I passed out again.

I'm happy to report that I am off the pain meds now and living a fairly lucid life.  A relief to my mother I am sure, as she phoned me the day I was prescribed my drugs, worried that I might become addicted.

Which sounds like a completely thrilling prospect, except I need to be a pancreas to my boys.  And pancreases must be mentally present at all times. 

There is no lesson here.  And really no reason for me to write all of this except maybe to give my sister in law Lisa the accolades she deserves.  She jumped in and mothered, pancreased? my boys without missing a beat.  I am so thankful for her willingness to take over when I was down for the count.

I may not be lucky in some things, but I am very lucky in others.

With my in laws, and my friends, I hit the jackpot.

Writing that last sentence makes me smile.  And thankfully, right now, it doesn't even hurt.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Carry on.

Powerful words.

"Carry on."

Move forward.  Keep going.  You can do this.

Carry on.

I find myself uttering those words to myself to get me through the day.  An anthem I march to as the day sinks onto my body.

I get heavy.  The worry weighs on me.  My journey's baggage is dredged behind me.  I'm barely able to move.

And then, "Carry on."

Enduring is so misunderstood.

Enduring doesn't get the accolades it should.  Our life has so much to do with enduring and yet we act surprised when it is so.

"Oh my goodness!  So and so lost their job!  I can't believe it."

"Oh no!  So and so lost the love of their life!  Unbelievable!"

"You are kidding!  So and so was diagnosed with WHAT?"

All of these things seem to be a surprise, when actually they seem more of the norm than we care to admit.

Life is getting harder.  Or is it that I'm just getting older, and life was always hard?  Is it that I'm just noticing it more?

I don't think so.

I think bad things, hard things, are happening at a record rate.  And for some of us, all we can do in the wake of it all is put our heads down...

And carry on.

But there is a brightness in "carry on" that I think is missed.  It isn't ALL about dragging our feet.  It isn't moving forward simply because we have to.

Carrying on entails moving forward with hope.


Why else would we move forward if we didn't believe in change for the better?

Enduring is a necessary obstacle to a better tomorrow.  When we "Carry on" we are making promises to ourselves that there is something good around the corner.  "Endure, do your best, and all will be well."  In the state of enduring we might feel like we are not making progress.  But in reality we are fighting, and pushing against something...that something is hopelessness.

When we carry on we are saying we won't stand for hopelessness.

Bad blood sugar night?

Carry on!  Better sugars are on the horizon.

Site problems and ketones?

Carry on!  The problem will be fixed.

Carb counted that buffet wrong?

Carry on!  You'll get it next time.

Fight with your spouse?  Bad day at work?  That guy just cut you off?  Did Taco Bell short you a burrito again??

Carry on...carry on...carry on...carry on!

Carry on doesn't allow you to live in the turmoil of past mistakes or tragedies, yours or otherwise.  Carry on has you living in today, for the future...which effects your tomorrow for the better.

I know we all have hard days.  Hell...last week was one of the hardest for me, the pinnacle of many months of malaise.  But I can see now that enduring has brought me to a better place.  Not as fast as I would have liked.  But it did.  And no...not hugely better.  But better.

Look for that brightness ahead, friends.

Carry on and remember that things don't always stay the same. 

I've been wandering the map for the last few months wondering when things will change for me.  Or at least wondering when I'll have a clearer direction.

The fog is lifting.  I'm starting to get my bearings.  And all I needed to do was carry on. 

Sometimes it's all we CAN do.  And I don't want you to underestimate the power of it.  I know for a lot of us it feels like auto-pilot is almost running us backwards.

But it's not.  Give yourself the credit you deserve for the courage you mustered in moving forward when things got hard.  There are answers on the other side of the trudging through the mire of life.  There is dignity is simply doing our best.

Enduring also builds muscle.  Some muscles we didn't even know we had.  Maybe that's why enduring hurts so much... we are working out parts of ourselves we didn't even know were there.

I wrote a post a few weeks ago telling how I believe everyone is a hero.  A friend of mine stopped me one day to discuss that post.  She has seen many more people give up on life than I can wrap my brain around.  She said that moving forward isn't as common as I think it is...that my enduring, my "carrying on" is more special than I give it credit for.

And maybe she is right.  But I had your back, dear readers.  I told her that the people that read MY blog...those people?  THEY are trying.  THEY are enduring.  THEY are looking to do the best they can.

And I believe it.  You and I have a lot in common.  Our lives aren't easy and yet we put one foot in front of the other and make the most of what we can with what we have.

Or at least I'm hoping to make the most of it all.

I'm ready to look up from all this retrospection and do more than just carry on.  Well.  I'm almost ready.

I'm almost ready to start aiming for things.  To start making goals.

And it feels good.  I'm sure being "almost" ready for something seems like a silly thing to blog about.  But it feels SO good to see things a bit differently.  The landscape is beginning to change and my soul is stretching from it's long enduring dredge.  Stretching is exhilarating!

Carry on friends.  We can do this.  We will do this.  We should do this.

Even if we're barely feelin' it. 

We are still doing it!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

This one's important.

It all started with a mole.

A mole that turned into cancer.


That is what took my husband's life.  Melanoma.

Many people think that the absence of a black mole means they don't have cancer.

That isn't true.

Melanoma doesn't need a mole.  Melanoma doesn't even need to see the light of day.  It can crop up anywhere, at anytime, and look completely innocent.  In between your toes?  It can go there.  Armpit?  It can go there too. 

It can be a small pink bump.  Don't let those disgusting pictures of asymmetrical oozing black moles fool you.  Melanoma doesn't always look like that.   

Ryan's looked like a pencil eraser.  Smooth.  Completely symmetrical.  Light pink.  Nothing like the bleeding sores on the poster in the doctor's office.

A couple weeks ago I went to the dermatologist to have a mole removed.  Not because it didn't look right, just because my bra rubbed against it and it bothered me. 

Going into this office was emotional.  This was not the doctor who found Ryan's cancer, but this is the one he went to for all his checkups and burning off of little spots on his arms here and there.  He had been there dozens of times, so walking into the small waiting room brought all kinds of emotions to the surface.

There are only six chairs.  I wonder which one Ryan sat in?

This magazine is six months old.  Did he read it?

Really?  I have to check the "widow" box on my registration form??

Going into the exam room was equally emotional.  Ryan has been here.  What did he look at in here.  What was he thinking about?  Why didn't I go with him??  I went to ALL his appointments.  Why didn't I go to these?

Well, she took the little mole off and then she sent it off for biopsy, but I'm not worried.  I'm sure it will be fine.

But as I was getting up to LEAVE, raising myself off the table, the doctor says, "WHOA!  How long have you had THAT mole?"

"Ummm...forever."  As I reached back to feel the mole I've had since I was born.

"No, not the one you can feel.  THIS one.  I don't like the color, or the hazy edges."

It was in the middle of my lower back.  When was the last time you checked out the middle of your lower back?  I don't know about you, but I avoid looking so closely at myself in the mirror. 

She takes pictures.  She measures it.  And then she sits to have a conversation.

"We can wait a month and see if it changes."

"Take it off.  Now."  There was no conversation needed. 

"Good decision."  She takes it off and gets it ready to send to the lab.

So I spent the week waiting to hear if I have cancer.

Really, fates?  Really?

I told a few close friends about it, and they assured me that everything will be fine.  Unfortunately, my mind can't negotiate that word very well anymore.  "Fine."  Things don't always work out "fine."  I'm a living, breathing testament of that.

I got the call the mole under my breast was benign.

But the mole on my back came back "inconclusive."  I would have to wait another week for the labs at the University Hospital to give a second opinion.

So I was waiting for days to find out if I had the same cancer that took my husband away from me.  Can my life BE any more made-for-TV-movie??

Longest two weeks ever.

I'll let you off the hook though, I don't have cancer.  The doctor called yesterday.  It isn't cancer.

But let our stories serve as a warning.  Have a loved one check you over.  Have a loved one take a picture of every mole, every mark, every pink spot on your body.  Keep them in a folder on your computer, and update often.  Measure them.  If the grow, or change in color or size or texture or anything, or if they FEEL different, go to the doctor.  Ryan had a mole checked out less than a year before his initial diagnosis.  It was cleared as fine.  But it CHANGED.  It TURNED INTO cancer.  And that is why you need to pay attention.  It's Valentines Day, while you're getting cozy with your honey, check out their skin.  I'm sure you can make it fun!

Catching skin cancer early makes ALL the difference. 

The difference between living, and not living.

There isn't a more deadly cancer than Melanoma. 

Please.  PLEASE.  Watch this.

I can't write anymore.  The tears are coming too furiously for me to see the screen.

Check yourself.  Check someone you love.  Just.  Check.  And good hell people:  Wear sunscreen.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Forgetting myself this Valentine's Day


Tomorrow's Valentine's Day, and honestly, I don't want to think about it.

But it's coming whether I want to think about it or not.

Ryan was a super romantic, sweet guy.  He always found a way to make the day special.  He didn't spend a lot of money, but instead he would do small, simple things to make me swoon.

His constant texts were my favorite.

"I'm thinking of you."

"I can't get you off my mind."

"Hey, beautiful!  I miss you."

"I'll be home in 2 hours and 10 minutes.  You will be tackled."

But even so, Ryan made every day like Valentine's Day.  (I 110% know how completely corny that sounds.) 

But the truth is the truth.  He made sure I knew how loved I was every day.  It is the thing I miss most...the constant reminders that he loves me.

MeriandRyan.  It was one word.  We were one.

And now we are two.

Suckage.  There is just no way to get around it.

I've always been taught that the best way to forget about yourself is to serve others.

So here goes nothing.

As a diabetes blogging community, we have begun an initiative called "Spare a Rose, Save a Child."

Losing someone you love to a disease you can't control is awful.  But losing someone to a disease that CAN be controlled I imagine is even worse.

There are children and adults in developing countries who can't afford insulin.  We all know if you have Type 1 Diabetes, you can't live without insulin.  For some, and I'm not even exaggerating here...for some, insulin isn't an option because they can't afford it.  So they die.  Or their child dies.  For some, they can only afford half the insulin they need, so they give themselves less shots and watch their body shut down, one organ at a time.

The Life for a Child Program is on a mission to change that.

Most of us, ok...most of you are going to buy roses tomorrow. 

Buy ONE less.

Buy 11.  Buy 23.  And the money you would have spent on that twelfth, or that twenty-fourth  rose, give it to a child in need by going HERE.

What is that?  Just a few dollars, right?

But that few dollars goes a long way in other countries. 

It's something little I can do.

Something little you can do.

Which would lead to something big for a family in need.

One more time:  THE LINK IS HERE.

I know Ryan would want me to count my blessings.

Look at what I DO have.   I have a home.  I have my children.  I have insulin to keep them alive.

I have a few bucks to spare.

Isn't it a small price to pay to help another live?

Share the love this Valentine's Day by thinking beyond your own circumstance.

I promise you will feel good about it.  You will love yourself for doing it. 

And that is a pretty good Valentine's gift to yourself, don'tcha think?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

That hope thing again...

I was talking to my friend today and I asked, "Why am I always so damn hopeful?"  (I apologize for the swearing...it's a phase I'm going through so please bear with me.)

Every time something crappy happens, (which this week, the crap overfloweth,) I inevitably think..."It will be ok, Meri!  Everything will turn out as it should."

And the devil sitting on my shoulder, who looks unabashedly like Robert Dinero, says, "That hope thing is going to bite you in the butt, Meri.  It might not be ok."

Am I setting myself up for disappointment? 


Am I setting myself up to win?

There is something to be said for putting your intentions out to the universe.  The glass half full people are happier people, right?  Also, if the saying "you get what you give" has any merit, than my answer is right there.

I think my optimism also lies in trusting my path.  Trusting in a loving Heavenly Father who has already testified that all will be well. 

Ryan said it would be okay too, so that's something...

But that Mr. Dinero...with that tiny little nay saying son of a cockroach voice, loves to pop my hope bubble every chance he can get.  He makes me feel like hope is a ball and chain that I drag around every day.  "You're still holding onto that thing?  Geez, let it go gurl!"  He seems to think that my hope holds me back from seeing the world as it really is.  He seems to think my rose colored glasses make me look like a child.  He seems to think I'm setting myself up to fail.

My hope filter is taking a lot more faith to keep up these days.  I'm aware that things often DON'T work out.  I'm aware that bad news comes whether we are ready for it or not.  When people tell me, "Meri, I'm sure everything will be ok," I'm aware that they really don't know that.

Because when it comes to my life?  No.  Not everything turns out ok.

But here's the thing...

Haters gonna hate.

Hopers gonna hope.

I am a hoper.


My problem really lies in the first step. Which way to go with my life?  (I am painfully aware you're probably sick of me talking about this, but it is something I NEED to write out because it is a HUGE obstical I'm grappling with right now.  Trust me, I'm seriously tired of hearing about it too.) I think any way I choose will be ok...but which way is the bestest way?

Which way will lead me to that future Ryan was so sure was going to be ok?  I don't want to mess up.  I don't want to take the wrong path.

I liken it to being in the middle of the desert, a compass surrounds me.  North?  South?  East?  West?  NorthEast?  SouthWest?

Crap.  There are so many paths I can take to get to water.  Every path WILL get me to water...but which one will get me there in tact?  Which is the safest bet for my sanity and livelihood?

Maybe there is no "safer" path. 

Maybe because every path has its perils is the reason I stand here "still" in my life.

My gut says stay where I'm at.  But is my gut really speaking out of fear?  I know I'll eventually need more than what these four walls have to offer, and really, my future isn't going to just fall onto my lap.  Or could it?  I can't totally rule that out, right?  Ha.  I think that is more wishful thinking than hopeful thinking...

Hopefulness requires some action, I am sure.

I can't just sit here waiting for my future to happen.  I need to MAKE a future.

Soul searching sounds so serene. 

I'm not feelin' the serene part.

But no matter how loud that little devil yells in my ear, I can't shake the feeling that it will all work out.  Even if crappy gets crappier, it will all work out.

Hopers gonna hope.  <<<<  That's going on a tshirt.

Meri's gonna hope.  Deal with it, Dinero.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Family ties.

My heart is heavy, though it survives the weight of grief I carry by pumping love furiously through its arteries and veins.

I know it isn't my responsibility to carry the weight of my friends journeys, but it weighs on me regardless.

Because even though we are not blood relatives, we are spirit relatives, and we are bound by very real family ties.

I belong to a coffee group.

I don't drink coffee.

But just the same, I "belong."  It is my home away from home.  My safe place where the women nod, and smile, and hug, and just understand.

"Group" is such a big word. 

We are only three.

April, Susan and myself.

I, of course, have three boys with Type 1 diabetes.  Susan has two boys with Type 1 Diabetes.  April used to have one boy with Type 1 Diabetes...but as of a couple days ago, she now has one boy, and one girl with Type 1 Diabetes.

How did we find each other?  It has only been a few years, and it is all fuzzy in our minds.  So fuzzy it feels as if the fates just flung us together into that small intimate coffee shop years ago.  We knew we were meant to be friends.  This week only solidified our solidarity.

As Susan and I took the trip into the city to bring the coffee to April while her daughter was in the hospital, the weight of the moment was sure.  Three mothers in the same town with multiple children fighting this crappy disease...it is surreal. But as we walked into that hospital room we quickly saw the transformation had already taken place...her daughter was a warrior.  April's little girl greeted us with a giant, sincere, brilliant smile. 

How is it that our children are so much stronger than we are?

This tender experience only magnified my emotions as I met with another friend, this one who has diabetes herself, for breakfast the next morning.  Sarah and I met online and later found that we live practically across the street from each other.  We get together as often as we can and chat for hours and hours.  It is so easy to talk to her.  She is in the truest sense of the word my sister.  I shudder to think that without diabetes I never would have met this valiant soul.  She is one of my biggest cheerleaders, and when she encourages me, I feel stronger emotionally, spiritually and physically.  Seeing her work her way through the complicated mire of diabetes, and still keep a beautiful smile on her face, gives me all the confirmation I need to know that April's daughter is going to be ok.  As are my boys, and Susan's boys.

That same night I was able to meet another D Mom who found me through this blog.  She was in town for the weekend and asked if we could meet up.  As soon as I saw her glowing face I knew I had found another soul mate.  Another sister whose friendship I would cherish forever.  The crazy part is she contacted me because I have helped her through my writing, but as I met with her, she helped me in ways I can't even quantify.  She was animated, and strong, and beautiful and she didn't let anything stop her from grabbing life by the horns.  She went through the process of finding who she was, and was able to give me tips as I journey through the process myself.  Honestly though, just by being herself, just by her living example, I learned volumes.  This glowing mother's son has Type 1 Diabetes.  She has two daughters, and one has tested positive for four of the five markers in the Trial Net study.  She has been told it isn't a matter of "if" her daughter will get diabetes...just "when."

And now to cap off my week, last night I got an email from a family that just returned home from the hospital hours ago.  They have five children, as of this week, now three of them have Type 1.

All these experiences, along with my own D Mom goings on, has left a profound mark on my heart.  My feelings are a heavy, complicated concoction of anger, love, worry and hopefulness. 

My eyebrows are furrowed, my brain a bit swellier.

So much love, and so much hurt. 

Why is this disease so damn invisible to the public's eye?

I read in a recent article that the general population has a 1 in 100 chance of developing Type 1.  One percent doesn't seem like a big deal, but when you are that one...man, it is a freaking big deal.  Because that one's life will be forever different.  That one's mother will not sleep for years and years and years.  That one's family dynamic will change completely.  That one's future will find a new trajectory.  Not a worse one per se...a different one.  People with Type 1 Diabetes CAN do anything.  But diabetes will change who they are.  Not necessarily for the worse, but it will change them none the less as they are forced to walk through the refiners fire.

The examples of love and determination this week echo within my soul.  Diabetes swirls around me in one continuous round, constantly replenished by new diagnoses...new connections. 

I am thankful for the sisters and brothers I have found.  Their stories fuel me.  They inspire me.  They drive me to keep advocating, and teach me that the cure to all our ails right now is love and understanding.


Well...love, understanding and insulin.
The power of same...I am so thankful for it.  Especially at the end of this poignant week.  Going through this journey, even with friends, is not easy.  Going through it alone is cruel.  Our family ties make it our responsibility to find others, to let them know they are not alone.

God bless the Type 1 community.  Let's keep finding each other by casting our net of "same" to all those who can reach it.