Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Checking in

Funny thing life.

It goes on.

For obvious reasons, I feel like my world is a bit off its axis at the moment, and as a result the worry of a new school year has actually been a welcome distraction.

Don't get me wrong, I've had my obligatory "I'm going to vomit from all the unknowns" D Mom moments...but taking the attention off me and my grief, and putting it towards the boys has been freeing.

Now that we are past the night before school nervous sky high blood sugars, their numbers have been quite, perfect?

Yeah.  Perfect.  (Yes, diabetes.  I'm saying it.  Jinx me if you want to, you can suck it.)  Their numbers were high a couple weeks before the first day of school, but my experience told me to stay the course and not make any basal changes.  I knew once they got out on that playground, and out on the track...all bets were off.   My gamble paid off, and I'm relieved beyond words.

Although the paperwork and the homework already has my brain boiling over.  (Which isn't a metaphor.  I'm pretty sure I saw smoke coming out of my ears last night.)

The dentist I work for was out of the office for over a month for medical reasons, he is back now, easing himself back into work.  Everything is slowly finding its pace again.  It seems downtime and grief are a dangerous cocktail for me.  I need to be busy, even if all I want to do is sleep.

Part of my coping mechanism has been decluttering.  I guess you can call it "grief cleaning."  I took a good 5 bags of clothes out of my closet and began shredding years of documents that have piled up around here.  I still have a ways to go with all the filing and paper work, but I feel like I've lost 500lbs.  Less clutter means a happier me, and I have to wonder why I didn't do it eons ago?

I also cut my hair short, and bought new towels for the bathroom.  I'm in desperate need for SOMETHING to change.  Because emotionally, I'm feeling right back where I was a year ago.

I know realistically, I need to get through this weekend before I know what's what.

Until then, I'm holding on to my faith and my hope like never before.  Church is the only place that brings me any solace these days.  I realize if I'm going to heal at all, or change even a little will only come from leaning into the plan my Heavenly Father has for me.  I believe there is a path in front of me I'm meant to walk.  What scares me is not being able to see what's at the end of that path, or even the fact that I don't know if I'm taking the right one, really.  I suppose I just need the courage to take that first step.

::THIS JUST IN::  I just wrote that last line and an email notification popped up on my computer.  It was a reader sending me the song below.  

You should know:  I don't believe in coincidences.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


You know what’s frustrating?  Waking up feeling lost.  Waking up knowing how blessed you are, but being unable to enjoy those blessings.  I know we have some control over how we feel, and how we react to life…but there is a big part of us that is slave to our mortal bodies.  I’m getting tired of fighting the sadness.  The constant effort is grating on me.

Why can’t things just go back to being natural?  Easier?  Happier?  Grief is exhausting.  I just want to sleep.

I want to escape all the memories of last Summer.  I want to busy myself with useless activity to keep my brain from feeling it all.  But as hard as I try, those memories aren’t just memories…they are part of who I am.  They run through my blood as truly as the blood cells in my body do. 

And the tears.  I hate them.  I hate their constant knocking.  They are always waiting to barge in without notice.  Always unexpected.  Always at the most inopportune time.  I want to cry when I’m alone.  I’m rarely alone.

And despite all this selfish drivel, I KNOW how blessed I am to have my sweet family.  To have my beautiful home.  To have an abundance of food in my cupboards.  How can I be so ungrateful?  I make myself sick.

I’m lost.  I’m angry.  I’m sad.  I’m tired.  I’m sure it’s because in a few weeks the anniversary is coming.  And as much as I want to walk on with a smile on my face and determination in my step…it is impossible.

I have no control.

The tears.

The frustration.

The helplessness.

It seems all to be out of my hands, and to overcome it all will take a monumental amount of effort.  Effort I just can’t muster right now.

So I will endure like I always do, and know that further ahead some semblance of happiness awaits me.

My body can take away the happy for now.  But it can’t take away my hope.

I’ll move forward.  Because as hard as I try, there is no moving backward.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


If you think you don’t matter.  I have news for you.

You do.

If you think that what you do doesn’t affect thousands of other people.

You are wrong.  What you do or don’t do reaches farther than you ever imagined.

If you are choosing to hide from the world, how does that affect those closer to you?  Does it make them sad?  Bitter?  Angry?  Worried?  You might think that your feelings only affect you, but if you look close enough, they don’t.

And if you feel all alone in this world despite the love that surrounds you…staying home and not influencing another for good is changing someone’s future.  If you hurt, or avoid one person and think the hurt stops there, you are grossly mistaken.  That person’s feelings affect others lives too...the people around them now, and their future posterity.  The dominos fall; there is no stopping it.

And if you put yourself out there in the world and become a contributing member of society, and you feel like you are not making immediate changes in others lives, you are still planting seeds.  Seeds that show others you care.  Seeds that in the end bear fruits to a better life for someone.  Maybe that better life is yours.  Maybe it is someone else’s. 

Hiding isn’t the answer.  Inactivity isn’t the answer.  Paralyzing fear isn’t the answer.

Break through the fear.  Take that step…because the future is crying out for positivity.  The future needs HOPE and LOVE.  The future needs you whether you believe it or not.

Progress can’t always be immediately measured.  Sometimes it takes a painful amount of time to really see where the change begins to occur.  Sometimes we don’t even see the change we have wrought.  I suppose that’s where the faith comes in.

Have faith that when you move towards a goal, good things will happen.

Have faith that your decisions will be positive ones, even if the decision cuts deep into your fear and you bleed worry.

Have faith that what you do, matters.

A future of what can’t be is way worse than a future of what could be.

Because nothing can come to fruition through malaise. 

Nothing can bear fruit if it isn’t cared for.
Your dreams?  They will die if you avoid them.  They have no chance if you don’t give yourself a shot to achieve them.

Change is supposed to hurt.  A friend of mine reminded me that when you repot a plant carefully, without disturbing its roots, it will not grow.  To replant, one must tear the roots apart, one must grab and pull, shake and replace the foundation completely.  Sure it is uncomfortable and even at times excruciating, but it is the only way to grow and bloom.

It’s the only way.

So stop doubting yourself.  Get up and TRY.

Because if you don’t try…you will fail anyway.   Youre worst fear of failing?  It is happening by just sitting there.

And all this self pity, all this sadness, and all this hiding is postponing a happiness that I know you need more than anything right now.

So DO something!


Meri?  Are you listening?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

A trip to the pharmacy in drawings.

I knew I didn’t have enough insulin to cover us for the rest of the month, so I called my endo to order a replenishment of our supplies a week earlier than planned.  I told her I had four vials left, but it turns out, more boxes were empty than I thought.

I found out a few days after I called the endo that we only had ONE vial left.  Some boxes looked like there was insulin in there, but it was a ruse.  There was only one lone vial sitting in the fridge and my son grabbed it to fill his reservoir.

Only having ½ a vial of insulin in the house gave me the heebie jeebies.

But when I called the pharmacy the automated system told me that the boys' insulin prescriptions were filled and waiting for them at the pharmacy.

I slept great that night.

The next morning I told the boys I’d be right back.  I needed to pick up insulin quick.  I got in the car ecstatic that I was going to have a butter compartment full of insulin again.

I walked into the pharmacy and handed over the boys’ medical cards.

The lady walked over to the prescription bins and started digging around.

 I hung my chest over the counter and realized I looked crazy, so I relaxed my body and decided to be patient and not expect the worst.  She grabbed some empty bags with notes on them from the bin and then headed to the refrigerator.

But when she came back she had a million vials of the wrong insulin with her.  So I bite my lip and try not to sound like a complete loon when I spout:

 I got the deep sigh, and the “Let me talk to the pharmacist” line and she left.  I saw her grab one vile of the correct kind of insulin out of the fridge as she went to meet with him.  I heard her explaining the situation and when she got to the part of, "she has three children with diabetes," the pharmacist and two other people looked over at me.  You would think I'd be used to that look of surprise by now.  Nope.  It still shakes me.  The pharmacist returned with her and began his lengthy version of why I had gotten the wrong insulin.

“Hold the phone.  My doctor DID actually give permission, and our last shipment WAS of the off formulary insulin.  So check another screen and I’ll wait.”  I was twitching violently at this point.  My voice was shaky.  They knew I was going to blow.  The pharmacist put his hands in front of him to shield himself from the blast.

 As I tried to continue to explain, my voice was getting so high only dolphins could hear me.  The pharmacist understood that I was about to implode into myself.  “Have a seat and I’ll figure it out for you.” He said.

I looked over at the one bottle of Novolog sitting on the counter.  “Umm, what are you going to do with that vial?  You’re not going to give it to someone else when I go sit down, are you?”

"No, I’ll keep it right here next to the register by me."

I kept eye contact with her until I felt as though she sealed her solemn promise in nervous sweat to keep it safe.  She nodded reassuringly.  I backed up slowly to my seat, unwilling to let the vial out of my sight.

15 minutes later the pharmacist came out and kneeled next to me.  The look on his face was identical to the face that my father had when he told me my hamster had broken its leg and needed to be put down.  His voice was quiet and tentative.  He was scared.

“I’m sorry but I don’t have enough insulin to fill all the boys needs.  Well, I do, but I can’t give away all my supply.  I can fill two boys, but one I’ll have to mail to you.”

I had to give him mad props for telling me the truth.  Usually they tell me “That’s all I have.”  When I KNOW there is more in the fridge.  They’re hoarders.  I get it.  I gave him the wounded mom look.  “Ok.  I suppose that will do.”  But inside I was doing the happy robot victory dance.

I called the boys to tell them I would be late.  It was almost 12:30, and they all needed to check their blood sugars.  As I hung up I don’t think I ever in my life felt more like a mother to 3 boys with diabetes than I did in that moment.  Usually life has a rhythm.  It’s these pregnant pauses that get to me.

15 minutes later my name was called.

Not only had he filled the prescription for two boys’ insulin, but he also filled an outstanding needle prescription and the test strip prescriptions for all three boys.

When I left the pharmacy the sky was bluer.   The flowers were brighter, and the birds were blissfully singing.

You know, things are pretty good when you have almost $5000 worth of “Life” in your arms.

Monday, August 5, 2013


It was 15 years ago this week when J was diagnosed.  Instead of dwelling on the garbage that comes along with this disease, I’d rather focus on the amazing life we were/are able to have despite diabetes.  

Because even though diabetes has been there every single year of his life, J has had a pretty good life, (sans most of last year.)   Diabetes may have come along for the ride, and once in a while it may have tried to grab the steering wheel, but really…J has always had control on how he handles Our Diabetic Life.  

Every.  Step.  Of.  The.  Way.

His first year he was woefully too skinny and his diaper was full all the time, but he found happiness regardless.   This badass kid was at Disneyland two weeks before diagnosis.  DKA could suck it...he was going to smile anyway!

His second year he realized finding a big stick on the beach and poking things with it was way more interesting than diabetes.

His third year he was more concerned about child labor laws as he cracked eggs for hours at the bakery.  (He begged to do it.  I swear.)  And when he wasn't helping out his dad, he was helping keep his mother busy by finding as many messes as possible to get into.

His forth year was about finding adventure.  Sledding, and dancing the day away at the Oktoberfest in the big city.

His fifth year he realized attitude was everything, and sports made life more fun.  He was far too busy to lament diabetes.

His sixth year he received his pump and realized scheduled meals were a thing of the past.  This smile  was his way of flippin' the bird to the big D.

His seventh year was all about school, and friends and his first part in a school play.  He checked his own sugar and bolused himself like a boss.

His eighth year he realized how fearless he really was.  Look at that face.  Does he look scared of what his future brings?  Does he look scared that he is going to need a set change an hour after this pic is taken.  Hell no!

By his ninth year, he already found peace in his circumstance.  How many nine year olds can say that?  What do you think he's thinking about in this picture?  I'll give you a's not diabetes.  I'll give you another's fish.

His tenth year he was WAY more concerned about his broken arm than he was about his diabetes.  Diabetes wouldn't stop him from playing soccer, but his broken arm would.

In his eleventh year both his competitiveness and his ability to love reached all time high.

When he was twelve, he hated his clarinet way more than he hated diabetes.

In his thirteenth year, in his mind,  kicking my bahookie in "Guess Who" was the most important thing he accomplished that day.  Forget all the bolusing he did.  Forget all the carbs he counted.  Forget the set change he did on his own.  He beat me.  THAT's what was noteworthy.

When he was 14 he started High School.  Grades, his peers, and his father moved up on the ladder of importance, and diabetes was kicked down a few rungs.  Maybe a couple too many rungs, but he figured it all out.  He always will.

And this year?  Well this year when I told him it's been fifteen years that he's had diabetes...he shrugged.  No biggie.  It's just part of life.  When he's grumpy it's because he chooses to be, not because of all the obstacles in his way.  Which makes me wonder if I got this blog name all wrong.  Looking back at these pictures, I don't see Our Diabetic Life at all.  I see Our Happy Life.

And I suspect, the next fifteen years will be just the same.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

I remember.

I remember his eyes first and foremost.  The twinkle in them.  The deep crinkles shooting out the sides of them.  They were kind eyes.  Happy eyes.  Smiling eyes.

I remember his smile.  Not only because it always made his eyes light up, but it was always broad.  There was no half smile for him.

I remember his hair.  Thick and wavy in the beginning and then changed to a flattop not too many years later.  I remember when we first got married he had just a little chest hair and I would comment on how I loved every bit of it.  It grew in a bit thicker year after year, I’m sure only by pure determination on his part.  It seemed Ryan could make even the impossible possible if he put his mind to it.

I remember his arms.  They were my safe place.  Even before we were dating and I was off to college in another state, thinking of his arms around me calmed me.  They were strong from kneading and working with dough.  His embrace was pure and unyielding. 

I remember is fingers.  Thick from working with his hands, callused from the knives and spatulas that lay in his palms naturally all day long.  But as immensely strong as they were, they were always gentle on mine.  They were always reassuring and they were always on me when we were near each other.

I remember his feet.  They were never idle.  Even if he was resting on the couch, they were moving, bouncing.  His pinky toe was shaped like a triangle.  All the boys have that pinky toe. 

I remember the way he sat.  The position of his arms.  His casualness, his comfort in his space.  I always envied how natural and easy everything seemed to him.  He always had things under control.  He had a confidence that made you feel like he had the mysteries of life handled. 

I remember the way he ate.  He relished every bite of everything.  He appreciated the tartness of a raspberry and the creaminess of Brie cheese.  Food wasn’t just something to sustain him; every bite seemed to be a blessing in his eyes.   When I burnt the toast he would say, “I like it better burnt.  I swear.”  And he would eat every bite happily.

I remember all the times we would dance to “Wonderful Tonight.”  He would slightly bite his bottom lip and get this peaceful look on his face.   When he wasn’t looking in my eyes he would look up to the ceiling, like he could see the universe.  It was concentration and contentment.  I can’t explain it.  But I remember it.

I remember the first time he said “I love you.”  We had only gone out a few times.  We weren’t even dating.  I was leaving the next morning for college.  He hugged me tight and went to his car.  As I was walking up the driveway to my house I heard him say it.  I’ll never forget the inflection in his voice.  The sureness of it.  Even though it was quick, and his door shut immediately after he said it.  I whispered, “I love you too.”  Our first kiss was 8 months after that.

I remember his excitement for every pregnancy.  I was terrified with number four, but he was on top of the world.  I remember the pure joy in his eyes.  I remember him saying he had a feeling that God was giddy that we were going to have this baby. He really felt each boy was a gift, and his calmness about everything made me calm.

I remember waiting at the door for him every time he came home from work.  Waiting for him, the anticipation of it, never got old.  Day after day.  NO matter how bad a day either of us had, seeing each other made everything better.  I remember him driving up and me running out to the street to meet him to feel his reassuring arms around me.  Even if it had only been a few hours he’d say, “I missed you.”

I remember always missing him.  And now here it is 11 months since I’ve kissed his lips and missing him doesn’t even describe the torture I’ve been through.  The boys have been gone this weekend so I’ve been able to let the emotions flow freely.  I’m thankful for that, and at the same time not sure where to put all this pain.  I’m holding it in my arms like I held Ryan.  I need to let go of some of it, but putting it down seems impossible right now.

Though, regardless of all of that…I’m thankful that I still remember.  

Every single inch of him.  I remember.