Monthly Archives: August 2011

After 3 months at the gym….

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I was brave enough today to try the Zumba class!  I was only facing the left when I was supposed to be facing the right a couple of times, but I did not humiliate myself, my blood sugar did not go low and I had a great time!  Success!  After three months working out at the gym I decided that I should try it and, if I died, at least I was trying something new!  I have spent the past three months doing 30 minutes of cardio on a machine that I don’t even know the name of and different weights to follow.  To say that I was getting bored would be an understatement!  I had a rough morning between the whining dog, traveling husband, youngest son who could care less about being completely potty trained and oldest son who was pretty adamant about not wanting to go to school.  Today I wanted to crawl back in bed.  Instead, I went to Zumba.  The hour went so fast and I left feeling confident and good (and hot and sweaty) and it turned my Monday attitude around!  I am so thankful to my kind and encouraging gym friend and a today’s fabulous Zumba instructor!

It will take a few more classes to make sure my pre-exercise pump setting is right and so are my breakfast choices, but I am excited to work on those details to be able to enjoy the class.  I was an avid Jazzercise student in junior high, high school, college, in Bremerton, WA and in Pasadena, MD.  I jazzercised in Owasso for two years and then while I was on “maternity leave” with Ben, it closed.  I was heart-broken!  Anytime a song comes on the radio I can remember 1)If it was a Jazzercise song and 2)What state I lived in when it was!.  So, I have spent the past three years wondering what will take its place!  And, wondering does not burn calories!  Between not regularly exercising and loosing time and motivation to take care of myself, plus a newly diagnosed thyroid condition and months of figuring out the right dose of medication, I ended up gaining every pound of the baby weight I had lost and loosing a little bit of sanity and a lot of positive thinking in the meantime.

After my diagnosis with depression in April, it was clear there were a few things I needed to begin working on to regain control of my blood sugars and my happiness.  During the months of April and May, these became the goals:

  • Give up most of my volunteer positions (my plate was too full)
  • Begin exercising regularly
  • Be confident in the fact that I was not SuperWoman and could not do it all, but I can be good at what I do with my time and gifts
  • Check my blood sugars everyday without feeling guilty, carrying guilt, becoming angry at myself for what the number actually was, just dealing with the blood sugar…at least four times a day…for the rest of my life (or until JDRF comes through with a cure, which I know they will!)

So, today is a huge step for me.  I did something enjoyable, something that I loved doing for many years that was a vital part of my good health.  I hope you did something good for yourself today and would love to hear what that was!

 

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Kindergarten Blood Sugars

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One week down of the big kindergarten world, and just as I thought I was starting to pull myself together in the mornings, my Zach pulls at my heart-strings.  He holds my hand on the way to school and says “Mom, six hours is just so long!”  I offer my best, reassuring words, squeeze his hand and send him on his way with a huge hug.  My tears begin immediately, the wagon I am pulling home is much lighter and my heart so much heavier.

The past week has been crazy.  Zach loves school and comes home each day with a (short, non-detailed) story to tell and a smile on his face.  I cannot ask for more!  Ben and I, on the other hand, are still adjusting.  Ben is grumpy for the entire walk we take to and from school each morning.  He pouts and whines and stops in the middle of the sidewalk to show his protest.  By 10am each morning he seems to be ok with the fact that Zach is at school and he is stuck with Mom.  Jeff has had his moments, but is my strength and courage when I am running out.

An emotional week means one thing for a Type One Diabetic…crazy blood sugars.  As an emotional gal, this has been a challenge for me for the past 20 years.  How do you adjust your insulin requirements with your emotional state, along with the normal account of activity and blood sugar reading and carbohydrate intake perfectly?  I do not know!  I wish I did!  I wish I knew when my frustration or stress was going to spike my sugars.  Or, when my sadness or joy was going to cause it to plummet.  Or, it could be the opposite.  So, the way I get through it is one day at a time.  Pretty much like the rest of my life….one day at a time.  One day at a time to check my sugars and adjust my insulin and food and activity level.  Today won’t be as easy as I had hoped to keep control and feel “normal”, but I will do my best.  Do my best to avoid a shaky, numb, can’t function properly low or a staggering, achy, nauseating high.  One day at a time I am trying to keep those sugars intact so I can be the positive Mom for Zach, the inventive and happy Mom for Ben and hold the tears and heartache for a time when no little boys will see.  Just one day at a time.

Would love to hear your ONE DAY AT A TIME strategy for life and how you handle your blood sugars during emotional times!!!

Our World is Turning Upside Down

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When I went into labor with Ben in the middle of the night, the worst part was kissing Zach on the forehead before we went to the hospital. I knew that day was going to change his life forever. He was the first child, first grandchild, first nephew, a miracle loved and adored by everyone who knew him. We had talked about his baby brother and I made him a book of everything to expect, but I knew his world was about to turn upside down. When I kissed that little 2 year old face as my contractions were going, I said a prayer that this was the best thing for Zach. That being a big brother to Ben would teach him and provide him with every opportunity for goodness that God wanted.

Tonight, I have that same feeling. For the past three months I haven’t been able to even say the word “kindergarten” without feeling sick at my stomach. And, this coming from a happy stay at home mom who took her child to Parents Day Out at 18 months! The past two weeks have been horrible. It is hard to cry in private when it happens at the drop of a hat. He will never know how heartbroken I am. I want Zach to know that I have appreciated every single day with him. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to stay home with my boys, even if it has caused me to loose more than a fair share of sanity. I am grieving the end of our simple life together. Pajama mornings, snack lunches, life lessons learned in the middle of making mud and fishing from the balcony. I have given my very best to him each day for the past 5 years and 4 months. Every day I surrounded him with love and security and enthusiasm. I made every opportunity for him to learn and grow and enjoy life! I can walk out of that elementary school tomorrow knowing that I did everything I possibly could to prepare him for this day. We have bought our supplies and met his teacher and talked about everything we could possibly prepare him for at the tender age of 5. But, here we are, the night before kindergarten and I am bawling like a baby, because tomorrow, my baby’s life changes forever. His safe little world will be invaded. He will spend just as much time with the prepared, educated, cute Ms. V as he does with us. I love that he is curious and loves learning. I want him to love school and am so afraid that is too much to ask! He will spend the next 16+ years as a student. How will his spirit change? Will his kind heart change? Will his thoughtfulness be affected? Will he eat enough for lunch? Tomorrow. I can’t even think about the next 9 weeks or semester or year. Let’s just get through tomorrow. We will take kindergarten just as we have the past 5 years, one day at a time.

As I kissed that sweet forehead tonight, I say that same prayer, that this is the best thing for Zach. That starting school will teach him and provide him with every opportunity for goodness and growth that God intends.

Twenty Years

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I knew I should have written this earlier. My emotions are high today as I reflect over the last 20 years with Type One Diabetes. There is so much more I want to share, so much that I have not yet been brave enough to type. But, for today, here is a look back 20 years ago to Thursday, August 8, 1991.

Twenty Years Ago Today…..
-My pediatrician had called my parents asking them to bring me back in for a second round of blood work. My Mom was so calm, cool and collected that I didn’t think anything of it that early morning. My parents had noticed the signs and taken me to the doctor the day before with concerns about how much I was drinking (we had just been to Eureka Springs and I was consuming amazing amounts of water and requesting anything else liquid), urinating (for the first time in my life I ran away from the group to the nearest restroom on more than one occassion), my confusion about simple things.
-I attended a TCC College for Kids class with my best bud/cousin, Kelly. We had been learning sign language all week. To this day, I cannot remember or produce anymore than 3 signs.
-After College for Kids my Aunt picked us up and took us back to her church where she worked. I can imagine the next couple of hours like it was yesterday. We walked upstairs into the church and sitting outside of the office was my Grandma on the couch, my Dad in his firefighter uniform (he was on duty that day, should have been at work and not sitting at University Methodist), my Mom (also in her work clothes, she worked on Thursday and there she was) and my nine-year-old sister. My dear parents began to explain to me that my blood work was not normal and I had Type One Diabetes. We would go home and get my things and go eat lunch and then go to the hospital.
-Mom and Dad took me home to pack a bag, grab Snuffles the polar bear (my security item still at age 12) and then to Bill and Ruth’s to have a sandwich. I can still picture us sitting there eating, wondering what in the world was next.
-We spent the next 4 days in the hospital learning all about insulin and blood glucose readings, meal choices and carbohydrates and exercise and the hundred risks of low and high blood sugars. We practiced giving shots into oranges, although it was the blood sugar tests that hurt more. I had a positive attitude to go along with my very pale face. We had many visitors and I felt very loved and supported.
-They showed me an insulin pump that was the size of a kleenex box. They brought me Diabetes Forecast magazines showing me that there were kids all over the country with this disease. They also did not hide the dangers of this chronic illness and at the tender age of 12, found myself wondering about my future, knowing I had to take charge.
-Was the beginning of life as I know it. Two, four, six, ten blood sugar tests a day. Two shots a day for several years, then four shots a day, then I finally gave into the vanity and asked for a pump in 2000 at the age of 21. That pump has allowed for me to keep good enough control to be pregnant, stay pregnant and give birth to two perfect baby boys.

If you were present that day and the days that followed…I will always be grateful. If you have saved me from a low ….I will always be grateful. If you covered my class so I could change my pump site or treat a high…I will always be grateful. If you never judged me for having a huge purse of supplies and snacks, drinking mini size juice boxes at lunch, ordering from the kids’ menu at the age of 12 or 16 or 25 or 32…I will always be grateful.

My heartfelt thanks to Mark, Pam, Lindsay, Kelly, Swans, , Wells, Fosters, Mendenhalls, Moores, Angela, Aisha, Jamie, Pastor Rob, Nurse Debbie, Jane Hewett, Dr. Wilson, Dr. Jelley, Dana Greer, Mr. Lingenfelter, Mrs. Emmons please know that you played an important role in how I handled this from the very beginning and those first crucial years to follow.

That is all I can write today. There is so much more to share, so much more to say, even if it is just for my own peace of mind. During the past ten years I have come to the conclusion that every family has a major obstacle, struggle, pain. I pray every single day that I will always be that one for my family and that my boys will not have to endure any of the last 20 years that I have.

Thank you to all the folks I mentioned above and to those of you who during the past ten years have helped me in your own way (in chronological order :): Jeff, Laura Boren, Dr. Ziehr, Julie, Jay, Stewarts, Sarah, Kami, Richard, Amber, Megan, Kristin, Sarah, Mary Anne, Tami, Jen, AmieJo, Kate, Rachel, Mrs. Morrell, Jill, Liz, Laurie, Pastor Jeff, Pastor Dino, Ashley, Misty, Dr. Flesner, Dr. Meyer.

So, as I celebrate 20 years…here’s to all of you who have helped me, listened to me, held me, prayed for me.

For The Moms and Dads of Type Ones

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Today is my wonderful Mom’s birthday and my Dad’s was last week.  I wanted to give credit to my amazing parents and all parents of children with any chronic illnesses.  Happy Birthday to the kindest, most loving & wonderful two people I know!

When I was diagnosed at the tender age of 12, I took control of my diabetes.  My Mom and Dad were right there with me every step of the way, but I knew this was my deal.  I will never know the stress they have endured, how much sleep they have lost, how many hairs I caused to turn gray!

The biggest concern of parents of new diabetics is night-time lows.  It is so common for a new diabetic, getting used to the shots and
calculations, for their blood sugar to drop in the middle of the night.  If it doesn’t wake anyone up, the results are tragic.  Low blood sugars turn into fainting if you are awake and can lead to death if you are asleep.  As a firefighter and later, an EMT, my Dad knew the medical part of my diabetes.  My Mom learned with me.  We all learned to give shots, prick fingers and count carbohydrates together.  It was my Mom and Dad at my bedside between 1am and 3am every morning to check on me.   It was my Mom and Dad measuring pasta before serving it and removing anything with more than a gram of sugar from our home. (I later learned that they left a stash of Oreos for my sister, poor girl).  It was my Mom who helped me adjust my insulin when I first started my period, and helped me make crazy calculations for many months to follow.  While I was in college, I called to check in because I knew they were worried.  When I got married and moved away, I called them when I got home and when I woke up when Jeff was gone because I knew they would be worried.  Only the parents of a diabetic would react to their daughter’s announcement that she is pregnant with fear and worry behind their great excitement and joy.  Fear for the unknown, for the work that lies ahead in a diabetic pregnancy, fear for the baby and the blood sugar changes it will endure.  And then, the joy on their faces when Zach was born (four weeks early) yet healthy!  Then, the worry they went through for me and pregnancy #2 as we approached week 30 and I was spending more time sitting with my feet up, on meds and doing stress-tests than anywhere else.  Mom and Dad were right beside me when Ben was born and then quickly taken to the NICU.  Their strength and love got Jeff and I through that week and many more crazy days to follow!

Two Moms started the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  If you are a new Type One Mom, know there are others out there who have been where you are.  Who have lived those first fears and realities and survived.  Moms who are ready to give their love and support to you and your family as you make Type One part of your lives.   So, here’s to my Mom!  To all the weight she lost when I was diagnosed due to stress, to all the sleep she has lost in the last 20 years due to my chronic condition, for all the time she has spent with the insurance company figuring out how much it should cost to keep her daughter properly supplied and medicated (a whole lot, let me just say that my Mom and Dad could have made several cruises with the $ they have spent on my healthcare), for all the doctor’s and nutrition appts she made and got me to, for going with me to Jazzercise, for holding me when I cry and listening when I complain.  She gives more to others than anyone else I know.   Happy Birthday to my Mom, loved & celebrated each day, but especially today!