Please Read

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The more honest I am, the less response I receive to my blog posts. Not sure if anyone besides my dear friend is reading, but, that is ok. I do not have time to be “ok” with this chronic illness anymore and I certianly do not have the time and energy to sugar coat it. No pun intended. So, if you are brave, read on.

I am tired. No, I am worn out. I am exhausted. Being a good wife, good Mom, good sister, being a good volunteer a couple hours a week, being a good friend, being good at the things I want to do keeps me going. Everyday, I must be a good diabetic, and this is exhausting. Thinking about it, planning for it, making it all work, every single day, for over 20 years has worn me down to being honest and sometimes grumpy, yet still believing in a cure, hoping for an easier day to come.

Ben had a complete meltdown today at Old Navy. If you were there, I am sorry. After ten minutes of trying to make it work, I grabbed several shirts for family pictures (the only reason I would take them both shopping…deadline of family photo session) and made our way to the front check out. As I continued to wrestle with Ben and pay, he pulled my “Life is Good” cosmetic case from my purse and unzipped it in a fury sending all of my diabetic supplies flying. All over the check out area. There the three Old Navy employees and four other customers all stood in awe. Batteries (for my pump), an insulin bottle, lancets, two syrenges, a small bag of skittles, a granola bar, a kleenex, my glucometer and a bottle of testing strips all went flying. If I hadn’t been so exhausted I would have sat down and cried. Within seconds my sweet Zach says “I can help, Mama” and the two of us began gathering my livelihood from the floor and counter, while everyone else watched.

We gathered the most expensive items and I am still not sure what was left behind. My blood sugar was dropping by the nano second, my three year old who had refused a nap was loosing it and we had to leave. Pride or no pride. Just one more day in my life, one more reason I am exhausted. I went into the shopping experience with a perfect blood sugar and by the time it was over I was sweating and shaking and needed a snack. Not that it was Ben’s fault, no little boy wants to help pick out clothes. It was just what the afternoon involved.

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. A time where we get a little more press, where money is a little easier to raise. Where we can ask strangers for support of things like the artificial pancreas. Those of you who know me, know that I am not going to give you all the scientific terms and stats. I am just going to ask! And maybe beg. Today I am asking you to sign a petition to encourage the FDA to continue the research and funding for the Artificial Pancreas! I read a blog earlier today reminding her readers that 1 in 20 Type One Diabetics die of low blood sugar. Pretty frigthening considering the fact that it was just in the last two years I know more than 20 other diabetics. My chances of being the 1 in 20 is too real, too scary. Especially when I have a day like today where my low blood sugar goes public and my diabetic supplies end up all over the front counter of Old Navy. And I am reminded that I am Ben and Zach’s Mama and cannot leave that job to anyone else. That I have to eat right and prick my fingers and exercise and keep my pump working so that I can deal with their meltodwns and watch them grow and love them til I am old and gray.

1 in 20. The honest, grumpy truth. I would appreciate it from the bottom of my heart if you would take 45 seconds (I timed it, that is all it takes to read what JDRF has to say and type your name) Click here to sign JDRF’s Artificial Pancreas Petition and know that I am grateful. Me and at least 20 others who are counting on this artificial pancreas and the hope that the complications of Type One Diabetes won’t take us too soon.

http://takeaction.jdrf.org/site/PageNavigator/APAC.html

Happy Halloween to All My Sugar Free Friends!

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I was diagnosed with Type One when I was twelve, so skipping the candy part of Halloween was not horrible. I still dressed up and enjoyed the festivities and passed my loot onto others. Today, my heart aches for all those little ones who will enjoy just one piece of candy after a finger prick and extra unit of insulin. But it is just not candy coated holidays that make me think of all these little ones….I think of them every morning when I kiss my boys, every day I send my little one to school, every night when I tuck them in. The constant stress that parents of Type One Diabetics endure is not seen or heard but is in every decision they make. The middle of the night blood sugar checks, the arrangements for school events and activities and snacks and meals, the sporting events and kid activities that can plummet a blood sugar so fast no one knows what is happening. Once a week I read about a child’s life taken too soon because of Type One. This disease is not fair, is not right, does not attack those who have earned it. This disease does not let its victims have a week or a day or an hour of vacation.

I apologize for the depressing blog. I wish you all and your families a safe and fun Halloween and time to enjoy the lovely Fall weather! So, that is what is on my heart today. Those children whose lives were forever changed with a Type One diagnosis. The children who get excited about costumes and festivals and not about testing their blood sugar, keytones or A1C. The children who grow up to be adults who would enjoy an hour or a day or a week of not having to think about their blood sugar. This blog has been a bit of a blur. I am emotional and worn out and hoping my little one will nap today so I can curl up on the couch with a good book.

So, if you know anyone who is willing to part with any of their candy, send them to Tulsa Braces at 45th & Harvard for a fabulous benefit for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. It is because of JDRF that there will be a cure one day!

It’s time for the Great Sweet Swap!

From November 1st through 3rd, 8am-5pm at TulsaBraces!

It’s easy as 1, 2, 3!

1. Go trick or treating.

2. Trade your leftover candy for prizes and cash!

3. And, enter to win one of the grand prizes!

For every pound of candy you collect, $1 goes to you, $1 goes to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation!

Reality Check

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Today was a fabulous family day!  We love Fall and our time outside with the boys.   Love the crisp air, the changing leaves, all the blessings of the season.  The boys enjoy every minute outside and their time in the fresh air makes them better brothers, seriously!  Which in turn makes our family time so enjoyable.  Thankful for Fall and for family.  So, so grateful!

Today was also a reality check day.  It was a crazy morning with early risers, a garage sale, an unexpected pump change, daily morning life including soccer, laundry, picking up the house for a USNA interview Jeff held at home this afternoon.  There is no excuse, just reality.  I forgot to take my “magic” pills.  Magic because it doesn’t seem like a big deal to take them, but the way I feel when I miss the dose is ridiculous.  I have been on a prescription for my under active thyroid for almost a year and on a nice, healthy dose of an antidepressant for six months (I was on a much smaller dose to deal with postpartum and following that).  Not something I shared a year ago or six months ago, but so therapeutic for me to at least blog about freely now.  I have never resented the fact that I have to take insulin to live.  Have to.  Every single day.  But the idea of needing these other pills to make me feel like I have the energy just to keep up are still taking a little getting used to.

So, my 7am pills were taken today at 1pm and I am still trying to feel “normal” if that is a possibility.  I have taken some sort of pill every single morning for the past 11 years, so it is part of my day.  Not a big deal, until I forget.  So, I am reminded today that checking my blood sugar and keeping my pump working AND taking my little magic pills are all necessary.  I am not ok without them.  Sometimes I feel like I have been doing these things for so long and wonder really and truly how my body would function without any of it.   Dumb, I know.  Not logical, not reasonable, but still a question I have.  Until days like today when 13 hours after missing my meds I still feel completely off, shaky, scattered, unbalanced.  I took a much-needed nap, but woke up with an unexplained low blood sugar feeling worse than I did before the sleep.  So counterproductive!  After a glass of milk and some other carb (which I cannot remember now or then) and thirty minutes of wanting the updates on football scores and having the urgent need to try to clean out the pantry and cook dinner and treat the low simutaneoulsy….gotta love what a  blood sugar of 54 does to your brain.  So, no more questioning.  I appreciate my doctor’s orders.  I am thankful for the medication that my body obviously needs.

So, my meds are all in their little boxes for the next week where they should be.  And, tomorrow at not a minute past 7am I will take my vitamin and little magic pills.  And, they will make me feel as normal as is currently possible.  And, I will remain grateful to the advances in medicine so that I can be a thirty-something with two healthy boys and twenty years of a terrible, chronic illness under my belt and try not to worry about the daily dose of pills and the zillion units of insulin that lets me maintain my blessed life.

Happy Fall to all my medicated and non-medicated readers.  I am grateful for your place in my life!

 

Happy Anniversary to the best husband a girl could ask for!

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Happy Ten Year Anniversary, Jeff!  Never did I imagine how two wedding receptions, three cross-country road trips, two submarines, four addresses, four military moves,  three homes bought, two homes sold, two master’s degrees, four middle schools,  two dozen fabulous trips and travel opportunities, a hundred new friends, one rescue beagle and two miracle baby boys could bring our marriage so much love and laughter.  Never did I imagine how much more I could love you more today than when I said “I do” ten years ago!

Jeff and I dated for four years and our relationship before we were married was all long distance.  The longest period of time we had spent together before we were married was no more than two weeks.  So, getting married, moving away from my friends and family and the life I loved so dearly, moving into a hotel on the Naval base where Jeff would finish sub school for three months…the beginning of our marriage was a little complicated.  Put on top of that the fact that we were married on September 15, 2001 just 3 days after the tragedies of September 11 and our adventure of a life was going to require a little more trust, faith and teamwork than we had originally imagined.

I have thought many times about the vows Jeff should have had to recite at our wedding.  He had learned everything he could about Type One Diabetes before we were married.  Actually living in the same time zone, not to mention, room, would prove to teach him a little more.  On the day we were married the vows he recited he has held close to his heart and provided me with all that I could have asked for and more.  Here are a few of the vows of the things Jeff promised to do that day, but didn’t know he was exactly promising.  A few of the zillion things he has done with patience and kindness and compassion to ensure my good health.

As a groom marries his diabetic bride…..

I promise to be your kind, generous, compassionate, dedicated, hard-working, funny, smart husband and to make our life the very best I can.

I promise to help you find a doctor every time we move that will help you take good care of diabetes.

I promise to request and take our military medical records with us, three times, across the country, each time the file getting a little heavier.

I promise to ask you to check your blood sugar when your behavior tells me that you are high or low.

I promise to bring you juice in the middle of the night after pricking your finger and checking your blood sugar for you when you are too low to comprehend what I am saying.

I promise to bring you water and insulin and pump supplies in the middle of the night when your pump alarm wakes me up, instead of you, to change your site.

I promise to speak up for you, to be your supportive, proud husband in the security lines at the airport, in a different country and especially in our nation’s capitol so that your pump does not set off any alarms, so that you feel comfortable being yourself.

I promise to happily share a bite of my ice cream or a tiny piece of my cookie, a sip of my drink knowing that it makes you feel loved and that you appreciate just a taste of the things you know you should not eat.

I promise to do a thousand things before and while you are pregnant to keep you healthy: doctors appointments, nurse appointments, 8-10 blood sugar checks a day, helping you change your insulin measurements as the baby grows, talking through your worries and fears and joys.

I promise to help you find skittles and a granola bar when your blood sugar is dropping away from home.  I promise not to complain about low blood sugar when this happens in an airport, at church, at a concert, in the middle of a parade, while standing in line, on the way to a show, at the end of the fourth quarter in a football game, at the Sistine Chapel, in the middle of Gettysburg, at the beach, in the pool, while hanging pictures, while cleaning, while wrapping Christmas gifts, while taking care of our children, while I am driving, while you are driving, while you are just trying to live normally.

I promise not to complain about how grumpy you are when your blood sugar is high, when your pump doesn’t work correctly, or when you just get tired of it all.

I promise to support JDRF with you in all the ways possible and walk with you and wear your team t-shirt and ask my friends and family for money so that JDRF can find a cure.

Thank you, Jeff for all you have done to help me be healthy during the past ten years.  Thank you for holding me accountable, laughing with me, holding me when I cry, comforting me when I am sick or tired or worn out.  Thank you for all you have done to provide me with great medical care and for being right next to me (in body or in spirit) through it all.  I look forward to the next 50 years as your wife!

Here’s to my Jeff and all the spouses of those living full lives with chronic illnesses!  Thank you!

Third Time’s a Charm

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I am hoping that the third time is a charm.  I am on pump site #3 of the day and have returned to vent in the blogging world.  If you are enjoying your Friday and feeling good about life, then save this blog for Monday!  I am tired and grumpy and welcome you to discontinue reading at any point.

I hope that I was the only person at the gym today with a blood sugar of 300.  My new pump site from this morning had malfunctioned, I took a shot of insulin and Zumba’d on.  Blood sugars returning to normal.  Mind just a little upset for the perfectly fine site I took out this morning to exchange it for a new site that did not work.  There is no way to know that it is not working until my blood sugar has been effected, then you know.  You verify that when you pull the little plastic piece out of your tummy.  If it is straight then the insulin has been going through.  If it is bent or crooked, no insulin goes into your body.  Either way, it is time to replace site.  To ease my frustration, it was crooked.

Time for lunch (and at this point I have consumed large quantities of water and am hungry).  I check, good blood sugar, give my bolus (what we call the amount of insulin you give before a meal) and wait….pump starts beeping (which is so annoying) and flashing.  No delivery.  Insert choice of bad word here.  Feeling optimistic I change out the tube and cartridge, thinking maybe the problem is here.  No such luck, still no delivery.  Now I am ready to throw in the towel, cry, call one of those sweet home health nurses to come help me.  I wonder sometimes if my body is just tired of being poked on.  I have a very nice rotation system for my pump sites, but wonder if every once in awhile my body doesn’t want the fake insulin, doesn’t want a needle or plastic tubing.  Then, I tell my body that we have boys to raise and blessings to enjoy and to soak up the *^#@*^@ insulin!  I am exhausted and would really, really like to eat my lunch and curl up for some reading while B naps before we go get Z.  Recovering from a high blood sugar takes time and energy, you don’t dare close your eyes because a nap could turn into the biggest tragedy fo your life, so you hydrate and hydrate and check your sugar every thirty minutes and hope that everything is working for good.

I  eventually muster up the courage to insert one more pump site today.  One more needle, one more insertion set that costs what I could use to feed my children a meal.  A few tears, a Diet Coke, a reminder to myself that the dishes will wait and the laundry will be there in an hour.  Today I just had time to take care of me, so I can take care of my boys.  Thanks to the blogging world for the opportunity to vent.   Thanks to my family and friends for the blessings in my life that are so great, I will forget the trials of today very soon.  Sometimes it is nice to feel heard or read or whatever when you are hanging onto the end of your rope.  Here’s to the third time being a charm!  I would love to hear from the pump wearers and parents of pump wearers of the world today!

 

Mendy Meets the Leaf Blower

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The past few days have been a bit stressful just trying to adjust to new routines, keeping the boys on target, helping B master potty-training, being patient with Z and all the new things that kindergarten brings, supporting J in his job, etc.  All good stressors, all stressors to be so thankful for, all things I am grateful to be apart of.  Yet, still, my mind has been on overload and the normal daily chores seem terribly boring.

The weather has been gorgeous for three days in a row!  I don’t think we have hit 90 and it is lovely!  It has been a long, hot summer.  We all worked outside on Monday and took care of minor things in the yard.  Today after the gym B and I stopped at Home Depot and I brought home 225 pounds of mulch.  We brought it home and decided to clean out the flower beds a bit more before distributing our mulch.  B pulls out the rakes and shovels and I go get the leaf blower…

First, a little bit a background.  I am not a yard girl.  My parents were perfect role models in yard work, green thumbs, gardeners etc. but I did not inherit any of their skills.  Even when J was deployed, I would not touch the lawn mower or edger.  During his Navy days I took care of toilets, sinks, cars, garage door openers, snow, ice, caterpillars (anyone remember WA summer of 03??) deck repairs, flowers, taxes (thank goodness, only once), bills and had no interest in taking care of the yard.  Thankful to have my hubby home full-time, that has remained the same.  So, pulling out the big leaf blower today was a huge step.  Getting it to actually work and doing the job without breaking or burning up the leaf blower was monumental!

The lesson learned for the day?  Doing something different, doing something new and out of the ordinary is good for the body and soul!  After 5.5 years of being the domestic engineer of our home and social lives, I grow weary of the same chores over and over and over again.  But, today, I tried something new.  I was quite a sight and probably served as comic relief for my neighbors driving by on their lunch breaks, and I am sure B will have a story to tell about it.  Being tangled in extension cords and surrounded by leaves and mulch has improved my attitude and given me a new perspective.

Here’s to you (all five readers who I am so grateful for) and the new and out of the ordinary task you will try this week! I  would love to hear about it!

 

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!