Thursday, April 17, 2014

Yin and Yang.



How do I explain to you that being a mother of three children with Type 1 Diabetes is as completely overwhelming as you think it might be, when here I sit, one of the most completely blessed people on the planet?

How do I explain to you that some nights the exhaustion holds me like a straight jacket…that the nights are all encompassing, and I will my tears to fall back into my body rather than intentionally give in to the fear and exhaustion, when I’m a functioning member of society and have the energy during the day to do everything I must do and so much more?

How do I accurately describe the worry that lays wait in my stomach when a child announces a very low number, the choking responsibility of life, and the rolodex of emergency protocols that run through my brain, when here I sit, appreciating the beauty of life and the miracle of breath that my boys take every minute of the day?

How can I relate to you how much anger I keep inside that my children must endure so many biting pricks, and the ebbs and flows of their bodies instinctual needs for food and water, when I know it is because of this disease our family harnesses an increased measure of empathy and compassion for people around the world who struggle with their journeys too?

How am I to complain to you about medical and insurances systems that are slow, expensive and not completely educated on my children’s Type 1, when my boys have the best tools money can buy and technology millions of times more advanced than just 20 years ago?  When 100 years ago they wouldn’t have survived their diagnoses?

How can I lament about the laboriousness of this disease, the constant stream of numbers knocking knocking knocking all the live long day, and the infuriating knowledge that there will never ever ever be a break from this, when we can take walks by the ocean as a family, and are free to experience any and everything this amazing world has to offer?  Sure, maybe we need an extra bit of luggage, but we’re free to go…

How do I tell you of the frustration banging out of my chest when people make assumptions about my boys and what they can and can’t do, or have, or eat…how so many people are uneducated and have no problem throwing completely insensitive stories and analogies our way, when I have a community waiting to instantly lift me when I’m down, and hold my hand through the maze of uncertainty?

How can I relate the fear, when there is so much calm?

How can I be angry, when I am so thankful?

How can I be sure I can’t do this, when I am surely doing this day after day?

How can I curse a disease that has shaped my kids, and my entire outlook on life?

How can I be so inconvenienced by something that brings me closer to my boys?

How can I wish the world knew, when I’m so grateful they don’t have to know?

Somehow I do.

Somehow the yin and yang of this maddening disease seeps into me and I do get angry and grateful all at the same time despite myself.

And somehow, through it all, I see that all of these hard things empower us.  They make us realize we’re capable of so much more than I ever thought we were.  Somehow I never imagined we’d be able to love so hard, and give so much.

Somehow…we’re living a wonderful life.

Despite diabetes.  Because of diabetes.  Encompassed by diabetes.

I don’t know how I do it.

I don’t know how my boys do it.

We just do.

Somehow.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

By small and simple things, great things are brought to pass.

“By small and simple things, great things are brought to pass.”  It’s a quote that I hear a lot at church, and one that I wholeheartedly believe to be true.

Case and point, two or three days a week my sister in law spends the night and checks the boys sugars at midnight for me. Often more than just midnight. 

I know that she is generally a night owl anyway, and some nights would be up anyway, but I also know that there were many nights she lost hours and hours of sleep to make sure the kids were safe for me.  Sometimes the act might have been small, other times a huge sacrifice on my behalf.

For whatever reason, the past couple weeks have been on the crappy side diabetes-wise.  Mostly the nights have hit me hard.  Her coming in and rescuing me from a sleepless night means far more to me than I can express here.

Last night when my jaw was aching from an impending TMJ attack, I was able to take a half of a muscle relaxant and sleep hard from 9:30pm to 6:30am.  That is in every sense of the word, a miracle.

Diabetes is so all encompassing; doing something small to ease another’s burden is akin to parting the red sea.  Small things are really huge.  Those few minutes of help equate to a more well rounded life for me. A few minute break allows me time to focus on other things this world has to offer.  

"Just a few minutes?" you wonder.  Yes!  Just a few measly minutes changes everything.

Imagine me running a marathon with 100 pounds of weight on my back.  Imagine someone running by and offering to take that 100 pounds for a few minutes.  It’s that colossal.

This translates also into every aspect of our diabetic life.  Technology shaving minutes off a set change?  Priceless.  A child checking a blood sugar without being reminded? Priceless.  A parent insisting a child take the night off and let them handle it?  Priceless.  Another person saying, “I feel the same way” hence taking away the burden for a few minutes that I’m crazy and really not alone in all this? Priceless.  Another parent offering to keep a close eye on my child who has diabetes on a fieldtrip?  Priceless.  A teacher who keeps extra fruit snacks in her desk just in case my child runs out of low supplies?  Priceless.

Small things are never small when a hand is extended with help in its palm.

My life is complicated, I admit.  But I’ve got it.  I’ve GOT this.  But take a few minutes out of your life to help, or even offer to help?  You’ve made my day.

I know so many of you think my life has to be so completely worrisome.  But here I am living it, and really…it’s a good life.  I am blessed.

Because what gets me through are the little things, and those small acts of kindness.

I have a feeling it's the little things that make the world go round.

I know my boys appreciate all the little things I do.  I know your children with diabetes appreciate what you do too.

How do I know?  Stop doing one of those little things and see if they notice. 

I bet they do.

I know sometimes I don’t help people because I don’t have time for a grand gesture of some sort.  I’m sick to my stomach writing that, because if I’ve learned anything the past 20 months it’s this:  service of any size is huge.  I guess what I'm getting at is I hope tomorrow we all take a minute to do something small for someone else.  A smile.  Opening a door.  Letting someone go in front of us in traffic. Giving that dollar in our cup holder to someone on the corner asking for help. 

I don't know.  I just think sometimes less can be more if we actually get up and do the less.


Just food for thought on this late Tuesday night.  I’m going to sleep now.  I have a sleeping pill on board and have big plans to dream long and hard about someone I know in heaven.  

All thanks to a sister in law who said, “I’ll take the 1am check.”

Friday, April 11, 2014

#dayofdiabetes

Yesterday I participated in #dayofdiabetes on Twitter.  It is a day set aside to write down everything you do, and everything you think about diabetes.  I only scratched the surface of what our day was like, but thought I should compile the day here.

To set the stage for the beginning chapter I would title it, "The high that never was."  A couple hours before the official #dayofdiabetes began I bolused B for a 489 that had more to do with the kiwi juice on his fingers than the actual sugar in his body.  Nevertheless, I got 4 hours sleep.

The fun continued from there...

























This morning I woke up to yet ANOTHER site ripped out, this time on a different boy.  And then FINALLY, after five ripped out sets this week I realized...maybe there was a problem with that particular box of sets?  Sure enough, when I looked at the box it had a big red 11 scrawled on it.  I wrote that to indicate this box was obtained in 2011 and only to be used in emergency if we ran out of other sets.  Somehow, one of the boys found it and opened it up to use and the rest is history.  Just another day in our Diabetic Life, I suppose.

Other tweeters summed up #dayofdiabetes, I'd like to share with you their closing thoughts.




I couldn't possibly sum up everything that goes through my head in one day.  Just like the above tweets, diabetes is embedded in me.  Part of who I am and how I think.  One day I won't have to think so much about it.  You can see that I don't have a lot of info about J above.  He takes care of himself 90% of the time, and both L and B are on their way to that place too.  They have been practicing set changes and working on counting their own carbs.  My job is to get them to a place where they are confident in their independence.  Until then, I'll be there to remind.  To act.  And most of all, to worry about all the details.




Tuesday, April 8, 2014

"The more you pour out, the more life will be able to pour in."


The orbit is sure.

I orbit my grief as the earth orbits the sun. 

My seasons come and go, and thankfully I’d been able to enjoy somewhat of a lengthy respite from the burning loneliness. 

Until a couple weeks ago.

A couple weeks ago my Facebook feed burned up with news of a family fighting cancer.

A family that I have never met, but know by name.

A family that lives in the next town over.

He is a teacher.  A coach.  A Husband.  A father of four young children. 

And he has Melanoma, just like Ryan.  Brain tumors, just like Ryan.  The same mutation Ryan had.

And in one fell swoop all the emotions that have been sitting on the edge of my consciousness whooshed in like a tsunami of untethered grief.  I was taken completely off guard, and in my moment of panic, I did what I’ve always been taught to do in dangerous situations.

I stopped (being happy)

I dropped (everything important I was working on)

I rolled (into denial.  Trying to pretend it wasn’t happening.)

But my tactics failed.  Haven’t I learned so many times already to just embrace the grief?  To acknowledge it and talk about it?  Taking my feelings and trying to hide them under my pillow full of tears was only exasperating the problem. 

The loneliness swelled.

The despair of my loss heightened.

And the anger?  Fierce.  I HATE BEING ALONE!  Why?  WHY!!

Suppressing the emotions has been a feat in itself.  I can’t explain how hard it is to fully function in society under such conditions.  I desperately tried to "fake it till I make it," but as it turns out, desperation is anything but a salve for the wounded.

Actually acknowledging it was happening turned out to be the turning point for me.  I could feel the fog laying heavy on my life.  The emotional weather so debilitating I could almost see the cloud following me around as soon as my eyes opened in the morning until they closed at night.  The longer I allowed it to happen, the heavier the burden became.

So one morning I woke up, looked the despair square in the face and said, “I have hope.” 

“This won’t last forever.”

“I don’t want to live like this.”

“I’m going to try to change things.”

“Experience tells me that light chases away darkness.”

So I called on the light, praying for help.

And it came. 

The season is shifting and I feel the warm wind of spring on my face.  I’ll be able to continue forward, but now realize…I must pay it forward too.

There is a family in the darkest of circumstances who needs financial help.  The father, the only provider, cannot work.  Can you donate a few dollars to their family?

Turning my back on them was not the answer.  Turns out helping other people makes you forget yourself.

“Sharing what you have is more important than what you have.” ~Albert M. Wells, Jr.

“God loves the world through us.” ~Mother Teresa

“Sharing makes you bigger than you are. The more you pour out, the more life will be able to pour in.” ~Jim Roh


Help if you can.  And help if you can’t.  I have a feeling if you do, you will be blessed tenfold.

I was.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Best of the 'Betes Blogs: March 2014


I was asked to host this month's Best of the 'Betes Blogs.  This just in:  I’m never ever ever doing it again.

Having to choose one nominee over another was pure torture for me.

Let’s have a moment of silence for my nerves. 

………..

………..

I asked Sara if choosing everyone was an option.

She just laughed at me.  Like “EVIL” laughed at me, and said she had faith I could do it.  She even threw the words, “YOU CAN DO THIS!” in my face.

Maybe she was right…but let it be known, I can’t even decide what kind of dressing to put on my salad.  Balsamic?  Ranch?  Blue Cheese?  Thousand?  They are all wonderful!  Just like these blog posts.  This was way harder than I anticipated.  Obviously though, once I realized I wasn’t deciding on the Nobel Peace Prize, I went with my gut and made the hard choices.

Without further ado:  Below please find the Best of the Betes Blogs for March 2014!

BEST USE OF HUMOR:
Kim from Texting my Pancreas for coming up with the ingenious “Starch Madness.”  How do you treat a low?  Check out the brackets HERE.

BEST USE OF PHOTOGRAPHY:

BEST USE OF ADVOCACY:
Bennet at Your Diabetes May Very and his use of the phrase, “Meth or Insulin.”

BEST STORY OF A D MEET UP

BEST NON D RELATED POST:

BEST POST BY A TYPE 1:
Our beloved Ninjabetic knocks it out of the park with this inspired way to explain diabetes to a muggle.

BEST POST BY A TYPE AWESOME
Goes to Scott at Arden’s day, where Murphy’s Law turned a pit stop upside-down.
 
BEST STORY OF A D MISTAKE:
If you happen to have Type 1 Diabetes, and you happen to be getting married, you have probably gone through every single possible scenario that could go wrong diabetes-wise at the wedding.  But what if what went wrong, went wrong with your brother, and not yourself.  Katie at Diabetic Advocate blogs about another DOC save!

BEST MOTIVATIONAL POST:
Surfice Fine.  She mustered up the courage to connect with a complete strang(er) about diabetes.  How many times have I had the same conversation in my head?

BEST DIABETES ART:
A flow chart by Sarah at Insulin Pens Don’t Have Ink.  Follow it if you have an opinion about someone’s diabetes.  Handy when you’re in a pinch!

BEST COMMENTER:

Thanks to everyone who sent in nominations, and congratulations to all the nominees!

Pam

Also, if you see a post in April that stands out to you, go HERE right away and nominate them for Best of the 'Betes Blogs April Edition!