Monday, May 21, 2018

Find a ride.

I have a magic carpet.

It isn’t something I keep in my closet, or store in the garage.

In fact, I don’t even own it.

But it shows up sometimes. And when it does, it is mine.

I sit upon its comfortable piles and breathe in the sun that always seems to come along with it.

It whooshes me away from myself, and takes me to a safer place, one that relaxes my senses, and soothes the aches.

It takes me away from worry, stress, and discomfort.

It takes me to smiles, laughter, and peace.

I wish I could have it in my hands at all times. Or perhaps have access to it a couple hours each and every day...

I suppose it may be possible, because I know:

It comes when I’m ready.

It comes when I try.

When I’m wrapped up in self-pity and exasperation my carpet is nowhere to be found, but when I look outside my person…and help others in need…

It appears.

It is mine.

And I ride it as long as it will allow.

I’ll often walk through life looking down at my feet, concentrating on my journey, and my story. I’ll analyze every pebble in front of me, and take offense when I bump into things, because shouldn’t others be looking out for me?

On the days I look up from my feet and really see the people around me…when I see their circumstance, and their hearts, and when I long to ease their trials…those are the days that my carpet appears.

Those are the days I’m allowed happiness.

Life isn’t about me; it’s about those I lift up.

Those in the trenches need us.

I used to be in the trenches. It’s a cold, scary, dark place. But when I needed it most, I was wrapped up in love and care and helped up.

I was carried by others who had been in the trenches before too. People who sacrificed their energy and time to take care of me, and lighten my load.

Paying it forward is the greatest gift. It is my magic carpet ride, and I’m addicted to the fresh air it provides.

If you’re having a hard time, look up. Ask for help, or look further down and help another who is deeper in the trenches than you.

And when you reach out your hand?

I promise, it will be the ride of your life.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

An Homage to the Mothers

We are called D Moms.  D Mamas.   Even Type 3's.

Sometimes we get a bad rap.

~We're too "intense."

~We worry too much.

~We are overbearing.

~We over think.

~We over react.

~We over manage.

And I only have one thing to say about all of that...

You are probably right.

I want to tell you that if you are a parent, you can understand.

But that is not true.

I want to tell you that if you have diabetes yourself, you can understand.

But that is not true either...just as I will never fully understand your diabetic life,
you will never fully understand mine.

The only way you would understand what goes on in the swelly brain of a D Mama,
is if you were a D Mama yourself.

We are special.  Chosen for our story, as you were chosen for yours.

We are fighters, and we will fight until our last breath to keep our children safe.

New technologies like fast acting insulin and insulin pumps provide keys for better management, but they also provide a clear and present danger at all times.

We have to be vigilant.

We look into the eyes of our children and we love them with a bright tenderness.  We want more than anything for them to live a life free from restrictions, free from prejudice, free from complications, free from emergency rooms and hospitals.

We feel a responsibility well beyond any bounds of normalcy.  We do not want to live a life of regrets.  One day we will need to look into the eyes of our adult Type 1 Children and we want more than anything to say...
"I did my best."

The mothers of Type 1's spend every day racked with guilt.   Every blood sugar number pierces our heart.  We feel responsible for every high and every low.

An argument can be made that diabetes is responsible for every one of those numbers, but in our eyes...whether a reasonable notion or not, we feel they are a reflection of our efforts.

We may not always admit it to you, or to ourselves...but we take those numbers personally.

The A1C isn't called the mommy report card for nothing.

We do not sleep.  That is a choice.  We choose to keep a close eye on the numbers while the world takes a break.  We don't take breaks.  We know that waking up with a off number can domino to the rest of the day. 

We know honeymooning pancreases can sputter.

We know the soccer game from 5 hours earlier can affect the nighttime numbers.
(Yet we urge them to play.)

We know that Pizza can wreak havoc hours after consumption, and we know that Chinese food for dinner means a sleepless night for us.
(Yet we delight in serving them their favorites anyway.)

We know that diabetes never sleeps.  That is why we don't either.

We know that a 200 can turn into a 52 in 30 minutes flat.

We know that on field trip days our children may spike with excitement, or bottom out from activity.

We know nothing is for sure.

So we check, and constantly ask our children how they are feeling...and we hover...watching every move...looking for changes in our children's faces...changes in their gait...tiny beads of sweat on the back of their necks...we know the signs of lows.  We know our children better than anyone else.

We love hard.

We try hard.

We cry hard.

We hug hard.

We hope hard.

We stress hard.

We are hard on ourselves.

We are D mamas.   

Don't judge us because we fret over the details.  To us...Our Diabetic Life is all about the details.

We are 100% responsible for the well being of children we love more than anything on this blessed green earth.

No, we will not back off.

No, we will not calm down.

No, we will not stop making noise.

As mothers, we know that our children are special.  Diabetes makes them stronger.  It makes them resilient, responsible, amazing.  It gives them a sense of humor.  It makes them grow up too fast, and let's them spread their wings too slow.

We wish we could take away the pain. 

                                                                       We wish it were us.

                                                                         We are warriors.

                                                                         We are D Moms.

Hear.   Us.   Roar.

Happy Mothers Day, D Moms. I see you. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Insulin is #6.

I ran across a fascinating bit of data yesterday watching an enlightening, and validating, lecture posted by a friend deep in the comments on another friends post on Facebook. (Link HERE)

I took a screenshot of one of the slides in the lecture, and Googled the information to confirm validity. 

Oh yes.

It’s real.

Heaven help us. It’s super for real.

I’ve been running the numbers in my head for the past twenty-four hours, and there is no math on this green Earth that makes these numbers ok.

I know that Insulin is complicated to make, but it seems as though the demand is surging the prices, rather than the complexity of it all.  Because let’s face it, the demand for insulin is only increasing…and that demand is not driven by superfluous wants, but rather by need.

Need to live.

My children need a constant stream of this liquid gold flowing into their body all day every day simply to stay alive.

Why would the price go down? No one is going to stop using it because of price. No one that uses it has a choice.

So friends ask me, what is the answer? What can we do?

I wish I were a brilliant mind. My swelly brain can scarcely process the information my boys are constantly throwing at me, much less answers on how to fix the US Healthcare System.

But here is what I do know:

* I am angry.

* This is not right.

* I’m worried about my boys’ futures. 

My boys are entering adulthood faster than I care to admit. Will they be able to afford one of the most expensive liquids on Earth to stay alive?

I know that I can’t sit here and think, "It'll all work itself out."

I need to say something. 

We all need to say something.

I will march around banging my pots together as long as I have to, so I can get more people banging their pots along with me.

I am tired of hearing about Stormy Daniels. (Oh my gosh! I didn’t even need to Google her name. I’m sick about it.) I am tired of hearing about Russian probes. I am tired of hearing about how much our President plays golf. I’m sick and tired of tabloid news and tabloid government.

WE NEED REAL CHANGE, and help, and hope…and our government is a complete joke. Every Politician is in the back pocket of one special interest or another, and this is not left or right. Is our government really so corrupt that we can’t look at the fact that people are dying because they can’t afford their medication?

I’ve always believed that our voices together could excite change, but our Government and news affiliates are living as a bunch of spoiled teenagers.

There is no bigger picture, just petty jabs.

The Healthcare System in the United States is not an easy mess to clean up, so it’s ignored. It's easier to call someone fat, or find something to ruin a reputation than to solve real problems.

If one can’t do hard things, one shouldn’t run for office.

6th most expensive liquid in the world…

On the list with LSD and Scorpion Venom…

But in Canada it’s $30 a vial?

I’ll just leave you with one more screenshot from the lecture and let the silence that follows speak for itself.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Teenager Black Magic

My children, who were once made of perfect innocence, have turned into wizards.

With a roll of their eyes I am banished into no man’s land.

My words are gobbled up by their minds and spit out into indiscernible sentences.  They can make anything I say mean whatever they want by taking poetic license with all that enters their ears.

The dark magic is carelessly used without regard for consequence.  Consequence that are convoluted, and not even a little bit obvious to them.

My self-esteem being one of those consequences. And what teen cares of their parent’s merits?

My trips around the sun are not their trips around the sun; therefore, I am clueless to their suffering. Anything they endure I will not understand without pretending to understand.  My wrinkles put me outside the realm of empathy. My quest to find peace in life bristles their wings.

Teenagers minds are the opposite of peace. They are chaos.

Though not by choice.

One cannot always see at first glance, but the chaos lives behind their eyes, where they try to make sense of a world that is teaching them one thing and showing them another.

Do the right thing…. but, right is wrong.
Be kind…. but, kindness is self-serving.
Find your happy place…. but, happiness is fake.
Trust in God…. but, God is for the befuddled.
You are loved…. but, love must be earned.

The last is most troubling. My children don't always see themselves worthy of love.

But my love for them exists beyond worthy measurements.

Love is not conditional when one is a parent. Love is there hell or high water. Love is brighter during the hard times. Love swirls within us no matter what the circumstance.

If only they could know.

Or maybe they already know but apathy and despair each have a hand over their eyes.

It’s hard to see all the good when one exists in darkness. Light doesn’t stand a chance when walls are in the way.

Wall after wall is erected. I stand on the other side…sometimes knocking, sometimes chipping away the drywall with my fists, sometimes using the wall to slide down to the ground…to pray. Or to wallow in my self pity.

And when they feel alone I call to them:

“Take down the wall! I’m right here! You are never alone!”

They are disappointed in themselves and assume I must be too.

Yet, I am opposite of disappointed. I am proud when I see them peek above the walls…even for a second. My heart bursts with excitement and love…

And then…

They disappear as fast as they appear.

Children that were once full of light and laughter are now looking for meaning, yet they don’t have the wherewithal to actually look.

I have found that meaning. I would serve it to them on a golden platter if I could.

I would pour it down their throats if it would help.

But meaning isn’t something that can be given.

It is something that must be found.

Love and meaning can heal. But only if one wants healing.

Sometimes my teenagers suffer and my love doesn't seem to fix it.

But maybe, it’s helping. Deep down, somewhere, somehow, maybe my love is helping. And for as long as there is a maybe chance…I will actively love. And do what I can to encourage them to continue putting one foot in front of the other.

One step.

Another step.

And another.

Until one day…maybe they will look up from their feet, and see the unconditional love and blessings that surround them and they'll become the light they didn't know they needed.

Until one day…the dark days, the teenager days, are gone.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Our feelings about the Abbott Freestyle Libre System

2 of my 3 boys with Type 1 Diabetes are Dexcom users.

One boy uses it because he likes the security of knowing his numbers all the time. He will glance at his phone, confirm how he feels, and move on.

One boy uses it because I still have some tiny amount of say in his life. He hates the alarms and he turns them off while at school. (I told you the amount of my influance is tiny. It’s pretty much microscopic.) With his social anxiety, having an alarm that might turn heads his way is devastating. But the silver lining lies in the fact that I get his numbers on my phone too, so I will text him when he needs a correction or food. The vibration of his phone alerts him of my text, and things get taken care of.

One boy refuses to wear the Dexcom. He is 20. I can’t force him to wear it anymore. He hates the alarms. He hates the profile. He hates having me see everything. I get it. I’m not happy about it. But I get it.

We’re the Goldilocks and the Three Bears of Dexcom users.

So when friends on Facebook started trialing Abbott’s Freestyle Libre, the wheels in my brain began turning at full speed.  And when I saw that we could get a free reader and one free sensor if we were Dexcom users, sparks were flying.

I got our Endo to send in a script to CVS, and brought our coupons over once the Libre arrived. 

I watched a quick YouTube video and immediately put it on J.  He said it hurt a little, but was so pleasantly surprised with the low profile of the Libre, he smiled wide.

BACKGROUND ON J: Diagnosed at 8months old, J is a sevant of sorts. He has an exceptional ability to feel his blood sugars. It’s every D-Mom’s dream. The problem with this is he has an unhealthy confidence about his numbers and tests his blood sugars far less than I, or his Endo, would like. I’ve witnessed him eat without testing first, because he “feels like he’s going low.” I’ve witnessed him bolus without checking his sugar because he “feels a little too high.” When witnessing these events I’ve tested his blood sugar myself…and he has always been right.  It’s all so wonderful and frustrating.  Wonderful because it’s a dream ability to have and I'm thankful he listens so closely to his body. Frustrating because I know he only has to be wrong one time for catastrophic consequences.

Enter Abbott Freestyle Libre:

He seriously loves it. And that isn’t just commentary. Last night he stopped me and word for word said, “Mom, I seriously love this thing.”

He scans his blood sugar ALL THE TIME.

He comes home from a full shift at work and I ask if he checked today. 

“4 or 5 times.”

I see him scan himself all the time at home. I see him scan himself before eating, before driving, before sleeping…and he’s asked me to scan him a couple times while he was lounging on the couch. It’s truly a miracle. To add to the awesomeness, the scans have arrows and graphs. It works much like a CGM, showing if his blood sugar is rising, dropping, or steady.

It’s been so life changing for J, I decided to let B try it for a month. 

Upon insertion he said, “I felt nothing.” Win.

An hour later, “I forgot I had it on.” Win.

Though when time for school he said he wouldn’t use it during class because it makes a loud BEEP noise when you scan.  

I just found out you can mute the noise.

Would I rather have them on Dexcoms? Of course. But this is a fantastic compromise for all of us. 

Some other pluses:

*Super easy insertion. And mostly painless.

*Nighttime checks without pricking fingers? Yes, please! I think about when J was a baby and how nice it would have been to not wake him at night to check…and to know what direction his sugars were headed. Man, I feel like it was the dark ages back then!

*The sensor never needs to be calibrated, although, upon insertion, it does make you wait 12 hours to begin getting numbers. We put it on before bed and he’s ready to go in the morning.

*The numbers seem to be quite accurate. Maybe 5 points off at times, but hot dang, it's good.

*The sensor lasts 10 days, and it doesn’t fall off. That thing STICKS. (Little ones might need to use baby oil when removing.)

*It’s way cheaper than Dexcom. The reader is one time $60-$75 dollars, and the sensors are around $50-$60 dollars for a month’s supply if you use the Singlecare Pharmacy Savings Card.

Suffice it to say, we are pleasantly surprised how well this is going. I’m thankful for the tools we have to keep my boys safe, and thankful to finally have something reasonable priced. Believe it or not, Abbott didn't ask me to write this, or even ask me to trial this. Even though this might seem like an advertisement for the Libre, our systems were acquired by me and used by my very opinionated boys.

If you have questions, leave them in the comments. We're newbies, but I'll do my best to help!

AHHHH! I love breathing in this Blogger air. I've missed you guys!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

We're more than Diabetes

I sit here alone in the middle of Indiana.

A silent house.

A loud soul.

It pounds against my mind, begging for me to work through the feelings of anger, love, gratefulness, and fear.

The stories of Diabetic lives swirl around me. At times they can overwhelm my senses and put my busyness on pause.

In this moment I quiet my mind and ponder the last 20 years. The blood, the tears, the triumphs, the numbers…all of it replaying in subdued black and white. I see the history of my family and the impact of friendships and unconditional love.

I marvel at it all.

It’s impossible to box up all my emotions in one tidy blog post. Diabetes has been a constant companion, yet my history is so much richer than the worry it imparts.

My history includes four children. Little boys who danced and ran and laughed with tears streaming down their faces. Forty perfect toes, and eight bright eyes that have been through hell and back.

A hell that has very little to do with Diabetes.

As I take in the pictures and turn them from black and white to color, I don’t see insulin pumps. I don’t see test strips. I don’t see sleepless nights.

I see boys who are human and are trying to make sense of all the chaos life has to offer. I see them walking as steady as possible in treacherous winds.

Hard things. So many hard things.

But with all of it, so many more blessings.

J is the most loving young man I know. He still holds my hand. His hugs are never-ending. He’s been knocked down so many times as he’s sorted through everything, and yet he gets up again and again.

B is a force. He’s a whirlwind of empathy and care wrapped in the persona of a grumpy old man. He feels everything harder than everyone else, and desperately tries to hold it all in.

L is a miracle. He has overcome so many obstacles and is wise beyond his years. He’s kind. He’s sweetness from head to toe.

And M? He is a man. The little blond haired baby has turned into a six foot blond haired man. A man that listens, loves, and above all…tries his best. Always.

They are all so wonderful.

Yet, they are all so hard on themselves.

Because, Diabetes aside, life is a lot.

A lot of work.

A lot of feelings.

A lot of unknown.

A lot of not measuring up to impossible standards the Internet so indignantly imparts.

We have a lot on our plates.

But we have plates…

And we have each other.

We have an extended family that has become home.

We have so much more than Type 1 Diabetes in this house.

We have love. And we have faith. 

Some day my boys will see how important that faith is. 

Until then, I’ll remind them that they are loved, and try to give them the space to make mistakes so they can learn that life doesn’t end with one bad day…or even one bad number.

Our Diabetic Life?

That’s only part of the story. I leave that part here on this page…but there is so much more to us.

Volumes and volumes of text of more.

I’m done letting Diabetes overwhelm me today. I’m dusting off my faith and trusting in our beautiful future.

Anger? What good is it.

Love? It's everything.

Gratefulness? It turns what we have into enough.

And Fear? What is the point? Life goes on whether we live it to the fullest or not. Why let the fear mask all the good? Why miss out on happiness?

I’m grateful for all that I have, and I love my people. So so much.

Diabetes makes me love more...

I just can't be angry about that.