Monday, July 26, 2010

We interrupt this blog…with life.

Things are moving slowly but surely on the selling/buying house thing. We are like The Little Engine That Could…chugging our way up the mountain that seems impossible to climb. We can see the summit…it is SO CLOSE. But as with most things…it isn’t a sure thing until the last minute. There are still a couple things that could go wrong.

But we keep chugging.

We think we can….We think we can…We think we can

Anyway, part of the process is we have to tent our house to get rid of a few pesky termites. So I will be away from cyber space a lot this week…my house will be full of poison while we are away to the in-laws.

I know what you are thinking, “NO MERI! Is there a computer at your in laws???”

“Why yes, dear friends, there is.”

Problem is, my lovely Sophomore Son has procrastinated and needs to finish his thesis for his Honors History class…before this Friday. Friday he leaves for scout camp…multiple camps, two he will be a councilor for, and one he will be joining in to earn some of the last requirements before his Eagle. (And yes, that was a surprise Braggy McBraggerton right hook!)

Anyway. When he comes home, we’ll be moving (hopefully,) and then school starts.

So he has dibbs on the computer at the inlaws.


I’m sure I’ll find some online time…but blogging probably won’t be happening this week.


I’m already behind on reading blogs and I feel like the world is crashing down in a wave of responsibility and worry. But we’ll make it through…we will!

I’m not even going to go into the fact that J leaves for Camp with M on Friday…and will be gone for 10 days. Nope, not even thinking about it. A girl can only take so much before she soars off the edge. And school starting, with conferences and 504 meetings, and J starting Jr. High…NOPE, not even on my mind. No siree!


(That was merely a mind wiping scream. I’m not thinking it about it anymore…honest.)

So until then…adieu. Much love to my peeps. May your nights be full of good numbers, sleep and happy dreams. And may your days be full of love and laughter.
(I know, I know, real life has to happen too…but a gal can send good vibes your way, can she not?)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Let's hear it for the boy!

Since I was a little slap happy in my last post, I thought I should tone things down a little with nothing less than a spotlight on one of my boys for his HUGE accomplishments this summer.


First, and most significant, L is feeling his lows. But even more than that, he is TELLING me that he feels low. And let me tell you, Lawton isn’t happy about it. He doesn’t like the fact that L is beating him to the punch. If L tells me he is feeling low before Lawton does, Lawton doesn’t get a treat. L will come in and tell me and then go to check his sugar and Lawton will follow me to the fridge, often beating me there…waiting for his treat.

Sorry fella…

But back to L. We have spoken for what adds up to hours and hours on how he feels when his blood sugar is low. He started manifesting it by just lying on the couch and telling me his legs don’t work. Then he would say his legs felt like Jello. I would reiterate to him over and over that these are “low feelings.”

“Uh oh L! You have the LOW FEELING again! We better check to be sure!”

And sure enough his Jello legs were always spot on.

So finally he has put two and two together and has been telling me when he is starting to feel low.


He is also going into first grade next month and has been working diligently this summer on learning how to read. Turns out he is a memorizer like his mother. He doesn’t like to sound things out…he totally can…but when I ask him to sound a word out that he doesn’t know, he just looks into the air until he can pull it out of his hat. But regardless…progress is being made!

Another thing we have been working on is communication about what his blood sugar numbers means. He checks his own sugar now and earlier this summer had a hard time knowing if he was “low,” “high,” or “nice.” (I try really hard not to say good…because ALL numbers are good, but sometimes it slips out. Good is good I suppose.)

Anyhoo…he finally has the terminology now…but how he communicates it is a hoot.

He’ll say, “Oh no Mom, I hate to tell you this. It is KILLING me to tell you this…but I have to. I’m low.”

Or, “I have bad news Mom…it is just really bad news. I don’t know how it happened, I’m sure it was an accident….I’m high.”

Or, “You are going to do the happy dance Mom, I just know you are! I’m PERFECT! Ooooooooooooone hundred!!”

Or, “I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is I’m nice. The bad news is I want a snack right now.”

Lastly we are working on what foods have carbs, and what do not. We still have a way to go with this one. But slowly but surely…progress is being made.

Brag brag bragity brag!

How can you not love this boy? My baby. He makes my day with his wonderfulness. I guess six years old isn’t technically “baby” anymore. But what ev’. He is still so cuddly and so sweet, and his fat toes are still my favorite breakfast! He’ll forever be my baby.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Wanna hear something really funny?

I’m not a numbers person.


Ok. Maybe it’s not THAT funny.

But oh baby…I was NEVER a numbers person. Which we all know is some kind of cruel joke or something, because my life is all about numbers now.

It used to be, back in the day, when I only had two diabetics…(I know ONLY! LOL! LOL! LOL!) I didn’t need to look at their meters. I knew exactly what their blood sugars were doing when they were doing them. I would march into that endo’s office and say…”J is high every night at 10…his bgs the last few nights have been between this and this…and at lunch we are having issues with this. And L…well his last 7 wake up numbers were this this this this this this and this.”

I was borderline awesome…considering my number handicap and everything.

But now? WHOA NELLIE! Now…I don’t remember much. I’ll march into the endo’s office and say…”I don’t have the numbers to back it up, but I have a gut feeling we need to change B’s nighttime basals…I’m pretty sure I’m correcting him EVERY night. “ And a bunch of other half truths like that. They have to download the boy’s pumps before they get any reliable information. My instincts are usually right…but when asked for the reasoning behind said instincts…well, lately I just freeze up. My brain searches for the information. It scans the billions of numbers running through my head…and all I can back it up with is…”I just know.”

So last week it seemed like all the boys were running high…WAY TOO MUCH…I changed all of their basals using the VERY scientific method called “following my gut.” I obviously went too strong because we are having A LOT of lows.

So change them back! (That is what you are saying, right? You are totally thinking I should change them back…or dial them back a bit, correct??)

Well I have something to say to you…if I change them back; like any LOGICAL person would…well…I’ll be dialing them back up next week. In my experience if you get too strong on the basals, give it time, VERY soon they’ll be right on. Especially when you have three CONSTANTLY growing boys. Sometimes it just takes a little riding out before things settle.

Now don’t go running to up the basals on your kids and say that it will all work out eventually ‘cause Meri said so. I’m a stay at home mom. I check the boys every three hours or more. I have a dog people! A medical alert dog. I am vigilantly on watch! I amI am…probably going to dial them all down a bit…

Hey, a girl can change her mind!

Although we are catching the lows, that are mostly occurring mid-morning, in the 60’s and the 70’s…there is potential for worse…and I don’t tolerate lower than that. (LOL! I don’t tolerate it! That is such a joke, it gives the illusion that I actually have some control over how low they’ll go!)

Can you tell it is a quarter to midnight and I’m waiting to check B and see if the pudding I fed him brought his 68 up to a nice number?

Truth is…I do hate dialing back strong basals…because It IS true…I’ll probably be dialing them back up in a week or so…but better safe than sorry.


All I can do is hope that all these numbers are being stored SOMEWHERE in my swelly brain, and that my gut instinct is just a manifestation of all the calculating my subconscious is doing. You know?

You don’t know?

Me either. It’s a theory anyway.

I should start writing it all down, but who am I kidding…I never get pass day two. So I think I’m going to slap the CGM on each one for three days each and let it do the calculating for me.

Because apparently, the CGM is a numbers “person”…and he’ll be able to paint the picture more clearly than the abstract my gut is handing me.

CGM is the Monet to my guts Jackson Pollock.

See how easy I worked all this out, because I took the time to type it down on virtual paper?

HA! Numbers are stupid! Who needs numbers when you got mad blogging/problem solving skills!

Ok it has been 30 minutes, wait here…I’m going to see if my gut was right in feeding B pudding…



Friday, July 16, 2010

When life hands you diabetes…make friends

Today I woke up to Facebook and found status after status of blood sugar reports. Victories, defeats…works in progress. How comforting to know that in the depths of the night, D parents everywhere are tending to their children. Like little fairies, or angels, watching over the children in their sleep.

I remember a time when it never occurred to me that others were out there doing the same thing. Of course I knew there were OTHERS, but it just never crossed my mind that there were so many. Moreover, it never crossed my mind that they would be so wonderful.

Yet here I am with fully 100 friends on Facebook who I have never met, but yet complete my life in the most unlikely of ways…by just writing one or two sentences on how or what they are doing.

They are like me.


How wonderful is it to not feel alone. I can tell you that I have bloggers that I follow and chat with that I seriously consider to be some of my closest friends. Yeah, I one of THOSE people…apparently.

But I’m so Ok with it, because hello, they ARE my friends.

Here’s a little something for you to wrap your brain around:

Last week my car was broken into and among other things, 3 one touch link meters were stolen. I rely heavily on these when the boys are in school. Since my boys do not have a nurse to help them, they need to check their own blood sugars and then put the number into the pump. With these handy monitors, the numbers are beamed to the pump, so I don’t have to worry about my eight and six year olds entering numbers correctly. I posted on Facebook about the ordeal and no kidding, within an hour all three were replaced.

Hello. Talk about understanding. Talk about generosity.

These woman (and men too) know the worries of my world. True friends do.

I saw this quote:

“A friend is one who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”

When I lose my way…I have you. When I am down…I have you. When I want to celebrate…I have you. Blog friends, face book friends, family friends, old friends, friends who never comment but I know you are there and I love you just the same. I am so blessed.

So today I lift my Diet Pepsi up to toast the friendships I have found inside my computer.

To you:

“May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, may the rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.”
-An Irish Blessing

Cheers. :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Still a little broken.

In a few weeks it will be 12 years we have been “working” with diabetes. When J was diagnosed I broke into a hundred pieces.

You would think that after so many years I would be healed by now.

You would think that after so many tears I would be dry by now.

But I still cry at too many songs on the radio. I still get shook up when one of the boys expresses ANY sadness about this disease. I still feel guilt when blood sugars don’t do what they should, even though I know it isn’t as much my fault as it is the diabetes itself.

I’m still a little broken.

Maybe it’s because our last diagnosis was only 3 years ago. Maybe when there is a new diagnosis it’s a do over…you start from the beginning. You need to go through all the stages of grief. But if that is true, does that mean that in time I won’t be broken anymore? That one day I’ll be ok with all of this?

Probably not.

I can’t imagine any of this ever being ok. I do imagine happiness with maybe a little peace sprinkled on top. But it will never be ok that my son puked because his tubing broke off his pump. I will never be ok with cleaning up bloody tests strips off the dresser after a long night. I will never be ok with sticking needle after needle into my boys. Finding my son limp on the couch as he declares his legs don’t work because he is low…that kind of stuff just won’t ever be ok.

It’s like I’m watching the movie of my life. It’s a happy movie…a fun comedy with the most endearing characters ever. There is action, suspense and most importantly…love. It is a fulfilling and blessed storyline. But as I watch the plot of this awesome movie unfold…it’s the background music that changes everything. The music is dramatic, with a sad undertone. All the scenes of my life take on a completely different context with diabetes in charge of the playlist.

It affects me.

It changes who I am.

I have awesome days. Days where diabetes has nothing on our family. We don’t let it win…we live! We live happily. And as time passes these days become more of our norm. Diabetes goes onto the back burner…we have control. We win the battles.

Until someone gets sick.

Or someone has a growth spirt.

Or until we eat pizza.

Or until a million different things.

Then we have to stop and remember the brokenness. We are stopped in our tracks to be reminded that diabetes is always there. It doesn’t let you live on autopilot for long…

I broke three times…and I am still standing today. That has to say something. Name anything you have broken three times…I bet it is in the trash.

I wonder if people can tell. Can they see the cracks that love has sealed back together? Is it obvious? I’m a literal patchwork quilt of cracks. I’m sure it is a little noticeable.

But I hope they don’t feel sorry for me. We are going to be ok. We ARE ok.

Not ok with how diabetes affects the boys. But ok despite how diabetes affects the boys.

Despite it all…we are still standing. Despite it all…we are still a family. Despite it all…we still love one another. Despite it all...we celebrate our blessings.

And diabetes can’t take those things away. It can take away my sense of humor sometimes, it can take away my patience sometimes, and it can certainly make me more serious about certain things…but it can’t take away the love.

And best of all…it can’t take away the hope.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How I stay out of the looney bin...

We were swimming at a friend’s house with the cousins. Lawton was lying leisurely by the pool…watching, smiling at the kids. His eyes were intent on the action, only briefly distracted by the occasional bird that walked by.

The sun shined, and the kids giggled. A perfect day for the pool.

The boys had only been swimming for a half an hour when Lawton jumps up and goes to the edge of the pool. He walks along the edge. The kids are yelling, playing…he wants in on the fun, right?

But he paces…he paces up and down, and at one point he is ready to jump in. Our Lawton…who hates water. He would never dream of jumping in a pool…but here he was staring at J…ready to jump to him. He would glance at me every now and then looking for the Ok. I just shook my head. He knew he wasn’t allowed to jump in.

He circled the pool and J pled with me to let Lawton jump in.

“No.” I said, “No way.” It wasn’t OUR pool…I’m not an expert on pool etiquette, but I do know you don’t let the dog in unless he was invited.

But Lawton continued to ask, “Can I jump in?” Constantly looking at the pool, and then back to me.

“What is up with him…it is so not like him!”

(Yeah, I’m that dense.)

It was my visiting brother who suggested, “Maybe he’s alerting.”

Say huh?

It was all instantly made clear. I had the boys come directly to the side of the pool. Lawton sat contentedly next to me…watching the familiar check…readying himself for his treat.

J was 72.

Not dangerously low, but I submit this: I checked J's blood sugar 30 minutes earlier, before he went int the pool, and he was a comfortable 156. AND, J was in the pool for at least an hour AFTER this blood sugar check. He was dropping so fast, where would his sugar have been if we didn’t check when we did?

What if?

What if?

My boys don’t have very many bad lows.

How significant was that last sentence? I have 3 young, active, crazy diabetic boys and we RARELY have a blood sugar under 60.

Very significant.

Quite significant.

Utterly significant.

I like to take credit when the boy’s numbers are doing well…but I need to give credit where credit is due.

Lawton lets me live. He lets me be mom. I can function without the overloading worry because of him.

I can F-U-N-C-T-I-O-N!

Good boy Lala! You are such a gift!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

My Brother's Diabetic Life

Some of you that are new to my blog may not know that my older brother is Type 1.

He is 3 years older than me, and I’m proud to call him my friend. Proud, because when we were kids he was my mortal enemy. ;) We fought like cats and dogs. Fortunately, when we “grew-up” and had kids of our own, we were able to settle into a comfortable friendship. Even though we live a couple states away from each other, our kids are best friends. His family came to visit last week and Evan and I watched in awe as our kids skipped happily ahead of us arm in arm into the Six Flags entrance. If you would have told us 20 years ago that we would be witnessing such an event, we would have shook our heads and laughed hysterically.

As parents of Type 1’s, I think we all are curious about the life of adult type 1’s. It is a little peak into our children’s futures...inquiring minds want to know!

Evan was happy to be interviewed to answer some of burning questions I had about adulthood and T1.

Me: How old were you when you were diagnosed?

Evan: I was 23 years old.

Side note: (I remember the day that he was diagnosed. My mother had called me and I cried hysterically. My husband was stunned by my reaction. So was I. I had no idea what it all meant, but inside me, somewhere, I knew that THAT moment in time was an important one, and the emotions flooded into me for days.)

Me: What were your symptoms?

Evan: I lost 65 pounds in less than 4 months. My lips were insanely dry and I was constantly peeing. When I was in these stages I was splitting my time between Sonoma and Sacramento. It is a two hour drive and you bet I knew EVERY single restaurant and McDonalds on the commute that would let me use the bathroom without buying anything. I was also working at a restaurant, and they wouldn’t let me leave my station even when I had to desperately go to the bathroom. I was always parched and drank a steady flow of regular Coke, which of course, didn’t help things.

Me: So you finally went to the doctor…what happened then?

Evan: The doctors diagnosed me as a Type 2 right away, because of my age, and they gave me pills. A few months after one doctor gave me NPH to use only at night. When I moved to Taiwan to teach English I read dozens of books on diabetes and diagnosed myself as a Type 1. I prescribed myself my own insulin. Since I didn’t know better, I asked for pig insulin at first. Later I got National Healthcare in Taiwan. I found a doctor who knew what he was doing, and he put me on a new insulin regimen.

Me: Have you ever had a diabetic emergency?

Evan: When I was on the pills, I thought I was going blind. I went to the emergency room, and they just gave me more pills. I had no insurance at the time and was billed thousands of dollars for their stupidity. There was one time I was so shaky, I had to sit on the floor and I asked someone to get me a coke, but that is the extent of it.

Me: Can you tell me what it feels like to have a low blood sugar?

Evan: For me, I get the shakes. I used to get shaky when I was 70, now I don’t until I’m in the 40’s. I also have nightmares when I go low in the middle of the night. If I wake up, and I’m scared or worried, 90% of the time I’ll check and I’ll be low.

Me: What does a high blood sugar feel like?

Evan: In my case, it’s all about peeing. I know I’m high by how my bladder feels. If I’m over 260, I’ve got to pee.

Me: When and why did you start the pump?

Evan: I spoke to my doctor about a pump and he said it wasn’t an option. A few months later I got a call from my doctor to come in. Apparently you had spoken to your endo, who called my nurse to tell her a pump WAS needed. I started shortly after.

Me: I forgot I did that. I’m so awesome. It made your life better, didn’t it?

Evan: Yes. My A1C’s are about the same, but it really has made my life easier. It especially helped with the dawn phenomenon. I had awful spikes early in the morning…the pump makes those spikes controllable now. I like being able to turn the insulin off before bed if I’m dropping fast, and I especially like the meter that links to the pump. I don’t have to enter the number and it is very convenient.

Me: How often do you see your Endo?

Evan: (Smiling) Meri, I’m a little different than most of the diabetics you know. I’ve only seen an Endocrinologist like four times in my life. Three of those times were when I was starting the pump. Since I diagnosed myself…and educated myself…I mostly take care of myself. I have a standing order to get my blood drawn a couple times a year, and I take my blood pressure when I’m at the store. If my A1C’s weren’t so good, I’d probably seek out an Endo’s advice. But so far, I’ve been okay on my own.

Me: What is the biggest pain about having Type 1 Diabetes?

Evan: Driving is the biggest pain. It’s hard to multi-task while I’m driving. Just on the way down for this trip, I would poke my finger and Cheryl would squeeze out the blood and touch it to the monitor for me. Also, my immune system is pretty crappy, I’m a teacher and I get all the colds and flus that the kids bring to school. Another thing is everyone and their mother seems to know someone with Type 2. I’m always getting “advice” on how to take care of my diabetes. I’m always running into the food police too.

Me: Do your students know you are Type 1?

Evan: Yes. At the beginning of the year I show them my pump. I explain it’s not a cell phone. I tell them I may eat skittles now and then and no, they can’t have any. I also tell them if I start acting weird, or get unresponsive that they should run next door to get Mr. Fertado.

Me: Do you think you are a different person than you would have been, because you have diabetes?

Evan: Definitely. I am more cautious because of it. The biggest contributing factor for me becoming a teacher is the fact I knew I would get pretty good health insurance. Even though I am glad I choose to be a teacher, I may have chosen a different profession if health insurance wasn't such an important requirement.

Me: Is diabetes a big part of your life?

Evan: Honestly, I forget I’m diabetic half the time. Everything I do is just so automatic. The only time I complain about being diabetic is when I have to get out of bed in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

Me: Cheryl, does Evans diabetes play a big role in your life?

Cheryl: Not at all.

Evan: I think the biggest way I inconvenience Cheryl, is when my alarm goes off in the middle of the night. She helps me out, but generally…our life is just a normal one.

(The boys and Evan with their Minimed Pumps)

Friday, July 2, 2010

We wish we were this crafty!

Last week I won the contest on Lora's blog to celebrate her 100th post.

Let me tell ya...It pays to be a stalker. :) Comments equal love many time do I have to tell you!

Friday night I came home to a package on my porch. I was like a child who just found a big box of candy on her doorstep...I'm pretty sure I giggled like a 4 year old when I saw it.

I picked it up like the treasure it was and ran to get my camera.

Dead battery. :( Boring!

So since it was late, I let the battery charge and waited until the next day.

So the next morning, I opened it up...

(Okay, she got my attention really quick...)

I carefully unwrapped the bubble wrap...

And found all kind of homemade wonderfulness inside...

Each card, tag, pen, clip...everything...made with love and care by Lora.

So what do you think? Is the woman that sent this package...our blogger friend, our face book friend, our chat friend, our wonderful real life friend...really...Martha Stewart in disguise???

I love every inch of what was made for me. I can't wait to send them out to the very special people in my life.

Thank you Lora. Your mad crafting skills AMAZE me! You are a blessing to us all!

A good cry.

A friend posted this on Facebook this morning. I know I've heard it before, but today it hit me especially hard. Last week a friend of mine lost her sister to Type 1. Yesterday another friend had a second son diagnosed with Type 1. There are so many things I wish for these families and all the families I love out there in this big world...but my biggest wish is for the children, related perfectly in the video below.

Come on...we were all due for a good cry anyway.

Love you!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

That’s how we roll…

We have been running around having a fun summer. When we put the house on the market, Realtors began parading hosts of potential buyers through our home, which means we have been kicked to the curb daily.

NO harm done though…it has been keeping us off our butts.

We have been bicycling, walking, going to the fair, the movies, the city, and hanging out at the in laws. With the house on the market, we have stayed close to home, trying to make the best of it.

Personally, I think the most spectacular parts of our summer has been the places we have checked the boys blood sugars...

On top of a Ferris wheel

On a ferry boat in the middle of the San Francisco Bay

In the stands watching a dolphin show at Six Flags

In the line at Baskin Robbins

In the middle of Toy Story 3, by the light of my iphone

On a bench by the bathrooms in Ikea

On the jungle gym at the playground

In the children’s book section at Target

In the car on the freeway

At every restaurant table we have eaten at

My favorite though was in my in-laws backyard. B fell while riding his bike and sported a fair sized scrape on his leg. He checked his sugar with the extra blood.

Diabetes doesn’t take a break for fun. It comes along uninvited…shouting for attention. But what ev’. We don’t give it more attention than it absolutely requires. We stop and check blood sugars, wherever, whenever…with whoever watching us.

Because that is how we roll.

We are not afforded the convenience of caring what others think. When a boy needs to be checked…dang straight we are going to check him.

Hell or high water…WHEREVER we stand.

I know people watch. If it wasn’t my family, I would be watching too. It is fascinating what we do to keep our children alive. Every blood sugar check is important. Every unit or fraction of a unit is vital.

Our blog friend Hallie hit the nail on the head yesterday with a post on this very subject.

She has shouted the motto of every parent and person in the DOC…”I’m not a doctor, but I play one in real life.

Check out her post. It puts it all into perspective.

D has given us honorary degrees from some kind of Diabetic Medical School. We practice wherever there is a need. We don’t have offices…we are out in the trenches of life. We save lives on the spot. If there is a need, we are ready.

Even on top of Ferris wheels…