Monday, August 30, 2010

Take a second look

The blond boy that you treat as you do…
The one you don’t give a second thought.
He was diagnosed when he was two
You can’t imagine his life’s lot.

His smile is contagious
His laughter full of the sun
He hops and skips and runs and jumps
Yet his world has come undone.

He pokes his fingers 8 times a day
Brown speckles mark each spot.
A needle inserted into his flesh
You would think he’d complain a lot.

But when he does this daunting task
His eyes twinkle with delight.
He knows it’s a grown up thing to do
He only wants to do what’s right.

A two inch needle we insert
Into his little hip.
We do this a few times a week
To attach his insulin drip.

Most children at that needles sight
Would cry and gnash their teeth
But not our boy, he’ll just close his eyes
And hold in all the grief.

He wears a pump around his waist
It’s there for all to see
He doesn’t notice it in his hast
No complaints from him, just glee.

He wants to make his family laugh
He knows the burden that they bear
He’s never thought to think of himself
And the work it takes for his care.

The lows come quickly and his body fails
He falls to the ground with no life
His eyes half mast he asks for food
Sorry to give his mother strife.

And then the highs make his stomach hurt
His heart starts beating fast
He has to pee and can’t think straight
He scrambles for his water glass.

But when the high is over
He snuggles at his family’s side.
He says he’s feeling better now
His sadness he tries to hide.

He has lived lifetimes of pain
And he is only six years old
But you would never know this to be true
His happiness is so bold.

Through all this, he’s a pillar of strength
A rainbow of hope for all to see
He is the sun on a stormy day
So here begins my plea…

You do not know what this boy bears
You do not know his strength.
You do not know he prays every night
For he and his brothers to be safe.

So when you see him, take another look
And marvel at his grace.
For he is a person to give your awe
There is more than a smiley face.

Put your hand around his shoulder
Tell him that you are proud of who he is
Look past his imperfections
He is an amazing kid.

He is more than diabetes
He is more than all the pain
He is more than a blood sugar number
He is the sun through the piercing rain.

L, Making his brothers laugh.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Worry Feet

My feet hurt.

When I wake up in the morning I can barely walk. My feet scream as soon as they hit the floor.

I’m pretty sure it is all the worry I keep there.

It seems this time of year my worry increases tenfold, and honestly, where do you think I should keep all this worry? In my swelly brain? NO WAY! I stuff it down…way way down to my toes.

I’m like a trash compacter when it comes to worry. My body fills with the worry garbage and I push the button and there you go! Feet stuffed with compacted worry! Stuffed so deeply that my feet ache from carrying around the worry garbage that no doubt is the weight of cement blocks.

Or it could be I need to stop wearing flip flops…

But I’m pretty sure it’s the worry.

No kidding, sometimes I am folding laundry during the day and I the thought pops into my head that I have 3 diabetic boys running around school and I have NO IDEA what their blood sugars are. I feel a pang of panic, but before it gets too bad I stuff it down.

Part of my Jedi D Mom training no doubt…

I’ve become a pro at stuffing it down. Seriously, I amaze myself.

I think to myself, “Self, you should be flipping out right now…kudos to you for pretending like everything is A Okay!”

Maybe it’s a conceited thing to do, but acknowledging the fact that I’m keeping calm and not freaking out is part of my coping mechanism. I let the worry flutter, and then I stuff it, and then I pat myself on the back and move on.

It takes practice, but in time, all D Moms and Dads can do it. You are probably doing it right now and don’t even know it! Come on, don’t your feet hurt just a little?

Problem with my trash compactor system is eventually the worry trash gets so full it fills my entire body and hits the brain. The only way to get rid of it then is to cry. Fortunately I can keep the mountains of garbage at bay with my blogging…so the crying is kept to a minimum.

I know my feet will lighten up soon…but right now if feels like someone is opening up my head and throwing worry in there like it’s an In and Out Burger Trash can. I’m stuffing as we speak people.

In the mean time to keep my mind off things, I’m coming up with some movie ideas…trying to get this beauty off the ground…

Friday, August 20, 2010

It’s the most flip-outiest time, of the year!

Hello friends. Welcome to Meri’s edition of, “August, should we just scrap it all together?”

I think July should be 62 days. Yes? Agreed? Because August always stinks. Seriously, look back at your blog…look back at your calendar…look back at your journal…suckity suck suck! Case and point, my post last year: Tsunami and EVERY OTHER AUGUST POST LAST YEAR! It’s emotional collapse time people. Batten down the hatches!

It’s back to school. It’s back to reality. It’s back to WORK! NO MORE RESTING YOUR BODY OR YOUR BRAIN! Let’s get moving! Blah! Blah! Blah!

It’s emotional…it’s hair raising…it’s finding a new routine…it’s educating teachers and nurses…it’s sports season…it’s a big FAT reminder that our kids have special needs, and our hearts break for them as they have to find their own “normal” in their new classroom. It’s everything July isn’t.

What can we do?

How can we ride that tsunami wave to the top of the mountain and declare victory?

We need a plan and we need one fast! Admitting there is a problem with August is the first step…now we need a healthy, grown-up, even way to handle all of this…

Any suggestions? And no, I don’t drink alcohol…so think of something else…quick! There are only 11 days of August left. If we don’t jump on this, August is going to swallow us whole!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Just so you know: I know I talk about my brain A LOT.

I went to bed last night with visions of last year’s Charlie Brown first day of school in my head. I was as ready as I’d ever be and yet I knew even with the best of intentions…IT can hit the fan. Regardless, when I did sleep, I slept HARD. I was exhausted last night and sporting a nice big fat head cold to boot.

The day went smooth as silk. Thankfully, I was able to meet with the boys teachers last night to go over emergency protocol and their daily schedule. L’s 1st grade teacher has had J and B, so we mostly just chatted. Her biggest concern was L communicating his lows…and since L is a pro at that now, all her fears were put to rest. B got a new teacher, one our family has never had…but B is awesome, so I feel good about it all.

The important thing is each boy had a stellar first day of school. Even though I feel like I’ve been hit by a Mac truck, and our family car is no doubt passed out in the garage from sheer exhaustion from our new commute…all is well.

I knew that moving our family into a better neighborhood was the right thing to do. I knew that being just a few blocks from my in-laws would be a blessing for sure. What I didn’t know is how much time I would end up spending in the car today. We moved to the East side, and kept the boys in the schools on the West side. My achy-breaky-head-cold-brain hates me for it right now.

A little lookie loo into my day:

8:00am: Leave for school

8:40am: Drive home
10:00am: Drive M to school. (Freshman orientation, my Sophomore got to start the first day late.)

10:15am: Drive to L’s school to show him the routine he’ll use to check his sugar at snack time.
10:25am: Drive Home
11:35am: Drive to L’s school again to support him through his new lunchtime routine. (I’ll do this tomorrow too, and then see how he does on his own Friday.)

11:50am: Drive to the store. Out of paper. (Paper of the copier and toilet variety.)
12:15pm: Drive home.
1:15pm: Leave to pick up B and L from school. (They get out early this week.)

1:40pm: Leave B and L in their Omi’s capable hands, and head to Jr. High for 504 meeting.

3:00pm: Pick up M from the High School.

3:15pm: Drive home.
4:15pm: Drive B to soccer practice.

4:30pm: Drive home.
6:00pm: pick up B from Soccer.

6:15pm: Drive to Omi’s for a wonderful home cooked meal. (THANK YOU OMI AND LISA!)
7:30pm: Drive home.

I know most moms have days like this. It’s not so much the driving, but the in between that makes the mole hills into mountains. My brain was enjoying summer. My brain was in neutral. Now it is in 4th gear and it’s mad at me.

I don’t blame my brain for rebelling against me, but I know things will settle into a routine soon. I have family helping. I think I’ll just sing my brain a lullaby and hope that tomorrow the prayers I say tonight will grease its gears and prepare it for what will no doubt be another long day.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Conversation: The act of conversing BOTH ways.

(We’re getting the internet in our NEW HOME :) tomorrow. I’m looking forward to diving back into the blogging world! But I have one minute and I hijacked my husband’s work air card...I need to get this out of my brain before I fall asleep tonight.)

Today I met a new friend. Her name is Molly*. She has a boy on L’s soccer team. She talked my ear off for 30 minutes straight about her family, her extended family, her school situation, her work situation, her back to school shopping and upcoming birthdays and the like.

I probably gave her an understanding nod like 100 times.

I was there for her.

I let her talk until she ran out of breath...I’m pretty sure her lips were blue from constantly talking. Honestly, there was no oxygen inhaled during the entire length of the conversation.

But when I tried to tell her a little about me…a little teeny tiny tidbit about my life…a little information that included the words, JUVENILE DIABETES…well! I got a gasp, a look of disbelief/disgust and a “How awful.”

You know what she made me feel? She made me feel ashamed. I can’t explain it, but that was the emotion that came to the surface. I threw in a weak explanation…I know I used the word "auto-immune" and something about him having it since he was a baby…but she wouldn’t have any of it. She didn’t want to talk about it and I spent the rest of the practice nodding and validating her anger at the fact that her family wasn’t happy she brought her son with a fever to her mother’s 50th birthday party.


Poo to you Molly.

I don’t want to be your friend anymore.

*Name changed because it's the right thing to do.

Friday, August 6, 2010

IT exists!

Hands down hardest thing a mom has to deal with? Letting go.

And a T1 mom? Forget about it! Letting go is like, mythological or something…what mother can let go and let their child handle D on their own?

I mean really! ((SNORT))

What kind of mother can do this? A stupid one? A crazy one?

Our kids need to be monitored by us ALL THE TIME!

NO LETTING GO! NO LETTING GO! NO LETTING GO! (Seriously, I think I used to chant this in my sleep…)

So how does a mother, who believes “letting go” is akin to throwing your child in a volcano…let her 12 year old diabetic son go to scout camp…alone…for an entire week?

Beats me…

But I did.

I let him go.

And. He. Lives.

The LOGICAL side of me knew he could do it.

-He has had diabetes for 12 years, and he is 12 years and 8 months old.

-He has had several dry runs. Scout camp with his father there 6 of the 8 days last year. Sleep overs, one night on his own each time. Scout camp-outs, 1 night on his own each time. Sixth grade camp, 3 nights on his own.

-All the dry runs acting as tests…all of which he passed with flying colors.

-He changes his own sets now.

-He counts his own carbs now…even when I’m there!

See! Logically…he was ready!

But mothers are not logical people. Mothers are emotional, protective, worst case scenario messes!!!

And our EMOTIONS hold our children back from being, well…self sufficient.

My emotions have held J back for many many years. I had to come to terms with the fact that this is true. Last year our endo told me, “Meri, you are doing a phenomenal job for J, but it’s J’s turn to shine. He can do this…you just have to LET him.”

So slowly this past year I have given him bits of responsibility here and there.

And slowly but surely…he was ready.

As I said good bye to him last week I wanted to run and scream towards the car with my hands waving above my head like a Muppet…begging him to get out, and stay home. But somehow I found the strength to squash down my emotions and let my logical side take over. (I KNOW! I’m like a Jedi master or something!)

I said goodbye and gave him a big hug. I looked him square in the eye and said, “You are going to be awesome this week.” I hugged him again and walked away…pushing away all the fears that were like rabid dogs trying to break down the door of my sanity.

Turns out my awesominity was rewarded in kind…J called me that night FROM HIS TENT! Turns out he got the highest campsite on the hill…and miracle upon miracle he had cell reception. On a mountain. In the wilderness. People! Do you get the enormity of this!

I’ve slept like a baby this week. J has called me to check in almost every night. He is doing PHENOMENAL!

So here I am, looking like a puffer fish because I am so proud, and marveling at how we got to this point in such a small amount of time. J starting Jr. High FREAKED me out at the beginning of the summer…

But now….he is ready. Which is nothing compared to the fact that, “I” am ready.

I never thought I would be here. I thought this place was unreachable. I thought this place was a fairytale…something irresponsible mothers bragged about.

But it exists friends! It exists!

Is he 100% on his own? HELL NO! I’ll be checking his meter…getting texts from school daily at lunch…double checking he boluses for meals…and of course, doing the 1am check for him.

This is all new ground for us. It was not easy getting here. But we are here in Big Foots proverbial lair.

He is ready. I am ready.

Letting go…it exists! It can be done, and you WILL do it someday! And when you start the process, I hope you will remember that the most neurotic, delusional, over protective mom in the blogosphere said it could be done…and I hope that will give you the strength you need to take your first baby steps towards (gulp!) letting go.

Monday, August 2, 2010

One of those moments...

There are moments in everyone’s lives that define them. Moments that move us to a sacred place…a place away from the world’s manipulations of what is supposed to be important.

I think my children’s diagnoses were three of those moments.

But since those three fateful days when my worlds as I knew them were knocked off their axis, there have been an armful of moments that just as suddenly, jarred me to my very core. Like aftershocks in the earthquake of diagnoses. In these instances my true priorities were made clear. Most of these moments lasted just seconds, but their grasping influences left imprints that forever changed the way I look at my life.

Last week I had one of those moments.

Since we were kicked out of our house for termite fumigation, we were lucky enough to house sit for my in-laws while they were on vacation. My husband had to leave unusually early for work one morning and since it was just an hour after the normal nighttime blood sugar check, he offered to check the boys before he left. (Uninterrupted sleep for the momma! Score!)

The next morning I started breakfast and was happy to see that B had finally gotten a good night sleep. It was almost nine and he was still lying peacefully in his bed. My husband called and we chatted about his morning as I scrambled the eggs. A couple minutes into the conversation I mentioned that B was still sleeping like an angel…


“Crap what?” I said.

“Crap, I forgot to check the boys before I left.”


(That was the sound of my heart dropping into my stomach.)

B had been going low almost every night that week.

…And he hadn’t been checked since 11:00pm.

…And he was still sleeping. (An hour and a half later than usual.)

I hung up on my husband, grabbed the blood sugar monitor and ran to the room. I stopped in the doorway to listen…to watch. Frozen…my mind like an ocean, the waves of emotion rolling…willing him to move with my stare.

Please move. Please breathe. Cough! Twitch! Roll over! SOMETHING!

There was nothing. He was motionless.

I walked slowly over to him, my eyes fixed on the blankets twisted around him. I sat beside him and brushed his hair away from his forehead.

It was that second. That one second. I was facing my worse fear.

But his forehead was warm. That was good, right? I don’t know. In that second his warm forehead was like angels singing…the warmth swept over my body.

And then he wrinkled his nose. Thank the good Lord above.

I checked his sugar and found him to be 52. I ran to the cupboard for some juice. And as I ran back I was hit by another thought.

What if he couldn’t drink this juice?

What if?

I gently touched the straw to his lips and he immediately puckered in his sleep…resolutely sipping.

THAT was one of those moments. The kind of moment that we see far too many times. The kind of moment that explains why I have so many gray hairs. Why must we stare our children’s mortality in the face on a daily basis? What purpose can this serve?

I honestly feel there IS a purpose. Without these kinds of moments...the world wouldn't have nearly the amount of good that it has. Once you get a glimpse out the window of what could be…the sadness of losing a child, a friend or a loved one…or once you see firsthand another human being suffer…you are changed…period. Priorities are changed, views are changed, what seemed important before just isn’t important anymore.

I hate that bad things have to happen to good people. But I firmly believe that bad things MAKE good people…the refiners fire molds us into compassionate, empathetic, appreciative human beings. Well, it does this for most people. For some people the fire doesn’t make them better, but bitter instead.

I’m not perfect people. I have flaws for days...but I do appreciate what I have. Every little thing.

I APPRECIATE the fact that my 8 year old child can play soccer.

I APPRECIATE the fact that my son is right now at scout camp…LIVING! Having an adventure without his mother hovering over him!

I APPRECIATE the fact that my oldest son can drink orange juice whenever he wants.

I APPRECIATE the fact that my 6 year pricked his finger 14 times last Friday, sporting a broad smile EVERY time!

I appreciate the little things. Because little things around here, are HUGE! Hugely. Wonderful!! And just when I am about to get absorbed in my selfish ways...WHOA! One of these moments happen and I realize I am DANG lucky to have what I do. I am completely blessed!

God bless those awful, emotional tsunami-like moments. They suck beyond measure, but they clarify what some don’t get the opportunity to see…life is too short to sweat the small stuff. The small stuff needs to be EMBRACED and celebrated!

Diabetes does that for me. It forces me to appreciate the small things, and embrace the wonderfulness of each little blessing.

When we are old…when we are ill…when life hands us crap… it is all of the little things that get us through.

A warm hug.

A sunny day.

A laughing child.

All the things money cannot buy.

I know at night, when you walk through the house to your child’s bedroom, and you see him or her sleeping…dreaming…it is that moment that brings the clarity of what is really important.

Especially when you take that second to pause…and wait for them to breathe.