Thursday, September 24, 2015

My display.

Dear world:

You see what I let you see. I let you see my trophy shelf. I shine it so it will distract you.

You see my triumphs, you see my joy. And the tarnish you see? That’s there because I’m human.

I’m not perfect.

But I spend a lot of time lining my trophy shelf with photos of perfect moments. One-second snapshots that tell you nothing of my life other than what I want you to see.

I let you see my happiness.

I let you see all the things that I know, and nothing that I’m not sure about.

I dust my shelf, and it shines.

It exudes confidence. Sureness. Humanity. Strength. Joy.

I hope it exudes hope and kindness too.

It’s bright and pleasing.

I like to look at it.

But what you don’t see tells another story.

Under my shelf of blindingly pristine moments, lies a large closet that holds the rest of the story.

I don’t let you see that, because that story is the bigger picture, and that bigger picture is messy.

Diabetes lives in there.

In there are the days I forget to bolus for dinner.

There are needles, and carb counts and nighttime checks.

There are also my failures as a mother and a spouse.

There are my worries, and my fears for the future.

In the very back I keep dusty bottles of disappointment. Well stocked. Next to it is a vial of loss, and a large carafe of insecurities. Everything I don’t like about my life, I keep in here. It’s locked; I don’t want nosey people to fall upon the carnage. If they did, they would certainly be overwhelmed, and not see all the good on the shelf above.

I know what you’re thinking, and before you label me as fake, or pretentious…before you judge and think that what I let you see isn’t real…I want you to know there is a reason I do what I do. I do it on purpose. I display my life this way as much for me, as I do for you.

When I glance at my life I want to see the good. The shininess of those golden moments helps me to focus on what’s really important: Smiling faces of my children. The loving arms of my spouse. The affection of my family and friends…

Because if my ineptitude was on constant display, I would be a miserable person for sure.

I don’t want to shine a spotlight on my imperfections, or other's imperfections, or everything I wish my life was, or could have been...

I want my blessings to take center stage.

When I turn and really look at myself, I want the first thing I see to be a giant, shiny goblet of gratitude. I want to appreciate all the good in my life and not be blindsided with the loss.

There are days I carefully take out my pain from the closet below. On those days, I try not to be alone. I try to share my pain with people that understand. I study it, and I try to make sense of it.

And sometimes when I open the closet on the rainy days, to store those harder moments, the contents of my closet are easily seen by all those turned in my direction. I'm not ashamed of them--I'm not hiding them--I'm just not absorbed by them.

I won’t make them the star.

I will not.

I will put them back where they belong.  In a place where I can’t make them the focus.

Before you chime in that the closet is the “real me,” I want to make clear that the beautiful shelf that displays my life? It’s real too. It’s just as real as the sadness that lies underneath. 

The difference is…I want to focus on the blissful moments of my life. Those happy moments are not faked...they are the fleeting, golden moments that need to be documented and cherished. 

I want to be thankful, happy, and grateful when I look at my life.

I want to see the joy and work hard to attain one of life’s most prized accomplishments: contentment.

I’m not displaying the closet, because those things aren’t my goals, and they certainly don’t take precedence to the calm. Sure, they are part of who I am, and I own them.

God knows I own them.

But resiliency comes from prioritizing the moments.

And those shiny moments you see on Facebook? Those are the ones I want to remember.

When I die, I don’t want to be bitter. I want to be Grateful.

So I will display my smile, and those one in million moments with a glad heart.

I am blessed.

Look at all you see before you. It just can’t be denied.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Nighttime Check in drawings

Every night, before I go to bed, I check my boys’ blood sugars.

Checking a sleeping teen/tween’s blood sugar is more a delicate process than one might think.  I don’t know if their dreams or especially violent, or if they are so exhausted they’re just not rational enough to control their actions, but if they are disturbed enough, they’ll fight against check.

They love to pull their hand away mid check, often sending the meter flying between the bed and the wall, nearly impossible to retrieve.

Or they try to pull their hand away as I hold onto it like a vice, which generally leads to all sorts of blood spurting about because I’m tightening my squeeze mid check.

Other times they’ll wake mid check and spaz out. 

Sometimes I wonder if they are clairvoyant.  They anticipate me going for the hand, and then they roll over away from me and slip their both their hands under their pillow.  Which requires me lying on top of them to retrieve a hand, and then rolling them towards me.

Sometimes their hands are tucked in their underwear for…warmth?

I’ll spare you the picture, and the description.

After I get the number, inevitably, one is always sleeping on his pump.  So to enter their number, I have to roll him over. 

Moving a sleeping teenager is akin to moving a dead body.  It’s a proven fact that dead bodies are heavier than awake bodies, mostly because dead bodies give you no help in the all-important arena of momentum…

Other times the pump is lost in a tangled web of sheets and legs.  Digging though can be tricky, as one needs to dig without being too invasive or handsy.  If they wake up during the feeling around phase…it can be awkward.

When I get lucky though, the pump is out in plain sight. 

Or other times they revert to autopilot after I check their blood sugar and just hand me the pump whilst sleeping.

Then there is the feeding phase if someone is low.

That is a whole other blog post.

The entire nighttime check process for all three boys takes less than five minutes, so I don’t mean to make a bigger deal out of it than it is.

But at the same time, I want to give all parents and caregivers props.

Nighttime checks can be a journey.  I think sometimes it’s just nice to know we aren’t journeying alone.

Monday, September 14, 2015

My old Endocrinologist knew I used to be awesome.

That title is ridiculous, but I’m not changing it, because it’s true.

The reason I’ve gotten through the last year without totally losing my mind is my endocrinologist threw me a ton of slack because she knows I used to be a rockstar and I have just been…busy? Overwhelmed? On a break?

Whatever the reason, my D-Moming skills have sucked bananas this year. Though the sting has been soothed a bit by the balm of my past awesomeness.

“I wasn’t always terrible” has gotten me through.

And now, in a couple weeks, I’ll be face to face with a new Endocrinologist who doesn’t know me, or my past.  All she’ll know are the numbers flashing before her. And If I’m going to be judged solely on those numbers? KILL ME NOW.


Kill me.

I honestly don’t think she’s going to be interested in the fact that I used to be awesome. I think all she’s going to care about is the fact that I’m not awesome now.

I know! Right?!

She won’t know awesome me.

She’ll only know suck me.

(I have a super sad face right now just typing that.)

Here’s the thing…

When school started this year, I stopped doing nighttime checks.

WHOA!!! WHOA!!! Put your hands down.

Before you start your nighttime-checks-aren’t-mandatory diatribe, let me fill you in on the last four weeks.

We’ve had:

2 no delivery alarms.
3 pumps falling off (being ripped off?)
1 pump running out of insulin
1 pump kinked after a 10pm set change

That’s a lot of nighttime incidences for one month. Unusually a lot. Obviously my nighttime check sabbatical is causing the diabetes cosmos to implode.

“I used to be awesome” isn’t cutting it anymore.

The other night I checked L at 11:00pm and found him to be 465. He had six units left in his pump and I used the bulk of it to correct the high number. A pump set change was obviously imminent.

I changed his set, folded some laundry and collapsed facedown in bed without setting an alarm. When my husband stirred in the morning I immediately bolted up. WHAT WAS I THINKING! I gave L  a huge amount of insulin and then didn't recheck to make sure he was going down, or maybe even going down too fast.

Complacency: A feeling of smug satisfaction with oneself over ones past achievements that puts one in a place of comfort, whether reasonable or not.

He’s woken up alive for ten years, right?

That’s how I went to bed. Complacent.

That isn’t how I woke up.

I rolled out of bed and walked to our bedroom door, when my husband asked where I was going.

I closed my eyes, leaned my forehead on the doorjamb and said, “I’m just going to make sure L is still alive.”

I took a deep breath, opened the door and began to walk down the hallway, only to be immediately comforted by the whisk of air I felt behind me as Doug joined me on my walk of shame.

I opened L’s door and looked to his bed.

He was gone.

“Well at least we know he’s ok,” said my sweet husband.

I nodded to him reassuringly, but that nod was a big fat lie. I knew L could have woken up low, gone downstairs and collapsed before he got what he needed.

(Come on guys. It could have happened. Work with me here!)

But, you’re right, I also knew he was probably ok.

Probably. It’s the story of my life.

I paused to watch B’s chest. Thankfully the familiar rise came quickly, and then I hopped as casually as I could downstairs to find L.

He was on the couch watching cartoons. He had already checked his blood sugar and clocked in at 211.

Yes, all was well.

But still, there’s been a lot more diabetes drama around here than there needs to be.

Nighttime checks are back on the table.

My alarm will be set tonight. 

I just hope my ASTA is in remission.

PS: ASTA is a real condition. I've suffered from it for a couple years now. It stands for Always Sleeping Through Alarms.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Bitter or better?

When I was a young child, it was the “old people” who passed away. The ones who were 90.

Old. People.

They had grey hair and wrinkles for days. They were those who were on oxygen for years and had motorized wheel chairs. They had grandchildren and great grandchildren. They had lived though wars that were in my textbooks.

And then my grandmother died when I was 9.

A small wake up call, as she didn’t have grey hair at all. In fact, she was fun and full of life.

And then my friend Elvia passed away when I was 15.

She was driving home from purchasing her new car and her car just veered off the road. It seems the tires weren’t balanced properly.

And then my boyfriend Jeff died when I was 16.

He was just playing basketball, and his heart gave out.

And then my cousin Todd died in his early 20’s. He just passed in his sleep.

And then more.

And then my husband.

And then more husbands.

And friends…young friends, with young children.

People who I love dearly.

This is not what I expected at all.

I know that everyone dies. But I thought more of them would have grey hair when they did. Not that death is easy at any age…

I had no idea that being a grown up meant being submersed in so much heartache. If I knew that going in…I might not have been in such a hurry.

I’m 42 now and it seems like I’m in a vortex of people passing to the other side. People my age. People younger than me. And children! Was it always this way? Has it always been people passing so young and I was just shielded from it?

Sure back in the pioneer days when disease and hardship ran rampant, I get it. But today?

It hurts losing those that I love around me.  There are so many of late that I’m a little pissed off about it.

Which is completely selfish of me, I know.

Because if I talk the talk of my faith, I need to walk the walk too. And walking the walk means living in a way that is consistent with my beliefs. And If I did that? What would this living look like?

It would be joyful, I believe.

I would celebrate their freedom from the world’s cares.

I would celebrate life more authentically. I would embrace my hardships knowing that things could always be worse, and knowing hindsight is a noble teacher.

I have a home.

I have a family.

I have love.

I have so much.

If I wanted to honor those that passed I’d stop being so pissed off about it and DO something. Because I’m pretty sure if I had their vantage point in heaven, I wouldn’t want my loved ones taking this life for granted. I’d want them to live. REALLY live!

There is no good way to die. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. Even if it’s expected, it’s never expected. It always leaves a gaping hole in our heart; it always fractures our soul, if even for a short time. But once the shock wears off and the scabs form to protect us from the hurt, we can honor these warriors that have gone before us by trying to live better, love better, appreciate better, forgive better, try better…

I want to be better.

For them.

For me.

For my family.

For my new husband.

For my life and the life of those around me.

What does that first step look like?

Maybe it looks just like this. Blogging more.

Maybe it looks a lot like a smile.

Regardless, there is a beginning…and I think I’m there.

I’m reading Brene Brown’s book, “The Gifts of Imperfection.” This quote jumped off the page: “Joy is as thorny and sharp as any of the dark emotions. To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees—these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. When we lose our tolerance for discomfort, we lose joy.”

Instead of numbing all the pain away, I’m going to lean into the sadness by going out and living today purposely, with joy, collecting happiness and light in the eyes of those sweet souls that live around me. 

And once that light is gathered? I’m going to give it away.

If we all do it, maybe this world will be better despite all the hurt.  Because I know we’re all hurting from something…that’s just how life works.

If we can’t take all the pain and turn it into something good, we’ll be miserable human beings for sure. If there is a reason for sadness, surely it is so that we may know joy. Yin and Yang.

We’ve got to do something.

Mindful, joyful engagement with each other might showcase our vulnerabilities, but really, aren’t the best friendships built out of vulnerable moments?

It’s ok that we’re hurting. But with that hurt we can choose to be bitter, or better. 

I choose better. 

What about you?

Another quote by Brene: "Happiness is a human emotion connected with our circumstance. Joy is a spiritual way of engaging with the world that's connected to practicing gratitude." 

Instead of letting the grief hinder us, maybe it can set us free.