Monday, November 29, 2010

Special Sib of a D-Kid day late...

Alexis and Sherry started Special Sib of a D-Kid Day and I think it's such a great idea to highlight the brothers and sisters of those PWD. Our special little sib is Abby. Abby is five and a red-headed, crazy, wild, fun-loving, little ball of energy!

Abby loves her big sister. She also loves to pester, annoy, disturb, and just plain irritate her no end. This MIGHT be her favorite hobby. She looks up to Lily as well. She thinks what Lily says is accurate 100% of the time. She listens to Lily when she is trying to figure out how to piece something together and she goes to Lily to ask for help with her letters and sounds. She is understanding and accepting that Lily hates all things related to girls. When they play together, she is happy to play ball or sword fighting or the Wii. She tries her hardest to impress Lily with her skills and knowledge.

Abby is not diabetic. She has asked many, many times when she will get her diabetes. She has asked more times if she can get her "pop too" (check her blood sugar...just a pop and squeeze). She sees the attention that Lily gets from diabetes and she says things that she hopes Lily will find reassuring when Lily is having a bad D day. She tries to stay quiet and let Lily "have her moment" when her blood sugar is really high and she is acting irrational. She also wants to treat herself to whatever goodie Lily is having for her low. I, of course, oblige.

Abby was barely 2 years old when Lily was diagnosed so she has never really known Lily to NOT have this disease. I was blessed with this little bundle of joy. All of her teachers, parents of friends, and family agree that Abby is the happiest child they have ever run across. She is also the most flexible. Abby has no problem transitioning if things go awry. She is not the child that loses it if Plan A fell through at the last second. She is the child that says "Oh well, what now?" I need this in my life. She balances us. You can always look at Abby and see those big brown eyes, little freckles, and HUGE dimples staring back at you. She is always smiling...unless of course she is sleep-deprived. Sleep deprivation strangely turns Abby into a red-headed devil...just ask my boyfriend who had the pleasure of spending an entire sleep-deprived weekend with my children! Haha!  I have NO idea where she gets that from...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Long Night...

My ass is dragging. Literally. One, because I am exhausted from a bad D night. Two, because I have tackled and taken out every sweet this week that has been put in front of my ass is literally dragging about two inches lower than usual since every dessert has attached itself there. Ugh.

So, last night....I am not sure if last night was brought on by yesterday or by last night. Confusing, right? It's diabetes and it has a mind of its own. Lily had her Thanksgiving Day luncheon at school yesterday only it wasn't during lunch, it was an hour and a half AFTER lunch...just for shits and giggles. So bolusing her for the luncheon was not easy nor was it fun. I didn't have the food in front of me since I was at work and no one could tell me the portion sizes so I did as much research as I could and estimated. Apparently, not well. She was over 300 in the afternoon and was at a playdate. I had her go ahead and correct herself. I then picked her up and we met another friend for Mexican food...not the wisest food choice but hey, I have yet to EVER turn down fajitas and a strawberry margarita so I had a selfish moment.

I bolused her for the amount of carbs I usually bolus her for and thought I did a good job...until I went to bed. She was 198 when I put her in bed at 8:30. I checked her at 11 and she was 356! UUUGHHHH. I bolused her a small amount to see if she'd come down and set the alarm for my usual 2 AM check.

At 2, she was 396. WTF? I checked ketones, .2 so I didn't think it was her pod at this point. I was damning myself for the stupid margarita. We should have had edamame or something glucose friendly. I had to give her insulin, which meant I had to get up again at 4 because I am too paranoid to give her insulin in the middle of the night and just go back to blissfully sleeping. At 4, she was 206. Phew. I stumbled back to my bed, climbed in, and laid there staring at the ceiling until 5:30. Oh. My. God. Once I fell asleep, the dog woke me up at 6:32 to pee. I threw in the towel, got out of bed, got coffee, and got my dragging ass in gear for work.

Sooooo tired. Just another day in the life! And I'm thankful there is another day...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankful Fors...

My favorite holiday EVER is Thanksgiving...given that I love to eat more than just about anything in the world. LOVE to eat. So, in honor of my favorite holiday, I am going to make a short list of things I am thankful for and I'm sure it will be random...

1. I am thankful for my job (and the perks of working at a diabetes center while having a T1 child)
2. I am thankful for unlimited text messages so I can communicate with the boyfriend all day
3. I am thankful for Skype for above reasons
4. I am thankful for Skin Tac (gets the Omnipod off of Lily)
5. I am SUPER thankful that I still get along with the ex and his family
6. I am thankful that Carolyn (my other significant other) is as crazy as I am
7. I am thankful that my sister lives near me and likes to drink wine as much as I do
8. I am thankful that it does not snow in Houston...therefore, no shoveling of driveways or scraping windshields.
9. I am thankful for a semi-fast metabolism and love of exercise since I like to eat so much
10. AND lastly but MOST importantly, I am thankful for the two best little girls anyone could ask for!!!

That's my list for this year...or this afternoon anyway.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Self Discovery...

This blog has taken a turn since my life took such a drastic turn. It seems to be a means of self discovery. I had a great life. Things changed. It happens. It doesn't mean I'm a different person. I am still the same old me...keyword "OLD" me. Meaning, I am who I started out to be. I was a fun-loving, beer drinking, semi laid back (other than the mild case of OCD), super romantic girl. I got married very young, to my standards, and life happened very quickly after that...we bought a house, we got pregnant, I started my Masters, I quit working, I got pregnant again, I finished my Masters, Lily was diagnosed with diabetes...all of a sudden, we were adults. Eric was working his ass off to make ends meet (at barely 30) while I was taking care of two babies and managing a disease I knew nothing about. We did it all the best we could. Neither of us was happy. We coexisted in a marriage for a very long time simply because we were too tired to make it better, too busy to stop and think about it, too unhappy with each other to really care about trying. And the funny thing is, people always think diabetes played a part in it. IT DID NOT.

Since then, we have recognized our faults, taken blame, assigned blame, almost killed each other, stayed close friends, all while still raising two little girls and starting new lives. We are both happier. We have both moved on.  No one understands how we could be married for 10 years and move on so quickly. Well, we are both pretty determined people, both Type A, and both hate to be in limbo (probably all things that contributed to the demise of our marriage).

I have since reconnected with a friend from high school that turned into a boyfriend. It wasn't supposed to, but it did...and it is a great thing. Even Eric likes him. My boyfriend came to the JDRF Walk with us the weekend before last and spent the whole morning with my entire family and most of Lily's friends. And it was comfortable to me. He seemed so comfortable. He wasn't even nervous. So sure of himself and us. Wow. I was impressed. I hope that my girls find that sort of comfort in themselves as they grow. I hope they meet someone that makes them feel like they can conquer the world.

So, I feel like I have been in a state of self discovery for months. My dad told me when I was in college and suffering from my first heartbreak that, "Every bad relationship is a stepping stone to the right one." I always believed him. I also believe that every relationship has TWO people in it so it is important to reflect on what you did to contribute to the end and learn from it. So, that is where I have been for awhile. I don't want to take the same mistakes with me in this new relationship and I haven't. I am just thankful to have been found again by this amazing person. And I am thankful that I have no regrets about any relationships I have had. I've been one blessed girl...that's for sure.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Deposit...

I've been thinking all weekend about people in general. And how certain things make certain people very happy. Not everyone is the same. For some, it is affection. For others, it's compliments. Some people find their happiness through their work and some through their kids or spouse. Everyone is so different. We all tick in a different way.

I have had a wonderful weekend with my dad and stepmom here, the girls with me, my sister and niece, my boyfriend just being him, etc. It's been amazing. I kept thinking of how what makes me happy comes in little deposits. Like I have an account....and it needs to maintain a order to maintain this balance, deposits must be made. For me, those deposits come in the form of affection. Not just a physical affection, but an affection overall. So, every time there is a compliment or a sentiment, a deposit is made. It makes me feel just a little richer. Every time my kids grab my hand or bury their heads in my neck, a deposit is made. Every time my boyfriend calls me "baby," a deposit is made. This is what makes me rich...feeling loved and feeling special to those around me. And by them doing this, I want to make as many deposits in their banks as I can.

I have learned so much from feeling this way myself. It makes me want to really discover what it is for others that makes them feel richer. I want to be a part of their happiness. For Lily, I think acceptance is what she needs right now. For Abby, it's affection...she is just like me. For my boyfriend, it's patience and understanding. There is something different for everyone and I think it's important to find out what that is so that you can make a deposit for them.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pure exhaustion...

I have got to get some good sleep. Soon. I slept great all last weekend because my kids were with Eric and I was just one little happy camper for personal reasons. Now, Eric is out of town and I have the girls for a week. Which is normal, and fine. Only, prior to this new life, I wasn't working. I didn't have to get up at 6 AM and God forbid...put make up on. Put clothes on other than gym attire for that matter. I can no longer roll out of bed and get in the car in my slippers to drive car pool. I have to be...put together. Ugh. With lipstick and 7:30 AM.

And I have to quit drinking so much. I am not some sort of hard core party animal, whining wino mommy. But I do like a nice cold beer or a spicy, bold red wine with dinner. My dad and stepmom are in town as well and when they are, the drinks are flowing.  And it makes me more sleepy. So, I go to bed at 11:00. I go to bed stressed out because I have been a total neurotic nutcase for at least 24 hours. I have treated my boyfriend horribly for no other reason than he scares the shit out of me sometimes...he's so...amazing. That's another post...anyway, I do my nightly routine of brushing teeth, letting dogs out, turning lights off...and most importantly, checking Lily's blood sugar. She was 178. This was, again, at 11:00. I set my iPhone alarm for 2:30 like I do every night, turn on my sound machine, and fall into the land of the sleeping. At 2:30, I am awakened by the annoying alarm. I open one eye, and spend the next 10 minutes convincing myself that Lily is fine, she was fine at bedtime, I really don't need to get up. Then, my mind goes straight to Leahanne's post yesterday on d-mom and how we get up every night to check, etc. Then, my mind goes to Dead in the Bed Syndrome. So, I drag my sleepy rear out of bed and make my way to Lily's room. She is sleeping like a little angel with her finger peeking out as usual. Low and behold, she was 82. WTH? She dropped so quickly and had no insulin on board at 11. She had played ALL day long with my dad so I can only assume exercise caught up with her? Who knows. What I do know is that I gave her 20 grams worth of chocolate milk at 2:30 AM with no insulin and she was 104 this morning at 7 AM. So, she would have dropped severely had I not checked her. I am constantly reminded EACH time I think it's okay to go back to bed of why I don't.

So, I am a tad tired today to say the least. After that close call, I had trouble going back to sleep. It's worth all of it though. Every second. To wake up this morning to Lily standing next to my bed asking me if she can have her own email is priceless. I am her mom. I am her guardian. I am her least for now.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Blah, blah, blah...

Today I feel blah...again. I'm sitting at work with not a lot to do on this Veteran's Day. It's pouring down rain outside which only makes the air conditioner feel colder and my eyelids feel heavier. If it weren't for the constant sounds of the Metrorail horn and the ambulances passing by, I would be out cold...gladly...hopefully, with my mind in a better state in Dreamland than it is in Reality.

I'm beginning to feel like Stink the Dump Truck that Lily wants. You build a wall, you tear it down only to start building it again. This stupid wall...this wall that wouldn't even be there had I made better choices. I follow my heart and not logic. I do things before thinking 99% of the time. I say things before thinking. If it comes to the mind, usually it slips out of the mouth. Now, some people love this about me. You always know what I'm thinking and there is no question as to where you stand. Others, it drives them insane.

I am a passionate, romantic, HIGHLY energetic, neurotic, FEMALE. Not good combinations...lethal in fact. So, when I am passionate about something, I go at it with the strongest perseverance of anyone I know. In all aspects of my life, diabetes included. If I see something I want or something that I think needs to be accomplished. I go after it with all I have, plain and simple. It is how I operate. I know no other way. Likewise, if someone does something I really don't like, I go after them with the same perseverance...only politely.

So, I am trying to learn after this roller coaster year of my life, how to slow down. I had someone tell me once, "It's like you are driving to New York across country and it's the most beautiful drive yet you don't see it because you are so focused on getting there." That pretty much sums up my way of thinking. And now, I am trying to tear walls down and NOT rebuild them. Leave the spaces open and full of light.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

6th Annual DBlog Day-My Six Things

Today is the 6th Annual D-Blog Day and this year's theme is to write about six things you want people to know about diabetes. This is my first year participating and I am so excited to be a part of education!!

So, here goes my six things:

1. Diabetes is not a death sentence. My child is not dying, she is not fragile, she is not a charity case...she is a growing, well-adjusted little girl that has a chronic disease. Does this suck for her? Yes. Is it the end of a normal life for her? No. Does it make her different? Everyone is different from someone two people are the same so sure, she's different. But diabetes is not the ONLY thing that makes her different from you or anyone else.

2. Yes, there are in fact two types of diabetes. Lily has Type One or Juvenile Diabetes. Just to keep it simple...her pancreas is useless. It is broken. She needs insulin in order to live. Insulin is not a cure but it is her lifeline. Type 2 Diabetes can often be controlled with diet, exercise and medication. Some Type 2's take insulin as well. A Type 2 diabetic can still make insulin though, a Type 1...cannot.

3. Can you catch diabetes? No, you can't. When Lily was first diagnosed, I had a playdate at the house and the mom asked me if her daughter could "catch the diabetes." I didn't know whether to burst into tears or smack her. Lily had only been diagnosed a month...tops. I explained that it is not a virus that can be caught. I left it at that and never invited them over again. I wish I would get that same question now when I am not so defensive and sensitive. I would love to explain what diabetes is and what it means for us.

4. No, I did not give Lily diabetes by feeding her too much sugar. You cannot give someone diabetes, as previously stated. Diabetes just happens. It happens whether you fed your child all organic food or only processed food. It happens whether you breastfed or didn't breastfeed. It happens whether you gave them gluten or gluten free. And it happens whether you had a home birth, a birth under water, or one in a damn tree. It happens. I constantly hear people try to explain to me why Lily probably got it. I still get defensive about this because I am her mother and I am responsible for her. I am not, however, responsible for her getting diabetes. Just like my mother is not responsible for me having PMDD (really bad PMS basically). She was dealt a hand of cards that we didn't necessarily want but got. It's life. It's our life and it is still a pretty darn good one!

5. Diabetes is not NO big deal. Every time she eats, pricks her finger, runs, plays, jumps, swims, cries, dances, does a cartwheel, and so on, it is a reminder to her and to us that we live with diabetes every second of every day.This is why we choose to remain POSITIVE. It is very easy to stay depressed with diabetes. It is always in your face. It's okay to hate it but it doesn't make it go away. Lily carries this on her shoulders at all times. She quietly reminds me to make sure she got her bolus (insulin at meals or snacks), she quietly makes sure I have trained the parents of friends if I am leaving her there to play, she is always aware of the pump she wears 24/7 on her tiny frame. It never leaves us, it does not sleep, it does not take a vacation...and neither can her "pancreas" which is a combination of Lily, her mom, her dad, and her sister...or anyone that loves and cares for stated in #1, she is not an unhealthy, frail child. This has helped to mold her into the strong, creative person she is. Diabetes is a collaborative effort for a family. We all have it.

6. Lily can eat whatever she wants. If she is at a birthday party, please don't hold back on the cupcake or the sprinkles. If there is a special occasion at school, call and let the parents know but don't single my child out by skipping over her at snack time. This is the most common myth I have heard from day one. I believed it too before we thrown onto this path of life. Diabetics CAN EAT SUGAR!!! Lily can eat whatever she'd like as long as it is counted for accurate carbs and she is given the appropriate amount of insulin. Cupcake? Sure! Just let her give herself insulin. She can have candy, ice cream, chocolate syrup, you name it! Do I give it to her often? Once a day. That's the rule in our house for everyone, diabetes or not. One dessert a day. I feel like if I deprive her of sweets, she will end up hiding out to eat them and that can cause many problems down the road. So we take the approach of everything in moderation. It works for my family.

So, that's my six things for D-Blog Day! I hope I have educated at least ONE person on diabetes and what life is like with it!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Our diagnosis...

I just realized that I don't think I have ever shared our diagnosis story. It is much the same as the other millions of kids that have diabetes. It is different for me since it is my story, of course...

Every year the Greek church here in Houston puts on a Greek Festival! It is a great time with great food and great music! My family is Greek so it is something that I used to really enjoy doing. So, on October 4, 2007, I took my daughters to the Greek Festival with some of our friends. It was over 100 degrees, not abnormal for Houston, and it was crowded! We were listening to music and dancing like crazy. Lily, my then 3 year old, was going through sippy cup after sippy cup of water and peeing the Port-O-Potty. Not so fun. I didn't think much of it since it was over 100 degrees, as previously stated.

So, one of my friends told me maybe I should get her checked out...maybe she has a urinary tract infection or something. I have always leaned more towards the cautious side with my kids and their health...everything organic, healthy foods, regular doctor visits, immunizations on time, etc. So, the next morning I took her to our pediatrician. I told him she had been tugging on her panties for about a week and kept complaining that she felt uncomfortable "down there." He did an external exam and sent me home. This was a Friday. The next morning, my ex and I were on our way to a birthday party and I told him about the doctor's visit the day before and my concerns that Lily may have a UTI. He made us turn around and go in at that moment so they could do a urine test. I was furious. Now, we would be late to the party. I sat in the office fuming while we waited for the results.

When the doctor came in, she closed the door quietly and sat down. She kept looking between the two of us. My heart suddenly quit beating and I couldn't breathe. She said, "Lily has high levels of glucose in her urine and you need to go straight the ER. She will probably be admitted for a few days....type 1 diabetes." That's all I heard...diabetes. My mind went straight to the pantry. How much sugar had I given her? Did I give her diabetes? I knew nothing. No one on either side of our family is diabetic and I was not familiar with this disease. My ex on the other hand was trying not to cry. I kept looking to him for that look that tells me the doctor is indeed a lunatic. No such look. He knew all about diabetes just because his dad is a doctor and he's always been interested in medicine. I was in shock and denial. I even called the woman whose birthday party we missed to nonchalantly tell her we are on our way to the ER that Lily probably has diabetes. Just like we're grocery shopping or something. Thinking clearly was not happening at this point.

He took Lily to the ER and I stayed home with Abby who was barely 2 at the time. Her sugar levels were in the 300's but they said she had no ketones so they sent her home. What the hell was a ketone? No one explained much to us. I, of course, got on the Internet and completely freaked myself out with words like stroke, kidney failure, blindness, DEATH. Eric walked in the door with Lily, had her pee on a ketone test stick, got a high reading, and walked right back out the door. that...our lives were changed forever. The world as we knew it had ended and we started with a whole new world. Literally, overnight, the words insulin, diabetes, carbohydrates, ketones, etc. became the most used words in my vocabulary. The walls started to close in as I realized Lily couldn't just be DROPPED off at camp or school. She couldn't just GO to a playdate. She couldn't just EAT FOOD. We couldn't sleep through the night anymore...oh my God, she could DIE. I spent a couple of days panicking and then snapped out of it. This precious little girl was looking to me to stay in control and let her know that her life is still worth living...and that she was going to be fine. I may doing a lot more behind the scenes but she will have a childhood if that's the last thing on Earth I ever give her.

So, we went on with life and I privately mourned our previous life but focused on making our new life just as good. I threw myself into the diabetes's all I know how to do in a crisis situation...educate myself. It is the only thing that made me feel better and more powerful against this disease...was to know it backward and forward. And now I do. And now I dedicate the majority of my life, personal and professional, to educating others and to bringing this community together. Support and education are the key to living life well with diabetes!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My heart is a quilt...

Innocence is something that every child should have and hold on to for as long as possible. Innocence is what allows them to feel free of responsibility, and allows them to live in a creative world that they have created. A world full of dreams, hopes, fairy tales and adventure! I love to watch my girls as they engage in pretend play! They get lost in the world they have fantasized, much like I do when I find a really good book.

When I think of someone's heart, someone like mine, I think of a quilt. From the time I was little, until the age I am now, I have collected patches along the way. With each heartache, I have had to patch up that part of my heart. It still works the same, it just looks and feels a little different.And the patches hold. Some people have very few patches and others have enough to make a quilt. I think that each heartache you experience makes your quilt that more beautiful. It is hard to get through the tough times but they make us who we are. And how we get through those times determines, for me, whether or not your patch holds.

I wear a patch on my heart that has a huge blue circle on it, as does my daughter, her father and her sister. Pretty much anyone that loves her wears that same patch. I am sad that the kids lost a tiny bit of innocence with this patch but I know that it is going to be a part of their quilt later in life.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. I am hoping that each and every one of us that deals with this disease daily can at least educate a few individuals on what it is and what it is NOT. Lives can be saved just by knowing the risks, lives can be improved by knowing how to manage it properly, and lesson can be learned on how to cope.