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Welcome to a piece of our sweet journey of life. This blog is about our family life-- my husband, my type 1 diabetic pre-schooler, my spunky toddler, and myself! Enjoy!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

It's Not Their Fight: A Post on Type 1 Diabetes

I shouldn't expect people to understand.  If you don't have  Type 1 or aren't directly affected by someone with Type 1, how could you understand?

What I cannot stand is when people say "I don't see it as a big deal.  I know plenty of people with Type one who have had it forever and they're doing fine."

Okay.  Great for your friends.  I'm glad they are managing their diabetes.  However, here's a few things to consider:

1. Some people who have Type 2 think they have Type 1 because they don't know the difference between the two types.  So it's possible that your friends with "Type 1" actually have "Type 2," so sure, I can see how they'd be doing great.  With some thorough management of diet, along with exercise, and potentially some medicine, they could be doing super.

2. If your friends have had Type 1 "forever" then they've probably had it since before the invention of the blood glucose meter, ketone strips, insulin pumps, multiple daily injection insulin treatment, continuous glucose monitors, etc.  Therefore, if your friends had to count carbs, inject insulin once a day, and then potentially boil urine to see if ketones were present, then it very well could have seemed like "no big deal" but I doubt it.  I'm sure to that person who has Type 1, and to their parents, diabetes management was and IS a big deal.  My grandparents tell me that I have so much more to do on a day to day basis than they had to do each day when my aunt was a young girl diagnosed with Type 1.  That doesn't mean that their day to day lives weren't hard and filled with confusion while they were taking care of my aunt.  I call on them frequently to ask advice, and even to vent when other people just don't get it.  This is hard!  And by the time Michael has had Type 1 "forever" then I think we'll find it to be easier. But right now, it's new and it's a life changer.

3.  The point that families who deal with Type 1 want to get across is that those who have Type 1 should be treated as "normal" people.  But don't confuse normal with "no big deal."  If you think that a Type 1 person is "just like everyone else" then that family has succeeded in showing you that a disability doesn't define a person.  But never for a second assume that that individual's life or the life of their family is easy or that there's nothing to this diabetes stuff.  This is a full-time job at keeping someone alive.  Don't underestimate that.  You will never see the ins and outs of diabetes management unless you are directly affected by it.  You might occasionally see a blood sugar check, or perhaps an insulin injection.  But you're probably not silently counting carbs, doing mathematical equations and ratios in spiral notebooks to find out how much insulin to give, analyzing amounts of exercise to determine if an extra snack needs to be given, waking up at 2am to do a blood sugar check to make sure that the blood sugar isn't dropping too low or climbing too high, eating within a certain amount of time so that the insulin can meet up with the carbs appropriately, preparing documents and binders and gathering supplies for daycares or schools or work sites, etc.  This is only a part of things that families of those with Type 1 go through DAY TO DAY. 

Don't underestimate this disease.  Don't think that parents of Type 1 kids are overreacting when we count carbs and worry that our child will drop too low during a nap.  When our child wakes up, we praise God.  And yes, most of the time, everything works out fine but that's because we are working to make it so. This isn't a walk in the park.  It's a roller coaster that you can't get off of.

And I know that my son will be okay.  But I also know that it will take diligence and work to make that true.  I'm not afraid of diligence nor hard work.  I have great parents and they taught me those things well.  I'm blessed to have a husband who has just as much of a work ethic.  We work together to make sure our child is doing well.  I know that not everyone has the support system we do, and I'm grateful for what we have.  But understand, this is not an easy disease to control.  Control is such a subjective term.  And I don't like people to assume I'm overreacting when I'm busy keeping my child alive. 

So, the next time you come in contact with a family who is dealing with Type 1, view that particular individual just like everyone else.  Because he or she is like everyone else.    But don't think that they've got no worries internally.  They do-- you just can't see them.  And they probably don't want you to.


Until next time,

Much love, Reba



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It's the Little Things...

Last night, I was flying solo as Aaron was working late.  Noah was fussier than normal and I attributed it to teething pains.  He followed me around the house (he's quite the crawler now) as I put away laundry, unloaded the dishwasher, and washed off his green mess of a high-chair (he got to practice feeding himself baby food green beans earlier as I was preparing Michael's meal).  After consoling him due to his fussiness and giving him some medicine, I grabbed a clean sippy cup, filled it half-way with water, and handed it to him.  He grinned from ear to ear!  He was so proud of himself for holding his own cup and actually drinking some water from it! 

Michael ate a good hearty meal and was in a very good and happy mood.  He was being so well-behaved and I let him pick out a movie to watch.  He selected "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."  My heart did flips!  I LOVE watching Charlie Brown movies around the holidays.  After the movie was over, he asked for "More Chah Bown?"  So, I put in "Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving." 

Sitting down with both of my boys with me on the couch was so needed!  Noah happily drank from his sippy cup, which Michael was super entertained by watching.  Michael happily held his "mommy blankies" and watched the holiday film.  I reveled in the simpleness and my heart was full and happy. 

And it only got better!  Noah did a great job falling asleep.  Michael had a great blood sugar number prior to his bedtime snack, and he was such a big boy while we brushed his teeth together and got his pajamas on. 

At 2:00am, Michael says "Mama?"  at the foot of my bed!  He had exited his room, walked in the dark to mine & Aaron's room, walked around the room to my side of the bed, and grabbed my feet!  I was shocked that we heard none of this!  But, as I picked him up and took him to get a blood sugar check, I told him over and over how proud I was that he came straight to our room to get us.  His blood sugar was good and I changed his diaper and tucked him back in bed.  I said "Night night, sweet boy. I love you." He said "night night" in return, but as I was closing his door, I heard something I have waited to hear forever.  "I luh doe."  He said "I love you" !!!! I was so elated!  I said "Awww!  I love you!"  and stood in the hallway with a happy heart. 

Not long after that, Noah chatted me awake-- which is very typical these past several weeks.  I fed him his bottle and he went back to sleep like a champ. 

As I spent time maneuvering through my house in the dark, holding one child or another, I felt very peaceful and very happy.  It's the little things in life that add the constant dose of joy to the long days.  Little things like sippy cups, holiday movies, cuddling children on the couch, feeding a bottle, and hearing "I luh doe."  These things make the heart happy. 


Until next time,

Much love,  Reba


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Well, they *mean* well

It's frustrating to me how little the general public knows about Diabetes and the difference between the two major types. 

The other day, I was abnormally baffled by Michael's blood sugar numbers.  We were trying out a new carb to insulin ratio for lunch.  He was receiving more insulin at lunch in the last two days than he had in a long, long while.  His numbers were actually dropping into the lower range of normal when he was checked after waking from his afternoon nap. I was uncertain that we had chosen the right insulin dose at lunchtime and I was afraid that he would drop too low during nap time.  I got up from my desk to go to the bathroom just to get a change of pace and wash my hands in very hot water hoping to distract myself as I was counting down the minutes before Michael could be checked.  I must have had a look of worry on my face because two co-workers standing outside the door of the bathroom looked at me and one said "Are you all right?"  I looked up and just said "I'm battling diabetes today," and I pushed open the door to the bathroom.  Both said "Awww" and one said "Feel better."  I gave a sympathy smile and turned back to face them.  "It's not me.  It's my two year old son."  They both chorused "Awww" again and I headed into the bathroom. 

Tears stung my eyes.  They just didn't get it.  You don't get better from diabetes.  They just didn't understand this disease.  They didn't have any idea of its relentlessness.  They just didn't know and I found that to be sad.  They meant well, but they had no clue that their words could be so piercing because it signaled that they knew nothing about the disease from which they were hoping I'd "feel better."

And I feel the sting inside when a well-meaning friend is telling me about her decision not to attend a craft event with her young son this past weekend for a number of reasons, but when she said "And it's probably a good thing that we didn't go because there would be a lot of straight pins everywhere."  My heart felt a little pinch and a lump started to grow in my throat.  I nonchalantly said "Oh, he could have just practiced being a diabetic." 

I know she meant well.  And I know she didn't think about how her words might affect me.  And I promise I'm not even the least bit mad.  But I am sad.  Michael doesn't get a choice.  His fingers get pricked every day, multiple times a day.  I still ache for normalcy.  I miss the carefree days when I could worry about Michael picking up a stray straight-pin at a craft event.  Those days are gone.  Now we carry around medical straight pins called lancets with us at all times. 

Most days, diabetes definitely makes its presence known in our day-to-day life.  But, then there are moments like this when diabetes doesn't win, and when my heart is utterly filled with joy:

The other day I saw a Facebook post from a friend stating that she had participated in a local JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes.  I commented on her post and told her that it meant so much to me that she had walked.  She responded that she was inspired by Michael and by reading about our experiences with this awful disease.  So, if you're reading this today, thank-you.  My heart still wells with joy when I think that someone was inspired to get out and DO SOMETHING about this. That brings me to tears in the best way. 

Until next time,

Much love, Reba

Monday, October 20, 2014

When his blood sugar's in normal range...


...and he doesn't want to eat his whole plate of food, what do you do?

To the untrained eye, this looks like a situation to do a fist pump and raise your hands in the air like you just don't care. However, to the mom of a type 1 child who ALWAYS gets insulin with EACH meal and who does NOT get insulin before bedtime (due to the risk of falling too low), this posed a dilemma.

When we check Michael's blood sugar before meals, we plug that number into a Correction Factor. We record that number and it indicates the amount of insulin Michael needs to bring the blood sugar into normal range. We feed Michael supper and then we count the number of carbs he has eaten. We plug that number into a carb to insulin ratio to find out how many units of insulin Michael will need to work with the carbs he ate. Then we add the Correction Factor number and the insulin-to-carb ratio together, round down to the nearest half unit, and give Michael his insulin.

Tonight, his blood sugar was 158. When we plugged that into our Correction Factor formula, we knew it would come out to no units of insulin. Michael's dinner ratio is 1/50, meaning one full unit of insulin per 50 grams of carbohydrates eaten. That meant he would have to eat at least 25 grams of carb to warrant getting a half unit of insulin. Normally, this is no big deal. Usually, a sandwich (on reduced calorie bread), a no-sugar added fruit cup, and a veggie totals 25 grams of carb no problem. However, tonight we had made English muffin pizzas. Michael's serving was exactly 25 grams of carb. He gets 30 minutes to eat his meal before he gets insulin (since he's not old enough yet to promise to eat his whole meal-- and when he is, then he'll get insulin before he eats). We have to inject insulin before 45 minutes goes by. This gives Michael a 15-minute buffer to finish eating, and for us to do our math. Tonight, the timer went off at the 30 minute mark. Michael hadn't eaten all his pizza. Since I knew he wasn't going to finish, I got out 6 Ritz crackers with some peanut butter to try to get him up to 25 grams of carbs eaten.  After a few more minutes, he had only eaten 5 of the crackers, and wasn’t going to eat the last one.  The poor little guy was getting full.  So I poured a quarter-cup of chocolate milk—something with enough carbs that can be consumed quickly.  Finally, he had eaten enough to warrant getting a half unit of insulin. 

 

To any random person, they might be thinking “why would you try to make sure your child got insulin?  Shouldn’t you be happy that they didn’t need any?”  The fact of the matter is that Michael does need insulin because his body makes none.  Insulin is not medicine, and insulin is not a cure.  Insulin is life support.  Without insulin, Michael’s blood sugars would keep rising overtime and could lead to DKA again (which is the dire situation Michael was in when we were admitted to the hospital on our day of diagnosis).  If Michael did not get insulin, then the amount of carbs that he ate would not get converted into energy for the cells.  They would remain in his blood stream.  Since I do not give Michael insulin with his bedtime snack, (due to the risk of him going too low overnight if we did so), not getting insulin with dinner would mean that Michael would wake on Monday morning not having had any insulin since Sunday at lunch.  His blood sugar numbers would most likely be very, very high and unsafe.  Therefore, I felt like he needed to get a half unit of insulin in order to work with the carbs that he had eaten at supper, and to work with the carbs that he would eat at bedtime snack. 

 

Typically, his blood sugar numbers prior to his bedtime snack have been in the 200 range.  This makes me feel like he will be stable overnight and wake up the next morning with a blood sugar range between 150 and 195.  So, of course, after eating so much processed food at dinner to get his carb number to warrant insulin, his blood sugar was high.  385 high.  I stuck a cotton ball in his diaper to check for ketones before he went to bed.  However, after eating his snack and playing for a while, he hadn’t urinated.  So, we put him in his pajamas and an overnight diaper, stuck in a cotton ball, and tucked him in.  I hemmed and hawed over whether I should get up at 2am to check his blood sugar to make sure he wasn’t rising too high.  I decided to let him sleep and forgo a blood sugar check at 2am, and I would check him at 5am.  

 

A couple hours later, I went to bed only to be awakened yet another 2 hours after that by crying coming from Michael’s room.  Instantly I hopped out of bed, ran to his room, grabbed him, checked his pants to see if he was soaking wet (he wasn’t), and carried him to the living room and told him it was okay and I was going to check his sugar.  I held him while I checked his blood sugar by the light of the laundry room streaming into the kitchen.  His blood sugar was 339.  It had come down from 385 and that’s what I wanted to see.  I changed his diaper, and tightly rolled up the used diaper and tossed it into the hallway so that I could check the cotton ball for ketones.  I stuck a fresh cotton ball in his new diaper just in case his blood sugar was still high in the morning.  I tucked him back in and he was super about it!  I closed his door and picked up the used diaper on my way to the hall bathroom to check that cotton ball.  I grabbed a ketone strip and unrolled the diaper to get to the cotton ball.  Wouldn’t you know it, the diaper was wet, but the cotton ball was not.  I tried smushing the ketone strip against the areas of the diaper that had been urinated on, but those diapers are so super absorbent that there was no urine left to transfer onto the ketone strip.  I chided myself silently for wasting a ketone strip as I tossed the diaper in the trash can and washed my hands.  I got back into bed and eventually fell back asleep.  In the morning, his pre-breakfast blood sugar was 218.  Go figure.  I am very happy for this nearly normal number, but I am also baffled by diabetes.  Most nights if he is 153 at bedtime snack, his pre-breakfast number will be 141, etc.  I don’t see too much of this pre-bedtime blood sugar of 385, pre-breakfast blood sugar of 218.  A jump that big just doesn’t normally happen with Michael, but then again, what is normal about Type 1 Diabetes?

 

Until next time,

 

I’m just learning the curve.

 

Much love, Reba

 

Friday, October 17, 2014

"Baked" Pears with Honey and Cinnamon

While reading the November/December issue of Weight Watchers Magazine, I stumbled upon an article written about the different types of pears and ideas on how to use them.  Of course the easiest recipe stuck out to me and I had to give it a try!  The article recommended using Bosc pears due to their spicy honey taste.  I had Bartlett pears on hand, so I just went with that. 

I cut a pear in half, cored it, poked a few holes in it, and wrapped it in some parchment paper.  I put it on a microwave-safe plate and heated it for 2 and a half minutes.  I then put it in a bowl, drizzled some honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  It was so delicious!




I've tried a couple variations over the next few nights.  I tried just wrapping the pear in parchment paper and microwaving it.  But a lot of juices leaked out and got all over my microwave, so I recommend putting it on a plate before microwaving.  I tried leaving the pear on the plate to eat it, but it scooted all over the plate every time I tried to cut a bite with my spoon, so I determined that a bowl is the best vessel for eating this treat.  I  sprinkled pumpkin pie spice on the pear one time, but I like the taste of cinnamon on the pear the best.  These taste so good that I'm tempted to "bake" the second half of the pear, but I do restrain myself.  One half of the pear is really an adequate snack.

For those who are eating low-carb foods, fresh fruit is an excellent choice.  Four ounces of fresh fruit is about 15 grams of carb.  A nutritionist at Children's Hospital told us that a tennis-ball sized piece of fresh fruit is about 4 ounces.  Even with this helpful hint, I was still too nervous to try serving fresh fruit to Michael at his meals without measuring it out.  Therefore, recently, we used a gift card at Bed Bath and Beyond to purchase a food scale.  This makes measuring fresh fruit so easy!  The food scale we chose is simple to use (a must-have for me!) and sleek in its design (so it's not clunky on my counter top).  I weighed half a pear as I was preparing this treat the other night.  It weighs in at just under 4 ounces, making it a good snack choice. 

And if you'd like to omit the honey, I promise you won't be missing anything!  The honey adds a nice touch, but it's definitely not needed.  The pears I picked out were ripe and sweet enough on their own.  More of the juices were released when microwaved, which makes the pears taste sweeter.  This would be a great snack option, with or without honey.

I hope you'll give these a try.  I know I'll be buying more pears on sale at the grocery store this week. Michael is in a fresh fruit mood these days, and although his first preference is an orange, he always asks for a bite of my pear. I'm toying with the idea of serving him a "baked" pear without honey as part of his dinner.

Thanks for checking in and I hope you enjoy the pears if you choose to give them a try!

Much love,  Reba


    

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A flibbertigibbet, A willow the wisp, a clown

Today, how I feel about Diabetes is very similar to the lyrics of Roger's and Hammerstein's song "Maria" in the musical "The Sound of Music."

To get the gist of what I'm saying, I've reposted the lyrics here and I've replaced the word "Maria" with the unwelcome guest word "Diabetes."

How do you solve a problem like Diabetes
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down
How do you find the word that means Diabetes
A flibbertigibbet
A willow the wisp
A clown
Many a thing you know you'd like to tell it
Many a thing it ought to understand
But how do you make it stay and listen to all you say
How do you keep a wave upon the sand
How do you solve a problem like Diabetes
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand
When I'm with it I'm confused, out of focus and bemused,
and I never know exactly where I am...
Unpredictable as weather
It is flightly as a feather
It's a darling
It's a demon
It's a lamb
It'd out pester any pest; drive a hornet from it's nest
It could throw a whirling dervish out of whirl
It is gentle; it is wild
It's a riddle; it's a child
It's a headache
It's an angel
It's a whirl (replaced the word girl)
How do you solve a problem like Diabetes
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down
How do you find the word that means Diabetes
A flibbertigibbet
A willow the wisp
A clown
Many a thing you know you'd like to tell it
Many a thing it ought to understand
But how do you make it stay
And listen to all you say
How do you keep a wave upon the sand
Oh how do you solve a problem like Diabetes...
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand


(source for lyrics --minus the replacing of the word Maria)



Sound accurate?  I thought so.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Feeling like a Grown-Up

When Aaron and I bought our home, we knew we wanted to eventually screen-in our back patio.  Finally, after nearly 4 years in the house, we decided we needed to take the plunge and go for it! 

We researched different companies in the area who could screen-in a patio.  I found one I liked and called for a free estimate.  An appointment was set up, and the guy never showed.  And he never called.  Personally, I find that rude.  So-- on to the second company! 

This time, the guy actually came out to give us a free estimate.  He wrote down a proposal and outlined what would be done and how much it would cost.  The proposal would be good for 30 days. He said the project would take about two days-- maybe two and a half days. We thought this was fantastic!  Aaron and I thought it over for a week and then called that company to schedule the construction. Aaron called on a Wednesday.  The man said he'd come out to the house on Thursday of the following week and be done by Saturday.  Aaron would be out of town, but I would be around. 

No one showed up on Thursday.  I called the company and left a message.  No one called me back.  No one showed up on Friday or Saturday.  Aaron called on Saturday.  The guy said his materials were late.  Aaron asked him to just keep us informed since we would like to know when he'd be coming onto our property.  The guy said he'd be there first thing Monday morning. 

On Monday morning, it was raining when we woke up.  However, by 9:00am, it was a sunny day.  When I returned home from work, no progress had been made on the patio. Aaron called the company again.  The guy said that he woke at 5am and  saw that it was raining and called his whole crew and told them to stay home for the day.  Aaron politely asked to be kept informed and reminded the man that he could have given Aaron a call at anytime during the day.  The man apologized and said he'd be out to the house first thing Tuesday morning. 

FINALLY, on Tuesday when I returned home from work, progress had been made!  The project took three whole days to complete.  On Friday, when I left a check for my mother-in-law to hand to the guy, I expected that he was going to clean up the metal shards left lying on my side-walk where his saw had been.  Nope.  We had to do the cleaning up ourselves. If I had been the one to hand him a check, I would have asked for a discount due to failure to clean up, and failure to complete the job when he said it would be done (an entire week earlier).  But, such is life.  Maybe God knew that my mother-in-law should be the one to hand the man his check so that I wouldn't get into a tiff without someone I don't even know!  Or maybe my guardian angel asked for respite that day and God approved.  Whatever the case may be, the construction man got his full check, and to be fair, I do have the benefit of a beautiful screened in patio. 






We plan to hang an outdoor ceiling fan with a light once we find one to our liking.  We also are scouring craigslist and thebulletinboard.com looking for patio furniture on the cheap!  We'd like to get a couple of chairs or love seat for us grown ups to sit on while Michael plays and while Noah is in his exersaucer on the porch. 

I think we will truly enjoy our porch, especially in these upcoming fall days.  It's already so nice to leave open the door to the living room and let Michael play outside on the "beck poach"  ('back porch' in toddler accent).  He has some independence, and I have assurance that he's in a secure location.  Noah also just loves to be outside and this porch just fits the bill so well. 

Sometimes, I catch myself looking at the screened-in patio and thinking "We did it!  We acted like grown ups, found a contractor, and paid for the construction all on our own.  That was very adult."  Sometimes, I don't feel the age that I am and I have to remind myself that I really am a woman in her late twenties with a husband, two small children, a dog, and a house.  This isn't 'playing house' anymore like I used to do as a little girl.  Every day that I wake up, I'm living real life.  I'm being a real wife.  I'm really parenting my two young boys.  I'm picking up leaves off my floor because they still attach themselves to my dog's fur and he doesn't know how to vacuum yet.  And this is real.  Having a screened-in patio adds to that.  It makes me feel very grown up.

I am very happy with it overall.  I do feel as though customer service could have been better, but here we are at the end of the day and I'm okay. 

So, we welcome you, Fall, anytime you'd like to show up with your crisp afternoon breezes!


Until Next Time,

Much Love,  Reba


Friday, October 10, 2014

Noah: 9 Months

*I began writing this on Wednesday October 9, 2014.

My dearest Little Noah,

You are 9 months old today!  You are simply the most precious baby hands down.  You crinkle your nose when you smile and it's the cutest thing.  Just the cutest.  You're a very inquisitive little guy and you furrow your brow when you're trying to figure out how something works.  Your thighs have rolls and are just so super squishy, I can barely stand the cuteness!  These thigh rolls are such a surprise from the baby who had zero rolls at birth and who wore newborn diapers for nearly the entire first month of his life. 

You are quite mobile these days, but in your own way.  Although you are getting better and better at the official version of "crawling" each day, you do have your own system for scooting around on your tummy, and boy are you fast! If I set you down on the living room floor and place two toys on opposite sides of the room, you will decide which toy you want and you will quickly set out on your way to get it.  Your favorite things to go after are, in fact, not toys at all.  If I set my can of Diet Dr. Pepper on the floor, you will scoot yourself in warp speed to get it (you haven't succeeded yet because obviously I pick up the can so you can't grab it).  You also love to go after Akuna's toys, or Michael's shoes, or Michael's sippy cup.  Sometimes, you get to hold onto your very own "sippy cup" and gnaw on the straw.  You think you are so big and your smile totally shows it. :) 

You love to be held.  Let me repeat: YOU LOVE TO BE HELD.  Sometimes, I can set you down to play with some toys while I go stir dinner on the stove, etc, but some days, that's just not the case and you just feel the need to be held all day long.  (Pssst, here's a secret:  I don't really mind it, because I know you'll grow out of it and I won't get those moments back). 

You comfortably wear size 9 month and 12 month clothing, and you are in size 4 diapers.  I recently discovered how many pairs of baby socks I had shoved in Michael's sock drawer.  Needless to say, these days you are rocking some super cute baby socks with your outfits!  :) 

You show no discrimination toward any flavor of baby food.  You very much like to participate in dinner by sitting in your high-chair and sharing giggles and stares with your older brother. You make him laugh with your random bursts of "ahh!" and your baby shourts.  Sometimes, I remind you to "use your inside voice."

Recently, you are waking in the middle of the night around 2:45.  You will chat to yourself until you fall back asleep.  This is totally fine with me, but we will have to have a talk about nighttime volume.  Chatting to yourself at full-voice volume is a little loud for the rest of your family who are trying to sleep.  :)

You drink 5 bottles a day.  Most of the time, I can get you to hold your own bottle at your dinnertime feeding.  I find this to be absolutely fantastic.

You've reached that milestone age where they say that the eye color you currently have will be your eye color for life, and well, baby boy, you've got the prettiest big blue eyes a baby could have.  I'll have to lock our doors tight when the ladies start coming around in several years (read closely: SEVERAL years).  Because, we all know that with your big blue eyes and your dimply cheeks, you'll be quite the charmer. 

You are a sweet, precious boy and I'm excited to see how your personality continues to develop.   I love you more and more and more with each day and I can't imagine our lives without you.  I pray you ask Jesus to be Lord of your life early on so that you can walk with him that much longer.  I pray that you seek Him earnestly and always. 

I love you, precious boy.  Love, Mommy


 















Such a sweet boy. I simply love him to pieces.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Hospital Stay told through Pictures

Here are 17 photos to show you that the name of the game in the hospital is "hiding." 

On our car ride to the hospital:

 
The map of the hospital.  We were in the super tall colorful-windows building.:


In our first hospital room.  In the background, you see the crib and the not-so-comfy rocking chair:


Using Dada's shorts as a hat.  It's the little things. 


"Where's Michael?"  Here I am!


Sitting on the window sill.

Overlooking the beautiful skyline.  From the window we could see multiple interstates and highways, a train track, and lots and lots of cars.  Quite exciting for a near two-year-old little boy. 


Eating sugar free pudding (or "coo" as Michael says) as a snack.


Showing Dada all the trains and cars.


Playing peek-a-boo on the window sill.



Playing on the window sill again.  He spent a lot of time here.  :) 


Taking a picture with Mommy.


Playing in the play-room with Grandpa Randy while Mommy, Daddy, and Grandma Chips are learning about diabetes care in the hospital room.


Trying out the other play-room when the first one closed for the day.


On our way home.

Clutching his "mommy blankie" and knowing that everything will be okay.


Lunch on our first weekend home.  Slices of turkey lunch meat are a "free" food. 


I love this little boy.  And we can't forget his darling little brother.



These two little guys are my world.  They are so sweet and funny and energetic and I love being their mommy. 

When the skies look cloudy and gray due to diabetes, I'll remember the smiling faces of these little ones, and I'll remember that it'll be okay.


Until next time,
Much love  _Reba

Monday, October 6, 2014

Diabetes Mellitus Type I: An Inside Look at the Heart of a Mom (Part 2 of .....)

On August 11, 2014, my oldest son (who was not quite two) was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes and I inherently received Type 3 Diabetes:  a name "they" give to family members affected by this awful, awful disease.  No, I do not have an actual case of diabetes, but my heart aches for my son who forever does.

Diabetes is ugly.  There just is no other way around it.  It is ugly and relentless and it took up camp in my heart. 

We were given a boatload of information while at the hospital, and over the course of the next few days and weeks, we continued to pour over that information trying to find a smidgen of hope for a toddler diagnosed with this disease.  There is so much out there for school-aged kids.  But the road for infants and toddlers is not quite yet paved with such great information.  In a way, we are our own Daniel Boone's-- forging our way through the wilderness and learning as we go.  A lot of it rests on our ability to trust our instincts and go with our guts.  We were given one book that has been such a beacon.  It is specifically written for families who have infants and toddlers who are diagnosed with Type I.  This isn't a big book-- it can be read in one sitting if you have the time.  But who has the time if you've got an infant or a toddler (with Type I or without)?  So, needless to say, it took me a few days of reading it bit by bit.  One piece of information that I loved and that I cling to and try desperately to remember is that I am supposed to be a parent, not a pancreas.  Checking blood sugars, counting carbs, calculating insulin, squeezing tee-tee soaked cotton balls on ketone test strips, keeping diligent notes of food eaten and units of insulin given, can be overwhelming and it can suck the life right out of you.  If you let it.  Which I did.

I became a robot.  A machine.  My child relied on me to give him the correct doses of insulin to let his body function as best it could, and by golly, I was going to be vigilant and on top of it.  But I wasn't.  I became a pancreas.  I was solely focused on keeping Michael's blood sugars from sky-rocketing and plummeting.  If we had a to correct a low sugar, I spent the day wrangling high-blood sugars back into check.  If we corrected high-blood sugars, I spent the day making sure he didn't bottom out from a low blood sugar.  It was a constant game of back and forth, and in the midst of being a pancreas, I forgot how to be myself.

 A week after Michael's diagnosis, my husband sat me down.  He told me I wasn't the same person I was pre-diagnosis.  He told me a piece of me was left in that hospital in Birmingham.  I agreed.  I openly admitted that I was grieving for my child.  I yearned for the life he wouldn't get to have.  I longed for normalcy.  Do you know how much planning it takes to go to the grocery store when you have a diabetic toddler in tow?  Gone were the days of randomly tossing a clean diaper in my purse and heading on our way.  Now we would have to pack a water cup, blood meter, insulin, snack, glucagon, fast-acting carbs to bring up a low blood sugar if needed, etc.  (Our diaper bag is now rearranged to house these things all the time).  I looked at friends of non-diabetic toddlers and wished I could live the carefree lives they got to live-- and I was angry that they didn't even know how carefree their lives were.  I agreed with my husband on every point he made.  But I didn't know how to change.  I admitted that I was being a pancreas. 

He asked me what I was afraid of, and I blurted out "I'm afraid Michael will die."  Instantly, I felt a weight evaporate.  I cried.  He said "Oh baby.  Michael isn't going to die."  As we lay in bed later, he, too, shed tears and confided "The educators and doctors say that Michael will live a normal life, but there's nothing normal about it.  That little boy will never live a normal life."  And we cried together. 

Over the next few days, and maybe even weeks, I felt better.  I felt like I could be a mom and just do my best everyday as far as diabetes care goes, and I'd be all right.  It worked.  For a little while.  During this time, I was still vigilant about the ins and outs and ups and downs of diabetes care.  I still wrote down the new ratios given by the educators during our weekly (and sometimes twice weekly) phone calls.  I was able to offer myself some grace and tell myself daily "Just do your best.  Be a parent, not a pancreas." 

A couple of weeks ago, I slipped back into pancreas mode.  It was a Sunday afternoon when I realized it.  Earlier that week, the educators had given me a new ratio to try for lunchtime insulin doses.  Although I remembered this on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, I forgot on Sunday.  I miscalculated an insulin dose and gave him half a unit less than what he was supposed to have.  Within a few hours, he was acting like his blood sugar was high.  After a blood sugar check, I confirmed that it was higher than where I thought it should be at that time.  I redid my math for the carbs he ate at lunch and I realized that he should have received more insulin.  There was nothing I could do about it at that point.  It was still too close in time to when he had received insulin to validate getting any more.  So, I just had to let him run around and wear off that high blood sugar.  During his running around, he threw a football on the dining room table and knocked over a cup of water and it flooded the diabetes log-book.  I grabbed two dish towels to soak it up, but the pages were quickly rolling into waves and I feverishly worked at blotting it dry.  This initially made me mad, and then I crumbled inside.  It was just water.  This shouldn't make me upset.  It was an accident.  Instantly, I knew.  I had been so focused on being a pancreas that I had missed being a mother.  I headed to my room, closed the door, sat on the floor and cried.  I told my husband that this disease was devastating.  I hated getting upset at little things because I was too wound-up inside.  I vowed again to give myself some grace, and this time I realized something new.  I realized that from time to time, I might slip into pancreas mode.  I instructed myself that I might not even realize it when it's happening.  I told myself to remember to give grace--   to give it to Michael when he's simply being a toddler, or when he's acting out due to blood sugar issues;  to give it to others who are learning to care for Michael as they walk this road with us; and finally, to give it to myself and to allow myself to forgive and to cry. 

I still hate diabetes.  I'm still learning the new normal of our lives and I still dream about what life was like before diabetes arrived.  I try not to imagine our lives in the future as "what if Michael didn't have diabetes."  Frankly, it's too painful.  And it's unfair.  As far as I know, Michael will have Type I for the rest of his life.  I know that extensive research is going on to find a cure for this disease.  However, that day is not here yet.  For now, I must choose to adopt our new normal and welcome it with open arms.  Michael didn't choose this disease.  God chose to shape Michael's testimony through this disease, and, by golly, I refuse to be a hindrance to that.  So, let this be a reminder to myself, I will choose joy today.  I will choose to be the best mother I can be.  I will choose joy.  I will choose joy.


Until the next time,

Much Love.   _Reba