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

Sunday, March 22, 2015

What You Might Find In My....

-milk: for obvious reasons 
-chocolate milk: nighttime snack (good balance of carbs & protein)
-string cheese (free food) 
-100-Calorie Greek yogurt containers. Great protein to carb ratio.
-jelly: to correct low blood sugar 
-sugar-free jelly: for peanut butter jelly sandwiches 
-whipped cream in the can. This is a low carb special treat to use as "frosting" on mini cupcakes or cookies 
-diet sprite (referred to as "bubble juice") 
-diet cherry 7up ("pink bubble juice")

-lower sugar instant oatmeal:  his breakfast favorite 
-100 calorie cookie packs (we pair half a cookie pack with chocolate milk for bedtime snack)
-reduced calorie bread (about 20g of carb per 2 slices. Perfect for sandwiches for toddlers)
-applesauce containers 
-no-sugar added fruit cups 
-goldfish crackers 
-peanut butter
-ritz (both whole wheat and regular) 
-regular sprite (for when he's sick and needs carbs in liquid form)

-fish sticks (a dinner favorite)
-sweet potato fries 
-sugar free Popsicles (fun treat)
-regular Popsicles (if he's sick and needs carbs but can't keep food down) 

This is just a glimpse of things you might find in our fridge. I often wonder when grocery shopping if other people notice the odd array of things we buy-- sugar-free, reduced sugar, and even the full-sugar & full-carb items. I wonder if anyone can tell that there's a type 1 diabetic in our midst.

Until next time, 

Much love, Reba

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Overlooked: The Guilt of a Mom

Sometimes, my heart aches when I realize how much of this blog is devoted to discussing Michael's disability.  So much of our life is consumed with trying to manage type 1 diabetes that it becomes routine and it becomes just what we do.  It becomes part of our daily schedule and finds its way into every aspect of our life, and to be honest-- it has to.  This is a disease that we have to stay on top of in order for Michael to live a healthy life. 

But I have two kids. 

What about Noah?

Sometimes, my mommy-heart just aches and aches and aches with the amount of time we spend consumed in diabetes care.  Sometimes, my mommy-heart cries out "what about Noah?" 

My younger brother is hearing impaired and required lots of doctor visits while I was growing up.  There were times when a lot of attention had to be focused on him.  My younger brother, older brother and I were home-schooled for a while.  My older brother and I were able to do some of our schoolwork independently while my mom had to spend extra time guiding my younger brother through the learning processes he needed to achieve.  In my immature state, I sometimes believed that my younger brother was the favorite.  My parents told my older brother and me repeatedly that they had no favorites.  Of course, I understand this.  I know that my parents never had a favorite child and that they loved us all the same amount. 

And I know that I deeply love Michael and Noah the same.  But I wonder, will Noah understand?  Or will he be slighted with how much time we devote to diabetes care?

I love Noah's personality.  He's funny, he's sweet, he's always looking to make someone smile.  He loves to snack.  He loves to be independent and figure out ways to do things on his own.  He superbly mimics what sounds we make when we speak.  He will watch our mouths as we form words and he will repeat back to us a nearly identical version of what we've said.  He's little, as far as 14 month olds go, so he's not quite walking yet, but he's close.  Sometimes I'm sure that he will talk before he walks.

Noah's personality is so completely what it needs to be.  He is the most perfect second child and exactly what this family needs.

I shared with a colleague the other day that Noah has another ear infection.  I'm almost certain he's been carrying around this ear infection for quite a while.  I'm just not sure antibiotics are getting it handled.  Anyway, what I was telling the coworker was that I didn't even know Noah had another ear infection until I took him to the doctor for his well-check up at 12 months.  The doctor looked in his ears as part of the check-up and said that both ears were very red with a bad ear infection.  I told her that Noah didn't even cry.  There was no signal that he had another ear infection.  He doesn't even fuss.  I told the coworker that I feared that with all the attention diabetes receives, that I was inadvertently overlooking Noah and his illnesses.  I expressed how guilty I felt for not even knowing that he had an ear infection.  She said, in the best tone, that I was not overlooking Noah, but that he was helping out his mommy by being such an easy-going baby.  That was what I needed.  I was wrought with guilt.  This brief conversation with this colleague helped me see that everything is going to be okay.

And I pray that in his life, Noah never feels overlooked or under appreciated.   He is loved immensely.  He is a vital part of our family.  He is lovable, adorable, sweet, funny, and personable.  I just love this little boy so very much. 

Until Next Time,

Much love, Reba

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Cost of Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes can rob you very quickly.

Not only can it rob you of peace and freedom, it can literally rob money right out of your wallet.

For a 90 Day supply of the insulin and other necessary supplies Michael uses, this is the breakdown:

Glucagon:  (3 kits)    $45.00
Pen needles: (6 boxes)     $135.00
Lantus (slow-acting insulin)    $135.00
Humalog (fast-acting insulin)   $135.00
Ketone strips (for urinalysis) (300)  $51.84
Lancets (to check blood sugar)   $64.78
Testing strips for blood-sugar meter (918 strips) $135.00  (thanks to an awesome social worker who worked hand in hand with our insurance company to make sure we could get the strips at that cost.  Usually, they are $50 for 50 strips).

That is a total of $701.62 for a 90 day supply.  Now, true, some months I might not fill the glucagon  because we have not had to use one of these kits yet (Thank you, Jesus!).  And some months, I might not need six boxes of pen needles and I might just refill 2 boxes, or I might not need ketone strips because we have some left to use from prior months.  But the insulin, the lancets, the testing strips are all required at that monetary level each and every month.

The items above are required to keep Michael alive.  We choose to use some elective equipment to help us better manage his diabetes.  This piece of equipment (called a Continuous Glucose Monitor, aka CGM), along with it's necessary accessories (transmitter, receiver, inserters), cost us $542.00 to start-up, and it costs us $114.00 each month for the supplies. 

I've had a few people come up to me and tell me that it would be nice if insurance helped out with the cost.  The hard thing is, these costs and calculations are after insurance has paid 70%.  Seventy percent. That's crazy that diabetes management takes so much money!  And these are just the figures that we pay based on the insurance we have.  Others might pay more or a little less depending on what type of insurance they have. 

We have a fantastic social worker at Children's Hospital who really worked hard to help us get Michael the number of testing strips he requires as a two year old.  She also worked with our insurance company to make sure we wouldn't have to pay hundreds of dollars for testing strips alone.

These fees and costs and copays are intertwined into our budget.  It does make saving money for paying off vehicles and saving for a new home harder.  It's going to take longer to achieve some of the financial goals we have because we pay for these diabetes supplies and they are very expensive.  But, this is a real disease.  It's a real life changer.  It's not something we can avoid or take lightly.  We are blessed to be able to afford diabetes care. 

This is just one piece of diabetes care. 

I'll write another post in the future of the extra stuff we do that also falls into the category of "the cost of type 1 diabetes" (ie, prize baskets for site changes, etc).

Until Next Time,

Much Love, Reba

Thursday, March 5, 2015

From a Two Year Old's Perspective

Wanted:  A full-time stenographer, who can follow around my two year old and record everything he says.  Potential for this job to be extended when my one-year old starts talking. 

Wouldn't it really be great if we could have all of the cute sayings and expressions written down and recorded for us to read over and over again?  I do my best to write down the sweet things Michael says, but I'm not always fast enough to get them written down before I forget.  I've managed to record a few things, though.

Here are a few fun things Michael has said recently:

At 7:05 in the morning one Saturday:
Michael: Look! The sunshine's on!


Michael: I love puppy dogs! I see a puppy dog! Aw! It's so cute!


Michael: I love two things.
Me: you love two things?
Michael: yeah!
Me: what are they?
Michael: I love puppy dogs!
Aaron: and what else?
Michael: I love purple puppy dogs!

Michael: mom?
Me: yeah?
Michael: what are you doing?
Me: writing down what you said.
Michael: no. You're sitting down.

Me: Michael, can you tell me a story?
Michael: once about a time, there was a daddy. He was asleep on the couch. Brown. And. So. We have to wake him up. So, I'm picking my nose. And. The end.

Aaron: Michael, why are you not listening?
Michael: I can't hear you, babe.

Me: ok, Michael, come into the kitchen to eat breakfast!
Michael: (sees empty ice cream carton) ok. Ice cream.
Me: no, ice cream is not a breakfast choice. And it's all gone.
Michael: aw.
Me: but I'm going to the store and I can buy some more.
Michael: really?
Me: yep!
Michael: of course you can!

My mom: Here, Michael, this is a cashew nut. You can try it.
Michael: oh, okay. (Eats the cashew-- a few minutes pass). I'd like another muffin.
Me: a muffin? I don't have any muffins.
Michael: a muffin. A donut. A nut.
My mom: oh! A cashew!

Me: hey Michael, do you know how old you are?
Michael: two years old.
Me: That's right, buddy!  Great job!
Michael: how old are you mom?
Me: twenty six.
Michael: so, three. How old is dad?
Me: twenty seven. Is dad old?
Michael: no. Dad is cool.


So here you have it.  Sweet and funny sayings from a little guy who discovers more about the world everyday!
Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Choosing Happiness

Constantly around us, there can be signs and reminders to be happy.  In our bedroom, we have a multi-opening photo frame with the words "Happiness is not a destination but a way of life."  On one of our favorite HGTV shows ("Fixer Upper"), they recently created a metal wall-hanging for a client's home that read: "Today is a good day for a good day."  Even a musical group named after a legume has a song that states "I've got a feelin' that tonight's gonna be a good night, that tonight's gonna be a good good night."  The Bible instructs: "But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that" (1 Timothy 6:6-8 NIV). The Bible also reminds us "This is the day the LORD has made.  We will rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24 NKJV).

With all of these reminders, how can we forget to be happy?  I do believe that happiness is a choice, but not an easy one.  It's so very hard for me to leave my worries, frustrations, and sadness behind and choose to focus on the good. 

Even Tuesday morning, my day didn't start out so well.  I exit the shower to hear Michael speaking (it was 5:25am).  So I wasn't thrilled that he was awake already.  I wasn't thrilled that our new puppy (a 9-week old female pure-bred American Boxer) chirps at us at 2:00am each morning (seriously, you can set a clock by her 2:00am wake up call).  I imagine that Merry (girl puppy) woke up Michael during her morning "chat" & training session with Aaron at 5:00am.  When I was preparing lunches, Aaron walked into the kitchen and I said "I need help to make sure this day doesn't turn into a bad day like I already feel it's going to do."  He gave me a great hug and told me some jokes and I reminded myself that happiness is a choice.

That night at dinner, Michael's blood sugar was very high.  Still, when it was time to give insulin, I had the intuition to give him half a unit less than what the calculations came out to be.  I gave him his insulin and we played for the next two hours until it was time for his bedtime blood sugar check and bedtime snack. At bedtime snack, his blood sugar reading was right at the top of normal range.  Had I given him his full dose of insulin at dinnertime, he might have been low and in need of a correction before being able to eat his snack.  These "intuitions" are not something I take lightly. I know that they are gentle prods from God to alert my mommy-heart to make the right choice for my son.  While Michael ate his snack, I sat at the table and just teared up.  Sometimes I feel like this disease is taking over our lives.  Sometimes, Michael's blood sugar is in the 300s, and 400s.  Sometimes it's like this for a couple days (with random patches of a normal reading or a reading in the 200s).  I read blogs of other families living with type 1 children, and they manage to keep their child's blood sugar in normal range.  Sometimes, I feel like a failure as a D-mom when Michael's blood sugars are high.  Sometimes, I wonder if the Continuous Glucose Monitor (which should arrive today-- YAY!) is even a good investment since it can only detect blood sugars up to 400 and sometimes Michael is above that.  And even now, I wonder how many of you reading this blog are judging me right now for my child's blood sugar.

But as much as this all pains me, and as much as diabetes demands attention, I must choose joy. 

God chose Michael to have diabetes.  And I know that He will use it for his glory.  Sometimes, in my mommy-daydreaming-mode, I imagine what the futures of my children will be like.  I wonder if Michael will experience a cure for diabetes.  I wonder if Michael will become a doctor who helps children with type 1 Diabetes. I wonder if Noah will become a scientist who discovers the cure for diabetes.  A mommy can dream, right? And as long as I'm dreaming, it might as well be happy thoughts. :)

Until Next Time,

Much love, Reba