Welcome!

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!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Taking One for the Team

Aaron & I love watching shows on the Food Network, and one of our favorites is "Chopped"-- especially when there's an All-Star Round, which there recently was.  The finale was on Tuesday night.  The final four contestants (who had battled their way to earn the final four spots) were Ann Burrell, Jet Tila, Art Smith, and Michael Psilakis.  Each of these celebrity chefs were competing for $75,000 to donate to their charity of choice.

Each of the charities were really neat, but we obviously had a favorite. 

Ann Burrell was playing for JDRF since her nephew has Type One.  Each time Ann Burrell joins a cooking competition, she plays for JDRF.  This warms our hearts so much because it's so close to home-- it IS our home.  Type One Diabetes is life-altering.  It changes the way we do everything and the way we think about everything.  To think that a celebrity chef understands even a portion of what Type One Diabetes care involves, means so very much to us.  We were rooting for Chef Anne all the way!

Guess who won???


Drumroll please....................................


Yes!  Chef Ann!  It brought her to tears.  It brought one of the judges to tears, and that Judge (Alex Guarnaschelli) told Chef Ann that she was proud that she won because it was personal to her, too, and she said to keep fighting for the tough little ones.

Here's a link to the story: Chopped All-Stars.

When they announced that Ann Burrell had won, I felt like I had just been handed a $75,000 check.  To know that that much money is going to support JDRF and aid in researching to find a cure for Type One feels so great.  It feels like things are going to be okay.



Until Next Time,


Much love, Reba



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Blood Sugar Check

Before every meal and whenever we think Michael is low, we do a blood sugar check.  Some prep is needed before each one of these checks. 

First, we make sure Michael's hands are clean.  We keep a pack of wipes on our table for a quick grab-and-go hand wiping if needed.


I tear the wipes into strips so that we can wipe off whatever finger we've chosen really really well to make sure it's clean.


Then we grab his meter bag.


Here's what it looks like on the inside.  The meter is in the lower right hand corner, the tube of test strips is above that, and the lancet device is in the center.  This is a click-lancet device.  It works much like a click-top pen.  In the zippered pocket to the left, we store extra lancet drums, some napkin pieces, and the "blue blood"-- or glucose solution that we use to test each new tube of testing strips.


After we clean and prick Michael's finger, we wipe away the first drop of blood with a napkin square.  You can see here how small we cut some napkins so that we have a piece that is just right for wiping a blood droplet off of a finger.


We insert a test strip into the meter, which automatically turns it on.  When it first boots up, a little hourglass figure appears in the center of the screen for 5 seconds.  Then the little blood drop symbol appears toward the bottom of the screen, next to the symbol of the test strip.  Now the meter is ready to receive a droplet of blood.


By pressing the tip of the testing strip against a blood droplet, the blood will be soaked up into the testing strip and Michael's blood sugar level will appear on the meter screen in 5 seconds. 


This is the lancet device we use to prick Michael's fingers.  It holds a lancet drum that has 6 tiny needles in it.  Each time we insert a new lancet drum, it counts down from 6 to show us how many needles we have left to use.  As you can see, we were on needle number 4 when we did this blood sugar check. 


I slide the white tab to the right and it rotates the lancet drum to line up a new needle for the next blood sugar check.  Now you can see that it shows we have three needles left to use.



This ritual has become routine for us and it's something that we do several times a day.  Michael is such a trooper.  We couldn't be more proud of him.

Until Next Time,

Much love, Reba



Friday, May 22, 2015

Lyrical Fridays

Back again for round two!

Here is a song that has recently come on the radio in the area where I live.  This song is so powerful because it reminds me that we are ALL loved by God.  He made us all and knows everything about us. 

Women especially fall victim to thoughts that we're not good enough, not pretty enough, not competent enough, not (insert whatever description here).  This song affirms the fact that we are beautiful, we are good enough, we are made in His image-- the image of GOD.

Being the mom of a type 1 diabetic child, daily I struggle with thoughts that I am not good enough.  If Michael's blood sugars are not in a certain range, I feel like I am not achieving the best for my child, even though I am trying my best.  These thoughts can be joy stealers.  However, this song tells me that I am God's.  That thought alone tells me, "you know what?  This is not our home.  This earth is temporary.  Heaven is our real home, and guess what? There is no pain in Heaven.  There is no sickness.  There is no crying.  No blood sugar checks.  No 2:00am finger pricks.  No bolusing.  And one day, I will be there."  And with every fiber of my being, I pray that my sons will be there too.

As you listen to this song, let the truth soak in.  You are created in His image and you are loved.

*****

Who I Am


Another voice, another choice
To listen to words somebody said
Another day
I replay
One too many doubts inside my head

Am I strong
Beautiful
Am I good enough
Do I belong
After all
That I've said and done
Is it real
When I feel
I don't measure up
Am I loved

CHORUS
I'm running to the One who knows me
Who made every part of me in His hands
I'm holding to the One who holds me
‘Cause I know whose I am, I know who I am

I am sure I am Yours

Turning down
Tuning out
Every single word
That caused me pain
Unashamed
And unafraid
‘Cause I believe You mean it when You say

I am strong
Beautiful
I am good enough
I belong
After all
‘Cause of what You've done
This is real
What I feel
No one made it up
I am loved

CHORUS

I am sure I am Yours
I know who I am
I am sure I am Yours

Fearfully
Wonderfully
Perfectly
You have made me

I'm running to the One who knows me
I'm holding to the One who holds me

CHORUS

I am sure I am Yours
And I know who I am
*******


Link:  YouTube Link to the Song




Until Next Time,

Much love, Reba

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Post on Insulin & It's Necessary Role

I love reading blogs written by Type 1 Diabetics, or by parents of the younger generation of Type 1 Diabetics.  Nothing takes away the feeling of loneliness more than meeting people who share similar life circumstances.  This is really due to the fact that those people will get it.   They understand your fears and uncertainties, your joys and your let-downs, your highs and lows (or those of your children), etc. 

One blog I follow, Ordinary Lovely, has a great article from November 2014 (Diabetes Awareness Month) entitled "Insulin is Not the Enemy  (Diabetes Awareness Month)" which can be found here. 

That post is so great because it really explains the purpose of insulin.  It's articles like this that made me comfortable (as a D-mom) to give my child insulin in public (ie, at Chick-fil-A, or Costco food-court, etc).  The point is, insulin is not medicine.  It is a hormone that your body needs, and everyone needs it.  A Type One diabetic just has to receive his insulin in a different way since his pancreas no longer produces the hormone.  This article includes a story about serving ice-cream sundaes as dessert, and about how all of the children need insulin to cover the carbs of the ice-cream.  All of the children aside from one have pancreases that produce insulin for them.  The Type One Diabetic child has to have insulin injected, but receiving insulin in that manner doesn't mean that child was bad or ate the wrong thing.  The body needs carbs to survive and to aid in proper brain growth & development.  The dinner guest was alarmed that the child with Type One could eat an ice-cream sundae and was concerned that the child would have to receive insulin for that treat.  The mother gently explained that insulin is not an enemy, and all of the children actually were receiving insulin-- only one of the children had to receive insulin via injection rather than a productive pancreas.

Many times people have come up to me with their well wishes and hoping that Michael won't have to be on insulin forever, and that maybe we can lower the amount of insulin he'll have to get.  No.  That will never happen.  Michael will need insulin because he will need carbs.  The insulin aids in the body's incorporation of the carbs.  This is a necessary function.  Insulin isn't medicine, and therefore, lowering the amount of insulin doesn't earn Michael a gold star or mean that he is getting better.  Until there is a cure for Type One diabetes, one cannot simply "get better."  And, in all fairness, Michael earns gold stars in my book everyday. 

Please read the article (link provided above).  It is really just fantastic.

Until Next Time,

Much love, Reba


Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Endocrinology Visit

On Tuesday of this week, my mom and Michael and I went to Children's Hospital for Michael's bi-annual endocrinology appointment.

We practiced saying the doctor's name on the hour and a half drive up there.  Michael responded "Dr. What?  Dr. What?" every single time I asked him to repeat the doctor's name-- so he definitely kept us entertained and laughing.

I scheduled the appointment for 8:15am which meant that I had to feed Michael on the way up there (which was preceded by a finger prick), as well as administer two types of insulin in the car-- not my best mom-strategy.  But we made it work.

Michael was so super well-behaved at the appointment and I couldn't be any more proud of him.  He's nearly three and staying entertained in a tiny exam room for a couple of hours is rough, but he did so well. 

His last appointment was in November.  Although it would be ideal for him to be seen every three months, this hospital is just overbooked with caring for kids with diabetes.  So we have to settle for a visit every 6 months.  A lot can happen in six months as we all know. 

When Michael was diagnosed last August, they did a blood test (done by a finger prick), called an A1C.  This blood test shows the average of Michael's blood sugars over the past 120 days-- or 3 months.  This is why it would be great for Michael to be seen every 3 months so that we could stay on top of his A1C.  In August, we were given a number that corresponded to what Michael's blood sugar numbers had been in the 3 months preceding his diagnosis.  In November at our initial follow-up, his A1C had lowered by over 2 points.  That was great!  We felt like we were on Cloud 9.  At the end of that appointment, we got the news that we wouldn't be seen again until May.  I was more than a little nervous-- 6 months without an A1C?  Six months without a doctor actually putting eyes on Michael and seeing how he's doing?  It seemed like six months would be an eternity.

And in some ways, it was.  Although I speak to diabetes educators from Children's Hospital on a weekly basis over the phone to report blood sugar numbers, I wished that we were able to be seen by the doctor at 3-month intervals.  From November to May, a lot of things happened.  Michael had a horrendous stomach bug in January.  This put him in the ER for low blood sugar mixed with high ketones.  He's also had ear infections since November.  He's also had strep since November.  He has been sick four times since his last endocrinology appointment.  Sickness brings high & low blood sugars.  This can skew an A1C reading.  Overall, Michael's blood sugars tend to stay high.

Michael had an A1C test on Tuesday.  I told my mom that some people view the A1C as a report card, but that I wasn't going to do that.  I knew the number had probably risen, so I was preparing myself for an increase of 0.1 to 0.2 of an increase.  To my dismay, his A1C was higher than it was at diagnosis.  It had risen 3.1 points.  My heart sank and I felt defeated.  And honestly, I still feel defeated today.

We were told to look at insulin pumps again as a means to better control Michael's diabetes.  I've already been contacted by a pump educator to research our options. In some ways, it's offensive.  It's almost like someone telling you "You're not doing a good enough job on your own.  You need additional help to make this work."  But we are holding our heads high and are looking into the choices of pumps available to us for Michael, and we are deciding if that is the best route for him.

Since I've been calling in blood sugar numbers to the diabetes educators, they know how high Michael's blood sugars have been.  They have calculations and formulas that they input numbers into to see if we can increase his insulin at all.  He's on two types of insulin (one that is fast-acting which he gets at mealtimes, and one that is slow-acting and stays in his body for 24-hours).  These diabetes educators have described caring for Michael's diabetes like "throwing a dart at a wall."  No one really knows what to do.  The educators will input a number into a formula to try to increase his 24-hour insulin, but the result is that it would drop Michael's blood sugar too much.  They will also input numbers into calculations to figure out if we could give him any more fast-acting insulin with meals, but the result is that it would drop his blood sugar too much.  Most times, I am told that they will check with the doctor on call because they want to run things by the doctor.  Even doctors have said they are worried that changing the amount of insulin would drop Michael's blood sugar too much, which could lead to lows-- which are very dangerous.

However, on Tuesday, we get to see a "doctor-in-training" and then our endocrinologist and they're just not the ones we're in contact with every week.  So instead of feeling like you're speaking with people who know that Michael is continually high and that there is little they can do, we find ourselves speaking to a doctor-in-training who is gung-ho and wants to increase Michael's 24-hour insulin by 2 units.  Our endocrinologist said I got to make the final decision because I'm the mom and because it's a free country.  I said I did not want to increase the 24-hour insulin by two units because the educators were too nervous to even increase it by one unit.  The endocrinologist agreed with me.  He said two is probably too much.  So he asked that we increase it by one unit at night.  I told him that Michael had a pattern of being low overnight when he received this insulin at that time of day.  I was told to try it anyway.

So we did. 

And guess what?

Michael went low two nights in a row.

Last night, we had to wake Michael up and give him jelly before we ever even made it to bed.

Not fun for parents to be sitting in bed strategizing about whether they should take shift staying awake all night, or setting multiple alarms throughout the night to make sure Michael made it through.  We went the multiple alarms route.  Creeping into a room in the night to check a blood sugar, to listen to the sound of his breathing, to feel if he's hot or cold, to make sure he's not in a cold sweat, etc.  The list can go on and on.

We chose today to nix the increase in the 24-hour insulin.  We will go back to what we were doing pre-appointment since we were seeing positive results within the last two weeks.  We had recently decided to split the dosage of his 24-hour insulin so that he would get 3 units in the morning and 1 right before bedtime (the change that the doctor-in-training made was to give 3 units in the morning and 2 at night-- and what I declined to do was 3 in the morning and 3 at night which was what he was originally suggesting-- Can you even IMAGINE how low Michael would have been if I had followed directions blindly without offering my input as a parent???). 

Within two weeks of splitting his 24-hour insulin dosage from 4 units in the morning to 3 units in the morning and 1 unit at night, we have seen improvement.  His blood sugars are coming down into a normal range and staying even throughout the day (and night!).  So we decided that we're going to stick with that plan and no longer give the increase at night that the doctor-in-training wants us to do.

The appointment itself left me feeling like I was exiting a boxing ring.  Both of the doctors were very polite (albeit one was assertive, but still polite), but I felt emotionally exhausted.  Because the A1C indicated that we couldn't do our jobs right as parents.  But yet, we are doing our best and we are doing what we're told from the educators.  We count every carb.  We portion his meals & snacks. We calculate insulin and we administer it.  We are doing our best.  And he is a toddler, which only means diabetes plays even more unfairly.

When we were leaving the appointment, I met a mom who had a four year old son (diagnosed at 17 months), and an 18-month old with cystic fibrosis (and who was diagnosed with type 1 just two weeks ago).  With tear-filled eyes, I told her she was Super Mom. 

The lesson I took away was, there's always someone who has it worse.  That day left me longing for Heaven all the more, where no one will have illness or disease, and when we will experience true rest.

I pray pray pray for a cure.  And I know that I am doing my best as a mom and that I love my little boys with every fiber of my being. 

Prayers are always appreciated.

Until Next Time,

Much love, Reba


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Lyrical Tuesdays

So many songs these days just immensely speak to my heart and seem to be written directly for us and our situations.

Sometimes I even find myself unable to sing along with the radio due to an overwhelming pressing on my heart when I am contemplating the lyrics to particular songs.

I thought it would be something fun and different to post some lyrics and the YouTube links every so often. 

Michael's favorite song is by Third Day and is called "Soul on Fire."  When it plays on the radio he says "Turn up soul on fire song!" and he also sings bits and pieces of it at home.  I will go to YouTube on my phone and let him hold my phone and watch the music video of this song over and over and over.  I eagerly yearn for Michael to rise up to be a soul on fire for Jesus and to be able to use his disability as a testimony of God's faithfulness and love. 

So, without further ado, here are the lyrics to "Soul on Fire."

"Soul On Fire"

God, I'm running for Your heart
I'm running for Your heart
Till I am a soul on fire
Lord, I'm longing for Your ways
I'm waiting for the day
When I am a soul on fire
Till I am a soul on fire
[x2]

Lord, restore the joy I had
I have wandered, bring me back
In this darkness, lead me through
Until all I see is You

God, I'm running for Your heart
I'm running for Your heart
Till I am a soul on fire
Lord, I'm longing for Your ways
I'm waiting for the day
When I am a soul on fire
Till I am a soul on fire

Lord, let me burn for You again
Let me return to You again
And Lord, let me burn for You again
And let me return to You again

God, I'm running for Your heart
I'm running for Your heart
Till I am a soul on fire
Lord, I'm longing for Your ways
I'm waiting for the day
When I am a soul on fire

God, I'm running for Your heart
I'm running for Your heart
Till I am a soul on fire
I wanna be
Till I am a soul on fire
Till I am a soul on fire
 
 
******************
 
 
 
 
 
 
Until Next Time,
 
Much love, Reba
 
 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Turning 27

Last weekend, I turned 27 years old.  I remember as a girl, probably my fourth or fifth grade year,  choosing a favorite number was the "in" thing.  My friends and I all chose our favorite one-digit number and our favorite two-digit number.  I can't even remember what my favorite one-digit number was, but I vividly remember deciding that 27 was my favorite two-digit number, and I've stuck with it ever since.

My birthday is on the 25th and I remember, during this obviously pivotal year in my life, that I would at least have two great years in my twenties.  One of those years would be when I turned "25 on the 25th," and the other would be when I turned 27, because how can a year go wrong when you're actually your favorite number?!?   This might sound silly, I know, but I've chosen to abide by it.

My 25th year was pretty great.  I expect equally as great a year for 27. 

In honor of turning 27, I figured I'd jot down 27 random things about myself.

1. I like my hair to be long more than I enjoy it being short.  As soon as I cut my hair (aside from one time I can remember), I have instantly regretted it and wished that I could return to long locks.
2. I wear very little make-up, which has led to people continually thinking I'm twelve.
3. I married my best friend on October 3, 2009 and I'm overjoyed everyday to be married to him.
4. I have two sons, which is not at all what I imagined when I was a little girl playing with dolls, but I couldn't imagine anything different now. :)
5. When I go to a steakhouse, I order chicken.  My husband and my dad are phenomenal steak-grillers and I just can't bring myself to pay $15.00 for a steak that I could eat at home for cheaper and that tastes better.
6. I would love to have a home with a two-car garage some day because I severely dislike having to scrape my windshield in the winter!  Also because I want a safe place to load my children up in the car.
7. I chose to have an epidural during both of my deliveries.  The epidural worked when I delivered Michael.  The epidural did not work when I delivered Noah.  I wouldn't have had it any other way.  God always has a plan.
8. One of my pet peeves is when people walk without looking where they are going.
9. Another pet peeve is when people misspell my last name because they assume we spell it in the typical way.  This annoys me the most when I've either spelled it out correctly for someone, and then they misspell it, or when my identification is in front of the person and they still misspell my name.
10. Reba is my full first name, and I am named after my Nana.  My third pet peeve is actually when people call me Rebecca.  I think Rebecca is a beautiful name and I named many a doll "Rebecca" while growing up.  However, Reba is also a beautiful name, and my name is not a nickname-- Reba is my full first name.
11. My favorite color is green, but I'm oddly finding that many of my shirts, and travel mugs are hot pink.
12. I wear tinted chapstick (I love this one in Coral Crave) or lip-stain (this one in Nude Nectar ) as opposed to lip sticks.
13. One of my birthday gifts will be a trip to Atlanta this summer.  I would love to visit Coke World and the aquarium-- for the reason shown below.
14.  I am terrified of sharks, and terrified of whales, HOWEVER, I would love to see a Whale Shark, and the Atlanta Aquarium has one!
15. I'm all about finding deals. I purposely shop the Clearance racks at stores, and I have made it a personal mission to find good quality things (like my Patio furniture) for a fraction of the price of similar items.
16. I used to want to always have an action plan.  I'd constantly ask my mom "what are we going to do today?"  Now, I am much more of a home-body.  I love the relaxation that I feel while at home with family.
17. I very much admire my parents for their faith and perseverance in the church planting effort that they are doing.
18. I have never dyed my hair. 
19. I have long, natural finger nails.  I've had waitresses at Mexican restaurants grab my hands and ask if my nails are real.
20. I love being a Mommy so so so much!  Every so often, I have the thought "Wow!  We're doing this!  We are parenting!  We're actually doing it!"
21. I graduated college in three years. 
22. I am only 5' 5" tall.
23. The "Cat Who" books are my favorite series to read.
24. I do not watch Prime Time TV.   Aaron and I watch a select group of shows on the Food Network (Cutthroat Kitchen), HGTV (Fixer Upper, and Love It or List It), A&E (Duck Dynasty, and Wahlburgers), Discovery Channel (Dual Survival), History Channel (Swamp People, Vikings, Pawn Stars, and Counting Cars), MTV (Ridiculousness) and Tru TV (Impractical Jokers). 
25. I would love to be able to work at home some day.
26. I brake with my left foot.
27. My 27th birthday was one of the best I've ever had. :)


There you have it!

27 very random facts about myself. :)


Until Next Time,

Much Love,  Reba