Tag Archives: women

Happy Mother’s Day

Medium had his 3 month endocrine appointment the other day.  We got an A+ from our diabetes educator.  He liked our numbers  and what we were doing with adjustments and such. His A1C was 6.5–at diagnosis it was 11.4–a “normal” A1c is between 4-6, they don’t actually want it much lower than 6.5 because that probably means that we are having too many lows. So we are doing great! I say we as if I am the one with diabetes, but diabetes is a team sport. And I am the captain. Both the diabetes educator and the endocrinologist asked Medium if he had any questions or concerns.  They asked how he was doing with diabetes and if having diabetes was miserable or if it was ok.  He looked at them like they were speaking Japanese. He has taken all of this very well and is relatively unbothered by it…..for the most part.  There are times when he is frustrated, like yesterday when all the siblings of Small’s baseball team got to have the extra juice boxes and he couldn’t have one. Or when everybody wants to go to Sonic after a game and he can’t have a slushie. But he gets over it almost immediately. One of the best things about Medium actually is that he has virtually no short-term memory, he gets mad about something (REALLY mad sometimes) and then poof, he’s moved on.

I’d like to think that part of why Medium seems unaffected by diabetes is because I am doing such a good job of keeping his sugars in tight control and making sure he is leading as close to the same life as he was pre-diagnosis, as possible. But it probably is really because he just goes with the flow. That part of him has me in awe. I wish I could be more like that.

In any event, he is doing well.  We are kicking some diabetic ass over here! It’s hard work, but so worth it. I would move heaven and earth if it meant my kids would be healthy. There is no greater Mother’s Day gift than three thriving kids!

So a happy Mother’s Day out there to all the great mom’s I know.  Especially the ones who sacrifice everyday, go above and beyond, never have time for themselves, endlessly worry about their kids’ futures and then get up the next day and do it all over again.  In short, happy Mother’s Day to every mom!

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It’s My Blog And I’ll Cry If I Want To

I have been writing a lot about myself lately. This life-changing curve ball that has been thrown at me has really knocked me off my center and I am struggling to find my way back to equilibrium. And, this is my blog so I’ll cry if I want to. But I do want to make a few things clear.

#1-No matter how bad things seem on some days, I am well aware that they could be much worse. I know there are people out there who might look at my situation and think it was a walk in the park compared to what they are going through. And I know, and am related to, some people who would probably give their right arm to have our issues instead of their own. I never want my writing to sound whiny. I know that despite the hand we have been dealt, we are still abundantly blessed and I try hard to remember to find those blessings each day.

#2-I am not exhausted because my kids are over-involved in after school activities. I am exhausted from 3 continuous months of fragmented sleep. Period. Each kid only has one activity right now, and to be totally honest, thinking about going to watch one of them play or perform on the weekend is the only thing that gets me through the work week. So yanking them out of their activities will not solve my exhaustion problem.

#3-My husband is not nearly as affected by all of this as I am. I guess you could chalk it up to men just being a more simple creature than us complicated women folk. My husband pointed out to me after reading some of my posts that we have very different feelings about the way things are going. While I am exhausted, stressed, overwhelmed, worried, anxious and sad, he is just, well, fine. I mean, he doesn’t over analyze anything. It just is what it is for him. How I wish it could be that simple for me. I guess in a way it is good that it is so cut and dry for him, because I don’t know what we would do if we were both wound as tight as I am, but conversely, he knows that I am worried enough for the both of us, so managing Medium’s diabetes has fallen 100% on me. A friend commented the other day at how well Medium seemed to be doing and my comment was, “yes, he is doing great, because he isn’t the one managing his diabetes, I am.” I am the one running around with a net making sure that if, despite my best efforts, he falls, I will be there to catch him and he won’t get hurt.

#4-Having just said that Medium isn’t managing his diabetes, is kind of not true. I mean, he doesn’t make his own endo appointments, and he doesn’t make sure he has enough supplies and then call in his refills to the pharmacy or pour over doctor/hospital bills, but for what he can do, what a 10 year-old is capable of, he is a ROCK STAR! He makes me so proud. Other than a not-so-minor problem of him sneaking food (the chocolate chips and who knows what else he got into last night had him in the 300’s all night) he is all over the details of his disease. He accurately counts carbs, has mastered giving himself a bolus and all of the settings of his pump, and is very in-tune to how his body feels. He also understands the somewhat complex (at least for a 10 year-old) relationship between specific foods, insulin, his blood sugar, and his continuous glucose monitor. He told me that today his pump kept beeping at him to alert him of a low while he was at school. I asked him what he did. He said that he didn’t do anything because he knows that there is usually a lag between his CGM reading and what he really is, and he had just eaten a snack without dosing so he knew he would be fine. I seriously had to fight back tears. Tears of sadness that he has to mess with all of this when he should just get to be a 4th grader at school, but tears because I am so proud of how he learned all of this and how he just accepts that it is what it is.

#5-If I could learn to just accept that things are what they are sometimes, I would probably be a lot less stressed. My husband and Medium are the two least stressed people I know. When I am done crying, I will work on that!

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No, This Is Not A Nike Commercial

I want you help the Schuhmacher’s.  I know, pretty bold, right?  You are thinking to yourself, “I don’t even know the Schuhmacher’s, why would I want to help them?”

I don’t know them either.

Meri, the matriarch of the family, writes a blog that I read.

She has 4 boys.

Three of them have type 1 diabetes.

She has one husband.

He has cancer.

Enough said.

Follow this family’s journey at www.ourdiabeticlife.com, or through this link:

You don’t have to help them financially.  Say a prayer, send positive thoughts and energy, meditate, light a candle for them.  Do it in honor of someone you know that has been affected by cancer.  Do it in honor of your healthy kids.  Do it because a little more love headed their way, cannot hurt.  Just do it.

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What You See Is What You Get

Yesterday I posted something very personal, a little too personal according to some.  I do my best to be kind and responsible, thoughtful and respectful.  I am a passionate person so I have to keep myself in check and make sure I am making rational decisions and not emotional ones.  My decision to be transparent yesterday was actually very well thought out.  You see, I am very confident in who I am.  I am confident that I am not perfect and have lots of flaws.  And that is just the way it is.  I am too tired to try and pretend to be something I am not, to act one way with certain people and then another way with others.  With me, what you see is what you get, good or bad.  And I’m not going to lie to you, sometimes, it’s bad.  But I own it.  When I make mistakes, I apologize for them and do what I can to fix them.   I think if people understand where you are coming from and they don’t have to guess what your intentions are, then they respect you.  That doesn’t mean they like you or agree with you, but they respect you.  So I hope that whether you like me or not for publishing my post yesterday, whether you agree with it or not, hopefully you at least respect me. But if you don’t, that’s okay too!   🙂

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Just Another Manic Tuesday

Today is a good day.  It is gorgeous outside, 75 degrees and sunny.  I am home with my kids today and Medium’s blood sugars are in range and he is feeling good.  We met with an insulin pump company and have made our decision.  I just had a good meal and am sipping on a diet Coke.  I am feeling, in a word, manic.  Yes, I said it, manic.  As in manic-depressive.  Does that make you uncomfortable?  Now, let me set the record straight right now.  I have not been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  And I am not pretending to be a doctor, a psychologist or an expert in any way, and none of this is intended to be medical advice.  These are simply my opinions and interpretations of myself and my moods.  While I do not think that I have the clinical diagnosis of bipolar disorder; depression, anxiety and mental illness run in my family.  And I think I am on the spectrum somewhere.  I don’t believe mental illnesses are just black or white, that either you have them or you don’t.  Instead, I think there are varying degrees of them and I think people have a varying ability to control them.  Just like one person might have slightly high cholesterol and can manage it with diet and exercise, another person might have very high cholesterol and might need medication to control it.  Or how a brittle diabetic has a very difficult time controlling their blood sugars despite their best efforts, while someone else’s body responds well to their insulin therapy.  Much like the sullen teenager dressed in all black, mental illness is misunderstood because of its face value.  We hear the word “mental” and we think the mind has some kind of control over the situation, and sometimes it can. Psychotherapy has proven very helpful to many people in managing their varying degrees of some mental illnesses.  But what most people don’t understand is that many “mental” illnesses actually have physiological roots.  They are chemical imbalances in the brain.  We have no more control over developing  those imbalances as Medium had over developing type 1 diabetes.  Society has made it shameful to admit that you suffer from some level of mental illness, because it is deemed as controllable and therefore you are weak or crazy if you don’t control it.  And talking openly about your mental illness makes others uncomfortable, so most people just don’t talk about it.  Well, I am not most people, and I talk too much so here it is.  I suffer from mental illness, or whatever some people want to call it.  I battle depression and anxiety in varying degrees sometimes. I am a germaphobe and am probably a little OCD, too (I like all the labels in my pantry to be facing out, I can’t sit with my back to a door, I wash my hands, A LOT, am addicted to hand sanitizer, stuff like that).  Some people would argue that these things do not qualify as true mental illnesses.  That only if I was not able to function on a daily basis because of these things could I claim to suffer from mental illness.  Whatever, call it what you want.  But like I said, I believe it is a spectrum and I feel like most people I know are on it somewhere, so I don’t know why we are so afraid to talk about it.  I do not take anti-depressants although I have tried them before.  I just don’t think I saw a real benefit from them, so for me, it is not the answer.  But I believe for some people, it is absolutely necessary and vital to their health and wellness.  I am not going to pretend that I know or fully understand the complexities of mental illness.  I just know that some days, (like today) my mood is great and I feel like I can take on the world, and some days I feel like I am tumbling down a deep, dark hole of despair.   And sometimes, I stay in that deep, dark hole for days or weeks.  I always find my way out of the hole with a combination of love, patience and understanding from my family, a visit to a therapist and an occasional Xanax.  These are my tools.  But just because I can control my depression, anxiety and mood swings with these tools and not anti-depressants, doesn’t mean that others should be expected to manage their disease the same way.

A diagnosis of any life-threatening chronic disease with no cure will no doubt bring on a firestorm of emotions, but diabetes especially so.  The days of a diabetic are filled with highs and lows, literally.  One minute you are in range, and the next you are not, and that can be hard to deal with. Diabetics (and their caregivers) should be monitored for developing depression.  When Medium’s BG’s are in range, I am much more likely to be in a good mood and when they are not, well, that’s when I have to use my tools to keep me out of the deep, dark hole.  The first two weeks of Medium’s diagnosis, I was in the hole. Big time.

I do a pretty good job of managing my mental illness.  As I do with most things, I use humor to deal with it.  I joke about my mental state, call myself crazy or neurotic, because if I do it first, then it takes the power away from the words and others can’t use them to tear me down.  It also makes people laugh and relax and it opens up dialog about a topic that needs a lot more awareness.  Some of my favorite conversations are the ones where I am trading stories of neurosis with someone else.  We both walk away feeling like we are not alone, and ironically, like we are NOT crazy!  And chances are that someone who suffers from some level of mental illness is a stone’s throw away from you right now.  So if you are ever given the opportunity to help raise awareness and peel away the shame of mental illness…..JUST DO IT!

I am not a doctor, or a nurse, or a psychotherapist and this is not intended to be medical advice.  This is my blog, and these are my observances and experiences with mental illness.  Your experience with mental illness may be very different from mine and you may disagree with my take on the situation.  Please seek the advice of a medical professional if you have questions or think you may be suffering from a mental illness.

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Golden-Haired Make-Up Maidens

I don’t wear make-up.  Well, I wear a little bit, out of necessity, because I am getting old.  I wear a light coat of mineral foundation (probably too light to even make a difference) and a smidge of bronzer across my checks and nose, and some kind of lip tint or gloss.  That’s it.  I never have liked wearing make-up, (although I was that teenager who fought my parents tooth and nail to wear it, and then never did.  I did that with a lot of things.  What a pain in the ass I was!)

So if I barely wear any make-up, you can guess how quickly I go through it.  Not very.  Did you know that make-up has an expiration date?  It does, and I had exceeded mine so I stopped by Ulta the other day to replace it.  I naively thought this would be a simple task, an in-and-out kind of trip.  I was wrong.

First of all, it has been so long since I bought foundation that the brand I use doesn’t name the colors the same anymore so I was at a loss as to which is the color that I need. So I asked a sales girl for a little guidance.  An innocent enough request, right?  Wrong again.  The golden-haired make-up maidens that work at these places take their work very seriously and they don’t take kindly to us “occasional users”.  Crystal was on to me right away.  She knew that if it had been that long since I bought new foundation, what kind of shape must my brushes be in?  Her suspicions were validated when she asked me how often I clean my brushes, and I replied, “Clean them?”  New brushes in hand, I blindly followed her to another isle while she asked me what I use for a primer.  Primer?  Are we talking about my make-up habits or painting a house?  The look on my face gave Crystal the answer she needed and the next thing I know I have a $40 bottle of un-wrinkle primer in my hand.  Feeling very out of my element here and trying desperately to dig out of the hole of shame I have dug for myself, I did what I always do when I am uncomfortable, turn to humor.  I joked with Crystal that the only reason I even use the mineral foundation that I use is that the infomercial said it was so natural you could sleep in it.  Well, that did it.  Not only was Crystal horrified (I thought I was going to have to start CPR on her), now I have caught the attention of another sales girl nearby whose eyes grew as big as saucers when I said that.  Crystal takes a deep breath and says to me, with one hand over her heart, “Are you telling me you don’t take your make-up off at night?”   I am thinking in my head, “lady, I barely get the stuff on my face everyday, I sure as hell don’t have time to take it off, too!” I just smile at her and pray that a huge hole opens up beneath me and sucks me under or that some other poor woman is having an eye shadow emergency in the next isle over, or, at the very least, my cell phone rings.  Something to get me out of here.  Nothing.  So Crystal hands me a $17 tube of waterless cleanser that my lazy-ass can put on my night stand and says to me, and I kid you not, “My heart hurts to hear that you don’t take your make-up off.”  Honest to God, she said that.

Now I have never been good at math, but a quick calculation tells me that the cost of the arsenal of gear I now have in my arms is going to send my husband into orbit, but what was I supposed to do?  Crystal’s heart hurts.  I don’t want to go through life knowing that someone’s heart hurts because of me.  So I thank her for setting me straight and getting me on the path to cleaner, healthier skin and I run to the check-out counter.  And I can rest easier knowing that one less make-up maiden has a wounded heart.  Because what she doesn’t know, won’t hurt her.  (Come on, you don’t really think I am going to start taking my make-up off, do you?)

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Ketostix, Curve Balls and My New BFF

As is commonly the case when dealing with diabetics, especially newly diagnosed children with diabetes, today got totally derailed.  First of all I forgot that my husband had to leave early today and he usually does the morning routine at our house (yes, I know, he is a saint, blah, blah, blah).  You know, that brings up another thing that irritates me (referring back to my Ground Rules and Disclaimers post).  My husband wakes up early.  Always has, always will.  He tries to sleep in, but he just can’t.  It’s his natural circadian  rhythm.  I am a night owl and loathe, LOATHE, getting out of bed in the morning.  So this works for our family.  But I get so tired of people thinking that he is a saint, and I am some kind of slacker, loser who is so LUCKY to be married to him.  I mean, I am lucky to be married to him, for lots of reasons, and although we have been through some rough times, I love him.  But why should he get some kind of award because he gets up in the morning and takes care of HIS kids? What, is this 1952?  Oh, and you know what else?  He does laundry, and dishes, too.  And, most of the cooking falls in his department (although microwaving hot dogs and making Bosco sticks in the toaster oven isn’t EXACTLY cooking, but I will take it).  (Neither of us is very good at cleaning.  I “pick up” a lot and clean toilets daily, but the rest of the house…..well, just don’t come over unannounced please).  But do you know why he does all of this?  BECAUSE THIS IS HIS HOUSE AND HIS FAMILY, TOO, AND WE BOTH WORK FULL-TIME AND I DO A MILLION OTHER THINGS THAT HE CAN’T BEGIN TO ACCOMPLISH BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT HIS STRENGTHS!!!!!  Housework is not my strength and he complains about the way I do laundry.  So, I pay all the bills, go through all the mail and kids backpacks, schedule everyone’s appointments, make sure everyone has their permission slips for field trips and are signed up for soccer and have their order forms for school picture day, make sure to refill everyone’s prescriptions, keep in contact with all 3 kids’ teachers about their grades, homework and projects, check-in with the diabetes educators and talk to the school nurse several times a day, etc., etc., etc.,  and he does the household chores.  That is what works for us. GET OVER IT EVERYONE!  Now, all that being said, I AM very thankful that he realizes that he should take some of the responsibility in keeping this household running, as I know that some husbands still think it is 1952 and that their wives should do it all.  But this is the bain of my existence, of most women I’m sure.  No matter how hard I try to “do it all”  I just can’t.  And all I want is for someone to acknowledge what I do get done and appreciate me for it.

WOW!  I really needed to get that off my chest.  Whew, now where was I?  Oh yes, my day got derailed (much like this post just did)!  So my husband left early and I had already let my exhausted self sleep a little more this morning so now I was going to be late to work since I had to take care of Medium and all of his medical issues this morning.  I needed to jump in the shower, but instead I had to go downstairs and count carbs and stab my child with a needle.  Then stalk him to make sure he ate all of his breakfast and then have him wash it down with his ADHD medicine (oh yeah, did I mention that along with having T1D, Medium also has ADHD.  He was diagnosed the summer before first grade and we tried everything we could to keep him off medication but nothing worked and we started him on meds three years ago.  I HATE, HATE, HATE him on his ADHD meds and we have tried different meds and doses over the years, but the fact is, that he needs them.  With them he is a self-controlled, respectful, straight A student (albeit without any personality-the part I HATE), without the meds he is an out-of-control, flight of ideas, jibber jabberer who makes impulsive decisions and disrupts his classroom.  The idea is that he will learn what self-contol feels like on the meds so that one day, we will be able to take away the meds and he will still be able to control himself.  Yeah, that’s the idea. I don’t buy it.)  Anyway, back to the derailment of my day.  Of course he misses the bus so I have to take him to school and of course he is late so I have to park and walk him inside.  But that’s okay, it gives me a chance to say hello to my new best friend, the school nurse.  Now I am late to work. Ugh.  I manage a couple of hours of work before I get an email from my new BFF, the school nurse.  “Medium’s blood sugar is 310”.  Whoa! We haven’t been in the 300’s since right after diagnosis.  This information along with the fact that he told me he was super thirsty when I checked him at 3 a.m. had me a little worried and I thought it best that we check his ketones.  But of course we don’t have ketostix (the strips you use to test for ketones) at school.  So I left work, drove home to get the ketostix and went back up to see my new BFF, the school nurse.  Medium peed in a cup, I dipped the stick in, and 30 seconds later, ta-da, no ketones.  Big sigh of relief.  My boss let me work from home for the rest of the day instead of driving the 30 minutes back to the office.  I was able to work in peace and quiet all afternoon and get my day back on track…..until the next curve ball anyway.

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