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DSMA LIVE: Parent's Talk

Monday, September 24, 2012

I'm here!

I know I've been MIA.  I think about you guys ALL THE TIME!  It's just that we've had so much craziness going on the past few weeks that time to blog just has not existed.

There's so much I want to tell you....

Updates on J
How Sweets like First Grade
How D is behaving in a new school with a new nurse
Our JDRF Walk to Cure that is this coming weekend
Sweets on TV!

And so much more....

Not sure when I'm going to get to all that.

BUT....  If you want to HEAR me LIVE, check out DSMA LIVE: Parent's Talk!  I'm the guest tonight!  And I can't wait!  I'll be talking about school and D and probably a million other things!  Please come hang out with me!

It's TONIGHT at 9pm - EST.

Just go HERE!

Hope to TALK to you tonight!

(EEEK!  I'm so excited!!!)


Pay it Forward - The One I Didn't Want to Write

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I've been sitting here staring at a blank screen.  Wondering where I even begin to tell you this story.

This story I don't really want to tell.  Because that makes it too real.  And I don't want any part of this tale to be real.

I've deleted it twice now because no words seem quite right.

I guess I'll start at the beginning.  Before diabetes.  Before the DOC.  Before Sweetpea.  Before marriage.

If you've been reading for a while, you may know that J and I met online.  9 years ago.  We talked through emails for a weeks - months - before actually meeting in person.  When we DID meet IRL for the first time, it was like meeting an old friend.  Not a stranger.  We knew each other.  Our connection had been made and in many ways was stronger and deeper than it ever would have been had we met in a "traditional" way.

So I shouldn't be surprised - now - when some of my very best, my very closest friends are ones I've never met in person.

I have a group of Mamas that I cherish.  Most of us have never met IRL.  It doesn't matter.  We have been through good times and bad together.  We have laughed and cried and yelled and laughed some more.

We are different.  We live all over the country.  We use different supplies, different pumps, different ways of managing D.  We have different religions and even different beliefs.  It STILL doesn't matter.

We have a bond that is strong as steel.  Forged through shared experiences, shared emotions, shared grief and pain and shared love for our kids.  Through the "same" that D brings in our lives.  Through knowing that someone has your back - no matter what.

Video chats, IM's, PM's, emails, texts, phone calls, comments... pretty much every kind of social media you can think of... we are there for each other.  No matter what.

Meri is one of those friends.

Fast forward to Labor Day weekend.

If you read my last post, you know that my husband, J, had a heart attack in the early morning hours of September 2nd.

These Mamas were the one of the first calls I made.  And they were there.  Misty was there to watch Sweets for me.  The others were there to pray.  To call.  To text.  To love.

Once J's artery was unclogged and stented up, he was taken to ICU.  Around 7 am, his meds started kicking in and he fell asleep.  So I went home to catch a nap and so I could be there when Sweets woke up that morning.

I was back at the hospital around noon.  There's not much to do in ICU.  So I passed the time texting and updating and responding to sweet posts on Facebook while J drifted in and out of sleepy consciousness.

And then, MY heart skipped a beat.  The air felt as though it was sucked out of the room.

My dear friend Meri's sweet husband had passed away after a long, difficult battle with cancer.

I'd been holding it together until then.  But in that moment....  Sitting next to MY husband in his ICU hospital bed... Hooked up to countless tubes, Watching his heart rate and the pacer kick in as his heart needed support... it was too much.  It was too real.  And I completely lost my composure.

That's the good thing about ICU... no one looks twice at you if you're crying.

I cried for Meri.  For Ryan.  For their boys.  And I cried for us.  For the fear I had that something would or could happen to my sweet husband.

I spent the remainder of that day trying desperately to hold it together. Unsure who I was crying for.  Hurting for my friend.  Afraid for my husband.  Grieving for the incredible loss one family was suffering.  Praising God that J was doing well.

And throughout the day... the sound of lullabies.  Signaling the birth of a baby.  One after another after another.  New life.

An incredible day of contrasts.  Grief, pain, sorrow, thankfulness, relief, fear, love, and the miracle of a new babies entering the world.

I still feel a bit shell shocked.  I still shake my head and think, "What just happened?".  I'm still scared.  Still thankful.

And I'm still mourning for and with my friend.

Just like with diabetes, I wish so badly I could take the hurt and pain and fear away from her and her boys.  But I can't.

All I can do is be there.  Even if it's virtually.  And support her.

This is the best way I know how....

Life is expensive.  Just living is expensive.  Kids are expensive.  FOUR kids is cray cray expensive.  Diabetes is expensive.  THREE KIDS WITH DIABETES is expensive.  Cancer is expensive.  Treatments and therapies and drugs and office visits...  it adds up.  and up.  and up.

Meri's looking for a job (so if you're looking for an incredible writer -- yeah, snatch her up QUICK!).  Her first priority is taking care of her boys.

She's incredible.  Have I mentioned that?  Her strength and faith and love never cease to amaze me.  Any company, any person would be insane not to hire in two seconds flat.

But you know what it's like...  Times are tough.  So even if you have incredible faith... it's scary when your four children are relying on you to take care of them.  It's scary when you are suddenly the breadwinner of the family.  When it's your job to provide.  When the bills just keep coming and coming and coming.  And when you are still grieving a tremendous loss.

I believe strongly in paying it forward.  I believe that God wants us to help one another and that He truly means what He said in Matthew 25:40:  "Whatsoever you do for the least of my people, you also do unto me".

We, the family and friends of the Schuhmacher's, are joining together to raise money to help with expenses that come with all they have faced and are facing.  If you are able to donate - in ANY amount - please click this link and pay it forward.

If I've learned anything in the past few weeks it's that you just never know when it's going to be YOU.

And when it is, none of us would make it through without the support of our family, friends, and the kindness of strangers doing whatever they can to share some love.

Thank you.


A Heart Stopping Week

Monday, September 10, 2012

Did you think I'd gone MIA?  Fallen off the face of the Earth?

Well... it kind of feels that way.

So much has been going on.  And there's so much I want to share!  Sweets started first grade at a new school where I am not handling her Diabetes care.  I started school and I'm super thrilled that I have a student with T1 in my class!  DSMA started a new venture called Parent's Talk co-hosted by Lorraine Sisto and Bennet Dunlap!  I'm excited to be their first guest -- so please tune in on September 24!

Then Labor Weekend came!  And I was looking forward to getting caught up!

Sweets was in my cousin's wedding on Saturday.  Friday night we went to the rehearsal and she practiced her flower girl duties!  Saturday was the big day!  Sweets did great!  In fact, she was so prepared that she shooed me out of the bridal room telling me to go sit down because she could handle it!  And she did!  We were so prepared... I had hidden open Smarties in the bottom of her flower girl basket just in case she felt low while she was up in the front of the church.  The things we do....

We all had a great night!  The wedding was beautiful!  Sweets had a blast dancing at the reception with the other flower girl.  In fact, she told me they were going to go dance over by the "judges table" (the head table/bridal party table)!

And that was where our great night ended.

J woke me up about 1:30 am telling me that he did not feel well.  He said that he felt like there was elephant sitting on his chest, his arms were tingling and he was sweating so much he looked like he had just run a marathon.

"I think you better call 911" he said.
"Seriously?" I asked.

Not that I didn't believe him...  but I guess I didn't believe him.  In my defense, he has been known to lay in the same position after cutting his finger in the kitchen.  So, you know....

I told him to take some deep breaths and see if it helped.  I ran around looking for aspirin - which we did not have.  Finally, he said, "You better call NOW."

So I did.

And the paramedics came and whisked him away.

And I was left at home with Sweets.  Who was still asleep.

I called my parents.  They came over to watch Sweets so I could go to the hospital.  I packed a bag.  I really thought he would be needing clothes to come home in in a few hours.

Not quite.

The emergency room was empty.  It was the same hospital where Sweets was born.  They have a large maternity wing.  But the rest of the place if pretty empty - especially on a holiday weekend.  I picked up the phone and a nurse arrived.  She asked me lots of questions and took my insurance card.  She was calm and collected and appeared to be in no hurry.

Then she said, "Well, he IS having a heart attack."

Say what?!?

They took me back to the triage room where they were prepping him for surgery.  I was there about a minute before the doctor arrived and said something to me about a cath lab and something else....  I signed something.  And they were off.


I started making phone calls - waking everyone out their slumber.  Everyone said the same thing, "WHAT?!?"  No one could believe it.  J is 40.  He's thin.  He walks 3 miles a day and plays tennis and just that morning he was doing Wii dance with Sweets.  His cholesterol had been high so for past 9 months or so he'd been working really hard to get it down - cutting back on red meat and doing exactly what he should do.

This is one of those times you realize how Diabetes effects everything.  I needed my parents.  I needed someone with me in that ER waiting room.  But who would take care of Sweets?  Especially at night?  Who but another D Mama?  I am blessed that Misty lives about 5 minutes from my house.  So I called her at 2 am and between sobs asked her to go take care of my baby so my parents could come be with me.  And she did.  Is she not awesome?!?

J was out of surgery about 40 minutes or so later.  It all happened so fast I don't really know.  The doctor came out and told me that his right coronary artery was 100% blocked.  They inserted stents and fixed it.  But we have to do it again in a few weeks because he has another artery that is 80% blocked.  The doctor was stunned.  He had never had a heart attack patient his age who wasn't a smoker, who was thin, and whose cholesterol was normal.  Just lucky I guess...

J spent the next few days in ICU.  Again - it's tough to have a child with T1 and a husband in ICU.  J wanted me to stay with him as much as I could - and I wanted to stay with him!  But I also had a 6 year old.  A 6 year old who had to get her pod changed because it was going to expire.  A 6 year old who had to stay with someone who was able to count her carbs and give her insulin.  A 6 year old who had to get her Dex changed.  Because diabetes does not give a crap that her Daddy is in the hospital.  D still demands attention.

J is home now and doing remarkably well.  It was less than 2 hours from the 911 call to me standing in the operating room after they were done working on him.  Because we acted so fast, there was no damage done to his heart.  Thank God.  He says he feels good.  Of course that means he's trying to do too much and I have to keep reminding him that his MAJOR artery is still 80% blocked so would he PLEASE take it easy for a few weeks?!?

As for Sweets, she was the trooper that she always is.

She woke up once while Misty was at our house.  Misty said she asked, "Mom?"  Misty told her that i had taken Daddy to the doctor so she was there to watch her.  Sweets said, "Oh, ok.  How are Ally and Jessi?  Do they like school?"  That's my sweet girl!

She went to see J in the hospital.  It didn't phase her.  She's been there enough on her own.  And she saw my Dad last summer when he had his aortic valve replaced.  So it was no big deal to her.  She missed him - but she was also thrilled to hang out with Mimi and Gaga --- and especially her BFF Alex!  If she gets to see Alex, all is right in her world.  In fact, when I told her she was spending the morning with Mimi and Gaga and the afternoon with Alex she said, "This is the best day EVER!  Well, except that Daddy is in the hospital!"

The night before he came home she and I had a very funny conversation.  She asked me what a heart looked like - if it really looked the drawing.  I told her no and showed her the illustration they gave me in the hospital.  She said, "Wow. I learned something new."  Then she told me that she was going to help out taking care of Daddy when he got home.  She said, "He should not watch baseball anymore when he comes home.  He gets all ruffled up.  I think he should watch My Little Pony instead.  And not because that's MY show.  He really does yell at the tv a lot when baseball is on."  Then we were discussing how arteries get clogged and how that relates to healthy food.  I told her we were going to really watch and not eat junk - like burgers or fries or chicken fingers.  She said, "WHAT?!?  Burgers are bad for you?!?  WHY do you let me eat that then?!?  I just don't understand this....." She's a riot.

So.... here we are.  J is recovering.  Sweets is doing well in first grade (more on that later).  And I'm desperately trying to keep my head above water!  We have so overwhelmed with the love our friends and family has shown us over the past week.  Dinners made.  Offers of grass mowing, laundry, grocery shopping, babysitting...  We are so thankful!  I'm not someone who really likes to accept help - but this time I have HAD to and it has been wonderful!

Mostly, we are feeling very blessed that Daddy is here, recovering well, and has a ticker that should still last him another 50 or so years!



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