Life for a Child

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

This is Why

We are gearing up for our fifth Walk to Cure Diabetes.

Five years.

In some ways it feels like our first walk just last week.  And in others it feels like diabetes has been a part of our lives forever.

Each year it gets harder to get people involved.
Each year it gets harder to raise money.
Each year our numbers dwindle.



The "novelty" has worn off.  People are tired of us asking for money.  People are tired of hearing about type 1 diabetes.  Sweets is no longer the cute little toddler she once was.

And you know what?

I'm tired.  Doing fundraisers and organizing a walk team takes a lot of effort and energy.  Time and energy I don't have.

And you REALLY wanna know what?

Blogging takes a lot of time and energy, too.  So does volunteering for JDRF.

But we are still walking.  We have a team.  We are raising money.  We have a REALLY cool fundraiser planned for this weekend.

I'm still blogging.  I'm still volunteering.

And this is why...

An 8 month old baby girl passed away recently from undiagnosed T1D.

I get so upset when I hear about this.  NO ONE should die from undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes.  It is SUCH an easy test.  In my opinion, it should be a regular part of well child visits.  Pediatricians should know more about this disease - this epidemic - and keep it in mind when they hear symptoms that sound familiar.

I was the one who asked Sweetpea's pediatrician about type 1.  He said it was the flu.  If I had not mentioned it... If I had only told him the symptoms with out saying "diabetes"... the increased urination, thirst, exhaustion, lethargy, irritability and vomiting... We would have gone home.  She was in DKA.  She could have died.  She could have easily been a victim of undiagnosed T1D.

This is why...

An 8 year old local boy passed away from complications of type 1 diabetes.

I don't know the details.  I'm not sure I really want to know the details.  I believe is a hypoglycemic episode over night.  But I'm not sure.  And I'm not sure, for me, the gritty details matter.

What matters is that an 8 year old child died from this disease.

Type 1 Diabetes kills.

It kills now.  It kills even though.  It kills in spite of.  It kills because.

You don't have to be old.
You don't have to have lived with the disease for years.
You don't have to have poor control.

It doesn't matter if you check religiously.
It doesn't matter if you are active and healthy.
It doesn't matter if you do everything right.

In spite of good control...
In spite good health...
In spite of meters and pumps and cgms...

Diabetes kills because it can.
Diabetes kills because that's what it does.

That's why.

Even though people aren't as interested...
In spite of the fact that people are tired of us asking for money...
Even though our walk team is a third the size it was the first year...
In spite of how tired I am...

WE ARE WALKING.

and

WE ARE RAISING MONEY.

Because people are dying.

Every day.

People like Sweets.

And I may not be able to control diabetes... But I am going to do everything in my power to help us find a cure.

I'm not naive enough anymore to think that it couldn't happen to us.  That it won't happen to us.

It can.

And my choices are to ignore that reality.  To put my head in the sand.  To pretend this disease is no big deal.

I can live my life in fear.  I can let my fear keep her from living.

Or...

I can refuse to let our lives be ruled by fear.
I can get involved.
I can talk about T1D anyway.
I can ask for money anyway.
I can walk anyway.
I can volunteer anyway.
I can advocate anyway.

Because I don't have the luxury of pretending it's nothing.
Because I don't have time to mess around.
Because I can't let myself get distracted.

Because people DO care.
Because every little bit helps.
Because no donation is too small.
Because no team is too small.

Because it matters.

Because people are dying.

Because it's time for cure.

This is why.



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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Destination ME: Eating the Elephant

Hello, Friends!

So I missed last week.  Did you notice?!?

I had every intention of blogging about last week's progress but life just got in the way.  The beginning of the school year is crazy.  I worked every night from the time I got home until the time I went to bed (on time, thankyouverymuch).  Only taking breaks for dinner and Sweetpea's homework.  And to help coach cheer practice.  And to take her to dance class.

Even though I did not make it to the computer, that does not mean my goals went into the gutter.  Nope!  I'm happy to report that I did quite well!

My last goal was to drink more water and less Coke.  Over the past two weeks I have gotten that done! I have had at least 100 ounces of water a day.  If not more.  And I've cut down to one Coke.

It hasn't been perfect.  I definitely drink a lot less water on the weekends.  I really need to carry my cup around with me like I do at school.  And there were days where to say what I drank was "one" would be pushing it.  But overall - I'm pleased!

I've also done well with the going to bed earlier and getting more sleep thing.  There have been nights that I've been up working until midnight.  That's just the way it is right now.  But mostly, I have gotten to bed earlier and I feel SOOOOOO much better when I do!

It was horribly hot and I'm glad I didn't try to make an exercise goal because that would not have worked.  There were days where my non airconditioned classroom was over 100 degress.  One day I actually thought I might pass out in the middle of the room.  I'm seriously hoping that is OVER for this year.

So.... this week's goal....

I've been going back and forth between a food goal and an exercise goal.  I can not decide.  I actually had decided on a food goal and not 30 minutes ago changed my mind.

Why?  Well.... I really don't want to do either!

I need to start tracking what I eat.  But honestly... what I NEED is to get my body moving.  I need to do it for ME.  To have some time for ME.  To clear my head.  To help get rid of stress and anxiety.  To make myself feel better and sleep better.

So, my goal is a little of both.

I am gong to exercise at least twice this week.

AND I am going to really try to be conscious about what I'm eating.  I'm not going to go as far as tracking.... yet.  That's coming.  Just keep making small changes.  Like less Coke.  Like not going out to lunch every day and instead packing healthy lunches.  Like not sitting on the couch and eating after Sweets has gone to bed!

So that's it!

You know, sometimes I wonder if my little tiny goals are silly.  I mean isn't a goal supposed to be something like "I'm going to climb Mount Everest?"

Thing is... I can't climb Mount Everest.

I don't have time to climb Mount Everest.

And I know that if I say that's what I am going to do and then I can't get it done the way I think I should, I'm going feel like a failure.  And I'll just quit.

So my goal is climbing the stairs.  Cause I know I can do that.  I can make that happen.

And once I do it, I'll add another flight.  And then another.  And before you know it, I'll be at the top.

The top of what.... Well, that remains to be seen!  That's the fun part!  Not really knowing where this journey will take me.

So I'm going to keep making these little goals.  And I'm going to keep getting it done.  And I hope you will, too!

It reminds me of that saying... "How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time."

(WARNING:  Do not Google "Pictures of How to Eat An Elephant.  There are some disturbing pictures.  Just sayin')

So join me... One bite at a time... Let's get this done.






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Monday, September 9, 2013

Destination ME: Week 2

First, I want to say THANKS for the awesome, encouraging response I got to my Destination ME post!  It's really wonderful to know I have support as I tackle this new, D not exactly related challenge!

Last week I said that my goal was going to be simple.  I wanted to get to bed by 11 pm.  So... how did I do?!?

I did really well!  The first night I was in bed by 11:15.  Not too bad.  But after that, I was in bed by 10:30!  Not asleep... but in bed!  That still gave me an extra hour or so of sleep and THAT was awesome!  Even when I was getting up a couple times a night to do battle with D, I still felt better the next day!

I am DEFINITELY going to keep shooting for an 11 pm bedtime.  Actually, I think I do better if I shoot for 10 and then if it's 10:30 or so I'm still ahead!

This week I've gone back and forth about my goal.

Then I looked at the weather and my decision was made.

I had thought about making an exercise goal this week.  However, the temperature is going into the mid 90's this week.  I work in a school WITHOUT AIR CONDITIONING.  So that means it's in the 100's in my classroom.  No lie.  No exaggeration.  Me and 29 Kinders all sweating to death.

On days like today, it's all I can do to get home.  Even now, at 9pm, my body is still HOT.

SO.... my goal this week is WATER.  I need to really up my water intake.  Especially since it's so hot!


This was taken as part of last year's November Photo A Day Challenge... Sweetpea's Fav Drink!


I actually made this kind of a mini goal last week.  I have been drinking more water... now I want to drink EVEN MORE.  I want to make sure I'm getting enough every day.

AND.... (and this is the kicker) I am going to seriously cut back on my Coke intake.

I'm addicted, folks.  I love the stuff.  Some people drink coffee.  Not me.  I can't stand the taste.  But I can not live without a nice, cold Coke!  Especially if it's in a foam cup from McDonald's!  And I'm not even talking Diet.  No way.  I want the REAL STUFF.



I'm not going cold turkey.  I don't think I could handle that (nor could my sweet family!).  Just cutting back to no more than ONE a day.  And if I can do it, not even one.

I am never going to give the stuff up all together.  I just love it too much.  But if I have it on the rare occasion - that's what the long term goal is!

I know I need this to be healthy.  But I also want to do this to be a good role model for Sweets.  All that girl drinks is water.  She doesn't like soda.  Doesn't really care for fruit punch or those juice pouches.  And I'd love it to stay that way!  But when she sees her Mama always sucking on a Coke... not a good example I'm setting for her.

I'm going to keep track of how many ounces of water I drink per day (and how many cokes!) and I will report back next week!

I want to give a big SHOUT OUT to Lora, Jen, Haley, Lauren, and Brandy for joining me in this challenge and linking up!  I hope you will check out their journeys and encourage them as well!

To learn more about this whole "Destination ME" thing, check out my first post about it HERE.

What are you waiting for???

 JOIN US!  Come on... you know you want to!!  Join in on the fun!  What's YOUR goal?  Nothing is too big or too small!  Write a blog post and link up... or if you don't blog, just leave your goal in the comments!  It's much more fun to do this with friends!




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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Thirty

Thirty.

No, I'm not talking about how many kinders are in my class this year (although that IS the right number...).

I'm talking about the number that popped up on the meter a few weeks ago when we tested Sweets.

30

That's definitely an "oh shit" moment.

I take pictures of lows.  Later - not in the moment. I don't know why... Just to prove it really happened?

Especially if you have just given her insulin for food.

It was one of those perfect storm situations.  She had been treated for a low and her bg had come up.  She had a snack and we waited until after she was done to bolus... Just to make sure.

Everything looked good.  Insulin was given.

Dex was in start up mode.  So he was no help at all.

Not five minutes pass...

"I feel low".

When she feels it, it's never good.

It was a bad one.  One of those not easily forgotten lows.  The kind that leaves all of us shaken.

We gave her smarties.  She started crying.  She was having trouble eating them.

I could tell by her eyes.  She wasn't really there.  They were kind of glazed over.  She was talking - but she wasn't with us.  Not completely.

I tried to get her drink juice.  She was trying.  But it wasn't easy.

She was still crying.  She wanted to lay down.

She was getting combative.  She didn't want the juice.  She wanted us to leave her alone.

Finally, I had to pull out the big guns.  I said "Sweets... Look at me.  Can you drink this or not?  If you can, you've got to do it NOW."

"OK" she cried.  And she tried again.  And she was able to get most of it down.

She knows what that means.  It's the unspoken.  I don't have to tell her I'm going to get out the glucagon.  She just knows.  She knows if she can't or won't down the sugar then that's going to happen.

It's not a punishment.  It's reality.  She knows she needs it if she can't eat the sugar.

It works for us.  It's the silent - "Yes, it's THAT bad.  You are THAT close.  You are going to either pass our or have a seizure or both.  So if you can, you've got to do it NOW. No more taking your time.  No more resting in between bites or sips.  You've got to do it NOW."

She wanted to go to sleep.  I wouldn't let her.  I had her laying against me.  I was stroking her hair and rubbing her back.  It wasn't but a few minutes and I could see the fog lift from her eyes.

She was back.

It's the strangest thing.  I have a hard time explaining it.  Putting it into words.

But there are times when I just know she is not there.

Unfortunately, I guess it comes from experience.

We had another one just last week.

I don't know whether these lows are worse or if she's just feeling them more.  I can SEE it more.  SEE it affecting her.  I can tell she is at that tipping point...

It's scary as hell.

Of course, I am calm, cool, and collected throughout.  I hold it together really well.

I guess that comes from experience, too.

It's later when I feel like puking and can't stop shaking.

She doesn't like those lows.  She doesn't like feeling that out of control and that close to losing consciousness.

I don't like them either.

For the same reasons.

D takes away my control.  It makes me feel helpless.  And while we may be getting used to it....

I will never like it.


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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Destination ME

This post has been a long time coming.

I'm swamped with back to school stuff that's calling my name.  But I can't wait any longer to write this. It needs done.  Now.

This is not the most comfortable thing to write.  It's not the easiest subject.  But I'm doing it anyway.

Partly because I need the motivation and accountability.  Partly because I know that if I feel this way, someone else does too.

So where do I begin???

Me.

Way back... Like 10 years ago.  I loved to exercise.  I did Jazzercise or walked on the treadmill every day.  I really wanted to become a Jazzercise instructor.  I ate healthy.  I WAS healthy.

I got married.  We moved.  We had a baby.  There was no time to teach Jazzercise in addition to a full time job and a baby.  But I still went to class.  I was dancing and walking until almost the day before Sweets was born.  And I was back at it not long after.

But it was harder.  After working all day, I wanted to spend time with my baby when I got home.  I wasn't exercising every day anymore.  But I was still pretty healthy.  And the pregnancy weight dropped off quickly.  All but 8-10 pounds.  I was pretty much ok with that.  I thought that once she was a little older it would be easier to find time to exercise.

But that didn't seem to happen.  I quit Jazzercise when we moved.  I tried to go back a time or two... but it never worked.  Class was too far away or at dinner time... It was just too hard.  I tried to get on the treadmill consistently.  It was really hard when she was so young.  I was consistent at all.

But I kept thinking... just a little bit longer.  When she's just a little bit older.

And I was almost there.  I was working out more regularly than ever before.  I was feeling good.

And then.... diabetes entered our lives.

And all the progress I had made went up in smoke.

I had a three year old with type 1 diabetes.  I hardly slept.  We ate at fast food restaurants a LOT at first because there was nutritional information and I just couldn't handle cooking, carb counting, and holding down a screaming toddler to give her a shot.

I don't think I really need to tell you that I was not exercising.

So... stress, lack of sleep, poor diet, no exercise.... I gained a lot of weight.

And I didn't even notice.  I wasn't looking in the mirror.  Not really.  I was just trying to survive.

I would come home after a long day at school and want to spend time with Sweets.  I almost always bring work home with me.  So dinner.  Time with my girl.  Work.  Exhaustion sets in and there just isn't room for anything else.

Last year, I was finally, once again, finding my way back.  Sweets was older.  D was more "normal" and had become just another part of our lives.  She was not going to my school anymore which helped me get more done and have less to bring home.  I was ready.  I had a plan.  J would exercise during the day and I would have time once I got home.

And then he had a heart attack.

I was totally thrown for another loop.

He was making sure he was eating healthy and exercising.  But not me.  I just could not get it together. I felt like I was barely holding it together for everyone else.  Taking care of everyone else.  And there just was not time for me.

I gained more weight.

The past year has been mostly a mental block.  J would encourage me to exercise and eat healthy.  But I just couldn't figure it out.  How in the world do I work all day with needy five year olds, take care of my T1 daughter, take care of my post-heart attack husband.  Keep up with the house.  Take Sweets to lessons and practice and actually COACH her cheer squad.  Keep on top of school work and lesson plans.  And actually have any time at all for me?

Last year, I didn't.  I couldn't.

But it is time.

It's time for ME.  To take care of ME.

I know that I will never be the girl I was 10 years ago.  How could I be?  I've seen too much and been through too much.  And honestly, I don't want to be her again anyway.

But I don't want to lose her completely.

I've got find a way to keep some of her and add those parts to who I am now.

This is how I'm going to do it.  Destination ME.  This is my journey.

It's not all about weight loss.  Do I want to lose weight?  Yes.  Am I going to do weekly weigh ins and post results?  No.

It's more than weight.  It's eating healthy - not to lose weight but to BE HEALTHY.  It's getting enough sleep.  It's relaxing.  It's doing the things I used to enjoy and never do anymore.  It's reading.  It's crafting.  It's exercising.  It's taking care of my body.  And my soul.

So I'm going to try to do a weekly post called Destination ME.

I'm going to come up with a goal for the week.  It may be small.  It may be big.  It may have to do with diet and exercise.  It may not.

I don't know what this road is going to look like until I start walking.

But I hope I won't be walking it alone.

If you feel the way I do...
If anything I've said resonates with you...
If you need to find yourself again...
If you need to start taking of YOU...

Join me.

You don't have to do my goal.  Come up with your own.  Write your own post and link up here.  If you don't blog, just leave your goal in the comments.

Let's help each other get there.  To where ever THERE may be.

I'm starting small.  This is my first week with all 30 of my kinders and I KNOW I am going to be flat out exhausted and have LOTS of school work to do each night when I get home.  So my goal is SLEEP.  I tend to stay up waaaaaay too late.  Add to that overnight checks.  Tired Mama.  So my goal is get in bed with all electronics OFF by 11pm.  Earlier if possible.

That's it.  That's this week's goal.  I want to start getting more sleep.  I think it's going to help me with the exercise and eating healthy.  I think it's going to make me less of a grump!  I need it.  So that's it.  That's my goal for this week.  I'll let you know next week how I actually DO with this goal.  And seeing as though I was still working at midnight last night.... Ummmm, yeah.

So come on!  Join me!  Let's do this!

Destination ME.

Destination YOU.



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Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Unexpected Gift: Thoughts on loss and friendship

So maybe I'm feeling a little emotional this weekend.  Maybe I should tell you that upfront.

A year ago this weekend, the world tipped on it's axis for a while.

A year ago this weekend, my husband had a heart attack.  My thin, active, nonsmoking, 40 year old husband.

I'm used to dealing with hospitals for Sweets.  This was different.

And while I was sitting next to his bed in ICU, I learned that my dear friend Meri's husband had passed away after a grueling battle with cancer.

We are not that old.  We have young children.  We have children with diabetes.  This kind of stuff is supposed to happen to old people.  Other people.  Not us.

But if diabetes has taught me anything, it's that none of us are immune to anything.  So really, I shouldn't have felt as rocked to the core as I did.

Now it's a year later.  My husband is healthy and doing well.  My sweet friend is learning to live a different life than what she had planned and missing her husband every step of the way.

My heart hurts.

It never really gets easier.

But this post isn't about grief or disease.

It's about friends.

If you had told me four plus years ago when Sweets was diagnosed that I would make some of my very best friends because of diabetes I would have thought you were insane.  And my response probably would have been, "Who Cares?  How is that going to help me raise a very young child with T1D?"

I had no idea.

Since that day, I've found an incredible group of women who have become some of my very best and closest friends.

Some of them I have never met in person.

Some of them I have.

Some of them I've only been able to spend a few short hours with.  Some of them I talk to every day on the computer.

Some I text all day long.  And send funny pictures to.  And vent to when things aren't going right.  Or when they are.

Some are there in the middle of night when we are both awake.  We keep each other company.

Sometimes it has nothing to do with diabetes.  Sometimes it does.

They just get it.  We don't have to live next door to each other to be a part of each other's lives.  To understand.  (Although it's nice when they do!)

If I cold take away Sweet's diabetes, I would.  In a heartbeat.

But I wouldn't give up the wonderful friends I've made along the way.

They are, without a doubt, the best, most unexpected gift!

To my girls, thank you for being there for me!  I couldn't make it without your love and support.  And it is my honor to be there for you!  No matter how many miles separate us!

To my readers, I urge you to get connected.  The DOC is amazing.  Reach out.  Support and love is out there.  Just waiting for you!  You don't have to walk this path alone!



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