Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Whew

So sorry, fellow blog followers.  November and December have been very busy months.  As far as numbers, Maddie's been up and down, but her A1C went from 8.5 to 8.3 in 3 months.  That's a start.  I wish it were back to 7.9 when she started 2nd grade, but I'll take anything that's headed downward.  I'll start back up with my much needed and much loved blog time as soon as our schedules get back to normal, and Shawn and Reilly go back to school.  At least that's my intention....
: )

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Is This Thing On??

I just downloaded the Blogger application on my phone, and I was just trying to see if it works.

*tap tap*. Is this thing on??

:)


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Where's My Phone??

I have to admit, I am a mom of 3 children, which means that I've lost 3x the brain cells.  I am also blond.  Not an airhead, just blond.  I was married with 2 kids before I got my first "real" cell phone.  By "real" I mean that this little sucker rules my life.  It tells me when to get up.  It tells me when to pick up my little ones from preschool.  It tells me when to take my vitamins.  It tells me when I need to call my husband and remind him to do something.  Doctors appointments, soccer practice, play dates, phone numbers, emails--it's got it all.  You name it, and I have it in my phone.  I hate to admit it, but it tells me when my favorite TV shows are on, too.  But let's just keep that one between us..... 

It also tells me to tell Maddie to check her blood at different times of the day.  I HOPE that between the two of us (and occasionally my husband, when he's home, which isn't often), one of us will remember to check it before she eats a meal, but I also want to have a hold of it between meals.  Because, as much as I love her, she's a sneaky little thing, and she tends to eat a little something here or there without telling me.

I also have programmed when I need to change her pump site.  Because let's face it, ladies.  We have a lot going on.  I like to change it after her shower at night.  Between her shower, and cleaning up the inch or two of water on the floor from my boys' baths, I need a little reminder.

If something ever happened to my phone, I would need to be admitted immediately.  If someone ever tried to steal it, I would have to say, "Here--take my wallet instead!  My whole entire life is in my phone!"  (Frankly, there isn't much in my wallet these days....but that's another story).  If I ever lost my phone, my life would be over.  If it ever fell into the ocean, I'd be diving in.  You get the picture.

I'm one of those annoying people that has my purse on the arm that's holding my 2 year old's hand, and keys and CELL PHONE in the other hand for fear that I might miss a reminder.  I even go so far as to turn the volume all the way up when I'm in a noisy restaurant.  Not because I want people to know when someone calls me, because honestly, I don't have much of a life, so no one ever calls me.  I just want to make sure that I don't miss checking Maddie's blood.   I also shutter to think of missing something important like Survivor or American Idol.....

Sunday, November 1, 2009

To All Of My Type1-Mom-Blog Friends

Last night went smoothly.  Maddie was 147 when she went to bed.  BUT, I think that whatever sugary substance it was that she inhaled the night before, must have taken a longer time to smack us in the face.  She woke up at 400ish, and yes, the lovely TRACE to SMALL ketones.  Don't you just love 'em?? 

So, after I washed the urine off of my hands, I stuffed bottled waters, ketone strips, glucose tablets (just in case we went overboard on the insulin) and all of those other lovely things in her bag, and off we went to church, ketones and all.

Thankfully, after lunch, everything was back to normal, numbers were down, ketones were gone, life was great.

And then my lovely husband announces, "Whoever eats all of their lunch gets some candy!!"

Men......they mean well.....

*sigh*  Here we go again.....

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Here Come the Ketones

Right now, as I type, Maddie, the cat is gathering more and more candy from our Fall Festival.  She and her 2 brothers, Batman and Superman will bring home their 12 pound stashes, and momentarily, we will forget that we have diabetes.

There will be candy and empty wrappers all over the living room floor soon, and I will not be stealth enough to know or see who eats what.

Soooooo, this is going to be a long night of checking, rechecking, and checking blood sugar again, and maybe we'll even get a little ketone action in there.  That's always fun for me.  Maddie usually gets more urine on my hands than on the stick.  Good times, good times.... 

*Sigh* Halloween.......Can't live with it, CAN live without it......

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'm Starving!!

If you have read my post about homeschooling Maddie, you'll know that I do enjoy eating my words.  Today I was starving!

This time instead of being about homeschooling, it is about insurance, since ironically that was the frustrating topic of my last post.

My husband came home from work a month or two ago and announced that they were getting new insurance at his job.  That always makes me cringe because I'm always fearful that someone somewhere is going to deny Maddie coverage, even though I know that they can't do that on a group plan.  I also cringe because the amount we pay per month for our family to have insurance, (even though Shawn is free) is almost like another house payment.

Today was the first time I went to get Maddie's testing strips since our new insurance went into effect.  They used to cost us $70, just for that one prescription, just for that one month.  Today, I found out that our prescription co-pay is not $70 anymore, it's $10!!  This is where I started eating my words, once again.

This was the conversation in the pharmacy drive-thru between myself and the pharmacist.

"That will be $10."

"WHAAAAAAT?"  This is the part where I had to physically pick up my lower jaw and put it back into place.
 
"I said, that will be $10 for your daughter's testing strips."  She was not nearly as excited as I was at that point. 

"Nuh-uh!"

"Uh-huh."

"No way!"

"Um, yes way, ma'am."

"You're kidding me, right?"

"No, ma'am, I'm not kidding."

"OH.......MY.........GOODNESS......she just said it would be $10," I sometimes yell at my steering wheel.

The poor pharmacist had been hunched over at the microphone for several minutes waiting for me to get my act together, and my kids were scared, silent and wide-eyed in the back of the van watching my entire "freak-out" episode.

"Ma'am, I have customers waiting inside the store.  Are you going to pay for this today?"

See, for this pharmacist, it was just an everyday, run of the mill, prescription refill.  But for me, it was an answer to prayer in a desperate time of need.

.....The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.  James 5:16 

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Insurance?

I don't really understand all that is going on with this universal healthcare stuff.  I just want to vent my frustrations  for a minute or two.

Insurance is not for the sick.  It is only for the well.  When you're well, you don't shell out much money for doctor's visits and prescriptions.  You may pay an arm and a leg for your monthly premium, but that's about it.

Then there are those of us that are "sick".  We are the punishable ones.  We pay the arm, the leg, and part of the other arm for coverage for our family.  Then we have to see a specialist every other month.  That's another sky-high fee.  Then we have tons of prescriptions.  We do have co-pays for prescriptions, but it seems that each year, that fee doubles.  Multiply that co-pay by 4, and that is only part of our monthly prescription cost--it's the part that comes from the drug store pharmacy.  Then there's the crazy co-pay amounts that go to the pump company for pump supplies.  And oh yeah, they only covered 1/8 of the cost of the pump.  

That's not to mentions the Continuous Glucose Monitor that Maddie desperately needs, but guess what?  Yep, that's right.  It's not covered.  Oh well....too bad....

Ahhh....I feel much better now.  I just needed to vent a little.

Bottom line:  Some people have fancy cars, or beautiful houses, or brand new trendy clothes.  Some people go on trips to exotic places, or go to the beach every weekend.

BUT, we have an income (it's very small, but it's there--I promise) and we have insurance coverage, and a healthy child with an insulin pump.  I'll take that over shopping sprees any day!

Reply

I just wanted to write a quick post to reply to a comment that someone made on one of my older posts.  I don't know the commentor, but I am very glad that she found my blog and read it.  That really means a lot to me.  The more we know about the stuggles people have with diabetes, the closer we'll be to finding a cure.

I think she misunderstood the title of my blog, which is "A Beautiful Diabetic".  She wrote:   

"It is sad that you identify your daughter as diabetic.
It should be....My Beautiful daughter is Maddie. She is 9 and she's smart, talented, full of life, and hilarious, all rolled up into one precious little body. o yeah she is diabetic.
Diabetic is not who she is."

You're right--a diabetic is not who she is.  And just so you know, I don't really 'identify' her as diabetic.  The reason I called my blog "A Beautiful Diabetic" is because I want people to know about this disease, and how it affects children and families on a realistic daily basis.

I could have called it ":My Beautiful Maddie" and that would have been a wonderful title, but for me, I want to reach out to that one mother, who sits in despair at her computer, googling diabetes because her child was just diagnosed.  I want her to know that my diabetic child lives a normal, fun-filled, yet sometimes treacherous life.  This disease is a fight that we are going to win, and that is the point of my blog.

Another reason for writing my blog, mostly about diabetes, is because there is a huge community out there of families with children who have the disease.  Personally, I value those other moms who have that in common with me, and who also have blogs about their diabetic kids.  I look to them for support, and questions when necessary.

But, thank you, friend, for caring enough to leave a comment on my blog.  I sincerely appreciate your input.  But don't be sad~  I don't identify Maddie as a diabetic.  It's just a creative title that is intended to catch the eye of someone who is struggling with the same thing. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lisa's Images -- Lisa Prevatte

I have a sweet girlfriend that is an awesome photographer.  Her name is Lisa Prevatte of Lisa's Images.  If you'd like her number, just let me know--she's in the High Point area.  She does great wedding pictures, too.  I asked her to get some good pictures of Maddie since she won't be getting school pictures this year.  I am SO glad I did!!  They turned out great, and we're going to do more!!  I can't wait~




 

 


 



October 2009 ~ 9 Years Old

Oprah

I am not an Oprah fan, I don't agree with most of her points of view concerning faith and God, nor do I make it a point to watch her show.  I do, however, think that sometimes she has some really good topics on her show that are very informative to us as women and mothers, but also some good health information.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a preview for a show about a family with a schizophrenic child.  I was going to be sure to watch this one!!  I think a lot of times we think, "Oh, whoa is me...." and we think we have big problems.  This particular show really put it in perspective for me.

Janny is a pretty little girl, with beautiful curly blond hair, around 8 or 9 years old, (Maddie's age).  She  started showing signs of hallucinations at around 6 months of age.  As she got older, she got worse, and her condition progressed into schizophrenia, which is very rare in children.  Now she has what seems like imaginary friends, but is really other personalities that talk to her and tell her to do bad things, and she stays angry most of the time, if not constantly violent.  At the age of 5, Janny was asking her parents things like how to break your neck, or what it the easiest way to die.    

But here is where I realized that maybe having a diabetic child isn't as bad as having a child with another disability, like say, a mental disability such as this one: 

Janny's mom is a stay at home mom, and her dad is an English professor at a local college.  They also have a son that is under 2 years old.  The family lives in an apartment complex.  Janny has one apartment, and the baby brother has another apartment.  They can't live in the same house, or even be around each other, for fear that Janny will kill her brother.  Janny can't have sharp objects or any cleaning solutions in her apartment, for fear of hurting herself.  One parent sleeps with the baby brother in his apartment one night, while the other monitors Janny as she sleeps, then they take turns the next night.  All day long, Janny is monitored, while someone else stays with the brother.  The only friend she has is a little girl she met in the mental hospital who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.  The two girls seem to understand each other, and that is what they have in common. 

This story just made me sad, and although I loath it, and diabetes does affect Maddie emotionally and sometimes behaviorally, I sometimes don't realize how lucky I am to have a child with diabetes.

H1N1 Drama

Here is our Swine Flu time line.  Fortunately, Maddie has not caught it, but hopefully she will not catch it in the future.  I know there is so much drama about any kind of flu shot, or the lack thereof, but this time, I'm a little nervous about it.

August:  Maddie's endocrinologist informs me that she MUST have the H1N1 flu shot.  He also says that it is a "good idea" for the rest of us to get it, since we live in the same home and are her caretakers.

September:  Drama about the H1N1 virus in the media, cases all around NC, and some cases in our school and church, and amongst our friends.  Scientists are furiously working on the vaccine.

October 1:  Vaccine is complete. Ready to be shipped to all health care providers.  The media announces that they are taking all precautions to NOT have a shortage, and are making sure all who need it will get it.

October 5:  In for my 5 year old son's check up, I inquired about the H1N1 vaccine for my "chronically ill child" at the front desk.  I was told that they would receive it at the END of October or BEGINNING of November, and to call around that time and they would put her on a waiting list, but that she would indeed receive it because of her illness.  I also asked the doctor, and was told the same thing--she would definitely get the shot.

October 21, 2:00 p.m.:  Upon entering the office for Maddie's 9 year old check up, I noticed a sign that said "Sorry, we are out of the H1N1 vaccines.  All County Health Departments are out, also."  Surely they don't mean they are completely out because we weren't notified, or put on a list, and Maddie HAS to get one, as do all children with chronic illnesses.

October 21, 2:30 p.m.:  I asked the nurse about Maddie's need for, and her endochrinologist's demand for, her to get the vaccine.  In the same breath, I told her what I had been told at the beginning of the month, and since it wasn't the END of October, I hadn't called.  The nurse's response was, "Sorry~we only got 100 vaccines yesterday and we ran out this morning at 10:00 a.m.  I don't know why you weren't called or notified."  When I asked the doctor the same question, and added, "Why weren't we notified?"  I didn't really get a clear answer.  She just told me to see if the endochrinologist could give Maddie the shot.

Wouldn't he have told me he could give her the vaccine when he first suggested that she get it?

Something doesn't add up......

My New Title

Today I got a new title.  I am now the WORST MOM EVER.

I've never claimed to be "Mother of the Year".  Yes, sometimes my kids go outside without jackets when it's cool.  And yes, I've unexpectedly noticed Maddie wearing flip-flops in the winter.  And, yes, there have been mornings when the kids go out the door without brushing their teeth.  And yes, I've been known to pick up 3 happy meals so as to not have to get out all the stuff for PB&J's.  I have arrived at church only to realize that someone wasn't wearing pants.  I do rush out the door some mornings forgetting to feed breakfast to at least one person.  Yeah, so?  Don't we all have those moments that are monumental at the time, but 15 years from now, we'll laugh about?

I don't claim to be one of those super moms who has it all together, with everyone looking immaculately clean, with brand new expensive clothes on, and every hair in place.  In fact I'm quite the opposite.  I don't know how many times I've gotten to wherever it was that I was going only to realize that no one (including myself) had brushed their hair.  I have taken my kids into Wal-Mart and thrown them in the buggy because I couldn't find one of their shoes as I was walking out the door.  "Too bad--you can ride in the buggy with the toilet paper and diapers.  Next time, don't lose your shoes!"   

But one thing that I am absolutely not, is a BAD mom.  I am also not an IRRESPONSIBLE mom.  I also think that I know quite a bit on how to take care of my chronically ill child.  Not today, though.  Today, I'm the worst mom ever..... 

It was Maddie's 9-year old check up, and I expected it to be a normal, non-eventful visit.  When they called her name, the nurse checked her height, weight, vision, and hearing, then sat her down to prick her finger.  After all of that, we presented the nurse with a fresh cup of warm morning urine, that had been sloshing around in my purse all day (of course, the cap was screwed on tight, and it was in a ziplock baggie).

Now, I am very aware of Maddie's A1C, aware of her ketones, and aware that they would find sugar in her urine, typical of a diabetic.  My first mistake was watching the nurse check her ketones.

"She doesn't have ketones, does she?"  On the ketone scale, "Trace" and "Small" are just signs that Maddie needed to drink water this morning, and that her blood sugar may have been a little high when she woke up.      
"She's right between "Trace" and "Small", but that's no big deal."  Actually, for anyone else, it is a big deal, but for Maddie, I know what it means, because I've been there and done that, and I can tell you what it means in my sleep. 

From across the crowded hallway, I hear a low and stern voice bellow out, "Trace to small? Is there sugar in her urine?"  This was one of the doctors that I was NOT seeing that day.  It's also a doctor that doesn't know me and doesn't know Maddie.

Stunned, the nurse looked up and hesitated to tell him that there was sugar in her urine.  I'm not sure what the number means exactly, but by the look on her face, I knew I was going to get flack about it.  I just didn't realize I was going to get flack about it from a man I had never met, nor had ever looked at my daughter's chart.

He walked over to Maddie and put his hand on her shoulder and told her that she needed to drink more water, and try to keep her blood sugar down.  **SARCASM ALERT**  Oh, really?  Is that what she's supposed to do??  Good, because no one had ever mentioned that to us before!!

He then started questioning ME in the hallway outside of HIS patient's room and in front of a whole bunch of nurses and patients.  "What's her A1C?  What have her blood sugars been like? How much insulin is she getting per day?" and on, and on, and on, and on......

**SORRY--ANOTHER SARCASM ALERT**

Oh, how did I get from the pediatrician's office for a regular annual check up, to the endochrinologist's office for a lab visit?  And how did our usual sweet, quiet and FEMALE doctor turn into a humiliating MALE pediatrician/endocrinologist before my very eyes??

His last statement to me was with his finger pointed at my face.  "You need to get that blood sugar under control, and fast!"  Then as quickly as he stepped into my conversation with the nurse, he stepped into his next patient's examination room.  And he was gone.

After the nurse rolled her eyes and told me that she didn't know what his problem was, she took me and Maddie into our examination room.  What she apparently didn't realize from that confrontational conversation is that with that little finger point, he was giving me my new title. "WORST MOM EVER"

Sunday, October 4, 2009

My Special Birthday Girl

It was 9 years ago today that I had my sweet Maddie Belle.  I love her more than I could ever imagine.  No one can ever explain the love a mother has for her child.  Maddie, you are more beautiful, more sweet, more creative, funnier, and smarter than I could ever imagine.  Your Mama loves you, pretty girl.  You ARE my heart.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Germs, Stools, and Flu Shots

Today was Reilly's 5 year-old check up.  No biggie, right?  Oh, it was a biggie.  Having Maddie around all the time means she gets the privilege of accompanying me everywhere I go.  Being that Brendan is 2, he also gets to enjoy that privilege.  My mom has the privelege of being able to help me out when I need it, and today, I needed it.

It was a perfect plan in my head.  Pick up Reilly at 12, get the kids lunch, eat in the car, meet my mom at the doctor's office, Mom, Maddie and Brendan watch a movie in the car with the windows down (it was a beautiful day) while Reilly and I run in and see the doctor.

At about 11:55, as I was on my way to the school, my phone rings.  It was Shawn telling me to see if I could get Maddie and Brendan in to get flu shots while I was at the doctor's office, so we wouldn't have to make 2 trips.  Yeah, easy for him to say--he was sitting in a quiet room with a bunch of well behaved teenagers who were not angst ridden about getting shots in their arms.  So, I agreed, called the doctor's office to see if I was able to do it, and hence began the whining and complaining.  The nurse said that they didn't get the nasal mist this year.  Just the shots.  That's just great. 

I have to admit, I'm a worrier.  I also have severe anxiety when it comes to knowing I'm going to endure something painful or uncomfortable.  For instance, I find it almost impossible to get a glaucoma test.  I can't stick my head in a contraption knowing good and well that this contraption is going to blow air on my eye balls.  I just can't do it.  If I keep my head in it, then I inevitably close my eyes at the exact moment the air puff blows.  It's the suspence of knowing that it's going to happen.  I also can't stand the eye ball numbing drops.  Because I know that I can't feel my eye balls, and that bothers me.  But, alas, I can endure a flu shot.  So, Maddie has this worry/anxiety thing that she picked up from her mother.  I just choose to worry about more important things, like puffs of air....

Anyhoo, for the next hour and a half, I had to listen to things like, "Do they have to give the shot to me?" and "You're going to have to pay money for me to get the shot, and I don't want you spending your money on me." and "I just really feel like I'm not going to get the flu, so can I just skip the shot?"  All of this coming from the person who has taken thousands of shots, thousands of finger pricks, and hundreds of needles and tiny tubes in her back side. 

Normally I'm not a germ-o-phobe, but the swine flu scare has sent me into sort of a panic because it could be much more dangerous for a child with a chronic illness, than an otherwise healthy child.  I spent the 15 minutes in the waiting room with Reilly applying the provided hand sanitizer and kindly reminding him not to touch anything or put his hands near his face.

Everything was going smoothly until they called Reilly's name to "come on back" and told me that the other 2 kids should come back, too.  It wasn't going to take long for his check up, then they would all get the shots.  The nurse took Reilly to weigh him, and I ran out to the car to get Mom, Maddie and Brendan.  I could tell it wasn't going to be pretty when Maddie walked down the hall with tears in her eyes.

All 5 of us get escorted into a tiny and very warm examination room.  As usual, immediately 3 things start to happen simultaneously.  Reilly, who is sitting on the table in his Spiderman boxer briefs, starts talking about something, in which to demonstrate meant he had to put his entire hands in his mouth, and when asked not to do that, immediately rubs his eyes with the previous saliva/germ covered hands.  Maddie is quietly crying in anticipation on the floor, with her blood sugar soaring by this point.  Brendan is running full speed back and forth in this 5x8 square foot room, in which there are 2 chairs, a stool, a desk, the paper covered examination table, and five people.

So being the worn out and frazzled mother that I am, I first asked him to stop (knowing full and well that he wouldn't have any part of that) then I put him in "time out" which consisted of the high stool that I knew he couldn't get down from.  Now at this point I am sweating, both from the heat of the room, and from the disposition of all 3 of my kids.  The sweet nurse sticks her head into our room and says, "I'm just putting the SIX  NEEDLES for the kids' SHOTS in the bin on the door.  I didn't want you to think someone was knocking on the door."  Yeah, thanks.  Way to bring it up.  Now everyone has a precise mental picture. 

You can always tell when the doctor is about to come into your room because you can hear the papers being shifted around as they look through your chart really quickly to know what's going on with you.  As I heard Reilly's papers being shifted, the door knob was turning, and I look over at Brendan and he is in mid air.  He lands on his head with the loudest "bonk" sound that you can imagine.  He didn't land on the side of his head, or his shoulder and head.  He landed flat on the back of his head.  And right as the doctor was opening the door.

So now I have 2 crying kids, and 1 in his underwear, and we haven't even started the check up yet.  A few minutes later, Brendan stops crying only to have a noticable goose egg on his head, but Maddie was still in a fetal position crying, this time on my Mom's lap.  I'm never in the right state of mind to ask questions of the doctor at my kids' check ups.  I'm always trying to keep people from crying, and I'm always sweating from the stress of having a doctor talk to me about my child, but not really listening because someone is inevitably acting up.

When it was shot time, Maddie went first, and started hyperventalating.  When the doctor got her calmed down, she gave her the shot.  It was somewhat remeniscent of the first time I gave Maddie a shot of insulin, but not quite as ear-piercing.  Of course, she looked right at the needle and started screaming, not to cease for probably a minute or two.  Fortunately, my mom had a good grip on her.  I had visions of the letters "HI" on her meter.  Stress and anxiety causes her blood sugar to go sky high, and this was definitely stress and anxiety for her, and for me. 

Unfortunately, Reilly received his kindergarten shots, so he got 4 shots instead of 1.  I heard him say things that I hadn't ever heard him say before.  "Get me away from her!" and "This has got to stop now!" and "I can't believe you're letting her do this to me!"  It was quite unsettling for me.  The worst part is having to hold them down so they can't move, except for turning their heads to see the 4 inch long needles.

Then it was Brendan's turn.  He was sleepy, and sweaty, and had a huge bump on his head.  I set him up on the table and she gave him his flu shot.  He didn't wince, he didn't cry, and he didn't even change his sweet expression from a blank look.  He just sat there and got his shot, and watched the whole time.  I think God gave me him to help my calm my anxious nerves and give me a periodic breath of fresh air in my stress filled life.

When we got out to the car, Maddie checked her blood and she was in the 500's.  That figures.....but at least she won't get the flu!  

   

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I Will NEVER Homeschool My Child!

This is what I always said.  I will never homeschool my kids.  I have no patience, I like my time alone while my kids are at school, I am not a teacher, and I have access to a wonderful Christian school with an employee discount, thanks to my husband.  That's like killing 2 birds with 1 stone!  Why would I ever want to homeschool??  No way!  It is not something I would ever do.

Even though I know tons of really cool moms who homeschool, I only pictured myself donned in a denim jumper with long stringy outdated hair, looking like Michelle Dugger standing before a long table with all 46 of my calm and obedient dressed-alike children lining the perimeter from smallest to largest.  Besides, it's something that you're "called" to do.  I am neither "called" to do it, nor is it my desire.  Plus, did I mention that my kids are not usually calm, and only obedient part of the time?    

Nope.  It's just not for me.  I will never homeschool my kids.  No way....

Hang on.......my mouth is full..........I just need to swallow......just one minute.......I'm eating my words......

Yep, that's right.  We're homeschooling now.  

Ok, so Maddie breezed through kindergarten, floated on puffy clouds and rainbows through 1st grade, then came 2nd grade.  We had heard that 2nd was a tough year at our school.  We asked for a certain teacher and assistant, (who we loved and still do to this day), which is one of the perks of being employed by the school, AND having a chronically ill child.

We had our life saver at the school (the school nurse) we had all of our friends in class, we had Daddy across the street in the high school, we started the school year with an A1C of 7.2 and we had just come off of a wonderful fun-filled summer.  It couldn't get any better than this!

The first week of school, (which was a 4 day week) Maddie had gotten a project assignment, had gotten notice of her first big test, which was on Monday of the following week, had lots and lots of homework, and was furiously studying for her spelling quiz, Bible verse quiz, and the first 15 states and capitals test.

Woah--I wasn't prepared for this!  It was stressful on me, making sure she was adequately prepared each morning, not to mention it was stressful for Maddie.  There were many mornings when getting Maddie dressed (yep, that's right--she refused to do it herself, and I certainly didn't want her to miss school because she didn't have on her uniform) was like pulling teeth.  That's not to mention trying to get her to check her blood, eat, put her shoes on, brush her hair, etc.  Our morning routine was accompanied by lots of tears and gnashing of teeth.  Maddie was also upset.   

Shawn would drive to school with Maddie crying the whole way there, and I would pick her up, and she would cry the whole way home.  Not because she was being bullied, or having trouble with her friends.  Not because the work was too hard, or she didn't get good grades.  And most of all, not because she didn't like her teacher, or she didn't like the school.

I won't even mention the tears that accompanied doing homework.  I can't decide what was worse--trying to get her out the door in the morning, or trying to get her homework done.  I have to admit, (even though I know her 2nd grade teacher may read this) sometimes I would finish a worksheet, or put the final touches on a project, just to get her to stop crying.  She would go to bed crying, and she started crying as soon as she woke up.     

She was stressed.  She was under a kind of pressure that she hadn't been under before.  She had a lot expected of her academically, and although she could do the work, it stressed her out.  I still don't know if it was the "classroom environment" or the speed at which she worked, opposed to the speed of others, or if maybe her brain works in a totally different way, and she doesn't do well sitting at a desk.  In a matter of 9 months, her A1C had gone from 7.2 up to 9.1 and this was mostly the result of her stress.   

One evening last spring, Shawn and I came to the conclusion that our only option was to homeschool her, although I cringed at the idea.  I'm not in love with the public schools in my area of town, I'm sure they are fine.  But unfortunately, in order to take adequate care of a child with diabetes, you have to have a full time nurse at the school, and public schools just don't have that.  So, our only way to bring down her A1C was to educate her in a non-stressful way, and the only way to do that is for me to homeschool her.

This was a really big deal for me.  Ok, I am no wuss.  I am a single mother for the entire summer, and for the entire fall soccer season.  I can handle anything.  I may not look all that put-together all the time, but if you give it to me, I can take it.  Trust me, I am tough.  I may whine and complain a bit, but I WILL conquer a problem.  I just wasn't sure I could handle homeschooling her.  It was like standing in front of a huge brick wall, by myself, and not knowing how to get to the other side of it.

My parents didn't even think it would go over well.  They told me I was making a huge mistake.  My dad would shake his head in disappointment because we were pulling her out of one of the best schools in town.  My mom told me it was going to be a disaster.  I had friends at church that told me I was wrong in making this decision.  Everyone I talked to said, "Eww--I could never homeschool."  Gee, thanks for all the encouragement!  Where were all of these nay-sayers when my child was inconsolable every single morning, and every single night of the school year??

At this point in all of my 34 years, I had to do something that I absolutely did not want to do, nor did I know how to do it.  I had to do it for the well-being of my child.  This was best for herShe is my priority.  And of course, I prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed about it.  And of course, God calmed my heart.  And of course, everything fell into place.  Why?  Because this was what was best for my child, and this was what is in God's will for her.......oh, and for her mother.

Maddie is loving homeschooling.  She goes up to the computer and works until she's finished.  She's through by the time we leave to pick up Reilly from preschool.  She does well on her quizzes and tests.  She takes a drama class though our homeschool group, which she loves.  She takes a gymnastics class, which she looks forward to every week.   She immediately made a bunch of friends in her classes.  All of these things that I was dreading are turning out to be great.

Why did I dread this?  Why did I fight this?  Why did I spend so much time worrying about this?  Obviously, arguing with God did not go in my favor.  Nonetheless, we are enjoying it.  All of  my homeschooling anxieties are turning out to NOT be problems.  It isn't bad at all.  I guess that's why God put Himself in control, instead of me.  Like I said in the beginning, homeschooling is something you are "called" to do. 

 

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Midnight Confessions

When Maddie was first diagnosed, she was on insulin shots, which meant I was in charge of her entire diabetes situation.  When a diabetic goes on an insulin pump, you relinquish control, and the pump takes over, deciding how much insulin to give you according to food and blood sugar, etc.  It has been difficult for me to give up this control to a tiny little purple device that runs on 1 AA battery.

One of my most favorite times of the day is when I check Maddie's blood sugar at 2am.  Everyone in the house is fast asleep, and I go into her room, sit on her bed, and check her blood.  If you've ever watched a child sleep, you know that it's the sweetest thing in the world.  Usually, Maddie isn't too low, so I don't wake her up, but she usually wakes up just enough to give me her finger and watch me as I stick her finger

But sometimes, I have to wake her up all the way to give her a few glucose tablets.  When I do this, I think it stuns her, and she gets a little crazy.  She'll finish a conversation she was having in her dreams, or she'll point to something that she was dreaming about, that in reality isn't there.  But sometimes, she wakes up all the way, and she'll say the sweetest, most random things.

Sometimes she'll tell me that she really enjoyed dinner.  Sometimes, she'll thank me for something I did months ago, or sometimes she'll tell me something really funny that she and Reilly did earlier in the evening.  And sometimes, she'll even tell me that I look beautiful, even though I know that I don't.  My mascara is under my eyes, instead of on my eyelashes, my hair is frizzy from chasing my boys around the house, and my pajamas have some sort of stain on them from whatever my 2 year old was eating before he went to bed.  But it always baffles me that even though it's probably really annoying that she gets woken up, she always seems to be the sweetest at that moment.

It is a burden to have to stay up until 2 am every night, but I am so thankful that I get to have those moments with her all by myself and get to hear her little voice, and see her sleepy little eyes.  That is my favorite part of the day.     

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My MasterCard Commercial

Insurance                                                $7200/year

Insulin Pump                                            $8000

Glucose Monitor                                      $500

Testing Strips                                           $840/year

Insulin                                                      $420/year

Lab Visits                                                 $300/year

Endocrinologist Appointments                    $360/year

Glucose Tablets                                         $100/year



My sweet Maddie Belle        PRICELESS

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Famous Type 1 Diabetics

I got this information from a site for diabetes support, both type 1 and 2, but I weeded out all the type 2's.  These are famous type 1's only from www.isletsofhope.com


Famous Type 1 Diabetics

Berry, Halle - Actress (Monster's Ball, X-Men, Die Another Day)
Cairns, Douglas - Pilot; first type 1 to fly around the world and raise money for the cause
Clarke, Bobby - NHL (Philadelphia Flyers)
Collie, Mark - Country Singer
Dudley, Chris - NBA (New York Knicks center
Freeman, Kris - US Olympic cross country skiing team
Garber, Victor - Actor (Alias, Titanic, First Wives Club, Sleepless in Seattle) 
Gregory, Dorian - Actor (Baywatch Nights, Charmed, The Other Half)
Hall, Gary, Jr. - US Olympic Gold Medalist (swimming)
Hemingway, Ernest - Author (For Whom the Bell Tolls; A Farewell to Arms; The Sun Also Rises)
Hewitt, Jay - Iron Man triathlete
Hill, Dana - Actress (Shoot the Moon, European Vacation)
Hollins, Dave - 1993 Phillies World Series Third Baseman
Hunter, James "Catfish" - MLB Baseball Hall-of-Famer (baseball)
Jarvis, Chris - World Champion Canadian rower
Johnson, Jason - MLB (Pitcher, Detroit Tigers)
Johnson, Nicole - Miss America, 1999
Jonas, Nick - Jonas Brothers  
Keuhne, Kellie - LPGA golfer
Lee, Tommy - Drummer (Motley Crue)
Leeuewenberg, Jason - Sports caster, former Indianapolis Colts)
Lucas, George - Director and producer (Star Wars, American Graffiti, Raiders of the Lost Ark)
McGann, Michelle - LPGA golfer
Michaels, Bret - Singer (Poison)
Moore, Mary Tyler - Actress (Dick Van Dyke Show, Mary Tyler Moore Show, Ordinary People); diabetes advocate
Mulligan, Richard - Actor (Soap, Empty Nest)
Overall, Park - Actress (Empty Nest)
Parker, Tim - "Gift of Gab," rapper for hip hop group Blackolicious
Pember, David - MLB (Milwaukee Brewers)
Reichert, Dan - MLB (Kansas City Royals)
Rice, Anne - Author (Interview With a Vampire)
Robinson, Jackie - Baseball player
Santo, Ron - MLB (Chicago Cubs legend)
Smart, Jean - Actress (Designing Women)
Thompson, Leonard - 1st person to receive insulin injection at the age of 12
Verplank, Scott - PGA golfer
Wells, H. G. - Author (War of the Worlds; The Time Machine; The Invisible Man)


Wow--I guess diabetics can do great things!! 


The Candy Agenda

With candy season coming up, I am posting a list of popular candy and carbs.  I got this list from a great website:    www.childrenwithdiabetes.com


Candy Size/Package Carbs (g)

3 Musketeers 16 gram fun-sized bar 12g
3 Musketeers 2.13 oz bar 46g
Baby Ruth 2 oz. bar 37g
Baby Ruth 1 fun size 17g
Blow Pop sucker One sucker 13g
Butterfinger 2 oz. bar 41g
Butterfinger 22 gram-fun sized bar 15g
Candy corn 15 pieces 15g
Dum Dum suckers One sucker 5g
Gummy Bears 11 pieces 30g
Heath Bar 1.4 oz. bar 25g
Hershey's Almond 3 minis 15g
Hershey's Almond 1.45oz. bar 20g
Hershey's Kisses 6 pieces 16g
Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar snack size 10g
Jolly Rancher 1 piece 6g
Kit Kat bar 3 piece bar 10g
KitKat 1.5 oz. package 26g
Licorice 3 6-inch Twizzlers 15g
M&M's "Halloween" mini box 10g
M&M's, plain mini pack 15g
M&M's, plain 1.69 oz bag 34g
M&M's, peanut mini pack 13g
M&M's, peanut 1.74 oz bag 30g
M&M's, peanut butter 1.69 oz bag 27g
Milky Way 2.15 oz bar 43g
Milky Way fun-sized bar 14g
Nestle's Cruch 1.5 oz 28g
Nestle's Crunch 4 mini bars 26g
Reese's Cups 2 regular-sized 1 oz cups 18g
Reese's mini cups 4 1-oz mini cups 16g
Skittles 15 pieces 15g
Skittles mini pack 17.5g
Snicker's fun size 12g
Snickers 2.07 oz. bar 36g
Snickers 20-gram fun-sized bar 12g
Starburst 4 pieces 16g
Sweet Tarts mini packs - 5 packs 13g
Tootsie Pop 1 pop 16g
Tootsie Roll midgets 12 30g
Tootsie Rolls 2 bars 23g
Twix 2 2-oz. cookies 37g
Warheads 5 13g
Whopers 8 Pieces 15g
Whoppers 1 small pouch 16g
Wonka Pixie Stix Each (about 6 in. in length) 2g

Hashimoto's Disease

This was copied from www.familydoctor.org

Hashimoto’s Disease

Hashimoto's disease is a problem with your thyroid gland located in your neck. The thyroid gland makes hormones that control how your body uses energy. When you have Hashimoto's disease, your immune system begins to attack your thyroid gland, causing it to become swollen and irritated. When this happens, your thyroid can't make hormones as it should.


The What Ifs

If you are a mother, and you’ve ever been told that something was wrong with your child, you probably wondered, “What did I do, or not do, for this to happen??”  As far as type 1 diabetes is concerned, there are many different scenarios on how one “gets” it. 

You can’t “catch” it.  You can’t pick it up from touching a bathroom toilet, you can’t get it from someone sneezing behind you at the movies, and you can’t get it from not washing your hands after you’ve handled raw chicken.  I think life would be a lot easier if we could prevent our kids from getting it. 

Our endocrinologist says that Maddie was predisposed to having diabetes, but that also at some point in time, she got a virus that attacked her immune system, which led to her body attacking her pancreas, then her thyroid (Hashimoto’s Disease), thus reeking auto-immune disease havoc inside her little body.

Hereditarily speaking, (do you like how I just now threw that in there??) there is diabetes in my family.  My sister was diagnosed with type 1 in her late 20’s.  I also remember my grandfather taking insulin and keeping track of his blood sugar, but my mom and sister are starting to think that maybe he had type 2.  Who knows…..  So, evidently, Maddie was set up from the start to someday have diabetes.  It’s in her DNA.  

But, as far as this whole virus thing, well, there were a few years in there (before I had my boys) when life wasn’t so chaotic, and I actually had time to be a neat and organized  mom.  There were several times when she was 2 or 3 years old, that I remember Maddie having a fever for a couple of days.  I remember being baffled because she didn’t have a sore throat, her ears didn’t hurt, she wasn’t throwing up, and there was no rash anywhere on her body.  She was acting fine, she was just burning up.

There would be the “chicken pox scare of VBS 2003” or the “fifths disease scare of toddler 2’s Sunday school 2001”.  I would periodically get the emails and phone calls from my friends saying that “so-and-so’s child has a rash” or “such-and-such is broken out all over his hands, feet, and mouth”, and my personal favorite, “such-and-such spent all night cleaning up throw up from so-and-so’s stomach bug”.  Fortunately, somehow, Maddie steered clear of all of those icky air born illnesses. 

There was a time when I may have slightly bragged about Maddie not ever really getting very sick.  She had the occasional ear infection, or runny nose, but she was never down for more than half a day or so.  And when she was, as a good first-time-mom, I always rushed her to the doctor to get medicine, not only so that she wouldn’t feel miserable, but also because I valued my sleep and didn’t want to mess up the great schedule that she was on. 

But I can’t help but think that one of those mysterious fevers when she was very little may have been “the one” that did all the auto-immune damage.  The pediatrician would say, “Marcie, it’s just a fever.  She checks out okay, so just treat it with over the counter medicine.”  So I did.  Children’s Tylenol and Children’s Ibuprofen were my best friends.

When she was diagnosed at 5, the endocrinologist said that judging from her terrible A1C score, (14.2~yikes!!) she probably had had diabetes (undiagnosed) for about 2 years or so.  My response was “Whaaaaaat?” 

Yep, that’s right.  For TWO whole years, my child lived with an undiagnosed chronic illness, without my knowledge, as I fed her all of the foods that she is NOT supposed to indulge in without some sort of insulin injection.  Nice, huh? 

I try to concentrate every day on how healthy Maddie is today, and how blessed we are to have her on her pump.  How she has more energy than myself and Shawn put together, how sweet, beautiful, and smart she is, and how she has so many friends that love being around her.  I can’t help but wonder about all of the “what ifs” but I guess I’ll never know….. 


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bravery

When Maddie had just turned 2 years old, she fell off of a bed and broke her arm.  At the time, the nurses thought it was Nursemaid's Elbow, and tried several times to put it back in place.  Nope.  It was broken, and they were further torturing my child.  Maddie endured an all-nighter in the ER, x-rays, and the putting on of, and removal of (with a saw) a cast, all around the age of 2. 

When she was 4, Maddie was diagnosed with amblyopia, which is when your vision isn't the same in both eyes, so they have to correct the "bad" eye so that your brain doesn't train itself not to use it.  My tiny little 4 year old girl had to endure a rigorous ophthalmology appointment, then get glasses (but fortunately no eye patch.....arghh), which at the time was devastating to me.  Now, not so much.

Anyhoo, Maddie has been put through the ringer as far as doctors and ailments were concerned.  She didn't visit the doctor without lots of screaming and gnashing of teeth until she was almost 4.  Fortunately, she was over that when she endured the whole diabetes thing.  But it never ceases to amaze me how brave she really is after all.

Keep in mind, her fingers are calloused from the repeated sticking to check her blood sugar.  Her backside is spotted from changing her pump site every 3 or 4 days.  She doesn't even wince when I shove a needle inside of a tiny plastic tube into her skin.  She is the bravest person I know.

Now, I've had my fair share of pain.  I've endured being smashed in a car by a Volkswagon Bus, breaking multiple bones and taking out the window with my head and elbow and leaving an 8 inch frankenstein scar down my leg.  I've broken multiple toes, I've had surgeries, and I've birthed 3 babies.  I have a high threshold for pain.  I can handle pretty much anything.

Last year, Maddie and I went to get our eyes checked.  A really good friend of mine is a CPOA at a huge ophthalmology office in town.  Because Maddie has had problems in the past with her eyes, she was a little worried about the appointment.  I knew it would be easier for her to get "checked" by Miss Lisa, than some stranger.  She got all the tests done, got drops in her eyes, and had her eyeballs poked and prodded. I could tell she was nervous, but, nonetheless, she didn't make a peep.   Then it was my turn.

I'll show Maddie how this is no big deal for me.  How she shouldn't be worried about the eye tests, or getting eye drops, or the wretched glaucoma test.  I haven't had many visits to the eye doctor, but how hard can this be?  What's a couple of puffs of air?  No biggie.....

On about the 5th try of trying to get me to keep my face in the contraption to get puffs of air in my eyes, my friend Lisa said, "We'll have to do the eye drops for the glaucoma test.  You keep moving your head before the puff of air shoots out."  I never said I didn't have a problem with anxiety.  I laughed a little, so that Maddie could see that no, it was still no big deal.

As Lisa was putting the drops in my eyes, she proceeded to tell me that they would numb my eyeballs because she was going to "tap" on my pupil with an instrument.  I don't know about you, but the thought of not being able to feel my eyeballs makes me a little woozy, not to mention the whole tapping thing with the instrument.

The next thing I remember was Lisa waking me up, trying to get me to drink a sugary drink.  Not only had I not handled my numb eyeballs, but I had passed out!  I looked over at Maddie and she was giggling.  She wasn't just giggling to herself, she was laughing at me!   

More recently, Maddie's endocrinologist nurse wanted us to try out a new lancet device.  (That's the thing that sticks your finger with a needle).  She claimed that it was supposed to hurt less, and she wanted ME to try it out to see.  I don't know what she was thinking, but whenever a sharp pointy thing goes into my skin at a high rate of speed, only to bring blood, it's going to hurt.

"Just try it, Marcie.  You'll see that it is much less painful than her regular lancet device."  Oh no.  She wants ME to stick my finger.  That's going to hurt!!!  And what makes her think I've tried the lancet device that she uses now??  Then it's going to hurt for 30 minutes and I have to act like it's not big deal.

OK, I had to put on a brave face for Maddie.  After all, she stuck her fingers every day, 6-8 times.  Surely, I'm not that much of a chicken that I can act like it doesn't hurt in front of my kid.

I brought that thing up to my shaking finger, and held my breath, ready to stick myself.  I looked over at Maddie, who was rolling her eyes, and I pressed the button.

"Ouch," I said calmly, but what I was thinking, "OOUUCCHH!!!!!".  As the nurse squeezed my finger to bring up what seemed like a gallon of blood, I was wondering if that had hurt any less than getting kicked in the stomach.  My finger was pulsing and red.  I was sweating, and feeling a little faint.  It only hurts for a second....what a crock--it was throbbing, and did for at least 20 minutes.  I don't remember what happened in the appointment after that, because I was seeing stars, and my finger was reeling in pain.

How can a person so young and so small endure this every day??  I don't know anyone braver than my girl.



  

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Diabetes Makes You Prettier

Something that's a big deal to me is making sure my kids have good self esteem and a positive self image.  From the day they could understand me, I have told them how handsome and beautiful they are.  I'm always telling Reilly (my 5 year old son) what big muscles he has, and what a great soccer player he is.  Maddie has always been told how beautiful she is, and how smart and creative she is.  I think we all need a little encouragement every now and then. 

Ok, so this whole diabetes thing did a number on Maddie.  From the time she was diagnosed at the age of 5, she has experienced a touch of depression, embarrassment, anxiety, and so many other negative feelings that sometimes accompany the diagnosis of a chronic disease.  I can't say that I know how she feels.  Because I don't.  I don't have diabetes.  I don't have to check my blood in front of my peers.  I don't have people asking me if I feel low.  I don't have friends that tell me I can't eat something.

So from the very day she was diagnosed, I have told Maddie that diabetes makes her prettier.  Because I believe it does.  I tell her that there's no way in the world that she would have been this pretty if she didn't have diabetes.

I tell her it does something to her hair and skin.  I tell her that it makes her eyes a brighter green.  It makes her skin a more beautiful shade of tan.  It gives her eyelashes a tiny bit of extra length.  It puts beautiful blond highlights around her face.  It makes her teeth a little whiter and straighter.  It makes her voice sweeter and softer.  It makes her prettier.  Because I think it does.

My dad has said something to Maddie since she was a year old.  He has said it to her ever since then, and he says it quite frequently.

"Maddie, come here to your Grampa."  Maddie is the only granddaughter of 6 grandchildren.  She has her Grampa wrapped around her finger.  It is not uncommon after she is told "no" to hear her mumble under her breath, "Well, Grampa will get it for me."

Maddie walks over to my dad's open embrace, as he puts his face right up to hers, so as to tell her a secret.  "I have a pretty important question to ask you."

"What is it, Grampa?"  She always acts like she doesn't have any idea what he's going to say.

My dad gets this serious look on his face and asks her the same question every time.  "How did you get so pretty in just 8 years?"  He inserts her current age at that moment.  He is usually tickling her, or hugging her by this point.  She just laughs and shakes her head and tries to get away from his firm grip on her tiny little body.

She manages to get "I don't know" out as he's tickling her and as they're both laughing out loud.  I tried for years to get her to say, "From my mama," but she would never say it.

Now I know how she got that way......it's because diabetes has made her prettier.

A Wonderful Video

  I don't know this family, but I found this on YouTube.  It is SO accurate and true to the daily life of a child with diabetes.  But, I can't imagine having all 3 of my children have diabetes--yikes!!  I hope you have a few minutes to watch it.  Kudos to this family~

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fp4uiyXtiSQ

**They had disabled the ability to embed this link, so you may have to copy and paste!**

Being a Mom

My initial intention was to write a blog for moms whose kids had been recently diagnosed with diabetes.  My thought was to let them know that even thought it's devastating to find out that your child has a chronic disease, it's probably the best one to have.  You see, it's not cancer (thank goodness) or a tumor or a disability that will make her look very different.  Diabetes is something that can be easily hidden, easily regulated, and pretty easily monitored.

I also wanted those "newly diagnosed" moms to read about a normal family with normal kids, who live a normal life, but that live it with diabetes.  See, I don't claim to know much about politics, or the financial world, or business, or even sports.  I don't watch the evening news, or really care about watching it.  I don't have a medical degree, or ever thought about getting one.  My talents lie only in being creative.  I don't claim to know much about the cardiovascular system, or the nervous system, or the endocrine system, or any other systems.

But, I can tell you that I know almost all there is to know about taking care of a child that has diabetes.  I know what to do if her blood sugar gets too low.  I know what to do if it gets too high.  I know how to give shots.  I know how to change an infusion set.  I know what to feed, and what not to feed a diabetic.  I know how big "one serving" of pasta is.  I know how many carbs are in a half cup of white rice.  I know what's going to happen if she's too active.  I know what to do if she's been sitting still for a long time.  I know what to do if she gets upset.  I know what to do when her adrenaline kicks in.  I know what to do when she's sick.  I know what to do if she has ketones in her urine.  You give me a diabetes scenario, and I can tell you what to do with it.  

My sister always says that I know way more than she does about diabetes, even though she's had it for over 13 years.  I think I know why.  It's not me that has the disease.  It's my child.  I didn't set out to learn about diabetes.  I did it because I had to.  It's my responsibility to take care of Maddie, so I have to know all of that stuff.  If I were the one with this disease, I probably wouldn't know as much about it. 

As moms, we don't let our kids out of our sight, unless we know that they're going to be safe.  That's our job.  It's why we're moms.  I went to college at a huge university for 4 years and got a Bachelor of Arts degree.  No employer or cushy job in the world is as sweet as being a mom.  I'm going to give it my all.  And that includes taking care of a child with diabetes.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

10 Things I Want My Friends To Know

Here's another good one from www.juvenation.org:

10 Things I Want My Friends To Know

  1. When I'm testing my blood sugar or giving myself insulin, please don't get grossed out or make a big deal about it.
  2. Please stop telling me I can't eat something because there's sugar in it!  I can eat all the same things as you can, just in smaller portions and with a dose of insulin.
  3. Just because I've had diabetes for a long time doesn't mean I'll ever get used to it.  Most days I'm fine, but some days my diabetes can still get the best of me.
  4. I'm not going to die every time I check my blood sugar or experience a low.
  5. You don't need to announce to everyone that I have diabetes.  I'll tell them if I want to.
  6. Having diabetes is like a full-time job and can be exhausting, so please be patient with me.
  7. Just because I have diabetes doesn't mean that I can't play sports and do all the things that everyone else does.
  8. It's OK to ask me questions about my diabetes.  I want to help you understand what it's like.
  9. I didn't do anything to cause my type 1 diabetes, and there's still no cure.
  10. Diabetes doesn't define who I am, it's just something I have.
The funny thing about Maddie and her friends is that a lot of her friends feel like they have to look out for her or protect her from harm.  She really thinks it's sweet.  She loves her friends!!

Funny, Yet So True

I read this article on a great website: www.juvenation.org

It is funny, but at the same time, it shows how little people know about diabetes. According to www.JDRF.org as many as 3 million Americans may have Type 1 Diabetes, and each year more than 15,000 children are diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. That's 40 children per day. Scary....

Anyhoo, Maddie and I read this together, and we had a couple of good laughs....

STUPID THINGS PEOPLE SAY
A constant source of frustration for people with type 1 diabetes is annoying questions or comments from well-meaning but ill-informed people. Here are some of our favorites:

"Does it hurt?"
Of course poking myself with a needle hurts sometimes, and you never really get used to it no matter how long you have had diabetes.

"You can't eat that--You have diabetes!"
I know what I can and can't eat! Limiting sweets can help me keep my blood sugar under control, but as long as I adjust my insulin, I can eat them just like people without diabetes.

"Do you think you should eat something?"
I appreciate your concern, but I've been living with type 1 diabetes for some time now. Unless I've already asked you to watch me for specific symptoms and remind me to eat, I can decide when and what to eat on my own.

"Did you get diabetes because you at too much sugar?"
Eating too much sugar is not a cause of type 1 diabetes. I didn't do anything to cause my diabetes.

"I know all about diabetes, so here's what you need to do...."
Just because you're older than me or have more education doesn't mean you know more than I do about diabetes. I've been living with this disease for many years, so don't you think I know more about it than you?

"You're so skinny, how could you have diabetes?"
Obesity can be a trigger for Type 2 Diabetes, but it has NOTHING to do with type 1.

**my personal favorite**
"I have type 2 diabetes, so I know how you feel."
No, you don't. People with type 2 diabetes may be able to control their disease with diet and exercise alone, or with oral medication. Type 1 diabetics have to inject insulin constantly.

"Insulin can cure diabetes, right?"
Taking insulin keeps people with type 1 diabetes alive, but dies not cure the disease. While progress has been made, there still is no cure for diabetes.

"How come your blood sugar is always too hight or too low? Are you doing something wrong?"
Many factors can easily cause my blood sugars to swing out of control no matter how well I follow my meal plan and insulin schedule. It does not mean I've done something wrong.

Can't you get rid of your diabetes if you just exercise and eat right?"
If I could, don't you think I would have done that by now? Type 1 Diabetes is not caused by a poor diet, obesity, or lack of exercise. Those are factors associated with type 2 diabetes. Exercise and a good diet can help me to better control my type 1 diabetes, but they do not make it go away.


Being that Maddie is a child, with friends who are also children, she gets these questions and ones similar, all the time. She knows that she just needs to explain that her pancreas doesn't work, so her pump takes the place of it. God gives certain people patience for a reason. Maddie has become a very patient little girl.

Kindergarten

For most moms, Kindergarten is bitter sweet. Your child is growing up, learning new things, exploring the world around them, and adapting to new surroundings and new friends. Your child goes on real field trips, stays longer on play dates, and has a new array of interests.

As a mom, you don't want to see your child get bigger--you want them to stay a baby, at home, with you. Because the older and more mature they grow, the further away from you they get, and the closer they get to eventually leaving the nest. But at the same time, you want your child to grow and learn and do things that you can be proud of.

For me, not so much. Kindergarten was a feeling of dread. What am I going to do?? How will Maddie get her shots? What if she gets low, and the teacher is busy teaching? What if she passes out in P.E.? What if she gets too low in the morning?

I am fortunate enough to have a husband who teaches in a wonderful Christian school. This school is full of wonderful administrators, teachers, parents, and kids. There was no question whether or not I wanted Maddie to go there. Just like public schools, this school didn't have a full time nurse. Or a part time nurse. Or a nurse at all.

Shawn and I talked it over, and we would meet with her teachers and show them how to "handle" Maddie's diabetes. We knew her teachers, and we knew that they were excellent at what they do, and we knew that they LOVE kids. I'm sure everything will be fine.

Keep in mind, blood sugar and insulin had been my 24/7 life for about 6 weeks. It was "no biggie" by that point in time. I had done the single-mom-of-two-kids-one-having-diabets thing while Shawn was traveling. It was easy by that point.

Shawn called me and said, "Get your mom to keep the kids for a couple of hours Thursday morning. We're going to meet with Maddie's teachers." Great! Wonderful!! Everything is going to be fine! I'll teach them the condensed version of what I learned, and they'll be fine. Whew!!

The night before, I made a list of things that I needed to show them, a list of things I needed to tell them, I gathered the items that needed to be kept on hand, and I typed up a notebook, yes, a notebook, full of things that they may want to have in writing, and I got lots of extra needles and lancets out so that we could all practice shots and blood glucose monitoring.

All I can say is that I sat down in a teeny-tiny chair, at a teeny-tiny table across from two of the sweetest kindergarten teachers that I know, and started going down my list. They were quiet, and they listened intently. And I kept going, and going, and going. And when I was through showing them how to stick a needle in Maddie's little bitty arm, I looked up at them to see if they had any questions.

Now, I don't drink coffee, so I don't have many cups and saucers lying around, but I am aware of how big a saucer is, in comparison to one's eyes. These two sweet ladies were motionless and silent. Their eyes were as big a saucers, and they didn't even blink.

"OK." Her teacher spoke very slowly.

"I'm not sure if I can do all of this." The assistant spoke very quietly.

"Well, I've shown you exactly what to do, and I have it all written in this notebook. If you want to take this home and look over it, that will be fine. If there are ever any questions during the school day, you can call my cell phone."

I got a phone call the day before school started from the principal. They had hired a nurse to be at the school every day!

That Summer

That was a long hard summer. I had a child that I had to give shots to 8 times a day. I had to prick her finger 10 or so times per day. I had to watch what she put in her mouth. I had to make sure she wasn’t shaking from getting too low. I had to check her urine for ketones. I had to check her blood every 2 or 3 hours during the night. I had to tell her she couldn’t have the foods that she was used to eating. I couldn’t let her out of my sight for more than an hour or two. I had a toddler that had already begun to enter the “terrible two’s”. My husband went away for week long trips, 3 times. I had to start preparing Maddie for kindergarten…... Oh yeah, and I unexpectedly got pregnant. Nice…..

Diabetes 101

It was a Wednesday afternoon. When we walked in, the nurse took us to a conference room. Whew--no examination room, no paper liner on the table, no tiny sink or stool with wheels. Just a table and 4 chairs. It wasn't anything intimidating for a 5 year old. And there we sat from 2 p.m. until it got dark outside. I don't even know when we left. All I knew was that my mom had my 2 year old and we had a sick daughter.

We learned A LOT about diabetes that afternoon. We learned about cells, blood, sugars, the pancreas, how to give shots, how to check glucose, what to do when, and what to do where. It was information overload. I remember thinking that this was more information than I had taken in during all 4 years of college.

Then it was time. The doctor wanted ME to give my child a shot. He wanted ME to stick a needle in her smooth tanned skin. I washed my hands. I prepared the insulin. I screwed on the needle. I wiped down her skin with alcohol.

Now, we don't have cats, but I've heard that it is almost impossible to get a cat into a toilet. Why anyone would want to put a cat down into a toilet bowl is beyond me, but nonetheless, I've heard it's tough. Supposedly the cat clings onto the side for dear life, all the while scratching, biting, hissing, and screaming. Clinging to your arm, so as to not get wet from the water.

Administering this shot, was like trying to get a cat in the toilet. Once I held up that needle, we had to catch Maddie. Once we had her in our grasp, we had to physically hold down her arms and legs. We had to hold her still, because she was NOT going to let us near her with a needle in our hands. After the even-keeled doctor and nurse tried for about 10 minutes to talk her into letting us stick her, Shawn stepped in and held her. When she wouldn't allow him to hold her down, the doctor, who is probably 5 feet tall and in his 60's, grabbed Maddie, while the nurse held her arms and sat on her legs.

I had a tiny window of opportunity to stick her teeny little tummy with this stupid needle. I just went for it. I held my breath, pinched up her skin, and let her have it. I was sweating, my eyes were burning, the lump in my throat was painful, I was nauseous, and I was shaking. Shawn was as white as a ghost and plastered up against the wall in the corner.

The sound that came out of that child's mouth was like nothing that I had ever heard before. Not only was she being held down by 2 total strangers, but she was getting a shot in her stomach, and it was being administered by her mother. The person that promised that she would never let anything happen to her. The person who loved and hugged and kissed her. The one that held her and rubbed her head when she was upset. The one that picked her up when she skinned her knee and carried her inside. The one that sat up all night when she was sick. Hopefully she would forgive me for this.

When it was over, I was relieved, Maddie was an angry mess, the doctor and nurse were stunned, and Shawn was still quiet and pale. What a relief that it was over!! Now, I only had to do that exact same thing 6-8 times a day for the rest of her life. Oh, and by the way, I only have to check her blood sugar 12 times a day until we get this under control.

As we were leaving the dark and vacant doctors office late on that Wednesday evening, the doctor announced, "I'll see you at 9 in the morning. Be prepared to stay until at least 6 p.m. Oh, and you'll come in all day on Friday, too."

We had a trip to the beach planned for that weekend. Shawn was going on a missions trip the week after that. What in the world were we going to do? I don't know if I can handle this. I guess I don't have much of a choice.