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I know tons of really cool moms who homeschool, I only pictured myself donned in a denim jumper with long stringy outdated hair, looking like Michelle Dugger standing before a long table with all 46 of my calm and obedient dressed-alike children lining the perimeter from smallest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 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

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:

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

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


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'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~

**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

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:

It is funny, but at the same time, it shows how little people know about diabetes. According to 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....

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.


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.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Miracle on June 28th, 2006

Fortunately for us, there was a new pediatric endocrinologist in town. He was well known for having had articles published in medical journals, for being one of very few pediatric endocrinologists in the state, and he was the first endocrinologist to have a diabetic patient healthily go through fertility treatments, pregnancy, and a healthy birth in the 1970’s.

However, he was booked solid. Not taking new patients.

Somehow, our pediatrician worked a miracle over the phone. Not only would he see us, but he would see us that day. He would tell us what to do. He would tell us what we needed to know. He would help us get our baby girl healthy again.

I had no idea what was in store for us over the next 3 days.

Daddy's Girl

I had always dreamed of having a little blond, curly headed girl. She and I were going to play together, laugh together, and we would always be best friends. We would hang out together all the time, and at any waking moment, I would want to spend it with her. I would have a shopping buddy, and we would be so happy together.

Then I had my baby girl.

She didn’t have blond curly hair, and the only person she wanted to be around was Daddy. I spent all day with her, every day. She would cry, fuss, throw up on me, and all of that “mom” stuff. But no. She didn’t want me. She wanted her Daddy.

She wanted Daddy first thing in the morning, she wanted Daddy all throughout the day, she wanted Daddy in the evenings, and she wanted Daddy during the night. I was chopped liver. She couldn’t have cared any less about my existence.

There was excitement in her voice and love on her face at the mere mention of his name. She was totally different when he got home. She was calm, loving, quiet, and sweet. You would have thought it was Christmas morning when she heard the door open. To see Daddy, or hear his voice was sheer excitement and pure joy.

She had him wrapped around her finger, too. She still does. And his heart melts for his beautiful girl.

The Phone Call

After the doctor’s loud phone call in his office, he came back into the room. He had made arrangements with a specialist that wasn’t taking new patients. Except for Maddie. She was an exception. I was given directions, a name, a suite number, and a time.

It was a dizzying walk down the hallway back into the waiting room. I remember opening the door and seeing Reilly playing with the toys, and my mom sitting on the chair, smiling. She was ready to go and get on with hanging out with her grandchildren.

I know I wasn’t crying outright, because I was trying to be strong for Maddie, and I didn’t want her to think it was a big deal. I didn’t want her to be scared. I do know that I had tears in my eyes, and the moment I looked at my mom, who was smiling, and she saw my tears, I had to actually say it.

“What did he say?!?”

I didn’t want to say it. If I said it, then I’d be putting it out there, and I’m not ready to do that. If I nod my head, will my mom know what I mean? Will she think everything is fine? Or will she get my hint? What is Maddie going to think?

Get it together, Marcie. Maddie is listening. Get it together, girl. If you break down, she’ll freak out, and you don’t need her to do that right now. Clear your throat. Swallow. Take a deep breath.

“She has diabetes,” I spoke very softly so maybe, just maybe, Maddie wouldn’t hear me.


“She has diabetes. We have to go see a pediatric endocrinologist at 2:00.”

My mom didn’t say much after that. I didn’t say much either. I do remember her calling my dad to tell him to pray. We had to figure out how to spend the next couple of hours with a toddler and a hungry 5 year old, that apparently had diabetes.

I don’t remember dialing the phone, but I had to somehow inform my husband that our sweet baby girl, the light of our lives, our first born child, the owner of our hearts, has diabetes.

“Hello?” Shawn is always very chipper at school. I think it’s because he’s doing exactly what he is meant to be doing. He loves it, and I think he’s really good at it.

“Hey.” I, however, was not so chipper.

“Hey! What’s up?”

I was mumbling softly, trying not to get upset, or let Maddie hear my conversation. “Maddie has diabetes.”

“What? I didn’t hear you. Maddie what?”

“She has diabetes.”


“Yes. Mom and I are on our way to get them something to eat, then we have a 2:00 appointment with a doctor. You should probably come.”

“Where is the appointment?”

I gave him directions and he hung up. I could tell he was trying not to cry.


Have you ever not totally known what was going on, but you could tell that it wasn’t good by the face on the person in charge? To look at a man, that had inspected every square inch of my child’s body, and see his face go pale, and his eyes bug out, is never good. All he said was, “She’s over 600,” and he left the room.
“What’s he doing?” I had such a confused look on my face.
“She’s definitely got diabetes. She’s higher than I’ve ever seen a child be.”
Susan was speaking quietly, as if she didn’t want Maddie to hear her, or as if it wasn’t going to sting my innermost being to hear her blurt out something so dreadful about my child. She cleaned up from checking Maddie’s blood sugar and left the room.
You know, when you are trying not to cry, and you get that lump in your throat, then it kind of burns your nose, and your eyes well up? You know that feeling? Or when you get in some kind of accident and right as it’s happening, you’re thinking, “Great--wouldn’t you know this would happen to me.” Or what about when something happens, and you know that you can do nothing to change the situation or influence the outcome?
I could hear him in his office through the walls. He was talking too loudly. But I could only make out phrases like, “immediately,” “serious,” and “she’s only 5 years old.” I had forgotten that Maddie was actually sitting there on the bench next to me, or that my mom was in the waiting room with my 18 month old. I just remember staring at the tiles on the floor, wondering what I had done wrong for my beautiful daughter to be sick.
“What’s wrong, Mama?” That’s usually a question that any mother shouldn’t want to answer. What should I tell her? How do I tell her what diabetes is, when I don’t even know what it is? Is it going to go away? How can I fix it? Does she have to go to the hospital? What’s going to happen to my little girl’s life???
“I don’t know, Maddie.”

The Date Was June 28, 2006

The first week of June in 2006, our family went to Disney World. Yes, we went in June. Yes, it was 150 degrees outside in the sun all day. And yes, we went to the parks as soon as they opened, and we were there until the parks closed. Maddie was 5 and Reilly was 18 months old. We had lots of snacks, and we ate every meal at the park restaurants, and at the different fast food stands. The kids had every slushy flavor that existed, every cotton candy color that they sold, and ate at every snack food stand that they saw. We were just living it up. That was our vacation, and we hadn't been on one like that ever, and probably won't again for a long time.

For quite some time before that trip, I had noticed that Maddie had terrible dark circles under her eyes. I just thought it was from being tired, or maybe her glasses prescription had changed and she was straining her eyes, or maybe she needed to drink more milk, or eat more vegetables.

She had also started wetting the bed every night. Here is my daughter, who at 2, decided that she wanted to use the potty, and never, I repeat, NEVER, wet her pants again. No pull-ups, no accidents, and no changing the sheets in the middle of the night. This girl had a camel bladder. I went twice as many times as she went during the day.

Maddie had begun to use the bathroom all the time during the day. She would go every 15 minutes. She would go as soon as she woke up. She would go whenever and wherever she was. When she went, it was as if she hadn't been in hours. She also began drinking everything in sight. If you had any beverage, she would walk up to it and down it in a matter of seconds. She would drink the whole glass if you didn't take it away from her. She didn't even care whose it was. If it was liquid, she would drink it.

Instead of buying her summer clothes that spring, I went digging through her old clothes because not only was she not fitting into her shorts that were 4's and 5's, but some of her 3's were falling off of her waist. She had started wearing size 2 and 3 shorts (normally a 2 and 3 year old size) with her size 4 and 5 tops.

All of these things mentioned were strange things that I had noticed over the spring months, but I never put them all together. I just thought she was acting weird, or she was just going through a growth spurt and maybe she was leaving her "baby-ness" behind and turning into a "big kid". I started getting a bad feeling about all of these things when we got home from our vacation because it seemed as if everything was magnified from that point on. All of these "symptoms" seemed to get worse. I realized I had to do something about it, or at least talk to a doctor.

I remember June 27th, 2006, sitting in my driveway, calling my sister, who at the time, was the only diabetic person I knew. She told me things like, "She doesn't have diabetes--you're crazy" and "save your copay, and I'll check her blood sugar next time I'm in town" but something inside of me was making me feel uneasy about the way Maddie looked and the way she was acting. So I hung up with my sister, and still sitting in the driveway, I called the pediatrician and asked to speak with the nurse.

As of right now, 3 years later, I can remember sitting in the driver’s seat, the car running, it was 5:00, and Maddie and Reilly were both asleep in the back seat. The nurse’s name was Susan, and all I remember is her saying, “Well, if you think she has diabetes, we need to get her in first thing in the morning.” There was no appointment made, there were no instructions, just get up, and bring her in! So, as directed, the next morning, my mom and I took Maddie up to the pediatrician’s office. Mom waited in the waiting room, and Maddie and I went down the hall, where we had gone so many times before. All the way, I’m telling Maddie that it’s going to be fine, but they would have to prick her finger, but I would get her a prize if she didn’t cry. At this point, my main concern was whether or not she would let the nurse have her finger.

That was the longest walk down that hallway that I can ever remember.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Let me start our by sharing how Maddie was diagnosed with diabetes.
My sister was diagnosed with Type 1 (Juvenile Diabetes) in 1996, at the age of 28. At the time, she didn't live near me, and I only saw her on vacations and holidays, and the occasional weekends here or there that she would come and visit. I knew NOTHING about diabetes. She had gotten it under control, and was on the pump, so there usually weren't any issues that she had with food, or with highs or lows when I was around.
Fast forward to when Maddie was born. She was a healthy and beautiful baby girl. She was everything we could have asked for. She was not a fussy baby, she slept through the night early on, she was a good eater, and so on and so on.... She started going to preschool at the age of 3, and got rave reviews from her teachers for 2 years straight. They said she was smart, and polite, and she played well with others, and all of that stuff every mother wants to hear. Then she started a Pre-K class.....
When I would go to pick her up, they would tell me that she had been acting like a "vicious lion" and growling all day. She wouldn't listen during story time. She wouldn't stop talking to her friend during work time. She kept rolling around on the floor when it was time to clean up. They kept her from the "treasure box", she didn't get the reward candy at the end of the day, she didn't get the "good" stickers by her name, and her GREEN light went to YELLOW, then to RED, just about every week.
I would stand in the hallway every day when I picked her up, waiting for it to be my turn to get my child, praying that the teachers would tell me that she had had a great day. When I got up to the doorway to get her, I would stand there crying listening to both of the teachers tell me all of these crazy things that my child did during the day. I couldn't believe that this was the child that every teacher had praised, and was always loved by all of her teachers, and always got hugs in the hallways from every former teacher she had had. This wasn't MY kid. It had to be the teachers' faults. They must be extra hard on the kids. They must not be good teachers.
On the way to the car, Maddie would tell me that she didn't know why she acted badly that day. Then, she would get into the car and sleep. She slept all the way home, then went back to sleep when she got home. I just thought she was a great napper. I had a newborn baby. I wasn't going to complain about a child that wanted to be still and quiet and sleep in her bed, so that I could get other things done.
What was going on with my child???