Saturday, March 31, 2012

Joining the world of missing persons

I was hoping that my last post would somehow kick start my desire to write, but apparently, not so much. It's not that I don't have anything to write about. There are a bunch of ideas floating around in my brain, I just lack the energy to get it out.

I think it all started when Elise was sick a few weeks ago. That tummy bug left me adrift in a sea of lows that were exhausting. Whatever Elise had, it passed onto Mattias who spiked a fever of 104.5 in the middle of the night. Fred was out of town (which he has been most of the month), and it was a little scary.

I had never seen my little guy so sick. He was burning up and just holding him was making me nauseous because I was getting over-heated. It was 2:00 am, and I kept thinking to myself, what if I have to take him to a hospital? What do I do about Elise?

Obviously, the answer was; wake her up and take her with me, but I have never felt so alone and isolated as I did in that moment. Thankfully, his illness passed. But then the teething started. Which is almost worse, because at least when he was sick, he'd get all sleepy and cuddly. When he' teething, he just screams endlessly. Good times.

Then I started feeling sick. Except mine was different in the there-is-something-very-wrong-with-my-body kind of way. My heart started racing for no reason and my resting heart rate was 91. I started feeling nauseous, and tired. I felt weak. All the time.

The worst moment was when I was out with my kids shopping at Target, aka, the HAPPIEST place on earth (Disney has nothing on the big red bullseye), when my heart started to pound. Then I got dizzy. And nauseous. I felt like I was on the verge of passing out.

So I made my way over to a bench and sat down. Eventually, the feeling passed. I'm not going to lie... it was pretty scary. Fred was out of town and all I could think about was what would happen to Mattias, and especially Elise if I had to go to the hospital? It's a terrible feeling to be that alone, feeling like there isn't another person in your immediate area who can step in for you in times of trouble. The whole thing left me very shaken.

I went to the doctor and had a bunch of tests run. My heart was normal, but a bunch of bloodwork came back abnormal. They won't discuss it over the phone with me, and the first appointment I could get is Monday, because Fred just got back into town.

All I can say is it sucks; feeling this way. I want to write. I want to read your blogs and comment and support you, but I just can't. I'm too tired and all I can get away with is the bare minimum. We've been eating a lot of sandwiches around here lately. And I seem to be running out of underwear.

But I will be back. Hopefully soon. And look out, because I will read the crap out of your blogs and comment until you're sick of me. Deal?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Becoming Gollum

A few months ago, I re-read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, a feat unto itself considering how weighty a tome it is, and how little time I have. Stolen moments to read are almost non-existent these days.

But finish it I did, and I was struck by how each time I read it, a different aspect of the story sticks out to me. This time it was Gollum who struck a chord with me.

For those of you unfamiliar with Gollum's story, once upon a time he was Sméagol, a hobbit just like Frodo and Sam. He and a friend happened upon the ring while fishing. Overcome by the power of the ring, Sméagol decided he must have it and killed his friend; taking the ring for himself.

Shunned by family and friends, he retreated into a cave under the Misty Mountains and became Gollum. The ring gave him long life, but deformed his body and mind, and was ultimately stolen by Bilbo in "The Hobbit".

If I stay with the same metaphor that I used in this post, where diabetes is the ring, then I am afraid of becoming Gollum. You see, Gollum was torn by his devotion to his "precious" and his great desire to be free of it. His life was consumed by the precious.

I have been quiet for the last few weeks. And there have been some good reasons; some of them diabetes-related, some not. But they have caused me to retreat so far into my own cavern that I was afraid that I may not return.

I realized I had been missing when, upon seeing me out with the kids yesterday, my next-door neighbour exclaimed how she hadn't seen me in forever.

And it's because sometimes the burden of the ring is too much and I have no interest in poking my head out from the safety of my cave. I am consumed by carbs, ratios, lows, highs, correction factors, units, blood sugars and logs. Add to that tummy bugs, teething, fevers of 104.5 and some scary heart episodes for me, then it's a wonder I make it outside at all.

The precious is consuming me.

My devotion to the precious is evident when someone tries to take it from me. A few nights ago, at a get-together with some other D-Moms, one of them offered her teenage daughter's sitting services. Her T1 daughter. Who was dx'd at the age of 2. And while outwardly I was smiling and saying, "maybe", inwardly my brain was laughing manically.

Because I am determined to hold onto the precious with white-knuckled fists. Like Gollum, I am both utterly devoted to it and crying to be free. It's a battle I am fighting in bits and pieces, but one I'm afraid I never will win completely.

Alas, in the end it was Gollum's devotion to the ring that ended up destroying him. These days I feel I need to tread lightly lest I follow in his very large flipper-prints.

Edited to add: As per Sara's request, here are the links to my other LOTR posts:
One Disease to Rule them All
You shall not Pass
Her Sam

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Tonight I decided to do one of my semi-every-two-months-or-so (does that even make sense?) checks of Mattias's BG. Nothing alarming... just needing some reassurance.

So I checked... and this popped up. Cue huge wave of relief washing over me the the sweet, sweet water of a 20 minute, uninterupted shower.

Four minutes later, I needed to check Elise to bolus her for her snack. And THIS popped up.

Kind of neat that they're on the same BG wavelength.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The smell of vomiting

I don't know about you, but when unpleasant things in my life arise, sometimes I'll put the situation to song to make it seem somewhat... funny, for lack of a better word.

Like on Friday night... I was nestled very snugly in my bed, playing a hard-fought game of Angry Birds on Fred's iPad that I had commandeered, when from the bedroom down the hall came a very loud... "BLEARGH!!!" (times 3). The bedroom that happens to belong to Elise. Le sigh.

As soon as I walked in, THAT smell hit me, as did the size of what Elise had expelled from her body. Good Lord, it must have been everything she ate that day.

So, as I shook Elise awake (yes, she rolled over and went back to sleep), checked her BG and ketones (80 and .4), stripped her linens, got her undressed and into the bath to wash the puke from her hair, I started humming to myself;

"Bah bah, bah bah, this is the smell of vomiting..."
(Death Cab for Cutie's Sound of Settling).

Yes. I know I'm weird. I'm okay with it.

Anyway, the rest of the night was spent trying to get Elise's BG up, her ketones down, and the carbs we gave her to stay IN her. We tried apple juice, a popsicle, diluted OJ... everything we gave her came back up. Some of it on my bathroom floor. My very carpeted bathroom floor. That Mattias had barfed on only 24 hours prior.

(Side rant: Who decided that it was a good idea to put carpeting in a bathroom; the elimination station for all things disgusting from the human body? I can only imagine the cesspool of human vileness that is breeding in those carpet fibers).

In the end, smarties were the only thing she would tolerate and by 2:00 am, we finally got her BG to a point we felt comfortable with putting her to bed. And her ketones were falling instead of rising. She was still feeling yucky the next morning, but the pukefest had passed.

We hadn't dealt with the low BG + puking + ketones thing in awhile, and every time it happens, a shiver of fear runs down my spine at the beginning. I run through our sick day plans in my head, wondering if I've forgotten something. I do a mental inventory of our pantry and fridge, hoping I have something with carbs that Elise can keep down. I start to debate about when I should take Elise to the ER.

I'm about to go on a tangent here... but stay with me. I'll bring it all back.

Fred and I used to be avid white water rafters. Since we started dating, we had done a river every year; some of the hardest (commercially run) in North America. Every time we'd do a trip, they'd have a safety briefing at the beginning of the trip. I always paid close attention because frankly... rafting scared the poop out of me. I am not a strong swimmer and I wanted to know EXACTLY what to do if I fell out.

On one of our last trips, it wasn't me falling out, but another guy on our raft. It was in the middle of a class 4 (pretty big rapid), and he popped up right beside me. I didn't have to think, I just acted. Took my paddle, stuck the t-grip out to him so I could drag him closer to the boat. All the while our guide is yelling, but I couldn't hear him. I was locked into the task at hand. When he got close enough, I grabbed him by the shoulders of his life vest, braced my feet against the side of the boat, and fell backwards, using the weight of my body to pull him into the boat.

After it was over, I was amazed at how I didn't have to think. I just acted. I just knew what I had to do.

And I hope one day, when dealing with low BG + puking + ketones (which I am now dubbing lowpuketonefests) I won't have to worry... it will come as easily as hauling a guy into a boat that outweighs me by 100 pounds.

Rafting pics!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

One is not like the other

It was with great amusement that I read all the comment regarding the state of Elise's meter in my Telcare meter review post. I had honestly never given any thought to the fact that we are still using the meter we were given when Elise was dx'd 3 1/2 years ago.

Yesterday, the kids and I were on our way to dinner, about 15 minutes away, when I realized that I had forgotten Elise's diabetes bag. GASP (bad, bad D-Mama)! And of course, Elise announces she doesn't feel well.

As I was stuck in the hell that is DFW traffic/road construction (seriously, is there a more vile place to drive than the DFW area?), I had to rummage through the diaper bag for Elise's back-up meter (the purple one pictured above) as well as look for an exit so I could get off the highway. I finally found the meter, stuck the strip in and was about to hand it back to Elise so she could check her BG, when... nothing.

The little sucker never even turned on and at this point I'm in danger of causing a major accident (or 5) as I try to get over 4 lanes to the exit. After many, many laws being broken, I'm finally turned around and headed for home; all the while cursing (in my head) and trying to figure out what was up with the freaking meter.

It was brand spanking new. Never been used. Just taken out of the box and put into the diaper bag for emergency use. And nothing I did would make it turn on. Finally we made it home and tested Elise... she was 68.

The lesson? Test your new meter to make sure it works. And even if you carry back-up batteries with your main meter, you should carry batteries with your back-up too.

And maybe a back-up meter to your back-up.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Music to this Mom's ears

Elise is 4 1/2 years old. She's been living with diabetes for 3 1/2 years. She was diagnosed as a baby, and in regards to d, it's hard for me to not still see her in that light.

She's been able to test her own blood sugar since the age of two. These days, she insists on doing it herself, along with bolusing herself. She does the whole thing on her own, only stopping to show me that she's entering the right numbers.

It's scary how fast she's grown.

Especially since I have a little boy who's only a little older that Elise was when she was diagnosed. I look at him and marvel that I used to have to hold down such a little person for her shots. Or poke such tiny finger tips.

Was she really ever that small?

When Elise was first diagnosed, and up until we put her on the dexcom when she was 2 1/2, we would check her almost every two hours. Sometimes more often. We had no way of knowing if she was going low. Obviously she had no way of verbalizing it, and it was tough to tell if she was low, or just acting like a 1 year old.

I don't know when it happened, but since we've been off the dex, Elise has started telling us she's low. With the dex we would pretty much catch the low before it happened every time. But now that we don't have the security blanket, Elise has picked up the slack.

She usually catches a low while still in the 60s, and while I hate that she has to feel them, at the same time I am so very thankful that she's feeling them.

It's just one more milestone along this journey with D.

Some cute pics of Elise watching the Canucks live. She attended her first game at 5 months and I thought it would be fun to post pics from all the games she's been to. It's neat to see her "grow up" through these pictures (though I seem to be missing some...).

Our latest Canucks game pic... just the girls!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Keep calm and miracle on

I'll never forget the first time I ever talked to Meri on the phone. Fred and I were planning a trip to San Fransisco with Elise (who was 2 1/2 at the time), and Meri and I were conspiring to meet up. I remember being nervous and excited to talk to her... after all, this was MERI!

Her voice sounded exactly like I thought it would, sweet, kind and full of smiles. About a month later, I was lucky enough to meet Meri and her entire family. Even luckier still, we were invited to dinner and were fed Ryan's ah-mazing prime rib. The man... he can cook.

Since then, Meri has been a mentor to me. The recipient of many tearful calls, the fielder of even more insane questions. If it hadn't been for her, I think we might have given up on pumping after having such a rough start.

And Meri has been there for not only me, but countless of others struggling with their diabetic life. And she does it with kind words, and smiles. You would never know the heavy burden she carries. Now it's our turn to give back to Meri and her family.

I'm sure by now you know about what Ryan, Meri and her family are facing right now. Cancer. I don't think it needs repeating. But, I did want to contribute a post and put some links up as a reminder to The Schuhmachers that we've got their back.

Today is a day of prayer and fasting for Ryan and Meri. Let your voice be heard. Not only today, not only tomorrow, but until the Schuhmachers have their miracle.

Here are ways that you can help:

If you are one of those facebook-type people, follow this link on over to the Schuhmacher Famiy Miracle page and like it (I think that's the right term...).

If you are able, consider a donation to help Ryan and Meri. Click here for the donation page.


I believe. Join me, won't you?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Things I have learned from diabetes this month: February edition

-Make sure you enunciate when telling your daughter that you need to change her pull-up at 1:00 in the morning, or she will think you said pump and start to cry.

-Pump changes in the middle of the night two nights in a row suck. SUCK.

-And speaking of pump changes, they are now super easy thanks to bubble gum. I told Elise she can have a piece of (pink!) gum every time we change her pump. I give it to her before I start the change, and I always have a piece too. That way, I can blow bubbles (which I rock the casbah at) for her to pop after she presses start. No more tensing up, no more tears... awesome!

-Apparently, nobody uses the crap out of a meter like we do. On my Telcare BGM post, I received a couple of comments on the sorry state of our One Touch Mini. We've had that little dude since Elise was diagnosed 3 1/2 years ago. It has travelled to Kansas City, San Fransisco, Vancouver, and Portugal with us. We check it against the meter they use at our endo's office and it always is close enough (you know, by 20%), so we've just never replaced it. I've never even thought about it.