Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Some More Adam

Guess who received the Eugene T. Davidson Award for Public Service (presented by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists)?

That's right, my favorite NBA player, Adam Morrison.

You can go
here to read the article. (I heard about it at Amy's blog.)

Sorry, but you know I couldn't let this go by without saying, "Yeah Adam!!!"

Friday, March 23, 2007

Lessons from a four year old

As I was getting ready this morning, Riley was propped up on the couch.

“Mom, it’s almost Easter right?"


“And that’s Daddy’s birthday too, right?”

“Uh, huh.”

“And, then after Daddy’s birthday, it’s my birthday?”

“Sure is.”

“And, I’ll be five and then I’ll start school.”

“Yeah. Are you excited about going to school?”

“I guess.”

I kept getting ready. I was checking his strips to see if I needed to pack any extra in his bag when he asked, “Mama, who is going to take care of my sugars and my pump when I’m in school?”

I stopped what I was doing and swallowed, hard. I was trying to get rid of the big lump that had suddenly formed in my throat.

“Well, sweetie, you can check you sugar yourself and your teacher is going to learn how to do your pump and count your carbs.”

“And, Holden will be there too, right? And, he can count my carbs and give my insulin.”


“And, A and S will be there too.” (other kids with D)

“Yes, and also W. She has diabetes too and wears a pump just like yours. And I’ve already talked to her mom and she says W will be able to help out too if you need her. So, you see, you’re going to be OK. You’ll have lots of people looking out for you.”

“OK”, he said. And, with that, he jumped off the couch, grabbed his Star Wars movie and headed out the door.

And, I thought, Why can’t I be like that, just say OK and go on with my life?

I have a lot of time to think when I’m driving from one patient’s house to the next. So, I’ve been thinking about this conversation a lot today.

And, I keep coming back to a little plaque that is on my desk at work. A patient gave it to me. It says: GOD IS GREATER THAN ANY PROBLEM I HAVE.

And, I think that the reason Riley went on and didn’t worry anymore is because he knew his mommy would handle it. Why worry? If mom says it’s going to be OK, then it will.

It’s a beautiful day here today. As I was driving down the road with my sunroof open and “Pour Some Sugar on Me” blasting on the radio (cut me some slack, I grew up in the 80s, OK?), I had tears in my eyes. And, this time, they were happy tears.

It took my four year old to remind me that no matter what, I’m never alone. No matter what, there’s always someone who has my back. And, He promised me He’d never give me anything that He and I couldn’t handle together.

So, for today, I’m not worried. My faith waivers from time to time. Sometimes I forget that I’m never alone and neither is Riley. But, for today, I know everything is going to be OK. Because, we’ll get through it together.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A little help

One day last week I was sitting in a local restaurant waiting for my food. I was going to take it back to the office to eat it.

As I was sitting there, my phone rang. It was my mom.

“Hey, where are you?”

I told her.

“Well, Riley’s needle is out. His sugar was 254 when I checked it, so I don’t know how long it might have been out.”

“OK, I’ll be right there.”

I got my food and went to my mom’s (about 10 minutes away) and changed Riley’s needle.

After I was done I told my mom I thought she might need to start changing his needle some during the week. Then, I held my breath. I didn’t know what she was going to say.

All she said was, “OK”.

I explained that I wanted to know that if something happened to me, that Riley would be OK; that someone would be able to do the things he needed done. I didn’t tell her how overloaded I had felt lately, because, well, she’s my mom and I don’t want to dump that on her.

His next site change was Sunday before church. I did that one.

So, today was another site-change day. I wasn’t sure if my mom would remember. I walked in the house and lay the supplies on the table.

I said, “His needle is supposed to be changed today.”

Again, I get, “OK”.

She picked up the supplies and got to work. She got me to check behind her for bubbles in the cartridge. There wasn’t any.

Then, she told me not to prompt her, to let her do what she could on her own. I had to help her a little, but for the most part she did it on her own.

When it came time to fill the cannula, I asked her if she remembered how much to use. “0.3”, she said.

“Wow, I can’t believe you remembered.”

“I didn’t. I looked over my notes this morning before you got here.”

A long time ago, not long after Riley started the pump, I wrote down step-by-step instructions on how to change his needle. My mom had kept them and read over them. She hadn’t forgotten that today was the day she would have to try changing his needle.

And now, my burden feels a little less, the load a little lighter. All because I know that my mom can fill in for me and that she will whenever I need her to.

I love Holden and Riley so much that my heart almost bursts at the thought of them. I would do anything in the world for them. I would lay down my life for them. I wouldn’t even think twice about it.

I forget sometimes that as much as I love Holden and Riley and as much as my heart breaks for them sometimes, my mom feels the same way about me. And, that is an awesome, awesome thing to realize.

And, as much as she loves me, she loves Riley too. And, she would be just as ferocious of a protector for him as me if it came down to it.

And today, when Riley started to cry because his insulin "burned", and she scooped him up and covered him with kisses and told him she was sorry, I was reminded of that.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Yes, someone with diabetes does live here

So, I was doing a little cleaning today. I pulled out the couch cushions to vacuum and this is what I found.

Beautiful, isn't it?

Under the couch cushions I found: An assortment of test strips, both One Touch Ultra and Freestyle. Also, some gum, sugar free, of course. And, the pen in the background, it probably fell down there one night when I was logging sugars.

Also, the directions for the One Touch Ultra strips and the plunger for his insulin cartridge.

And, the needle off one of the insulin cartridges and an empty pack of fruit gushers, our treatment of choice for lows.

I saw it and I just had to laugh. And, I just had to share it with you.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

One More Try

I'm going to give one more push to donate to my charity badge located on the side of my blog. The badge will not be any good after March 31st. I know many of you give to your own charity. But, this is for those of you who don't or maybe who do, but would like to help this one too.

The Iacocca Foundation gives all of its money to research to find a cure. Their money does not go to any other avenue. That's one of the main reasons I choose to support The Iacocca Foundation. I want a cure. While better medicines and new technology is great, I look forward to a day when Riley doesn't need any of it. And, I want to do everything in my power to make that day come to fruition.

Now, some statistics: ( I know I may be "preaching to the choir" here, but maybe someone is reading that doesn't know that much about D. All these statistics were collected from various resources throughout the web.)

Type 1 diabetes is the most common chronic disease of childhood. It is more common than cancer, cystic fibrosis, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, and muscular dystrophy.

1 in every 600 children will develop Type 1 diabetes.

As many as 3 million Americans may have Type 1 diabetes. 171 million people have diabetes world-wide.

In the US 13,000 children are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes each year. That's 35 children every single day.

Diabetes reduces life expectancy on average by up to 15 years.

(That last one is the one that really hits me in the gut.)

Also, that cute little boy you see on the badge. That's my baby. I love him more than I do life itself. But, this isn't just about him. It's not just about your child. It's not just about you. It's about everybody WORLD-WIDE that deals with this disease on a daily basis.

I am going to leave you with a video. I've seen it on some other blogs. If you haven't seen it, take some time and watch it.

Here are some more faces of diabetes:

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Fear of Purple Elephants

At Riley’s endo appointment in September the subject of school came up.

As Dr. M was talking she could see me squirming in my seat. “I don’t want to think about him starting school right now.”

She smiled. “Does Riley ever stay with someone who is not a relative?”

“Um, no. The only people who know how to care for his diabetes are my husband and I and my mom. I’m not leaving him with anyone else.”

She smiled some more. “Well, maybe you should think about leaving him with someone just to go to the grocery store or something. Just a quick little trip.”

This was during the time that Riley was playing soccer. “Or, you can leave him at soccer practice and run to the grocery store.”

Was she crazy? Leave him alone at soccer practice? What if he went low? What if he needed me? What if…

Then she went on to say that I needed to let go a little at the time. It would make it easier on me when it was time to send him off to school, which makes perfect sense.

“This woman knows what she’s talking about.”, I thought. “I really need to listen to her and do what she says.”

Michael and I talked about it on the way home. I admitted I needed to give up some of the control. We talked about situations I would be comfortable with.

Then, I proceeded to do exactly what I’ve been doing all along. And, that was six months ago.

Why is it so hard for me to let someone else have the reigns for a while?

Riley has been staying with my mom when I’m working. He’s been doing this for 17 months. I have just gotten to the point in the last couple of months where I stopped calling my mom several times a day to check on Riley’s sugars. I have even gotten to the point where I don’t automatically look at his sugars as soon as I walk in the door.

This is a big step for me. The next big step is coming up in 5 months. And, I don’t know what I’m going to do about it.

I know I need to ease into it like Dr. M said. But, I just have so many fears. I’m terrified of the what-ifs.

What if…he goes low and has a seizure? No, he’s never had a seizure before, but what if he does and I’m not there?

What if…he goes low and no one notices until he passes out?

What if… he goes high and starts to spill ketones?

What if…his set comes out and I’m not right there to change it?

What if…they don’t count his carbs right?

What if… a purple elephant lands on the moon and sprinkles sugar in the air?

Yes, I do know how silly I sound.

I have never been a person to live by the what-ifs in life. Ever. So, what has changed? What has this stupid disease done to me?

A lot of it has to do with control. I am not a control freak. Really, I’m not. You only need to look at my house and see the chaos to know that being in control of everything is not an issue for me.

With diabetes no one is ever really in control. You can do everything just right (eat, count carbs, bolus) and still come out with crappy numbers. I think me handling every aspect of Riley’s D helps me to somehow feel more in control of things.

Silly, really, trying to feel in control of something you know you can’t control anyway.

But, the big issue, and this in the one I struggle with the most, is fear. Fear that something bad will happen to Riley. Fear that if I had been there, whatever it was would not have happened.

Holden got his driver’s license (and a car) a little over a month ago. A few weeks before, I started panicking. I didn’t know how I was going to handle it. I just knew I would worry that something bad was going to happen every time he was out on the road.

But, you know what? That’s not the case at all. The day he got his license, I stood there with my video camera and watched him drive away for the first time. I waited for the panic to rise in my chest, but it never came. I said a little prayer and went on with my day.

Do I worry that he might get in a wreck? Yes. But, I don’t dwell on it. I just tell myself that if it happens I will deal with it then. There is no reason to waste my time worrying about things that hopefully will never happen. And, even if it does happen, all the worrying in the world won’t change it.

Why oh why can’t I get to that point about Riley’s diabetes?

I’m hoping that when he starts school and I don’t have a choice but to let him go, I’ll do OK. But, right now, I have a choice, and that choice is to keep him as close to me as possible.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Damn Diabetes

My anniversary was yesterday. ( I love you, Michael.) To celebrate, we went out to eat on Friday night and then rented a couple of movies to watch at home (since there was nothing playing at the theater worth spending our money on).

Riley and Holden stayed at my mom’s. Riley has spent the night there a few times since he was diagnosed. His sugars have been running pretty good throughout the night, so I felt good about him staying. My mom gets up and checks his sugar throughout the night like I do. But, I just feel better when his sugars cooperate and she doesn’t have to do anything with them.

I changed his set on Friday morning. Everything seemed to be going OK. I got off of work a little early to go home and change. On the way home, I got a call from my mom. Riley was getting ready to eat a snack and she had checked his sugar and it was 362. She was hoping to catch me before I went to eat (an hour away). I could hear the panic in her voice. She was trying to play it cool, but I knew she was worried that it was a set problem and I was not going to be close by to change it.

I went home and changed and called as we were leaving (45 minutes later). His sugar was now 243. OK, it was coming down some. I called again at suppertime and he was 200. Not great, but not in the 300s either.

I finally felt better and put diabetes out of my mind for the night. I knew my mom could handle it. She keeps him every day of the week.

We got home and popped one of the movies, Saw III, into the DVD player. Yes, I know, we’re just hopeless romantics aren’t we? I love horror movies. But, let me tell you, this one was pretty intense. There were several scenes where I couldn’t bare to watch and I had to turn my head away from the TV or bury my face in Michael’s chest.

The movie ended around midnight. We decided not to watch the other movie (The Departed: We watched it later. It was not nearly as good as I thought it would be and it had way, way, way too much cursing in it for me. If Leo and Nicholson hadn’t been in it, I don’t know if I would have even finished watching it.)

We were in the processes of getting ready to go to bed when the phone rang. As soon as it started ringing I knew that something was wrong.

It was Holden. He was calling to tell me that Riley’s sugar was 322. My mom wanted to know if she should give the full dose of insulin the pump recommended or cut it back a little since it was midnight.

I told Holden how much insulin to give and to recheck in an hour and a half and call me back. I hung up.

I sat on the couch with my head hung down. And, then, I started to cry.

Michael walked over and asked me why I was crying. “You wouldn’t be crying if his sugar was like that and he was here.”

“But, he’s not here. He’s there. He’s there and I’m not.”

My crying turned into sobs.

It was a mixture of a lot of things, I guess. First, guilt, because I wasn’t there with him (even though he was asleep). He’s my responsibility.

Secondly, some of it was a little selfish. I mean, I can’t even get away from it all even when he’s not with me. This was supposed to be our anniversary celebration and I was sitting on the couch blubbering like and idiot, all because of diabetes, once again.

Also, I just signed him up for school next year. This is not settling well with me. He will be attending a private school. They do not have a school nurse. His teacher will be the one caring for him. Also, the school is Pre-k through 12th grade, so Holden will be there to look after him too.

But, it’s still hard for me to think about him being there all day without either my mom or me. He has not stayed with anyone other than Michael, my mom, or me since he was diagnosed. Well, he did stay home with Holden for about an hour and a half the other night. Michael and I were at a meeting about 2 minutes away and I had my cell phone the whole time.

I kept crying and crying and crying. (I’m wondering if any of it was due to carry over from the movie also, not Saw, but Steel Magnolias)

Michael, bless him, didn’t know what to do. He held me, but there wasn’t really anything he could say to make it better.

He would say, “Maybe his basals need adjusting. Or, maybe it’s his needle.”

To which I would reply: “It doesn’t really matter, does it? I can fix his needle, I can adjust his basals, but I can’t fix him. No matter how hard I try, no matter what I do, he still has diabetes. I can’t fix that. And it kills me. It just kills me.”

So, I cried for about 30 minutes and then we went and lay in the bed. But, I couldn’t sleep. I knew my mom was supposed to call in another hour to report his sugar. Until then, I couldn’t sleep.

Michael and I lay there and talked about Riley and his future and my fears of him going to school, no more crying, just talking this time.

Then, at 1:20 the phone rang. His sugar was down to 264. Well, at least it was coming down.

I finally let myself drift off to sleep.

Riley ran high all night and awoke with a sugar of 256. Mom didn’t call until around 10:30 when he wanted snack and he was 299. (Why didn’t I call earlier? Because I was still in bed asleep. 17 months of getting up every 2-3 hours has taken its toll.)

Michael and I got up and I went and changed Riley’s needle. I didn’t know what else to do.

I didn’t correct the 299 because of the drop he usually gets with a set change. Sure enough, an hour and a half later, he was 70. I gave him a few fruit snacks and checked again in 20 minutes. He was now 49. Yep, it must have been the set causing the highs.

If he had been with me, I would have changed the needle earlier. He wouldn’t have ran high as long.

Guilt, pain, grief, anger all rolled into one. That’s part of being a parent of a child with diabetes.

My head knows Riley’s going to be OK. I know Riley can be and do anything he wants. But, my heart just want get on board with my brain.

And, I don’t know how to make it.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Because sometimes you just need a good cry

A couple of nights ago I was sitting on the couch flipping through the TV channels. As usual, nothing was on worth watching.

But, then, I saw it, a movie I used to love, that was until Riley got diabetes. I own the movie, but have not been able to bring myself to watch it over the past 17 months. It just hits too close to home.

But, I turned it there anyway. I didn’t really plan on watching it. I was almost compelled to turn it there.

I missed the beginning. When I turned it on, Shelby was sitting in the kitchen and telling her mom that she was pregnant. Her mom was none too pleased with this information.

At this point, I started telling myself, “OK, turn it NOW. You've seen it a hundred times. You know what happens. You really don’t need to watch it. Turn it.”

About that time, Shelby followed her mom into the other room and said:

“Mama, plenty of diabetics have babies and they do just fine.”

“But not you Shelby, you’re special.”

And that, my friends, is when I lost it. I started to cry. And, I pretty much cried through the whole rest of the movie.

I would get OK and then something would happen and I’d start up again.

Occasionally, Michael would walk through the living room and say, “You shouldn’t be watching this.” I would just peer at him from beneath the Kleenex I was holding up to my eyes.

I cried softly most of the time. But, when Jackson found Shelby lying in the floor, I started to sob.

And, when she died, I sobbed some more.

And, when her mom lost it at the funeral, I sobbed even harder.

I sat on my couch and cried all I wanted. I sat there and grieved for my son like I haven’t done in a long, long time.

It was just something that I needed to do.

After the movie was over, I got up, dried my tears, checked Riley’s sugar, read him a bedtime story, and tucked him into bed.

All the while, my now favorite quote from the movie was running through my head. Something that Shelby says to her mom when she tells her she's pregnant:

“ I’d rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.”

And, I felt blessed because I think it’s the other way around for me. I’ve had a lifetime of wonderful and maybe thirty minutes of nothing special.

That's what I wish for Riley too. And now, I'm at the point where I can see it happening. A year ago, I couldn't say that. But, now, I'm sure that's what's in store for my boy: a lifetime of wonderful.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Another music meme

I got this meme from Nicole who got it from Julia. It looked like a lot of fun, so I thought I'd give it a try. But, turns out, Nicole and I turned 18 in the same year (who knew?) So, I did mine a little differently.

The rules are to go to
popculturemadness and click on the decade you turned 18. Then, click on the year you actually turned 18. Paste the songs into your blog. Then, edit them: the ones you liked put in bold type, the ones you didn't like mark through, the ones you were neutral about put in italics, and the ones you don't know leave unedited. (but, I'm putting a question mark beside them like Nicole did)

I clicked on the PopMusic button and clicked on the hits for the year I turned 18 and got a longer list of songs, so that's what I am using. They are listed as the greatest hits of that year.

And, I must preface this by saying: Don't laugh at the songs I liked. Cut me some slack. I was only 18. Also, I haven't looked at the list yet. I probably won't know that many songs and the ones I do know I probably won't like. I was a Led Zeppelin/Jimi Hendrix/Aerosmith/Grateful Dead kind of girl in high school.

Unforgettable - Nat and Natalie Cole
Summertime - DJ Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You - Bryan Adams
Gonna Make You Sweat - C + C Music Factory
More Than Words - Extreme
O.P.P. - Naughty By Nature
True Companion - Marc Cohn (??)
Good Vibrations - Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch
Strike It Up - Black Box (??)
Power of Love/Love Power - Luthor Vandross
It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday - Boys II Men
Enter Sandman - Metallica
Motownphilly - Boys II Men
Crazy - Seal
God Bless The USA - Lee Greenwood
Unbelievable - EMF
Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless) - Crystal Waters (??)
Lets Talk About Sex - Salt N Pepa
Black or White- Michael Jackson
It Ain't Over Till It's Over - Lenny Kravitz
When A Man Loves A Woman - Michael Bolton
Here We Go - C+C Music Factory (??)
P.A.S.S.I.O.N. - Rythm Syndicate (??)
Star Spangled Banner - Whitney Houston
Coming Out Of The Dark - Gloria Estefan
Wind Of Change - Scorpions (??)
Things That Make You Go Hmmmm... - C+C Music Factory
Emotions - Mariah Carey (??)
I've Been Thinking About You - Londonbeat
She Talks To Angels - Black Crowes
Baby Baby - Amy Grant (??)
Can't Stop This Thing We Started - Bryan Adams (??)
Someday - Mariah Carey (??)
I'll Be There - Escape Club (??)
Something To Talk About - Bonnie Raitt
Joyride - Roxette (??)
Deeper Shade of Soul - Urban Dance Squad (??)
Love Is A Wonderful Thing - Michael Bolton
Silent Lucidity - Queensryche (??)
Set The Night To Music - Roberta Flack and Maxi Preist
Gett Off - Prince & The New Power Generation (??)
Sadness, Part 1 - Enigma (??)
Right Here, Right Now - Jesus Jones
Around The Way Girl - LL Cool J (??)
I Touch Myself - Divinyls
Walking In Memphis - Marc Cohn
Love Will Never Do (Without You) - Janet Jackson (??)
Rico Suave - Gerardo
High Enough - Damn Yankees
Justify My Love - Madonna
I Don't Wanna Cry - Mariah Carey (??)
Blowing Kisses In The Wind - Paula Abdul (??)
Every Heartbeat - Amy Grant
Everybody Plays The Fool - Aaron Neville
I Wanna Sex You Up - Color Me Badd
The Motown Song - Rod Stewart (??)
Miracle - Whitney Houston (??)
Touch Me (All Night Long) - Cathy Dennis (??)
(If There Was) Any Other Way - Celine Dion (??)
Losing My Religion - R.E.M.
Now That We Found Love - Heavy D and The Boys
Where Does My Heart Beat Now - Celine Dion
Round and Round - Tevin Campbell (??)
How To Dance - Bingoboys with Princessa (??)
Kiss Them For Me - Siouxsie & The Banshees (??)
Learning To Fly - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
You Could Be Mine - Guns N' Roses (??)
Don't Treat Me So Bad - Firehouse
Let The Beat Hit 'Em - Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam (??)
Wicked Game - Chris Isaak
Love... Thy Will Be Done - Martika (??)
Do The Bartman - The Simpsons
Shiny Happy People - R.E.M.
Into The Great Wide Open - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

After reading that list, I know why I listened to classic rock when I was in high school. Do The Bartman and Rico Suave? Music was really bad when I was a senior in high school. Really, really bad.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Has it really been a whole year?

One year ago today we began on our pumping journey. It really doesn't seem like it's been that long, and then, in a way, it seems like we've been doing this forever.

We did our training at Wake Med in Raleigh. I remember that day. I was so nervous. I just knew that anytime Riley moved he would pull out his set. He's one of the most active 4 year olds I've ever seen. People actually comment all the time on how "busy" he is. And, in the last year, I think his set may have pulled out twice.

I remember putting his set in. It took me forever to rewind the pump and prime and all that stuff. The pump kept timing out and going back to the main screen before I could get to the next step. Now, from start to finish, it takes maybe 10 minutes, if that long.

I changed his set just this morning and barely even thought about the steps. It's just second nature now.

I really can't say enough nice things about the pump. I absolutely love it. I can't imagine what our lives would be like without it. I know there is no way we would have an A1C of 7.2 on injections. I know plenty of people do, but there's no way we could do it with Riley.

He gets such tiny doses of insulin. When he was on injections, he would often just run high because he couldn't get a small enough dose by syringe to bring him down. Early on, it was not unusual for him to get .15 unit for a correction, impossible with a syringe. So, when he needed just a little correction, he just ran high instead.

As much as I love the pump it's more work. Especially if you really want to fine tune everything. I mean you can change your insulin dosage from one hour to the next.

I've had my moments when I just wanted to throw the darn thing out the window. Especially early on. (To read about the first month of pumping go to my March 2006 archives. But, beware, it's not pretty.)

When I look at the picture at the top, I can't help but feel a twinge of sadness. While I'm so glad the technology is there and that Riley is able to benefit from it, it's also a little painful to see him attached to a machine.

But, it doesn't seem to bother him at all.

I'll leave you with a couple of pictures I took before I got the one you see at the top. Riley wouldn't be serious.
Pump or not, my kid is still a goofball.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I Can't Get Enough of This Guy

Yes, I know everyone else isn't as in to him as I am, but take a look. I think he has some great things to say about living with diabetes.