Friday, November 21, 2008

I Hate Snow

I live in the south. I have always lived in the south. When it snows in the south schools close, businesses close. It's almost like a holiday.

I have worked as a home health nurse for the last 10 years. During those 10 years I learned to despise the snow. While businesses and schools closed, home health did not. Sick people are still sick in the snow.

So, while my family slept peacefully or Riley sat with his nose pressed against the window pane or while my boys had snowball fights in the front yard, I was at work. I even ended up in the ditch one time while trying to see patients in the snow and ice.

When I got my job as a school nurse I told Michael that I can finally learn to love the snow again. Most schools around where I live cancel school not long after the first flake falls. (I know you northerners don't understand. I guess it's just a southern thing.) So, I figured I would no longer have to go to work in the snow and I'd be able to sit home and enjoy it.

I woke up this morning to the most beautiful snowfall. The ground and cars had a nice dusting of snow and it was still snowing pretty hard.

I kept waiting for my phone to ring saying that school was canceled or at least delayed. It never came.

So, I'm at school. It's still snowing. It's been snowing for several hours now.

I still hate snow.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hope, Belief, Pain, and Faith

Today marks 3 years that I have been blogging. My very first post was Riley's diagnosis story. I've shared a lot with you guys since then.

I've shared my pain as well as my joy. I've shared my frustrations and my triumphs. I've participated in memes and probably shared way too much information about myself. You've heard ad nauseum how wonderful Holden and Riley (and Michael) are.

I've vented. I've encouraged. And, sometimes, I've just been silent.

To mark my three years blogging I want to post about something I haven't in a very long time: a cure.

A few days ago the news reported a possible cure for type 1 diabetes. The researchers were able to create a "permanent remission" in mice with diabetes.

I first read about it at one blog and I must say I felt a little jaded. I didn't feel excited by it. I really didn't feel much of anything at all. I commented on the post without trying to sound like a naysayer. Over the years when I've blogged about being excited about a cure I have received comments that tried to squelch that excitement. I don't want to do that. "Never deprive someone of hope-it may be all that they have". But, I felt that three years into this disease I just didn't have the energy to get my hopes up once again.

I read a few more posts and then I read
Kerri's post about it. Her post included Brian Williams' broadcast. I watched it with tears in my eyes. Brian Williams seemed so excited. Somehow I felt like maybe he knew something I didn't.

I went on to read the rest of the post and by the end tears were rolling down my face. I have been following Kerri's blog for three years. One of her posts is the reason I ever started blogging in the first place. I've read her posts about a cure before. Most of the time she's very cautiously optimistic. She's lived with type 1 diabetes for 20+ years. It's understandable if she doesn't think about a cure all that often. But, this post was different. This post resonated hope.

I haven't really thought about a cure in a while. I've said before that I could never give up hope. I'm a mother of a child with diabetes. All parents hope for the best for their children. I think the best for Riley would be not to be dependant upon insulin to live. So, I hope one day he won't be.

But, hope and belief are two different things.

I commented on Kerri's post that I wanted to believe. I do. I want to believe that one day Riley will no longer need insulin to live. That he will no longer be attached to a machine. That he will run and run and never go low. That I won't wake up in the middle of the night and go in his room just to make sure he's still breathing. That the black spots on the pads of his fingertips will one day disappear.

I want to believe with every fiber of my being that this research is going to pan out, that Dr. Faustman's research will pan out, that any other research for a cure for type 1 will pan out.

But, I can't.

I don't want to be disappointed again. I guess I'm going with not letting myself believe it will happen and hoping that one day I will be pleasantly surprised when it does.

Belief brings up pain. It is painful for me to think of a Riley without diabetes. Why? Because I may never see that happen. It's easier, less painful somehow, to just believe that he will always have diabetes. It's painful to picture Riley delving into a bowl of ice cream without worrying about the high that will probably come hours later. It's painful to think of him eating all the lasagna he wants. I don't know how to explain it. It's just painful.

I hope for a cure, but I can't see one in the future. I just can't see it.

Writing this post made me think of a familiar Bible verse: "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1.

While I might not believe right now, I do have faith. I have faith that one day the thing that I've hoped for and the thing I just can't see, will happen.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It Could Have Been Worse

As I said previously Holden's first basketball game was Friday. Everything was going fine. I've kept stats during the games for the last few years. This year I said I wasn't going to do it. Since it is Holden's last year I just wanted to be able to sit and enjoy the game. So, I was sitting and enjoying the game.

About a minute or two into the game Holden ran into a player from the opposing team. I saw him grab his left knee and fall down. I was up from my seat and headed out of the stands before he ever really hit the floor.

The AD helped him limp off the floor. By the time he got to his bench I was right beside him. I assessed the situation. His knee didn't look too bad. It was hurting him but it wasn't swelling up or anything. I got him up walking on it. I knew he didn't need to let it get stiff. He's had a lot of joint injuries over the years and I've learned that a very important thing is to use the joint even if it hurts.

He jogged up and down the halls a bit and jumped up and down and decided he was OK to play. Since it wasn't swelling I let him go back in. He sat out the whole first half but at half time he was back on the court. He wasn't limping and was able to keep up with the rest of the players.

After the game the pain started. When he woke up Saturday morning it was a little puffy. I let him call into work. He works as a bagger at a local grocery store and I thought it was probably best that he not stand in one place on a hard floor all day.

He kept ice on it over the weekend. The swelling went down. Sunday he was still in a little pain and said it felt stiff.

Yesterday I decided that since it was still bothering him I thought he should go have it checked out before going back out on the court for practice.

We went to the orthopaedist yesterday. He said that Holden had dislocated his knee cap during the game but fortunately it had popped itself back in. But, to dislocate your knee cap you have to tear some of the soft tissue around your knee.

Because of this he told Holden he could not practice or play basketball for 2 weeks. He will have to take physical therapy for two weeks and then when he is released to play again he will have to wear a knee brace.

Holden wasn't too happy. But, I told him it could be worse. He could be out the whole season.

But, I am familiar with how he feels. I broke my hand playing basketball during my senior year of high school. I was out for 4 weeks. It's no fun sitting on the sidelines and wanting to be out there helping your team but knowing there's nothing you can do.

I keep telling myself it could have been so much worse.

I'm familiar with telling myself that too.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ozzy Osbourne Makes Me Cry

Driving into work this morning I was listening to a local radio station that has a segment called the Friday Morning Weekend Blast-Off. They play songs from any genre of music that is requested by their listeners. Most of the songs are usually older songs.

As I turned down the road my school is on I heard the familiar beat of "Mambo No. 5". Songs have a way of evoking memories, for me at least. That particular song brought back memories of Holden playing baseball in his younger days. He was 7 years old when that song became popular. While I'm not a fan of the song, I have memories of it and a New York Yankee version being played in between innings of Holden's baseball games.

These are happy memories for me, but I began to blink back tears. I started thinking of how that was 9 years ago and yet it seems like yesterday. Just yesterday my boy was playing little league baseball and now, he's going to be going away to college in less than a year. Much like diabetes is always somewhere in my mind, so is the thought of Holden graduating and going off to college.

His senior year is flying by with a speed that has given me whip lash. It's already the middle of November. I feel like time is flying by and no matter how hard I try to reach out a grasp the reigns to put on the brakes a bit, they slip through my hands. I want to slow it all down and give myself time to enjoy every moment, to make every moment last longer.

Holden's first basketball game of the season is tonight. I have lived for basketball season since Holden was in the 7th grade. While this time of the year is hectic, I love every minute of it. I played basketball in junior high and high school. I loved playing it then and I love watching my son play it now.

I have been looking forward to this game all week. It's a little crazy how excited I was about it. Last night, Holden came in after practice and laid his basketball uniforms across the rocking chair. He sat his basketball shoes down in the floor and went in the kitchen to get a drink. I looked at the uniform and the shoes and suddenly my excitement turned to sadness.

I guess it hit me that this is the beginning of the end.

As I approached my school this morning another song came over the airways. The familiar opening guitar riff from Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" filled my car. I was flooded by memories of Holden's basketball team warming up to that song before games. And, I started to cry, honest to goodness tears.

As I was crying I was thinking of how stupid it made me feel. For goodness sakes, there are much worse things in the world than my son going away to college. But, at the moment, I couldn't really think of one.

I knew Holden's senior year was going to be hard, but I had no idea how hard. I now know I'm in for a rough ride.

When Ozzy Osbourne makes you cry you know you have problems.

World Diabetes Day (Why It's So Important)

Today is World Diabetes Day. I have other things on my mind this morning and I may blog about that later, but I couldn't let this very important day go by without putting in a little effort myself. Because no matter what else might be going on in my life, diabetes is always there. It always has a place in my heart and in my mind.

Below is an excerpt from an email I received about WDD. It is powerful and says things better than I can, so I copied it for you to read. After the email I've added a few thoughts of my own.

Whatever you are doing on World Diabetes Day, take just a moment to consider the facts behind the campaign:

** Every 10 seconds a person dies from diabetes-related causes.

** Every 10 seconds two people develop diabetes.

** Over 250 million people live with diabetes worldwide. In 2025, this figure will reach 380 million.

** Over 500,000 children under age 15 worldwide live with type 1 diabetes.

** More than 200 children a day develop type 1 diabetes.

** In developing countries, close to 75,000 children live with diabetes in desperate circumstances.

** Type 1 diabetes is increasing fastest in pre-school children, at a rate of 5% each year.

** Type 2 diabetes has been reported in children as young as eight.

** Type 2 diabetes affects children in both developed and developing countries.

A few reasons why we're here today: World diabetes Day is an action-oriented campaign in support of people affected by diabetes around the world. The campaign is inspired by issues of paramount importance to people with diabetes and their families. Here are some of the stories that motivate us. (All names in the stories below have been changed to protect the identities of the individuals involved.

Sachin's story : Sachin is a 13-year-old boy with type 1 diabetes and pulmonary tuberculosis. His diabetes is not under control. Most of the time his blood sugars range from 300 – 500 mg/dl (16.5 – 27.5 mmol/L). He usually gets up multiple times during the night to visit the bathroom. Some nights he wakes up with low blood sugar, which terrifies him. Sachin has no means to check his blood sugar. He sees a local physician who has never before treated a child with diabetes. The government of Sachin's country have no plans to subsidize the cost of insulin for children with type 1 diabetes. This means that the greatest obstacle that young Sachin and his family must face is how to meet the combined cost of his tuberculosis medicine and the insulin he needs to survive.

Mollie's story: Mollie is mother to two girls with type 1 diabetes (13-year-old Rebecca and 5-year-old Rose). For Mollie, diabetes brings new challenges every day as she takes care of her girls. School is the hardest thing for Mollie, Rebecca and Rose. Neither of the girls' schools has a nurse and neither school can provide the supervision to allow Rebecca and Rose to take shots and test their blood sugar levels. As a consequence, Mollie has had to quit her job to stay home and take care of the two girls. She visits the school where Rose is in kindergarten at least 3-4 times a day to check her daughter's sugar levels and give her insulin. Mollie's own mother is a teacher where Rebecca goes to school, a blessing which keeps Mollie from running between two schools all day.

Pablo's story: In March this year, Pablo started to experience the classic signs of diabetes. He needed to urinate frequently and was thirsty all the time, he was extremely tired, losing weight and found it difficult to concentrate. His vision became blurred. On top of these symptoms, he got an eye infection that would not go away. Pablo did not think about diabetes. He was not familiar with the warning signs and thought that diabetes was something not very serious that happened to old people. Soon he became very unwell, unable even to stand by himself. Living alone and at a distance from his family, he had no support. He couldn't pull the strength together to contact his loved ones. The young man watched on helpless as his condition got worse day by day. In April, a fortuitous visit from Pablo's mother resulted in an immediate trip to a nearby hospital, where blood tests showed that Pablo's sugar levels were dangerously high. At this point, the young man was so weak that he could no longer speak. After four days in hospital, Paco was started on insulin and told that he would need multiple injections every day of his life or face certain death. The financial consequences of this news were devastating. The hospital visit that had saved his life now threatened to leave the young man destitute and presented him with an uncertain future. He would need to quit his studies immediately.

Robert's story: One day Robert, a young man with type 1 diabetes, became dizzy on the way to his university class. He rushed into the dining hall to grab some juice but it was too late. He blacked-out, collapsing into the juice machine, smashing it to pieces and badly cutting himself in the process. Robert came round as the police arrived on the scene. Assuming Robert was drunk, the police refused his cries for juice as he lay on the ground bleeding and confused. They held him down and asked him over and over for his social security number and home address. Robert's hypo was so severe that he could hardly remember his own name let alone deal with the situation unfolding around him. He was overcome with the sense that he was going to die if he did not get something sweet and began screaming in the middle of the packed dining hall "I NEED JUICE! GIVE ME JUICE!" Robert could hear people in the background murmuring "He's crazy, why does he want juice?"

Don't ignore diabetes! The light shines 900 strong. Diabetes has spent too long in the shadows. Despite the enormity and severity of the pandemic, the disease is often overlooked by politicians, misunderstood by the mass media and shunned by the major donors. As a result, it has flown in under the radar. Yet the global diabetes community refuses to let the world ignore diabetes. Today, diabetes stakeholders everywhere (the diabetes representative organizations - including all of IDF's more than 200 member associations - the people affected by diabetes and their families, all the diabetes bloggers and committed individuals working diligently for change, the official World Diabetes Day Partners and many others) have united to bring diabetes to light. Today sees the culmination of all our effort. We have come together again to secure an incredible 900 monument lightings to mark our day. Enjoy it. The day belongs to all of us.

Yes, the day belongs to all of us. It doesn't matter what color you are, how old you are, or what country you live in. If you are affected by diabetes in any way,this day if for you.

This day is for all those children/young adults that will receive a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes today. Their lives will change forever. They will forever be dependant upon synthetic insulin to live.

This day is for those that will be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes today. They will each have struggles of their own. And, this day is also for those who have already received that diagnosis.

This day is for those kids who have lived with the needle sticks, the lows, and the highs for way too long. For those kids (and adults) who don't ever remember a day where they were not stuck with a needle.

This day is also for the family members of these people. It is for the parents, siblings, spouses, significant others, aunts, uncles, grandparents who see what this disease does to their loved ones and feel powerless to stop it.

No matter what is going on in your life today, take a moment to stop and think about the millions upon millions of people who are affected by diabetes every day. Take a moment to realize how devastating it is. Take a moment to tell at least one person why today is so important for everyone, why it's so important to you.

It is so important to me because my son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 3 years old. He is one of those that will never remember a day without a needle stick. He will never know the freedom of opening a kitchen cabinet and pulling out whatever he wants to eat without first weighing in his head what it might do to his sugars. He will never play sports without thinking about the delicate balancing act of exercise and insulin.

To those of you who organized this day, thank you. There are not words enough to express my gratitude. I believe that there is power in numbers. We have the numbers and this day gives us a way to exert our power.

Happy WDD to you all.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Late, as usual (My D-blog Post)

Yesterday was D-blog day. And, I missed it. I don't turn my computer on over the weekends, so please forgive me. Even though I'm late to the party I still wanted to put in my two cents worth.

This is my 3rd D-blog day post. Next week will mark my three year anniversary of blogging. I was in so much pain when I began this journey. Prior to starting my blog I had only read one blog post in my entire life. I didn't even know what blogging was. All I knew was that I needed an outlet for my pain. This blog became my outlet.

Because this blog was my outlet you guys who have been reading from the beginning got a glimpse into my soul. In the beginning I let the anger and pain pour out. I shared my tears and my frustrations on a regular basis. I was overwhelmed, tired, frustrated, and grieving.

Instead of getting comments about how I should just get over it or comments about how I was so negative, I got comments of encouragement. I got internet (((hugs))) and offers of virtual shoulders to cry on. I got empathy and understanding. I met a great group of parents of kids with D. And, then I met the PWDs themselves who gave me a glimpse into what Riley might be feeling.

I met people who knew first-hand what the D-life was all about. And, while they may have not been in the same stage of grief as me, they understood my need to be there.

To all of you guys I have to say thank you for sharing your stories and thank you for reading mine. Thank you for all the hugs, well-wishes, and shared tears.

Anyone else reading this might find this corny and sappy. But, I know you guys (affected by D) won't. I know you guys understand where I'm coming from and why I feel such a strong sense of camaraderie with you all.

Just like you understand the frustration of a sugar of 350 when you've done everything "right". Just like you understand why I go in the bathroom and cry after a bad site change. Just like you understand that sometimes you've just got to vent to move on.

Thanks again guys. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

Friday, November 07, 2008

There are a lot of things swirling around in my brain today. None of them really have to do with diabetes.

I've been under an undue amount of stress at work. On top of that my Dad just got out of the hospital yesterday. He was in there for a week with pneumonia. Because of his cancer and chemo and radiation and the fact that he used to smoke (16 years ago) this pneumonia was really kicking his butt. The hospital he was in was a little over an hour away. My mom never left his side. I went back and forth every day (except one) to see him and help my mom.

Handling the every day stresses of being a mom to two kids and working full time is overwhelming sometimes, but when you throw other family stresses into the mix it sometimes seems almost unbearable.

On the upside, my work stresses have eased up (read: irate parent is no longer irate). And, my dad is home and doing much better. He has finished chemo and has his last radiation treatment today.

I'm hoping that life will now return to normal or at least my kind of normal. That means blood sugars and site changes, basketball games, soccer games, senior stuff, church and what not.

Because I really don't feel like thinking anymore I am going to do a meme. I think you're supposed to answer with just one word, but I'm going to be a little more detailed.

Have a great weekend everyone!

1. Where is your cell phone? In my pocket. I'm not supposed to have it at work, but that is how Riley's teacher reaches me if she needs me.

2. Your significant other? My hubby, Michael. I miss him. I haven't been able to spend much time with him lately.

3. Your Hair? Dark Brown

4. Your Skin? not my favorite feature

5. Your mother? Thelma and an awesome person

6. Your favorite thing? My kids

7. Your dream last night? Very, very weird. I dreamt that I had diabetes and I was sick and in a hospital bed. My site needed changing and I was too sick to do it. I got mad at Michael because he wouldn't do it for me. The nurse came in and did it for me. The nurse was Vince Vaughn and he was mean and creepy. I don't usually remember my dreams.

8. Your favorite drink? Mountain Dew

9. Your dream/goal? To own a house

10. The room you’re in? office

11. Your ex? sore subject

12. Your fear? death of one of my children

13.Where do you want to be in 6 years? somewhere else

14.Where were you last night? home (for a change)

15.What you’re not? dishonest

16.Muffins? blueberry please

17.One of your wish list items? money

18.Where you grew up? North Carolina

19.The last thing you did? gave a student her inhaler

20.What are you wearing? nursing uniform

21.Your TV? have no idea what brand it is

22.Your pets? cat: Sallie Mae, dog: Grace, and fish: Nemo

23. Your computer? HP (work), Dell (at home)

24. Your life? blessed

25. Your mood? Tired

26. Missing someone? not at the moment

27. Your car? Pontiac Vibe

28. Something you’re not wearing? watch

29. Favorite Store? I don't have one. I hate to shop anywhere.

30. Your summer? nice and relaxing (I have summers off now.)

31. Like someone? Dr. House

32. Your favorite color? yellow

33. When is the last time you laughed? Really, really laughed? I don't know. But, Holden makes me chuckle on a daily basis.

34. Last time you cried? Tuesday when my mom called to update me on how my dad was doing

35. Who will respond to this? probably no one

36. Who’s answers are you anxious to see? whoever decides to participate