Thursday, April 30, 2009

Who Would I Be?

Do you ever wonder what your life would be like if diabetes had never touched it? I don't, at least, not usually. But, last night I wondered, not what life itself would be like, but more what I would be like.

I'm usually a pretty easy going person. I'm usually content with whatever is going on around me. I learned early on in life that it's much easier to just go with the flow and wait for the calm instead of trying to tame a raging river.

Then Type 1 diabetes entered my life, not my body, but my life via my three year old child. And, not to sound dramatic or anything, but the moment he was diagnosed my world as I knew it changed drastically. My life has not been the same since October 6, 2005. And, never will be again, I’m afraid.

It’s taken 3 ½ years but diabetes has finally worn me down. It’s chipped away at my once pristine veneer and has left vulnerable parts of me exposed, mostly my heart but also my mind and sometimes I think it’s reached my soul. It’s put several chinks in my armor, enough that I feel exposed and vulnerable to attacks.

Three and a half years ago if you would have asked me if I was strong I would say yes without missing a beat. Now, I’d say the exact opposite in the same manor. At least, I don’t feel strong anymore. I feel like I’ve been pounded over and over again until I’m too weak to even raise my hands to defend myself. It’s just easier to let the blows hit me square in the face.

It’s not just diabetes that makes me feel this way. It’s life in general. Life is tough. But, life has always been tough. I had Holden when I was 17. I graduated high school and went on to college. I made it through nursing school (which is grueling) while commuting 2 hours every day, working part time, and raising a toddler. Those were some tough times, but also some of the happiest times of my life.

I graduated from nursing school, found a job, and moved out of my parent’s house and on my own. Right around that same time I met Michael. We started seeing each other and 3 years later got married. Two years after that we had Riley. Life was good. It wasn’t necessarily easy, but it was good.

Diabetes has its ups and downs like always. Riley’s sugars are back and forth. I’m logging and making basal changes at least once a week. Yesterday he hit 496 on his meter while at school. Then, last night after his site change we chased an impending low for a couple of hours. He never actually went low but was just on the low end of the scale with a ton of insulin on board. He didn’t mind it really. He got to eat sweets with an almost reckless abandon.

Add life to all that and sometimes it seems almost unbearable. Holden will be graduating in a few short weeks. He just signed a lease on an apartment. We’re in the midst of filling out a ton of scholarships so he can afford to even go to school. We’ve pretty much got tuition paid for but have to worry about paying for books, food, and shelter. Next week we will be addressing and sending out graduation invitations.

All the things going on with Holden are not all bad. It’s kind of bitter-sweet. Graduation is the ending of a big chapter of his life. But, college is the beginning of another great chapter. Still, it’s a little stressful to say the least.

Add to that the irate parent that I have to deal with at school. While the higher-ups in my school system say they are on my side they haven’t really done anything to protect me from this parent. I sit in my office on edge just waiting for her to show up and wreak havoc. That is not a pleasant work situation to say the least.

Then, there is the economy. That is affecting everyone. We found out yesterday that effective immediately all NC state employees will be getting a reduction in pay for May and June. Michael and I both work for the state so both of our paychecks are affected. Also, I’m working in a state grant position. It’s unlikely with the current state of the economy that more money will be poured into that grant next year. So, I’m not even sure I’ll have a job next school year. And, with the irate parent situation I’m not even sure I’ll want it anyway.

So, yeah, life is tough. I can handle that. It’s the diabetes part that throws me for a loop. This disease that makes my child sick even though he appears healthy. The disease that causes him to appear different even though he’s really the same as everyone else. The disease that affects his moods (and mine).

Last night as I was getting things ready before bed I turned to Michael and said, “I wonder if diabetes had never entered our life, if all of the other stressors in my life wouldn’t bother me so much.”

Diabetes takes life and sharpens the edges. It takes the pain of life and compounds it, amplifies it. But, what do you do about it? Where is my mind over matter mentality when it comes to this disease?

Right now I’m struggling to find peace with this disease. It’s strange. I don’t really think about diabetes nearly as much as I used to. But, it seems to affect me more. It’s like it really has become a part of my being, my demeanor, my soul. And I don’t know how to change that.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I am Blessed

Two weeks ago, on Good Friday, a 7 year old boy in my town was killed in an ATV accident. Even though I am not a fan of 4 wheelers and my kids are not allowed on them because I think they are dangerous, from what I understand it was a pretty freak accident. The boy's dad was following him in his truck and the boy was wearing a helmet. It seems things happened just right to cause his death.

His death hit me pretty hard. I didn't really know the little boy. He was in 2nd grade at Riley's school and I'd seen him before because he played soccer in the same league as Riley. But, I've known his dad for 30 years. We went to elementary school together. We were never good friends or anything. But, we still live in the same small town and he always goes out of his way to speak to me whenever he sees me. He's one of those people who seem to always have a smile on his face.

Riley had a soccer game tonight. The little boy who was killed, Henry, has a little sister that plays soccer. Tonight all of the kids wore a black ribbon in memory of him. His parents were there along with his 4 sisters. I sat and watched all of them and a lump formed in my throat.

I am in awe of what a person can endure. I know how hard this must be for them. Yet, they were there smiling and watching their daughter play soccer. They go on with their life, not because they want to, but because they don't have a choice. Life goes on, even when you wish it wouldn't.

It's times like this that I feel ashamed for ever feeling sorry for myself, for ever grieving over Riley's disease. I am so blessed to have him at all. I'm sure Henry's dad would rather every single one of his children have diabetes and still have Henry with him.

If you get a chance remember the Spruill family in your prayers. And hug your kids a little tighter tonight when you tuck them into bed.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Random Updates

It's been a while since my last post, so I thought I'd do a little mini update:

  • Holden has been counting down his senior year by Mondays. He has 4 Mondays left and then he will no longer be a high school senior, but a college freshman. Some days I think I'm ready for it and others I don't.

  • Riley is on another school trip today. He's going to see another play. School trips are stressful for me. For those of you with kids with D you know why.

  • I've been having a hard time at work lately. I have a disgruntled parent. She's one of those people that are unhappy no matter what. Apparently, she's always given the school nurse a hard time, but for some reason is being even worse with me. I don't want to go into details, but it makes for a very stressful work day.

  • We took a mini family vacation last week to an indoor water park. I promise to post about it soon and include some pictures.

  • Riley's sugars over the last couple of weeks have been great for the most part. But, for the past few nights he's run high all night and wakes up with a great sugar. One thing about having a kid with D you always know when they are growing. Riley runs high at nights when he hits a growth spurt.

  • I had one of the worst if not the worst headache I've ever had last night. It started yesterday morning and kept building until my head was pounding and I thought at one point it might literally explode. Ibuprofen, Darvocet, and ice packs did nothing to dull it. I finally drifted off to sleep last night and when I woke up it was gone. But, now I'm getting another dull ache in my head. I'm hoping the Ibuprofen I took will head it off before it's gets much worse.

  • I just re-read my first update and started to cry. I guess I'm not ready.

  • The pollen here is CRAZY. It's always bad, but this year the trees have gone crazy with their reproduction. I think this coupled with the stress at work created my super headache last night. I'm trying to get Riley through pollen season without any real asthma problems. So far, so good.

  • At some point a few nights ago Riley screamed that he hated diabetes. (He couldn't have a snack until his sugar came down some. He was in the 300s). All I could do was hug him and let him know that I hated diabetes too. I also whispered in his ear that if I could take his diabetes away and give it to me I would.

  • Last, but not least here are some prom pictures. I did OK at prom. I went to take pictures and Michael had to almost literally drag me out the door to get me to leave. The tears started before we ever got out of the parking lot. Man, I'm going to miss that boy next year.

Holden and Brittaney (as of Thursday they will have been dating for 3 years)

My baby

Me and my baby

Monday, April 06, 2009

Memory Mondays: Dec. 31, 2005

It was strange going back and reading this post and thinking about life prior to Riley getting diagnosed with diabetes. And, somehow it didn't make me sad like it used to.

Some(most)times I forget that there ever was a life prior to Riley having diabetes.

Something that stood out to me when I read this post was the part in July when I wrote about the awesome vacation we took to the mountains. I remember not long after Riley was diagnosed I was thinking that I was so glad we took that vacation when we did. I thought it would be impossible with D to take a vacation like that again.

Now, I'm glad to know that it is not impossible. It may be a little harder, but it's certainly doable. Actually, we have a nice little get away planned over Easter break. I am really looking forward to it.

And, now that I'm writing this I just realized that in all the planning for the trip I didn't think about how we would fit his diabetes into it at all.


What A Difference A Year Makes

Since this is the last day of 2005, I thought I'd reflect on the past year and see what happened. I keep all my calendars. I have calendars of when I was in college. I could tell you what test I had on what days. I don't keep a journal or diary, so my calendar is how I remember things. So, I took my 2005 calendar to see what some of the highlights were.

January was filled with basketball games for Holden. Riley also had a Dr's appointment with the orthopedic Dr. You see, he fell in December and broke his leg. It just happened to be the morning after I had surgery. So, I spent my first day post-op carting him around to the Dr. and to get xrays and then to get a cast. Luckily, my husband had taken the day off to help care for me. He did the driving. So, I was able to pop a Percocet every now and then. Man, I thought I had it rough then. Didn't know what was lurking in October for us though. Anyway, got a little off target with that. I attended a funeral of one of my patients and also the funeral of a very nice older man in my church.

February brought more basketball games. We hosted a Super Bowl party for our church youth. Holden turned 14. On Valentine's Day, I was at church helping to host a spaghetti supper and bingo night for the senior citizens. My Granny's birthday was celebrated also. We celebrated with supper at my mom's house. Also, remembered the one year anniversary of Big Mama's death.

March brought my 5th wedding anniversary. It was spent in Greensboro with the youth of our church. We took them to Acquire the Fire that weekend. It was wonderful. I really learned a lot that weekend and became closer to God than I have ever been. I feel like my experiences that weekend helped me with what was to come later on in the year. Even though we were there on our anniversary, it was still nice. The youth and other chaperons arranged rooms so that Michael and I were alone at night anyway. I kind of enjoyed spending that time with the youth at church. I really do love all of them and feel like they are in some ways my other sons and daughters. My cousin's son,Cam, turned 4 in March. Easter was in March. Easter is my favorite holiday. Holden joined church during our Easter Revival. March 23rd is his re-birthday. Holden's baseball games started. Yes, baseball in the freezing cold.

April brought Michael's birthday. Baseball games continued.

In May,Holden was baptized amid family and friends. May was also Riley's 3rd birthday. We had a small family party. Two days later, I had my parents, in-laws, and Granny over for a mother's day supper. May also brought another broken bone. This time Riley tripped while we were fishing and broke his clavicle. Every time we ride past that spot now he says," That's where I broke my cravicle!" The school's athletic banquet was in May. Holden received a trophy for MVP in basketball. There was also an academic award ceremony in May in which Holden received recognition also. Holden's school baseball ended only to bring in playing baseball at the ball park every Friday and Saturday night. Man, what am I going to do when my kids are gone? School ended for Holden.

In June there were more Friday and Saturday night ballgames. My husband applied for and was accepted to graduate school. Holden attended basketball camp. We had our annual Warren family reunion. This is my Granny's side of the family. She is one of 12 children. God bless Grandma Warren!

In July, Holden made All stars and we traveled to Kill Devil Hills for games. At one of these games Riley spiked a temp. up to 103. With no warning, all of a sudden, he just didn't feel well. He had no other symptoms, just a fever. It came down after Tylenol and Motrin and never came back. I suspect now that was what ultimately caused the demise of his beta cells. I want to cry right now thinking about it. Michael and I joined a church softball league. Luckily, their games didn't start until after Holden's were through. We also took a family vacation to the mountains of NC. It was the best vacation we ever had. We enjoyed sliding down sliding rock. Even Riley went down it with Michael. We hiked to a water fall. We started the trip by going to Charlotte for my brother-in-law, Timmy's ,wedding. We came back just in time to do Vacation Bible School with the youth.

In August we threw a going away party for one of our church youth that was headed off to college. The boys and I spent a day at Water Country in VA. It was fun. Riley went down every slide that we did. Maybe I really do need to look into a waterproof pump, huh? I forgot, we also joined a beach club during the summer and spent many a lazy day on the Chowan river. We also continued with the softball games. Holden started his first day of high school. I cried after I got home. I couldn't help myself.

In September we finished up the softball games. My dad had a birthday. As did my mother-in-law and father-in-law. I bought a new car. I traded in my gas guzzling mini van for a Pontiac Vibe. I absolutely love it. My dad had surgery. My nephew, David, turned 4.

Well, October brought in the bad stuff. On October 6th, Riley was diagnosed with diabetes. Evey thing seems to be a blur after that. We had fall revival at church. I went up to the alter every night and cried my eyes out begging for God to heal Riley. I went to the OB-GYN a week after Riley's diagnosis for my check-up only to find that I had yet another cyst. Luckily, this one went away on it's own. I think I willed it to. I just couldn't go through another surgery right then. Riley celebrated his first diabetic Halloween. I cried, just like I cried about just about everything back then.

I had my birthday in November. I didn't really feel like celebrating. We went to my mom' s and had my favorite meal, BBQ'd pork chops, french fries, and pineapple cake. Riley had his first taste of cake since diagnosis. His sugars did fine, but my nerves didn't. November started up basketball again. We had to learn how to feed Riley around basketball games. So far, so good. We survived Thanksgiving. I had a wonderful meal at Granny's house. Michael decided to hold off on grad. school for now, for financial reasons beyond our control. (aka: insulin, syringes, strips, you get the picture)

Well, that brings us to December. Michael made an "A" in the grad. class that he was taking. My mom's birthday came and I cooked a meal for her. Riley once again indulged in some cake without really affecting his sugars. My cousin's daughter, Jewel, turned 2. The weekend of her party was really the only time I had to go shopping so I missed it. But, my mom went and took Riley with her. I'm told that a boy at the party asked Riley why he wasn't eating any cake to which he replied. "I can't have cake. I have diabetes." Riley had his first endo. appointment with an A1C of 7.9. He had a second one with an A1C of 7.8. and the OK to try the pump. :-) Basketball continued. We had a youth lock-in at church. Riley spent the night with my mom and somehow the world didn't end like I thought it would. We had a very nice Christmas, bouncing from house to house. We started at Aunt Judy's, then, my parents, on to church, then, Aunt Linda's, then, my in-law's. Riley's sugars were pretty bad, but we got them straight eventually.

So sorry to have bored you with all of this. I really doubt anyone will read it all. But, it has really helped me to see what a great life I have. And, that greatness didn't end when Riley was diagnosed. I can't wait to see what 2006 brings.

I wish all of you a very safe, happy, and truly blessed New Year's.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

How to Protect the Pump?

Riley is getting ready to start baseball. This will be his first year playing with a real baseball. Prior to this year he was playing T ball and they used a soft, spongy ball.

Since Riley does better when his insulin delivery is not interrupted, I really want him to wear his pump while he plays. But, every time I think about that hard baseball accidentally hitting his pump, I cringe.

So, does your child wear their pump while they play sports? If so, how do you protect it?

Riley wears an Animas 1250. I've looked at Animas' web site and do not see a protective cover for the pump. Any ideas?