Friday, July 17, 2009

Stop and Smell the Roses and All That Stuff

As I write this I’m supposed to be cleaning my house. My goal is to have it completely clean and straight before we leave for our mission trip on Sunday. But, first, I felt compelled to blog.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written an actual post where diabetes was the main theme. That, in itself, is very telling. My blog, which started with good intentions of helping others, quickly turned into my outlet. I often came here to talk about my frustrations with this disease. I have come here many times just to vent and mourn and many of you have mourned right along with me since the very beginning.

It’s funny; even though I haven’t blogged in a while, I’m often thinking, “Oh, I need to blog about this” or I start writing a post in my head while driving down the road. Usually, that post never gets written.

As I was throwing the towels in the washing machine this morning “diabetes thoughts” were floating through my head. I guess they always are. I’ve just gotten used to it.

Riley has had diabetes for 3 years, 9 months, and 12 days (but whose counting?). Diabetes has implanted itself into our lives. It’s become our normal. I resisted it for so long. I would scream in my head, “This is not normal!!! I don’t want this to be my child’s life!!!” Now, I’ve come to realize that it is normal for us. I can dig my heels in and resist all I want, but it doesn’t change the fact that a bag of diabetes supplies go everywhere we go, or, the fact that I know the carb count of pretty much every food known to man.

I think a lot of it has just come with time. I don’t feel like diabetes has beaten me down, I just feel like I learned that there is no reason to get drug down the path kicking and screaming. I’m going down the path anyway; I might as well enjoy the walk. You know, stop and smell the roses and all that stuff.

Of course, I don’t take the credit myself. My strength and attitude come from a little 7 year old named Riley. He is wise beyond his years. He’s been through much more in his 7 years than most people do in a lifetime. And, yet, he has a passion for life like no one else. He never sees something and thinks, “Can I do that with my diabetes?” He just does what he does and deals with it as he goes. He’s taught me a lot about life and how to enjoy the moment and not get caught up in the rut in the road that diabetes can cause. I used to get stuck spinning my wheels in the rut. Now, I’ve learned to gun my engine, give it a little push, and move on to bigger and better things.

Don’t get me wrong, everything is not sugar-free bubble gum and rainbows. We both have our moments where we are frustrated with diabetes. Riley will declare that he hates diabetes from time to time. And, I will lock myself in the bathroom and cry on rare occasions. I did that Wednesday night after a rather brutal site change that involved Riley running and screaming and adamantly demanding that he would not let me insert his new site. He even debated about going back to injections for a while. Of course, he was high at the time. He was high because I forgot to bolus him for his supper. About an hour afterwards I remembered and corrected the 300+ high. At sight change time he was in the 400s. He always does worse when he’s high at a site change. And, it was all my fault. So, I held him and talked to him and then I went into the bathroom and cried. Then, I dried my tears and went on with life.

I think that’s what has finally clicked with me that last few months. While things like the forgotten-bolus-high-sugar-screaming-site-change are bad, they are only a small part of our lives. Prior to that site change we had spent the day at the ocean. It was a perfect day. It was in the mid-80s with a breeze that kept the temperature just right. The water, which is often frigid, was the perfect temperature also.

We drove down there, set up our chairs, and spent the entire day just hanging out on the beach. It was just me, Michael, Holden, and Riley. It’s a rare treat to have just the four of us together for any extended period of time like that. I spent the day alternating between reading a book, chatting with Michael, and spending time with my kids.

Riley and I stood in the edge of the surf jumping the waves and then searched for sand fiddlers. Holden and I waded out a little further and he actually got me on a boogie board. It took me a while to get the hang of riding a wave into shore, but I finally did. And, then, a huge wave engulfed me on the way in and I did a nose dive into the sand. I ended up on the beach looking like a beached whale. When I opened my eyes Holden was standing over me with a mixture of concern and amusement on his face. I was fine, of course, and enjoyed every minute of that time out in the ocean with Holden.

One time as I sat and read I glanced up at Riley jumping in the surf. Further out, Michael and Holden were on boogie boards. It’s one of those moments where you realize how blessed you are. Life couldn’t have been more perfect at that moment. Just about that time, Riley came up to dry off a bit and I had him check his sugar. It was 106 and I asked him if he wanted a snack. He was having too much fun in the ocean to stop and snack so I decreased his basal and let him go on his way.

When we left we stopped and got something to eat. That’s where the forgotten bolus comes into the perfect picture. A while ago I would have let it ruin my day. I would sit and beat myself up for letting it happen. I would have let it trump all the fun we’d had that day.

But, instead, I went and cried and got over it. As I sat in the bathroom drying my tears, I heard Riley talking enthusiastically about his Star Wars game. He was over it. I took my cue from him and got over it too. It happened. Move on.

It’s taken me a while to figure out that when Riley looks back on these times he won’t remember the forgotten bolus and the site change. Instead, he’ll remember a day of sun and fun on the beach with his family. He’ll remember spending a good portion of the day building a huge sand castle with his big brother. He’ll remember seeing dolphins jumping up out of the ocean and the crab leg he found and used to adorn the top of his sand castle like a flag.

I still hope and pray for a cure. When my dad mentioned a news piece he had seen on TV about how they had found a cure for Type 1 diabetes I just nodded and said “That’s great.” I hope beyond all hope that it will happen one day. But, I’ve realized that we’ve got to go on with life in the meantime. And, right now, that life involves sugar checks and site changes. It involves highs and lows. It even involves frustration and tears. But, it involves way more happiness and smiles. I don’t know why I couldn’t see that before.


:) Tracie said...

You couldn't be more spot on about going down the path anyway instead of kicking and screaming! All too often we go resisting all the way, but it's who we are and it's what we do. It's just not so easy sometimes and that's ok, it sucks, but it's ok. Our kids are alive and we are doing the best we know how, just like parenting, diabetes didn't come with a manual.

Great graduation pictures! How proud you guys must be, you've done another great job with another child!

Glad to hear things are good right now!

Amy said...

Great post, Penny! I love hearing where you are at with this disease- so much wisdom and maturity!:)

Lynnea said...

Penny...long time no too! I had a good cry last week too...mine was out of the blue, though. Just cried and cried after the kids were in bed & I was doing dishes. Don't know why...but it felt good. Hadn't cried about "D" in such a long time. I really think it was all triggered by too many people recently sharing (innocently) complications of so and so who has diabetes, etc. UGH! Anyway....great post...I think I could've written half of it myself...not the beach part..since we don't have oceans in MN....but lots of lakes!!:-) I'm's late!