New Appreciation

Since this whole eczema thing with BabyK, I have been really thinking of dmoms and ddads. Granted, with him, all I have to do is eliminate some foods from my diet and coat him down with cream and a steroid on the bad spots twice per day. Heck, he could even grow out of this by the time he’s two years old, though the possibility is only like, 19.-something percent.

I mean, it was overwhelming to me at first to know that BabyK’s skin couldn’t get dry and that he was itchy all the time when he was broken out. His symptoms can be helped and, if the triggers are found, outbreaks can be few and far between (we’re working on finding the triggers). But with new d-moms and d-dads, it’s a whole different story! D-moms and d-dads are thrown into a whole new world of shots, glucose meters, pumps, pens, strips, tabs… the list can go on! Not to mention, when they’re diagnosed, they have it. There’s (currently) no percentage possibility that they’ll outgrow it (and if there is, I was not in that percentage… nor have any of my d-friends). I mean, that’s it – no support group info given, no hope other than the ole “a-cure-is-coming-in-the-next-5-years” crap (but hopefully we’ll have the low-glucose suspend technology by then!!!), just a bunch of papers, rx for insulin, and other said accoutrements to help manage their kid’s diabetes.

I guess I’ve always seen things from the inside looking out. Just like right now. My bg is 311 (high before breakfast, and breakfast made it that much higher! So frustrating!), but you really from the outside can’t tell. I can tell on the inside because I feel tired, dizzy, and just plain yucky. Parents must feel absolutely bat-fit crazy at times because they don’t know what their kid’s blood sugar is doing! Are they high or just tired? Is he/she coming down with a cold? And the LOWS! OMGosh! It’s no wonder these parents are like white-on-rice when it comes to their kid’s diabetes care. They don’t know how the kids are feeling and how diabetes affects them, they just know that their baby (no matter how old) is fighting to live with this disease, and it’s their responsibility to keep them as healthy as possible… even if this means listening to them scream through shots or finger pricks, or coaxing them to chug down water when they have ketones, or eat something when they are low even though they are animate in refusing it.

Now, granted, yes I do sort of have it easy right now with BabyK. But what do if he doesn’t grow out of this allergy/eczema and he turns out to be allergic to diary and eggs even throughout childhood? (Which I’m beginning to think it’s eggs. Haven’t had eggs in two weeks and he’s starting to clear up!) What do I do if he goes to school and someone gives him food that has said allergen in it and he breaks out, Heaven forbid it exacerbate into a respiratory allergy as well and he have an asthma attack (very likely since his dad has asthma)? I know I’m probably going overboard – really overboard. The kid is 3 months old and I’m flashing forward years into his life, panicking over something that hasn’t even happened yet.

I guess I need to learn that there are a lot of “what-if”s in life, diabetes or eczema included, and I need to just take things as they come. I can’t do anything about what may or may not happen in the future for him, I can only do what I can for him today as he is.

D-moms and D-dads who I know from Twitter, Facebook, and TuD, you guys rock. Because of all of this, I have a different, deeper, new appreciation for you guys. I seriously wish there were some sort of diabetes boot-camp that newly diagnosed kids and parents of said kids could attend when a diagnosis was given. Like, maybe a week long camp, just like diabetes camp, but more one-on-one. Granted, this would cost an arm and a leg I’m sure, but can you imagine? In my mind, it would give better insight to what diabetes is, and maybe even help get the kid’s insulin’s adjusted quicker to what they need. Something similar to what was done when I was little – I stayed in the hospital for a week or so. I hear they don’t do that now… just diagnose you and send you home with instructions. It wouldn’t even have to been an all day thing. Like, maybe a two-hour meeting each night for a week to discuss things with a nurse practitioner or doctor. And if could be available for newbies as well as if things were going out of hand again later on, like during growth-spurt times.

I don’t know – it’s just an idea. All I really know is that no matter how serious/easy/hard it may be to manage, finding out your kid has a chronic illness sucks.

Going Moo-Free

MooFreeA.K.A. – going dairy-free.

After taking BabyK back to the pediatrician yesterday about his eczema rash, I have decided to try my best to go moo-free for 3 weeks to see if his eczema is caused by a dairy allergy. At first, when I heard this a few weeks ago, I thought it would be simple – just don’t drink milk, and don’t eat cheese, chocolate, or ice-cream (did I say no chocolate?! GAH!).

Turns out, it’s not so simple. Read your product labels of most of the things you buy – bread, chips, salad dressings, snack crackers, etc. Most of them have milk or eggs in them. (And, no, eggs do NOT come from cows, but rather chickens – but I was told to eliminate those too.) This is not going to be as easy as I thought.

Why is it when we’re told not to have something, immediately that’s what you crave? I could have went home and ate the biggest stack of buttermilk pancakes, drank a huge glass of milk, and had a big Snickers or BabyRuth bar for desert. Granted, my blood sugar would go through the roof, but no one would see that. I would probably suffer a few hours while my insulin worked to bring me back down to normal range, but if BabyK is allergic, he would have broken out much worse for days. He would break out in an itchy rash everywhere and everyone would be able to see it, and see that he’s not a happy baby when he breaks out.

I had considered trying him on special formula that is dairy free for a month to see if it helped, but the pediatrician we have is very, VERY pro-breastmilk only, so we are trying every avenue we have until we exhaust them before taking him off of it. He may be allergic to something in my milk, but the pediatrician sees the benefits of all the extra stuff breastmilk provides over formula as being more important right now.

Of course, in addition to benefitting him (as I said – IF it’s a milk-protein allergy), I’m sure it would help my blood sugar control as milk and it’s products do make my blood sugar do wonky things. I already avoid drinking milk because of it, but never took the leap to actually remove milk completely from my diet. I guess while testing him, I’ll be testing myself as well.

So, we’ll see. This is going to be a long 3 weeks. At the end of 3 weeks, I’m to consume something with dairy in it to see if he breaks out again. If he clears up during the three weeks then does break out, it’s a moo-allergy. If not and he’s stays broken out like before, then it’s another allergy. My next trial will be citric acid. It’s in a LOT of foods and most flavored drinks, even body washes and lotions. Erik has a friend who’s allergic to citrus, so it gave me the idea to test that as well.

But one thing at a time.

Cuz myyy word. If I cut out both, I’m not gonna have anything but water to drink and meat to eat! (I’m sure it’s not that drastic, but ya know.)

Special

Yesterday was mine and Erik’s 4th anniversary. We usually try to do something like going out to eat at a special restaurant or even take a trip. But, since BabyK arrived, we wanted to not go extravagant as you never know what may come up with a baby financially. So, we agreed to make our own dinner at home, but to grill steaks and have baked potatoes instead of the ole chicken salad sandwich or grab-whatever-looks-good-in-the-fridge supper.

But when Erik came home, he also surprised me with a little gift….

New Parents Hallmark Ornament

“…and Baby makes three!” – New Parents Ornament

Every year since we have been married, we have gotten a new ornament for our tree from Hallmark’s Keepsake collection. This year, he got the “New Parents” one. He said he chose that one because a lot of people would probably be giving us ones that say “Baby’s First Christmas” and things like that. He wanted one that, since it was our anniversary, still included him, but would be about us…. that would mark our first Christmas as parents. (*SWOON!*)

He is so thoughtful. I mean, how much sweeter can you get???

Well, he took it to the next level.

See, earlier in the week, I had shown him the WDD Blue Fridays video and we had a little chat about it and made sure he had blue shirts he could wear, etc. I didn’t think anything of it after that. Well, he apparently did. Because other than the ornament in the bag, I also had this:

Blue Circle charm

Blue circle bead for my Belk bead bracelet (say that 3xfast!)

I automatically assumed that since it was a light-ish blue, it would represent BabyK on my bead bracelet. He looked at me and said “Look at it again… what does the color look like?”. I went dumb. I can’t believe I didn’t see it. He looked at me and said “It’s almost the exact color of the Diabetes blue circle!”. It was then it hit me. “OH! OMGOSH! THIS. IS. AWESOME!!!!”

I have a wonderful husband.

I love him.

My New “Dantra”

On my Twitter account, I follow a quote person… or bot.. or whatever you call him/her/it named @allgreatquotes. Some of them, I don’t care for too much. Others, I like, so I retweet them. This was this morning’s quote (which I promptly retweeted…)  :

"The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender." – Vince Lombardi

I like this quote because you can apply it to so many aspects of your life. Granted, this came from the former Greenbay Packers coach, and I’m sure he was referring mainly to football, but just take it out of the football setting and think of how it is so true… school, marriage, work, etc.

Now, I’m not saying that if you work hard you’re guaranteed for it to work out. Sometimes, things just simply don’t work no matter how hard you try. But the key is trying, and trying your hardest.

But take that principle and apply it to diabetes.

Before becoming pregnant, the main thing I had to do was to get my levels under control. There were no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. There was no “okay, I’ll do my best this week and take a day off Saturday.” or “I’ll work on it and if it doesn’t seem too hard, I’ll keep it up.”, or “I’ll do what I can, but if it gets hard, it’s just not going to be worth it.”. No. These were not options in my book. I was going to work hard and keep it up because I knew what it was I was working towards.

While working hard on reaching this goal, I realized there was something else happening to me… something inside. Yes, there were just as many good days as there were bad, but there was something about working hard to get there that changed my way of thinking. Taking it slow – one hour at a time, one meal at a time, and one bbb (blood sugar, bolus, and basal) at a time, I slowly learned how to make this disease fit my life, not my life fit this disease. This is not to say that d-burnout didn’t happen – because it did. But the key is not to let it get you down for long. Look back over your past day – week – month’s hard work and concentrate on the victories you had, and let the victories become your inspiration and encouragement to keep it up that hard work. I found that the harder I worked at controlling my numbers, the harder it was to let them go and slip back into the “I just don’t want to care any more” attitude.

So, to take what he said and change it just a bit, my diabetes mantra (dantra?) from now on will be this: The harder I work at managing my diabetes, the harder it will be to surrender to it. I will not punish myself for the bad times, but will rejoice in the victories and let them carry me through. Because surrendering is giving in. And giving in is not an option.

Conquer

Conquer Your Fears

While living with diabetes, you can become afraid of a lot of things. And, with some of them, if you let that fear get to you, it can hold you back from living.

Fear of getting married. Would I find someone who would understand this disease? Who would be there to help and support me, and not see it as an inconvenience or irritation? Yes! I did.. and he’s wonderful. We will be married 4 years on the 20th of this month, and we’ve been together 6 years as of September 1st of this year. He’s never once complained about me being a diabetic or showed any sign that it’s an irritation to him… other than that he hates to see me deal with it because he just wants me to be healthy.

I was afraid of what having diabetes and a pregnancy would do to me – even with all of the new advances in technology and knowledge since the Steel Magnolia days. Kidney failure being #2 on my list… dying being numero uno. But I finally did it. I came, I fought, and I conquered it. And I have a beautiful baby boy. And I’m still alive and as healthy as a diabetic can be (physically anyway… pregnancy messes with ya mentally a bit… darn hormones!)

I still have fears though. One being travel. I would absolutely love to go be a part of a d-meetup. But a lot of what holds me back is the fear of travel. I’m afraid something will happen (train wreck, plane crash, automobile accident, , etc.) and I won’t have extra supplies that I need and I’ll be far away from home with no way to get them, or passing out from hypoglycemia in said train-plane-automobile and no-one knowing what the heck is wrong with me, oh the list could go on. “Up a creek without a paddle”, if you will.

The above picture is a paper thingy from the Chinese cookies. I taped it to my fridge at home. It’s been there for a long time now. I look at it and try to remind myself that, yes, I may have fears, but if I never face them, they’ll keep wrapping around me like a boa constrictor until I can’t move.

So, I have a goal. Baby steps, though.

I want to attend a Diabetes Sisters event since it’s somewhat close to home, but not really (it’s in the neighboring state, okay?). That will be away from home, but not away from home. I want to meet up with some of the awesome d-ladies that I speak with on Twitter and read their blogs… my diabetes sisters. I am thinking of planning to go to the 2012 meet-up.

I’ll get there. One day. Because I need to conquer this fear. I love the d-friends I have online… but I want to meet them in person. To make it real.

My Endo

The doctor-patient relationship is one that is very important to me. Not only do I like to have a doctor that I can trust, but one that is – even through all the years of his or her practice – still human. Not some big textbook-spewing robot who has medical degree after medical degree, but one who has tremendous love for what they do and the people they see on a daily basis.

My endocrinologist is one of these people. He has a passion for what he does, and it shows with every visit. Rarely do you find a doctor that is open-minded to new technologies, yet still keeps in mind the oldie-but-goodie tricks of the trade that work when the new stuff isn’t quite up to par. I know that when I go to see him, he’s going to look at my numbers and help me pin-point the problems, and make suggestions (and he even stresses the word “suggestions” when he’s writing stuff down!) as to what needs to be changed. He is also very open to hearing my opinion as to what I think needs to be done as well. He’s not a preacher-type that is all “Here, this is what’s going on and this is what you must do to fix it and you have to do what I say because I have the degree and you don’t”. He works with me.

While I was pregnant, they hired on a new endocrinologist in his office. One comment he made to me was that since he had followed me through the journey to get pregnant, he was going to stick with me throughout my pregnancy and be sure that my chart wasn’t transferred over to her, in hopes to avoid confusion. If anything were to happen, I have his cell phone number for emergency cases. He went above and beyond what I would expect any endocrinologist to do to help me have a perfect-as-diabetically-possible pregnancy. His dedication to my care throughout my pregnancy was outstanding. My fear now is that because I am no longer pregnant (thank the LORD!), he’ll allow my chart to be transferred.

Granted, I know I’m not giving the “new girl” a chance, but with me, the relationship and trust I have in my doctors has a direct impact on my care. When I was a teen and going to a pediatric endo, I didn’t see him, but rather his nurse practitioner. I LOVED her. She was more than just my medical caretaker, she was a honest-to-goodness friend to me. We talked about everything outside of diabetes in our appointments and usually only spent about five minutes discussing what to change in my treatment. She’s the one who talked me into going to diabetes camp when I was 15… the first time I had ever been away from my parents alone. If it weren’t for her being at the camp, I wouldn’t have gone. While under her care, I got my diabetes under control because she showed an honest care for me and my diabetes. She didn’t fuss or belittle me. It was because of her positive actions and care that I, in turn, cared and wanted to do my best for her, because she made me believe that I could do it. After she left, I was heartbroken. Literally… I cried for days… Begged her not to leave. (She was moving to Florida, so it wasn’t like I could just follow her across town to the “new” doctor’s office.) I felt as if I had no one else to “keep up the good work” for.

The nurse practitioner that replaced her was a joke. She was very rude and easily agitated and rarely gave encouragement. It was then that I went back to the way I was before and didn’t care about taking care of myself. I honestly didn’t see the point. It didn’t seem to matter if I were a dedicated diabetic and did everything right or if I didn’t care a lick – my numbers were bad, with no pattern, and she didn’t care to encourage me that it was going to be ok, that we’d figure it out – I wasn’t an easy-to-fix case. I guess because I, just as I am now, was an analyzer of the data being sent back to me from my meter, and if I didn’t agree with the adjustments or couldn’t get a clear answer as to their reason for their adjustments, I didn’t want to make their “recommended” change. The old practitioner understood this, and she worked with me. She would take the time to explain until she saw “the light bulb go off in my head” – because I’m not one to just trust them because they say so. After all, I’m the allowing this medicine that keeps me alive – but could kill me if dosed wrong –  to go into my system each and every day, and she understood where I was coming from if I didn’t “feel” right about the new changes. The new one? She didn’t care what I thought, she knew more than I did, and I was just being a non-compliant, hard-to-get-along-with patient.

My fear is that I’ll be dealt the hand I was dealt back then again. It took me almost 7 years to find a doctor that would, in my mind, come remotely close to being like my first nurse practitioner. My endo is such a wonderful doctor, and his manner of care has been just as good, if not better, than hers. I feel “at home” and safe with him. I don’t feel like just some stupid, non-compliant patient if my numbers aren’t great. He encourages me. Not just because he’s my doctor and is paid to do it, but because you can tell he’s the type that wants to. He genuinely cares about his patients.

He’s my team-leader. My coach. My friend.

I don’t want to give him up just yet.

The Hubs

In honor of No-D-Day (Thanks, George!), I’m going to talk about something else besides me, or D, or even BabyK (well, we all might come up in there a bit, but the post isn’t centered around us).

Other than my wonderful, beautifully handsome baby boy, there’s only one other person in my life that my world revolves around. My husband.

We met September 1st, 2005 and hit it off right from the start. That’s not to say we haven’t had some rough patches (oh boy, have we!), but they’ve not been anything we haven’t been able to work through. And what I love about him is his passion for what he loves and believes in.

Since he was a kid, he has loved Transformers. Most of the lingo he talks, I don’t understand, but all I know is when I see him watching the re-runs of the first Transformers cartoons that came out, it’s like he’s a kid again, sitting in front of the TV, watching the coolest thing to ever come on the tv. And, when talk of the making of the 2007 Transformers movie was the buzz of the internet in 2006, I got to see just how crazy he really was about this “cartoon”. Transformers was the hot topic of most of our conversations, and even when I would try to weed it out, Erik would think of something else to say. We even had a big, blow-up fight about it because I simply did not understand his obsession with them. After all, they were just toys, right?

Wrong.

What I didn’t understand was that they may have been a toy of the 80’s, but it was that toy that helped shape who he is. The toys made the user think. It was puzzle that transformed from one thing to something completely different. Even today, he will sit for hours and transform new and old ones to perfection. When I transform them, there’s still gaps and holes and it looks like some sort of thing that resembles only remotely resembles a vehicle or a robot. Him? They look like they just came from the factory. But my point is he has taken that same principle and applied it to his life. He has a Bachelors of Science in Computer Technology and works as a Systems Administrator (and a PC Specialist when needed) at his job. The stories he shares with me show his passion for computers, technology, and the puzzle they create – much like the passion for the puzzles that Transformers have. They make him think and help him problem solve.

Once I realized just how they impacted him, and still do (I mean, come on, have you seen some of the Transformer toys they have out now?! It’d take me a year or more to transform one of those! Him? A couple of hours… TOPS.), I let go. Most of his gifts now are Transformer related. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do when the Transformer buzz is over in the media once again and you can’t find the action figures anymore. When we went and saw the first Transformers, he actually started to hyperventilate when Optimus Prime transformed the first time… as if he were seeing his childhood hero in person for the first time ever… which, I guess you can say that’s what he did, in a way, since Transformers is a cartoon that was made into a movie. And, if we had been alone in the theater, I’m sure he would have stood up and clapped at the first line of “I am Optimus Prime…”. Of course, I’m sure he’d absolutely have a heart attack if he ever met the man behind OP’s voice in person!

Of course, Transformers is not all that makes up who my husband is. He’s bright, funny, and the biggest teddy-bear of a man with a heart to match.

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Laugh

Laugh

When you feel like you just can’t win.

Laugh

When it hurts to do it over and over again.

Laugh

When you just can’t figure it out.

Laugh

When it seems there’s nothing to laugh about.

 

Laugh

Until the frustration is small

Laugh

Until the hurt is no longer a wall

Laugh

Until you can relax just enough

Laugh

Until you find some sort of peace in the midst of the “stuff”.

 

LAUGH

(This came to me after a blooper in a diabetes vlog.

Diabetes is a very stressful, demanding disease.

But sometimes, you just have to sit back and laugh to relieve some of the stress.

So sit back, think of some funny, crazy stories that have happened to you or a loved one with diabetes, and have a good laugh.)