Wednesday, February 24, 2016

One Month Ago...

We brought my son into the hospital, only to come home with a new way of life. In some ways it is hard to believe that it has been one month.  In other ways it feels like years!  

People keep encouraging us that it will get easier and in some ways it has.  Things are becoming more routine and we pretty much have just figured out that you can never really figure out Diabetes.  One day his body will react this way, the next day it will react another way.  All we can do is go with the flow and deal with the moment.  Isn't that how we're supposed to live anyhow?  In the moment?

In the day to day managing of his diabetes, I don't get very emotional.  We just go through the calculations and the processes just like we're supposed to.  Every once in awhile, however, it hits me.  Like the other day when I was at the pharmacy with all of the other chronic prescription picker-uppers.  The lady in front of me was chatting away about her medications with the pharmacist and they were on a first name basis.  I figure that will be me someday very soon.

And when they ask you, as you are about to pay for the prescription, "Did they tell you how much this is going to cost?"  I don't know why, but it gets me every time.

Or last night, at 12:30 when we were sitting in my bed waiting for our 15 minutes to pass after drinking his juice so that I could see if his blood glucose levels came up sufficiently, and he nodded off to sleep next to me.  That's when it hits me what he's going through and what he has to look forward to for the rest of his life.  

But then we both get up the next morning and face the day with a good attitude, and for that I'm grateful.

Another thing that I'm very grateful for is that I have, in a way, been prepared for this over the past 10 years.  When we were in the hospital and the nurses told us about how he would have to eat on a regular schedule, how we would have to count carbs and eat healthy I was so grateful that we had already been doing those things.  

We've eaten on a schedule ever since I can remember.  Breakfast around 7:00, snack at 10, lunch at Noon, snack at 3 and dinner between 5 and 6.  Perfect.  We've cleaned up our eating considerably during those years and all of our kids know what carbs, fats (healthy vs unhealthy) and proteins are.  If I had had to tackle all of that on top of everything else (like injections and monitoring and worrying about those lows) my brain would have exploded.  I can see the beauty of being organized even more clearly now because it has made this chaos much more manageable.  God is Good!  All the time!

So we move forward into our second month of a lifetime.  One step at a time as we cling tightly to Jesus' hand and walk this walk with Our Lady of Sorrows who knows exactly how we all feel and is with us every step of the way.

God Bless!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Peanut Butter Crackers to the Rescue!

Whenever I'm faced with a difficult situation, I've noticed that I tend to do two particular things to help me cope.

The first is to find humor in the situation whenever I can.  It hit me, not too long into our diabetic adventure, that this is just like having a baby in the house again.  We get up in the middle of the night to check on my son, and, if necessary, feed him.  It is quite humorous to wake him at 2:00 am and tell him to get up and eat something.  He usually smiles, gets up, eats whatever we've determined he should eat, smiles again and goes back to bed.  God has blessed him with a good disposition, that's for sure.

My son is not much of an adventurous eater, so we've found a few staples that have been carrying us through the past month.  These babies

have been indispensable.  They are portable, have a the right amount of carbs to boost him up a bit and contain a bit of protein from the peanut butter to level him off, they are inexpensive and most importantly, he likes them.  The other night while we were sitting there at 2 am and he was eating his prescribed 12 crackers, the thought popped into my head, "It's 2 am.  Do you know how many peanut butter crackers your child is eating?"  It cracked me up at that moment, which is a good thing, because you have to laugh whenever you can or you'll cry instead.

The second thing is that I tend to fixate on something else to take my mind off of the situation.  Right now I'm fixating on my house.  Cleaning and straightening have very cathartic effects.  It is something I can physically do which brings peace to my mind.  My kids aren't thrilled because I'm always telling them to clean up their piles of stuff, but to see a very neat house makes me feel more peaceful.

I've also been fixating on my laundry room.  

Specifically, this door.  The room is small and dark.  We have bigger plans for it, but for now my eye is on replacing that door with one that has a window in it.  The good thing about this project is that we have some Menard's rebate money and since the hospital won't accept that as payment, I have to use it for things for the house!  SCORE!  We went this past weekend and got the door, now we just have to put it in.  I just know that the sunlight (of which I am craving, seeing as how it is FEBRUARY in the Midwest) that will stream through that window will bring me great joy.

And so we all cope with difficulties in different ways.  Of course prayer has a central place in this coping, but I've also found other ways that are helpful to me and not harmful to anyone else!  

How do you cope when you're in a difficult spot? 

God Bless!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Another Curve in the Road

Exactly 11 days after my last post, God threw another curve in the road of our life.  I never expected to find myself in the pediatric ICU with my baby boy, but that's where we ended up.

Fortunately the stay was short, just two days, but he left with a new normal - Type 1 Diabetes.  Came out of nowhere, really.  It doesn't run in our family, so we were a bit surprised that he should get this.  They say a virus can cause it to begin.  Who would have thought?

People have asked me how I knew.  Because there seems to be quite the occurrence of this nowadays, I'd like to share with you how I knew because the fact that someone had shared their story with me was lifesaving to my son.

My best friend from forever has a son who was diagnosed with T1 last May.  Over the summer we got together and she shared her journey with me.  Fortunately, it wasn't something that my overworked brain forgot.

I noticed on Saturday, the 23rd, that my son had gone to the bathroom two times within a short period of time.  This, for him, was not that unusual so I didn't think much of it at the time.  Later that night, however, I saw him get out of bed and go into the bathroom twice within about half an hour.  I had a quiet voice in my head tell me to pay attention to that.  I immediately thought of my friend's son.  I sat in bed with my kindle that night looking up the common symptoms of Type 1.

- Frequent urination  
Increased thirst
- Increased hunger 

Although I have to say that he didn't come to me and tell me he was thirsty and hungry, he just kept asking for more to eat and drink.  He had told me all of the week prior how tired he was.  My response?  "Try going to bed earlier!"

It wasn't until I looked at the symptoms all together and thought about the past few weeks that I saw the pattern.  Otherwise, life is life and you tend to ignore all of the "I'm thirsty" and "I'm hungry" statements.

While he didn't have the blurred vision or tingling hands and feet, when he came downstairs on Sunday, he did look like, all of a sudden, he had lost a lot of weight.  His face looked sunken in and his arms looked very skinny.  Just like that!  Some of the kids said they had noticed on Saturday how skinny he looked, but we hadn't.

I thought back to my friend and remembered her telling me about checking her son's urine for ketones.   I knew you could go to the pharmacy and get strips so after Mass we headed to Walgreens and picked up our first bottle of urine strips.  Once home we tested him twice.  Both times he tested Moderate/High.  Yikes.  I called my friend just to go over what was going on and she told us to head to the ER with him now before he started vomiting, which would be the next thing that would begin to happen.

It wasn't long before he was being admitted to the ICU and hooked up to his insulin drip.  At that point his blood glucose level was 524. 

Over the next two days we learned more about insulin, shots, glucose checks and diabetes than I ever wanted to learn.  We were sent home with a dazed look in our eyes.  It was like coming home with your first baby and thinking, "What on earth am I supposed to do with this kid to keep him alive".  

It's been quite the ride these past three weeks.  There's more to be said but, I think that, for now, this is enough.  Please keep us all in your prayers as we navigate this new normal for our family.

God Bless!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Around my Kitchen

When we looked at this house, the first thing we did was look at the kitchen and realize that it wasn't going to work long-term for us.  We know there is a remodel in our near future because there just isn't enough counter space and the eat-in section of the kitchen is big enough for a small bistro table and not much else.

Another thing I noticed was that the basement door was smack-dab in the middle of the kitchen.  I had been wanting to have a nice big chalk board in my kitchen for awhile, so I decided to turn the basement door into a giant chalk board.  While it didn't quite work out to my expectations, it does, in fact, serve the purpose of putting that door to good use.  

So far we've used it for a nice Thanksgiving motif, which I can't believe I do not have a picture of because it was so cute, an Advent and St. Andrew novena calendar

and  a spot to count the 12 Days of Christmas.
It has sparked a lot of creativity (as you can see above) and has been a fun thing to have in the kitchen.

Now, however, I find myself with this:

a blank door and no ideas for what to put on it.  January means, what?  Ordinary time?  How do you draw that?  It's too soon, in my book, for Valentine's designs so what can we do until then?  Ideas appreciated :)

Another thing I've added to the kitchen to kind of spruce things up a bit is a craft my oldest daughter did at the library one evening.  This idea is so cute that it inspired me to want to have a coffee theme in our remodeled kitchen.  They are pages from a book that they painted coffee/tea cups on. 

She did four of them, so she found some frames in the basement and we decided to hang them up to help brighten up the kitchen.  It doesn't take much to bring some zing to a room.  
Sometimes you just have to take a few minutes to look around your house and find something you could switch to a different room to make it brighter, or, in this case, take a craft someone did and put it in some left-over frames.  I like this kind of decorating; it's cheap and easy!

Need something to brighten a part of your house during these dreary days of January?  Walk around and see if you can't make a small change like this one.

God Bless!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

My 2016 Word

Last year I went along with the crowd and picked a word for the year.  The word was "purposeful" and my intention in living this word was to be much more purposeful in what I did with my time and my attention.  Looking back over the year, I would say that I did much better at that.  There were a lot of things that required my attention and I was able to walk away from my distractions (mainly this lovely computer) and get down to the business of doing what needed to be done.

Now, that's not to say I always did that.  No sirree, not in the least.  And, when I did do it, it certainly wasn't always easy.  Releasing ourselves from our mindless distractions is a difficult thing.  That is why, for example, I don't want to have HGTV available in my home.  I know, at least for awhile, that I would be addicted to sitting in front of show after show watching others do exciting decorating things instead of doing them myself.

This year's word is "wisdom":  

the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.



It isn't a new word to me as it began popping up on my radar last year.  I kept reading or hearing in various places how good it is to pray for wisdom.  When Solomon asked God for wisdom he asked for "a discerning heart" to govern God's people and "to distinguish between right and wrong". And God was very pleased by his request.  I figure a mom like me can't go wrong in asking for a discerning heart to govern the people in my charge and it can definitely help me in distinguishing between right and wrong; especially when trying to sift through the myriad of disagreements that go on here every day!

So this will be my prayer, and hopefully my guiding principle, as I go through this year.  Given the events of the world, having some extra wisdom might just not be a bad thing!

God Bless!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Our Friends Were on TV!

While we have not formally resumed schooling yet (still in the 12 Days of Christmas.  Sounds reasonable, right?), we did take some time today to watch an educational program on EWTN.  Well, we also had another incentive to watch it because our good friends, Laura and Mary, were live on the "At Home with Jim and Joy" show talking about the unit study they wrote for the American Life League.  

You might remember that I reviewed and gave away some free copies of this unit study and, since we know them personally, it was so fun to watch them talk about how important it is to cultivate the pro-life mentatlity, especially in our young children.

Another exciting project they just released is a unit study for high schoolers on Euthanasia.  I'm so glad that this has come out and I definitely think it is something we'll have to look into.  Coincidentally, I just finished reading the book "Me Before You", which is about a quadriplegic who wants to die on his own terms.  It was a great book, but if you are not catechized as to why this is wrong, you will definitely be swayed by the emotional aspect of this topic.  This is why it is so important for us to arm our youth with the facts and reasons why the Church teaches as it does, so that they are not swayed by emotions.

To learn more about these important programs that our friends are producing through the American Life League, you can either go to their website, catch the  replay of the show on January 9th at 10:30 am or watch it on EWTN's youtube channel.   

Spread the word about these great unit studies and pray that we can all become ambassadors for life!

God Bless!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Very Special Intercessor!

Merry Christmas to everyone!  I hope your Advent went well and that you had a beautiful Christmas with the people you love.  We had two days with nice weather, good food and lots of family, as well as a beautiful midnight Mass.  But this post isn't about Christmas.  It's about a story that I've been wanting to tell but just haven't had the time.  It's an intercessory story related to our move.

You see, in our history of moving we've never had an easy time.  More often than not, the first house we would set out to buy would become encased in some sort of turmoil or other and we would end up buying a completely different house.  This happened to us three times.  The last time we moved, we did so because we had lost everything and were moving into a rental.  Needless to say, God had mercy on us and there was no extra drama.

This time, however, we were buying again, and although we did not have a house to sell, I fully expected the experience to be like it had been in the past.  I expected to find a house, fall in love with it, have something happen with the deal, lose the house and then find an even better one.  After all, that's how it had been before.

But God had other plans.  Let me backtrack a bit.  For the past year +, I had been praying, along with many others, for Courtney Lenaburg and her family.  In fact, it was just one year ago that she died.  When she did, I cried along with everyone else.  After her passing, I had read stories of her intercession, one in particular about a family who wanted to move but needed a miracle with their septic field.  Through Courtney's intercession, that miracle occurred.  

That got me thinking that maybe I should call upon Courtney to intercede for us in this move since I really didn't want to have to go through what we've been through in the past.  

Can I tell you something?  St. Courtney came through with flying colors.  We began our search and had looked at a few houses when something (or someone :) nudged me back to the computer to look at the 90+ listings again.  There I found it, the house we had overlooked the first time through.  We went to see it and we loved it.  We brought our kids (who, being older now, had some very definite opinions about what they were looking for).  They loved it, too.  We put in an offer and at first it didn't seem like we were going to come to terms with the seller, but I called on Courtney even more and before we knew it, the sellers came down in price and then started offering us their no extra charge!  We closed in 30 days!  30 days, people!  With not one hitch.

Many times when miraculous things happen like this, I often find that God sends me a confirmation that what I am seeing is real.  The moment this time was when we were at the closing (which only lasted about an hour) and our realtor said, "I don't think I've ever been at a closing that got funded that fast."  From past experience, I know that that was God's way of telling me that I've witnessed something grand.  

We moved into a great neighborhood.  Having not had neighbors for 12 years, and having 7 children and 5 cars, we were a bit leery of what having neighbors might mean.  Our neighbors are wonderful.  Even funnier is the fact that in our small subdivision of about 33 homes, 95% of the people are Catholic. God has chosen a wonderful spot to reintroduce us into communal living.

I write this to let you know, in case you don't already, that there are many saints up there in heaven just waiting for us to call upon them for their help.  There is no other explanation in my mind (based on our past experiences with moving) for how smoothly everything went other than her intercession.  Miss Courtney is up there calling for miracles and how happy I am that we have been on the receiving end of her powerful intercession.  Thank you, Mary and Jerry, for raising and caring for such an extraordinary young lady!  I've been recommending her to others in need, so I think she'll be pretty busy up in heaven for quite some time. 

St. Courtney, pray for us.

God Bless!