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!