Yet another road block…

To say my life has been easy, or handed to me, would be a bold faced lie. I have had to fight, tooth and nail, for everything that I have. I am a little bitter that it has been so hard for me, when I watch everyone else just cruise and get what they want with little effort. That is not to say that everyone I know doesn’t work hard for what they have (most of them, some of them are just straight up lazy asses who let everything just get handed to them…) but when all you have are the normal obstacles, you never really will understand the larger ones in life.

That’s me – the wrangler of the large ass obstacles. I would like to say that I have done this all with grace and compassion, but that’s straight up shit. I have been angry, I have been mad, I have cried, I have cursed what brought me to this point, I have plotted the conducters demise (yep. I have. judge away.. I care not), I have flipped my shit and screamed at the unfairness of this entire situation. None of that has helped, but I do believe it has helped me maintain a shred of sanity – no one can leave that much hostility bottled up without going bat shit crazy. That being said, I have also kept a smile on my face, I have kept trying, I have kept my kids happy and healthy and well adjusted, I kept my sobriety (which I believe is a feat all on its own!), I have kept my life fairly balanced, and I still have all of my hair! hahaha….

I have fought back and won. I know very few people who could do what I have done… life is not easy when everything is taken from you all at once. Literally, everything. I had me and my kids, and everything else, I had to fight for and get on my own. NOTHING has been handed to me. NO ONE can say that I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for them (except maybe the asshole who fucked things up for me in the first place). Everything I have and everything I am is because I refused to give up, I am tenacious, and I did everything in my power to get back on my own two feet. I mean, my husband helped, but that wasn’t so much a silver platter as it was a partner in crime. Everything I have, everything we have, has come from hard work, grit and determination. Imagine living your life with literally no credit. None. Not even a dollar. Could you do it? I fucking doubt it. But I did, and we did, and now look where we are.

And even with everything we have done, accomplished, fought for, striven for, rebuilt… I am still finding myself facing road blocks. Bull shit from my past that never should have affected me in the first place, but I was unfortunate enough to be tied to one of the most selfish pieces of shit on the planet. But I digress, that was then and this is now.

And while I sit back and watch people go about their lives, spending money like it is not an issue (and for some it isn’t, but for some, it damned well is…) I am sitting here, despairingly, and a bit heartbroken, because I have a plan for my life, something I desperately want to do, something for me, and I can’t. I just can’t.

My life is my own, but I am also living in the shadows of other peoples choices, and it affects my life every day. I have chosen to live my life happily, in spite of the constant shit I had to endure. And I am happy I did. But it would be nice to just live my life, the way I want to, without the constant reminder of the heinous bullshit people pulled on me.

I am happy. I love my life. I love my husband and my kids. I just wish that things were easier, sometimes. But I suppose it is what it is, and there’s nothing I can do to change the past.

Six months. In just six months I will get exactly what I want, once again, on my own. I guess in a way, it is amazing and awe inspiring that I have been able to do what I have done, on my own. Not many can say that. But I can. And that is something that no one can take away from me.

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Diabetes life – More than needles and blood


Let me preface this with: my son has diabetes. It is new to us, but I am already very well versed in it, and don’t take lightly to BS being said about it. 

Now… 

When my son was diagnosed, other than losing my grandmother, it was the worst day of my life. My little boy, who was so funny and outgoing, and so full of life, would be thrown onto a new path and forced into a life he didn’t want. Heart. Shattered. 

But not only was he thrust into this life, we all were. His parents. His siblings. His friends (and their parents). His grandparents. His aunts and uncles. His teachers. His future girlfriends/wife. His future classmates. His future employers. People he has never met before are already impacted by this. 

Would we change our path if we could? No question about it!! But alas, his pancreas is gonna be a useless piece of shit forever now, so this is where we live. And this is where we deal. 

I keep saying “we”, as this is one hell of a team effort. My husband and I do the brunt of the work, but no one – NO ONE – does as much as our son! I’ll touch on that more in a bit. 

My husband and I are the ones who plan all of his meals, his snacks, his injection points; determine his carb to insulin ratios, how much long-lasting insulin to give; who hound him to drink lots of water; who make sure he gets lots of sleep and exercise; who deal with the random highs and sporadic lows. We are his first line of defense. 

Our other two boys help a lot. They help to put his lunches together, help to organize our pantry (which is a finely tuned machine on its own, with all of the food in it stacked in clear order, with the carb count written on top in sharpie) Our 4 year old hugs our DiaBadAss every time he has needles. And we play a game at mealtimes to see who can guess the closest to his blood sugar. It helps us all learn how he acts at different levels, and it helps him to learn how he feels at different levels. Plus, making it like a game takes some of the blah out of it. 

Here’s a “day in the life of” to show that we may make it look easy, but that is only because I am borderline OCD and am slightly Type A, and we work well together as a team. It doesn’t look easy because it is easy! Do not ever for a second think this is easy. We just deal a lot better than most:

On a regular (school) day, my son wakes up around 7:10, does the normal morning stuff and comes for breakfast. There, instead of sitting down and eating like most people are accustomed, he washes his hands, gets his kits and sits at the table. He then takes a strip out and gets his meter ready. Then he takes his lancing device, and patiently blows a small hole into his sensitive finger tip. He gently squeezes, wipes that drop off, and squeezes out a fresh drop, which he then gently places onto his ready test strip. While waiting for that number to appear, which will dictate the dose of fast-acting insulin he will have at that meal, he wipes his finger clean and gets his insulin pens out. Once the number comes up, we then begin determining the carb count for his breakfast, and using the blood sugar we just learned, and using his carb to insulin ratio for breakfast (and it’s different for all 3 meals in the day – something we had to painstakingly determine through trial and error) we figure out how much NovoRapid he will be taking. He then dials 2 units, shoots it into the lid, then dials in how many units he needs for breakfast (usually 4 units). Then he sticks that tiny needle into his tiny belly, and counts to 10, while the life-preserving smelly as hell insulin shoots into his non-existent fat (he has to pinch skin to create “fat” to inject into). Then once that needle is done, he gets his long-acting insulin ready to go. This one isn’t based on carbs, it’s an insulin he only takes once a day, and it lasts 24 hours (so they say). He primes this the same way, but through trial and error and what seems like a constant change in need, he takes the dose that we have determined is his “basal” need for the day. (It started out as 7 when he was first diagnosed, but over the course of 9 months, it’s increased to 14. That’s not to say it won’t decrease once school starts again, as being at school, he’s more active, but for now, it’s 14). He picks another spot on his poor needle torn belly, and sticks yet another needle into his pinched flesh. And only then, can he begin to eat his breakfast. Then we pack his lunch and snacks for the day, all the while counting his carbs, and writing everything down in his food log (including blood sugar tests and how much of each insulin he takes). Snack time rolls around at school, and he tests, texts me his number, and we determine if he can eat the snack was packed, or needs to replace it with a “free snack”(which we also pack, just in case), which is what he has when he is “out of range”. Lunchtime, and he pulls out everything we have marked as “lunch” in his lunchbox (so he knows what is snack and lunch, as it is exactly calculated), tests his blood get again, texts us the number, and we, recalling the carbs we packed for him and what his ratio is, tell him how many of his NovoRapid to take. Then he goes through the whole ordeal with priming and ramming himself with a needle, this time in the presence of his classmates and friends. The same is repeated for his afternoon snack, as well as his test when he gets home from school. Once dinner comes, we have already calculated his dinner carbs (after usually taking the packaging out of the garbage over and over, because we have forgotten the carbs, because that’s just what diabetes parents do!) and he goes through the whole situation again. 2-3 hours after dinner, he tests again, and if he is out of range/high, he takes correction insulin and grabs a bedtime snack (generally something free – he likes Whisps and cucumbers) and goes to bed.. And that’s when I take over. I test him around 10:30-11:00, and if he has correction insulin, again at 12:00. And every night, I wake up at 3:00 in the morning and check him. So on a typical night, I check him twice when he is sleeping. The nights he has insulin, I check 3-4 times. And the nights he is low and needs juice (which he drinks in his sleep)? I check him 5 times. With lows while sleeping, diabetics run the risk of slipping into a coma, and never waking up. While there is air in my lungs, that will not happen to my son. His life means more to me than 15 minutes of sleep. Then we wake up the next day, and round and round we go again. 

His doctors appointments are in a city 4 hours away. And we go every 3-6 months. (Every 3 right now). We are at the drugstore getting supplies every week and a half (his supplies take up over half of my previous liquor cabinet – how I drink less now, I’ll never know!) The pharmacists know us. The diabetic team know us by our first names (including our non-D kids). We do training with teachers at school, and several of them have our cell phone numbers saved in their phones. Our family and friends have been given crash courses on testing, needles, carb counting, radios, how to inject his glucagon for the emergencies in which he goes into a coma and can not eat his fast acting sugar. 

We have done more math in the last 9 months than I have in years. And you know what? He’s worth every tear, effort, sleepless night and frustration. 

There are a lot of misconceptions about diabetes, and I’ll touch on that another time… But what you need to take from this is: it’s hard. Every damned day is hard. It’s hard for us, but it’s the hardest for our son. Regardless of what we do or how much we put into this, it is only happening to our son. This is his life, we are just helping him learn how to make it be best possible. And I will continue to do so as long as he wants and needs me to. 

Period. 

Right or wrong? Who fucking knows..

Decisions Decisions.. how do you know when you are making the right one? Do you get a feeling in the pit of your stomach? Do you get a tingle up your spine? Do you have a little crazy ass voice in your head leading you in certain directions (if you hear it all the time, I may suggest speaking to someone about that.. haha) How do you know when you are making the right choice? How do you know when you are on the right path? And don’t fork over any of that new-age mumbo-jumbo that spouts off that every path is the right path if you look hard enough. Bullshit. I know a lot of people (present company included) that have blindly stumbled down all sorts of incorrect paths, and where did that lead me? Right up shit-creek. And I am here to tell you, shit-creek is not a pleasant place to be, especially when you are a weak swimmer. Regardless.. how do you know? YOU DON’T!! You just close your eyes, hope you’re doing the right thing, and hold on for dear life.

Not every right decision feels right. And not every wrong decision feels wrong. Sometimes, they interchange. Sometimes, the bad decisions are the best feeling things in the whole world! I would imagine that is why being “bad” is deemed as fun, while being “good” is usually deemed as boring as fuck. It is because being good doesn’t usually feel good. That’s not to say that all good decisions feel bad, or aren’t fun. I have made a lot of good choices in my life that were the best things ever, the most fun, and felt amazeballs. That being said, lots of my bad decisions felt that way, too.

So, how do you know what to do? When you are faced with something that you feel is the right decision, but you KNOW that it is going to piss off a lot of people, and potentially hurt and destroy others. But you know deeeeeep in your gut that it is absolutely the path that you need to be on right now? I know I shouldn’t be concerning myself so much with the opinion of others, or worrying with how anyone else is going to feel about my choice. But at the end of the day, in spite of many opinions that would suggest otherwise, I am not a rampaging irrational unreasonable bitch on wheels. I am not. At my core, I am a good person, and very smart, and I have a very keen eye for people and am an amazing judge of character. Maybe that’s why I am perceived as a bitch to most? Because I can see through bullshit and people are afraid of me being able to see who they really are, before they are ready for that to be public knowledge? Maybe it is because I stand up for myself and (used t0) frequently speak my mind. For a long time, I stopped, because I was exhausted of always having to defend myself. And I just hung back and let shit happen. But now? I am kind of exhausted of that, so I have started putting my foot down, and the bitch-mask has been thrown on my face again. SO BE IT! Just call me Bitch-Girl and watch me rock my cape and mask. (of course, my “cape” will be in the shape of a hoodie, and my “mask” will be sunglasses, because while I may be considered a bitch, I am not bat-shit crazy)

I have made a few very big and life altering decisions in my life. Lots of them are ones that most people are never faced with. Lots of them would pale in comparison to some other peoples life altering decisions. But regardless of where I land on the “holy shit” meter, they were the ones I had to make, and they are part of my journey and have shaped who I am. Again, I don’t think I turned out that bad. It has been pointed out to me (directly and indirectly) that not everyone agrees with my appraisal of myself. But again, this isn’t about anybody else’s opinion right now. My life, my choice, my journey.. And here we are. At yet another crossroads. Some days I am baffled at how many of these fuckers I have encountered in my life. I am 35 years old, and I feel like I have had to make choices that could potentially alter my world permanently WAY too many times. But it is about perspective. Had I not made those choices, I would not be sitting here. I don’t think my choices have landed me in a horrible life, just sometimes a really HARD life. Then again, most of the time, it is easy and awesome and fun and enjoyable. Nobody loves every minute of their life, I suppose. And if they say they do, they’re crazy enough to be wearing a cape and mask.. hahaha.

I know that once this newest “WTF” issue comes to a head, there is going to be an awful lot of shit thrown at me, a LOT of protest and probably some tears. Which is why I am sitting on my couch, for the third hour in a row, with my headphones on full blast, with very loud and aggressive music on (read: very drum laden) It is how I have always dealt. Music. I turn it up as loud as my poor old-ass eardrums will allow, and my mind kind of goes blank. I think all day every day… a lot. So maybe when my mind goes blank, it opens up avenues for sense to me made of the shit that is swirling. I used to do this in my truck. I would make insane playlists on my ipod (or burned to cd’s cuz my cd player was able to turn up louder than my ipod transmitter thingy) and I would drive. The longer, the better. Most people hate driving long distances alone. I used to LOVE it! Grande Prairie to Calgary was my favorite. It was 9+ hours alone in my truck with nothing but my sunroof and music to keep me company. I turned my phone on silent, and just drove. It was always when my mind was the clearest. I also did Grande Prairie to Edmonton several (hundred) times (gotta love long distance relationships!) and while that was only 4 hours, it still usually did the trick. But, being older (and somewhat more responsible) I can’t really just jump in my truck and drive to see my best friend in Calgary like I used to. So, my pretty blue Beats and my Apple Music playlist are just going to have to do for the time being.

Is it making this decision making crap any easier? Not really. Because in my gut, while I know it is the right thing to do, it is still hurting me. I hate having a conscience. It is brutal. There is something to be said for the time that I was numb inside – didn’t matter what choice I made, I just didn’t give a fuck. Though, being numb probably wasn’t super healthy, either. Oddly though, that was when I was the most up-front and brutally honest, stood up for myself the most, and didn’t really give a shit what people thought, and nobody thought I was a heinous bitch! But now that I am more timid and care about other people’s feelings, I am Bitch Girl. HA! How ironically ridiculous.

Long story short (okay, not really short…) making decisions is not always easy. It is not always cut and dry. It is not always clear what you should do. It is not always going to make you happy. It is not always going to make everyone happy. It is not always going to make you feel good. It is not always going to hurt. It is not always going to be clear to other people why you did it. It is not always going to make you popular with everyone. It is not always going to make you feel good.

How do you know if you are doing the right thing? Like I said.. you don’t. You just close your eyes, hope you’re doing the right thing, and hold on for dear life.

Here we go… time to jump.

A bad example? Or a cautionary tale?

Have you ever sat back and thought “holy shit, my life has been insane!” No? Just me? LIAR! Everyone has at least something that they look back on and reminisce and wonder how the hell they made it out alive. It can’t just be me. I mean, I have had a bit of a whirlwind life thus far, but I know for a fact that I am not the only person who has ever made a mistake or had shit thrown at them and lived to tell the tale.

This was all brought to my mind today, while telling a friend the “cliffs-notes” version of my life. I mean, I didn’t go back very far (only 8 years or so.. as the brunt of my “are you effing kidding me?!” started happening around my 28th year of life.. there was a shitstorm of epic proportions prior to that, but that’s a story for another day) I was spewing forth some of the happenings in my life, and a familiar catch in my throat appeared. Hello old friend, I haven’t had to swallow you in a while. Then it hit me. That shit is all behind me. Very behind me. I survived. Like Eminem said “that’s what happens when a tornado meets a volcano..” that is exactly how I feel like my life was for the longest time. A tornado and a volcano. But, I have been on solid ground for a while, and am so thankful for the ability to say that!

While telling my friend about all of my highs and my many many devastating lows, I wondered something – am I more of a bad example? A “what not to do”? Or am I a cautionary tale? Leading others on a path that may not land them in the shit that I dug myself out of? Interesting.

To some, I may seem like the worst example. Divorce. Single mother. All the other shit that was swirling at that time. To some, what I did and what I went through is considered heinous and abhorrent. Well, I am here to tell you, it wasn’t that bad. I am not a bad person. I just do not believe that people are required to stay unhappy forever. And once someone has done everything in their power to fix a perpetually broken and shitty situation, and it just isn’t fixing, then it is time to pack it up and move the hell on. Which is what I did! Was it easy? Hell no. Was it scary? Fuck yes! But I did it, and I survived (as did my kids!)

How about considering myself a cautionary tale? A “this is what happened to me due to these choices, and should you want to avoid this, perhaps don’t make these choices!” kind of situation. I am not sure I really want to be portrayed that way, either. But maybe it’s not so horrible. I maybe didn’t make “horrible” choices, per say. I made the same choices that millions of other people have, I just made them with the wrong people and at the wrong time. So, look to me for answers about what not to do, fine. But also know that if you happen down the same path that I did, and find yourself in the same crap-stew that I festered in for a very long time, know that one day, you will fight your way out of it, and you will find yourself even stronger and more resilient than you were before.

Cuz if I can survive everything I have, and still have a smile on my face, hope in my soul and love in my heart, than anything is effing possible. Well, maybe not anything.. I mean, I am still not a millionaire. HAHAHA!!

 

Not all sunshine and rainbows..

The last few days have been trying. That’s not to say that the previous days were particularly easy, but we were handling it.

Slight catch up. My middle son got diabetes in November. And it has not been all sunshine and rainbows since then. I am beyond grateful that we caught it when we did, but a part of me will always grieve for the piece of my son that was lost on that day. He is such a beautiful boy, with an amazing heart and a promising future. He is so full of life and humor and love. And no matter what we do now, and how hard we try, there will always be a part of him that was taken away that day. I will fight until my dying breath to make sure that my baby is happy and taken care of, and always do my best to remind him of his inner light.

But like I said, the last few days have been hard on him. There is so much about this stupid asshole disease that is literally left up to trial and error. There is so much guessing and testing and trying. So much of it resides in the grey. It is not as cut and dry as most diseases, and that makes it SO FUCKING INFURIATING!

Why? Why are his normally stable numbers all of a sudden creeping up? From a steady 6-8 to an 11, then 14, then 15, and then from there, there was no going back. We battled. We rallied. We racked our brains as to how to fix it, why it was happening, what could have caused it… We threw out his insulin and gave him a new cartridge, we revamped our meal plan, I went through 2 months worth of numbers and food logs and checked for any patterns, we made him sleep more, drink more water, have more protein, increased the insulin to carb ratio, increased his lantus dose… I did everything that any professional would do in my position.. and then I hit my breaking point.

I caved and called the Health Link. In my province, it is a call center run by nurses who listen to symptoms and help you decide if you need the doctor or emerg or maybe some allergy pills. More often than not (I would say 98% of the time) they send you to the doctor anyway, but I still call. I will not be doing that again! While it is useful for some things, they are not allowed to do shit about kids with diabetes. I told her “I have everything sorted, I just have one question” and I asked it, and all she did was reprimand me on his numbers and told me to call his nurse. THANKS TIPS!! After completely exacerbating myself with that very nice, albeit completely useless, woman, my sons diabetic nurse finally called me back.

Our regular nurse is no longer at the health unit, so we have a new lady that I have yet to meet. She seemed very nice, but upon telling her my story, my frustration overfloweth, and I had a little breakdown while on the phone with her. We talked for an hour, she reassured me that I was doing everything right, and that I was a good mom and he was lucky to have me… but I can not begin to tell you how broken I felt. While she did make me feel a bit better, and we did hash a few things out and get some ideas going between the two of us, I still feel like I am failing my son because I can’t fix him!

Why is he high? These are the reasons we came up with….

  • he was left high all weekend and his body built up a resistance to insulin (yes, that bullshit is legit)
  • he is going through a growth spurt
  • he didn’t sleep enough and his body is feeling insulin resistant
  • he is fighting some sort of infection or illness
  • he is dehydrated
  • he is stressed out about something
  • he isn’t rotating his injection spots enough and his tummy is building up an insulin resistance
  • his insulin was somehow exposed to extreme temperatures and it’s garbage
  • his carb ratio needs to be adjusted
  • he needs more of his all-day-long insulin
  • his “honeymoon” phase is over
  • who. fucking. knows.

There are literally so many reasons why diabetics sugar levels go all psycho, but all I know, is that his did. I do know a few of those things are true, and I busted my ass for him to rectify that which was done wrong for him (no fault of my own).

I am his person. I fight for him, so he doesn’t have to. I fight and bust my ass and lose sleep and feel insane, so he can have a semblance of a childhood. But we still had to get to the root cause of his stupid high numbers.

He has had a runny nose, but hasn’t complained once. Not once! So after he texted me his lunchtime number today, I decided to pull the mommy card and yank him out of school, so I could have him home for a big chunk of time, and focus on him and getting him better. Being excited can raise blood sugar, and with him already higher than I would like, I figured being at school would just perpetuate it. So, he came home! And on the way home, he was really sniffly. It hit me! “is there any sort of pressure or pain in this part of your nose?” And he said yes. BAM. I had my answer (well, part of it.) It is now believed that after his numbers were left high for a whole weekend, his body was stressed enough to allow him to get sick again. I gave him a sudafed (pharmacist approved) and had him drink a liter and a half of water, gave him his correction insulin… and for the first time in 4 days, I got him below 10!! I almost cried. He almost cried. And I kept it down all day. It was one of those moments where you just feel totally relieved.. and yet, stressed at the same time.

This is his life now! This is what we have to look forward to forever. Any time he is sick, or stressed, or excited, or sleep deprived, going through puberty, doesn’t drink enough water, his body decides to be an asshole, etc etc… I feel so sorry for him.

This whole disease is a crock of shit. I am just hoping and praying that there are some amazing advances in the field in his lifetime, so he can maybe have a bit of an easier time.

But for now, know this. Diabetes sucks ass. It is a crock of shit. My heart shatters when I think of what my funny happy baby has to go through now. But I will be by his side, doing what I can, for as long as I can. And maybe even longer.. haha, I am pretty stubborn, I’m not sure I will ever allow anyone to tell me I am not needed. Oh yes, I believe I may be one of “those” mothers… bwahahaha!!

 

 

 

Almost a new year..

  

Well, it happened. Another year has come and gone. 2015 started out like a lamb and bombarded through us like a starving lion on the hunt for bloody carcass. It was pleasant in some points, but for the most part, it was trying in every way, shape and form. But I have this to announce: WE MADE IT! I am quite proud of my little family and everything we were able to accomplish this year! It wasn’t easy, but we all landed on our feet and I think we are better and stronger because of it.

A few curveballs were thrown at us. But like I always say, when life throws your curve balls, get a bigger bat. And if that doesn’t work, use it to hit the pitcher! And that’s exactly what we did. We beat the shit out of the pitcher, and we are all doing just fine with our new rolls as bat-swinging-bad-asses.

You know how they say that you never know how strong you are until that is the only option you have? I believe that to be true, to an extent. I always knew I was strong (I have lived through my fair share of shitstorms and difficulties, and came out on top every time.. bruised and battered maybe, but still on top) Well, this year, my family was tested, and hot-damn, are we ever a bunch of strong people! SO PROUD!

We had a very exciting, and sometimes stressful, 12 months. But we handled it like champs. The most challenging thing that we had thrown at us was our 10 year old was slammed with diabetes. It was not expected, came out of left field and took us all by surprise. BUT! My little unit has pulled together, became stronger, and are now a bunch of carb counting, needle giving, blood sugar measuring, snack organizing, 3am alarm setting, crazy people!!! And I am so proud of how we all pulled together, and so proud of how we are all supporting not just our middle-little, but eachother. I have watched my 3 boys get closer than ever this year, watched my husband become even more of an amazing father, and figured out how bad-ass and strong-as-hell I can be. It is humbling and awesome!

I am excited to see what we can do next year. I do know that whatever is thrown at us, we are gonna rock it!

Bring it on, 2016!!!!!!

An update on the madness…

I have been MIA from posting lately, and it can be summed up in one sentence: A mom’s work is never done. HA! How true is that phrase!

I was just trucking along, thinking “I got this shit”. I was juggling my husbands work schedule (with him only working Friday-Sunday nights, you would think it would be simple. But nay nay – he works a ton of overtime, and never says no when someone asks him to cover their shifts.. it is a blessing and a curse), handling my sons insane volleyball schedule, had things sorted for my 10 year old to start soccer, figured out our schedule for the older boys to start parkour in the new year, helping to plan and organize fundraising for the two older boys trip to Quebec City in April, and was planning my 4 year olds birthday party. Oh ya, and my job and volunteering, as well! The life of a mother is rarely dull.

One weekend, the weekend of my baby’s 4th birthday, actually, we spent at the boys school for our oldests volleball tournament. Me and the three boys were at the school until 9:30 at night, handing out food and treats in the concession, in between the games. My 10 year old had just had his immunizations on Friday, and wasn’t feeling so shit hot. I remember standing in my room on Friday night, after I had tucked everyone in, and called my husband in a puddle of tears “something is wrong with Jesse.. I just know it. I can’t handle him being sick. He can’t be sick” And he assured me nothing was wrong, and he was probably just sick from his shots. I calmed down enough to get some sleep that night.

Saturday came, and he told me he had thrown up. I asked why, and he said (with a sly grin) “maybe cuz I ate 4 bags of chips last night?” and I laughed and told him he was probably right! And then off we went to another day of volleyball, expecting to be done around 1 or 2. It was my baby’s birthday!! And we had a whole day of stuff planned. Sufficed to say, we did not get to make it to most of our plans. We did, however, get a few hours to run off and take him to get balloons and to go to the toy store (where he met Darth Vader!) The toy store had this random Star Wars spaceship building competition that day, and I remember watching my little baby and my middle baby standing there and building spaceships.. and something caught in my throat. I started crying while watching my middle-little – I knew something was wrong. Call it mothers intuition, call it whatever you want. But tears filled my eyes as I watched him build his little spaceship and proudly show me. He seemed so weak, but he had told me he hadn’t slept well, so I assumed that was why (or I was trying to convince myself that was why)

We spent the remainder of the day at the school, where our oldest and his team came in 4th place! We then hauled ass home, quickly gave our little dude his bday present and snarfed a couple of cupcakes (which our middle -little avoided, for probably the first time in his life – another fact that filled my eyes with tears.. but in my mind, wrote it off as his belly ache from throwing up… maybe he was getting the flu.. yeah, that had to be it!) We then loaded up and went to see the new Peanuts movie for our little dudes bday. I calmed a bit watching our middle pound back his popcorn and iced tea.. maybe he is okay. 24 hour bug maybe? Then home to bed.

Sunday was very uneventful. Playing with new toys and running around the house, as with any other Sunday. Middle started getting kind of blah in the afternoon, and spent the evening on the couch watching tv and eating bananas (another sign I should have paid attention to)

Monday morning was middles doctor appointment. I had booked it almost a month earlier (it takes FOREVER to get into the doctor where I live) and he laughed that morning and said “I threw up again last night. Probably the popcorn. Good thing I have a doctor appointment today” We took our oldest to school and headed off to the doctor. During the drive, middle deteriorated. He wailed in agony that his stomach was in knots and his legs were shaking involuntarily. I figured he had some sort of reaction to his shots, or had the flu, and quickly got him to the doctor. By the time we hit the office, he couldn’t stand. So I scooped him up in my arms and carried him, slightly taken aback at how light he felt. Again, tears. I knew in my gut that something was wrong. But I kept trying to tell myself that he was okay (I have a tendency to be overly pessimistic, and was trying to not be) They had him pee in a cup (quite the feat considering he couldn’t stand at this point) and took us to the exam room, where he promptly collapsed onto the exam bed. Trying to fight back tears, I stared at my poor 10 year old baby laying there, all sick looking and in pain. The doctor came in and said the words I had been dreading for days “there was glucose in his urine” and that is all it took… tears started running. My son heard and saw my reaction and started crying. They did a finger prick and it popped up on the screen…. I was praying I saw the number wrong… no way he can be 22.9! I collapsed on top of him, sobbing and apologizing over and over… he kept asking why, and I couldn’t make words come out. The doctor then quickly got to work, calling the emergency room to get them prepared for us to get there. My son, my baby, my sweet little comedian… diabetes. Not the flu. Not a uti. Not a reaction to his immunization. Diabetes.

I cried the whole way to the hospital, my eyes covered by my sunglasses (the crying shield of most moms!) and pulled up to the emergency room, knowing full well what was about to happen. See, right after I got married when I was 22, my first husband got type 1 diabetes. Same kind of thing as my son – peeing and flu-like symptoms. His doctor checked him and sent him immediately to emergency. I already knew the drill. I had already been through it once in my life. Already experienced the super high finger test, already been told to go straight to emergency, already been told to tell the admitting nurse a certain glucose number, already been through the week of testing and IV’s and blood work and dieticians and nurses and doctors. Already been through the world shift and carb counting crash courses. I stood outside the emergency room, tears brimming my eyes, as my 10 year old crunched over on the ground in excruciating pain. I kissed the back of his head, and scooped him up in my arms again, and carried him across the threshold of the emergency room, fully knowing that my life was about to turn inside out. I stood there as they checked him in, being judged and reprimanded by several nurses “how could you let his glucose get so high? you should have brought him in long ago. do you have any idea how sick he is? why did you wait so long?” on and on… I had to repeatedly explain that he was not a diabetic, but I feared he was about to be diagnosed as one. The judgement broke my heart. They all looked at me like I was a horrible mother… I can’t even begin to explain how many pieces my heart had shattered into by that point. He was finally put into a room and painfully hooked up to an IV to get him hydrated. He was so dehydrated at that point, it took so many tries to get his IV in… I had to walk away.. his screams still haunt me. My husband and I stood there, with our 4 year old in tow, in absolute disbelief at what was happening. We had assumed we would go to the doctor, get some antibiotics, take our boy home to rest, and spend the day together.

What I haven’t mentioned, that day was also our 2nd wedding anniversary. Not exactly how I expected to spend the day. Instead of being all lovey and snuggly with my husband, I was phoning people to arrange pick up of our oldest from school, finding someone to watch our 4 year old so my husband could go home to nap (he hadn’t slept from his night shift the night before), calling work to take the week off because I had to spend the week in the hospital with my son, trying to figure out who was going to be at home with the boys while my husband worked his night shift on Wednesday, and trying to keep myself from exploding into a giant mess on the floor. Luckily, my sister and her husband took our little guy and offered to get our oldest from school that night and keep them until after supper. Then my sister came to sit with me while my husband went home to nap. I can’t even begin to articulate how close I felt to having a complete breakdown that day. But I am amazed to report, I did not. And I still have not. I fear that one day it will sneak up on me and I will go lose my shit for a bit, but as of now, my shit is completely accounted for.

My son went upstairs to Peds, which would become our home for the next 8 days. I will summate a bit – my middle is afraid of needles, and had to have his blood checked every 4 hours for 2 days. His arm was hamburger. A few of the lab techs were great, however, there were two that I am certain could give lessons on human torture. There were some amazeballs nurses on that floor, a few of which took extra time to sit and talk to me. I am sure I looked like a complete wreck, so I appreciate the few who sat and talked to me, keeping me from going insane. And there wasn’t a single nurse on the peds floor who didn’t take the time to assure me that this was NOT my fault, or an oversight on my part. That it was just a fluke and it was amazing that I caught it when I did. That it was amazing that I made the appointment when I did, as he had no symptoms at that point. That I did everything right. That it wasn’t my fault. That I wasn’t a bad mom. That he had been mildly sick for a few months, but it was his immunizations that set off the “storm” that was his breaking point, and had he not got shots, he would have continued to be sick without anyone knowing it. That it was going to happen to him eventually, and there was nothing I could have done to prevent it. That in spite of what was happening, I was a good mom and he was lucky to have me. It was said by nurses, diabetic nurses, doctors… so I believe what they all say is true, and I have to learn to forgive myself.

I have nothing but good to say about the Peds nurses, our diabetic nurse, our dietician and one of our doctors. The other doctor was an absolute asshat. At one point, there was a confrontation in which he rushed me (like, across the room stomping and stood in my face in a threatening manor) and started barking shit at me. But instead of being a pushover and caving, I stood up for myself and didn’t back down. I am not sure if I did the right thing, but no one is going to stand there and tell me what is best for my son or our life, unless it is me. I had 4 nurses standing in the room as witnesses, all of which stayed after he left to apologize, then I had the unit manager come and apologize to me (because the nurses had all filed complaints against the doctor for how he treated me and spoke to me). I appreciated that. It is not every day that you stand up for yourself and then actually get backed by 5 people. The next day, the doctor himself came in and apologized for his behavior, which was unexpected. But he did it in a way that made it seem like he was apologizing, but still insisted that he was right. So it did not come across as genuine, but nonetheless, I managed to keep my head on, and kept from freaking out. I was kind of proud of myself. I am not a fan of confrontation, and this is one of the worst I’ve dealt with. But I know my son, I know my life, and I will do whatever it takes to protect that. And I did. Don’t poke the momma bear..

We finally got to go home and start our life. Carb counting and glucose testing and insulin dosing, and spending more time at Shoppers Drug Mart than I have ever in my entire life. Middle dude spent a few days at home, organizing his life and sorting out his new routine. 2 days after going home, I went back to work, and my husband texted me a video at 7:30 in the morning “look!” and it was of our middle giving himself his own needles!! That was a HUGE step in his treatment. Up until 4 days before that, he was still screaming and thrashing when he got his insulin. I can’t even tell you how night & day this was, and how proud I felt (I honestly burst into tears at work when I saw the video) And 2 days after that, he decided it was time to go back to school. We had a big meeting with his teacher and teachers assistant, and taught them everything and how to treat his highs and lows. And off he went, back into the arms of his adoring friends and classmates. He’s like a rockstar now. People mill around him when he does his testing and dosing. He loves the attention.

Since we came home, we have had 6 or 8 appointments. It has literally consumed our lives. But we adjusted so quickly and so seamlessly, it has changed everything, and yet nothing has changed. My husband, who has never had any experience with diabetes before this, has slid into the roll so easily, he didn’t even give it a second thought. He stands in the kitchen at meal times, and crunches numbers in his head, and has had no issues at all. He even came up with a time saving system that has helped tremendously! He took a sharpie and wrote the carb count on the top of all of the snacks. So his applesauces all have either 12g or 13g on the lid. Fruit cups are all 6g, 7g or 9g. His arrowroot cookie package says 5g/cookie. Our cereal containers have printed labels on top for the different cereals we have inside. Cheerios 17g/1cup MG cheerios 21g/1cup etc etc. It has made packing lunches and whatnot so much easier.

Our life has turned upside down and inside out. I haven’t slept through the night since the 8th of November. I still have to get up at 3:00am to check him. His carb/insulin ratio has changed 5 times since he was discharged. His 24hr insulin dosing has changed 3 times. He has had more lows than I care to admit. We have gone through more packets of rockets than I have ever bought in my life. We have done more math in the last month than I have done since school. I have used the term “carb” more in the last month than in my entire life. I have more numbers in my head than ever before. We have had more contact with their school than ever before.

BUT! My son has gained 6 pounds. His face has color in it again. His eyes aren’t sunken in anymore. He sleeps through the night now (even with me checking him at 3am). His legs don’t hurt anymore. He is happy and healthy and living a normal life. His needles and testing sucks, but I have my son back. I will cry forever whenever I think about that week (as I have done throughout this entire post construction) but of everything that could have been wrong with my baby, I am glad that it is so controllable, and that he can continue to live his life and do his thing. He just comes with a few extra holes and a couple extra accessories now.

But he is still my baby. I look at him and worry about everything that can now go wrong with him, but I also see a boy who has taken the bull by the horns and know that he has a good head on his shoulders and can handle anything. He is my little hero, and this whole ordeal has just brought us all closer and proved that we are capable of anything. My husband and my sons are amazing. And I have to accept that I am not so bad, myself.

Lesson: life is crazy and unpredictable! Love it for what it is.