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Waiting until Forever

So I am going to write a post that is far from diabetes. Something very special and private…and something that is hard to articulate into words. Something that is plaguing me.  Some of my deepest desires and secrets.

There are a few people who know us that know just before we found out we were pregnant with our 3rd baby we were looking into fostering/adopting children. We had a homestudy done, took classes to prepare us, did physicals, all the lovely paperwork and entire nerve wracking process. It was exciting and my husband and I have both felt very strongly that one day we would be parents to a child that biologically was not ours, it has been something we have both felt deep within our core. We just have felt this longing or maybe I would even call it a ‘knowledge’ that there is someone, somewhere out there that needs us just as our family needs them. It feels right, we know it to be true.

So back to my point…Once we had completed everything required of us, we were ‘waiting’ for the right child to foster/adopt. We got a call (actually I missed the call and got a message late by about 3 days) that there were twins needing a foster home, possibly a foster/adopt situation. They were newborn and also born with issues from the mother having an addiction to meth (and using while they were in utero). Days prior to this call we had waited for we found out I was pregnant (which was a dream come true following a vasectomy reversal). At that time we had to make the decision to accept or not accept the babies. We prayed as a family, and knew the timing wasn’t right. I knew myself, and I also knew my challenges I had previously faced after giving birth to our two older children (I get severe post-partum depression) and we thought it be too much to take on 3 infants all only 9 months (or less) apart. We knew that load might just be too much. Not a single day has gone by that I haven’t thought of those babies, or longed to hold them. Not a day goes by that I wonder if they found their forever home, or if they were happy…they would be 5 years old now. Not a day goes by that I feel like in a way I gave up on them. My desire to pursue adoption once we felt ready starting growing the moment I had to let them go before I even had a chance to know them. I can honestly say that a part of my heart feels tied to them, or the notion of them, or the hope they give me that all children will one day have a forever home.

We now have 4 children, survived a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes for our oldest daughter, moved homes, and have changed from the people we once were when we first started the process of fostering/adopting. I think it has been roughly 6 years since (maybe 5) and the timing feels right. We are ready, we have grown, we are closer, we have learned to face challenges, we have grieved, we have progressed, and we have changed, and learned. I would now consider myself then naïve. So I know it is all about timing and that really things that took place, took place for a reason. I know this, but our desire or need for this child (or children) we know we are supposed to have has only grown. The promptings to start the progress again hit my husband and I pretty much at the same time (it is so loud we cannot ignore it). I love being a mother more than I love watching the sun rise or set, more than reading a good book in a bubble bath, more than the color pink, or the kisses from a puppy. I love being a mother, and being a mother for me feels almost like a calling. I don’t think I am the best mother (I am full of flaws, and I am farthest from being the best mother). I never knew I was capable of actually being a good mother (sounds strange, I know…but if you only knew me growing up). I never knew I was capable of facing the things I have, capable of loving or fighting for my children with the capacity I have…I just never even dreamed this life I have possible for the old me. I never knew I had it in me until the sparks started flying after I had my first child…slowly through my children, and our unique challenges, I have been shown ways I can be everything I never knew I could.

I consider being a mother a God-given gift. I consider it a privilege and quite possibly one of my life callings or reason…I feel it deep in my soul and know that each of my children make me a better person and better mother and challenges me in ways I need to be challenged so I can grow into the person Heavenly Father wants me to be. I know this as truth. I don’t think this is my calling because I am a stellar mother or the best, but because it in cooperates a part of my truth, soul, ability, and helps me develop the areas of my inner core I never knew existed. I love being a mother, I love staying at home and having those crazy, bad, rough days just because I know without them those small moments wouldn’t mean as much as they do. I love watching my children grow, learn and progress in life. I love watching them become amazing people…who are wise beyond their years. My goal as a mother is to create a safe place forever for them, that they know love (unconditionally), and grow them into caring human beings who leave this world a better place.

The past I would say 5 months I have had increased urges or promptings to start diving back into the adoption process. I could describe this as almost an aching. I often wonder about my child out there somewhere (or children). I have sat, alone deep in thought and cried…this feeling is nearly impossible to describe when you know your heart isn’t complete…that a peart of you is out there waiting for you. Do they ache for us? How long have they been waiting? Who are they? When will we meet? Sometimes the thoughts plague me with sadness, I don’t want to miss another holiday or birthday. I don’t want another day of happiness missed with them, and I always think about the 4 siblings they have here and how much they are missing out on together. And in those moments I KNOW that I have to find (him/her). That I cannot give up.

I have two amazing adopted sisters (who made me a big sister). I think about them as I have these feelings (especially on days when the feelings become overbearing). And I think about them before me…before us…before forever. I think about days I wasn’t there, or the days my mother didn’t hold them, scary days for them, lonely days for them, happy days. I think about their laugh. I think about them before I knew them and before they knew me. I couldn’t imagine my life without them.

I have wrote a letter to our child, out there somewhere. I want them to know that I love them whole heartedly now, (it won’t make sense to some, but yes, I love them…I miss them). And that they are wanted. They are needed.

 

Dear Child,

I often catch myself wondering who you are or where you are. I wonder if you wonder about me (us). I am sad on days I think about you without us, missing out on things I know you would probably enjoy. I think about you facing anything without us…and I am sorry I am not there. My heart aches not know who you are or where you are, but one thing is for certain, I know you are out there, I can feel it. As sure as I know God is real, I know you are too.

Do you know you are needed? We feel you, we know you are there, and we know you belong here. I know I may not have had the privilege of carrying you in my womb, connecting with you while you were forming, feeling you kick, getting heartburn or preparing for your birth…I missed that. I know those things are something we will never have, but that would never lessen our bond or our love for you. I can feel it, I know it exists, and no matter how you get to us, know you are needed here, YOU belong here.

Do you know you are wanted? We have wanted you from the beginning and the fact that I do not know who you are, doesn’t change the fact that we love you. We love you right now, no matter where you are, or what you are doing. We love you…we can feel it and the feeling is only growing. We want you to know that we love you for you…and cannot wait to show you that forever isn’t long enough to love you. You are loved as part of this family. You are wanted as part of this family…and you are part of this family. No matter where you are, you are and will be a part of us. We know this as truth and feel it every day growing inside of us.

I don’t know your background, I don’t know your pain, or your triumphs. I don’t know what you have gone through or the loss you feel at times. I feel heartbroken thinking about any (and all) of this. I am sorry. I will find a way to make it up to you, we will always be here for you. We will forever be your family, and always stand by you. We will be your safety, we will guide you, we will support you, love you, and help you make good decisions. We will parent you as if I carried you in my womb, because in the end, how you got to this earth doesn’t matter.

I find myself praying for you. I pray for your strength, comfort, safety. I pray you know how special, loved, needed and wanted you are. I pray to find you. I pray that you never go through more than you can handle. I pray that you will one day know me. I pray for peace and guidance. I pray for strength and peace for myself (and my family).

I wonder who you are, where you are and how you are doing. I wonder if you are wondering these things about us. Do you feel we exist among the universe? Do you feel that gravity pull or connection out there somewhere? Do you wish for us? Are you okay? Do you wonder who we are or what we look like? Do you wonder what we like to do as a family? I wonder how old you are and how old you will be when we find you. I wonder where you are and what you are doing this very moment…and it saddens me that I do not know this. Do you need me (us)?

My heart aches thinking about missing your birthday, or you missing your (new) siblings’ birthdays. I think about the holidays and it seems almost unbearable having another one without you. I think of the days, hours going by. Milestones I miss. Milestones we miss. I wonder if you feel like we feel, do you long for the day we finally meet? Are you scared of that day?

I have to admit, I am scared. Will I find you in time? will you like us? Will we be all that you ever thought we would be? Are we enough? I am scared to fail, or scared you won’t think I am a good enough mother. Scared you won’t trust me. Scared you think I missed out on too much of your life. Most of all I am scared of never finding you.

I will promise you I may not be the best mother in the world…I have many flaws; I am quirky, funny, loving, strong, stubborn and some call me a little intimidating. I am loud. I am happy, goofy and proud. I love being a mother, and I want to be your mother. I may not be the best but I will always try my best. I do not give up, and I will never give up on you. I will work every day to help you, teach you and watch you grow into the amazing human being God intended you to be. You are worthy, amazing and full of so much potential. You are a gift. You are special. You are precious. I am telling you all the things I tell my children I have now, because I want you to know I think of you even now.

You have amazing siblings here who are pretty cool. They are strong and fearless. They love to love, they love to have fun. They love learning, love animals, love outdoors. They love each other, they love you. They will make every day an adventure, they always do.

You have an amazing dad just waiting. He is funny, smart, loyal and gentle. He is a great provider. He leads us with his heart, and often wears his heart on his sleeve. He is quick to forgive, quick to love and quick to say he is sorry. He is kind, loving and fun to be around. He is full of energy and life and loves his family with his entire being. He is a great protector.

We cannot wait until we find you and start our journey with you. We know there will be ups and downs, challenges and triumphs. We know the transition won’t be easy for you, but will be there for you no matter what. Whatever challenges lie ahead, know that we are waiting for you, even if it means waiting forever.

Love,

Your forever Mom

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top 10 things diabetes has taught me as a D momma

In honor of National Diabetes Awareness month, I decided to write my blog on the top 10 things I have learned as a parent to a child who has type 1 diabetes.  It is easy to paint a picture of despair, it is easy to hold on to the negative moments especially in a time of uproar or complete chaos during a challenging trial/time.

Here is the kicker…it isn’t ALL bad.  It isn’t all sucky. It becomes part of our routine and with that it becomes part of our daily actions that happen without even thinking about what it is that we really are doing. It becomes second nature, but we are constantly on watch. With our greatest challenges, comes our greatest blessings IF we slow down enough and open our hearts enough to catch it.

Top 10 things I have learned from Diabetes as a mother…

1. Timing matters

It really does! Timing really is essential in the management of diabetes in more ways than one.  Timing of insulin injections, timing of basal dosages delivered, timing of your last check, timing of the carbs you consume AFTER you dose for them in order to prevent a spike.  Timing in activity, learning, advancing. Timing in alerts from our dog before a crash.  Timing in good deeds, and timing in our actions towards diabetes around Kinzie.  Timing is important, and you have to always be aware of timing…every single moment of every single day.  IT IS ESSENTIAL in being successful.

2. Count your blessings

Count them every single day.  Count your blessing ESPECIALLY on the days you do not even have the energy to acknowledge them! It is completely necessary to keep in your mind the blessings you are surrounded by because this disease is TIRING, heart breaking, devastating, FOREVER, challenging, never stopping, always changing FRUSTRATING, exhausting! It can wear on you and it can get the better half of you when you get lost in the moment.  So count your blessings no matter how small you may think those blessings are.  They will have an ever-lasting effect on you…and in the moments you need it, they will always be there to remind you that not all is lost.

3. It isn’t a curse

It isn’t! This isn’t because you suck or you are being punished.  THIS IS NOT A PUNISHMENT! This is merely a test, a trial, a temporary thing for this life.  I often think about the quote that goes roughly like ‘God gave his biggest challenges to his strongest warriors.’ And boy ain’t that the truth?! I don’t know a single T1D or T1D parent that wasn’t a passionate fighter.  If ever you look into a small community of people with something similar I think you could easily pick out certain traits (for the most part) in the community across the board for T1D.  We are strong, resilient and inventive.  We problem solve, we go with the flow, we stay calm, we pray daily, we learn.  It isn’t a curse…you can see we really do gain a great amount by living a life connected in one way or another to t1D. If you face this as a trial, not a curse…there is always room for victory! This isn’t a curse, you did nothing wrong for your child to be diagnosed with T1D…it isn’t a punishment for you or for those with T1D.  I cannot stress enough how vital it is to have the perspective that this is not a curse, it is a trial waiting to be tackled.  Waiting to be accomplished.  United by one common trait, T1D people are pretty amazing.

4. It could be worse

It could! It could be better.  BUT it really could be worse! And I don’t want to tempt fate saying we got dealt the WORSE hand ever.  We still live life, nothing stops us, and we still can see growth, change and blessings come our way because of this disease.  It isn’t easy, but it could be worse.  It never ends, but I am sure…it could be worse.  And just when I think it is WORSE…I remind myself, no, it really could be worse.  Be thankful for the trials you face and the blessings that come with it, because at the end of every single day…it really could be worse.  Some how along the way, it is never too much and we find a way to tackle whatever is thrown on our plate…reaching near breaking point and shattered, but not bad enough to finish us off.  It could be worse.

5. Strength in numbers

You can look at this in more ways than one.  Numbers as in information…BG readings, A1cs, ketones…the more information I have the more strength I have to combat it. The more detail I have in front of me the more I can factor in to the equation in order to have the power necessary to face this beast and win.

Strength in numbers is also important in the company you keep.  When you cannot carry on…somewhere someone on your side will… and they will carry you until your feet are sturdy upon the ground.  Strength in numbers helps work through those unfamiliar moments as you tread unfamiliar territory; knowing you are not ALONE.  Strength in numbers as you watch your child grow, knowing they too need freedom so you draw on strength in numbers to create an environment set up for her success and safety.

6. Celebrate the small stuff

Small stuff suddenly seem so much bigger, more important.  Small stuff seems pretty important in every single way.  Celebrate the perfect night, time together, another year living healthy with T1D.  Celebrate educating others, spreading awareness; even if it was reaching ONE person.  Celebrate the independent siblings gain as they too grow up too quickly instead of mourning what we perceive as ‘normal’.  Celebrate the life you were given because you were deemed ‘fit’ enough to face it.  Celebrate the moments diabetes has made you slow down enough to celebrate. Celebrate the moments that take your breath away, make you laugh, make you cry because you are aware enough in the moment to notice them.  Don’t forget to celebrate when you are in a constant state of vigilance and fight.  It is okay to be happy and celebrate…that is what life is all about.

7. Everything really does happen for a reason

No need to say more.  I truly believe that everything in my life has happened for a reason.  The good, bad, ugly, sad…everything! I believe that certain steps in my life played out for this one purpose…my talents as a great student, thirst for knowledge, problem solving skills and career as a nurse all came before diabetes because those talents harvested at that time in  my life were to be able to be in place for THIS moment in my life.  My talents were going to be greatly needed at home.  The order in which those things happened was for a reason, to help set us up for success and have a leg to stand on when everything seems too challenging.

8. Just because it is hard, doesn’t mean it is impossible

Nothing is impossible.  NOTHING.  Nothing about T1D is easy. NOTHING.  I was witness to my daughter having the worst night of her (my) life, nearly losing her, push on in order to prove to the world (and herself) that diabetes will never dictate what she can and will do in life.  Nothing is impossible…we just go about EVERYTHING differently.  That simple day in March taught me probably more than I ever would have known about impossible things in my entire lifetime.  Perhaps that is why we were faced with such a tragedy.  Perhaps not.  Not matter what you face, how rough it gets, how many times you get knocked down…nothing is impossible.  If you are determined, if you are willing, if you push past your fears…nothing will ever be impossible in this world.  I simply look at my children and know this to be true.

9. Always continue learning and evolving

Do not become stagnant in what you know about this disease.  Evolve, learn, grow and dedicate a good portion of your time to be able to teach your child this.  It is important to not get set in your ways. I can honestly say the more set in your ways and the less you actually actively seek more knowledge the more ignorant you will remain.  Every parent of a t1D child has a responsibility to set their child up for success in this world…success in life choices, health, career, human being qualities.  It is hands down, the number one thing I cannot stress enough.  Never be stagnant in your willingness to learn more or to seek information.  Information will not just land on your lap.  You child will watch how you tackle this disease; will watch how much you seek knowledge and active practice what you preach.  Set them up for success.  Knowledge is power.

10. Time is precious

So make it count.  Do not take for granted any single second, because you never know when fate will be tempted or when your job here on this earth is complete.  You are not the keeper of time or the one who decides when your time is up.  When you are in a constant state of motion, which is where diabetes can tend to keep you, sometimes you forget that time is passing you by.  Sometimes you forget there is a bigger picture and better purpose.  Time is so precious.  Your kids will only be this age once; you can never have a redo.  You never get to pause.  Make time count.  Teach your child to be able to make time count.  Watching your child struggle with the entire grief process, this perhaps might be the hardest thing to do…but when they see that clear picture, it is worth it.  Time is all we have until it is gone.  Don’t regret yesterday, forgetting today already trying to change tomorrow.

So what are your top 10 that you have learned from diabetes? What are your top 10 you have learned in your life if you do not face t1D? Remember it is never too late to start making that list and to start appreciating the blessings that encircle such a huge trial in our daily lives.  Diabetes shouldn’t ever be allowed to define your life.  Shape it to whatever it is you want it to be, you won’t be successful every day, you will have set backs…but keeping that positive motion forward you will find yourself looking forward to the future with purpose and strength.

Single worst moment…

I am going to just write…I can’t edit right now, I just need to write and get it out there for now.  so please excuse the mess…Editing will come at a later date.  For now, just to get through, I must just write and let it be…my darkest fear, and worst reality just came full circle.  i am sharing a very sensitive part of my life, in hopes to at least reach one person who needs to read this.  This is me…raw.

The single worst moment of my life.  It’s easy.  I can pin-point that moment down to the day, hour, even.  I have thought and thought and thought about this moment this past week, images ingrained on my brain now and they continue to flash across my eyes at any given moment of the day taking me by surprise…holding me prisoner at the same time.  I have sat down with several attempts to capture this moment with words and have failed every single time.  Too soon?  Too fresh?  Too real? Too scary?  Possibly it’s yes to all of the above.

Again, I sit, trying to convince myself, or coax my fingers into typing out this memory without pause, just get it over with…quick, painless, like a band-aid.  I feel sick to my stomach just staring at the few words I have managed to etch out.  I feel sick, weak, angry, tired and completely lost. I also feel the urge to share our story with others who live in the same world we do…who get our worries and struggles and know just how hard times like this can be.  I keep telling myself, even if this benefits one other person, it will be well worth the energy and effort I put in trying to push past it all.

Just breathe…one letter at a time…just breathe.  March 15th, a day of no significance, importance of meaning to us in any way. We (Kinzie, myself, and Elvis (her diabetic alert dog)) travel 3 hours away for once of her dance competitions.  We meet one of her teammates and best friends to pick up and let her spend the night in the hotel with us, so a few of the dancers can meet up in the hotel and have fun the night before competition.  It was nothing out of the ordinary, nothing too different from any other previous competition.  4 of the girls met up and goofed off and had a fun night.  3 of them stayed up late talking and just having fun (in our room).

Around 1 in the morning (might be off on time slightly) we decided to call it a night.  We did our normal routine, BG check, wash up, brush teeth, etc.  Elvis alerted low and we check…180 (180s, double check, same results).  For us that would normally be what we consider a high, and on a normal night, I would have done a small correction dose and gone to bed.  With Elvis, I listen when he tells me high or low, he knows, and he was more than adamant she was low.  So instead of dosing with insulin, I decided to listen to her dog and do a temporary basal decrease of (I believe it was 40%) for 3 hours, planning on checking in a few hours.  I lay down in one bed and the girls and Elvis lay in another. Elvis had a hard time calming down, but I thought it was because a friend was spending the night and shaking up his routine, sleeping with them.

Just before 2 a.m., just as I start to completely fall dead asleep I startle to an odd noise, but in my sleepy state I think it’s kids in the hall or something along those lines and drift back to bed to only be awakened by Kinzie’s friend ‘Kinzie’s not right!’  She was woken up by the same sound as me…it was Elvis, only she responded to that sound enough to realize her friend was in a full blown seizure next to her ( in the dark, she wasn’t even sure what was going on).

I jump up out of bed and turn on the light to only see my precious daughter in a full fledge hypoglycemic seizure, near hypoglycemic shock.  I grab Kinzie and my mind swirls, I just yell her name and feel my knees buckle from under me. I yell at her friend to call 911 and got my sister and her husband from across the room telling them I need their help right now to save Kinzie. I yank her insulin pump off her body to keep any small amount of insulin from entering her body.  I hold Kinzie in my arms rubbing glucose gel on her gums and inside her cheeks (the only thing closest to me, quickest to locate).  As I rub her seizure ends and she goes lifeless.  No blinking, no breathing, no nothing.  During this time my sister, and her husband are locating her glucagon shot and prepping it.  All I could think of was not to stop, keep doing gel and glucagon knowing this was a natural protection mechanism with a hypoglycemic seizure…but I was scared as hell.  I was frantic, petrified, pissed, angry and so stinking emotional. I couldn’t even speak clearly but thank God my body and mind knew what to do and was on autopilot. Being a nurse, I have handled several emergent situations…handling a life or death one with my daughter in my arms depending on me is completely a different playing field.  I could never describe how I felt, what went through my mind…no words can ever put to justice any of this.  I continue gel and administer glucagon shot (turning her to her side in case she vomited). She wasn’t responding (shot would take 10 -15 minutes) so I whipped out my next tube of gel and continued. I begged to see any sign that she would be okay…I cursed T1D, I cursed…and cursed…and cursed.  (yeah, my not so shining moments during this all).  I saw life coming back into Kinzie’s eyes as I am rubbing the second tube on her gums…and I KNEW we helped her in time.  She wasn’t responding appropriately but I knew she was coming to. She became combative and despondent…but that was okay! My baby was breathing, she was moving, and she was FIGHTING! I had already claimed victory. When I knew she would be okay.

During this time, as Kinzie shuts down, Elvis curls into this tight unresponsive ball, almost mimicking Kinzie.  My heart tanks.  I ask my sister to stay with him and help him, reassure him, etc.  When Kinzie starts coming to, Elvis pops up and starts to just go completely nuts, frantic to get to her, desperate to be by her side and protect her. By his reaction, I knew she was going to be alright, I knew we did what we needed to do. My sister took Elvis to meet the paramedics down stairs to bring them up to us.  While she did that I had my brother in law continue to rub gel on Kinzie (still far from responding appropriately) so I can gather anything we may need (insulin pump, pump setting info, emergency stuff, insurance card, ID).

When the firefighters and paramedics arrived, Elvis jumped up on the bed next to Kinzie, scared to leave her side. ..but, the nightmare wasn’t over.  The first responders walk into the room asking what an insulin pump was, what happened, if she took oral medication for her blood glucose, what her normal blood glucose should be…oh the list goes on and on.  At one point one said ‘so you think she had a seizure?’  ‘Uh no! I KNOW she had a seizure!’  They were walking into the room after all emergency actions had correctly taken place and my daughter was coming to…so they automatically assume details.  They weren’t even taking vital signs at this point….and only started to at my prompting.  After we could get her sitting up and breathing deep her vital signs settled within normal limits.  My heart started beating again.  Long story short here, the first responders were COMPLETELY uneducated about type 1 diabetes or anything related to it.  It was disheartening and shocking.  She was clearly in better hands with me, and I shudder to think what may have happened had we not had her emergency supplies on hand with us able to take matters into our own hands….can’t even think about that reality. It was at that moment I decided to keep Kinzie with me, she was stable, not vomiting, BG 67, and slowly starting to talk.

I need to take a break right here and really, really, really, urge every reader (who has themselves or their children) with any special needs to go into their local emergency stations and educate about their needs, help prepare those workers in your community and educate, educate, educate!  I also want to take this time to remind EVERY T1D momma (or any T1D themselves) the importance of being prepared at all times.  No matter how close to home you will be, how stable your BGs have been, how long you have had T1D, how much you know….no matter WHAT, always be prepared.  Always have your emergency supplies with you.  Go over your emergency plan.  Educate those around your child (or yourself) about possible hypoglycemic crisis…you will NEVER regret being prepared and educating.  You will never have to think ‘why didn’t I?’.  Take the time, be prepared.

By 3:30 a.m. we were winding down.  Elvis started alerting ‘high’ because she was rising from the gel, glucagon, trail mix and Dr. Pepper (we got in her after the crisis).  High at this point was okay.  High was comfort.  That entire night, Elvis didn’t sleep.  He sat or stood at her side, alerting to her every movement, her every large fluctuation in blood glucose.  He wouldn’t budge his anxiety through the roof on overdrive protecting his girl.  And I sat there…so MAD that I didn’t do more when he said low before bed! But I did our normal protocol…I did what we were prepped to do and followed our guidelines set by our Endo.  But WHY didn’t I listen even more to our persistent pup?!?! Why did I let myself drift back to bed after Elvis even did a last ditch effort verbal alert???  All I could be was thankful.  Thankful for Elvis, thankful for her vigilant friend, thankful she was still here.

We checked pretty much every hour, or with every unusual breath or movement…the highest she reached was 300s, which is UNREAL after an entire glucagon shot, 2 tubes of gel, trail mix, Dr. Pepper, being off the insulin pump for a good hour and a decreased temp basal rate after reconnection.  Unreal…she must have continued tanking even after the entire event. I just couldn’t process it.  In less than an hour she tanked form 180 ( a definite number) to what they are calculating to 20’s or under.  No warning signs, no nothing, accept a persistent pup who watches over his girl day and night.  What would I do without him? Where would she be if he wasn’t in our life??? What if her friend didn’t come to spend the night?  What ifs plagued me non-stop.

Kinzie’s friend was amazing.  She did everything we asked her to do, and did it quickly.  She stood out of the way, she didn’t panic, and she held herself together.  At one point she had to help hold Kinzie’s head because she was next to the night stand nearly banging her head on the corner.  I couldn’t imagine being in that position at such a young age.  My heart aches that these two girls had to go through this…that they had to face this reality.

We were scheduled to wake up at 6 a.m.  My sister sat in the living area of the room with me, both of us refusing to sleep, refusing to do anything but take watch…both in complete tears, stunned by the nights’ events.  Both nearly paralyzed by our reality. We made a decision no matter how Kinzie felt when she woke that we were pulling her from the dance competition, it wasn’t worth the risk.  She had a solo and 3 team routines ahead of her and we couldn’t bear the thought of even letting her attempt any of it.  My head spun the rest of that night/morning…I was numb, I was terrified, I was completely and utterly thankful to have my daughter.  I laid next to her as she slept at one point holding her hand and just rubbing it, staring at her.  How would I ever live without her? How could I ever even breathe without her?  It hurt so much trying to catch my breath and she was even still here with me.  Life is unfair, life can stink…life can’t be predicted.

7 a.m. rolls around and I wake the girls.  I get her friend up to start getting ready (she had to get up early too because she had a solo as well before team performances).  The girls had probably less than 2 hours sleep.  I wake Kinzie only to tell her the decision her aunt and I had made…and Kinzie refused.  She got out of bed, walking half ways tipped over and unbalanced and slowly put on her solo costume.  In tears she kept saying ‘I have to do this! I know I can!’  She showed up at her aunt’s door and even her aunt was dead set against her even participating.  Kinzie was adamant.  She wasn’t going to let Type 1 Diabetes ever tell her when she can or cannot do something.  She has something to prove to herself.

So we set out to the venue of the competition.  Everyone trying to joke around to lighten the mood of the stark reality we all faced.  It was too close to comfort and we were all still in shock of the previous nights’ events.  That day, Kinzie had determination.  She put a smile on her face and REFUSED to let that smile fade.  She performed her solo and all her team routines.  She was achy, tired, slurred speech, sore muscles, joints and foggy mind…but kept saying ‘I need to do this’.  And she did…the entire day, she did it all. When she took stage for her solo (her first performance of the day) we all (team, coaches, team moms, etc) all watched in awe…many of us had tears streaming down our face.  All I could think was she took the stage, which is all that matters…that, is winning no matter what.  Her team placed very well in all their routines, possibly their best completion and her solo qualified as top finalist, placing 2nd runner up. My heart swelled at the massive determination and dedication she showed to herself and her teammates.  I was beyond proud; I stood in complete amazement and awe.  Fighter, she was in every essence of the word, and fighter.  As the day went on, her aches, pains, confusion, etc set in…she was really feeling the impact of the previous night. Her blood glucose kept tanking, but Elvis was on duty and kept a close eye on her and alerted every single time we needed to take action.  It was intense.

The following week, Kinzie’s body continued to feel the effects of the seizure and loss of consciousness.  Tongue was swollen and hurt from clenching down and biting it, her jaw ached so eating was a chore.  Her bones, joints and muscles wouldn’t ease. She had several follow up appointments, orthodontic appointment and lab draws.  We searched for answers as to why this happened, how it can be prevents and what we might have missed…only to come up answerless and still waiting.  Lab results still pending, no clues, nothing on her charts, trends or anything to show impending seizure and sudden hypersensitivity to insulin, still waiting, still holding our breath.  In less than 3 days her insulin needs were decreased and cut in more than half, only to continue to tank randomly.  Running her higher than normal just to try and stay ahead of the plummets, Elvis working over time.  Refusing to even sleep to watch his girl…his dedication was amazing but I worried that he was over doing it and each day his anxiety grew with mine. Prior to this Kinzie was considered ‘star’ patient, well controlled, balanced, etc.  so we had no way of even seeing what would happen.  Our Endo and CDE even stumped, ruling out all possibilities.  Sometimes, things happen without warning.  Sometimes we have no control over things…and this was one of those ‘sometimes’.  I hate it.

Our organization we got Elvis through had us scheduled for our routine 90 day follow up visit…and sent a trainer down to us immediately to help us decompress Elvis and work through all the events that happened.  They were (are) worked up over the recent events like we were, sad for us, beside us helping us process.  They phoned us, emailed us, offered support and praised us for a job well done, so proud of the puppy they placed in our home and the team work that has taken place since his placement to make him the amazing alerter and watchful companion he is…what if Elvis never came into our lives???

We are still waiting.  We are living our life the closest to normal possible, still anxious for ‘what if’ moments.  We are working closely with our endocrinologist to figure out the trigger to the hypersensitivity.  I am sleeping with kinzie and Elvis keeping watch, all 3 of us are beyond exhausted from the 24 hour checks and little sleep…all 3 refusing to back down.  Future unknown, no answers, no official plan…still waiting…still trying to just live, for now.

Merry Christmas

Another Christmas has come, all too fast I might add.  Our little family is growing up quickly and our routines have changed to fit our daily needs. We have had a year to remember this year, some good times, some bad times, life changing times, and tender mercies.  If this was our year of ‘tests’ I would say we most definitely beat the odds on every test thrown our way.

Family is very important and means the world to me…but I wouldn’t have my little family if it weren’t for my Savior.  I know that I have all that I have and have witnessed all that I have because of the tender mercies my Savior has gently let me experience.  His love for me is so great, I know that I am never alone, no matter how lonely my path may get.  I know I do not remember to think about all the Savior has done for me when I get lost in our day-to-day happenings.

It’s all around, the Lords presence.  Miracles, blessings, tests, triumphs…just take a moment and look.  They may not be what we expect them to be, but if we look hard enough we will notice that these take place every single day.  Merry Christmas to all!

Celebrate life. Video in honor of Kinzie’s 2nd ‘diaversary’

Facebook entry on Sept 21, 2012: Whether we signed up for this journey or not…the day has come again.  Tomorrow, September 22, is Kinzie’s anniversary (diaversary= her diagnosis anniversary).  You know what? We have come a long way! As much as I hate this disease, I am thankful for her diagnosis…because had her diagnosis been prolonged by even the smallest amount of time, she would not be here.  Simply put…I am so very thankful f…

or life and the gift of life…and everything that we have been given in this life. I wasn’t sure in the beginning if I could ever feel this way (and some days have been by far worse than others).  But in a sense it is refreshing to feel like we are far beyond where I ever thought we would land.  I wish this was an anniversary for different reasons; but today (well, tomorrow) is a day of celebration on many levels.  I celebrate my little family, our friends, our family and our community.  I celebrate each sun rise and sun set.  I celebrate every single breath we are granted and every single night I am able to wake up and check on Kinzie…I celebrate it all.  Sometimes it takes an act of war to open one’s eyes…and perhaps Type 1 Diabetes is that war for me. So in celebration of life and the simple gifts we forget we have been given and often overlook…celebrate with me.  In honor of Kinzie please share a comment celebrating the journey she and her siblings have been on and the way they have been determined to face it (or any wonderful thing about them). I would love to end our day as a family together reading the comments and remembering to be thankful every single day.  Much love sent to all of our family, friends, supporters and community.  Blessed are we, no matter how tested we may feel. I will be posting a video I made, please watch it and share in honor of Kinzie. ♥
Look here to see the video in honor of our second ‘diaversary’ and celebrate life with us!

My Diabetes Hero…Diabetes Blog Week

“Let’s end our week on a high note and blog about our “Diabetes Hero”. It can be anyone you’d like to recognize or admire, someone you know personally or not, someone with diabetes or maybe a Type 3. It might be a fabulous endo or CDE. It could be a d-celebrity or role-model. It could be another DOC member. It’s up to you – who is your Diabetes Hero??”

Diabetes Hero…Diabetes Blog Week

I have had a hard time thinking about who this would be.  I could label many people in my life as my ‘D-Hero’.  For starterts, to name a few, my Hubbs…he puts up with me and my ‘D’ duties and always tells me he loves what I do and admires me (to help encourage me along the way). He never gives up on me or gets fed up with me.  He knows I take this job seriously, and knows the importance of it.  Then I think about ALL the families surrounding us.  There are COUNTLESS…literally, we are surrounded by an amazing network of friends and family.  To all my church family, you have continued to lift us and be there for us. No one has even had to ask.  You are great examples of charity at its finest (too many to name, but I think about you all every day, you have in a major way made getting our D.A.D possible).  Friends I went to high school with and had lost a little bit of contact with have totally stepped up with donations, encouragement, and empathy. (Michelle, Angie, Steph, Daniel, Jennifer, Jessica and so many more).  I am lucky! (again, helping us on our journey not only into type 1 but on our way to get a D.A.D).  My Nursing School family/friends; they were on a long journey with me and become a huge part of my life through school, and our ties didn’t stop there.  I couldn’t thank you all enough. My friends all around me, continue to help out, cry with me, laugh with me, and encourage us to do what we need to do.  They understand why our life has changed and do not expect us to be exactly life we were before ‘D’.  It’s nice not to have that pressure. (Josey, Ethan,Tannah, Sharisa…just to name a few).  And the many other friends who have been there with calls, prayers, thoughts, encouragement. Our wonderful medical team, we have been so lucky to have this team of amazing women who really have defined how every healthcare professional should approach their job.  They step up to the plate and go above and beyond.  I love them, appreciate them, see their hard work and love they put into their jobs.  No way I could do what I do without them. I wish every family with a chronic illness has the amazing support network we do.  We are the luckiest people in the world.

I have so many people to name…and I KNOW I am leaving out so so so many. I am not doing it on purpose, feel overwhelmed and there are countless of you.  So IF I haven’t mentioned you, know, I too, think of you often. I have become closer to so many people in my life in an odd way.  Maxwell’s, Wait’s, Finch’s, Manolli’s, Young’s, Lee’s, Tucker’s, (I know there are more…If I had more time to sit and make a list, it would be enormous.  So many people deserve a mention insert your name here, you count too); I love you all and you have gone above and beyond helping this mother achieve the impossible.  Your support hasn’t gone unnoticed.  I love you.

Both Kinzie’s and Jared’s teachers from this year have been so amazing.  WOW. You love your job, your kids, and what you do even on the bad days.  I cannot thank you enough for loving my children, seeing their struggles and continually thinking of them, encouraging them, giving them an opportunity to be themselves and having a safe place.  You set that standard high.  I thank you for every day, minute, second you think about my children, what you have taught them, and the examples you have set.  We will miss you dearly. Alongside your own struggles, you continued to put the kids first. Thanks, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

To all of Kinzie’s friends; thank you.  Every day I have prayed that she be surrounded by strong, amazing, loving examples; and she has been. There are so many of you, and I am sure I cannot remember all of your names…you know who you are.  Rachel, Breanne, Teagan, her dance team-mates, her cousins, Mary,  everyone!  Since the beginning, she is missed when she is gone and embraced when she is present. You love her for who she is, you do not judge her or make her feel funny when she has to take care of her body.  You watch over her and help he stay safe.  You have never made fun of her, laughed at her or teased her.  What an amazing group of people you are.  You surround her and help her live her life and you never hesitate to make her feel better when she is down.  I love you all (and your parents, good job on bringing up amazing children). She has countless numbers of friends; and you brighten her life.  She misses you when she doesn’t see you.

Kinzie’s dance team…I have to take a few sentences to tell you that you help her. She feel 100% accepted and loved.  Dance is Kinzie’s passion and without it, I do not know how she would do it without you all.  Every single one of you make a difference.  When she is low and sits out, you all embrace it.  You ask questions, you want to learn, you love her.  I cannot thank you enough. Her coaches…she feels ‘normal’ at dance despite the highs and lows.  She is devastated when she cannot go, and she loves you beyond words.  You have provided such an amazing positive safe environment. You do what you do because of your passion and it has completely worn off on Kinzie.  I can see her entire face light up when she dances and the weight of the world just disappears.  Amazing.  Leaves me speechless every single time.

My daughter’s best friend, McKinzie…I know I have mentioned the family, but I feel the need to let her know how much we love her.  How much we thank you all for being you and accepting our trial as part of your own. I wish every diabetic child has a friend like you and a family behind them like your family. The LATE night play dates, the rescuing, and the loving.  We are very blessed indeed.  We have loved you McKinzie from day one; but you continue to amaze us.  You have so much compassion and love in your tiny body.  This isn’t just Kinzie’s disease, you treat it like you share it.  You try to carry so much of Kinzie’s load.  You lift her up, help her on bad days, you always watch out for her (and when you notice a change you let someone know). You are pretty amazing.

My sister Crystal, you are always at my side.  You have never left it.  You have refused for this journey not to include you.  You go above and beyond.  You have asked to learn about T1D from day 1 so you could properly care for Kinzie…you are the busiest person…and yet, you continue to learn with us and keep up with our changes so that Kinzie has someone who knows what to do (like, REALLY knows) when I cannot be there.  Do you know how amazing that is? You see the small things Kinzie achieves and get what HUGE milestones they are.  You love her. You were there for the rescue and stayed for the journey.  I love you.  You have always been my best friend since I was born (lucky you!) and I know it is for a reason.  Your family right there as well.  I love you all.  My  sister Lacie, oh, this change in our life has made the miles between us seem so much longer.  I miss you so much. Some days I wish you were next door like everyone else. You are always there, even though you are so far away. I can’t thank you enough for the phone calls when you know we are struggling or when you know Kinz is having a rough/sick day.  You are always there, I can call you, write you, text you, and you are always there.  You have completely stepped up and helped me carry a lot of this trial, and you didn’t have to.  I love you, and I am so thankful to have you as a sister, and wonder why we waited so many years to get this close…we missed out on some great years! Your continuous thoughts, how you help fight this with me, you continue to inspire me and encourage me. No matter how ridiculous my thoughts and ideas are, you support me/us.  You help carry our pain, you laugh when we do and celebrate the small steps with us. My little sister Carmen, my how much you have grown-up.  I love you so much and the example you are to my children.  Kinzie has adored you from day one, and with her diagnosis, you stepped up.  Always loving, awesome, fun, you accept her for it and help her keep going.  You are young, newly married with so many changes in your life you have to adjust to…and yet, you continue to think about Kinz. You can see beyond your own struggles and life changes.  You are simply amazing.  My parents, you cry when I cry, you laugh when I laugh…hasn’t been the easiest thing to watch I am sure.  You know when we are in pain, when we celebrate.  I couldn’t imagine (well, I can, I have to) watching your family and not being able to do the role you have done for years as parents and grandparents…you cannot ‘fix’ the hurt or destruction you see.  I am surrounded by amazing family/parents/siblings.  All of you are great! You have all helped in specific ways that were needed even when we couldn’t tell you what it was we needed. My aunts, you have all been pretty supportive, excited when we meet milestones, and put on a brave face when I need one…Brenda, Sheri, Jeri, Nae. Thank you.

Most of all in this post I want to talk about my children. You are my heroes on a daily basis.  Oh, if I could only fix everything I would in a heart beat. I love you beyond the capacity of love; I can never tell you how much I love you and how much I wish I could give you a better life…one without pain, troubles, or even just give you back life before T1D.  I can’t, so know every day that I strive to do the best for you all.  I think about you every single minute of every single day and what I can do better, what more I can do to take your burden or carry the load.  You are my heroes because you are simply magnificent.  The way you handle everything is inspiring. Chloe and Mason, you make us smile during the scary moments, you help us celebrate during our triumphs and make this family a complete whole always knowing our needs and being amazing little kids.  Jared, your life has changed so much and yet you refuse to stand still and let everyone around you worry.  You are your sister’s keeper and the most amazing steadfast job at that task.  Kinzie could never ask for a more amazing brother and I could never ask for a more amazing son.  You have a heart of gold.  You make me smile.  I am sorry that some days you do not know how to deal with everything.  I am sorry you have to watch your sister go through this and you do not know how to process it at times.  I am sorry that you have to grow up so fast and be a part of a reality that many people do not even as adults.  Remember, you are the most amazing young man.  You are wise beyond your years.  Kinzie. You. Are. Simply. Awe-Inspiring.  If I could give you my pancreas and take this disease from you, I would in a heartbeat. I have cried so many tears (good and bad) watching what you do, worrying about you, and how you refuse to quit. You have such a light about you.  Every morning you wake up, well, I cannot describe it, but those are the most amazing moments…making through even one more night. You are strong, you are smart, you are life-loving, you are special.  I see the fight you put on every single day and am completely amazed at everything you do and how you do it.  You can take care of yourself, from day one, you took on that task.  You deal with such grown-up emotions and I am sorry you have to.  You fight this epic battle and in the end, I KNOW you will win.  The small battles you win make me completely speechless.  The things you tackle and the strength and endurance you have are beyond humanly possible. You have become this force of energy refusing not to try to you push yourself.  Some days I step back and wonder how lucky I am to have such strong, beautiful, amazing, brilliant spirits as children (well, everyday).  I cannot take the credit for who you are, there is no way that came from me.  I see everything that you do, and know that every day you are all my heroes.  You do it all so gracefully and without hesitation.  Never has there been a more proud mom.  You make me want to be a better mother, example, human.  I love you so much. I know this journey is happening for a reason, and perhaps part of that reason is because of the power you have within yourselves and you can do great things here on earth.  Today, and all other days, know that you are the most amazing heroes that were ever to exist.  You are my Super Heroes, better than the movies.  What you do is real; how you do it is beyond impressive.  You are pillars of lights, balls of energy and in every way I think you are amazing.

Diabetes Blog Week — Something good to eat wild card…Andes Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

“Inspired by DFeast Fridays share a favorite recipe with us.  It can be healthy, or it can be a yummy indulgence.  Extra points if you can include carb counts and other nutrition info!!  If it’s not an original recipe, be sure to properly credit your source”

So I am opting to go with something horribly sweet and full of carbs…simply because, this happens to be one of Kinzie’s favorite things to make (and she loves how they taste too!) She considers becoming a baker (and a vet, and a scientist, and a doctor, and a dance teacher)…for a career.  (You see, T1d’ers can indulge in a little sweet as well…it’s all in the planning)

You can check out the link to the recipe we found here.  We found this recipe on *gulp* pinterest and it has quickly become a favorite to make for special occasions.  (GUILTY!) Kinzie, right now, loves to cook and bake.  And she does a great job at it too! We recently had a bake sale to raise money for her Diabetic Alert Dog fund, and this is one recipe she baked on her own to contribute (she made well over 100 cupcakes on her own in one night/day).  They were a hit!  So when she had her yard sale, a group of young men volunteered their time to help set up and organize this major event (by major, I mean weeks’ worth or solid work and organization for many volunteers from sun up to sun down).  When she heard that same group of young men were doing a fundraiser (cake auction) to go to scout camp, she started baking to donate to their auction.  This recipe, of course was the first on her list and were a hit at the cake auction.