Who am I and how did I get here?

Ever wake up one day and feel completely numb, powerless and very much in a life/death struggle?

I believe I am in the midst of a battle just like that now.  I feel weak, tired, bitter, angry and powerless.  I don’t like it. I like control, I like strength, I like certainty, I like progression.  All those things I ‘like’ are absent from my life at this exact moment…it’s true.  I cannot seem to find any shard of the old ‘me’ lingering around.  She seems like such a stranger.

I read some of my old blog posts, and catch myself wondering ‘who the heck is that woman?’ I don’t even remember being so full of conviction and wonder how the heck I was so strong?

I long for that.

I exist only to exist…I am numb, tired and aching for that comfort I once felt.  Life is uncertain, life is unpredictable…and a year ago I sure didn’t expect to be where I am today.  Odd…because back then I was sure I would be some where even greater.

How crazy.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not in this deep depression, feeling only darkness.  I am just ‘lost’…I have just lost my essence of strength for the time being, and that is completely normal, I know this.  But I do feel powerless right now.

I look around and think is this really me?  Is this how I am going to be? Worn down, tired, scared, bitter (but hopeful)?  How did I get here?

I know I navigated through many circumstances to get to this exact spot.  I also know I am meant to be in this exact spot for some reason, but it doesn’t make it any less painless.  Knowing this doesn’t make right now okay.  I can never be ‘okay’ with my right now and what we are facing.

*sigh*

deep breath.

I have a lot to be thankful for.  My husband, my kids, Elvis the most amazing D.A.D, life in general, many small blessings, good friends…there is a lot out there.  And trust me, I am beyond thankful for it…but being thankful for those small things doesn’t help the bitterness fade (just yet).

I don’t like what we are facing.  I don’t like not having answers.  I don’t like seeing my daughter struggle and her ability to even feel safe start to vanish only moments after feeling freedom from the world.  It isn’t fair.  I am complaining…It isn’t fair! I have wondered ‘why her’ so much lately it is unreal.  Really, WHY HER?  Why do we have to be facing a rare mystery? Why do we have to worry about massive crashes into hypoglycemic crisis without warning, why us?!?!  WHY can’t I take it from her?

I have talked about nights holding me prisoner in the past…multiply that by one million and you might get the idea of my fears right now.  What would I ever do without Elvis right now watching over her literally day and night??? What if he wasn’t in our home?  what if???

Why do my other children have to see this epic fight?  Why does Jared have to feel scared for his sister pretending to put on a brave front?  Why does he deserve this added pressure? Why should he feel obligated to be his sister’s keeper, that is massive responsibility for such a young boy.  Breaks my heart.

My heart is beyond shattered.  I am desperately trying to pick those pieces up but I feel like every time I gather them they fly out of my hands.  I am endlessly trying to catch each shard before it shatters into a million other pieces.  I don’t like this feeling.  I don’t like this spot.  I don’t like our choices right now.  I don’t like watching people go through this.   I don’t like not having control.  I don’t like not being able to somewhat ‘plan’.  I don’t like this one bit…I HATE it.  I hate pretending like it is all okay, because right now, it doesn’t feel okay.  I am not okay with this hand we have been given.  It feels impossible…the ultimate test of faith is watching such a struggle and even just remotely entertaining the slightest sliver of faith.

Strength, where have you gone?

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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.

“At least” bitterenss will fade

Today is going to be one of those ‘venting’ posts.  Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to be positive and completely okay with the trial you have been given, you have those moments of struggle.  Well, for me, that moment is here and full-blown.  In these exact moments, even my own knowledge as to why we are given what we are, can’t reason with my emotions; nothing I hear, know or see can make me okay with it.  I admit I absolutely dread these moments; and always pray when they come, that they don’t last long…because each time they present themselves I fear that I might not bounce back to my once former strong self.

I am bitter.  I am angry. I hate diabetes. YES! I hate Type 1 Diabetes with every fiber of my being…the same diabetes that I also profess to be thankful about in the strangest of ways.  That is right, T1D, I hate you and today, probably the past week or possibly even month, I am finding it hard to hold onto that silver lining.  I feel like T1D is a thief that robs all the good.  I also know it leaves different aspects of good…but it most definitely robs us of our immediate safety net. (This is me trying to reason with myself not to hate it, and to remember the things I am thankful for….it isn’t working today).

The longer we live with this disease the more I am able to witness it robbing my daughter of these small insignificant moments that really add up.  For example, dance.  Dancing is her life. Dance is her passion, her hobby, her strength, her outlet…and yet Type 1 Diabetes doesn’t care.  It interrupts anyway.  I can see the physical change wash over her entire body and I know instantly that she is once again victim to its nasty cold grasp.  During practice I can see an ashen color wash over her body and see her fight within herself to keep going even when it is physically becoming impossible. Her comprehension fades, her ability to move coordinated disappears, her eyes gloss over and her movements become lethargic and weak, she just looks lost. It is heartbreaking, and in that exact moment I want to rush to her side and fight for her.  I see that inner struggle, I see it shutting her down when she is trying her hardest not to let it (even if it is for 15 minutes)…and then I feel enraged.  I feel PISSED! I am angry that it has the nerve to make her fight so hard, even during a short 2 minute dance routine.  It literally won’t even let her finish that one small routine.  No one should have to fight so hard, every day, to do something they completely love…but my daughter does.  Many other children do.  (so why is it education is lacking as a whole in world when it comes to Type 1 Diabetes?)

I hate that she has to fight and really all anyone can do around her is stand guard…and wait.  I can’t necessarily fight it for her. As a mother, when our children are in a fight, we want to jump in and aide them in each battle.  But imagine having your hands tied, your voice muffled, and your heart stilled.  Imagine feeling paralyzed, not being able to fight, and having to watch that inner struggle daily (several times a day). It is a mother’s worse fear.  All you can do is wait.  Hope.  Pray.  And wait.  Physically I cannot fight this battle, physically I am powerless.  Physically, I cannot touch it.  Nothing in this world is worse than watching a battle for life take place and physically you cannot do a single thing.  I can check BG, I can give a juice, I can educate, I can administer glucagon shot, we have Elvis to catch everything more quickly and I can make adjustments daily to her regimen…I can even hope that all I do is good enough. I can do multiple tasks, and do them flawlessly…but physically cannot fight this battle for my own child.  T1D threatens her life daily…THAT enrages me.  It ticks me off, it fills me with hate.  And these small insignificant moments, when they come, make me bitter.

Today, I am bitter.  Yesterday I was sad; and Sunday I completely hated diabetes.  Some days it wipes all of my strength away…it robs me.  Sunday was one of those days.  I loathed diabetes Sunday, even at church, I hated diabetes.  I was cursing diabetes and the entire negative it has brought into my amazingly strong daughter’s life. Nothing I would hear, see, do, or you could say could have changed that.  I was full of hate and it was here to stay (for now).  I know life really isn’t fair…it isn’t.  There is nothing fair about life on days like that.  Reason? You couldn’t reason with me to save your life on days like that.  I am sorry but don’t even try.  I didn’t want to be around T1D, but I wanted to soak in my daughter and have her around always.  I didn’t want to go to church or even try to focus with it looming over our heads…but I made us all face the day.

It was complete meltdown city.  Kinzie was full of hate and directing it all towards me. She was refusing to get dressed for church, refusing to eat, refusing to listen to her D.A.D., refusing to be nice, just full of hate, too.  She was kicking, screaming, crying and completely hating T1D. Blood glucose was sky-high out of this world (for her, 300s are rare and kick her butt) ketones rising refusing to leave.  We were all on edge and pretty sure all full of hate. So I did what any mother would do.  I stood my ground.  I stood strong. I took all the hate she had bottled up and directed towards me and pushed it down, every inch of the hate stinging as it hit my ears, my heart and my soul.  But I stood strong, and on the outside looked unmoved by the hate (crumbling on the inside with every sob, scream, cry, word, look, stare…I knew this wasn’t her…I felt hateful too but I can also understand where it was coming from). I continued on.  Goal: to attend church; not to let diabetes win while we all sit at home in our loathing filth of hate towards it.

She refused to get ready, so I made her.  I made her leave the house hair undone, dress was a mess, face stained with tears…we left. When moments hit her like this, you cannot reason with her either…I blame that on my gene pool.  She was devastated.  I was sad, and my husband angry.  As we drove to the church her cries became louder, her screaming, huffing, hateful words continued to flow.  I didn’t like it, I didn’t want to hear it, but I had to.  Once there, the family went inside while I remained outside to throw her hair up in a pony tail (yes, I was nice enough to tuck the mess it was, up away).  As I was doing her hair she continued to cry… ”can’t I just go to your classes today? I don’t want to leave you! I don’t feel good! I don’t want to be here!!!!!” Calmly I listened.  Calmly I replied “Since you started going to class by yourself, I don’t go to my classes.  If I do, I leave often to walk by your class and check.  I do it so I will be available if you need me.  I miss my class so you will be safe.  I walk the halls, so if you need me, I will be there. I sit by the hall, so I can keep watch.I always keep watch. I do it because I love you.”  And silently tears streamed down my face, it hurt so much…I do it all because I love her dearly…but all the love in the world can never take this from her and give it to myself.  Oh how I wish I could let my body be tormented by this disease so she could have that freedom back.  And then it came…the moment I didn’t expect.  She was still facing away from me as I was finishing her hair. “Whaaa? You do mom? Oh mom! I didn’t know you did that! I love you! I don’t ever want you to think I hate you, I don’t hate you!”  That ended her crisis.  She was back.  My daughter was back.

“Mom, can we wait a minute out here so I can gather myself?” she asked. I replied with a “Let’s walk into the building and we will go straight to the bathroom and wipe your face and sit in the mother’s room for a bit and just breathe” (simply because I wanted to at least walk inside that building on time…goal accomplished, we were drained, but it didn’t keep us down).  And we did just that.  We survived 3 hours at church, feeling rather run-down by the events that just took place.  She physically not feeling well the entire time, staying sky-high, with corrections only to hit a 60 the last 5 minutes we were there…and again…I felt the hate creeping back inside.  So not fair, I hate having to watch T1D in action, but thankful I can watch it, because it means my daughter is still here with me.

Guess what? We won…we went to church, we went feeling completely and utterly defeated, but we were there.  Kinzie bounced back and had a wonderful attitude and faced the rest of the day, feeling completely yucky, like a champ. For us, during these times, this is a huge thing…because we can easily stay home and say ‘it was just a rough day. Next time we will go’.  But those words never left my mouth.  Determined to go, I pushed past the hate in all directions, ketones and BGs (even though on the inside I was sobbing she was feeling so terrible)…I stood strong. I know how I handle nasty days is what she will learn, how I handle scares, she will learn.  I don’t want her full of fear or ever use T1D as an excise not to do something…she can do anything, even on rough days.  Even things we don’t really feel up to in the moment…I have to set that tone.  She wasn’t going to witness me giving into T1D because it decided to give us a nasty bout.  Nope.  Life happens, even when numbers get ugly, hatred rises to the core, ketones refuse to flush out, and her body taking a toll…life happens.  And we will live life, every moment and not succumb to this nasty creature we have come to know too well. We faced church, extra checks, me by her side and Elvis on the other side.  We faced it, all together as a family.  Jared naturally helping out with the younger kids, as he knew mom was focusing on getting BGs down and ketones flushed.  He flawlessly takes control where he knows I slack. I adore him.  I am thankful for him…I admire him so very much.

I have to admit I know these moments will always come and go.  I have also accepted that what we (or Kinzie) face will always be here…no amount of praying will ever make it go away.  The good comes with the bad, and in moments like this the bad just covers up the good only to try to swallow us whole.  Don’t let it.  Kinzie is a fighter, she has always been a fighter, and she is far stronger than any single person I will ever meet…as are her siblings; they are all amazingly strong warriors. I also know that bitterness only dwells momentarily, and that when we bounce back, we will bounce back stronger. I also have come to realize that it is okay to have days like this, it is normal…and it is part of the packaged deal.  Tomorrow is always a new day, tomorrow will always bring new perspective.  My perspective today is “at least” I am thankful I get to witness the bad too, because I appreciate the good so much more, it truly is sweeter.  “At least” I have my little family, and I get to hold all 4 of my children.  “At least”….when the silver lining is faded…there is always “at least” until you can pull through those moments to land on the brighter side.

Give Thanks…

I am reminded this morning why I feel so thankful and how much I stand in awe of every mother who has a child with very specific needs in order to live.  Sometimes I get complacent in our daily routine and schedule and forget to recognize the blessings and miracles that we are surrounded with daily.  Living our life, we tend to forget that even when life goes on, things are happening all around that we should stop and take notice.

We have had Elvis for over 3 months now…which feels like a lifetime.  He belongs here, we feel as though he has been in our home forever.  It feels normal to have him by our daughter’s side in all that she does.  In the car, out to eat, at dance, at church, at the physician’s office, during school…I don’t think we would remember how it felt before he came into our home (turning it upside down for the better).

I look at Elvis and I see God’s intentions with amazing creatures he has blessed us with combined with amazing talents and passion people are blessed with.  Elvis is a combination of them both, beautifully intertwined sent to us a the simple miracle I never knew I was praying about.  In my mind, a miracle constituted as a cure…never realizing a miracle can be many different things.  When you ask, you are answered; even in ways you never dreamed about.  I cannot help but start my day with a heart full of thanks and admiration.  Give thanks for the things we get complacent with.  Give thanks for the things we tend to over look, the things that are our ‘normal’ and the things we don’t even realize are blessings in disguise.  Type 1 Diabetes started out as a curse…and some days it weighs heavily on my heart; the curse it may be sure has brought many blessings into my life, allowed me to witness tender mercies and receive mighty miracles.  Give thanks…even when you think there is no thanks to give.  The secret to a great outcome is how you attack the challenges you are given.

I stand in amazement every day at his capabilities, I witness handfuls of alerts day and night, and it never gets old. My heart swells with every alert…but sometimes I don’t think I remember how much of a miracle he is for us because it seems as though he has always been with us.  As days go by, I tend to forget. I wanted to share with you my posting on our ‘Just a Girl and Her Dog; Journey into T1D with a D.A.D.” page:

“Loving our Elvis especially after a night like last night ♥. Went to bed around 10, she was 130s with 30% temp basal decrease for 4 hours…1145 I was waken up by a series of loud monstrous barks…Elvis. Go in her room and he is trembling and giving me “touch”. Without a doubt I knew she had to be going low fairly quickly… 79.  There is no way I would have even been checking her for several hou…rs, with a temp decrease and a solid nighttime number I would have never expected her to be low that soon, heck i didn’t expect her to go low at all! At the earliest I would have checked would have been at 2 a.m. Type  1 Diabetes has no reason or rhyme….it is sneaky and silent. Every single prayer I sent up to God about keeping my daughter safe as we fight this battle, came back down to me as an answer in this tiny (now big) amazing dog.  He was sent to our home as a great blessing…perhaps even the miracle I prayed about. I may have been praying for a miracle in the way of a cure or her being misdiagnosed and just had the flu…may not have been the miracle I pictured; but he is most definitely the miracle we need until a cure is found. No prayer goes unanswered, no fear goes uncomforted, no battle is fought alone…this is proof enough. How can I deny God when I witness what I do on a daily basis (even before Elvis came, we survived many moments by strong promptings and guidance). Give thanks everyday, for the simple things. Your child’s smile, their warm hug, the stories they get to share with you, their courage, their charity, their talents, their sweet spirit. Every single day truly is a gift; I am reminded that daily.”
You might think 79 sounds like an alright number, factor in the quick drop, the temp basal rate decrease and that she had been in bed for less than two hours.  And the fact that I never set my alarm clock, because he takes watch now.  Then factor in the part where this amazing creature had worked that entire day, never taking a break.  I stand in awe of God’s bigger picture.

Dear Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

You are mean, cruel and completely terrifying.

You wait in the back ground, sneaking around, just lying.

You are relentless. You are constant. You are cunning.

Once you reside within, you keep us all running.

You take and take and take some more, all from others which isn’t yours.

You instill fear, darkness and give us shutters down to the core.

You don’t judge, prank or worry; frankly you are simply irritating.

You hold us prisoner, keep us intimidated and can be quite incapacitating.

Victims are countless: life, childhood, finances, marriages and friends.

Changing life forever, on days it seems as though you will never ever end.

You damage and cheat; breaking all the rules we once knew.

Our nemesis, pain, fear, and hate instilled all because of you.

A simple vacation is now a thing of the past.

Our carefree world we once knew…well, it didn’t last.

No matter what you give us, no matter what may be…

We won’t give up or give in until she is free.

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!

Miracle: i.e. Elvis

I haven’t posted in a long time; things have just been very busy at our home and in our lives.  Everything is going well.  Life is life. Today’s post is going to be on our amazing Elvis boy.  I haven’t had time to really write about him since he came into our lives at the end of September.  In the few short months we have had him I have been able to find a sense of peace and hope that I never thought I would be able to find.

Elvis is nothing short of a miracle and an answer to so many of our prayers.  I truly think that he came here to our home with a purpose to fulfill, already knowing our needs.  I prayed so much about our dog before he came, I knew this was the decision we were suppose to make, I knew that I was supposed to go with this company, and I knew everything would work out.  I had faith.  I know many people who were praying right beside us that we were matched with the perfect dog and that we would be able to find that peace and confidence again.

Thanks to many of our family and friends, strangers, acquaintances, businesses and a whole lot of faith we have our Elvis home and he is doing a fantastic job.  This journey is a ton of work, and we knew it would be, we were prepped for that before we began this journey.  So we willingly put in the time for this little guy as he does for his girl.  Everything is worth it.  He is now alerting to her with correct signals for highs and lows. So not only do we now know when she is out of range, we are able to know if she is low or high before we even check…and that is so helpful.  He is correct over 80% of the time.

The older kids spent the night with their Aunt last night, well, Elvis too of course…where his girl goes he goes.  Last night he woke kinz up telling her she was out of range (which is a miracle all in its own, because she never wakes up to his alerts…she treats and they go back to bed).  Early in the morning hours he alerts again (ending this alert in a bark so Auntie would come in and fix his girl).  Low. So they treat and go back to bed.  Over an hour later, he wakes his girl again, refusing to let her sleep.  She is trending low again.  They correct it.  Yay for Elvis doing his job even when mom isn’t around!  Pretty amazing to watch happen, it never gets old.

So kids come home this morning.  Kinzie is telling me about her night and is excited she woke up and that Elvis worked so well away from home, helping Aunt keep her safe! Good boy!  He then ‘touches’ kinz and stares (touch is his low alert).  We check and she is 90.  A great number when you think of it, perfect…until you factor in he is telling us she is low (and really, if he is adamant, we listen, he knows) and the simple fact that she has 5 units on board from breakfast! Good low boy.  So we down an entire coke (yes, that much…because of how he is acting and all the other factors going with it). He never really relaxes and is keeping kinz close to him and he is watching her like a hawk…so I know to be vigilant as he isn’t satisfied with that correction.

A while later we all get more ‘touches’ and he is becoming more adamant we check and correct right away.  70s.  yes, even with that coke, we continue downward.  We have her drink a juice and sit down next to her boy.  He continues to not be too happy about things and continues to tell us she is going low.  We know by now to listen to him…he knows.  The nose doesn’t lie.  So we check a while later with more ‘touches’ now being thrown to anyone a nose length away…and she is still 70s, actually a tad lower.  So we juice it again and she munches on some frosted flakes.  Elvis finally relaxes at her feet about 10 minutes later.  So we just now recheck again (over an hour ago this happened) and she is beautifully in the 120s.  She is safe, he is satisfied and we are thankful.

I can’t even describe how amazing it has been to have him on our side.  I can’t even put into words what it is like witnessing his alerts every single day…I do not think they will ever get old.  Since we have had him, her low percentage has gone from 12-9% to under 8% always.  That is a big difference.  He has not missed A SINGLE LOW ALERT…NEVER. And lows are what matters the most.  He has missed MAYBE a handful of high alerts, maybe…and that is usually after having a day full of stubborn highs and he knows we are trying to fix it.  And he doesn’t alert when she isn’t out of range…that has happened maybe a handful of times (and they usually are for a reason like getting use to his potty alerts and such…he is young, we are new…it’s ironing out everything and finding our groove).  He is nothing short of amazing.

I want to thank every person who has been on this journey with us one way or another.  Witnessing what we have and being able to use all tools we possibly can until there is a cure means the world to us.  D.A.Ds may not be for everyone…but we knew this was for us.  Without a doubt, I now know it all played out like it was meant to.  I have this peaceful feeling within my heart, knowing I have another great help by my side…by Kinzie’s side.  Have you ever witnessed a miracle? I have…his name is Elvis…he is a diabetic alert dog.