Friday, March 26, 2010

A Shout Out

My friend Rachel at Sugar, Spice & More Things Nice celebrated her four year D-Anniversary this week....her date is just one day after Jada's, so I feel somewhat of a connection to her! I LOVE the post that she wrote in regards to the big D-day and just wanted to share. You can find Rachel HERE.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Low Blood Sugar = High Emotion

My emotions are still running high this morning after we had a pretty close call last night. I still feel on just can't fully trust any number. Even this morning, she wanted oatmeal for breakfast, which usually means no matter how long I make her wait to eat, she skyrockets. Not so this morning...she just told me she felt low and after testing, was 120. Yes...a great number, but she's falling fast and we have another two hours before lunch.

So.....last night. Jada's bedtime number was 142. Again, great number, but I assumed she was still coming down. We didn't eat dinner until nearly 7 pm, which is just too late. Her blood sugar at dinner was 307 and I actually only corrected for her blood sugar....I didn't even give her enough insulin to cover the 30 grams of carbs that she ate because it was so late for a shot. So, when her blood sugar was 142 at bedtime, I let her eat a whole banana....about 30 grams when I typically only would give her half. I thought for sure that would stablize things and then I would check her a little earlier than normal to catch a drop. About 45 minutes after she fell asleep, Eli came out of his room and told us that he could hear Jada "being crabby" and thought we needed to check her. I jumped up to get her meter and then here she came, stumbling down the hallway. Head was bobbing and she was incoherently talking. I grabbed some juice and Jeff took her blood sugar. 50. Obviously in a full on CRASH. She fought the juice, fought the glucose tabs....she wasn't there. Jeff finally just stuck the juice straw in her mouth and once she started to drink, she couldn't get it down fast enough. Then, some glucose tabs. 20 minutes later she was up to 81. An hour after that, she was only up to 99, so I fed her some more and when she got up to 130, I put her back in bed then set my alarm for 1:30 am. Well, there was no need for that, because I couldn't sleep. At 1:30, she was 240, so I went to bed, but never really slept.

This morning, I'm tired. Not even 3 cups of coffee have touched me. It's so much more than physically tired. I'm just spent. All I can think about is the what ifs. Jeff was more freaked out than I had ever seen him. And Eli....poor kid. It really scared him. I found him late last night with a pillow and blanket sleeping in the hallway next to the girl's bedroom. I don't want him to feel that he's responsible for his sister. It's too big of a burden for him to bear at his age.

It's nights like last night that makes me wonder how we'll ever make it through this. Not because I can't do the legwork that comes with it, but because it's just one big monster that's a force to be reckoned with. And in saying that, I feel like I'm wimping out. But, I'm not. I'll never surrender. I just need to regroup!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

2 Years

2 years ago today, it was Easter Sunday. 3 of my 4 children were running around our little Texas apartment filling their Easter baskets with candy while Jada lay motionless on the couch. That scene is forever burned in my mind. I KNEW something was very wrong when she wouldn't even attempt to sit up and join in on some of the excitement. Her breathing was labored...she had the flu, so I thought we were looking at complications from the virus that had afflicted our household over the previous 10 days. I loaded up the kids, took Jeff to work, which was just a mile or so from the hospital, and took her first to an urgent care, where they wouldn't even look at her. They instructed me to take her straight to the ER. I called Jeff on the way to the ER and told him that I would keep him updated. At the ER, they immediately gave her oxygen and the next thing I know, Jeff was there. He had ran all the way from work to the hospital. The nurse gave us the initial diagnosis. She could smell the ketones and told us that she thought we would have a diagnosis of diabetes. They took her blood sugar and it was 430....with very large ketones. She was in DKA. I remember them trying to explain to me what it was and trying to understand what it all meant. I thought they would admit her there, but then they said they weren't able to take care of her there and that she would have to be transported by ambulance to Texas Childrens Hospital in downtown Houston. I had NO idea just how sick she was. So, they started an insulin drip and we waited for the Kangaroo Crew to come and get her. The Kangaroo Crew is the EMT team from Texas Children's. When they finally arrived, I knew that Jada was in good hands. They had seen little ones in DKA before and they knew what she needed and what I needed as well. At this point, Jada was in and out of conciousness.....I tried to tell myself that she was sleeping but I knew deep down that we were on the veerge of losing her. The ride to Texas Children's from Katy in the ambulance was the longest ride of my life. They wouldn't let me sit next to her....I had to ride up front and when we arrived, they took her to the PICU without me. I remember wondering if she was going to be alive the next time I saw her. When I was able to get to the 3rd floor, and they took me back to her, I was so overwhelmed. I was by myself. Jeff had taken the other kids home. We had no family....just a few new friends because we had just moved to Texas a few months before. I called Jeff to tell him that she was in the PICU and he was shocked. He had no idea how sick she was. I remember calling my mom to keep her updated and then she offered to fly down. I fell apart on the phone, because I knew that we needed help and we had no one. I shouldn't say we had no one, because the previous week, I had connected with a college friend on Facebook who I discovered lived 15 minutes from us. She ended up taking Mary Beth for the evening so that Jeff could bring the boys down to the hospital. They told us she would be in the PICU for a couple of days, but Jada stabilized quickly and 24 hours later, we had moved to the 11th floor and our intensive training in Type 1 Diabetes began.

That's our diagnosis story in a nutshell. 2 years ago, my world came to a crashing halt. I had no idea what the future held. I didn't know if I could keep her alive, but did know that I would do everything in my power to educate myself and learn how to make her feel like a normal kid. Now, she's almost 5. They told me that around 5, she would begin to really have some awareness and begin to take part in her care. Her birthday is in a month and this last week, she took on taking her own blood sugar! Can you believe that we've only wasted one test strip? It's been amazing to watch. She's also describing her lows to me....that she's shaky, dizzy, hungry....all of those things. Jada even asked me yesterday if she did something to cause her diabetes. (yeah...that was a gut wrencher!) It's like I'm seeing a whole new side of her coming out with this new awareness. 2 years ago, I didn't see this day coming. I couldn't see through to the next few hours hardly. But here we are and it's just the way our life is. Sleepless nights, lows, highs, ketones, sore fingers, shots, a pump coming (geesh..I'm tired of waiting for that approval!), and most of all, watching Jada grow into a much stronger person because of it and meeting some amazing people along the way.

I wonder where we'll be 2 years from now??

Saturday, March 13, 2010

March Madness

March Madness has hit the house. I'm not talking basketball, either! I'm talking about this mama going MAD with cabin fever! February was far too kind to us weather-wise. We were ABOVE zero most of February....ABOVE. ZERO. That's huge. We hit 40 degrees. In FEBRUARY. I had my kitchen window open. Sheer craziness for Fairbanks, Alaska. Tempting us, messing with our minds...that winter was just about over....and of course it worked. We must be crazy anyhow to live this far north, right?

And then Spring Break this week. Once again, that spring word. We were hoping to be out and about....doing some fun things. Going to the World Ice Art Championships, sledding, skiing. But no....we were waking up to -17, -20, -8. And to top it off.... a doozy of a migraine (my meds didn't even come close to touching it! grrr...) on Tuesday then add to that a head cold that has just become worse as the week as worn on. Jeff's truck needs a new battery, so we are down to one vehicle until he can get that fixed. So...all of that combined....means stuck. at. home. All week.

And I thought I would lose my mind today. Now...yesterday, the boys did get to go cross country skiing with a friend--for which I am VERY grateful. But today, they were literally bouncing off the walls, the couch, the floor and each other. I woke up in a somewhat irritable mood and it just wasn't a good mix. And if the kids weren't bouncing off of something or each other, they wanted to be all over me. It was just one of those crazy days. Just off. Not right. So, I sent the boys out for a hike. It was around 0 they bundled up and off they went. The girls went in their room and played and I breathed in the silence. :)

March Madness is pretty typical for most Alaskans. It's the month that everyone everywhere else is talking and heralding spring. We may have up to a month of snow on the ground yet. However, we've been indoors for so long. In and out of a warm house to a warm car to another warm place. We DO get out and enjoy the winters here as much as possible...but there is a point where it's too cold and too dangerous to be out too long. February this year was great. We were able to get outside a lot...which is why many of us are having a hard time right now. This year, March has been colder than the previous month. February faked us out and we fell for it.

I feel like I've rambled on somewhat disjointed...thoughts scatttered...but it is so how I'm feeling right now. Really things are good....I'm just ready for some warmth and the ability for my kids to go outside when ever they need to go...that even means the middle of the night here in the summer time! haha! Which...all that light we have in the summer....we're gaining about 7 minutes a close to an hour a week. It's coming. I just need to hang on.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Kindergarten? Already?

It hit me like a sack of potatoes. I woke up last Thursday morning with the realization that Jada will be ready for kindergarten this year. She turns 5 at the end of other kids were all 6 when they started kindergarten simply because of where their birthdays fell. She knows her letters, is writing more neatly than my 9 year old and can color inside the lines. I know those things aren't necessarily the most important in determining her readiness. She's also fairly mature for her age, which I just may be able to partly thank diabetes for (wow- did I just "thank" diabetes?). And she has a curious mind...if I didn't start her in school, it would be to her detriment. I'm not one for holding my child back just because it's convenient. Give them them fly. One of the greatest thrills of my life!

We've been a mostly homeschooling family until this last year , when, for so many reasons, we put them in public school. It was a good decision...I love our school...the principal is great...the teachers have been amazing and our kids are thriving. They still get plenty of "school time" at home- Jeff and I are always right there when they doing homework and we get plenty of "talk time"- debriefing and sometimes helping them to "detox" from some of the crap that happens in a public school setting. Overall, very happy with our decision and it's allowed us to get a better glimpse of the community that we live in. That's important to us because THE reason we moved back is for ministry....and you can't minister very well if you don't know the community you live in.

We're also a big believer in the individuality of each child and how that pertains to the way they learn. Our oldest is very visual....he's a reader and will retain anything as long as he can see it and read it. Our second, is very kinesthetic....he HAS to move...he has to touch....he has to DO...and then he gets it and gets it VERY well. Mary Beth is like her oldest brother....very visual and retains things well by just reading. Because we recognize that they all learn differently, we always said that we would always take things year by year according to what their educational needs were...and it's worked very well. All 3 kids are at the top of their class.....we loved parent- teacher conferences a few weeks ago...we got to sit and listen to teachers tell us how well our kids are doing academically, how they are leaders in their class, and that they get along with everyone. Couldn't have been prouder. But I also left wondering, what would this be like with Jada? Would they tell us that diabetes is just too much for her and school? Would they be as supportive?

I've sat and read many blogs and Facebook and have hurt with D-moms- about the various struggles that come with school and this blasted disease. I'm always amazed at your strength and the maturity of your beautiful kids and their ability to manage their diabetes at school. I've also seen some of you deal with obstinate teachers, nurses and administrators who are literally messing with your children's lives...and yet you handle it SO well. I don't know how you do it. You absolutely amaze me.

So do we do this with Jada? It's been on my mind for a long time...but now it's time to make some decisions. The more Jeff and I have thought about it, the more we do believe that homeschooling will be the best option for the first 3-4 years- maybe longer if we want to. We've done it's not a hard or scary thing for us...actually, it's a pretty natural thing for me to do. Our school district has a homeschooling we wouldn't have to pay for any text books and STILL get to choose our own curriculum..and Jada would be able to take up to two classes at our school--anything that we want...but I'm thinking it will be things like music and PE initially. To me, this is a great way to get her introduced to the school, introduce the school to diabetes (the school nurse has never had a diabetic child in her care) and let her feel a little like her brothers and sister...being a part of the school community that has become important to them.

So that's where we are. My baby will be a kindergartner this year....I'm actually having a tough time getting over that fact. She's growing up...moving ever away from me in her independence. I know, it's all really is. We're heading into a new and different stage of life...change is just hard.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Wedding and a Funeral

Last Wednesday afternoon, I received a phone call from my Dad in Iowa telling me that my Grandma probably wouldn't make it through the night. He had stopped at the nursing home for his daily visit with her and noticed her breathing was very labored. The nurse came in and checked her vitals and her blood pressure was dropping and her body temperature was rising. I'm not sure why...but I guess those are two indicators that death is imminent. She passed away later that evening, 9:30 pm Central time.

I was close to her growing up. I lived three miles down the road from my granparents. I spent the summers between my house and theirs....all the way through my teenage years. Their farm is still one of my favorite places in the world. I helped her tend her garden, plant her flowers, work with the sows (that's a female hog) while they were farrowing (having their babies) make cookies, set the table for her Ladie's Aide meeting, make cookies, clean their glass oval shaped kitchen table with the foamy glass cleaner, play dress up in the very retro upstairs bedroom in my aunt's old clothes, and pretend to fall asleep on the living room floor when it was time to go home. All of that and SO much more. It's quite a way to grow up. And also to grow up knowing that your Grandma loved you unconditionally....was priceless.

I was devastated that I wouldn't be able to attend her funeral. It wasn't the ticket prices or the fact that my niece was getting married on Saturday. Jeff couldn't take work off this week and we had no one to take care of Jada. We couldn't afford two tickets or I would have just taken her with me. All of my family would be there...cousins, aunts, uncles and even my brother in Arizona was driving his family up. I could hardly stand the thought of everyone being together and me missing out....I couldn't think about it with out it driving me to a full blown sob session.

My saving grace was my niece KyLeah's wedding. On Friday morning, I managed to finish packing amidst my tears and we left for Anchorage at 11:15 and arrived at Jeff's sister's house for rehearsal at 6 pm. His other sister, Kristen, had flown up from Little Rock and we hadn't seen her since last March, and his cousin Kim, was there from Seattle to photograph the wedding. Seeing them and hugging them was like a salve to my hurting was the other side of the family....but it was FAMILY.

Saturday was full....a shower for KyLeah in the morning (my sis in law and I gave her a pantry shower) and the rest of the day was spent picking up the bride from her hair appointment, setting up the house for the wedding and then of course, getting my girls ready for their debut as flower girls! I had NO time to think about what was happening in Iowa.

The wedding was beautiful. My girls did amazing. I can't wait to share photos with you from the weekend...I don't have but a few of my own taken with David's camera...but Jeff's cousin is an amazing photographer and when I have some from her, I will share.

Sunday- we slept in and then spent the afternoon hanging out with family and drinking coffee. That afternoon, we had short family photo shoot with Kim and hit the road home at 6:30 pm. An hour or so into the drive, we ran into heavy snow through the Alaska Range, and what should be a 6 hour drive, turned into a 9 hour drive. Miserable, but we made it safely.

Today was the day of my Grandma's funeral. I had thought that this morning would be tough for me. I rolled out of bed at 8:15 am and jumped in the shower. Got ready and at 8:35 am, I got a phone call from my sister. Her words were, "Well, just wanted you to know that the funeral just got over and we're heading to the cemetary." And I laughed, because I slept through my Grandma's funeral!!!