Monday, September 29, 2008

Conversations with Elise

I recorded this one day while I was waiting for Fred to come home from work. Originally, I wanted to capture how excited she gets when she hears the garage door go up as Fred comes home from work. While waiting, I decided to chat with her, never really expecting a response. Imagine my surprise when she actually answered one of my questions!

She was telling the truth, by the way...

Edited to add: Apparently it's not quite clear what I'm asking her. I believe the direct quote is, "did you make the poopies or something?" I don't know why, but this is how we ask her if she's dropped a few kids off in her diaper.

The Totals

Just wanted to give you an update about the walk (written by fred):

On September 27, 2008, a team of 9 people - Gene, Susan, Claudia, Jackie, Ed, Del, Marcelo, Jonathan and Fred (Team Elise) - participated in the Walk to Cure Diabetes at Granite Park in Plano, TX and raised over $2,800 to help find a cure for diabetes.
Thank you so much to everyone who helped to make this walk a success - Gene for coming up with the idea and organizing the team, Claudia and Susan for all their work getting shirts and buttons together with so little time, Jackie, Ed, Del, Marcelo and Jonathan for raising money and being a part of Team Elise, DG FastChannel for donating the shirts and everyone who donated so generously and provided words of encouragement.

Ditto that.

For more pictures, go to:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Go Team Elise!

It's hard to believe that almost three weeks have passed since Elise was diagnosed with diabetes. It seems we have lived a lifetime already since then. We've received such wonderful support from friends, but it's still hard not to feel isolated. I've discovered how important it is to surround yourself with people who can understand what you're going through.
That's why I am so excited (and a little jealous - Elise's schedule doesn't allow us to be there) that Fred is taking part in the Walk to Cure Diabetes this Saturday. Fred, and his team of 7 other walkers will be walking in Plano, Texas this Saturday, along with half a million walkers across the country. If you're so inclined, you can join them! Thanks to our generous friends, Fred has raised $1875 in less than two weeks. You guys are AMAZING!!! If you would like to help us find a cure, donate here!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Poetry in Motion

Sigh... I love this picture. I love everything about it. Especially since it includes my two most favourite people in the whole wide world. I love how serene it makes me feel, and how nature's beauty bursts forth from its two-dimensional image. But most of all, I love what it represents. A father, walking alongside his daughter. Looking down at her with pride and love (okay, you can't see his face, but trust me... it's there). And she, at the moment, seems almost oblivious to his adoration and support, but will one day look back at this photograph and realize just how much her Poppa loves her.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Diabetes Dx Journey Part 2

If you haven't read Part 1, then this post might not make sense. To read it, click here.

I couldn't believe what I was hearing when Elise's doc told us we needed to take her to Children's Hospital that night. I am so thankful that we were surrounded by some wonderful friends that were at our house for Elise's birthday party. They stayed with us until we had packed our bags, and even cleaned up our house.

We had also called some friends to see if they could look after our dog Seven while we were at the hospital. Pam and Michael live all the way in Richardson, but *just happened* to be in Irving at an event. If you don't know DFW geography, Irving is right on the way to the hospital from our house. Pam and Michael took wonderful care of Seven, even keeping her for a few days after we got home so we could get settled.

On the way to the hospital, all sorts of thoughts ran through my mind, mostly ones where I blamed myself for Elise being sick. It was hard to believe that my daughter, who looked as healthy as any other baby, had this horrible disease raging inside of her. I was also so scared of the unknown. I didn't know what this meant for Elise right now and in her future. And was praying hard, that somewhere, someone had made a mistake.

We checked into the hospital Saturday night and didn't leave until Tuesday afternoon. Those days were a whirlwind of doctors, nurses, information, education and lots and lots of tears. We learned what diabetes is and isn't, how to test blood sugar, how to give insulin shots, how to count carbs and monitor Elise's diet so her blood sugar wouldn't get too high or too low, and what to do if it did.

I've made a lot of progress since we were released from the hospital a week ago. I can now give Elise her insulin without any help; something that would have sent me into hysterics before (I have a teeny-tiny aversion to needles. Actually, make that an incredibly huge phobia). I can more-or-less figure out her carb intake without getting a headache, although I still have a lot to learn in that department. Who knew algebra would EVER come in handy? Thank God I have a husband that uses that part of his brain... solving for x makes me cry.

And thankfully, I can look at my baby girl without the word "broken" tarnishing her beautiful face. I hate that I felt this way, but I'm beginning to see she's a little girl who happens to have diabetes. Just like like I'm a girl (okay, woman), who has horrible eyesight, or you're a person that suffers from migraines, or you might know someone with arthritis, or your brother who is autistic, or that girl you went to school with who had epilepsy.

You get my point? We all have our stuff, and it sucks. But it shouldn't define us. We're not broken, the world we live in is.

And one day I will be able to see without glasses and my little girl will never need to be poked with another needle, ever again.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Join Team Elise!

The following is an excerpt from an email Fred sent out: As some of you may know, our little baby girl Elise was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (also known as juvenile diabetes) just over a week ago. As you can imagine, it's been a rough few days for Joanne and I...
Inspired by my good friend Gene Moore, I've decided to take part in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Walk to Cure Diabetes. Gene and I will walk in Plano, TX and will be joined by another half million walkers across the country, as we try to reach our goal of raising $100 million.Type 1 diabetes is a devastating disease that affects millions of people—a large and growing percentage of them children. There is some good news, though. For the first time, scientists are predicting that we CAN expect to see a cure well within our lifetime!

If you would like to help financially, please donate here.
If you would like to join Gene and I on the walk on Saturday, September 27 at 9 AM, sign-up
We are so excited to be able to join the fight against diabetes. If you have the means, please join us either by donating, or walking with Team Elise!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Ebb and the Flow

It's been just over a week since we found out Elise has diabetes. I feel like I have cried a million tears already and I know more will come. I was talking to a friend yesterday and she told me I sounded very peaceful, which caught me totally off guard. I told her it was probably pure exhaustion, but I also realized that I also was feeling okay at the moment too.

Fast forward to about four hours later and I am absolutely coming apart in Fred's arms, asking him, "why her? Why now? Why not me?" I was a complete and utter mess, and what triggered it was looking at pictures of other babies and thinking, "those babies are completely healthy and Elise will never be that way again." I know, such a dangerous way of thinking.

Having never been through anything like this, I am now learning there is an ebb and a flow to grief and for now I am just going to have to figure out how to ride the wave so I can keep my head above the water.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Diabetes Dx Journey Part 1

A fluke. That is how we found out that Elise has diabetes. She had no symptoms, and we had no reason to suspect anything was wrong with her. Because she had been diagnosed with UTIs a few months ago, the doc decided to do a urine test at Elise's 12 month appointment just to make sure it was clean. I think they were as surprised as we were when they found sugar in her urine.

When I got the call Friday afternoon, my stomach dropped. The nurse said it could just be a mistake, and we should bring her in for a retest the next morning. I had a diabetic friend in junior high, so I knew what sugar in the urine meant. I hoped that it was just a mistake.

Saturday we were busy getting ready for Elise's first birthday party, there was a tonne of things to do, but first we had to go to the doctor's for the repeat urine test. We went home and waited for the news. When the doc called she said it was still positive for sugar, so she was waiting to see some results from the blood they had taken the day before. Fred had a lunch to go to, so I was home by myself when the doc called and told me we needed to take her for another blood test called a hemoglobin a1c. It would show us her blood sugar levels from the past few months.

So off we went to Children's Hospital ER in Plano. The reason we went to Plano was because (our doc's reasoning) it had only been open for 3 weeks, and wouldn't be as busy as Children's downtown. It wasn't really an emergency, but there wasn't anywhere we could get blood drawn and results back so quickly. We made it home only 10 minutes before her party was supposed to start.

We were about an hour into the party when we got the call. I started to cry and could barely think straight. Our doc told us we needed to check into Children's Hospital so they could monitor Elise. Stunned doesn't even begin to describe how we were feeling.

This post has started to get rather long, so I'm going to spread it out over a few posts. Again, if you have called or emailed and I haven't answered, I apologize. I'm still trying to process what this all means, and it's exhausting; both mentally and physically. I hope to be in touch soon.

Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Diabetes Info

I have had several people express interest in finding out more about the type of diabetes Elise has. A friend let me know about this website, and I thought I'd post it in case anyone else was interested. It truly warms my heart to know so many people care about Elise.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Home Now

We're home from the hospital. About 12 hours ago, the thought of that statement brought tears to my eyes. I was so scared to leave what had become a safe haven.

I am still scared, but I know I have two choices; I can turn tail and run, dissolve into a quivering mass of uselessness, and be of no good to anybody. Or I can dry my tears, tuck my fear away into my back pocket and face this horrible disease head-on. I choose the latter. In my 32 years on this planet, I have discovered I am not one to hide from hardship. I can take care of my daughter to the best of my ability, and rely on the support of those around me when I feel that I cannot go on.

There are some cool stories that have come out of this, and I hope to share them soon. Not only as a reminder for myself on those days when life has taken it's toll, but more so as a glimpse to others of how God is there, even in the depths of our despair.

I'll also share the story of how we discovered Elise had diabetes, it's an interesting one (at least to me), and really shows how your life can change in as little as 12 hours.

If you have called and I haven't gotten back to you, it's not that I've forgotten, I just need some time to rest right now. But you are on my mind and I am very thankful for you. Again, thank you to everyone for your prayers... I have felt them in my weakest moments.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Worst. Birthday Present. Ever.

Yesterday we found out that Elise has Type 1 Diabetes. She was admitted to Children's Hospital here in Dallas for some testing. We should be here for the next couple of days. Hopefully I'll be able to post more info when I get the time. Right now we ask for your prayers.


That's the one word that keeps reverberating in my brain. My little girl is broken and I can't fix her. It doesn't matter that I tried to take the very best care of her that I could, there's nothing I can do to thwart this disease from affecting my daughter.

It also describes the state of my heart right now. I know in the grand scheme of things, diabetes is something that is manageable. But who in their right mind would wish a lifetime of finger sticks and insulin shots on their child? The more I learn about the road that lies ahead, the more my heart hurts.

This isn't how it was supposed to be.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, Little Bean!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Birthday Countdown: Month 12

Month 12... the final month before she turns one year old. Elise started saying other words besides hi this month; she added Momma, Poppa, bye, and eye (while pointing at your eye, her eye, her stuffed dog's eye) to her repertoire. She also seemed to understand the concept of hi and bye; using each one in the proper situation. And, of course, always accompanied by a wave. She also started barking like a dog whenever she saw Seven. Or any other dog, stuffed or real. Come to think of it, she barks when she sees a cat, fish or bird too.

Elise decided this month she was big enough to start feeding herself. Not that I let it happen a lot. Because I just don't enjoy scraping food off the ceiling. But she's getting pretty good at it, and can actually get it into her mouth with a little guidance. She also likes to drink from my glass or water bottle. It's pretty funny; she gets so excited when she sees me drink, she opens her mouth really wide and starts panting like a dog (that's Elise speak for "Gimme some!"). Whenever she does get a sip of water (from her cup or mine), she lets out a refreshed little, "Ahhhhh". A little trick she picked up from her Poppa.

Elise is now getting pretty good at walking while holding onto something, and is also an accomplished dancer (as you may have seen already... sorry, this video just cracks me up). Her other new skill from this month is blowing kisses. She is quite adept at getting into everything and anything... especially the kitchen cupboards. I think it might be time for me to come out of baby proofing denial.

And thus ends my birthday countdown. This past your has been a tough, frustrating, amazing, and fantastic journey. I feel very blessed to be Elise's Momma. She has a very independent, but sweet spirit. And a crazy, fun personality too. Thank you Lord, for blessing me with this little girl, she is above and beyond what I prayed for.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Birthday Countdown: Month 11

Elise became more and more interactive with other kids this month; waving and saying hi to them when she'd see them in a store. I know most babies like other kids, but with Elise, it's a bit over the top! It's very cute to watch how excited she gets when she spies another baby. With all the arm flapping going on, you'd swear she trying to get airborne! It's definitely convinced me that Elise is not meant to be an only child.

Elise also started standing on her own for a few seconds this month. I noticed when she was holding onto the coffee table, every once in awhile she would let go and balance herself for about 2-3 seconds before grabbing back onto the table. As the days went by, she became more and more brave. Everyone keeps telling me she'll be walking in no time. Insert a sarcastic "yay" here.

With Elise becoming more active, and the weather getting so stupidly hot, this was a very tough month for both of us. Neither of us enjoyed being stuck indoors, and it took it's toll on our moods. I can already tell Elise has a great love for being outside and can't wait for cooler weather so we can play at some of the local parks.

Tomorrow is Elise's last day before she turns one! My tiny baby has become so grown-up. I can remember back to the days when she was only a few months old, and I kept wishing she was older so she would be more interactive and fun. Now that it's here, I long for the days when she would sit still in my arms. Funny how that happens...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Birthday Countdown: Month 10

Elise finally decided to get up off her butt and crawl this month. And thus ended my days of putting her down and being able to leave the room for a few minutes with the knowledge that she'd pretty much stay exactly where I left her. A moment of silence, please. She also started pulling up on any available object, and thought it was a neat game to sweep everything off of the coffee table and onto the floor. Because a living room floor really does look better with books, magazines and coasters littered all over it. I think it's going to be the new trend this fall for decorating. You heard it here first.

Unfortunately, Elise came down with two more UTIs this month. Her doctor decided it was best to do a CT Scan on Elise so we could see if there was an infection in her kidneys. This meant they needed to sedate Elise. It was hard to put her though all that, and I wasn't even allowed to be in the room as they did the scan. They did let me be with her as she went to sleep, but was it ever tough to walk out of that room. I did ask the anesthesiologist if he could come by our house every day right before nap time. I don't think he got that I wasn't kidding...

Thankfully, the test results all came back normal. It just seems that our little girl is prone to UTIs and hopefully it's something she'll grow out of. Despite not feeling well, Elise continued to be a fun, happy, outgoing little girl. She definitely is one tough cookie!