Saturday, November 29, 2008

So Check me Out...

Just wanted to give you a heads up about my other blog (henceforth to be referred to as MOB); Death of a Pancreas. It's brand-spankin' new, so there's not a lot on there... yet. But I'm hoping to make it all shiny and sparkly soon.

It's going to be about life with a baby that has diabetes, so I'm assuming it won't hold a lot of interest to most of you who read this blog, but if you do know someone who is going through the same struggle as Fred and I, please let them know about Death of a Pancreas. I'm hoping to use it as a way to encourage others, and maybe even pass along a little of my solid, three-month expertise (she said, sarcastically) along.

Let me know what you think... and thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


As we ate our Thanksgiving fondue, Fred and I discussed the three most important things we're thankful for. He very eloquently told me how thankful he is for me, our daughter, and his work. And while I can't quote him verbatim, he did say some very sweet and touching things. He also said he was thankful for HDTV, but I'm thinking that was a joke. Then again, he IS a guy...

I am first and foremost thankful for my husband, Fred. I am thankful that he is such a hard worker, with an ethic that people should aspire to. He holds 100% of the burden of a paycheque on his shoulders, and never gripes about it (unlike me, who has been know to complain about the majority of household tasks being my responsibility). While we are hardly untouched during this time of economic uncertainty; I know we will weather this storm and come though okay, because he has been such an amazing provider. I am thankful for the man that he is, a shining example to Elise of what a man should be.

Of course I am thankful for Elise. This world would be a much darker place without her. I wake up every morning, excited to go into her room, and greet the new day with her. Not a day goes by that she doesn't make me laugh. She has gone through more in her past 15 months than some people go through in a lifetime, and it has shown me what a fighter she is. But underneath that determined personality is a sweet, loving spirit. She makes me aspire to be a better mom, and person. And she has even taught me that I am so much stronger than I give myself credit for.

The third thing I am thankful for? Insulin. Without it, Elise would not be alive. So thank you, Frederick Grant Banting (a Canadian!).

So what are you thankful for? I'd love to know!

We don't need no Stinkin' Turkey!

This Thanksgiving we decided to do things a little differently. Rather, I did. We were going to invite some friends over and do the whole turkey/stuffing/pumpkin pie thing, but then last week Fred came down with some sort of crud, and while he didn't get all that sick, he did pass it onto Elise and I, who fared a little bit worse. Plus Elise's numbers have been really high again, making her a bit of a hand full. So we ended up dis-inviting (uninviting?) our friends (sorry Pam and Michael - thanks for being so awesomely understanding). Then I got to thinking; do I really want to make a turkey with all the trimmings for just the three of us?

So I discussed it with Fred and the decision to do a non-traditional Thanksgiving was unanimous. First we started off with a bit of lunch: Prosciutto, marinated mozzarella, roasted garlic & monterey jack cheese bread, and tomatoes with fresh basil. Ever so yummy!

A few hours later we moved onto the main course... Cheese Fondue! I make it from a traditional Swiss recipe that my dad gave to me, and I think it's better than what they serve at the Melting Pot. Just my opinion. And Fred's. And pretty much everyone else who has tried it. Fred and I discussed what we were thankful for (a post on that coming soon!), and then stuffed ourselves full of gooey, cheesy goodness.

We ended the day with a wee bit of tradition; homemade pumpkin pie. I'm a bit ticked that the crust didn't come out all that well, but it sure didn't mess up the taste. Even Elise got to try a bit (pumpkin pie has a lot of carbs, but I gave it to her without the crust, and made it a part of her dinner).

I have to say that I enjoyed our non-traditional Thanksgiving. Maybe we'll make it OUR tradition! Since we're not American, Thanksgiving isn't that big of a deal for us anyway.

Hope your Thanksgiving was just as much fun as ours.

Elise enjoying her first taste of pumpkin pie

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What do YOU think?

The first picture is me 10 years ago, with a short-ish hair cut. The second is me about 10 days ago, with my hair flat-ironed and styled (a rarity for me!) My question is this, can I pull off the short-ish hair, or should I leave well enough alone? I am well aware of my head's "short", er, "long-comings" (Fred likes to call me banana head, but in a totally loving way). Longer is totally easier for me, but I'm a bit bored with the long locks.

What do YOU think?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I'm glad I don't say half the things that I Think

Said to Fred and I in an elevator at the parking garage in Southlake Town Center by a teenage boy:

Him (looking at Elise who was wearing a purple hoodie with butterflies on it): Girl or boy?

Fred: Girl

Him: How old?

Fred: Almost 15 months

Him: Cherish her, man. You gotta cherish them at this age. They grow up so fast. Next thing you know they turn into us (indicating his group of friends).

Thank you son of Dr. Phil. I loooooove taking advice from a 16 year old who isn't bright enough to wear a jacket in 39 degree weather. Not to mention he thinks a baby wearing purple butterflies could possibly be a boy. I mean, these Southlake teens have done some hard livin', driving around in their Daddy's H3. Gotta give them props for their words of wisdom, yo.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Marianne Faith No Morrisey

I think I wrote somewhere on my blog that I wake up with a song in my head every morning. It's true, whether it be a fun They Might Be Giants tune or the more classic "Graceland" by Paul Simon; my brain is a IPod and it's always on shuffle.

I have no clue why this happens, or how my brain makes the song choice. I could be dreaming about Fred and I being one of the final three teams in the Amazing Race, and the last task is figuring out the carb amount of half of a turkey sandwich (no crusts), a cup of yogurt and a banana. On the opposing team is my math teacher from junior high who basically told me I was as dumb as a box of rocks when it came to math. Well in this instance, I totally kick him in the slide-ruler when solving for x, and take off for the finish line. There, the Philiminator greets me with one raised eyebrow and an announcement that Fred and I are the winners of the Amazing Race.

I start to wonder why the cheering crowd suddenly sounds more like a crying baby, and I slowly swim my way to the surface of consciousness. Then my brain kicks in and I hear:

This old heart of mine
Been broke a thousand times.
Each time you break away,
Feel you're gone to stay.

Really, brain? Rod Stewart? I win the Amazing Race and the best you can do is Rod Stewart?

Apparently my brain is a 40-something year old housewife who likes to throw panties at unbelievably ancient singers.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Keeping my Mouth shut... For Once

I'm not really big on being controversial on my blog. That's not really what it's about, and I find that controversy brings out the crazies. I just want to enjoy my own little corner of the world-wide-web-super-highway, and have the crazies leave me alone. This post, however, may have me sticking my toe in the cold, cold waters of controversy.

It's all because of a Mom I met at story time today. She piqued my interest because she was visiting from Canada (She was from Texas and had married a Canadian). We started talking, and somehow found our way to socialized medicine. This is our conversation as best as I can remember:

Her: Yeah, the whole medical system thing up there (meaning Canada) is a joke, they wouldn't even pay for me to have my baby. I had to cover the whole cost, but as soon as she was born, she was covered. I had to wait two years to get coverage.

Me: That's weird, aren't you married to a Canadian?

Her: Yeah.

Me: What's your status?

Her: Landed immigrant, permanent resident.

Me: That's just bizarre, when my husband lived up there, he was a landed immigrant, but had medical.

Her: (not being very forthcoming) Well, yeah. I mean at the time I was just a visitor. I didn't get my landed immigrant status until later, after she was born.

In my mind I was saying, so let me get this straight, you were a visitor to my country, had no legal right to any services, but thought just because you were having your baby in Canada gives you the right to have the delivery covered by the taxpayers??? Ohhhh, I so wanted to ask her what her thoughts were on illegal immigrants coming to the U.S. and doing the same thing. Something tells me she would be VERY against illegal immigration.

Not wanting to start a brawl at the library in this very affluent part of town, I said nary a word in response to what she had just said. But I'm telling you, it ticked me off. For several reasons that I'm not going into, because I don't feel like ranting today.

This is NOT a post on my views on illegal immigrants, although anyone who knows me and our story of how painful it is to LEGALLY immigrate here should know where I stand. Rather, it's just a little ditty about how critical, and hypocritical some people can be.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

She Thinks the Amazing Race is Mooooo-velous

I have two shows that I really and truly follow. By that I mean if my bum is not firmly planted on the sofa in front of the TV when they are on, then I am taping them. Or DVRing them. Or rather Fred is because I keep forgetting how to. I think Elise has more ability to operate our DVD player than I do. Anyway, one of those shows is Lost, and the other is the Amazing Race.

So I finally get around to watching Sunday's episode of the Amazing Race this afternoon while Elise is napping. Unfortunately, for reasons only known to her, she decides to cut her nap short, with about 15 minutes to go in the episode. I figure, what the heck, it's only 15 minutes... I can finish it off while she hangs with me.

One of the tasks in the episode had teams wandering around Almaty, Kazakhstan in a cow costume. Elise found this particularly entertaining and jumped off the sofa, ran up to the TV while yelling, "Cow! Cow! Cow! Moooooooooooooooo!" She stayed glued to the TV set for the rest of the show, mooing every time the cow would appear.

Amazing Race, you have just won yourself another fan.

Edited to add: apparently, we don't actually have a DVR. It's a DVD that has recording capability. I thought the two were one and the same, but a DVR has a hard drive. So I stand corrected and have learned my new thing for the day. So I guess I can finally go to bed, safe in the knowledge that I'm technologically stupid. And you know what? I am so okay with that.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Meaning of a Cure

Diabetes is a disease of "right now", and "what may come". "Right now" I have the painful tasks of giving my 14 month old daughter daily injections, and poking her finger to check her blood sugar. I diligently count her carb intake and walk that frustrating tightrope of her blood sugar being too high or too low. But that's not what scares me. That I can handle. I mostly fear the "what may come" part of this disease. The inability to manage diabetes brings risks of kidney failure (requiring lifetime dialysis), blindness, strokes, and amputation. Just having the disease means that Elise is expected to live 14 years shorter than average life expectancy. And perhaps most heartbreaking, any inattention to her treatment could mean that she may never be able to bear 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. It's something I dream about for my daughter, a hope so tangible that my heart races with excitement when I think about it. I don't think I've ever wanted anything so badly. I do not dare despair that it might never happen for her, for that would be admitting victory for diabetes.

So for now, I'll hold onto the hope for a cure, praying that "what may come" never will. For Elise, or anyone else.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Walking the (real) Dog

All safety measures were observed during the taking of this photo. All squirrels were cleared from the area, lest Seven take off after one with Elise in tow. Yes, I let my child play in the street.

Have You Hugged Your (stuffed) Dog Today?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I am not Kidding

Dear Person or Persons in charge of Daylight Savings Time,

Yes I know the time change was a few days ago, so this may seem a little late. You see, it took me a few days to put my thoughts down in writing because I've been wandering around my house trying to figure out WHAT BLOODY TIME IT IS.

It seems some of my clocks are smarter than me and change on their own. Some, my husband changed on Sunday. And some others still display the "old" time. My problem is, I can't figure out which is which.

So, on to my issue with you. I hate the very concept of Daylight Savings Time (here fore to be referred to as DST). It is, quite simply, a load of crap. I don't care that on some farm in a far away land it make the cows happy, or what ever bull you're touting, but it screws with my life and it must stop. And I don't appreciate the propaganda the local news is spewing by telling me, "You gain an EXTRA hour!" That, is pure crap of the highest degree.

We're onto you, yes we are. Who are we? We are the parents of children who cannot tell time, and ergo do not give a flip about your stinking time change. We are the parents of children who are now waking up a FULL HOUR EARLIER than normal now, because of a reason that no longer exists. My daughter, has decided to add an extra half hour to that, because that's how she rolls.

An hour may not seem like a lot to you, but when your days are filled with house-cleaning, meal-preparing, child-rearing, errand-running, diaper-changing, laundry-washing, and nose-wiping; and you do it all while suffering from the 500th consecutive bad hair day, AND quite certain that you have poop smeared somewhere on your person (because why else is that smell following you around the house like the dog when she's hungry), well then, I would say an hour is HUGE.

So I am urging you, PLEASE, for the love of all that is holy... do away with DST. Or I shall be forced to hunt you down, find out where you live and start banging away on your bedroom window an hour before you usually get up. I will also knee you in the groin for the extra half hour. Because that is how I roll.

Monday, November 3, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance?

Warning: this is a tad long. I write it mostly because I've been hearing from a lot of people that they think diabetes is just giving Elise a shot once in awhile. I'm not writing it for myself, but so others will know what parents of kids with diabetes go through on a daily basis.

Being a mother of an infant/baby/toddler is exhausting. Being a mother of a toddler with diabetes is exhausting. Times ten. Million. Aside from all the injections, carb counting, blood sugar and ketone testing I do; my mind is constantly spinning from all the thinking and planning that taking care of Elise entails. Each step of my day is a carefully choreographed dance. I have memorized most of the moves through repetition, but sometimes I have to improvise depending on the situation. Click here to see Fred's flow chart - it's almost like a "Choose your Own Adventure Book"!

For example, my morning routine looks something like this: Get her up, change her diaper, save said diaper in case I need to test for ketones. Don't forget to put cotton balls in the diaper in case I have to test for ketones later! Test her blood sugar. It's low - get some juice in her asap. It's high - test for ketones and perhaps call the doctor. It's normal - breathe a prayer of relief. After all that business is taken care of, it's time to nurse her. It's one of the few times I get to sit down, relax and turn my brain off. A lot of people think I'm weird because I'm still nursing her. Are you kidding me? It's the only "me time" I get during the day.

Nursing is done, time to start preparing her meal so I can give her insulin. She needs to eat about 5-10 minutes after her injection, so I need to have breakfast all ready to go before I can give her the shot. Her meal must consist of at least 15 grams of carbs; so I have a scale to weigh the food, a scrap piece of paper and a calculator to figure it all out. Gone are the days of just putting some food on a plate. While I'm preparing the meal, my monologue is punctuated with, "Elise, stop that. Elise, hands off. Elise get off of there, put that back, come here, take that out of your mouth, don't open that..." Well, you get the idea. After her meal is all ready to go, I prep the insulin, give her the shot, put her in her high chair and it's time to eat.

After I'm done feeding her, it's usually about 10:00, and I'm feeling woozy because I haven't eaten yet. Sometimes I'm not done with breakfast and clean-up until 11:00, and then it's almost time for lunch. Sigh, the dance begins again.

Diabetes is a disease that keeps you on your toes. Throughout the day I'm constantly wondering, "Is she high? Is she low? Should I feed her a snack? What if she goes low during her nap? What will I give her for lunch? How many carbs are in 40 cheerios anyway?" In case you care, it's about 4 grams.

If you think leaving the house with a baby is hard, add diabetes to the mix. In addition to the diaper bag I also have to make sure I have a whole other bag o' goodies; apple juice in case she goes low, the emergency kit in case she passes out, the BG testing kit, sippy cup with water, extra supplies for the testing kit. If we're going to be out during a meal time I need to pack the insulin with ice in a cooler bag, bring needles, alcohol pads, her carefully planned out meal, and some "free foods" (foods with no carbs that she can eat in case she finishes her meal and is still hungry). It's a lot of crap to haul around and it's no wonder my back hurts!

I keep a watchful eye out for things that could harm her. A mother at story-time offering her a snack without checking with me. Elise picking up another child's sippy cup with juice in it and trying to drink from it. My heart breaks when I am eating a snack and Elise holds her hands out for some. These days I try not to eat in front of her (or only eat when she does).

We keep a daily log of all her BG tests (usually 7+ per day), her carb intake (3 meals + snacks), and her insulin (3 shots per day, sometimes 4). We email them weekly to the endocrinologist so they can make changes. If there are changes to her bedtime insulin, we have to test her at 2 a.m. to make sure she doesn't go too low. If she is low, we have to wake her up and give her some juice to get her BG back up, and re-test in an hour. There's something darkly comical about forcing a sippy cup on your child as she sits bleary-eyed in her crib at 2:30 in the morning. Luckily, my wonderful husband takes care of most of those incidents, although I do get up for the force-feeding fun. Thanks for the extra sleep time, Freddie!

We do get off a bit easy... If Elise is high during the night, we don't give her insulin to correct her. Parents of older kids have to do this, and then check in one and two hours to make sure the child doesn't go low. If they over-correct, they have to wake their child up and give them fast-acting carbs. It really is like walking a tight-rope.

I've left out a lot of stuff, mostly because this is getting obscenely long. My point is this; the dance of diabetes is a difficult, tiring one; full of dips and twirls that will make you dizzy if you let them. A lot of the time the steps are tricky, and cause you to fall. And it would be so easy to just lay on the ground and cry from the hurt of it all. But in the end, you always get up. Because your child's life depends on it.

Not only do I have to dance the dance everyday, one day I will need to teach Elise the steps as well. If you know a mother (or father!) of a child with diabetes, let them know that they are an amazing dancer; more graceful and dedicated than any of those people on that stupid show I stole the title from.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Recap

What a fun Halloween we had with our little duck. We decided to go trick-or-treating just before it got dark, because we weren't sure how long Elise would last. We only hit up the houses of friends and neighbours that we know, because it really was for the experience... not the candy. No, I'm serious!

Elise seemed to get the hang of it after just a few houses. She never cried, or got scared. She'd walk up to the door holding Poppa's hand and when the person came to the door, she'd hold out her little pumpkin bucket and then peek in to see what goodies she had received.

When we returned home, we put on our porch light and commenced the handing out of candy. Business was pretty slow, but I did notice a few things:
  • Parents were DRIVING their kids from house to house. Seriously, a car or van would pull up to our driveway, kids would get out, knock on our door, get the candy, and run back to the vehicle. They would then DRIVE to the next house where the process would start anew. Come on people, or we SERIOUSLY that lazy? How sad and lame have we become that we can't even partake in the fun tradition of running from door to door? I can't tell you how much that ticks me off. If anyone has a good reason as to why parents do this, I'm all ears. I'm betting that there isn't one though.
  • I'm pretty generous when it comes to handing out candy. Every kid gets at least three, sometimes four pieces of candy. As I was putting candy into one kids bag, he reached up into the bowl and grabbed three or four more chocolate bars. I was holding the bowl about chest high and clearly not offering the bowl to him. One thing I hate as much as laziness is bad manners.
  • I didn't see a lot of the "aren't you a little too old for this" crowd. The kids we got were mostly in the right age range for Halloween. Good to see.
  • I'm not sure, but I think a guy down towards the end of our street dressed his dog up as a klan member. Fred and I discussed it after we walked by and Fred was of the mindset that surely he wouldn't. But I can't really think of what else it could be. The dog was wearing a white cloak and a pointy white hat (or whatever they call those headthings they wear). I was really at a loss, and am hoping I just missed something.

Whew, I didn't mean for this to get so long. Hope your Halloween was just as fun (but lacking dogs dressed up in a hateful manner).