Our sweetie pies

Our sweetie pies

Saturday, April 30, 2011

a group of diabetics

Last night I met with fellow diabetic families. There is a non profit group that just happened to land right around the corner from our house. We have both lived in this neighborhood for over four years now but we never discussed diabetes until we were recently diagnosed. We used to take walks past their house and notice the words on their van: "DiabatesOutdoors.org", but we didn't even understand what diabetes was or is.

Now we are a part of this group. Now we call on this couple in times of crisis. The husband has been living with type 1 diabetes for over 30 years and his son now was just diagnosed a few years ago.

so last night, I found myself at a coffee house table in the wind, outside, as we watched the sun set. There were two other couples there and two other moms. All of us are living with children, minors that have type 1 diabetes.

Most of the kids of these parents are living with insulin pumps but for us and one other newly diagnosed family, we are both still giving many shots a day and checking their blood constantly.

The other newbie was diagnosed in December, us in February. Both of us still in scary phase.

The leader of the meeting last night, brought a topic for us to think about: Diabetes in a disaster situation. Such as: a tsnunami hits in Japan and you suddenly don't have any insulin and you are a type 1 diabetic. what do you do?

For so many uneducated people out there...no insulin for those of us that live in insulin dependent families; that means just like it sounds, they are insulin dependent. If you are oxygen dependent and you suddenly don't have oxygen; the inevitable will happen. For the non diabetic person, your body makes insulin. For the type 1 diabetic, their body doesn't. Without insulin, your body malfunctions and slowly dies.

In the ol' days, type 1 diabetics, would have just mysteriously died. Now we diagnose and give insulin.

In addition to that heavy topic, we also had a side conversation about colleges, since myself and another mom have teenagers trying to fund their colleges of choice.

Other moms discussed the trials and scares of leaving their child at school everyday and getting calls from their children that they are low and need to be treated. Since my child is 3, I just can't imagine yet, leaving her to the care of others for hours on end. not yet.

We also discussed the constant misconceptions of type 1 diabetes. No, it is NOT like type 2 diabetes! I wish they would just rename the two different conditions. Type 2 diabetes can go away. Your body still makes insulin, your body just can't absorb all that it needs, so a pill is taken to help your body absorb the insulin. You have to watch your diet and exercise. In type 1 diabetes, it is an autoimmune disease! your body just stops making insulin. because of this, your kidneys start to malfunction and your body creates acid that is a toxin and makes you sick. this can turn fatal. This disease does not go away. Insulin is given for almost everything that you eat and your blood sugar levels are monitored constantly, forever. very different!

We also discussed the difference in healthcare. some of us have excellent doctors (such as myself) and some are frustrated by decisions their doctors make. so thankful for our insurance and our fantastic doctor!

As I watched the group of us, I realized that we are all people that understand type 1 diabetes. We all have different careers or musical interests or religious beliefs or school of choice for our children. We have lives outside of diabetes. But WE have all had to learn about type 1 diabetes. We all put our cell phones on the table in front of us as we sat down to enjoy our drinks. Not for soccer updates but in case their is a concern from our caregivers about our child or children.

I find myself changing hats all day. When I take my son to speech class, I am an informed parent. I am a trained special ed teacher. I am a seasoned mom. I am a mom of twins. I am a mom of a type 1 diabetic child. I am a writer. I have a teenager deciding on college. I am a Christian. I am a daughter. I have lost my father. I am a friend. I am a sister. I am a wife. so many hats. so many topics to educate others on or connect with others on. It can be exhausting.

Last night, one woman said that she knew of a mom of a diabetic child that doesn't like to talk with other moms of diabetics because she just wants to forget about it for awhile. and then we said how we like talking with each other because part of our life isn't hidden from the other person. we don't have to explain it. we just understand each other and can just start discussing college issues.

support groups are important and thankfully I was gathered into this one. We all would love to trade in our labels and not have this in common anymore but we do and we are.

so please take the time to educate someone on what living with type 1 diabetes really means. start a blog. read mine.

In my spare time, I will tell you anything you want to know.

Friday, April 29, 2011

College funds

Yesterday we were so encouraged about the direction things were taking regarding which college my daughter is to attend.

This afternoon, when we talked with the financial aid counselor again on the phone, we realized that we are still short funds. The large grant helped but even with some loans, we are still short what we need.

so now what?

My daughter again feels that junior college would work for a year and then transfer her sophomore year to this college. She would save money.

But then, she has worked so hard to get to this place. All of her friends are headed off to great schools.

Why should she have to go to a junior college when she worked so hard to get into a university?

The door is not shut yet.

I am praying that God will surprise her and provide for her financially to attend this school.

our deadline to accept is May 2. My husband's birthday. We have two more days for God to do mightier things.

He can part a sea, he can make a blind man see, he can feed thousands with fish and bread, he can walk on water, and he can raise the dead.

If he wants her to attend this school, he will provide.

and I wait with expectant eyes and arms to see him build our faith.

please pray with us.

God can do above and beyond what we ask for.

Out of $38,000, we need $9000 more.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Now that my second eldest daughter is enrolled in the private school that we had prayed for, for so long, we are able to turn our attention to our eldest daughter.

The first night home from the hospital when our sweetie was diagnosed was the night that my eldest applied to this college. I remember dozing in and out of sleep on the couch as she kept asking me questions and guidance for her application. I finally told her to just submit the application online. It was the deadline and it was now or never. She hit the submit button and the rest is history.

She received her acceptance phone call and email and package in the mail. My husband and her were able to take a campus tour and ask questions. They both loved the school. Then they went into the financial aid office and met with the adviser. They were told that the financial aid package we thought we were able to receive was not accurate. Based on our reported income, we only qualified for very minimal funding which left a substantial amount for us to come up with.

Their car ride home was solemn. My husband had said that until that moment when they received the devastating news, he would have signed the paperwork that afternoon. They both loved the school for her so much.

We made several phone calls to the financial aid office and the admittance counselor and they confirmed that we could not afford their school. This just didn't seem right to me. I began looking over our paperwork and the financial information that we had submitted and remember standing in the kitchen, leaning over the counter with papers spread everywhere, phone in one hand, when I caught an error! Income had been reported twice! no wonder we didn't qualify for financial aid! We didn't make that much! I am unemployed!

I immediately call the financial aid office and tell them of the error that I have found. They advise me that I have to go online and update our information and they will call us when they see the changes on their end.

My husband fixed the errors and printed the new update. We then emailed the confirmation page to the admittance counselor. and waited.

The counselor called us and told us that our changes made a difference. They could now offer us a grant and we qualified for a federal grant too. This helped but we were still missing funding. When my daughter looked over the new paperwork, she noticed that a substantial federal grant was missing from the financial aid offer. She thought with our new information that she should qualify for this grant.

I called financial aid again. The counselor told me that she would look into the grant since we should qualify now. She called back a few days later and said that my daughter did not qualify due to her gpa. She advised us to call her high school counselor and see if this was an error. This year, our daughter was maintaining a 4.0 gpa.

Our daughter spoke with the school counselor the next day and he felt that yes indeed, the reported gpa was an error and it could be fixed and she could get that grant! Our decision for this college was beginning to rest on this grant. It was substantial and we didn't think we could afford it otherwise. She was told to come back the next day and the office would confirm the gpa and correct it for the grant.

When she went back, another counselor was there and informed her that her gpa was accurate and she did not qualify for the grant.

A big deflating balloon floated by.

The first counselor joined the conversation and they all three were convinced by calculations that indeed the first counselor was correct. no grant.

She texted me the news.

I called the counselor myself to plead our case and ask his advice. He felt that she should keep her sights on this college and try to transfer as a sophomore after her first year at the junior college. I called the college counselor and ran this by him, and he agreed that that was a viable solution. He said that she could keep her grants and would qualify for more financial aid the following year due to her senior grades. In the meantime, he would email financial aid for me and ask if there was anything else the college could offer us.

When my daughter came home from school today, we discussed all of the happenings and concluded that the junior college for one year then the college of her choice would be sufficient.

Then we received the phone call.

It was a missed call on my cell phone. It was the college of her choice.

I was standing out back watching the younger kids play in the splash pool as it was a very hot day today. I was trying to play the message back and was pressing buttons to change the receiver on my phone from blue tooth to hand set to speaker phone. I missed half of the message. All I caught was ...good news! we are able to offer $10,000!...

wait, what!!?!

I frantically press buttons and try to start replaying the message.

I ran over to my daughter sitting on this computer, contemplating her future, or checking facebook, one or the other. I say "Listen to this!!!"

"We are pleased to be able to offer you another grant in addition to the scholarship that we have already awarded you. This grant was actually $300 more than the federal grant that we had tried to receive! What's interesting about this grant is that it is about the same amount of money but it is college specific so it clearly defines which college she should attend!

We feel sure that God is now pointing a big red arrow at this school for us!

We are still ironing out details and still praying the last of the funding to work out. But right now, we are trusting that God never completely shut that door for a reason and strengthened our faith and prayer time to clearly let God lead us down the road to her future!

Praise God!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

those darn test strips

I was sitting in the parking lot today of the school that my son attends for speech classes when my mom texted me that my diabetic daughter was crying and desperately wanting pretzels. I said "have you checked her?!, you need to check her first!"

She texted back that she had tried but wasn't successful. She couldn't get enough blood on the test strip to get an accurate reading.

We texted back and forth a few moments as I tried to advise her. My son was due to be out of his class in fifteen minutes and I couldn't leave, so I just had to guide her through cell phone.

I finally called her to see what the situation was.

Earlier that day, I had had to leave in a hurry to get my other daughter to school first and then my son. I had checked my sweetie's blood sugar levels and she was over 300. So I gave her 1/2 a unit to bring her levels back down and then told my mom to just feed her upto 15 grams. until I got back. I said a cup of milk and an egg would be fine.

well, after I left, my sweetie was too involved in computer games and didn't want to eat. So my mom had decided to wait to feed her.

Now almost an hour later, my sweetie was crying and wanting to eat. which to us parents of diabetic children usually means "CHECK blood sugar levels!!!"

So when my mom answered the phone, I could hear my sweetie in the background crying. My mom said that she had tried testing her twice and still couldn't get enough blood on the test strip.

Now I was beginning to panic. My mom kept saying "She's just hungry". I thought "no.no.no. she is dropping! TEST HER!!!"

My mom asks if I can come home. NO! now what??????

I suddenly think of our Godsend. The neighbors that God purposefully gave us when he knew that down the road we would need them. The mom that has a type 1 diabetic son and type 1 diabetic husband. The advocates and activity providers for diabetic families.

I tell my mom, "Give her smarties NOW! just in case. and I will call our neighbor to come over and help.

My mom finally agrees and thank goodness, the neighbor answers her phone. As other times, I have gotten her machine. She says she will go over right now and help.

Praise God. Praise God. Praise God. and a big Halleluiah!

I get a new text from my mom...Do we have any more test strips?

Oh my goodness.

yes, in the garage, in the pink box, above the toys, on the shelf.

The neighbor also had trouble. She finally decided that the gadget that puts the little hole in your finger needed to be adjusted.

She adjusted.



216 after a roll of smarties and some pretzels.

My educated guess is that she was dropping below 100 because after all of that and a roll of smarties she was 216.

crisis over and now she can eat lunch.

a moment of silence again.

big sigh of relief

by now I had walked over to get my son.

I had been receiving status updates on my phone and trying to quickly text back more directions as I was walking. I thought how the other mothers waiting to pick up their kids had no idea how serious my frantic textings were. They probably thought I was just chatting as they do. As most moms do that don't have diabetic children to worry about left at home in someone else's care.

Crisis was now over. She was 216. A reasonable number.

Of course last night a friend that was type 2 diabetic was telling me how excited she was that her numbers had dropped from 150 to 105. I don't completely understand type 2 diabetes, but thought "you just don't even know! we still go from 406 to 70 in 24 hours!"

so 216. we're good again.

My original plan before all of this was that I wanted to treat us to In & out burger on the way home.

Now I felt confident that we could take the time. and enjoy.

and take a deep breath.

God's will

It's funny how you try and try to make things happen and they never come together and then you turn your back and watch something else just fall together and be done before you had time to even think about it.

When things effortlessly come together; that is God.

when we try and try and try; that is us.

Just last week I was talking with my mentor about how much I love meeting with her and want to continue as long as we can. She assured me that she loved meeting with me too and she had another book in mind that we could study together when we finished our current book.

Today when we met, we could only spend about twenty minutes together as my schedule has gotten so tight now that three of my kids attend three separate schools! Answered prayer but along with it, has cut my mentor time availability. As she left today, she said that she didn't know when we could meet now and felt that God had given us a great time and now it was time to switch to an on call basis.


I know I have watched this scene in a movie before. just can't think of which one. maybe Lord of the Rings again. Frodo is given just a little bit of information, just what he needs to know. "Don't lose the ring" "Stay off of the main road". "I will meet you later with more instructions". what a leap of faith for Frodo. He doesn't know what he is in for. He doesn't know the history of the ring. He just knows to follow directions.

In the current Bible study that I am doing by Priscilla Shirer she discusses this very point. She talks about how we as humans, tend to want all of the answers right now! We ask for God to show us his will and lay it out all before us.

But if Frodo knew all the danger he was in for; would he have agreed to take the ring? The end result was to destroy the ring and bring peace back to the world but he would almost starve to death, almost be murdered, be tormented mentally; and physically lose most of his friends and several friends would die on the journey. would he have done it if he had known?

would we?

Would I have still had my twins if I had known that one would be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 3? Would I have worked at a record store years ago when I knew one day I would be held up at gun point? Would I have flown to Norway if I had known that I would come down with a flu on the plane?

I was just discussing this with my teenage daughter the other day. She was talking about how she doesn't want to have regrets especially now that she knows personally a family (our friends) that just lost their son at age 19. She is rethinking priorities or opportunities in her life and doesn't want to pass up on some.

"It is better to have loved and lost then to never have loved at all". In the wise words of Alfred Lord Tennyson.

I think our friends would agree that they wouldn't do anything different even though they lost their son at 19. Neither would my other friend that lost her baby at 5 months to cancer. And neither would I trade in any of my children for less heartache.

God gives us what we need for each moment that we need it and that is all we need.

My time was over before I had planned for with my mentor but God had a season for us and now wants me to put into practice what I have learned. Just as a baby bird must learn to fly by practicing, I must learn by experience now.

My mentor's wisdom will only carry me so far.

So we may fight and kick and scream against what comes against us in life but if we surrender to the Lord, he will promise to take good care of us and yes, he does always know what is best, even if we disagree.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone! This is our first Easter with a diabetic child. All morning I was worried about my baby, not her! He hasn't been hungry, has been thirsty and soaked through his diaper!! But then we got home from church, he perked up a bit. ate lunch and is now sleeping. I can't bring myself to test him afraid for what I might find. so for now...I will watch diligently! But our sweetie has done well.

Their Easter baskets were filled with books and sidewalk chalk, a few jelly beans 1.5 grams each.

I bought us (parents) whoppers for private consumption.

We will be having a ham dinner later. Should be great!

Gave a hug to our mom friend that lost her son just weeks ago still. she said her husband isn't sure he wants to do much today but they are still an amazing testimony. They have clung to God through this unbearable time and are triumphing.

Easter is very special to me because I gave my life to Christ on an Easter Sunday ten years ago. Every sunday I had gone to church and silently said "yes" to the pastor when he offered for us to accept Jesus but was never brave enough to come forward. It was a big step for me.

I had just come back from India. we had lived out of a few suitcases for six months. we had taught our daughter about Siva and Ganesh and had even made a shrine to the Hindu gods in our room. I was married but insisted on keeping my independence. I was very liberal in my thinking.

I had been raised in a church but decided that I didn't need any of an organized religion. I had studied lots on Buddhism while in college and in India and felt that made the most sense.

well, now sitting in my parent's new church and listening to the sermons, something stirred inside of me and spoke to me. Suddenly, nothing mattered. God was grabbing a hold of me and I couldn't deny it. He began to work in my daughter's life, my life and later my husbands.

Easter Sunday, the service was held on the church's lawn under a huge canopy. testimony after testimony was given and I wanted to go up front and plead for forgiveness but still was too embarrassed to do so. Finally the time was up to go forward and someone began to sing a song. I hesitantly stood up and walked down the side of the aisle and went up to someone and said that I wanted to be prayed with. They handed me to the pastor's wife. She began to pray for me and guided me on what to pray. I suddenly felt like Peter who had denied Christ. I was raised in a church but had rejected it. I suddenly felt so repentant. I began to cry. I was so ashamed.

I felt like a changed person. brand new. my vision was different. I remember a month later I went to a meeting about an upcoming Harvest Crusade in our city and I remember looking around the room in awe that I was among fellow believers.

Every year, those feelings of a new come back as we approach Easter. There is a special song by the Newsboys called "Amazing Love" that was played back then and I could never get through the whole song without crying. That song is listed on my player with this blog.

so, Happy Easter. God has blessed us and brought us through many things over the years, including an Easter with a resurrected daughter newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Praise be to God, Halleluah! Praise ye the Lord!

Friday, April 22, 2011

highs and strong wills

I figured out today that when she is high, she also acts like when she is low.

I took her into her speech class and when she was done, the teacher said that she was getting more comfortable because she was starting to explore around the room. ie. get into everything.

I checked her, she was a little high. but it was snack time so I gave her a snack.

we then went to pick up her sister from school. while we waited outside the classroom for my daughter, our sweetie couldn't stand still. she wanted into the classroom to play with the dollhouse that she discovered last visit. she managed to sneek into the room past the teacher and began to pull out dollhouse furniture and arrange it in the dollhouse. I went over to her and said that couldn't play with the toys right now. she did not want to leave!

I ended up picking her up and carrying her out. she then reached from my arms and grabbed the classroom door and held on!!

I pried her hands off.

My other daughter was finally dismissed and we began to walk back to the car.

Our sweetie couldn't just hold a hand and walk. she was running all over the place and picking everything up off the ground that she found.

she is 3.

finally made it to the car and got home.

then as we entered the front door, she began crying about something that she wanted and couldn't have right away. I had her sit down at her little table with her brother and sister and got snacks. she then began to cry about the snack.


typical 3 year old antics?

I took her to her room to calm down and then she walked back out and in between sniffles, sobs, said she would contain herself.

Is she low?

I test her and see that she is over 400!

the granola bar from earlier! no insulin.

I give her some crackers and milk and insulin for an adjustment shot and the extra carbs.

Later, we are hanging out in the back yard and everything is calm again. I look into the house and their my sweetie is sitting at her little table completely engrossed in her paper doll set. quietly playing and arranging and happy self again.

yes she is 3. yes she is strong willed. but I do think there is a correlation to her loss of self control and sudden moodiness and her highs.

because what a difference once she was fed and brought down.

she has been having lots of highs and I like the advice of our diabetic neighbor. He said to calculate and give insulin right before food or as she begins to eat to try to avoid so many ups and downs. In the hospital we were shown to wait to give insulin til we knew what she was going to completely eat but as I watch more and give insulin upfront, it does seem to keep her lower and more even.

I was also worried after several lows and lows at midnight that I was purposefully keeping her high because I was afraid of turning around and finding her low again.

But now I see that the highs are affecting her too. and worrisome.

all in the balancing act.

Life's a big circus.

on a constant tight rope.

and tonight when she went to bed. she wanted milk, then more milk, then crackers, then more crackers, then soymilk! I thought for sure she would be in the 400's at midnight. she was 220!

go figure.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

a medical bracelet

a need we have...is an engraved medical bracelet for out daughter. They have really cute little girl ones at www.laurenshope.com or anything else comparable. We haven't been able to set aside the money for one yet and really should have one.

a box full of hope

Last night, we opened our front door to head out to do errands, when we discovered that a huge brown box was sitting on our doorstep. It was called a "hope box" or "hope bag" that is put together by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund for newly diagnosed children with type 1 diabetes.

In the box was a little teddy bear named Rufus that also has type 1 diabetes. Our sweetie was so excited to receive him and enjoys checking his blood sugar levels now too. In the box, came an extra checking device so that is her teddy bears for now.

We also received a video of other kids talking about life with diabetes. This video is only 10 minutes long, but she enjoys watching it over and over, to see kids just like her.

It is nice that boxes like this arrive on your doorstep. so much of life keeps carrying on and diabetes has become a side show. She gets checked constantly and fed food at certain times. sometimes she is made to eat candy and sometimes we have to hide candy from her.

But this box allowed her to be validated. Suddenly diabetes took the center stage for her in a good way. She was embraced and shown that others know what she is going through too.

When my six year old had broken her leg and was in a body cast, our home nurse brought her a huge teddy bear named Zeep that also had a cast on his leg. and the day that she was able to get her cast off; of course Zeep got his off too.

I'm so happy for our daughter to be celebrated at long last and loved and embraced WITH her diabetes. It's not a "condition" anymore, its part of who she is and that can make her special.

I must say though; going through the box, picking up literature after carb counting book, after insulated totebag, I did fight back tears. It's bittersweet. Happy for her, but reality check for us.

MY daughter has diabetes.

I was discussing with another mom how some people just don't get the seriousness of juvenile diabetes. How some people assume that soon it will just be under control and life will continue as it was. I think a lot of that is because we hear the term "diabetes" a lot in our society. We hear "gestational diabetes"; type 2 diabetes. The problem is; these are very different than type 1 diabetes.

Insulin dependent juvenile diabetes.

It's not a matter of just not eating sugar. Or a matter that diet and exercise will fix. This is a matter of her pancreas has stopped working. This is a matter of when she was diagnosed, her kidneys had stopped working too. If her body can't process sugar and it isn't caught, she can die. She was dying when she was diagnosed.

This is a matter of writing down every single thing she eats and playing a balancing game every day for the rest of her life trying to match her body and food she eats with insulin. If her blood sugar drops too low, she can go into a coma. If it goes too high, her body starts producing acid that is toxic and causes the kidneys to stop working again.

We walk with a seriousness that we must be in control of 24 hours everyday. Some people think that it is no big deal. We know that it is a very big deal.

Thank goodness for organizations like JDRF that help try to celebrate the new normal in the middle of the heavy cloud that we carry.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


It is grief. Grief: the mourning of a lost one.

I don't know the official definition, I don't want to take the time to look it up. But it is suffering, the absence of, the wanting them back, the pain, the why's?, the utter disdain...


we all feel grief. we can grieve the loss of a television show, we can grieve the move of a close friend, we can grieve the loss of health with a diagnosis, we can grieve the loss of a loved one.

Are we to judge the degree of grief?

I felt inadequate, almost hurtful or prideful, telling the father that just lost his son, that I feel his pain. He could say with anger that "You still have your children to hug everynight!" But he won't. He is far too composed for that.

But I did feel inadequate. I don't want to be disrespectful but I can feel a loss and put myself in his place, I know what it's like to not be able to share my newly developed film to my eagerly awaiting Dad. I have all of my kids still, praise God, but I have had several moments of mortality in the last several years. so many.

When we lose something that we treasure, we lose a piece of ourselves with it. that moment that we used to be able to pull out of the box and hold in our hand and caress it and look at it and notice every nook and cranny in it. we could then put it back in the box for the next time, until that box disappears. Then, we miss our item in the box but we also long for that comfort again, that experience, that joy that it brought us. It can't be duplicated, even with an object similar to it, its not the same.

We see this in the movie "Lord of the Rings". The little shriveled man that doesn't really resemble a man anymore. Gollum. disfigured and full of greed and envy and malice because his precious ring was lost or taken or coveted. His loss has disfigured him. He killed for that item and it destroyed him. He is no longer recognizable.

So how do we avoid becoming disfigured by grief?

We fondly remember our item or person or loss. We keep it alive as our cherished memory. we honor it. we talk about it. we celebrate it. Life keeps ticking on. the train never stops. experiences change everyday. If we hung on to that box forever, eventually we would set it down and forget it. to find it dusty and hidden behind books one day. for our lives carry on.

Just as Frodo had to give up the precious item to save himself. He could have kept it as it looked great around his neck. He could have trusted Gollum and perished with his greed. He could have thrown away his mission and disappeared to covet this new item all by himself.

But Frodo knew that it was a gift that had been given to him. He knew that with this gift he had a great responsibility. He knew that he must think about the best for everyone, not just himself as he carried this ring. He knew that their would be struggles and demons to overcome but he knew that by releasing it, it would set everyone else free too.

Like Jesus? sacrificing his own will and desires for the benefit of all mankind?

We must welcome grief as a chance to be like Jesus. To mourn the loss of what could have been for what it can be.

We all experience pain and loss. we are all affected by each other's tragedies. we know what it means to get a flat tire, to lose your car keys, to have a panicked moment of where your child is, to having that dreaded phone call. It may be your brother, your father, your husband, or your son, but we are all human and we all share the same fragile experience of life.

we must stay focused on the higher creator, the Lord, God, to keep giving us direction, and comfort, and our plans so that we can keep going forward according to his will and not ours.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

you say tomato, I say tomato

some call it tomatoes and some call it tomatoes. we received a huge blessing two days ago. I wasn't expecting it but I had always hoped that God would come through some how.

Our oldest daughter attended this great private school that I wanted my second oldest to attend. By the time our 6 year old was ready to attend though, we couldn't afford it.

We decided this year to homeschool her while we figured out what to do next. She was a young kindergartner and could easily use a year of kindergarten again. She had also missed a lot of preschool due to her broken leg when she was three. She has always been hesitant in new situations and needed some speech intervention. In a nutshell, she needed a break. So God provided it by us needing to decide on homeschooling.

We were able to do a lot academically over this past year. She had lots of play time with her younger siblings. We have an amazing backyard so they never had a shortage of play area. But I was feeling more tied down with four little ones by myself a lot. Trying to be part of homeschooling groups and do field trips and park days with friends was sounding like too much. If I had help, I could do it but that wasn't often enough.

Then our 3 year old was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This shook our world. Our foundation is strong but we never dreamed that that was a possibility. Suddenly, we were down in a hospital for several days and realizing the mortality of our children.

We have gotten into a routine with our sweetie. There are still lots of ups and downs and I still need to consult with the doctor, but in general we are carrying on.

Our twins have also needed speech services for a year now and I have been working on the process of getting them evaluated and approved and set up for services. This was a long process and finally they began classes this week! It seemed that it was now the time for our 6 year old daughter to get back into a classroom with kids her own age.

We still couldn't afford it but I explored other public school options and they were all full for the remainder of the year. It seemed that the answer was still pointing back to our first choice.

I shared my findings and our current situation with someone that wishes to remain anonymous, but she said that she felt she had no other choice but to help us!

Praise God!

She is not quite sure that God is doing the blessing here but we know that God has blessed us through her. We have prayed about this decision for months and months and months. and God can use whomever he wishes in whichever way he wishes.

We are so thankful for this blessing and feel that some burden has been lifted. We needed some extra help and relief and this meets my children's needs.

some look at this world as a random act of coincidences, we see it as all in God's timing.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

a funeral

Tomorrow is the funeral for our friend's son. He was 19. He missed his 20th birthday by about two weeks. I have heard that the family is expecting about 500 people to attend. They are having dinner served after.

So many people are moved by the loss in this family. For one because they loved this boy and also because no parents should have to lose their son at 19. It is a loss that we have all felt. The bell tolls for thee.

A lot of us had our kids in school together at a small private Christian school back when our teenagers were in second and third grade. We have stayed friends through the years and have watched our kids grow. As each year passes, the next batch of them graduate from high school. Last year it was two of my friend's, this year it's mine. next year, another friend's.

We have sat together at Wednesday night church dinners and hung out and talked while the younger kids played. We have discussed schooling options and activities and services for some of our kids and our home life.

we have prayed for each other and updated each other.

facebook has been flooded with condolences.

meals are planned for weeks.

scripture is quoted and shared.

for those of us that believe and have given our lives to Christ; we know the assurance of our salvation. we know where her son is and where we will be one day too. and this is how we carry on. scripture is not just historical text or cute phrases to post on our refrigerators. It is real living words of our real and living God. He created us and gave us life, carried us, and takes us home.

This family is a model of Christ's providence. They are looking up to God and heaven even as they look down and weep.

my own life has become heavy. I look to God and cry for his mercy and encouragement. Our daughter has been saved the day that she was diagnosed but we have a heavy burden to walk with. I hand the burden back to God over and over yet it keeps coming back at different times.

As we prepare to attend this funeral we have to make arrangements for the reality of living with a diabetic child. We can't just have any babysitter, we need someone trained in dealing with diabetes to babysit. we also need to leave detailed instructions for if she suddenly drops low, goes to high, wants to eat, when to eat, what to do when she eats. if she runs. runs too much. seems tired. too tired. doctors phone numbers and our numbers.

we must trust that our daughter will be okay while we go to celebrate the life of their son.

two tragedies being carried by the same God. Two families walking a walk. Just weeks apart.

over and over, I must again refer back to Jeremiah. Not as a mantra or magical chant. But God's ordained words of reassurance. The very theme in my life right now. over and over God speaks in a comforting voice to me, reminding me, that he is a loving and protecting father that DOES have our best interest in mind.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11.

As Easter approaches, I will have to write about the resurrection. Her son restored to God and our daughter saved and intervened. Physically rescued and given a new lease on life. Just as Jesus overcame his mortal, wounded body, He did, my daughter will, and someday, we will too.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

spammy or abusive

somebody just reported my facebook updates of this blog as "spammy" or "abusive". As if having a diabetic child isn't enough. I have to deal with somebody slowing down my blogging.

I suggest if reading about a diabetic child is offensive to you, please exercise your American rights and don't read this.

Just as I have to walk past your adult entertainment stores and tolerate court cases against the word "God" in the pledge of allegiance because it offends someone, I suggest you just walk on by too.

In no way is this blog meant to be "spammy" or "abusive" and I feel sorry for the person who thinks it does.

that first night...

My eldest daughter applied to her top choice college the day that our sweetie was diagnosed.

I had been at the hospital all day. I had taken our sweetie to her doctor's appt to treat her bladder infection that morning. My eldest had stayed home to watch the rest of the kids. I saw this as God's providence now because we didn't know what was to come as we pulled out of the driveway that day. We had had trouble arranging babysitting and ended up with my daughter in charge. This made it very easy for us to finish the rest of the day, because she could be in charge, indefinitely.

From the doctor's office, we were rushed to the hospital, one hour away. We then were placed in the pediatric kiosk with an IV in our sweetie's arm, lots of blood tests, and the first round of insulin shots. Her diagnosis was confirmed hours later.

we then were given a wheel chair and escorted upto the pediatrics wing behind locked doors for security. we were given a room that would be home for the next 3 days.

Our daughter laid back in her hospital bed, stroking her special blanky with the ragged edge. She lay silent with an IV coming out of her arm.

Lots of blood checks and some food and some coffee runs for my husband and I. A few phone calls and lots of text messages. a painful phone call in an outdoor hallway explaining to my teenage daughter and mom what she was diagnosed with and what it meant.

Finally at 1030 pm at night, I was released to leave. My husband stayed in the cot next to my daughter and I began the hour drive home. I had been feeling nauseous all day and weary. brought on from the first moment I heard the word "diabetes" and watching the nurse casually say that there was no need to do another finger prick blood test; her numbers were too high to read.

I think I drove through In & out that night. I wanted to finally try to eat something. the doctor had offered me expired yogurt she found in her frig and then a granola bar that my daughter gladly ate.

I was still making lots of trips to the bathroom wanting everything to be normal when I returned.

no ruby slippers tucked in a cupboard.

I arrived at home at almost midnight. My teenage daughter was sitting up watching American Idol recorded from earlier. My mom had left awhile ago. I sat down next to her on the couch. My house felt different. It didn't feel like home anymore. Everything had changed. I would have to leave again at 9 am to head back to the hospital. I was just checking in to leave again.

As I laid my head back on the couch and tried to rest, My daughter said to me," I need help writing my essay for my college application. It's due tonight."

let's pause for a moment of silence...

"you're kidding, right?" Thinking to myself, "Do you know what kind of day I have had????"

and so a mother's job is never done.

She sits next to me on a chair with her laptop on her lap, asking me advice and reading to me what she writes as I drift in and out of sleep.

When she is done, she is not sure how it came out. But it is time to send it electronically or it will be late. I say, "just send it, there is nothing else you can do."

She sent it.

and here we are, six weeks later.

She was accepted. This college is her first choice. We are just working on funding right now so that she can go.

and when she goes...

I will always think of that first night of living with diabetes.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

a game...

Today as I was fixing lunch for the kids, I looked out into the backyard where the kids were playing. I see my 6 year old daughter over my diabetic daughter. Our sweetie is laying on her back in the grass. My 6 year old, is standing over her, tickling her. I say "what are you doing?" My older daughter responds,"I'm tickling her because she won't wake up."


dry my hands on kitchen towel.

I was on the phone with my husband while fixing lunch as I had been looking out the sliding glass door, watching the kids. yes. multitasker.

I set the phone on the counter and ran out to my daughter.

It was a hot day today. and they were all tired. and they had been playing for awhile.

I run up and look at her and say her name. I ask my other daughter to move out of the way. My little one opens her eyes and looks at me but does not jump up right away or laugh.

I scoop her up quickly and run into the kitchen. I set her up on the kitchen chair and talk to her. "how are you doing?" She looks at me but doesn't say anything. I am thinking "oh, my, goodness! Is this an emergency?!?" meanwhile, my husband is still on the other line of the phone. waiting on the kitchen counter.

I grab her meter and quick check her finger. I am watching the numbers count down 5....4.....3....

I am fully expecting an 18 reading. I am thinking, "Should I just give her apple juice right now?" The number finally pops up on the meter....ready?......



281. yep. she's not low. She's high!!!! I say "you're fine!!"

My teenage daughter says, "oh, they were just playing a game." oh, really?! I say. heavily with sarcasm. funny game.

I go to the phone and tell me husband. He was definitely shaken up and said that he was already planning to drive immediately home. Fully expecting an emergency situation. He said that he was planning and preparing to coach me through the glucagon shot.

He definitely chokes back tears when we try to change the topic of conversation.

Rushing to the hospital just six weeks ago is still too fresh in our minds. and the recent death of a friend's son.

After we talk a few more minutes, I say "good bye" to my husband and return to my daughter. She's high but still is acting low. I check her again to make sure the numbers are right. This time it reads 291. hmmm. how did it go up in 10 minutes?

Since she has now convinced herself that she is low (probably due to some of my theatrics) she now wants lots of smarties. She gets up from her chair and goes to the cupboard where they are kept and says "I'm super low, I need candy..." (add the whiny, tired crying voice). I sit her down and bring over her lunch.

Soon her siblings join her and they all eat and watch one of their favorite shows. Little Einsteins.
She eats everything on her plate. She was hungry. She then goes to the couch and finishes her show.

The end result; I guess she was hungry and tired and playing a game. I tell my teenage daughter how serious I thought this was and how scared I was. She tells me that they were just playing a game. She saw them play a similar game yesterday.

nonchalance from the teenager. innocence on their end and very scary on my end. I don't think my sweetie even understands the seriousness of the disease that she carries. or how unfun that game looked. she is only 3. She innocently acts out what could someday be a reality. she just doesn't know it.

God bless her naivete. and God bless my quick reaction.

and God bless the quick recovery from my brief heart attack!

and here's to another sleepless night as we continue to live with the reality of a daughter with diabetes.

A precocious daughter with diabetes.

really funny precocious daughter.

so funny I forgot to laugh.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A grief filled cry...

I finally cried today. At the end of our church service, our pastor invited people to come up front and request prayer. several people went up and knelt at the steps. Various elders in our church went over and prayed with them.

Then we looked over and saw the mother of the boy who had just tragically died two days ago. She stepped from side to side, edging her way out of her pew. She slowly made her way down the aisle. She stood up front, at first by herself, and then raised her hand up to God, as if trying to reach to heaven itself, and prayed. A prayer full of agony.

Her husband then slowly walked down the aisle and fell to his knees, head in his hands. People began to come out of their seats and walk down the aisle to join them. A group began to surround them as they prayed only prayers that the heartbroken can understand.

Our music leader was playing his guitar and singing. The song was ending but he just kept singing. prayer was so desperately needed at that moment that no one wanted to move.

There was a box of kleenex set on the stage right next to the mom. As needed she reached over and clutched her face in one. You could see the agony on her. It was as if she had dragged herself out of her bedroom to take time to come to church. we had a glimpse of her pain for an hour and then for her to return to her mourning ground. never letting up. never letting that pain go. still desperately clinging to her son.

when she spoke with others, she mentioned items of her sons that triggered more memories and fresh sadness and raw pain.

When the pastor gently prayed for the family and the church, he then officially concluded the service. the group that was surrounding the family, began to take turns hugging the parents and slowly exiting, quietly, respectfully. faces full of pain and tears too.

My husband and I made our way over to them. A new line had formed. my husband went over to the dad and gave him a big hug. Our children were waiting for us in their classroom, but we wanted to let these parents know that we have been praying too and share in their pain.

It was finally my turn. I gave her a hug and held tight. I began to try to form words, but just began to cry. I cried for her pain and her family. For her son, for her remaining sons. for the pain they had to carry.

I have been carrying my own pain for our daughter for almost six weeks now and needed someone to share in our pain too. I cried for all of us moms that carry such pain for our children. Pain that the childless just don't know. Pain that mothers of healthy children just don't know. Pain, we shouldn't have to know.

In the midst of our tears, I hear her say, "your family is such a blessing to us. always a blessing." I couldn't believe it. I felt so inadequate to even give her a hug. I felt like I could never be enough for what she needed right now and yet, she tells ME, that I am a blessing. God bless her.

moments before, as I had edged my way from my seat into the aisle to make my way over to the grieving mother, another woman had edged down the aisle from her seat to come talk to me.

I was caught off guard. my whole focus had been on making my way over to my friend to try to take some of her grief off of her shoulders, and another woman had come to talk to me.

This woman is the grandmother of another little girl who has survived cancer three times. This grandmother has been reading my blog and wanted to take a moment to encourage me. I suddenly had felt so humbled and unworthy of our struggles compared to my friend's. yet this grandmother also knew my pain and wanted to share some of my own grief. God took a moment to remind me that my grief and what we are going through is still important too.

one death, one new diagnosis and one who has beat the odds, three times. All of us have joined a club that is referred to as "the club you don't want to be part of ". We are mothers who know the pain of grieving for your children and grandchildren. we see innocence taken and know that they shouldn't have to deal with such things. Yet what do these children know? Her son is in heaven, my daughter is a happy 3 year old and the granddaughter is an amazing light to whomever she encounters. I actually had the privilege of working with my friend's middle son and this other woman's granddaughter when I was teaching. They both used to come by my classroom and say "Hi".

Most of these kids, don't know any other way. They are resilient because they are young and naive. They haven't seen all the choices that we have already and they don't know many alternatives. These children can be an example to us grieving parents as to what really is important in life. If they are joyful and still thankful, then we should be too. After all, what is life really all about? whether they have 3 years, 19 years, or 42 years to live, it is our job to live everyday for the Lord, not to mourn what we cannot do.

Even my friend that just lost her son. One day she will begin to see good come from this unexpected tragedy. Lives will be touched by his life, their loss; who knows what amazing things God can do from this experience. Another friend that lost her baby to cancer, many years ago now, continues to share her testimony as to how God provided for them in the darkest hour.

we cried today and soon we will rejoice. we mourn for the loss of a child and loss of health for my daughter but we all cling to each other and lift each other up to our maker.

the one again, who knows his plans for us:

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

and if you can count on anything; it is God. For he is the ever unchanging.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

our friend

Last Sunday, just 6 days ago, my kids ran upto my friend and greeted her with a big hug.

my two little ones grabbed her legs and our six year old waited for her turn for a hug. They were all so excited to see her.She used to help take care of our twins in the nursery on Sunday mornings.she is one of the few friends that I have had since before and after I became a Christian.

We met her at our oldest daughter's private school when our daughter was in first grade. My husband and I were soon to separate and our life wasn't going so well. Financially we were fine but we were spiritually deprived. we were empty inside. we had returned from living in India for 6 months and were trying to decide which path to take next.

Another friend had recommended this school and we signed our daughter up. This new friend that we had just made, the same friend we had just hugged on Sunday, had begun praying for our family. I didn't know it at the time, but she told me years later. she had seen some of our troubles and prayed.

At the time, I wanted nothing to do with Christianity, I just wanted a good school for my daughter.

I thought the answer was to separate from my husband and take 100% control of my life and move forward. God had other plans.

I don't know who all was praying for us, but my friend has told me of atleast two others. But realistically, there were hundreds of others that we had come into contact over the years as a couple and even years before that as just myself.

and then there was my daughter. people prayed for her too.

my daughter began to change. she began to blossom. she began to be full of life. I wanted to find out why.

I began to attend the church on Sunday that was affiliated with her school. All of my independent liberal thinking, feminist ideals; left wing idealism, went out the window. my interest in Buddhism and any religion can work for you, dissipated. my heart was crying out for God alone. none of my beliefs suddenly mattered anymore.I gave it all to Jesus. and my life began to turn around. my friend said that she heard the news through others and had been so excited to finally see me several days later. She said that I looked different, I had a glow. the darkness had been lifted.

It's amazing to hear these stories years later, because she had never shared those observations with me, before.

my husband saw the change in me and began coming to the same church and a year later he gave his life to Christ. We began to get counseling and with God's help, saved our marriage.

That was 12 years ago.

We have been through many trials through the years but have always had faith that God was leading us. We keep our eyes wide open now to see what God is doing in our lives.

My friend has been there for us throughout the years. She called me the day she heard our daughter had broken her leg. She showed up with her son and brought a dinner for us. She has come to our children's birthdays and grown with us along side our family. She knew us before with one child and a struggling marriage and now with five children and a solid faith.

That day we saw her on Sunday and my kids gave her a great big hug, she asked about my sweetie and how we are doing. I told her that it is still a great challenge. I am tired and still carrying a weight and responsibility that will never go away.

well, five days later... her 19 year old son died.

we didn't know it was coming. we were talking about my daughter's struggles, when in fact, it was her son, that had needed the prayer. He had a seizure in the night and didn't recover.

we heard the news yesterday. They had three sons and now they have two. one is in heaven.

how can she carry on?

The only comfort she has right now is that God is in control. He has her son. just as God carries my daughter in his protective arms.

It amazes me that we all carry this diabetic burden with our children for us diabetic moms yet tragedy can still sweep down and take another child when we aren't looking. we walk everyday knowing that our child's well being depends on us monitoring, injecting, checking, feeding...yet someone else that doesn't have these worries and burdens can still lose their child too.

Our hearts are grieving right now for our friend and her family as she slowly begins to put one foot in front of the other again.

one prayer at a time.