Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Tricky Treats?

I don't particularly love Halloween.

scary things
costume idea changes almost daily

However, Bug is overjoyed about trick-or-treating and could not be more excited about all things Halloween; pumpkins, costumes, witches, ghosts, pumpkins, parties, and even candy.  So, with that in mind.... I am jumping on her excitement train and this evening I will be taking Snow White and her Apple to brave the elements.

Everywhere we go there is talk of candy and trick-or-treat and sugar, etc.  Bug even plays pretend "trick-or-treat" when we are at home, away from the worldly candy pressures.  Needless to say, as she gets older I have learned I have to have a plan of action before heading into situations like this.

Even at a birthday party, recently, I was at war with the yummy options at the food table as the other kids filled their plates with one of each.  I hadn't had a plan and was about to have a knock-down-drawn-out fit on my hands.  Thankfully she settled for "you can have one sip of milkshake, half a cookie, and take home a cake pop". I know I won't be able to get away with that very long.  But I don't have to enter the war room just yet; for today I can relish in her naivete as she truly believed me today when I told her "ew, that's bubble gum.... you do not like that stuff!"

We will not be trick-or-treating long, but some friends of ours have offered to stock their candy pile with Bug friendly things, so we will be heading to their block for a bit.  The fact that these friends thought to do this before I even thought there was a need, brought tiny happy tears to my eyes.  After visiting friends, we will head to my husband's parents' house for some more diabetic friendly treating.  Then tomorrow we can begin our conversations about Thanksgiving and how Mommy is so thankful the Halloween Candy Battle 2011 is over.

I'm going to post a list below of candies and their carbohydrates for those interested, thanks to the JDRF website.  And for those interested in bringing sugar free cheer here are a few ideas:

any of the plastic Halloween jewelry
Halloween tattoos
Clementine Oranges or other fun little fruits
100 Calorie Packs
little bags of popcorn
and the list goes on.... but those are my top 8

Se la vie. She is excited.  And as I watch her face light up as she wishes everyone she sees "Happy Halloween!", I can only feel blessed by my little ball of excitement and joy.  Her cup overflows..... and in turn, mine is filled just a bit more.

Happy Halloween.

Carbohydrate Values for Common Candies*

CandySize/PackageCarbs (g)
3 Musketeers16 gram fun-sized bar12g
3 Musketeers2.13 oz bar46g
Baby Ruth2 oz. bar37g
Baby Ruth1 fun size17g
Blow Pop suckerOne sucker13g
Butterfinger2 oz. bar41g
Butterfinger22 gram-fun sized bar15g
Candy corn15 pieces15g
Dum Dum suckersOne sucker5g
Gummy Bears11 pieces30g
Heath Bar1.4 oz. bar25g
Hershey's Almond3 minis15g
Hershey's Almond1.45oz. bar20g
Hershey's Kisses6 pieces16g
Hershey's Milk Chocolate barsnack size10g
Jolly Rancher1 piece6g
Kit Kat bar3 piece bar10g
KitKat1.5 oz. package26g
Licorice3 6-inch Twizzlers15g
M&M's"Halloween" mini box10g
M&M's, plainmini pack15g
M&M's, plain1.69 oz bag34g
M&M's, peanutmini pack13g
M&M's, peanut1.74 oz bag30g
M&M's, peanut butter1.69 oz bag27g
Milky Way2.15 oz bar43g
Milky Wayfun-sized bar14g
Nestle's Cruch1.5 oz28g
Nestle's Crunch4 mini bars26g
Reese's Cups2 regular-sized 1 oz cups18g
Reese's mini cups4 1-oz mini cups16g
Skittles15 pieces15g
Skittlesmini pack17.5g
Snicker'sfun size12g
Snickers2.07 oz. bar36g
Snickers20-gram fun-sized bar12g
Starburst4 pieces16g
Sweet Tartsmini packs - 5 packs13g
Tootsie Pop1 pop16g
Tootsie Roll midgets1230g
Tootsie Rolls2 bars23g
Twix2 2-oz. cookies37g
Whoopers8 Pieces15g
Whoppers1 small pouch16g
Wonka Pixie StixEach (about 6 in. in length)2g

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Little Red Wagon That Could..... And Will

Lately I have been suffering from what can only be described as the opposite of writers block.  I guess we could call it writers overload....?  Every time I sat down to write I couldn't decide which topic to tackle!  So now I have made a list of fun things to discuss and dissect, all of which will have to wait for a later date.

This morning I read an email from a friend telling me that a friend of hers was currently "living" at our local children's hospital with her 3 year old, who was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  My friend asked that I reach out to this family in hopes that I could tell them a little bit about what it's like "in the real world", after the hospital stay.

Unfortunately, I have received quite a few emails like this from all over the country.  I have sent many emails to parents of little ones now forced to live such a big life.  I know there are many more out there struggling to find their normalcy amidst the shock of such a big lifestyle change; so I want to address them today, and especially the parents of the 3 year old in our 'Little Town'.

First of all, I want to tell you to breathe.  This is your life now, so lets go ahead and start dealing with that.  On this issue I allow myself a few 10 minute meltdowns a month.  Whether it is tears, frustration, silence; I think I need to have those little pity parties every now and then.  After the 10 minutes of "woe is me", "I hate diabetes", "blah blah blah".... move on!  Get over the fact that you are:
The simple fact is: you are dealing with this now and it is making your hourly life a challenge, BUT your child will be living with this forever, or until a cure is found.  You are the lifesaver your baby/toddler/kid needs, so it's time to step up.

I also want to tell you to find support.  Church, family, friends, neighbors, etc.... let them listen, learn, and help you and your family as you find your new normal.  If someone says they want to help, LET THEM!  Educate your babysitters, family members, school teachers and anyone that will be joining the life saving team.  You will need to take a break, so you will need someone to be capable of taking over for a few hours.  In that same vein: take turns between you and your spouse with the night time blood sugar checks.  (and if you are tackling this solo.... again: let someone help you.... you need a break)  We check Bug's blood sugar every night at 2 and I don't realize how much that effects me until I have a night off and get to do something as simple as stay in bed all night!

One important thing to remember when it comes to all the support you are building: you can not expect anyone to understand EXACTLY what you are going through.  Your friends and family will love you, help you, go out of their way to make your child feel comfortable and "normal".... all of that is beyond wonderful, and has brought me to tears many times.  However, unless they are you or me or another parent raising a child with type 1, you will never be able to look at them in the face, with tears in your eyes, and say "I really hate this" and have them say "I know" right back to you..... all without actually uttering a word!  This diagnosis changes everything.  It will put a hitch in almost ever gear of your life and you will adjust.  You WILL adjust.  You have to adjust.

Lastly, I want to assure you that the average person doesn't know what type 1 diabetes is and you will be asked questions similar to the few that have come my way:

"did you feed her too much sugar at too early of an age?"
"when will she grow out of it?"
"is there a vaccine for that now?"
"did you not nurse your baby long enough?"
"was she born with it?"
"have you looked into a natural cure?"

These sound crazy to you now, because you have been buried in diabetes education books and articles.... but I have to admit, I asked my brother-in-law (an adult with type 1) why he was wearing a pager with his bathing suit, when I first met him.  It was his pump.  Makes me nauseous now, just thinking about those words coming out of my mouth!  So, try not to be angry when people say "stupid" things.... it is just an opportunity to bring about an awareness of this awful condition and a need for a cure!

Take it hour by hour.  Sleep when you can.  Take breaks.  Vent to a listening ear.  Live the life you planned to live; diabetes will travel, go to school, take ballet, eat sugar, go to camp, and beyond.  Give your kid a hug and be so thankful you are able to.... too many kids aren't able to leave the children's hospital with mom and dad in the little red wagon; still something I have to remind myself often.  And mostly, remember that even though you feel it.... you are not alone.  Sadly, there are bunches of us out there living this life and praying, in earnest, for a cure.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Very Funny, God!

I often tell people that I think God has a great sense of humor, judging by the cards he has dealt me.

I like to think about him with a little, or very large, notebook, planning my life and all of it's occurances.

"Ok, so I think for this one, she'll start out as a 'tom-boy' and then grow up to love all things fashion and girly-ness.  And how about I give her unruly hair that she will hate and loathe as a middle schooler, and then I'll wait to let her learn how to fix it until she's in college.  Then, hmmm, how about she'll be a terrible student and struggle in school, and then become a school teacher!  Perfect!  Oh, and then I think I'll throw in a lot of other embarrassing and character building moments along the way.  This is going to be hilarious!  I can't wait.... I really do love my job."

Lets start with the gross stuff, and get it out of the way.

I have a completely irrational fear of all things throw-up.  I don't want to talk about it, hear about it, read about it, write about it..... Anyway, Bug, now three, has shown us (since the age of 6 months) her extreme inability to deal with any sort of motion: swing, car, boat, airplane, marry go round, tire swing....  Now there are "car vitamins" (chewable dramamine) in every area of my life, car, purse, make-up bag, and even places I have hidden them, thinking, "this way if I run out of the pills in the box, and we are driving through a mountain pass, and our air conditioning goes out, and rolling the windows down isn't helping, I'll remember to look here: in the strange storage compartment of my car where the 'get your spare tire out' tools live! Perfect!"

Bug also has a ridiculously strong gag reflex, which I won't dive into completely, but just know that if she tastes something she doesn't like, or if she touches something that her baby sister has recently chewed on..... lovely noises and faces are induced.  Don't even get me started on cold and flu season when she has a major throat clearing cough.

Peanut on the other hand, while not showing any signs of motion sickness, or common sense for that matter, has been known to put her fingers down her throat and make herself gag and even sick at times.  This usually happens in the car, when I can't reach her little hand to yank it from the depths, and she succeeds in her strange and gross quest for who knows exactly what, which then makes her gag-reflecting sister start in on her own wonderful behavior.  Lovely.  Now, I am pulled over in a strange apartment building parking lot, cleaning up Peanut, and shouting at Bug to "just relax!! please just look out the other window and breath through your mouth!!  You are not allowed to get sick too!"  All to which Bug says, between deep mouth breathing, "But..... Mommy!.... why...... does.... she.... do that?!?!"

Very funny, God.

The other thing that I think is comical, is that I am doing pretty difficult math equations at least 3, sometimes up to 6, times a day when I am giving Bug her insulin.  If you were one of my math teachers, or any of my teachers for that matter, you would be laughing.  I hate all things math.  I'm terrible with numbers.  I add or subtract a zero all the time and tell people that "yes! she bought her house for $25,000!  Isn't that great?!"  or  "I think tuition is something like $70,000 a year for Kindergarten?!"

You can imagine my surprise, as I sat in the hospital room, holding my newly diagnosed little Bug, and the diabetes educator proceeded to write a huge equation on the board, with x's and y's and big words, and decimals.  It was at that point that I decided I would not be leaving the hospital and/or staff of medical professionals unless I had a magical calculator to do the math, and dose my child for me.

My fear of depending on my non-mathminded brain to keep my child alive, is possibly what drove me to my point of assertion with the doctors.  "So, are y'all ready to go home today?!"  To which I replied, "No!  I am not leaving until we have a pump.  Yes, I'm serious.  Yes, I realize I will be living on this tiny weird chair/couch/bed for 4 more days.  I can not do the math!"

Again... Ha. Ha.

Lastly, we come to my husband.

I always said that I would never leave my beloved home state.  I also remember saying at a very young age, after witnessing a friend's dad missing a sporting event due to his work schedule as a doctor, that "I will never marry a doctor!  He will never be home!"  Well, here I am, a happily uprooted Texan and a doctor's wife.

After meeting his family and father (a physician as well), and hearing stories of life with dad as a doctor, I was only encouraged by how little he would actually miss and how similar his work hours would be to that of my own father, as an attorney.  I also came to realize that when he was gone, I had this huge built in family of people that I actually happen to love spending time with.... so work hours, schmirk hours... I also got to marry his lovely family!

The Texas uprooting was much easier than I had expected.  My new people are fabulous and friendly, and there are things here called pine trees and seasons!  After living in my new state for a little over 5 years, I can say that, while still a Texan at heart, there is no place I would rather be.

Clearly God knows what is best for me, because I would not have chosen any of those things, had I been left to my own devices.... except for my husband, I would pick him again for sure.  As it turns out, I am actually really good with Bug's dosages and have become a self proclaimed "whiz" when it comes to the equations; which in turn has given me the confidence I need to care for her on a daily basis.  The throw ups, I could still do without, but I know it will all make for really great stories some day.......?  Verdict is still out on that one.  And lastly, I love my new home state and my husband's profession..... All the up's and downs' that come with it all, have made me who I am today, and I happen to like lil ol' me!

So now, I can only cautiously await the ways that the Lord will humble me and humor himself in the days to come. Although, I must admit, I'm laughing too.

Have a great week!