Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween (and Christmas thoughts)

I have a love/hate relationship with Halloween.

I love the spooky houses, costumes and trick or treating but I don’t love the way Sáin is treated on this holiday.

The first Halloween after diagnosis I did something that I am very thankful for… I let Sáin pretend she wasn’t diabetic. That year she had a fair amount of treats – I corrected the high BG that followed. The second year she had a little candy – I corrected that high, too. Last year she barely touched her candy (we still have most of it sitting in a bowl on a shelf.) This year we are going to a haunted castle and Sáin is well aware she can have whatever she wants while we’re there (as long as she boluses.) The less of a big deal I make about this dreaded day, the less candy she eats.

Here is what I don’t love about this day. I know I will come home today to the tears of frustration that follow school parties and the dreaded “Sáin can’t have sugar” or “Here’s a different treat for you because you aren’t like the other kids in your class.”

Despite 3+ years of educating both the kids and their parents, some people still don’t get how hurtful ignorance is. The sad thing – it’s always the same two girls that hurt Sáin. I’m beginning to think they are just mean girls and diabetes is an easy thing for them to pick on.

I know it’s only Halloween but I can’t stop thinking about Christmas.

My gift to the kids this year is a trip to Vancouver. We will be taking the train up on Christmas Eve, spending 2 nights at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, and then taking the train home on Boxing Day evening.

(I’ve already email a temporary change of address to Santa so all the toys should arrive safely in our hotel room for Christmas morning.)

This will be the first Christmas the kids and I have spent without any other family around but I think it is exactly what we need.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

No Child Should Die of Diabetes

Truer words were never spoken and that is the focus of year's World Diabetes Day.

Please take a moment to watch this short video (7 minutes) and check out the Life for a Child movie trailer and pass the message on.

The more people who know the signs, the fewer kids will die.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Weekend Recap

This weekend was crazy -- but that's not news.

Friday -- well, to be perfectly honesy, I don't remember what we did Friday night. I know there was no karate, no school events, and no JDRF events. We must've stayed in. (hmmm, very unlike us!)

Saturday -- got the kids over to my parents' house by 8 hoping to leave by 8:30 with my dad to pick up 20 boxes of fuji apples (the ones Sain sold to help pay for Camp Leo) at the Thurston County Fair Grounds. After a tubing mishap (just before we left) and a trip back home to grab pump supplies (yes, I know I should've had them with me) my dad and I were on the road by 9.

Sain and Aidan went to karate (thanks to grandma) and we (dad and I) picked up the boxes in Lacey and were back on the road by 10:30. By noon 9 of the 20 boxes were delivered!

Saturday afternoon I rushed around after a karate belt mishap (won't go into details about that) to get the kids ready for their karate pictures. In a rush to get out the door on time I ran out without my keys or cell phone. This wouldn't have been a problem (I really can live without my cell despite what some people might tell you) except the door locked behind me.

The neighbors (very reluctantly) let me use their phone to call for assistance and we made it to pictures on time. (side note -- as 1950's as it might seem, my neighbors do not approve of single parents. Their children aren't allowed in our yard because the don't want their children "exposed to my lifestyle." Part of me is offended and part of me is kind of flattered that they think I have an exciting lifestyle. Truthfully I have a pretty boring life!)

We got to pictures on time and they turned out great. I can't wait to get the prints back!

We got home in time to see some hockey. The Leafs won and it's truly sad how excited I am about 3 wins in October so far.

Sunday was spent exploring leaves (Aidan is studying seasons) in Enumclaw, making a St. Martin de Porres costume for Sain for the All Saint's Day prayer service, and washing large amounts of kindergarten mat covers (yippee -- the time the washer runs counts for volunteer hours!!)

Two highlights of Sunday -- Sain running around playing "diabetes scout" and doing a pretty good sales pitch for foil wrapped ketone strips. Most 9 year olds haven't really perfected the art of sarcasm but Sain definitely has. And Aidan jumping on my bed singing Metallica songs at the top of his lungs. He told me he's going to be in a band when he's in high school and I can come watch him play as long as I stand in the back and promise not to scare the girls away.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I don't blog about politics but...

when you have a child whose life depends on medical coverage you can't help but have opinions.

(no candidate will be mentioned in this rant. Who you vote for is your own business just as who I vote for is mine. I don't vote party line on anything; I vote my heart and my conscience.)

There has been a lot flying around of late about the changes both presidential candidates want to make to America's health care.

Back when all I needed was routine care and long before diabetes entered our world, I thought the US had good health care. I thought if you got sick your insurance would cover what you needed.

I was wrong.

Insurance is a business and businesses exist to make money.

To all the people who think it's not their concern if someone has pre-existing conditions or if their premiums are slightly higher to cover the sickest "fellow Americans" here is what I wish for you (it might be mean and I know some people won't agree but deep down in a very honest and possibly angry place, this is my wish for you):
  • May you suffer the sleepless nights I do worrying about your child's health.
  • May you be told your child is 12 hours from death and will require constant medical care to survive.
  • May you have to choose between food and insulin (both of which your child needs to live)
  • May you have your 9 year old tell you they "will save you a spot in heaven since I will probably get there before you"
  • May you fear loss of heath insurance more than loss of income.
  • And may you be told a $5000 tax break is more important to people than your child's life.
I know Canada's not perfect but not a day goes by that I don't thank God my kids are Canadian.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Growing Up

I was looking at Sáin last night when it hit me – my kid is really growing up. Laying there on the living room floor reading a Harry Potter book she looked more like a teenager than a kid.

I’m not the kind of mom that gets weepy when I think of my kids growing up. In fact, I’m quite the opposite. My main goal as a mom is to make myself obsolete by raising independent, self-sufficient kids. And I seem to be succeeding.

Here’s my concern. Right now I know what’s going on with Sáin’s blood sugars. I know her trends, I know her rates, I know the carbs she eats, and really you could say I know her diabetes care inside and out. But that will change. One of these days she won’t need any help with any of it.

I am raising Sáin to care for herself. I let her make mistakes and over bolus (as long as I am there with juice in hand to correct the low) or under bolus (I am also there to correct the high) but I want her to make mistakes now and learn from them while I’m there to help rather than wait until she’s alone and trying to do this by herself. Truthfully, she makes very few mistakes.

For nearly 3 and a half years my job has been keeping my kid alive but more and more that job is being handed off to Sáin. I alternate between beaming with pride at how amazingly my kid handles such an unpredictable disease and complete panic at the thought of not “playing pancreas” for her. 99 percent of the time pride wins!

Besides, I can still sneak into her room at night to check her day’s numbers and charts thanks to her CGM!

(Two points – I realize I am talking about a 9 year old but if you know the 9 year old I’m talking about, none of this will surprise you. One of the meanings of Sáin’s name is “little, old wise one” and she’s always lived up to that meaning. Also, there are still days when Sáin won’t even poke her own finger so I am far from obsolete yet.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Birthday wishes

Happy Birthday, Nadia!

It's my true hope that you somehow read this today and know that your childhood friend is thinking of you on your birthday.

We met because of alphabetical seat assignments in the second grade and were an unlikely pair. Me the skinny, athletic tomboy and you the fashionable foreign girl but our bond was instant and strong. We were both outsiders until we had each other.

Thank you for teaching me French, introducing me to Lebanese food and for teaching me the importance of standing up for myself. Thank you for laughing with me in the good times and crying with me in the bad. You were the best friend I ever had.

I hope your birthday is wonderful... I miss you!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Answers to Random Tuesday Questions

I’ve been asked a lot of questions today… here are the answers.

Are you feeling better?

Yes and No. (I know I should elaborate but I’m not going to)

How was your birthday?

Fine. As most people know, I don’t celebrate my birthday. It has nothing to do with age (I haven’t liked celebrating my birthday since early childhood) and nothing to do with religion. I just don’t celebrate it. Bad things tend happen on my birthday and this year was no exception. (I should also elaborate on that but I’m not going to.)

How did Sáin’s CGM start go?

GREAT! I love the device and so does Sáin. I find it less overwhelming than the pump start and I love all the data. Sáin was even interpreting her own data last night – she’s so independent for 9! I’m sure there will be days I hate the CGM but as of now I love it!

How is Gloria doing?
Amazingly well! It’s odd to think that a couple months ago it didn’t look like she would live and now she is smiling, communicating some and was even found standing by her bed in the middle of the night by her nurse! By no means is she recovered or out of the woods but she is healing so much better than anyone could’ve guessed. I only met Gloria in person once but heard a lot about her from Sáin. In that one meeting I could tell that she was a feisty kid – that trait is serving her very well right now!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Pictures from Sain's Birthday

(Sain punching SpongeBob)

(Sain, Rory and Hannah)

(Cutting the cake with Master Dye's sword)

(Aidan, Ethan and Chris belt sparring)

(Ethan and Master Dye -- this is one of my favorite pictures from the party. Ethan was so ready to go out and punch the pinata!)