Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Anger and Be of Good Cheer

Why is it when life knocks us on our tush, that's when all of our doubts, fears, shortcomings, faults, and misgivings come rushing out as well?

I get that when we're down it's easy to stay down or go further down simply b/c we're struggling.

However, I also acknowledge that the enemy WANTS to keep us down.  He wants us to doubt. To blame. To become angry.

When we're angry, we hurt those around us.  We hurt ourselves.  We stay 'stuck' in a less-than-great place.

My friend, our pastor's wife, recently posted a devotional of sorts from her Bible reading one day last week on anger.

It made me think of our current situation.

Satan would LOVE to keep me in a place of fear and uncertainty because he knows I tend to get angry when I'm in that state.  Shoot, he knows anger is my 'go to' for many emotions.  It's my 'survival mode' reaction.

 However, God doesn't want me to stay there, to be there.

He wants MORE for me.  From me.

It's my CHOICE to allow anger to surface in this situation.  Not that it's WRONG to be upset about this predicament in which we find ourselves.  That's normal.  It's one of the stages of grief and we need to go through it.

But, that's the key -- THROUGH!!!

It's not good to get immobilized there.  To stay there.  To react there.

I'm not saying I'm GOOD at going THROUGH anger.  I do tend to dawdle there - too often.

I do anger well.  (If there's such a thing as doing anger well.)

What I mean is, anger has been my means to get past a lot of things.  It's served me well.  At times, it's even bettered me.  However, I'm not sure it's helped me better others.

Now? This situation?  I NEED to help Selah.  I need to help myself.

Our family needs to come out of this 'better'.

Anger is not. going. to. cut. it.

Yes, I may have fear.  I may have misgivings.  I may have uncertainty.

But.... I can't allow those emotions, those feelings to spiral down to the anger to which I usually default.

I need to lean on God. Pray for HIS strength, because I know my own isn't enough.  I'm not strong enough to weather this storm alone.

I need to, as my friend stated, 'Be of good cheer' BEFORE I feel the anger tugging me down.  Pulling me to a state of reaction.

Be of good cheer.  That's what God calls me to.  That's what God provides.

I'm not saying I'm going to 'fake it till I make it' because I do need to feel these feelings. I  do need to go THROUGH these emotions.

I am saying I'm going to choose to NOT allow anger to get me stuck.  To swallow me.  To hold me captive.

Be of good cheer.  That needs to be my motto now and the days to come.

With God...... I CAN.....  go.....  THROUGH this.

Monday, March 30, 2015

and now.... the Flu!

This past Thur we experienced Selah's first mildly low blood sugar.

We took Elijah in for shooting sports, then wandered around the local flea market to kill time before picking him back up, and finally headed to a graduation dinner for a young man in our church.

While walking around, Selah commented that she was hungry.  We didn't think much of it as we knew we'd be eating within an hour or so.

We arrived at the church and checked her blood sugar to prep for her insulin dose.


Her 'range' is 70-150.

Hmmmm.... It was still a good half hour before we would really be eating.

As time progressed, she got quieter, shyer.  (If that's even possible).

Finally, as we were standing in line to get her food, she began to wilt.  She pressed into me, her face contorted, and tears fell.

At least now we know some of her tell tale signs that she's experiencing a low blood sugar.

She ate. We gave her insulin for the food ingested.  She was fine.

Fast forward to this morning.

I woke her up around 7:00 am to check her blood sugar.

Whoa!  High.  320.

We decided on breakfast. Calculated her carbs; her correction factor.  Administered insulin.

She whimpered when I gave her the shot.  Leg shots seem to hurt the most for her right now.

Moments after, she started coughing.  You know the cough.  The kind that indicates vomiting is not far behind.

She then stated she didn't feel well.

We rushed to the restroom - just in case.

I hoped it was just from being worked up over her shot.  She really doesn't like shots in her leg, but given the limited 'real estate' options we have, we keep her legs in the rotation -- just not as often.

She decided to come back to the table and said she felt a little better.

I began getting her breakfast ready.

A 'barf bucket' close at hand - just in case - was good practice because minutes after presenting her food before her...... you guessed it...... she threw up!

Techno became alarmed because I had just given her a pretty good dose of insulin based on her high blood sugar and her anticipated carb ingestion.

She. Wasn't. Eating.

We were so blessed that Techno knew just what to do.  He'd 'been there done that' on his own.

Ginger Ale; candy mints; jelly beans; crackers; a popsicle; a tootsie pop.  Whatever we could get her to eat to keep her blood sugar from plummeting.

This was a severe challenge.

She'd eat a mint and drink a little ginger ale followed almost immediately by throwing it all back up.

We kept this little dance up over the next several hours.

Monitoring her blood sugar every 45 minutes to an hour to be sure it wasn't going to extremes in either direction.  Our biggest fear being it getting too low.

At 11:00 her blood sugar was 129.


Dodged that bullet.  Her insulin dose should have been mostly out of her system at that point.

Now we just had to keep a little sugar in her to keep the long lasting stuff from working too well while she wasn't feeling up to regular food.

Nothing quite like getting thrown to the wolves in all things diabetic the first week.

I feel blessed that Techno knew exactly what to do and we were able to stay on top of her condition without needing any emergency medical attention.

It's always hard to see your little one sick.  Adding diabetes to the mix sure escalated the stress factor involved.

Here's praying she recovers quickly from the stomach bug and that we continue to weather this storm with grace and triumphs.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Tired, Time, and Waiting

It's not yet been a week since we took Selah to the ER in the wee hours of the morning and received the profound news that she does in fact have Type 1 diabetes.

Logically, I know her diagnosis isn't a 'horrible' thing.   There are LOTS worse things in which we could be faced.

Logically, I understand the treatment is VERY manageable.

Logically, I realize the long term effects of this disease are greatly reduced with good control of her blood sugars.

Logically, I see that she is adapting well.

Logically, I SHOULD be adapting too.

Yet, I.... continue.... to..... struggle.


I've had a couple good days.  Days where it doesn't seem so daunting.

But, it seems I've had a lot more tumultuous days.  Days where I just go through the motions with my emotions raw and ragged.

Days where I'm tired.  So tired.


Neck pain.


I've only had one total meltdown day, but several other 'on the verge of tears' sort of days.

I know it'll get better.

I know it's somewhat just the stress of it all.

I know that as her primary caregiver much of the 'weight' of this is on my shoulders.

However, I don't seem to know how to shake the blues and blahs that are resulting.


I do know that time will help.

I've already seen how just a few short days have made the shots easier.


I've already experienced how a few more days have helped me grasp the idea of calculating carbs and correction factors.

I guess it's just hard to be patient.

It's hard to live out the hard times while waiting for the good times to roll in.

But.... God promises to always be there.

God promises to work all things for good.

I may not be able to see the 'good' in this situation NOW; but.... I believe God's promises.

So, with that in my heart and mind... I'll wait.... I'll wait on God's timing.

Even while tired, raw, torn, broken.  I'll wait.

Friday, March 27, 2015

A Better Day

It's been several days now since Selah's diagnosis.

We've had good days. We've had not so good days.

Yesterday was REALLY hard.

Today was better.

I didn't struggle with getting up to check her sugars in the middle of the night.  I did oversleep again and check a bit late, but I wasn't frazzled and angry.

I didn't snap at Techno as I stumbled in the dark.

I didn't cry over nothing and everything.

I'll consider that progress.

We really are getting into a good routine.

Counting carbs is making more sense.

Determining insulin amounts is becoming easier.

Today we also got to go as a family to Fort Collins again.  Techno had an appointment with the diabetes education team and Selah and I sat in.  I've gone to all his appointments up till now and I admit, this one seemed more daunting.  More informative.

It's not that I didn't try to learn and gain information before when I went with Techno, but he understood the ratios and correction factors so well, they talked at 'HIS' level.  I usually smiled and nodded so as not to appear 'dumb' b/c they might as well have been speaking in Chinese or something.

This time?  Well, it had new meaning. I HAVE to understand how to figure all this out.  I am now the one implementing such ratios and corrections for Selah.

Yes, Techno is still here to help, but I'm the one 'in the trenches'. I'm the one checking her sugars, making her meals, calculating her carbs and correction factors to determine the amount of insulin she will need.

I NEED to get this.  I MUST be able to determine her needs each and every day, all day.

The meeting went well.  The dietician talked about high fat meals and how they too can effect blood sugars.  She and Techno bantered back and forth, notes jotted down, scenarios shared.  I glossed over.

She asked if I were ok.  Unexpectedly, the tears fell.  Again.

Just when I thought I was getting a handle on what I needed to know, something new was thrown in the mix.

Granted, this information was more for Techno than Selah, but... it will impact her as well.  As a growing child she obviously needs more fat than Techno and I do in our diet, but.... knowing that a meal of pizza will have a very different impact on her blood sugar than a normal meal of chicken and rice is pretty. darn. important.

We want her to have a 'normal' childhood - pizza and other high fat meals - is part of that.  But... we also need to understand HOW those 'normal' scenarios will impact her insulin needs.

At least today this news didn't throw me into the pit of tears and despair as yesterday had.

I keep reminding myself, this is a journey.  It will take time.  I will have bad days.  But... I'll also have better days.  Even good days.

Selah is doing well.  She's adapting.  Ironic how much better the child is handling this compared to the adult.  Glad she's so resilient.  Glad she's so strong.

I am learning a lot from our little girl.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Emotional Pitfall

The last two nights have been rough.

Getting up in the middle of the night to check blood sugars (then having another kiddo get sick resulting in ANOTHER middle of the night awakening one night) has made for an exhausted mama.

Last night I was actually an hour and a half late checking her sugar b/c I fell back to sleep after the alarm went off.  I bumped into the table as I tried to stumble out of the room. Techno asked if I was ok and I snapped a short retort back at him.  As if it's HIS fault I'm groggy and faltering around.  (It's not, he's just an easy target right now for my volatile emotions.)

Fortunately, her blood glucose levels were a bit better than some other nights - 286 or so.  Still high, but WAY better than the high 400's which is where it's been many nights so far.

I tucked her back in bed and made my way back to our room.

Crawling under the covers, I just felt spent.

I tossed and turned a bit before falling back into my state of slumber.

Techno's alarm went off and I barely moved.  Several minutes later, it went off again.

Awake, I asked if everything was ok as he began to get out of bed and get ready for work.

I didn't want to get up.

I was tired.  

My neck was stiff.  

My body felt like it had been hit by a Mack truck.  

My brain was groggy.  

My emotions were raw.
I did, however, get up.

Making my way to the kitchen I started a pot of coffee.

Much to my surprise, I also started crying.

No apparent reason.

Tears. just. started. to. fall.

Moments later Charity and Selah emerged. I almost ran poor Selah over as I didn't see or hear her walk up beside me in the kitchen. I simply assumed she was sitting with Charity by the furnace -- their traditional morning resting place when they first wake up.

Since she was up and I just needed to wait for the coffee, we went ahead and checked her blood sugar.

Then, we had to decide on WHAT she was going to eat for breakfast.

Trinity and Bethany had made cakes for cake decorating class and had asked if everyone could have a piece for breakfast.

Of course that meant Selah would want a piece.

The calculating and checking began.

A piece of cake with buttercream frosting has A LOT of carbs in it.

We figured out what a smallish piece would have and Techno and I decided a 'middle' piece with less frosting would be best.

Of course, Selah WANTED an end piece with all the fancy piping on it and I had to tell her no.

She cried.

I cried.

Emotional pitfall for both of us.  All over a piece of cake.

This IS our new life. Decisions had to be made that are in her best interest.  It was still hard.

My morning continued like this.

Crying -- A LOT and OFTEN -- for no apparent reason other than the emotional pitfall I seem to be enveloped in right now.

Getting back to our lessons and school work helped a lot.  Kept our minds focused on something OTHER than diabetes.

Then lunch.


It was a simple enough meal.

Tuna salad; crackers; mango; and cucumber slices with a cream cheese filling piped on top.

Then. It. Hit. Me!!!

I have to figure out all the carbs for this meal.  Humph.

The pickle relish in the tuna salad along with the little bit of carbs from the cheese.  The cream cheese filling for the cucumbers. The mango.  The crackers.  Then figure out how many carbs PER SERVING for the tuna and the cucumber filling.

My sink was overflowing with dishes b/c I had to weigh the total amount, then figure out how many carbs in the whole thing, then divide out how much Selah would eat and how many carbs were in 'her portion'.

Phew!  My. Brain. Hurt!

Not to mention, what would normally take 15 minutes to prepare, now took closer to 45.  Sigh.

Of course, once THAT was done, it was time to check her blood sugar and determine her insulin dose.

THEN --- lunchtime.  She ate.  She didn't like the cucumbers so there's 1 carb not ingested. She didn't eat all the tuna salad -- there's a portion of another carb not ingested. THEN -- she wanted MORE crackers. That's too many carbs not dosed for.

When I told her no to more crackers....... she cried.      Again.

I cried.       Again.

This was all before 1PM in the afternoon and I. felt. wiped.  Was it bedtime yet? Could I just hibernate in my bed, under the covers for a few days?  Could I hide? Disappear?  Pretend this wasn't real?


It is real.

It is our life.

It is hard.

I continued to cry.  Most of the day.

I did hide in my room and take a nap.

Hoping the sleep would help my perspective.

I did continue to do what needed to be done.

Checking sugars.  Counting carbs.  Administering insulin.

Even if sometimes it was through tears.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

It really does get easier

The emotions continue to bounce, but the 'process' is getting easier.

Following the complete meltdown after my 'faux pa' of giving Selah an empty shot and having to give her a second shot due to my shortcoming, the morning started off smoothly with NO tears from our precious little girl throughout her shot for breakfast.

Odd as it may seem... that did my mama's heart a world of good.

It made this emotional roller coaster stabilize a bit.

It.    really.    will.    get.    easier.

In some ways, that knowledge makes my heart hurt too -- the fact our little girl 'will get used to' shots and pokes.  That this new way of life will become second nature, old hat.  It makes a parent's heart heavy, sad.  Yet, light and relieved.

Such weird emotions.

The remainder of the day went quite well.

It's a bit stressful to calculate carbs for EVERY thing she MAY want to eat.  We have to 'predict' just how much she'll eat, anticipate if she'll want seconds, determine if she should have a 'treat' after her meal or not.  All BEFORE she actually eats so we can administer the correct amount of insulin.  Anyone with a 6 year old child know just how unpredictable their eating habits can be from meal to meal or even within a meal.  Too much insulin and her sugar will bottom out.  Too little and her sugar levels will soar again.

No pressure.

It takes time.  It takes brain work. It takes some intuition of what she's likely to eat or not eat.  It takes patience.  It takes trust.  It takes faith.

Not all of these things are necessarily my strengths.  It's wonderful to have Techno to traverse these waters with together -- we are a good team.  A good system of checks and balances for one another.

The day progressed with limited 'issues' regarding her new diagnosis.  Lots of sugar checks. Lots of calculating proper doses for the carbs she would eat and the correction factor for high sugars.  But... it was better.  It was easier.

We really are getting into a routine.  Even this soon in the game.

For the second night in a row, we woke her at 1 am to check for middle of the night sugar levels just to be sure she's not too high or too low.

It many ways, I correlate this new experience to having a newborn in the house again.  Lots to learn, new experiences, little sleep, lots of worry, new schedules and routines, lots of joys as new milestones are met.  Crazy.

It's been amazing to see the color fully filling her face again.  She's eating full meals again.  We hadn't even realized just how little she was eating before.  Part of the difficulty of this coming on right around the time of her last illness.

All in all, she's returning to her old self again.  What a huge blessing.  We're helping her body heal.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Roller Coaster continues

After Selah's diagnosis - the hospital originally decided to admit her to be sure we kept her blood sugars lowered but not too low.

Minutes after Techno left (he had decided to drive home and sleep so he could work the next morning until time to pick us up from the hospital), the ER doctor returned to inform me that the hospital pediatrician would rather us go to Denver Children's Hospital and be admitted.  The local hospital wasn't quite equipped to deal with a pediatric diabetic.

Frantically, I called Techno to return -- hoping to catch him before he got too far out of town.  A not-so perk of living 30+ miles from the hospital.  Once he arrived, we began discussing arrangements to get us to Denver Children's.  Not long after, the ER doctor conveyed that the endocrinology doc at Children's felt there was no need for us to be admitted, but to come to the diabetic center first thing in the morning for training and a treatment plan with a diabetic team.  (We're certain the reasoning was our own knowledge of diabetes from Techno being a diabetic and the fact Selah was caught early. She had not gone into diabetic ketoacidosis.)  Blessings for sure.

Finally discharged, we headed to Techno's sister's house for a short hour or so of sleep before needing to awaken for our long drive to Denver.

Arriving right on time, we parked and registered.

Immediately we were taken to a check in room where Selah's sugars were tested and insulin was administered.

Next we were escorted to a room where we'd meet her endocrinologist, a nurse, a dietician, and a social worker -- our diabetic team -- that will be guiding us through this journey of managing Selah's diabetes during her childhood years.

They were all wonderful.

They acknowledged that we had 'better than average knowledge' compared to most parents of 'newly diagnosed children with diabetes'.  However, they wanted to be sure we were all on the same page with the 'new ways' of treating diabetes versus some of what Techno had been taught as a Type 1 diabetic when he was first diagnosed 30+ years ago.  They also understood that it's a bit different to treat your CHILD vs yourself or spouse.  Therefore, we got all the basic information, but we moved along at a faster pace than the typical family just getting this devastating news.

They taught ME - especially - how to check sugars (doing a finger stick, being sure to get the blood properly 'loaded' on the test strip, etc.) and how to administer her insulin pen shots.  They had me administer a small unit of saline to Techno-Genius to see 'how it feels' to put a needle through someone's skin.

I will say, even having done this 'trial run' with Techo, giving Selah her first 'shot' of insulin was quite heart wrenching.  She had been given several shots, an IV, and numerous finger sticks by nursing staff up to this point (all of which were painful and scary), but... she cried SO HARD when I had to give her the shot, it made my heart break.

Tears flooded my own eyes as I held her after the fact.  Emotions.  Fear.  Sadness.

After a VERY long day -- arriving at 7:45am, leaving at 3:15pm -- we headed out to purchase Selah a 'special bag' to carry all her diabetic supplies.

Part of our 'training' included receiving a lot of supplies and materials we'll need to manage and understand her care.  Books.  Pamphlets.  Insulin and pen.  A blood glucose monitor.  Test strips.  Ketone strips.  They also gave her a bracelet to identify that she has diabetes in case there's ever an emergency.  Of course, she chose a pink one.

As we left they also gave her a special little teddy bear that she named Brown Rose (b/c she is brown, after all.)

Driving home a friend texted and asked how Selah was doing.  I responded that she was doing pretty well, considering.  She seemed to understand the gist of what was going on (for a 6 year old). However, I felt that she appeared to think each finger stick or shot would be the 'last one'... until we told her we had to do it all over.... again.... and again.  Such a heavy feeling to see the fear in her little face.

Then my friend asked how I was doing.  My response?  'Depends on the moment.  Overwhelmed; scared: afraid of messing up; fearful I won't be able to figure out the carb/correction ratios of her insulin;  flabbergasted by how our life is needing too change; flustered by how difficult simply planning and making dinner will now become; afraid of her long term future; knowing much of the stage I set now will impact her health as an adult; thankful for the advances in medicine and the fact we knew the warning signs and caught this early; hating that this is a lifelong journey she has to travel - one I wish I could 'take for her'.  In a nutshell?

I'm.    all.    over.     the.    place!

We grabbed dinner out.  I successfully tested her blood sugar; calculated her correction factor; figured out the carb ratio to determine the amount of insulin to give; and administered her insulin.  All while IN a restaurant.  Selah cried less this time -- which made it a bit easier.

Then we made our way home.

The older kids were up and had lots of questions.  We had to prepare for her evening dose of long lasting insulin so the kids were able to watch and learn.

Techno gave them some basic information about diabetes; about all we'd learned that day for Selah specifically; and I started demonstrating checking her sugar and giving her insulin.  All was going well.... her sugar was quite high so we called the on-call fellow for further instructions. While awaiting her return call, I got set to give her the night time insulin.

In 'teaching' the kids what and how to do this, I prepped her pen then got the injection site ready.  I placed the pen and needle and pushed.  Nothing was happening.  In all the talking and 'demonstrating' I had forgotten to actually fill the pen with her set dose.

She was already crying from the poke.  Yet, I had to stick her again. This time WITH insulin on board.

She cried.  I cried.  Some of my fears realized.  I. had. messed. up!

Techno-Genius reminded me it probably wouldn't be the last time.  We are, after all, human.

This really is a process. There's a lot to learn.  There's a lot to digest.  There's a LONG road ahead.

Tomorrow will be a new day with successes and failures.  With trials and triumphs.  With tears and laughter.

Here's praying for tomorrow.

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Diabetic Journey

What started as a wonderful 'family day' in Fort Collins -- Trinity and Bethany had a sewing clinic; we all went to lunch at HuHot (a favorite for many); some shopping at thrift stores; walking in the beautiful weather; an eye doctor appointment for Doug; a trip to Costco (also a favorite thing); and dinner at the Costco 'food court'. ---

Ended with an unexpected trip to the ER for Selah.

Over the last week and a half to two weeks, we'd noticed that Selah was drinking A LOT and using the restroom way more frequently than usual. Especially for her.

Making the trek from Fort Collins to home, she wasn't able to make the whole drive without an urgent stop to potty.  That was a big 'alarm' in our minds.

Techno-genius decided to check her blood sugar with his blood glucose monitor 'just in case' once we arrived home.  Up till now, we had thought her increased drinking was more from her being sick and having a dry throat from coughing.

Seconds after pricking her finger, the results popped up.  His meter reads up to 600.  It stated her reading was 'too high to register'.

A punch to the gut.  We weren't REALLY expecting that.  Or I guess we were HOPING against that?

We threw a few things into a bag, got her re-dressed (she had already changed into her PJ's for the night), and loaded the three of us into the car.

Thankfully, Jacob was home for spring break and could stay overnight with the kids if we needed to stay at the hospital for any length of time.

30+ minutes later we arrived at the hospital's Emergency Room entrance.

They whisked us right in.  (A perk of living in a small town --  not much competition for the ER.)

After talking with Techno (while I took Selah to the restroom), they immediately started an IV and took blood for tests.  Moments later with the results of her blood sugar around 580, they administered her first round of insulin.

This was real.  Our little girl was just given the diagnosis of early onset Type 1 diabetes.

I had cried off and on the whole drive to the hospital.  We knew there was really only ONE reason for a blood sugar to be THAT high.  We knew in our hearts what we were dealing with.

We didn't want to frighten her, but this knowledge was raw.  It was scary.  It's her new 'altered' life sentence.  It's not going to go away. She won't outgrow it.  She will have to deal with it the rest of her life.  She could have long term complications from it.

Emotions ran - and will continue to run - the gamut.

We feel blessed we were armed with the knowledge of diabetic symptoms to watch for due to Techno being a Type 1 diabetic as well.  That information took us to the ER early in the game BEFORE she got REALLY sick.

That same knowledge that guided us also causes a lot of sadness.  We KNOW what this life entails and it's hard to think of your child having to go through it.

One might think as a WIFE of a diabetic, that this diagnosis would be 'no big deal'. We've got this, right? We know what to do, right?  Yet, being a diabetic wife is WAY different than being a diabetic MOM.  The emotions are so different.  The sadness is deep.

Technology has come so far.  Treatment is SO much better now than 30+ years ago when Techno was diagnosed.  Compared to many other 'diseases' this is sorta 'mild', but it's still HUGE - especially to us as we travel these unchartered waters for Selah.

I'm thankful we have a God who will guide us through this journey.  I'm grateful for a wonderful pediatric endocrinology team to teach us all that we need to know to give her the best care possible.  I'm amazed at the medical advances and technology we have at our finger tips.

This journey is just starting.  I'm just so glad we have hope and a means to keep little Selah as healthy as we possibly can.