Friday, March 31, 2017

Fear vs. Information

Recently I was talking to a friend about the girls' diagnosis with Type 1 Diabetes; how being part of 'support groups' for this disease is both a blessing and a challenge.

On the one hand it's finally people who 'get it'.  Those who are living the same turmoil we live. The  same trials and triumphs.  Those that understand WHY we get little sleep most nights.  Those who relate to the fears we have when we see low or high numbers on the Dexcom or blood glucose meter.   Those who watch their little ones gulp a juice in their sleep in the middle of the night -- putting their teeth at risk for cavities, but necessary to save their lives. The ones who feel the same way we do when we get our 3 month 'report card' from the a1c results at our endocrinology appointments.

Yet, on the flip, by being part of the diabetes community we often see the worst case scenarios that CAN play out.  (To be fair -  we sometimes see the best as well.)  However, because these groups are made up of others 'in the trenches' just as we are, it's a safe place to share those fears; worries; the scary moments that others just. don't. get.  Because of that, I'd say the 'scary scenarios' often outweigh the positive ones in frequency.

When I was sharing that I sometimes cry as I'm reading these posts regarding the 'could happen' moments, my friend commented on how one just has to step away so you don't get consumed.  Like a new mom looking up 'symptoms' on the internet and convincing herself that her child is surely going to die because of that rash that just appeared out of nowhere.

I had to ponder that a bit.

Having been married to a type 1 diabetic for over 22 years now, I am ashamed to say that I did NOT know all the pitfalls that this horrendous disease carries with it.  I didn't realize he could literally DIE in his sleep from a severe low. That he could quickly go into DKA and suffer brain damage or death from a severe high blood sugar if left unchecked for just a mere few hours.

So... when she said this... I'll admit, I was a bit put off.  A little confounded by the innuendo that our daughters' very real risk of danger be trivialized as 'just fear'.

I wasn't angry, yet felt I needed to justify my desire -  maybe even my need - to continue being part of these support groups.

Yes, the alarming scenarios can cause you to panic. But... in our case, familiarity with the scary stuff can also SAVE our girls lives.

I understand that my husband did NOT die in his sleep in those 20 plus years, but.... many people have. Fortunately he is what we call in diabetes land 'hypo aware'. Meaning he FEELS his low blood glucose levels as they come on.  They even often wake him from a sound sleep.  Our girls don't possess this ability. Especially in their sleep.  As we've gotten further into this journey they are beginning to 'feel' when they are low during the daytime hours, but usually not until they are 'quite low'.  Granted having CGM's on both girls has helped tremendously b/c we can see their blood sugar levels in real time.  However, it doesn't negate the fact that a fast drop in blood sugar can be missed by both the Dexcom AND the individual's 'senses'.

So... yes, going on line searching for something that is most likely NOT there can consume you and cause you to go insane, but.... being educated about the very real possibilities of high and low blood sugars -- how fast they can change and become dangerous -- how serious they can be and what to look for -- well, in my opinion that's just smart.  It's useful to know what to look for; how to react; how quickly a situation can take a turn for the worse; what helps correct the situation quickly.

Knowing other people's stories has helped me not only learn new tactics, but also deal with some of my own fears of the unknown.

Type 1 diabetes brings with it a lot of uncertainties.

It's a predictably unpredictable disease.

What works one day, may not work the next.  Being aware that such a trend is common helps me feel as though we aren't doing this whole thing 'all wrong'.  It soothes my fears in many ways.  I feel my arsenal is more amply supplied because of the knowledge I've gained by hearing other's tales and situations.

I will admit early on the fear was raw.... consuming.... even close to debilitating.

But now?

Now it's different.

Now I use the 'stories' to empower me.  To strengthen the girls.  To help us keep them safe and secure.  To build our own base of awareness to help keep our girls out of danger.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Christmas Tree

Here it is, Jan 27, 2017 and our Christmas tree and Christmas decorations are still up.

"What?"  You say.  "It's almost February.  How can you still have your Christmas decorations up?  You're one of THOSE neighbors."

I could make excuses...... as we HAVE been super busy since Christmas.

But I'm not going to.

Our tree is still up because Techno likes it to stay up.

This is new for me to give in like this.

I always leave the tree up till at least New Year's Day.  However, I usually take it down ON New Year's Day or shortly thereafter. 
(Except for the year Jacob was born.  That year I didn't have the energy or ambition to mess with it so the tree was up until April when my mom came to visit. She couldn't take it and put it all away.  Don't judge.)

 It's a comical and loving 'battle' we have each December.

How early should the tree go up?  I vote for just before December 10 -- my birthday.  He would rather wait till closer to Christmas Eve -- say December 22 or so.   When should the decorations go back in storage?  My vote, NO LATER than New Year's.  His? April.  LOL!

Most years, we do a bit of a compromise.  I get the tree up 'close' to my birthday. Sometimes before but usually a bit after (mostly b/c we get quite busy) and we take the tree down right around New Year's Day or maybe a few days later depending on our schedule.

This year.... the tree went up a bit late -- for my preference.  Around Dec 22 or so.

That meant it really wasn't up long by the time Christmas rolled around and the time I'd start itching to disassemble everything.

January hit with it's hectic schedule right out of the gate.

Techno and I had our 4 day getaway; every weekend thereafter, it seemed we were going to Fort Collins for something -- appts; picking up computers; getting blood drawn; etc etc etc.

I could have delegated the task to the kids - but I honestly was fearful of things -- like my mom's ceramic Christmas tree that she made -- getting broken.  Not that I can't slip, trip, and fall myself causing disaster, but it seems my children are a little more prone to said accidents.  :-)

I could have also easily started and completed the Christmas dismantle during the week.

But... this year... I decided to honor my husband's wishes.

We left the tree up.

We left the decorations all around the living room.

The lights were on most of the time.

In the past, the chaos of all the decor drove me nuts after a week or so.

This year, simplifying our Christmas decorations made it seem less cluttered and claustrophobic.

In all honesty?  It was nice.  I might even say.... relaxing.

I think Techno's on to something.

So many put the tree up right after or even before Thanksgiving then remove all evidence of Christmas before New Year's Day.  Keeping all the holidays smooshed into a 4-5 week span.

Do we even enjoy the tree, the decorations when we do that?  Nov and Dec tend to be so busy - shopping; eating; visiting family; dinners; parties; programs at school; wrapping; planning; more parties; more programs.

Then a few days after Christmas and all the hub bub is over; we remove all evidence of the magical time; the twinkling lights are gone; the ornaments filled with memories are stashed away for another year.

Do we even have the time or energy to embrace it?  To really take notice of it all?

This year, leaving everything up for the month of Jan, I gained a new perspective.

The twinkle of the lights glowing in the evening.

The tree looming tall in the living room with all the precious memories carefully placed on it's bows.

I was able to appreciate WHY Techno prefers the tree to go up late and stay up long.

It helps with the hum drum days after all the buzz of the holidays has passed.

The winter months stretch on and on here.

Why not keep that magical look and feel for a few more weeks?

I'm pleased we did.

I'm overjoyed I honored my husband's wishes and kept Christmas displayed a little longer this year.

Yes, it's getting to be time to remove it all.  But... if another few days pass and it's still up?  I'm ok with that.