Friday, November 30, 2007

Opening with Buttons

I have one of Beth's buttons on my purse. Turns out, it's a great conversation starter.

"You have diabetes?"

"No, my son."

"Oh. Me too."

This was in my youngest child's karate class. I talked with another mom. Previously, our conversations had been brief. Where our children go to school. Look at how their kicks are improving. Wow, it's cold today.

Diabetes brings conversations to a new level. They are instantly personal. You have diabetes in your life? I know you. I get you. I understand.

So far, this button has only started conversations with others who have diabetes. But I see other people looking.

Come. Ask me about my button. I'm happy to talk.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Growing Up

Children are the most precious gifts we get in life, and they are also the creatures that test us to our most extreme limits. This unique dichotomy, the stretch between extreme love and intense frustration helps us grow in intelligence and spirituality in ways we never believed possible. One of the milestones of this journey of learning, the pain and joy, happens during the teenage years as these little individuals, so attached and dependent, morph into hairy, voice-altered, oddly-styled humans who stand on their own two legs, which may be clothed in hiking boots or sequined shoes depending on the model you happen to have.

There are moments of maturity that catch me by surprise. There was the time I came home from the grocery store and Daniel got up from the table to help bring in the bags from the car. Unprompted.

There was the time that Nora knew I was exhausted from getting up in the middle of the night to check Daniel's blood sugar, and she cleaned the kitchen while I snoozed.

There was that moment that Daniel held a syringe to his abdomen for the first time, and his dad and I said, "just do it quickly, don't think about it" and he said, "wait... I'm almost ready." A few minutes later, he was ready. And he never looked back.

Nora is 85% tomboy; she wears t-shirts and sweat pants and plays football as well as the guys, but the t-shirts may have rainbows on them and they will probably match the pants. She cuts her hair short, but keeps sparkly studs in her pierced ears. She prefers comfortable shoes to the pointy toed ones that her friends wear, but it takes her HOURS to shop for something perfect. And all this leads up to...

I bought her an outfit to wear to the theater because her class was going on a field trip and they had to dress appropriately. At first Nora railed against the fact that she couldn't wear jeans because they were, in her opinion, NOT casual. They looked nice. But I found a swirly-patterned red/black/white top with some black velveteen pants. Colors bright and bold, just like her personality. She tried them on and my tomboy disappeared. A young woman, the person she is changing into, stepped in front of me and took my breath away.

I experienced this weird, magical moment where I could see her crawling on the floor, banging on tupperware, and at the same time, waving goodbye in a new suit on her way to work. My eyes teared up and my heart hiccuped. Two of my three children are accelerating their process of becoming.

I really do try to let go, to let it happen. To let time flow over me easily. Sometimes I get in the car and turn on the radio, and the Talking Heads are followed by the Go Gos and I feel like I'm that person I was in the 80's on my way to a party, even though the vehicle carrying me is a minivan. Then I come back to myself, and laugh as I realize that my kids are in the back and singing with me. They know all the words, just as I did, just as I taught them.

I do everything I can, as a parent, to give my children the tools they need to live their own lives. At the same time I can hardly bear to let them go.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Highs and Lows and Somewhere In Between

I do try, so very much, to walk the middle path. It is a yoga thing for me. Not too high, not too low. Just like Daniel's blood sugar numbers. I try to stay in an emotional range. It keeps me healthy.

Today my boss found out she has breast cancer. Today my youngest son's teacher told me she is pregnant with her first child. Today Daniel's blood sugar numbers were running way high. Today my daughter played beautiful music in her guitar lesson. Today I got a "sussy" (thank you Beth for the sussy and thank you Amylia for teaching me about sussies! Sussys?) in the mail -- buttons from Beth (which will proudly be displayed in tomorrow's Diabetes365 pictures).

I take the middle path. I try to avoid the land mines.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Play date

I took Daniel to a new friend's house today for a play date. Can you really call them play dates when the boys are 14? Okay, a get together. A video game fest. Anyway, this was a new friend that Daniel met at school this year. I came in to say hi and let them know that Daniel was diabetic, so if they saw him doing a blood sugar test not to be alarmed.

The dad said, "Oh, we know, (wife) is diabetic, too." I said, "Okay, then you know all about it." He said, "Yes. So he should have no sugar."

I paused. Then said, "Well, he's type 1, so that doesn't matter as much, but no, he can't have sugar because he didn't bring any insulin to bolus." And we discussed the fact that he could snack, if he wanted, on carb-free things like salad veggies, and that he could have a diet soda.

I guess the mom must be type 2 if they immediately thought that Daniel shouldn't have sugar. I wonder if people who are diagnosed with type 2 get the same intense diabetes education you get when diagnosed with type 1 about the differences between the two.

There is such misunderstanding about type 1 diabetes. This person was not the first to assume that Daniel could not have sugar. Daniel has had more sugar since diagnosis to treat his bg lows than he ever used to have!

Sometimes I think that type 1 and type 2 diabetes should have completely different names.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thankful Day

Thanksgiving started out warm & sunny, as if I awoke to find my fantasy had come true and we were suddenly living in Hawaii. While I chopped & basted, husband and children organized & cleaned house. Then they went out on a walk in the sun and came back apple-cheeked & sweaty.

Then the wind blew.

We have a couple of large willow oak trees in the back yard. They are beautiful, and they are a pain. The leaves are about four inches long, about the width of your finger, and pointy on each end. Not your typical oak leaf! The acorns are tiny, perhaps the size of the tip of your thumb. The leaves and acorns defy raking. They cling to the lawn with their sharp tips when you try to blow them away. It's better to let them sit on the lawn until spring... which is one of the reasons the grass doesn't grow so well in my back yard.

In mid afternoon a weather front whistled through, bringing a scattering of rain and a mighty explosion of wind. The leaves sailed off the oak tree and headed for my neighbors yard (GO! GO! FLY!!!). The sky was awesome, with dark purple gray clouds as a backdrop for the bright colors of autumn trees, which were lit up by the long rays of sun reaching out from the far side of the weather front.

Nora and Dominic saw the leaves flying. Suddenly there was nothing more wonderful, no game more delicious, no video more interesting than the great wide world. They ran around the front yard trying to catch leaves, stuff them in their pockets, and compare treasures. They opened their arms to embrace the wind, as if they had wings and were ready to soar into the sky.

A change in weather can affect your mental and physical body. Some feel rain coming in their bones, or the onset of winter in the way their skin changes. A warm, sunny day seems to make everyone happy. And the burst of energy brought forth by the wind and leaves invited my children to shriek, run, and leap with joy.

The wind rolled up the street in gusts that eventually settled into a gentle sigh. The neighborhood trees, which up until yesterday had been holding tight to their leaves, as if they were waiting for our last warm day, decided to release them and send them softly on the breeze. What better way to spend the afternoon than to relax in the still-warm grass, watching the swirling patterns above, mingling your energy with the earth.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Prelude to a Turkey

I rushed home from work (got out early) and started straight away on cooking. Got the cranberry-orange-red wine sauce done, along with the gravy base first thing. Then started in on the pies. I couldn't find gluten free graham crackers, so I searched around the internet until I found a recipe for a pie crust that is made with almond meal, cocoa powder, a little sugar & butter. Yum! That's the base for the chocolate cream pie.

Next, I crushed up GF ginger snaps for the pumpkin pie crust. Baked the pumpkin pie, and the edges got a little crispy so I just picked them off & made the evidence disappear into the garbage disposal. Bye!

Melted the two kinds of chocolate for the cream pie, made the custard base, mixed it all together & put it in the refrigerator. That will get dumped into the crust tomorrow.

Had to stop to eat dinner. Eat? Ugh! But the kids were hungry. I usually order a pizza the night before Thanksgiving, and then give thanks that there's someone out there willing to bring food to my door. There was a nice Amy's GF pizza in the freezer for Daniel as well, so he was happy.

Now the stuffing is cooking. It's a new recipe. I've made my hubby's family's bread stuffing for so many years. When I was growing up I never liked bread stuffing, but I've kind of gotten used to it. Now because of Daniel's celiac, we can't make that recipe.

I don't trust the GF breads to be good enough to hold up to stuffing. They crumble like crazy when you try to make a sandwich out of them, and would probably just turn to mush in stuffing. When I was younger I always made a wild rice stuffing, and my parents let me go wild, experimenting with ingredients. They NEVER stuffed the turkey. They swore it would poison us all. I went back to my childhood experimentations (along with a little recipe research) and made a brown basmati/wild rice stuffing. It has onions, celery, chestnuts, garlic, sage, apricots, slivered almonds, and fresh parsley. I'm cooking it in a combo of chicken stock w/a bit of orange juice mixed in. It smells heavenly. And because my husband LOVES the stuffing inside the turkey, that's where it will go. You know what? My parents will eat it anyway!

It's so hard to figure out all the carbs in all the foods that will be on the Thanksgiving table. With a little help from Calorie King, Daniel will figure out an amount to bolus, and hopefully it will keep him in range. He said he's really going to miss the soft dinner rolls that we always serve fresh from the oven. I told him I could prepare some from the GF "Chebe" mix that he likes, but he'd have to think about it. How many carbs does he want to bolus for? Bread AND potatoes AND sweet potatoes AND stuffing AND pie? Daniel thought about it for a half second and said, "NO ROLLS."

We have a day-after Thanksgiving tradition in our house. I host a get together with friends and neighbors and we combine leftovers and have a second night feast. It's very low key, with just one rule: NO STRESS. Children run madly through the house, wine and conversation flow cheerfully in the grown-up dining room. Since everything has already been prepared and is all up for grabs, there's no set time to eat. We hang out, have fun, and clear out a few of the tupperware containers.

I hope everyone in the d OC has a great Thanksgiving. I'll check in with you guys this weekend!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Oy, I'm the crotchety old lady of the group so I'm figuring out what meme means! So thanks to Amylia I've been meme'd!

Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself.
4. Tag seven random people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Seven deadly sins about me, eh? Well...

1. I have a tendency to sing show tunes at random moments. Along with this, I have raised my kids to be musical theater geeks like me.
"Dress up a monkey in Armani,
He may seem precocious and cute.
Despite all that primpin',
You still got a chimp in a suit." Oops, there I go again. (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels)

2. I can stand on my head for 3 minutes. It took 20 years of yoga to get that far. Yoga is a lifetime of work for me, and an eternity of bliss. It keeps me going when the rest of the world is a whirlwind. I use the "ohm" symbol on my blog to remind me to be in THIS moment. NOW.

3. I married my husband about 4 1/2 months after our first date. Probably would have married him the day after that date. We both knew. When he reached over and held my hand in the movie theater, I felt a jolt, and that was it, he was the one. Never mind that I had just broken off a 3 year relationship with someone else and declared that I wasn't ready for anything "serious." We talked about it months later... he felt the same jolt. Weird, huh? But then again... my mom & dad met at a dinner party in Turkey. They got married only months later in Israel. My dad's mom & dad met at the beginning of summer in Paris, and married at the end of summer in Paris (but they had to bribe an official to shorten the time for the banns because grandpa had to get back to the States to college). So I guess it runs in the family.

4. I was a poetry major in grad school. One of my first & best poetry teachers told me that if you want to be a poet, you have to figure out what you are going to do in your life to support being a poet (like brain surgery, engineering, office managing...). She was a lawyer. Oh, and when I was in elementary school someone read one of my poems over the intercom during morning announcements. I almost fainted.

S T R E T C H this is hard

5. Some people lose socks. Some lose umbrellas. I keep losing spoons. They disappear from my house. Where the hell do all the spoons go? Why? The dishwasher doesn't eat them, I checked.

6. I'm an optimist. I always have been. My optimism has been sorely tested this year with Daniel's diagnoses. I tend to get out all my emotions when I write, so I may not seem optimistic in my words. But I am in person. Not just about Daniel, but for the whole world. Really.

7. My knees bend backwards. Much more than normal. I do not condone hyperextension by any means, and I try to avoid it myself. But it does look pretty freaky!!

Wow! I did it! Now I have to tag people. Hmmm. Can I tag total strangers? Places I've lurked?

I'm want to tag Jillian, but found out that she's been tagged. So has Shannon. So has Penny. And Beth. And Bernard. And so many of the other D365ers! But...

I'm tagging Sara, DeathByBokeh, M, whom I don't know, but found her on the OC, Jules, and since I have to go make the cranberry sauce now, I can't do any more!!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

At the ER

It turns out that last night Daniel bolused for dinner, and then about 3 hours later bolused again to have a snack (it was movie time at the youth group lock-in). Soon after the 2nd bolus he threw everything up. Twice. He called home & knew there was going to be a problem because he was starting to go low & couldn't keep anything down.

Hubby raced off to church & I stayed at home with the sleeping siblings, waiting for periodic updates & scanning the diabetes sites online. They went to the hospital because Daniel's bg kept dropping. At the ER it was down to 55, even after Daniel kept sipping apple juice, so they gave him a glucose drip to bring him back up. At 2:30 a.m. when he finally got home, he was 165, but this morning at 10:30 woke up at 53.

He's better now. Able to eat & keep things down. The ER doc thought the combination of pickles & twizzlers could easily induce vomiting... but it was probably just a 24 hour bug.

Little illnesses are magnified with diabetes. I'm glad Daniel's home and feeling better.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

It will be a long night

Daniel packed an overnight bag, a sleeping bag, food for dinner & breakfast, and his diabetes kit to go to a high school lock in at our UU church tonight. He called a little after 10 to say that he threw up, and was afraid of going low because he had bolused for dinner. I had already fallen asleep, so my husband threw on his coat & ran out the door. I came downstairs and got out my "pink panther" diabetes book to make sure I knew what to do.

Hubby called me from the lock in. Daniel had been at 70 fifteen minutes before, and tested again and was at 61. He was trying to sip some apple juice, but was nauseous. Hubby decided to take him to the ER so someone could take a look at him.

I'm waiting for the phone to ring.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Every Friday is a prayer answered, a great whoooosh as the breath I've been holding all week is let out into the twilight. The only night of the week with nothing to do, followed by the only morning of the week we can sleep late.

Daniel started high school this year, and entered a school where he knew practically no one. He has made some friends over the past couple of months, and went to hang out with one of them after school. He called to let me know he got there with no problems and said that it would have been fine for him to stay over for dinner but he doesn't have his bolus pen with him.

When he's home, he uses the home pen. When he goes to school, he uses the school pen. We hadn't planned for an in between time.

As a teenager I would go to friends' houses after school, have a snack, do some homework, watch some TV. A phone call to mom to say I'd be home after dinner. Great times, great memories. I'd like a cure for diabetes to be found quickly, so my kid can enjoy just being a kid.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ebb and Flow

Daniel has been high today. He corrected at lunch, and came down in the afternoon, but popped right back up after dinner. He is fighting a cold.

I look at his logbook, and see how the numbers ebb and flow. We've been through a few low days, and now he is peaking again. I stand aside, watch the patterns, and try not to take his peaks and valleys personally. If anyone has figured out how to use mind control to manage your child's bg numbers, please let me know. Perhaps hypnotism. "Your blood sugar is stabilizing...
S T A B I L I Z E...

S T A B I L I Z E..."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What to Do?

Sunday at church a couple of my co-teachers asked me if I wanted to train with them to do the Avon breast cancer walk in May. My first thought was, “of course!” And my second was, “no! I can’t do that, I have to walk/ride/swim/spin/fundraise for diabetes!” I bobbled my words for a half minute, and then explained my dilemma. I’m truly torn! On the one hand, I have two close friends who are breast cancer survivors. I know the fear, pain, anger, and suffering they have been through. I would do anything for them. Yet, now that Daniel has diabetes, that disease has been the focus of my days, nights, fundraising efforts, letter-writing campaigns, exhaustion, and nightmares.

Sometimes I feel that, as a human being, I have an unending wellspring of love that will support me through whatever life throws my way. And some days I feel that I can’t give away even one more sliver of myself. It all depends on how much sleep I’ve gotten that week! But I remain torn. I’d love to support my friends with breast cancer. I’d like to train for a two-day walk through the winter months with that goal in mind. But I’m also less than a year into this battle with diabetes, and I don’t know what the next few months will bring. What would you do?

It is world diabetes day. Is that answer enough?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Going Underground

Last year and the year before Daniel belonged to a youth group at our church. The kids took lots of excellent field trips, including outdoor education retreats, movie nights, packing food for shelters, whitewater rafting, and caving. Daniel's first time caving was with this group. Whereas I have a fear of climbing down under millions of pounds of earth into the dark, he found that he just loved wiggling through small muddy underground passages. He came home smelling like the bowels of the earth (there's a good reason for that term) and striped with mud, sweat, and joy. The team leader (an experienced caver) used Daniel's smaller frame to their advantage, sending him ahead into various passages. If Daniel couldn't fit through, nobody could.

His high school youth group has not taken the caving field trip. But today we saw the Jr. High group leader, who invited Daniel to come along on next year's Jr. High trip in an camp counselor type role. It's a two-day trip, and the overnight is spent in very rustic conditions. You're in shelter, and off the ground, but that's about as good as it gets. Daniel said that as dirty as they were, no one wanted to use the shower facilities. Ugh.

I explained to the group leader that we would have to do a lot of planning to make it possible for Daniel to go next year. He'd have to go into the caves carrying a small extra pack with bg monitor, quick sugar, insulin, etc. He'd have to have some way to clean off a finger in order to test his blood sugar. Because of his celiac, he couldn't rely on fast food stops along the way; we'd have to carry all his food with him.

I'd have to go with him.

Truly, the thought of crawling through caves pushes a severe claustrophobia button in me. However, the thought of Daniel going through caves without someone qualified to help him if he should have a diabetic catastrophe trumps that fear. I hope I have it in me. As always, he is my champion. He faces his disease everyday with equanimity and grace. I want to go underground for him with the same bearing.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Ikea. On a Saturday. Need I say more? Somehow I always get the job of watching the younger two in the children's area while DH goes and looks at furniture. We were on a mission to get a desk for Daniel's room today, and some wall shelving. And a sugar bowl. It's quite appropriate that Daniel (accidentally) broke the sugar bowl -- must have been the diabetes in action.

DH and Daniel had success with desk and wall shelving. Across the store from their location, I repeated, quite urgently, to Nora & Dominic, "Watch out for the baby! Don't sit on the toddler!" while in the children's area. I also believe that when an 11 year old child has to contort herself like a circus performer to fit into one of covered, rotating egg chairs, that she is too large for the chair. That particular child had an argument with this belief of mine.

We were able to find gluten free food for Daniel (steak & potato) in the cafeteria, and although he woke up low this morning, he's been okay the rest of today. Yay! I don't have diabetes, but shopping in large stores wreaks havoc on my blood sugar. Daniel seems to have no such problem. Maybe because we were shopping for him!

We finally made it down to the "marketplace" area. I wandered the aisles (pulling little fingers off of the knives, scissors, cheese graters, tall stacks of china that were all reachable by my curious 6-year-old) and there were plenty of bowls to be seen... but no sugar bowl.

As I type, DH is hammering above. The desk is put together and the shelves will be up soon. Yay!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Blind to the Symptoms

Shannon got me thinking about what I knew about diabetes before Daniel was diagnosed. What I knew was zero. I wish I had known more. Perhaps then I would have seen the warning signs, and Daniel could have been diagnosed without spending a night in the ICU, and three days in the hospital.

Diabetes is not usually what you think about when your kid can't see the blackboard. I am nearsighted, my daughter is nearsighted, so Daniel could easily end up the same way. He had an eye appointment, got some glasses, and the problem seemed to be solved.

Diabetes was not on my radar when Daniel kept telling me he was thirsty. He's an active kid! The weather was warm and we were walking through the neighborhood, shooting hoops, riding bikes! The week before he was diagnosed I took the kids out for pizza, and Daniel asked for a soda. I don't keep soda at home, but I sometimes let the kids get them when we go out for a special occasion. He claimed he was starving, guzzled an enormous soda, and then barely finished one piece of pizza. I figured he had too much soda in his belly to eat.

The week before Daniel was diagnosed, I called my sister in law and told her that he must be going through a growth spurt because he looked so skinny.

The week before Daniel was diagnosed he said he had to get up four times every night to go to the bathroom. I told him, "that's because you keep drinking so much! Don't drink so much before bedtime!"

I learned a lot during 3 days at Children's National Medical Center. I've learned more in the six months since. Every time Daniel tests his bg in public and someone stares, I use it as a teachable moment.

Insulin is not a cure for diabetes. There is no cure for diabetes. However, with all of us working together to raise awareness, raise funds, protect & renew legislation providing money for diabetes research, educating teachers, caregivers, family members, and the rest of the world, we can make things better.

Diabetes must be cared for 24 hours a day. In each of those 24 hours we must fight for a cure, using all scientific avenues available.

Thanks to Penny for the Unite for Diabetes logo, and for her wonderful post today.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

I Need a Wife

I work part time. I volunteer at my kids' schools. I cook, and sometimes double, because some members of my family balk at the gluten free stuff that Daniel has to eat (usually baked stuff like muffins, or GF pasta, which is pretty dense). Whine whine whine, but what it comes down to is that even with help from DH and the kids cleaning their rooms & doing their chores, there's still an awful lot to do before head hits pillow and usually it doesn't all get done.

Plus, I need time to blog. And upload diabetes 365 pictures.

So, I need a wife to take this one to karate and pick up the guitar method book for the other one and research gluten free recipes for the other one and maybe even take the time to call my mom & say hi. With one more person rotating into that 3 a.m. bg check, we'd all be a little more sparkly-eyed during the day time.

Payment is room & board plus chocolate & coffee. Call 1-800-crap-job.