Monday, January 29, 2018

Spring Back

January 29, 2018

Another freelance unedited blog here, so forgive any typos. Throwing this one out quickly before I have to head to a Leadership retreat.

Yesterday, I again had the pleasure to volunteer for JDRF to help at the North Texas Type One Nation Summit.  As I'm sure everyone knows, I do what I can to help this organization as they are the primary organization working to make life better for my boys.  If I can't fix it myself, I'm helping those who can.  So, we Walk; I coach other family teams (Family Team Coach and Family Team Chair for two years); I am an Outreach Volunteer (mentor); and, now I serve on the Board of Directors.  And, when I can, I just volunteer to help out.   I'm rambling now.

Anyway, yesterday, I helped out at the Summit at the beautiful Gaylord Texan Hotel Convention Center.  TONS of Pokestops there, by the way, but I digress!  My station was to work the JDRF Events table.  So, basically, in the vendor hall, I helped man (wo-man) the table and talk to anyone interested about upcoming JDRF Events...Gala, Walk, Ride, Kids Walk.

To my point...  A little family came up with a Dad, who did a lot of talking, very passionate, and a beautiful tall thin 13-year-old girl who was newly diagnosed.  I saw a quiet figure, presumably mom, standing next to Dad.  Dad was asking questions and somehow, we branched into a conversation about Continuous Glucose Monitors.  I pulled up my Dexcom Follow to show him how it worked and how you can get real-time information.  Shockingly, I got this reading....
...  Shocker.  I HAD to screen shot it.  But, that's not my point.

As I always do, I try to speak directly to the new T1D kids, too, to help them reduce their fears, answer their questions, talk to them on their level and meet them where they are, because ultimately, it's their disease and they have to learn to live with it.  I talked to Dad.  I talked to this beautiful girl.  I explained how some basic stuff worked, how it could fit into her dancing routine, and I encouraged her to live her life.

All of a sudden, I thought to look up at the quiet mom figure standing next to Dad.  I looked up into a slightly older version of this beautiful girl's face and saw bloodshot and red-rimmed eyes.  I nearly burst into tears myself.  Right there, in that moment, making eye contact with this woman, I was sprung back to 2012.  I recognized immediately in her my 2012 self.  A desperate, scared, mourning Mommy. Makes me tear up just writing it.  I wanted to jump over the table and hug her, which is huge for me because I'm not a big hugger.  Suddenly, what I was talking about with Dad and Daughter didn't matter anymore.  I needed to reach this Mommy.

I asked her if she was ok.  I looked her in the eyes and told her, "It's going to be ok".  Trust me, that's worthwhile to hear but hard to believe when your child is newly diagnosed.  Now, I am never at these events to sell or promote my book, but this time I wish I had one to hand to her.   So, instead, I looked her in the eyes and said, "I know where you are.  This sucks and it's hard.  Let me help you.  There are tons of books that teach you how to take care of Diabetes, but there's not much out there to tell you that what you're feeling right now is normal, and ok. I was where you are in 2012.  It will get better!".  I gave her this blog web address.  I gave her the title of my book to look up on Amazon. Mommy Can't Fix It

I encouraged the family to explore their devices and resources at the vendor tables.  When they walked away, I had to catch my breath.  My heart ached for that Mommy.  In my haste to reach her, I never got their names, and I regret that.

So, my hope is that she will read this blog and maybe reach out to me.  I want to help her; I want the help I didn't have when my boys were diagnosed and all this CRAP was brand new.  I want her to know it's ok to mourn.  I want her to know it's going to be ok, and her daughter can still follow her dreams.  I want to give her a hug.

My sweet T1D fellow Mommy, if you read this, message me.  If not, I hope that I helped her, even in some tiny way.  If I did, my day was a success.

Off to fix my hair before it sticks this way....


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Newborn Baby

Newborn Baby

June 29.  THAT was my last blog?  Jeez.  Time flies when you're having fun.  I'm going rogue here and blogging free lance, which means, I didn't type-edit-save-edit-type-save-edit-publish first.  We'll see how it goes and how many mistakes you catch.

Last week we had a heck of a week.  I made some changes to their insulin rates and correction factors, so for two nights in a row, we chased lows down all night.  Imagine one of the loudest and most annoying sounds/beeps ever.  That's what we kept hearing all night.

When we silenced the alarm for one boy, the other one would sound.   One night, Jerry was up nursing the boys/Dexcom for about 3-4 hours.  However, he forgot to take his phone with him (which elicits said annoying sound) so it continued to wake me up.  Work doesn't care how Diabetes behaves, so he went to work with bloodshot eyes.
Jerry.  This may or may not be his actual photo that morning.

The next night, I took the hit.  I was up and down all night.  Needless to say, I crawled back into bed as soon as the boys were ready for school.  Fortunately, I had the day off and could sleep a few hours.

The third night, I had taken the boys out to eat, so instead of low, they were high.  I had to get up to correct their high sugars.  Lesson:  If you knew how hard your body worked to process a heavy meal, you'd never do it again.  Well, ok, maybe you would, but you'd think more about it!  What happens is their insulin dosing is fantastic and covers them for 4-6 hours, THEN the fat is processed and the glucose jumps through the roof.  I digress.  The point is, I was up and down trying to get their glucose levels to normal before morning.  I succeeded but I lost another night of sleep in the process.

I figured out the problem and the next few nights were ok.  Fortunately for Jerry as I had to work three nights in a row.  (See eyes above).

Last night, we were both super tired so we went to bed early.  I startled awake at 2 am, after a whopping 5 hours of sleep. I couldn't shut my brain off.  I wondered, "Why haven't I heard the Dexcom alarm?"   Instantly, I think negatively.  OMG, I bet they're not tracing (technology and wi-fi isn't perfect); clearly they're up there low and dying and I'm just laying here.  Wait, listen.  Do you here the devices alarming from the next room?  Nope.  Clearly they failed, too.  Finally, I look at my phone.  Both boys are normal and steady.  Shocker.  

But, then guess what?  It was just enough thought and full bladder to fully wake me up.  I tossed, I turned.  I contemplated the meaning of life.  I counted sheep.  Nothing worked.  I finally got out of bed at 4 am.  Ran an errand.  (Yes, I can do that at 4am since hospitals are open 24/7.  Fortunately my night shift gals were around to visit with).  Then, I headed to work.  A full day with students.  A job that doesn't care how Diabetes behaved or how much sleep I had. Put an extra shot of espresso in my Starbucks, please!   I have to take my bloodshot eyes and physical fatigue, put my best face forward and plow through the day, all the while plotting and planning how I can possibly get into bed by 6:30 pm without feeling like the most awful mother on the planet.

I think I've said it before, but having children with Diabetes is like having a perpetual newborn baby.  So many nights, we are up and down tending to low or high glucose levels. One boy, both boys.  Who knows?  Good food, bad food.  Pump failures. Even when all is well, we wake up to make sure all is well.  There's not a night that one or both of us aren't up at least once to assure the boys are ok.  It's exhausting.  It's like tending to that newborn baby.  Some nights they barely cry, some nights the cry all night, and when they don't cry, you panic and go make sure they're still breathing.  It's exhausting.  

Childhood should be simple, and Diabetes complicates it tremendously.  I work hard to make sure they can be kids and their lives, their childhoods, are as simple as possible.  The price:  Sleep.  The payoff:  Healthy, well-rested children.

In the meantime, life goes on and Diabetes doesn't care.  It won't be forever for me (although I am sure the worry will never cease), but it will be forever for them if we don't find a cure!

Until my next nap,

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Science and Technology


It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged.  That’s not for lack of ideas but rather for lack of spare time.   Working, being a wife, being a mother, being a pancreas…doesn’t allow for much else.

Approximately three years ago, after much research and suggestion from other T1D patients and parents, we decided to get Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs) for our boys.  I was reluctant at first because I wasn’t sure it would really save them any finger sticks, and I really didn’t want another adhesive attached to their sensitive skin.  We figured out some hacks to minimize skin irritation, and now, frankly, we’re quite dependent on these little devices.

There are others on the market, but the CGM we chose is made my Dexcom.  If you don’t already know, a little filament (sensor) is inserted under the skin and reads the glucose level in the interstitial fluids. The sensor then sends a reading to the transmitter (attached to the sensor).  That transmitter sends a signal out to the receiver where we get a reading.  It tells us what the approximate current blood glucose is and which way it’s going…steady, up or down.  The receiver alarms for highs and lows based on preset parameters.  It’s science, B!tch#$!  (Sorry, we’ve been re-watching Breaking Bad).

Science and Technology.  Science and Technology that allows for peace of mind, safety and rest.

Before Dexcom, we had to check their sugars at their bedtime, at our bedtime, and anywhere between one and five times per night…each.  That’s a lot of pricks, a lot of expensive strips, a lot of trips up and down stairs, a lot of lost sleep.  It’s no wonder I put on weight because the sheer exhaustion.  That said, a blood test simply tells us what the sugar is in that moment.  It tells us nothing about the trend.  We talked the other day and wondered how many times were one of our sons dangerously low in the night and we never knew.  Now, Dexcom allows us to rest a little easier at night, although there are some nights we really want to toss it out the window.  We can count on it to alarm to wake us up to treat a high or low.  And, if we wake up on our own, we can just check our phones (we have an app that follows the Dexcom readings called Dexcom Follow) and see how the boys are doing.
Days like this are great!  Normal value, steady line.

My boys are now old enough to stay home alone, but with Diabetes in the mix, that’s a much more nerve-wrecking notion.  With Dexcom and Dexcom Follow, I feel more at ease because any moment I can check my phone and see how their glucose levels are running.  That said, I can call and check and guide their decision-making process if needed.  However, I’m blessed with some pretty smart little dudes who 99% of the time have already done what I would’ve done had I been home. 
Low but steady.  

I still have to work night shifts a night or two per week.  When I am home, Jerry and I take turns getting up to handle Dexcom alarms.  It just seems like it wakes one of us while the other is in a different phase of sleep and misses it.  When I am at work, I can still be Jerry’s backup pancreas and alarm.  I feel comforted that I can check them in the middle of the night while I am working.  We have a system.  If something’s amiss, I text him and give him time to message back.  If I don’t receive a message back, I call and wake him up.  More than once, he was in that deep phase of sleep where he did not hear the alarm. We’re a team and we do what has to be done to protect our precious guys.  #Teamwork.

Nights like this stink.  Low and falling....

My girls at work are fabulous.  They’ve become very used to the Dexcom Follow alerts.  Many even know the difference between the high alarm and low alarm.  They are like extra backup wives to Jerry or third, fourth, fifth and sixth pancreases to the boys….    If my phone alarms while I am away from it, they will run it to me and tell me “Diabetes alarm went off.  One of the boys need help!”  They also make sure I follow up with Jerry if treatment is needed.  They’re on it with me.  #Teamwork. 

My initial fear that this wouldn’t save them finger-sticks was unfounded.  With advancing technology and upgrades, they’re really only required to check their sugar and calibrate the device twice per day.  If all is steady and well, they can rely on the reading to dose for meals.  Obviously, if they are high or low, we require they check and treat according to what the blood reading is, but overall, it does save them some pricks….which saves on strips.
This warrants a phone call....

JDRF is one of the primary organizations that has funded research for such technologies like Dexcom.  They work with the FDA for approval of such life-saving devices.  They lobby Congress for Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance coverage of CGMs, knowing such devices foster independence and improve safety of Diabetes patients.  I honestly feel that on more than one occasion, Dexcom has saved my boys’ lives when they’ve gone low unexpectedly or without explanation.  If that annoying alarm hadn’t awakened us, then….  I don’t even want to think about what if.

Word on the street is that Dexcom is teaming up with Omnipod (my boys’ insulin pump company) to have the devices talk to each other and serve as an artificial pancreas. 2018 is the projection!  Can’t wait.  Science and technology.  Research funded by JDRF. 
Picture of an Omnipod and a Dexcom sensor side by side.  You can see what is injected under the skin.

If you’re on the fence about getting Dexcom, I’d highly recommend it.  It takes some practice and finesse, but it’s well worth the time and money spent.  If Diabetes and/or CGMs aren’t on your radar, then you can help by helping us support JDRF and their efforts to make life better for those with T1D, and you can write your Congressperson to encourage their support of the Special Diabetes Program and insurance coverage for Diabetes supplies. #CoverageforControl

You can help today by supporting The AA Team as we help JDRF turn Type One into Type None for Asa and Aiden!  There's no gift too big or small as every dollar raised is a dollar closer to a cure.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Living with the Ghost

Livin’ with the Ghost

Any person who’s known me for longer than 10 minutes knows I love Bon Jovi.  The man, the music, the band…I love them all.  Mid-tour during the “What About Now” tour, one of JBJ’s best friends and 30-year bandmates, Richie Sambora, abruptly left the band with little public explanation.  This was the start of a tumultuous three years for JBJ.  His living hell. Richie left, leaving questions unanswered and the public and media speculating about a very private matter.  JBJ tried to fulfill a lifelong dream of owning an NFL team in his quest to buy the Buffalo Bills.  The Buffalo people were CRUEL to say the least, and the bid failed.  Further, he had issues with a record label to whom he had been loyal for 30 years.  Those things paired with more things I am not privy to know, JBJ had a rough time.  Too much!

But out of great pain comes great art. On November 4, Bon Jovi released their latest studio album “This House is Not For Sale” (THINFS).  I like all Bon Jovi albums, obviously, but I do actually like some more than others and some have to grow on me.  THINFS….I liked immediately.  It’s simply fantastic, back to their roots, including recording in their original studio.  It’s dark, it’s light, it rocks.  It’s a reflection of that three years of JBJ’s life.

I was so fortunate to attend a Runaway Tours trip to Toronto, Canada over my birthday.  So, dream come true, I was able to attend a live “Listening Party” on my actual birthday after a fun Q&A session and fan club party the prior night.   I really did like all the songs.  I liked the darkness, the energy, the healing.  I liked hearing Jon’s explanation as to how each song came to life. 

I have mentioned more than once in this blog, in person, to anyone who will hear me that Bon Jovi is my dope.  It’s the drug I need.  Bon Jovi has helped me through some of the darkest points in life and has been responsible for some fantastic life highlights!
JBJ, Tico and me in Toronto, 10/16/16

I instantly liked “Living with the Ghost”, and the more I hear it, the more I like it.  It may be my favorite cut of the album, and since they are all pretty great, that’s saying a lot!  But, here’s why.  That song is me. 

Presumably, the song is about his relationship with Richie.  And, his subsequent healing. Without going into too many impertinent details, I, too, had a friend devastate me in 2010 and had to sever a 16-year relationship.  I think it literally broke my heart and felt very much like a divorce.  Every time I hear “Living with the Ghost”, I’m taken back, therapeutically, to this time in my life. 

Overall, the song speaks to me as I imagine JBJ felt way worse than I did.  His lyrics capture my emotions so well.

Marry me to the blue sky
Bury me in that long last drop of hard rain
Meet me where they stop time
That's you to me on the shovel that's digging this grave
Till I can waltz on a moonbeam
Till I can find a way to return all tears into wine
I'll hitch my ride to a day dream
Can't unkiss the lips that love is leaving behind

I ain't living with the ghost
No future living in the past
I've seen that hate has done to hope
Tomorrow wasn't built to last
I ain't living with the ghost
How can I scream, I'm scared to breathe
I wrote each word, you gave the toast
But we were fire and gasoline
I ain't living with the ghost

I set my sails over wheat fields
Rode waves of amber let a new sun shine on my face
I dropped the sword, put down my shield
I left your scars for the stars guiding my way
I traded hurting for healing
I must admit that I was reeling now I'm feeling just fine
Traded nightmares for dreaming
Go tell your shadows that I got out alive


Last night I had this dream
I saw a man wash his feet in the church holy water
He worked up to his knees
From his arms to his neck said I'm over in my head
He was crying trying to get some relief
Lord, I'm just trying to get some relief
I had this dream
That man was me


No matter if I am right or wrong about this song being about Richie, about his healing from his hard times, that’s what it means for me.

I have had some dark times in my life, and the most devastating was when my boys were diagnosed with a lifelong chronic disease.  A disease that can shorten their lives, threaten their lives, and requires constant time, money, energy and diligence to maintain.  Ironically, this devastating diagnosis was the trigger for healing for me regarding that failed relationship.  When I had to focus my energy on the lives of my baby boys, it was time to let go of that hurt and accelerate healing because I certainly did not have enough time and energy for both. 

I was in over my head, crying trying to get some relief.  I couldn’t even scream because I was scared to breathe. Diabetes caused me to Drop my sword, put down my shield and leave my scars for the stars guiding my way.  Having my boys ill meant I traded hurting for healing.  You see, I had to.  

Granted, their T1D diagnosis brought on a new level of pain and required healing, but my focus completely shifted.  T1D framed up my perspective and told me it was time to let go and not only focus on myself but my boys.  I still think about her sometimes, but Diabetes framed it all up and made me care so little about that anymore.  For all the garbage Diabetes dishes out, that was one little gift. 

The message to that former friend.  “I must admit I was reeling, now I’m feeling just fine.  I traded nightmares for dreaming, so go tell your shadows that I got out alive!”

There's no future living in the past. I heard this song, that song was me.  I’m not living with the ghost.


Thursday, October 20, 2016


Ooopppssss….  Guess I can check this one off the bucket list!

Over the weekend, I went to Toronto to see Bon Jovi (why else?!).  I was meeting other Bon Jovi friends there, including my main Bon Jovi buddy and roomie, Gennie.  They arrived a couple of hours before me because I had to wait to leave until after the JDRF One Walk.  Bags were packed.  I bolted straight from the 5K Walk to the airport and hopped on a plane to Toronto.

It was warm outside in TX but not too bad.  More than anything, the wind was doing quite a number on my hair!  I was sitting in the middle seat of the plane, which I usually dread, because one doesn’t know who will flank them.  I was most scared of Miss Bad Perfume or Mr. Huge Guy (or Mr/Ms Talk Nonstop or Mr/Ms Stinky.  Don’t hate.  We’ve all been there!) because with one I can’t breathe and the other I have to sit with my shoulders scrunched the entire flight, thus I can’t breathe.

Fortunately, neither sat by me.  At some point in the flight I realized I was the one not smelling so hot!!!!  So, I was THAT person!!  I was Mrs Stinky! Granted, I kept my arms down and it wasn’t overwhelming, but I guess I got hotter and sweatier than I thought on that walk.   All I could think about was getting off that plane and getting a shower.  I could NOT meet my friends tattered and smelly!

When I landed in Toronto, long story short, I texted Gennie.  She said they were meeting for dinner after a while, told me our room number (10295), and said the front desk had my name to give me a key.  They had just gotten to dinner when I arrived, so I stopped by the front desk to get a key, drop my stuff off, and God forbid, SHOWER before I went down to meet them!

I hustled my bag and my key up to 10295.  Key didn’t work. Tried three times.  At that point, I bothered to look inside the key envelope and verify the room number.  Oops.  10265.  Hmmph.  Must’ve misremembered Gennie’s text.

I scurried down the hall to 10265 and voila, it opened!  I rushed in the room, plopped my suitcase on the bed, and hurried to shower and join my friends.  Now, follow my thought process.

First thing I see are clothes in the closet.  Those could be Gennie’s.  I don’t memorize her wardrobe. Who cares?  Move on!

I run to charge my phone while I’m showering.  I see her white charger, and think “I’ll use hers”.  Iphone charger?  Since when did Gennie get an Iphone.  I thought she had a Samsung like me?  Oh well, dug my charger out and charged my phone. 

Plugged in my flat iron.  Noticed a small suitcase and some flip flops on the floor.  Those don’t look familiar; maybe someone bought them for her. 

I strip, rocket speed.  Butt naked. Grab out what I plan to wear.  I hustle to the bathroom.  Pads on the counter.  Clinique makeup bag.  Gennie must be on her period.  Wait?!  When did she start using Clinique? 

I grabbed a washrag and the hotel shower gel.  Hurriedly showered.  Jump out.  Put on more deodorant and lotion.  Brush my teeth.  There is NO Mary Kay in there! Where is her Mary Kay? (I have traveled with her enough to know what her toiletry bag looks like!)  

Hung my washrag nicely in the shower and my towel on the back of the door, next to Gennie’s swim top.  They went swimming already?

Got dressed.  Ran a brush through the windblown mess that was my hair.  Quickly ran the flat iron over it.  Kept looking around.  Something isn’t adding up.  At this point, in for a dime, in for a dollar.

I threw my stuff back in my suitcase and set everything nicely off to the side.  I grabbed my phone and plugged in my portable charger to refuel.  I bolted out of the room and took off to meet my friends downstairs.

Now, in the room, stuff wasn’t adding up, but I was too hurried and excited to really stop and think.  As I boarded the elevator and walked to Benihana, I began to ponder.  Surely that was Gennie’s room!  I looked at my texts from her, wondering if perhaps if one of us had gone dyslexic.  Did she type it wrong?  Did I read it wrong?  Verified the text. 10295.  Well, I just showered in 10265.

I arrived to meet my girls.  Squeezed in for dinner.  First thing I asked, “Gennie, you did tell me 10295, right?!  THAT’s our room?”  She confirms.  Our room is 10295.  “Well, guess what?!  I just showered in 10265.  That’s the key they gave me.  I just showered in a stranger’s room!”  Oh my, we laughed so hard, imagining all the possible scenarios!!  Stranger comes in when I am butt naked.  In the shower.  Leaving her room. 

I told them how things weren’t adding up and suddenly I felt the compelling need to go rescue my belongings!  After dinner, we headed straight up and gathered all my belongings out of 10265 and put them in their proper place in 10295.  The only thing I left behind were the dirty towel and washcloth and empty shower gel bottle.  If I had been thinking, I’d have grabbed those, too, but I just grabbed my luggage, carry on, toiletries and charger and ran to 10295!

Obviously, I’m honest, and I didn’t touch or bother any of the stranger’s property.  But I can only imagine what she thought when she came in and saw a dirty washcloth, used towel, and empty shower gel.  It’s like the case of Goldilocks.  I would have paid to be a fly on the wall.  Hilarious to me, probably not so funny to her.

Regardless, desperate times call for desperate measures.  I desperately needed a shower, and clearly I wasn’t above showering, inadvertently, in a stranger’s hotel room.  We spent the rest of the evening having a grand time visiting and getting ready for two nights of Bon Jovi!  It was a very funny start to a great birthday weekend!

Shower in a stranger’s hotel room.  Check that one off the bucket list!


Saturday, September 3, 2016

Ripple Effect

Ripple Effect

September 3, 2016

I really believe that people come into our lives for specific purposes.  Some come for a moment, some a season, some for a lifetime.  Their purpose may be to guide you through, lead you to another, or make you stronger. 

When I entered college, straight out of high school, I was anything but the “traditional” fresh-out-of-high-school-now-entering-college student.  Yes, I was 18, but I was a mother, in a relationship, who worked. I was not your typical student.  Add getting married my freshman year….I have always been an old soul.  I did not relate well to those who really were traditional students, worrying about sororities and parties, living on campus.  I did not envy them or begrudge them; it just wasn’t where I was in life.

Once nursing school actually started, I found the majority of my classmates at TCU were “traditional” college students.  Young, straight out of high school, many with Daddy footing the bill.  I liked them all well, but I didn’t necessarily relate to them well.  We were in different realms of life. 
I met Genia as soon as nursing school began.  She was married, 5 or so years older, non-traditional.  She and I clicked pretty quickly.  We tried to align our schedules so we could be in the same clinical groups.  I picked her up nearly every morning and we rode to class together.  We studied.  We talked about life.  We complained about our bad marriages.  We laughed.  I never minded being her ride as the morning therapy sessions were a lifesaver.
Forever Frogs together!

Genia and I supported each other through nursing school.  Edited papers; studied for tests; helped with care plans. On my 21st birthday, she plopped a Tall-boy Coors Light on my desk at school and kept it was normal to have in class! :)  Nursing school is not for the faint-of-heart, and it was so great to have someone by my side. Maybe I was placed in her life, but really, I think she was placed in mine, to help me make it through.
TCU Graduation

Genia became pregnant our final semester of nursing school, and I became pregnant the summer after.  We had blonde-haired sons three months apart. We both got jobs, me in OB, her in Pediatrics, and we kept in touch for awhile.  Big surprise, we both got divorces, too.

I don’t remember the exact dates, but when Genia’s son was small, she developed breast cancer, at a young age, for the first time.  She defeated that beast and hoped to be a Mommy again with her new husband, but fate was cruel to her.  Instead, a few years later, she had to abandon those Mommy dreams because her cancer was hormone-based and resurfaced.  She had to have all the girl stuff removed and go through cancer treatments for the second time.  She won again!

Genia and I saw each other around town at kids’ ball games and such, but we really reconnected over social media 8 or so years ago.  Even though I didn’t see or speak to her regularly, her impact on my life was never forgotten or unappreciated.  After we reconnected, she re-introduced me to her sister Gennie.  Gennie and I became fast friends, bonding over our mutual love of Bon Jovi.  The three of us even went to a concert together.  Because of Genia, because of Gennie, so many of my dreams have come true.  Because of that connection from the early 1990s, I have met so many super-cool like-minded friends from around the world.  And, if I trace back the roots, it’s because Genia was in my life.
Have met so many cool folks because once upon a time, Genia was there!

Gennie, me and JBJ

Recently, after being initially dismissed by doctors, Genia was found to have Stage IV breast cancer, again.  Third time. In her lungs.  She’s 47.  When is enough enough?  So, she dropped her only son off at college and now is back in chemotherapy, FIGHTING, hoping to defeat cancer again and be present for her son’s amazing life!

Genia was that pebble, dropped into the middle of the pond of my life, and the ripples of that impact flowed outwards.  Genia, because of you, directly or indirectly, cool stuff has happened in my life.  You helped me survive nursing school.  You helped me survive that marriage.  We watched our sons grow up at the same time. You led me to Gennie, whose friendship has led me to some really cool (and very therapeutic times).  Genia came into my life for a reason, for a season.  God willing, that season will be long.  

You can help support Genia by purchasing a Booster T-shirt today!  TeamTimex


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Love Your Spouse Challenge

Love-Your-Spouse Challenge

The latest “chain” letter on Facebook was the Love-Your-Spouse Challenge (#LoveYourSpouse) where beaming couples (usually the wife) posted the best-of-the-best photos in celebration of their love and marriage.  Admittedly, I enjoyed looking at the happy pretty faces in their perfect marriage photos.  Nobody tagged or challenged me.  I’m sure it was an innocent oversight (*heh hum*…clearing throat).  Doesn’t really matter.  Anyone who knows me knows I’m all about Jerry Fuselier (well, and JBJ, too, but Jerry is my real man).  I throw it out there enough.  I would have never remembered or had time to post a new picture every day for seven days anyways! I have an entire Facebook album dedicated to my man.  *Gag*

After it started dying down, I read a blog that was SO relatable (  Building on what she says, marriage is not all blissful photos and happy moments.  The reality of marriage is that it’s a lot of work, fueled by dedication and commitment.  It’s not always sunshine and lollipops.  There are ups and downs, way too many, and hopefully you’re not both down at the same time.  So, I am going to list the top 7 real (or reality-sucks) pieces of our marriage.

7.  Fighting.  Thankfully, we don’t fight much, but when we do, it can be quite grand.  No matter who you live with, you’re going to fight at some point.  Your spouse is no different.  Whether it’s about the kids, chores, money, or who holds the remote, fighting is just part of the whole game.  Fight fair.  If you’ve ever fought with your spouse, congratulations.  You’re real.  If you haven’t, take yourself and your lies and move on.  In the end, we kiss and make-up.
10-years of marriage, 2010

6. Habits. I didn’t marry a perfect person.  Neither did he….although, I think he got pretty close ;)  There are days he flat unnerves me. He loves to play video games, ad naueseum.  I don’t know how he isn’t blind after looking at computer screens for so many hours per day! He sits on the throne until his legs are numb; I’ll never understand. I can’t sit still for too long. He can procrastinate with the best of them. I want everything just-so, right away.  He is Mr. Alternate Route and Over-Researcher (but it works for him).  I am sure I’m always a barrel of monkeys to live with, too. He’ll testify to that fact!  Truth is, I’m used to all the crap I don’t like about him. And, at the end of the day, I am cuddled up next to him in bed, grateful I have somebody to be annoyed with. 
Impromptu kiss, caught by my SIL in CA, 2007

5.  Tag Team.  With differing shifts, sometimes I only see him for minutes a day, if at all.  I give a full nurse-style report, usually accompanied by a list of a few things that need to be done, then hit the door.  Every day is not a picnic, frolicking in wildflowers. Most days revolve around work, taking care of the kids, taking care of the 8 animals in the house, cooking, cleaning, laundry, putting out fires.  Eventually, we re-sync our schedules where we are able to see each other, talk about whatever, and reconnect.  I think the absence makes us each a little fonder, so there’s an upside.
There's a lot of people to care for, so lots of teamwork

4. Baggage.  We each came into the marriage carrying along exes and two children.  Fortunately, only one ex caused undo drama and conflict.  Most of the time, we were on the same page regarding the said exes, but occasionally conflict (see #7) occurred because of the unnecessary pain and frustration of it all.   We are so fortunate now that the majority of those years are over.  Both of our sons (youngest from those first marriages) are 18 and graduated high school.  We only have to see exes occasionally and we are no longer legally bound to them in any way.  Our load is so much lighter. So, troublemakers can go suck on eggs, and we can move on with this new phase of our lives and relationship.
Our new family, 1999


3. Netflix-and-Chill.  No, really.  When you’re this old, this tired, and been married this long, it’s a literal term.  No euphemisms. We have so much going on (see #5) that when we settle down for the evening, we really do watch Netflix (or DVR’d shows) and chill.  It’s part of our treasured “Adult Time”. On select good nights, our Netflix-and-Chill ends with the euphemized Netflix-and-Chill.
Beach Chill time

2.  Bodies.  Oh, we all see the perfect body photos online, and most probably wish they or their spouses looked similar to that “perfect specimen” photos.  Reality is, nobody looks like that, especially me.  Some things are too big; some are too small. Cellulite, stretch marks, and now a C-section scar to boot.  I’m taking stock in L’oreal to cover the gray! I’m quite the specimen.  Fortunately for me, Jerry is either going blind or has the best set of rose-colored glasses ever!  (Wait, see #6. Maybe he has gone blind!) He thinks I’m beautiful. 

Him…he knows his flaws.  I know his flaws.  I don’t have to air them all out.  But I will say, he’s one of the most gaseous creatures I have ever met.  He can make dogs evacuate a room, and they lick their own bums! Sometimes he snores a little and I want to plug his nose. And his dry feet…ugh!  But, I really don’t care. (Granted, he could take his gas to the bathroom and lotion his feet, and I wouldn’t complain).  When I look at him, I see that handsome devil I met and married.  I really don’t see what he’s lost and what he’s gained.  I just see my handsome Jerry.  He’s my Blonde Bear. My Babuh.
My young beau, 1999

My handsome groom, 2000

1.  Diabetes.  You know it had to register, right?  Our perfectly healthy and beautiful Jerry-clone twins (yes, they are little blonde bears who can clear a room, too!) got sick in 2012.  Diabetes has taken a toll on our lives. So much of our time, energy, worry, and MONEY go towards the best Diabetes care for these little boys. It’s all about keeping these guys alive and healthy, because they have SO much to offer in this world.  When Diabetes kicked me down emotionally, Jerry was always right there for me.  Holding me up. Diabetes has knocked us both down at times, but it didn’t knock us out.  Fortunately, we’ve never been down at the same time.  The other has always been up to pick up the slack and extend a hand.
They have the same face ;)
Our little "sweet" winners, June 2016

So, the reality of marriage is that sometimes ... wait…  oftentimes it’s hard.  There are no fairy tales here. Our life is mapped out on plain white copy paper, not glittery card stock. Yet, I am so fortunate, that even after 16 years of marriage, I still really do enjoy and adore this guy.  He is so funny, and I think he literally makes me laugh at something every day.  He is wicked smart… (I am sure he is smarter than me, but I’ll never admit that to his face).  He’s there to talk me off the ledge when life is getting me down. He’s there to privately call me out when I am not being cool.  Jerry is SO super-fabulous about letting me be myself and encouraging me when I want to try something new.  New job; back to school; write a book…he says “Go for it!”  When I need to take off just for respite and to be around females, he holds down the fort.  When I Runaway to see JBJ, he doesn’t care.  He knows I am coming home to him! Happy wife, happy life.  My favorite part of the day is my “adult time” every night when it’s just me and him.  We relax, talk, watch TV, and hold hands. 
Happy 40th birthday kiss

Despite fighting, bad habits, baggage, weird body stuff, and Diabetes, most days are good. Even on the days I want to slap the tar out of him, I cannot imagine my life without him.  All the work I put into myself, my family, my marriage is born out of devotion to him, commitment to our marriage, and sheer determination not to fail again. This marriage, and all the drama and work that it entails, is a choice I make every day.  We’re working towards a common goal:   Happy, healthy, independent children so we can be happy empty-nesters. 
Can and can't wait to grow them all up and see what they become!

In so many ways, he's the male form of me.  We're Thick As Thieves ( Thick as Thieves ). I love you, Jerry Fuselier (Yes, you’re kind of a big deal, so you don’t have to say it!).  
Our latest photo, 17 years in!

#LoveYourSpouse Challenge.