Thursday, October 24, 2013

What Would You Do?

What Would You Do?

October 24, 2013

I use social networking for fun, for venting, for voyeurism, and for networking.  I like to see what people are doing, watch their children grow through photographs, and giggle at the silly updates.

I talk a tiny bit about work.  I write a little bit about hanging out with my girlfriends (and getting that much needed estrogen dose!). I gush a lot about Bon Jovi (my eye candy and the dope for my soul).  I brag quite a bit about my kids and my sexy husband (They’re my world).  And, I write, I reach out, I blog, I educate tons about Type One Diabetes.

As the date to the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes rapidly approaches, I’m getting more vocal, more frequently, about our need for donations.  Every dollar raised is a dollar closer to a cure for my boys and the 15,000 children diagnosed with this craptastic disease every year.

Once I cleared the depressive fog from my vision after receiving not one, but two, Type One Diabetes diagnoses in 2012, I started acting.  I want to fix everything and move on, but this is one thing I could not fix on my own.  All I can do is teach my boys, lead by example, learn as much as possible, advocate, and help those who can make a difference in finding better treatments and a cure.  It’s a full-time job.

So, today, I started wondering if I annoy people with my frequent posts about Diabetes.  I mean, really, I could go on daily about JBJ, but that doesn’t help my boys or our family Walk to Cure Diabetes team.  That only helps me J  Honestly, I really hope I am not annoying anyone, and I apologize if I am.  But, with that being said, I ask…What Would You Do?

What would you do if someone told you your baby now has a manageable but chronic disease?  I hope you’d do what I’ve done.  You’d put your big girl panties on and deal with it daily, because there are no days off.  You’d learn to stick fingers and give shots, multiple times per day, just to keep your baby alive. You’d learn to weigh and measure foods to get the most accurate carb count.  You’d learn to study the numbers and patterns on a daily and weekly basis to evaluate patterns in your never-ending quest to keep their blood glucose in the elusive “normal” range.  You’d go to every possible medical appointment in different specialties, be at the school regularly, and attend every field trip to make sure your baby is healthy and safe. You’d read anything you could get your hands on to learn more about the disease, more about treatments, more about the current research, more about pending treatments and cures.  You’d learn to function on broken sleep like you did when they were newborns, except this time, they won’t outgrow it.

What would you do if you knew medical research and science have developed some great technologies that can lower the amount of injections and finger sticks your baby has to suffer through?  What would you do if you knew a cure was on the horizon, but more funding is needed to actualize that dream?

I hope you’d do what I’ve done.  My bank account is not big enough to help alone. I can't possibly work enough hours. I’ve never been one to ask for money or chat with strangers, but now, I have to let my guard down and open my mouth.  I have to spread the word, educate, and talk.  I have to think of new and creative ways to raise money for the one organization that is focused on finding a cure for my boys, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  Fundraisers. Raffles. Direct donations.  Business donations.  Letters. Business cards. Newspaper articles.  Facebook posts.  I have to humble myself and ask for money.  I have to get the word out!

If finding a cure is the outcome, I’ll scream it from the mountaintops.  I’ll humble myself.  I’ll embarrass myself. I’ll annoy people, hoping they’ll take pity on me. I’ll find a way to reach someone, if nothing else but to get a little back from Obama in the form of a tax-deductible donation.

So, again, I apologize if my rants are taxing.  As a Mommy, I’m doing all I can do for the sake of my baby boys.  I’d take this disease from them in a heartbeat and bear the burden myself, but life won’t let me.  

And, again, I ask….What Would You Do?

Please support our team today!  There’s no gift too big or small!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Diabetes in the Back Seat

October 17, 2013

Diabetes in the Back Seat

If you’ve ever read my blog, seen my Facebook posts, or met me in person, then you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I’m a die-hard Bon Jovi fan.  Love, love, love the music!  It’s truly dope for my soul.  And, the fact that Jon is so danged pretty really helps!  I’ve been in love since I was 13.

Fortunately, I’m married to the most awesome, secure, and understanding man.  He lets me jam to the music (he digs it, too!) and he doesn’t care if I fawn over Jon.  He knows it’s all fantasy, I’m just having fun, and I’m coming home to him every night because he’s really the only man for me.  Needless to say, I’ve raised my kids on Bon Jovi.  Since 2011, I’ve been squeezing in a kid to a concert.  Now, first, this is Mommy’s “time out” (and limited funds), so the chances to squeeze them in are limited.  And, with so many kids, I’ve had to work them in over the course of different tours.

I took my daughter and her fiancĂ© to Dallas in 2010.  They truly got to see one of THE BEST shows I’ve ever seen Bon Jovi perform.  Bon Jovi loves Dallas, so it’s always a great show!  Even if you’re not the biggest fan, you really have to appreciate what a great performance it is.  On March 17, 2011, I took Kyle for his 13th birthday.  He’s my mellow-jello kid.  He didn’t dance and sing, but he liked it. 

This year, I took my “music man” Jace to OKC in honor of his 10th birthday.  HE loved it!  He danced, he sang, he clapped.  He made every penny worth it!  It’s so fantastic to see pure joy in your child’s eyes and to have something to bond over.  My twins were a little miffed that I was only taking Jace, so I had to explain that I’d get to them in due time.

Frankly, I felt intimidated to take them.  Not because I don’t think they’ll have fun, but I was very worried Diabetes would rear his ugly head and ruin the concert for all of us.  I feel ashamed of myself when I feel compelled to skip something or alter plans because of Diabetes.  But, sometimes He’s really scary.  I feared lows.  I feared crazy adrenaline highs.  I feared a screeching Pod failure. Part of my motto is to still let them be kids and to not deny them any experiences (when possible) because of Diabetes.  I had to put my big girl panties on a deal with it.  When Bon Jovi added Fall dates on this “Because We Can” tour, they added Dallas the night before my birthday (5 nights before their 9th birthday).  How could I make excuses and say no?  I couldn’t.  It was a perfect gift for two little boys who have been waiting for their turn! Butter Cup sucked it up!

I bought tickets and stowed them away.  They weren’t the primo Fan Club seats I’ve grown accustomed to, but they were nice seats.  I sat in 2nd row in Dallas in the Spring. I sat in 3rd row the night before in San Antonio.  I can slum it now and then for the sake of my kids J 

The boys got home from school.  I fed them, they showered, and we took off.  I packed up all Diabetes supplies in a cute discrete bag and loaded up with glucose tabs.  On the way, in between explaining the “concert rules” to the boys and being peppered with at least 5, 432 questions, I bargained with Diabetes.  In my mind, I begged and willed him to stay in the car and not ruin this for us!  There’s plenty of room in my van for him to stretch out and relax.  He can meet back up with us after the show!

We got a snack (pure junk which usually jacks their numbers up, but they thought it was awesome), and we pottied and checked sugars just before the show started.  They were a little high.  I can live with that.
I wish I had a camera to snap a photo of their faces when the lights went down and the concert was starting.  Instead, it’s emblazoned into my memory.  They had a look of sheer and pure excitement on their little faces.  Aiden grabbed his heart and looked at me to let me know it was “beeping” out of his chest!  They were SO excited!  They’re no Jace Bryan, but they clapped and sang, and otherwise, really enjoyed the show.

With Diet Coke and high sugars, Aiden had to potty an hour into the show.  Broke Concert Rule #1 (We potty first and don’t leave during the show).  Since his sugar was a bit high, I took it in stride.  It was Diabetes just reminding me He could wreck this if he wanted to.  I’ll take one potty break over nursing lows in the dark at a concert, which was my biggest fear.

My little rock stars have to get adjusted to the Rock Star schedule.  They were getting pretty tired, so we left before the encore.  Concert Rule #2 broken (We don’t leave until it’s over).  Again, I thought I’d gotten off pretty lucky thus far, so I didn’t want to press the issue with Diabetes.

When they ask questions, it’s like a shotgun blast.  With one shot, you get peppered with thousands of pellets.  They littered my brain with questions on the way home, dozing off just before our exit.  They talked about their favorite songs that were played.  They asked when they could go again.  They want to sit in the Pit.  They made it worth every penny. They made it worth every gray hair that I sprouted worrying about taking Diabetes to a Bon Jovi concert.

I’m sure, Diabetes will get me back somehow as He isn’t usually a cooperative beast.  Actually, I think He and Murphy are in cahoots together, because if you don’t want it to happen, it will…at the most inopportune time.  Chances are, he was picking on someone else, but I don’t know how this escaped his radar.
Regardless, I’ll take it.  Celebrating my birthday with Bon Jovi was great.  Seeing that sheer unadulterated excitement and joy on their faces was priceless.  I think they’ll really remember their 9th birthday! And, I’d do it all over again!


Monday, October 7, 2013

Far-Reaching Grasp

October 7, 2013

Far-Reaching Grasp

Pretty much since we’ve been married, my husband and I have celebrated our anniversary with an adults-only trip.  Each Spring we pick a location, secure childcare, and look forward to some alone time as husband and wife the rest of the year.  We’re so fortunate to have parents who realize the importance and value of this gift to us and who help us out.

Since Diabetes plopped his fat butt in the middle of our lives 18 months ago, this trip has been needed even more, but yet, at the same time, I have been saddled with a bit more stress to go along with it.  I worry when my boys are with me.  I worry more when they’re away from me.  I worry immensely when I’m more than a short drive away from them.  It’s just one of the struggles that accompanies with this disease.

So, yesterday was our 13th Anniversary.  Diabetes tries to intrude and take things from people, but I refuse to let it take my boys, my marriage, or my respite. We left for a remote cabin in Oklahoma on Friday.  It was quiet, serene, and lovely.  With grandmothers on duty, we had nobody or nothing to worry about…theoretically. All we had to do was eat, sleep, love, talk, read.  Regardless, my typical worry was compounded by the fact that my phone was on roam since we were so remote.  I could only communicate via text over Wi-fi.  I wouldn’t be able to talk to my boys or hear our mothers’ voices to see if they were stressed over all of this.

The first two nights the boys were with Memaw (Jerry’s mom).  She keeps them overnight a couple of times per month, so she’s used to this routine.  Typically, if anything, their sugars are too high with her because they get to junk-out Grandparent-style.  I don’t really have to worry about them tanking out in the middle of the night.  Needless to say, I succumbed to sheer exhaustion the first two nights.  I slept the better part of 12 hours and 10 hours respectively.  For whatever reasons, good sleep evaded Jerry.

I rested so well, and the amount of time I thought about Diabetes was profoundly reduced from what I do on a normal basis.  It was heavenly.  I’d escaped Diabetes, and He didn’t know where to find me.

On night #3, the boys were back at home with Grandma (My mom).  My mom does great with them, but she doesn’t typically do overnights.  I had emailed her detailed routines and instructions of how we handle evenings and bedtimes, Diabetes-style.  To make the deal even sweeter, Grandma and Papa treated the boys to all-you-can-eat Pizza buffet.  More junk, Grandparent-style. Again, since she doesn’t do the overnights regularly like Memaw, I texted her instructions on how to dose for my nemesis…Pizza.  I felt better after reminding her how to dose for pizza.  I thought I would relax and capture a few more good hours of sleep on my last vacation night.

Jerry was missing his “white noise” fan, so he used a “white noise” app on his phone to help him sleep better.  The noise he picked was TV static.   Apparently, that was the entry Diabetes needed to find me 200 miles away. You can run, but you can't hide!  In Poltergeist fashion, Diabetes slinked through the TV static and plopped his fat butt right back into the forefront of my mind.  He was sure to bring with and employ his favorite torture tactic on me…sleep deprivation.  How dare I think I’m getting away from him!

I started thinking about the damned Pizza.  I know I gave my mother instructions on when to check the boys, when to check again if they were high or low.  But, I started over-thinking it.  I wondered if she knew to check them around the time the extended bolus would hit.  What time is the extended bolus?  What were their sugars at bedtime?  Are they coming down from the standard Memaw’s-house-high?  Does she remember to check them again mid-night if needed?

My thoughts plagued me. I lay for an hour, listening to Poltergeist static, listening to my husband snore.  I tossed.  I turned.  I counted backwards. Finally, I couldn’t stand it any longer.  I knew, in order to get any rest, I’d have to message and ask.  I know I left my boys in capable hands, but my mind will not relax until I ask what I need to ask and say what I need to say. It’s so terribly hard not to worry when they’re holding my heart in their hands.  In their grasp are two of the very reasons I get up in the morning and breathe.  I hoped, beyond all hope, that when I messaged my Mom she did not perceive it as a lack of trust on my part.  I hoped she did not think I was questioning her diligence or integrity. I just needed to know.

She sweetly messaged me back.  Boys were 148 and 180 at bedtime; she planned to recheck 30 minutes after their extended bolus.  Score!  Then, she politely told me she was turning her phone off to charge.  I took that to mean, “Get off the phone, relax, and sleep, Rhonda!  I got this!”

Finally, after another hour or so, with more thoughts plaguing me, I fell asleep.  Yet, it was another non-vacation style typical sleep pattern.  7 hours at best, broken and interrupted.  Diabetes’ grasp is far-reaching and he robbed me of one more night of sleep.

Two nights was good, but three nights would have been wonderful.  I still have bags under my eyes, but truthfully, I don’t think three nights would heal those.  I think I’d have to sleep like Rumplestiltskin.

On our drive back, my husband told me I need to relax a bit more.  So, I pondered that thought.  And, first, I think I have relaxed a lot since the first diagnosis.  As I understand more and can identify pieces of the puzzle, it’s a bit easier to cope.  However, I don’t think I’ll ever completely “relax”. Why?  Because, it’s my job to keep them healthy and safe.  It’s my job to teach them how to think this through and manage it themselves.  And, my heart would break in two, my life collapse, the breath stolen from my lungs… if anything happened to one of these boys because I “relaxed” too much. 

Until a cure is found, Diabetes will have permanent residence in my life, in my mind, in my psyche.  I guess I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

(Mad props and kudos to our moms for taking this all on, with orders for me to relax, with no complaints…so Jerry and I can have some respite and protect our marriage!)


Wednesday, October 2, 2013




I wake up every morning and do the best I can.  Some days are better than others; some days I feel I am barely surviving or holding it together.  With a household to manage, five sons to keep up with, a husband, a job, two adult daughters, two dogs and Diabetes plopped right in the middle of it, some days I feel I’m doing good to just be upright. 

With all those people to manage, one would think the laundry, grocery shopping, and housework alone would be enough to keep me in stellar shape.  Unfortunately, it’s not. So, one thing I do spend energy on is fitness.  It’s important to me in order to be healthy, feel good, work out stress and look good for my husband.   Honestly, since Diabetes climbed aboard, I’ve been struggling somewhat as after some of those long nights managing high or low sugars, all I want to do is climb back in bed.  And, the generalized fatigue makes it hard to motivate myself to go run 2 or 3 miles after working 12 hours.  My bed beckons.
I was at my peak in 2010.  

I pimped my husband out to pay for a trainer; he’s got mad skills.  I focused on my diet. I ate more protein, more grass clippings, less Corona.  I put in the time at the gym as I should.  It was for a selfish reason.  My husband and I were spending our 10th anniversary on the beach, and I wanted “those” awesome beach bikini pics.  I’d never had them. I got them!  I felt amazing.  My cholesterol was fantastic. (Exercise and seaweed will do that for you!)  Coolness!

I planned to keep it up.  Immediately after the trip, I had a “friend” sucker punch me. That really knocked me to my knees for a bit.  Then, I fell and broke my arm.  Set-backs.  Once the arm healed, I was back on board for a good 8 months or so before Diabetes jumped on board.  That meant my focus became being a pancreas and working like a slave to pay for it all! Being told your baby has a chronic incurable disease could knock the Incredible Hulk down.  Learning to manage it all diverted my attention. Being told both of your babies have an incurable disease is enough to make Hercules’ knees buckle.  Needless to say, something had to give.

 I kept up with my gym routine as best I could, but it wasn’t the same.  It’s really hard to manage it all with THAT beast on your back!  However, now, I’m back on track.  Working hard to make it right again.  I use that bikini pic as my motivation, what I want to achieve again.  Granted, I’m not bad right now, but I’m not that good! I maintain my weight in a 10-lb range, which is just over the weight at which I graduated high school. I make my weekly gym plans, weekly goals, and longer term goals.  Sometimes my goal is a body fat percentage. Sometimes it’s a certain weight or measurement by a certain date. Sometimes my goal is determined by some life event (wedding, Bon Jovi, vacation), and sometimes it’s just “get your fat ass to the gym like you’re supposed to”!  Some weeks I get in there three times and add extra cardio sessions outside of the gym.  Some weeks I only make it twice. Some weeks I miss all together.  Life can get in the way, and being a Mommy and a pancreas comes first, but I try my hardest.

Despite what I think is failure or weakness on my part, I’ve still somehow managed to inspire someone who’s great herself!  Natalie is a high school friend, always a sweet and funny soul.  She lives in LA and is a fitness trainer!  ME?  I inspired a fitness trainer?!  Come ON!  I posted my awesome bikini photos online after that trip, and when Natalie complimented them, my head swelled!  SHE looks fantastic and SHE said I looked like a fitness model.  Really, her comment trumped all others!

I think I have a lot of room for work, but I’ll take the compliment. Frankly, this ego boost came at a great time, and also serves to motivate me to keep on keepin’ on!  Read what she has to say here!  Thanks, Natalie, for your inspiration!

I guess in this life, you never know who is watching, who takes notice, or who is inspired because of you!  I hope I can get my already giant head through the door now!