Friday, February 20, 2015

Three Years Sweet and Strong

Third Diaversary:  Three Years Sweet and Strong
February 20, 2015

I can vividly remember the day (s) all my children were born, and I can tell each of them their birth stories.  I can vividly remember the day our lives were forever changed when the pediatrician called me and said, “You were right.  Get Aiden to the hospital right now!”  It’s Diabetes’ birth story. Even typing it, three years later, I still get chills and tears well up in my eyes. 

Three years ago today, Diabetes officially invaded our lives. I can recall vividly the fear, helplessness, despair, worry, and pain of that day.  It still makes me cry. Although it’s now routine, no two days are the same. … it’s sort of like my job in Labor & Delivery.  Most days are fine; some days are great; some days just plain SUCK!  I’ve learned a tremendous amount over the past three years, and I know I’m light years away from knowing nearly enough.

Three years ago today, we were completely lost and devastated.  In three years, we have had approximately 292 pump site changes, 8760 finger sticks, 1532 insulin shots, one million carbs counted, countless late and long nights, and an infinite amount of skin rashes.  Three years ago, I only knew the basics to keep my son alive.  Through research, reading, information-sharing and sheer trial-and-error, I know enough to teach Aiden to care for himself.  I know enough to give Mr. Diabetes one hell of a fight, but he still sucker punches me now and then and doesn’t play fair. Over this course of time, I have learned enough and am involved enough to be recognized and asked to help others. Three years ago, I would have laughed at you if you told me this is where I would be now.

This disease is crappy.  Each “diaversary”, I cry when he is out of my sight; I die a little inside to be reminded how long we’ve had to deal with this.  But in front of the kid, we’re positive.  We celebrate Aiden’s life with Diabetes. I’m so proud of my Aiden, so proud to be his Mommy, and so proud that I still get to hold my baby every day.  He has grown tremendously physically and emotionally, and he’s on top of his Diabetes care. I set a standard on year One, now a celebration is expected.  So, today we celebrate.  We’re going to celebrate that Aiden has not been re-hospitalized with complications. We’re going to celebrate that he has been so big and brave in accepting his diagnosis. We’re going to celebrate how much we’ve learned.  We’re going to celebrate that it’s not worse (although it could be so much better).  We’re going to celebrate that we live in a day and time where treatment is available and a cure is on the horizon. Aiden easily asks 176 questions per hours, but I am so thankful to be able to hear each and every one, because the alternative sucks!  And, through the tears, we’re going to celebrate that my baby is still alive to live a full life!


Year One: and

Year Two:

Sunday, February 1, 2015


February 1, 2015

Spoiler Alert:  I’m going to talk a bit about the movie, Cake.  I don’t think I’ll ruin anything, but you’ve been warned.  You can always return to read this after you’ve watched the movie, although I don’t think I’m going to take away from the movie with what I say.  Moving on….

So, yesterday, Memaw took the kiddos, and my hubby and I spent our much-coveted time alone watching a movie and having a big lunch.  He chose the last movie; this time, I chose CAKE.  I absolutely adore Jennifer Aniston.  Brad Pitt totally stepped down when he left her for Angelina Jolie, but I digress.  I think Jennifer Aniston is a great actress, and I was eager to see her in a serious role.  All I knew about the movie was that it was a story about a woman addicted to pain pills.

Beautiful Ms. Aniston as Claire Bennett in CAKE

At times, the movie was a bit slow, but I feel it was necessary to demonstrate the despondency of the main character’s life.  In the movie, Claire Bennett was a high-functioning lawyer with a husband and a child.  She experiences a tragic accident that left her scarred, in chronic pain, and addicted to pain pills.  To boot, her son was killed in the accident, which precipitated Claire’s fall.  Physical and emotional pain completely did her in.  In a moment, her life completely fell apart.  I knew watching, I was Claire, sans the tragic event that caused her spiral into darkness.  Only one degree of separation.

Now, wait..don’t stage an intervention or anything.  I’m not hooked on alcohol or pain pills.  I don’t have chronic pain.  More so, I could see how someone seemingly so put together and strong could be so easily devastatingly taken down.  I equate it to Jenga.
My solid sturdy life

Claire was all put together, but someone removed one critical Jenga block and made her entire world, her whole tower, come tumbling down. Like Claire’s life, my life is a pretty solid tower.  I have a good family, decent kids, great husband, and we comfortably take care of ourselves.  However, what’s built me up are critical blocks.  Misplacing one can shake the whole tower.  And, it’s happened to me at times in my life.  Five Bad D’s have been the culprits that have moved blocks and caused my whole tower, my whole life, to wobble. Death. Divorce. Depression.  Deceit.  Diabetes. 

One critical block remains in place

 Somehow, some way, each time, I’ve been able to make the shaking stop and re-solidified my tower. That one critical block was left in place.  I credit having a loving husband, supportive parents, great friends, soothing Bon Jovi, my kids…and probably just some sheer pig-headed stubbornness for bringing me up when I’ve been down.

In the most seemingly solid Jenga tower, there’s always ONE brick that makes the entire tower topple. As with most mothers, the hugest part of my existence surrounds protecting the health, life, and safety of my children.  It’s on my mind every minute of every day.  Keeping them safe and happy is paramount to my existence, and it’s the one critical Jenga block that holds this tower completely together.  If even one was taken from me, my holding block would be gone, and I would topple into a pile of rubble.  No longer would my life look like a solid tower, but instead would look like a pile of blocks, no resemblance to the tower it once was.  I put myself in her shoes, and suddenly, I could see how I could become Claire Bennett.

I did not judge Claire.  I saw myself.  If I was a betting woman, I would bet on the fact that I would fall apart, too.  Lying in bed.  Searching for a reason to exist.  Trying to numb the pain.

And, that, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the many reasons I fight so hard and do what I do to manage my boys’ Diabetes.  Mr. Diabetes is the primary enemy trying to knock that block out of place.  One wrong move, and He wins…and I am Claire.  So when I talk too much; I am too tired: I am too eager; Ask too much; I am too aggressive....I'm keeping my Jenga block in place.
Pushing to keep my block in place while Diabetes pushes back

As I watched the movie, watched her cope with her physical and emotional pain, I just cried.  Perfect one day, destroyed the next. Rubble.  A life in shambles. I can only imagine, and I hope I never have to know for sure.  I may appear strong, but even Super Mom has her Kryptonite. 

So, watch the movie.  Tell me what you think.  Please don’t say, “Well, you have other children to live for, blah blah blah”.  I’m aware of that.  My point: I don’t know that I would be any different than Claire, and that really struck a chord close to my heart and soul.  Next time you see someone self-medicating their pain, be sympathetic not judgmental.