Monday, May 11, 2015

Keep On Keepin' On

Keep on Keepin’ On

May 11, 2015

I think I’m beating a dead horse when I mention that in 2012 our lives changed forever when my baby Aiden was diagnosed, at age 7, with Type One Diabetes.  I don’t think I have ever been so devastated in my life. Manageable, but devastating nevertheless.  Just when I thought I’d caught my breath from that sucker punch, life kicked me when I was down by diagnosing my sweet Asa  5 months later.  First graders should never have to know or experience daily finger pricks and shots.
Obviously, I jumped right on the bandwagon to learn as much as possible and take as good care of my babies as possible.  I delved into all manners of Type One Diabetes reading and research so I could be the best substitute pancreas I could be.  I was thrown into a world of carb counting, insulin dosing, medical supplies, and continual worry on top of sleep deprivation.  Such is my life, and I’ll do it as long as it takes if it means my boys are healthy.

On top of being a pancreas, I’m still a Mommy, a wife, and a Nurse.  I have a job.  Granted, I shaved my hours down a bit (after I paid off two pediatric hospital bills) so I could focus more on my boys, but I still work hard.  I enjoy every shift taking care of my patients…my new mommies and new babies who deserve the best and healthiest start possible.  Further, I truly enjoy working “behind the scenes” to make our unit as highly efficient, safe and functional as possible.  I have been happy in my career for the last 18 years (wow…can’t believe it’s been so long) and loving my place of work for the last 13. Nursing is a great career that allows me the flexibility to be the kind of wife and Mommy I want to be (and helps support my Bon Jovi habit!).

Somewhere in there, I find time to mentor new families for JDRF, which is rewarding and depressing at the same time.  I love helping someone who is brand new navigate this crazy highway called Type One Diabetes.  However, I’m saddened to know that each time a family is sent to me, that means there is another child out there who has to live like mine do.  I’m left wondering how many out there are diagnosed who do not reach out for help. 

After a year of dealing with T1D and feeling like a crazy person, I wrote "Mommy Can't Fix It"  My primary goals in writing the book were to share our story and help others not feel so alone or crazy when faced with the lifelong illness of their innocent child.  It truly warms my heart when someone reaches out to me to tell me how it helped them or when I am recognized in the Diabetes circles because of my book.  Currently, I’m steadily selling copies, and the money goes into an account to be donated to our JDRF One Walk Team each year.  Two-fold benefit:  helping others and raising money!

Finally, I delve a lot of my time and energy into raising money for JDRF to find better treatments and a cure for Type One Diabetes.  I’d give my right arm if it meant my boys, and those like them, had a cure. I may have trouble typing or combing my hair if I did, but I would do it!  I really feel like it’s the most I can do.  I can’t cure my boys myself…I can’t fix it…but I can help those who can!  Crossing my fingers we’ll see a cure in my lifetime…in their lifetime.

Pancreas.  Mommy.  Wife.  Nurse.  It all adds up and is exhausting.  However, it’s what I signed up for.  Probably borderline perfectionist and admitted over-achiever, I want to do all of my jobs as well as I can.  It’s what gives me intrinsic worth and value.  Half-measure and failure are not options.

Lately, people at work are taking notice of what I do.  My patient care.  My committee work.  And now, my community service through the book, JDRF, and working Texas Lions Camp.  I NEVER expected to receive attention or awards for doing what I do.  Frankly, it’s just icing on the cake.  I’m humbled and flattered.  That I know of, I have been nominated for three local or regional awards through my employer.  I did not win Great 100.  Congratulations to all who did and deserved it!  I was a finalist for D/FW Hospital Council’s Employee of the Year.  I did not win that either; there were a lot of great and deserving folks in that room, too!
The Healthcare Heroes brochure and my photo

My Admin team along with Volunteer of the Year nominee Mr. Neal

As I rode to the D/FW Employee of the Year ceremony with one of my VPs, we talked about my work.  Summed up, I told him I was SO honored that what I do makes an impact.  I’m delighted that my family, friends, administration team and co-workers have taken notice.  I feel privileged to be a part of such an elite group of nominees.  I am humbled.  With that being said, the recognition is incredible, but that is not why I do what I do. 
Screen Saver at Work

I volunteer for JDRF to help others…help I wish I had had that first year.  I wrote the book (and this blog) for catharsis, sharing and to help others.  I worked at TLC to be with my boys (who keep re-attaching the cord I’ve cut many times) and to learn more about T1D from those living with it.  I raise money annually for JDRF One Walk so that I may somehow contribute to a cure for my boys.  They are the heart that beats in my chest, and I know they have SO much to offer this world.  I’ll do whatever it takes to keep them whole.  I am a good nurse because that is what I went to school for, and I love my patients.  I try to be a good leader among my peers so that we can all do our jobs well, and all patients are safe and cared for.  I work on committees and education to help advance nursing practice and give myself and my co-workers the best workplace possible.  Finally, I teach nursing students so they too will learn to love the career they are embarking upon.  

Wow, that sounds like a lot on paper, and I guess it is.  It’s all part of who I am and what makes me ME.  Win or lose the awards, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing because I believe in what I do.  I’ll keep on keepin’ on!

Thanks to each and every one who has donated to my team, purchased my book, and supported me personally or professionally!  Nothing is possible alone, and I could not have done what I do without support.

For my husband, my children, my twin boys….