Thursday, April 28, 2016

500 Days

500 days.
That's how many days it's been since Anna was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

I've always reacted slowly to things.  I never got nervous until after a musical performance.  Tests didn't freak me out beforehand but I was so nervous in the aftermath that I couldn't eat.  Being pregnant and becoming a mom wasn't a problem at all until that first baby got here and All The Things swarmed into my head.

Anna's diagnosis was more or less the same way.  I shed a few tears as I arranged for the other kids to be cared for while we were in the hospital.  I held myself in check for her sake while at the hospital and reminded myself that this was a manageable disease and that my child was going home with me to live a full life with very few limits.

What I didn't do was start Googling T1D.  I didn't immediately seek out others who had traveled this path before me.  I really didn't even understand all the sympathy people kept showering us with.  In fact, I clearly remember asking one friend WHY was everybody so sorry?  Anna was alive and well and insulin injections would allow her to live a pretty normal life (normal aside from glucose checks and shots with every meal).

But the time came when I started researching a bit more.  Slowly because I know that, as a mom, I can spiral to the dark places fast when faced with medical facts.  I learned a haunting phrase, The Dead in Bed Syndrome, that says approximately 1 in 20 T1D children will die in their sleep from a sudden drop in sugar.  They may have had a 'perfect' day as far as the readings on their glucose monitor go.  There is no warning.

The time came when I became a part of an online T1D community - mostly moms of young T1D kids.  Not long after I became active, an obituary was posted: a little girl had passed in her sleep.  I was sad for the family's loss and held my little girl closer that day.  Weeks went by and I interacted more with these other moms and learned more about them and their families.  One morning I was on FaceBook and read that a little boy I 'knew' had passed away.  Dead in Bed.  I started checking Anna several times throughout the night.  Fear driven to be aware and in charge.

500 days.

We learn more each week.  Too much activity or too little activity can cause major swings in her numbers.  Sunburns sway her numbers.  Colds mess with her numbers.  Stomach bugs can take her out and land us in the ER in a quick hurry.

Changes within her body that we can't see any evidence of will cause a fluctuation in how much insulin she needs.  Puberty will have an added facet of 'fun' with Anna.

Birthday parties, potluck meals with our church, overnighting with friends or family.  These are things we never gave a second thought to until T1D entered our lives.  Suddenly these are big deals.  The variables are many and she simply can't do any of it without the help of an adult who understands how to calculate all her formulas and carb-ratios.  Diabetes math, while not all that hard, is more than a 7 year old can handle on her own.

500 days.

There are days when I have a new realization or read something or just have a stray thought and I hide in my room to cry for a bit.  It took a long time to admit to myself that we did, in fact, lose something.  It wasn't the kind of loss some people know, but it was still a loss.  The mourning comes in fits and starts and I've learned not to shame myself for being sad.  I don't dwell there in that sadness.  Anna's life is so much bigger than her being a diabetic.  But I no longer feel guilty when those moments come.

She is so much braver than I would have ever known.  For the most part, she cheerfully pricks her finger and tells us her number (6-10 times per day)  For the most part, she doesn't even flinch when she gets her shots (4-6 per day).

Sometimes, though, the mourning comes for her, too.  Sometimes she wakes up hating everything about the pricks and the needles and not being able to have what she wants to eat when she wants it.  Sometimes she has an old fashioned fit and scream-cries her displeasure over things.  Those times are infrequent and we don't stop her.  We hold her when she's ready and pray with her when she's ready.  But we don't stop her.  Mourning has to happen.

500 days.

She has danced, participated in swim team, enjoyed holiday feasts, learned to ride a bike with no training wheels, celebrated birthdays, camped out, spent sunny days on the beach, lost teeth, skinned knees, and everything else that a healthy 7 year old girl should be doing.  Diabetes doesn't mean 'no', it means 'thoughtfully'.

500 days.

And, in His plan, there will hopefully be so many more. 

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Elizabeth Is Nine!

Nine years ago, the Lord saw fit to give us our very own ray of Sunshine.  She came gently into this world one Friday morning and has been smiling at it ever since.  We brought her home and laid her in a bassinet and she rarely stirred.  

We often joke that she slept until her due date, being that she was a few weeks early.  Thomas was 2 and Sarah was 1 and they barely looked over at her as they barrelled though the house screeching and whooping and being jolly little toddlers.

She'd just sigh deeply and doze on.

I often forget how adorable her little 'Hook 'Em Horns' sign was as she sucked on her fingers.  When she was almost two, she burned those little fingers on a lightbulb at somebody's house.  They blistered up and were too painful for her to suck on when she tried to go to sleep that night.  She whined quietly off and on for about an hour, then popped her thumb in her mouth.  I wondered if she'd go back to the two precious fingers when they healed up, but I'd say she never gave it a second thought.  The thumb was just fine.

She enjoys the simple things in life and chooses comfort and has her own sense of 'cute style'.  She loves skinny jeans and boots or flats and a soft, oversized shirt.  She likes her hair in a tight little bun at the nape of her neck or in a braid over her shoulder.

She's tough as tough gets and rarely whimpers over pain and we find ourselves telling her to please let us know about things when they happen rather than two days later when we see a huge bruise on her!  She just shakes pain to the wayside and works through it.

Lurking just behind her quiet demeanor is a quick wit that takes folks by surprise. I love to hear tales of how her sense of humor peeks through when she is visiting with people who haven't experienced our Lizzie before.

She adores cooking and baking and putzing around in the kitchen.  She begs me regularly to let her make dinner or to teach her some new recipe.  She'll outstrip me by the time she's twelve, if not sooner!  

She's kind and generous and compassionate.  She loves her sisters and brothers and it's fun to watch her relationship with each one.

I'm so thankful she was sent to us.  Thankful for the opportunity to get to watch what God does with her.

Happy Birthday, sweet, sunny, Lizzie!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Brief History and a Tentative Promise

Back in 2006 when I started this blog, it was a way to assuage my guilt over not being a good baby-book-keeper.  Not being a scrapbooker.  I wanted to document the highs (and sometimes lows) of our lives for our family, and blogs didn't require glue or scissors or anything else that might get left out for the Munchkin Brigade to wreak havoc with.  I could sit and type, walk away to do laundry, and come back and find things right where I left them with no blood or shredded curtains (not that we had any curtains back then).  I'd plug in a few pictures, hit publish, and voila!!

Then blogging became a community to me.  I 'met' all these wonderful folks and, between Twitter and blogs, we knew one another enough to sort ourselves into tribes when we attended blogging conferences. (Do those still exist?)  Several of the friendships that were forged over bloggy fodder are still vital relationships in my life today.

A few years ago, I started having our blog published into books.  One year per book.  I loved sitting and flipping through each book as it came in.  Words and pictures that testified to this life that God has so graciously given us.  Around the time we had 2008's book published in 2014 (because I'm all about promptness), I realized the kids loved those bloggy books possibly more that I did.

I adore listening to them read the stories aloud to one another and laugh over the silly antics of whoever the story is about.  They cut up and harass one another and I smile as I get all nostalgic about the short time in my life my children referred to me as 'Momalope' because somebody thought it was fun.

I don't spin out their stories as much these days as I used to.  The lessons we are learning aren't always easy bloggy fodder.  But because my kids love to read about themselves, I plan to make the effort again.  I share that here because I tell my kids to write down their goals so they can be seen.  Then work towards that goal.  And so, here's to finding the stories to share and remember.

Because, precious children, this was always for you.