Friday, September 27, 2013

CrAzY 2013 so far, and second opinions!

A quick re-cap of the 8 months hiatus from my blog, its been a very emotional and challenging year to say the least! (this post might get ridiculously long)

In February my husband was dx'd with skin cancer. Initially the Dermatologist called it a Squamous Cell Carcinoma, which caused a major freak out on my part. Although when detected early, Squamous Cell Carcinomas "rarely" metastasize, it was still very scary to be dealing with the "C" word at all. Talk about a slap in the face, and a HUGE reminder of appreciating your health, life, and loved ones every single moment of every single day! After going through Mohs micrographic surgery, it just so turned out that the biopsy revealed it was "just" a Basal Cell Carcinoma, which is a much less serious cancer than the original assumption. With Mohs surgery, each layer of cancer containing skin is progressively removed and examined until only cancer-free tissue remains. We are skin cancer free!!

In March my Mom was really struggling with her health. Just not feeling well, also related to a very stressful situation in her life. One night she had several symptoms of a stroke, and ended up calling the paramedics. I showed up at her house within minutes, to find her already on oxygen and with paramedics questioning if she had ever had a panic attack.
WHAT? Seriously? That was her "diagnosis" according to them. But, we didn't feel comfortable with that, so we drove to the ER. It didn't take long for them to find that her potassium level was dangerously low. She spent 2 days in the hospital, and has been good since! ALWAYS trust your gut, and get a second opinion if you feel the need!!!

Also in March my Hannah began to struggle even more with her depression. She had quit playing competitive Volleyball earlier last year, and there was an obvious downward spiral since then. (I have struggled with depression since I was her age, please know it is a medical diagnosis!) Hannah didn't really mesh with her counselor (its hard to find good ones these days!)and one depression medication caused a rash so it had to be changed. The next one made her feel like a zombie, and one (presumably) caused her to black out. She fell and split her chin open requiring a couple stitches, which caused ME to question what the hell we are doing trying ant-depressants on a child!!??? Finally the next trial medication pushed her over the edge. She spent 6 days in the hospital. This is where *I* went downhill, mourning for my child. For her emotional struggles. The stress, unknowns, the side effects and fear of not treating the depression vs treating it WITH medications. Nothing could ever explain the feelings involved as a parent when your child hurts and there is nothing you can do to make it better. Especially when the cause is major depressive disorder, a chemical imbalance in the brain!! It has been an endless battle since then. Still to this day we haven't found a medication that is what SHE needs to get back on track. As a matter of fact, tonight she starts a new medication, and Im scared to death....yet hopeful. Medications are NOT always the answer, they are a small part of the puzzle. I feel guilty if we continue trying to find the right med, and I feel guilty if we quit trying. So, please don't judge!! This one last "trial" medication could be the missing link, or it could worsen symptoms. If it isn't for us, we are back at square one.

In April my husband lost his job, again. For the second time in just a few years. Not only can job loss be devastating financially, but when you MUST HAVE medical insurance, COBRA payments of $1200 a month on top of losing income is NOT GOOD. We are still recovering, having finally made our last COBRA payment in August! THANK GOODNESS!!!!

In May I started to feel quite yucky! It became a struggle to even make it through the day without needing a nap. Id nearly fall asleep all day long at work, and I'd sleep a few hours after work each day. All my labs were normal except my hormones were a bit off balance, but that's the life after hysterectomy I suppose! I was suffering from debilitating fatigue, muscle aches, mouth sores, flu like symptoms, major low back pain, tingling, eye pain, numbness. WEIRDNESS! My sugars had been running much higher too, but, I blamed it on stress, depression and hormones. I spent most of the summer months on the couch after work each day, just feeling like YUCK. What a waste of living!!

In June, Josh's Aunt was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, the most aggressive, deadly and malignant of all brain tumors. Prognosis is typically 3-15 months. So not fair when you are only in your 50's!!! A very long story short, Chemo and radiation after surgery left debilitating loss of speech, coordination, confusion etc. Another trip to the ER just a few weeks ago found the tumor was growing. She was transferred to Hospice care, but after a few days family decided to seek a second opinion to try and beat this damn cancer and enter a research study as a last resort. The second opinion said the tumor did in fact, NOT was just the brain swelling that caused the tumor to look larger. WHaaaaattttttt!!?? Need I say it again? ALWAYS GET A SECOND OPINION!!!!!!! So, last week during the pre-testing before entering research studies, they found DVT's in Auntie's legs, and then also in her lungs. Do you see how a second opinion actually may saved her from dying of a PE, likely a complication from the Cancer treatments? SECOND OPINIONS!!!! Right now Auntie is stabilized and doing amazing well considering!! Every day the brain is recovering from the radiation and swelling. Her speech, confusion, and coordination has majorly improved to near normal!!! It is still a long road ahead of uncertainties, but making every day count is what matters most right now!

In August I developed swollen lymph nodes and a "relapse" of even crazier symptoms! Many Neurological symptoms including facial numbness, left arm heaviness, left leg heaviness, chest pain, zapping sensations etc caused me to undergo 2 brain MRI's. No Multiple Sclerosis or Neurological diagnosis thank goodness!(Except my PCP thinks I have health anxiety, what a jerk) Abdominal pains required a CT scan, nothing there either. Doppler studies were all clear, and endless lab work says I'm not likely to be experiencing anything like Lupus or Fibromyalgia. (eye dryness, burning, light sensitivity!!) My PCP seems to believe I have some autoimmune disease causing all this nonsense. As of about 2 weeks ago I am FINALLY not having nearly as many crazy symptoms and Im feeling much better!!! I am still waiting to see a Rheumatologist to figure out my growing lymph nodes!!

So that's about it. All these mentions of my crazy year....what IS "NORMAL" life anyway? I guess this just is, isn't it?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Peers and PE

So the drama with peers in 7th grade? Ohhhh my. Well, it goes something like this....

(According to Maddi)

"I dont think you should be eating that." (3 lifesavers before PE)

"What is that on your arm?" (pump site, Maddi says she has heard this about a "billion" times this year and GIRLS continually whisper and stare)

"You can run more for your Diabetes ya know"

"No wonder you have Diabetes" (Life savers before PE!)

"I'll never have THAT problem"

"Why are you just sitting there when YOU are the one that needs to be running more than us?" (during a blood sugar low)

"Just go!" ( A girl running behind Maddison in PE (physically pushing her) when she suddenly felt low and needed to test)

Damn these 7th graders! I dont know if all these questions and comments suddenly arise from the fact that 4 schools have come together to form one middle school, or if 7th graders really just have no sensor? Teen lack of acceptance for differences? Are they more flooded with media misinformation than the younger grades? Where are the parents that raise their kids to be understanding/caring and supportive of those around them? I seriously don't understand!!!

These kinds of comments from peers are the exact reason why Diabetes in the teen years is so damn difficult and down right emotionally challenging to manage. Who would want to whip out their meter and check a low blood sugar when everyone is staring and gawking over you? People (especially teens!) don't understand that a low blood sugar cant wait. They don't understand that you may suddenly be paralyzed by weakness and shaky legs, unable to continue in PE. What they see is Maddison popping lifesavers or little candy hearts (still left over from Valentines day!) and sitting out of class many times a week. They dont understand why. It seems to Maddison that they see Diabetes as a weakness. They judge. They nag. They whisper. They stare. They even say she uses it as an excuse to sit out of class.

If only Maddison knew how much stronger Diabetes has made her. Physically, emotionally, deep down to her soul....if only the judgements of others didn't hurt.

Its just so hard!!!

This year Maddison has lunch at 11am, recess after, and then PE immediately after that. Well shit! Surprisingly we have managed to stay pretty darn well in range for PE most days, but lately things are trending even lower during or after PE. Some days they toss rings over a net, and some days they run miles. It would be much easier to manage if we had a schedule of anticipated exercise wouldn't it?

We have decreased basals before and after PE. Increased protein at lunch. That worked for awhile. We have taken 15c off the lunch bolus. That worked for awhile. We have eaten 12c lifesavers before PE, done a combination of less carb bolus and less basal, added a snack after PE....and sometimes she will still go low. Not low low....but low enough to feel drained (60's) and unable to participate in the rest of PE, or she ends up missing out of class information later on as her brain recovers from roller coaster numbers. All D Moms know about IOB (active insulin) after eating, and how hard it can be to manage! That is a whole chapter in a book itself!

From what I see this week in Maddi's sugar log is that it isn't long before the "lows" will turn into LOW LOWS.

Now enter Momma bird who has been watching closely.

Time for even more dose changes. Why? Well.....because after 6 weeks of being back in school and running miles in PE nearly every day, (good riddance lazy summer) Maddi's metabolism is changing. Which means her body is more effectively using insulin, which means she suddenly needs less insulin than all summer long! Now I have the job of figuring out how to keep her body and mind functioning without being too high, or too low.... with a shit load of insulin on board from lunch, during PE. -Sigh-

Nothing new right? Every year our kids have a different situation with school classes, lunch, recess and PE, so eventually we figure out what works best to avoid lows and highs. Sad thing is, its all about trial and error. And our kids battle through the ups and downs until we get the numbers right. This is also a lot of extra responsibility and emotional stress to carry as a Mom!! We ARE responsible for their blood sugar numbers. We just are. No one should have to manage their child's health and body functions 24/7/365, but D Moms do. No wonder Maddison is at the point that some days she tries to avoid PE altogether. She just doesn't know which treatment plan to go by anymore! Every week has been different. But, so far this school year Maddi has been managing her Diabetes and making decisions just as well as any Momma bird I know! Im very proud of her knowledge to say the least :)

Teenagers. Middle School. Peers. Diabetes. Not an easy thing to manage, physically or emotionally. I was so naive to think it wouldn't be much different than years past. Parent or child.....this is the toughest age by far! Maddison has been venting away her Diabetes frustrations as they come, but I know that comments and other kids are beginning to eat away at her some days, and I dont blame her. I dont blame her one bit. Luckily, Maddison doesnt let it all bring her down. But if/when she wants to cry or scream and let it all out, I will encourage it. And then, we will move on. We are stronger than letting Diabetes, peers or PE craziness keep us down for long.

Friday, September 20, 2013


For many months I have taken a blogging break. It seems one day you wake up and life with Diabetes JUST IS, and honestly, for quite awhile now the last thing I have wanted to think about or talk about..... or even ACKNOWLEDGE, was Diabetes.


And just when I thought hoped there was nothing left to say, Maddison turned 13.

Enough said, right?

It was as if overnight my buddy changed into another person. Everything I say is wrong, everything I do is wrong. Yep....this girl wants nothing but to fly the coop and get the hell away from her Mom. So, this Mom right here has WAY TOO MUCH time to do nothing but reflect on finding something for ME, and try to stay sane while parenting two teenage GIRLS that need me close, but not TOO close. Quite comical when you think about it actually!

This Summer was the first that I actually worked FT without a modified shorter schedule to stay home PT and "watch over" Diabetes. YEP. The age of (12 then and now 13) also means total self sufficiency of Diabetes care in the daytime hours. And you know what? That totally sucks because I LIVED for spending extra time in the Summer with my kids!!!! Bummer for me! Nowadays I also just drop Maddison off on her volunteer days, and just drop her off when she has her horse riding lessons! No more needing/wanting Mom there either!!

Bittersweet, for sure.

I miss my little kids!!

Im struggling with this growing up stuff. For real!! My Hannah turned 16 last November, and 17 is approaching too damn fast. Ive spent several months now just stuck in the blues. So many reasons, but the largest part of being so down for so long is that after spending 8 years as a Volleyball Mom (attending practices twice a week and tournaments every weekend) Hannah decided she no longer wanted to play competitive Volleyball. Even as a Varsity player. Can you say parental devastation? I've seriously been heart broken ever since. I never wanted that chapter in our lives to end. This is one reason I now have too much free time!!

Then of course there is the fact that Maddison's interests are changing with age, which means I now have EVEN MORE free time!! I have spent many, many years volunteering along side Maddison at various animal rescues (she still does occasionally) but nowadays her passion is focusing on horses, which means most days I simply drop her off for riding lessons and be on my way. Her lessons will be starting again soon since Summer is coming to an end, which FINALLY kick starts my motivation to get my shit together and pursue my own volunteering, projects, education and such!

So here I am with all this time to find ME, and Im back on my blog. What the heck? Well, VENTING IT ALL OUT **IS** ME!! Its not really bitching or complaining ya know. Its VENTING. Lets make sure you hear that right! Venting means I blurt it all out right here on my blog, and then move the heck on!! Since Maddison started school 6 weeks ago AND turned 13 in August we have had ALOT of Diabetes stress. A new MIDDLE SCHOOL schedule, crazy hormone resistance, new expectations/responsibilities in 7th grade (such as independently managing Diabetes without the school nurse involved!!)new teachers to educate, and so far the biggest struggle by TEENAGE peers with lots of opinions and questions about Diabetes. Yes, I said opinions.

Opinions. Comments. Remarks. Damn, they weren't kidding when they said the teen years with Diabetes are tough. Thats a vent
blog post for another day!