Monday, December 27, 2010

Let's take this one step further....

First of all, I need to say a great big THANK YOU!!! to all of you who commented on my last post.  It was a rough one and I so appreciate all of your comments and insight.  It helps so much to get my thoughts written out and to hear the perspective and suggestions of others, whether they agree with me or not!  I actually emailed the post to my husband just after I finished it.  Neither one of us is very good at expressing ourselves when we're "in the heat of the moment".  I think writing it out helps me speak a little more clearly and makes it easier for him to understand.  It opened the lines of communication and we were able to work things out and have a great Christmas!

Second, I haven't been able to spend much time reading blogs in the last week.  We're packing up and getting things ready to head out on a trip to see my family tomorrow and I'll be MIA for a few days more.  I have been thinking of so many of you and I know a few of you are going through some rough spots.  Even if I don't get a chance to comment on your blogs, I'm thinking of you all and offering up prayers that things are going well and the rough spots are smoothing out!  You'll be in my thoughts as we're making the trek up north and I'm hoping I'll return to some fantastically wonderful posts about miracles and the little joys in life from those of you who really need a little light right now!

Remember that post I wrote about a week ago about how our children see how we react and learn from watching us?  Well, I want to take that one step further tonight.  And the argument with my husband actually ties in to that idea really well!  You see, my husband and I come from very similar backgrounds; single moms, abusive fathers, alcoholic stepfathers.  It's really kind of amazing how similar those things have been in our lives.  But, there's one major difference between our lives that have shaped us in some profound ways.  Our mothers are on two opposite ends of the "love" spectrum.  My mom would not be considered a wonderful mom.  But she was a serial dater.  She threw herself, whole-heartedly, into every relationship.  She rarely left a relationship without having first lined up a new one.  Her whole life revolved around whatever her boyfriend-of-the-moment was into.  My husband's mother was a fantastic mom.  Her life revolved around her children.  She had her faults, just as every mom does.  But, she did a great job of putting her children first.  In fact, once her second divorce was final, she made her children her whole life and didn't even go on one date for more than a decade!

How does that tie into the idea that our children learn from watching us?  Well, I learned from watching my mom how to throw myself whole-heartedly into my marriage.  I open my heart wide and give everything I have to give.  Sounds great, right?  Except for one can be absolutely smothering to the other person!  My husband learned how to hold himself back, he didn't learn how to maintain a romantic relationship with compliments and encouragement.  There are some serious flaws to both of our methods of maintaining a relationship.  When it comes down to it, our parents did not model for us how to have a healthy relationship based on mutual respect and consideration for the other person.  We're at a disadvantage.  It's precisely the reason why we're in marriage counseling and need help figuring out how to keep our relationship strong and healthy.

Now, I know we're not alone in this situation.  Many, many people come from single-parent families.  Very few people have good examples of relationships to base their own marriages on.  It can be hard!  But it's so worth the effort to figure out how to make a marriage strong.  It's worth the effort because not only does it make you happier and healthier to be in a good, constructive relationship, but it also provides your children with a good example of how to "be" in a relationship, how to work with someone, how to compromise and bend just enough.  We don't learn those skills if we don't have examples to follow and people to teach us how.  And our children won't learn those skills if we can't show them how those skills work!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A confession...

I have a problem.  A huge problem, really.  I have money-spending issues.  I'm way too impulsive and buy things for my husband and children without thinking about the final cost or how hard it's going to make things for the rest of the paycheck period.  My husband makes a great salary, but somehow, we're still living paycheck-to-paycheck.  We have a huge amount of student loan debt that needs to be paid off.  And here I am, spending way too much money on Christmas presents.  Not because the presents are important or necessary, but because I want to do something special for my children and my husband.  It's causing some really bad marriage problems for my husband and I right now.

Christmas means a lot to me.  It's the only time that really felt special when I was growing up.  With seven kids, you tend to get lost.  My mom didn't buy any special treats or anything for us throughout the year, but Christmas morning, we always knew we'd wake up to find one toy that we really wanted.  Christmas was always reserved for just our family.  We opened presents, ate some breakfast, played with our new toys, and all sat down to a turkey dinner together.  That's what I want for my family too.  I want that sense of wonder when they wake up and see that Santa came.  I want the time spent together, the meal together.  That stuff means so much to me.  It's what I live for!  Last night, my husband came home and informed me that his sister wanted to make a roast beef for Christmas dinner and that we were invited to go and have dinner with them.  In the past, I've tried to explain that it means a lot to me to have Christmas dinner for ourselves, but my husband doesn't react well and I have a hard time explaining.  He thinks I don't want to go because I don't like his family or because I'm being selfish and just want what I want.  So, I didn't see any way to say  no.  My heart was crushed.  Not by the thought of not having Christmas dinner the way I wanted it, but by the realization that my husband hadn't even thought that it might be important to me.  He hadn't even considered what my feelings on the matter might be!  I had to go immediately from that to confessing to him how much I'd spent on Christmas presents that day.  It wasn't pretty!  He told me to take a few of them back.  To be honest with you, I understand that I need to take them back.  I know we can't afford to spend as much as I did.  But at that moment, it felt like he'd just cancelled my Christmas.  My heart was already crushed, now it felt like he was just stomping on it!

We argued.  I tried to get him to see my feelings about things.  He told me I was over-reacting, which was probably true, but it didn't help to hear that.  It made me feel like he didn't think my feelings meant anything at all.  I said some things to him that were very hurtful and that shouldn't have been said.  He stormed off and I was left, sitting on the couch with my little girl while she shook and trembled and her blood sugar plummeted.  I hate fighting in front of the kids.  I hate how emotions affect blood sugars.  I had arguing in the first place.  And now I'm left feeling like there's no way to fix this.  There's no point in trying to work on a marriage with someone who doesn't care or try to understand my feelings, who just makes me feel worse when I'm already feeling down.  I know I'm over-dramatizing things and maybe I'll feel better in a few days.  But right now, I just can't see any light.

Sorry for the downer post.  I try hard to stay positive, but right now, I just can't find it in me.  We all have our bad days, don't we?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

What do they see? What do they learn?

I've been mulling this one over in my mind for days and procrastinating on writing it down.  It's a big, big, BIG topic and I want to do it justice.  Not sure if I'll manage to do it as much justice as I'd like, but hopefully you'll bear with me on it...

Before I get into it though....I gave myself a little pre-Christmas present.  A peak at the scale.  Would you believe that I'm down 19 lbs now?  Seriously!  And if things keep on track, I'll be down a full 20+ just in time for Christmas!  That puts me just under 240 for my weight.  And the funny thing about that?  When I was nursing Lily, the weight literally just melted off.  I ended up at about 190 by the time I got pregnant with Leo.  Would you believe that I'm happier with my body now at 240 than I was when I was 190?  I have more muscle tone!  My 240 lb body can go for nearly an hour and a half on an elliptical with my heart rate in the 80-90% range!  I actually shaved my legs this morning and marveled at how much easier it was to shave a muscular leg than a flabby one!  Gotta love the details!

Okay, on to the real post!  Leo always amazes me with how much he notices and sees.  If there is a teeny tiny picture of Elmo anywhere within visible distance, Leo will find it and call out "Elmo!"  He sees everything!  And so does his sister!  Quite literally, without exaggeration.  They see everything.  They see how I act, how I talk, how I eat.  They see if I respond with kindness or rudeness.  They see if I wrinkle my face with disgust over a stranger's smell.  They see (and hear) if I swear at people in traffic.  They see....when I give and give and give and never take a minute to take care of myself.  They see when I let myself become so rundown that I want to curl up in bed and cry myself to sleep.  They see.  And they learn from it all.  They learn to react to strangers with kindness if I respond to strangers with kindness.  They learn to be rude and ignore people in need if that's what I do.  If I say please and thank you and your welcome, they learn those phrases.  If I use food to comfort myself when I'm stressed and unhappy, they learn to do that too.  If I over-indulge, they learn to over-indulge.  If I take a few moments to take care of myself, to eat well, and to keep my stress levels within reason, they see that and they learn to do that too.

See?  I told you it was a big subject!  Really, it's enormous and all-encompassing.  You see, I had what I call an "epiphany moment" the other day.  State budgets are tight and things are being cut.  As a society, we value education and intelligence.  We educate our children in schools.  They learn concepts, how the world works, and the knowledge they will need to find a place for themselves in that world.  They learn work-ethic from watching their parents and from being taught how to work for the things they want.  Schools even teach them how to exercise and there's a big push lately for upgrading their lunch programs to teach them how to eat properly.  But....they learn how to nurture and how to care for themselves from us, their caretakers, their parents (my epiphany thought).  Just for clarification purposes, nurture isn't just what we do for our children.  We nurture each other. We nurture friends, strangers, and anyone and everyone we come into contact with, in some way or another.  It can be a good kind of nurture, like restoring someone's faith in people by offering a kind hand, a kind word, a kind smile.  Or it can be negative, like smirking, laughing at someone's misfortune, responding in a rude manner.  Our children learn all of this from us!  When we don't take the time to care for ourselves, they learn that too.  And so starts the cycle of parents who are too stressed, too tired, too burnt out to bother caring for themselves and really, who don't have the energy and emotional availability to care for their children in the best way possible.  In order to teach our children to be the best people (and parents) they can possibly be, we need to teach them that it's important to take those moments for ourselves, to maintain our own physical and emotional health so that we can give our all to our families the rest of the time.  We need to teach them that being a good parent does not mean being a martyr!

My question to leave you all with tonight....what are your children learning from watching you?

Monday, December 13, 2010


Give me a minute to stop laughing.....Reyna, when I read your comment calling me "hard core" I actually guffawed!  If I'd been drinking anything, it would have shot out of my noise!  Wow, do I have you people fooled or what?  Seriously, I don't know how to get this idea across to all of you, but I'm honestly the World's Biggest Cream Puff!  Really, I am!  I sit on my butt with books and crocheting and that's what makes me happy.  If my children would just let me read!  I miss my books!  You want an example of how much of a cream puff I really am?  Lily was just a couple months old when the last Harry Potter book came out.  I LOVED those books!  I had the book pre-ordered, delivered to my door on the day it came out.  I remember sitting in our big armchair, holding Lily's bottle with the same arm that was propped behind her head, and using the other hand to turn pages in the book as I read.  Scary stuff, huh?  I read that nearly 1000-page book in three days, in spite of having a newborn!  I sat on my butt that entire time.  Bad, bad, bad!  I used every excuse in the book to not make it to the gym, to skip exercising.

Something is changing now though.  I'm not sure exactly what it is.  But....I WANT to be "hard core"!  Seriously!  I wanna be a bad-ass, nothing-can-kick-my-butt kind of girl!  I want to be able to run for miles and still have the energy to go home and play with my children!  Saturday, we ended up getting 17.1 inches of snow. I somehow still made it to the gym.  And then, the next day, my husband and I dropped the kids off at Grandma's so we could go to the gym without them.  I burned 980 calories in 64 minutes on the elliptical!  Wonder if that and the 84-minute stint the day before will help cancel out some of the holiday baking I've been doing?  I tried to convince myself that baking qualifies as a workout, but very quickly realized that in order for it to qualify, I'd have to use the oven of the neighbor a mile down the road so that I could get a little exercise in between treats.  The treats kind of cancel out any amount of calories I might burn by mixing up cookie dough, huh?

Anyway, I just wanted to send up a great big THANK YOU!!!! to all of you who've commented.  You can't imagine how much it means to me to realize that people are actually listening to me.  And I don't want to keep harping on this and drive all of you insane, but seriously....if the World's Biggest Cream Puff can manage to take up exercise in a "hard core" kind of way, then anyone can!  You don't have to start big, just start!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

If only I'd known it was that simple!

Simple and easy are not the same thing.  Simple does not mean it's easy!  Simple is just plain simple.  So what am I talking about?  Well, today I was so determined to make it to the gym for a workout.  I'd missed the last three days, due to a minor stomach bug that I caught.  I woke up Wednesday morning and as soon as I opened the bag of Godiva Chocolate Truffle coffee grounds, I was hit by a wave of nausea.  Unfortunately, I didn't listen and attempted to drink a cup of coffee.  It didn't go well.  Thursday, my husband and I got so caught up in Christmas shopping that we didn't have enough time left to hit the gym.  And Friday....well, Friday, Lily vomited all over her carseat on our way home from the dentist.  And then did the same thing after I got her to eat a few bites of mac & cheese for lunch.  So, we stayed home.  I was determined to not make it four days in a row that I'd missed out on the gym!  So determined, in fact, that I put the kids down for a nap and had my husband warm up his 4x4 truck so I could head to the gym while the kids slept.  I drove the one mile to the gym in blizzard-like conditions!  The snow was up to my calves and my husband hadn't had a chance to plow our driveway.  But I went anyway!  And once there, I spent exactly 84 minutes on the hard-core, kick-your-butt, elliptical!  I increased the resistance several times, kept my pace as steady as I could, my heart-rate in the 80-90% range the entire time.  It was torture!  But I did it!  And I'm so proud of myself for it, if for no other reason than I just proved to myself that I could.  I burned 1200 calories at the gym today!  Take that, holiday baking!

So...where does the "simple" come in?  Well, here's the thing....two months ago, I would have taken any excuse to get out of going to the gym.  Got a stomach bug?  Well, I probably need a good week to recover!  It's raining out?  Yup, don't want to go outside.  I much preferred to stay curled up on the couch with a book, whenever possible.  Before kids, I couldn't tear myself away from my books to get exercise.  After kids, I spent my time attempting to read or sitting on the floor while they played around me, playing with them, but not really participating 100%.  The entire time, I lamented my inability to motivate myself to exercise.  I just couldn't figure out how to change it.  I wish I'd known how simple it was to change that!  Those first 30 days straight of exercise were no where near easy!  They were hard.  But, I pushed myself just a little bit and I held tight to the idea that I didn't want to disappoint myself.  And each day, I made myself do that one hour of exercise.  And somehow, someway, that one-hour a day for 30 days worked!  I'm motivated to exercise now.  I don't always make it, but each day that I don't, I feel a restlessness set in and each day it increases until I get to the gym.  I feel compelled to workout!  It's still not something I enjoy tremendously while I do it (although, Black Eyed Peas with a fantastic base does help).  But, I feel great afterward!  I feel happier, I feel healthier, I feel more flexible, more energetic, more whole.  It's incredible!  If only I'd known long ago that all it would take to get me more motivated to workout is the right motivation and 30 days of pushing myself!  I know, those things aren't always easy to come by and 30 days is a pretty big commitment.  But really, it's so worth it if it makes the rest of your life that much better, that much healthier, that much happier!

Off to test Lily's blood sugar.  We got her new pump and have switched all of her settings over.  So, I get a little extra work tonight, keeping an eye on things and hoping that the minute little changes I made with the new pump fix some of the issues we've been having.  Did any of you know that the new Medtronic Revel pump not only gives basals in .025 increments but also boluses?  How awesome is that?  Instead of doing .1 increments for bolusing, we can go down to a quarter of that!  I'm thrilled by that idea!  Maybe this will help balance out Lily's hyper-sensitivity to all insulin and carbs!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday Traditions?

Lily has been asking me off and on over the last few days to make cookies.  Specifically, to make star cookies.  She says, "Mommy, I can make a cookie shaped like a star?"  And, of course, I cannot say no to her!  So, we're gearing up for a weekend of holiday baking.  My sisters have invited me to join them in their baking session on Saturday.  If the weather cooperates, we just might do that!  If not, we're going to be on our own and I'm planning on picking up the stuff to make some of our holiday favorites.  I'm also hoping to bake up some goodies for our D-family Christmas gift!  Diabetes be damned!  The holidays are for having fun and there's no reason why we can't indulge in treats just a little bit.  And really...even if diabetes weren't a factor, we still wouldn't be able to eat everything we wanted.  So, my view on diabetes and the holiday...everything in moderation, except for holiday spirit!

Here's what I've put on our list of baking ideas so far:

1. Cardamom Sugar Crisps...My husband and I fell in love with these last year!  They're a crispy sugar cookie, flavored with cardamom.  Super-easy to make (you squish the round cookie balls with a glass, sprinkle them with colored sugar, and bake) and so yummy!  Kind of a nice change from some of the overly-sweet treats since they just have that little hint of sweet.

2. Mocha-Marbled Fudge...Does this one need an explanation?  It has a nice caffeine-kick to it and is probably more appropriate for adult consumption!  And definitely not a bedtime treat!

3. Gingerbread.  Oh, I love gingerbread!  And just about anything flavored with molasses!

4.  Honey Caramels....This is one that I'm not entirely sure I'm going to make.  I've made microwave homemade caramels a couple of times and they're super-easy, but hell on the blood sugars!  Seriously, there's no amount of insulin that prevents spiking when you consume a caramel, is there?  These are a little different though.  Instead of calling for corn syrup, they call for honey.  I'm not sure if the effect on the blood sugars would be different, but they sound really yummy, don't they?

5.  Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix....I've found a recipe for this that calls for massive amounts of powdered milk, non-instant chocolate pudding mix, and cocoa powder.  Facebook friends have suggested adding in crushed peppermint and I'm debating on adding in some marshmallows.  This is actually an item I want to include in our D-family gift (let's just hope they don't mind!).  If I do both peppermint and marshmallows, I might just have to make two batches up!

6. Sugar cut-outs....Just for my adorable little girl!  Gotta let her cut out some stars!

So....what's on your holiday baking list?  I'm curious!

Before I head to bed, I'll leave you all with some cuteness from my children:

Adorable, all bundled up, aren't they?  In that first picture, Lily's got a necklace-thingy on that I made for her. We've been noticing that when her blood sugars are running higher, she has a tendency to chew/suck on her lips and she ends up with sore, chapped lips and skin around her mouth.  So...that little necklace was made to keep her chapstick handy and hopefully prevent some of the chapping.  Anyone else notice this kind of a habit in their children?  I know I have a tendency to lick my lips more when I'm high, which leads to chapped lips.....

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Life is like a box of chocolates....

You've heard that line, right?  Everyone has.  You never know what you're gonna get.  Sometimes, marriage is like one of those chocolates.  You know that feeling you get when you pick up a chocolate, thinking it's your favorite one in the whole box.  And then you bite into is and find out that it's really your least favorite?  The one that leaves the nasty after-taste and never seems to go away.  Right now, my marriage is a bit like that nasty chocolate.  I promise I'll go back to being positive soon, but before I can, I need to get this off my chest.

In the last couple of weeks, we've had some issues pop up.  I said something to my mother-in-law that upset her.  Not intentionally, but I have a history of saying things wrong, not getting things worded perfectly, or just plain opening my mouth when I shouldn't.  I never intend to hurt anyone and I feel awful when I do.  But that feeling of awfulness and sorrow for hurting someone gets buried.  By my husband's onslaught.  I call it emotional abuse, although he doesn't agree with me on that because he doesn't say anything downright degrading or mean or hurtful.  But he batters at me, angry and hurt and frustrated, with his words, telling me that I'm uncaring of other's feelings, that I'm selfish and don't think of the hassle I've caused him by hurting his mom or whoever.  He never lets up until he hears me say that I'm sorry.  I have a hard time with those words, for some reason.  Not because I'm not sorry, but because I'm so flustered by his attack that I can't think straight.  This kind of argument never ends well.  It always leaves me feeling so emotionally drained and sad and hopeless.

A few days after that argument, another one popped up.  Here's a truth...I'm a horrible housekeeper.  Truly, truly horrible.  I have absolutely no memory anymore and if I get interrupted while in the process of doing something, I forget about it.  Not intentionally.  I could possibly just in the process of beginning a task.  And as soon as I'm interrupted, I forget.  The laundry, the dishes, cleaning up after lunch.  It frustrates my husband.  I never leave food lying around because that's one thing that I just can't stand.  But there are toys and clothes all over the place.  The kids drag toys out and leave them on the floor.  I have a pile of clothing in the living room that I've been intending to sort through and just haven't gotten to yet.  The kids' clothes need to be folded and put away.  It's frustrating.  And it makes my husband feel like I do nothing all day long.  He never comes straight out and calls me lazy, but he does ask me, repeatedly, to make more of an effort to keep the house clean, to get things put away, to get things done.  I always intend to try and accommodate him and often will go for several weeks, doing a good job of keeping him happy.  And then, it just ends up getting left by the side of the road.  And he just keeps getting more and more frustrated over it.

Final problem popped up today.  The day of that Massive Fail post?  Lily and I both woke up with high blood sugars.  I tried to explain to my husband that I didn't want to go to the gym just yet, that Lily was high and not feeling well.  But I forgot to mention that I was high and not feeling up to working out yet.  Diabetes can really suck sometimes.  Waiting for a blood sugar to come down is the worst.  And trying to think when your sugars are off just plain bites.  So, I didn't explain it well and made it sound like it was just about Lily's blood sugar.  Today, Lily's pump site failed.  Before lunch, she was in the 300s.  I gave her a correction and waited 45 minutes to feed her lunch.  She ate pretty well and I gave her insulin for her lunch before getting us ready to head off to the gym.  As a last thought, I checked her before we headed out the door.  HIGH.  Over 600.  I pulled out her infusion site, which gushed blood, and put in a new one.  Gave her a small correction and a large sippy of water.  Lily wanted to go to the gym and didn't want to wait, she seemed to be feeling okay, not high and sluggish.  So we headed off to the gym.  And called my husband on the way.  He freaked out on me, just a little bit.  He didn't understand why it wasn't okay to go to the gym when Lily was high last time, but was okay to go this time.  He accused me of making excuses, using Lily as an excuse, using diabetes as an excuse.

I love my husband.  I really do.  He has his faults, but he's a truly wonderful, kind-hearted, amazing person.  I think he's wonderful, not just because of his wonderful qualities, but because of his faults too.  But....this is starting to really get to me.  In the last couple of weeks, I've taken his words to mean that he thinks I'm selfish, uncaring, unkind, self-centered, lazy, and that I make excuses all the time.  I can't remember him saying one kind word, complimenting or praising me, in the last couple of weeks.  I have a hard time taking criticism from him.  I really do.  It's not pretty when he tells me that he's having issues with me. occurred to me today, maybe I would take the criticism better if I heard a kind word every now and then.  Lately, all of our interactions lead me to feel like I'm unloved.  How could he possibly love me when he thinks I'm selfish and uncaring and lazy?  How can you love someone when you think all of those things about them?  I feel like I'm not worthy of being loved.'s what it all boils down to:  In my mind, if you love someone, you accept them, whole and flawed, just as they are.  You don't nit-pick their personality, point out their flaws, and make them feel like less than they are.  You offer kindness and acceptance.  I very rarely get angry with the people I love.  It's a wasted emotion and it's not what I consider a "true" emotion.  Under that anger, really, you're just upset, hurt, frustrated, disappointed, etc.  It's not really anger.  For my husband, it's different.  It is anger he feels when I'm less than I should be.  I know he loves me and he makes a lot of gestures to show that he loves me.  But, I need the words and the affection.  I don't need him to spend hours on a weekend trying to pop a dent out of my car.  Or cleaning all of the bottles and pop cans out of my car.  Not that I don't appreciate those things (and especially sleeping in), but I need to HEAR what he finds attractive about me.  I need to HEAR that he thinks I'm a good person.

Anyway, there it is...baring it all and sitting here feeling just a bit naked with so many of my issues laid out for all of you to see.  My husband is the one and only person in my family that I've told about my blog and where to find it.  I'm kind of hoping he'll decide to take a look at it one of these days so he can see a bit more about how my mind works and how I'm feeling about things.  Maybe if he understood.....

Monday, December 6, 2010

Increasing difficulty...

Have you ever walked up a really steep, really big hill?  At Camp Needlepoint, when I was growing up, there was a hill just like this.  We called it Reaction Hill because the journey from the bottom to the top induced many, many insulin reactions.  We had to walk that hill nearly every day.  It lead down to the beach and then back up to the camp.  Life is just like that hill sometimes!  Diabetes is just like that hill sometimes.  You start out at the bottom with all the energy in the world.  You hit a plateau in the middle and get a tiny bit of a break and then have to start up on the hardest part to finish.  As you get closer and closer to the top, it feels like there's something pulling you back down, harder and harder.  This is how I've been feeling lately.  It's a struggle just making it through a day sometimes.  I have to push myself to keep on going.  Winter makes me want to crawl under the covers and hide until the sun comes back out and the temperature rises again.  Diabetes makes me want to crawl under the covers and hide until a miracle happens and a cure is found.  The thought of exercise makes me want to crawl under the covers with a pint of ice cream.  I'm resisting all of those urges.  For the moment....

So here's the first problem.  Lily was born in May of 2007.  Since then, I've had exactly one night away from my children.  For the first year, I didn't really take any breaks from her.  For the second year, I was busy with adding Leo to the family and didn't take many breaks then either.  After Leo was born, I made a bit of an effort to go out and meet other mommy friends for drinks.  But every time I went, I'd come home to my husband who was upset that I'd stayed out until 10:00 p.m.  Leo was awful back then.  He woke up wanting to nurse all the time.  He didn't sleep through more than a couple of hours and often, just wanted to remain latched onto me all night.  Breaks didn't do much good when I would just go back home to the same problems.  It got easier to take breaks as Leo got older, but lately, I haven't really bothered with any kind of break.  I've fallen out of touch with a lot of the mommy friends I used to talk to.  Many of them I don't stay in touch with because it seems like so few of them can even begin to comprehend what my life is like.  I'm disconnected.  So, if I take a break, it's most likely just an hour or two to myself.  Or dropping the kids in child care at the gym and working out.  Or my husband letting me sleep in on the weekends, which I appreciate so incredibly much!  Unfortunately, none of those things help me get back to functioning at 100%.  I'm becoming more and more emotionally exhausted as each day passes.  I keep giving more and more and more until I have nothing left.

Second problem....working out helps tremendously with the emotional exhaustion.  But it is leading to a very physical exhaustion.  I'm taking breaks, taking days off when I'm feeling too physically exhausted, but it's hard to take a break from it because I'm still somewhat afraid that if I take a break, I'll revert back to old behaviors.  I'm pushing myself and trying to keep myself going.  Working out is still hard and feels like torture.  And I'm still having other issues.  For a very long time, I let some issues I'm having with eczema keep me from working out.  I have patches of eczema on my feet.  They've been there for about two years now.  They break out, the skin thickens and cracks open.  It can be really painful sometimes.  And so far, nothing has helped to clear them up.  No prescription, no cream or salve or ointment.  They just keep on persisting.  I have one particular spot that burns when I work out.  But I ignore it.  I'm also having problems with cramping in my feet when I workout.  It always starts about 15 minutes into my workout and lasts until 30 minutes in, if not a little longer.  The middle toes on my feet go numb after that.  In spite of all of that, I keep on going.  I need to keep on going.  I've been doing 60 minutes of high intensity exercise every time I make it to the gym.  I want my heart to be healthy.  I can't focus on the 60 minutes though.  I focus on 10 minutes.  I work for 10 minutes and then reverse.  Work for another 10 minutes and go back to pedaling forward.  Each time, I'm nearly exhausted by the time I finish the 10.  But then I reverse and find another burst of energy and keep on going.  I'm upping the resistance on the machine and I give myself permission to slow down if I need to.  For some reason, that usually keeps me going at the same pace I was at and rarely do I find myself slowing down.  I just keep going and going.  And somehow, I've found myself 15 lbs lighter now.  Which is an incredibly awesome thing!  And once I discovered that, I shoved the scale back into the closet.

Anyway, I just needed to get all of that out.  I'm finding myself rundown in so many ways and it's taking a toll. I need to find a way to recharge my batteries.  Anyone know of a good way to do that?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A semi-rant about pumps....

Lily had her 3-month check-up November 15th.  I absolutely adore her endo!  She's fantastic!  In one-hour, she managed to "fix" all the things that had me pulling my hair out for a month before the appointment.  Do you ever feel like the whole diabetes thing snowballs on you?  You start with one minor change...your child catches a bug or puts on an ounce of weight and you need to tweak things.  As you're tweaking one thing, five others pop up and require more tweaking.  Before you know it, you're looking at this huge mass of tweaks that need to be done and you have no idea where to start!  I wonder some mornings how it is that I still have hair on my head.  Anyway, the big old snowball....the endo fixed it, for the most part.  She made some changes, simplified some things for us, and then, after discussing the possibility of upgrading Lily's pump with her, she sent us on our way.  We've just had one problem since then....Lily is slowing trending downward at night.  It means I get no sleep because I'm busy worrying that she's dropping all night.  I adjusted her night-time rates down just that little teeny tiny 0.05 less.  Now she's trending upward.  Way upward.  She runs in the 300s all night long.  Drives me nuts because I know it's not a comfortable place to be.  So, we're trying to get her the new Medtronic pump that allows for 0.025 increments.  Sounds like the perfect thing for fixing this issue of Lily's night-time blood sugars.  And here's where the rant starts....the endo put in the paperwork and sent it off to Medtronic.  Medtronic Rep calls and says: Your case isn't strong enough for us to put it to the insurance company, but we can offer you an upgrade program that will only require you to pay $495 for the new pump.  Would you like me to start the paperwork?

Now, $495 isn't a ton of money, but we have insurance to cover it.  Why in the world would they not put our case in to insurance to see if the insurance company thinks it's worth upgrading Lily's pump?  It shouldn't be Medtronic's job to figure out if our case is strong enough or not!  My reply to the rep...."No.  Insurance should cover it.  There's no reason for them not to.  My daughter has a legitimate reason for upgrading her pump.  Not to mention that my husband works for Medtronic and I'm pretty sure they have some agreement worked out with the insurance company that they cover Medtronic devices pretty well for employees and their families."  Off the Medtronic rep goes to look into insurance benefits for employees in Minnesota and how that would affect "our case for a new pump".  Meanwhile, I'm freaking out and frustrated beyond belief because I haven't slept in weeks and I want what's going to be the absolute best thing for my child.  So, I call the endo's office and leave a message detailing what the Medtronic rep is telling me and asking if there's anything the endo can do to push this thing through.  It's so frustrating when you know something is going to help your child and the Powers That Be make it clear that you're going to have to fight to get it.  I put my psychological armor on and prepped myself for battle.

And then today, the rep called me back.  Less than 24 hours later.  And guess what?  Insurance covers the pump at 100%!  No cost to us.  They've faxed a prescription for the new pump to the endo for a signature and as soon as they get that, we'll be sent a new pump by 3-day FedEx.  All that mental prepping and now there's no battle to be done?  Great....but now, how do I get my armor back off?

Okay, quick question for all of you....I'm starting to get a little sick of my workout music.  I listen mostly to Black Eyed Peas.  Their album, The E.N.D. (energy never dies), has a great beat to it and keeps me going.  But I need some variety!  I did just download their new album, which just came out on Tuesday (yay!), but I only got to listen to 35 minutes of it during workout today before a low blood sugar hit and convinced me I'd better hop off the elliptical and find some sugar quick.  Anyway....question:  What workout music do you LOVE to listen to?  I need suggestions for new music to keep me going!  I'm hoping to make it out to the gym early tomorrow morning.  We're expecting more snow, which is so much fun and absolutely fabulous to have (because it covers up the gunky, funky, gray, exhaust-riddled snow that we've got along the roadways).  It's supposed to hit tomorrow afternoon and it'd be great to have the rest of the day to bundle the kids up and head outside to play and catch the flakes on our tongues!

Okay, off to test Lily again and then head off to bed.  Sweet Dreams, everyone!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ever feel like you've misplaced something?

My brain.  I keep looking for it and just when I get close to finding it, I forget what I was searching for.  I think it took off with my sanity and they're having a torrid love-affair in the tropics while I'm stuck here in the snowy cold, brainless and more than half-mad.  At the moment, they're probably cuddled up under a palm tree together on some private beach, taking a nap in the shade.  Ah well...sanity and intelligence are over-rated, right?  Right?

Anyway, about that MASSIVE FAIL....I actually meant to talk about the whole calorie-counting endeavor in that post.  The massive fail was in reference to that and to how I was feeling about my ability to manage Lily's blood sugars.  I try my best and have such a hard time with it when she's not feeling well!  I try to keep reminding myself that at her age, the diabetes game is all about damage control and correcting the blood sugars when they're off.  It's not so much about trying to control them like I do with mine.  Still, it's hard to remember that sometimes.  As her mom, I just want to make things as perfect for her as I can.  Unfortunately, diabetes in a toddler/preschooler/school-aged child who still has a lot of growing to do is about as far from perfect as you can get!

Calorie and massive failure there!  Seriously.  I started.  And then I mentioned to my husband what I was doing.  I'd like to blame my complete failure to continue with it on him, but really, it was my choice to react as I had.  His response...."calorie counting doesn't really work; it's not like you're going to count calories for the rest of your life."  So, I stopped counting.  And haven't started again since.  That doesn't mean that I'm not doing other stuff though.  I'm watching portion sizes, eating healthier foods, snacking on things like grape tomatoes and carrots when I feel the urge to snack, and avoiding late-night snacking, which is one of my major pitfalls (I'm sitting here with a bottle of Mike's Limeade as I type this...).  In the month of November, I made it to the gym 20 days.  The other 10 days, I tried to do things like taking the kids to the Children's Museum and the Minnesota Zoo.  Even when we stayed home, we spent time twirling around the living room, dancing to music cds, giggling and laughing and having a good time.  It's made a huge difference!  I'm still trying to avoid the scale as much as I possibly can because I don't want to focus on weight lost as much as I want to focus on health gained.  But I did peak at it the other day and found that I've now lost 14 lbs.  Not bad!  But, seriously, not nearly as good of an indicator as the happiness I'm feeling, the energy I now have, the well-being and contentedness that is coming with having a body that is capable of physical exertion. That is so much more important than the weight-loss!

Okay, I need to head to bed.  But, before I do, I want to say something.  I've been struggling a ton lately with the effect diabetes has on Lily and her life and I've noticed that there seem to be quite a few others out there who are struggling with the same thing with their children.  It sucks, seeing diabetes take something away from your child.  But...I want to offer some hope for others too.  I feel like I'm in a unique position to do that since I've been diabetic myself for over twenty years (coming up on my 24th anniversary at the end of January).  I've never felt the kind of anger and resentment over having diabetes myself as I have over my child having diabetes.  I see what it has taken from her.  But I don't see what it has taken from me.  Because the reality has taken nothing from me.  We talk about how hard it is to live life with diabetes.  But you know what? Life is hard without diabetes!  Yes, diabetes adds another element of difficulty to it, but so do so many other things.  Every single person has their challenges.  There is not one person in this world who doesn't face obstacles and challenges in their life.  The truth is, a life without challenges would be boring and not worth living.  Challenges make life interesting.  They make us appreciate what we have.  They make us work harder to have the kind of life we want to have.  They keep us from becoming complacent.  If a cure comes along, I will be incredibly grateful for it.  I will feel blessed for it's existence.'s not going to be magic.  It's not going to make my life perfect.  It's not going to make my life easy.  It's just going to take away one element of difficulty.  That's it.  No more, no less.  So...instead of us all dwelling on what diabetes has stolen from our children, maybe we can take a few moments to think of what it has given them.  Would our d-kids be as compassionate, as strong, as determined, and as incredibly awe-inspiring if they weren't dealing with diabetes?  They are amazing, aren't they?  And diabetes just makes them all that much more so!

Christmas Card Deadline!

I believe today is the last day to sign up for the Christmas Card exchange with Tracy!  Head on over and sign yourselves up!