Blog Archives

The Ones Who Love Us

The other night, Brad was meeting a friend after work, so I stopped at the grocery store on my way home to pick up a few things. My numbers blood sugars had been stellar all day, so when my Dexcom alerted me to a 70 mg/dL as soon as I pulled into the driveway I wasn’t worried because I was just going to fix quick dinner and be fine.

Between walking into the house and hanging up my coat, something snapped. There were so many things I had to do before I could eat. I put away the groceries, went down to the basement and emptied the dehumidifier, went upstairs and changes my clothes. Then I fed the cats, got the mail and came back into the kitchen to get a clean plate out of the dishwasher. I got distracted by the dishwasher needing emptied – then I felt hot.

Really, really hot. Finally a functioning brain cell told me to test my blood sugar.

It was 42. OmniPod wouldn’t even let me bolus for the 25 grams of carbs that my dinner had (I’m thankful that it won’t let me bolus with a bg below 50). I did two shots of juice for quick sugar and Brad arrived home to find me standing at the kitchen counter, shaking, sweating and inhaling a plate of nachos. I didn’t even speak, just showed him my Dexcom and kept eating.

When I was back in range, he painted me a picture of what he thought he’d have come home to if he’d been later. It wasn’t pretty. (And I won’t be sharing it with you.)

If my husband had been eating and showed me an electronic device in lieu of saying hello, I’d be pretty upset. We fall into a bit of a routine and I often forget that he’s not just a bystander, he’s actively involved and informed.

During diabetes awareness month, we try to shed a little light on living with diabetes, but those who love us are aware every day as well. Living with me (a person with diabetes) can be tough, stressful or downright annoying at times. Brad eats low carb with me often, forgoes having sweets around the house on a regular basis, handles fussy lows, accepts numbers in response to “How are you?” and will literally track me down if he is concerned and can’t reach me (yes, my husband has located me using Find My iPhone, no it’s not creepy. It’s sweet.)

I’m thankful for each and every person who loves someone with diabetes and takes an active role in supporting them.

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My Husband Spied on Me!

No One Wants Gray Pictures

The plan on Saturday was to snap some pictures of my brother-in-law before celebrating all of the fall birthdays on my husband’s side of the family. But as most of you know, there’s a hurricane headed toward the East Coast.

On Friday morning the weather quickly turned to cold and rainy. It has continued to be cold and rainy ever since. We had resigned ourselves to not getting any pictures due to weather. When there was a brief reprieve in the downpour, we decided to see how many we could go get before it opened up again. It got nasty again really fast, but we got some good pictures despite the rain. I also snapped a few on my phone that I’m pretty happy with.

None of my husband’s pictures turned out to be “gray.” The interesting thing about rainy or wet photo shoots is that the wet colors are sometimes more vibrant or take on a richer tone. Read the rest of this entry

Big Sister Pride

When I was little, I used to tell my mom that I wanted a younger sibling. My desire to be a big sister didn’t convince my parents to have more children after me, so I grew up as the youngest of three children.

When Brad and I started dating, his younger brother was in middle school. By the time Brad and I got married, my new “little brother” (who is significantly taller than me) was a young man of 16. I finally have the chance to experience what it’s like to be a real older sister and all of the pride that comes along with watching a sibling grow up and experience those special milestones.

Thins like getting a text message from him when he passed his driver’s license exam, being shown his first car, watching him be recognized at a school banquet and even tying the ribbon on his girlfriend’s birthday present are those big sister things that are a bonus of becoming a part of the K-fam.

On Monday, my “little” brother turned 18!

Happy Birthday (again) Brian!

Stretching the definition of “little brother”

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Responsibility

Always His Daughter

What a Weekend!

You’re Allowed to Have Bad Day

It seemed that a lot of my friends were having a rough go of it today. My heart goes out to you all for everything you’re dealing with today.

I recently heard someone say that they were taught that you’re allowed to have a bad day, but you’re not entitled to ruin anyone else’s. I really liked that. And it seemed that a lot of you, my dear friends, are dealing with the bad days that others are having.

Things are going pretty well at the moment, so I feel like sharing some sunshine (even though it’s a cloudy day in Cleveland).

Here are some things that are making me happy today and how they can help you be happy:

  • Things are going well for the people that I love, my husband is happy, my mom is thriving, etc (being happy for others makes you happy)

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    Helpful Kitty

  • My kittens are adorable (it’s been proven that petting an animal reduces stress, let me know if you need to borrow a snuggly kitty) Read the rest of this entry

Diagnosed as an Adult: An Interview with Mom

I follow some amazing parents of children with diabetes on Twitter. I read their blogs and occasionally reach out to them for advice (OmniPod arm sites for example). I’ve found myself thankful that my pancreas carried me into adulthood. But you don’t often hear how a diagnosis of diabetes as an adult impacts your parents. I decided to ask my mom if she’d be willing to be interviewed.

Here’s what she said:

What were some of your thoughts when we first found out I had diabetes?

I was worried and torn. Your Dad was in CCU in Pittsburgh, while you were in a hospital in Ohio. Thankfully God placed Brad’s family there to help you. I was concerned about what this would mean for you over the long haul. I also thought about how stressful this had to be to a newly married couple.

Do you ever wonder what it would have been like if I’d had diabetes as a child? Read the rest of this entry

Two of My Favorite Things

Fall + coffee

One Sunday morning we actually clicked the heat on in the house for the first time. It was a lovely, crisp fall (but not fall) morning that called for some good coffee.

I pinned a pumpkin spice latte recipe last year and finally had the stuff in the house to make them, so here’s the recipe (with my tweaks of course!)

I mostly followed the recipe found here, but here’s what I did:

  • I used the canned pumpkin, but would highly recommend using the syrup to non-insulin challenged people. The tiny bits of pumpkin make the drink pretty thick and settle to the bottom.
  • I used skim milk and Stevia
  • As you can see I did not top them off with whipped cream
  • In our regular-sized mugs there was enough for almost 3 lattes

Also involving coffee, at my husband’s request I made espresso chocolate chip cookies for having family over on Saturday. Read the rest of this entry

Responsibility

A few weeks ago I tweeted: It may have seemed unfair at the time, but I’m glad my parents made me work and pay for non necessities (like a car) it made me responsible.

One of the biggest things I owe my parents is thanks for lessons that may have seemed unfair at the time, but actually shaped me into a responsible, independent adult.

Example 1: My parents didn’t take my sister or me to get our ears pierced at 18 months, like many of their peers. They waited until we were 12, for two reasons. They deemed 12 to be an age where we were capable of deciding whether we even wanted to have pierced ears and at 12, they deemed we would be responsible enough to care for them on our own (you know the cleaning and turning). For my sister’s 12th birthday, she got her ears pierced. I was almost nine and I really, really wanted mine done too. At some point, my parents discussed with me the responsibility involved and I had to wait three whole years before I got mine pierced for my 12th birthday. (Then at 15 my mother agreed to sign for me to get another set of holes in my ears.)

Example 2: We had chore charts with stickers and when a chore on the list was done, we got a sticker on the chart. When the chart was full, we got a book of our choice. I loved reading so the next book in the series I was reading was a true reward.

Example 3: As we got older, our parents encouraged us to get part time jobs. I kind of stumbled into my very first job at age 14 (back when minimum wage was $5.15 per hour! It’s now $7.70 per hour in Ohio if you were wondering). I only worked a couple of hours each weekend assisting with a children’s safety class, but having a paycheck to deposit in my account was awesome! My parents had taught me to save a long time before that by requiring that a part of the Christmas money my grandfather sent be put in the bank (for the rest, I was allowed to pick out a present and then I had to write him a thank you letter and tell him what I picked out).

Example 4: The rule was that if you wanted a driver’s license and a car at 16, you would work to pay for drivers education and you would save up for a car. Shortly after my 16th birthday (and after the speech season ended) I was able to take an accelerated-schedule driver’s education course and my dad took me out to look at cars. I was proud of my first car and proud to have my license. Driving at age 16 wasn’t a parent-supplied right, it was an earned privilege.

Ford Festiva Mazda CX7

I feel like I’ve come a long way…

Sometimes my parents’ rules didn’t seem fair. Especially when I was seeing my classmates in high school being given the things they wanted (like cars, designer purses, etc) by their parents.

It’s sad to hear my generation be described as feeling entitled because for me it’s not the case. However, I get it. I know my peers and I saw the lessons that many of them haven’t learned (or learned too late).

In college, it was frustrating to have to go to bed early on a Friday night to be at work at 7:30 Saturday morning. But it was motivating to work hard for my scholarships and for a future career. I understood that I was paying good money to be there and make the most of it. The fact that I don’t have to work a frustrating evening and weekend job now is wonderful, I don’t trudge through my hours just to put them in. I like what I do and I get paid to do it.

The thoughts in this post were inspired by a conversation my husband and I had about what had happened over the past year and our plans for the future. I can’t imagine being where we are in life if I hadn’t married someone with the same sense of responsibility and work ethic. I remember shortly after we started dating, my dad told me that he liked Brad, thought he had a good head on his shoulders and appreciated that he understood the value of hard work.

Growing up is hard work and it’s not always fun, but the lessons seem much clearer to me in the rear view mirror.

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What a weekend!

Because I can’t take them all home

Because I can’t take them all home

Last week, Brad and I went to the animal shelter to look at kittens. We had decided to make the leap into pet ownership and get two kitties. I texted my mom that day and let her know we were going to the shelter, her response:

Have fun! But don’t take them all home!

After spending time among the cat cages, I realized how easy it would be to do just that. We focused on kittens. While holding a cute four-month-old kitten (who I did take home with me), I felt a tap on my shoulder, accompanied by a gentle poke of a claw. The lovely adult cat in the cage behind me had reached out the touch me. I had to pet her too. And I had to pet the beautiful black cat “guarding” the door. And of course the brown and tan striped guy who wanted to do our adoption papers with us deserved some love as well.

If I spent much time in an animal shelter, I truly would turn into a crazy cat lady and fill our new home with pets. It would be possible because there are so many cats, dogs, rabbits and other animals that need homes.

We adopted two of the sweetest, affectionate and playful kittens that were taken in by a passionate animal foster “mom.” We wanted to adopt from a shelter or rescue group to help alleviate the overpopulation of pets. Holmes and Watson (our kitties) were already neutered and vaccinated when we brought them home.

My two buddies

If you’re considering adding an animal (or two!) to your family, Read the rest of this entry

Always His Daughter

No matter how long he’s gone, or where my life takes me, I will always be his daughter.

The longer I’m an adult, the more and more I realize how much of an influence parents have on our lives. A conversation with my husband last week about how we’ve gotten to where we are in life and I can’t help but attribute much of who I am to my parents. Sometimes I didn’t understand them or even like them (I was once a teenager) but as an adult I see how their parenting and boundaries shaped me. I learned responsibility and respect at a young age and many other values from my mom and dad.

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Would I Ever Feel Better Again?

Around this time last year, I remember lying on the couch, my hair still wet from the shower wondering if I would ever feel well again. I had rolled out of bed at an extremely early hour to make the 1.5 hour commute to my new job and stumbled down to the shower. My stomach was turning the whole time, I was thirsty, I was exhausted. When I stepped out of the shower, I couldn’t hold it in anymore, I started throwing up.

At that point, I told my husband that I was going to stay home sick and he asked if I would call the doctor yet. I responded that yes, I would call when the office opened in two hours. He kissed me goodbye and left for his new job.

When my alarm went off two hours later, I considered just turning it off and sleeping more. But I called the doctor’s office, luckily they had an opening in 30 minutes. When I got up to go change I realized that there was no way I would be able to drive feeling like I was, so I called my mother-in-law who hopped in the car and picked me up with no questions asked. In the waiting room, she asked me how long I’d been sick and was shocked to hear it had been days. We’d gone to a family movie and dinner with my husband’s extended family and in the craziness of the family dinner, I couldn’t choke down more than half of my chicken sandwich and felt like I was going to throw up the entire time. We’d kept the fact that I felt sick a secret because we didn’t want anyone getting suspicious that I might be pregnant, especially since we thought I might be too.

I’d lost 30 pounds and we hadn’t really noticed because of dedicating more than 12 hours of our days to working and commuting to work. I noticed that I was down a lot when the nurse put me on the scale and let out a breath and said, “Honey, you’re down a lot from January.” While I waited for the doctor, I noticed how thirsty I felt and that my lips were dry. I wanted water and Chapstick. I wanted to lay down.

80 = Large Ketones. 160 = Supersized Ketones

The rest of my day was a whirlwind of peeing in a cup, being handed a diagnosis of diabetes, being sent straight to the hospital, admitting, calling my husband, calling my boss, calling my mom, being hooked up to a heart monitor and only being allowed to have liquids before they realized that they were giving me sugary liquids. More of the story is here.

At this point last year, my life was in utter turmoil. I was sick, incredibly sick. I was stressed, overwhelmed and then my dad lost his battle with cancer a few days later. I was trying to grieve for my father, fight for my health and become myself again.

I know that in the diabetes community, people celebrate their “diaversaries” in some manner. They celebrate living successfully with this condition and they treat it a little like a birthday party.

I can’t do that. I can’t celebrate this. At least not now.

I’m happy to be alive. I’m thankful that I fought my way back to health sooner rather than later. But just because a year has gone by since I asked the doctor, “What type of diabetes do I have?” And he responded with surprise, “You’re type 1” doesn’t mean I’m ready to celebrate a year of being a person with diabetes.

It’s no secret that I am much, much healthier with diabetes than I was before, I’ve also met many supportive people and gained a lot of knowledge about overall wellness. But I’m not ready to party on August 11th.

It’s been a year. I fought through a year. And I plan to fight through many more.