Saturday, October 30, 2010

Its not a candle, its a test strip..

Ah, Halloween... the anti-diabetic holiday:) We actually had quite a beautiful time - Damascus is a wonderful community for our only community holiday. Life is becoming normal again. I talked to David M at the farmer's market today - he's in the club, you know... actually he is the president. What club you ask? The "I'm a diabetic and I have a diabetic kid" club. Its not one that I wanted to be in, but the company is quite enjoyable... good folk in the club. David has 3 type 1 kids. Imagine that.

Adia is doing quite well - she is settling into the routine of being a diabetic - doesn't seem to mind the testing and shots are not that bad (she ain't beggin for them though). I was gathering wood with our dear neighbor Homer and I was telling him about Boo and I said that she will never know any different life - which is a blessing (well she might know a different life - we have been told to expect the cure in her lifetime... of course, I have heard that one before). She is quite a pro - I am very thankful for that.

Pumpkin pickin in Damascus....

Adia and her gourd..... if you look carefully, you will see her ROAD ID necklace... Is that something to be happy about? Maybe. Road ID is great... just didn't expect to need it for Boo.
Pre-diagnosis at the Washington county fair - we rode the ferris wheel together... I had never been on one before - Adia and Zoe loved it. Odd to think her pancreas was dying at that time... the deep fried oreos surely didn't help

The sponsor shot. Dave, Matt, and I at the diabetes get together last weekend. It was sooo good to see everyone again. Dave, Reid, and I (and maybe Matt) have agreed to get our sorry butts back in shape - cause is not just ugly... its depressing. We are looking at the Grandfather marathon this summer. That gives me time to delay training.... But now that the musketeers are back in contact, its harder to dodge a workout... thank God.

Here is Adia testing her blood sugar at the diabetes get together at the park. She was quite the superstar. Notice Uncle Dave... we may joke around but he is all about concern, hope, and love... look at that body language

Here is the Indigo Bunting and the Scarlet Tanager. Ash and the kids made these wings.... from FEED BAGS! Amazing - they had a blast running around the yard and on Halloween flapping around.
Still flapping. You might notice the American Goldfinch on the right.
Still flapping. To those who have posted responses in the last few weeks - Thank you so much. Diabetes kind of claimed the spotlight in our lives for a bit and the encouragement from everywhere helped a ton. But we are doing good again and its time for diabetes to get its butt back in the back seat again. Its always there, but it ain't drivin'

Friday, October 22, 2010

There could be some turbulence

Its 1:30am and I could be returning from a full moon hike with my buddy Shane, but it is way too early in the diagnosis to be sacrificing sleep.... which is ironic because here I am awake after I tested Adia (who was 155 - nice) because I am low (51 - not so nice). I've eaten but it will probably take me another hour to fall back asleep... at least tomorrow is friday.

Thanks to those who have offered thoughts and support to me and my whole family through this thing. I never realized how helpful it is to hear that someone else cares. Adia is doing really great - we went to the Pediatric Endo on tuesday in Asheville and had a really good visit... however it took 3.5 hours! And that wasn't waiting around - various folk kept coming in to talk to us - CDE's, PA's etc. It was a well run show and we are pretty happy with Dr Artz. They are going to be our team, not just a doctor that tries to tell you what to do. My mom and dad met us there and watched Zoe and Esme... which turned out to be a lifesaver. It was good to see them. I have gotten a whole new appreciation for my parents because I don't know how they handled my diagnosis so well. Most of what we are doing right now with Boo (Adia) is done with confidence because I know it worked with me. Adia sure seems to be growing bigger and her hair even seems thicker! I wonder how long she has been partly diabetic.....

The depression part of the diagnosis is ending for me and Ashley and we are getting back to the business of living (except for blogging in the dead of night). We have decided to buy the place in Glade ... which was not an easy decision. At first we wanted to run. But I truly feel that there is work that we need to do here... with the farm stuff, with the AT2 group, and with diabetics in the area.... as there seems to be not much of a support system. I don't know what the future holds, but we are going to try to move forward into it. There was a quote from some article about a guy from some African nation (nice documentation, I know) - "If we go forward, we die. If we go backward, we die. So lets go forward and die." I'm not so much looking to the future, but I am not worried about it anymore... thats a nice place to be in. We'll see what happens.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I never knew

Well, its almost been a week since Adia's diagnosis... and time has effectively stopped. I remember the sight of the meter when I checked her and it was over 600... then blackout.... I remember the transfer in the ambulance to Johnson City - little Adia strapped into the gurney and asleep at 1am... I only barely remember the hospital stay - day and night blended - the occasional battle with the hospital staff (who were great, its just that a hospital is a terrible place to try to manage diabetes) - then we've been home for a few days I think. Today (and the last few days) I have been struggling with what I hope is fatigue ... I was sitting on the couch today seriously thinking that falling asleep would take too much effort. I was thinking of all the things I don't care about... milking the cow, feeding the chickens, bathing, getting off the couch....

HOWEVER, I am doing a bit better tonight. We went to the park and just being outside had the usual restorative effect. The kids played like crazy and I even was able to move around a bit. We topped it off by going to the grocery store to get a huge pack of bacon for dinner.

Adia is doing great. Her blood sugar did not go over 200 all day. Most days it is in pretty good control with the occasional spike... she is only 30 lbs which makes it touchy. She gives me all my shots and tests my blood. She doesn't like shots and finger pricks and fights them but it seems that they don't hurt her too much. She has tested her blood on her own and I wouldn't be surprised if she takes a shot on her own soon. It really seems as if its mom and dad who are having difficulty here... Adia is a pro.

I talked to my mom tonight and asked how in the world she did it... how did she and dad handle the diagnosis. she gave me lots of great insights, but the best one was that she said that she doesn't remember the initial anguish much.... Thank God... please let that be me and Ash. Its funny - controlling her blood sugar is not really a worry or anxiety for me - what is killing me is just the fact that she has diabetes. I can't imagine what parents who aren't diabetic (which is most) must go through at this time. I will be soooo much more compassionate with new diabetic parents from this point on. To think I used to say "its really no big deal" Yeah, from the patient's point of view.

Jesse Alswager's JDRF ride in Death Valley was today and amazing Michelle...on this important date for her son.... taped my daughter's diagnosis date (10-10-10) on her bike and dedicated the 10s on the ride to Adia - the 3's were for her son. Amazing. That simple act kept me from falling into full force depression I think. I don't know what plan God has, but I am thankful for the people who are in place in my life.

Well, I'd better go - Zoe is reading a couple of diabetes children's books to Adia and Ashley...

I hope and pray that the ride in Death Valley went well today.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Adia is a diabetic now

Sunday night we suspected Adia's blood sugar was up, and when the meter read "over 600" a defining point was made in my life. It was like a death. So sudden and so permanent and I so knew what it all meant. I was so sad. I never wanted Ashley to be a diabetic parent. This sounds odd, but I myself never wanted that level of commitment to this disease. Its easy being a diabetic - in the sense that you are the one on the field. It is so difficult being a diabetic parent and I always dreaded it. We fashioned our lives around trying to limit all the possible triggers for this disease (no vaccinations, the whole diet thing - including the cow) and still my tiny, perfect angel of a daughter got it.

On the flip side, it has been awful "fun" battling the hospital when it comes to managing a diabetic. I left it in their hands for half a day and I realized that their best effort comes from a textbook. For instance, last night at 3am she was 143 and the hospital formula said that she should get half a unit. This was stupid and I refused. This morning she was 103. She has been at normal blood sugar level for 12 hours for the first time in awhile - she slept good, she's eating good... there is a lot to be thankful for as long as I don't spiral into the self pity thing..

Looks like I'll be blogging again...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Godspeed, Jesse - Thank You

On February 3, 2010 - The amazing 13 year old Jesse Alswager passed away because of diabetes. Jesse had been a type 1 diabetic for 10 of those 13 years and because of that, Jesse saved me.

Jesse (in the "Running on Insulin" T shirt) is Michelle Alswager's son and Michelle Alswager is the force that dreamed up the Triabetes project and then saw it and the documentary through to its completion. Michelle is why we went to Madison, WI to run Ironman. She was in a coffee shop in Madison talking with someone about Ironman (which she had done the previous year) and she said "You know what would be cool? To get 10 Diabetics to do Ironman and film it." Yes, of course it would be cool, but how many people would be able to take that idea and make it happen? Just one, I think. Michelle has been a fundraising force in the diabetes world for 10 years. I did a quick search and found where on one of her first walk a thons, she raised $22,000.... like I said she is a force. A quick search will pull up events in Jesse's life like "7 year old holds diabetic cookbook signing - 'Cooking Up a Cure" or you can see a couple of years ago, the Governor of WI mentioned Jesse in his State of the State Address for the Alswager's work on Stem Cell research with JDRF.

Here is Michelle doing what she has done since I met her - which is simply whatever it takes to get my butt up the hill.

Michelle's motto was always "Cure Jesse" and because of that, I got to be a part of Triabetes and was given a gift of life. I was taught that this disease sucks and it takes cheap shots but that it WILL BE BEATEN. My health is better than it has ever been thanks to what I learned through Triabetes and none of that would have happened without Jesse. So Jesse, Thank you. I will never forget you. My focus has been resharpened and the Mantra I will use is "Curejesse". Godspeed.

There has been a fund set up - which is accessible though paypal at the Caringbridge link below:

Jesse Alswager Memorial Fund
c/o UW Credit Union
PO Box 44963
Madison, WI 53744-4963

Cards can be mailed to:
Michelle Alswager
3 Leland Circle
Madison, WI 53711

For more information:

Here is another article on Jesse

On a side note - an idea has been bouncing around in my head, Heather's head, and somehow (probably because she is tapped into energy that needs no wires) in Shelly's (HCUCC) head. It was simply an idea: "How about doing to ride across the country for diabetes?" I have noticed that there is a US bike route that goes through my town - Bike Route 76. Turns out it goes from the coast of VA to the Coast of Oregon and was intended to be like Route 66 - small town scenic. My original thought was to make this a family trip - one person can ride one day while the other drives the kids to the next campground - then switch. Now my thought is that we ride it for Jesse. If Michelle and Jesse have taught me anything, its that ideas can fly.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Esme's UNO!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my kiddo! Well the littlest one is one and time is again passing in the blink of an eye. We had a little celebration on her actual birthday and then went back to SC to do a family birthday. It was pretty wonderful.

She's got the birthday crown that Ash made (each kid has one) - but its on upside down - she's already making a statement. Notice the button.. first one.

Zoe declaring that she wants a corner piece

Right side up, birthday kid!

Adia and Jan - man I would love to know what they were talking about:)

Ash came up with an idea to have everyone draw on a cloth square some picture or design and she will sew them up into a little blanket for Esme. Zoe is trying to glean some inspiration from Grandma.

Here's the birthday girl with the most important soul in her life right now...MAMA!

MawMaw and Esme make their entrance to the party

Grandpas.... the number of hilarious bubble quotes I could put over their heads... wonder what they were talking about? Probably golf:)

Grandma, mid laugh ... sorry mom, had to put this one in

This is the kimchi that Ashley and Carole made and then we forgot to bring it to SC... and it is actually the best I've ever had. Watch out, it may go nationwide

On the Korean kick - if you've got kimchi, you need some pulgolgi to go with it.... mmm mmm good.

Esme on her actual birthday - yes, we had cake that night, too

Zoe and Adia excavating bones from an amazing bone excavating brick that Carole's dad made. They removed the bones, sifted them, and then took them to Dr Tom at ASU (bone expert) to identify them - it was amazing all the way around.

And if you have kimchi and pulgolgi, why not make some tempura as well? Its Korean cooking... Appalachian style! On the wood cook stove:)

  • In other news, my birthday rolled around and the clock is getting closer and closer to going backwards or to turning 20 again. We had a great day - just kind of relaxing with some great food and amazing brownines and ice cream... In diabetic parlance, I had to bolus for that one.
  • I did go to an diabetologist here - Johnson Memorial Diabetes Center - a Dr. Andrew Rhinehart. Dr. Rhinehard maintains a pretty good diabetes website/blog called the Diabetes Expert and he wrote a book "I Have Diabetes? Now What!" It turns out that he knows Dr. Matt of Diabetes Training Camp and ran a marathon with my fellow triabetic Brian! I'd say I am where I should be.
  • I finished our taxes - it only took me 12 hours. But it seems my plan of making less and less money and having more and more children is finally paying off! We got a big ol refund:)
  • We had another snow here friday - did some cross country skiing and snow shoeing - but it doesn't look like we will miss a day - so I'd better get off this computer and get ready for school....