Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My Six Word Memoir








Thanks to Nicole for the tag.

Rules for this interesting little meme are as follows:

1) Write your own six word memoir;
2) Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like;
3) Link to the person that tagged you in your post, and to the original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere;
4) Tag at least five more blogs with links; and
5) Don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

Since I'm so late to this one, I'm tagging anyone else who'd like to give it a go.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pondering the Blog

Today marks the beginning of my fourth year as a diabetes blogger.

In my very first post, I said that it was "liberating to think that I could write something here that might help someone out."

Three years later, and I still feel exactly the same.

And more.

Because soon after writing that first entry, I learned that blogging could open the door to both giving and receiving a tremendous amount of support.

I also wrote that blogging would "allow me to unload some of the vast amounts of frustration, information and heartache" that had piled up "since my [then] 9-year old son's diagnosis."

While this site has indeed allowed me to do just that-- I have to say, the unloading part has become a lot more complicated of late.

Think about it.

My son is now 12-years old-- an age when many of his peers have access to the web.

What would happen if any of them found this site?

Now, don't misunderstand. Joseph is still supportive of me doing this-- is still fond of saying, "Mom, you should put this on your blog."

Even so, I can feel myself holding back.

And I hate it.

Because rather than letting loose -- unloading -- I find myself "knapsacking."

Hauling around stories until the weight of them almost makes me scream.

(Perhaps if I'd started this site anonymously, it would be different.)

Is there a way to balance what I post here with a respect for my son's privacy?

Any thoughts?

Anyone else grappling with this issue?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"Don't Be Afraid"

She's smiling.

Which seems a little surprising-- given the number handwritten in black ink on that sheet of paper sitting on her desk.

"Joseph, you've gotten so big!" she says enthusiastically, "I wonder if you can you see over my head now?"

Immediately, my son leaps out of his chair.

Standing directly in front of her, it's clear that Joseph is now several inches taller than his endocrinologist.

"Oh my!" she says, red-faced and laughing. "I think we can safely say you've begun the adolescent growth spurt."

With these words, Joseph throws his arms around his endo -- giving her a huge bear hug -- then, grinning, returns to the seat next to mine.

He's growing. That's the most important thing.

I tell myself this over and over while smiling at the two of them.

But then my eyes wander back to that sheet of paper.

To that number.

"Yes," she says with a nod, "we did see an increase in the A1c."

Joseph's head snaps up.

"From 8 to 8.5."

And now the only one smiling is Joseph's doctor.

"I'm not worried about this," she says, noting our somber expressions.

"A number of things are going on here. First, it's obvious that Joseph saw periods of rapid growth since his last appointment. This is probably the most significant factor."

She pauses a moment, thumbs through Joseph logbook, and then continues.

"Now, according to the log, you had a problem several weeks ago with a leaking cartridge..."

"That's right," I say, remembering that awful night.

Blood sugars in the 400s, followed by corrections that had no effect-- injections, a site change...

And finally, the anger and shock at finding his meal and corrective insulin clinging to the sides of a soaking wet, almost empty pump cartridge.

Our son hit a diabetes milestone that night-- moderate ketones.

"Keep in mind," the doctor continues, "blood glucose over the last month will have a greater impact on the A1c-- so this 8.5 is partly due to that incident."

Joseph says nothing, but listens intently.

"So what can we do?" I ask.

"You increased Joseph's basal rates three weeks ago-- and those new rates worked well for a while, but the highs are returning. So I've raised them again-- overnight and early in the morning. That should help."

She hands me the sheet of paper with Joseph's new rates-- and his A1c.

"Understand," the endo goes on, "you're probably going to need to increase his basals every two weeks."

And now my head snaps up.

"Don't be afraid. You need to do this, Sandra."

"But every two weeks- "

"He's going to need a lot more insulin now that it's clear he's entered puberty in earnest. And the amount he'll need is going to keep changing as he grows."

I know she's right.

The ridiculously frequent, insulin-resistant highs we've seen over the last three months made that perfectly clear.

Walking out of the clinic an hour later, carrying his new basal rates -- and the weight of that number -- I can still hear her voice.

"Don't be afraid."

But, I am afraid.

Not of making changes, nor of working harder.


I'm afraid of that damn number.

I'm afraid of what it means might be happening inside my son's body.

I'm afraid that -- no matter how hard we try -- it won't be enough.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Middle-School Popular

My favorite table in any restaurant is one by a window.

So I'm glad when Joseph nabs the lone window seat in our favorite bakery.

Minutes after settling in, I glance outside at the snow and ice-covered parking lot -- through glass streaked with condensation -- and then immediately take another long sip of my very hot tea.

Meanwhile, Joseph -- hands wrapped around a mug of hot chocolate -- continues telling me about school.

"... so yeah, the popular kids can be ridiculous sometimes."

I look at him a second before responding-- to see if he's trying to be funny.

"Wait a minute, Bud. I thought you were pretty popular-- at least that's what your teachers tell me."

"No," he says firmly, "I'm not popular-- I just know everyone."

I flash him an amused grin.

"Hmmm... I see."

He shoots me a more-than-slightly irritated look.

"Seriously, Mom-- I really don't want to be popular."

"How come?"

"Well... " he says, thinking a moment before going on, "because then everything just gets so complicated."

"In what way?"

"Like my friend K-- he's really popular. And so is D... "

"Yeah-- so?"

"Well, today they wore the same jeans to school, and they got all freaked out about it. And some girls started talking about it-- like it was this big deal. I don't want to have to worry about stuff like that. It's just stupid."

"Sounds kind of stupid to me too."

"And the popular kids don't talk to everyone. Like this kid, M-- they all ignore him. Sure, about sixty percent of the time he can be annoying, but the rest of the time he's really a nice kid."

Joseph pauses a second, takes a long drink of hot chocolate, and then continues:

"I mean, yeah, I slugged M that one time on the sled hill when he was picking on P, but he doesn't usually do stuff like that."

"Oh, well that's good."

"So, no-- I don't want to be popular."

"All right, Bud," I say with a respectful nod.

"I'm sorry I suggested you were."