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Monday, October 17, 2011


Our house is too quiet, too still.  Our family is too small.  With just the three of us, it's too lonely.

Even though I know how much he loved her, it amazes me and touches me and hurts me to see Brad grieve so hard for Raina.  It hasn't even been 3 days but it feels like 3 seconds and 3 lifetimes all at once.

Where is the clicking of the paws on the hardwood?  Where is my shadow who follows me out to the garage when I do the laundry?  Where is the little black blur who rushes to the kitchen every time I drop a crumb of food?

We miss her is such an understatement.  There is an empty hole in our hearts, our home, our lives where she once was.  She's been with me/us since before Brad and I were married.  She's moved with us 3 times,  she's seen us fight, she's seen our happy times, all of our milestones.  She was waiting to greet Katie the day she came home from the hospital.  She was part of our engagement pictures.  In every family photo, in every Christmas card.  She was a huge part of our every day.

I know a lot of people would think we are ridiculous for mourning the loss of a dog so bitterly.  To be so heartbroken at the loss of an animal.  But can you really call a creature "just" an animal when she's THAT much a part of your family, your life, your history?

We love you so much Raina.  We hope you know what a wonderful, sweet dog you were and how much better you made our lives.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The day the clatter died

Just a few short hours ago we lost a big piece of our family. In fact, she was a huge piece of our family and yet she was the smallest member.

Tonight, Raina got out of our yard while she was outside going potty. It was dark and we didn't realize she was gone for a few minutes. Once we realized, I handed Katie over to some friends that were visiting and Brad and I grabbed flashlights and treats and went out looking for her.

She loved to bolt. No matter how careful we were or how close an eye we'd keep on her, she'd manage a way. We'd been through this routine before SEVERAL times. Yet, she seemed to always find a way out of the house/yard/garage/etc. I was no less terrified when it happened but she was always found, she always came back.

But not this time.

We have a field on the other side of our back fence that is behind a church that sits on a very busy road. After we had been looking for Raina for a few minutes I saw Brad running toward me across the church parking lot. I was screaming, "Did you find her? Raina? Where is she?"

He wouldn't answer me. I kept screaming, assuming that he couldn't' hear me. I just wanted answers. Why was he running? He didn't say anything he just kept running toward me. When he finally got to me he said she was gone, she'd been hit by a car and was gone. I dropped the lantern and treats and went running toward her, not believing. From that point, it's a blur that I'd rather not recount.
I got Raina in December of 2003. She was my first dog that was all my own. I had pets at home growing up but after I went away to school I always felt like, no matter where I lived, it wasn't a home because I didn't have a dog. Once she came into our lives, she was part of our family and "home" was where Brad and Raina and I were.

I can't explain to you what it felt like saying goodbye. It doesn't seem real. We had just gotten back from dinner. It was late, 9 or 10 o'clock when it happened. We brought her body back home and got her settled so that we could take her to the vet in the morning. By the time we said goodbye to our friends, put Katie to bed, cleaned ourselves up and composed ourselves, it was midnight. I lay in the bed, not able to sleep.

I missed the snoring from Raina's crate. I missed her scratching her bed into a comfortable position. The room was too quiet. I tried to think of something else but nothing came. Just thoughts of Raina. All of them revolved around her. I thought of food and I wondered who would beg for scraps. I thought of Halloween and remembered her costume that she would never were. I thought of work and realized that since Katie is in daycare when I work the weekdays, I would have to come home to an empty house after work. So I'm blogging. I have so many thoughts and memories and what-ifs swirling around my head but I just needed to get some of them out. I looked on the computer and these are some of the last pics we took of Raina. Lazing about the house in her favorite spot, keeping guard and napping (above). And one of Raina's recent (and patient) attempts to befriend Katie.

I think this will do for tonight. I'm paralyzed. Numb. And yet, at the same time, in too much pain for words. I hope it's a bad dream. What will we do tomorrow without Raina? Who will bug us during our meals for scraps of food? Who will wake us up with impatient scratching on her crate in the morning? Who will greet us with crazed excitement at the door when we come home? Mostly the house is just too quiet. Who's little claws will clatter and making click-clack noises on the wood floors while Katie is sleeping and the rest of the house is quiet? Where will the lazy clattering of her claws be as she meanders through the house decided which bed she will lounge in? I'll miss the clattering. The silence is a deafening reminder of what our home and our family has lost.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Five: Confessions

This week I'm following a blogger fave of mine and linking up to her Friday Five. This week is "Confessions" and my first should be that I got most of my inspiration for my confessions from Kat. Oh well, here are my real confessions:

1. I feel like a slacker for still not having a handle on the post-pregnancy diabetes game. When I was pregnant I was sure that by now, I'd have a new routine established and my sugars would have stabilized. To be fair, post-pregnancy hormones, starting my to have my period again and continuing to breastfeed are all big factors in why my sugars are still so unpredictable. But it's still frustrating to never know what to expect from my blood sugars, especially since they are definitely not behaving the way they did pre-pregnancy. My A1C is still good (5.8!) but I think that's mostly due to all the lows I've been having. Oh well, just gotta keep on keepin' on.

2. The pregnancy pounds (which I actually didn't gain a lot of) are being stubborn. In April, I decided I was finally sick of all the extra weight I was carrying around and changed two big things. I started counting calories and working out twice a week. I've lost about 10 pounds and then STALLED. The last couple of weeks I only worked out 2 times total and we've been eating out so much my calorie counts are slipping. But this week I'm doing my best to get back on the wagon!

3. I know what Pinterest is but I'm doing my best to avoid it. I'm trying not to investigate too thoroughly because I've heard it's addictive. Proceed at your own risk.

4. I am totally chicken about breastfeeding in public. I think the more women breastfeed in public, talk about breastfeeding and advocate in general, the better it will be for everyone else. The more people are exposed (hopefully) the less weird/easier it will be to actually go out in public and breastfeed without feeling like all eyes are on you or like you might be getting judged. Because, seriously, why can't people just get over themselves? When did everyone in America turn into a teenage boy about breasts and breastfeeding? To the extent that they can't be used in public (or for some people at all) for their biologically intended purposes without inducing flushed cheeks, muffled giggles, uncomfortable looks or disgusted expressions. Grow up people. So the more women who are brave and do it in public the better, as far as I'm concerned.

The problem with my soapbox is that I can stand on it but when the bandwagon comes along I'm too chicken to hop on board. I have a nursing cover that I love. It provides tons of cover and privacy while still allowing me to keep an eye on Katie. And I use it when people come over to my house. But when it comes to breastfeeding in public, I'm nervous about getting judged. I'm embarrassed that people might be staring at me or giving me disgusted looks. Yes, it's their problem. It's the best thing for my daughter so why can't I be one of those brave souls who is an advocate by not hiding in public? Like I said, I'm a chicken. And it makes things super inconvenient. I have no desire to use a bottle when otherwise it's perfectly convenient to feed her myself. Who wants to pump more than necessary? Not me! Occasionally I'll feed her in a restaurant if we are in a quiet obscure booth. Otherwise, I end up nursing her in my car in between errands. And it's July in Florida, so that's not much fun. I really need to get over myself. Grrr.

5. Not all my home-cooked meals are low-calorie. The best thing about the calorie counting and not eating out had been some of the AWESOME new recipes I've tried. I've been better about grocery shopping and meal planning so not only do we have have great home-cooked dinners during the week but we also don't feel deprived by not going out to eat. The problem with that is that just because these meals are home-cooked doesn't mean they are "healthy." They aren't unhealthy, just not particularly low calorie. I justify this two ways: First, my husband is a very picky eater and I really ought to make something he will eat. And second, I watch my breakfast and lunch calories like a hawk and figure I'm allowed to splurge for dinner. But I am on the hunt for tasty, low-cal meals so if you can suggest any, please do! In the meantime, here are a few of the yummy meals I've been making:

Homemade Pizza (I've also been mixing it up with Chicken Pesto Pizza, usually with store-bought dough)
Beef and Two Bean Chili (Brad had a chili craving)
PW's BBQ Chicken (seriously tasty!)
Tacos, Homemade Salsa (PW's recipe, of course) and Kat's Spanish Rice

I'm working tomorrow (YUCK!), but I hope everyone else has a great weekend!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

D-Blog Week: Saturday Snapshots

Oh what a difference a year makes.
Last year for D-Blog Week I posted pics of my diabetes drawer:

. .which was housed in a chest of drawers
in a room that once looked like this . .

. . . and now looks like this . . .

Since then, the extra supplies got shoved here
(in that same room):

And my go-to stash has found a place in my nightstand drawer:

Oh what a difference a year makes.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Major Malfunction!

Blogger went down yesterday afternoon for maintenance but was still available as read-only. As many of you know, this little maintenance issue did not go smoothly. Posts were taken down and comments were deleted. Major bummer! Bad Blogger! BAD!

So I've re-posted the posts from yesterday and today, in case anyone missed them. This post will have to be short and sweet because I'm at work and it's raining babies. TGIF!!

D-Blog Week: 10 Things I Hate About You

1. That diabetes comes with so many (false) stereotypes.

Aren't diabetics fat? Doesn't diabetes mean you'll die? Can you have a baby without going into kidney failure? ::cough:: Steel Magnolias ::cough:: All diabetes is the same and it means you can't eat sugar, right? If you are on an insulin pump, that must mean you have really bad diabetes. You're an adult, so that means you can't have juvenile diabetes! Guess what! If you lose wait/eat a special diet/ take a pill full of lizard spit you'll be cured!

Huh? WTF?!?

Some days I'm so fed up with all the media hype and falsehoods and stereotypes that run rampant about diabetes. It seems like everyone is stuck in the 80s when it comes to diabetes management and complications. Can someone please explain to the media and the public at large about insulin pumps? And the differences between Type 1 and Type 2? And that I didn't do this to myself? I try to be patient and I really do want to educate people but some times I feel like I just can't it explain it one more time! And even worse are the days when I try to educate people and they just smile and nod and I can tell they are thinking I'm the one who doesn't know anything about my own condition! Arggh!

2. Meters that make you wait before you put the blood on the strip.

Because inevitably, I'm going to screw up and put the blood on before its ready and I'm going to get a big fat ERROR and I will have wasted my $1.20 strip. Grrr!! I loved my Freestyle that was ready for blood the second you put the strip in, it was so nice. Unfortunately, my Ping meter is a One Touch and it is constantly out to get me!

3. The fear that creeps up unexpectedly.

Most days I don't think about my mortality. But there are days (usually during one of my annual appointments) when I worry that the other shoe is going to drop and my first complication will crop up. And I get this image in my head that one tiny complication will blow up into my entire body falling apart. And with Katie here, the idea of diabetes getting the better of me or slowing me down in any way just scares me that much more.


Ok, most diseases are all the time as in, they never technically go away. But asthmatics don't wheeze every couple of hours. People with sickle cell don't hurt every day. Epileptics don't have a seizure every time they want to eat something. I'm not saying that ANY of these folks have it easy or that I would want to trade. But for me one of the worst parts of diabetes is that there is no remission. It's not like if you get your blood sugar under control you can sail for a few days or even a few hours. Diabetes is an every-hour-of-the-day kinda disease. Blood sugar seems to be one one thing in your body that is affected by every single, tiny, little thing you do. With every bite. With every physical activity. With almost every decision, you have to be aware of diabetes and plan for it. It's mentally exhausting! And some days I just want a frickin' break!

5. The math SUCKS.

The are some days I'm just sick of all the equations. There are the "easy" ones that I can almost do in my sleep: Insulin sensitivity + carb ratios -blood sugar correction=bolus. And for those I feel very lucky that God invented the bolus wizard on my pump. Amen! But then there is all the extraneous stuff that doesn't have a hard and fast value assigned to it like exercise + hormones + sickness + how old is the insulin in my cartridge? + could my site be going bad? + breastfeeding = who knows how much insulin and who knows what blood sugars! Good luck and have fun with that. GAH!

If you don't know what I'm talking, about here's a great video from George and Scott about the suckage that is diabetes math and a post from Karen about how complicated and unpredictable that math can be! What? You didn't know that sometimes 1+1 doesn't equal 2? Well, with diabetes, sometimes it doesn't!

6. That it can take me out of my life when I least expect it to!

It doesn't matter if I'm at work or (more importantly) at home with my little one, I have no desire to be forced to put my life on hold because I'm groggy and low and need OJ. It's not fair. Sometimes I can squeeze out a few extra minutes of coherence but eventually the foggy mind and tingly lips will overtake me and, whether I like or not, I need a time out. And for a Type A like me who doesn't like to be told what to do (even by my body!) that's rough. :-(

7. The horribly misplaced guilt.

Every blood sugar seems to have the potential to serve up a big plate of guilt. I can't believe I guessed the wrong carbs? (But how could I have known that a side salad would have 80 carbs?!?) Maybe I shouldn't have had that dessert. (But it was my birthday!?!) Maybe I should have replaced that site instead of keeping it another day longer. (But it looked and felt great and it was a really inconvenient time to put another one in!?!)

How is it that a disease that is so unfair and unpredictable can still make us feel so guilty for every decision and/or indiscretion? Guess what?!? Most people don't have to Google every carb they eat just to double check it for accuracy. And most people don't have to feel guilty about a piece of cake on their birthday. And most people don't have to worry about slinking away to the bathroom so that they can hoist up their shirt, rip out one site and jab another one in themselves just in case it goes bad.

This is WAY out of the realm of what most people call normal. But "normal" for a diabetic is what most people would call over-the-line, hyper-awareness combined with incredible patience and willpower. But we don't see it that way because it's just what we have to do to be healthy and feel good. Yet I still berate myself every time I "am bad" like I am such a horrible person for not having the willpower to power through all the crap. Well, I call BULLSH!T.

8. It always crops up at the worst time.

How does a cartridge that last 3 days always need to be changed during an hour-long errand when you didn't bring extra supplies? Why do the low symptoms crop up the second before I'm about to breastfeed my frantically hungry baby girl? Why does my site go bad during the 5 hours I actually sleep at night and not during the day when it's SO much more convenient to fix? It's like Murphy's Law of Diabetes!

9. It totally messes with my fashion and gets in the way.

I'm so super sick of the little rectangular, pager-shaped protrusion that juts out of my right pocket every day of my life. (Yes, I always wear my pump on the right side no matter where my site happens to be. Yes, I've tried to change it up but it just doesn't feel right anywhere else. No, I don't know why.)

I hate that I can't seem to hide it in my cleavage on my favorite dresses and if I clip it to my underwear it pokes out and gives me freakishly pokey/angular/uneven hips. It's so obvious and it drives me insane. I hate that I have to think about where I'm going to put my little pink external pancreas with every fashion decision. And that sometimes wearing a skirt or a pretty sundress (and as a result trying to find a place to secure my pump) is sometimes a hassle that I'm not willing to deal with. Oh! And I hate that my tubing seems to jump out of my pocket and lasso every knob/door handle/baby's foot that is within reach. Gah! Cut it out!

10. That with all the bads of diabetes, it's not just me in this boat.

That's right. I really don't like that diabetes has to drag my loved ones down with it. It's bad enough that it can make me a crazy person some days but it sucks that it has a way of affecting everyone around me as well. Whether it's because I'm super grouchy because my blood sugar is high and taking it out on the nearest loved one. Or because super needy and loopy because my blood sugar is low and need the closest friend/relative/husband to drop what they are doing and help me procure some fast-acting carbs ASAP.

But mostly I hate seeing the look of worry flicker over my mom's face. I hate that when I'm upset about a day of unrelentingly high blood sugars and worrying aloud to my husband about what havoc they might have wreaked on my eyes/kidneys/heart, that he has to worry along with me. I hate that maybe he (and later, Katie) may worry about how they will take care of me if anything goes wrong. Or, God forbid, what they would do without me. That's not something that husbands, mother's and children should have to worry about with any regularity. The people around me shouldn't feel responsible for taking care of their adult wife/daughter/mother and it breaks my heart that for my loved ones it's a thought that is sometimes forced to cross their minds.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

One Year Ago Today

I am taking a break from D-Blog week today because I can't help but want to acknowledge something mind-boggling, life changing and completely amazing today. So I'm pushing back today's topic by one day so that I can comment on something more important.

A year ago today, I wrote this letter. I didn't post it that day but I did write it last year on May 12th. I can't believe it has been one year. So much has happened. Our lives have changed in wonderful ways. It has been a challenging, awe-inspiring, wonderful, exhausting journey and a year later we have amazing things to show for it. Well, mostly just this little amazing girl. (Though my several A1C's in the 5's ain't nuthin' to sneeze at neither but mostly I'm just happy about the little girl. The A1C's just remind me that I gave her a nice, safe oven to bake in! ;-)

May 12th is branded into my mind as the day that Brad and I knew our life would change. As the anniversary of that day has approached it's made me so happy to remember back to what we were feeling that morning and think of everything we've gone through since then. It's amazing how quickly it's flown by and yet how far we've come!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

D-Blog Week: D-Bloopers

Today's topic is about our diabetes blooper moments. And, alright, this one is another cop-out for me, kinda like yesterday's D-blog Post . . . but I seriously couldn't think of any other diabetes-related blooper! (Cut me some slack, will you? I have a tiny-needy-yet-completely-adorable human that I'm dealing with at the moment!)

The only d-related "Oop's" that were popping into my noggin' were the ones that are usually followed by four-letter words. And I'm thinking this topic is geared more toward the smack-yourself-in-the-forehead-Homer-Simpson-style blunders rather than the R-rated, furry-inducing kind.

And since I had already written a post about the only d-blooper I could think of I'm just going to reference it here. Ironically, this post was written during last year's D-Blog Week.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

D-Blog Week: Letter Writing Day

Today we are supposed to write a letter. The letter could be directed to your pancreas to tell it off for being so lazy for the last fill-in-the-blank years (that's 20, for me). Or to your endocrinologist as a thank you for the support. (Or to your endocrinologist as a tell-off for all the crap you've been given over the years.) Or a letter to the company that makes your meter or pump describing the diabetes gizmo of your dreams and how the company could tweak their machines/customer service/software/etc to make your diabetes life easier. . . .

Wait. Stop there. I just did that.

Recently I got fired up when I heard that Medtronic had hosted a forum for a group DOC bloggers to get their input on how they could improve their services and products and, in turn, to give a few of their consumers the inside scoop on how their company/product development/customer service operates and why things happen the way they do. The reason that I was fired up was because I so desperately wanted my pump company (Animas) to do something like this for it's customers. Even if I'm not a part of it, it would be great if they would invite a group of Ping users to a forum that would allow them to offer opinions on the pump and meter, ask why certain changes or upgrades can't be made and get to know how the company works and what can be expected for the future. Not only would they get great feedback that I'm sure would help all of their customers, but the bloggers who were invited could spread the word on what was shared at this meeting.

Since it seems pointless to rehash the entire letter again, please go here to see what I wrote to Animas.

Monday, May 9, 2011

D-Blog Week: Admiration and Inspiration

For me one of the best things about the DOC is the encouragement and inspiration it offers. Even when you don't realize you're doing it, some of you bloggers offer so much to buffer my hope and my spirit. As a community I learn a lot from all the Type 2's, parents of PWD and adults with LADA. It's been so nice to hear other perspectives and hear other's stories.

I know that today we are supposed to pick a group of bloggers with a totally different perspective and tell why we admire them and how they inspire us. But as much as I've learned from bloggers with T2 or LADA or spouses/parents of PWD, it wouldn't come close to how much I've learned from or been inspired by other bloggers with Type 1 diabetes. These T1's have shown me how much we can really accomplish. When I've thought I was the only person struggling with something, they've shown me I wasn't alone. When I thought I'd found a diabetes-related hurdle that I couldn't overcome, they've proved me wrong.

And even though we share the same form of diabetes, the T1 bloggers who inspire me the most are the ones who've done things that I aspire to do. Not just done them but done them well. Truly excelled. It's so inspiring to be able to look a few steps ahead and see how other T1's have prepared for or dealt with life's challenges. Pregnancy, for example, is something that I was really looking forward to in life but was very scared to endure because of my diabetes. But it was amazing to follow other bloggers' journeys and see the ups and downs and witness them come out on the other side as healthy moms of healthy babies. Even though I knew it could be done, following these bloggers showed me it could be done. Proved that it could be done well, not with results that were okay for a diabetic but with results that were great even for a non-diabetic! It also showed me that there could be bumps along the way, a bad blood sugar here or there, and that there could still be a happy, healthy ending.

And now that I'm a mom, it's so wonderful to follow the journey's of other new-mom T1's. How are they handling their blood sugars and their babies at the same time? Are they packing their meters in with the diapers? Is breastfeeding making their blood sugars go crazy too? It's so nice to have such a wealth of inspiration and information from other T1's who are going through the same things I am, just to know that it can be done!