Thursday, February 25, 2010


Memory is the diary that we all carry about with us

Bathtime, 7 pm.

"Mom, do you remember the heart wires?"
     "Heart wires? You mean the heart wires in the hospital?"

"Yeah, you held them while I went potty. They were here, and here and here on me."
     "Yes, I remember. It was hard to go potty with them on."

"I didn't like them. I took them off myself, all by myself. The doctor told me I could."
     "Oh G, I do remember that. You were so brave to take them off yourself."

"I mean, I liked the hospital, the playroom and the presents. That I liked. I just, you know, didn't like the other parts. You know what I didn't like?"
     "What, what parts didn't you like?"

"Well, the shots. The nurse who woke me up at night. Crying, I didn't like crying a lot. I didn't like when you cried. That made me upset. I was upset when you cried Mom."
     "I did cry, you're right. I was upset that you had diabetes. Mommy and Daddy love you and didn't want you to have diabetes. I remember crying."

"You didn't have to cry. It was ok. It was ok that I got diabetes. I mean, it's ok."
     "I'm trying to be ok with it G. It's hard for mommy to be ok with it sometimes."

"Yeah, I know, but you should know that I am ok with diabetes. I mean, I didn't die. I was worried I was gonna die, but I didn't. That should make you ok with it."
     "So G, I'll remember that next time I am not ok with diabetes, that you didn't die and are ok with it?"


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Shelf

The Shelf. The Drawer. The Cabinet.
We all have one, us D-Moms (and Dads!). It reminds us daily of everything.

Mine is in the kitchen, on the wall. My father built it the weekend that we came home from the hospital with our T1 diagnosis. I think he had tears in his eyes when he built it for his granddaughter. The fastest shelf ever built. You can hang from it, it is so strong.

I thought I would share with all of you out there what exactly our shelf holds.

1. Extra test kits. For emergency. Or when Mom forgets one and needs to grab another meter :0)

2. Syringes. Lots of syringes. We do the ole shots at this house. My gal is a 31 gauger. Thinner and shorter needle the better. They still hurt. Each and every one of them.

3. Gauze pads. Which dear ole Mom (that's me) cuts into tiny squares. Why you ask? So when Gracie pricks her finger and she is done testing, she can wrap her finger up in a little bandage. Quirky? Yes. It gets her through each and every finger prick, so I cut little tiny bandages out of gauze every week. Whatever works for you is what I say.

4. You all know what those 2 things are. I hate to utter the word. Glucagon. Never had to use it yet. I have jinxed myself by even saying it. It can stay all cozy right there on the shelf, thank you very much.

5. Every low's best friend, glucose tabs. Orange and grape.

6.  Books and info. The Pink Panther book is here too, the one they gave us in the hospital, which explains everything about Type 1 in a funny, non-threatening way, as if you were just getting a cold. I've disliked the Pink Panther since this book. Who ever thought we should make a book for parents that poses the PP around like this is all so funny and lighthearted? I do like Think Like A Pancreas though, gave me lots of useful info. And no stinkin PP!

7. Test strips. Test strips. Test strips. I could make some cool decorations with all that we have. I might some day.

8. Ketostix. Maybe it's cause she's 7, but Grace loves when I have to check her 'pee' as she names it. She thinks it's gross and funny and loves to compare the color of the stick to the chart. Maybe it's the whole body fluid thing, but I am not as amused as she is each time we have had to use them.

9. Lancets. Don't ask when I changed hers last. Please don't ask. I'm going right now to do it, promise.

10. Travel kit. Grab it when we go out the door. Needs an ice pack and a vial and we are good to go.

11. Syringes, in an attractive plastic cup.

12. Her little gauze bandages. They are in a cup from a friend and on the outside it reads 'A Cup of Comfort.' On the inside of the cup, when you get to the bottom it reads 'All Will Be Well.' I love this cup.

13. Log books. Carb count books. I will never look at little spiral notebooks the same after Type 1.

14. Basic reference. Keeps me on my toes to read it again and again and again.

15. This was on the inside of a box of diabetes supplies. I found it inspiring, so I cut it out and hung it up. I read it at least once a day. It has almost become my mantra. Here it is for you:

16. A note from a friend who has Type 1 too. It lets me know that women can live a long time with T1 and be healthy.

17. Waterproof ID bracelet. Extra Lauren's Hope bracelet. One can never be too fashionable with medical wear.

And there it is, our shelf. Hope you enjoyed this little tour.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Getting to know me...

Ok, since everyone in the D-Mom-blogosphere is revealing themselves and getting to know each other, I thought I would join the party. Never one to not join a party I am! 

Here are 10 random things about me... 

1. Penny is my real name. Not Penelope. If you knew my last name you would laugh too. My parents are funny and made my name read like a sentence. Joke’s on me. My. Whole. Life. Oh and yes, I HAVE heard every penny-coin joke there is. Honest.

2. I collect snowdomes. You know, you buy them at airports and tourist locations, the ones you shake and it snows inside the dome. Have about 300. I collect the cheap, plastic, snowing-in-Hawaii kind. The real lame ones. Yep. Someone’s gotta collect them and that would be me. My favorites are my 5 NYC ones that show the WTC. 

3. I am always barefoot. I mean always. I really, really, really don’t like shoes or socks of any kind. And not surprisingly, the bottoms of my feet feel and look like real leather! Honest, I could walk on coals and not even feel it. 

4. There are two places in this world that make my heart skip a beat when I see them, each time. One is Philadelphia. I was born and raised here and I love the city. When I round the bend on I-95 on my way home from somewhere and I see the city’s outline, my heart swells. My other place is Ocean City, NJ. Every time I cross the 9th Street bridge into OC I almost want to cry. It’s where I spent my childhood summers. Everything about the place warms my heart. I still go there, every summer.

5. My best friend Wendy passed away in 2001. She died on her birthday. I mean, who dies on their birthday, right?! It broke my heart in two. I miss her every day and think of her. I keep a little shelf in my living room with a Nativity set on it that she made me. I dearly miss her presence in my life.

6. My parents have been married for 60 years. You should have seen the look my mom gave my dad when they celebrated. She looked over at him and said ‘It’s been quite a ride, hasn’t it?’

7. I have two tattoos. One is a flower on my back and the other is a group of shooting stars on my ankle. I dearly love tattoos. I would tattoo my whole body if I could. I may just do it some day. That bring said, you should also know that I love Harley Davidson motorcycles, loud punk alternative music, don’t even drink and was raised in a very normal family :0)

8. I am fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) and have taught Deaf children for over 20 years. I have a bachelors degree in Deaf Education and a Masters as a Reading Specialist. 

9. I met my husband in junior high school. He was my first boyfriend. We have known each other for 33 years, but only married for 15. 
10. I believe in karma, endurance, courage, having faith, keeping in real, getting on with it, living this one life cause it’s not a dress rehearsal, having fun, resilience and that both Type 1 diabetes and autism have entered my life to teach me lessons that I could not have learned anywhere else.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Grace got her ears pierced today. Where else, the mall. At Claire's.
She chose red rubies, the color of her birthstone.

This is her second time getting them pierced. She fiercely wanted them done when she was 5, and I let her. However, the next weeks were excruciatingly hard for her. She would not let me touch her ears. She would not let me clean them properly. She would not let me turn them half a turn, 3x a day, for 6 weeks. We eventually had to take out the earrings after 4 weeks because they looked as if they were getting infected. Her pierced ears closed up.

It's 3 years later now, but Grace remembers everything about that experience. She also has 3 years under her belt now. And she has diabetes.

This afternoon we were at the mall and Grace turns to me and says "Mom, can I get my ears pierced?" My inner voice is saying, 'Dear Lord, not again.' My outer voice however responded "Sure you can, if that's what you want." (I secretly wondered if possibly, I am on drugs :0) And sure enough, she did want to, even after explaining the procedure, how I would have to clean them and turn them and how they would have to be done 3x a day for 6 weeks. 

"Yep" she said, "Today. I want them pierced today. I know it will hurt. I have diabetes. I know it will hurt, but it's ok."

Damn near cried in Claire's.

This time, 3 years later, I am handed the permission form and there on it, in one of the boxes I need to check, is 'If you have these conditions: .... and ... and diabetes.... you should know that healing may be affected.'

Damn it, even getting your ears pierced has to be related to diabetes! I refuse to let this interfere. I say nothing to the woman who pierces the ears. I am just not gonna say it, I am not gonna take this moment away from Grace by yet another talk about diabetes. Damn it, she's getting her ears pierced and yes I know she could have slower healing time. I sign the form check the box and hand it back to the woman. Full speed ahead, diabetes be damned, is what I am really thinking.

She climbed up into the stool-chair where they do the piercings. She hugged the Claire's bear who also has her ears pierced. She cried. She pressed her head against me. I reassured her again and again that it didn't have to be today. We could come back. We could do it another day.

"No, today. Today Mom."

The woman who was piercing Grace's ears had numerous piercings herself. She was so very patient and waited for Grace to be calm. There is always an angel when I need an angel I reminded myself. Here she was at Claire's.  We waited. And waited. It took about 5 minutes, but Grace indicated she was ready. The tears stopped. She looked straight ahead and held my hand.


1st one done.


2nd one done.

Grace is smiling. Red rubies in her ears.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blizzard and then some

Imagine 27 inches of snow one day. Got it?

Then, a few days later, 21 more inches of snow. Got it?

This is what snow armageddon looks like.

Sometimes, I feel like I'm in this blizzard. Like it's all heading my way at once and I am being buried under it all. Sure, 90% of my days are good. I see the sunshine, the rainbows, the little leprechauns at the end of the rainbow holding those pots of gold (ok, maybe that's a delusion). But I do. I really do. I'm generally upbeat, positive, honest, head-on strong and looking on the bright side of life (oh no, Monty Python song playing in my head now...)

Then there are days like this blizzard we are in. The winds whip and whip. The snow causes even bigger drifts. The problems mount. You don't know how you will EVER see the grass again or EVER EVER see the big ole sun again.  The white-out conditions where you cannot see a thing. You are asked to stay off the highways and roads cause they are unsafe and you could crash. They wouldn't find you for days. That kind of thing. Not really on the 'not finding you' thing here, I live near a city, but who wants to take a chance on that, right?!

I feel the same way about the 'betes sometimes. Like it's just all coming at once and it's A LOT. I am buried by it and it's slowly burying my daughter. Ok, maybe a bad analogy with the burying, but you get my drift? (pun intended) It's just so ALL encompassing, in every way. It affects all that she does. We have winds whipping at us. Sometimes it depresses me, in a not so-kind way. 

Then, you know what happens? The sun which you thought didn't exist at all, actually does shine again. You begin to shovel and shovel and shovel the snow away. The roads are clear. The snow starts to melt. You even see a long-hidden blade of grass appear in the backyard. You think, I might actually be able to get up again tomorrow and do this again. 


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Diabetic A Lot

We generate a LOT of trash in the care of diabetes, don't we?

Here is a view of what we have generated in 3 weeks time.

I keep Gracie's syringes, test strips and lancets in an old laundry bottle on our counter in the kitchen. I looked in it this morning and I thought a million things in my head, ranging from...

Holy cr@! we generate a lot of trash.
Wow, she sure does use a lot of syringes
Each of those doses hurt. No matter what anyone says, they hurt.
Overwhelming, it's overwhelming.
This is just one month, of one year, of many to come.
Gosh it takes a lot to care for her.
It must feel endless to her, to wake another day and await more shots.
Insulin is my friend.
I gotta change her lancet more often.
We are a medical waste facility.
Sad, sometimes it makes me sad.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Diabetes Guest Post over at YDMV

If you gals and guys haven't yet visited a great member of the DOC (Diabetic Online Community), Bennet, get yourselves over to his site RIGHT NOW. I mean it, I'll wait....

He is a great Dad to 4 kids, 2 of which are Type 1. He is funny, honest, endearing and has written the most beautiful pieces about his journey with the Type 1 diagnosis, here, here and here. When he first posted these, I immediately hard-copied them. I suggest you do too. They will have you nodding your head in knowing and crying from someone who is writing what you are feeling. They are that good. They are something worth reflecting on for a good long time. They also bring me peace. They are from someone who truly 'gets it.'

He had a post the other day entitled 'Practice Makes' which I commented on. In turn, Bennet turned my comment on the post into his next blog posting. You can find that here at 'Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Original Post'.

Thank you Bennet! Might I add, he also is the brains behind which talks about doing DisneyWorld with Diabetes. Check that out too, especially the pictures of the shoes people actually trek through WDW with. It's classic. And funny.