Sunday, November 28, 2010

Special Sibling of a D-Kid Day!!




I made the mistake of peeking over at a few other blog posts today -- writing about my non-d girls is just as emotional to me as writing about my little d-boy.  After reading Candy Hearts, The Superhero and the Princess and Justice's Misbehaving Pancreas I am already in tears.  How am I going to get through this post without full on sobbing?  I have no idea but here we go . . .

On diagnosis day our lives and our family changed forever.  Diabetes is a family disease and it takes it toll on everyone in our family.  I've blogged many times about how it has changed me, my marriage and my body. I've touched on how it has changed Jim and in his post he talk about his feelings about diabetes.

I'm not sure that I have ever written about how diabetes has changed my two beautiful girls, Emma and Sophie.


Emma was five and Sophie three when Nate was diagnosed.  It amazes me everyday how much these sweet girls love their brother.  There is no anger, no resentment and no jealousy -- they understand that Nate sometimes has to come first and they completely understand.  The girls have learned how to check his sugar (with assistance), they help with pod changes and Dex site changes.  They like to sing to Nate when he is having his sites changed.  It is the sweetest thing you have ever seen/heard.  They are very aware of the different DexCom beeps and they will both come running to tell me if he is high or low.  They know where we keep the juice, fruit snacks and bananas and are happy to help me with anything diabetes related. Both girls are learning to count carbs and make better food choices for themselves and for their brother. 

As a mom it is heartbreaking to not be able to be there for one of your children.  Heartbreaking.  The wants or needs of the girls are often put on the back burner because Nate is high, low, needs a pod change, needs a juice box, a bg check, a ketone check . . . the list goes on and on.  The girls never complain but it is so hard for me to make them wait while I care for Nate. 



Nate gets a lot of attention . . . he is our little Super Hero . . . Super Nate!!  The girls LOVE it.  I worried that they would resent all of the attention that he gets but so far they think it is absolutely wonderful.  It is our new normal and they have embraced it.



My sweet Emma loves her baby brother so much and is often so afraid that something bad is going to happen to him.  She is so protective and loving that it both makes be so proud and breaks my heart.  She wishes daily for a cure and was devastated when there wasn't a "cure" at the JDRF Walk for a Cure.  In her mind we were raising money to go 'get' the 'cure' at the walk.  Sweet Angel!  I have seen her mature over the past year in so many ways.  I love to hear her tell people about her brother's diabetes and she will happily explain to anyone she hears ask about his pod.  Emma is the sweetest girl I have ever met -- she has so much love, compassion, empathy, generosity, faith and trust that I hope she never changes --- not even 1 little bit. 
I know she will always look after both Sophie and Nate and she will always be Nate's biggest advocate and supporter.  Emma makes her mommy so proud each and every day. 




I think the above picture is appropriate as we move on to Ms. Sophie . . .

My beautiful, sweet and very precocious Sophia Elizabeth is so much more than just my middle child.  She is smart, funny, beautiful, loving, compassionate, and a little bit naughty.  She is both my sugar and my spice!  She can certainly be a handful but I wouldn't trade her for the world.  She, like Emma is so in love with her little brother that it makes my heart overflow with pure joy.  Where Emma will always be there to educate and help others learn about diabetes I see Sophie being there too but heaven help the person that ever crosses her.  I have this image in my mind where some little stinker says something mean or hurtful to Nate about his diabetes and Sophie punches them right in the nose!!  She does everything 100% --- the girl does not know how to do anything 1/2 way.  Sophie, sweet, sweet Sophie loves to rub Nate's back when he is low, sing "you are my sunshine" when he is not feeling well and is always there with a great big hug for Nate whenever he needs it.  Sophie makes me the happiest mommy in all of the world.



These sweet girls deserve their own special day!! 


Thank you to Sherry and Lexi for putting this special day together and recognizing the need to acknowledge the Special Siblings of D-Kids!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankful Today - Thankful Every Single Day!

Today I am most thankful for my husband, Jim.

Jim and I have been together for 8 years and married for 6 years.  We married when we were both older and started our family WELL into our thirties.  We both had been working and very focused on our careers when we married.  We skipped the hard part that some young couples go through --- struggling to make ends meet, deciding when to start a family and saving for a 1st home.  I point that out because I think those things build a foundation for a marriage -- they build character in a marriage, they help make the marriage and the couple stronger.  Well, that's my opinion anyway!

We were in love, we were happy and we had the world in the palm of our hands.  We loved to travel together, run together, we loved to go to Vegas and spend all night playing craps together, we could talk for hours about anything and everything. Life was easy and life was good --- we were in love and loving life. 

We had 3 children in 5 years and somewhere mixed in with all of the joy of having our children we lost the joy in our marriage.  It happened slowly we really didn't even notice at 1st but our primary focus became our children; not our marriage or each other.   There was nothing terrible going on in our marriage but we had definitely lost that loving feeling and our ability to effectively communicate.

We were plugging along doing ok and then WHAM Nate was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on 9/17/09.

I specifically remember someone sending me an email after Nate's diagnosis that said something like 'don't forget about your marriage during this stressful time'.  Ummm - yea - DELETE.   I was SO not focused on our marriage at that time.  Good hell -- my son was just diagnosed with type 1 diabetes -- he could have DIED!  I felt more like ----> Insulin and I will now be keeping Nate alive - I don't give a crap about my marriage right now!!

Before even a year had passed since Nate's diagnosis, our daughter, Sophie was  diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis with it looking more and more like Crohn's Disease everyday.  Another huge blow to me, to Jim and to our family.  We watched as Sophie suffered and I silently cried every time I thought about my sweet girl living with such a burden.

Looking back it seems like I should have listened to that bit of advice sent via email.  I don't know the statistics but I do now know that having chronically ill  children can doom a marriage.  Our marriage already had issues and then you throw in the stress of caring for not 1 but 2 chronically ill children --- it took a huge toll.

After Nate's diagnosis I went into a  pretty dark place.  I was  sad, frustrated, scared, angry and  really, really tired.  Then Sophie's diagnosis came along just as I was clawing my way out of my dark place and threw me right back down into my black hole.  Jim seemed to be just taking it all in stride and that was really pissing me off! 

Diabetes is a full time jobI took on that job with a passion and pretty much shut Jim out. I often felt angry at Jim for not being more involved but he was traveling all of the time.  I attended all of the classes alone and while busy not sleeping I read every book that I could get my hands on to learn more about diabetes and how to better care for Nate.  I can't really blame Jim for not wanting to dive into Think Like a Pancreas but still I was aggravated.

Diabetes is expensive.  Even before we lost our insurance the cost was expensive.  Now we have no insurance and it is down right life altering.  We have had to make some serious lifestyle changes.

Now we are dealing with no communication, 2 chronic illnesses and financial issues.

With diabetes in our lives the most simple things now seem nearly impossible -- we no longer have the ability to spend a night away from our children, we rarely even spend an evening alone, and a romantic getaway ---- forget about it!

Let's see now we have no communication, 2 chronic illnesses, financial issues, and no time to ourselves.

Jim has been working in Washington DC for over a year now. The stress (and the joy) of raising 3 children on my own along with the lack of sleep and lack of communication with Jim finally took its toll.  In October we both hit a wall.  I literally did not have enough energy in me to fight for my marriage.  I felt exhausted, defeated and overwhelmed.

It all seemed like too much - no communication, 2 chronic illnesses, financial issues, no insurance, no time to ourselves, and I was exhausted, defeated and overwhelmed.

I have to believe that it is not all that uncommon for couples living with chronically ill children to feel the same way.  When Nate was 1st diagnosed we rallied and put up a strong, united front but then  before long we went back to our old ways and had so many more problems coming at us from every direction.  It has not been easy.

I am SO thankful today that back when we hit that wall my husband flew home early from DC and had enough fight left in him for the both of us. He came home and fought for our marriage, for me, for our children, and for our life together.  Our relationship needed much work and we have addressed each issue one by one.  As all marriages are --- ours is a work in progress but it feels so good to know that we are both working for a common goal.  Our family.

Jim has embraced Nate's diabetes and has become very involved in his care.  On his last trip to DC he actually read Think Like a Pancreas along with a few other diabetes books.  We work daily on communicating better and keeping all lines of communication open.  Unfortunately, Nate still has type 1 diabetes and Sophie still has UC/Crohn's therefor we still have no medical insurance but what we do have is each other and 3 wonderful children.  We know that we are blessed to have our children here with us and we enjoy every moment we are given with them. 

Now we share Nate's care and make decisions together.  I'm still Nate's primary pancreas but now Jim is a fabulous co-pancreas!  

So, sometimes a marriage starts out easy and sails along with no problems for a while and the solid foundation building comes along later in the marriage.  I think right now is our foundation building  time.  We are are going to get through all of this and look back one day and be amazed at how we survived it all and know that we are stronger for it.

I look forward to being able to look back  . . .


9/20/04

WINNER, WINNER TURKEY DINNER!

We have a winner!!!  

I want to thank you all for entering and spreading the word about the:



I had so much fun putting it together and meeting a few bloggers that I had not yet met.

So, before I announce the winner I want to let you know that Hallie over at The Princess and the Pump is hosting this week's BLACK FRIDAY BOLUS!!!!


So, head on over to see what Hallie's giving away this week and be sure to tell her that I said HI!!!


Oh man - - - I almost forgot!! 

You probably want to know who won the Sugar Bolus Extravaganza!!!

Well,I am pleased to announce that the winner is . . . .  



Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving - Gobble Gobble



May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey be plump,

May your potatoes and gravy
Have never a lump.

May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize, 
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!!

Happy Thanksgiving, Y'all!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sugar Bolus - 3 of my FAVORITE things



I am so excited to get to host the Sugar Bolus this week! 
I have three of my
favorite
products to giveaway --- 
I hope you
love
them all as much as I do!



1st up
One of our favorite products around here! 


Nate wears a Custom 3D Band as his diabetic alert bracelet & we are crazy about them!  I love them so much I asked them to host a Sugar Bolus at Houston We Have A Problem and what do you know . . . 


They said YES!

Custom 3D Bands is offering not 1, but 2 bands in your choice of sizes and colors.  PLUS ---- 1 diabetic alert sleeve!! 


The diabetic alert sleeves are great to put on a watchband, shoe laces or even an adjustable baseball cap.  Genius!


I blogged about my love for Custom 3D Bands back in September. They are perfect for a kid or an adult on the GO!  They are soft and flexible yet so well made that Nate hasn't even been able to damage it!  <-- That's saying a lot.   



Nate wears XS but they come in a variety of sizes ranging from X-Small to X-Large.  One of the partners of this great company is not only a Mama --- she is a D Mama!  Her son was diagnosed with Type 1 just 17-months ago --- just a few months before Nate.  We've chatted online and I think she is pretty spectacular!!


----------------------------------------------------------------



2nd Up

is a tasty treat from 



Yum-Yum!  


Kay's Naturals contacted Team Super Nate back in September to offer up a very generous donation.  They sent enough snacks and goodies to feed all 100 walkers + some for the Houston family to enjoy at home.  I was blown away by their generosity. I was also blown away that ALL THREE of my kids LOVED everything we received.  That is a rare thing 'round these parts!

What the Houston's Love:
  • Apple Cinnamon Cereal (100 calories, 9g protein, 15g carbs - per 1oz serving)
  • French Vanilla Cereal (100 calories, 9g protein, 15g carbs - per 1oz serving)
  • Cinnamon Almond Cookies (110 calories, 10g protein, 15g carbs - per 1oz serving)
  • Honey Almond Cookies (110 calories, 10g protein, 15g carbs - per 1oz serving)
What this D-Mama Loves:
  • No BG spikes
  • All of the products are Gluten Free
  • No HFCS 
  • Delicious
Kay's Naturals would like to send the WINNER of this SUGAR BOLUS a SAMPLE PACK of their delicious treats!! 


Their Story:

Kay’s Naturals products were developed by Dr. Massoud Kazemzadeh (known as “Dr. Kay”) for his first wife, Linda, a juvenile diabetic. After years of seeing his wife suffer with her illness, he knew the marketplace offered few options for people with diabetes. A diabetic-friendly diet is a reduced carbohydrate diet. But all products in the snack and cereal markets – loved by consumers for their convenience – were mostly, if not all carbohydrate.

Sharing his thoughts with Linda, they developed the idea of starting a company that would make the snacks and cereals that consumers love in a healthier format: more protein and fiber. They registered the name “Kay’s Naturals” with the state of Minnesota and wrote a business plan. Dr. Kay began testing product prototypes. Sadly, just at this time, Linda’s diabetes took a turn for the worse and she passed away from complications related to diabetes in 1997.

After Linda’s passing, Kay’s Naturals would lay dormant for the next few years, but Dr. Kay and Linda’s dream was always present for him. He understood the food choice disadvantages facing people with diabetes and was committed to pursuing the plan he and Linda had worked so hard to develop. Eventually, Dr. Kay would marry Ann Jones, an attorney from Texas.

Understanding the importance of Linda and Dr. Kay’s dream, Ann eventually took leadership of the company and began marketing Kay’s Naturals products. Dr. Kay continued developing crunchy snacks and cereals that combined excellent flavor with a healthier nutritional profile: approximately 33% soy protein, 10% fiber and 57% net carbohydrates. Today, Kay’s Naturals sells a dozen products – 3 cereals, 4 snacks, 3 pretzels and 2 cookies. With food scientist Dr. Kay at the helm, Kay’s Naturals is always developing new products.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

3rd up

Last but certainly not least!
One of my favorite things EVER!

My friend, Barbara from

 
is happy to send the winner 
1 Custom-Made item of your choice from her amazing collection!! 
  
Sew Cute Creations has been keeping the Houston children adorably dressed for 4 years now.  Her designs are original, adorable and very well made.  I am her biggest fan!!  I hope you love Sew Cute Creations as much as I do!

Here are some samples of her work/designs:



 




and you know I always have to throw in some pics of my super models:
 (I know - I know but it Is MY blog and My Sugar Bolus!)
 :)





Now for the fun stuff... the rules.

To enter: Post a comment before midnight on Thursday November 25th.  Please be sure to include your 1st name. Comments without names will be eliminated.

To earn extra entries...

-Write a blog post linking back to the Sugar Bolus and leave a comment with a link to the post.
-Tweet about this Sugar Bolus and leave another comment.
- Facebook about this post and leave an additional comment.


Winner will be selected via random.com on Friday November 26th.
Winners name will be posted here on this blog...
After winners name is posted, winner will have 48 hours to send a message to me at houstonwehaveaproblemblog@verizon.net

If I do not hear from the winner within 48 hours, I will select a new winner.

GOOD LUCK!!!

**Disclosure: I.AM.NOT.A.DOCTOR. Anything I say should not be taken as medical advice. I am just a crazy, sleep deprived D Mama doing the best I can!!  

In addition, I have not been compensated in any way by 3D Custom ID Bands, or Sew Cute Creations to write this post. As mentioned above Kay’s Naturals did provide food for Super Nate’s walk team but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and those of the Houston 5.  All above mentioned companies have simply been awesome enough to offer their goods as part of this weeks Sugar Bolus giveaway.  


You know the rules... now go enter silly!





















Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Our 1st Trip with D and it was Free!



We spent 5 days in Key West, Florida . . . it was our 1st trip with diabetes and it was wonderful.

I spent days --- no, scratch that ---- I spent weeks worrying about traveling with Nate, his OmniPod, his DexCom, his insulin, syringes, test strips, Glucagon, and all of the medical supplies required to keep Nate safe, happy and healthy.  So, our AWESOME OmniPod rep and our clinical specialist both walked me through traveling with D and totally put my mind at ease.  Well, for the most part anyway.  My sales rep gave me the best advice --- she said "have fun -- your going to be on vacation -- don't let diabetes ruin it for you".  I took those words to heart.

We were there for my Jim's brother's wedding so everything was scheduled around wedding stuff and young peeps with no children.  Which turned out to be just fine!  Normally I would have totally freaked out about a rehearsal dinner being at 7:30, a wedding dinner at 8p and all kinds of crazy schedules..  Not this time - - - we just rolled with it and Nate rocked some good numbers, some high numbers and a few low numbers.  Nothing we couldn't handle!!  :)

The Lovely Couple


 The free part - - - well, I am happy to say that there are some benefits from my husband working out of state for the past 9-months. As some of you may know Jim has been working in DC for months!!  He flies back and forth -- back and forth!!  He is usually there for at least 2-weeks at a time.  Anywho - - - he racked up a butt-load of frequent flier miles on AA (he's now a million miler on AA and that ROCKS!), he earned thousands and thousands of Marriott rewards which paid for a kick-ass suite in Key West and he appearantly got a little friendly with the Enterprise rent-a-car manager at the BWI airport because she hand wrote him a coupon for a HUGE discount on her business card for a mini-van (we weren't sure it would actually work) and it worked!!

With Jim being a million miler on AA we didn't have to pay for checked luggage which is a good things since we had 3 HUGE suitcases, 2 small suitcases and 3 car seats. Whhooooaaaa Nelly - that would have been spendy!!  Ummm - yea you should have seen us trying to haul all of that from the Ft. Lauderdale airport luggage carousel to the Enterprise off-site location --- it was AWESOME!

The suite had a full kitchen so we were able to keep the insulin along with a few groceries in the fridge.  The hotel provided a free breakfast buffet every morning --- I'm talking waffles, omelets, hash browns, bacon, sausage, cereals, and yogurts.  Yea - Yea - Yea - - - we didn't really worry about cholesterol levels so much on this vacation either. :)   We bought groceries at the local Publix and we were good to go!  Hello my kids could survive on PB&J --- thank goodness!!


I hope no one tracks us down and interrogates us for what I am about to write - - - but here I go . . .

The security at DFW airport was RIDICULOUS! The line was LONG but luckily they have a Priority Access line in the A terminal and no one else was in it.  So, we went to the front of the line, the lady checked our boarding passes and noticed we had 2 for Emma and none for Sophie - WTH?  Anyway - that was a quick fix since I had printed them online too and had one in my blag for Sophie.  I mentioned to her that our son was T1D and asked her if there was anything special we needed to do.  She said no & hurried us on our way.  So, we get to the actual  security  screening part and we look like a 3-ring circus --- we've got 3 kids removing shoes, I'm taking off my shoes and trying to put all of our stuff into those little gray bins and keep up with above-mentioned children that are trying to race through the metal detector.  We literally just dumped all of our shoes and bags into the bins and breezed through the detector with no issues.  No one set off the alarms so as we were waiting for our things to come off of the conveyor belt I was also waiting for them to start asking us some questions.  There hadn't been anyone on the other side of the machines to tell about the medical bag so we just sent it through without any heads up. 

Ummm - Yea - no one seemed to care or notice that we were traveling with not 1 but 2 bottles of water, 2 vials of insulin, 50 syringes, 5 juice boxes, an emergency Glucagon kit, 1 DexCom inserter and 2 OmniPods (<---- the last 3 of those have very LARGE needles) and a ton of other medical supplies. We also had Barbies, mermaids and a ton of Matchbox cars.  :)

No one said a word.  Seriously?!?  It was super easy but a little scary --- I have no idea but I'm pretty sure someone somewhere could build a bomb with all of the crap we had in our bags!!  I'm just sayin'.  An insulin Barbie bomb - - - it's not unheard of - right?  Am I allowed to say bomb on here??  Bomb Bomb Bomb!!

The kids were angels on the plane ride to FLL and they mostly slept on the 4-hour drive to Key West - - easy peasy!!



They were super excited to arrive at the hotel . . .




I was super excited to take a nap in here . . .



Yea - Yea - Yea - I know beautiful beach right outside.  I'm a D Mama man - - - I never sleep.  Beach or Bed -- Beach or Bed???  Bed won on day 1.  We had tons of family there --- helllloooo grandma and grandpa + a ton of aunts and uncles.  It was good!!!

Another restful plus was that we put Nate's crib in our room so we could leave his Beep-Beep (DexCom receiver) right on that table beside the bed.  OMG - that totally rocks.  I seriously have not slept that much in the past year!!  It was amazing.  Oh yea - the wedding and the beach were both awesome too.  :)

I'll leave you with some pics of our vacation - - - I know - I know - other peoples vaca pics - - - BORING! It's ok - you don't have to look.  :)


Nate loved playing in the sand

3 Joys

Nate running away from the picture

My little artist - Emma

My future's so bright!!

Nate loved the beach!!

sand angel?

The kids and their cousins

Jim and Laura

She has a killer smile - my little heartbreaker!
 
Our little explorer

Grandma with Nate

3 generations of Houston men

3 Little Houstons

The Girls!

The Family

The Southern most point of the USA

Cyborg Baby :()

Such a fun day!

I loved watching them play!




For family members that actually made it down this far -- the rest of the pics are on my Phanfare site.  Click Here

We did have to do a pod change at 30,000 feet on the way back and the FLL security was a little tougher to get through than the DFW but it was really a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. 

My iTot

The boy knows his way around my phone

Priming Pod at 30,000 Feet!  Yea Baby!