Good Grief, It Is Thanksgiving

I’ve taken some time off from writing and posting so I can focus on my family. I’m trying not to feel guilty about the fact that my time off has coincided with November, Diabetes Awareness Month, and the feeling that I need to be posting MORE right now. But wow, I am DRAINED. The Pike Road Lions Club Strides Walk was a great event and I am excited to help again next year. I have a post coming with pictures of the event and a big thank you to all who made it a success.

Mr. Mister tends to the smoker as he cooks our Thanksgiving turkey.

We celebrated Thanksgiving with Mr. Mister’s family. I am in in a reflective mood tonight. I’m thinking about how wonderful it is to be together, to share a meal, and to share each others triumphs and difficulties. A priest of ours used to say, “A joy shared is doubled. A sorrow shared is halved.” There are many things for which I am thankful, and I am glad to share with my family my joy about how our children are growing and learning. I am grateful we were able to visit with family and celebrate their successes. I am thankful we were able to message with family farther away and wish each other well. I am daily grateful for the insulin and supplies that keep Grasshopper alive. Joy is easy to share. It bounces ahead like an eager puppy. But sorrow? Sorrow wants to stay alone and not dim anyone else’s joy. To paraphrase Oscar from The Odd Couple and George from Seinfeld, most often I want to stuff my sorrows in a sack. Unfortunately that leads to a whole attic full of soggy, sacked sorrows in my already overloaded brain.

Type 1 diabetes doesn’t take holidays. Insulin infusion sites have to be changed every three days.

I know there are other parents out there like me who ARE grateful, ARE thankful for their children’s lives but who are also constantly wary of the next thing. With type 1 diabetes, I am always on alert. Low blood sugar, high blood sugar, dosing him with insulin for snack, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and more snacks because (thank goodness) he is growing like kudzu. The balancing act doesn’t end with the physical side of type 1 diabetes. Every day I see posts by parents of children with type 1 diabetes worried about their insurance covering the necessary insulin and supplies. Parents whose child has only recently been diagnosed and who are trying to figure out how to apply in real time what they were taught in the hospital to keep their child alive another day. Parents whose grown children died because they couldn’t afford the insulin they needed to survive. Parents who are worried both about their children’s future and who are not sure how they will get through the next five minutes with a sick type 1 child whose blood sugar is dropping and who doesn’t want to eat. Who are struggling with depression, anxiety and who are trying to not let their children see their fear. Parents who are both grateful their child is alive today and who are also emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted.

Even though the clouds are grey and the Chinook reminds me of my late father, I am grateful I can see this scene and that I have a father to remember.

So I’m saying: it is ok to be thankful and at the same time to grieve what has been lost. It is ok to be thankful for having a wonderful father and at the same time grieve that he isn’t here to play with his grandchildren. It is ok to be thankful that your child is here and also grieve the childhood you wish he had. It is ok to grieve a diagnosis that has changed your family’s life. It is ok to grieve the end of a relationship and all the changes that come with moving to a new city. It is ok to grieve retirement. In this season when others are often sharing their family’s joys, know that if you aren’t feeling like you are constantly, fully in the spirit of the season, it is ok.

Grief it is an acknowledgement that you have lost something or someone close to you, dear to you. Acknowledge what you feel, even when it is a complex, jumbled up mess of emotions.

I am grateful that I can take on this life with my husband. And I am thankful that my sister-in-law let me use her adorable dog as a background!

Grief is not tidy. It has its own timeline. It can make you feel as if you are going crazy, as if you might drown in emotion and never stop crying. A quick snippet of a song, a particular smell, going down a certain street can bring a flood of painful thoughts and memories. Sometimes grief bypasses sorrow and flashes into anger instead. It can be a confusing, agonizing, painful experience. It isn’t something you feel for a while and then get over. But as much as it may be tempting to shove it aside, try not to. It is ok to feel it and name it, however often it pops up.

It is also ok to look into the eyes of the people around you, and acknowledge that they have their own pain. They might not understand the depth of your pain, and you might not understand the breadth of theirs. But it is there. Scoot over, make room, and invite them to share their joys and the sorrows. Really listen to them. Find someone who will listen to yours. It is ok to laugh through your tears, ask for help, and to be the one offering help. You are not alone.

If your grief or other emotions are causing you to alter your daily life, please talk with your doctor, a licensed therapist, counselor, psychiatrist, or psychologist.

Pike Road Lions Strides Walk 2018

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November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Awareness is important. After bringing awareness, I’m interested in ACTION!

I did an interview today on WSFA about the Pike Road Lions Club Strides Walk with Dennis Fonville, the President of the Pike Road Lions. The on-screen information included my blog address. Watch the interview here. I wanted to be sure to guide people back to the Pike Road Lions Club Facebook page.

To pre-register for the event, CLICK HERE.

This inaugural Strides Walk will take place Saturday, November 10, 9:00-11:00 A.M. at Cottonwood Golf Club in Montgomery, Alabama. Registration begins at 8:00 A.M. Eric Snitil, meteorologist with WSFA News, will be our Master of Ceremonies. Eric was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 17 years ago. We will walk the back nine holes of the course together. The money raised will go to Camp Seale Harris, which organizes camps all over Alabama for children with type 1 diabetes.

Pay at the event, $20 per person. In honor of Veterans Day, veterans will be admitted free, as well as Lions Club members, and children 10 years old and younger.

If you are unable to attend but would like to contribute, please consider donating to the Pike Road Lions Club Strides Walk for Diabetes Awareness GoFundMe page here.

Here is the backstory:

In May 2018, the Pike Road Lions Club sponsored our family to go to a family weekend at Camp Seale Harris which organizes camps all over Alabama for children with type 1 diabetes. We were thrilled that our school nurse, Amber Stevens, had suggested our family, along with several others, to the Pike Road Lions Club President Dennis Fonville and Vice President Jeff Pinegar. I wrote about our experience at the Family Camp here.

I spoke to the Lions after our Family Camp. I shared photos of our time there and shared just how much we appreciated the opportunity to make connections with other T1D families. Camp make a lasting impression on Grasshopper and we look forward to being involved in other camp activities.

A few months after Family Camp, Jeff asked if I would help organize an event with the Pike Road Lions. He explained that Lions Club International has expanded their mission to include helping those with diabetes.

One of the Lions new initiatives is the Strides for Diabetes Awareness. Local clubs are encouraged to organize various active events for Strides such as a run, walk, a bicycle race, a dance, or any gathering that encourages exercise, education about the various forms of diabetes, and offers screenings. I was honored to be included and excited to help bring together the people I have met so far in our area who are affected by diabetes! I have met many families, individuals, business owners, and non-profit leaders in the past 5 years who have a diabetes connection. I know there are many more. I hope that Alese and I can play some small part in bringing people together for support through our efforts here at Sugar Rush Survivors.

JDRF One Walk Birmingham

by Erin

UPDATE: Congratulations Jake Saxon on winning our Low Blood Sugar Survival Pack! https://www.facebook.com/SugarRushSurvivors/videos/1183063691846348/

Sunday, November 4 was a GREAT day. Mr. Mister and I loaded up the car, packed plenty of snacks for the kids and we drove to Birmingham to be a part of the JDRF One Walk. I was honored that Meredith Morrison, JDRF Development Coordinator, asked me to be involved. This was my first event as a “vendor.” Continue reading →

Blue November Prep

While I am still getting ready for Halloween, I’m also looking forward to our diabetes awareness efforts for November. We participate in Project Blue November by wearing blue on Fridays and posting on social media. Last year I painted a craft pumpkin with the international symbol for diabetes, a blue circle. We collected all of Grasshopper’s used diabetes supplies and empty packets of Annie’s Fruit Snacks in the pumpkin to show all of the supplies and low blood sugar treatments he used. Continue reading →

First of All, It Was October…

Every autumn Bartlett Ranch, a working horse and cattle farm near us, hosts an evening celebrating Alabama farmers. It is always a fun time and sure sign that the endless Alabama summer is finally waning.

We had a great evening at Bartlett Ranch! Arrows were shot, turkey feathers found, and apples were pressed.

Calves, goats, cows, and snakes were admired. Balloons were acquired. Firetrucks were explored. We Sugar Surfed our way through a hotdog (1 gram of carbohydrates), hotdog bun (21g carbs), chips (15g carbs), and Chips Ahoy cookies (15g carbs). Continue reading →

Life Speed

By Kay Jacoby

By Erin

Both Alese and I have been busy and we haven’t written much. There have been lots of changes for both of us and it feels like life is moving at light speed. The speed of life. Life speed, full ahead.

I had a moment to slow down a bit after one of Grasshopper’s routine appointments at Children’s Hospital of Alabama. We loved getting to see Heather Jordan to talk about how to better tackle some of the issues we face like helping Grasshopper through the annual blood draws he has to have. The last one was… intense.

After our appointment we were waiting for traffic to ease so we spent some time in Children’s Harbor. I have heard various reactions when we share that we are headed back to Children’s. Fairly often others react with sadness or say some form of, “Oh, that is such a sad place.” Granted, my view of it is due to Grasshopper’s successful diagnosis and treatment there. There certainly are many possible outcomes. For our family Children’s has been and continues to be a place of hope.

I thought I would take some photos to share why Grasshopper is always so excited to go to Children’s Hospital. Continue reading →

20 Minute Poop Storm

In the space of about 20 minutes on Tuesday evening, the following happened:

  • I dosed Grasshopper for a 40 gram weight piece of cinnamon roll for dessert. That is a sliver of a roll, not a whole one. It was a 20 gram carb treat. I sent him to put on his pjs so the insulin could have a little time to work.
  • He walked out a few minutes later holding his insulin infusion site… that was supposed to be attached to his body. I tried to hide my instant anxiety. When did it come off? Did it come off before his 24 gram carb dinner? Did he get any insulin for dinner? Did it come off after dinner but before I dosed for the cinnamon roll slice? Did he get any insulin for that??? Continue reading →