Family with a Pre-Existing Condition

As a mother with a son who has a “pre-existing condition” it’s my job to protect him and do WHATEVER it takes to make sure he stays healthy while living with type 1 diabetes.

That includes:

+ ensuring he has the very best supplies to combat this unforgiving chronic illness

+ giving him constant, round the clock, no vacations/breaks care

+ always keeping our lifesaving medical supplies fully stocked and readily available

+ setting him up for a successful future, void of insurmountable healthcare costs

Very fortunately for us, he was diagnosed in a state that qualifies all type 1 diabetics under the age of 18 full health coverage through a secondary insurance – Medicaid.

Pre-existing conditions is an enormous talking point for both candidates this presidential election and it DIRECTLY effects us.

I feel far more comfortable with an up-and-running, fully functional program that is already in motion, than the alternative… which I think we can all agree lacks any kind of structure or plan, whatsoever. (I found this article to be informative, but by all means, PLEASE, do your own research. )

Some of you will still hide behind the big arguing points that may or may not actually effect your day-to-day life, while rest of us are LITERALLY fighting for our lives during this election.

SO! Let me break this down for you. What would our lives look like without Medicaid or the ACA.

These totals are all AFTER our primary insurance:

Insulin: $260.00/month

Insulin pump: $300 – $400/month

Test strips: $80/month

Dexcom sensors: $350.00/month

Dexcom transmitter: (lasts 104 days) $237.50

Glucagon: (once/year) $560.00

This list does not include the other various necessities we need to manage T1D, such as, alcohol swabs, overlay patches, juice boxes, iPod, and the list goes on and on. Basically we would be paying a second mortgage to keep our sweet boy alive.

What am I trying to accomplish by sharing my (our family’s) heart? We need our loved ones and compassionate readers to know that this election means far more to us than just being upset over “our party not being elected.”

Please, we are begging you. Do some research and learn what is at stake for people that you love and care for.

Thank you for reading. If you still plan on opposing us, we will still love you. We just needed to be heard, even for just a couple minutes.

OCD and Me

Did you know I have OCD? I didn’t. I just thought everyone thought about things the way I did.

Here. Let me tell you about just one of my rituals. *braces for impact*

I thought of everything in terms of patterns. So if I was having a good day, that meant the next day was going to be bad, and the day after that would be (you guessed it) good.

BUT plot twist, I doubled up on either a good/bad day every 4th. So the pattern went G B G B B G B G G and so on. This was for every day, hour, week, month, year. I would count out big events coming up to see what hours/days were going to be like.

I didn’t even know this was a weird thing. I have literally been doing it my entire life. I would do this pattern sequence for EVERYTHING. Houses in a row, donuts on display, signs on the street. It was a constant.

I also suffer from extreme anxiety, and I was much more aware of this. Earlier this year, my panic attacks were becoming a regular occurrence, and I had a paralyzing fear of dying, and that no one being able to take care of my children. Car rides were unbearable because of my constant worry of an accident. Being diagnosed with cancer was always looming in my mind.

But, I did know I had a little control when it came to giving myself breast examinations to check for cancer. I started checking myself regularly, but it became an addiction. I was bruised and sore from feeling for lumps over 200 times per day.

After years and years of coping on my own, I finally decided to get some help. My doctor prescribed Zoloft, and I started taking it in June.

And OH MY GOSH my life is seriously 10000x better! I suddenly realized I had a lot more space in my brain. If I didn’t execute (what I now know were) rituals, it didn’t eat away at me for hours like it used to.

I didn’t even realize how many rituals I was doing until I didn’t have to do them anymore. Guys. I only shared one of them, but seriously, there are like 30.

Sometimes being medicated has a bad stigma, and I know that’s why it took me so long to get help. But I am telling you, I was absolutely taking years off my life.

I am able to feel happiness without thinking “Ok, I guess something awful has to happen now.” Or “I know I was looking forward to this, but it’s supposed to be a bad night, so it will be.”

Let me know if you have questions about this wild journey. I am literally an open book about my mental health, and am always here to talk to.

Not the Picnic We Planned

It’s been a few days, and I think I’m still processing what happened on the 4th. But I’m ready to talk about the terrifying events of Thursday.

If you’ve been following our story, you know my 3yo son has Type 1 diabetes, and if he experiences an extreme low blood sugar, it is unbelievably dangerous. It could even mean death.

Now for the story. We were traveling to visit my dear friend, about an hour and a half away. We had plans of grilling out, popsicles, sprinklers, and spending a wonderful day together.

On the way there, Piet started saying his stomach hurt, and then his blood sugar plummeted. It was dropping so quickly, Dexcom couldn’t keep up.

We pulled way over on the interstate to manually test blood sugar and push apple juice, but he was resistant.

He was in and out of sleepiness/consciousness, and we tried desperately to keep him awake enough to suck down just one more apple juice, to help his blood sugar (that wasn’t budging) come up.

Finger prick said 62 after 2 juice boxes and 5 skittles. This is when (as a Type 1 parent) you panic.

I started begging. “Please, baby. Just one more juice box. For Mommy.” But he couldn’t do it.

Then, projectile vomiting. If we were scared before, we are terrified now.

You see, anything stomach related, belly aches, stomach bugs, vomiting, they’re all super scary for Type 1 diabetics, and often land us in the hospital.

“I’ll get the glucagon. You call 9-1-1.” Jacob instructed. He quickly grabbed Piet out of his car seat and stood him up, stripping him of his puke-soaked clothing.

Glucagon: A life saving injection, only to be used in case of an extreme emergency. It tells the liver to start producing sugar. Think of it as the equivalent to NARCAN for a drug overdose.

As I was on the phone, I quickly gave the details of our situation, while interjecting instructions to Jacob about the glucagon. We have, thankfully, never needed to use it before.

By the time the ambulance pulled up, 3 very long minutes later, Piet’s numbers began stabilizing.

They hooked him up to the monitors, and he even perked up enough to get excited about being in an ambulance.

After evaluating him, they determined we should be ok keep traveling in our vomit coated car.

We decided heading back home was for the best, and about 15 minutes into our trip, Piet was asking for a happy meal and to go swimming at Grammy and Grandpops.

It’s still undetermined what caused this little episode, but fortunately we were ready for it, and able to keep it together.

Our little guy is such a boss. He literally looked grave danger in the face and asked for a happy meal instead.

8 Bathing Suit Shopping Tips for Moms

Ok, ladies. Summer is coming in hot, and that means finding the perfect bathing suit. I like to consider myself a swimsuit shopping connoisseur, because I’ve spent many days by the pool pregnant and/or in straight up mom mode.

Here are my 8 swimsuit shopping tips for moms.

1. Don’t ever go shopping with the sole purpose of buying a bathing suit. Trying on 20 consecutive swimsuits is just a recipe for a full blown, adult meltdown about why things aren’t where they used to be. Plus, it’s really hard to watch yourself ugly cry from every angle in that box of mirrors. Not to mention, there is just no scenario where a bathing suit looks good with granny panties hanging out of the bottom.

2. Online shopping can be hit or miss in general, but there are a few reputable sites for bathing suits, and they’re usually a hit. Once you find a winning website, stick to it! Don’t be lured in by the $9 Amazon one piece, because you’ll be sorely disappointed by what is actually shipped. It’s scratchy, four sizes too small, and nothing at all like the product picture. Trust me on this one.

3. Before kids, I was able to explore tons of different style options, without a cellulite covered care in the world. Now I have to be more strategic with the type of suit I chose. As moms, we need more coverage for all the extra responsibilities we have these days, like being a lifeguard, pool toy caddy, and activity coordinator. Here’s my tip. Before deciding if the suit is a keeper, do some deep lunges, and maybe a few shimmies, just to make sure everything stays in place.

4. Speaking of style, the high-waisted bottom trend is super cute and can be very flattering. But, here’s the thing. They must have ruching. And the more ruching, the better. No ruching can take you from pin-up girl to granny panties real quick. The more folds and creases in the bathing suit, the less obvious your folds and creases are.

5. Don’t be afraid to buy multiples of the same suit. There’s nothing worse than wanting to wear your favorite suit, but finding out it’s dirty, then being forced to wear something not nearly as comfortable. And feeling comfortable is the difference between cowering under a beach towel and getting out there and splashing around.

6. Color matters. Just because yellow is your favorite color and $10 cheaper than navy, you should still spring for the darker option. Your nipples will thank me.

7. Don’t sleep on a good cover up. Sometimes it’s nice to have a little extra protection from the sun, while looking like a sophisticated, poolside goddess. And when you’re feeling a little extra self conscious, cover up to the rescue!

8. Here’s my last tip. No matter what swimsuit you choose to purchase, also choose confidence. Get out there with the kids, splash, play, and start a whirlpool like the mom boss you are! Your kids won’t remember the color, cut, or style of your bathing suit, but they will cherish the memories with their mama.

“I’m Sorry… Love, Your Husband” Book Review

Ok, listen. I haven’t read a book, cover to cover, since I was pregnant with Ceci, because, let’s face it, ain’t no momma got time for that. But here’s the deal. I read “I’m Sorry… Love, Your Husband,” by Clint Edwards, in one day. ONE DAY! What’s that, Kid? You need a drink? I’ll just one hand it as I finish up this chapter. You need me to wipe your butt? ALEXA! Read page 27! Just kidding… I don’t have an Alexa. But you get it. Every second of free time I had was all about reading this gem.

And then I decided to write a review? And I’m using “?” because I’ve never written a book review, and don’t actually know if that’s what this is. Or maybe it’s just my post-book thoughts. Anyway… here we go!

When I started reading, I had questions. Is this going to be linear? What’s the flow here? Sure, I write blogs like the author, and I definitely jump around from year to year, with not a chronological care in the world. But, like, this is a book, ya know? It has to tell a story from start to finish. But it doesn’t. It skips around, peeling back layer after layer of their marriage, parenting, and family story seamlessly.

My favorite parts are when Clint(may I call you Clint? Mr. Edwards? Mr. No Idea?) talks to his former self, and also all the new husbands/dads out there. It makes me want to take a highlighter, light those sections up like the 4th of July, strongly encourage my husband to read it multiple times over the course of many months until he actually does, and then get into feelings free-for-all about what those words meant to him.

And Mel(Clint’s wife). I love you. I know I’ve never actually met you, and this might sound crazy, but I think you’re me? Or maybe you’re all moms. But you are incredible. Clint called you “badass,” and that’s just scratching the surface. You are the badassy-est badass that ever badassed. Please, never stop rocking your “ketchup is a vegetable” shirt.

Finally, this is about as accessible as it gets for us mid-life folk. Nonstop giggles over here, because I could identify with everything so hard. From the poop to the sex and the minivans, this book is a must read, especially if you’re in the crap storm years of child rearing.

I went misty eyed at least once during every chapter, because this is real marriage. This is real parenting. This is real life. And, BONUS! This is real funny!

On Wednesdays We Wear Face Masks

HEY MAMAS! When was the last time you took a minute to pamper yourself? I’ll wait…

If you’re like me, then you probably can’t remember. And this is the exact reason I started the Face Mask Wednesday movement.

Face Mask Wednesday started as a 2019 New Years Resolution for myself. As a stay at home mom to three small, and very feral, children, I don’t get a lot of “me time.” And the “me time” I do get, usually revolves around shoveling my kids’ leftovers into my mouth over the kitchen sink, and binging Netflix until I fall asleep on the couch.

And sure, that’s usually a jolly good time, but I wanted to take a minute to actually care for myself. I wanted it to be something I looked forward. It couldn’t be too strenuous, because, let’s face it, mama’s exhausted at the end of the day. *cue face masks* And Wednesdays, because my husband works late every Wednesday, which really allows for the night to be all about me. What I want to eat. What I want to watch on TV. What I want to smear all over my face.

The first couple Wednesdays were awesome. While having my mask on, I laid on the couch, and relaxed. That’s right, I RELAXED. And that’s when I thought, I bet a lot of other moms out there could really benefit from 15-20 minutes of self-care.

I started inviting other moms to join in on the face mask fun, and was so excited when they jumped right on board! Plus, it is so much more fun having a virtual spa day with all my lady loves!

Wednesdays aren’t just for midweek meltdowns anymore. The self-care, bonding with my mom squad, and a glass(or 2) of wine has transformed my Wednesdays into something I look forward to!

Tonight, or maybe next Wednesday, I hope you’ll participate in Face Mask Wednesday. And don’t forget to tag me, or hashtag with #FMW, for a chance to be featured in my IG stories!

Happy Face Mask Wednesday, everyone!

Shout out to some of my favorite face mask ladies!

Past, Present, and Future Mom

Past: This is the mom I was before I actually had kids.

Taught my kids to be respectful, by nurturing them, and staying home with them, so I could mold them into perfect human beings.

Took them on daily adventures to the park, where we had elaborate picnics. Went apple picking, and strawberry picking, and pumpkin picking. You get it, we picked all the produce.

Immediately lost all the baby weight I gained, because I didn’t gain baby weight. I was able to practice incredible self control during pregnancy, and only ate healthy options.

Maintained a rigorous workout regimen, and simply dropped the kids off at a babysitter’s house for the hour I spent, perfecting my already perfect body at the gym.

Romanced my husband regularly. Allotted plenty of alone time, including frequent date nights and couples vacations.

Present: My current state of motherhood.

Suck down coffee just to be able to formulate full sentences, and tolerate my children. Sip on wine at the end of the night to help me forget about the fact I called my kid a prima-donna to her face.

Consider it a win that I convinced my kids Karma is an invisible person who lives in our house, and causes them to trip on things when they’re mean.

Tuck my post baby belly into the flipped up band on my yoga pants. Just happy my mascara from five days ago is still hanging on for dear life. Eat white bread and gummy bears for an energy boost. Go for walks, not for exercise, but to take a break from the house.

Fall asleep on the couch watching Netflix, in the clothing I wore to bed the night before. Too tired to brush my teeth at night, let alone make sexual passes at my husband.

Can’t remember the last vacation I went on. Strongly considering going back to work for a break. Go to the grocery store for a big day out.

Future: The mom I foresee becoming.

Forgets how hard the early years of parenting were. Talks about how my kids always got along, and never once fought.

Doesn’t need coffee anymore, because I am reintroduced to sleeping at night. Drinks wine at dinner parties, because I go to those again.

My kids want to hang out with me, because they think I’m super funny, and we have an unexplainable bond, that is unable to be broken by the teenage years.

Exercises, not because I need to, but because I enjoy it, and learned to love myself regardless of what I see in the mirror. Gets hair professionally cut, colored, and styled. Buys makeup from a reliable company, not the dollar store.

Wears jeans.

A quiet, empty house allows my husband and me to rekindle our undeniable spark. Goes on elaborate vacations. Find each other again as empty nesters, and often reminisce of our happily ever after.

T1D: A Mother’s Perspective

“We need to go to the ER,” I quickly told my husband, who was just walking through the door from working night shift. I stood there, cradling our 21 month old son, who used to be a chubby little ball of energy, but now I could feel every bone in his tiny, lethargic body.

I knew he was sick weeks before this. He was throwing up, constantly crying, endlessly thirsty, and losing weight at a terrifying rate. I shared my concerns with friends and family, and they tried to ease my worries with, “He’s just going through a growth spurt.” Of course the people close to us didn’t want to believe something was wrong. I didn’t want to believe it either.

We took him to see our pediatrician. She told us to “keep an eye on it,” and set us up with an endocrinologist appointment for eight days later, because his symptoms pointed to diabetes. I don’t have to tell you what would have happened if we waited those eight days before seeking out medical attention on our own.

We were silent on the way to the hospital that day, except when I whispered, “Do you hope it’s diabetes and not cancer?” “Yes,” was my husbands hushed response. I didn’t understand enough about diabetes to know if it was worse or better than cancer, but now I know it’s just different all together. My whole body was buzzing with nerves, and my stomach kept tightening at the thought of my son being seriously ill.

When we walked through the emergency room doors, they took us into triage immediately. We rattled off his symptoms, and the nurse hastily grabbed a blood glucose meter and tested him. “His blood sugar is very high. They will take you back quickly.” Those words meant very little to us then. Now they mean everything to us.

Once we were taken back, the doctor came in to speak with us. He was calm, and said a lot of words and acronyms that we never heard before. It all felt like a blur, and I think we were both looking for some kind of confirmation. Through tears my husband stated, “Childhood cancer runs in my family.” The doctor gave us a direct answer, “No, he does not have cancer. Your son has type 1 diabetes.”

And then I sobbed. Just for a minute, but I let myself feel the wave of relief that he wasn’t terminally sick, and the suffocating fear of this diagnosis that I knew nothing about. That was the last time I cried over T1D.

The next week, we stayed in the hospital and learned everything we could possibly cram in about T1D and our new lifestyle. It was a lot, but I felt confident to take it on.

I know what you’re thinking, “They are going to take care of this little boy with everything they have, and he is going to be the center of their world, and everything is going to be just fine!” That’s true, but PLOT TWIST! At home we had two little girls. One was 2 years old, and the other 2 months.

There is already so much anxiety associated with having a newborn, and I had to leave her for an entire week, to care for our other baby who we almost lost.

And if I’m being totally honest, I was also struggling with postpartum depression. I had three kids under three, and I felt like I was drowning in the weight of keeping them all safe. I was throwing myself pity parties pretty much every day after the baby was born.

But when my son was diagnosed, something changed inside of me. I no longer had room to feel sorry for myself. My son needed me to literally keep him alive, with my full attention, 24 hours each day, with no breaks or vacation.

You’d think this would have tipped me over the edge of full blown depression. And, believe me, my mind has danced around the topic, but I didn’t let myself go there. It actually pulled me out of the baby blues fog, and gave my day-to-day life a clear purpose.

Sometimes I think back to those first few months, and honestly don’t know how I did it. He was just a baby, not even two yet, and we didn’t have any of the amazing technology we do now.

Nighttime terrified me. If I let myself, I could have allowed my anxiety to totally consume me. The thought of losing him in his sleep just wasn’t an option. So, for six straight months, every night was the same routine.

7pm – Put the two older kids to bed

7:30pm – The baby was still sleeping in our room, so I’d lay her down

8pm – Test my son’s blood sugar. Treat high/low if needed

10pm – Test again. Also, I’d set my phone alarm in two hour increments to test throughout the night.

10:30pm – I would go to bed, only to have the baby wake up to eat

12am – First alarm would go off, which would wake the baby. My husband would test our son, and I would console the baby

2am – Repeat 12am

4am – Repeat 12am

6am- Everyone would get up for the day

I was exhausted, which created a haze around those early months. I’m not so sure this was a terrible thing. It makes the scary nap time lows, our first stomach bug, and all the other negative memories fuzzy around the edges.

But one thing that stays crystal clear is how tough my little guy was through everything. Because of my anxiety over needing to know his blood sugar constantly, I was pricking his finger 15-25 times every single day. We were on a continuous rollercoaster, either low or high, and he’d just suck down another juice box, or accept another shot of insulin. Never complaining. Never crying.

Our diabetes management looks a lot different now. He wears a Dexcom G6 and an Omnipod, which means very few to almost no finger sticks and no more shots. My anxiety levels have dipped drastically, and I’ve even slept through the night a few times!

But there is a constant nagging in the back of my mind that never goes away, of all the “what ifs?” I’m on constant guard in case I need to diffuse an emergency, that could happen at any time or place. I am addicted to knowing his number, but being able to just glance at my phone and see it has created a peace in me.

Of course, it is easy to slip into a downward spiral of wishing life could go back to what it was before, but there is no point in dwelling. I made a decision immediately after diagnosis that I would take this on from a positive standpoint, and harness all the angry, worried, scared feelings, and use that momentum to bring awareness to type 1. And that’s when I decided to write about it.

I began blogging, and sharing our stories. Some are about T1D, others aren’t, but something incredible happened. I started forcing myself to take time to do something I loved, and it healed open emotional wounds I was carrying with me. And I’ll let you in on a little secret. I lure readers in by mostly writing humor pieces that appeal to the general public, but every Tuesday BAM! Type 1 Tuesday, and everybody’s getting an education on the disease that turned our world upside down.

Thinking of how far we’ve come makes me unbelievably proud. Each day, my son is able to enjoy his childhood, because I put the weight of the entire disease on me, and that’s fine, because I can handle it. I truly believe being a type 1 parent is not just doing what you have to do, it is realizing you’re capable of doing anything.

What Moms Really Want for Valentine’s Day

1. Moms want to go on a date. Give us some extra time to get ready. We’d like to soak in a bubble bath, with a wine glass in one hand, and our favorite slow jams playing in the background. Unless you’re like me, and neglect deep cleaning the tub. Then, it’s probably safer just to take a shower, and drink from a to-go cup.

2. We don’t want to be in charge of cooking anything. So, ordering food and watching a Rom Com from the comfort of our own home is another excellent option. And if we fall asleep on the couch during the first 20 minutes of the movie, we don’t want any judgement.

3. Let us sleep through the night. The whole way. No interruptions. Start to finish. Sun down to sun up. (Do I need to describe it any other way, or are we good here?)

4. Can a mom get like 90 minutes of solo Target browse time? We want to take our time in the Dollar Spot without any kids attached to us. Instead of talking down a tantruming toddler, because, “I NEED THIS LOL DOLL NOW,” we’d like to stroll through the Hearth & Hand collection at our leisure.

5. Finally, moms want to sit in our favorite spot, with a decent bottle of wine, and a heart shaped box, stuffed with assorted chocolates. And, just so we’re on the same page, we will drink that entire bottle, and eat every single piece of chocolate, in one sitting. Again, no judgement.

That’s it! It’s that easy! And we don’t need all 5 of these things, but maybe like 2 or 3. You’re welcome, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

10 Misconceptions About Type 1 Diabetes

People assume:

1. A T1D diagnosis was due to eating too much sugar. WRONG! T1D is an autoimmune disease, where the immune system attacks the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.

2. T1D can be cured with a change of diet. NOPE! That’s type 2 diabetes, and is completely different than type 1.

3. T1D can be cured at all. THERE IS NO CURE FOR TYPE 1! No oil, spice, diet, pill can cure type 1, so stop trying to sell us stuff!

4. Only overweight people are diagnosed with T1D. NO! “But he’s too skinny to have diabetes!” That’s because type 1 has nothing to do with lifestyle or eating habits. Only a super human immune system.

5. Only older people are diagnosed with T1D. NOT TRUE! “He’s too young to have diabetes!” Well, type 1 used to be called Juvenile diabetes, because it’s usually diagnosed in children. BUT they changed that because adults can be diagnosed, and “juvenile” leads people to believe they won’t have it when they transition into adulthood.

6. Eating sugar is a “no no” for T1D. HAHA! As long as the proper amount of insulin is given, there is no limit to the amount of sugar people with T1D can consume. Because, again, T1D has nothing to do with diet. Plus, we treat low blood sugar with sugar, so it literally saves T1Ds’ lives every day.

7. T1D is not life threatening. FALSE! Low blood sugars are extremely dangerous. We treat low blood sugars every single day. High blood sugars for an extended period of time are extremely dangerous. Illnesses are extremely dangerous. All of these things can be life threatening.

8. Blood sugar stabilizes at night. YEAH, RIGHT! We treat low and high blood sugars over night, pretty much every night. That equates to a lot of missed sleep, with no end in sight.

9. Carbs are the only thing that affect blood sugar. I WISH! Let me just run down a quick list of things that affect blood sugar: growth spurts, excitement, anger, exercise, hunger, weather, bad dreams, sickness, and the list continues on…

10. T1D can be controlled. THIS MAKES ME LAUGH OUT LOUD! There is no way to completely manage or control T1D. People always ask, “So you have everything under control now?” HAHAHAHA Sure, we do everything we can to “control” type 1, but there are so many variables, that it is impossible to achieve perfection.

There are too many misconceptions about type 1 diabetes, and that leads to hurtful jokes and feelings about diabetes. But don’t worry! That’s why you all have me to help educate about it!