Tuesday, June 15, 2010

But I Made Bacon & Eggs...

It's been a few weeks now.  I think I can sit back and write about this subject with a little more objectivity than I had at the time.  I think I can...at least with as much objectivity that living with diabetes allows.

We had state standardized testing spread out between 2 weeks of school in May.  This is probably nothing different than any other school, at least in our state.  Letters had come home to inform parents of the testing schedule.  They had some pretty big hints about not taking students out of school for any unnecessary reasons during these times.  Giving our kids some extra protein-enriched breakfasts was also going to be appreciated by the teachers.  Well...okay, I thought.  I can do that!

Middle C put in his order.  "Okay, mom, for the first morning before testing, I'd like eggs, bacon and toast!"

So, I did that.  It didn't throw too much of a wrench into our morning schedule.  Usually, my kids make their own breakfasts, consisting of cereal, toast or an English muffin.  But, hey, the direction was specific...more protein.  So I got up just a bit earlier, made the eggs, bacon and toast.  (Okay, I used pre-cooked bacon!...in fact, I probably will never cook bacon again.)  The kids were happy and tummies were full and off to school we went.

After I kissed and hugged them good-bye and did my usual stop at the health office, I crossed paths with C's 2nd grade teacher.  In a flurry, she told me that the class would be snacking during the testing time and to just let her know "what C can or can't have!"

"Well, I'll just have to come by the room before recess to see what the snack is and what we should bolus," I said.

Oh, no..."you're not allowed in the room while we're testing," she explained.  "It's not going to be at recess time.  The children will be allowed to eat as they take the test...they'll be grazing," she said with a smile.  She had done this for the last 16 years and felt that children did better and stayed calmer if they were allowed to eat during the test.  All the while, we were walking quickly to the lines of students, as the bell had already rung.  She rattled off several different snacks and added, "and so-and-so's mother is bringing in fresh fruit!  Isn't that lovely?"

Lovely?  Hardly.  What was happening here?!

The teacher had the stack of tests piled high in her arms.  I could tell she was in a hurry for our conversation over crackers and fruit to end.  "Just tell me what she can or cannot have and we'll be fine!"  UG!  I felt so not fine at the moment.

"Uh....hmmmm..." I didn't quite know what to do.  I raced into the classroom and saw all the different snacks that had been brought in.  Why I wasn't notified about this was beyond me.  It is even stated ever-so-clearly in C's 504 plan that "the parents (that's me) will be notified prior to any extra food offered in class for special events."

"What can she have?"  The room was filling with kids, scurrying around us. 

"Uh...she can have anything," I said.  "She just needs to test and bolus for it."  Why, at the end of May with just 3-4 weeks to go, I was needing to explain this basic type 1 fact again...ug.

I grabbed some animal crackers, checked the carb count, counted them out, found a paper cup and wrote the grams on it.  "There," I said.  "She can have these...no fruit though.  It's not here for me to see it and count it and feel comfortable about it.  (Uncomfortable about fruit?...yes.)  But she will need to test before and have the health aide work the pump for the bolus."

Well now, that did throw a wrench into the whole "calming, snacky-eating thing" for the entire class!  I was told that C could not be leaving the room to go down to the health office during the test.

"Hmmm," I said, "Can't the Health Aide come into the room to do it?"  I felt like I was asking for a small miracle.

Eventually, things got worked out by the end of the week.  The second half of the testing schedule went along much smoother.  But, sheesh!...it was pure craziness, I tell you.  Nearly at the end of the school year and I was still trying to explain C's diabetes management. 

As I drove home, I kept thinking to myself  But I made bacon and eggs.  I did just what they said to do.  Yep, I made my kids a big ol' breakfast.  Why does C need to snack on animal crackers, pretzels or whatever?  I made a big breakfast. 

In reality, I do know why C needs to snack on those yucky, dry, little animal crackers.  She needs to be just like all the other kids.  And we want her to feel normal...even with diabetes.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

5 Years.

Today marks 5 years since my breast cancer diagnosis! It seems like yesterday and yet, at the same time, it seems like forever ago...

As you can imagine, this date holds a lot of memories for me, both good and bad. And, as it approached, I knew I wanted to contact you with heartfelt gratitude for the role you played in cheering me on through the muck of it all.

I will never forget all the wonderful emails I received during those dark months. In fact, I've kept them all in a file, because some are just too precious to delete! I will never forget the gifts and meals that were brought to our home to lighten the load. I will never forget the anonymous, GIGANTIC basket full of goodies that was delivered to our doorstep before Thanksgiving! (I did finally figure out who sent it...hahaha!) I will never forget the phone calls, the flowers, the notes, the PRAYER that covered me and my family. I will never forget the dear friends who flew into town just to be with me...who came over just to rub my back when every inch of me was hurting from the chemo.

My sweet church family banded together and paid for several months of a housekeeper, so that I could rest comfortably in a clean home. Gift cards were given to us for restaurants so that we wouldn't have to think about meal preparation.

And, I will never forget the few special people who spent countless hours learning how to care for our little Claire who had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just a year and a half earlier...and then, they actually cared for her!...doing checks in the middle of the night so that Dan and I could rest.

Did I mention the friends who didn't say "call us if you need anything!"...instead, they actually called me..."have the kids ready by 9 am," they would say, "and they will be returned clean and ready for bed by 8 pm." No, I will never forget all of you.

It's been 5 years. Because this special date was coming up, I asked my oncologist about it at my last check in April. I asked her about the 5 year mark. When do we count the 5 year mark? Is it 5 years from diagnosis? 5 years from surgery? 5 years from the end of treatment? I was confused.

She told me that patients are always asking her that. And, medically it would be 5 years from the end of treatment, when bloodwork shows no evidence of disease.

"However," she said, "I think you should celebrate on June 8th."

: )

As I've contemplated this day, it dawned on me that my most sincere prayer has been and is being answered. I am here, raising my kids. Thank you, my dear Lord and my God!!

Claire was just 3 when I was diagnosed. Chase was 6. And Cole was 8. What a difference 5 years truly makes! We now have a teenager! Chase just turned 11. And Claire, the youngest is 8 years old.
I told my 11 year old that today is my anniversary. He looked puzzled. "Your wedding anniversary?" he asked. "I thought that's in July."

"Noooo," I said.

Without hesitation, he said, "oh, it's your breast cancer anniversary...your cancer-versary!"

"Yes. Yes, it is."

So that's what I'm doing. Celebrating. 5 years.