Embracing Life & the Child with the Disease

Archive for the ‘Thankful Thursdays’ Category

Thankful Thursday – Standing By

So, I take and pick the boys up every day from school.  Ethan’s school starts at 7:40 (Jay has been taking him at 7:15ish) and gets out at 2:20.  And Ryan and Aaron’s school starts at 9:15 and gets out at 3:55.  It is a pain sometimes and really breaks up the day but I’m at home and I can, so I do.

The car pick-up lines are easy-peasy here.  I’d say 95% of the middle schoolers ride the bus and about the same in the elementary.  So it’s not a long process.

At WWE, Ryan and Aaron’s school, the pick-up/drop-off is in the back of the school and there are two teachers that stand about eight car lengths apart, drop cones to sandwich those eight cars in while the kiddos get out/get in the car.   It’s a pretty fluid, safe process.

Tuesday at pick-up, I turned the corner to the back of the building and was about thirteen cars back, so I had to wait until the next group to pick up the boys.  While waiting, I noticed Ryan and Aaron waiting.  But I also noticed Mrs. S, Ryan’s teacher, right there too – standing right next to Ryan.  This was a bit confusing.

When the boys started out to the car, I rolled down the window and she came to me.  She explained that when he came in from getting his PDM (remote to his insulin pump) to take it home for the day, he looked a little tired and said he felt low.  She had him take his sugar and it was 190, NOT low.  But she said he was still acting low, so she decided to walk out with him to the car line knowing the two teachers “on duty” would be busy watching all the children and would not be able to focus on Ryan.  She continued that she worried that even though he was 190 that she thought he might be taking a dive and dropping too low too fast.  And simply said she just felt the need to walk out with him.

As emotional as I am these days, I struggled not to cry.  No where in the “protocol” does it require her to do this, it doesn’t even suggest it.  She just did it because she grew up with a sister who has Type 1 diabetes and she knows that numbers can sometimes be deceiving.  She has seen her pass out and have seizures from low blood sugars (which Ryan has never had either — thank the Lord!).  And she cares about Ryan enough that she just wasn’t willing to take the chance.

Ryan’s sugar when he got home, just 25 minutes later . . . 174.  So had she not been there, he would’ve been just fine.

But rather she chose to be the teacher of a type 1 diabetic just standing by.

And I love her.  And I am thankful.

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Thankful Thursday . . . 25 Things

Today I’m just going to list 25 Things I am thankful for today:

  1. My God who listens to this all too often wayward heart, hears my cries, meets my needs and protects my family.
  2. Jason.  My husband who loves me no matter what.  He is my best friend.  We dance through the minefields TOGETHER.
  3. Ethan, my joy, my taller-than-me 12-year-old who still texts me every day at lunch and kisses every morning when he gets out of the truck.
  4. Ryan, my miracle, my insulin-dependent brave child who does NOT let his body, the incessant numbers, get in the way of his being a little boy.
  5. Aaron, my bonus, who introduces himself as such who makes me laugh when I need it the most and loves nothing more than to cuddle under a blanket.
  6. My parents.  For their endless giving of unconditional love and their 40 year example of what a marriage is supposed to be through good times a bad.
  7. My sister.  For not just being my sister but also being my friend who listens, loves and laughs with me through the toughest of times.
  8. My in-laws.  For raising the love of my life and teaching him to be the hard-working provider, husband and dad that he is.
  9. My husbands siblings and their families who have from day one embraced me as a sister and longs to keep me in the loop no matter the distance between.
  10. My brother-in-law who loves and takes care of my sister and my nieces and keeps sending me invitations ever year to be part of his fantasy football league.
  11. My church for embracing us when we needed it the very most.
  12. My friends from my growing up years in Ft. Worth for standing beside me for 20+ years and showing a loyalty that I cannot comprehend.  You make me want to be a better friend.
  13. Rekindled friendships.  Just yesterday, I reconnected with a precious mom and just listened.  It’s good to know that friendships that begins on prayer lasts a lifetime (love you J.L.).
  14. For my Baltimore friends, my heart is always there with you.  Those who used to babysit me and saw the rotten p.k. I was and love me still as an adult.  You are the best.
  15. For facebook.  I know, really, facebook?  YES, it’s allowed me to keep in touch with those mentioned above those relationships that are vital to me now.
  16. For Ryan’s blood sugar average yesterday:  109 and 100% in range.  IT IS POSSIBLE.
  17. For the elementary school that Ryan and Aaron attend and the ministry of that front office, nurse, teachers, administration and secretaries.  I could NOT have done these last two years without you.
  18. For the VP at Ethan’s school who has creating a safe place and virtually hand-picked teachers for him this year that he might not only have a better year, but thrive in it.
  19. For adopted family, you know who you are, that I do not go to church with anymore but love me just the same.
  20. For forgiveness.  God’s and from loved ones and friends who love me in spite of my constant failures and shortcomings and allow me to be who I am, flaws and all.
  21. For my D-MOMS.  What in the world would I do without you?  The laughter, the empathy, the same-same . . . it is invaluable and a God-send for sure.
  22. For insulin pumps, in particular, for us, the OmniPod.  Technology that gives freedom, flexibility and tighter control so I might keep my Ryan happier and healthier.
  23. For a cooler day like today and rain in the forecast.
  24. For dark chocolate and white chocolate mocha lattes.
  25. For music that gives voice and words to my deepest feelings and touches my heart.
And the amazing thing . . . I could go on and on.  This list only took me about 10 minutes to write and there and there is plenty more to speak of.
Maybe I should do this every week . . . I feel good today.  I feel so blessed.  I have so much that I too often take for granted.
AND.I.AM.THANKFUL.

Thankful Thursday . . . Stolen Moments

I missed my Thankful Thursday day for yesterday because I just lost track of my days.  But I am going to share my THANKFUL on Friday because it’s a good thing to recognize the small blessings and this actually did happen on Thursday (yesterday) morning.

I went upstairs to wake the boys for school at 6:15a.  I am NOT a morning person.  I wish school started at 10a and went until 4p.  That would be perfect for this momma.  But I went up, eyes half-open, not even brushed my teeth yet and to my surprise, Ryan and Aaron were up, had brushed their teeth and were almost dressed.  I laughed and asked what was going on and Ryan said he set the alarm and got up at 6:00 pm their own.

I looked over at the bunk bed that sleeps three (full on the bottom and twin on the top) and Ethan had slept on the top bunk but at some point had crawled onto the bottom and was still sleeping.  He looked so warm and comfortable and cozy, I just couldn’t resist.  So I crawled into bed next to him and snuggled up and closed my eyes.

I felt eyes like a laser peering through my brain like a super power that made me feel weird, and I opened my eyes to see Aaron, who is NOT a morning person and has gotten progressively more sleepy though this first week of school, staring at me, coveting my cuddle with Ethan and so sad as if I was taunting him with my spontaneous morning rest.

It broke my heart.  I said, “Aaron, do you want to get back into bed.”  And in a cry-like voice he simply replied, “Yeahhh.”  I did what any mom would do, I lifted the covers, patted the bed, and motioned for him to come and cuddle.  His eye lit up and moved with grease-lightening speed and nuzzled in like a puppy with a new blanket.

My eyes shifted to Ryan who was perplexed for a moment and then said, “Can I come too?”  And I grinned and said, “Absolutely” pushing my oldest over who was a tad annoyed that his sleep was being interrupted (he doesn’t have to get up until 7ish, later school start time).

Me and My Blessings

And there we were.  All four in a full-size bed.  Lying there perfectly still with the lights on and our eyes closed.  And it was heaven.

After a few minutes, Ryan, my time conscious freak of a child said, “Mom, we’re going to be late.”

And we laid there for a few more.

The boys weren’t tardy for the school bell, but we were a little late in our morning process that hasn’t quite been nailed down yet this year.

It was just a few minutes.  It caused Ryan to leave without his pdm and his morning snack that I had to run back up to school, but it was worth it.  We had a moment.  A lazy one.  And it was stolen.  But it was precious.

AND.I.AM.THANKFUL.

Thankful Thursday . . . Vacation

It’s Thankful Thursday and today I want to share our vacation and the role that d played . . . and be thankful!!

Summer has been great for the Lederer family.  We have been swimming, gone on vacation to the most magnificent Gulf Shores, Alabama, we had a visit from family in Baltimore, we have laughed, been bike riding, played ball outside . . . it’s been relaxing and just simply good.

And d . . . it has actually cooperated.

The first two weeks after school was out were really, really tough.  Basal change galore with the change in schedule or summer’s lack thereof.  And it’s a slow process, changing one at a time and waiting three days before changing something else.  But it was worth it.  All good after adjustments were made.

Playing in the white sand (see his pod?)

And then we went on vacation.  I fretted a lot about blood sugars being crazy and out of control and had psyched myself up mentally for keeping a positive attitude and not letting it ruin our vacation.  And how did d behave on our seven-day venture to paradise?  P.E.R.F.E.C.T.L.Y.  I told Jason we were going to have to move to Gulf Shores.  His seven-day average 138.  His blood sugar was taken 77 times in that 7 days.  Eight of them were below range (10%).  Fourteen of them were above range (18%) leaving fifty-five IN RANGE (over 72%). But virtually perfect.  And what made it so perfect was that because of the continuous activity of the beach and swimming in the ocean, he was able to eat so freely, and I mean freely like PRE-dx!  God is good!

To spend time with him, I HAD to get in the ocean!

We only had one scary low.  The scariest low we have ever had.  It was Friday, our last day there.  We took lots of pics on the beach at 7:30a.  Beautiful morning, gorgeous.  Then we messed around the condo relaxing, laughing, enjoying each other.  Jason and I were so sleepy, wanting to take a little nap.  So we gave the boys strict instructions on the balcony (thankfully they were very heavy and hard to get open), put Ethan in charge and went to lie down for about 30 minutes.

We didn’t really sleep because the boys ending up in the bedroom playing around the bed.  😉  So we got up and decided to go down the beach.  I was in the bedroom getting my suit on and Jason opened the door, panicked and said, “He’s 46 and out of it.”  I threw my suit on and went out with Ryan, sprawled out in an over-stuffed chair, eyes open but not focused.  I rubbed his hand and called his name and there was little, almost no response.   Jason was grabbing a Capri Sun and an applesauce.  I was talking softly to Ryan, thinking this could be when he passes out, the first time.  As we were squeezing the Capri Sun in his mouth and instructing him to swallow, Jason said he walked into the room, looked at him and knew.  He asked him if he was okay and Ryan’s response was, “I don’t feel right and I don’t know what to do.”  He KNOWS what to do when he is low.  He was foggy and disoriented.  He was crashing.

Breakfast on the balcony with OmniPod

After the Capri Sun, we followed with the applesauce.  Overkill . . . maybe.  But at that point, waiting 15 minutes to test again was out of the question.  300 sounded better than a crashing 46.  He came up rather easily and in a very short time, he was looking better, speaking better.  He has no memory of telling Jason he didn’t know what to do and was actually a little offended by it like we were making it up.  He insisted he does know what to do.    After the scary was over and I had a chance to think, it was around two hours after eating lunch.  We went out to a restaurant and of course too many times, that involves guessing at the carbs on his plate.  I suppose I over estimated and he ran out of carbs before he ran out of insulin.  A little of the scary of the disease successfully averted.  A learning experience for sure.

And the pod, let me rave about the OmniPod system!!

On Friday before we left, we did a pod change.

For those you who don’t know, the pod is a disposable pump mechanism that is changed every three days.  He’s a boy.  And sometimes it gets knocked off prematurely.  Sometimes it alarms and errors out and we have to do a change early but this instance is usually very rare and OmniPod does replace these alarmed pods for free!

So, back to the pod changes on vacation.  We changed his pod on Friday before we left.  I fully anticipated with the body surfing, playing in the sand, the exposed pod with no clothing over it, the salt water that we would be doing a lot of pod changes.  I had ten pods with me and about four different kinds of medical tape/adhesive to reinforce if necessary.  I was OVER-PREPARED if that is even possible with diabetes.

And our pod changes went like this:

  • Friday before we left.
  • Monday afternoon. (day 3)
  • Thursday afternoon. (day 3)
  • Sunday afternoon as we were mourning not being on the beach with vacation over. (day 3)

Feeling a bit low so he had a little snack (we didn't even check his sugar!)

No extra adhesive was needed – not one time!  No pulling problems.  No knocking it off boogie boarding.  No loose adhesive.  IT.WAS.PERFECT.

But it’s been awesome.  And to follow it up, his mid-July A1C was 6.6!   Woo Hoo!  Could not have been better.

So today, even though vacation is over and school is just around the corner, I am thankful for such a wonderful d summer, especially vacation.  It has been a glimmer of hope even on the days that have been hard in the last week.  And Ryan will never forget it!

AND.I.AM.THANKFUL.

My VERY happy Boy!

Thankful Thursday…D-dad

In the DOC (diabetes online community) and particularly in my immediate sphere of influence, so much emphasis is placed on the d-mom. Simply because of the natural dynamics in a family, and because of our nurturing nature, we tend to often be the primary d-caregiver. That is NOT to minimize the role of dads in any way, shape or form. We mommas are helicopters, hovering over ALL our children, and often that hovering nature becomes bionically heightened when a child is sick or living with a 24/7 maintenance disease. If I were completely honest, I would have to say that it’s simply a matter of control (but who wants to be THAT honest?).

But today, because of circumstances just this week, because I found myself taking advantage of his PRESENCE in our family, I find it simply fitting to not only be thankful for the d-dad in our family, but also to brag on him for a bit.

For my readers who don’t “know” him, his name is Jason.

From our suite at the Westin

We have been married for 13 years. I am totally and completely in love with this man.  He tolerates my moods, manages my high maintenance personality and has a dry, super sense of humor.  He even planned a weekend away at the Westin at the Galleria when I was stressed about a million things and needed a break.  He purse shopped with me all day and actually picked out and bought a pink Coach purse for me at weekends-end.  He is a keeper. He is a Service Director at the largest VW dealership in North Texas. He is a worker. I do not say that lightly.  And in the car business, he is honest and ETHICAL, which through the years has forced him to take the harder road, but God has blessed him for his integrity. Jason has always been an amazing daddy.  On a regular basis my biggest complaint/gripe about Jason is that he gets the boys all riled up and out of control with the playing . . . like having a fourth oldest boy that I often end up mothering/disciplining. He’s the one who kicks three soccer balls over the fence hitting a neighbor’s house. He is the one that throws something in the living room and breaks a picture frame. He is the one goofing off upstairs and gets the boys giggling out of control when he was supposed to go and pray with the them because it’s bedtime. He loves to goof off with them, wrestle with them, talk to them, play with them. He is ever-present in their lives. But something often overlooked and missed is Jason’s role as a D-dad.

The dynamics of our home is traditional. He is the bread-winner. I am an at-home wife and mom. He has worked his way through and up the dealership chain from nearly the bottom up through management. I have a college degree. But even if I was utilizing my degree, I could never provide like he does. And he doesn’t have a passion for his job. He isn’t doing what he loves, like the professionals say to do, “Find a career doing what you love.” Ha! He has sarcastically chuckled to himself just now reading that. But he does what he does to provide. And he gives it his best.

Before he got his promotion and new office

And why do I mention the above?  Because it matters as a d-dad in our family.  That job that he is thankful for but does not necessarily love, the job that requires 60+ hours a week, the job that is exhausting and constantly full of upset customers and fixing  problems . . . provides AMAZING INSURANCE. Now, granted, we pay a good chunk for it. But it allows us to provide diabetes supplies for Ryan at a fraction of the cost, no financial strain, no big sacrifice. And that alone is worthy of Thankful Thursday. But Jason is much more than a provider. He is a partner in this d-care.

There are moms that I know, single moms, that do this life alone.  The sole parent actively engaged in d-care. For you (and I would list the ones I know but I know I would leave someone out), I applaud you. My heart goes out to you. I honestly pray for you. You are a hero by definition. It’s exhausting at best with counting carbs for EVERY bite and the night checks and the
sickness and supplies, etc. And ALL of you that I know have other children, non-d children as well and you are ALL amazing. And I also know moms that are married, but still do the d-care alone, for various reasons.  You have my heart and prayers as well.  Much love and hugs to you all.

Treating a night time low - GoGurt

But I am thankful for a husband that doesn’t just go to work 11 hours a day and come home and feel his job is done. Thankful for a husband who takes a pod change when he’s at home to do one. Thankful for a husband who one year and seven months into dx, he still wears a blue JDRF jelly bracelet every day for Ryan.  Thankful for a husband that gets up and does a night check when I’m exhausted when basals are off or the day is off or diabetes is just being the beast that it is. I’m thankful to have a husband who listens to me talk basal changes or ratio changes out loud to make sure I’m making correct changes, or will talk through an inexplicable high or low to help me figure out what in the world is going on and comfort me when there is no explanation. I’m thankful for a husband who is patient and listens . . . holds me when I’m tired of it all . . . or when my heart breaks because Ryan is tired of it all . . . or when someone says something not so sensitive that again reminds me that MY child, OUR child is diseased.  I am thankful that I don’t have to do all of this alone.

Jason, I love you. You are an amazing d-dad. And I wouldn’t change a thing about you. I am blessed.

AND.I.AM.THANKFUL.

. . . And he's OURS!

Thankful Thursday . . . Time

WOW . . . it’s been a whole week since I’ve blogged.  I’ve thought about it.  I’ve even swirled a few ideas for a post or two around in my head.  But see, I just haven’t taken the TIME . . . which leads me to my “thankful” for this Thursday ~ Time with my boys!

Last Thursday was the last day of school.  I attended Ethan’s final assembly, where he received honors for A-B Honor Roll (hate how the school does it; he had all As for both semester and final averages, but one B for one six-weeks in two separate classes, but I was VERY proud nevertheless).   Then I rushed over to the elementary school for Aaron’s Kindergarten Graduation.  NO MORE BABIES IN MY HOUSE!  Next year will be 1st grade, 2nd grade and 6th grade.  But it was a busy day full of last day activities. 

And Friday began our summer. 

I LOVE SUMMER.  I’m so cold natured.  I don’t mind 100 degree weather and it’s typically pretty dry here, little humidity.  I love to hang at the pool and do things with the boys. 

We live in a neighborhood that has a large community pool, three playgrounds (if you count the school’s) and a rather large bike/walk trail.   And we make good use out of all three, especially these last seven days. 

Our bike trail

During my blog absence, we have spent days at the pool and done a lot of bike riding.  On Sunday, we rode out bikes the length of the trail to a main thoroughfare street, got off our bikes and walked across the six lane road and ended up at Yogurt Cup!  The boys had a blast.  It was so much fun to think they could ride their bikes to somewhere fun for a treat.  On Tuesday, the boys wanted to ride again.  But this time, they wanted to ride to the pool (roughly about 3/4 to a mile away).  We could ride the bike trails right up to the gate. So, we did.  And that very night, Aaron passed his swim test!  So now all three of them can swim in the pool without the aid of a life-jacket!  (This is a big deal in our house!)

I think they are more excited about the candles than I am!

This past weekend was also my birthday.  Birthdays are a BIG DEAL to the boys, especially to my baby, Aaron.  He woke me up at 6:30AM on my birthday to wish me a happy birthday and lifted the covers and said, “I want to get in bed with the birthday girl!”  And then thought it was playtime on the first day school was out!  But birthdays are important here.  The boys made sure that mom made me a birthday cake (not that she wouldn’t have on her own) becuase I am usually the one who makes the cakes.  They had Jason take them to the store to buy me a gift(s) just from them (which I will blog about probably tomororw).  And they made sure that I had candles on my cake to blow out while they sang to me.  They celebrated me, unselfishly. 

And when Kidd scores, Aaron yells, "I scored, I scored!" Goof-ball!!!

The Dallas Mavericks have been in the NBA Finals this past week too!  And boy is it big stuff in this house.  Ethan has really gotten in to basketball this past year.  Secret:  I’m not crazy about basketball.   I don’t understand and get frustrated often with the gray area of the foul rules.  And it just is something that I just don’t care for very much . . . until now.  Since they are so in to it, I have found my self trying to learn and look forward to the games.  I bought us all Mavs shirts.  We all five sit down to watch every game, we might be an hour or so delayed because of outside activity and the wonderful invention of the dvr, but we all watch.  Ryan and Aaron often watch until they fall asleep on the couch and then watch the rest of it in the morning!  😉  But it’s good quality family sports watching time . . . and it’s not even football season! 

But all in all.  I am thankful for the Quality Family Time we have had over the last seven days.

And the question you’ve all been waiting for . . . Has D interrupted?  Absolutely.  

After about two hours of swimming, I hear a quiet voice say, “Mom, I need to check my sugar.”  And the beeps reveal a 55.  But you know what that did?  It gave Ryan and me some quality conversation time sitting on the white pool recliners while he downed a box of yogurt coated raisins.  He giggled while he watched Aaron try to dive for sticks with a life-jacket on (pre-swim test completion).  He sat in the lounger next to me and tucked his hands behind his head and smiled with that single dimple showing while waiting for his sugar to rise.  When he hit a little over  100, he ate a Starburst for good measure and took off to swim again.  Not a moment of frustration with the waiting.  Not.one.bit.

While bike riding, I look back and see Ryan straggling way behind.  I see Jason slow almost to stop, let Ryan catch up and yell, “Gonna do a sugar check!”  Yep, 72.  Too low to finish the ride safely.  So we all circled back for a water break while Ryan had some squeezable applesauce.  Ethan was being his loud and obnoxious 11-year-old self flicking water at Jason picking a fight and Aaron was doing his normal entertaining.   And I got a moments rest for my out-of-shape self!  Again, not a single complaint . . . from anyone. 

It’s just become a part of who we are, a part of family time, the black bag and sugar checks.  We do it without a second thought.  Not every bike ride or every swim results in a low or even in a high.  Sometimes, when the planets are all aligned right, we have that perfect activity numbers day.  And I do a silent d-momma dance in my head (because my real dancing isn’t so pretty).  But when d does it’s best to interrupt, we tend to all take it in stride. 

I love my boys.  I love our time together.  I love that Jason is willing to do all this physical activity when I know he’d love to come home after a 12 hour day and fall asleep on the couch.  I love that more than anything in the world, the boys love to do stuff together just the five of us. 

And today, this Thankful Thursday, that is what I am most thankful for . . . TIME . . . FAMILY TIME while dragging d along with us! 

I.AM.THANKFUL.

The Lederer5

Thankful Thursday . . . D-Sibs

It’s Thursday and today I am thankful for D-siblings.  

One year, five months, two weeks and two days ago (Ryan’s dx date), I was not only concerned about how I was going to manage diabetes and the daunting, 24/7 task of taking care of a diabetic child, but I was also majorly concerned about the effects the diagnosis would have on two others . . . Ryan’s older brother, Ethan and younger brother, Aaron.  That day, I became a d-mom and they became d-siblings. 

We often use the term d-mom, d-dad, d-parents and even d-wife, but I don’t know that I have ever said or written the term “d-sib” before.  But too often, they are the most overlooked kind.  And they don’t deserve that. Nope, not.at.all.

I think d-sibs are the unsung heroes of our d-families.  And I want to share a little about Ryan’s d-sibs, as I have done so many times before. 

Ryan's Little D-sib

Aaron.  He was 4-1/2 when Ryan was dx’d.  He is and has always been my sweet-tooth child.  LOVES candy.  LOVES cake.  LOVES sugar.  One of his favorite things is the little bag of powdered donuts.  He has the negotiating power of a seasoned lawyer when it come to asking for candy or that “one more piece.”  And a grin will melt your heart.  Rotten to the core, but just a big, chubby bundle of cuddle.  He possesses a crazy sense of humor with impeccable timing.  Kinda like a mini Chris Farley, sorta.  He stands looking at himself in the mirror when I’m gel-ing up his hair and makes faces at himself, like he’s practicing.  I’ve heard that’s what Jim Carrey used to do.  He’s just a big ball of fun who will do anything for a laugh.

I literally feared coming home from the hospital to Aaron.  I worried that the change in lifestyle and diet and food habits would muster up some really negative feelings with Aaron and cause him to really be angry with me, change his personality and even resent Ryan.  I wept in the hospital even thinking about it.  How do you explain to a four-year-old that things are going to have to change and it’s not Ryan’s fault.  I worried about the raw honesty that might surface.  I was just scared about how it would change him.

None of those things that I feared came true.  Not one.  I packed all the candy (we did have quite a bit lying around in plain sight, it was Christmas-time!) and put it in a white plastic 12in x 18in tub and put it on the top shelf of the pantry.  No complaints.  No begging.  Nothing.  One of the first times we went grocery shopping after Ryan went back to school, Aaron saw that bag of powdered donuts and asked, “Does Ryan have enough carbs for that?”  Biting my bottom lip, I said, “No.”  And he just said, “Ok.”  He willingly submitted to only eating at allotted snack times.  It was easy.  Whenever Ryan ate, Aaron ate and they ate the same thing.  And it was all ok.  And for a very long time, his compliance would make me cry.  But now, it makes me swell with pride.  He surprised me and makes me proud, so proud.

Facial Expression Mastered

And the humor with Aaron definitely was a difference-maker as well.  I remember vividly, just a few days, maybe a week or so after coming home from the hospital, we were all sitting at the dinner table.  Ryan was struggling because he wanted more to eat (oh the days of constant carbing!) and I was trying to get him to eat a “free”.  Meal times were so hard in those early days.  Ryan’s appetite pre-dx had gotten so out of control and he was eating so much that cutting back to a normal portion size for a 5-year-old was very hard, not to mention the psychological toll all the carb counting and food monitoring takes at the beginning.  He was getting a little hysterical.  I was trying to be calm and comfort him with other foods.  He was debating/pleading for more.  Jason tried to reason with him to no avail.  Ethan, God love him, even did his best.  Ryan was crying and I, by that time, had tears streaming down my face and was at the point of totally losing it . . .

Then, all of a sudden, Aaron jumped out of his seat and took off running, full-force, out of the kitchen, into the living room (where we could still see him) and without slowing down a bit, slammed his whole body into the wall.  He hit so hard, holding nothing back, that he catapulted backwards, flat on the floor.  I screamed & covered my eyes and the other three just froze dead in their tracks staring at Aaron, who quickly sat up and turned to the table to see our reactions with a big Joker-like grin plastered on his face.  Jason, Ethan and Ryan busted out in uncontrollable laughter.  I, on the other hand, nearly had a nervous breakdown right then and there.  And while I was trying to wrap my brain around what had just happened, Aaron was pleased he got a laugh and stood up, backed up and ran at the wall again . . . and again . . . each time getting more laughter.  Although the little episode about did me in, it was like he knew emotions were reaching a peak and he had to do something to break the tension, so at his bodily expense, he created laughter. 

Ryan's Big D-sib

Ethan.  He was 10 when Ryan was diagnosed.  From the moment we received word at the pediatricians office, he stepped up and has been amazing.  All I know about those moments from the pediatricians office to picking up Jason at work (to head to Children’s Hospital), Ethan was my rock.  He talked to Ryan when all I could do was weep.  He calmed me down and did a hard reset (pulling the battery) on my phone when it locked up when I was trying to call Jason to tell him the news.  When I hung up the phone with Jason weeping so hard that I barely see where I was driving, he reached over from the passenger seat and quietly said, “Mom, he’s going to be okay.”  A rock, I tell you, a rock. 

In those early hours, he swore he’d never celebrate another Halloween because he would NOT do it without Ryan (of course, not fully understanding that we can do all those things still).  He whipped out a syringe in those early days, pinched up his stomach and stuck himself with the needle (with plunger pulled out) when Ryan was struggling with having to take another shot and said, “See, Ryan, I took a shot with you.”  This 10-year-old volunteered to learn how to count carbs, understand ratios, take sugar, understand good ranges and use an insulin pen to take care of Ryan so they could go places together without me being there (i.e. church activities, sitters, friends house, etc).  He chose to start sleeping with Ryan again at night & abandon the privacy of his big boy room because it made us feel better, Ryan feel better and him feel better too.  He runs to get the juice from fridge outside when numbers are low, takes Ryan out for bike rides and/or kicks the soccer ball around for intense exercise when the numbers are high and celebrates when they are in range.  He is the one that just today (6/1) texted me during his lunch at school with three words, “HOWS RYS SUG” (why he always texts in all caps I have no idea!).  What makes an 11-year-old so acutely aware that his numbers have been mimicking a yo-yo the last three days, aware enough to text in the middle of his day?

Ethan running the last leg of the JDRF Walk . . . this pic says it all!

He’s protective.  He’s smart as a whip.  He’s attentive.  And you know what makes that all wonderful.  Ryan notices and appreciates Ethan.  In the relatively recent past, we had some major issues with Ryan’s care while Jason and I were away from him.  Ethan was there to oversee Ryan’s care, but he obviously was not the adult in charge.  When things went wrong, Ethan stepped in and took control as much as he was able in the presence of an adult who simply did not “get it.”  When Jason, Ethan and I were discussing the situation at home and trying to figure out what went wrong and assuring Ethan he did nothing wrong and how proud we were, Ryan came bouncing in and said, “All I know is I’m glad I have a big brother who knows what to do and how to take care of me!” 

Seriously, one of my proudest moments as a mom . . . EVER.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Ryan is amazingly strong, courageous, brave and brilliantly smart and mature way beyond his years.  There is much to brag about regarding that amazing boy. 

So Very Thankful

But what I love about my boys is that diabetes has not hurt them.  It’s only made them stronger.  It’s made them depend on one another.  It’s made them appreciate each other and work together.  Each contributes to the brotherhood.  Each matter equally. 

My cup runneth over. 

And as for Ethan and Aaron . . . D-sibs . . .

I.AM.THANKFUL.