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Tuesday
Nov062012

The Catchall

I'm just going to dive in and write about the status of a few things. Don't look for clever segues, thoughtful prose, or well-written anything. Expect non sequiturs. Disclaimer finished.

Personal

  1. Duke is doing well living with diabetes. He's entered the honeymoon period which means he's coasting on less insulin. We don't know how long that will last, but it's allowing him to catch his breath. He joined his brother Parke and me in a meeting with an insulin pump rep. Parke's ready for a new pump and Duke thinks he'd like to try one. Next week, Duke will wear a saline pump for a few days. It's the best way to see if he'd prefer a pump delivery system to injections. Everything's under control!
  2. A skin biopsy in August revealed that I have a basal cell carcinoma on my left nostril. I was scheduled for Mohs surgery, but after the surgeon used the word "disfigured" while explaining that the nostril is difficult to "reconstruct", we went to Plan B. He removed a layer of skin, then I began a 6-week course of Aldara (imiquimod) -- a topical chemo-like cream. I'm over halfway there. The side effects of the cream result in red, swelling, oozy, scabby skin. But, no surgery and no disfiguring scars. Use your sunscreen, kids.
  3. Twenty-three! My husband and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary on November 4th. We rarely have an unblocked layup when it comes to ticking off years, but we seem to always hit the jump shot. We're good at keeping the game exciting.

Writing

  1. A piece I wrote for LDS Living in early October -- "Why Relief Society Should Run for President" -- was very popular. You can read all of my "To Mormon" pieces here.
  2. The past few months, I've contributed short articles to the American Fork Citizen, an online newspaper.
  3. A producer from a local television show -- Studio 5 -- contacted me about appearing on a segment that discusses the LDS member/nonmember divide. She and a cameraman were here earlier this week. I'm not sure how the segment will end up, and I feel nervous about the editing process, but I'll be on the show Friday, November 16, at 11:00 AM on KSL 5. (My left nostril will be there, too.)

Dork Alert ... or ... A New Drinking Game

I attended the LDS Booksellers Association convention in August. With very little notice, authors were asked to create a YouTube video in an effort to pitch books to the end-user. Speaking directly into a camera (while pretending a potential book-purchaser is listening to your shameless plug) is not as easy as people on the evening news make it look. Especially without a teleprompter.

If you choose to play, take one drink every time I say "community." For the daring, take a shot every time I say "people." (TIP: Have your beverages ready near the middle.)

Sunday
Sep092012

The Taco Bell Guy, The Mountain Goat, and A Birthday

Duke is adjusting as well as possible to living with diabetes. He's not complained once, although occasionally I see sadness and heaviness on his face. I can give him that. People have expressed their sympathy and encouraged Duke and our family. We're thankful for every kind word and thought. Little things like reassuring smiles, and eyes that convey just the right amount of sympathy have not gone unnoticed.

Last week I hung out near the boys' school so I could help Duke with his diabetes management; I intend to continue this routine for a while. He's not quite ready to fly solo. After helping Duke with his lunch, I drove to Taco Bell and ate a Bean Burrito almost every day. With a cup of water, my meal totaled $1.28. The cost alone gave me tremendous satisfaction, plus I love Taco Bell Bean Burritos.

After seeing me in the drive-through on the third day, the young Taco Bell guy offered to give me a larger cup of water. "Would you like more water today?" he asked. I told him that would be wonderful, that the burrito always leaves me feeling thirsty. He gave me a regular fountain drink cup--not the small, flimsy plastic cup typically provided for water freeloaders.

I revisited and soaked in that simple act of kindness and thoughtfulness. It was a bizarre moment to find such an effective and comforting antidote for the week's chaos and stress. But I took it.

Then there was the mountain goat.

I haven't exercised in a few weeks, so I forced myself to grab some fresh air and a hike Saturday morning. At one point on the trail I looked up, and no more than 15 feet above me stood a large mountain goat. Perched on...nothing. I couldn't imagine how she navigated the sheer cliffs, but there she calmly stood, appearing almost fake as she looked at me and I at her. She was placid and remained standing on nothing for longer than I cared to watch. I continued my hike, but like the Taco Bell guy, the mountain goat gave me a gift.

That goat seemed to simply "be". She epitomized it.

The Taco Bell guy = be kind. The mountain goat = be. Two spaces I aim to occupy with joy and peace, illustrated beautifully.

**********

And to cap off this week, September 9th is Redmond's 7th birthday! I have permission from the on-screen talent to share the following video clip. Parke and Duke meet their brother, Redmond, for the first time on September 9, 2005.

Thursday
Aug302012

Duke

Many of you know that our oldest son, Parke (14), has type 1 diabetes. He was diagnosed when he was five-years-old. Our middle son, Duke, entered a clinical trial six years ago after a blood test revealed the presence of autoantibodies that were predictive of the development of type 1.

Duke has willingly participated in semi-annual monitoring, collected $50 from the TrialNet research fund, and surprised a doctor or two by remaining diabetes-free, while other kids sadly had to leave the study upon diagnosis. A few high blood sugars over the years alarmed us. This is it. Diabetes is here. Duke's numbers would resolve and a happy holding pattern resumed.

Call me naive, but I believed Duke was a pancreatic anomaly. They call it practicing medicine for a reason, I snickered to myself. He's been in the study longer than any other child; predictive autoantibodies are not a disease.

On Monday, August 27th, Duke was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

It goes without saying that we're sad, and it also goes without saying that worse things could happen. Duke has watched a brother live with type 1 diabetes for almost ten years. Observing a medical routine, even with a backstage pass, is different than having the disease yourself. Duke's drinking through a fire hose as he learns how to carb count, what the difference is between Lantus and Novolog, how the timing of each drug works, and...how to give himself injections.

A nurse we hadn't worked with prior was educating Duke on Monday. Because Chris and I are experienced parents of a diabetic child, we were able to avoid a hospital stay and manage insulin dose tweaking at home. But Duke needed to begin learning about his self-care immediately. Although he didn't feel great, he felt well enough to plow through a lot of information that day, knowing he'd have to return later in the week.

The last lesson of our very long day was how to inject. The nurse gave Duke a handbook, Diabetes Basics for Kids, Teens, Parents, Families--Things you need to know and do in the first few days after a diagnosis. She turned to page 20, a section titled How to use an insulin pen.

That boy in the book is Duke's brother, Parke. Four years ago Parke modeled for some educational materials. I'd forgotten. So had Duke. We all had.

We got through the lesson. Even the nurse was moved and cried.

I gave Duke his shots for the first few days--seven a day for those who are curious. I don't share that to be dramatic. Some people are simply curious.

August 30th, Duke and I returned to the Primary Children's Diabetes Clinic where he successfully gave himself his first shot. He's got over half a dozen under his belt as of this writing. Literally.

August 30th is also Duke's birthday. He turned turned 13-years-old.

We had a small family celebration for Duke. He requested a Baskin-Robbins Oreo Cookie Ice Cream Cake and enjoyed a huge piece. He then had an insulin reaction and was able to drink some of the Mexican Coca-Cola he asked for and received as a birthday gift...long story.

Duke is hanging tough. He brushes against sadness; his father and I brush against worry. But for the most part, tenacity, gratitude for life's good and healthy parts, and the desire to move forward in a strong and positive way...are the attributes we're embracing.

And? If someone would have told me 20 years ago that I'd be the mother of TWO teenage boys someday...I would have laughed. I was supposed to have girls.

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