tumblr page counter
HOME about press book archives+categories contact Chrisy Ross on twitter Chrisy Ross on facebook subscribe by RSS subscribe by email
buy the book
To Mormons, With Love
buy the book
buy now buy now buy now
buy the ebook
iBook Kindle Nook
Chrisy Ross on twitter

Entries in diabetes (4)


Sheepdogs and Celiac Disease

Mary, our beloved Miniature Schnauzer, died in March. We knew we'd eventually get another dog, but Chris and I told our sons it was important to grieve Mary. We assured the boys that this summer -- after a few trips and events that required our full attention -- we would get a puppy. Probably.

We hit the promised sweet spot. Boys wanted a large breed; my stipulation was a non-shedder. Our research led us to the decision to add an Old English Sheepdog to our family. I insisted on a female because leg-lifters and humpers are worse (in my mind) than shedders...or reptiles.

A beautiful female was available mid to late summer, exactly when we were. A puppy seeker in California was interested in her, too (so the breeder told me). We needed to make a decision fast. One other pup was still available in the litter -- a male -- described as "chill" and "laid-back." I asked if something was wrong with him. Was he skittish? The breeder said no.

I'm not sure how the holes of the Swiss cheese lined up, but somehow Chris and I decided we were open to purchasing both puppies. "Let's ask the boys," I said to Chris. "They're pragmatic. Maybe two puppies won't appeal to them."

I'm an idiot.


Earlier in the summer, Duke (13YO) transitioned to an insulin pump to manage his diabetes. With the support and encouragement of his older brother, Parke (15YO) -- who uses the same pump, Duke quickly adapted. He loves it. No more shots (or very rarely), and much easier to enjoy food spontaneously.

Both boys had diabetes-related routine blood work done, as well. We were informed while on vacation in Arizona in early July, that a celiac disease screening came back elevated for Duke. Biopsies of his stomach and small intestine were completed within a few days of our return to Utah. Duke was asleep for the procedure. They went through his mouth to get the tissues, so other than a sore throat and anesthesia recovery, he felt fine the next day. Results took close to two weeks.


A couple of days after receiving our precious puppies, we received news that our precious Duke was diagnosed with celiac disease. We cried, but not for long. The tears were less about saying farewell to conventional pizza, pancakes, and cupcakes, but more about the fact that there's one more thing Duke must manage...for life. But again, we wiped our eyes and blew our noses, found a couple of outstanding gluten-free bakeries, and celebrated the fact that there are many delicious, nutritious foods that aren't glutinous. And, the fact that there are worse diagnoses.

So, here we are. Puppies, John and Birdie (nickname for Elizabeth), are more joy and work than we imagined. Their energy, size, and innocent personalities have captured the focus and hearts of our entire family. The five of us feel victorious and fulfilled after a day caring for the brother and sister sheepdogs. We're united...and distracted.

Life is so much more than pizza and cupcakes.

While searching for and eliminating hidden gluten, I left the refrigerator door open as I read labels. Birdie helped. We felt happy.




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.


  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.


  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.)


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.