Something like a Duck

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's not a cat

Accidentally On Purpose.

This whole life has caught me off guard. The wife thing, the mom thing, the diabetes and disease thing… One day, looooooong ago (emphASSis on the long), I was a fair maiden in a far away land. I was young and inspired and oblivious to reality. I had aspirations and motivation.

But marriage and children cleared those symptoms right up.

I want to remember myself as anything but innately maternal. I want to sell this story like any other’s…I was a young chirpy cheerleader with late nights around bonfires and football games and prom.  I graduated high school to claim my “Pass Go – Collect Cancun Summer Cruise and Proceed to College” ticket.  That I was never in want of responsibility; and that I never proved to be…

Alas, I cannot. I was, in fact, the town babysitter. I taught Sunday school classes with my mother. I was in charge of the little ones when I was but a little one. Control has been the birthmark on my lily white butt cheek since birth.  It’s not to imply that I was not young and capricious with many an error made. I have no halo, but I have no horns either.

When I was very young and still living in Miami, my mother ran a daycare out of our home. I was 8 years old and could change a baby, entertain a gaggle of toddlers, and help make ‘psssgetti.’ My high school sweetheart had a niece and nephew that I fancied as the first of my ‘children.’ I was always taking care of someone somehow.

But must I? Really?

Yes. It is the only answer that will suffice. I long for all the luxuries of Sanity, but I need  this Chaos of Caring .

Ugh. Being nice is hard.

It’s mostly only on days that end in ‘y’ that I am so conflicted…normally right after I see my young, single, childless neighbor jogging with far too much enthusiasm and far too little cellulite. I wonder how pretty her face is in the morning without the furrowed brow a scary midnight low brings? Would she run as easily if her head ached with the worry of her over-worked husband and fragile marriage? Could she smile just as nicely when a small human cannon-balled onto her pert chest? How energetic would a day’s worth of specialists and medicines and machinery leave her?

It’s not that I don’t think she exists without challenges. I know that she must have a hiccup in her day that ripples the water. It is impossible to live both a FULL life and an EASY life. But I just wonder how probable it is that they are colored my same shade of crazy.

Does it matter? No. It really should not. I should be humane enough to understand that comparing an apple to an orange is futile work for the ungrateful. I should be happy I’m a fruit (don’t agree too fervently there), that I have such a bundle of it, and that even if mine is a little bruised or beaten or a different shade (Hell, with three boys you know one of them has worms!)

I am still the bearer of a beautiful harvest.

I worry about the days I miss out on finding who I am. What will come of my life if I cannot know to whom it belongs?

But, then I realize that who I am is about who and how I have loved. My life belongs to those I nurture and grow along my branches. A pity for those who I’ve had to shake the sh*t out of and drop, but HIP HIP HOORAY! for those I keep. I nurture their existence because I understand that it is their being that allows for mine.

We often hope for lives that entertain our vanity and wants, needing for both the tree and fruit to bear itself to feed our self.

Hard times often are the most convincing to believe we give without having received. How silly to believe the fruit did not fall a terrible height so that it could become the tree! How silly to think the tree did not fight the force of the wind to stand tall enough to bloom the hopeful seed!

It happens to us so suddenly. A fear. An angst. A doubt. We accidentally fall over ourselves so that we can be reminded of our purpose. Someone somewhere loved you and gave you a want or a dream or a goal. They gave you a gift. Your purpose? Return the favor.

Someday, my neighbor’s boobs will droop and I will gladly suggest which brand of duct tape won’t rip a nipple off post-workout.

And to show that I am such a good listener, I will heed my own words and chase that woman down, but only because I let myself receive her gift of motivation to get off my arse. Yay me!!

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Lions and Tigers and Sharps…O My!


After a very long day at the zoo with not one but two diabetics, this is what my pockets produce. The infusion site that fell out of one, the empty glucose tabs from a 27 meter read on Thing 1 and a 42 for Thing 2. Oh look, a syringe from when someone snatched a pack of gummies and I chased them across the splash pad to stab them (a perfect time to put those blow darts to use) ! We checked enough sugars in 7 hours to make a new record. Its a holy Moses miracle we make it home alive. And by ‘we’ I mean ‘ME’


A Hand-Held Garden

I cannot remember how it came to be: Did I last into the night hours lost of wisdom and in want of knowledge? or had I come to need knowledge to purge my wisdom’s woes?

Those who love me can forgive me for being so thoughtful and silent these days. I promise my mental quota will be met with one last postulating post. And my silence will last as long as the harlot’s virtue. Besides, puffy eyes do not go well with this outfit so I simply must move past this.

I am a true lover of all things Wordsworth. He has often been my mind’s mirror, capturing my nuance in perfect prose. He never denies the lament of love or hardship of loss, but he never capitalizes blame in all his grief either. He believes where there is wrong there is reason. William Wordsworth often utilizes the imagery of gardens and seasons to convey where his feelings are buried and the purpose of his chaos.

My nights have been  blurred with exhaustion and thought. But the visual of a garden has been constant. I flipped through my books finding there in Wordsworth’s writings my current aching:

“I began
My story early, feeling as I fear,
The weakness of a human love, for days
Disown’d by memory, ere the birth of spring
Planting my snowdrops among winter snows.”

The galanthus, also known as the ‘snowdrop’, is a bulbous plant that flowers in winter. A beautiful white and hopeful flower (according to Victorian floriography), the snowdrop exists when nothing else can. Before the warmth of Spring can nurture Nature, and long after Autumn has laid the Earth to rest, this flower sustains beauty in bleakness.  I think this is where my heart is…roaming the grounds in search of the Garden of Galanthus.

My memories of normalcy, the days when we played and slept and ate without worry or consequence, are no longer mine to live. I have to leave them as they are where they belong…there in the dead winter’s past as the blossoms of Hope. Before spring comes to flower my new garden, I have to let these snowdrops bloom.

A tussie-mussie (or nosegay) is the small decorative bouquet Victorian women would use to convey feelings via coded messages. It was a means of communication dubbed ‘The Language of the Flowers.”  Each flower in the bouquet represented a specific sentiment: The acacia meant a secret love, heliotrope showed devotion, and so forth. This made me wonder, what message do I carry? What language does my garden speak ? And, by God, does it match my shoes!?

I know my snowdrops are bound in the company of chamomile (energy under adversity), yarrow (health), bee balm (compassion), and pink verbena (family union). I decorate my gathered garden with blue violets of Faith and strong sprigs of thyme for courage. My maternal love captured in the cinquefoil’s growth.

The most notable (and necessary) component to progress is that of movement. I would, that I could,  lie in hiding somewhere in a garden of perpetual bliss. Since there is little advancement in stationary steps, I will pluck the flowers meant to speak my intent and continue on. As my needs change in life, so too may my hand-held garden (and subsequently my shoes and handbag to match).

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Substantial Sustainability

The history of the World is recorded relativistically:  sometimes all of this took 7 days, sometimes a few millennium for evolution, and in one case, a spaceship designed us according to blue prints. I cannot tell you who is right, because being right is a matter of perspective. But I can tell you that on the 8th day, diabetes crept in and held my son’s pancreas hostage. This weekend held two topic assignments concluding the 2012 Diabetes Blog Week : Saturday’s Snapshots (share what our life with diabetes looks like), and Diabetes Hero (a person you admire who deals with diabetes (or a Type 3’er)). I gonna’ kill two birds with one stone ’cause “Oprah calls it multitasking!”

My days with diabetes are as variable as a hormonal teenagers attitude: I want to smile. I want to cry. Sometimes I end up crying because I smiled. There are days where the sugar readings are baby-bear perfect…not too high, not to low. The sun shines, the birds chirp, and my children are so spectacularly normal I want to do a happy- dance. Every quibble and complaint is magical because they are not the result of a venom inducing high or a whining low. They are the simple squabbles of siblings.

**** EDITORS NOTEI drafted this early in the morning sitting in Clinic (of all places) while I waited for our check-ups. Then I left to see the pediatrician. Who gave me the referral to the podiatrist. With whom I scheduled an appointment while on route to the GI specialist.  Whose appointment for biopsy and endoscopy results proved conclusively difficult. This is not a good day.*****

I do not know where to go from here. This cursor has blinked at me for an eternity. I wanted to post my pictures. There were photos from Florida and the skate park. Our taekwondo testing and birthday parties with friends. There were smiles.There were eyes that sat above the sadness and spilled the happiness of our hearts unto the world.

I wanted to post them so that I could profess with great certainty how ‘normal’ I had managed to make of this life; how unaffected I am by the disease(s). It was for me. I wanted to be the second bird, too. I hoped to fight hard enough to prove my own hero.

I have nowhere to go but into my words. These, all of these, are for you, my Zach.

~ I pray that you know that I love you. I love you more today than ever. It is not because you are broken that I cry. I cry because I know that I will have to break to see you healed and put back together. But that is okay, I do not mind. Do not think I am afraid. I am not. Never fall prey to believing that I am angry with you. I am not. I am simply tired because the very thought of all of the efforts your beautiful smile merits leaves me weak. I will never ask of you what I cannot give first and most. We will need to sustain our faith, our patience, our kind words. This is more than a vocabulary word, Zachary. “Sustainability” is the capacity to endure. I need you to know that. This will have to be our life.

These diseases are forever, my child. The treatments will be constant.  But your ability to endure MUST prove one day longer, one move stronger. Understand now that you will be angry and frustrated. That is fine. It is never a weakness to expose your hurt. And you will never have to do so alone. Your fight is my fight.

You love hearing the story of how you snuck into my belly. You crept in without my knowing, hiding while we vacationed at Sea World and making me so very dizzy. I made an appointment and your tiny heartbeat fluttered across the screen. I loved you so entirely in an instant.

For all the love that I have for you, I could not save you from this. It takes my breath away just seeing the words. I break to even think the thoughts…My sweet son, I could not stop this. I cannot undo it. I am so sorry.

Daddy says  you are destined for greatness. There must be something so powerful and consequential to your existence that the forces that be fight to hinder your strength. Your obstacles are so many because what you are, the true potential that lies within you, is what will shape the Universe someday. I can see that. I can see your future filled with success.

I just want you to believe. Believe me when I say however constant the ailment it will never exceed my commitment. And when my last day on earth sees me three healthy young men, happy of heart and well in life, I will know that I loved beyond words and we sought to endure…~


To Hear a Who

Today’s writing prompt for the 2012 Diabetes Blog Week ? Tell what you would like people without diabetes to know about your life with diabetes.

Horton Hears a Who! is a wonderful book by the ever popular Dr. Seuss. In 2008, Hollywood turned it into a magical movie that I relate to our lives. Our diabetic community is this tiny little speck lost onto the world. We often are not seen. We can go unheard. Our existence can be bliss in our bubble of family and friends, but society  jeopardizes our hard work, our laborious strides, and our peace of mind with half-hazard comments and blinding ignorance.  On our little speck of a world, we do not eat rainbows and poop butterflies, Katie. But “We’re a club. We’re a group. We can take a vote on the issues. We can be a secret society, and no one else can join, unless they wear a special hat!”

My Zachary’s perspective is potent. He deserves to be heard first. Last night, we had an ‘interview’ to discuss today’s topic. And I share it here with you…

Type 1 diabetes is worth your time. If you can dedicate yourself to googling ‘porcelain clowns’ or researching Steven Seagel ‘career credits’, then you have time to educate yourself on a disease that is affecting an estimated 3 million people in the United States alone. The incidence of Type 1 diabetes in children under the age of 14 is estimated to increase by 3% globally. Everyone have their listening ears on (because if you don’t use them, they will fall off)?

I know how under-educated our society is about this disease because I was of them.

“Hello. My name is Christina and I was an ignorant ass.”

Show initiative and learn of your own accord. There is far too much I am trying to teach myself in order to keep my son alive, that I cannot ‘learn you’ your part as well. I am not angry that you do not know, I am frustrated when you do not try! Ask me, and when I answer, please hear me for what I am saying. Do not interrupt my genuine efforts with your false conviction. Do not confuse what science dictates with what opinion encourages.

Secondly, I want people who do not struggle with this burden to know that I am sorry. I am sorry that I snap at you. I am sorry that I shoot daggers with my eyes when you point at his pump or his Dexcom;  murmuring when he pricks his little finger in public. I am sorry that I do not return your calls, emails, or texts sometimes.

I am tired. I am protective. Chances are I was busy not only with a family, but with this damn disease as well.

Last, but not least of all, show me a kindness. Not just me, per say. Show THE WORLD kindness. Diabetes is but one of a thousand of a million invisible afflictions (physical, developmental, or mental) that does not need your comments. We jeopardize Humanity when we choose criticism over compassion. Think as you may, speak as  you should.

“A person is a person no matter how small.”

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Hubba Bubba…

…for you, not them! The Macgyver in me is so pumped (heehee) about today’s assignment for the 2012 Diabetes Blog Week! Today’s topic is to dream up a medical device for diabetic management. Ever since our very first blood check, I have been daydreaming about test strips. I hate hate hate those gosh darn strip bottles!! Zachary cannot seem to open one without a ‘snake nut can’ effect…POP goes the lid and CRASH go the strips! I am two seconds away from selling a kidney to pay for those little treasures, and here my child is spraying them like confetti. Not to mention that my husband is apparently related to Shrek, fat digits as proof. Watching him wiggle those sausage links into the container, squirming and grunting trying to capture the test strip…oh, it is too much!! My genius idea? Hubba Bubba Bubble Tape. I want a test strip container that is rolled up and dispenses one perfect strip with one simple tug. Attach the individual strips to a piece of waxy tape, coil them up, and deposit into container!! DONE! Are you hearing me, FreeStyle!? Can you read, One Touch!? Hola, Accu-check!! This is GOLD I am giving you here! 25.8 million people (in the USA alone) are effected by diabetes (type 1 and 2). That is 8% of our population digging around an impossible container for their life support! Little fingers, arthritic fingers, ogre fingers all struggling. Help us help ourselves! Please and thank you (good manners show we care.)

Now for us parents, I offer a diabetic improvement so AMAZE BALLS it will blow your mind… The blood sugar blow dart!! For caregivers of children with diabetes (CWD), nothing is more exhausting or tedious than chasing a small person across the back yard for a sugar reading. I have literally had to jump into the pool and drag my son over to the edge to poke at him.  Our sugar babies are supposed to maintain normality in their childhood; play and run and eat crayons like the rest of them. Of course, their ‘normal’ exists only with ‘abnormal’ treatment.  Soooo, I have always wished for my very own Aboriginal blow dart to sedate my three feral children with. Alas, the Department of Children Services would certainly frown upon such an idea. BUT if we could alter the tip of the dart with a tiny lancet/ blood strip sucker thingee that nails the target, absorbs the blood, and transmits the reading to a meter (in parent’s possession) all while the animal child is still in motion, that would be freaking phenomenal (and far more permissible)!! Heck, we could load a second dart with insulin and do BG corrections in sporting fashion!

We could get sponsorship from National Geographic.

Okay, so maybe one idea is more sensible than the other. But I stand firm behind the strip dispenser thing. If you need my consent (and address to mail the checks to), feel free to contact me, Mr. Blood Strip Maker Company.


Sounds Souper

Now that I have tooted my horn, prepare to hear the sirens… My assignment for Operation 2012 Diabetes Blog Week was easy cheesy yesterday. My mission? Share our quack-a-lastic diabetes life with the world.  Today’s mission? Show the ‘uh-oh’ poopie side of it. Sometimes I can suck the air out of a black hole. I can drain the last bit of patience by proving impossibly impatient. Hard to believe, but I have reeeeediculous expectations. Everyone – from the patient-registry nurse to the hospital valet, the innocent pharmacist behind the counter (standing a paranoid’s length from me…well played), to my husband and children –  they must keep pace! There is an exorbitant amount of pressure straddled on these poor folks. My visions of sugar (free)plum fairies and choreographed unicorns must be executed to perfection. It’s a damn hard thing to contend with…on my part to delegate so much scrutiny; on the world’s part to not maim me with it. Try to apply that special “talent” to a disease who bothers little with the rules. I am so hyper-vigilant about the blood sugars charting across that Dexcom screen that I stalk them like a lioness hunting ravioli on the Serengeti . It is a wee-bit of a joke around these parts (because if humor can’t fix it, neither will therapy), but if you happen to say my son’s name aloud he will scream a number back at you. Doesn’t matter if you were actually just hollering his name, this kid will squeal a reading it t-minus 5 seconds flat. It has become like diabetic tourettes.

“Hey, Zach…”  “149!

“Pick up your toys, Zach” “121

“Who wants to go to the z-” “59

It hasn’t even been a year that he has been diagnosed, but I have brain-washed my boy. Sure, it could be a good thing if it wasn’t a bad one. Neither he nor the world should be so constantly harassed. My most serious fault with this disease? Breaking myself (and others) with impossible goals. I am trying to accept that even if I cannot control diabetes, that does not mean it controls my son. I think that is the snag in the fabric…the fear of losing my child (physically or emotionally) to such a beast.

When my oldest, Josh, was in preschool he was assigned the task of drawing a picture of someone truly super in his life. He brought home a picture of the loveliest stick-figure girl I’d ever seen. In her two hands she held a bowl and a spoon. My son had drawn his mother because “she is the best person in the whole world. and she loves to eat soup. She is really SOUPER!!”

I have to remember that our best efforts are what matter, even if they cannot guarantee the best results. Being right is only a matter of perspective. Josh was right…I love soup. I am souper. I need to stop and recognize the right kind of wrongs I have been misunderstanding.

I can’t say I won’t fight, because I can never imagine making peace with this disease. I do, however, promise to try and play nice with others while I kick the crap out of the glucose goblins.

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A Mused

Today’s topic could not have come at a better time! As part of the 2012 Diabetes Blog Week (created and hosted by blogger Karen Graffeo @Bittersweet), participating bloggers are challenged to write about predetermined topics for selected days. Tuesday is all about the GREAT that we do for the diabetes in our life! Well, let me let you know this morning was a hell-of-a-holy-hiccup mess!!  My little  ‘sugar hero’ has yet another addition to his long growing list of health complications. So, truth be told, I have had my angry eyes on all day. I was set to impale the world with terrible, horrible, time-out-corner kind of words. Buuut I clicked on the computer and saw this shining light of Hope. Type 1 diabetes sucks. There is little more that can be said to truly capture the ‘spirit’ of this disease. Having to contend with the in’s and out’s of it at such a young age is the suckiest part of this turd. Zachary David is sensational! He is funny and wild and creative. If my boy is going to have diabetes, then gosh darn it! Diabetes is going to have some of my boy! His diagnosis has come with the absolute vow that I would never let this disease be bigger than his childhood, and it will never be any less AWESOME than he is. He WILL BE 9 years old! He WILL BE inspired!

My Zach’s broken pancreas has become my muse. What have I done for the cause!? I have made diabetes:

Customized & Cute!!

When Zach got pumped, Rufus did too. I ‘upgraded’ a simple pedometer to a pump, sewed an infusion site in, and I decorated his shirt to show Team Slap Shot spirit!! Then when the 5 year old daughter of a friend was diagnosed and given a ‘boy’ bear, I fixed that as well. Say hello to our one and only Rufulina Ballerina~ the diabetic she-bear!!

A Jive Vibe!! 

I made a request to my son’s  teacher (who is a music genius) to create our very own diabetes rap song! AND I had my oldest son perform it live at their school to show his brother support!!

Impossibly Cool!!

I contacted a friend from high school (who just happens to be an amazing artist) and encouraged him to create a one-of -a- kind HALO 4 helmet for the JDRF. It will be put on display for charity events, travel to hospitals and diabetic clinics, and ultimately be auctioned at our local chapter’s gala dinner! Once our helmet is complete (with JDRF logo and all), it will be the first and only of it’s kind. !!!!

Neurotic & Precise!!

Any and all diabetics entering my home have super special sugar spots delegated to all things diabetes. This place is pretty much the “Graceland” for Sugar Boogers. 🙂

Story Book Special!!

The Great Zach Attack is being sketched as we speak.

A Team Effort!!

I hand drew our ‘Team Slap Shots’ logo, and with the help of friends (and my husband as The Big Boss) we ‘smacked’ out 35 team shirts to support my boy! Even big brother Josh helped out with his stellar modeling skills.

There is hardly a day that doesn’t see me on the verge of pelting a small people-person with a tippy cup or shoe. But there is never EVER a day that doesn’t see me smothering them with my efforts of infinite Love. A deluge of continuous crap could pour from the Heavens onto my head all the days of my life! As long as I knew that my reach would deliver my children bigger and brighter and better days, who cares that this fight leaves me broken or scarred. A Scraped Crusader knows no other way…


Its All About a Clever Slogan…


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A Friend of the Friend I Have Not Met

True Story: I am the parent of a Type 1 diabetic. There is no denying the ‘dianamics‘ (a clever play on words there!) that saturate this family, BUT it is not our family. It is not this blog. It is but one more contribution of crazy this household puts out into the Universe. You’re welcome.

That being said, this week will indeed be sugar-coated and painfully sweet. Something Like a Duck will be participating in the 2012 Diabetes Blog Week (because being completely new to the blogosphere isn’t over-whelming enough! it’s like registering to become a voter and then running for president at the first polling) It is the creation of blogger Karen Graffeo at Participants will be blogging daily on pre-determined topics focused on the ‘Big D‘. The Scoop Du Jour?? Find a Friend. Our posts are suppose to introduce other diabetic blogsites to the world via a list of blogs we read or follow or really super admire.

Truer story: I am the kind of girl that finds the perfect pair of sneakers and wears them until the seams pop. The pair of kicks that are precariously pinched together with duck tape and Gorilla glue. When my Sugar Baby went full throttle with the ‘betes, I googled ‘diabetic terms’ (being that the Swahili the doctors were throwing at me just wasn’t clicking). I meant to find the science, but I instead found the suuuuperstar!!! (and that ‘superstar’ better be a Mary Catherine Gallagher SuperStar you are reading!)

Sixuntilme had a wonderful little Terms of Endearment that made me laugh and cry and drink. I have tried (on rare occasion) to venture away from the blog. Someone somewhere spoke Sarcasm fluently and her name is Kerri. She was educational without being somniferous . She was honest, not self-righteous. I am a duck, and this site QUACKS!! It is blatantly real. I was (and am) so new to this that I need to know that a little blood and bruising is okay. And what’s more, if a little bit of me (my faith, my strength, my sanity) is hemorrhaging, I don’t need the world to throw Hello Kitty band-aids at my head. This website is like the modern version of ancient blood letting.  It rids me of a lot of anxiety and confusion (and sometimes water weight, if I spend too long at the computer forgetting the little things like food and water). I have perused the internet aisles trying on other ‘shoes.’ Although I appreciate the flourish of the other sites, I really am a size sixuntilme. Kerri Sparling’s blog does include guest spots that I have enjoyed. Sometimes it’s enough to slip onto their site and click until the clucks come home. But I don’t really know where home is… So here I am all set to recommend the friend of a friend (Hello, Diabetes!) that I haven’t even met ( Hello, Fellow Bloggers!).  😦

Now, upon diagnosis I did sign onto juvenation. It is the JDRF created web-community for all things Type 1. You can select the most pertinent topics for your D-life and go from there. I have perused the Lemonade Life writings, exhausted the Diabetes Mine site, and cyber-stalked  Nick Jonas and Bobby Clarke.  They each offer a different vibe to the ‘dia-lemmas‘ we face.

Fingers-crossed that Something Like a Duck will someday grow-up to be a set site for followers to learn from. Maybe even offer a little HA-HA to this hoo-hah of a disease. Maybe become the ‘jive vibe’ that all families (diabetic or not) have so longed for? If nothing else, it can be the handshake that introduces a few of you to new friends to see you through to the other side of the tunnel.  Best of luck on the long road’s travel!!

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