Piet’s T1D Diagnosis Story

We were on our way to church, on a warm, sunny Sunday morning. Piet asked for his sippy cup for the fourth time that day. I had an extra cup for him, because he was going through so thirsty.

When we finally pulled into church, we discovered he threw up all over himself. It made sense, since he had been drinking so much, but he also peed completely through his diaper. Then I lifted him out of his seat, and he unloaded again. This time all over me.

Now, let me backtrack. Piet was only 20 months old, and just became a proud big brother to Kammie, who was only a month old. Ceci, his older sister, was two. Jacob and I were in straight up survival mode, and couldn’t believe our luck, that we just contracted the dreaded stomach bug.

So, we racked our brains. What could have made him sick? Well, he did eat five packs of oatmeal for breakfast, which sounds crazy, but he has always been a HUGE eater. Eating three packs was pretty standard for our Big Bubba.

Now back to church. We packed our clan up, and headed home since we were all wearing a lovely shade of Piet puke. On the drive, I consulted my favorite doctor, WebMd. Diabetes. I knew it. I cried the whole way home.

I told Jacob what I thought, but he didn’t want to believe it, and I couldn’t blame him. “No way. He doesn’t have diabetes.”

But, I persisted. That afternoon, I reached out to an old friend, who’s daughter was diagnosed at 17 months. He urged me to contact our doctor or go to urgent care. He also included his wife, Mandy, on the messages, and I am forever grateful for them.

Mandy was the first person I turned to after diagnosis. She is the person I share my diabetes wins with. She is the person I go to when I’m afraid. I’m not sure if she knows how much I look up to her, but I do. She makes me want to be the best advocate for T1D that I can be.

The next day, our doctor wasn’t in the office, but they told me to “keep an eye on it.” Which we did, we watched him pee through diapers, drink cup after cup of water, lose weight.

At Kammie’s two month appointment, I brought up Piet. I was worried. He didn’t seem himself. He was crying a lot, not really talking, eating so much, and still drinking constantly. I even said the “D” word. “Keep an eye on it. Probably just a growth spurt.”

No one wants to believe their kid has a chronic illness. I knew. Looking back, I am so angry with myself for not demanding testing. I hate myself. But, I wanted to believe everyone who said “He doesn’t have diabetes” or “You’re being crazy.”

Things got worse yet. He was wasting away. Skin and bones. He didn’t smile, or talk. He only wanted to be held. Jacob took him to the doctor this time. He had lost 5lbs now. He was almost 21 months, so that’s a lot.

The doctor scheduled us for an appointment to see the endocrinologist for eight days from then. Eight days. If we would have waited those eight days, he would be dead now. I wouldn’t have a son. She insisted that testing his blood sugar would be traumatizing.

Three days later, he woke up(thankfully), and I knew immediately we needed to rush him to the ER. As we drove there, we stayed quiet. The only thing I said was, “Are you hoping it’s diabetes and not cancer?” Jacob’s quick response, “Yes.”

The very first thing they did was test his blood sugar. It was simple. An easy finger stick that I’ve done 1 million times now. “He has diabetes.” We were immediately rushed back to a room. The ER doctor came up to us, and said a lot of things that I didn’t understand then, but now I know all the words, and use them daily.

We were still so overwhelmed and scared, and we needed to know we were hearing everything correctly. Through tears, Jacob stated, “Childhood cancer runs in my family.” The doctor quickly responded, “He has type 1 diabetes. He does not have cancer.” That was the last time I cried over diabetes.

Piet was in DKA(diabetic ketoacidosis), and his organs were shutting down. His blood sugar was 555, but I have no doubt it went much higher than that before diagnosis. He weighed 24lbs, and had lost 8lbs.

That next week we stayed at the hospital, and learned about our new life, and type 1 diabetes. Counting carbs, testing blood sugar, giving insulin shots, and more insulin shots, and even more insulin shots.

I feel incredibly fortunate that our endocrinologist is the best endocrinologist in the whole entire world, and that she personally trained the nurses in the pediatric unit. I was getting the same information from everyone.

That next week, Piet ate TONS of food, and immediately put all his weight back on. He peed the normal amount, slept through the night(despite constant finger pricks), and started talking about. WE HAD OUR BUDDY BACK! It was incredible.

He takes type 1 like a champ. Never cries over shots or finger sticks. Doesn’t mind his Omnipod or Dexcom, and wears them proudly, like badges of honor. He is the toughest, bravest, sweetest little boy I know. He is my hero.

Of course this is not where our diabetes story ends, and it’s actually just the beginning. In fact, it is a never ending story, and I will keep writing it as we journey along.

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“Are you having any more kids?”

After popping out three kids in three years, we get the same question asked repeatedly, “Are you having more kids?”

What? Just because we are a baby making factory, doesn’t mean we’re going to stay in business forever, ya know? So, we give the standard response, “NO! Hahaha. No. No. No. Nope. This shop is all closed up. No. Ha. No way, ever.”

But here’s the truth. We knew we were finished having kids when I was pregnant with our third. The pregnancy/newborn phases aren’t our cup of tea, and we were living by the motto, “Let’s just knock these kids out, so we can get to the good age.” *Spoiler alert* We haven’t hit “the good age” yet.

And, honestly, we were in the trenches when we made the choice to end with three. We were right in the heart of the no sleeping, bottle washing, diaper changing, no alone time, craziness.

So, we decided that during my c-section, I would also have my tubes removed. This decision was easy to make, and quickly agreed to the finalizing procedure. There’s no reversing having your Fallopian tubes removed. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

The baby came, the tubes went, and we were left with our wonderful family of five. During the c-section, my doctor discovered the walls of my uterus were stretched incredibly thin, and even though we had already decided this baby was the grand finale, medically, I would be unable to carry another child.

It felt final, and there was some relief for us. Even if we wanted more kids, we couldn’t have them, so it was ok that we already decided to be done.

But can I tell you a secret? Sometimes it makes me sad that we can’t have any more. I mean, what happens in five years, when I contract the dreaded *gasp* baby fever, knowing that this is it for us?

But for now, I think I’ll keep cuddling my occasional sweet, constantly crazy, little humans, and lovingly leave each phase behind that we pass through.

The Official Play Date Drinking Game

1. Bathroom Foul Play: Including but not limited to someone playing in toilet water, unrolling the entire roll of toilet paper, locking themselves in the bathroom, or peeing/pooping on the floor.

2. Toy Throw Down: Anytime there is a scuffle about sharing, sip that wine!

3. Snack Attack: “Can I have a snack?” Need I say more?

4. BORED Game: When you’re forced to play board games with the kids because they don’t have enough players.

5. Coffee Break: Throw a little Irish Cream in that coffee, because it’s time for your afternoon fix.

6. Boo Boo Blunder: Every time someone cries from an injury, drink up! This includes falls, bumps, scratches, and log rolls down the stairs.

7. Which Craft: When the kids want to color and paint, basically just an excuse to make a colossal mess.

8. No Such Thing as a Fairy Tale: Repeatedly reading story books to the kids. Two sips of it’s the same book over and over.

9. Tattle Tale: Any time there is an extensive story from one kid telling on another.

10. Toy Break: Smashed, crushed, ruined, or colored on, drink when s toy becomes landfill ready.

11. The Gold Rule of Play Doh: If anyone so much as suggests playing with The Devil’s Clay(aka Play Doh), you must immediate chug your entire drink.

Type 1 Diabetes: Symptoms to Look For

We are just two short weeks away from Piet’s 1st Diaversary. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, when he was just 21 months old, on July 31, 2017. In two weeks, get your tissue boxes ready. I’m going to post about his diagnosis story, and it’s a real tear jerker, because we very nearly lost our sweet boy.

Because there is so much misinformation about type 1 diabetes, and symptoms can easily be mistaken for the flu or a growth spurt, I am on a mommy mission to get as much awareness out there as possible!

So here are the symptoms to look for:

1. Extreme thirst: This was the first symptom I noticed. Of course, it was summer and very hot, so at first I chalked it up to the weather. He could drink 2-3 sippy cups full of water every hour. Including overnight.

2. Excessive urination: What comes with drinking a lot? Peeing a lot. But how much is too much? A couple times each night, we had to change his clothing, because he was soaked from head to toe. I could change 3 to 4 FULL diapers every hour.

3. Extreme hunger: One morning in particular, I remember Piet eating five packets of oatmeal. FIVE! He was not even 2 and ate like a grown man.

4. Vomiting: Piet only threw up a few times when we first started noticing symptoms.

5. Weight loss: A toddler losing 2 pounds is concerning. Piet was noticeably skinny and lost over 6 pounds! Everyone we saw commented on his appearance.

6. Clear change in personality: Where Piet was thriving as a toddler, he stopped talking all together. He constantly needed held, and cried about every little thing.

There is one quick, and relatively easy way to check for T1D, and that’s by a simple finger stick. I wish I would have trusted my instincts, and been more forceful with requesting one, but you’ll learn more about that in two weeks.

There are a few ways to get your hands on a blood glucose meter.

1. Go to your nearest doctor or urgent care, and ask for a blood glucose test.

2. Go to Walmart and buy a cheap meter and test strips. It won’t be exactly accurate, but pretty darn close!

3. Come to my house, and I will test for you. I’m sure any other type 1 family would gladly help you out as well.

It is so important to spread awareness for type 1 diabetes symptoms. Every day people die in DKA, from undiagnosed T1D. So, go. Tell. Teach! And remember I am always here for any, and all questions.

How to Take Kids to a Carnival

1. While packing to go to the carnival, expect the unexpected. Your diaper bag should look like a compilation of necessities for all seasons, weather conditions, and accidents imaginable. If you forget a sweatshirt, it will drop to below freezing, even if your town has been in a heatwave all week.

2. While pulling into the carnival parking lot, make sure to forget your double stroller, forcing you to turn around, go the whole way back home, forcefully shove the huge stroller into the trunk of your car, and drive the whole way back to the carnival.

3. When you pull into the parking lot, you will start unbuckling the kids from their carseats, and attempt to transition them into the stroller. They will throw a colossal temper tantrum about wanting to walk instead of ride. Now you’re walking up a huge hill to the carnival entrance, holding two toddlers’ hands, and pushing an empty stroller. The kids finally give up, and ask you to put them in the stroller at the steepest of inclines.

4. Once you’ve entered the carnival, you decide to eat first. That way the kids’ stomachs will be full for the spinning rides later. You choose chicken fingers and french fries, because all kids like them, right? Wrong. Your oldest will not eat them, because they are brown.

5. While eating, with zero warning, your fully potty trained child will squat in a rocky patch, underwear and shorts still on, and pee like a racehorse, for everyone’s viewing pleasure. You did not take your own advice from step 1, and you are not prepared. Snowstorm? Covered. Potty accident? Screwed.

6. Luckily for you, your friend with a child two years younger, and two sizes smaller than your child, came prepared with a spare set of pants. After cleaning up in a disgusting public bathroom, you squeeze her into new pants. Then, she has the balls to say, “Mommy, I could go potty in this bathroom.”

7. Time to move onto the rides portion of the evening. The kids excitedly scurry up the metal stairs, to the first carny ride. It’s horse drawn carriages. No hills or spinning, just one continuous loop. As your husband straps your children in, he notices there is a bolt falling out of where the harness connects to the ride. The operator does not seem concerned, and even encourages your husband to “fix it if you’d like.” So he does.

8. Now that the ride is incredibly safe, the man flips the switch, and the kids zoom around the circle at a jarring pace. Your second kid, who hasn’t peed himself yet, definitely has now. His little fingers are clutching the sides of the carriage. His face is ghostly white, and his eyes scream, “Get me off of this right now!” You frantically wave to them with each passing swirl, but they are moving too fast to notice. As they exit, you ask, “How was it?” First child, “Let’s do another one!” Second child, *no response*.

9. Steps 8 and 9 repeat themselves two more times.

10. “Let’s win some prizes!” You excited yell, because you’d rather have to keep a goldfish alive for 5 years, than endure another terrifying “children’s” ride. Your son picks a shooting game, and your husband lovingly shells out some cash, and helps him win. He chooses a water gun, you just KNOW has a date with the dumpster as soon as you get home. Now it’s the other’s turn, and she wins a pink squishy ball, that acts not only as a choking hazard for your baby, but is also probably filled with toxic slime. “I WANT WHAT SHE HAS!” Too bad, my friend, you picked the plastic pistol.

11. It’s finally time to head home, but not before your baby… that’s right, you have a baby, too… decides she needs to run around on pavement, or she will scream bloody murder. You let her down, and she immediately falls flat on her face, scratching the skin off her forehead. Sweet.

12. You go home, and sanitize everything. Including you. With a giant glass of wine. Because you deserve it after that “fun.”

Baby Names

You know when you’re growing up, and pick out baby names for your future children? Yeah, I was no different. My first baby girl was going to be Layla, after the Eric Clapton song, and my little boy was going to be Joshua, or Josh.

Those names never came to be, but I will tell you where our kids’ names did come from!

Cecilia. We were pretty dead set on Layla. We both loved it, and the song, but the ever annoying “top baby name list” came out, and there it was. In the top 100. So, we had to switch gears. A few weeks before we found out the gender, Jacob and I were watching New Girl. He turned to me, and said, “What about Cecilia? And we’ll call her Ceci.”

BACK TRACK- I LOVE NICKNAMES! You see, I grew up as Erin. Sure, later in life, friends started calling me “E,” and that fulfilled my lifelong dream of having a nickname, but I was always Erin. I wanted a cute nickname!

Back to Cecilia. Jake continued, “Plus! It’s a Simon and Garfunkel song, and I know you really like that kind of stuff.” I was sold, right then and there, on the spot. Cecilia. Our first, and feisty, born.

Piet. One month after dating Jacob, we were sitting in church, and he slipped me a note that said, “Do you want to know what I’d like to name our first son?” (Yeah, we’re gross. Love at first sight… blah, blah, blah… read “When We Met”). Of course, I said yes, and then he turned to the Thessalonians chapter of the Bible, and covered the “alonians” part. Thess. He wanted to name our kid Thess. I would have agreed to Poop at that time, because I was so into him. But by baby number two, I had come to my senses, and vehemently rejected Thess.

At that time, we were living with Jake’s parents, and we found this plaque made for Jacob’s grandfather, Peter, except it was from the Netherlands, where his family had just journeyed from, to start a new life, and it showed his name as “Piet.” I loved the name, and the family connection. We pronounce it “Pate,” but will accept all forms of Peter.

Oh! And Joshua was out of the question, because our oldest nephew is Josh. Still love the name, and I’m so happy someone I love has it!

Kamden. We were ready to give Layla another try. I said things like, “I don’t care how popular it is! I love that name!” I was a liar. There it sat, in the top 20. So one night, Jake and I were laying in bed and he said, “What about something like Cameron?” And I was like, “YES! That’s it!” If the baby was a boy, we settled on Heath, because of my favorite book, “Wuthering Heights.”

The ultrasound came, we found out it was a girl, and I was so excited about my sweet Cammie! Then it happened AGAIN! Every person we knew who was having a baby, was naming them Cameron, boy or girl. Back to the drawing board. But this baby was already Cammie to me.

We started tossing around totally different names, and strongly considered Lennox, but I was so set on Cammie. Then, I found Kamden, and immediately fell in love with it. She was still my little Kammie girl.

And there it is! The run down of all of our kids’ names, and how they came to be!

Type 1 Tunes: Volume 1

1. Dexy One-hundred

(Baby, One More Time)

Oh, Dexy, Dexcom,

How was I supposed to know

That arrow wasn’t straight down?

Oh, Dexy, Dexcom,

I shouldn’t have ate that Rolo

And now you’re going up, yeah

Show me a number that I want

To see, Dexy,

‘Cause I need to know now, oh, because…

These 5 minutes

Are killing me and I,

I must confess

I need to see, need to see.

When it’s “no data” there is no bed,

Give me a sign

Show me, Dexy, one-hundred!

2. Type 1 Quitter

(Hollaback Girl)

This prick is perfection

U, N-I-C-O-R-N

This prick is perfection

U, N-I-C-O-R-N

This prick is perfection

U, N-I-C-O-R-N

This prick is perfection

U, N-I-C-O-R-N

Few nights, I been around that goal

But I’m just gunna keep fightin’ it though.

Cause I ain’t no type 1 quitter,

I ain’t no type 1 quitter.

3. I Gotta Guess This

(I Gotta Feeling)

I gotta guess this, the Chinese buffet carb count to-night

The Chinese buffet carb count to-night

The Chinese buffet carb count to, to-night

A feeling that tonight’s SWAG won’t be too good.

That tonight’s SWAG won’t be too good

That tonight’s SWAG won’t be too, too good.

A feeling, woohoo, tonight’s gonna need corrections

Tonight’s gonna need corrections

That tonight’s gonna need more cor-rec-tions.

4. I didn’t really have to do much here…

Shots, shots, shots, shots, shots

Shots, shots, shots, shots, shots

Shots, shots, shots, shots, shots

Shots! On my body!

The Evolution of a Momance Stage 3: Friends for Life

You’re six months into your new friendship, and it’s the best! You see each other at least once every week, and it’s a definite highlight.

When you’re together, you just unload on each other. You’re so desperate to talk to another adult, who fully understands the struggle of keeping these small humans alive, even though they test your every move. You laugh, talk, vent, and drink… literally alternating coffee and wine.

Where you once made sure your house was immaculate, you now allow your clutter to show. Toys scattered, dishes in the sink, and food particles on the floor, are the signs of a judgement free zone.

Sometimes you both have so much to say that conversations are left unfinished, interrupted by parenting in the moment. Or they spinoff into seven other topics. This is your favorite. It means talking comes easily and you’ll never run out of things to say.

When life gets in the way and you have to miss a few meet ups, it is rough. Unloading on someone who is whole heartedly in your corner is incredibly therapeutic.

Here’s to all the moms out there who have found their counterpart, or are still looking for someone to fill a void. Being a mom is no walk in the park, but if you are walking in the park, don’t forget to glance around for a potential momance. They might just be the one!

Dr. Faustman’s Findings Weigh In

Last week, some pretty huge news hit the T1D community. Dr. Denise Faustman, from Massachusetts General Hospital, conducted a study using the BCG(tuberculosis) vaccine, and found that A1C levels in type 1 diabetics decreased significantly, and they were able to decrease insulin intake. To read more, check out this article 👉🏻 https://www.statnews.com/2018/06/21/type-1-diabetes-vaccine-denise-faustman/

Ok, now it’s my turn to weigh in. So you’re telling me there’s a low risk, cheap way to lower my kid’s A1C, meaning lessening the chances of serious complications down the road? Sign me up. Also, less insulin means fewer hypoglycemic events(low blood sugar)? Yes. Tell me where. Behind a Taco Bell in a dark alleyway? Ok, see ya in 10.

Of course this is not a cure… YET! But I have faith in this crazy, awesome lady who doesn’t give AF about how much money you’re going to make off a cure. She flat out says, companies won’t fund her because the BCG vaccine is inexpensive.

And to all you other T1D companies who “care so deeply about finding a cure for our community”… What do you think about this? Why aren’t you weighing in and celebrating with us? Aren’t you all about turning “type one into type none?” If this is genuine, let’s all unite and cheer for some great advancements.

I’ve never let myself think about life without T1D, until Thursday. FINALLY, something to get excited about. And who knows… maybe this will light a fire under others to race to cure this crappy disease that there is zero escape from.

But for now, I get to be hopeful, and that feels very important.

Thanks for Loving My Nerd

I’m a nerd. It’s ok. I like that I am. I have a favorite president, Thomas Jefferson. He liked books and architecture and pea plants. I built a replica, papier-mâché Monticello in 10th grade, and, in 8th grade, I gave a school report about his slave-lover, Sally Hemings, in full 18th century, authentic clothing. Talk about questionable content.

I really, really love Colonial Williamsburg. I wonder what Jacob thought the first time I told him it was my favorite place. Probably that I haven’t been many places, which is true. But I have such fond memories of this historical town, and every time we step back into time, I cannot contain my excitement.

Instead of Jacob picking on my dorky obsession, he just goes with it. In fact, I think he might actually like it! He smiles when I make him take all the pictures, and happily eats all the time period food, and quietly listens to the tour guides in each building.

So, thanks, Babe for keeping the magic of my favorite place alive, and loving it with me!