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Friday, January 30, 2009

I had it all the time

A while back I got this bug up my butt about getting something to keep my cell phone in while running. Because of Macy's situation I now take my cell phone everywhere with me and on runs it can get kind of sweaty as I clench it in my palm. I knew my need was logical, but soon it became a have-to-have-it type of thing. My plan was to get something affordable and practical, so one day off to the running store I finally went. I left the store ten minutes later with a twelve dollar "aquapod" that clips my phone (bulkily) to the inside of my running pants. I wasn't loving it but figured it would do the trick. Obsession quelled.

That evening as I prepared for my run I noticed something on the back of my running pants...what was this? A cell phone pocket? There it was, cleverly designed with a zipper so I can reach my phone with ease. Go figure...I had what I needed all the time.

The situation was rather Dorothy-and-the-ruby-slippers to me. While it was no big deal overall, it made me reflect on how often I distract myself from the present by looking for things I already have, whether spiritually, physically, emotionally or materially. Sometimes it's a lipstick I covet (how can I possibly be okay with out the newest shade of nude?) and sometimes it's a self-help book that I can't possibly do another day without, or a bowl (or two) of the kids' cereal that promises to take away my emotional pain. Other times I long for more esoterical "things" such as love, time and happiness. My favorite necklace is a Mobius strip that says, "There is no way to happiness-- happiness is the way." I'll put it on now. What a great reminder for me today.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Did PollyAnna get the blues?

...just wondering, 'cause I hurt so much right now. Now I fully understand where the term "heart break" comes from -- mine feels ripped apart. This has nothing to do with romance, though, but rather a mother's love for her daughter and my inability to make her "all better."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Quality Time, Any Time?

"Uh-oh. Looks like Strep," Brian said as he peered at my tonsils and off to Urgent Care I went. Not a hypochondriac-type, I don't rush to the doctor for any ol' hang nail, but when my throat hurts to the point of not wanting to talk or eat (two of my favorite things!), I'm willing to do something about it. One hour later the doctor reported that the strep test was negative and I was on my way back home. Waste of time? Hardly. I got uninterrupted time to read two more juicy chapters of Club Dead (from the True Blood series). Escapism? Not to me. It's all about enjoying the moment. (I have to laugh when I realize that it takes a trip to the doctor for me to get time to myself, though!)

I first learned about mindfulness and being aware of the present when I went through treatment for leukemia in 1997. I've been studying it since and often feel that I am no closer to mastering it than before. How elusive the obvious can be! So often the day to day moments escape my attention while I focus on that perpetual to-do list or the mental chit-chat in my mind. Macy's diabete's diagnosis gives me another opportunity (and a swift kick-in-the-pants reminder!) to tune in. You see, when it comes to Macy, I freeze with fear when I think too far ahead. Worrisome, unanswerable What-If questions sprout in my head and I am stuck in a future place that does not exist. When I remember to be mindful- knowing that all I have is this moment- I look at Macy, I see her smile, and life is good.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Macy in the Sky with Diamonds

It's said that life can change on a dime. I've known that to be true before, and I've recently experienced the truth of that idiom again. After a very-merry-Christmas my family of four was turned upside down with the type 1 diabetes diagnosis thrust upon our seven year old daughter, Macy. Sure, she'd been guzzling water for weeks, but she said she just loved it and liked to call it "beauty juice" as referenced by her Auntie Leslie. Maybe she had too much salt in her diet. And so she had a voracious appetite, but kids go through growth spurts, right?

It wasn't until that day at the beach that I really began to believe something was wrong. On Monday (12/29/08) we went to Manresa to play on the beach while Brian surfed. It was a cloudless day, a bit chilly, but gorgeous and welcomed after several days of winter rain. Our four-year old, Brendan, quickly busied himself with shovels and pails, while Macy (normally the more energetic of the two) sat still on a blanket, energy drained.

Flashback to a Tuesday in February of 2008. My twelve year old dog, Emi, the dog-of-my-life, my "soul dog," was diagnosed with cancer and the doctor said that while unsure of how long she had left, we would know when it was time to let her go. My mom said that I'd know Emi was ready when she wasn't happy at the beach. That Thursday I took her to the beach and tears streamed down my face as I accepted her obvious apathy. The beach, her stomping ground and play ground for twelve plus years, couldn't even bring a wag to her weary tail. The following Sunday we said our final thank-yous and good-byes to Emi.

Back to Manresa: Lesson learned: Something was wrong. The following afternoon I took Macy to the doctor who, after examining a simple urine test, proclaimed her as a type 1 diabetic. He arranged for Macy to be admitted to Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford the same evening. As he walked us to our car he said carefully, "Don't dally," meaning that we needed to get our girl under professional care immediately.

Two nights later we returned from Stanford skilled in insulin injections, gluclose counts and carbohydrates. Whose life was this? How did we get here? Can I please re-read the script?

And so life changed on a dime.

Our learning curve is a steep one as we negotiate the treatment of diabetes. Four to five blood gluclose checks and three insulin injections a day for Macy are the new "normal." I am grateful, furious, optimistic, broken-hearted, and strident all at one time. Macy is AMAZING: Cheering me on when I give her a shot that doesn't hurt and encouraging me that it will be better the next time when I give her one that does. She carefully watches and approves every finger prick and injection as if she's a doctor overseeing a first year med-student. She's barely complained and inspires me daily.

As I ran yesterday I played word games with diabetes. I hate that it starts with D-I (as in d-i-e). I tried to think of a more empowering D-I word. Immediately I pictured Princess Di, but shook off the image as I imagined her death. Diocese? Nah, too controversial nowadays. Diagonal? Doesn't make sense. Diagnosis? Scary. Diamond? YES! Diamond! Macy is a big, brilliant DIAMOND. She is strong, she is beautiful. From now on, diamonds will symbolize her beauty and strength as she travels her life path with a diagnosis of diabetes. One day she will have a diadem of diamonds.

Life changes on a dime. And now it's symbolized by a diamond. Works for me.