Saturday, March 31, 2012

Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge (#HAWMC)

One of my goals for 2012 is to get more into advocacy, both online and in my community. One way to help expand my advocacy presence online is through WEGO Health's Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge (HAWMC). I have pledged to post on my blog every day during the month of April. I'm hoping to post a lot about diabetes. However, since my life is so much more than my condition, I reserve the right to go totally off on one of my tangents.

I look forward to the challenge while also possibly discovering more about myself and my condition. Information about diabetes is always changing. Although some don't feel I have the "real" diabetes or the "bad type" of diabetes, my condition is real and it can be bad if I don't take charge.

Please feel free to join me on this journey. Click here to sign up on the WEGO website or check out their Facebook page to follow along.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Doing Church... With Jazz

I've always loved to sing. As a young child, I would make up songs to sing just for the fun of it. In high school, I was a member of Concert Choir and Madrigals. In college, I was part of a singing group called Epiphany that sang at the weekly worship service. For one semester in college I was even part of a jazz ensemble. I didn't know that experience would be used again.

The church we attend is part of the Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination, sometimes affectionately (or not) referred to as "the frozen chosen." Things are typically very proper and in order. This is why I love our pastor - she loves to stir things up a little now and then. Her latest project was to bring jazz into a Friday night vesper service. We have an Episcopal congregation using our building at this time, so their priest go into the fun as well.

As I had promised some members of the DOC (you know who you are), I am posting a video made of this service. I am the one with short hair, purple shirt, to your left (blue jeans and a blue bracelet for Blue Fridays). My oldest, a freshman music major, is playing drums. Our pastor is to my right (your left) and the Episcopal priest is to your right.  I have to admit, I'm a quiet singer. The other vocalist is typically heard over me (which I was very ok with). I also have to admit, we didn't have many rehearsals and we (the two vocalists) messed up... a lot. But we had fun with it. Our reason for being there was to praise God with music. And we did!  ENJOY!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dry Bones

Recently, our pastor preached on the passage in Ezekiel 37:1-14 which talks about the valley of the dry bones. The Lord tells Ezekiel to prophesy to the dry bones in order for them to once again become alive with flesh.  My 10 yr old looked at me during the sermon and asked, "Is this a true story? Did he really make the bones come alive?"  I had to be honest with her - I didn't know.

Then the pastor gave me the answer I needed. She didn't answer the question my child asked, but rather the question my heart was seeking. "How did this relate to my life?"

Each of us has periods of "dry bones" in our lives. Times when we feel helpless, depressed, lost. Times when we can't see the blessings of life. Some of these "dry bones" times are mild, some seem more severe. Regardless, God is telling us to tell those dry bones that He alone is Lord, in charge of the blessings of life. Through Him, we can once again rise up out of the dry desert.

I found it interesting that our pastor also chose 1 Corinthians 12: 4-13.  This passage talks about the gifts of the spirit. Although we have different gifts, together we all make up the Body. We can't all be a hand, otherwise the body cannot stand.

One statement the pastor made that stuck out in my mind is, "The body has what it needs to heal." Sometimes it's our own body (and mind) that needs to heal. Other times it's the Body, whether in our own little congregation or in the whole world. I am reminded of the song many of us learned as children, "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." Indeed He does!

Some other points from the sermon, using these two somewhat contradictory passages to support each other (my own paraphrasing):
  • Set your mind on your strengths (gifts), not your weaknesses (dry bones)
  • If you focus on your weaknesses, the highest score you can get is a zero
  • Strengths spawn more strengths
  • You need to be aware of the unhealthy parts (dry bones), but focus on the healthy (gifts)
These thoughts touch so many parts of my life. However, as this is a diabetes blog, I'm going to stretch here with a final statement as to how this relates to my life with diabetes. At the time of my diagnosis, I could have said that my life is over. I could have resolved myself to a miserable existence with a chronic disease (dry bones). However, I know that God has a greater plan for me. He's given me a gift, one I need to share. My purpose (gift) is to reach out to others, advocate, and fight for a cure. Amen.

Skeleton picture found here.

Monday, March 19, 2012

She's Home!

Mira is home! She's on strict cage rest for 4-6 weeks, weaning her off the prednisone over the next 2-3 weeks. She's now wearing a harness to avoid tugging on her neck from the leash when we take her out of the crate. As she feels better, she'll probably start pulling on the leash more.

We are allowed to take her out for quiet family time - evenings on the back deck, watching television, etc. If the kids start upping their activity level or Mira starts to get antsy, back in the crate she'll go.

It will be a while before she's back to playing soccer with the kids. Hubby and I have decided that it won't be anymore this year. She may surprise us and get the all-clear from the vet much sooner, but we'd rather prepare ourselves for longer than be disappointed. In the mean time, we're keeping her quiet in her crate. After being in the crate at the vet for a week, she's not protesting as much as I'd expect. I am trying to make sure someone is in the room with her to keep her company. Even if it's just someone reading or on the computer, it seems to help. 

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pet Prayers Prove Possitive

(In case you didn't notice by now, I love alliteration.)

Mira is doing so much better! We've visited her for the last three days. On Wednesday, we kept her in the kennel since it was our first time visiting. We knew that she'd get excited seeing me and the five kids. We didn't want her to get re-injured. Yesterday the vet tech offered to let us take her outside on the leash. Wow! That was a big deal for me! We put her leash on her and took her out to the fenced in area. She was so excited to be spending time with us, talking up a storm. She lead me to the groomer's building to say hello. Then she lead me to the back gate almost as if to say, "Let's go home!"

She was putting weight on both legs, taking little babysteps as she went. Considering on Monday (when hubby took her in) she could barely stand let alone walk, the improvement brought tears to my eyes.  Her sitting posture was still off though. More of a slump to the side that a sit (see picture to the right). She had been doing this since she injured the first leg a few months ago.

Speaking of the first leg, it all started coming back to me. The chain of events. I was trying to remember what might have caused that first leg to be injured. It was all kind of a blur, but then it dawned on me. She started favoring the back right leg during one of our few snow falls of this winter. I remembered that we figured she probably slipped on some snow or ice and strained it somehow.

Then the events of Monday night came back. Mira was chasing after a soccer ball and made a hard turn, causing her to go down and lose use of her back left leg. Putting all of these things together (the events and symptoms as well as response to treatment), we figure she probably has a herniated disc in her lower back.

This morning we went for another visit. Yes, she was walking a little better than the day before. Yes, she lead me to the groomer's building and back gate. This time she also lead me to the side gate that leads to the parking lot. However, what impressed me most was how she was sitting. Instead of being more slumped to the side with one leg kind of sticking out and the other one almost sideways under her, she had a normal pose. She sat straight down! (see picture on left) Her legs are under her as they should be! This is something she hasn't done in months! I was such a proud mama, going on and on about how nicely she sat! I bragged to the vet! I bragged to the vet tech and office manager! The kids were also beaming!

Although she could probably come home now, the vet, hubby, and I all agree that waiting until Monday to give her a little extra time would be best. Also, on Monday the kids will be in school (currently on spring break), so Mira will come home to a quiet (quieter?) house. I took the day off from both jobs to take care of her. It will just be me, our other dog, and our cat until after school. Although the kids miss her lots, they agreed without argument that this is best for her. (I'm so proud of them!)

She still has healing to do and will be on strict cage rest until cleared by the vet. She will only come out of the crate to go outside for the bathroom. If she behaves, we may let her lay on the floor in the living room while we watch tv or out on the back deck while we look at the stars, on a leash and only with vet approval. I've been told that eventually she'll be able to play soccer with the kids again, but not for a while.  Considering my worst fears Monday night, I'll take it! Thank you for all of your prayers!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pet Prayers Please

This is a picture of Mira (said like the space station Mir, plus "uh"), taken in December 2008. She is now three years old and about 70 lbs.

She needs your prayers.

For the past 2-3 months, she has been favoring in right back leg. After vet visits and medication, we were seeing no improvement. Monday night she was let out into the back yard and proceeded to chase after a soccer ball one of my children had just kicked, not knowing the dog was outside. As she turned to try to get the ball, both back legs gave out. My husband quickly got her to the vet (I was not home). She is still there with very little improvement. She can put some weight on her back left leg, but isn't walking as well as she was before (which involved a limp or no weight on the right leg). X-rays show no arthritis, dislocations, etc. At this point we're assuming it's muscular or something with the nerves (my guess). She's been on a different medication since Monday night and they are adding something else today.

We know she will be at the vet again tonight, possibly until early next week, to allow them to watch her and give her strict cage rest. Once she comes home, she will be on cage rest, only getting out to go outside to the bathroom, until she's better. The vet has said we can visit her, but we need to plan that around her trips outside to avoid overuse of her back legs. I'm going to call them and schedule a time either right before or after lunch.

Please pray for Mira and our family. She is dearly missed. Our younger ones keep asking when she'll be home, a question that is on the minds of our older children as well. The youngest one burst into tears when she heard that Mira is not coming home tonight and might have to stay through the weekend. At this point I'm not even worried about the vet bill. I want my sweet girl home!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Another Dental Check-up

It's been six months since my last cleaning, which meant it was time for another. I still need to get a root canal done on tooth #14, but that involves a drive out of town and coordinating with hubby's schedule.

I was so proud to find out that I have no new cavities!  WOOT! However I do need to have a 25+ yr old filling replaced. That doesn't count, no matter what my cousin likes to tease. No new cavities is considered a cavity-free appointment.  Replacing an old filling (notice I said the filling was old, not me) does not count as a newly diagnosed cavity, so there!

I will be getting the replacement filling next week and already have my next cleaning scheduled. Going to the dentist can be scary, but not taking care of myself is scarier! Remember, you can do this!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My new Keurig *swoon*

My Keurig arrived tonight. My new Keurig B70 Platinum. *swoon* Rather than go on and on, let the pictures tell the story (with a few words here and there)....

 Right out of the shipping box, waiting to be opened.
Sampler that came with the Keurig. I received 11 coffees and 1 tea. At least I have some coffee for guests now! I had already purchased a box of chai latte and a box of hot chocolate, so I'm good to go.
 Unpackaging the Keurig!

It was like Christmas.  So much fun!

The little tiny pieces of styrofoam that came out of the box with it weren't fun, but those were few in number and easy enough to clean up.
 The Keurig in its new home. I had it all the way against the wall here. Later I pulled it out some. It's not too tall to fit under the cabinet, even when opened. I also later switched the baskets. Two little ones are now on top of the microwave, one for tea and the other with hot chocolate. The later basket is on the far right with packages of microwave popcorn.
 Getting ready to use my Keurig! Rinsed it out then ran some hot water through it first.

Yes, I actually read and followed the directions!

I set the default cup size to 9.25 oz, large mug. I can easily change it to one step larger, travel mug, as needed. I also set the temperature to the lowest setting, 187*F, since I'm not one that likes hot beverages to leave blisters.

Making chai latte in my pretty green mug.  YUM!!!

So far so good! I have the clock set now with it programmed to turn on at 6:00 am and off at 8:00 am, ready to make me a yummy hot beverage before school. I don't want it keeping water hot all day, so I'll manually turn it on and off at other times of the day if needed.

I love the color. It's a basic black like my other appliances, though I do have to say if it came in green I would have gone with that. (My choices were silver, black, or red.)

For some reason I thought I could set it to automatically brew at a set time, but I haven't found that in the instructions. I must have misread that or just not found it. With how fast it brews though, that won't be an issue. When it's on, there is hot water ready to go. It only takes a minute to brew, so an auto brew feature for me might just cause cold tea. I think tomorrow morning I'll wake up, put a drink choice in, hit brew, let the dog out, then come back for my drink. I plan to have a mug ready at all times.

Overall I think this was a nice little splurge on myself. I've worked hard and felt I deserved a little something. With the deal a friend helped me find, I feel it was pampering without going too overboard. For my DOC and carb-conscious friends, the chai latte I got has 10 carbs and the hot chocolate has 11 carbs. I can probably find lower carb counts if I want a few cookies with the beverage, but it's also low enough when I'm not going to worry about a cup here and there.

@BestBetesBlogs February 2012 Winners

What an honor to be the host of February's Best of 'Betes Blogs. I so enjoyed reading all the awesome nominations! Without further ado, the winners are... *drumroll*
    Best Use of Humor
    Kim (Texting My Pancreas) had me LOL (literally) while reading her poem Shooting Arrows At Diabetes.

    Best Use of Photography
    Who doesn't like seeing adorable pictures of a little baby wearing a cupcake on her outfit! Lisa's (Lisa From Scratch) pictures are just plain cute!

    Best Advocacy
    Rachel (Tales of Rachel) touched many hearts (including mine!) with her post Be There.

    Best Reference to a D-Celebrity
    Sharing her experiences with Sam Talbot's cookbook, The Sweet Life: Diabetes Without Boundaries, Katie (1LittlePrick) shares her experiences with some yummy recipes that are easy on the carbs.

    Best Story of a D Meet-up
    Catherine (A Diabetic Ballerina) shares with us her touching meet-up with a DTreat friend here.

    Best non-D Related Post
    Life changes aren't always easy. Laura (Houston...We have a PROBLEM!) talks about her upcoming difficult transition from SAHM to single mom.

    Best Post by a Type 1
    Jess (Me and D) shares the ups and downs of diabetes in her blog entry Spilling My Guts.

    Best Post by a Type 2
    Sometimes it would be nice to live in the fairytale Kate (Sweet Success) writes about in the entry A Diabetes Fairytale.

    Best Post by a Type Awesome
    Wendy (Candy Hearts) helps PWDs understand how much our Type Awesomes are affected by diabetes. We can all related to her statement, "I'm not the same."

    Best Post by a LADA/ Type 1.5/ Not otherwise specified
    Getting the equipment you need sometimes involves a disagreement with insurance, illustrated by Ashley (Tales of SWAGing) in her post Dexcom SOS

    Best story of a D-mistake
    Being a teenager is hard. Being a teenager with diabetes is even harder. In her first ever blog post, Hannah (type1teenager) shares some mistakes she made and how a brutally honest doctor helped to turn her around.

    Best Motivational Post
    Scott (Scott's Diabetes) reminds us, when trying to clean out the garbage in our lives, how important it is to have a good friend... and a flashlight.

    There were no nominations for the following categories:
    Best Vlog
    Best Recipe
    Best Diabetes Art

      Congratulations to all of the winners! If you would like to have this logo on your blog, please follow the instructions:
      Replace all [ ] with < >. [div align="center"][a href="" target="_blank"][img src=""][/a][/div]

      A special shout-out to those who were nominated or made nominations:
      MariaBobBriley ~ Kate  ~ Jess  ~ Amanda  ~ Brian ~ Sara ~ Scott ~ Scully ~ Mike ~ Colleen ~ Meri
      I had so much fun reading all of the nominations. Thank you for the honor of hosting Best of the 'Betes Blogs this month!