Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bearskin Meadow Camp (2)

continued from here...
 On Tuesday, the camp gives the parents the opportunity to leave camp and go explore the area without our children since these opportunities are so rare at home for most t1d families. (we are lucky, we have found an amazing sitter who has t1d as well and is comfortable watching all of our children!) Zack and I went to Hume Lake snack shop for milkshakes, which are AMAZING!!! I had cookies and cream and he had a chocolate malt shake. Then we walked down to the water and wandered around a bit. 

Random side note: If you are Christian and plan to send your children to the Christian camp at Hume Lake (in California) do some extensive research. We found about 5000 teens and about 5 adults... it is also rumored to have a very high teen conception rate. 0_o 

Later that night, after the World Cup (camp theme, which really left me befuddled from the start) dinner, we had the costume camp dance. The kids had a blast! Grayson worked on his break dancing skills which he decided that night he would show off in the talent show the next day and Torin showed off his Gangnam style dance and general tushie shaking. Jax, le sigh, Jax wandered around with a stick and played in the dirt. lol Apparently, dancing isn't his bag, baby! :P

Something very different from home is that every night there is a snack at 830 as a group. At home our kids are in bed long before then with dinner not much earlier so neither dinner nor it's insulin (for G) has had time to process fully to need a night snack. After the dance, the kids had ice cream to help with all the energy they burned and help prevent low blood sugar in the night for our little sugar babies. 
Grayson had one anyway.

Though the next day we got this. That almost never happens and it makes me oddly amused when it does. The top is the finger poke blood sugar number (his target range is 80-180 so this is slightly high but no big deal) and the bottom is his continuous glucose monitor which he wears 24 hours a day and the sensor in his arm beams to this little do-dad and tells us his number every 5 minutes. Because a lot can change in 5 minutes, and because of how it reads it is rarely exactly the same. 

One of the kids VERY favorite place is across this bridge.
I love how Torin walks, such purpose. Usually there is a bit of a hop in there too as if he has just that little extra energy that he needs to use with every step. 

Fairy Land. 
The kids went their with their counselors and made fairy houses. They were so excited to show us the cool houses they and the other kids had made. 

The aftermath of all that walking and playing in flip flops. lol Leanne had said that we would be filthy at camp. I really didn't get it. I guess it's been a while since I camped at all much less with little kids. Coming home I was tempted to burn the bags of clothes and start over, rather than touch them all to wash them. That bad. Seriously. blech.  

Wednesday we piled in the car after breakfast for a family trip to Hume Lake. We ate a fun lunch at the shack skipping the milk shakes because the little kids and I are dairy free and all the dairy was catching up in their little bodies and Torin in particular wasn't a happy camper. After lunch we rented a boat to go see the lake. I wasn't sure how that would go and as soon as Grayson stepped in and it rocked I had my answer. He started shreiking that he wanted out and it was scary and he wanted to walk. oy. We continued on and eventually he calmed a bit.

 Brennan managed to show everyone on the lake that he does indeed cry, when he is hungry and especially when you stick a life jacket on him. Nursing in life jackets proved interesting, I had to completely undo mine but the lake wasn't very deep where we were so I figured I'd take my chances. 

We found a big rock with a sandy-ish beach and decided to stop and play a bit. 
Torin found this cute little lizard with an electric blue tail. Zack caught him so the boys could see him longer and closer and all was well until his part of his tail got pulled off by one of the boys. We let him go. Poor guy.  

We were not on the beach long when Grayson announced he had to use the restroom... Zack loaded him back in the boat (shrieks again) and set out for the dock. As soon as he started to row against the wind and current the oars popped out of the oar locks and Zack fell backwards into G, slightly smashing him and rocking the boat. SHRIEKS heard for miles I am sure. I couldn't help but laugh except that the oars continued to do that every time Zack put any weight into them. It was slow going and G was yelling the entire time. Eventually Zack was out of sight. 

A bit later Zack walked up to us on the beach, he had ditched the boat because it was taking too long because of the oars not staying put and he just left it on the beach and took G. He left us to go take the boat back. While we were playing on the beach some of our camp counselors came by and stopped near us in their boat. They played in the water a bit and eventually left. I was watching them do the exact same thing with the oars while trying to leave against the current and falling all over the place. I kind of laughed but I remember thinking how unsafe that was. 

The kids played on the beach for what seemed like an hour and eventually Zack came back. He looked dazed. I asked what was wrong. He said he had gotten in the boat to take it back and because it was windy he had put his whole weight into rowing and the oars jumped out and he flew back in the boat and cracked the base of his skull/neck on the plywood seat behind him. He had passed out. When he came to he wasn't sure if he would be able to move or not, that he was sure he had hit hard enough to break his neck and was surprised he hadn't. 


We packed up and slowly made our way back to our car. Zack had a pretty massive headache. That night he was looked at by the doctor at camp and ultimately the next day after looking dazed (and not being able to answer the basic questions like what year is it) for 12+ hours the doctor was concerned he might have a slow bleed or something that wouldn't be found without a CTscan, so he was taken down the mountain to Fresno an hour and a half away. 

He has post concussion syndrome, which is fancy for "you hit you head really hard dummy". He could have dizziness, nausea and possibly vomiting for up to a few weeks. Luckily, another one of our favorite counselors drove him and he kept her busy writing all of his funny quips. 

While Zack was down the hill, the counselors were rarely away from my side or not taking some of my kids away to play. BMC has brought together some of the best and sweetest people to be counselors and I feel fortunate to have met them. I tried to get a few to come home with me and be live in nannies by they declined. :) 

This is Carter with the boys and I at the pond. 

Cassie  with the big boys on the last day. Oh Jaxon, that face! 

Megan and the bigs. 

Part of coming to camp was for Grayson to see other diabetic kids doing the same stuff and using the same equipment and such. I had set two very reachable goals that we had talked about but he had been reluctant to do. 1) a shot in his tushie. He likes to use his tiny arms. And the cgm is in one so for 1-2.5 weeks we can only use one arm for the shots. 

Finally, on the last day he let me give his breakfast shot in his tushie. Yay Grayson!! 

The second thing I felt we should try was to move the cgm SOMEWHERE, ANYWHERE else. The inserter for the sensor is a little intimidating and scares him so we haven't pushed it but I really wanted some more options. At one of the Coffee Talks I had spent some time talking to Cassie and Michael who is diabetic and has a cgm as well as a pump, both in his belly at the moment. I asked if he would be willing to show G this and help with a new insert and location. He agreed. 

So also, the last day G let us (sort of. There was a bribe of $7 and ultimately a backpack for bravery) While it was a bit of a pinch at the time, once he got used to it he admitted he thought he liked it better than his arm! woohoo! 

We had a lovely time BMC! Thanks for everything! We learned so much and had a blast in the process. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Bearskin Meadow Camp (1)

Every now and then I come back to the blog to see how long it has been since the last post and realize that so much has happened since the last time it would be almost impossible to catch up. I won't make any promises about trying harder because lets face it, life with 4 little boys and a chronic illness is anything but boring.

Which brings me to last week.

When Grayson was diagnosed in October with type 1 diabetes one of the first things my friend Leanne said to me after she assured me he would be ok and she was there with any info I needed, was YOU NEED TO GO TO CAMP.

She had been a camp counselor at Bearskin Meadow in Central California for 10 years and while she isn't diabetic herself, is a wealth of knowledge and support. As soon as registration opened Zack and I signed up and then realized with a gulp the extensive cost involved in taking a family of 6 to camp 800 miles away from home... do we drive (yikes) or do we fly (holy crap the luggage and costs)? Ultimately, we were given a partial scholarship which helped significantly with fees and we decided to drive the more than 800 miles each way... with 4 children under 7...

...trapped in a car. For two days. Each way.

In case you missed it, I had another baby.
Brennan, he is a gem and possibly the happiest little thing to grace my life.
He is 4 months old now. (Torin is almost 3, Jaxon is 4.5, and Grayson is 7.5)

We started off pretty optimistic and somewhere between the second Frozen and looking for that damn fish that no one can seem to keep track of I might have lost my ever-loving mind.

Zack driving much of the way helped me pass the time by posting "are we there yet?!" on facebook. We made our way down I5 and had planned to stop somewhere between Ashland and Redding. It turns out that the ever popular Shakespeare festival was going on in Ashland and all of NorCal is on fire so all the hotels were booked for 200 miles. Super. We found the only thing available and hoped for the best. (motel 6 in Yreka) I will say that while there was Uber classy people all around at least I couldn't hear them. It may have had the best insulation of any h/motel I have ever been in. We came out to see our car covered in ash and continued on our way hoping to emerge from the smoke eventually to clear skies.

Later Sunday night we arrived at Bearskin Meadow Camp. Not a moment too soon. Everyone was antsy from being in the car another 10 hours. Check in was supposed to be 130-5 and we had significantly underestimated how long the drive would ACTUALLY take with 4 hellions children. We arrived at almost 7, just in time to dump our stuff and head to the first camp fire. One of our favorite camp counselors, Carter, immediately offered to help with Brennan and I handed him off for a bit. He was pretty sleepy and took to her immediately.
                        (B and Carter in the middle- photo borrowed from Diabetes Youth Families)

After a fun opening camp fire it was time to attempt to put our wild, under exercised children to bed.

Have you ever been woken up by a GIANT bell and then the loudest music you can imagine? I have. For days. The first day, Torin jumped out of bed ran out to the deck and screamed at it all in shock and confusion then ran back in and hid in his covers. We couldn't help but laugh but I completely agreed. Mind you it was also 7am! I guess they mean business.

Off to InsLine (the line to talk to the dr or nurse about our recent numbers and get help if needed and the meal insulin dose) and breakfast. Meals are a bit chaotic with a few hundred people and littles but overall it went well. Most of the families sleep on open air decks but those of us with infants and toddlers get to sleep inside in the more recently build Ellen's place building. Meals are either with your deck mates or in our case, our house mates and largely family style. We mostly spent our time chasing Torin back to the table but the counselors are SUPER awesome and helped us more often than not so a few bites were eaten in the end. I somehow managed to gain 5 lbs in this whole process.

When I first heard about camp, I wasn't really sure what that meant. I had never gone to camp as a kid other than 6th grade camp in the mountains and I don't really remember much. I had no real idea what that meant for my kiddos and for Zack and I. At BMC after breakfast, the kids join up with their counselors and the parents go on to some adult time for a few hours. Mostly, the kids loved having some time off without us but Torin started to wane a bit in the end. I mostly kept Brennan with me.

The first morning parents education meeting was an introduction of us and our stories of how we got here. It was so nice to see so many that felt the same way I do on some basic level. The fears we all try to not think about, the what ifs. I mostly try to think positively about Diabetes and that it could be so much worse. I have refused to cry and still do, he is HERE. Grayson is ALIVE and healthy and for that I am THANKFUL but sometimes the tiniest of doubts creep in and no matter where any of us is in the process, everyone in that room understands that pain. We made quite a few friends we hope to carry on this journey with.

Every evening for dinner there was a theme. It was mostly too much of a pain to drag us all back to the room to get our stuff so it didn't work out more than it did but the crazy hair/hat dinner and the tie dye dinner we participated in were fun and the kids enjoyed the extra bit of fun.

(note to self, when you are the last camp of the summer your dye looks like mud... bring own dye to avoid this. lol) 

Honestly, most of the days blur into the rest. So much moving. The kids ended up soooo exhausted they would pass out in minutes once they settled in. The camp counselors gave us a few breaks in the evening so at 9 after the evening activity they would watch the kids while we were down to the cafeteria to have real dessert and grown up talk. This meant a very late bed time for most of the kids. B would pass out in the Tula (carrier) and eventually the rest would too.

....more tomorrow.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Holy Amazing, Batman!

When I had Jonathan I came to know that your friends either pull together and make shit happen or they run fast and far. Mostly I had people surround me and embrace me through what I was going through. I tried not to hold it against those that ran, hell I wanted to run away too! 

This time I hope it's different, Grayson's diagnosis is bringing people out of the woodwork I didn't know I had in my corner! Today a friend of a friend wrote this letter to him. 
It wasn't until I was talking to my friend Angie over at Jonesing 2 Create and she asked who wrote it, I said it was a comic book writer... Devin something... ha. Apparently, Devin Grayson is THE comic book writer. :P (sorry Devin, you are awesome, I am just clueless!) My amazing friend Leanne who has been my right side mama since I found out, is friends with Devin's friend. 

I am incredibly humbled and thankful to have so many amazing people in our lives, near or far to help us along this journey. Grayson just loves that he got a personalized letter from THE Batman. His little eyes lit up and then he asked if I was sure since I had said Batman wasn't real, oops. I said I was wrong, that it is real and so is Batman. 

It made his day. Thank you. From the bottom of this mama's heart. <3 p="">


Most of this blogs followers are friends, most of those friends are on Facebook with me.... but some who aren't might be around here poking around still. SO... guess what?!    

I am pregnant! 

Bet you can't guess what we are having?

I will give you a hint, the balloons were not on Jonathan's birthday. :) 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Who Knew...

There was a poem I my mom had written on a piece of notebook paper and clipped to a mirror when I was a kid, I barely remember it but the line I remember is

"It is easy enough to be pleasant, when life flows along like a song, but anyone worth while is one who will smile, when everything goes dead wrong."

Turns out that is the whole poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, thank you google. It stuck with me most of my life and I really, really try to just turn things right side up. Struggling with depression for most of my life, this isn't always an easy task. Which brings me to now. Turns out I can't write a damn thing when my life is seemingly moving along like a song. Honestly, it wasn't but some things aren't meant to be shared so I don't. But today, this week, I found my words. I don't know if they will stay long or if life will ever flow like a song again but for now, I am here.

For the last few weeks, Grayson (6- when did that happen?!) has been getting up to pee a lot, like 4-6x a night between bed at 730 and my bed at 11/12. This followed a virus so I wasn't too concerned, until it continued. Then he started getting headaches, almost daily. At first I wondered if he was dehydrated as I am super sensitive to water intake and headaches. Then he came home last Friday for a headache, he had a pretty quick recovery at home so I started wondering if he was manipulating the situation to get something or out of something. I also found out he had been in the nurses office quite a few times. Mostly for headaches but would head back to class and seem ok.

Monday morning I was working in his classroom and asked his teacher about the headaches and such. She mentioned that she was concerned and he had been leaving quite often to use the restroom. hmmm. We finished our chat and I headed out to the office to do some paper cutting. About 30 minutes later, the teacher walked in and said that instead of going to recess, Grayson had gone to the nurses office with a headache. I went in and he was using the restroom but the nurse asked if he had eaten breakfast. He had. He said he was hungry though so we went to the cafeteria to ask if she had some apples or veggies we could have. He ate some apples and went back to class, seemingly better.

I finished my work and dropped it back in the classroom. I went back to the nurse and we spoke more. I concluded that something was very wrong and was pretty sure it was type 1 diabetes. I left worried and went immediately home to message a friend who's son is just two weeks older and was diagnosed a year ago. She said she thought it could go either way, as I had kept thinking all those things could be a growth spurt or something easy and simple. She said come over for a blood check and get some peace of mind. I agreed.

I picked up Gray that afternoon with a heavy heart, went home and ate the snack I had been instructed to give him so as not to spike or change his blood sugars too much. Then we went over to our friends house. Gray was very apprehensive about the finger poke but ultimately agreed and we were all a little shocked to see his blood sugar at 360! I didn't leave with peace of mind. I left armed with my cell phone to call the advice line for an apt and urgent care hours. Two hours later we were at UC and having another blood check. 520 this time!!! (after a normal dinner of spaghetti and bread and veggies) The urgent care Pediatrician said he was 99.9% sure it was T1D and to go immediately (after packing a bag etc) to the local children's hospital.

We raced home, sent emails to the teachers/principle involved and any friends/family who needed to know what was going on and we were on our way. We got settled in and spent the next 2 days getting a crash course on keeping Grayson as stable as possible.

I can't believe that after 2 days I took him home. Like a newborn only harder.

Who knew? This disease is a huge commitment to keeping these (little) people safe. I had no idea. I grew up with a friend whose step dad had diabetes and I knew that the complications of that and his transplant are what led to his death. He was an amazing man but I remember him being pretty quiet about his disease. He never hid it per se, he just didn't do it completely out in the open. I also babysat for a family all through high school that both parents were/are T1D. I saw the father do his shots and at first it kinda freaked me out, I have always had an aversion to needles. But I got used to it, as I am sure he had many many years earlier.

I found out that while I have no relatives that I know of with the disease and neither does Zack, we both carry a gene that makes all of our children a potential candidate. The general theory is that a virus, which one is yet unknown for sure, is the trigger and T1D follows shortly after. Who knew?

If you would like to learn more about Type 1 Diabetes please feel free to click here.

                                                      Grayson last weekend at the Punky patch