Tag Archive for diagnosis

diabetes Has struck Again!

It is true, since becoming a Domestic Goddess a few years ago I have discovered a fondness for writing and sharing my life stories with the world.  On April 30th, 2014 my own life path took a bit of a drastic curve as I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes.  To say I was stunned and overwhelmed is a major understatement.  I was feeling both of these things plus a whole lot more.  Words like seriously (!!), unreal, unbelievable, and dumbfounded all came to mind.

diabetic-testing-meter_GyHdoLO_This is one of those stories that I have hemmed and hawed about telling because it’s very personal, and concerns my own health, not one of my family members.  However, it is important to me to share this with all of you just in case you have had or are having a similar experience.  I am 54 years old and last year I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes (ugh).  If you have been a follower of my family stories you know that my youngest son is a Type I diabetic.  He has been diabetic since he was 6 and he just turned 24.  Diabetes is not a new issue or challenge for me, except now I also have Diabetes of the Type II variety (ugh).  The story of how that diagnosis came about is a rather interesting one and it’s the main reason I feel compelled to share this discovery with all of you.

In the summer of 2013 I had gotten what I thought was a cut or scrape on my right ankle. It was taking some time to heal, and then it started to get a little itchy.  It took me awhile to decide to go to the doctor to get this checked out.  What I thought was a simple scrape had turned into a circular sore that was simply not healing 100%.  I had been applying Neosporin to this ugly little spot (about the circumference of a small coffee cup), and the first reaction from the doctor was , “Well you must be allergic to the Neosporin”,  because of the way it had spread.  At that point it was determined that my boo-boo was of the fungal variety (aka ringworm), and that I needed to apply some anti-fungal cream.  So I did, and shortly after that visit I saw a dermatologist who also confirmed ringworm, via a biopsy. (ugh-not fun)   The spot on my ankle continued to heal so slowly, the itching subsided, and I just “let it go” for a few months.  Now we’re into November of 2013, my Mom went to a dermatologist for an annual visit, and she really liked the doctor.  She encouraged me to make an appointment to see him since my ankle had still not healed 100%.  Of course being the fathead that I am I put off doing anything about it until after the holidays and then some.  

Now roll around to 2014, and in February of 2014 I finally go to the dermatologist my Mom had seen.  He was great.  As soon as he saw my ankle he said to me, “That looks like a skin tag.” I reply, “A what?”.  A skin tag in my case was a discoloration of the skin where I had the open sore.  It was still quite red, and had some occasional itchiness.  The dermatologist ordered the necessary blood tests and a second biopsy on the boo-boo site, and it was confirmed that I did indeed have Type II diabetes.  (ugh!)  I got a referral to a wonderful endocrinologist, and was thankful to know I would be on the road to finally feeling better.    

At this point knowing that there was something physically “off” for me gave me a sense of relief.  I know that may sound strange, but it’s because there was a definitive issue I was dealing with, and I would have continued to fight an uphill battle if I had waited any longer to get my boo-boo checked out.  This explained some things for me too.  I had been having trouble dropping those extra “holiday pounds” in January of 2014.  I was so, so tired all of the time.  I blamed the stress and tiredness on the loss of my Dad.  Now I know it was diabetes rearing it’s ugly head, and in my case it is genetically manifested.  At some point in time diabetes was going to be in my life for a very long time.  After my diagnosis the urge to run home and tell my other kids to get tested for any indicators of diabetes was overwhelming.  

Pre-diagnosis

Pre-diagnosis

Feeling Great-40 pounds lighter!!

Feeling Great-40 pounds lighter!!

I don’t really remember when I started to actually feel better and more energetic again, but it didn’t take long.  All in all so far I’ve dropped about 40 pounds from diet, exercise and getting my metabolism in order. I feel so much better.  No sluggishness, not dealing with weight gain, and feeling so much better.  Did I say that already?

Discovering my diabetes and finding my way towards a healthier lifestyle was an incredibly easy path once I knew what was going on.  I wanted to feel better.  And I will admit to you all that I was not really paying attention to me, and how I was truly feeling.  I was feeling pretty crappy.  No energy, could not lose a pound to save my life, and oh so moody which was totally not my character.  My life lesson here is do not wait to go the doctor if you’re not feeling right, or if you have a boo-boo that’s taking forever to heal. Listen to your mother (love you Mom!) and take good care of yourself.

This post linked to the BlogShareLearn linky party.

When I Stopped Sweating the Small Stuff – Part Two

Continuing our life story, is like a very necessary counseling session for me.  It has taken a lot of careful thought and discussions with my husband and kids to get to the point where I can share our story with you all so openly.  I have always felt I should write this story for a Family Circle or Woman’s Day article.  But since I have the medium of my own blog I am so pleased to be able to share it with you here.

Our family’s next life curve was so unexpected, that words alone cannot begin to describe the heart sinking news we received about Zach.  2001 was a devastating year for our country with the tragedy that occurred on September 11th.  However, prior to 9/11 our family suffered its own tragedy.

July 2001-Off to Ronald McDonald Camp

Zach was 9 years old in 2001, and would turn 10 in July.  By this time he was handling his diabetes, and were constantly working on counting carbs correctly, and making sure that he tested as many times as he should be each day.  Zach was in the fourth grade, and was playing NJB basketball with his friends.  In the January-February timeframe of 2001 Zach kept getting the flu, and was having a hard time getting back on his feet from it.  Then he had this weird allergy that was causing his eyes to swell shut, and he had to wear sunglasses all of the time to stay comfortable.  If I remember correctly he was treated for the “eye allergies” twice.  One Sunday, in April,  the kids and I went out for breakfast, not something we did very often, as I was a single parent at this time.  Zach’s sister, Hilary, noticed that his hands looked somewhat yellow, kind of like a jaundice.  Then after we got home Zach was laying on the floor watching tv and I noticed his feet looked the same way.

On this particular Sunday, I took Zach to urgent care, as I was concerned because of the flu, the allergies, and now his feet and hands just looked yellow.  Something was not right, and with his diabetes my gut was telling me get this checked out, pronto.  We had a blood test done, and the results would not be back until the next day, so we went home to wait.  There was no diagnosis, or suspicion of any diagnosis offered.

The next day at work I received a phone call from the nurse at the doctor’s office.  Zach’s results were back and the doctor wanted Zach to go to Loma Linda Children’s Hospital right away.   The results from the blood test showed that Zach’s white blood count (WBC) was extremely elevated, and they could do additional testing at Loma Linda right away to find out was going on in my little 9 year old’s body.  This was our second emergency room visit to Loma Linda.  The first visit there was when Zach was diagnosed with diabetes.

After additional testing, and what seemed like an eternity of a wait the doctor came into Zach’s room, in the emergency room.  He started to say to me with Zach and his Dad in the room, “We suspect your son may have Can…..”.  I cut the doctor off and said we needed to step outside.  I knew what was coming.  Zachary had cancer.  The Big C had infiltrated my family, and my baby boy was diagnosed with ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia).  

I remember letting out a bit of a yelp, and then I told the doctor that I needed a phone.  I had to call my parents.  My memory is a little sketchy here, but I remember a chaplain in the ER helping me find a private phone to call my parents.  I’m sure all I did when my Mom answered the phone was cry.  Zach’s dad and I broke the news to him, and we were all so frightened, and bewildered, and shocked.  I remember Zach crying and comforting him, and then things are just a blur.  He was admitted to the hospital, of course, and our education on the treatment for ALL would begin in earnest.

In the following days after Zach was admitted to the hospital so many things were going on.  What are Zach’s chances for survival?  What will the treatments involve?  How quickly can we get the doctor “on duty” reassigned to be Zach’s primary oncologist?  You see the doctor assigned to Zach’s case in the ER, how shall I say this politely, she just didn’t work out.  Who would spend the night in the hospital with Zach?  Who could be at home with the kids?  So many issues and decisions to be made at once, how could we possibly get through all of this. 

We got through the first few hectic weeks of Zach’s diagnosis one hour at a time, one day and a time, and ultimately one week at a time.  When you are in crisis mode, as we were, you can only focus on what’s right in front of you.  With the help, care and compassion from my amazing family we muddle through those first few weeks while Zach was hospitalized.  And I have to say the best day of 2001 was Mother’s Day.  Zach came home for Mother’s Day after almost three weeks in the hospital.  I couldn’t have been happier.

So now at not quite ten years old my son had a primary care doctor, a pediatric endocrinologist, and a pediatric oncologist.  Never in my wildest dreams about having a family and raising kids, did I ever imagine that any of my kids would have to endure what Zach was about to go through.

When I Stopped Sweating the Small Stuff

There are moments in all of our lives when we realize, maybe not in the moment, but at some point surrounding a moment, we realize that our life path has taken a drastic turn.  My family had it’s fair share of those moments.  It has taken alot of thought and contemplation for me to tell you my family’s story of our challenges over the years.  I never wanted to be a part of a pity party, or have people say, “poor thing”.

I feel compelled to tell you our story because it’s unique to us, and we overcame all of the obstacles thrown in our path and are much stronger today because we learned to adapt and move on.  I see this life story as a two or three parter.  The blog post would just become much too long if I told you our story in one single post.  And by the way these stories do have the consent of my kids.  We talked about this at length before I knew I could go ahead and share what we have conquered.  So here we go…………………………..

My husband, Tom, and I have 5 kids together.  Four of mine from a previous marriage; two girls and two boys, and Tom’s son.  Three of the kids still live at home and are working full-time, and going to school.  All very responsible young adults, and all in the process of finding their life paths.  This part of our story is about our youngest son, Zachary.   Zach will be turning 21 this year, and we will be celebrating his footsteps into adulthood.  We are ever so thankful that this celebration is coming, it will truly be a milestone for Zach.

Zach at age 6.

Zachary has diabetes, Type I, you may know this as “juvenile diabetes”.  He was diagnosed with diabetes at age 6-1/2 in December of 1997, in the middle of his first grade year.  He is totally insulin dependent, and relies on a pump system, The Omnipod, to deliver the insulin into his blood stream.  There are so many stories I can share surrounding Zach’s diagnosis, and his integration back into his classroom in school.  For the moment I just want to say that I am ever so thankful for the staff and adminstrators at his elementary school at that time.  They were amazing partners with me in helping Zach to gain the confidence to learn to take care of his diabetic needs at school.  I am forever grateful for their patience and understanding.

Zach’s diagnosis was an indescribable life path curve.  Of course the majority of the change affected Zach, but it also caused changes for the rest of the family.  We incorporated some eating changes, mostly for the healthier.  We had to learn how to help Zach take care of himself.  Everyone learned how to do an injection, and how to treat a low blood sugar.  We all had to be aware.  The main thing I remember about this time in our family’s life path is the emotion of it all.  It was such an exasperating time for a six year old to take shots four times a day, and deal with testing his blood sugar.  How could we help him get through his daily medical needs, and still learn to have fun and just be a six year old boy?  There were many upsetting days an nights for us all, and most especially for Zach.  He was angry about his diabetes for such a long time, and resisted learning how to take good care of himself.  I just remember being so incredibly thankful that we had the medications and tools available to us to be good caretakers, and in turn teach Zach to do the same for himself.

Zach’s diabetes diagnosis was my first lesson as a parent in learning to stop sweating the small stuff.  I was much less irritated when things weren’t perfect around the house, ie. cleaned up and picked up all of the time.  I became much more focused on the importance of patience, listening, and showing compassion to all of the kids.  We were all in this together, and we were going to get through it together.  Little did we know where the next curve in our lives would take us.  That’s a story for next time though, so stay tuned.

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