This boy’s life.

Bear is giggling in the yard. Tig is too. I take a peak, Bear laughs and rolls on the ground in the dirt, he calls out “mommy!” He’s still laughing. He looks drunk.

“Mommy, I need you” his perma grin is infectious. Both Tig and I are laughing now too. Through his smiles and laughter he says “mommy, help, I need you. I’m feeling really really low”

Shit.

I run for the juice box, one left. ONE LEFT!? No matter, deal with that later. I toss it to him while I rush back for his meter.

He is still flopping around and laughing. But he’s not happy. He’s scared. “I can’t walk mum. I can’t see”. 

I got you baby. 

I check his blood sugar, 1.9mmols.

Fuck.

He finishes the juicebox in seconds flat. He is no stranger to this lifesaving technique.

“I need something. Something more” he says. I grab him three cookies and help him to sit down. How hard will it be to help him walk when he’s a big tall man? I wonder.

But who cares. I’ll just get stronger.

Tig, who is 6 years old, says “how can I help?” Just sit with him. Just sit and wait it out with him. We are all trained to help once we recognize that it’s a low, once the meter tells us so. But it’s hard to take Bear seriously when he’s still laughing and fooling around, especially when his blood sugar hasn’t yet been tested. So hard not to think he’s faking with that goofy smile plastered across his face and the exaggerated wayhe clumsily wanders around.

I’ve seen what happens on the flip side of those lows. When the smile turns to panic and his eyes glaze over. When he is no longer “drunk” but now he’s hallucinating and seizing. 

15 minutes later. He’s acting normally now. 

His blood sugar is good (4.4 mmols). He’a back to his old self  again and it’s as if nothing even happened. Just a moment in a day, not unlike most other moments in most other days. 

Sometimes he has great blood sugars throughout the day, and we rejoice and wonder what we did right to accomplish that. And other days we work really hard at keeping him out of emerg and we pick apart and analyze every move we made that day. 

How did we fuck up? We ask ourselves.

As parents of type 1 diabetics we spend our days walking this insane tight rope that we can never perfect or predict. Sometimes the emergencies are small, like this one was. But we all know that seconds are all that stand between these kids and possible seizure, coma, death.
It takes something out of you to live so precariously perched on the edge all the time. To always be waiting, watching, wondering – when will the next emergency happen?

He doesn’t know this, but this disease is breaking me. I am cracked and taped up again inside. 

He doesn’t know this, but he’s the tape.

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Filed under diabetes, T1D, type 1 diabetes, Type 1 Diabetes, type1diabetes

About A Boy. A Sweet Boy.

There are boxes piled up in the mud room. Empty flattened boxes. Waiting for me to make a move. Literally.

The stress level in the house is high. We don’t know where we are going next. So far all we know is that we can’t stay here. Our home is sold and we have to be out by 6pm on April 4th. 

But this post isn’t about that, it isn’t about me. It’s about my boy.

In 4 days he will have his third “Diaversary”.  

 

—> Diaversary: The anniversary of your diagnoses date, aka the time you stick it to diabetes no matter what the blood glucose number is. ex “We’re having cake for dessert to celebrate your diaversary. You’re 250? Then we’ll just have to bolus extra.” 

Three years of us all ‘dealing with’ and him having this disease, Type 1 Diabetes. Diabetes Mellitus. Mellitus, the Latin for “honey” “honeyed” and/or “sweet as honey”. Diabetes, meaning to siphon. In other words, to siphon or discharge honey/sweets from your body. “The Sugar Disease”.

He’s come so far this sweet boy. From injections to pumping to counting carbs and recognizing his lows. From the moments of triumph where he didn’t even move or fuss at all when the inset was put in, to the moments of fear where he seized in front of us and we finally used the glucagon that we were starting to think was just a Diabetes prop. And all the moments in between. 

All those moments that pass as if we’ve always lived like this. The night checks, the tantrums over wanting a juicebox when his meter said he was normal, the way we watch his moods for signs that he is high or low, the way every bad mood or bad decision on his part is double checked with a blood test. The way we look at him when his blood is in perfect range and he was still acting like an ass. As if a 7 year old boy can’t just be an ass sometimes. The way his sisters ask him constantly “can you eat that? Did you check your blood?” – and they just care, I know how much it drives him crazy – but they just care. The way that all the kids in class got a small bag of treats and he was given a bag of stickers this Valentines, and how cheated he felt. How angry I felt at the parent who would make him feel that way. But he was angry at diabetes, not at the kid or the mother. He knew they had made this choice thinking it was the right one to make, not out of ignorance so much as out of caring. Though the two can look alike from the point of view of a mother bear who only wants her child to feel included. But he was angry at the disease. This disease that makes him stand out as much as it makes him feel unseen. And this is our normal. 

This week is especially hard for me. All the house stress aside, this week brings back all the intense feelings from that day he was diagnosed. I remember weeks beforehand my confusion. 

“Why is he so aggressive?”

“Why has he stopped waking up at the crack of dawn and now I have to pull him out of bed?”

“Why is he peeing his bed?”

“Why is he so thirsty?”

“Where did his energy go?”

“Why is he so unhappy all the time?”

Like any good mother I went to my mother Tribe and inquired. My best friend at the time offered this: “He’s just regressing because of starting school” “four year old’s go through phases” “This is normal, don’t let yourself get paranoid”. But I knew, somewhere deep inside, that this wasn’t “normal”. Though I had no idea what it was – so I went with what I did know, Asperger’s. It had to be something. And he was so sensory oriented these days and aggressive that I thought “perhaps this is what AS looks like in him?”. At the assessment for AS I non-chalantly mentioned his outrageous thirst and bathroom escapades. I thought nothing of it. The Neurologist who was assessing him said “I don’t think he has Asperger’s Syndrome…but I think you should go to the doctor for a check up”. She didn’t elaborate. I didn’t ask her to. I didn’t think much of it to be honest.

Still, I did finally decide to take him in. Against the advice of my “then friend” and assuming this *had* to be something other than a phase (I suspected a bladder infection). We went to the doctor’s office. They asked him to pee in a bottle, both he and I knew that the little urine collection bottle they gave us was a joke. We had been watching him pee buckets for weeks now. But we did it and we were lucky that his urine only skimmed the top and didn’t spill over. His urine was colourless and cloudy – as it had been for a while. The doctor and nurse looked, what I thought, surprised or amused at the extent to which he filled that bottle. What I know now is that their looks were of concern and shock. Things began to move very quickly then. A blood test with a lancet and a funny looking hand held device (meter) was done. They moved in and out of the room all the while giving us gentle smiles and acting so calmly that it appeared just that – an act.

In those moments all you want to believe is that the act is real and there is nothing to be concerned about. All the while your parental instincts are firing off like firecrackers inside you and you don’t remember how to do anything anymore but comfort your child and like them – act calmly and smile gently. “All will be alright”

The doctor stood very close to me when she came to speak to me, as if she was expecting me to fall. She said “I think it might be diabetes. You need to go to the hospital emergency room right away. I’ve called ahead and you will have a room waiting for you, do you need to call anybody right now?”

I didn’t really know what diabetes was, not really. A friend of mine had died from it years ago, falling into a coma alone in her bachelor apartment and being found three days later. That was all I knew. But she was an adult – he was a child – I said to myself as if that made any difference. But the doctor said “think it might be” so perhaps it *was* something else, something benign… 

I hoped.

Even at the hospital I kept asking “but what else could it be?” to the doctors who were working quickly to get blood from him and put an IV in his tiny arm. Finally someone answered me. “Nothing. It can be nothing else. It is Diabetes”. I remember fighting that they had said “might”. I remember fighting for them to do more tests. A doctor came up to me and said “we don’t need to do anymore tests. We know what it is, it is diabetes.” Denial is such a strong thing. I stayed stuck in it all through “Diabetes Boot Camp”. I stayed stuck in it even when I thought I wasn’t stuck in it. His seizure was the moment where the last of my denial was finally shed. Like snake skin my denial had grown thin and transparent and much of me was new and tough and connected to his disease, but until the moment the skin of denial fully fell off that night in his bedroom while I held him so tightly and realized with open eyes that he has Type 1 Diabetes, and that it almost killed him. Until that night I had not realized how important my job really was. I have to keep him alive. Not like the rest of my children, but medically. I have to walk the tight rope for him till he can do it himself. And there is no net if you fall.

I. Have. To. Keep. Him. Alive. 

That isn’t dramatic, it’s fact.

Three years. Just a small portion of a lifetime of this to go. But sciencitific discoveries and experiments are growing in the way of a cure, and perhaps in his lifetime he will be able to say “I had diabetes”.

This Friday we will not celebrate his diagnosis, so much as we will celebrate overcoming the sadness of his diagnosis and embracing what he is apart form his diabetes. We will celabrate his bravery and his strength throughout this 24/7 disease. We will celebrate that we, as his family are doing our very best, especially through the really hard times and that we’ve made it this far this well. We will celebrate his awesome A1C’s and we will celebrate it all in the name of all the other diabetics out there who are fighting the good fight. The fight to stay alive.

Happy 3rd Diaversary sweet boy.

 

                                     

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Filed under Asperger's, diabetes, diagnosed, Diaversary, strength, T1D, type 1 diabetes, Type 1 Diabetes, type1diabetes

I Think We saved Our Child’s Life Tonight

Our last night before a cleanse for the week, we decided to get one last hurrah in and were quite intoxicated when, watching a show downstairs, we were suddenly surprised to hear the frantic screams of our child up in his room. 

It was hard to comprehend at first as it was fast, mumbled and repetitive, but we soon realized as we ran up the stairs that he was screaming “MOMMY, I NEED JUICE!”

The hub started to check his blood immediately as I dashed down the stairs at full speed for the sacred life saving serum – a juicebox. I paused for only the briefest of seconds as I stared at the three last juice boxes we had in the house and decided to take them all up with me. I couldn’t believe we had been so stupid not to have his room stocked. Or that we only had 3 juiceboxes in the house.

2.6 mmols. That’s what his blood glucose level was at.

Not that low.

Low, but certainly not as low as he’s ever been. This is a kid that didn’t notice that he was 1.5 mmols once. So I thought “this is probably just a combination of a night terror (though he’s never had one before) and a low”. But then it got weird and scary. He adamantly refused the juice now and was shaking violently. No words, just violent jerking and screams. I pulled out the glucagon and followed all the instructions layed out before me inside the lid of the kit. Insert syringe, fill glucose bottle with water, shake well, suck up glucose, remove from bottle, stab child in thigh. Having been warned about giving too much Glucagon I only gave him half the dose. The tremors and jerking didn’t subside. Though now he kept seeing images of nurses coming at him with needles and he was violently trying to keep them away. Periodically he would look at me and through his sobbing would ask “what’s happening?” His words were mumbled and his jaw was clenched. Unless he was asking me what was happening, he didn’t know I was there. His eyes looked right through me and he begged for me to come to him. As I sat in front of him trying to comfort him.

His body jerked unpredictably and constantly.

At this point I started to suspect what we were witnessing was a hypoglycaemic seizure, specifically a “partial seizure”. His symptoms covered almost all the signs and symptoms from the onset to the actual thing.

X – Sweating
X – Confusion
Feeling faint or too sleepy

X- Shakiness
X – Feeling cold or clammy
X – Hallucinations
X – Unexplained emotional behaviors
X – Uncontrollable crying
X – Unaware of surroundings
X – Changes in vision
X – Loss of ability to speak clearly
X – Loss of muscle control
Muscle weakness

X – Anxiety 
X – A trance like state
X – Eyes staring into space
X – Eyes blinking rapidly
X – Inability to respond
X – Uncontrollable bodily movements like jerking
X – Involuntary muscle contraction
Unconsciousness
 

All but a few, really.

I knew this was different than Bean’s Febrile Seizure that she had at 18 months old. That one was scary, but there was something distinctly different about this. The one very significant difference was that the blood sugar irregularities that can cause a diabetic seizure can also cause the diabetic patient to lapse into a coma.

We knew it needed to be treated as a medical emergency.

We knew that he was either already having a seizure or that he was quickly on his way there. I stuck him with the rest of the remaining glucagon as my 200+lbs hub desperately fought to keep him from moving.

We called 911.

His eyes, like saucers, filled with terror looked out to who knows where while his body danced badly and uncontrollably on the hard floor. In a moment of “clarity”, or at least in a moment where he realized the hub was with him, he begged his father to keep “them” at bay. So my sweet hub sat there cradling Bear with his arm stretched out warning off the invisible nurses who were attacking Bear with needles.

Finally the glucagon began to take effect. He started to quieten down a bit within the folds of my hub’s strong and calming embrace. He asked for me and he requested to finally drink the juice box. I was talking to the paramedic rep on the emergency line at the time and decided to cancel the ambulance. The entire ordeal lasted from 10:34pm to 10:42pm.

8 minutes. 8 minutes that stopped time entirely.

But it was over now,
for now.

As we prepped him to check his blood again the silent tears escaped me. He was too out of it to notice, I’m thankful for that as the warm drops fell hard onto his meter. It is all too real that seizures in diabetics can lead to coma, which can lead to brain swelling and brain injury and all to often to death.

“Diabetes is a serious disease and if blood glucose levels are not regularly monitored and controlled, multiple complications may occur. A hypoglycemic seizure is one of these complications. It is triggered by dangerously low blood sugar levels.This condition may lead toa diabetic seizure. It can be fatal if not treated right away.”

We witnessed too many of those exact types of deaths over the Summer through the media. A little girl, no older than Tig at the time, died of “complications” due to type 1. She fell into a coma (this time because of hyperglycaemia). A boy about Bean’s age died at Basketball camp because of the staff ignoring that he was diabetic when he began to vomit (extremely dangerous to type 1 diabetics). And the list goes on spanning from children to adults.

I’m sitting here as he lays beside me. “mumma, can I sleep with you?”. You better believe it.

I don’t ever want to let you go.

I know he won’t really remember this night, but I will never forget. I can only hope it never happens again. I had just finished telling someone that in the almost three years that we have watched him deal with Diabetes we have never had to use glucagon or to call an ambulance. He has never once had a seizure. That is, until tonight. Isn’t that always the way. Just as soon as you feel confident it will never happen to you, to him, ever.

Not sure I will be able to sleep tonight. I am about to check his blood again and will likely do so multiple times till morning. His face is covered in black face paint as his baseball cheek lines he got from the party he was at today have been rubbed all over him through the thrashing of the seizure. He looks like a messed up clown, and although all I want to do is clean his face…I will let him sleep. Dirty or not he is my sweet son whose disease made me question whether his life was in immediate danger. He can get face paint on my sheets and stick his elbow in my ear while he snores beside me as much as is possible, because he is alive.

Alive.

As far as we can tell, we just saved our son’s life. Or at least, we very likely did.

And I will never underestimate this disease again.

  

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Filed under death, diabetes, diabetes and illness, T1D, type 1 diabetes, type1diabetes

Mental Illness – and that sad feeling.

 

Depression can be a tricky thing. It was hard to convince me that I was depressed. Like people expecting people on the autism spectrum to look and be like Rainman, people tend to expect depressed people to walk around with an Eeyore persona accompanied by a very obvious dark cloud over their heads. These depressed people should never shower, or leave the house, or leave their beds. And they should cry – all the time.

If you look “normal”, or “not sad” by any capacity then you are clearly not depressed.

Of course, this is rarely the case. Most people with MDD (Major Depressive Disorder) live their daily lives as anyone would > but also with their depression. It accompanies them, like a shadow, following them. Attached to them. In unison with their every movement. At the ready to grow and take over. Sometimes taking over more than at other times.

It lurks. The black dog.

And sometimes, as with my mother, it wins. It almost won with me.

My therapist often told me to sit with the sadness. She told me this because I have a habit of disregarding the sadness and instead turning it into anxiety and anger.

It’s a protective measure that I have worked on and perfected, both subconsciously and conciously. And it worked for a while, but the problem is that it catches up to you. The sadness I mean.

Because the thing is that you don’t really disregard the saddness, you swallow it. And it sits inside you like a child’s urban myth, a cherry pit growing into a tree. The roots intertwine with every muscle and vein and it becomes so that you don’t even realize you’re sad anymore. You just are. You forget what it feels like to be sad because you cannot differentiate it from anything else. If you’re like me you forget what it’s like to cry, you mask the sadness with anger mastering the art of pushing people away by validating your reasons for why they have ruined your project, your day, your life.

My therapist’s theory was that my emotional mind worked like this:

Sadness (though more often subconscious than not) = anxiety = anger = losing control.

The reason my sadness was so hard for me to see, to acknowledge, was because I was unable to process sadness. It didn’t offer control, and ultimately that’s what I was striving for. Furthermore it weakened me. As much as they told me this wasn’t true, as much as I wanted to believe it wasn’t true and I made sure to raise my children to believe it wasn’t true and to instead have a strength in their times of vulnerability – I could not help but see sadness as a deficit that did nothing to further my intentions and goals in the world.

With that said, my therapist wanted me to practice being sad. To practice allowing myself to be sad. 

When I had a hard day a few months back while I was still in the safe confines of therapy I pushed myself to do as my therapist had requested.

It was no easy task as this was a particularily hard day.

Not for any particular reason that was specific to the happenings of the day. It was just a bad day.

I had had a pretty good sleep, I had had a pretty relaxed wake up. The sun was shinning, the weather was nice.

But it was a really bad day. Sometimes it’s just that way.

And when you have mental illness, as I do, hard days can sometimes drown you. You have to work hard to keep your head above water. You sit between the depths of the black waters and the fresh air above in a sort of equator in between that only you know. That only you live. A thick sort of air that isn’t in any way refreshing, but will at the very least keep you alive. Keep you breathing.

And that day I floated on my back in my self made sea and breathed through my sloppy emotional mess of a day.

In and out.

In

and

out.

It was hard not to just drop into the deep. To sink and let myself fall deeper into my own suffering. To pop on the tv and let my children’s eyes turn to tiny staring bulbs while I ruminated in my own discomfort. But I didn’t, I didn’t because I allowed myself to feel it. I’ve felt it before. It’s dark and heavy and painful to carry with me. I wanted to crawl inside it – inside myself – and hide within it as much as I wanted to shake it off and move forward – away from it – never looking back.

Like heroine it’s addictive and terrible. I hated it but I knew it, so I found a strange comfort in the way it made me hurt.

It may be that this was sadness, I thought. And because I so often chose anger as my constant – my go-to – instead of any other emotion, I was simply not used to it. Perhaps this was just what sadness felt like. Whatever the case, the day was harder because I couldn’t get rid of it. 

When nothing seemed funny or ok. When everything dripped with it, whether you realized it or not.

And yes, although the stresses were many and the good times were few back then, that isn’t completely why I dissolved into a sad/mad/oppositional/sulking mess on this day.

On this day it was also simply because I have BPD, GAD and of course, MDD. And I was just done. When I fell I fell hard.

I held myself together as best I could. I took my meds. I drank my water. I avoided coffee. I ate at the right times and took my kids to the park. I watched a movie with Bean. But even after that I just feel spent. Emotionally spent.

I do think that taking care of myself did make a difference, it must have, right? I mean, I didn’t end up a sobbing puddle on the floor. I threw the ball for the dog, I coloured pictures with my boys and played catch with the Bean. I went shopping with Pups. I laughed. I smiled.

It’s just when I was alone, that I could feel the weight inside me. My veins were heavy with the tar of my contempt and shame. The frog in my throat sat at the ready – waiting to leap into weeps and bellows if I had let it.

And that’s ok. I must remind myself of that. I needed to feel the sadness. I needed to acknowledge it.

Not wallow in it. Not let it take me over so that suddenly I was the sadness. Just acknowledge it. As long as I could see it not as anything else. As long as I let myself be sad when I was sad then maybe, probably, I’d be free from it the next day. At the very least it offered me a way out of anger. A place I no longer found comfort in that instead I hoped to avoid for it only brought me regret and shame. 

The sadness, which had always been there but hid so nicely within the folds of the anger and anxiety, was my gift to myself that day. My way of opening the door that had been locked for much too long. Sadness, not depression, is ok. In fact, it’s important. The sadness is hard to bare but necessary, like wearing a wool jacket on a scorching summer day, it detoxifies you.

At least – that’s what my therapist said.

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Jack and Jill. A Story Of Another Mother.

My mum, Jill, was the best mom a kid would never ever ask for.

My aunt, let’s call her “Jack”, was the best mom a kid could never ever ask for. Because Jack, you see, was already somebody else’s mom. Two somebody’s actually.

Jack and Jill were best friends. Once upon a time.

“Jack” is my aunt on my father’s side. It was through her that my parents met. There was a gang of them, all writer’s and artist and eccentrics. People with cool names like Norbert, Jan, Lorne, Lloyd and Ursula. People who threw big parties and wore cool clothes. The gang.

Jill was spunky and feisty and way too smart. Actually my impression is that they were all too smart. Both Jack & Jill had short dark hair and wore their sexiness and their wit like a casual shall. Never too obvious, always obvious enough.

Jill went nuts. Jack didn’t.

When Jill started spiralling deeply into the world of paranoid schizophrenia she not only began to disengage from reality, but also her loved ones. Jack was not immune. It was Jack who finally pulled the plug on the toxic friendship when Jill’s illness simply took Jill over and it seemed Jill, the real Jill – was lost forever. Jill took this personally, though it was directed at the monster within, not her. She never forgave Jack. And she never forgot.

Jack, who had been named my Godmother at my birth (though none of us are religious), had a connection to me that was deep and true. I longed for her motherhood to impress upon me. I wished I could slip through the cracks and become one of her kids seamlessly. Course I still, also, wanted to be my father’s daughter and my sister’s sister…so it was all a bit complicated in my 9 year old mind.

In the years that passed I continued to become more and more disconnected from my mother. She stopped letting me visit her when I was 9 years old (for my own good she claimed, maybe she was right). When I was 12 I went to live with Aunt Jack for a year and during that time we went to my mother’s apartment in Montreal so that I could invite her to my 13th birthday. It did not go well. Jack waited outside in her car, but the mere mention that she had driven me caused Jill to become enraged. She yelled at me for even suggesting she come to Toronto. She kicked me out.

I can’t remember if I cried while sitting in Jack’s car just outside Jill’s door, but I do remember that I learned a hard lesson that day.

I gave up any hope that my mother might want to see me again.

That was likely a pivotal moment for me. As an adult and a person who has studied psycology at various times in my life I can look back and see clearly that it wasn’t just my mum I gave up on…but perhaps I gave up a bit on me too.

Hindsight is 20/20.

For the next few years I went through phases of self-harm in the forms of cutting, various forms of drug use, running away from home in the middle of the night and some rather loose sexual exploration which included one abortion at the age of 15 and one pregnancy and baby at 17 (pups). In all fairness I was at *that age* (teenager) so my mother can’t be blamed entirely, but I’m not sure self-harm by way of cutting is a normal past time for teens, nor two pregnancies in two years before the age of 18. 

At the age of 16, when I had almost completely accepted that my mother was lost to me, Jill contacted me. Not only was this event in itself a challenge for me, but it came shortly after I had just had an abortion and was still reeling from it. I became severely depressed for a long time after the procedure as I had taken a long time to decide on it and was 3 months pregnant by the time I went in for the abortion. And, as if on queue it was during that depression that Jill contacted me. She requested we reconnect. I remember standing at the sink in my grandmother’s house (where I was living at the time) doing the dishes and thinking “she’s just going to come into my life and make me love her again and then vanish”.

And in a way she did just that.

The reunion was awkward at first, but soon I had mostly convinced myself that she was serious about being my mother again. We started talking regularly and visiting. I was over the moon but still suspicious. Always a bit on edge. At 17 I became pregnant with pups and my mother seemed excited albeit a 17 year old, her daughter, was having a baby. As I neared the end of my pregnancy I finally trusted that Jill was sincere about our new relationship. I felt good. My mother was back. Better than back, she was new. My uncles had done an intervention on her where they had her institutionalized for a bit and she was assessed and put on medication. I liked the medicated Jill. She was very kind to me.

Before I had this newfound trust for Jill it was Jack who I had invited to be at the birth of pups. It was Jack who I wanted at the birth to support me. But when Jill reappeared I started to reject Jack. I didn’t realized it was rejection at the time, or why I was doing it – but it’s crystal clear now.

18 days before my due date Jill jumped in front of a subway train.

I wasn’t told for two weeks.

There is about a year of my life, after pups was born, that I cannot remember. Total black out. 

My ex told me I woke up screaming in the middle of the night almost every night. I don’t even remember dreaming during that time.

Luckily there are pictures. 

As the years passed I glued myself back together. Jill’s memory stayed with me, but the pain she had left me with from her dramatic departure faded. Through it all Jack never faltered in her love and commitment to me as a caring family member. As I grew I started to notice this finally, and appreciate it. I spent weeks at her home in the laurentians, almost yearly for a while there. And when it came a time where I could no longer afford it – Jack surprised me once again with her endless caring and treated me and my kids to a week at the cottage. For many years, even as an adult, I never quite shook that wanting and yearning that Jack was my mother too. I understood this was a fools wish, not only because it is impossible – but also because having her as an awesome aunt and motherly figure in my life should have been enough. I struggled internally with the guilt that I didn’t think my father was enough or that I would want something that belonged to my cousins, of whom I cared so much for.

Here I stand, a 36 year old woman. And for the first time ever I actually see my mother in me. I suppose this is because I only knew her from her 34th year on (till her untimely death at 50). And though I have always had a closer bond with jack, and a hope for us to be closer still, I like seeing my mother in me. I feel connected to her in a way that only mother/daughter DNA can offer. I see her in the way my body has filled out. The way I walk, the way I stand and the way I bend. I see her spirit within me. The good, the bad and yes – even at times the ugly. Her feist and wild side live in my heart and in my mind. Some of it brings out the best in me, some brings out the worst. And yet, however much I see in me the sides of my mother that in my past broke me over and over again as a child, I know that I can control them. I’m ahead of the game that my mother lost so tragically. My father, my aunt, and once upon a time my grandmother, have all had a hand in guiding me on my path to wellness when the edge was near. Jack most of all helped me when I had my nervous break down. She spoke with me daily and supported me. I used her and she allowed it. I needed a mother at that time and she stepped in as the best substition she could offer to be. In a turn of events, ever since I have started to see Jill in me, feel her under my skin and in my way of being, I have finally shed the need to have Jack as my mother. I am finally satisfied as a woman, as a daughter, as a neice, as a person – just to be me and to let Jack be Jack, who is not my mother. And to let Jill be Jill. Who is my mother.

After all this time my reality is finally is enough.

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BPD, what it is – and what it isn’t.

 

Recently I have been involved in a study that is attempting to prove that BPD is a genetic condition. In this study I have participated in very thorough testing.

I am so lucky to have been able to be a big part of a study that is *this* close to proving the genetic link to BPD. It’s a remarkable study and after being a part of it and seeing the results, not only mine but of other anonymous participants in the study, I am quite convinced that there is in fact a genetic link to BPD. I was shown random anonymous results laid atop my results. Those with BPD all fell within the same marks along the graphs. The fact that no matter how much therapy these people had did nothing to change these particular markers in those with diagnosed BPD is a clear sign (to me and the people conducting the study) that the brain of a person with BPD is actually, and simply, formed differently than those without BPD. Just as those on the Autism Spectrum have diffrent  neurology than people who are neurotypical. 

How then was I so easily misdiagnosed with the conditions of Asperger’s you might be asking yourself. Well as mentioned, AS/ADHD and BPD/GAD are all very similar to one and other and often co-morbid to one and other as well. It was as easy to get diagnosed with AS as it is to get diagnosed with AS instead of BPD – and vice versa. It was also easy to convince myself that I had Asperger’s (like Bean). 

For instance, I am hyper organized and have high anxiety when things are out of place, I have trouble with changes in routine and am not terribly affectionate or even empathetic – all traits I thought were a sure sign that I too had AS. But, as you can see from the (outdated) diagram below – are just as easily BPD traits.

Both AS and BPD could be argued as conditions that both cause emotional instability, however people with Autism are only ‘out of control’ of their emotional reactions when their environment proves difficult – as in disorder, private items touched, lack of personal space, overwhelming noise/actions…
People with BPD have intense reactions to what other people may consider trivial because the reaction is stemming from inner (and constant) mistrust, anxiety, fear and anger that runs much deeper than whatever may have just happened in that moment to cause them to explode. These fears and anxiety are constant – running through my brain every second of every day. They quickly turn to anger to protect myself from any vulnerabilty. 

http://www.bpddemystified.com/home/about-this-website/

These thoughts can quickly bring me to a feeling of being overwhelmed and suffocating. I begin to unravel fast, as anxiety takes hold so too the anger comes up like a shield, protecting me. Anger is easier for me than saying “I’m hurt, I feel overwhelmed, forgotten, burnt out, please help”. 

I’m always living on the edge between love and hate for myself and for others.

 

Any little thing can trigger someone who already has their gun cocked and ready to go. 

I have been in the DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) program for 6 months now. Once a week I attend group session for two hours and have a one hour session with my individual therapist. In DBT you are taught skills to manage when you are in “emotion mind” (a place that does not include logical thinking…as you can imagine). You learn to cope better, to apply skills to your life that will (hopefully) keep your vulnerabilty factor from overflowing, and even better – at a low. Luckily for me, with my drive to offer my children and my husband a more fulfilling life, a more loving me, I’m happy to say it is working. 
 
And I as I scratch at the un erasable self inflicted burn scars on my arms that itch whenever I’m anxious, whenever I’m tense, a real hope for the future, a healthy and happy future, is born within me. 
 
For the first time I can see myself as someone a little less unravelled.

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Filed under ADHD, Asperger's, Borderline Personality Disorder, diagnosed, General Anxiety Disorder, Mental illness, Uncategorized

That Endoscopy Thing We Did.

If you are a die hard Deceivingly Normal follower you’ll already know that our dear Bean has suffered for a long time (from the age of 4) with GI issues, tooth enamel defects, low weight gain and bad sleeps leading to, but not totally guilty of, extremely dark circles under her eyes.

If you are not a die hard follower – than you can catch up here.

In any event: We suspected Celiac.

We pushed for a biopsy to be done, even with the risks of false negative results. Her GI doctor agreed, but only if there was a change on her blood test results. The change could be minute, it could still read negative by medical standards, but it had to be there. She didn’t want to put Bean through a procedure for nothing. I understood but this was awful. Not only was she clearly affected physically by consuming gluten (she was on the “gluten challenge”), but no matter how long she stayed on that damn gluten challenge, her blood results never differed. She never showed any positive antibodies to say she might have Celiac. We even tested her for an IgA deficiency that would cause her to be showing false negative results, but alas she did not have it. In other words, she was only showing physical signs of a gluten intolerance, but her medical results claimed different.

Blood test after blood test on my anxiety ridden kiddo, and nothing to help us get to the next step. I was becoming frustrated and impatient. Convinced I was right, but feeling like an overprotective and paranoid mom at the exact same time. In fact, exactly as I had felt when Bear was ill with T1D and I knew something wasn’t right, but continued to doubt my instincts.

We had her give blood every 6 months to test for those damn antibodies that might indicate that she might have CD. She was clearly ill, I might go as far as to say deteriorating in health (her teeth which had once improved were worse now, her eyes darker, her sleep worse, she began to get headaches daily) she wasn’t giving the Doctors what they wanted to see there was no good reason to validate the need for a biopsy.

Back to the books (internet) I went. More research, more sleepless nights finding the information I needed to get my child properly tested. I had done this once before with Pups. When she was diagnosed with Guttate Psoriasis. I had researched it till I discovered a woman who had “cured” herself of this painful full body rash by having her tonsils removed. I took my evidence to the hospital and got them to remove Pups tonsils (no, not on the spot).

And guess what? It worked.

My child was suffering, I was good at research, so I researched, and I found this:

Some patients test negative for celiac disease and turn out years later upon repeat testing to have celiac disease. Repeating your blood test may be an important first step. Some individuals also take advantage of genetic testing to determine whether or not they have certain HLA DQ genes that are necessary for developing celiac disease. If you do not have these HLA DQ genes, your symptoms are likely related to a condition other than celiac disease. The HLA DQ genes associated with celiac disease are present in up to one third of the population, so the tests are only helpful in excluding celiac disease as a diagnosis.”

I decided to get Bean’s DNA tested to find out if it was even possible for her to have Celiac. It was.

Determined to follow through with my instincts. I brought a folder full of evidence to show that Bean had more than just a slight chance of having CD and I demanded (asked really strongly) that we give her an endoscopy. The doctor agreed relunctantly. Even going as far as to tell me of a little boy who had complications due to a simple endoscopy being done. With a big gulp and butterflies (not the good kind) in my belly I ‘neverminded’ it and pushed ahead. I knew I was making the right choice.

We were booked for the endoscopy and awaited the date.

Bean was nervous, of course. And so was I. When we got to the hospital the doctor who was going to do the procedure came in to speak with me. Like Bean’s GI doc he too lectured me on the unlikelihood that this endoscopy would show any signs of Celiac in a child whose blood tests had all come back negative. He looked down on me (seriously, he was standing above me – I was sitting on the bed with the Bean) and his eyes read “Lady, this is not going to turn out the way you hope it will”. Which was totally useful at that moment in time seeing as Bean was two minutes from going into the room to get the endoscopy done.

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When we were left alone, after all the many different visits from all the different nurses and doctors and residents performing studies they wanted to know if we wanted to be a part of, Bean just sat quietly in my lap and held my hands tightly.

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I don’t get a lot of these moments, so I cherished it for exactly what it was.

Finally the time came for her to go in. They let me join her and hold her while they sedated her. She sobbed and screamed and panicked and then, like a light – she was out.

Afterwards, while she was coming out of it and recovering, the doctor came in with an “I told you so” look about him and said that everything looked normal but that we would get the results of the biopsy in 4 to 6 weeks. Glad it was over with I let out a big sigh of relief. At least now I could say I tried everything. And now that it had gone so well, and was such a short procedure (I’m talking 10 minutes) I knew we could do it again in a few years to come if we felt we had to.

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Two days ago we got a call from Bean’s GI doctor. The results were in.

You guessed it – she has Celiac.

Now we are working out exactly what that means. Other than the obvious – gluten free – we also need to get a separate chopping board for her food to make sure there isn’t any cross contamination. We need to figure out how much we tell people…do we announce it to her class so that the kids don’t share food with her? We need to figure out if gluten free toothpaste and shampoo is something she should have or if it is just one of those marketing schemes for the gluten free gullibles…and we need to throw her into this and hope that she will not cheat at school.

So, on we trudge. The family with the best chance of earning the “most amount of invisible conditions in one household” award (if it existed).

Shit, does that exist? Cause we could use an award right about now.

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Filed under Asperger's, celiac, diabetes, diabetes and illness, diagnosed, Uncategorized