Letters to My Son

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My Precious Boy,

I’m sitting in our back yard tonight looking at the garden you helped me plant this weekend. Just a few hours ago, this patio table was covered with Star Wars Legos and you were teaching me all about them. I love watching your excitement! Georgie, you are so very loved. So valued and cherished.

God created you with an extra tender heart. You have a sensitivity toward others that runs deep.  You are usually aware of how others might be thinking or feeling. These are special things God has planted within you, and they will grow into beautiful tools that you can use to show compassion to many. They will also help you in your relationship with Jesus; having a tender heart toward Him, being sensitive to when He is speaking to you or wants you to do something.

Along with this, you are living with Type 1 Diabetes which has opened your eyes to a whole new world. You can empathize with people going through pain and suffering. In the past few weeks I have noticed that you not only empathize, but you act on it.  Which is true compassion.

  • When we read the Bible and pray you always want to pray for your Dad.  “Dear God.  Thank you for this beautiful day.  Please put joy and grace down deep into my Dad’s heart.  Let him know I want to play with him and I love him.”
  • I was struggling through some discouragement recently.  You could tell even though I tried my best to hide it from you. I will always remember how you told me that I’m beautiful and graceful and the bestest mom. You hugged me, kissed me and told me that you would help me all day long.
  • Your sister stepped on a bee yesterday. Your dad and I couldn’t get her calmed down, but you brought her water.  Then you brought a piece of bread and helped her eat it. You spoke soothingly to her about how the pain wouldn’t last long and everything would be OK.  She stopped crying and allowed you to care for her.  Because you have experienced pain, you knew how to care for someone in pain.  It was breathtaking to watch.

And Georgie, just as you reach out and care for others, I want to be sure that you know how many are reaching out and caring for you as well.  Today I realized this in a profound way.  Your grandparents from Lacey, WA are here visiting and taking care of your great grandma for a few weeks.  Your Grandma Patty had to learn how to give insulin shots to your great grandma.  When you realized this, you wanted her to give you a shot for lunch today.  My heart was in my throat because you haven’t allowed anyone to give you a shot except your dad and me since your hospital visit.  It was a huge step for you!  And for me.

So many people are ready and willing to walk this road with you.  Your grandparents here in town went to an all day seminar to learn how to care for you and give shots.  Your brother and sister-in-law are researching, learning, gathering recipes and doing all they can to be prepared in case anything ever happened to your dad and I.  My parents are learning as much as they can as well. Your uncle, aunt and cousins sent a huge box of goodies especially to bring us joy.  And above all…everyone is praying.  Contending for your healing.  Constantly.

I’m sure by the time you read these letters, you will know that one of my all time favorite books/movies is The Lord of the Rings.  Toward the end of the movie, when Frodo and Sam are trying to climb the last mountain that will take them to destroy The Ring, Frodo falls down under the weight of the evil ring and cannot get up.  Sam cries, “I cannot carry the ring for you.  But I can carry you!!”  And he carries Frodo up the mountain.

We cannot carry T1D for you, my brave boy.  But we can, and will carry you.  Because we are also being carried.  By the Creator and Maker of tender, sensitive hearts.  By the One who loves us beyond measure.

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Our Needs Are Met…Ahead of Time Part 3

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Emotions are running higher than usual for me tonight.  I remember where we were two months ago at this time, and it’s hard not to re-live the experience of the diagnosis.  Maybe writing the remaining ways in which the Lord provided for our needs in this third blog will help.

A few weeks prior to knowing George had Type 1 Diabetes, we thought Shane might have an open door to a new job in Portland Oregon.  I lived there for seven years and all my family and several close friends would be nearby.  This job would pay more.  It was difficult, but all I can say is the Lord made it clear that we were not to pursue a big move like that.  And then came the diagnosis.  If Shane had a new job we would have had a season of no medical insurance.  The insurance  from Shane’s employment at Lowe’s has been exceptional.  And to top it off, his manager has asked us to give copies of our medical bills to him so he can present them to higher management and possibly offset the costs for us.

Along with that, we have been humbled and blessed to receive checks in the mail for the exact amount we need for monthly prescriptions.  Two months in a row.

While on the topic of prescriptions, I need to mention a sweet gift from the Lord to me specifically.  I had a miscarriage a few years ago, and during that time I went to a particular Walgreens for my prescriptions.  I hate that Walgreens.  I rarely go inside because of the memories it invokes.  But it is cheap, and that is where I had the doctor send Georgie’s prescriptions.  Weeks prior to all this, one of my dearest friends decided to come for a visit.  He is more than a friend, he is our family.  He just happened to be here when I had to go to the hated Walgreens.  He came inside with me.  He stood by me as I paid for the numerous bags of needles, insulin, blood sugar test strips, syringes, vials, glucagon and I don’t remember what else.  He cried with me.  And after we cried, he made me laugh.  And after that I’m pretty sure we cried again.  I could NEVER have done that by myself.  And I could never have planned his visit to fall on the exact day I had to fill those prescriptions.  Only my loving Father could provide that for me.

I have just a few more that I will quickly summarize, then I want to end with a story that illustrates perfectly how the Lord provided before we even knew we needed it.

  • Georgie is an extreme extrovert.  God created him this way.  Neither Shane nor I are this way.  He loves people and loves communication.  This is a gift God has given him to help him as he learns to manage this disease on his own in the next few years.
  • I didn’t know it, but I already have two friends who have sons with T1D.  When they heard about Georgie, they contacted me and have been a source of encouragement, help and hope.  I also have friends with T1D who have been helping me more than I can express.
  • About four years ago, a godly couple prayed over Shane and me.  It was encouraging and prophetic.  But one part never made sense to me until a few days ago.  Hope was rummaging through a drawer and she brought me the notes I took from this prayer time.  It said, “As God’s design for George becomes clearer, it will make sense why Melodi was chosen to be his mother.”  I was chosen to be Georgie’s mother.  And God wants me to know it.

Now I can write my favorite portion of my provision-ahead-of-time story.

After our time in the hospital we were discharged and sent directly to the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes (BDC).  One of the top research facilities for T1D in the world.  It was late afternoon and we were still in shock, exhausted in every sense of the word, fragile mentally and emotionally.  But we had to meet with a doctor and nurse and learn several things before heading home for the night.  Only to return in the morning.  For eight hours of training.

George was completely traumatized at this point.  The hourly finger pokes, an IV in each arm, countless blood draws, hunger, thirst, fatigue….he was a mess.  And hysterical.  I don’t like to talk much about his screaming.  Or his weeping.  Or the desperate look of confusion that would come over his face.  Or how he would cry out, “Mommy!  Mommy!”  He hadn’t called me that in many months.  By the time we arrived at the BDC, anyone in scrubs sent him into hysterical screaming and he would hide in my arms.

And then we met her.

I was dazed when we were ushered into the lab technicians room.  I remember seeing a small woman in scrubs trying to talk George into getting onto a scale so she could weigh him.  And he went absolutely nuts.  He would not let her touch him, and wouldn’t let us near him either.  I started to fall apart but then I heard something.  I heard the Name that has been my refuge for as long as I can remember.  I lifted my eyes and saw this woman with her arms raised to Heaven praying, “Oh Jesus.  Oh Jesus.  Help my Little Brother.  Be with Mama.  Be with Daddy. Let them know that it will be alright.  Everything will be alright.”

Somehow I found myself in a chair with tears streaming down my cheeks as I watched her envelop my son in her arms.  She told him that she would never hurt him.  That Jesus loved him.  That she was here to help him.  And Georgie instantly calmed down.  For the first time in nearly 24 hours he wasn’t screaming.  Because he knows that Name too.  And felt His presence as immediately as Shane and I did.  Amazingly he allowed her to weigh him, measure him and give him a finger poke.  No crying.  No screaming.  Just peace.

She turned to me and said, “Everything will be alright, Mama.”  And I wept.

She has worked at the BDC for several years.  Diabetic herself, she has learned to comfort others through her own affliction.

And the best part??  The absolutely incredible miracle part??  Her father’s name was George.  When he passed away, she had his name tattooed on her ankle.  Little Georgie always wants to see it.  Once he wanted to ask her if she was a real angel.  (Because I refer to her as our sister-angel.  I honestly don’t even remember her real name yet.  I just call her Angel.)  So he asked her if she was a real angel.  She stared at him with tears in her eyes and said, “No, Little Brother.  I’m not a real angel.”

But you never know.  You just never know.

All I know is that this lovely woman was put in place years ago by a loving God who knew I (and countless others) would need her.  Desperately, desperately need to encounter the Prince of Peace who so abundantly flows through her precious care.

Thank you for reading.  It has been a healing experience for me to write these past three blogs.  Looking back and acknowledging the work of God in this way is heart-changing.  Thank you for allowing me to do it with you.

Letters to My Son

My Darlin’ Boy,

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I’m thanking God tonight for the past few weeks.  This Honeymoon Phase has enabled us all to take a deep breath and get grounded again after Hurricane Type 1 Diabetes hit.  You still only have two shots a day, we are learning more about the effects of certain carbs and proteins in your body, and your blood sugar has leveled out to a (somewhat) predictable pattern.  Your mood swings and reactions to blood sugar levels have lessened.  We see more glimpses of our familiar Georgie pre-diagnosis.  It has brought peace and hope to our hearts.

It seems like it might be a good time to sit back and relax.  But I don’t think so.

You have heard me talk about my years on the Track team.  And now you see me training for a half-marathon.  In every race, son, there is a strategy.  You want to start well, pace yourself, and maintain your position throughout the race.  And then there comes the time to kick.  You cannot wait until the end of the race to exert yourself and give everything you’ve got.  If you wait until the end, it will be too late and you won’t have the strength to bust through the finish line.  You have to start kicking while everyone else is still maintaining.  You may not even see the finish line yet, but you must set your mind, rely on your training and sprint to the end.  This is how races are won.  (Remind me to tell you the story of when I did the 300 meter hurdles and tripped over the last hurdle at the finish line.  That is NOT how races are won, by the way.)

Georgie, running a race is hard.  It is painful.  Especially if the race is long.  The longer the race, the greater the struggle to the end.  You were with me earlier this week when I ran 7 miles with you and Hopie.  You saw my pain and weakness.  Every race will have pain.  Diabetes is your race right now.  And I would give anything for us all to withdraw from the race.  But instead, we are going to kick.

  • Rather than numbing or escaping from the pain, we need to acknowledge it and deal with it in healthy ways.  Trying to find comfort in food, alcohol, material things, busy-ness, and yes even “religion” is not helpful.  The best thing we can do is to let it drive us straight into the Man of Sorrows.  The One who has endured more undeserved pain than anyone else ever has or ever will.  Even on the cross, Jesus rejected a sedative because He chose to face His suffering head on.  I will tell you this, we don’t need to be fake and paste a smile on our faces and say that we are OK with Diabetes.  But we don’t have to hide from it either.  Or get bitter because of it.  Or allow it to affect our race.  Pain can make our kick stronger.  And George, I already see you growing stronger because of your affliction.
  • Preparation is as important as performance and without it no race can be won.  Today I had the privilege of being part of your training.  You were having a very hard time and you mentioned wanting to hurt yourself.  Alarm bells went off in my spirit and I immediately went to my knees.  I prayed over you like I’ve never done before.  I did it out loud in front of you and your sister.  When I was done you looked at me and said, “Mom, I have no idea what any of that means.”  I just smiled and said, “You don’t need to know yet.  But God knows, and you better believe our enemy knows.”  You (because you want to be a Jedi Knight) wanted to know more about how to fight Satan.  I simply said that the best way to fight is to praise and worship God.  You immediately put your fists in the air and declared, “Praise You Jesus!  You are my King!  I love You!  Enemy you must get away!”  And little Hopie praised Him too.  And I just sat back and marveled at it all.  This is all preparation for you, my warrior son.  You will have some battles to fight, some races to run, and God is setting you up to know how to win.
  • In this race, God is always after one thing.  Your heart.  He wants a close, intimate relationship with you.  And there are many things along the road that can slow, distract or weaken you.  Don’t miss the relationship God wants to build with you through your pain.  You might hear some folks tell you that God will never give you more than you can handle.  That’s not Biblical.  There are a ton of things in this life that we absolutely cannot handle.  And that is the whole point.  Our lives as Christ Followers is not about what we can or cannot do.  It is about what He has done and is continuing to do so that He can have our hearts.  Forever.

My mom told me today that she is praying specifically that God will restore your body back to the way He originally created it.  Diabetes free.  I love that.  We all pray for your healing daily.  Sometimes hourly.  Sometimes even more.  But unless or until He heals you, this Honeymoon Phase will pass and the real race begins.  We will need to know how to run straight into Him.  We will have been prepared by spending time in HIs Word and praising and worshiping Him.  We will know how to kick.  So we can bust through the finish line and hear Him say, “Well done!”

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My miracle son, there is no one else I would rather run this race with.  You are my hero.

I love you with aaaaaaaaalllllll of my fart.  I mean heart.

Mom

A Declaration

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Over the past week, I have been becoming more aware of the far-reaching effects of Type 1 Diabetes.  It is sinking in that unless a miracle happens (which we are believing for!), we are going to live life side by side with this disease.  Every day.  Every growth spurt George has.  Every head cold or flu.  Every sport he may be interested in.  His future health.  His future family.  Side by side with T1D.  Not my choice of a lifetime companion.

I’ve heard what T1D has to say up to this point.  It has been rather loud and clear.  But it is my turn to talk now.  I have a few things to say.  Although speaking out is not as easy for me now as it once was.

Being in ministry like I was years ago, I had a constant platform (so to speak) that put me in situations where speaking out was expected of me.  I got so used to preaching, teaching, leading prayers, counseling etc., that I didn’t think twice about public speaking.  It didn’t matter if it was at a women’s conference in Tacoma, at a Bible Institute in Africa, or in a family counseling setting.

But then life changed.  God began a heavy-duty breaking, rebuilding and refining in my little life.  I realized that what I might have to say was really just not that important after all.  I no longer had those automatic ministry opportunities, and now that nearly 6 years have passed, I find my heart leaping out of my chest with anxiety just at the thought of praying in a group setting.  Even if its just a group of 2.  Not only has life changed, I have changed.  Drastically.

But today at the leaders meeting for the BSF class I attend, I knew I needed to voice a declaration.  My declaration of life.  As I faced 60ish ladies, in fear and trembling (lots of trembling) here is what I declared (or attempted to at least):

  • I will not waste this pain.  I will not waste the suffering that this disease causes.  I will offer it up to the Lord, and watch Him turn it into something extravagant.  Something beautiful.  Something with eternal purpose.  I will do whatever I need to do so that none of this journey through suffering is wasted.  I will boast in our weakness, so that His strength is even more evident.

“As they pass through the Valley of Weeping, they make it a place of springs.”  Ps. 84:6

  • I might have moments of anxiety, but I will not live an anxious life.  Fear, anxiety, unpredictability…that’s just part of the learning curve of T1D.  But I will round that curve.  I have trusted in the One True God for as long as I can remember.  I will not stop now.

“…none of those who trust in Him will be desolate.” Ps. 34:22

  • I will be the mother He has called me to be.  I remember at a baby shower for Georgie, a sweet single mom of twins came up to me and said, “Remember, not only did God choose George to be your son, He chose YOU to be his mother.  No one else can do the job like you can.”  I have never forgotten that.  These aren’t just my children…they are actually God’s.  He entrusted them to me because He thinks I can do this.  So I will.  With all my heart.  That means taking care of my marriage, and my health too.  So I ran 5 miles on Monday. I’m still going to do a half marathon before Autumn this year.  And I try my hardest to continue to encourage Shane with my respect and love every chance I get.

“No evil will befall you, nor will any plague come near your tent.”  Ps. 9:10

  • Diabetes is not the king of my home.  Because if it is, then we have no hope.  The King of our home is the Man of Sorrows who bore stripes on His back for our healing.  The King of our home is the Prince of Peace who is not only present during this storm, but He takes my hand and as I keep my eyes on Him, enables me to walk out into it.  And over to the other side.

“The LORD will keep you from all harm -He will watch over your life.”  Ps. 121:7

I don’t know all the reasons why the Lord wanted me to verbalize my declaration today in that group of incredible women….but I knew that I would also blog about it.

Because I will not waste this suffering.  I will use it.  To bring glory to God and encouragement to others.  This journey is not about me.  Its all about the One who is carrying me through.

A Morning in the Life of a Pancreas

 

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Hi.  I’m Melodi.  And I’m a pancreas.

It’s midnight and it is time to check Georgie’s blood sugar level.  Thankfully he sleeps through the finger poke.  But at the 3 a.m. check, he does not.  After warding off a few blows, and speaking calmly, I reassure him that all is well and he can go right back to sleep after I test him.  Both tests showed that his blood sugar is in the “target” range, so I’m able to sleep relatively peacefully (with the exception of waking when I hear my daughter crying, and my husband getting up to tend to her a few times.)

Both children are up around 6:30 and as soon as I have my coffee and can see straight, its 7:00 a.m. and time for Georgie’s blood sugar check and morning Levemir shot.  The Levemir is a slow-acting insulin that lasts approximately 20 hours.  Right now its a once-a-day shot that I give every morning.  I know he needs another shot, with the Humalog insulin, to cover the carbs in his upcoming breakfast.  So I write out his breakfast on my white board: Banana, 1/2 medium, 17 carbs; Toast, 2 slices, 20 carbs; Peanut Butter, 2 Tbs, 7 carbs; 2% Milk, 8oz, 12 carbs.  Uh oh.  56 Carbs.  It makes me nervous because its in between numbers on his insulin-to-carb scale, so I decide to give only one slice of bread which brings it down to 46.  One unit of Humalog insulin for 46 carbs. 

The caffeine in my coffee must be effective because I’m able to do all this while balancing my fussy, teething 2 year old on my hip.  I calculate the insulin-to-carbs and get both shots ready at the same time.  I let George know that I need to poke his finger, and then give shots.  He immediately panics and runs from the room, which causes my little girl to hide her head in my shoulder.  So I cut up some fruit for her, and get her settled at the table before trying to find Georgie. 

Once I find him and get his hands washed, I poke his finger and test his blood sugar to see if I need to add any insulin to the shot to correct high blood sugar.  He is running a little low, which explains the fear and emotional response this morning.  I finally get him settled at the table, prep both insulin shots (they are pens and needles, not syringes and vials in case you wanted to know), and give the shots.  But first he wants me to count to 12 prior to each shot.  So I do that.  Some days its 3.  Some days its 12.  One day he requested that I count to 112.

As soon as both shots are administered, I make breakfast and serve it.  I’m grateful I went down to only one slice of bread because he is not overly hungry.  And since this is a school day, I don’t want to worry about him going low because he didn’t eat enough carbs and his insulin might be too high.

I allow them to watch a movie so that I can calculate George’s snack, lunch and after school snack in peace.  And so that I can make an entirely new pot of coffee because I’ve downed the first one already.  Thank GOD for a French Press which only takes 4 minutes to brew.  I make sure his Diabetes bag is complete with snacks.  Snacks for high blood sugar, and snacks for low blood sugar.  Because I’m not sure yet what he will have when tested at school at snack time.  Then I calculate all the carbs in his lunch:  2 slices of bread, 21 carbs; egg salad, 0 carbs; tube of yogurt, 10 carbs; small cookie, 11 carbs.  1 unit of Humalog to cover 41 carbs for lunch.  I get the alcohol swipe, pen and needle ready for when I will return to his school at lunch time to administer the shot.  George absolutely will not allow the school nurse to give the shot yet.  And I cannot bear to force him.

Somehow, I get both children ready.  Me…not so much.  No makeup.  Stained shirt.  Not sure what my hair looks like, because well, I forgot to check.  Am I still in my pajama pants?  Yes, I believe I am.  And we head to school.  I ask George what he wants to pray for as I park before we walk in.  “Dear Heavenly Father,” his sweet voice says, “Thank You for this beautiful day.  If anyone needs a friend, I’ll be their friend.  Amen.” 

So begins another day in the life of this mother.  I won’t think about the text in an hour letting me know his blood sugar level, and asking which snack to give.  I won’t worry about returning in 2 short hours to administer a shot before lunch.  Who cares that I pack up Hope for a 3rd time to pick George up after school at 1 p.m. 

My son still thinks every day is beautiful.  And he still realizes that this life is waaaay bigger than him.  Way bigger than Diabetes.  If he can think that…then so can I.

Hi.  My name is Melodi.  Not only am I a pancreas…but I’m also the mother of an incredibly brave little man.  Who inspires me to see beauty in every morning.