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A Picture Just Won’t Do!

Through they years, I’ve celebrated my daughters success by posting pictures on Facebook and Instagram.  I’d relish in their achievements and loved sharing them with my family and friends publicly.

This year, my kids have surpassed my wildest expectations.  And yes, this is a brag post.  My #blackgirlsrock and surely exemplify .

KK 4.0

My oldest daughter started a rigorous high school program this year.  She’s always done well in school, but this time we knew it would really challenge her.  She would not only be taking regular high school courses, but she’d also be taking college courses.  By the end of her 12th grade year, she’ll graduate with not only her high school diploma but also an Associates degree.  I wasn’t sure what to expect since it was her first year in high school. I knew being a freshman in high school posed it’s own unique challenges.  I never had to remind her to do her homework or study for tests.  I allowed her to work how she wanted to.  She impressed me this year.  She managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA ALL SCHOOL YEAR.  AMAZING? RIGHT?!  I’m still in awe at how she managed to do that and also participate in her girl scout troop.  She didn’t stop there.  She was also accepted into 3 week summer program where she would live on a college campus and participate in agricultural and animal science studies.  This highly competitive program only selected 18 students from all over the country.  She made it out of over 800 applicants.  She’ll also earn college credit from her participation and took the final exam yesterday and earned a 93%.

Making Lemonade

My second oldest daughter started public school for the first time in 3 years.  After only being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a little over a year prior to enrolling in school, we were uncertain of the challenges she may face.  She was super excited.  And adjusted to the new schedule with ease.  She made the cheerleading team and I think that really boosted her confidence.  I think my biggest surprise was how resilient she was in the face of being bullied.  She was starting a new school, and had no friends.  She had no friends and was dealing with diabetes.  And although she may have gotten a little sad during the few incidents, the talks we had seemed to make her stronger.  She always came out on top of all of her situations. She was on honor roll all year. I admired her bravery this school year.  I marveled over how strong she’s been.  I simply adore this little girl so much that I just can’t seem to EVER capture it in writing.  She’s stronger than I’ve ever been, ever tried to be and will ever be.  She’s my hero!

Je suis Amari!

My third oldest started Kindergarten in a French immersion program.  On the first day of school her teacher only spoke French.  For the entire year, her teacher, her classmates, the entire school ONLY SPOKE FRENCH.  How different for her to be in such an environment.  But she took the challenge and excelled.  She came home every night excited to do her homework.  Thank goodness for Google Translate, or I’m not sure how we’d get through it all.  She ALWAYS rocked a smile when she shared with us how her day went.  Her spirit is always positive, and I knew something was wrong when she suddenly hated going to school.  She cried in the morning.  I realized she too was being bullied.  After being the true mama bear that I am, we nipped that in the bud. My smiley faced angel cakes was back to her normal self, and sailed through her year with great grades and she can speak and understand French like a pro!

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As you can see, I LOVE my babies.  I can literally sit and cry because it’s frustrating to me not to be able to get out how much I really love them.  It’s weird.  Even when they drive me crazy, I can in the same breath want to smother their sweet faces with kisses.

Am I alone?

72 Hours Later

On Thursday, I posted a picture on IG of me laying down with my 4 month old.  She had been extra clingy the last few days.  That particular night she just wanted to stay attached to my boob.  I felt drained and while the sun was shining outside, I was held up in the room.  I wasn’t necessarily complaining, but I was kind of bummed, because I wanted my freedom.

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Fast forward only a few hours from that picture, and I was now worried because my baby wasn’t eating and appeared to be in pain.  I decided that I would take her to the pediatricians office.  When I arrived to see if they had appointments, the nurse at the front desk told me there weren’t any appointments available and that I should probably take her to the ER.

So I took her to the Children’s Hospital satellite ER in SE DC.  We usually go there because it’s not a long wait and we are usually in & out.  We arrived around 8:30a and after an Xray, catheter for urine collection, blood drawn and a physical exam, it was decided that the baby needed to be sent to Children’s Hospital (main campus) for observation, because they couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Do you know how hard it is to watch your infant be poked and prodded and screaming at the top of her lungs while staring in your face? We knew she probably had the stomach virus I had the previous week, but they agreed something else was going on because she was screaming in pain.  So we waited 6+ hours for a transport to the hospital via ambulance.  We couldn’t take her  because they had already started the IV to administer antibiotics and fluid (she was dehydrated).

Pic: Baby being transported.  The picture in the middle is the hospital admissions booklet. The two little girls are her big sisters!

 

At the hospital they did a stomach Xray to see if they saw anything like a blockage.  When the new doctor came in the next day Saturday morning, she insisted the pain was from the stomach virus.  I explained that the pain was not from the stomach virus, that it seemed to be localized to her back.   But unfortunately, the doctor never arrived when the baby was having a bout of pain to see what I was talking about.   Finally, around 11a, she had another bout of pain and I was crying and yelled to the nurse to hurry and get the doctor.  When the doctor arrived, she realized that there was something else going on.  I just sat there and cried as my baby cringed and screamed in pain.  They ordered a sono of her kidneys and bladder and went back to check on her blood work and performed a urine analysis.

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Finally the tests came back and she had a confirmed infection.  Everything was coming together.  They knew what they were fighting and they worked to help her.  With pain medication and continued IV fluids, I noticed an improvement by Saturday evening.  By Sunday she was eating again.  They took her off the IV Sunday afternoon, and we watched and prayed.

She seemed to get back to normal by Sunday evening.  It was such a relief and we were released that evening.  I’ve never been so relieved!

This entire experience taught me a few things and reiterated a few things I already knew.

It taught me to mind my words and/or thoughts.  Motherhood is tough.  Life if tough.  But complaining about it can make it worse.  Although my comments on Thursday were in jest, I realize that it could have been the last picture of us snuggled so closely without doctors, medical equipment and pain meds in the equation.

I was reminded that it is IMPORTANT to have a great, supportive and PRAYING circle of family in your corner.  I only shared with a few people that my baby was in the hospital, and the details along with it.  My family (friends are considered family too) checked up on us the entire time.  They prayed.  They offered words of encouragement.  They offered to come up to the hospital.  It was just so helpful to be able to lean on the ones I love as we went through this scary experience.  Of course my mother and inlaws were a HUGE support system for us.

The bigger thing that I was reminded of was to FIGHT FOR YOUR CHILD!  As a parent, ONLY you know your child best.  Don’t let the doctor’s tell you oh it’s nothing and try to lump all those symptoms into one diagnosis.  When I think back, my daughter probably had the infection long before the stomach issues.  She had small crying fits where she appeared to be in pain, but then it went away. She had a slight fever, but just as quick as it came, it went away.  Had I acted on those symptoms earlier, we may have been able to avoid a 3 day hospital stay.

Although the doctors were extremely nice and patient, I really had to drive home my point with one that this was more than the stomach issue.  It was at that moment, when she saw my daughter screaming in pain, that she realized it was more to the story.

This is not the first time I’ve had to fight for my child.  In 2012, my oldest was having breathing issues, and they kept trying to dismiss it as a regular asthma attack.  When they listened to her lungs, they didn’t hear wheezing and said she was good to go home.  But my child said she felt like an elephant was on her chest.  I demanded that someone look into it and she ended up in the hospital for 1 week because of a respiratory infection.

I don’t isolate that issue to that one hospital.  I think it happens everywhere.  You have to advocate for your child, because these doctors hear the same stories from parents, and assume it’s all the same.  When you advocate, they will listen.  If they don’t listen, pack them up and take them somewhere that they will.

The nurses and doctors were EXCELLENT in the hospital.  They were so helpful.  Ashley, a male Filipino nurse, really went above and beyond.  He listened to me.   He was patient when I didn’t remember the times the baby ate or pooped.  He was just so nice to me and my family, and I was thankful to have him on my case.  Nurse Amy (night shift) was also wonderful.  I was freezing in the room, sleeping on the pullout couch, and she was so concerned.  She brought lots of blankets and stuff to make sure I was comfortable.  It definitely helped!

Hug your babies parents!!  Hug them really tight!

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Porkchops, Pasta & Spinach

With 4 kids, it’s hard to make something everyone will like. To make it worse, it’s harder to get veggies in them.   

Tonight I hit a home run with my porkchops, pasta and spinach. 

Two weeks ago I bought a few family size packages of porkchops. I opened all the packages and divided them up.  I used large, gallon sized freezer bags and filed each bag with different spices.   I added a little bit of water to mix the seasonings up.  I then placed each pile of meat into a separate baggie.   I have a bag with curry spices.  I have a bag with chili lime spices. I even have lemon pepper spices,  to name a few.   

Tonight I used the chili lime chops.


Chops recipe:

Preheat oven 425°

  • Season 5-6 chops to your preference
  • Lightly grease baking sheet with olive oil
  • Lightly dust baking sheet with onion powder and parsley flake’s
  • Place chops on baking sheet and cook for 25 mins or until no longer pink in center

By baking them at this temp,  it allows the outside to brown and still be very juicy. I don’t cover my chops and they still were tender and moist. 

Pasta recipe :

I used tricolor veggie bow tie pasta. 

  • Boil pasta according to your preference  (I add a bit of salt)
  • Drain pasta
  • Return drained pasta to stovetop
  • Add 1 1/2 cups of milk to pan
  • Add  1 cup of shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • Add  1 1/2 cups of shredded Italian blend cheese
  • Add 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Gently mix all ingredients in the pan until cheese becomes a rock sauce
  • Add 1 cup of chopped spinach and cook until just wilted

Serve with another side or eat as is. 

The kids aren’t big spinach eaters,  but managed to gobble this down. 

I also served it with a strawberry and mango pink lemonade drink.   

I think the pasta would be great with some diced chicken breasts added to it.   

Let me know your thoughts. 

Quick & Festive Cookies

Today we were feeling festive and made some 4th of July cookies!

View the quick steps below.   

Voila!  Simple festive cookies,  in no time flat!  


Happy 4th of July! 

The Not So Sweet Life

For the last few weeks, my mind has been overly concerned with my 12 year olds’ diabetes status.  She’s had it for 2 years now, and I just knew it would get easier for me to cope, but I just realized that I’m not even close to coping with it.  And sometimes I feel bad because she is the one that has the disease, so how can I not cope with it, but expect her to.

On days that she is upset, I try to give her words of encouragement.  I tell her things that I am quite sure if someone told me, I’d tell them to get the f*ck out my face.  You know when someone is consoling you and you don’t want to hear what they have to say.  You want them to just sit next to you and cry, or say “Yea, F*CK XXX! I hope XXX rots in hell”.

 Sometimes misery really does just want company….and not in a bad way.

I know I don’t want to hear about all the natural healing herbs, diets, food that will cure her diabetes.  We’ve looked at everything.  We’ve tried a lot. So PLEASE PLEASE stop it.  Just hush with it.  It’s insulting sometimes.

I’m trying to work on a balance of being encouraging, but also being someone who she can blow off steam with….heck in unity with.  I’ve tried my best to make our life normal since the diagnosis. I constantly tell her, “I wouldn’t let ANY of your sisters eat ABC in that amount…not just you”.  But I don’t think she believes me.  And probably because she’s witnessed her little sister eat candy or cake or ice cream in an amount that she probably shouldn’t or when she probably shouldn’t.

I recently joined another T1D parent support group.  I thought it would make me feel good to hear other parents talk about what they are going through as they watch their child battle this disease.  At first it did, but on the 1st of every month they have a rant post where the parents basically cuss out their frustrations with T1D.  The first few posts were funny to me.  I could relate.  As the thread feverishly grew in numbers, I got depressed.  These people weren’t just cursing to curse.  These people were screaming in pain.  I didn’t imagine them writing down swear words in jest, I could literally see tears rolling down their cheeks as they typed their pain.  My eyes began to tear up as I read the posts.  They cursed everything from carbs to their Endo’s.  They cursed family and friends for not being supportive.  They cursed insurance companies for price gouging life saving medicines.

My daughter is blessed to be able to attend 2 diabetic camps this summer. I am excited for her and I am excited for my family.  We all need a break.  She gets to interact with other children who are JUST LIKE HER!  They aren’t looking at her inject herself because they are doing the same thing.  They aren’t splurging on sugary snacks, pizza or pasta because they can’t.  The environment is conducive to their illness.  She always talks about how much fun she has at camp.  And I get to take a mental break from counting carbs and telling her how much insulin to take, and worrying at night that she doesn’t have a low glucose level. When she sleeps in late,  I am nervous.  I don’t know if she’s sleeping or if she’s unconscious.  I get nervous,  and go to make sure her chest is moving.   This is everyday!

Everyday I wake up praying my baby girl wakes up too.

I’m thankful for my support system and the prayers for my darling baby girl. I’m a praying woman and have faith in God.   I’m confident that we will see a cure for this disease in HER lifetime.