Monday, September 27, 2010


NaBloPoMo: Day 27 (Just.3.More.Days!)

Have you ever been curious about what each of our homes look like? What does Meri's new house look like? Hell, is she even unpacked yet? Where does Heidi blog from? Where is Joanne curling up to catch this season's Amazing Race?

I am curious, I bet you are too.

So, today, for a lack of much to say due to my compressed and ischemic creative brain cells slowly necrotizing from the mucous influx and extreme "eyeball-popping" pressure after a pitiful attempt to do "Plough" during Yoga X, I am going to show you around our home.

The Maher's New (to us) Home

The Mudroom (10' by 18' of pure awesomeness)

There is so much space in this puppy that I decided to add a kid's craft/science center.

WTF? Seriously look at the nasty water.

Ah, yeah a jawbone from a cow? moose? We don't know. Any thoughts?

Joe made a snow globe out of a baby jar, and scrumpled up tin foil....hmmm.

The Kitchen

Grand Central

Grand Central with Joe's Log...the orange highlighter is HIGHS/blue is LOWS.

Our Family Contract...Note: the "no whacking with a shovel" - Joe's idea.

Laminated Allowance Expectations

Where all the "Blogging Magic" happens. AND where "Pancake Ass" takes place from the long blogging hours I have put in this month.

Dining Room

Cute Broom Closet

Let's open it and see what is inside...

Oh look, it's a sharps container! What home is complete without one?

Oh and in pantry #2 we have more "d" supplies!

My favorite painting. Bridget thinks the blond girl looks possessed.

My favorite family photo...

The T.V. Room

The Screened-In Porch

More treasures... remember all of the boxes of rocks I moved?

Saw this guy as I was taking pix...couldn't resist. Funny how Lego people cannot look violent even with a machine gun in their hand. Why is that anyway?

More of Joe's creations.

Home Theater (in the basement)

More "d" supplies

And a few more....

A day-in-the-life of the Maher's (pronounced "Mars") at home. Thanks for dropping by!

Saturday, September 25, 2010


NaBloPoMo: Day 25
Special thanks to Misty's MeMe post, Cindy's candidness, and Renata's gracious post for giving me the courage to post on my husband and our relationship with "d" in the mix.

Nyquil, Ibuprofen, Afrin, Advair, and Xopenex are my best friends. Well, I take that back, my husband is my best friend. He manned the house, kids, dinner and movie night while I was medicated and sedated for the previous 13 hours. My drug-induced medicinally-crafted sense of wellbeing has me upright and ready to post this morning. I have decided to share with you, today, about my other half. Not necessarily my better half, come on, you guys knew I wouldn't give him that much credit. I am your vain Portuguese Princess after all. I think with Dave and I, the sum of our halves equals a pretty spectacular, synergistic whole.

Our complements are by far too numerous to list here, but off the top of my Nyquil infused, fogged brain here we go: I am flamboyant, he is reserved. I am a laborious work-horse, he knows when to "take it easy". I am emotional, he is even-keeled. I am a social butterfly, he tends to keep his social circle tight. I hate to shop, he is my grocery store and Costco monkey boy. I like things tidy, he is somewhat of a slob. I am carefree with the children, he is a little uptight. He keeps tabs on the family finances, I could not be bothered with such mundane details. I am the full-time pancreas, he will step in when needed. He sits with the children to teach them "important" life lessons, I am more the "day-to-day" manager of the crew. He is 110% about anything he feels passionate about, I am more like 85% about everything. I would do anything for our family, he would do anything for our family...

and he does...

This man works 50+ hours a week to provide for his family. He leaves the house with a smile on his face, a positive attitude, always looking to make it a good day. He picks-up the night time blood glucose checks on the weekend to give me a break and will often take over during the week if my work schedule fills-up. He loves to laugh, he loves computer games, he loves beer, pizza, and hockey. He rarely complains...only if it is hot... I won't go into his hyperhydrosis issue. He recognizes when he needs to change, to improve upon something and he does. He is open to criticism. He actually welcomes it and he utilizes it to improve upon himself. After my Food Rage with the Shrimp Guy in the Buffet line post (a good one, by the way), Dave stepped it up, and has learned to take Joe out to eat without me! He makes me feel loved, accepted, and adored. He loves me unconditionally even when the "Bitch Switch" is ON. He has been loving me for over half of my life now. We met in 1990 as freshmen in college and have been together since (sans one tiny break-up). I would not be who I am today without the love and support of this man.

When we were discharged from the hospital after Joe's diagnosis, a nurse gave me a book. This book had nothing to do with the pathophysiology of Type 1, it had nothing to do with the rigorous management that this newly diagnosed condition required, it had nothing to do with the latest and greatest research. It was a book about how parenting a child with type 1 can affect your marriage.


Funny, at the time that baffled me.

I was somewhat prepared to lance, poke, expel blood, read meters, measure and weigh food, and inject my son with insulin, but I was not prepared for strain on my marriage. The thought had not even crossed my over-loaded, fact-burdened mind. There it was. In black and white, the day-in and out strain on a couple managing type 1 in their child causes rifts, strain, separation, resentment, the list could run on and on I am sure.

While I read this book, 2 days after diagnosis, I would think "not us", "heck no", "Dave and I are a team to the end", "this book is talking about other people", "we are as solid as they come". And we are, we were, we will be... "solid", "durable", "dependable". Have we stumbled? Sure. Have there been times where I felt resentful? Hell, yes. Have there been times where I have kicked him out of his peaceful slumber to do the night check because I cannot lift my weary head? Absolutely.

For the first couple of years after diagnosis the previous question and answer session would not have occurred. BUT, like water seeps and wears and carves the rock of this earth, diabetes seeps into everything, marrs relationships, ebbs into our interpersonal connections, especially marriage. I like to think this is normal; that Dave and I are like many of you. We carry on, we balance busy lives in addition to the daily rigors of "d", and that perhaps we will emerge a more loving, caring, cohesive team through it all.

"D" minutely seeping, carving, transforming everything, everyday, during my day-in-the-life parenting a child with type 1 diabetes.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

JOE's CHOICE WEDNESDAY: Bacon and Cabbage Savage!

NaBloPoMo: Day 22


You people haven't seen "Onion Goggles" before?

OK, It is hard to add humor to bacon and cabbage, so I had to show you a pic of me in my onion goggles (thanks Sunshine Grandma).

Last week our visit to to CSA, Bread and Roses Farm, produced a head of what I believe to be Napa cabbage. On my drive home I was trying to figure out dinner and what I could come up with using our newly acquired farm fresh produce. A mental checklist started to materialize:

Bacon - check
Cabbage - check
Onion - check
Garlic - check
Diced Stewed Tomatoes - ohhh I hoped

As luck would have it, the diced stewed tomatoes were a "check".

Ingredients: As above...although, I guess I should add how much and what to do to the ingredients before frying them up, like a pissed off Killer T-Cell hot after our children's insulin producing and secreting beta cells.

Bacon (1/2 a package)- chopped up in like 1 inch pieces
Napa or Asian Cabbage (1/2 head) - chopped thin
Yellow, or what have-you onion (about 1/2 medium bulb) - diced
Garlic (4 cloves) - minced
Diced Stewed Tomatoes - one 15 oz. can

Directions: Cut up bacon into about 1 inch chunks and fry, stirring occasionally.

Once the bacon is cooked and crisp, add in the onion and garlic, fry until the onions soften.

Now add in the can of diced, stewed tomatoes and the chopped cabbage. Cover. Cook on medium until the cabbage becomes limp (like a beta cell defunct pancreas).

Serve in a bowl with hearty bread. This flax bread recipe goes well with this hodgepodge of a goulash.

Joe loved, loved, loved this recipe. He told me that I have the best "imagination" ever to come up with it on the fly. I actually just tweaked my friend Susy's recipe which is essentially the same ingredients, but it uses ground turkey or beef for the meat source.

Nutritional Information: SWAG it baby (thanks Lorraine). I carb counted it at about 6g/cup, which worked well with Joe's current dinner ratio.

A day-in-the-life living as a bacon and cabbage savage.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


NaBloPoMo: Day 18

Preface: Tonight as the bath water drained, this post started to grow, evolve and progress. You see, this is the post out of all the posts from my month-long challenge that I care the most about. (*quiet, yet deep breath with long exhalation*). If you have taken the time to read nothing else of mine this month, please, this is the post I want you all to read. This is the post that defines the history of type 1 diabetes in my life to date. Forgive me if it rambles a bit. This is the post that will mark my 7 year old son Joe's 4th year with type 1 diabetes. He has been living the rigorous daily regimen that "d" demands for over half of his short, sweet life.


Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, seasons and years, funny how the "measures" of time all blur and meld together as one long stream. During them, you can suffer the most monumentally painful events in your life. Each minute seems an hour. Each hour seems a day. Each day a week. Each week a month...and so on. Four years ago today one dip of a stick into my son's urine changed my life, upheaved my family's life. It was one of those "clock stopping" moments. The type 1 diagnosis and it's sequella froze me in "time" for a bit. No matter how hard I tried to deny "It", no matter how hard I tried to ward "It" off, no matter how much I wanted to tell "It" to "go to hell" and to leave me, my family, and my baby Joe alone, "It" was there. "It" was going nowhere. Time had stopped. I was "stuck". "It" wasn't necessarily "d". I believe "It" to have been "grief".

Stuck in a grief-filled, stressful time, my family was forced to slowly live and thrive with our "new normal". There is absolutely nothing "normal" about having to measure every morsel of food your three year old child consumes. There is nothing "normal" about lancing your precious preschoolers chubby finger tips 8-12 times a day. There is nothing "normal" about holding your child down to give them multiple injections daily so that they can live a long and "healthy" life. There is nothing, and I mean nothing "normal" about the "new normal". It just is. It just was...4 years ago today.

Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years soothe, heal, dilute and ultimately anesthetize the pain. As with all hurts in this life, I have found, once again, time to be an old friend. In a traumatic moment time stands still and the pain is unrelenting, the loneliness isolating, the grief smothering. Curious how as hours, days, months, and years pass, the pain, the loneliness, and the grief ebb into the nooks of the periphery of one's consciousness; and then, they slowly dissipate into the subconsciousness without even a second thought. Gone without notice.

Now, my family's existence seems to be catapulting through time; the years are becoming months, the months days, the days hours, the hours minutes, the minutes seconds. Time is careening by in scenery "flashes" or "snippets". Pulsing. Racing. Rushing. The warmth of summer is giving way to cool autumn evenings. The start of school will soon transition into the holiday season. The holiday season will give in to the brittle freeze of January. The bitter chill of winter will break way to budding tree leaves and blooming tulips welcoming spring and a new growing season. And so, the cycle continues. Life goes on. Sometimes Joe's diagnosis seems like it was just yesterday, with me "stuck" in time. Thankfully, for the most part, however, our prediagnosis-existence seems like it was a lifetime ago.

A lifetime ago.

You see....

Solace has been found through the anesthetic balm of time.

Reflecting on 4 years of a day-in-the-life of parenting a child with type 1 diabetes.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


NaBloPoMo: Day 16
As I followed the trail of stuffing that traversed down the stairs and into our kitchen, my thought feed was as follows: "Is it the bald eagle with the talons that Oscar loves to chew on? Is it the calico kitty cat with the tattered whiskers? Or Is it the jingly ball?" ... that I believe to be a baby toy that Oscar has a strong affection towards.

I arrive at the carnage. No. It is not the bald eagle. It is not the kitty cat. It is not the ball that jingles. It is LuLu, the polar bear. As I attempt to clean up the mess of gnawed up eyes, cotton entrails, and a globeless, eyeless LuLu, my mind takes me back. It takes me to a time when LuLu had diabetes.

You would not know it to look at her. Would you?

It was about 3 and a 1/2 years ago. It seems to be a lifetime ago. A time when Joe was a chubby faced pre-schooler. A time when Thomas the Tank Engine had a permanent set-up on our coffee table. A dark time for me. A time I have stuffed into the recesses of my mind, hoping to forget. It was a painful time.

LuLu wore a insulin pump that I had fashioned out of a an Animas printout. I had laminated it and tied it around LuLu's waist. LuLu wore a set in her bum and the tubing was attached to the pump printout. LuLu had her paws pricked for blood sugar checks. LuLu received multiple shots daily. LuLu's care was diligently documented in a log for studying and tweaking of insulin doses. LuLu was a "Show-and-Tell" prop on a few occasions. Joe, Bridget, and I would use LuLu's pump "set-up" to show friends what the set looked like and to discuss the regimen of diabetes management.

(Heavy Sigh)...

It is funny how time passes, dulls, and anesthetizes.

We are approaching Joe's 4th year with type 1 this Saturday. I have been acutely aware of my emotions while reading Houston We Have a Problem's blog as they close in on Nate's first anniversary of living with diabetes. I am also struck by the fact that this week is Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. Karen from Bitter-sweet posted beautifully on What You Think You See. You would never know the war that raged in LuLu's body for a time AND you cannot see the battle that we have with "d" daily to minimize the damage that high blood sugars inflict on Joe's organs while we stave off dangerous, and potentially deadly, lows.

R.I.P. LuLu.

One could not imagine, by looking at us, what our day-in-the-life entails.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Joe's Choice Wednesday: TOMATO SOUP

NaBloPoMo: Day 15

I don't want to scare you. Are you sitting? Swallow your coffee, soda, wine, beer, or what-have-you. OK? Is your oral cavity evacuated? I am trying to save your computer and monitor screen. No need to thank me. Really. It is all in a day-in-the-life of labor for me as a mother, pancreas, wife, nurse, friend, make-up expert, 1/2 marathon trainer, fashionista...



I bet that one surprised you. Yep, I can scrub a toothpaste encrusted sink drain, sweep shoe tread clumped mud chunks, and dust spittle coated cracker crumbs with the best of them and I like to cook "healthy" food made from locally grown veggies. We belong to a CSA named Bread and Roses. Bridget, Joe, and I drive out to the farm weekly to pick-up our produce from June through October. It is reasonably priced and I get to expose Bridget and Joe to the growing process and harvesting procedures, while introducing a variety of vegetables to their diet. The past couple of weeks we have accumulated over five pounds of tomatoes from our CSA visits.

As if Joe isn't enough work with the "temporary" over-time pancreas job that he involuntarily hired me for, he also loves some labor-intensive foods. His absolute favorite homemade soup is tomato. He loves it from scratch with real tomatoes. He begs for it all summer. It starts when the little nubbins of green fruit start to emerge from the yellow flower on the plant and it continues on, and on, and on, and on until the fruit is finally ripe.

Without further delay our Fresh Tomato Soup Recipe post.

This is a great recipe for this time of year. It gives you one more thing to do with the abundance of tomatoes yielded from a good growing season. AND. Yes, I realize this post is a little tame after the penis-pancreas connection and the alien abduction. I guess I want you guys to know deep down I am a "normal" person trapped in a prophane adjective and adverb slingin' comedienne's body. Smiles.

4 cups fresh tomatoes
1 sliced onion
4 whole cloves
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons white sugar, or to taste


Blanche whole tomatoes in boiling water for 15 seconds. Let them cool to the point of handling them safely. Then peel the skin off. Halve the tomatoes to de-seed them. Then dice the tomato flesh.



Peeled and De-seeded

In a stockpot, over medium heat, combine the tomatoes, onion, cloves and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and gently boil for about 20 minutes to blend all of the flavors. Remove from heat and blenderize the mixture.


Joe "manning" the blender

In the now empty stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour to make a roux, cooking until the roux is a medium brown. Gradually whisk in a bit of the tomato mixture, so that no lumps form, then stir in the rest. Season with sugar and salt, and adjust to taste.

Servings Per Recipe: 6
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 81
Total Fat: 4.3g
Cholesterol: 12mg
Sodium: 803mg
Total Carbs: 9.4g
Dietary Fiber: 1.8g
Protein: 1.9g

A day-in-the-life of making wholesome food for my family and my high maintenance type 1 kid.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


NaBloPoMo: Day 2
I think it was Meri's post at Our Diabetic Life that lead me to this post. This is the stuff that I don't usually share with anyone, not even my husband. I don't let it seep too far into my perky consciousness during the day. But at night, when my positive-energy falters, when my "perky"-self slumbers, when my annoyingly, at times, "glasses colored rose" are darkened by the sun-less sky... my mind goes to places that I don't usually allow it to go when my defenses are up.

Thoughts that fleet through my brain when approaching my sleeping son during the night:

  • "Oh thank god...his chest is rising and falling with inhalation and exhalation"
  • "Good... he just twitched his nose a bit"
  • "Phew... he moved his leg"
  • "Dear lord ... why isn't he moving...oh good he feels warm"
  • "Please, please, please ... don't let this be the beginning of the nightmare I have feared"

Thoughts that flood my mind if I wake in the early...the pre-dawn part of the day, BUT I wasn't planning on checking my son's blood sugar:

  • "I'll never forgive myself if I don't get up and check his blood sugar and something is wrong. Never!"
  • "What if .... What if ... What if ...!"
  • "Get up! I don't care how tired you are...YOU must check on Joe!"
  • "Drag your butt out of bed and check on your son... You have to!!!"

These are the thoughts that enter my mind almost nightly. It isn't that I live in fear 24/7. I feel I have a good and "healthy" grasp on type 1 in our lives; but I know the price. I know the price that "D" can demand of us to pay. The price that is too high to pay. It is a RARE price. A rare price that I refuse to pay with my beautiful son as the currency.

Nighttime hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is a type 1 parent's worst fear. The body produces two hormones, Epinephrine and Glucagon, to combat low blood sugars. At night, Glucagon production usually declines. In addition, people with type 1 diabetes have impaired Glucagon production, which becomes even more depressed with each low blood sugar endured. Other contributors to nighttime lows is the prolonged period between meals and the body is more sensitive to insulin (unless Growth Hormone is involved). It has not been "proven" to be the cause of what we all think of every night as we kiss our dear children and tuck them in for the night. But I know AND you know we are all thinking about "Dead in Bed Syndrome". The children with DIABETES website defines it as: "Someone with Type 1 Diabetes is found dead in the morning in an undisturbed bed after having been observed in apparently good health the day before. No cause of death can be established. " It has been thought to be due to a cardiac dysrhythmia perhaps in response to a low. Who knows? Who cares? Although I know it is an extremely rare syndrome, it scares the shit out of me. "It"..."D"...and "it's" treatment..."it's" management threatens my son's wellbeing, my son's life...daily....and nightly.

The reality of my nights living a day-in-the-life parenting Joe.

10/21/2010 A well written article about Dead in Bed Syndrome