Pushing on

Today we had spin class.  The day starts early.  Up at 6:15am (on a Sunday!) to have time to grab some peanut butter toast and coffee and get ready to hit the road by 7:15am.  Then we have a 90 minute drive (not much traffic that early on a Sunday morning) to get to spin class.  But what a better way to start the day.

Today’s class was intense.  I know the classes get progressively more difficult and push harder each week.  That’s one of the reasons I like the class.  I need to be pushed.  And I really need to get ready for bike season 2016.  But today’s class was hard.

We did a series of intervals where we had to hold a higher heart rate for extended periods of time (like 1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes) and then have a recovery time.  I was ok with the 1 minute and 2 minute intervals, but the 3 minute one was killing me.  I really wanted to throw in the towel.  But I didn’t want to admit to the others at the class that I was struggling.  That’s a theme for me, but more on that later.  I have a goal for the end of the ride season, and I am determined to accomplish it.

So this is what was going on in my head during the first 3 minute interval. I decided to close my eyes and picture myself accomplishing my goal.  Eyes closed, I’m gonna do this for 3 minutes….ok….that’s got to be about 3 minutes, right?  1 minute down.  Ok…reassess.  You can do this, don’t be such a big baby.  Close your eyes, you only have 2 more minutes.  But I really want to quit.  Ok.  So now I am picturing myself reaching my goal and I’m picturing Meredith.  Meredith who can never give up on taking care of her diabetes.  Ok…are we done yet???  2 minutes down and 1 more to go.  Are you kidding????  I really want to quit.  I really don’t know that I can do this.  Really…what’s the big deal if I stop?  It won’t really mean anything.  I can still accomplish my goal and I don’t have to tell Meredith I gave up.  Holden won’t really know I quit because he’s not paying any attention to me.  So, just stop already.  15 seconds left.  WTF? I can do it for 15 more seconds, right??  Hell yes…I did it!

I think we ended up doing 3 of those intervals…it really could have been more.  I was half dead by the end of the 2nd one.  But I was also a little proud of myself for pushing on.  I am glad that I didn’t give up.  It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t pretty, but if I had given up, I think I would have beat myself up for it and that would not have been pretty either.  I stuck through a really hard work out.  I am sore and I am tired.  I am also pretty satisfied. I did something that I don’t know that every one can do…I pushed through the hard part.

The Spirit of Adventure


“Let the spirit of adventure set the tone.”  This was the message on my desk calendar on Wednesday.  It really couldn’t be more fitting for that very day.  Wednesday, January 20 was the day that registration opened for the 2016 JDRF Ride to Cure events.

This year, I will be riding in 2 JDRF Ride to Cure rides.  The first will be in La Crosse, WI in August.  It will be my 3rd year riding La Crosse, and it is an incredible ride.  In October, Holden and I will be riding in Death Valley, CA for the second time.  Death Valley is an amazing place.

Both of these rides have been life changing for me.  The spirit of Ride weekend is really like no other.  You see, JDRF rides are fundraising rides.  Each rider has a minimum dollar amount to raise and the money goes to further JDRF’s mission and…

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365 Days of 41

Last year, I wrote a clever little blog about the 40 lessons I learned during the 365 days that I was 40.  Here it is, one year later, and I’m reflecting on my 41st year.  I was mentally making a list of 41 lessons to blog about when it hit me…I’m not getting any younger.  If I do this, I will have to learn more every year.  My daughter is turning 10 in a few weeks.  She only would have 9 lessons to reflect upon.

And while aging does bring its privileges, learning more lessons each year is not a bad thing.  I hope I will always be able to come up with the new things that I have learned as each year passes.  I’m not sure I will hit 41, but here goes…

  1. Parenting isn’t easy.  I’ve known this since my first child was an infant.  But I keep learning it as they get older.  Especially when there is a strong-willed pre-teen girl in the house.
  2. As hard as parenting is with that pre-teen girl, it is even more rewarding.
  3. If you do your job as a parent even when it is so terribly hard and you want to give up, you just might get a pretty decent human adult out of the deal.
  4. When your child tells you that you are the worst parent in the world, it is a compliment.
  5. The child that tells you that you are the worst parent in the world will also tell you that you are the BEST.MOM.EVER.
  6. No matter how many times I cover up my grey hairs, I am proud that I have earned them.
  7. Watching your children in sporting events takes more out of you than it does of the athlete.
  8. It’s good to make plans and lay out steps to achieve your goals.
  9. It’s also good to have goals that you never thought you could ever achieve, but are willing to give it a try.
  10. Death Valley is one of the most beautiful places on this planet.
  11. La Crosse, WI in August can be miserably hot…hotter than Death Valley in October.
  12. It’s ok to drink more than 1 beer at the finish line of a JDRF Ride To Cure.
  13. Life throws curve balls.
  14. You can duck away from the curve balls.
  15. Or you can hit the suckers out of the park.
  16. Curve balls can take a long time to get over.
  17. Your goals can still be achieved even if it’s not the way you had planned (hence the curve ball).
  18. Using crutches is hell.
  19. 6 weeks using crutches feels like an eternity.
  20. A blood clot in your calf feels like a perpetual Charlie Horse.
  21. If you ever feel like you have a perpetual Charlie Horse, you need to see your doctor.
  22. If you have a blood clot in your leg (or anywhere else, I’m sure), medical personnel fit you in and give you the VIP treatment.
  23. You don’t have to wait at an Emergency Room when you are having chest discomfort while you have a blood clot (even if you are convinced that you pulled a muscle while waving your hands above your head on Splash Mountain).
  24. The Celebration, FL is one of the nicest I’ve ever been in.
  25. You may not always like your friends’ behavior, but you can still like your friends.
  26. I love to ride my new bike.
  27. I love to ride my new bike even more after 6 weeks on crutches.
  28. I have the most amazing co-workers in the world.
  29. No matter how old you are, you can learn to swim.  I’m not talking about me.  I was the teacher…I taught someone ELSE how to swim.
  30. Training rides are better when you are riding with friends.
  31. You meet the most amazing people while riding your bike.
  32. My children never, ever cease to amaze me.
  33. Desert rains can cause lots of damage.  And flash flooding is nothing to laugh about.
  34. I need to have more confidence in myself.
  35. I can still get “hit on.”  Even though it takes me a VERY long time to figure out that that is what is actually going on.
  36. I laugh out LOUD when a guy tells me I look like I’m 25…26 at the most!
  37. Being active and living healthy make me look young (not exactly 25, but really, who am I to argue??).
  38. Accomplishing a goal leaves you glowing.
  39. You never know who you are inspiring or for what reasons.
  40. The back gate of a mini-van can do a LOT of damage to a person’s head.
  41. My life isn’t as boring as I think it is…

Here’s to 365 more days of lessons!


The most terrifying day since…..

It has been quite a while since I have logged in to this blog.  I have had so many great ideas swimming in my head lately, this was bound to happen.  When I started this little blog, I meant to write often about my kids, my life, and those things that seem to happen exclusively to me.  And while that still holds true, life has taken me in many exciting directions since then.

Meredith is now 9 (10 next month).  Her diabetes still is a challenge as is her celiac disease.  We are 7 1/2 years into her diabetes diagnosis and 4 years into the celiac one.

Yesterday was the most frightening day I have had since May of 2008.  The day started out great.  The kids and I were going to take a road trip to Appleton (90 minutes away) to see friends and pick up some gluten free goodies from Happy Bellies Bake Shop.  I had to pick Sydney up at a Christmas sleepover with friends and we were a little rushed to leave.  As I have been doing lately, I left Meredith to make sure she had her diabetes supplies.

Holden decided he wanted to take us in his car for our trip.  So, we loaded in the 1998 Cadillac Catera and hit the road.  About an hour into the trip, Meredith said she felt high and tested her blood sugar.  544.  YIKES.  She corrected with her pump and drank the water we had brought along.  A bathroom stop later and she checked again.  488.  Ok, coming down slowly, but moving in the right direction.

After a nice visit with friends and picking up our GF goodies, we headed to lunch.  Blood sugar check showed 389.  Still headed in the right direction, and she seemed to be feeling well.  We had lunch, gave insulin, and she said she felt really high and wanted to go home.  Thinking I could change her pump set and do some fun shopping, I looked in her supply bag.  No extra sets…and no insulin.  So, I decided we needed to get home.  I was pretty worried that her set had failed.

About 35 minutes into the drive, Meredith threw up in the back seat of Holden’s car.  He calmly pulled over (if you believe that…there was nothing calm about the situation), and I had the kids get out of the car so I could assess the situation.  Meredith had used the empty plastic bag I had brought along for garbage, but there was still a mess.  Holden, thinking only of us and our comfort, had taken out all of the paper towel out of his car in the morning.  I used all of the kleenex I had in my pocket, took off my sweater, and used it to clean as best I could.  We were a few miles from a gas station.  We piled back in to the car and drove with the windows down to that gas station.

I was trying to keep my cool, but I was really worried.  I was thinking DKA, hospital stays, a sick little girl.  I was also dealing with an overly dramatic teenager and his sister.  Sydney was a little more mature than Holden, which really was a help.  We got cleaning supplies, gum, and water at the gas station and I cleaned the car as best I could.  I sat in the back with Meredith and Holden got us home safely and without any more incident.

Once home, Meredith checked her ketones and my fears were confirmed.  The stick that she peed on was black.  Those are very large ketones.  I called the pediatric endocrinologist on call.  She suspected that Meredith was in DKA,  and we figured out an insulin regimen.  3 shots, 4 hours later, and the ketones were finally starting to clear.  But those were the 4 most terrifying hours I have had since her diagnosis.  And, all I could think was that if only I had checked that bag in the morning, things might not have gotten as bad as they did.

The guilt I had watching her as she was miserable.  Crying when I had to give her an injection, asking when she would feel better.  I was giving her everything and anything I could to make her feel better.  A warm bath…a favorite movie.  Anything I could do to make my guilt lessen.

I stayed up most of the night, making sure she was ok.  Her blood sugar was low about 1am….I’m sure a result from all of the insulin it took to clear the ketones.

Meredith is chipper and energetic today.  I am tired and feeling a little better.  Diabetes never stops playing and some days it doesn’t play fair.  We made it through the first DKA episode since diagnosis.  I’m hoping we don’t have to live through that again anytime soon.



365 days of being 40

Today is my 365th day of being 40.  Last year at this time, I was so concerned about entering a new decade in my life.  I also reflected on the decade I was leaving behind and all the things that had happened.

When I look back on this year, and think of all that has happened, I think the year surpasses the previous decade in memorable events.  So I am taking the time to archive my 40th year…the events, the insights, the lessons learned.

1. Follow her lead:  When dealing with chronic illness and the treatment thereof, follow the lead of the child with the said illness.

2. Take a big risk: A friend I met this summer said something to me that has stayed with me on a  daily basis; “Life is boring in your comfort zone…get out of it and live.”

3. I am capable of so much more: I can be my own worst enemy with self doubt and negativity.

4. When trying not to let others down, don’t let yourself down either: You are the most important one.

5. Friends can be found in the most unlikely of places.

6. People who may seem unsupportive can be your biggest champions: And, don’t let your insecurities be projected on to their intentions.

7. People who doubt or criticize you really are envious of you.

8. Taking time for yourself is never time wasted.

9. When you accomplish what you never thought possible, you actually are a different person:  But you still are you.  Just a better version.

10. Never offer to do something you really don’t want to do hoping you won’t be taken up on it:  Because now I am a runner.  I run with my daughter who didn’t want to run.  So I said I would train with her if she wanted.  And she said “ok.”

11. There is a reason I was never a runner.

12. There are a million reasons that I will be a runner from now on.

13. Swimming in open water can be scary.

14. Long car trips with your husband and kids can be surprisingly wonderful.

15. Until someone barfs.

16. I rode 50 miles on my bike and lived.

17. I rode a metric century + 3 miles and almost did’t live: But crossing the finish line where my son was cheering me on was absolutely incredible.

18. I rode 75 miles and wanted to cry riding up “the wall.”: I had a great group of people with me who would not let me give up.  And I didn’t.

19. 90’s tv trivia can make the time pass while climbing up a hill that lasts forever.

20. Getting to the top of the hill and seeing your family with signs cheering you on makes you cry like a baby:  And it gives you the motivation to keep going.

21. A JDRF century ride is about so much more than the miles.

22. Your children can be your biggest supporters.

23. Never assume anything.

24. The ocean is enchanting: And when you live in Wisconsin, you never want to leave the ocean.

25. The longest winter doesn’t last forever:  It just feels like it does.

26. Never stop wondering what you can do next: After accomplishing a goal, set a new one.  Surprise yourself.

27. Persistence pays off.

28. Smile more: People will wonder what you are up to.

29. Some friendships are forever.

30. You are stronger than you think you are.

31. Poolside margaritas with friends taste the best.

32. Be thankful for all you have: Gratitude never goes out of style and is flattering on everyone.

33. Kindness is the new black.

34. There is more to me than meets the eye.

35. I can learn new things: Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

36. I am not too much of a chicken to get a tattoo.

37. There is a nice down hill ride after each up hill climb: and they make the climb worth it.

38. My lack of skills in geometry have been handed down to my son.

39. High school swim meets are the reward for living through years of day long club meets.

40. I ran a 5K: Not too shabby for someone who was out of shape and a couch potato 18 months ago.

Here’s to another great year of accomplishments and trying things that I never have tried before.  Thanks for being along for the ride.

It’s just a bike tire

This week has been a little difficult for me. If something could have gone wrong, it has…and then some. The weather has been beautiful. I have been enjoying the sunshine. And there have been good moments. When I think about it, more good moments than bad. But the bad ones are staying with me longer than they usually do.

Uphill battles are what I seem to be fighting. Literally and figuratively.

The literal uphill battle, I’ve been training for a 100 mile bike ride. Or, in my new-found cyclist lingo, a century ride. All 100 miles will be completed in 1 day. Yes, ONE.DAY! That’s a big challenge for me. I am doing this as a fundraiser for JDRF (www.jdrf.org). As part of the commitment to joining JDRF Ride to Cure, I agreed to ride 100 miles in 1 day and raise $3000 for diabetes research. I’m doing pretty well on the fundraising. And the training is coming along. I was feeling more confident last week. Then I decided to add a few hills to my training. Hills are killer. Literally…I thought I was going to die on one of them. Going uphill is hard. On your legs. On your lungs. On your mind. But I didn’t give up. Well, on one hill I did…but I couldn’t breathe and I wanted to live, so I walked half way up. Come to think of it, I probably increased my speed by walking. I was going that slow.

Even after a few days of hill training, they weren’t getting any easier. And I was getting discouraged. And then I had a mishap with my tire. A mishap that only I could have. There are things in this life that really can only happen to me…because the rest of the world is more coordinated or fortunate or something.

I wasn’t particularly excited about going out on a training ride that night. But I talked myself into a 5 mile ride, nonetheless. So, as a good cyclist (or so I learned from my coach) does, I checked my air pressure in my tires before the ride. Back tire was a little low. It was hot and humid, and a batch of about 1 million mosquitos were swarming my body as I was doing this. I grabbed my air pump and pumped up my tire…all the while cursing the nasty little insects. As I took the air hose off my tire, I heard a ping, heard a gush of air, and watched as ALL the air left my back tire. At the same time, I noticed blood dripping from my thumb, and a huge mosquito biting me on the forehead. Turns out, my valve stem broke. No air in the tire = no ride for me.

After cursing a blue streak, putting my bike away and deciding that I was better off staying home, I went in the house and tended to my cut thumb. While scratching my lovely mosquito bite on my head. A few deep breaths and some meditation later, I tried to turn the karma of the night to a positive one. So, I did 50 minutes of cardio. Don’t want to let my increased aerobic level slide backward.

I also sent a text to my riding coach. I live about 2 hours away from our training team and travel about once a week for training rides with the group. My coach is incredibly patient, talented and understanding. And he’s getting used to me, too. He told me I needed to change the tube in my tire and all would be good. He gave me a lesson in tube changing about 6 weeks ago. He really made it look easy.

So, last night, I screwed up my courage and decided I could do it. Turns out, it’s only easy if you’re a professional. My son is riding with me, and he had the same lesson. We were both stumped. And, remember those mosquitos? Well all 1 million of them had about 16 babies. And they were hungry. After a few frustrated and panicked texts to the coach, he called me. He really is awesome. His advice helped. But it was time to get Meredith to her little league game. We were only 5 minutes late for arrival when we left the house.

After the game (she got a double and scored!!), I thought, I am smarter than this tire. So I decided to give it a go again. This time inside my house. There were less mosquitos. In my clueless fumblings, I ended up poking a hole in the new tube. So, the Queen of Loserville does not have a back tire on her bike. And, for some reason, I was as deflated as my tire.

What was I thinking? Riding 100 miles in a day? Raising money for a cure? It all seems so hard and so far away and that my efforts aren’t amounting to anything. So, maybe I should just give up. That would be easier and right then I was not in for anything hard. To avoid having a full-out pity party and crying like a baby in front of my kids, I decided to take a shower. In the shower, I came to a revelation.

It’s just a bike tire.

That’s it. It’s just a bike tire. And in the grand scheme of things, that’s pretty minor. I am more than that bike tire. I will not be defined by my inability to change a tube in a bike tire. I will ride 100 miles in a day. I will make up for the lost training days. I will help find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. And I will climb those hills. Literally and figuratively.

Because I am

My jersey My jersey

If you would like to support our efforts, the links to our fundraising pages follow.


Am I Allowed to Brag?

I really want an answer to that question. Especially if it’s a brag about me. I have always operated under the guise that bragging about oneself was conceited. But what if I call it celebrating me? Then is it bragging?

The word brag has such negative connotations. Those who usually accuse others of bragging are usually jealous or feeling insecure. I know…I’ve had those feelings. So, now when I want to celebrate me, why am I so afraid that if I do, I will offend someone or come off as bragging?

I try to celebrate with others as they are celebrating themselves. If someone does something wonderful or good, I am right there with cheers and congratulations. I don’t consider that bragging. When we accomplish personal goals or achieve what we think is unachievable, we should celebrate ourselves and be celebrated by others.

So here goes…my celebration of me. This week I have done a few things that a mere year ago, I thought completely impossible that I could or would ever do. One is that I rode my bike 42 miles in one day…and lived to tell the tale! I felt really great about myself at the end of the ride. Another is that I rode my bike up hills that I was walking up last summer…and I wasn’t even winded at the top! I think that is my biggest celebration. Walking up those hills last year was hard, and I was huffing and puffing the entire way. Last night, I rode up them without feeling the need to stop. And I wasn’t out of breath.

I’ve come a long way in a year. I hope next year, I can say the same thing.

6 Things

Today is Mother’s Day. 6 years ago, May 11 was Mother’s Day. It was the day before Meredith was diagnosed with T1D. Tomorrow is our Diaversary. This has been an exceptionally emotional weekend for me. Partly because the days of the week are coinciding with the day that changed my world forever. I remember that weekend with exceptional clarity this weekend. Almost to the minute of what I was doing. Those memories have not been so clear in a long time. They are not reducing me to tears as quick as they used to, but the tears are at the surface.

This morning, Meredith made me breakfast in bed. I was dreading today. But my sweet little girl brought me coffee and toast in bed. And it was wonderful. As I sipped my perfectly brewed java, I decided that I need to concentrate on the positives of these last 6 years. If I dwell on the negative, or what life was once like, I will be consumed. I want to be consumed in the good. So I have decided to come up with 6 things that I am grateful for that I have learned over the last 6 years.

1. Awesome Doctors I took Meredith to the pediatrician thinking he would tell me that she was fine. Don’t know what I thought was causing that unsatiable thirst. But I knew he would tell me she was fine. He didn’t tell me that…he saved her life. And he sent us to our wonderful pediatric endocrinologist who has a wonderful team. They all have saved my daughter several times over the last 6 years. They have saved me, too. Tomorrow, as ironic as it may seem, Meredith has her quarterly check up with the endo. I am remembering the 2 year old in pig tails they met so long ago. She is now the 8 year old with a gap between her permanent front teeth (orthodontist appointment on Tuesday).

2. My Husband Without Carl, I really think I’d have gone over the deep end a LONG time ago. When we were learning exactly what it meant to have T1D, I looked at him and said, “we are homeschooling this one…I can never let her out of my sight again.” He looked at me and said, “Sarah….get a grip.” Also, when the CDE was explaining the dangers of high blood sugars, I was convinced that if high was bad, then low was good. WRONG! When she told us about the terrors of low blood sugars, and showed us the Glucagon, I mentally checked out. I told her to tell Carl, I wasn’t ready for this. He learned and explained it to me later, when I wasn’t on the verge of needing a padded room. He has been there and talked me down from the ledge so many times. He has also gotten sleep…because there’s no use in both of us staying up!! And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

3. Faith I never really considered myself to have an awesome sense of faith. I have faith, and I know God is always there for me. But I’m not sure I really had a true sense of faith. I remember praying to God 6 years ago this very night, asking Him to help me to know what to do. I believe that He was in control of my fingers as I dialed the pediatrician the next day. I also believe that He has guided us on this journey better than we could have navigated it ourselves. I know that if God leads you to it, He’ll lead you through it. I am living proof…I’m still here. He has listened to my countless prayers. Prayers not for this disease to go away, but for me to be the mother Meredith needs, and to help her through the hard times, and to keep her with me. Sure, I’d love to not have Diabetes in our lives. But I want Meredith with me and living life to its fullest. And I will do what it takes to make that happen.

4. Insulin Really, this should be #1. I am so thankful for insulin. It is Meredith’s life support. Oxygen and insulin are what she needs to live. Without insulin, we could have lost her by the end of May, 2008. Those wonderful doctors told us she was 24 hours away from being in critical condition when she was diagnosed. Insulin has kept her with us and will continue to keep her healthy until a cure is found.

5. Appreciation for the Little Things We all take things for granted. I still do. But realizing that I could have lost my daughter has had a profound effect of my perspective. I find that I appreciate and enjoy so much more than I ever did before. I am so thankful for the health of those I love. And even those who I just know. Really, I’m thankful for the health of everyone who has it. My prayers everyday include God’s loving hand to care for those who are ill or suffering and those who care and love them. I think I hug my kids a little tighter than I used to. And, even when they are sassy, I am thankful that they can be. Don’t get me wrong, the urge to staple lips together or shut them with decorative duct tape is still there. But after the moment has passed, I remember to count my blessings. My blessings are abundant…which leads me to

6. The People I’ve Met Along the Way There are so, so many people that we’ve met and now consider family since that fateful day 6 years ago. I am half tempted to list them, but I’m afraid I would forget someone, or you’d stop reading as the list is so long. It is incredibly humbling to know that so many people love you and your child and would do anything to help. We have been blessed with the most incredible teachers. (Yes, Meredith is in school…I finally did get a grip) They are so caring and willing to do what it takes to keep her healthy. And, it is so comforting to know that there are people out there who understand the daily struggles we have because they have them, too. They are my late-night texting buddies, my Thriving Facebook friends, my Friends For Life. And they are Meredith’s, too. We all want a cure…but we all are so thankful to have each other on this journey. Thank you to all of you who have been able to know what I’m thinking and make me laugh and hold my hand (over cyber space or on a text) when I’m scared out of my mind about what Meredith’s blood sugar is doing. Or talking me through the challenges that she’s facing, because your child has faced them too. And for enjoying margaritas poolside with me while our kids are swimming. You are all such a great part of why we are where we are today.

6 incredible things that T1D has brought to my life. Who would have thought??


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