Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Good Morning Texas

This post is part of a series called Where's Wuby? Wednesdays where I'll post a new story about Ruby, or diabetic alert dogs in general.  Ruby is a service dog trained to detect high and low blood sugars in Faith and notify me.  She has changed our lives and dramatically improved Faith's blood sugar control.  

If there was ever anything you wanted to know about these dogs, or how they work, ask away and I'll try to answer the best I can; or if you are just as amazed as me at how God created these animals, I hope you'll enjoy reading about the incredible experiences we've had so far with our Ruby.


In the meantime, you can follow Faith and Wuby on Facebook by clicking Here.

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Faith, Ruby and I had the opportunity to be on Good Morning Texas this morning.  Faith was in rare form and refused to look at the camera.  For most of the interview she was turned around backwards.  Little stinker.  When they tried to mic her up she told them "no" and that they couldn't take her picture.  She's SO over this superstar stuff. ;)






After our GMT interview, we drove to a Lions Club meeting where I'd been asked to share our story by a mom whose daughter heard our story when I spoke at a school a few weeks ago.  When she introduced me, she shared that her daughter was changed after hearing our story and that she couldn't stop talking about it.  That totally had me crying, and was so sweet and encouraging to hear.  (I always wonder if the kids ever give our story another thought.)  After the meeting I had more than one person come up and thank us for sharing, a man tearfully shared that his grandson was diagnosed at age 5 and was a senior in college and doing well, and a sweet lady walked up, thanked me for coming, and said that she thought the whole thing was very enlightening for those that knew nothing about diabetes before today.  


I'm gonna call that a good start to National Diabetes Awareness Month.  


There are some great campaigns this month to raise awareness about Type 1 Diabetes, but I fear that the only one that knows about them are those of us living with type 1 diabetes.  Get out there and live out loud.  People care about our stories.  Share them.  I believe that's going to be the best way to truly make people more aware about what's it's like to live with this disease, and why it's so important to seek a cure.  

Love y'all.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Can I Just Share My Heart for a Minute?

If you know me in real life, you've probably noticed my reflect-o-legs.  Some might refer to it as being fair-skinned, but I think "reflect-o-legs" more accurately describes what I've got going on here.  Try as I may for that summer glow (and truthfully I don't even try anymore), burn and peel is all I know.

I've always been one to sunburn easily, but one particular sunburn stands out to me as being one of the worst.  I was pregnant.  Chuck and I decided to take his boat to the lake for a few minutes so he and my brother could work out some kinks in the motor.  A few minutes turned into a few hours and I left there with a terribly painful sunburn across my back and down my legs.

What is it about having a sunburn, even when it's hidden by your shirt, that makes people suddenly want to hug you tightly or pat you on the back?  And it's that one spot that's the worst - that sore spot that somehow got just a bit more sun - that they seem to somehow zero in on.  Maybe you don't really get more hugs or pats, you just notice it more because it hurts so badly, but it sure seems like the sunburn is a beacon calling out for attention.  Ouch.

This week I feel like I'm one big sunburn.

As most of you know, Faith and Ruby were featured on the news in Dallas this week.  That story got picked up by many other news station, and we're finding out, was seen all over the world.  I've gotten messages from people in several different states, France, and even Australia this week.  

It seems God is using this amazing dog and my precious little girl in a big way.  

It's awesome that we've had so many opportunities to share this amazing story of God's provision, and raise awareness about type 1 diabetes and service dogs.  We really do feel honored.

But, every time I share our story on here or facebook, and every time we make the news, we open ourselves - me specifically - up to criticism.  

When you agree to a news interview you are at the mercy of the reporter.  You can pour your heart out and share for hours, but ultimately that has to be whittled down to a few minutes long piece to run on the air.  You just have to hope and pray that the reporter really listened and conveys that message accurately.  We've experienced both sides of the coin; reporters that seemed to not have heard a word we said, and those that really retold our story well.  The thing is, you never really know which way it will go until you watch it on TV along with everyone else.  That can be a little lot incredibly unnerving.

It's easy for people to pick apart our stories, pass judgment and come up with (and voice) all the many ways they'd do things better differently.  Not much is more important to me than how I do as a wife and mom - and a big part of that is how well I take care of Faith and manage her diabetes.  I'll be the first to tell you that I come up short in all areas a lot more often than I'd like.  But, I try my absolute best to manage Faith's health well; yet, there are still many days that I feel like type 1 diabetes totally kicked my butt.  I second guess myself constantly. 

That's my sore spot.  And every time someone questions my care of Faith, whether knowingly or not, they are slapping my sunburn.  

And, OUCH, it hurts.  Every time it happens I feel like deleting my blog and my facebook accounts and sticking my head in the sand, but I truly believe that God has called me to share this journey.  Still, that doesn't change the fact that sometimes it's hard to be this transparent.

There's talk about some pretty big opportunities that may open up for us to share our story.  It's unbelievable and exciting to watch this as it unfolds, but there's part of me that hesitates.  Do I want to open myself up to that - be that vulnerable?  I know that ultimately I will, and I'll brace for whatever bad comes with the good.  I know that I shouldn't really pay attention to the negative comments, but that's a lot easier said than done.

I tell you all that because one, Chuck's probably sick of hearing it and the kids are asleep, but two, to ask you to pray for us.  Pray that God will give us strength for what lies ahead and comfort us when it hurts. That He'll continue to make himself known to us; and that we'll be sensitive to His leading and walk through whatever doors he opens.

Love y'all.






Thursday, October 27, 2011

Faith and Ruby Make The News! (Again)

This post is part of a series called Where's Wuby? Wednesdays where I'll post a new story about Ruby, or diabetic alert dogs in general.  Ruby is a service dog trained to detect high and low blood sugars in Faith and notify me.  She has changed our lives and dramatically improved Faith's blood sugar control.  

If there was ever anything you wanted to know about these dogs, or how they work, ask away and I'll try to answer the best I can; or if you are just as amazed as me at how God created these animals, I hope you'll enjoy reading about the incredible experiences we've had so far with our Ruby.


In the meantime, you can follow Faith and Wuby on Facebook by clicking Here.

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This past week, Faith, Ruby and I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Shelly Slater of WFAA Channel 8 News.  The interviewed us as part of an effort to raise awareness about Diabetes Friendly's K9s for Kids event.  We were honored to be a part of this, as DFF was one of the groups that helped pay for Ruby.

Here's the news story:

There are a few little details that they didn't get quite right, (such as Faith is two and not three, and Faith does not get her bg checked 30 times a day, but Ruby does often alert 30 times a day - as she will alert every 15 mins or so until Faith's bg comes back into range), but for the most part I thought they did a pretty good job with the story.  What do you think?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Exhale...

A good God does everything He does for good reason. - Gregg Harris


I've been holding on to this truth this week.  


I have gone back and forth about whether or not to share all this on here, but so many of you have emailed or texted with concern.  I've been too sad to respond, but writing is therapeutic for me, so I decided I'll write it all out and share it with those of you that have been checking on us this week.  It's going to be ridiculously long and probably whiney, you've been warned.


About 7 weeks ago, Chuck and I found out we were pregnant.  We were absolutely NOT trying, and we were in shock - and I was completely overwhelmed at the thought of getting even less sleep.  But, we love our big family, so we quickly became very excited about having another precious, funny Wilson kiddo running around this house.  And, if we believe what God says about children - and if we believe God when he says that he won't give us more than we can handle with His strength - then we could see this as nothing but an incredible blessing.


I know some of you are thinking WHAT?!?  Doesn't she have a full plate already? 


Yes, and our hearts are full too.  


I know that to some of you four kids seems like a lot.  To be honest, I'm no more overwhelmed with 4 than I was with 1 or 2.  I know this sounds crazy, but in many ways it gets easier with more children.


I'm so ashamed to say that the one thing that tempered my excitement was the thought of telling others of this blessing and listening to all the negative OMGosh, another baby??  Don't you know what causes that?? comments.  Never again.


Ok, fast forward a bit to two weeks ago.


Chuck is walking through the kitchen one evening and he mentions nonchalantly that he'd been having to run to the bathroom alot the past few days.  Immediately, I thought of diabetes.  


I had him check his blood sugar.


An ugly 354 looked back at us.


No way.


We re-checked.


We grabbed a different meter.  


The ugly number wouldn't go away.


I checked his ketones and thankfully they were negative, so I waited until the next morning and got him in with the first dr that would see him.


Later that day, while I was educating 300+ high school students about diabetes and service dogs, Chuck was at the dr being diagnosed with diabetes.


And, they suspected it could be type 1.


I emailed Dr Casas for a recommendation for an Endo that was knowledgeable about adult onset Type 1.  In true Dr C fashion, and keeping with the Godsend that he's been for us, he called me on my cell.  He scolded me for not calling him first (he's Faith's pedi Endo...I didn't want to waste his time.  I felt like it would be like calling your mechanic and telling him you had a flat on your bike or something - not his problem.)  I was wrong.  He's been SO helpful - ordering tests that should have been run by the first dr, following up on Chuck's condition and numbers, even starting him on insulin to get him some relief while we wait to find out the results of the antibody tests (to determine which type he has).  Once again, we are so very thankful to have Dr Casas in our lives.  For the record, the other dr hasn't checked on Chuck's numbers even once.  Ugh.


While type 2 seems like it would be the lesser of the evils at this point, Chuck is almost hoping it's type 1 because Faith is so excited that her "daddy hab da betes wike me!"  How will we explain to her that daddy gets "cured" (through diet and exercise if it's type 2) while she still has to live with diabetes...and insulin...and needles?  


This was on Wednesday.  On Friday, Chuck started insulin, I had two tests to take at school, a Spanish class to attend...AND had a kidney stone starting to move.  Can I tell you?  I've had four babies and I've never experienced worse pain than kidney stones.  It's excruciating when it's at it's worst.  I needed to go to school...and I needed to go to the ER to get some relief from the kidney stone pain.  


But, I couldn't leave not knowing how the insulin would affect Chuck.  Did we have his dosage right?  I was terrified and decided to stay home.


Saturday Chuck and I had the rare (and MUCH anticipated - literally for weeks) privilege of having a sitter for Faith.  We were both so miserable, but determined to enjoy a little time alone.  We dropped the big kids off with my mom, dropped Faith off with an amazing couple we met at Tyler Type One and have grown to love, and headed to have dinner.  


But we were both so miserable.  We went out to eat, picked up Faith, and then headed home.


By the time we got there I was only peeing blood.  (TMI?  Sorry...)


I couldn't stand it any more and headed to the ER.  The horribly arrogant ER dr kept me overnight on morphine and sent me home with 3 Rx's and instructions to return if I got worse.  


I was back within hours unable to pass anything but drops of blood.  I ended up in there all day with them pumping me full of fluids, antibiotics, and painkillers (Thank you!).  Because I was pregnant they couldn't do a CT Scan, so the (much better than the day before) ER dr did an ultrasound to check my kidneys and decided to check the baby while we were at it.


He came back in the room and asked me how far along in my pregnancy I was.  When I told him he responded by telling me that I needed to follow up the following day with my OB/Gyn.  I told him he couldn't say something like that without elaborating, so he told me that he just didn't see what he expected to see on my ultrasound.  



Of course, the next morning I was on the phone with my dr.  She had me come in right away, reassuring me the whole time that everything was probably fine.


It wasn't.  


Chuck and I were heartbroken to learn that there was no heartbeat.  Our baby had stopped developing.


The dr offered to do a D&C, but Chuck and I couldn't go for it yet.  If God wanted to work a miracle we weren't going to limit him by doing what seemed "easier" and if I was going to miscarry then taking a week to pray about it wasn't going to change anything.  We agreed to pray about it for a week and reassess.


All the while I'm still miserable with pain from the kidney stones -  and my poor husband is miserable with crazy high blood sugars and adjusting to the insulin and meds - and he's having to take care of me and the kids.  God love him.


The next morning I called the urologist about my symptoms and was told to go back to the ER.  I ended up spending the entire day in the hospital again.  Because we had learned that there was no heartbeat, the (best of all three) ER dr did a CT Scan to check the stones and found a mass on my left ovary.


Oh my goodness.  I know these things happen all the time, but everything happening at once just had us so beat down.


But, God is good and blessed us with some of the best friends.  When they learned of what we were going through they called, emailed, brought food.  We are so grateful.


We went back to the OB dr today and were told that I was hemorrhaging around the baby, and I spiked a fever yesterday, and it just makes more sense to go through with the D&C.  I go into the hospital tomorrow and should get to come home right after.


This has been a rough 10 days.  We know things could be worse, and we know things will get better, but right now we are overwhelmed and so, so very sad.  


Thank you so much for your love and prayers.  We appreciate it more than you know.








Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them. ~Elisabeth Elliot











Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Still gets to me...

This post is part of a series called Where's Wuby? Wednesdays where I'll post a new story about Ruby, or diabetic alert dogs in general.  Ruby is a service dog trained to detect high and low blood sugars in Faith and notify me.  She has changed our lives and dramatically improved Faith's blood sugar control.  

If there was ever anything you wanted to know about these dogs, or how they work, ask away and I'll try to answer the best I can; or if you are just as amazed as me at how God created these animals, I hope you'll enjoy reading about the incredible experiences we've had so far with our Ruby.


In the meantime, you can follow Faith and Wuby on Facebook by clicking Here.

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Today I spoke at a local high school to a group of about 300 student council members from all over the area.  I loved being able to educate about type 1 and share Faith and Ruby's story.  I've told these stories so many times that I can usually get through them without getting too emotional.  There's one story that still gets to me every time, though...

It was early one morning, we were all still in bed - and would be for a few more hours.  I had just checked Faith and she was a little on the high side, but good.  

A short while later, Ruby jumps in my bed to alert.  I remember thinking, UGH, Ruby just let me sleep!, but realized that she seemed VERY agitated.  Much more so than a normal alert.  The next second I hear JC screaming for me to come.  I was in the middle of repainting the boys room so I had all four kids bunked in the girls room.  

At this time, Faith was on the Animas Ping insulin pump.  If you're not familiar with how these work, it has an insulin cartridge inside of it that is similar to a syringe.  A piston inside the pump depresses the syringe to administer the insulin.  That cartridge is held in place by a screw cap.  

A screw cap is NO match for a very meddlesome two year old.

We could lock the buttons so that Faith could not program the pump to give her extra insulin - but we never dreamed she'd disassemble the darn thing!

I ran to JC to find him standing there holding the CARTRIDGE from Faith's pump!  When Ruby had left the room to come wake me, it woke JC.  He looked up and realized that Faith had pulled her insulin cartridge OUT of her pump and was squeezing it - pushing a VERY lethal amount of insulin into her body!  

I snatched Faith up out of her crib and checked her blood sugar.  She was still at a good number.  I couldn't tell how much insulin Faith had given herself, so I put the cartridge back in and reloaded it to find that she'd squeezed at least TWO units into her little body.  Two units was enough to kill her several times.  

Ruby was still acting very bothered.  Now knowing that Faith had shot herself with insulin, I began to push juice down her.  I checked her again - and even though only a few minutes had passed, Faith was getting VERY low.  I couldn't get sugar in her quickly enough.  I was having to give her such a large amount in such a short period of time and it seemed that it was about to come right back up.  

I had no choice.

I grabbed the glucagon and gave it to her in small doses.

A few minutes later her blood sugar stopped plummeting.  

Eventually, her blood sugar started to come back up.

Tragedy prevented thanks to Ruby and JC.  If Faith had finished squeezing that cartridge there would have been NOTHING I could do to counteract that much insulin.

If Ruby hadn't woken us...

It's terrifying to think of this scenario without Ruby, and this is the one story that I still can not tell without getting choked up.  Praise the Lord for sending us this miracle of a dog!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thank God for Ruby


This post is part of a series called Where's Wuby? Wednesdays where I'll post a new story about Ruby, or diabetic alert dogs in general.  Ruby is a service dog trained to detect high and low blood sugars in Faith and notify me.  She has changed our lives and dramatically improved Faith's blood sugar control.  

If there was ever anything you wanted to know about these dogs, or how they work, ask away and I'll try to answer the best I can; or if you are just as amazed as me at how God created these animals, I hope you'll enjoy reading about the incredible experiences we've had so far with our Ruby.


In the meantime, you can follow Faith and Wuby on Facebook by clicking Here.

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It's been a CRAZY week around here.  We've all been sick, Faith almost ended up in the hospital, Eli bit THROUGH his bottom lip...Yeah...  So, I'm cheating and reposting a Ruby story from November of last year. Thank God for Ruby.


So, Sunday while we were at Green Acres, Ruby kept alerting that Faith was high.  She was staying in or around the 300's.  It was another one of those stubborn highs that just won't come down.  Despite multiple corrections (over several hours), her blood sugar was still 335 when we left Tyler.

I had a couple of stops to make, so it took us a little over an hour to get home.  When we got home, Faith was asleep, so I walked around to let Ruby out.  I was going to let her out and unload the car before waking Faith to get her out.  As soon as I got around to Ruby's door, she jumped out and immediately jumped for the bringsel.  (She currently doesn't alert in the car.  She gets very anxious.   We are trying to help her work through that.)  I could tell by the intensity of her alert that I needed to check immediately, so I checked Faith's blood sugar while she was still in her carseat.  Her blood sugar had dropped from 335 to 67 in barely over an hour!  I immediately grabbed a juice box and she drank it down quickly.  Her symptoms seemed to be worsening, though, rather than improving, so I yanked her out of her carseat and ran inside.  I opened another juice box and by this time she was shaking SO hard.  It was so scary.  I sat down on the couch and put her in my lap.  She started screaming, "I want my mommy! I want my mommy!" over and over again.  She was SO confused and disoriented and shaking so hard.  I couldn't get her to understand or realize that I was her mommy and she was in my lap!

I put the juice box straw into her mouth and she wouldn't drink it.  I rechecked her bg and she was still dropping.  She was now down to 53.  I could tell by her worsening symptoms that we were rushing headlong into dangerous territory.  I squeezed another juice box into her mouth.  All the while she is still screaming for her mommy.  I sat there holding her, trying to get her to understand that I was right there.  She would scream for a few minutes and then get quiet and get this far off look in her eyes and then go right back to screaming for her mommy.  A few minutes later her intense shaking started to ease up a bit and a few minutes after that I could get her to look at me.  She seemed to be coming around.

As Faith's blood sugar started to come up her shaking began to subside, but still various parts of her body would jump and jerk.  Her head would jerk backwards... her shoulder...her foot... her arm.... her leg - it was so hard to watch.

I sat there holding her, fighting back tears, and thanking God for Ruby.  Had she not alerted as soon as we got home this would have been even worse.

A few minutes later Chuck and the big kids came home.  We had planned to carve pumpkins, pop popcorn, eat candy, and watch movies that night.  Managing diabetes is a daily battle and this disease never sleeps, but life must go on.

I know this, but all I wanted to do was lay in bed and cry.  Between the man sharing that morning that his Type One loved one had died and fighting a low for MY Type One loved one's life, I was drained.

Oh, how I pray for a cure...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How far away?

This post is part of a series called Where's Wuby? Wednesdays where I'll post a new story about Ruby, or diabetic alert dogs in general.  Ruby is a service dog trained to detect high and low blood sugars in Faith and notify me.  She has changed our lives and dramatically improved Faith's blood sugar control.  

If there was ever anything you wanted to know about these dogs, or how they work, ask away and I'll try to answer the best I can; or if you are just as amazed as me at how God created these animals, I hope you'll enjoy reading about the incredible experiences we've had so far with our Ruby.


In the meantime, you can follow Faith and Wuby on Facebook by clicking Here.

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One of the questions I'm asked most often is, "How close does Ruby have to be to Faith in order to pick up on her blood sugar changes?"

After spending the year with Ruby and seeing many "long-distance" alerts, I've decided the best answer to that question is: just close enough for God to whisper in Ruby's ear that Faith needs my attention.

One of the most surprising things to me after we got Ruby, was just how well she could detect changes in Faith's blood sugar when she was not even in the same room.  One of the unsung (and unexpected) benefits of Ruby is that she allows me to let Faith run & play without worrying that she's going to fall out from a low.  Faith has no symptoms with her lows most of the time.  She can be running around the room with a blood sugar in the 30's with no symptoms at all.  For that reason, I never let her out of my sight before Ruby.  Now that we have Ruby I have been able to let Faith enjoy simple pleasures that we used to take for granted.  Things like children's church, playing with her siblings in the yard, or playing with the other children at support group.  Even when Ruby doesn't have to alert for a high or low, the shear comfort and peace of mind she gives me (and Faith, but more on that another time) is invaluable to me.

The first time I saw for myself that Ruby could (and would) alert long distance I was blown away.  I was babysitting for a friend with 3 children, so Ruby and I had spent the day in our cozy little house with 7 boisterous rowdy kiddos.  We both needed a breather.  So, when Chuck came home I asked him to take the kids outside to play while I cleaned up the kitchen.  I checked Faith's number and it was in the upper hundreds, so I thought it safe to send her out with the rest of them under the supervision of her daddy.  (She was barely 19 months old at the time.)

I kept Ruby inside with me to let her rest.  I went to the kitchen to start the dishes.  About 20 minutes later Ruby got up to alert.  I chuckled and told her to take a load off and relax.  I took the bringsel from her and put her back on her cot.

I went back to the dishes and a few minutes later Ruby got up to alert again.  I thought to myself that maybe Faith had snuck inside without me realizing it, so Ruby and I looked all around the house for her.  When I realized that Faith was still outside playing I put Ruby back on her place.

A very few minutes later Ruby got up to alert again.  One of the great things about Ruby is that she won't stop alerting until I fix whatever is wrong with Faith's blood sugar.  (This is also one of the most frustrating things when Faith is high, but more on that in another post.)  I knew I was going to have to take Ruby to Faith and check her before Ruby would calm down.

I walked outside and asked Chuck where Faith was.  He pointed out into the pasture, at least 30 yards away, where all the kids were playing happily.  I told him about Ruby alerting and that we needed to check Faith "to convince Ruby that Faith was fine".

We went to Faith and checked her blood sugar to discover that she was 100 and dropping fast!  She was low by the time we got her back to the house!  And not a low symptom in sight!

We couldn't believe it!  How had Ruby done that?  Faith was a LONG way from our house and Ruby and I were inside the house with all the windows closed and the a/c on!  Chuck and I were amazed and SO thankful!

I'd like to say that was the last time I doubted Ruby, but I'm a slow learner.  Someday I'll tell you about the time I doubted Ruby during a nighttime alert, only to find Faith in the beginning stages of a hypo seizure less than an hour later.




Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Momma, can you donate your pancreas to someone?"

Tonight Faith got up out of bed and said her pod was hurting her arm.  A quick inspection revealed that it was bleeding.  Because it wasn't yet time to change her pod, the adhesive was still really stuck well.  Even though I was using Uni-Solve to help loosen the adhesive, Faith was still screaming out in pain. So loudly that it woke JC.

He came in the room and hugged and held Faith while I worked hard to remove the old pod as painlessly as possible.  

She'd scream, he'd hug tighter.  

She'd cry, he'd kiss her and try to redirect her attention.  

JC is a sweet old soul, and he's always had a soft spot for his little "Faifers".  


I got the new pod ready to be inserted.  Faith got very upset, so JC picked her up and held her.  He smoothed her hair and talked to her, trying to calm her down.  He helped her choose her stickers to decorate her pod.  What a sweet brother he is.

When the pod clicked and the needled inserted the canulla under her skin, Faith jumped and screamed the most painfully heart-wrenching scream.  I looked up and there were tears running down JC's face.  We both quickly began to comfort Faith and assure her it was over.

Faith calmed down, I cleaned up our mess, and JC carried Faith to bed and tucked her in.

I was sitting in my chair working on some homework when JC walked into the room crying.

The words he said sliced through my concentration.

"Momma, can you donate your pancreas to someone?"

"Why do you ask, JC?"

"Because, I want to give Faith my pancreas, Mom.  I hate watching her go through this.  It hurts me when she hurts, Momma!  If you can donate your pancreas then she can have mine."

By now I'm crying as hard as he is.

"Sweet baby, no, you can't donate your pancreas.  But, you are the sweetest brother to even be willing to do that, JC.  I know it's hard to watch Faith endure all of this, it hurts me too baby.  We have to remember that God loves Faith even more than we do.  He sees what she goes through and it hurts him too.  But, we believe that God works everything for good, and that includes this.  We just have to have faith and keep praying for a cure."

"Will you pray with me RIGHT NOW, Momma?  We need a cure."

Yes, my sweet JC we sure do.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The First Save

This post is part of a series called Where's Wuby? Wednesdays where I'll post a new story about Ruby, or diabetic alert dogs in general.  Ruby is a service dog trained to detect high and low blood sugars in Faith and notify me.  She has changed our lives and dramatically improved Faith's blood sugar control.  

If there was ever anything you wanted to know about these dogs, or how they work, ask away and I'll try to answer the best I can; or if you are just as amazed as me at how God created these animals, I hope you'll enjoy reading about the incredible experiences we've had so far with our Ruby.


In the meantime, you can follow Faith and Wuby on Facebook by clicking Here.

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We traveled to Wildrose on a Sunday afternoon.  We wanted to get there, get settled, and then we would meet Ruby the next morning.  Wildrose had been more than generous, letting us spend the week in their gorgeous cabin on-site.  Chuck and I felt like we were on vacation!  The view was incredible.


We LOVED being able to sit on the porch and drink coffee.  It was so quiet and peaceful.  We sat in those chairs and waited anxiously for Ruby to arrive.


Faith LOVED playing in those pebbles in the walkway.  We had a hard time keeping her from throwing them everywhere.


She was so little. How did I not notice how little she was at the time?  I think it's by the grace of God, because if you let yourself dwell on how absurd a situation is (like needing a service animal for your 18 month old diabetic baby) then you'll lose your mind.  We were just in the middle of the storm doing what we had to do.  But, now when I look back it almost takes my breath away to see how little she was at diagnosis...and when she got her service dog, Ruby.


 Here's she's waving to Ruby and the trainer who are walking up.

This was the first time we saw Ruby.  I was so nervous I couldn't stand it.

 These next pictures were snapped the moment Faith and Ruby met. :')




We spent that first day just going over basic service dog handling, and practicing some public access.  Going out in public with a dog at your side is harder than you think.

Faith loved Ruby from day one.  In this pic she's holding the "weash" getting ready to go bye-bye for lunch.


The whole first day Faith's blood sugar was unusually steady.  Ruby didn't get an opportunity to alert for a high or low at all while the trainer was with us.  So, I still didn't KNOW what an alert looked like.  I'd heard it described of course, and had learned how to respond when Ruby alerted, but I hadn't experienced it for myself.  After a very active and exciting day, it was decided that Ruby would spend the night with us in the cabin, so we could get to know each other without the pressure of the trainer watching.

That evening I was getting Faith ready for bed, and Ruby was napping peacefully on her cot.

The next moment, I noticed Ruby stand up.

Chuck and I both froze immediately and waited for what would happen next.

Ruby calmly stepped off her cot, walked across the room, grabbed the bringsel (the stick Ruby retrieves to alert), and brought it to me.

My heart was racing.

It was actually happening!

I quickly checked Faith's blood sugar.  It was 160.  Not a bad number and not a high or a low.  Ruby alerts a high for anything over 180 and a low as anything under 100.

I was disappointed, but figured Ruby was allowed to make a mistake.  This was the first day, and Faith, as a toddler, did come with a lot of unusual smells.

I put Ruby back on her cot, put Faith to bed, and started clearing the table and washing the dishes from supper.

A few minutes later, Ruby alerts again.  I think to myself that I know Faith is fine, but for the sake of Ruby's training I'll humor her and check again.

In the less than 15 minutes Faith's blood sugar had dropped to 80!  The active, exciting day we'd had was catching up with us!

Chuck and I were overjoyed and completely in awe!  Ruby had warned us that a low was coming!

Because Faith was dropping so quickly, I gave her enough fast acting sugar to boost her blood sugar about 100 points.  (Which, by the way, was only about 3-5 grams of carbs.)

I put Ruby back on her cot, and left Faith in her bed.  (She was asleep - yes she can both eat and drink in her sleep.  Part of the type 1 gig.)

I went back to the dishes with a plan to recheck Faith in a few minutes, but sure that she would be fine.

15 minutes later, Ruby alerts again.  We recheck Faith.  Her blood sugar was 65!

Chuck and I can't believe it!  We are so grateful.

I give Faith another round of fast acting sugar that would normally boost her at least 100 points in blood sugar.

I put Ruby back on her cot, and I go back to what I was doing.  Paying very close attention to Faith and Ruby, but again sure that I'd given Faith enough to correct the low.

15 minutes later, Ruby alerts again!  We recheck Faith and her blood sugar is 55!

Another 15 minutes, another alert, blood sugar down to 50.  Another round of sugar.

I am completely in awe at this point.  I put Ruby back on her cot, and this time I just sit there crying and watching my two girls sleep.  Just waiting for whatever was coming next.

15 minutes comes and goes and Ruby doesn't alert.

I half-jokingly tell Chuck that I think I already broke the dog.

I ask Ruby if we need to check and she just sits there.

I check Faith anyway and her blood sugar was 110.  Ruby didn't alert because Faith was above 100!  How amazing is this dog?

Chuck and I sat there overwhelmingly grateful to God for this incredible gift.

On a normal night at home I wouldn't have checked Faith's blood sugar again for at least 2 hours after that blood sugar of 160.

Thank God for Ruby.

As fast as Faith's blood sugar was dropping and as resistant as it was to correction, it's terrified us to think of what we'd found in Faith's bed at that next blood sugar check.

Ruby started saving Faith's life that first night and she hasn't let us down since.  What a blessing she is to us.

This is a picture of Ruby watching over Faith that night.  These girls have slept next to each other every single night since that first amazing night when Ruby saved our precious baby girl.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Call That Changed Everything

This post is part of a series called Where's Wuby? Wednesdays where I'll post a new story about Ruby, or diabetic alert dogs in general.  Ruby is a service dog trained to detect high and low blood sugars in Faith and notify me.  She has changed our lives and dramatically improved Faith's blood sugar control.  

If there was ever anything you wanted to know about these dogs, or how they work, ask away and I'll try to answer the best I can; or if you are just as amazed as me at how God created these animals, I hope you'll enjoy reading about the incredible experiences we've had so far with our Ruby.


In the meantime, you can follow Faith and Wuby on Facebook by clicking Here.


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You can read the first part of this story here.


Ok, so back to how Ruby came to be our "angel with fur".

The trainer called to tell me the most incredible news!  She began with so, you remember that I told you not to get your hopes up about a DAD? And remember how I told you that it can take years to be matched up with the right DAD, and how it would be a long hard wait?  And remember how I told you that because of Faith's unique situation (being a baby at the time, not even 18 months old), it would take a very special dog?


I wanted to scream, "Yes! I remember all that, you're killing me!  Get to the point!" :)  I could tell she was getting to something big.

Let me back up a minute and say that Wildrose had a group of trained DADs that were already matched up with diabetics and set to go home with them.  These dogs had to be placed and a new batch of puppies started before we could even begin to dream about a DAD of our own.  Among that batch of trained DADs was a one-in-a-million dog named Ruby.  Ruby had been matched up with someone who at the last minute had decided against getting a DAD.  Service dogs are a LOT of responsibility and alter every aspect of your life, and thus aren't a decision to take lightly.

Anyway, when Wildrose began looking at Ruby's specific gifts, and looking at their list of diabetics waiting to be matched up with the right DAD, they noticed right away that Faith and Ruby were a perfect match!

The trainer still wanted to proceed with caution.  A DAD had not been successfully matched up with a diabetic as young as Faith and no one could say for sure how it would work.  Among the many complex things a DAD must learn, Ruby would have to possess a few special attributes.  (This is not an exhaustive list.)

  • A DAD for Faith would have to be able to look to me at all times as her handler, but watch Faith at all times as her responsibility.  (Talk about multitasking!)
  • They would have to be VERY calm and low energy, so as not to overwhelm or scare Faith.  (Or hurt her by being too rough)
  • They would have to be VERY obedient at ALL times, so that I could handle having a service dog, a diabetic toddler, and 3 other children under the age of 7...Every.where.I.go.  You want to feel a pressure cooker environment?  Try checking out at WalMart while a crowd gathers, your diabetic baby's blood sugar plummets while she screams bloody murder, your other 3 are asking for every snack they see in line, your DAD is getting hyper and excited because they are alerting, the customer behind you grows impatient, and the cashier wants to ask a hundred questions about your "precious dawg".  Throw in a few "Oh. My. Gawd.  There's a dog in here!" and "Oh my, is that woman blind?" comments and you've got a good time on your hands.  It was IMPERATIVE that our DAD be calm and quiet in ALL situations, because with a very young diabetic it would be up to me to handle every single aspect of that *super fun* situation.
  • The DAD would have to be steady in ALL situations.  It's one thing to accompany a diabetic everywhere.  It's another entirely to accompany a diabetic that screams and cries ALOT, wreaks of drool and dirty diapers (drool that may smell of a previous high or low blood sugar - talk about complicating things), pulls your tail and ears...  (God bless Ruby...)
There was no way to know if or how this match up would work, without just giving it a go.  

The trainer asked us if we could come to Mississippi to meet Ruby.

Uh.  Yeah!

Oh.  Wait.

We only really started fundraising the day before.

And only had $100.

Not the deposit, not the money needed to buy all the DAD supplies, not the money to spend a week in Mississippi - not even close to the nearly $10K needed.

It was discussed that if I could come up with the deposit, and the money to get to Mississippi, then there were two possible funders for the remainder.  One of which had already heard Faith's story and wanted to help.  

But HOW would I come up with the deposit and travel expenses so quickly?

I got off the phone with my mind spinning!  I immediately called Chuck, and prayed, but quickly got busy with the kids and dinner.  All evening I kept thinking about how in the world I was going to come up with the money for Ruby.

After dinner I got a phone call from the friend that had felt God telling her that Faith would have a DAD.  She was calling to tell me that ...

SHE HAD THE DEPOSIT FOR THE DAD!

She had no idea that I had gotten a call earlier that day about a possible match up for Faith.  She still thought we had AT LEAST a year to fundraise!  I hadn't had a chance to call her yet and give her the news!

I immediately started screaming and crying.  My kids started crying and fell to their knees thanking God. It was the most incredible experience.

I'll never forget what my friend told me when I explained to her why I was so excited about having the deposit.  She said, "Honey, my God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and if He wants Faith to have one little ole' dog then she'll have it!"

I was OVERJOYED and SO GRATEFUL to have the deposit and be one step closer - but how would we swing a week long trip to Mississippi?  

I texted my other friend that had offered to help with fundraising to share the news.  She was in the middle of a party, so I didn't call her.  Almost immediately my phone rang.  I answered and it was my friend.  She'd excused herself from her party to call and tell me that she'd heard from her church, and they wanted to pay for the expenses to travel to Mississippi!

I couldn't believe it!  God has done some amazing things in our lives, so I don't know why I was so blown away, but I was!

So, in one day I went from planning to fundraise and wait at LEAST a year for the right DAD, to potentially being matched with the perfect DAD and having the money needed to go get her!

To say I was over the moon would be an understatement.  

But, the trainer kept cautioning me that it might not work out, that Ruby might not be right for our family.

Two weeks later we were in Mississippi meeting Ruby and we've never looked back!



Next week I'll tell you about that first meeting and how Ruby very literally saved Faith's life on their very first night together.  I also have a picture of the moment they met.  :)


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