Transition

Over the last week or two I’ve been struggling to find time to sit down and write a blog. We are in transition right now and when I finally think I have time, something comes up. A lot of things are being put on the back burner or falling through the cracks. I haven’t had time to read blogs or connect with others much, as I’m just a wee bit overwhelmed with life right now (maybe I shouldn’t confess that) but I AM being pulled in many different directions. It’s not all bad, mind you, and God is definitely in the midst of it, answering prayer in miraculous ways.

There are ongoing medical visits for me as I try to get the diabetes back under control, and though I am on an insulin pump, it’s been scary at times, especially at night when my sugars have dropped, and now they are often elevated. I was given an opportunity to have a one week trial of a Dexcom: a Continuous Glucose Monitor which tracks the blood sugar. It will set off an alarm if my sugars go too low, or begin to climb, and it also indicates how fast or slow it is dropping or climbing. I was approved by my insurance company, and my Dexcom arrived a few days ago. On Friday of this week, I am happy to say, I will be getting hooked up, and I am hopeful this will help me to regain some control. The doctor also wants me to have a ‘gastric’ test to see if I have any neuropathy (nerve damage) in the gastric tract, as that could also affect my food and insulin absorbtion. I also, requested that the doctor change my insulin from Humulog  to Novolog, as I began to suspect my body was beginning to resist that particular insulin after years of use.  So, yes, that’s been an on going stress factor in my life, but I’m seeing light at the end of the tunnel. 

The other major transition, and it’s a biggie, is the process and ultimate moving of my precious mother-in-law to assisted living. As of now, we have just found a beautiful, Christian facility. That in itself is a true miracle. I had put her name into a couple of places over a year ago but the waiting list was at least two years, and even then, the fact she would be on Elderly Waiver, meant there were limited spaces available. It did not look like anything would open up. We were working with an organization, looked at two places, and the second place left my husband, myself and my mother-in-law feeling discouraged. In fact, she teared up. 

I had sat in my office earlier that week, and though we were working with a great organization, I had seen Auburn Manor online, and thought to myself, and said out loud to the Lord, ” That would be the perfect place!” I began praying that somehow God would open the doors.  So, against all odds, I wrote them an email. To my surprise, I received an email and a phone call from the manager. I missed the first call, so I called back right away but had to leave a voicemail. The weekend came and went, and on Monday the manager called me again in the morning. I asked him about rooms and the fact LaVera, my mother-in-law, would need to be on Elderly Waiver (government assistance). He says, ” We have two Elderly Waiver openings.” At that point, I could hardly believe it, and asked him if there was a waiting list. He assured me there was none. I knew God was answering not only my prayer, but that of our friends and family! I knew I needed to act quickly, and made an appointment for the next day. LaVera was near tears, and I just felt this overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude towards God. After we met with the manager at Auburn Courts, it was confirmed, this would be LaVeras new home; a place that I am sure she is going to shine bright with the love of God. When I returned home, I called the organization we had been working with, spoke to the owner, Rick, and told him we no longer needed his services, he was very happy for us but shocked at the same time! He said that just a week and a half ago he had talked to Auburn Manor and there were no openings! Honestly folks, this was a miracle, there are less than 50% of assisted living places that take Elderly Waver, and on top of that there are few openings available period! I would say, God’s timing was and is perfect! 

Here is the lovely lady herself, and though it will still be difficult to let go of what was, she knows that God loves her and is working everything out to her good. She can come and go as she pleases (she is still very independent) will have a great community to thrive in, Bible Studies, volunteer opportunities, events, ladies luncheon’s, three meals a day, nursing on staff at all times and more. Truth be told, this is not easy for any of us and I’ve shed a few tears grieving for her, too, but my heart is at peace. ❤ I know hers is too, she slept like a baby for the first time in days that night! I’m so grateful God is with us through this journey called ‘life.’

                                                    LaVera Valle

My Life: Transition/ Diabetes/ Turning 64

He Knows My Name

Transition:

noun:

the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.“students in transition from one program to another”:

synonyms: change, passage, move, transformation,conversion, metamorphosis, alteration, handover, changeover; segue, shift, switch, jump, leap progression, progress, development, evolution, flux.
From the time we are born into this world until the time we leave it, we are always in a state of transition or flux (continuous movement, instability, inconstancy; going from one circumstance, moment, situation, to another). During childbirth, the transition period when the contractions start and the baby begins to move through the birth canal can be and usually is the most painful time. This can be true in life too. Looking at the state our world is in right now, there is no denying that there has been a shift, and we are in transition, the Bible calls it ‘birth pangs.’ (Matthew 24)
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I just turned 64 years old, on August 23rd. It felt like any other day, to be honest, and though we celebrated, I felt like I was 25 years old again, questioning God about the ‘purpose of my life.’ Quite frankly, I had been feeling like the baby who is ‘stuck’ in the birth canal, perhaps more like the ‘mom’, wondering when the baby is going to be birthed, and tired or weary of waiting. It’s not pleasant, and though I had two C-sections, our first was stillborn: I was induced and the contractions were excruciating! I know full well, that God is faithful, and He is a God that fulfills and keeps His promises, but as the word says, ‘the flesh is weak, but the spirit is willing.’  So, I continue to wait, pray and believe, that what He has promised He will do.
One of the areas I find myself struggling in is my health: Diabetes. I’m used to being a little more in control, and now I’m floundering. I  manage to keep myself up most of the time through worship, prayer, the Word, and a sense of humor, but there are certain days, my health affects my outlook. It’s been called the ’emotional’ disease. I have been visiting my diabetic nurse educator almost every week, and soon will see my doctor again also. I’m in transition when it comes to my health. I have had some bad experiences with very low blood sugars (which put me in the hospital two times since the end of December), and have caused me to panic when they start to drop, because I’m never sure how low they are going to go, so most of the time my sugars are elevated (not good long term). I am soon to get a Continuous Glucose Monitor (Dexcom) which will help me monitor when my sugars are going up/down/ and how fast or slow. This should help tremendously. It will set off alarms when and let me now either way. I’m blessed to be able to have this kind of technology available to me.
Our family is also going through transition right now. In recent years we have experienced the heartbreak of Alzheimer’s and my father-in-laws passing, then my mother 6 months later. It was one of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced, saying good-bye to my mother. Over the last few months, my mother-in-law has had to give up driving, and we are now in process of looking for assisted living which is very difficult to find, and the waiting lists are very long. We are confident God has this, and that she will find a good fit, but it is very stressful for her as well as for us. There are times I think about what she is going through, look at what she is giving up and I can’t help but put myself in her shoes down the road. There have been times I have wanted to weep for her as we have walked through this process with her, and the struggle for her to let go. It’s made me want to ‘lighten the load;  just start tossing and getting rid of stuff I don’t need…all the unnecessary junk we tend to accumulate through the years. I’m letting go…things just don’t mean as much as they used too. When I start to go inward, I think about friends and family who have had to let go of loved ones, forced to evacuate due to fires or flooding, sink holes, dealt with health issues worse than mine and the list goes on.Transition can be very painful and life altering, but it can have it’s rewards too. I’m very thankful for the Presence of God in my life, and that I do not have to walk this walk alone.
I don’t think this is a bad thing, this transition, although it can be difficult and overwhelming at times…I fully expect the end result to be good.  Aren’t we, as Christians, going from ‘glory to glory?’ I constantly remind myself, God is IN CONTROL, He knows everything that we are going through, every heartache, every struggle, every season of our life, He is there. He was there when I was born; when I was diagnosed with diabetes, the times I almost died. He was and is there during my greatest joys, my deepest sorrows, when I was overwhelmed with fear, when I was full of doubt and when I was full of faith. He will be with me when I transition to ‘glory.’ He knows us intimately…and during these days of transition, our time on earth, He will not forget us nor abandon us…those of us, called according to His name. ❤

When The Struggle is Real

I haven’t blogged for a few days as it’s been a real struggle, not because of a brain freeze, or lack of oxygen (low blood sugar), or writers block …but mostly because of health issues stemming from Type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes. I am on an insulin pump, and was actually one of the first 700 people at the time to get hooked up. The pump was huge compared to what I share in the video below (see the picture at the left of your screen, that’s me in the blue, and that SONY DSCblack thing on my side is my first pump). It was so big, people asked me if it was a pager (that’s a big pager), or some kind of radio. You can see in the video below, how much smaller the pump has become. I was thrilled as the size of the pumps began to decrease in size and the technology became more and more fine tuned.

I was probably about 28 or 29 years old when I first started on the pump; our eldest was about two years old (pictured on my husbands shoulders). Our first baby, born 8 lbs 4oz, was stillborn, which had left me wondering if I would ever be able to have a healthy child . In the video below, after sharing some humorous  idiosyncrasies about myself, I shared a bit about that time of loss in our lives. I had not expected to feel the emotional wave that hit me as I recalled the day of delivery. We had known for a week that our precious baby was gone before the scheduled delivery date at the hospital.  Needless to say, it was an extremely sorrowful time. Thank God, we did not give up, and we were finally blessed with two boys, albeit 7 years apart. I am ever so grateful to be a mom (for the most part, “she said with a wink and a smile”). 😉  Motherhood hasn’t always been easy or a ‘breeze,’ especially as they entered the teen years and beyond, but that’s another story or two, for another time. 🙂 Just being real here. Would I do it all again? 100 times over, “YES!”

So, back to why I haven’t blogged, and my own personal struggle…having used insulin pump therapy for about 30+ years, and having wonderful results, I now find myself plagued with all kinds of issues that I never really had before: Extreme highs, and extreme lows.  It started a few months ago, and my overall A1c (blood glucose average over a 3 month period) was hanging around 7.0, which is relatively good. I can’t even imagine what it is now after all I’ve been through these last months. I have never had to call the ambulance except once in all my 50+ years of being a diabetic, but at the end of last December my sugars dropped to 21, and knowing if it drops to 0 you are comatose, your out for the count, no longer here. I could feel myself blacking out, and as I looked up at the nice paramedic, I kept saying over and over…” Please don’t let me die.” He assured me I was going to be fine, but in the back of my mind I thought, he has to say that even if he doesn’t mean it. I have never felt so out of control and vulnerable.  I ended up in the hospital the next day for about three days. From that point on I’ve had trouble stabilizing my blood sugars. In January it happened again, and I ended up in the hospital as my blood sugars kept plummeting no matter how much sugar I had taken by mouth or how much glucose they stuck in my veins. Talk about a ‘sugar rush!’ Since that time, the blood sugars have been extremely high. Last night, my blood sugars reached 490, and target rate for my sugars, being I’m diabetic, are between 100 and 150.  Rarely has my blood sugar been lower than the 200’s since my last hospital visit. Long term health issues can result from poorly controlled blood sugars. I’m eating what I should eat, I’m testing several times a day, and still sugars are climbing,  though they tend to drop some during the evening. Night time is one of my biggest concerns if and when my sugars happen to drop while I’m asleep; this is what had happened the first time I called the ambulance. I can tell you from experience, fear can come in from such traumatic episodes, and it can rob you of your joy and peace in a very subtle way. That’s where I found myself lately…

This week I was so overwhelmed that I told my husband I would not be going to Mid week services at church. I knew what I had to do, I had to go to our room, close the door, put on worship music and cry out to God. I sat there with my head back and I sobbed all my frustration and grief out to the Lord. One of my friends had told me that she had felt God saying to me, let go, free fall, let God carry me through this time and just trust Him.

As, I sat in my room that night, A song by Bethel Worship, began to play called ‘It is Well With My Soul.’  As I listened, I continued to weep and pray. I told God, “I can’t do this by myself anymore”. I hadn’t even realized until that point, that I was carrying the weight of so many losses and unmet expectations from the last several years. All I could muster was, “Help me Lord, I Need You.”  I felt this ball of grief and sorrow come up out of my heart that I know had been stuck there for a long time. God began to bring to my mind those things that I had been holding onto; grief over my mother who had passed away two years ago, losses and unmet expectations, wounds that were still like arrows in my heart, concerns about my grown children and grandchildren, and so forth and so on. When the tears subsided a bit, I grabbed my ‘Passion Translation’, of the Psalms. I felt led to begin a prayer journal with at least one Psalm a day, where I can just pour out my heart to God. I am more than hopeful for what lies ahead. I already feel a sense of release from the burden of what I was carrying, but I know that it is one step at a time, one day at a time. I’m learning to ‘free fall’ into His loving arms; He will always and HAS always been there to catch me.

 

God has always used humor to help me through many difficult times. Learning to laugh at myself, to be transparent and real is a must for me.

Peace

Do you have peace? Do you ever wonder if true peace is even attainable? When I was a young teenager and a new Christian, I once said to my father, that we can have perfect peace. He just looked at me and said, “Perfect Peace,’ is not possible. Young and inexperienced, I felt a little deflated, and perhaps a little intimidated. Understand, daddy wasn’t much of a church goer at the time even though he had grown up in a strict Baptist household, his daddy being a preacher. I think he was skeptical and a bit disillusioned with the church overall from his own personal experiences. Walking away from my father that day, my heart sank, a feeling of hopelessness tried to overwhelm me. I NEEDED to believe that God would give me peace, and lift the oppression and depression that had settled on me a few years earlier when I was diagnosed with Juvenile (type 1) diabetes at the age of about 12 years.

Leading up to the diagnoses, I had all the tell tale signs of having diabetes. I drank lots of water and my thirst was NEVER quenched, I lost weight, dark circles under my eyes, and overall moodiness. I remember clutching my daddy’s side, probably leaving a bruise, as we went to the lab to have blood drawn. Little did I know needles, labs, Iv’s, hospitals, and doctors would become a way of life for me. Laying in the hospital bed that first night, my mom and dad and other family members staring at me, with mournful looking faces, I was hardly able to acknowledge them. The doctor said I was lucky to be alive. They shoved books into my face that talked about losing limbs, shorter life expectancy, blindness and finally at one point I just shut down. Fear gripped my heart and my life: fear of dying, fear of losing a limb, fear of going blind, fear of not being able to have children, fear of needles etc. etc. etc. The carefree days of childhood were essentially over and the stark reality was more than I could bear at times. It took years for me to walk in the freedom and peace that I walk in now. I haven’t totally arrived, but I thank God this was not and is not the end of my story…

At that time, though, the depression was getting worse, and I remember crying at the back of my maternal grandmothers house, unable to describe the unbearable pain that was in embedded deep in the hollows of my heart.  The tears were unstoppable. She took notice but did not press me, and even if she had, I would not have known how to answer.  I am certain, that once I had left for home, she got down on her knees and cried out to God on my behalf. How grateful I am to this day for those powerful prayers. A few years later, at the age of 16 years old, lonely, feeling isolated, angry and miserable, I came to know, through a dear cousin, the Prince of Peace, Jesus. She took me to a meeting in Redding, California, and for the first time in my life, I had a supernatural encounter, face to face, with Jesus. I felt His Presence physically and emotionally that day.  My spirit came alive! Joy came into my life, and I began to experience the Peace that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7). I began to understand through the ensuing years, true peace was and is always about trusting in Jesus, through the good times and the bad times. My peace came by looking full into His face: staying focused or centered on Him, by talking to Him (prayer), listening to Him (quiet contemplation), reading His Word,  being obedient to His Word, and through praise and worship. Philippians 4:7 says it best: and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 26:3…”You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You.”  (The Voice) Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc.

I decided many years ago, after our first child was stillborn (8lbs 4oz) due to diabetic complications, that when trials or tribulation came, I would ‘run’ to Him not ‘away’ from Him. I would choose to look to Him, to worship Him regardless of my brokenness. To surrender to His Love and Mercy. There is Peace in knowing Jesus, as John 14:27 says…27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
As I sat and listened to this video today (as I have many, many times over the years), I felt such a peace come over me. There are so many looking for peace today, for many it’s a false peace, some kind of Utopia, or perfect world. We will NEVER achieve that here on this earth, but as the darkness begins to get darker, we can be assured, as believers, if we KEEP our eyes on Jesus, He will never leave us nor forsake us, and we WILL walk in supernatural peace that the world knows not of. Much love and prayers…Karen