December 19, 2010

'Tis the Season of Kindness

Christmas time is my favorite time of the year!  I love all the decorations.  I love the smells of pine trees and cookies baking.  I love shopping and wrapping presents for special people.  And I love that the holidays bring about kindness all around me...

Since it is the season....I want to highlight a couple of special people who may not even know how much their kindness means to me.



The first very special lady is my friend Carey.  She is the mother of two beautiful twin girls.  We met last year when one of her girls was in Ally's class.  She is truly one of the most thoughtful people that I know.  I am so grateful to her for always thinking of Ally.  When she sends a treat in to school, she contacts me ahead of time to let me know - not only what the treat will be, but also the carb count for that item.  She even marked the carb count on the item that she sent in so that the school nurse would have the information too.  Same for her daughters' birthday party.  She planned a most fabulous and fun party...so I know that it took a lot of preparation for this party.  Yet, she took the time to let me know what she would be serving at the party and, again, the carb count.  I don't know if she even knows how much I appreciate this...and how comfortable and welcomed it makes Ally feel.

The second very special lady is my friend Christina.  Christina and I became friends when Ally was in preschool with her son.  We were friends before Ally's diagnosis.  She knew me before.  (sigh.)  She still loves me today (sigh of relief.) - you know, the very much less together person than I used to be.  Christina often asks about Ally.  She tries to learn about diabetes and what that means for our family.  She listens when I just need to vent about diabetes.  Sometimes she even reads my blog :) (Won't she be surprised to find today's post!)  This past week I realized what a great friend she is...not just to me...but to another friend of hers, who, unfortunately, has a 12 year old daughter just diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  She immediately started sharing the things that she had learned from us along the way.  She contacted me and shared my information so that I could be a resource to this newly diagnosed family.  She knew that her friend would need support.  Christina is a special person! 

And one more special lady today...my neighbor Pam.  She lives just down the street; Our daughters ride the bus together.  The girls have recently begged to play together and have had several playdates.  Unfortunately, before this I did not really know Pam or her daughter.  The thing about Pam that really struck me was how much she cared about knowing about Ally's diabetes and wanted to learn what she needed to do in order to have Ally over to play.  She was honest and told me that she did not really know much about type 1 diabetes.  She told me that she was nervous.  I appreciated her honesty.  Many good-intentioned people tell me that they don't mind having Ally over, that they can take care of Ally.  But I have never felt the compassion that I felt from Pam...I could tell that she really wanted to learn and she did!  She listened to me, read the notes I had prepared for her, and asked me questions to clarify.  I wonder if she knows how much that meant to me?
I am blessed to have so many great friends...and today I am especially thankful for the kindness of these thoughtful ladies!

Happy Holidays! 




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December 14, 2010

A Weekend Away with a Fun D-Rents Meet Up

Recently, the opportunity came up for me to take a weekend trip to Chicago (by myself - no kiddos, no hubby, no D!) and to meet a few fellow D peeps.  When I started thinking about whether or not I should make this trip I wondered if I really should spend the money this time of year?  I knew that I would be missing the JDRF walk awards banquet.  I would be missing Jessi's soccer game.  And probably the biggest drawback would be that I would be missing Ally's first piano recital.  So I pondered....But everytime I went through it all I came back to the same answer...I need a break more.  Plus, how often do you get the opportunity to meet the people who live in your computer?  You know, the ones that my husband refers to as my imaginary friends
So here you go, my Chicago Weekend Wrap Up:
Chicago in Winter...I know!  It sounds...cold...miserable.  But it wasn't...It was wonderful!  This was a perfect time to see downtown Chicago.  The streets were lined with trees shining brightly.  Christmas trees were everywhere.  Storefronts and store windows were decorated for the holidays.  Horse drawn carriages often passed by.  The snow just added to the beautiful architecture of the city.  Of course, you can't talk about Chicago without mentioning the crowds of people, crazy cab drivers, horns beeping, revolving doors and Giordano's pizza!

It was SO good for me to get away.  Not that I didn't miss Keith and the girls, but I actually got two nights of good sleep and a whole weekend free of carb counting!  I think that any parent can attest to the fact that taking care of kids is exhausting.  Sure it is the most wonderful thing in the world...but it is also exhausting.  The constant thinking about what other people need before yourself can also mess with your psyche.  Seriously, I think that every parent needs to take a short break once in a while - do something for yourself.  And, while I don't mean to whine and complain or to imply that I have it "worse" than anyone else, throw diabetes into the mix and my psyche is merely a psych-out!  So believe me when I tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed the drive - several hours in the car by myself.

Are you wondering which of my imaginary friends who live in my computer that I met?

Heather from Sweet to the Soul, Lora from My Diabetic Child, Marc from Jonathan's Journey, along with his wife Bobbie, and their two beautiful children. 

Heather, Lora and I shared a hotel room.  It was great D Mama bonding time!  Here is what I learned about my fellow D Peeps:
  • Lora has cooler boots than me - and she lives in a much warmer climate than I do!
  • Heather has never flown on an airplane and this trip was her first train ride.
  • I am older than both of them.
  • Marc and Bobbie's kids are troopers!  They walked and walked with us without complaining.
  • Both Lora and Heather like Mary Kay cosmetics.
  • Lora lives a few miles from where my husband proposed to me!  She also has relatives that live in the same state as me...When are you planning to visit them??
 Not a long list is it?  That's not because we didn't get a along or weren't chatty...it's because I KNOW these people.  I know their tired eyes.  I know their wandering minds.  You'd think it would be awkward meeting people in another city when you don't know them, but it wasn't.  I feel like I do know them.  I read their blogs.  I know their kids.  I know their T1 story.  I know their triumphs over D.  I know their setbacks....and unfortunately I can relate!  When we first met in real life, we hugged.  They were not strangers to me. 
 
We did some fabulous shopping on the Magnificent Mile.  So why is it when I have the opportunity to shop for myself I choose to spend all my money on the girls?  Actually, I was so late getting started on Christmas shopping this year that I took advantage of this opportunity to shop for gifts.   Disney, Sanrio, American Girl...there may have been purchases at these stores...but SHHHH!  Christmas gifts remember!


I will say that my favorite stop was the American Girl doll store.  I wished that my girls could have been with me for that one.  It was so cute to see all of the little girls carrying their dolls around with them.  I did not go to Chicago planning to buy an American Girl doll.  Ally has asked for one for a couple of years and I just hated to spend the money.  Well, I couldn't help myself!  Lora, remember how we talked about guilt buys...Do you think maybe this was mine?

And the food in Chicago!  Yummy!  Just take a look at some of the wonderful things I ate on this trip.

I also treated myself to a Starbucks or two..maybe three!  On the last morning of my weekend getaway, my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, neice and nephew drove into the city to meet me for breakfast.  We ate at a cute breakfast restaurant.  I was so happy to get to see them while I was in town, even if for a quick visit.  The food turned out to be the biggest  Eggsperience of my life!  I did not need to stop for lunch on my drive home, that was for sure!


 My Chicago Weekend Wrap up would not be complete without mentioning the Santa Speedo Run.  We did catch a "flash" of some speedo wearing folks running by as we were walking down Michigan Avenue.  It was not until I got home and  read this article http://diabetesnewshound.com/type1/santa-speedo-run/
(thanks Marc!) that I learned that these people were freezing their buns off to raise money for the Chicago Diabetes Project.  


(This photo is actually of the Boston Santa Run, but I wanted you to get the idea!)

This is what Diabetes News Hound had to say about the run....
"Hundred of Chicagoans braved the bitter cold this past weekend, running down the street in next to nothing all in the name of diabetes.

The event is called the Santa Speedo Run and the proceeds go to the Chicago Diabetes Project. Last year the event raised $5,500. The race is a little more than a mile and took place on Rush Street in Chicago and finished on Michigan Ave. Participants were encouraged to wear holiday themed speedos, although runners wearing any holiday-themed clothing were welcomed. Many donned Santa hats, red or stripped bikinis and speedos."
It was a wonderful weekend!  It was so much fun meeting some fellow D Peeps in person.  I hope that we will get to do it again soon. 

I'd like to thank Lora, Heather and Google Images for sharing your pictures with me.  I did not have my camera on this trip because I left it at home for Daddy to take to Ally's first piano recital!  Don't forget to check out what Lora and Heather have to say about our trip!

And lastly, it wouldn't be fair to talk about this trip without talking about how wonderful my husband is!!!  Really!!  He never balked at the idea of me going to Chicago, not once!  When I came home this is what I found....kids with showers/baths, the floor was mopped, no dishes in the sink!  He did awesome!  My mom even said that Ally looked so cute for her piano recital...Daddy did good!


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November 26, 2010

Blogger Basal

Thanksgiving Poem "Be Thankful" - Author Unknown

 Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don't know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you're tired and weary,
because it means you've made a difference.

It's easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.

Blogging members of the DOC (Diabetes Online Community) have been busy this month! November is diabetes awareness month and so many wonderful posts were written filled with facts about diabetes. Several people participated in the NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) during this diabetes awareness month. For sure, you will find nothing short of "AWESOMENESS" when you read around the DOC this month! Thank you all for your contributions!

This week, in my post Thankful Today and Everyday, I wrote about many things that I am thankful for.  But most of all, I am so thankful that I am not alone in this.... 


Thank you Deanna for reminding me to be grateful for life's surprises because you never know when they will turn out to be our biggest blessings!

Thank you Heather for helping others to understand about the things that you only "know" if you are a family living with type 1 diabetes.

Heidi  is Thankful for her mommy intuition!

Thank you Amy for sharing the Good News.  Actually her 8 year old daughter has something very profound to share...

Thank you Reyna   for reminding me that diabetes is unfair at times and sometimes we have to work harder for our little people with diabetes to reap the rewards of life.

Thank you Nicole for teaching me that "When the whole world keeps on spinning, even when yours has come to a complete stop, it is time to build your own Merry Go Round!"

Thank you Jill for validating my own feelings that diabetes has robbed my daughter!

Lora is Thankful for her "stupid, non loading, droiding over and over, email at 12:58 in the morning."  Really, she is thankful...pop over to My Diabetic Child to see why.

Thank you Wendy for reaching out to Today's 40 and offering them the same comfort that you once offered me...the comfort of knowing that we're in this together.

Thank you Leighann for your insight..."I feel like the more of the burden I can bear, the less she has to."

Thank you Tracy for reminding us that even though diabetes is ALL consuming, it is NOT our life, just a HUGE part of it.

Laura is Thankful that D cooperated for their family's first trip with D.

Thank you Joanne for sharing the challenges you face while striving to meet the needs of your sweet baby boy and, at the same time, the immediate D needs of your daughter.

Thank you Kristi  for pointing out that as our children become independent with their D care, it doesn't necessarily make things "easier".

Thank you Meal Mommy  for your honest post about the fear of losing control and being vulnerable.

Jen  shares 6 very important things she wants us to know about D.  In the end, she is Thankful for strength, courage, humility and feeling a deeper love and appreciation for family, loved ones and life.

Thank you Donna for putting D in its place and letting him know that if he chooses to take up residency inside your little guy, then he will have to play by your rules!

Thank you Meri for providing us with the challenge of figuring out your son's lunch bolus. 

Heidi is Thankful for her daughter's successs...She did her very first site change on her own.

Thank you Denise for sharing your 2 year D-Anniversary with us!

Thank you Hallie for reminding me that the kiddos with D are the brave ones that go through so much..its not about me!  And thank you Sweetpea for reminding me that some days are just dumb!

I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to host this month's Blogger Basal....I have reconnected with some old friends and I have met some new members of the DOC whom I look forward to getting to know better.  I am so thankful for all of you!!


If you would like to be part of a future Blogger Basal, check out the calendar at Candy Hearts.  December's Blogger Basal will be hosted by Laura at Houston We Have a Problem.  All DOC Bloggers are welcome!  Submissions are due by December 16.
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November 24, 2010

Being Thankful...Today and Everyday








It is easy to take important things in our lives for granted. 

Today I remind myself of these things that I am so thankful for...life...love...health...family...friends...employment...music...seasons...family gatherings...laughter...holidays...my children...acceptance...food on the table...warm showers...good conversations...sunrises...sunsets...rainbows...hugs...freedom...and our military for providing us with that...forgiveness...rainbows...hugs...chocolate!

Ally is thankful for her insulin pump.  Jessi is thankful for Turkey.  That says everything! 

A week or so ago Ally told me that her class was studying about Long Ago.  The students were asked about what technology in their life they couldn't live without.  Their answers included computers, phones, video games.  She was shocked that no one said insulin pump.  She told me, "I was raising my hand but didn't get to share my answer.  I can't believe that nobody else thought of that!  Well, I guess I can...THEY don't have diabetes."

After Ally's diabetes diagnosis, I am thankful for even more things....health insurance...family that take care of Ally so that we can get away (thanks Mom!!)...technology...good wine...blogs...encouragement...research...school nurses...change...hope...knowledge...good doctors...faith...and yes, for insulin pumps!!

Wishing you all a very blessed Thanksgiving!


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November 15, 2010

Calling All Bloggers!!

Attention Bloggers...it's time for the next Blogger Basal Round Up! 
Blogger Basal is a monthly round up of posts compiled into one big summary. You can check out the 1st edition of Blogger Basal HERE to get an idea of what it looks like.

I have the privilege of hosting the November edition of  Blogger Basal.  So on Friday, November 26, 2010, Life is Like a Box of Chocolates will be highlighting members of the DOC (Diabetes Online Community) and featuring snippets from other blogs. 

This week I'll be rounding up the month's happenings.  If you're a blogging member of the DOC and would like to be included, please email me at boxofchocolatesblog@hotmail.com.  Be sure to leave me your "pen name" as well as the post-specific URL of your choice so that I may link to your blog.

There have been some fantastic posts this month and I am honored to be hosting during Diabetes Awareness Month!!  I will take submissions until Friday, November 19, 2010. 


Here are the Blogger Basal rules for URL submissions:
1) Must be (mostly) family friendly. Rants are welcome. Porn is not. Get it?

2) URLs are due on the 3rd Friday of the month (in this case, 11/19/2010). PERIOD. You may submit your URL before, but not after. A deadine is a deadline, after all.

3) Only one URL per author per month please.


But remember, you only have until Friday, November 19th to submit your URL!  And once you've had your fill of turkey, be sure to stop back here at Life is Like a Box of Chocolates on Friday, November 26 for the next Blogger Basal Day!

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November 14, 2010

HEATHER!!!! Wins The Great PJ WDD Giveaway

Happy World Diabetes Day, 2010!!

I'd like to say Congratulations to the Life is Like a Box of Chocolates'
Great PJ World Diabetes Day Winner!

Thank you so much to the Komar Company and PJs For The Cure for donating a pair of these Super Sweet PJs for this Super Sweet Sugar Bolus!  Remember that these make great gifts and 100% of the sale of these PJs goes to JDRF for diabetes research!  Tell your family and friends about PJs For The Cure....help spread the word.

You can view the entire collection of PJs For The Cure at http://www.pjsforthecure.org.




And the Winner is.....


HEATHER from Sweet to the Soul!


Please send me an email at boxofchocolatesblog@hotmail.com to claim your prize!  But first, make sure that you visit http://www.pjsforthecure.org to view the collection of PJs For The Cure.  Send me your PJ pick, along with the size you'd like and your mailing address, of course.

Thanks for reading Life is Like a Box of Chocolates and for entering The Great PJ Giveaway!

And don't forget one winner will be announced each hour from 9am EST to 9pm EST today...so check out these other D Bloggin Mamas who have winners to announce too!

Beta Buddies


Candy Hearts

D-Tales


Houston We Have a Problem


I Am Your Pancreas


My Diabetic Child


My Sugar Bugs


Our Diabetic Life

The Princess and The Pump

The Sugar Kids Blog


The Superhero and The Princess

We CARA Lot

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November 12, 2010

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates'...Great PJ...World Diabetes Day...Giveaway!

**THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED**


Welcome to.... Life is Like a Box of Chocolates'
 Great PJ World Diabetes Day Giveaway!



PJs For The Cure

Approximately a year ago, I learned about PJs For The Cure through our local JDRF chapter.



PJs For The Cure are designed by the Komar Company to help support the fight against juvenile diabetes.

One hundred percent of each sale will be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).  Yes, 100%!  That means that every dollar that you spend will go to diabetes research.

I couldn't resist the adorable PJs and a chance to support research for a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.  I purchased matching PJs for each of my girls and myself.  Ally LOVES it when we all wear our jammies together.  She very rarely wears them without commenting about "The Cure."  Ally also gave a pair of matching PJs as Christmas gifts to both her Grandma and Great-Grandma last year.  The PJs are high quality and are very comfortable.

Wouldn't you like to snuggle up in your very own set of PJs from Komar? 

Well, Komar has contacted several of us D Bloggin' Mamas with the opportunity to give away a free pair of PJs to one of our readers!   We have united for a mega giveaway to celebrate World Diabetes Day! 

(Just a note...I am not getting paid by Komar, nor am I receiving free PJ's for hosting this giveaway.  But what a great opportunity to help spread the word about the great work that Komar is doing to support research for a cure!)



You can view the entire collection of PJs For The Cure at http://www.pjsforthecure.org/.


Tell your family and friends about PJs For The Cure....help spread the word. 

 

Here's how to enter this Great PJ Giveaway:
Just leave a comment here on this blog to enter.  Please remember to include your name.  Only one entry per person.  Winner will be chosen by random.org.

And don't forget!  I am not the only one celebrating....Komar generously donated 13 pairs of PJs for this World Diabetes Day Super Sugar Bolus!  So make sure you visit each of these fellow D Bloggin Mamas who are also giving away a pair of PJs for the Cure to one of their lucky readers.  Increase your chances of winning...enter on all 13 blogs!  (However, each entrant is only eligible to win one pair of PJs.)

Beta Buddies

Candy Hearts

D-Tales

Houston We Have a Problem

I Am Your Pancreas

My Diabetic Child

My Sugar Bugs

Our Diabetic Life

The Princess and The Pump

The Sugar Kids Blog

The Superhero and The Princess

We CARA Lot


The Great PJ World Diabetes Day Giveaway ends tomorrow, Saturday November 13 at Noon EST. One winner will be announced each hour from 9 am to 9 pm on World Diabetes Day, Sunday November 14.  Make sure to check back on Sunday to see if you won and claim your prize!


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November 11, 2010

To Insulin and Beyond....

This is a follow up to my Independence and Beyond post.  Back in September, I wrote about my fears of Ally one day growing up and moving out.  I talked about how Keith and I are her functioning pancreas now...and about how I know that we must teach her to function as her own pancreas...before that moving day comes.

We do try to encourage her independence in small ways now:
  • Ally checks her own blood sugar.
  • At school, she logs her information herself, with the nurse looking over her shoulder and recording it on the master school document.
  • A few times a week, Ally helps me write out the carb count for each item in her school lunch.
  • As often as I think of it (not as often as I should!) I have Ally read nutrition labels to me...looking at serving size and carbohydrate count.

I am beginning to see Ally gaining independence.

The other day Ally went to a friend's house.  The family knows enough about Type 1 Diabetes to know that she checks her blood sugar, she has to have insulin before eating or drinking almost everything and that they should call me if they notice Ally having any of the symptoms of high or low (especially) blood sugar.  A very basic understanding, but a start none-the-less.  (I have also printed out Playdate Cheat Sheets to give to the parents when Ally goes to their house for a playdate.  I borrowed this idea from Reyna..check out that and other homemade documents for educating schools and friends at Beta Buddies.)

They were willing to have Ally over to play and so I agreed to a 2 hour playdate.  We don't live far from them and I was a quick phone call away.  The mother told me that they would be having a snack and I was able to count the carbs for some of it and I sent a substitute for the remainder.  So, Ally had a little index card listing her snack and carb count.  I told her she could call me when it was snack time so that I could walk her through it if she wanted to.  No phone call.  As it turns out, Ally checked her blood sugar and wrote it in her log book along with what her CGM was reading at the time (I didn't tell her to do this!).  She also wrote down the time, how many carbs she was eating and the amount of her bolus.  As soon as she got home, she pulled out the logbook and showed it to me.  I was so proud of her!  I know that she is capable of doing this, but she never does without the supervision of one of her parents, the school nurse or sometimes Grandma :)

Then, again this week, she proved that she is beginning to move in the direction of independence.  Ally checks her BG at the end of every school day before getting on the bus...this particular day it was 127.  Sounds good.  Well, she felt "shaky" on the bus ride home from school.  She looked at her CGM and it said "90-something" with double arrows down.  So, she told the bus driver that she felt low and asked her if it was ok if she ate a glucose tablet.  The bus driver alerted me that she might be low as she was getting off the bus, so we checked her right away....75.  And this was after eating the glucose tablet.  Thank goodness she had the sense to do that!  Now, we did talk about the fact that if she feels low, it's ok to go ahead and eat two or three of those tablets!  And I do keep a meter in her backpack despite being discouraged to do so last year...you know that BIG SCARY LANCET is a weapon after all!  I just didn't ask this year.  Guess she didn't think to use it...oh well, important thing was that she spoke up and treated herself.  I am very proud of her!

Another small step....To Insulin and Beyond!

**Please share your ideas for creating this independence in our young type 1 children.  You can post it here in the comments or email me at boxofchocolatesblog@hotmail.com.  I will compose all of the hints and post them here.

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November 9, 2010

6 Things I Want You To Know About Diabetes...dblog day 11.09.2010



http://diabetestalkfest.com/blog/?page_id=299

6 Things Ally Wants People to Know About Diabetes

(* I thought it would be fun to hear Ally's version...she did not even bat an eye when I asked her and spouted out #1.  I guess she's been thinking about what she'd like other people to know about diabetes already...here's what was on her mind, in her own words!)
  1. I'm mostly like everybody else...I'm not that different.
  2. I have an insulin pump.  I have a site and a needle goes in my body for the site.  I also prick my fingers to check my sugar lots of times every day...I'd say like 20 times a day!!
  3. When I was first diagnosed I was in the hospital....I didn't feel good.  I thought when I first got diagnosed...well, I thought I was going to die.  Because of "die-abetes"...but I'm not going to die.....
  4. I also thought it was because I ate too much sugar but it has nothing to do with that!!!
  5. I didn't cause diabetes.  My pancreas just said "I'm too lazy to do the work anymore."
  6. If I'm low I have to drink a juice box.  (Ally's target range for her blood sugar is 70-130; She is "low" if she is less than 70.)
Well, after that I'm not sure there is much more to say!  But I'll give it a go anyway! 

Now for My Version....6 Things I Want People to Know About Diabetes
(When I started thinking about this, several of my answers were exactly what Ally was saying!  She is not only brave, she is wise beyond her years.  And even though I say that with pride, I am also angry that she has to know about this terrible disease.  I will continue to support, advocate and educate in the best ways I know how until. there. is. a. cure!)

1.  There are two major types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2.  Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which a person's pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food.  Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which a person's body still produces insulin but is unable to use it effectively. Type 2 is usually diagnosed in adulthood and does not always require insulin injections.

2.  Ally can eat anything that she wants.  We just have to measure or weigh the food and count the carbohydrates in the food or drink that she is consuming.  We account for that by giving her the proper amount of insulin.  Now, with that being said...I strive for Ally to eat a well balanced diet, just as I do for the rest of my family.

3.  Ally did not do anything to cause her diabetes.  Her pancreas quit on her!  Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which a person's own body (white blood cells) attack the insulin producing cells (beta cells) in the pancreas.

4.  Type 1 Diabetes is not reversible.  It is not controlled by diet and exercise.  Ally is kept alive by insulin.  People with type 1 diabetes must take multiple injections of insulin daily or continually infuse insulin through a pump.

5.  I worry about Ally's blood sugar numbers all the time.  If you know me, you know this.  But let me tell you why...This is because of what high blood glucose can do to Ally's body over time (refer to #6).  Even more immediately threatening is severe hypoglycemia or low blood glucose.  Severe hypoglycemia can lead to unconsciousness, seizures, coma or even death.  Even when we do everything right...monitoring her blood sugar, accounting for carbs, etc...lows can happen and they can come on quickly. 

6.   She is not "just fine."  We do not "manage her diabetes really well."  YES, she is beautiful!  YES, she is a trooper and I'd bet you've never even seen her complain about all those finger pricks, shots, or sites inserted with a needle.  But she is not fine.  She suffers every day from this horrible disease, whether we can see it or not.  Below are some of the major complications of Type 1 Diabetes.  She is not fine.  We need a cure.

Cardiovascular Disease
The risk of heart disease is substantially increased for people with diabetes.

Kidney Disease (Nephropathy)
After 7 to 15 years, 25 to 40% of all patients with Type 1 diabetes develop microalbuminuria. Of these, over 90% progress to proteinuria over time. Kidney function declines at variable rates; it appears to be a slower decline in Type 2 diabetes. After 10 years of persistent proteinuria, the incidence of chronic kidney failure is 50% in those with Type 1 diabetes.

BlindnessThree complications of diabetes can lead to blindness: retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma. Of people who have had diabetes for at least 15 years, 97% of insulin-taking patients and 80% of those not taking insulin have retinopathy; the most severe manifestation, proliferative diabetic retinopathy, occurs in 40% of those taking insulin and 5% of those not taking insulin. Of people who have had insulin-dependent diabetes for 30 or more years, 12% are blind. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of new cases of legal blindness among the working age population.

Nervous System Disease (Neuropathy)
Roughly 60% of people with diabetes have some degree of diabetic neuropathy, and in half of these it develops within nine years of diagnosis. Most have a mixed motor/sensory deficit resulting in decreased sensation, increased sensitivity, pain, weakness, and muscle wasting. Frequently, abnormal functioning of the autonomic (self-functioning) nervous system leads to disorders of the heart and circulation, and gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts.

Lower Extremity Amputations (LEA)
The risk of lower extremity (limb) amputations following diabetes diagnosis is 6% at 20 years and 11% at 30 years. Lower limb amputations are typically the result of a foot infection that does not heal and eventually becomes gangrenous. The initial wound is often the result of a lack of protective sensory function in the foot due to neuropathy. The inability of the wound to heal properly is due to decreased blood and nutrient flow to the lower limbs, the result of peripheral vascular disease in most cases.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Dental Disease
Periodontal disease (a type of disease that can lead to tooth loss) occurs with greater frequency and severity among people with diabetes. Periodontal disease has been reported to occur among 30% of people aged 19 years or older with Type 1 diabetes.

Complications of Pregnancy (for women with pre-existing diabetes)
The rate of major congenital malformations in babies born to women with pre-existing diabetes varies from 0% to 5% among women who receive preconception care to 10% among women who do not. Between 3% and 5% of pregnancies among women with diabetes result in the death of the newborn; the rate among women who do not have diabetes is 1.5%.

Other Complications
Diabetes can directly cause acute life-threatening events, such as diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar nonketotic coma, as a result of biochemical imbalance in uncontrolled diabetes. People with diabetes are more susceptible to many other illnesses. For example, they are more likely to die of pneumonia or influenza than people who do not have diabetes. Type 1 diabetes can reduces life expectancy by 15 years and does cause premature death.


Enough said.


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November 8, 2010

Oh, the Little Things That Excite Me

Oh, the little things that I get excited about!!! (Which really are not LITTLE at all!)


On Sunday, I went to a meeting of our local support group for families living with diabetes.  The Medtronics Representatives were there to tell us about the features of their newest insulin pump...the REVEL.  They also told us about some things that Medtronics has "coming down the pipeline".  All of these things are either ready to go or very close....but how long til we actually have them in our hands?  Well, that all depends on FDA approval....and it sounds like they are not moving quickly enough for Medtronics - or the other medical device companies! (Now that is frustrating!)  Did you know that every time they make even one tiny tiny change on say a remote for an insulin pump...the whole thing has to go through FDA approval all over again?

Anyway, I wanted to share with you some of the exciting things that I heard about....

  • One of the complaints of MiniMed insulin pump & CGM users is that the alarms are not loud enough. For us parents, this is especially concerning at nighttime. One of the reasons that we love Ally's CGM is because we hope that it will help us ward of the overnight lows (with the predictive alarms on the Revel, awesome feature!).  However, if she is wearing her pump under her clothes and has a blanket on her or is lying on her stomach, we don't hear the alarm.  We have a baby monitor right next to her bed and still don't hear it.  SO..Medtronics is working on making the alarm louder, or at least having the option to make it louder.  Also...now this is SOOOO COOOOL!!!!...they have something like an alarm clock (I did not see this, so I am just describing the best that I can in the way that I visualized it, so please don't hold me to this exactly!). The parents can put this on their nightstand and it shows on the screen your child's CGM activity. It also will alarm for lows or highs, whatever you set it to do. How Cool is THAT? Only problem...it's not available yet! Come on, hurry up with that one!!!

  • Another area that Medtronics has been working to improve is the compatibility of their CareLink software, which we use to download Ally's pump and CGM information.  They have recently upgraded their software and CareLink Personal now supports the latest 64 bit systems from Microsoft including Windows 7 and Windows Vista operating systems.  Their BIG push right now is for MAC compatability. 

  • Medtronics has been working on a new CGM sensor for a while now...so come on, Mr. FDA, please approve this one pronto!!  It will be much smaller and more comfortable - yay!!!  Also, it will have a straight in insertion, which will come in an "all-inclusive" device, something similar to the Quick-set or mio insertion device.

  • Sounded like this one was further down the pipeline, but up and coming, no doubt!  A better REMOTE!!!  One of the reasons that many people love their Animas pump is that it has the awesome remote feature.  Medtronics has one, but it is not connected with the bolus wizard feature at all.  So, you can bolus from the remote, but you have to manually do all of the calculations first, and decide how many units you want it to bolus.  Heck, I could have pulled out her pump 10x before I figured that out, so we don't even bother with one!  There was a young woman at the meeting, who spoke up and stressed that this is really something that as a woman she REALLY wants.  She often wears dresses to work and finds it really difficult to pull her pump out to bolus.  Since Ally does not wear a dress unless I make her, we don't have that problem very often yet.  But I see what this lady was talking about. 


  • Medtronics also has been working on the technology for communication between the insulin pump and your iphone or blackberry.  How great would it be for a parent to look at their iphone and see what their child's CGM is doing while the child is at school?
I will end by saying that I am the furthest thing from being technologically savvy, so please do not take anything I said word for word.  The bottom line is that Medtronics is working on some great stuff that will no doubt make life for PWD's (People With Diabetes) a little easier.



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November 6, 2010

Diabetes Olympics


Diabetes Olympics is the creative masterpiece of Joanne at Death of a Pancreas.  (Sometimes our best thoughts come out of a really tired, fried brain don't they?)  She has compared the care of diabetes to Olympic events.  Read on to see how I fared in the medal categories, then give these events a try for yourself!

Shooting (up) - Thankfully, we are not delivering Ally's insulin by injection 5 (or more) times a day anymore.  We totally stunk it up at giving her shots!  She would get herself worked up with anxiety before we even got close to her with the needle.  We had to hold her down.  Sometimes it took 2 of us.  Other times I was doing it by myself.  I cried, I got frustrated, I yelled at her, I threatened her that I would have to take her back to the hospital if she didn't let me give her this shot.  I am ashamed of myself for this...Diabetes was new to us at the time.  I was tired.  I was pregnant.  I was MAD!  I hate that I took it out on her :(

Result: Bronze, at best.


Synchronized Living - (This is the ability to balance carbs, insulin, exercise, growth spurts, illnesses, and hormones; and still achieve reasonably good numbers.)  Wow!  I am a total novice in this event.  I know that it has been a year and a half since Ally's diagnosis, but things change constantly.  I don't know if I'll ever rank at the top of this category.  I guess the skills necessary for competing in this event are stamina and determination.  I want to hear our National Anthem for this event as much as any other.  I will keep training.

Result: Silver


Speed Getting Ready - OMG!  I am SOOO good at this, don't even bother entering this event...I've got the GOLD in the bag!  This is a daily event at our house...sometimes we even compete in this one more than once a day.  Drag Ally out of bed.  (And this usually brings little sister Jessi out too.)  Get them dressed.  Make their hair look pretty.  Get baby out of bed.  Change her diaper.  Test Ally's blood sugar.  Make breakfast.  Count Ally's carbs for breakfast.  Tell her how many carbs to enter into her pump.  Give Lexi food in high chair to keep her occupied.  Pack Ally's lunch, including index card with each lunch item and its carb count listed.  Pack her snack, again including carb count.  Tell Ally to hurry up and finish eating.  Remind her to brush her teeth.  Shoes on.  Coat on.  (Now, she can put her own shoes and coat on, but I am usually supervising this to make sure that she doesn't wear flip-flops in the middle of winter - she would!)  Rush Ally out the door and to the end of our driveway to wait for the bus.  60 minutes, or less!  Although, we missed the bus this morning, so maybe we need to increase that time allowance :)

There is a similar chaos that takes place anytime we go anywhere....All this packing goes on no matter how long the trip will be for.  Diaper bag.  Diabetes bag.  (Probably in reverse order!)  Snacks for baby.  Snacks for Ally to treat low BG.  Snacks for Jessi because how fair would that be for her to watch the other 2 snacking?

Result: Gold!


10 Meter Dash (Also known as Distance from our bed to Ally's.) - Not so great at this event.  I do get additional points, though, for leaping up the 7 stairs from our bedroom to Ally's in one bounding leap!  (ok, maybe 2)  Also, bonus points are awarded for setting the midnight and 3 am alarms to check her BG. (Do I get the points if hubby does this?)  Between the two of us, we fare pretty well at waking at these times on a nightly basis.  The point deductions come from not actually hearing the CGM alarm.  And you see, this is not entirely my fault.  Ally wears a MiniMed Revel insulin pump and CGM.  The pump is also the receiver for the CGM.  The alarm on this thing is sooo soft that, with her pump tucked inside her pump pouch, under her pjs, under her covers...and often under her body when she sleeps on her belly, I can't hear the alarm.  Still warming up in this event...I have hopes for most improved in this category.

Result: Silver


WAG-ing - (stands for Wild Ass Guessing)  Now, my husband gets the GOLD for this one!  I swear, he remembers this stuff...but not where we keep the extra toilet paper rolls!  He remembers the last time we were at a party and had a similar piece of cake and so-n-so carbs worked with such-n-such dual wave bolus.  I did not even qualify for this event.  I second guess myself so much and I find myself looking up items that I KNOW the carb count for, just to make sure.

Result: Keith-Gold
           Me-DNQ (Did Not Qualify)


Juggling - Gold medal juggler here!  In fact, you'd think I was a trained circus clown.  With three kiddos, it would be unusual if I was attending to just one of those kiddos needs at any given time.  Poor baby Lexi was born just six months after Ally's diagnosis, so she has been juggled more than any baby should be.  So grateful that she is easy-going (and likes to snack - I can distract her with a snack anytime!).

Result: Gold!!


Biathlon - (Which, of course is the combination of two sports.) Just tonight, all at the same time, I put Ally's numbing cream on for a site change, cooked dinner, counted carbs in my head for said dinner, fed Lexi and kept an "overseeing eye" on the homework situation going on at the table.  Sure glad I didn't put the numbing cream in our dinner and feed Lexi the girls' homework!

Result: Bronze, because tonight was a rare occasion.  I usually get myself all worked into a tizzy when I try to do that many things at once.  This makes me sad, because I used to be really good in this event.  Possible lack of sleep to blame here :)~


Accuracy - Again, I have to award the GOLD to Keith.  He tries to guess what Ally's BG is going to be before she checks it.  The CGM has given us a lot of trending information that helps him.  Me, on the other hand, I just want to know the number darn it...hurry up and give me that number already! 

Result: Keith - Gold
           Me - DNQ


Wrestling - So thankful that we are not wrestling Ally to give her shots anymore.  Can I tell you how much we love our insulin pump???  What we do wrestle with is the emotional roller coaster that she is on.  Is it just a 7 year old girl thing?  Or is it D?  Does she whine and cry or yell and scream because she is testing us or because she is experiencing a high or low blood sugar?  I try to note her most recent BG when she has a melt-down of sorts.  I really try to take this into consideration...but how does it look to my other two kids if I overlook this behavior?  Not sure I'll get this one figured out very easily.  Ugh..a never-ending grappling.

Result: I'm gonna say Gold though, because I give it my best fight!


Swimming - (As in "just keep swimming".)  What other choice to we have?  It would be so easy to say "I don't feel like swimming today."  I get tired.  I get frustrated.  I get sad.  Sometimes it is hard to keep my head above water; sometimes I feel like I'm just floating by.  But Ally doesn't have the option to stop swimming for a day, so as long as diabetes is still in the picture (you know, until there is a CURE!), we will keep swimming together.

Result: Gold.


Now, for which events will you take the Gold?

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November 4, 2010

Let's Take Control of Diabetes. Now.

Let's Take Control of Diabetes. Now.  Diabetes Education and Prevention is the World Diabetes Day theme for the period 2009-2013. (Visit worlddiabetesday.org for more information on World Diabetes Day.)

Today, nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes, and thousands more are diagnosed each day. During National Diabetes Month, we recommit to educating Americans about the risk factors and warning signs of diabetes, and we honor all those living with or lost to this disease.
(Quote taken from the October 29, 2010 Presidential Proclamation on National Diabetes Month.)

I am excited that the White House is commited to educating Americans about diabetes.  I would like to do my part in taking control of diabetes too. I think that education is a great place to start. When I start thinking about the need for educating others about diabetes...my mind instantly goes to this video of the Kuehl family that I viewed about a month ago. Please take a few minutes to watch their story.

Education is Key!  So, today, I would like to share with you the Warning Signs of Type 1 Diabetes.  I admit that, before February 10, 2009, I was not aware of these warning signs.  I thank God every day that I followed my instincts that day.  I kept wavering back and forth, "maybe she's coming down with the flu or some other virus."  Thank goodness that I went with that gut feeling that something was just not right.

The Warning Signs of Type 1 Diabetes may occur suddenly and include:
•Extreme thirst
•Frequent urination
•Drowsiness or lethargy
•Increased appetite
•Sudden weight loss
•Sudden vision changes
•Sugar in the urine
•Fruity odor on the breath
•Heavy or labored breathing
•Stupor or unconsciousness


Please share theses warning signs with your loved ones!

Read more about Type 1 Diabetes from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation HERE.


NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2010 as National Diabetes Month. I call upon all Americans, school systems, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, health care providers, and research institutions to join in activities that raise diabetes awareness and help prevent, treat, and manage the disease.

Click on this link to read the Presidential Proclamation in its entirety:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/10/29/presidential-proclamation-national-diabetes-month


**Late adding this link, but you should also visit Tracy at The Superhero and The Princess and read her  One of the 40... post for more great information about warning signs of Type 1 Diabetes.


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November 2, 2010

Google, Please light your Doodle blue!

Have you signed the Google Doodle petition yet?  Won't you join me in asking Google for a World Diabetes Day Doodle?  Hurry though, because World Diabetes Day is November 14.

The petition reads as follows:

There are more than a 1/4 billion people with diabetes in the world. Tens of millions are undiagnosed. Over a hundred million more will be diagnosed in their lifetimes.

We kindly request that Google light their home page doodle in blue to raise awareness for World Diabetes Day this coming November 14.

Please add your name to this petition and tell as many people as you can about it.

P.S. You can see examples of previous doodles on this page:
http://www.google.com/holidaylogos.html

I'd like to encourage you to add your signature, too. It's free and takes just a few seconds of your time.

"Ask Google for a World Diabetes Day Doodle"



Thanks!
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November 1, 2010

What is that Blue Circle you SAE?


November is Diabetes Awareness month.

Thank you, Sarah, for getting the ball blue circle rolling!  It was her idea to kick off Diabetes Awarenss Month with SAE DAY! (pronounced "say")  A day to intentionally SUPPORT, ADVOCATE, and EDUCATE the world about diabetes....or at least a day to come up with a plan, act on ideas, or step things up a notch!

I am going to make every effort to SUPPORT, ADVOCATE, and EDUCATE you all about diabetes this month.  However, I am not quite the superhero rockstars that Jen, Wendy, HallieDonnaTracy, Meri, Lora, KristiNicole, HeatherLeighann, and Rachael are....just SAEing!  You see, they are participating in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month).  Let me know if you are NaBloPoMo-ing it too this month so that I can be sure to SUPPORT by reading your blogs.


So, today I will start by answering the question that I know some of you are asking....

What is that blue circle?

(The following description is taken from diabetesbluecircle.org.)


What is the history of the blue circle?

The icon was developed originally for the campaign for a UN Resolution on diabetes.

The campaign for a United Nations Resolution on diabetes was a response to the diabetes pandemic that is set to overwhelm healthcare resources everywhere. The campaign mobilised diabetes stakeholders behind the common cause of securing a United Nations Resolution on diabetes. The United Nations passed Resolution 61/255 ‘World Diabetes Day’ on December 20th 2006.


Why a circle?

The circle occurs frequently in nature and has thus been widely employed since the dawn of humankind. The significance is overwhelmingly positive. Across cultures, the circle can symbolize life and health. Most significantly for the campaign, the circle symbolizes unity. Our combined strength is the key element that made this campaign so special. The global diabetes community came together to support a United Nations Resolution on diabetes and needs to remain united to make a difference. As we all know: to do nothing is no longer an option.


Why blue?

The blue border of the circle reflects the colour of the sky and the flag of the United Nations. The United Nations is in itself a symbol of unity amongst nations and is the only organization that can signal to governments everywhere that it is time to fight diabetes and reverse the global trends that will impede economic development and cause so much suffering and premature death.


If you'd like to help spread awareness of diabetes and don a blue circle...check out worlddiabetesday.org.



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October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween: Tricks on Me!


Batgirl

Barbie Princess

The Bumblebee

Happy Halloween!  This is just our second year celebrating Halloween with Diabetes.  I have read SO many wonderful posts filled with ideas for successfully managing Halloween and diabetes.  It was great for me to take bits and pieces of each of these posts and develop a plan that I thought would work for us.  I loved reading all the different perspectives so much that I have decided to include the links at the bottom of this post.

After reading the insights of many fellow D Mamas...  this is how we decided to handle Halloween this year.  We let the kids participate in ALL of the Halloween hoopla.  School parties, Costume parade, Bobbing for apples, Cupcake decorating, Candy Corn toss and relay, and TRICK or TREAT, of course!  I believe that there is a limit on the amount of candy that all of my kids should consume...factoring in diabetes or not.  With that being said, I do let my kids have a day or two of overindulging on candy.  Ally is not a very big candy person, really.  After the initial excitement wears off, I am willing to bet that her bowl of candy would sit untouched for weeks.  (Not the same for Jessi...she'd sneak the candy day and night until every single piece was gone.)  So, we planned to let the kids pick out a few pieces of candy each day that they may enjoy....covering the carbs for Ally's with insulin, of course.  I think that if I took their candy away right off the bat they would be heartbroken.  Plus, it's kind of like when you are on a diet...You tell yourself that you can't have something, then you tend to crave it even more.  After a few days, the rest of the candy will just "disappear" and something special will take its place in the candy bowl.  (Right now, I'm thinking something simple like new fancy chapstick, fingernail polish, etc.)  I liked some of the suggestions that I read to keep the candy that could be stashed away for treating lows...however, as I mentioned before, Ally is not a big candy eater and she would rather eat a glucose tablet than a piece of candy.

I was prepared!  I hoped that I would be able to ward off the crazy HIGHS following large amounts of overindulgent candy binging!! 

But let's Face the Facts....


Halloween = Candy + Excitement = Sugar High for sure!


BUT the TRICK was on ME!  Ally was LOW.  Low.  low.  ALL.NIGHT.LONG!  What I had not expected was that Ally's soccer team would end their season in the top of their league.  They advanced to a tournament, which was played this Halloween weekend.  After playing two soccer games and trick-or-treating fun on Saturday, it didn't matter how much candy Ally consumed.  I didn't even bolus for it!  Keith and I tag-teamed and checked her every other hour....she was low every single time.  Juice after juice (because this is the easiest way for us to treat the nighttime lows - Ally can drink a whole juice box in her sleep without waking up) we kept getting a low reading.  Finally we decided to add a pudding to the mix and that seemed to sustain her until morning. 

So, with so many ideas and lots of thought, our Halloween with the big D didn't turn out at all as we'd planned.  Wonder what we'll try next year!

 
A Pluthera of Perspectives on Halloween and Diabetes....for future reference:   (Let me know if I missed your Halloween post, I'd love to include it!)

The Superhero and The Princess
Our Diabetic Life
I Am Your Pancreas
The We CARA Lot Blog
Houston We Have A Problem
The Princess and The Pump
Welcome To Our Crazy, Happy Life
D-Mom Blog


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