Monday, May 18, 2015

A Few Weeks Off - YES, YOU CAN!

Dr. Whitehouse and Me; meeting to help promote the JDRF TypeOneNation Summit

It is always a guilty yet heady feeling when I step back for a few weeks.  While I love to write about our Naturally Sweet Sisters, often, this pleasure is the one that suffers the most when my plate feels entirely too full.

With the school year wrapping up and my position with JDRF Kids for a Cure ending, I am back to feeling more balanced.  A few days ago, (and yes this may seem weird to the non-t1d population as I am still happily talking about it), but I actually had a full night's sleep.  It's rare to not get out of bed with two kids with t1d, let alone, sleep through an entire night.  I am STILL savoring that wonderful treat.

In other accomplishments or things that I like to call "YES - YOU CAN!"...

* Our youngest daughter asked me NOT to attend her recent field trip to the zoo.  Instead, armed with her cell phone, programmed with her lovely homeroom teacher's phone number, a DexCom share and more sugary treats and water bottles than the entire monkey cage could consume, she went off on her own.  The location was over an hour's drive each way to the city.  With much walking, romping (and probably a bit of stomping!), she had a wonderful time and maintained perfect blood sugars.  I stayed home and controlled my urge to check in with her.  I am sure this was good for BOTH of us.  The 'baby' heads off to 7th grade and a new junior high in the fall.  It is time to ease up just a bit more.

* Braces have entered our house.  After several visits and knowing that both of our girls will need braces during the next year, oldest daughter was finally ready.  Through the advice of our dentist and our orthadontist, a plan was worked out where oldest daughter could use Invisalign.  The thought being that she would have more flexibility with eating and thus, keep her BG nice and stable.  So far, so good.  She is almost a week in and I can see the braces in action.  Her teeth, while initially tender, are able to chew as normal, and any variety of food.  Then, for healthy teeth and gums, she is able to immediately brush them CLEAN, thus avoiding any inflammation.  I know families with traditional braces are doing well, however, our oldest had tooth trauma from a playground accident that resulted in veneers on her front teeth.  Having the Invisalign seems like the better option to maintain her best oral hygiene.  I'll keep you posted as we go further.   However, I am already thinking this might be the way to go for our youngest daughter too.

* The JDRF TypeOneNation Summit happened over Mother's Day weekend.  We had over 1300 attendees, with over 100 in my Teen Central camp.  Proudly I can share that it went over well and our kids were engaged and having a blast with the days' activities.  We (our committee of JDRF staff, t1d suppliers and parents) are planning one more event before summer to keep the kids together before t1d camp begins and will have a follow-up event during August for back-to-school.  I am thrilled as my goal of having programs for teens is happening.  I feel like that this has made a difference in our t1d community and personally, for my two girls.  Nothing motivates more than having kids and knowing that they NEED to stay connected in their teen t1d world.    #Teent1d

* Projects, papers, oh my!  The end of the year major projects have been completed by both girls.  As parents know, these tend to become family affairs with constructive criticism, advice and even a few mom-sponsored trips to Michael's craft store to pick up supplies.  Oddly enough, both girls had large semester projects that were worth 300 points.  Both girls worked hard to finish and as of press time, oldest received her grade of 300 out of 300 points and youngest had completed and presented her project (s) and was still waiting on a final grade.  Within both of those projects, there were several icky blood sugar days.  We have discovered a few 'missed boluses' from youngest daughter and continue to battle low blood sugars during certain days of the month for oldest.  While that is incredibly challenging, both girls navigated those long project days (and nights) with grace and even a sense of humor.  One not-so-great night for oldest, we watched as she set-up a mini buffet of snacks in front of her computer.  She had battled lows throughout the day, finally got back in range and decided that the combination of stress/hormones required even more foresight for the evening's study time.  It's a bit bitter-sweet to see your child preparing in this way, however, it is also incredibly inspiring.  This is the kind of stuff that leads to the next bullet point.

Oldest Daughter after receiving her honors award, giving a short speech on her pick for Teacher of the Year.

* Our oldest daughter accepted an award for being in the top 5% of her class.  With a flashback to her diagnosis and me wondering how she would do in school, I can say with full confidence that scholastic honors CAN happen.  Our kids already have the drive to succeed at life, thanks to t1d.  School is just one more notch on the belt of success.  With more hard work, I have no doubt that she will continue to do very well through her new high school in the fall while still managing t1d.

And so hopefully, the next few weeks will continue to bring balance.  Look for more posts to come.  I have missed sharing with YOU!   Thanks for being patient.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Demystifying the Quarterly Clinic Visit

Quarterly visits tend to be full with various meet and greets, exams and open dialogue.  Often, I refer to them as "ours", as much of the conversation continues to flow with me deeply entrenched.  Although, as the girls have gotten older, many of the questions have shifted from me directly to them.   Oldest daughter has most all of her answers at the tip of her tongue while youngest daughter still pauses and looks to me for confirmation.  It isn't that she doesn't know what to say, it is that she is still adjusting to talking directly to adults.

For this appointment, the questions were very simple and our biggest take-away was a reminder to make sure that the girls are wearing ID bracelets (or necklaces, etc.).  For the summer, I completely agree that it is a must, especially as the girls are in and out of the water for hours at a time.  We are adding that to our to-do list and hopefully, will be making that a much needed habit.

A few small adjustments to both girls basal and bolus ratios were needed this time.  Oddly, after years of insulin increases, oldest daughter has been contending with many more lows during the past three months.  While she is away from home much of the week, I was nervous about her handling them, even with Dexcom Share, so I over-compensated on her basal rates.  Between the Endo, oldest daughter and myself, we made a joint decision in adjusting a tiny bit back, for a happy medium.  As of Friday's appointment, we have had to do one juice box shortly after bed, so I am not fully sure if that change will stay.  However, part of what "we" do, is to make adjustments based on the evidence that we have on hand with oldest daughter's blood sugar logs.  With teenagers, it is fully expected that there will, at times, be evidence not accurately represented with her daily bgs.  Not to say that oldest daughter has done anything wrong, but undeniably, her body is still in hormonal limbo.  Figuring it out is much akin to shooting arrows in the dark.  Conversely, youngest daughter is now at the age where I joke that she must be drinking the insulin because there is never quite enough in her little body... hormones, hormones, hormones, they are EVERYWHERE!  We do the best that we can and keep adjusting as we go.

Other than that, there really wasn't anything to share.  We made our appointments for mid-summer and knowing how much our youngest is growing, also discussed the next set of blood draws to gage the effect on her thyroid.  That might be just as important as managing the ups and downs of blood sugars during this period of growth.

In an effort to keep it real, I am sharing our latest A1c numbers.  I do this in attempt to demystify the A1c and perhaps, to slightly devalue the overall concept that one number defines success or failure during a three-month window.  Truly, there should be no shame or blame when it comes to a clinic visit and for whatever reason, it seems that much of those feelings revolve around this one number, which is utterly silly.  Remember, you are SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT!

Without further ado...

Oldest daughter = 7.5
Youngest daughter = 7.9

For pics of what the A1c looks like within our clinic home, you can view me on Twitter @natsweetsisters or by clicking on this link:

If you have anything to add or share about clinic visits or your A1c, please feel free to comment below or to send me a message.  I am still gathering information on #C3N and #Teent1d to help revamp the processes for our A1c visits and would love to hear from you!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

JDRF TypeOne Nation Summit: April 29, 2015 WDIV TV Appearance with Dr. Whitehouse and a Naturally Sweet Sisters Mom

Dr. Fred W. Whitehouse

Excited to share that I will be helping JDRF Michigan East Chapter and the talented Dr. Fred W. Whitehouse with promoting the 8th Annual JDRF TypeOne Nation Summit on Wednesday, April 29th on WDIV, Detroit, with a live television interview around 11:00 a.m., EST.  

If you do not know Dr. Whitehouse, I wanted to share a fantastic overview of this true T1D pioneer.
It is easy to forget the leaps and bounds we, as a society, have made in improving T1D care since the invention of insulin in 1922.  Dr. Whitehouse has lived through each of modern advancements and continues to advocate for patients around the world.  Dr. Whitehouse knows, despite the current improvements, we are not done until there is a cure for T1D.

Rather than re-writing history, I am including a link to an exceptional article written by Mike Hoskins, Diabetes Mine. 

We hope you can view the broadcast, but even more, we hope that you will be at the Summit on May 9th, 2015!  Be sure to register today!


For more on the JDRF TypeOne NationSummit 

(and if you are possibly worried about the drive, yes, it is totally worth it!)  

Registration Details...:
If you haven't registered for this FREE event, you can do so online at…/registration-open-for-jdrf-…/

TypeOne Nation Summit Program Details...
There are special events for ages 12-19 at our JDRF Teen Central as well as for kids ages 5-12 at our Kid's Camp. 
A continental breakfast and light lunch are provided - at no cost - as well as cutting edge information on treatments, better care and research.
I'm more than happy to help answer questions regarding the Summit, Kid's Camp and Teen Central - so feel free to send them my way. Thanks to the hardwork and ongoing planning efforts and talent of Senior Outreach Manager, Denise Pentescu and Michele De La Iglesia and all of the JDRF SE Michigan staff, especially Executive Director Kate Cahill Durak, and along with the multitudes of volunteers including the doctors, nurses and vendors on the Planning Committee, this has been the largest conference in the US. JDRF SE Michigan is making an impact in the lives of people living with T1d around the world!!

When you support JDRF, you are supporting the goal of improving lives on the way to a cure for type 1 Diabetes. Thank you from our family and everyone else out there! We appreciate it! heart emoticon