Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Diabetes Camp and the Camp Care Package

Repost of good information!!!  Still needing ideas for what to pack for your camper?  Here is a great way to avoid homesickness for BOTH parents and kids!!!!  

With one week in between school end and diabetes camp, I am now scrambling to put together two campers packing list.  Part of which includes the fun care package. 

First, start with a basic box.  You can use shoe boxes or recycle old UPS boxes.  I purchased two simple photo boxes from Michael's craft store.  Each cost just $3.99.  During a sale, the boxes are often as inexpensive as three for $5.00.  You can also find coupons for regularly priced items which discount around 40% off online.   

I try to choose colors that are more neutral now.  While my girls love pink, they both have recently changed out the look and feel of their bedrooms.  When camp is over, the boxes will stay in their rooms and be used to hold school papers, keepsakes and more.  Having a nice neutral color is a great way to blend decor.

At the same time that I purchased the boxes, I also picked up a few inexpensive packs of stickers to decorate each box with.  One rule of thumb for all items that go to camp is to make sure their is a label with the campers name.  Letter stickers work nicely for this. 

As I mentioned above, the boxes will stay in their room.  For this reason, I purposely am not going to decorate the label area.  When they come home, the girls will make labels to identify the contents.  Most likely, the boxes will hold other items after that. 

Next, the fun part...  gather up your goodies. This year, I chose items that appeal to older girls.  You can easily adapt this to suit your child (boys too!) with whatever items they find to be fun. 

Some ideas include: 

  • Outdoor toys like balls, Frisbees, discs.
  • Travel games, journals and comic books.
  • Sunblock, lip balm and hats.
  • Beach towels, string backpacks.
  • Tattoos, fingernail stickers, stuffed animals.
  • Or anything else that you choose!

Please NOTE:  Our camp does prohibit all food items - including gum, anything that looks like or is a weapon, nothing needing the use of matches, and no electronic devices.  This is not the time to give your child a cell phone to call home.  One of the best "perks" of camp is that your child is able to unplug and enjoy friendships in the wild outdoors.  Nothing is better than that. 

While this is fine to send, I generally avoid items that contain scent that may attract mosquitoes.  Therefore, no perfume, body spray or lotions. Deodorant and soap for the shower is a MUST!  The rest of the cabin will thank you!!! 

I try to select a few group oriented activities.  Should my child have a quiet moment back in the cabin, often, having a small toy to play with a buddy is a great way to ward off home-sickness.  The Cahootie catcher is a perfect example.  You can also send scrap paper and instructions with how to make these as a group activity too.  Directions are on Pinterest. 

Window markers are also fun and easy to clean up when the week is over.  Everyone in the cabin can take turns personalizing their cabin space.  This is stain-free fun too.  No damage to the cabin or the kids. 

Useful items work well too.  My youngest had her eyes on beautiful rhinestone studded swim goggles for weeks.  Without her knowing, I was able to pick up a pair for herself and for her sister's surprise box.  I know this will get used well beyond camp time and while it was a bit of splurge, it is also going to be well loved. 

Other silly and fun items for the group to enjoy include things like glow bracelets, glow necklaces, flower leis, bandannas, face paint or something like this hot pink temporary hair spray.  This can be used by all of the girls and will wash out in the lake at swimming time or in the showers before bed.  More fun for all. 

I also include postcards which are pre-addressed and stamped for mailing to home.  To make it even more fun, I added a silly crayola scented pen.  We also had some leftover party favors that included mini note-pads, perfect for playing tic-tac-toe or writing notes between bunk beds and also, two more pens to share with cabin mates. 

Nothing fancy or expensive, but a deck of cards is the ultimate camp toy.  The kids will play all sorts of games such as go fish, spoons, war, etc..  Everyone can join in on the fun too. 

At night, it is also nice to have a quiet toy.  This works for my youngest daughter especially.  She will smoosh and toss this little guy in her bed until she is ready for sleep.  It also works to have something to hold onto for site changes on her insulin pump.  Although at camp, she tends to be more brave and confident in her care.  It is camp magic! 

I do tuck in a love note from home and a few other goodies like nail polish and magazines.  A good book is also a favorite. 

Here is the completed box.  Next, I will wrap this up in plain brown paper and address to my daughter's name and cabin.  A special tip is that if you are going to the camp, you can drop this off at the office and avoid any postal fees.  Just be sure to add the day that you want it delivered.  I tend to ask for Tuesday as it seems like a great time in the middle of the camp experience (Sunday is drop off day for us) and I want the girls to be able to have time to use the items that I packed. 

Here is the finished product.  Just six more days until camp.  Now, to get busy on packing!

Happy diabetes camp week! 

Finals Week and Blood Glucose Monitoring

We all know that stress exacerbates hormones levels, which in turn, increases blood glucose.  Usually this is a temporary issue and often, as soon as the person is removed from the stressful situation, the blood sugar drops back in a typical range for that individual. 

But what do you do if you are faced with days of acute stress? 

If you live with T1D and are a student managing final exams, you find creative ways to cope. 

Because we are currently in the middle of this situation, my stress is ramped up enough that all I can muster is a top ten list of what is working (or working as well as can be said) for both of our girls. 

And yes, it is mid-June.  Why are we still in school?????  

Image result for take breaks

10.  Take breaks. Write this in BOLD LETTERS on your family message board.  It will serve well for the entire week.

9.  Hit something.  In our house, we head to the driving range for a bucket of balls.  If you have a baseball player, use the batting cage.  Karate kids, head to the dojo.  Soccer enthusiasts, go kick.

8.  Eat meals.  While it may be tempting to no longer make dinner, this helps no one.  Continue with meals that are a good combination of carbs, protein and fat to help reduce blood sugar spikes. Plus, meals force a much needed break.

7.  Be honest.  Acknowledge that this is a hard time for students.  Empathy reduces stress. 

6.  Share.  It may have been a pretty easy year for diabetes and some teachers may have forgotten that your child is managing not only exams but a chronic illness.  If blood sugars are out of range and testing is not possible, let your child's teacher know ahead of time.  Sometimes, a simple solution can be found with testing at a different time of day.  

5.  Run.  Along the lines of #9, running is the fastest way to tire out our muscle groups.  When anxiety and stress are peaking, taking a quick run will often reduce symptoms and return BG back to a typical range faster than any other method. 

4.  Write it out.  When your child feels overwhelmed with the demands, have them write out a schedule of what needs to be studied and when tests will occur.  Seeing it on paper, often reduces the feeling of being out of control. 

3. Study together.  Whether your child studies with friends, siblings or parents, having a human connection along with the material, helps through understanding that they are not alone in the sea of exams.  

2. De-emphasize grades.  One sure fire way to reduce stress is through communicating that the goal is NOT a grade but instead, mastery of concept.  If a student knows the material, they will naturally do better and as a result, the grade will become a fringe benefit. 

1. Exams end.  This time will not last forever.  Exams start and finish.  And with final exams, comes along the knowledge that summer vacation is right around the corner.  

Enjoy your summer!!!!  

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The RoadMap Project

HomeThe Roadmap Project

Today, I have the pleasure of sharing a very heart-felt collaborative initiative called The RoadMap  Project. 

The RoadMap, a tool for creating meaningful dialogue and offering helpful resources for mental health wellness, was lovingly created in partnership with the American Board of Pediatrics Foundation and a team of many wonderful parent/family advocates and medical providers. I was lucky enough to be on this team and see first hand, the caring and commitment that was brought forth.

To meet a few of our passionate stakeholders, please watch this video.  While it was filmed, there was not a dry eye in the house, but there was something even greater... HOPE.  By creating a RoadMap, we hope to create a generation of patient-centered care that balances all facets of health. This launch is only the beginning of even more to come.

As a patient/parent advisor, my role over the years has been to support my children in all of their well care.  This means not only our pediatric endocrinology appointments, but also, to ensure that they have learned the skills and have the resources to keep mind, body and soul healthy and well. I often say that it takes a village to raise a child, but even more so under the demand of chronic care.  Having a Roadmap will help to ensure that all of our families receive the care that they need. 

I can't be more proud of this project! 

Please take a moment to visit our RoadMap website and to share with friends and family.  We also encourage you to share this link with your own medical providers to help them begin the conversation to ensure that you are getting the best healthcare available. 

You may also cut and paste to share:

Let's keep the conversation going. 

Hugs -
The Naturally Sweet Sisters!

#RoadMap #NaturallySweetSisters #ABP #Foundation #MentalHealth #Wellness #Pediatrics