Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Funnies 3-30


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Storing Insulin When Pumping (Becoming Label Obsessive)

From Miss Martha Stewart, Goddess of Organizing

It's no secret. 

I love organization.

"Everything has a place and there is a place for everything."

Sigh.  To me that is pure poetry.

In my last post on the mini-fridge, I showed you how our fridge works and gave you some reasons for why it has come in handy.


Me in the middle of the night before we discovered the awesome mini-fridge


No, seriously I am kidding.  Sorta.

But in any case, there was a reason that we have those brightly colored beautiful containers.  The ones with the labels.  Yes, it might seem obvious that some of the boxes contain Lantus and some of the boxes contain Apidra.

However, without reading those boxes, the only visual is separating the two clear glass vials which are identical in size, is a thin color stripe.

One stripe is blue and one stripe is purple.  Seriously.  This makes me crazy!  Do you know how easy it is to mix the two vials up?  Incredibly easy.

Example of the similarities

There is no visual or large label to differentiate the two.  Once that brightly colored cap is popped off, there is no difference.  No dye added to the insulin and no bottle shape difference.  The vials are in-fact exact.

To help solve that problem, I created several 4" x 4" labeled bins.  The bins stay in the refrigerator and are clearly labeled with the insulin and the use for the insulin (pump or injections or both). 

My hope is having a plan like this will hinder or even prevent the chances of mixing the two vials up. 

Which we have had happen. 

Nothing is more frustrating than disconnecting the pump for 24 hours because you accidentally bolused 14 units from a new cartridge wrongly filled with Lantus. 

In a case like that, your child will end up with high blood sugars, medium ketones and missing school the next day. 

And you will end up feeling like the worst parent in the world.  Or your husband will. 

Not fun at all.

So until the drug makers realize the enormity of producing these two very different products in identical packaging, being label obsessed will have to do.

Now go on out there and make Martha proud!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Storing Insulin (Or How to Cuteify a Mini Fridge)

A little dark, but you get the idea.. and who knew you could find these babies in stainless?

When we bought this house, we had no idea that in less than a year, our youngest daughter would be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Not that the house really matters.

Well, unless your home has multiple flights of stairs. 

And lots of windows.

Which makes nighttime both a hazard and a wee bit scary.  O.K.  A whole lot scary for some people who do not want to be named.  I, I mean we, do not like hiking up and down said treacherous stairs in front of windows to a kitchen in the freezing cold of night, while lurking killers wait.

Yes, I know that is not a probability but something happened to me during the babysitting scene of Halloween and I have never been the same since.


A few years after diagnosis, the realization occurred that all of the above could be solved (and prevented - seriously, doesn't that picture make you remember????)  with a simple invention... the mini-refrigerator!

One of the nicest features of having a mini-fridge nearby is that there is literally no time wasted when needing insulin, medications or cold water bottles.  Everything is at the tip of our fingertips.  This is especially handy when one of our children is on "multiple times per day liquid" antibiotics.  Simply grab and go.

Another nice feature is the ability to store cold milk or cold juice.  I know that many times, our children prefer a cold beverage, especially if they are having a sleepover.  Yes, because we are a real family, sometimes the kids have snacks in their rooms.  Popcorn vacuums easily!

So there you have it!  The fun of having a mini-fridge near your children's bedrooms.  Anything that allows us parents to save a bit of time and energy, especially in the middle of the night is very worth it!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tornado Happenings (Reminder to a Reminder)

Last week, tornados ripped through our lovely state of Michigan.  In March, this is unbelievably rare.

Even more unbelievablly rare is that a few of the tornados touched down less than five miles from our home. 

Ironically, that very same week, I posted and pinned about putting your emergency type 1 diabetes bag together.

Just a reminder that an emergency can happen anytime, anywhere. 

We hope it doesn't but being prepared can be a very good thing.  I hope this inspires you to get your bag in order. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Gardening (Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary- How Many Carbs?)

During the past few summers, our family had garden envy.  Mostly in thinking of how fun, delicious and most importantly, CARB FREE, a garden could be.

Over the weekend, we took a stab at our first little garden.  Found on Pinterest, this is what is known as Square Foot Gardening.  Instead of planting in rows, one plants according to the foot.  This method is to utilize space more efficiently and to get a better, more varied selection of plants.

But our question to the Naturally Sweet Sisters audience is do you grow a garden?  What plants do your children most enjoy harvesting from? 

I am excited to hear your ideas!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Banishing Burn-Out (Or the magic of teaching by example)

As you might have read here, I was feeling a bit of burnout from constantly being the family go-to person for type 1 diabetes.   It happens.  Typically one person tends to become the person for diabetes care.

In my family it is me.  Mostly because my wonderful dear husband spends most of his waking hours at the office, trying to earn a living to keep a roof over our heads and food on our plates - don't even get me started on the I- word.  No, not I-Pads, I-Phone or I-Pods... but INSURANCE!  Priorities, right?!

Having two kids with type 1 diabetes may not seem like a big deal (and a lot of the times it isn't any different than one) but in terms of blood sugar pokes and infusion set changes, it is double the amount of everything and I was getting a little overwhelmed.

I usually try to keep my feelings quiet around the girls.  After all, who am I to complain when I am not the one with type 1 diabetes?  It seems petty to complain about the lack of sleep or the never ending need to re-load Big Ugly.  It is only fair that I be the one to download pump data and make basal or bolus rate changes, especially since I hold the keys to how two young girls are feeling.  If I let their numbers creep, than only I am responsible for the resulting bad behavior because they aren't feeling good.

If they can't stop living with type 1 diabetes, than neither can I.  After all, we are a family of 'all for one and one for all'!

Regardless, my daughters are pretty sensitive kids.  I am sure that they must have felt a few of my sighs or witnessed some of my tiredness.  Together, they did something that was absolutely wonderful and amazing.

After taking her shower on Sunday night, my oldest daughter picked up her insulin pump and took off her younger sister's insulin pump.  Then, carefully both of their pump cartridges with insulin.

Meanwhile, my youngest daughter wound, loaded and primed both of their pumps.

While my youngest daughter was busy with the pumps, my oldest daughter placed two IV Prep Pads, IV3000s and two opened Inset 30's -just like I do on two clean paper towels - making sure everything was ready to go.

At this point, I am in the kitchen finishing up the dinner dishes and both girls come running up to me to tell me that they were ready for their infusion set changes.  They grab my hand and giggling lead me to our special injection spot (are we the only ones who have this?) and shout "ta-da". 

There I see everything perfectly laying out, ready for service.  All they need me to do is inject the Inset 30's. 

My oldest daughter was so proud of herself for being such a big kid and for accomplishing the site change prep on her own.  My youngest daughter, who often is our baby of the house, was beaming from ear to ear because she felt so important and so smart for remembering how to load the insulin pumps. 

Over the past five years, I have been careful to avoid having them take this step on.  In my mind, having them start on this task too quickly could ended up in their own feelings of burnout and stress.

Suddenly, I realize that perhaps part of this new phase is allowing them to have a little more control in their own care.  The pride that they were feeling is much akin to any new task... riding a bike, brushing teeth, tying shoelaces, using the stove or aack, one day, driving the car.

And I couldn't have been prouder.  Tears burning in the back of my eyes, I swooped in to give them both giant bear hugs.  I realize the amount of work and effort that they (these 8 and 10 -year old children) had to put forth to get their pumps ready and I was absolutely blown away.

While most kids at that age aren't thinking about medical equipment, sterility or proper technique, my girls are showing that they can rise to the challenge, utilize the knowledge well beyond their years and embrace their type 1 diabetes. 

Instantly it occurs to me that they are going to be O.K. 

While it may feel like I am endlessly filling and refilling, checking and re-checking, ordering and re-ordering, preparing and unpreparing, I am not. 

Instead, I am teaching. 

And guiding.

And providing the knowledge to use the tools that they will be carrying until there is better technology or a cure.

For the first time in a long time, I can relax a little because I know that my oldest daughter and youngest daughter can do this.  And I know that we can do this TOGETHER.

Epilogue:  Now, please don't assume that I am going to turn this task entirely over to my daughters.  It is still something that I plan to do more often than not.  I am still fearful of their potential for burnout and plan to remain vigilant that they continue to have positive feelings (not dread or anxiety or worse, avoidance) for type 1 diabetes.  It just feels nice to know that they are learning and wanting to try new tasks.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Waiting (or How Diabetes Burnout Sneaks In)

(My PSA for why we should avoid burnout)

It is happening.

I feel myself wanting to change infusion sets less often. 

My mind is a little more lax when counting carbohydrates and I have been guesstimating more.   

When the girls whine about belly sites, I hear myself giving in and allowing them to choose more tolerable areas like arms or tush. 

All culminating in the situation that happened after dance tonight when we realized that we forgot the blood sugar meters and simply bolused for food (which of course came from Subway because I was too tired to cook).


I've got nothing inspiring to say about any of it.  I know this is the dreaded type 1 diabetes burnout occurring.  It happens to everyone at some point or another.  Since we are now past five years and with two diagnosis, I can recognize the signs and symptoms of burnout pretty quickly. 

Stopping it is a bit harder. 

When burnout happens, you have to dig deep within and find something to focus on in order to make change. 

Remember when I mentioned that my last vacation souvenir was a set of Disney measuring cups?

Well, I think that new thing for me to focus on is finding a new set of souvenir measuring cups.  In other words... we are going on a vacation!

Because this one special person,

And this other special person,

deserve a mom who doesn't let burnout sneak in.

And not to mention a little vacation for themselves too.  :)

How do you prevent or stop burnout?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Are You Packing? (Updating The Diabetes Emergency Bag)

The weather is weird.

No snow all winter.

Tornados in February.

Cherry Blossoms at our nation's capital in March.

Forecasters scratching their head in confusion in what to tell us... drought this summer?  Heavy rains?  No one quite knows. 

The weird weather has been dominating our headlines so frequently, that finally, I decided to take a peek at our old diabetes emergency kit. 

And here she is in her sad little emptied state....

What you can't really tell from this picture is that little backpack holds maybe one tester and a few random pump supplies.  The bag is about as useless as not packing one at all. 

Which was fine when we had just one small child with type 1 diabetes.   

But now, with weird weather happening and with two little girls in the house that are living with type 1 diabetes, it is time to reorganize and put to good use one of those extra back packs laying around the house.

Even if I am embarrassed because it makes me feel a little bit like one of those Doomsday Preppers.

Photo: Doomsday preppers practice shooting
Me and my children (just kidding) - National Geographic Doomsday Prepper

Here is a look at what we pack in our Type 1 Diabetes Emergency Bag.  You may want to alter slightly to fit your needs. 


What to pack list:

  • Syringes
  • Infusion Set(s)
  • Cartridges
  • Tubing
  • Blood glucose meter
  • Test Strips
  • Lancets
  • Ketone strips
  • Alcohol Wipes
  • Unisolve
  • IVPrep
  • IVPrep 3000
  • Glucagon
  • Fast Acting Sugar (smarties work well)
  • Granola Bars
  • Water Bottles
  • Instant Glucose Drink
  • Children's Tylenol
  • Band aids or small first aid kit
  • Copies of insurance cards and phone numbers for medical suppliers.
  • Emergency contact list.
  • List of everything that you order on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Other Ideas:
  • Copy of credit or bank cards
  • Smoke mask
  • Plastic gloves
  • Baby Wipes
  • Flashlight
  • Extra Batteries
  • Blanket
We keep our emergency diabetes supply kit in the same area of the house that we would all go to in case of a tornado.  For us, that means a hook on a wall in our basement.  As part of our family discussions on what to do in case of an emergency, we have explained to our children to head downstairs and to grab the bag as they take cover.  For our family, we have stressed the importance of getting nothing else, even insulin, as that is located in a completely separate area of our home.  We feel comfortable with this as our children are on insulin pumps and hopefully, would have a stash in their reservoirs.   If you are using syringes or pens, you might want to alter your home emergency kit to either include a penfill or to have a plan in place involving insulin (like perhaps keeping a spare vial in the basement refrigerator or at a neighbor's home).

After all of this, our biggest hope is that we never touch a single thing within the backpack.  Better for no emergencies and spoiled supplies than to have to be on the receiving end of a tornado... which is rather common where we live.

In any case, we will be prepared and now, so will you!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

New Pin Me Recipe! (Or Join the Pinterest Movement)

Pinned Image
Photo from

Last year, on the recommendation of a fellow T1D mom, I joined the Pinterest movement.  At the time, I wasn't fully sure of what Pinterest could do for me but since my dear friend was raving about it, I thought, why not? 


Pinterest has now become the what can it NOT do for me website!

Pinterest has it all... beautiful pictures, amazing ideas, simple instructions and best of all, a link to every and anything imaginable.

It is seriously that cool.

One of my favorites is the recipes.  Drool. Drool. Drool.

This week, I printed out a low carbalicious recipe for Pimento Cheese .  Many new moms (along with seasoned veterans like me) are constantly looking for ideas that allow their children to freely eat without worry of blood glucose spikes or insulin bolus/injections.

This one fits perfectly!

My not so beautiful but very delicious Aunt Sissy Si's Pimento Cheese Sandwich

After making and tasting ours today, my girls gave this recipe a thumbs up!  Very kid friendly and super delicious with minimal prep to serving time.

Here is the original link to this yummy recipe and for your ease, here is a copy of the recipe.

Aunt Sissy Si’s Pimento Cheese Sandwich
  • 4 oz jar diced pimentos
  • 8 oz brick of medium cheddar
  • equal parts mayo and salad dressing (to taste and for good consistency)
  • dash of salt
  • secret ingredient . . . about 1/4 teaspoon of horseradish, more or less, to taste
  • fluffy white bread
Mix everything together. It is better the next day and will keep for several days in the fridge.

Carbohydrate Count
I substituted the salad dressing for Miracle Whip which has 2 gram of carbohydrates per 1 Tablespoon.  Depending on how much you use, this still will most likely work out to about 4 grams of carbohydrates (or less) per serving... total! 

I also tweaked the amount of horseradish to 1.5 teaspoon as our family likes a bit of a kick.  Doing so allowed me to omit the salt as I felt the cheese already had a bit of salty goodness anyway.

Just add the bread of your choice (or crackers, etc.) and be sure to count carbs for that as well. 

An optional serving idea is to use fresh vegetables such as celery or cucumber for a virtually free snack!

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cure? Can It Happen?

For so many days of early existence into type 1 diabetes back in 2006, every single person familiar with the disease would often say two things to us.

1.)  Be lucky that you are living during a time where we have modern medicine.  Things are much better for people living with type 1 diabetes today, than 50, 20 even 10 years ago.

2.)  Don't worry.  A cure is right around the corner.

Neither thought made me feel much better. 

After all, we had to poke our child 10-12 times a day for blood sugar readings, count carbohydrates as carefully as we could and measure out teeny tiny drops of insulin into needle driven syringes - all to HOPE that what we did would work to keep our child safe.  It all seemed very barbaric and still very reminiscent of the care that Dr. Fredick Banting was researching back in 1922.  Why hadn't things moved along even further by now?

For that elusive cure, I didn't know how to even fathom that.  My own mother had been diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) during the 80s and I remember hearing the same thing for her.

Thirty years later, my mother still has not received her cure.

Despite my realism, I do remain hopeful.  For a few reasons.  I can't give up my faith in JDRF, ADA and the many researchers around the world who are making type 1 diabetes history every day.  Recently, Dr. Faustman released a new research paper which identifies pancreatic beta cell function through c-peptide in people living with type 1 diabetes for decades.  This is amazing stuff.  The kind of information that reminds us all that if our pancreas function is not entirely broken... perhaps we can do what humpty dumpty never managed and put it all back together again.
I also can not help but to be awed and disgusted by the rising number of new patients each year.  When our own diagnosis came in, we were the one and only at our elementary school... population of about 350 kids.  Today, the number has climbed to 3, while the population has remained constant.  My oldest daughter attends a neighboring middle school.  At her school, counting in grades 5th and 6th only, there are half a dozen students diagnosed with type 1.  That's enough kids to form a club.  Which sadly, they have in each of the grades.

There has to come a time when the numbers of new and existing diagnosis push forward more emphasis on finding a cure.  The drag on the nations medicaid/medicare plans are staggering.  The cost to keep one child alive and in good health while living with type 1 diabetes are astronomical.  Financially, our families and health care have put pressure on the NIH to further their research efforts.  After all, PWD aren't sheltered anymore or accepting less than the best care/coverage.  Instead we have formed DOC/parent/hospital groups so we can discuss options for better care.  We are demanding in finding the best out there for ourselves and for our loved ones living with type 1 diabetes.

And lastly, I will never give up simply because I have two beautiful little girls who are taking their cues from me.  If I let go of my faith, I will certainly crush theirs and that will never do.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Jenga (Or How Diabetes Is Balanced)





Those words have either been spoken to me or actually pleaded by my own mouth at one time or another during the course of our journey with diabetes.  Specifically in ways like this...

Won't it get easier once your daughter is regulated?  Or have you tried to put her on a schedule.  I think that would make it easy.

When is it going to get easy?  I just want our life back.  How come I can't get her regulated?  I have us on a schedule and I thought it would be automatic.  This is never going to be easy.

The thing is that none of those terms exist.  Not in our world anyway.  And that is truly the sad truth of living with type 1 diabetes.  While our friends outside our world find reprieves by taking a pill or walking around the block or even going on the dreaded schedule, none of that works for us.

We just simply try to the best we can and we never, ever give up trying.

Man, that is depressing.

You are probably wondering why I am even bringing it up.  After all, this is a lesson that we had to learn over five years ago.  So why now?

Well, my youngest daughter missed two more days of school due to strep throat.   Almost as soon as the penicillin entered her body, she started to feel better, but as she was still contagious to her classmates, I opted to keep her home.  (insert "your welcome" to the remain 25 sets of parents!)  To fill our time, we played Jenga.  A whole lot of Jenga. 

After a few games, I noticed that she was placing her blocks as carefully as she did for the first game.  This was in spite of the fact that she was very clear on the end result; eventually there would be a tumble of blocks onto the table. 

But she didn't care.  It was important enough for her to keep trying to stack those blocks, even though they wouldn't be regulated, scheduled, easy or even automatically able to stay up on the tower.  She didn't care about the crash or the tumble or having to clean the pieces up once again. 

All she cared about was the fun along the journey and having special time with her mom.  And maybe a little bit about the potential to have a small victory against those silly blocks.

And you know what?  That's what I care about too.  Even though none of this is easy and we have moments where everything crashes down on us, I care about my family more than enough to overlook those moments. 

I want all of us to enjoy our journey and our life and to look back with pride and happiness for what we have accomplished.

And I want to beat type 1 diabetes too.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Diabetes Craft Project - Bling Your Log Book!

Since our last craft project where we showed you how to bling your infusion site, the Naturally Sweet Sisters wanted to share another easy and fun way to do a bit of crafting with a log book. 

Each year, our little ladies start a new log book which we fill with print-outs from their Animas Ping, Dexcom CGMs and endocrinology appointment paperwork.  Every ditto, copy or interesting article also goes into the binder, making for a very easy reference system for each daughter's type 1 diabetes information. 

As important as that medical information can be, it is also rather boring.  To jazz it up, the girls love to decorate their binders with stickers.  It helps us not only to know to be able to easily identify each daughters information, but it also makes it fun and much more interesting.  Even the clinic looks forward to seeing what the girls have come up with. 

For this project, I try to save and set aside stickers from all of our doctor appointments, the daily junk mail, the dollar store and any birthday goodie bags the kids receive, with the big reveal on the binder decorating day.

For this simple and fun project, all you need is:

New 3-ring Binder
Label maker or name stickers for clearly identifying the owner/child on the outside binder.  Ofcourse, you might not have to worry about this if you only have one family member living with type 1 diabetes.

An optional idea that the girls came up with is to use a magazine to cut-out favorite things and glue on.  You can also buy a white binder and go crazy with Sharpies.  The girls thought this would be fun to do during the "very boring time of adults talking" at an endrocrinology appointment.

In any case, go crazy and have fun.  One neat part of having a customized log book is that it also is a personalized record of your child's interests as they grow older.  While our once Elmo loving daughter is not as interested in cartoon charactors, she loves to look back at her folders and remember how much she did enjoy Sesame Street. 

And I love that by chance, we have discovered another way to make living with type 1 diabetes a little bit more sweet.