Sunday, April 29, 2012

Walking and Talking for Donating!

Here is the 2012 Walk to Cure Type 1 Diabetes Video for our team Naturally Sweet Sisters.

Wishing for a 2012 that brings us a cure!

'Nuff said

Friday, April 27, 2012

Walk For A Cure - 2012

Our family has once again signed up for a fantastic walk year.  This particular walk is leading us into our sixth year of living with type 1 diabetes.

Amazing, isn't it?  Six years.

And we haven't given up. 

For review, in six years,

1.) We have gone from multiple daily injections, to using an I-Port, to insulin pump therapy. 

2.)  We have participated in several research studies, diagnosed a second child and upgraded our original pump to two Animas Ping models. 

3.)  We pushed for and received a prescription for faster acting insulin and two DexCom continuous glucose monitors. 

4.)  We've written our Congress and asked for (on behalf of JDRF) permission to begin clinical trials of an artificial pancreas - and received permission.

5.)  We started a blog and spread the word that yes, you can still live a full, happy and healthy life even though the diabetes monster moved in.  Sometimes it is ok to be angry but at the end of the day, this is life and life is much better living 'naturally sweet'.

So, we continue to walk and ask for money to help build the tools that we need to get rid of diabetes all together. 

Someday, there will be a time when I can add that to the list of what we have accomplised. 

Thanks for sticking in there with us!

Please JOIN and DONATE here!!!!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

At Peace (or In Good Hands)

This morning, my beautiful oldest daughter awoke with a swollen top lip and a tooth that was painfully throbbing.

After a quick call to aptly named Root Canal Specialists, we were able to make an appointment to seek immediate attention.

Fifteen minutes after arriving, the grim news was delivered:

Root Canal.

And then suddenly, in the midst of the calming my daughter and listening to the doctors dictate their response strategy, I feel an inner calmness fall over me.

I feel at peace.

While nothing had been fully resolved, I knew that in a manner of minutes, my daughter would be on her way to healing.

The crisis almost as soon as it had begun, was already ending.

"We are in good hands", I say to my frightened daughter.  She nods and a nurse comes in with headphones blaring Hannah Montana and a nose piece filled with strawberry scent for the nitrous oxide.

She hugs my daughter and repeats my words, "It's OK.  You are in good hands and I won't let go."

That deep calm lasted throughout the day. 

It also reflected directly to my oldest daughter.  She felt calm going into her procedure and for the first time, her blood sugar remained steady, even through the fasting hours before and after.

We both just felt peaceful.

So much so that I actually paused to reflect (and marvel) at feeling so calm.  In doing so, I realized that today wasn't the only time this has happened.  Over the years and through each new diagnosis of type 1 diabetes or other health issues; this same calm has provided me with the support that I needed to manage the crisis.

I think the peace comes from the realization that I have complete trust in the healing hands of the specialists that we have chosen.  Our team of doctors has provided me with enough results over the years that now I have complete trust in their ability to heal my daughter.

Initially, that trust is hard to obtain.  We have set such high standards in care that choosing a doctor doesn't happen without a thorough review of background credentials, board certification and past patient references.  I ask my friends for recommendations and I listen to what their treatment was like.  Sometimes the best information can be gleamed from word of mouth.  Even though that initial time is a "pain", I think in the long run, it saves us a ton of pain - pun intended.

And now hopefully, this is just one more thing to put behind us.  This remaining tooth, a result of a playground injury from the previous year, has been clinging to life since being traumatized.  The tooth next to it already went through a root canal and hasn't bothered our oldest daughter since.  The hope is that this will be the same.  Eventually, we will face more restoration but not until she is much older and her jaw and teeth are fully formed and erupted.

Even with that uncertain time ahead, I still feel calm.  I know that our daughter will be in good hands once the time comes.

Tonight, we will sleep in peace.  Well, for as much as one can while checking blood sugars:) 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Diabetes and Disney World - Yes, It Is Magical!

Getting ready to sample fresh sqeezed OJ which we figured to be about 10 carbs per dixie cup.

The year my youngest daughter was diagnosed, as soon as we had our feet back on the ground from the heavy learning curve of blood sugar checks and insulin schedules, our family decided to run away for a week to Florida. 

After having a wonderful and fun-filled with week with little to no interference from type 1 diabetes, we promptly decided that indeed, Walt Disney World, is the most magical place on earth.

Once again, we were able to experience the same release from type 1 diabetes.

People, I am RELAXED

My kids are healthy and happy.

My husband is tan and looking younger than he has in years.  This is despite the fact that he celebrated entering a new decade (and I, ahem, are about to do the same!).

And the best news, type 1 diabetes behaved.

Not only behaved, but performed like a d-list celebrity and stayed completely off-stage right. 

I wish I could award it an Oscar. 

This exactly the kind of award well behaving Type 1 Diabetes deserves.

When I originally started to write this post, I was going to fill it with all of the things that we have learned about vacationing with the mouse successfully.

And if you tell me that you would like those helpful hints, I will.

But instead, I am going to write about pressuring you all.

Yes, big 'ole peer-pressure coming at you.

And here it is. 

I want to make sure that you are reminded to take some time out of your lives to do something that you love.  It can be anything that makes you feel happy.  Anything and anywhere.  Just to give yourself (and your loved ones) a break from the daily grind of all that comes along with living with type 1 diabetes.  Maybe for a night or a few days or a week if you can.  Just to remember what it feels like to not be focusing on managing blood sugars, scheduling appointments or ordering more supplies. 

Remembering only the simplest of all things... how much you love your family and how wonderful YOU really are.

This image of the beach will keep me calm for many, many days

And ps.... you might scoff at me and say, "how could that really help?"  Well, the ending to this fabulous week of vacationing, is that on our first day back, our Endocrinologist called and said the recent blood draw came back for both girls with slight issues.  One is having a flare up with her thyroid TSH levels and the other had protein in her urine.  While we will be working to correct both of these issues, I can say that I handled the news with a new found calmness that wasn't there prior to our vacation. 

That is worth every bit!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Our World In Numbers

JDRF: Improving Lives. Curing Type 1 Diabetes.

Someone asked me about the question of how many people were living with type 1 diabetes.  For as much time as we spend as a family living with type 1 diabetes, the total population isn't something that I dwell on often so I actually had to go look the information up.

From the JDRF website, here are a few statistics to share with your friends and family. 

  • As many as three million Americans may have type 1 diabetes.

  • Each year, more than 15,000 children and 15,000 adults - approximately 80 people per day - are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the U.S. 

  • 85 percent of people living with type 1 diabetes are adults.

  • The rate of type 1 diabetes incidence among children under the age of 14 is estimated to increase by 3% annually worldwide. 

 And one more fun observation... the above statistics are more than enough to reason why we need to continue to raise money to support a cure.   Please consider donating to care of Naturally Sweet Sisters!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Chicken, I Mean Children, Random Thoughts

Rotating Chicken - Waiting for a Site Change

I think my children inherited my weird sense of humor gene.  And I am pretty sure I can prove it with this story.

We visit one of our favorite delicatessens at least one time each week.  Almost always, my children walk over and stare at the hot, open pit of rotisserie chickens slowly rotating in circles. 

I have to admit, it is indeed mesmerizing.

To my surprise however, my youngest daughter said during a recent site change, "Are we rotating my sites so that they all get cooked?"

Since I didn't know exactly how to answer that, I just stared.

"Cuz I am feeling a little bit like those chickens."

And then, she started to giggle.

Which made me giggle and pretty soon we were rolling on the floor laughing. 

Because yes, we do have to make sure all of her sites are rotated and none are either "overcooked" or "undercooked".   Which maybe is a bit sad but with a little weird humor, is a whole lot better.

And if you tell this story to your own little chickens, be sure to get a taste test and blow lots of kisses and zerberts all over them.  It will make both of you feel better!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spring Cleaning ( or Meter Madess!)

This is our kitchen type 1 diabetes supply basket and this is exactly how I discovered it today.

I think visuals speak for themselves.

But in the words of my ever cheery husband, "At least they are using it!"


Please tell me your baskets look like this too!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Type 1 Diabetes Camp Reminder

American Diabetes Association logo

Just a friendly reminder that your child living with type 1 diabetes might be ready and willing to attend one of the country's wonderful camps.  Since now is the time to register your child, I thought I would provide a link to the ADA website.

From the ADA website,

At Camp, meet and learn from other kids and adult counselors with diabetes who:
  • Listen and understand first-hand what it’s like to live with diabetes.
  • Share their strategies for coping with diabetes management and learn about their day-to-day triumphs and challenges.
  • Inspire campers with their personal accomplishments at school, in sports and at work.
  • Help campers make new friends and develop their own lifelong support system.
Camp Closing Circle Photo
ADA Camp
Go here to find a camp near you. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Vacation Planning - Part 2

If you are thinking about driving anywhere over spring break or summer vacation with a loved one living with Type 1 Diabetes, than you are in luck!

In my last post, I mentioned all of the medical goodies that we pack to keep our daughters enjoying their vacation while diabetes is safely managed.

What I didn't talk about is all of the fun extras that you can pack in your car to keep your life a little less troubled by swinging blood glucose levels.

Here are five tips to help you navigate the open roads while managing type 1 diabetes.

Tip 1:  Load Your Cooler

Over the years, we have realized that counting carbs at restaurants can be very tricky.  Even though we are never without a copy of our beloved Calorie King, quite often, the food ingredients present a big challenge.  All of that grease (fat) and sugar can lead to unpredictable blood sugars.  Nothing worse than correcting, plummeting and correcting again.  My family loves roller coasters, just not type 1 roller coasters!   

Instead we pack small, disposable veggie trays, meet, cheese and crackers, water, crystal light, dried fruit and nuts, and simple sweet treats such as individually portioned Cracker Jacks or boxes of animal crackers.  Since we do not often buy those last two items, they are extra fun on a road trip! We also love that the carbohydrates are posted right on the package.  If you eat only half, it is easy for the kids to do simple math and dose for only half. 

To make our lunch even more festive, I also pack a table cloth with matching plates and silverware.  This helps us all to feel like we are doing something extra special and no one misses that famous golden arched burger place!

Tip 2:  Pack Some Toys

After enjoying our picnic, we get out our Frisbee and Nerf football.  This gives us a chance to stretch our legs and get in some much needed exercising.  Sometimes, we play games around the rest stops where we compete for the longest still-standing jump, or who can make the record for hopping on one foot.  Completely silly but helps to spur digestion and burn off some extra carbs.  You can also pack jump ropes, Hyper-Dash, velcro-ball and sidewalk chalk for hopscotch.  Anything goes at rest stops and chances are some other kids will want to join in on the fun!

Tip 3:  Drink Water

My husband is a known avoider of stops on the highway.  His favorite words are, "Didn't you go before we left the house?", even if that was hours ago!  This method doesn't work well.  By avoiding rest stops, we were also avoiding hydration.  This puts a strain on the all important kidneys and can lead to dehydration, ketones and high blood sugars.  Now, we encourage consumption and all of us feel better with fewer leg cramps and head aches to boot!  Surprisingly, we end up arriving right about the same time anyway.

Tip 4:  Check Those Blood Sugars

You may think that your loved ones blood sugars will remain stable while simply sitting in a car seat.  However, that isn't necessarily the case.  We have discovered that a fair amount of adrenaline hormone kicks in and our children tend to have higher than normal blood sugars.  By the end of the day, all of those highs, tend to lead to very low blood sugars.  Because this is difficult to predict, the best idea is to test frequently.  We subscribe to the theory of testing at least one time every two hours (or more).

Tip 5:  Taste Test New Fast Acting Glucose

With low blood sugars possible, this is the best time to try out some fun fast acting glucose at the various gas stations.  My kids LOVE this!  While they do not wish for the horrible feeling that comes with a low blood sugar, they do enjoy trying out new ways to correct.  For this trip, our family discovered Angry Birds Gummy Snacks.  From the nutrition facts label, 13 pieces equals 28 carbs.  While we bought this particular package ahead of time, they know that they will have a chance to pick out a few more glucose treats along the trip route.  As a bonus, we will save whatever is left over for our time spent walking around the parks or after spending a day swimming in the pool.  Ultimately, low blood sugar will happen and we try our best to keep it kids first, diabetes second.

Hope you enjoy these car ride tips!  And don't forget to save room in the backseat for us!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Vacation Planning - Part 1

We are leaving soon for that magical place where the big mouse lives. 

This isn't our first visit.  We have been taking our Naturally Sweet Sisters since they were babies.  Something about the "magic" combination of sunshine mixed with fantasy fun, allows us to relax and forget about the unforgettable world of insulin, blood glucoses and carbohydrates. 

Yes.  It is possible to leave it behind, well, somewhat behind. 

After all, we still have to dose insulin, check blood glucose and count carbohydrates.

Even at DisneyWorld.

What I want to emphasize though is that we do not let type 1 diabetes stop the fun for us.  It just makes things a little bit more interesting.

I haven't said it in a while, so here it is...

Kids first, diabetes second.

To make that happen, it just takes a little extra planning.  This post is to help you strategize the diabetes supplies.

Before we leave, I start packing.  Now, let me preface this with the fact that I am a self declared lover of all things organization.  Packing for our trips is like my own Superbowl.  I suit up with four suitcases, each lovingly labeled with the family members name and I start bringing together my gameplan. 

And by gameplan, I mean lists. 

Most of the items, are easy.  Clothes, sunglasses, toiletries.  Simple things that you use daily.

Diabetes supplies can be a bit more challenging. 

Here is an easy checklist of things that we pack:

Diabetes Checklist

INSULIN -  this is the most important thing and easily, the most frequently overlooked.  We have two children, so I bring two vials of fast acting.  One opened and one as a back-up unopened.  I also bring one vial of a back-up long acting insulin.  I store this in a small plastic container in the same cooler as our fruits, veggies, ice, soda and water.  The best location in the cooler is at the top.  To help make this happen, the container that we use is a bright purple.  No missing that insulin!

Infusion Sets -  Because we are swimming frequently, I pack one infusion set for each child for each day that we are away from home. 

Cartridges - One for each day away from home.

Tubing - One for each day away from home.

IV Prep - One for each day away from home.

IV 3000 - One for each day away from home.

Unisolve -  One for each day away from home.

Alcohol Swabs - One box.  Sticky and dirty fingers go with vacations.

Lithium AA Pump Batteries - Two sets; one for each child's pump.

Ketone Strips - This is the perfect time to bring your vial of urine ketone strips that test both glucose and ketones.  We discovered that the strips can also double as an extra safety check for testing diet soda in restaurants.  And yes!  We have discovered at least on two occassions that our children were served full sugar sodas.  Wait staff are not used to kids ordering diet and often make the mistake.

Glucagon - I pack one container and I make sure that I also pack syringes in case I need to use the mini-gluc injection method. 

Blood glucose meters - One meter per family member (total of 4).  It makes it nice to have the extra ones in case one is inadvertently left behind.   Plus, I like to spread out our chances of one either being lost or not working.  Parents are just as absent-minded (sleep deprived!) as the kids are!

Test Strips - I calculate 10 strips per day per child.  Then, for good measure, I add in one extra container.  You never know.

Lancets - Our boxes contain 100.  I pack one box per child for our trip.

Meter batteries - One package of 4 or 6. 

Sharps container - Sometimes hotels supply these.  All you need to do is ask the front desk.  If not, we take a water bottle and label it SHARPS MEDICAL WASTE with a Sharpie marker.  We take it home with us and dispose of it properly.

Neosporin - One container.  My mommy friends now count on me to carry this stuff in my purse.  That in itself has taught me the most valuable lesson of all, you may not need it, but someone most certainly will.

Children's Motrin - One container.  It is easy to overlook the kids pain reliever, but often, I find that they are the ones that tend to get vacation headaches.  Nothing provides faster or more immediate relief than a couple of Motrin.

Vaseline -  One small jar.  We love this stuff.  Works great on old sites and any bumps and bruises. 

Glucose Tabs - I pack one large container and two small containers for our daughters to carry in their bags.  When the small container runs out, we refill from the large container as needed.

Smarties and fruit snacks - One family size package of each.

Plastic sandwich baggies - We use these for all sorts of things.  To keep pumps tucked in when not in use (pool time), to fill with one site change if we are headed to the park, to keep fast acting glucose in purses, to use a collection container for used strips and capped lancets, and anything else that comes up.  Just throw a box in your suitcase.  You'll be glad.

Dr. Letter and Emergency Contact List - I have a letter typed up from our Endocrinologist's office explained that both of our daughters have Type 1 Diabetes and what that means.  I also type a list up with our pharmacy phone number, scripts, neighbor and family member contact information. 

Hope this helps for your next vacation!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Strep, Antibiotics, Strep, Antibiotic (or Rinse and Repeat)

Something happened this spring. 

The birds chirped a little bit earlier, the sun came out sooner and the weather warmed up to record highs. 

All of this was wonderful.

Except for this.

And not just one time.  But twice for youngest daughter and once for oldest daughter.

Which seems a little strange for a family who almost never encounters the pesky strep virus.  From Web MD,

What is strep throat?

Strep throat is a bacterial infection in the throat and the tonsils. The throat gets irritated and inflamed, causing a sudden, severe sore throat.  Strep throat must be treated with antibiotics since it is a bacterial infection.
All of the multiple doses of antibiotics lead us to start researching improving immunity, since multiple doses wipe out not only "bad" bacterial, but "good" bacteria too.  Quite a few of our friends living with type 1 diabetes recommended this.

Pro Nutrients Priobotics found at  Amazon.  This is a flavorless, dissolvable powder that can be sprinkled into a cool food (like yogurt) or a beverage like Crystal Light. 

We also are continuing with our favorite Activa yogurt in hopes that also helps increase immunity and ofcourse, aids in digestion.  Not to mention the benefit of protein for our Naturally Sweet Sisters.  Yogurt just might be one of favorite amazing carb:protein ratio foods.  It helps to prevent afternoon lows like no other food.

I hope you or your loved ones do not end up with strep (or any of the other million cootie bugs). 

And if you are on Spring Break in some tropical climate, can you please send some more Vitamin D our way?!