Friday, November 30, 2012

Maybe My Pancreas Needs A Good Scare

I think that I have written about the metamorphosis of my youngest daughter.

When she was diagnosed immediately after her 3rd birthday, she was a pale, tiny, frail and scared little girl.  The length of her sickness combined with her week long stay in the hospital resonated profoundly in her self-image.  The only place she felt entirely comfortable was when she was near me - a position that I savoured dearly but also worried about.

Each year, she grew a little bit more independent and a lot more self-confident.  In fact, by 2nd grade, she was actually participating in the classroom, raising her hand and voicing interesting opinions, albeit very quietly.

As months went on, she started taking on more creative endeavors like dancing in ballet and tap, singing and drawing.  Her take on the world at large blossomed and I often found myself listening to her in part awe and part amusement.  She is the rare combination of a dreamer AND a doer. 

After a while, I came to the conclusion that all of those "quiet years" were just a ruse for what she was really like.... a silly, sweet and often wise beyond her years kid. 

So it was of no surprise that she came up with the best 'cure diabetes' idea, ever to be thought of. 

I looked over just in time to see her say, "BOO!" to her belly and then pause and fall into a hail of giggles.  She repeated herself and started laughing even harder.

When I asked her what she was doing, she told me this....

"I am trying to scare my pancreas so it will pee insulin!", she said laughing with complete and pure amusement!

I cocked my head to one side and debated what to say as she continued to giggle... but who knows, maybe this crazy little idea will one day lead to something bigger and better...  so who am I to be the voice of dissension?

So instead I said, " Great idea!  And did you know that Thomas Edison, the man who invented the light bulb said this?"

“I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

I told her to count this as one. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Healing Sites - A Double Entendre

When I write a blog article, I usually start with the title. 

A clever (I think) title helps me stay focused on the content that I want to create and how to loop my readers back around as I end the discussion.

Today, after writing the words Healing Sites, I had to pause and reflect...

My article was going to be about oldest and youngest daughter's efforts to ignore their, ahem -  "hiney", for a few weeks so old infusion site marks had enough time to thoroughly heal.

And the area looks perfect!  Two weeks of not going into the usual rotation did the trick. 

But after re-reading Healing Sites, I realized that those words are so much more...

Healing Sites might mean the life giving infusion of insulin that flows minute by minute into my daughters' body; helping to heal the potential damage from two wrecked pancreas.

Healing Sites.

I like it.  Somehow those words seem comforting to me. 

Especially as I am filled with dread in anticipation of waking my beautiful, sleeping babes from their warm, deep slumber in order to perform two new (and often painful) site changes before they head off to school.

None of us like that time of day for an infusion site change - although, once again I have to ask - is there any time that is good?!

But maybe, just maybe having a paradigm shift (as I plan to explain that bit of wisdom to them) of Healing Sites will make the owie a tiny bit better.

Or if not, than a 2.5 carb Hershey Kiss with breakfast and look around for our elf, Cookie might just do the trick!

Photo: Yep...  magic:)
Youngest Daughter with the perfect Magic moment of discovered Cookie and his tiny elfin sized donuts!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Basal Beats Food - Sometimes

Sometimes a low comes at the wrong time (and yes, I do realize that there is NEVER a good time for a low, except maybe right before you are about to eat a second piece of birthday cake).

There are a few really stink-o times.

Like right after brushing your teeth.

Or maybe while your sleeping.

Or when you are just not hungry.

Or sometimes when a friend is over and you just want to play.

Or when mom forgot to buy more tabs and all that is left are the yucky tasting orange ones

And if that low isn't too low, maybe hovering around 90, and if you aren't starving for a snack, it is time to call on our pumpy and pumpster friend TEMP BASAL RATE (Using Animas Ping Pumps, could be called something different in Medtronic pumps).

Basal rate, the lovely background insulin which we use in our insulin pump, comes in handy for a not-so-low-but-can't-be-ignored-kind-of-low. 

The way we use it is to do a basal reduction for a period of time to let blood sugars gradually rise back into a safe zone.

For example:  Oldest daughter has a blood sugar of 92 mg/dl at bedtime.  We set her temp basal rate to -10% for 2 hours.  At the 2-hour re-check, her blood sugar has increased to 123 mg/dl and she is able to safely sleep until the the 3:00 a.m. regularly scheduled check.  And yes, I still check almost every night!

WARNING:  I am not a doctor so please consult your endocrinologist or diabetes educator before trying anything which will alter your diabetes care plan. 

For our oldest daughter, reducing the basal rates when she has a minor low blood sugar has been a wonderful diversion from having to constantly eat some form of glucose.  Remember the whole fiasco with tabs?  They still do not like the flavor orange, which unfortunately, we have a lot of!

Our nutritionist echoed the sentiment at our last A1c appointment.  Her concern is always one of teaching our children healthy nutritional habits while making exercise a daily routine.  As part of our appointment, she reviews BMI for each child and notes an increase in their weight and height.  What she wants to see is the child following along on a healthy curve that does not indicate a problem.  Excessive snacking on empty carbs could be troublesome for long range health.

Not that ages 9 and 11 do we think there is a BMI concern but long term, we are trying to teach both of  girls many different ways to manage their diabetes, including reducing the basal rates instead of eating.  In this manner, we are supplying them with a "tool chest" of ways to manage their care.

Just something to think about.  And remember, I am not a doctor, just a mom, so be sure to clear any changes to your care plan with your endocrinologist before trying.

Monday, November 26, 2012

It's Cyber Monday - You Can Shop ADA, JDRF or T1D Business

It is Cyber Monday!

Time for shopping in PJs while sipping cocoa and staring at your computer monitors. 

While you might be done with some of your big shopping, afterall, Black Friday was just a mere three days away, there are still some really cute things to be had. 

Just checking on a few Type 1 Diabetes supportive websites, I discovered this little beauty for $24.99 at the American Diabetes Association website (and wow! are there some really cute things on there!!!).  Wrap_4.png

Browsing a bit further, how about this cool travel gadget for a gentleman in your life?  It is only $16.99!


Any children that you are shopping for might like this Owl Hat and Mittens Gift Set.  This is so cute that I know two little Naturally Sweet Sisters that might actually tussle over who gets to wear it!


Or if you want to wear the JDRF logo and didn't know where to go to find a cool mug or shirt, check out the website for some really neat gift ideas.

If you haven't bought Christmas or Holiday cards this season, consider purchasing them from JDRF as well.  There are many to choose from and all are adorable. 


Plus, part of your purchase will go right back into that Christmas gift that we all want, a cure!

And finally, as you Cyber Shop, consider the idea of purchasing from stores that you know support our efforts in finding a cure for type 1 diabetes.  In fact, after you are done shopping, send them an email through their customer service page to say that you shopped there BECAUSE of the idea that their company supports our families.

A few companies to look at are:

And our own partner for Naturally Sweet Sisters, and Kari Fitzgerald!
Initials, Inc.

The message of giving will continue long after the holiday is over and maybe, just maybe, even more people will recognize that we do need a cure for Type 1 Diabetes!

Happy Holiday Shopping!!!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Naturally Sweet Cousins Do Not Have Diabetes


To begin with, our family is tiny.  Just one brother each for my husband and I.  And of our two siblings, only one had children; my brother.  They are a family of four, just like us.  That means that our two daughters have only two cousins.

The cousins do not have type 1 diabetes.  No one else in our family does.

A fact that I am so grateful for.  Nobody should live with type 1 diabetes (and I do not need to list the million reasons why because we all know.)

The four cousins are all close in age and resemble each other in a way that is confusing to wait staff when we eat out.  Four light blondes with a sprinkling of golden-red highlights.  Light eyes and eastern European complexions.  They even smile and laugh alike!

Besides physical appearance, everything else is the same too.  They love the outdoors; swimming, playing fun games, jumping on the trampoline and in general, just having a good time.

It makes my heart soar to see them happily playing together.

But I also see something else when I watch closely.  When our oldest daughter tests her blood sugar, I see her favorite big boy cousin grimace in sadness.  He remembers when she didn't have type 1 diabetes and wasn't tethered to a pump.  I know he wishes dearly that she didn't have to poke herself.  He once told me that he wished for a cure.  "Me too", I said.  "Me too."

My little niece, the baby of the foursome, doesn't understand it either.  She carefully pronounces the word Diabetes and lets it roll off her tongue in a way that shows her concern.  Last night during an impromptu slumber party in youngest daughter's bedroom, I watched her carefully touch the Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) sensor that was protruding from youngest daughter's left forearm.  "Why does she have to wear that?" my niece asked with a concerned look on her sweet face.    My reply, "To keep her safe."  With a knowing look far beyond her years, my niece nodded her head in acknowledgement.  She too, wants to keep her cousin as safe as can be.

These young cousins already know the extra amount of work that it takes to remain safe.  They patiently wait for site changes, blood sugar checks, CGM calibrations or even a snack to be eaten before resuming play.  They accept the challenges of type 1 diabetes and still love our two daughters unconditionally without reservation or hesitation. 

They are not only cousins but friends.

And maybe, just maybe, one of them will grow up and figure out a way to make life a little less about type 1 diabetes and a whole lot more of uninterrupted playtime!

Because this is what it is going to take.  Someone with a deep connection to type 1 diabetes who won't stand a moment more to wait for that cure.

Maybe it might even be someone you know!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday - All I Want For Christmas Is Anything EXCEPT Diabetes

Today is Black Friday.

Right about now, oldest daughter and I are out shopping.  Yes, we are one of those people.

No, I am not really shopping... instead I am spending some fun time people watching with my oldest and making a 'first' memory with her.

This is her first Black Friday.

In all the years leading up to now, she has been my Christmas elf and excitedly on the other side of the curtain - like Dorothy meeting Oz for the first time.  Fully believing and ready to do whatever good behavior it took to get that BIG present.

Only this year has the curtain opened so that she may enjoy the view from both sides.

She is growing up.

What I wanted to share with you is something that she told me now that her view is different.

Diabetes supplies do not make good presents.

So I am sharing that bit of wisdom with you. 

Even if your budget is limited and you really want to give your child something diabetes related, don't do it on Christmas (or a birthday).

If you do, you may risk having your child think that all you see is a diabetic and not the person within. 

It happened last year to a friend of hers and she confessed that it was one of the downfalls leading up to the revealing of the Great Oz.  The girls talked about it and decided it was unfair of Santa to even consider such a thing, especially when the child only wanted some simple CDs.  And worse, only one of them received a diabetes gift.  Why not both?

No one wants a reminder of type 1 diabetes, most of all during Christmas.  

No glucose tabs, no pumps, no pouches, nothing of the sort.

Instead, save it all for a quiet day when you aren't making a lasting memory.  Santa will be a rock star!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is a repost from last year but one that I still enjoy....  and yes, just as thankful as ever for the discovery of insulin!

Happy Thanksgiving, 2012!

From Naturally Sweet Sisters



Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving (or Happy Eating Holiday!)

Happy Thanksgiving!

The 2011 Naturally Sweet Sisters Thankful List:

1.)  Insulin.
2.)  We are healthy.
3.)  We have a home.
4.)  We are together.
5.)  We are happy.
6.)  Turkey is carb free.
7.)  Pumpkin pie is delicious.
8.)  Tomorrow is a national shopping day.
9.)  The Lions are playing football.
10.)  And we are so thankful for our Naturally Sweet Sisters extended family! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner Carbohyrdates (Carb Counts)

So now that you have your mission of celebrating Thanksgiving with your family in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere - remember yesterday's post? - how about one more thing to help you relax and enjoy the holiday...

Here is a typical Thanksgiving meal and the estimated carb counts from the Calorie King Blog and

(Please note that this is an estimate only and your actual carbs might vary based on ingredients and portion size.) 

Just print and save.  Or if you are like me, tuck under your plate at the dinner plate, so you will have an easy reference spot to refer to. 

This is all about making Thanksgiving easy enough to have kids first, diabetes second. 

Oven-roasted Turkey
4 oz. light meat (breast, back) without skin
180 calories, 4g fat and 34g protein, 0g carbs

Stove Top Stuffing (herb flavor - click for more varieties)
1 oz (28g), 110, 2.5g, 19g, 3g

Sweet Potato Casserole
4 oz. sweet potato casserole
263 calories, 9g fat and 41g carbs

1/2 cup, 148, 8g, 17g, 0g

Cranberry Sauce
2.5 oz. (1/4 cup) regular jellied cranberry sauce
110 calories, 0g fat and 25g carbs

White Bread (Dinner Rolls)
30 g, 70, 1g, 14g, 2g

Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Pie

4 oz. (or 1/8th of a 9” pie) pumpkin pie

240 calories, 10g fat and 30 carbs

Pecan Pie
4 oz. (or 1/8th of a 9” pie) pecan pie

455 calories, 20g fat and 65g carbs

Whipped Topping
2oz. (1/4 cup) Fat Free Reddi Whip ®
10 calories, 0g fat and 2 carbs

Good luck, enjoy making memories and remember you have permission to say no to Grandma's urging of seconds or thirds.  Unless, that is what YOU want to do!:)

Happy Thanksgiving from Naturally Sweet Sisters!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving - Yes, You Can Enjoy It!

Thanksgiving is almost here.  For some, that means roasting the biggest turkey you can find, watching a parade or two and certainly, cheering for the Detroit Lions football team (and pretending to feel surprised when they lose - again)!

Including the above, the rest of our family tradition is fairly simple when it comes to this day.  All we ask for is to have our family together and to pause for a moment to remember how lucky we are to have each other and to 'just say no'.

Having only one simple, but meaningful, objective has helped to drastically reduce our family stress load.

We came to that conclusion on the first Thanksgiving post diagnosis for our youngest daughter.  After experiencing a year full of emotional (and physical) ups and downs, the last thing we wanted to do was experience Grandma's Carmel Pie. 

So we did what had been doing all year and decided to run away. 

We took our kids to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Waking up at the crack of dawn, we packed our bags and took a train ride into the city.  Once we arrived, we navigated the girls through the throngs of people and somehow landed in an amazing viewing location.  It was perfect for seeing the massive balloon floats winding down the street.  The day was a one-of-a-kind magical moment for all of us (and thankfully, type 1 diabetes behaved). 

After the parade ended, we quickly realized that we would be dining in the city as transportation back out was impossible to find. The only restaurant (we could find anyway) that was available without reservations was a little Greek place near our parade viewing spot .  With blood sugars dropping, we couldn't afford to be picky and we decided to take a chance on it.

Now let me tell you something about Greek food.  It is carb-friendly and kid- friendly all at once.  Greek salads, hummous and olives are plentiful and absolutely delicious.  Lamb meat in a gyro packed with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and tzatiki yogurt sauce is divine and very forgiving on blood sugars.  Saganaki, fried cheese, is so delicious that you may wish that you were Greek! 

It wasn't a turkey but it was AMAZING and frankly, the best holiday food that I have ever tasted.

And the greatest part of our adventure?  It wasn't served with guilt or pity. 

You know the kind... Grandma bakes a pie and expects everyone to eat not just one, but two slices.  Uncle Steve brings his famous (or infamous) dip with beer bread, crackers and rolls while demanding that every must try it.  Or Aunt Sally is upset to see that there will be leftovers because surely that is an indication that the food was not perfect. 

While that kind of guilt stinks (especially since we have been taught to be well-mannered children), the worst moments are the ones where people try to hush the food by erroneously thinking that people living with type 1 diabetes can't eat it, so therefore, it should be hidden.  Oh those poor, poor, poor souls with type 1 diabetes. 

Quick, hide Grandma's Carmel Pie!  Oh, and did you see that child with a cookie?... I didn't think she could have that.  Here honey, let me give you a (carb loaded) banana instead. 

Yep.  Those people are the holiday food police.  Misinformed but well intentioned and yet, so very forceful.

So what do you do to keep Thanksgiving from turning into a dreaded holiday?

Having that moment away in New York gave us the much needed clarity on how to handle those holiday meals.  We realized that we needed an objective for ourselves:

To have our family together and to pause for a moment to reflect on how lucky we are to have each other and to learn that saying, "No thank you" is alright.  

That's it.

We can't change the way our family thinks of food and celebrations but we could learn to use our voice and to say no when we have had enough.  Maybe it is one slice of pie or maybe it isn't any.... but it doesn't matter about the food, it just matters that we are there together, remembering how lucky we are to have each other.  People around us will get over it.  Maybe not all at once but eventually.  And even if it never happens, at some point, they will become less vocal.  Because happiness is a powerful tool and as long as other people see that we are truly happy, they will have less to be concerned with.

And the best part of this is that our kids have grown up guilt-free.  We have taught them that spending time with the people they love is really what the celebration is for - not the food.  Whether at Thanksgiving, birthday parties or while on vacation, the time spent with the ones you love, making memories is what is most important.

Not Grandma's Carmel Pie.

Happy Thanksgiving from Naturally Sweet Sisters!

Did You Know? Naturally Sweet Sisters Has A Facebook Page!

The holidays are coming and Naturally Sweet Sisters is preparing some fun blog posts about managing stress and enjoying the magic of the season while living with type 1 diabetes. 

Remember these yummy candy cane hearts from last year?  Only 6 carbs each!

To make sure you do not miss out on any of our exciting posts, you might want to add us via a bookmark or through your social media.

Did you know that you can also find us on Facebook?

Click here for the link.

Or if you would like a direct location address, check us out at!/pages/Naturally-Sweet-Sisters/205072552896720

Did you also know that you can subscribe to Naturally Sweet Sisters blog?  At the bottom of our site, you will find a link to add to Networked Blogs. 


Monday, November 19, 2012

Even When I Think We Are Blending, We're Not (Or Avoiding Type 1 Diabetes Zombie Syndrome)

Thanks Marriott!

Kids first, diabetes second.

Kids first, diabetes second.

Kids first, diabetes second.

This is my mantra.  This is our mantra.  We say it often and with meaning and emphasis.  To me, this single phrase helped put type 1 diabetes in perspective for our family of 'Naturally Sweet Sisters'.  We are living our lives and simply adding type 1 diabetes to how we choose to live.

But sometimes, I know we aren't blending with the rest of the world. 

Like this weekend when my kids asked for orange juice at a hotel breakfast buffet and I said no.  It was early morning, blood sugars were perfect, they already had eaten breakfast and I was about to stuff them into our vehicle for a 1.45 - hour long car ride to our next destination.

Orange juice seemed like the tipping point that would potentially crash all of the above into a million little pieces of uncomfortable.

I am sorry, but no orange juice.  How about some water?

My youngest daughter puckered up her face and my oldest daughter shrugged as though she knew what my answer would be.

As soon as I said it, instant regret flooded over me.  I knew that I had lost my focus of kids first, diabetes second.  Looking around, I could see that nearly every person in the hotel breakfast buffet area was enjoying a small cup of orange juice.  How many carbs would that even be?  Maybe 30 or 40?  It couldn't be that much.

In a second glance, I could also see that no one was turning into a hideous, half-crazed zombie (now that would be a reason, right?) while they were drinking their small cups of orange juice.

It just seemed mean to have said no. 

The truth is, I just didn't want the hassle of a crazy high (or worse, a sudden drop) from the huge amount of sugar in orange juice.   I didn't want my girls to feel bad.  Not "bad" as in guilty, but as in nauseated, ketone riddled and crabby.  The kind of zombie that can sometimes be our reality when eating the wrong food at the wrong time.

I didn't relent either.  Grabbing a few extra water bottles, I shuffled the girls away from the buffet and out to the parking lot towards our car.  Popping in a movie in our vehicle's DVD player, the girls were immediately distracted from the pending orange juice zombiedom.  In a moment, the girls happily cracked open their water bottles while giggling at the small screens.

Everyone was fine.  Except me.  And here I am two days later writing about it and sharing it with you.

Because this is the thing.... saving my girls from becoming orange juice zombies amounts to nothing more than feeling bad for letting type 1 diabetes get in the way of living. 

Weekend Score:  T1D = 1 - Mom = 0. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Instant Connection AND Something BIG to Share

I've talked before about 'my peeps'.  You know, those people that you instantly connect with.   Especially people living in the world of type 1 diabetes.  No matter who they are, we just seem to get each other.

I can be out and about, simply minding my own business, when suddenly...


By the way, that noise of a meter whirring away can make me whip my head around faster than hearing the word "Sale" at Macy's. 

What?????  That was the call of one of my peeps!  Who is testing their blood sugar? 


That's what meeting someone new (who also happens to live with type 1 diabetes) is like for me, my daughters and my entire family.  It is an innate feeling that just bonds you together.  I don't know about you, but meeting someone fully engaged in our world is AWESOME.   

Instant Connection happened again and this time, over something very big that (I think - heck, I am just going to tell you anyway!) can be shared.

Our recent instant connection arrived in the form of an invite to make a video for the 2013 JDRF Promise Ball to be held on May 3rd at the MGM Grand in Detroit, Michigan, which is my big news to share.

Whoooooooops!  I think I just let the strip out of the meter! (Like my clever play on words of the cat out of the bag?)

And this might be one of my favorite moments.... do you see what she has on her tee?

Whatever.  Apparently my comedy chops aren't that great but my very own Naturally Sweet Sisters are!  They were chosen, along with a few other awesome T1D peeps, to participate in the making of the 2013 JDRF Promise Ball video. 

This might be the highest honor that we have received through our six years of living with type 1 diabetes.  After all, by making this video and asking for donations through this venue, we are really representing all of the amazing families that live with type 1 diabetes. 

That's a big job and one, even with comedy sprinkled in, that we take very seriously. 

The theme for the 2013 JDRF Promise Ball  is Friday Night Live (like Saturday Night Live) and the video will follow the fun and crazy antics of six awesome t1d peeps - with a little true life grit of what goes one behind the scenes.  Our favorite television weatherman, Brandon Roux, will be narrating along with a grandson and grandpa duo and a very cool young adult (most likely the only one of us who actually can stay awake long enough to watch Saturday Night Live -without having to OnDemand!)

It won't make sense until production puts it together, but youngest daughter might have a calling in theater arts.

Today the group gathered at a very cold video production warehouse and introduced ourselves for the first time.  As the girls whipped out their blood sugar meters to test (one felt low and one felt high), another mom walked in and gave a big smile of recognition for what was happening.  No words of explanation were needed - we just get each other.  Especially over the sound of BEEP.

This moment most touching of all, grandpa with his hand lovingly on his grandson.  Two sisters forever bonded.  A fearless young man who tackled T1D head on.  This is the reality of living with type 1 diabetes. There are no get out of jail free cards when you are diagnosed.

Later as individual interview segments were being recorded, a light lunch was brought out.  Juice boxes appeared on the table and then, as if by magic, a wonderful JDRF friend, Susan, dropped off the carb counts.  (Now let me tell you something, I can go all over the world with people that I see everyday and who KNOW us and never once, will someone keep a label out!)

These are our peeps. 

And this singular reason might be why it is so important to be involved with the type 1 diabetes community


Because for as much as I enjoyed it, I happened to glance over at two very happy girls who were coloring, smiling and feeling the very same connection.

One last little (or BIG) piece of information to share is that our video will be aired on the night (May 3rd) of the 2013 JDRF Promise Ball.  Until then, I will share a few of the production shots as they become available to me.  I, like you, are so excited to see the final outcome.  It will surely be hard to wait...  but please stay posted for more to come on this......

DexCom G4 - Final Thoughts (For Now)

Naturally Sweet Sister's G4 on Target with Big Ugly Tester (Accu-Chek Compact Plus)

I have been posting over the past few days on what the Naturally Sweet Sisters thought of their new DexCom G4 Continous Glucose Monitors (CGMs).  Most of their worries revolved around the injection, specifically the dreaded needle.  No one wants a poke, even kids that are as brave as these two are.

What I haven't covered (and a reason that I waited a few more days to write this) is how the DexCom is actually working.

Almost immediately after the second calibration, I noticed a tight correlation in numbers between the CGM and blood sugar meters for oldest daughter.   That correlation was even better for youngest daughter and happened after the initial calibration.  I attribute much of this to the location of the sensors (tush for oldest daughter and arm for youngest).  In our experience, all of that sitting tends to be a hazard when it comes to sending signals.

The reception distance throughout the house is amazing.  Initially, I hesitated to take the receivers too far from the girls, but as our 7-day sensor came closer to a full week, I decided to brave it.  After all, what could happen except a failed sensor?

And here is probably the best part of this review.  The sensor continued to work with the receiver.... even at a distance greater than 20 feet.  In fact, the receiver worked at about three times that distance.  With no failure, ever.

Which sparks the cost question.... with funds being limited for most families living with type 1 diabetes, why would anyone consider the Medtronic MySentry?  Obviously, Medtronic will need to bring their costs into alignment with DexCom and hopefully, this will spark a price fairness for all new medical components released in the future. 

Until then, if you are considering a CGM or the MySentry, I would consider the G4.  And no, DexCom has not offered me or given me anything to say these words.  Just an honest recommendation from a Naturally Sweet Sister.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

World Diabetes Day and My Birthday Collide

November 14th.

For years, it has been a special date between Prince Charles and myself.  Then, came Josh Duhamel, Fergie's husband.  By the way, I welcomed Josh with open arms:)  Um, just teasing to my very adorable Naturally Sweet husband!

The three of us toasted the date of November 14th to each other and celebrated turning one year older.  It was a pretty low-key (because really, I am sure they have no idea of the Naturally Sweet Sister mom's existence) but none-the-less very joyous affair.  One thing about me is that I like celebrating and birthdays are no exception... getting older or not.

This year, I turned the big 4-0. 

It's interesting because while I feel no older than I did as a young 3-9, I am acutely aware of entering that next decade.

I am also acutely aware of the fact that November 14th is World Diabetes Day

I like to call this coincidence a little bit of irony.  My birthday is undeniably a day to be shared with diabetes.  World Diabetes Day blue circle logos are popping up all over cyber space, television and even radio and newspaper. 

At our recent Diabetes Expo, as soon as I entered through the door, I was given a lovely pale blue circle pin.  It has been my favorite birthday gift thus far because I actually think it is quite beautiful.  To me it represents the beauty of my little girls.

Of course, with my only two beautiful daughters living with type 1 diabetes, it only seems fitting that my birthday and birthday gifts be shared with diabetes too.  After all, aren't every one of their days shared with diabetes?  And especially on their birthdays when carb counting in cakes or excitement highs (or worse excitement lows) are always looming?  They don't mind, so how could I? 

As we all know, diabetes doesn't take a break, EVER.  Not on their birthdays or mine or holidays or vacations or school dances or ballet recitals... never, ever, ever.  It is always there.

What is most important is how we deal with that.  We chose to live fully and completely in spite of diabetes.  Living as kids first, diabetes second.  Living with grace, love and laughter until our wishes come true.

Then, I think of this;

A 40 year old monumental birthday wish......

When I blow out the candles tonight, I am only going to hope for one thing.  I can't tell you because I really want it to come true. 

However, when it does (and it will someday), I will be the first to share it all with YOU! Oh, and Prince Charles and Josh Duhamel.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Speaking of CGM - An interview with the Naturally Sweet Sisters

For the past two days, Naturally Sweet Sisters has provided a real life review of the DexCom G4 Platinum in post 1 and post 2.   To continue our review, I thought I would ask my two resident experts, ages 9 and 11, how they felt about their new (and upgraded from the DexCom 7 Plus) CGM medical devices.

I have written a few times over the years about why we like CGMs and how sometimes, you have to find a little bit of humor in what you are doing... because sadly yes, insertion doesn't feel great.

In their very own words, here is what the Naturally Sweet Sisters had to say about it.

1.)  What did you think of the your new DexCom G4?

Youngest Daughter:  Hmmm.  It was, I don't know.  I loved the way, um, it looks.  And, um, it, the way it looks like an I-Pod.

Oldest Daughter:  I think it is really cool because it looks like an I-Pod and when I showed my friends at school today, I had to actually show them the words DexCom.  They really did think it was an I-Pod.

2.)  What did you think when you saw the insertion device for the sensor?

Youngest Daughter:  Oh, the long thing?  I was kinda creeped out.  It was just like the other one.  It was scary.

Oldest Daughter:  I think it didn't really change from the last DexCom.  It still hurt the same but oh, well. 

3.)  How do you think the insertion was?

Youngest Daughter:  The poke part really hurt.  I think it felt worse than the other.  

Oldest Daughter:  I would say it was the same as the last one and it still hurt the same.  Nothing was really different.

4.)  How well do you think the new DexCom G4 will work?

Youngest Daughter:  I think, um, it will work better because people will not ask you as much questions because, it looks like an I-Pod.  I think that when I go to put my number in, it will work better and get more accurate.  It looks really cool.

Oldest Daughter:  I think it will work much better because on the video tutorial, it checks every five minutes, which might make it more accurate.

5.)  Will you be willing to do another insertion when this one is up?

Youngest Daughter:  Yes.    It will be painful but it doesn't hurt afterwards, maybe.

Oldest Daughter:  Sure. 

6.)  Would you tell another kid to try the new DexCom G4?

Youngest Daughter:  Yes, because it really is not that scary when you think about.  Even though I said it was, it's not.  It's really not that bad.

Oldest Daughter:  Yes, but they just can't be afraid because once it is done, it is done for a long time, like a week.  You don't have to do another poke and that is great.

7.)  Any last words?

Youngest Daughter:  No.  (insert sister's name) Want to go play Barbies now?

Oldest Daughter:  Everyone with diabetes should get a CGM.  This was fun!

Friday, November 9, 2012

G4 and More (Post 2 On CGM)

The 2012 DexCom G4 Continuous Glucose Monitor

After writing this blog post and waiting several hours for the initial DexCom G4 receiver to charge, my oldest daughter gamely lined herself up for the first ever "Naturally Sweet Sisters G4 Insertion" (sounds very official, doesn't it?).

First words out of her mouth...

"Wait!  I thought you said it was a different needle!  That is the SAME!  It's going to hurt." 

Then, my quick cover of, "No, it IS different.  The DexCom people just aren't very clever  at packaging design.  They used up their creativity on the actual receiver and decided that the sensor would just be the same."

The "Old" DexCom Seven Plus Insertion Device for the Sensor

The "New" DexCom G4 Insertion Device for the Platinum Sensor - Does It Look Different To You?

Yes, those words did not fool anyone, least of all my daughter.  Rolling her eyes, she lined herself up for the poke and braced for the expectant pinch.

Click, slide, snap.  Done!  In the same series of steps as the DexCom Seven Plus, the needle is deployed, the collar pulled up and the insertion device quickly rocked out.  In seconds, the sensor is snapped into place and the receiver activated for start-up. 

Oldest daughter commented (before I could ask) and wryly said, "Yep.  Still hurts."

For the record though, I still think it hurt less.  She didn't cry or even mention it later.  Usually, a CGM site will cause a stinging sensation, that slowly lessons to a throbbing sensation and eventually, just a sore spot.  One that no one can touch or even venture near.  Today, it was either excitement for her new G4 or less pain than usual because after, nothing was said.

I am going with less pain because when things really hurt, there is no being quiet about it.

Another new feature on the new G4 is a reduced calibration time of only 2 hours (compared to about 3 on the DexCom Seven Plus).

The calibration start-up defines the time in which the sensor starts up and begins to "sense" blood glucose readings.  You have to wait that time before actually using the receiver.  When the time is up (measured on the receiver with a mini pie-chart graphic), you will be requested to enter two blood glucose readings.

We used that time to watch the enclosed instructional CD (for those smarties reading this, yes, we watched it after we did our insertion - but you should plan on watching it after opening the box, especially if you are new to CGMs).

The CD walks the viewer through basic set-up, insertion, calibration, start-up and ending a session.  I requested that the girls watch it with me as they will be the ones handling the CGM care while at school.  Both giggled at the term "fingerstick" which is used liberally throughout the video (and I can't always explain the humor of 9 and 11 - year olds but they thought it was hilarious!).  However, through the laughter, I did notice that my oldest daughter played along with her receiver just as the instructor in the video demonstrated on hers. 

If you have used the DexCom Seven Plus, the majority of features are the same.  The biggest difference is the full color display.  Both the graph and the blood sugar display as red when low, yellow when high and gray for in range blood glucose levels.  Alert levels can be set as can features to allow for sleeping in past normal wake up times.

After our allotted two hour wait time, the receiver buzzed and requested two blood glucose readings (or for the annoyance of my daughters, two fingersticks!).

Even though I was bracing myself for a crazy blood glucose number (it always happens when you are about to take a picture), she actually came up with two really good ones - it helps that it is about 8:50 EST and well past our dinner hour.

To enter the blood glucose reading, much the same as the DexCom Seven Plus, the DexCom G4 simply highlights the "ENTER BG" button and using arrows, scroll up or down to your number and select the middle button to confirm.  The process is fast and efficient and for kids, no big deal. 

On the G4, calibration (entering a blood glucose reading) after initial start up is only needed once every 12 hours.  Simple and really, no big deal.

In fact, as my daughter was entering the numbers from her readings, I had to ask her to slow down so I could snap this picture. 

The only downside to having such great blood glucose is that she is about to head to bed.  To the world at large, type 1 diabetes does NOT sleep.  This 95 mg/dl on her CGM can quickly spell disaster if we leave it alone.

Here it is;  Drum Roll please........

The number one reason that I love having my kids on a CGM is that once the sensor is in place, I can identify the trends of where their blood sugar is going; up, down or flat-lining.  Tonight is a little bit too early in the CGM start-up process and I can't yet see where she is headed because there is simply not enough data.  To safely put her to bed, I will have to give her some fast acting carbs or turn down her basal rates to ensure that she won't fall lower, which she may or may not.

If this were tomorrow or even later in the day, I would have a much better grasp of the direction she was heading just from looking at her graph and possibly even avoid having to do anything, except to check her blood glucose later in the evening.

And if you ask oldest daughter her thoughts, with an impish grin, she would tell you how excited she was to be able to bring her Pink I-Pod Nano to school tomorrow. 

Yes, she means her new DexCom G4 CGM - she is just hoping to fool a few of her friends!

As we continue on our journey this week with our new G4s, I will update the blog with more real life reviews from the Naturally Sweet Sisters.  Stay tuned for youngest daughter's review (she is a vocal one - so DexCom beware!) and her thoughts on the G4.  Already, she is wondering why hers still has not arrived.   She has some serious CGM envy tonight!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dexie and Dexter Meet G4 (CGM Love!)

It arrived! 

After weeks of anticipation, our brand new DexCom G4 Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) arrived.

Well, one did anyway.

That means that one very happy oldest daughter will come home from school to be pleasantly surprised by her lovely G4 and our other youngest daughter,

Hmmmm, let's just say that hers will be arriving tomorrow.  Yuck.  I hate it when things like this happen to siblings!!!!  Now if one cries and says it hurts, the other is automatically going to freak out!!!!  Argh! 

Since I love package reveals, here is the first installment of the new G4 review. 

Upon Fed-Ex arrival, the contents of the box is immediately ripped open and dumped out.  Because nothing is more fun than new T1D gadgets!!!!

A quick overview identifies three nicely contained boxes in durable cardboard.  Do you keep your boxes?  I do!  

The contents include the new G4 receiver, the new G4 sensor and the insertion device.

The G4 receiver is sleek and thin and PINK!!!!!  (You can choose from Pink, Blue and Black on the receiver).  The G4 receiver box size is a tad misleading because you can see from opening the carton, the footprint of the G4 is rather small.  Waste of packaging space people!

If I were to compare to the older model Dexcom, I would say the thickness of the G4 is about half the size or less.  The length and width are similar, with the bigger difference being aesthetics in square corners and a color screen... G4 does not look like typical medical equipment.  In fact, I feel like it could easily pass as my daughter's pink Apple Nano.

On of my daughters first questions were to wonder how best to carry the G4 around.  In the box, DexCom supplies a leather case designed to clip to a belt or waistband.  It seems a little bulky though and I am not sure yet if my daughters will be willing to wear it.  Pants pockets or a shirt pocket seems just as nice.

The G4 sensor is located in the second smaller box.  Upon opening, a huge warning label appears directing you not to remove the sensor until you are ready for insertion.  I had a laugh because anyone who has used one of these sensors understands how easy they are to lose. 

After my laugh, I immediately broke the rules (don't do this people!!!), ignored the warning and popped it out.  Mostly because I wanted to see if the science was still the same.  It appears to be with the sensor code located on the back side and the same little sensor tabs that are used with the insertion device to transmit blood sugar readings.  Other than being a lighter color and slightly smaller, the sensors are the same.

And finally, the third box contains the insertion device.  It looks eerily similar to our old DexCom and I am a little worried about that.  Part of my talk with the girls was to convince them that the insertion would be less painful as the new G4 has a thinner, smaller needle. 

However, as we live in a real life household, I have a feeling that my kids will take one look at that and be in complete disbelief over having less pain upon injection.

Sigh.  I wish that manufacturers would tap into patients thoughts as they design these things. 

Right now, as per instruction, the receiver is charging via the enclosed wall charger.  (A USB cord is available as well for another option in charging).  I have about four more hours to go (total of five hours for a wall and 7 hours for USB) before I can insert into my oldest daughter which is fine, especially since she is in school.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post on the update of the G4 insertion and the arrival (hopefully) of youngest daughter's G4.

I will update several times over the next few weeks with the Naturally Sweet Sisters opinions, so that you can have a great idea of whether or not an upgrade to the G4 or just using a CGM is right for your family.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tick Tock - Change Your Clock!

Happy November 3rd, 2012!!

Just a reminder that Daylight Savings starts at midnight tonight.  Don't forget to set your clocks, pumps, meters, cgms and cats one hour backwards. 

Um, no cats actually.  Just wanted to make sure you were reading this.

Happy Daylight savings:)