Monday, December 30, 2013

2014: The World Is Your Oyster

It's been a fun break over here at the Naturally Sweet Sisters house.  For the first time in many weeks, I think all of us feel balanced, rested and relaxed.  It helped that we watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation a few times too... nothing like perspective on the holiday mayhem from an another silly family!

With great joy, I am ready to say good-bye to 2013.  While I am not one to think negatively of the past (what is done, is done), I am slightly delirious in my hope for the future - and to not repeat any of the things that we went through.

I am excited for 2014!  I keep repeating to the girls that 'the world is our oyster!'  I know they do not fully understand that, but I want to impress upon them that we have a chance in our darkest moments to find a pearl. 

2013 changed me.  I think it changed all of us and that is not a bad thing.  Even while it was incredibly difficult year, we learned a few wonderful things and those are what we think just might be the pearls of life.

1.)  There is strength in families.  I hail directly from a small family but my extended family is HUGE.  On the day that I received some terribly sad news, the first name that popped into my head was a dear aunt.  I called her to relay the message and before I could get much more out, she was already offering her support.  Since then, I have done something that I think I should do even more and that was to tell her simply that "I love you".  Because out of that first news was the realization that life is ever-changing and there will never be enough moments to express how you really feel.

2.)  Laughter is really the best medicine.  I say this because it is actually true.  Even in our darkest moments of 2013, there were these shiny moments of laughter.  I found that if I held onto them and really let the laughter bubble up and out, that it made the situation seem less dismal.  It happened when I was cleaning out my mother's home.  She was a saver of many items and some things were just plain funny.  At one point, on the verge of tears from the stress of cleaning it all, I turned to my brother and together we just laughed.  We laughed until our sides were bursting and our eyes were streaming tears because our situation was just completely ludicrous.  Later, right before Christmas, I found a one-a-day calendar called, "Crap From My Parent's House" and I sent it to him.  On Christmas morning, I received a phone call of unbridled laughter - so much that he could barely talk - and it once again made me smile and giggle.  Instead of focusing on how much I was missing my mother, I was thinking about the bond that I shared with my brother; BECAUSE of my mother.  For Christmas morning, that laughter brought all of us together.  It continues to do so because I am smiling even as I type this.

3.)  Kids are only little once.  We all instinctively know this.  In dealing with losing so many loved ones from my family, I have been blessed with reliving this.  To many of these loved ones, I was the child, not the adult.  Thinking about my time as a kid has given me the insight of what inevitably will happen with my own daughters.  One day, they will no longer be 10 and 12-years old, but instead beautiful, bright adults with their own families.  I don't think about this to try to stop them from growing up but instead, to savor each of day of their present childhood.  Just like in my first pearl of wisdom, time truly is fleeting.   

So for the new year, consider cracking a few oysters.  You may even find a pearl. 

Happy 2014! 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Santa Does Not Have Diabetes (Or Does He?)

Contrary to the title of this post, I really am not concerned with whether or not Santa Claus has diabetes. 

But what I am thinking about is how to gently guide families that are new or experienced to the holiday with a safe and easy plan to incorporate type 1 diabetes with their usual celebration.

Last year, I spent some time typing up a how-to post for new (and veteran) families.  In our home, we plan to use the same well-worn strategy for Christmas once again. 

Here it is again, with a few new hints.

1.)  Have a game plan.  Take a few moments and write down a schedule of how you would like to see the day unfold.  Be sure to include eating times and menus. 

Also, be sure to designate to the kids where a go-to basket of emergency low-blood sugar items will be kept.  In the basket, place a meter, strips and alcohol wipes.  For us, I have found that tucking this basket in mom and dad's bedroom works great.  That is the one area of the house that guests are not in and it tends to be quiet and calm.  It also works great for kids that need a bit of down-time from the constant activities and noise.

2.)  Think ahead.  Look over your prescription list and make sure that you will not be running out of any necessary items like insulin, thyroid hormone replacement, syringes, glucose or even child cold and fever medicine. 

Have the phone number handy for an on-call pediatrician, endocrinologist, a 24-hour clinic or a holiday pharmacy.  Chances are you won't need it but it will be one less stressor to worry about.

3.)  Assemble a few food items ahead of time.  A family favorite for us on Christmas morning is our delicious orange rolls.  We wait throughout the year for the ooey gooey and oh so sweet morning treat.  With that said, serving only orange rolls would be a blood sugar disaster, so with that comes an egg casserole.  Both food items are assembled the night before in preparation for the crazy unwrapping mayhem on Christmas morning.  As one parent tests blood sugar, the other quickly pre-heats the oven and slides in the two dishes.  In an hour, we are ready for breakfast (and a nap!).

Even if you forget to put the morning food into the oven, you can have a fall back.  This is an awesome strategy.  I found that having some boiled eggs handy help in case a child dips into a candy filled stocking.  Presto Protein!
4.)  Give kids some guidelines.  Sure, they want to run into the family room as soon as they wake up to see what Santa brought but as any parent knows, having them get there too soon would be a loss in getting a few of those first moment of wonder and awe pictures.  Explain to the kids that no one is allowed to go into the family room until mom has her camera AND blood sugars are checked.  Mom can take the ultimate part of this blame so that the Diabetes Monster stays out of the picture.  Just be prepared for a few eye-rolls.

Having your diabetes basket prepared ahead of time will work for this too!

5.)  And finally... charge those batteries in your cameras and camcorders.  Every year, I am so caught up in making sure that Christmas goes off without a hitch and I often forget the most important part... capturing those magical holiday memories forever. 

And be sure to sneak in a few selfies or photo bomb if your spouse is in charge.  After all, you want to be part of the holiday magic too!
Merry Christmas!!!!!!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Icky, Sticky, Sweet Mayhem - Classroom Holiday Parties


My sweet friend called the other day to vent about the icky, sticky, sweet mayhem happening at her daughter's holiday party at school.

Listening to her vent, it occurred to me that this is quite possibly the first year that I have not had to deal with that very same issue. 

Both daughters have moved on to upper grades which no longer host elaborate birthday, holiday,  or even end-of-year parties.  The kids are in school to learn.  Shocking, huh?

I should feel sad, right?  Because really, this means that my kids are growing up.  And in a way, I do, especially if I think about it like that.  Mostly though, I don't.  One of my most favorite posts of all is called Classroom Holiday Parties (or What Stinks?).  I also had a laugh at this old one where in the comments section I mention once again, classroom holiday parties.  It was a repetitive problem, apparently.

The truth of the matter is that the school holiday party (or insert anyone of the other millions of food-based celebrations in elementary school) is a challenging event to balance for our families living with type 1 diabetes.  I have written about it several times because we were at a school where every single event was celebrated with food - Hello book fairs and bake sales, field day and mysterious green smoothies, walk-to-school and free bananas (true!), or my favorite, weekly popcorn, ice-cream and cookie sales geared towards the children. Over the years and through many school party experiences, I tried to come to terms with how to juggle blood sugars, junk food and my child's happiness.  But no matter how hard I tried to make it all better, it still was stressful - for me AND for my child.

The problem is this:  as a mom of two with type 1 diabetes, I am always advocating for the rights of my child.  They can (and should) embrace and enjoy every part of life.  Remember that well-worn phrase of mine?  Kids first, diabetes second.

However, when you live with type 1 diabetes, especially as a child, having a school celebration is almost a guarantee that your child is going to automatically have higher-than-normal blood sugars just from the pure excitement.  It doesn't matter if a single drop of food hits his/her mouth.  Trust me, the adrenaline boost alone will easily send them into the 200 mg/dl and beyond.  Little people with big blood sugar swings - that could be the name of a TV show.

Unfortunately, since the kids are not in their natural home environment (giving a nod of understanding to why some families choose homeschool), it is super difficult to bring those blood sugars back into line without having a major downward spiral from low blood sugars.  Not to mention that given a young age, even feeling a blood sugar rise or fall is a tricky thing.  Kids are so preoccupied that they don't stop to listen to what their bodies are trying to tell them.

The other quandary is how to then add an assortment of unknown party food, measuring, counting carbs and determining ingredients AND dealing with the already higher-than-normal blood sugars.  Quite often, especially if you are a working parent, you are doing this remotely and relying on either your 8-year old or a staff member to help.  Even if you are standing right there, trying to figure out how many carbs Mrs. Smith's prized chocolate fudgy brownie boats contains is a nightmare.  Even using the SWAG (super wild-assed guess), you are still bolusing insulin and only able to hope for the best.

To add to that, you are also dealing with deflecting comments of which kind of diabetes your child has and also the, 'Yes, she can eat that.  Whether it is carrots or cookies, everything requires insulin' while double - while checking that your child actually finished Mrs. Smith's prized chocolate fudgy brownie boats because you already gave them insulin for it.  'Yes, you have to eat all of it!', which again confuses everyone around you, especially because you are talking to a diabetic! 

Towards the end of fourth grade for my youngest daughter, I pretty much had answered and discussed type 1 diabetes so much that the final holiday parties were much less cumbersome.  She was also older, more aware and more able to manage much of her own daily care. 

It only took six years to get there.

So to all of you moms that are still dealing with this, I applaud and encourage you and your little one.  In the same way that I did with my Naturally Sweet Sisters, you will get through this time in life too. 

Just remember that it is only one day.  One party.  One event.  One memory. 

And be sure to take a lot of pictures.  Because they do grow up quickly!

And now!

Friday, December 20, 2013

DexCom G4 Platinum - Giving It Another Go!

Sigums the first

I explained that our first DexCom G4 Platinum transmitter battery died a few weeks ago.  You know, that little beloved piece of technical happiness that we call 'Sigums' as in CGMs.  After a little bit of debating between the Medtronic 530g and another go at the DexCom, we opted for Sigums Jr..

The second Sigums wasn't nearly as wonderful as the first.  Our shipment included two brand-new receivers, two brand new transmitters and a box of four sensors for each of the girls.  The girls stayed loyal to pink and other than a change of serial numbers for the transmitter battery, pretty much everything was the same.

On the advice of a fellow t1d'er who knew of our history of losing a receiver, he suggested that we keep the new receivers boxed up and continue with the old.  I thought that idea through and it seemed like a terrific way to have a 'spare' new-in-the-box transmitter should anything go wrong with, ahem, skinny jeans and shallow pockets.

A few days in to wearing the new Sigums and it was evident that our great success at having numbers coordinate with the blood sugar meters was lacking.  In fact, the girls were randomly finding 100 point spreads +/- 50 at any given point during the day.  Calibrating the Sigums only made it worse and on day 3, we actually had a sensor fail.  None of it made sense, so we decided to try a restart without removing (and wasting one of our expensive $100.00 market priced sensors - out of pocket for us is $38.70 x 2 each month). 

Finally, four days in and while most households were sleeping, ours was struggling with complete DexCom meltdowns.  Final error:  "Replace Transmitter Battery Soon".  

What???  This IS a brand-new transmitter.

With DexCom's 24-hour technical support line, I placed a middle-of-the-night call to a kind CSR who asked that I direct send our data from the receivers.  She in turn forwarded it to her supervisor who declared it to be the 'the worst and weirdest' that he had ever seen.  With little discussion, she immediately decided to send us two brand new transmitter batteries, which arrived via FedEx 36 hours later. 

What I find odd (and the DexCom people did too), is that both of the transmitter batteries had a malfunction.  I decided to post this situation in case there potentially was a bad lot.  Or as another theory, perhaps the winter cold somehow depleted the battery in transit.

It could also be a problem with the old receivers.  After this happened, I decided to box up both of the old receivers and to start using the new ones.  I am not going to take my chances with our 1-year old equipment, even though it had been functioning perfectly.  If we lose one, than perhaps we will try it again, but for now, we are going with the new.

As I write this, it has been about 10 hours since we inserted, calibrated and set up the new DexCom systems.  All is well.

The girls weren't sure if they should continue to call our beloved device Sigums or something new.  One daughter suggested 'Herbert'.  The other said, 'Eddie'.   And why are these always boy names???

But I have to tell you, I can't stop with the 'Sigums'.  I think it is here to stay.

Welcome Sigums #3.  x2.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

High (School) Hopes for a Cure for All

On Tuesday, I was invited to speak on behalf of JDRF in an attempt to obtain community service fundraising from a local high school.  The school had asked four different organizations to come and present a bit about their efforts and how they would spend the money that the school raised.

It was a fun opportunity and I was excited to help JDRF as the school would provide about $25,000 to the lucky charity of choice.  To me, that seemed like a wonderful way to kick off 2014 and to help step a bit closer to a CURE! 

The night before the high school event, everything in our Naturally Sweet Sisters type 1 diabetes world went wrong.  Our brand new replacement DexCom sensors, transmitters and receivers all took a major dump and failed miserably.  Starting at 10:00 p.m., with an alarm stating 'Replace Transmitter Battery Soon' to a false 'UNDER 55 mg/dl WARNING', I was running between bedrooms non-stop.  The Naturally Sweet Dad was of little help as he had to be out the door by 6:00 a.m. for a conference and needed every ounce of sleep he could gather.

By 3:00 a.m., I was in tears.  While the first under 55 mg/dl warning was faulty, the second one I actually caught just from randomly testing blood sugar - no warning from Dex.  I woke up our oldest daughter, had her drink two juice boxes and waited until she was in safe range.  After that, I went to the computer and called DexCom, demanding two new transmitter batteries be sent overnight.  The DexCom CSR was as kind as could be and listened while I went through all of the issues.   She then, gently told me that I should try to get some sleep and that the replacements would arrive on Wednesday. 

On a side note, you know you sound fragile when a CSR, whom you have never met, is mothering you via a phone line.  What a compassionate person... She knew that I needed some kindness!

So I tried to follow her advice, but sleep was evasive.  Only when it was time for me to wake up at 6:00 a.m. to start our daughter's morning routine, did I actually feel tired enough to sleep.  Yes, the irony of sleep... you only get it when you can't have it.

I tucked away my exhaustion and downed a couple extra cups of coffee.  After dropping two equally tired girls off at their respective schools, I was on my way to the speaking event.

Now here is the thing... when you are tired, your emotions are heightened.  While I felt fine on the drive and arriving at the school, I was completely unprepared for my response to this video. 

And I am sorry if it made you feel the way that I did, but I needed to explain my story.

My two dear JDRF friends played this video right before I was up to speak.  I should have known I was going to be a mushy mess because moments before the presentation, one of my friends handed me a wad of Kleenex and gave me a comforting pat on the shoulder.

So as my sleep-deprived mind slowly falls apart, I now have to get up in front of this large group of high school kids and help persuade them to pick JDRF.  At the same time, I can't stifle the tears, so I let them go.  I decide that I might as well let this group of young people know what type 1 diabetes is really like and I open with that thought... 'Type 1 Diabetes is hard'.  As I talk to the kids about my daughters, their friends living with type 1 diabetes and the many adults that still do not have a cure, I notice that by the end of the presentation, a few are quietly tearing up too.  I summarize why it is so very important to help JDRF find a cure and I listen as the kids clap.  A few come up to say thank you to me and to offer a hug of support when I am done. 

Sigh.  Such sweet kids, too.  Some even dressed up in ties and business suits.  If I was less overwhelmed, I would have loved to stay and hear their thoughts for each of the presentations.  Truly, this is a group of kids that will one day be our future leaders.  However, at this point, I just want to find that wad of Kleenex and make a speedy get-a-way.

Except for this...

At the entrance of the room, a new family appears.  A beautiful, pale, thin child wearing a karate gi has appeared.  She is flanked by her mother and her father and they are holding her up as she makes her way towards me.  Clearly the little girl is ill.  We lock eyes for a split second and she offers a small smile.  She is there to do the same thing as me but to speak on behalf of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  My tears flow again and I feel the room spin.  I give my hasty good-byes to my JDRF friends and head out.

The unspoken thought that runs through my head is akin to the horror of dealing with disease; for the child in the karate gi, for her parents, for my girls, and for the Naturally Sweet Dad and even myself.

Please, research.  We ALL need a CURE.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Some days are good days

Some days are good days.

The infusion sites work nicely with the insulin pump.  The carbohydrate counting calculates a perfect dose of insulin.  The blood sugar behaves just like it would with a person whose pancreas still functions properly.

Heck, even when a new transmitter for your beloved Sigums (DexCom)arrives in working condition!

Those are the good days.  The ones that allow you to relax.

I think we all enjoy the moments like that.  It gives us each a second (or two) to breathe without fear or worse, panic.

But not everyday is a good day. 

Some days are hard.  And let me emphasize the truth.  Some days are very, very, very hard.  I think if I say 'very' three times, than the emphasis can not be overlooked.  In the same way that all things diabetes related can click together, they can also fall apart.  The infusion site kinks or enters in on a spot where there is scar tissue.  Insulin can't get through to the body, the site kinks or maybe you even realized that a well marked food item clearly had a miscalculation on the number of carbs per serving.  I could go on and on, but frankly, just writing about the things that can go wrong, actually leaves me feeling physically stressed. 

Because these things happen frequently enough that you can feel powerless against them and really, all you have left is a bunch of unmitigated stress markers.

So what do you do? 

Well, I choose to PHONE A FRIEND.  And not just any kind of friend.  I choose a friend that gets me... the sleep deprived, crabby and slightly hysterical me. 

And after we talk it out, we laugh. It's kind of like a magic trick.  Because really, no matter how bad things may seem, when talking to friends, some days are good days.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Prescription Reminders

This morning, in hopes of making the last week of school less chaotic, I prefilled two cartridges for tonight's site change.  Since the school year started, I have found great success in getting this part of the routine prepped and ready ahead of time.  It seems to lessen the stress of both girls (and myself!) during a crazy week filled with after school activities and homework.

(DISCLOSURE: this may or may not be something you want to do... check with your endocrinologist to determine what works best in your child's care).

However, as I opened a new Apidra insulin bottle, the refill date caught my eye... 12-24-2013.  And no, I am not kidding.  Who is the world orders insulin on Christmas eve? 

Now, I don't know about you but I have absolutely no plans for that day other than to spend time with my family and pile around the fire to play games, drink cocoa and watch Christmas movies. 

I hope our dear pharmacist thinks that way too! 

So today, I am heading out to order and pick up our insulin early.  I thought this might be a good reminder for everyone.  Check all dates ending in '13 for things like insulin, glucagon, blood glucose test strips, ketone test strips or any other life-saving medication that you may need.  For us, I have to remember our all-important Levothyroxin, for youngest daughter's Hashimotos dx.

This is also a wonderful opportunity to stock up on low blood sugar items - Christmas candy is much more fun than the dreaded TABSSSSSSSS as my kids say.  It also doesn't hurt to be prepared for illness or even simple headaches by having cold medicine or Motrin on hand. 

If you were putting off appointments for things like eye exams, blood draws, dental, etc., than this is also a good time to squeeze in any last minute appointments and finish off your flexible spending accounts - if you have them.  Or to go 'free' if your insurance deductibles have been met. 

But if you have already done this, one final thing to do is to run out and buy a new 2014 calendar and start filling it up with the dates of your testing or pump supply shipments, your script renewal dates and especially, your endocrinology appointments. 

Trust me, you will feel even more relaxed on Christmas eve!

Sunday, December 15, 2013


A few months after her sister was diagnosed.

I have this memory of my two little girls.  We are sitting near our youngest daughter's hospital bed and our oldest daughter is whispering to her sister.  What she is saying, I am not sure but it appears to be soothing and I can tell that it is making our youngest feel better.  I decide not to interrupt and let them continue. 

In hindsight, I realize that this is our oldest daughter's gentle introduction to type 1 diabetes.

Our very first walk, when only one was diagnosed.

On that same day, I also remember thinking of how mixed my emotions were to have one child diagnosed and one child not.  None of it felt fair and I remember having anxiety over how to parent this new situation.  Would I be able to overcome an intrusive disease and to bring my once happy home back to life?  Could I balance their individual needs?  Would they be able to understand the complexity and challenges that type 1 diabetes brings everyone living in a home?

Figuring it all out after our life was turned upside down.

All of my questions were answered over the next three years and yes, our happy home was returned to a new kind-of-normal.  It was never the same as it had been before diabetes but it felt better and we still had laughter and silliness and love.  To me (and to the rest of the family), that was all that truly mattered.

A photo shoot in the fall before she was diagnosed.

Then, shortly after enjoying a victory diaversary for our second child, our happy world collided with t1d yet again. 

Exactly three years and three days later, our new normal was re-adjusted to receive a second diagnosis for our oldest child.

Seeing this now, I am reminded of how simple it was.

There was no escaping the tears.  We cried.  All of us.  Most especially our youngest daughter who later asked me if she 'gave' it to her sister.

A long six months after diagnosis when she started needing insulin hourly.

Nothing was different with our grief.  It hurt just as deeply as it did the first time.

Running away to New York City to escape the daily grind of t1d.  This was taken at the boathouse and she had high bgs.  Lots of water and a Diet Coke for a treat.

Except that this time, I was certain that we could handle her diagnosis.

Just four years later and life is back to a new normal for all of us.

And it really wasn't about me as a parent but more about amazing she was. 

Taking it all in stride, she had a quiet introduction into the world of diabetes on the day her sister was diagnosed. 

Without any of us realizing it, she had accepted the idea that this was her disease too and had simply rolled up her sleeves and dived in...

even if it was to just make her little sister feel better.

At our JDRF awards banquet, we celebrated her victory as a two term ambassador and as a wonderful fundraiser dedicated to finding a cure!

To my oldest daughter, I am so proud of you.

Thursday, December 12, 2013



"Mom!  I am 85! Can I eat?"

I glance at the clock and read 5:50 p.m..  Dinner is a mere ten minutes away estimated finishing.  Tonight we are having pasta and sauce with a side salad.  It is a simple dinner and all I need is for the pasta to finish cooking.

I holler back. "You're fine!  Dinner is almost done."

"But I am lowwwwwwww!  And I am hungrrrrrrrry!"  She yells again.

Feeling impatient, I tell her to wait as I am draining the water off the pasta.  The steam is filling my eyeglasses and I am having trouble concentrating on not getting burned and talking to an impatient child at that the same time.

"Just wait!"  I say with the same impatient tone that is also in my head.

The hot water jumps up and bites me squarely on the knuckles, making me whimper. 

Suddenly, a sound cuts through the noise and pain and I can hear a can of glucose tabs being opened.  The bottle is new and the plastic wrap is making a tell-tale crinkle noise.

I drop the rest of the pasta into a bowl so that I can figure out where the sound is coming from.  Walking past the bathroom, I see the same hungry daughter that I had just asked to wait, eating glucose tabs.

"I am low and I know it said 85, but it feels lower.  I need something now!" She says defiantly. 

As if on cue, Sigums (our CGM) bleeps a warning... 67 mg/dl and pointing down. 

Shaking my head at the situation, all I can do is tell her that I am sorry and that I didn't realize that her blood sugar was dropping so quickly.  We sit quietly until the low feeling has passed and then, I hug her and apologize again.

Later that night, I tell the Naturally Sweet dad the story and he in turn, gives me a hug and tells me it is going to be alright.

And while I know it really is alright and we are fine, I can't help but once again feel a deep ache for what type 1 diabetes continually delivers to us. 

Some days are just so hard.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Youngest daughter shortly after diagnosis.  I see her tiny little medical bracelet that would now only fit a doll.
Today is the day

Just seven years ago, I held her little hand and cuddled her as best as I could from her hospital bed.

Neither she nor I knew anything of the world of type 1 diabetes.

Today, after a lifetime of learning (or so it feels), we still cuddle and hold hands.  She is still that same baby girl, just a bit older.

Yesterday, at our annual JDRF Walk to Cure T1D awards banquet, she and I accepted awards for our Naturally Sweet Sisters fundraising efforts and for our support of advocating as a walk co-chair, mentor and family coach and as a two-time JDRF child ambassador.

While she has taught me more than I thought I would ever know about the world of type 1 diabetes, she has also shown me that life is full of possibilities.  She never tires of the idea of finding a cure or in supporting others that walk along our same path. 

On the drive home after the awards ceremony, she said it best:

"When I get my cure, I want to come back and dance!"

Me too.

Cure, please!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Laugh of the Day


Youngest Daughter:   "Mom!  I am 150 mg/dl.  I knew it!  I think I am a side-kick!"

Me:  "Oh good number!  Wait, what do you mean that you are a side-kick?"

Youngest Daughter:  "Well, I knew the number so that means that I am a side-kick!"

Me:  "Oh, you mean a psychic?"

Youngest Daughter:  "A what?  Ha!  Ha! Ha!  No, mom.... geez, I mean a side-kick.  Your saying it wrong!  It is s-i-d-e-k-i-c-k!  A side-kick! Ha! Ha! Ha!  Hey sissy, mom doesn't know how to say side-kick! Ha! Ha! Ha!"

Giggling and shaking her head, she leaves the room with me futilely trying to explain while scratching my head in disbelief! 

Kinda reminds me of this clip from the movie, Frozen.  We apparently have our own little Olaf!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Day the Dexcom Died

The Day the Dexcom Died (Sung to the tune of American Pie)

A long, long time ago,
I can still remember how that Sigums used to make me smile
And, I knew if I had my chance that I could make those sugars dance, and...
Maybe they'd be happy for a while
But, December made me quiver with every bolus I'd deliver
Bad news on the pump - I couldn't take one more bump
I can't remember if I tried to adjust, review or prime rewind.
Something touched me deep inside the day the Sigums died

Bye-Bye Our Diabetes Spy
Took the Dexcom to the party
but the smarty was fried.
Them good 'ole girls were eating cookies and pie, singing....
This will be the day that I go high.
This will be the day that I go high.

Hoping for a new Sigums soon.... until then, I will be singing!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

When Will the World Catch Up?

She threw open the car door while grumbling and tossing books into the back seat. 

As a mother just 'knows', I knew instantly that something had gone astray during her school day.

After the books landed with a thump, she slammed the door and turned to me while taking a deep breath.  Quietly (and impressively controlled), she said, "A jerk in PE asked me about the site on my arm."

"OK." I said with a bit of caution not sure where her conversation was leading.

"He said, 'What is that thing on your arm?' and mom, I was like, 'It is my insulin pump site.' Duh!  Geez.  He made me feel bad."  The words were tumbling out of her mouth faster than I could think.  Tears welling up in her eyes, she sighed and continued on.

"I felt so self-conscious that I told the teacher that I was cold so that I could go back into the locker room and grab my sweatshirt.  Then, I felt dumb because I was sweating and I couldn't take the coat off.  It was miserable, mom."  As she talked, a couple of fat tears angrily spilled out and raced down her cheeks.

I reached over to wipe the tears away but she moved her face, slightly embarrassed that it got to the point of tears. 

Quietly (starting to fill with mommy-bear anger), I said, "I am so sorry. Was the boy teasing you? Was he asking unkindly?"

"No.  No.  No."  She shook her head.  "It was just that he asked.  Why did he have to ask?  We were in line and everyone heard.  Then everyone looked.  I hated the attention.  Just look away if you don't like it."

She explained that he didn't say anything except that and no other student spoke up either.

Carefully so as to not cause any further hurt I tried to explain the situation from another angle; the boy.  "Honey, I think he was just curious.  Yes, it was thoughtless and rude, but he clearly wasn't even thinking about your feelings.  He most likely hadn't noticed your site before and just wanted to know.  It doesn't sound like he was teasing or picking on you.  Do you think that too?"

"Yes. I guess."  Her eyes were cast down and she was sitting with her arms crossed, holding her sweatshirt closed.  "It was just embarrassing."

Gently, I explained that I thought it important for her to be kind when someone innocently asked.  Perhaps one day, they will meet someone else that lives with type 1 diabetes and it will help them handle a situation better.  We talked about a low blood sugar situation that I heard of where a bystander was able to help after seeing an insulin pump. 

Listening, she nodded her head in agreement.

Then, I further explained that I knew this was a lot to ask and that she also has every right to a private existence, where she does NOT have to explain to anyone unless she wants to.  The key is to understand the difference between someone asking out of natural curiosity and one who is being mean. 

"After you told him, what did that boy say?"  I asked.

Laughing, she said, "I think I scared him a little.  I kind of growled a little and he just said, 'Oh OK.' and backed off."

I hugged her and told her that I knew it was hard to be the center of attention for something that she doesn't necessarily want to be reminded of at the same moment she is doing a fun thing, like P.E. class. 

"One more thing though, sweetie.  I don't want you to ever feel ashamed of living with type 1 diabetes.  You don't have to wear a coat to hide a site or to not have to explain why you have a infusion set on your arm.  You are perfect exactly the way you are.  It's up to the rest of the world to catch up with you."

C'mon world.  Catch up to this amazing young lady!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Returning to Earth

Photo: Ginger, our new lady elf, has arrived at the Ohmers.
Stop and smell the ivy!

Thanksgiving was a much needed break for our Naturally Sweet Sisters family.  We enjoyed time with family and friends and spent a few moments actively counting our blessings.  Each of us rested, relaxed and for the most part, let the weight of the world (from the past few months) slowly ease away from our shoulders.

And then Monday came. 

Arriving with a thud and sending us right back crashing into the reality of all things that make up school, work, household chores and December mayhem.

I didn't like it one bit.  In fact, I am protesting. 

Photo: Ginger enjoying a GingerSnap Snack.
Surprisingly, low carb too!

Tonight, there will be movement from our new girl Elf aptly named Ginger.  We may skip the evening news in favor of a Christmas movie and dinner?  Well, it may include eating while playing a board game.  Tomorrow morning, two excited girls will open a day on the Advent calendar and for hubby and I?  Well, we will savor TWO cups of coffee with a hefty splash of peppermint mocha and sit quietly together before rushing off to get ready for work or pack lunches.

We have decided that this year, we will enjoy purposefully putting on the breaks during what can be holiday madness and enjoying our blessings.

Which to us, just happens to start at the top of the list with our little family of four.

Happy December!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thanksgiving - Ten Ways to Get Someone to Stop Talking About Type 1 Diabetes

I love Charlie Brown!

With the Thanksgiving holidays upon us, I figured it was time to get to the good stuff... no, not the stuff (ing), the good stuff as in 'the stuff that makes people stop talking about type 1 diabetes'. 

I write this because I clearly remember those early years when our well-meaning friends and family inadvertently said things that made us cringe and I had no way to defend myself or my children.  Yes, sometimes words really do hurt!

Through the years, we have come across several different categories of comments.

Like what we affectionately call the Food Police:

"Whoa!  Are you sure she can eat that pie?  It has sugar in it.  Here, have another scoop of cranberries instead."

"Did you say your daughter had dia-beat-us?  Well, my cousin's, sister's uncle had that back in the 80's and he lost his eye-sight, his legs, and even his cat.  In fact, I think it happened on Thanksgiving.  Probably because he ate too much." 

Or maybe it is the person at the table who suddenly realizes that you are dosing insulin:

"Is that the bad kind of diabetes?"

"When will she be regulated?"

Or maybe it is a fan of 'The Doctors':

"At least it is not (insert some terrible other thing)!  I just saw this (insert some terrible thing) on The Doctors and they said that (insert some terrible thing) will happen unless you eat only natural, organic and non-gmo food.  I think you should start doing that."

"Did you know about the Cinnamon cure?  Just eat a half-gallon everyday for the rest of your life and you won't have diabetes!"

Um.  OK.  But you eat a spoonful of cinnamon first.  :)

So to help all of our readers of Naturally Sweet Sisters during Thanksgiving and actually, any other time of the year, we have put together a top ten list of things to say and to do, in order to help people stop talking about type 1 diabetes.
Top Ten Ways to Get Someone to Stop Talking About Type 1 Diabetes
1.)  Divert attention back to the person.  "Gee, enough about us, is that a new sweater that you are wearing?" -Or- "You look fabulous!  Have you done something different?"
2.)  Divert attention to the Thanksgiving table.  "Oh my goodness!  Look, Grandma made her famous fruit cake!  Does anyone know what the recipe is because I would love to hear it!"
3.)  If there is a baby at the table, consider offering to hold, change or feed it.  No one messes with someone holding a baby!
4.)  If you have a little cousin.  Offer cash in exchange for making a scene.  Now, technically, this might be bribery, but I consider it a college gift!  Just be sure to set up a cue word that can not be mistaken.  It would be terrible to accidently set this off during Grandpa's recital of Grace.
5.)  Keep your mouth full.  It is impossible to answer questions when you are minding your manners.  Sea-food is just not acceptable!
6.)  Spill something.  Warning - this may come at a cost if it is a fine table linen.  Be prepared.
7.)  Go to the restroom.  Ew.  Enough said.
8.)  Designate a Wing-Man.  My husband is my go-to.  After 17 years of marriage, one look and he knows he should speak up.  Usually, he inserts a #2.  Um, not a #7.  Ew.
9.)  Teach the kids with type 1 diabetes to say something witty.  Our youngest has the gift of acting.  She has been known to add in a funny accent or to simply give a blank look.  "What?  Who has diabetes?  Where?"  I can tell you that this works.  Adults are caught off guard and usually switch to a safer topic like sports.
10.)  If worse comes to worse, simply say, "Thanks for asking.  We are all doing well.  I am so happy to have a day with my family to simply enjoy being together and not to worry about type 1 diabetes.  I am sure you will understand if I choose not to discuss it today. " 

And with that, from our family to yours... have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Glimpse Into The Life Of A Non-Morning Child

NSS Dad and Youngest Daughter
At 7:00 a.m., I gently kissed the face of my youngest daughter while she cocooned in her blankets and bed.  Without fail, every morning she smiles with her eyes closed, puckers her lips for a kiss and then, promptly rolls over (and under her covers) to sleep some more.

I take pity on her.  Mornings during the school week seem to come quickly.  My worry is that with the extra night time blood sugar testing or Sigum alarms (beloved continuous glucose monitor), our daughter never really gets a full nights' worth of rest.  Of our two children, she is the one that has always needed a bit more sleep. 

Quietly I set about to load a new lancet and strip into her meter.  After I hear the beep, I reach under the covers to retrieve a finger and quickly make a poke to get enough blood to test.  (Mornings are usually good for a quick blood droplet.  It is the middle of the night where sometimes I have to squeeze her fingers too much and too hard, just to ensure that she is in a safe zone.)

A drop on the strip and I await the results so that I can also calibrate Sigums.  Happily, her wake-up numbers are in range with a 83 mg/dl and a side-ways pointing arrow.  Glancing over the entire 24-hour chart on the receiver, I can tell that the basal changes we made after our last endocrinology appointment are working. 

Quietly, I wrap a Kleenex tissue around her finger, which immediately is hidden back under her covers.  Scanning the room, I smile.  There are less tissues floating around, so that is a good sign of knowing she had a good night.  Not too many blood sugar checks.  The sad truth is some days, her bed and floor are covered in floating white blobs with red polka dots.  Thinking about those moments makes me shiver; even as I write this post I do so with goosebumps.  Those nights are not good at all.

Feeling my heart strings tug again, I decide to let her sleep a bit longer.  It is a good morning as Sigums appears to be trending appropriately.  With a bit of foreshadowing, I think about the mornings where I have no choice but to wake her so that she can immediately start eating breakfast. 

Quietly, I tip-toe downstairs and make a coffee and scan my email.  About fifteen minutes later and I hear a loud "BLEEEP"!  Sigums has decided that the side-ways arrow was temporary and that our youngest daughter needs to wake-up NOW! 

Breakfast time it is.

Without hesitation, I quickly run back upstairs and into her room.  Sigums is lighting up with a warning of 70 mg/dl and falling.  Youngest daughter has no choice in the matter.  She has to wake-up and getting moving NOW.  Breakfast is immediately in order and as quickly as I can, I shuffle her back down the stairs and to her seat at the counter.  I opt NOT to pre-bolus her due to her low blood sugar and instead, plop down her favorite morning meal of two waffles and real maple syrup to dip into.  With a glass of milk, her meal is 65 carbs, which part way through, I do bolus for. 

The entire time she is eating (with her eyes closed), I am thinking about her daily routine.  It is a quiet event as neither of speak out loud.  Morning snack?  Check!  Bottle of water for school?  Check!  Lunch packed? Check!  Afternoon... oh yes, she has practice for Alice in Wonderland and will need another snack?  Check!  And maybe I should add an extra snack for 'just in case'?  Check! 

Knowing that she can not possibly think about her agenda at this moment, I grab her planner from her backpack and write in a note to remind her that I packed extra snacks and that she would need to text me before she went to play practice with her blood glucose. 

She finishes breakfast and slides off her stool to head back upstairs to get ready.  Halfway up the stairs, I hear her sigh.  She walks back into the kitchen and retrieves Sigums.  I give her a big smile and tell her how thankful Sigums was to not be left behind.  In return, she rolls her eyes and sighs again. 

Back upstairs, I hear her finally starting to wake up.  Her iPod is on and she is softly singing and moving about her room, carefully choosing the perfect outfit to wear.  Then, she moves into the bathroom to brush her teeth and carefully style her hair.  The singing is louder now and it makes me smile.  Despite type 1 diabetes, her day is moving ahead happily. 

Back downstairs, with her insulin pump and Sigums clipped openly to her skirt, she shuffles through her backpack to find her purse.  She needs more strips she tells me.  I hand her a bottle and notice the pile of used ones sticking to her meter.  Without asking, I clean them out and she giggles.  Her trick that she learned from her sister is to stick the used ones to the back of the meter.  I wrinkle my nose and look at my hand in an effort to make her really laugh and she does!  Great big belly laughs over mom having to clean out the strips.  I laugh too but because her laughter is contagious.  Since she was a baby and despite the endlessness of type 1 diabetes; it is true that when she smiles, the whole world smiles back. 

Finally in the car, we drive to school.  While we are waiting in line, she panics for a moment and asks me if she bolused for her breakfast.  I tell her that I did it for her and ask if she remembers anything from her wake-up. 

"No.  Not really.  I was just sleeping and then, I had to eat."  She says with a thoughtful wrinkle on her brow as she opens the car door.

"Actually, I do remember something.  I was dreaming that I was I flying!" 

She is out of the car before I can respond.  As I drive away, I am left with a huge smile of my own... type 1 diabetes, no matter how rude or intrusive it is on her sleep, does not stop her dreams!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Family Fighting for Medical Help at School

What would you do if you had to fight for your child's rights to attend school safely every single day? 

I know for many of us, we are blessed with schools that work together with our families to build solid ADA Section 504 plans for the best interest of our children that are living with type 1 diabetes.

In fact, a principal at my school uses the line, "We want 'daughter' to be the best 'daughter' she can be!"

But what if your school didn't feel that way?

What if their only worry was staffing, expenses or spending time in training?

And what is worse, what if your school made it even hard for you to try to provide the necessary training to send your child to school?

Wouldn't you want all of the support that you could get to help make a positive (and necessary) change?

I am hoping we can do just that!

Click here to watch the video:  Fox 2 News Special Investigative Report on Rainbow Elementary

(WJBK) -
A Clinton Township mother says her son's elementary school has refused to give her diabetic son the medical attention he needs, and refused to provide a trained professional to provide aid.

Sabrina Cheek's 7-year-old son, Mario, was diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes last year. He attends Rainbow Elementary School in the Clintondale School District. Cheeks says, each day, either she or her sister-in-law must go to the school to test Mario's sugar and administer his medication because the school refuses to provide someone or be trained how to do it.

family fears for Mario's safety if anything were to happen medically, and school officials would not know how to respond.

The Americans Disabilities Act, under Section 504, states a medical plan must be created and staff at school must be trained to administer medication, and to recognize student's symptoms and respond if something goes wrong.

Fox 2's Taryn Asher spoke with the school's principal, Donald Trahan, by phone who declined to record an interview. Asher reports he was not aware of any law, or of any such policy, and did not know the school had a responsibility to train someone.

Other schools in the district do provide specialists and trained professionals to administer this type of medication.

If you want to help, consider leaving your feedback on this website...

Maybe as one big voice, we can help this family to get the school to help take notice and train the staff and reprimand the board of trustees, superintendent and principal responsible for this situation.

Every child deserves the right to a safe education.  In fact, it is the law.

Click here to read the American With Disabilities Section 504 Plan Law:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Yes, It's Personal.

On Friday, our daughters had their quarterly endocrinology appointment. 

I don't mind our endocrinology appointments.  I like the doctors, nurses and caregivers that are part of our team.  For us, it is like a visit to hang out with extended family.  They know us and we know them.  It just feels normal.  Weird, right?

Upon arriving, I knew that we were to expect higher A1cs.   The numbers had been climbing and the reasons were not hidden.  One daughter, our youngest, was in the middle of rapid growth and hormone driven puberty changes and one daughter, our oldest, had been enjoying some new teenage behaviors like feeling hungry, all of the time

Our average blood sugar hovered in the 180s for both girls, so if you do a bit of A1c sleuthing, you already know that those numbers transferred to a 8.1 and an 8.2 for each child.

And if you read this blog, you know that my perspective is that each of those A1cs is just a marked moment in time.  There will be A1cs that are lower and A1cs that are higher during their lifetimes.  That is the stark truth of type 1 diabetes.  I never allow a number to dictate on how well we were during.  It is simply a gauge of where we are - right now.

My attitude is good, I think.  After all, I am raising two daughters with this disease.  I want them to feel empowered by their care and not the other way around... which is defeated. 

Yet still, when our sweet Endocrinologist asked how things were going and I candidly responded, our oldest daughter had a tough time listening.

And in case you have younger kids living with type 1 diabetes, please understand that they will be listening when you are talking to the endocrinologist.  Kids are smart little beans and they get more than we are aware of.

Oldest daughter listened and was able to voice her thoughts, albeit through tears, to let us know that she felt a bit like she was being reprimanded, even though the discussion was NOT directed AT HER.

She listened and knew that she had made choices.  Her routine was to come home from school, grab a snack and start homework.  After one snack was gone and she was still hungry, she grabbed another.  And so on, until dinnertime. 

Being the responsible kid that she is, she also remembered to test her initial blood sugar, add up her carbs and dose appropriately.  And then, bolus some more.  And some more.  And some more.  All the way until dinner was over.

Unfortunately, even with her dedication to insulin, her blood sugar never had a break from 2:00 p.m. until sometime before bed.  This translated into high(er) blood sugars through the day and evening.

Sitting in her chair in the endocrinologist office, with her head down low, she started to cry.

And oh, my heart break (and our doctors too) to watch her cry because there was truly nothing that she was doing "wrong".  It was simply a matter of learning how to adjust to this new phase of life.  To understand that feeling hungry all of the time is a normal response when you are teenager.  However, as a teenager living with type 1 diabetes, it was also an opportunity to change the approach and to learn how to handle it best to avoid spiking blood sugars.

How in the world did my calm and relaxed approach to type 1 diabetes care not make it to my daughter?

Then, it hit me.  As much as I want to explain that type 1 diabetes is a family disease, it really isn't.  Our daughters are the ones carrying this with them every single day, every single hour, minute, second.  It is PERSONAL.

It is personal to my daughter because this is her body. 

So what did I do?  I stopped talking.  I hugged her.  I comforted her.  I told her that she was amazing.  I gave her positive feedback in front of our endocrinologist to point out the wonderful attributes that our daughter has and how wonderfully she has managed her care at school, at play practice and by even achieving another straight-A report card. 

None of this should be forgotten.  She is so much more than a number.

Our oldest daughter recovered from her tears and managed a small smile.  Shortly after, the appointment was over and we headed to a labs for a blood draw and then home.  Wisely, I decided that it had been enough 'diabetes' for the day and that no good would come out of further conversation.

The next day, when our oldest was ready, we discussed how she felt in the appointment.  She explained that it was indeed personal and that she did feel like she let us down.  I told her that it wasn't the case and that it was just about changing the way that we did things before to a new way.  In this case, we incorporated another 'meal' into the day to avoid extended afternoon snacking.  The visual cue would be for our daughter to load up a dinner plate, then count all of the carbs at once and dose before she started eating.  Thus avoiding, the many trips to the pantry, yet still feeling full when she was done.

Two days later and we had another conversation - which this time - included marveling over how much better blood sugars were, giving a high five and watching while she was still able to enjoy a snack after school.  "Such a simple change", our oldest daughter said.  "Who knew that it could make a difference?"

I asked her how she felt now.

"I can't believe I got so upset.  I didn't understand what you were saying then.  I thought I was in trouble.  I guess, I just needed to see how it worked.  And to learn that I wasn't doing anything wrong." 

Such a true statement. 

In the world of type 1 diabetes, let us not forget that no one is doing anything wrong.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

World Diabetes Day - Oh, and my birthday!

November 14th is a fun day!

It is Prince Charles' Birthday.

It is Josh Duhamel's Birthday. 

It is my cousin-in-law's birthday.

It is a dear friend's birthday.  And in the weird way that world works, this friend also has a child with type 1 diabetes.

It is my birthday too!  And thanks to my husband, I am celebrating in style with a some pretty accessories and a box of key lime chocolates from Godiva.  I love this man!

Can you tell that I love a good birthday?  Because I do.  I love thinking back to the birth story, celebrating the accomplishments and even adding a fun little trivia with who else was born on this day.

Which brings me to my calendar.  I have a big blue circle around the 14th. 

That is because today also marks another occasion.... World Diabetes Day. 

And sadly, with today comes the acknowledgement of two other families (that I know of, although I am sure there are many, many more) remembering their diaversaries. 

When I woke up this morning, instead of thinking only about my own special day, I thought about the others... the ones that are fighting this disease. 

Because what is most odd is that I am not the one who is dealing with the highs and the lows, the pokes, the tests, the swings and many more pokes.  I am just a mom.  With a regular birthday.  And one who will be able to eat some Godiva chocolate without testing my blood sugar or taking insulin.

The truth is that this day marks something rather extraordinary... and that is the world uniting together to draw a line in the sand and say "ENOUGH!  WE NEED A CURE FOR TYPE 1 DIABETES"!  Stand up for children (and adults) and demand that they no longer need to spend their birthdays - and every other day - counting carbs, testing blood sugar, receiving 8-10 daily finger pokes, injections, infusion changes, and insulin dosing. 

Which makes my birthday wish this: 

Please wear blue today to unite together and to show the world the need for a cure.  For all of us.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

In The Middle

This has not been an easy year. 

I haven't blogged much about it because I wasn't even sure how I felt about what we were going through.

And then, to consider the privacy of those that we love and care about. 

I didn't want to be one who just put everything out there without regard to the feelings of those meandering down the same path.

So I talked only lovingly about saying good-bye to one family member that we cared deeply about.  I thought that provided me with the closure that I needed to heal and to find the strength to move forward.

Now, at another unfortunate crossroad with another family member that I deeply love, I find myself having to make hard decisions.  The kind that you think (hope) that you never have to make with one that is your elder.

My mother.

At this point, I see myself becoming part of the 'sandwich generation'.  I still have two young children living at home and my mother is no longer capable of caring for herself or living independently.

What this realization brings is a list of hard questions to answer. 

And with that list of answers, is the reality that life is once again changing.

Last week, I flew to Florida to meet up with my only brother.  This was not a simple task. Our family is one that covers multiple geographic locations with each of us living in different states.  Because neither of us live closely to mom, our efforts to see each other include navigating not only time off from work and family obligations, but also in my case, deploying a type 1 diabetes emergency plan to care for the girls.

That meant a whole lot of pre-planning. 

Thankfully, we have a wonderful type 1 diabetes team in place.  Several girlfriends stepped up to be on 'on-call' and a few offered drop off and pick up to/from school.  Our Naturally Sweet Dad re-arranged his schedule to spend a maximum amount of time at home so that both girls would have a consistent schedule and hopefully, minimize crazy blood sugar swings.

It was stressful.  I hadn't left the girls overnight since our first diagnosis (almost seven years ago).  While I know that both our youngest and oldest daughter have become more independent, there was still a large chunk of daily caregiving that mom handled.  Our family discussed this openly and we even put together a few 'what-if' plans.

- What if Sigums stops working?  No one had yet managed to grasp the tricky CGM sensor insertion except for mom.  So we planned to try a re-start and if the sensor failed a second time, just take it off and put the sensor with the receiver into the diabetes supply closet.

- Who do we text or call when we are school?  Our Naturally Sweet Dad spends his days in meetings and is often unavailable by phone.  Taking this into consideration, we decided that mom should still remain the contact as she could handle (and welcome!) blood sugar calls anytime or anywhere.

- How would Dad wake-up at night time?  This was tricky.  Our Naturally Sweet Dad sleeps soundly.  We talked through a variety of scenarios but in the end, we opted to place Sigums (CGM) receiver on his night time stand and to place it directly on the wood with the idea that the vibration and beeps would be enough to wake him up.  Our Naturally Sweet Dad also decided to have a few late night snacks with the girls to make sure that were a little bit higher on the blood sugar end to lessen the worries.  I was fine with that idea too.  Sometimes, the most perfect scenario isn't the one that reflects perfectly in a book.  You do what works best for you.

After our type 1 diabetes plan was loosely in place, I was able to focus on my mom.  My brother and I tackled the difficult tasks of closing her home, establishing power of attorney and making her as comfortable as possible.

It wasn't easy.  As the only daughter, I felt a tremendous amount of responsibility in supporting my mom.  However, clearly, my life is stretched thin.  I have two children that require extra daily medical assistance which meant that I needed to be extremely honest and truthful with my brother.  Taking on the power of attorney was not another layer that I could add without potentially toppling over our own fragile tower of family.

This is where my brother truly shined.  He understood my dilemma and immediately stepped in - signing his name to her guardianship and offering to be the main leader in her daily care needs.  Since our mother has multiple sclerosis, this is a major undertaking and one that will bring several additional layers of care needs. 

But he won't be alone.  What we also talked openly about is another round of 'what-if' scenarios.  In essence, we created another plan for the nursing home and for her multiple sclerosis care.  If he is out of town or unavailable or even needs a break, I can step in and offer assistance.  We discussed a visitation schedule, notifying our family of her care and creating a responsible financial plan for her future.  We even touched on an end-of-life outline and while immensely difficult, tried to figure out what mom would want while she was still able to tell us.

We made another team... a 'Helping Mom Team'.

And really, that is what this stage of life is all about.  It is about coming together and supporting the ones that you love.  Not by yourself as a martyr but with a group of loved ones that all want the best.  When I am feeling down (and there were a few tears), I know that I have someone to turn to.  The opposite is true as well... when my brother had an overwhelming moment, he knew that I was there to lean on.

Much in the same way as it has been for type 1 diabetes.  I leaned on my team while I was gone and they gave me the support that I needed to be away for a week.  The girls were fine.  Yes, there were a few moments like underdosing for donuts and landing in the 400s at school or the late night pizza escapade that shall remain a secret.  All of that is minor in the scheme of things and nothing that truly went haywire.  I am also sure that there will be unplanned moments like that for our mother and we will handle them as they come.  That is just what you have to do in all of life - being ready for the unpredictable and managing it as it comes along. 

Since coming home on Sunday, I have spent some time in reflection.  Life is truly wonderful.  I feel so blessed to be where I am.  In a way, I have it all...  a wonderful husband, two beautiful daughters, a fantastic brother and a sweet mom.  This is how I see it.

I choose happy.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Peace is A Journey

I have a dear friend that is walking down the path of being newly diagnosed.  And sadly, I know that there are many, many more on the same road.

My heart goes out to her and to them.  I know that it takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to gain footholds into the world of type 1 diabetes.  A week later and you are already smarter, a month more and you are stronger and at that six month mile marker, you are truly a t1d champion. 

Yet, as much as day one, your heart is still very broken.

From a place of love and with personal experience, I send this thought.  It's ok to take time to heal.  The journey is different for everyone.  Only you will know when you are there. 



Wednesday, November 6, 2013

To Order Or Not To Order

Can you believe that it has been a full year since we received our Dexcom Platinum G4 continuous glucose monitor?  If you have been following our family, than you know that this has become the most invaluable tool in our tool box of care.  I can't tell you how beloved Sigums, our pet name for CGMS, is to each of us.  We trust him explicably!

For history sake, here our some vintage DexCom Platinum G4 Naturally Sweet Sisters Posts.

Post 1.
Post 2.
Post 3.

Now we are faced with the task of deciding what to do.  Should we re-order or should we wait until the pump warranty is up in June?  Because truthfully, I can't imagine not having a version of Sigums living with us... although, I really wish for an integrated version after this happened.

With Obama-Care hemorrhaging the wonderful insurance coverage that we currently have, my other HUGE worry is building on what will happen in 2014.  What if even more of our critical needs items like insulin or test strips are denied?  While we can afford to pay for a portion of Sigums, we can't take that burden on AND the other items.... and yes, this is x2 for both daughters!

For that reason alone, I am thinking that before the year ends, that we should make sure that we have maximized our benefits and ordered everything that we possibly could. 

Are you concerned about your insurance benefits?  What is your plan for the remaining calendar year?  Let us know!  Leave a message on this post or on our facebook site.  Your words might help countless others. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Planner

A planner.

Not a book or a calendar or that tattered book my fifth grader brings back and forth from school.  Just me and my actual personality.

I am a planner.

I can't help it.  It is just a part of my very nature. 

Which works spectacularly with type 1 diabetes.

We (and by 'we', I mean 'me') always have a plan.  Most of the time, it is quietly hidden in my brain and my kids (or hubby) aren't even aware of the thought process.  They just get to go and do and be

Which is exactly what I hope for as the man behind the curtain.  I don't want to put the glaring spotlight on all things type 1 diabetes.  What a drag that would be!  Life is so much more than just that.  In fact, my girls are sooooooo much more than that!

Recently a blogger spoke about a picture she had from her childhood.  In the picture, she was with a group of friends and enjoying a slumber party.  The blogger wrote that she was so glad that her mother allowed her to go and do and be, all while quietly assuming the role of the planner... which in turn, shaped the adult living with type 1 diabetes that she is today.  That kind of freedom allowed the blogger to grow up in a world where anything was possible.  Even during a time when needles were HUGE, testers worked after peeing on a color-coded strip and insulin kind of sucked with its un-predictableness.

That resonated with me.  Because sometimes being a planner is annoying.  Just ask my husband.  I am sure he would rather let things happen naturally instead of following a plan.  (I am so sorry, sweetie!  We do need a plan!)

But maybe this planning business is a little bit of good too... maybe, just maybe, this has allowed the girls to dream of life beyond type 1 diabetes and to be anything they want to be!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Daylight Savings Time Reminder

Just in case you didn't know, tonight at Midnight, marks Daylight Savings Time.  In honor of this cumbersome (and tiring!) day, please be sure to set all of your clocks BACK one hour.
Often Forgotten Clocks to Change:
Insulin Pumps
Blood sugar meters
Continuous Glucose Monitors
Watches used for setting type 1 diabetes reminders
Bedside Alarm Clocks
Vehicle Clocks
Programmable Thermostat
Clocks That Should Automatically Update (But double check so that you are in sync):
Cell Phone
Home Alarms
And as a last reminder, don't forget to change your smoke alarm batteries.  It might also be a good time to change that lancet if you have done so in a while!  :)
Oh, and then go back to bed for another hour!  You deserve a little extra sleep!