Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I Couldn't Wait To Share - Second Leg Site VICTORY

Just moments ago,

And I love the suspense of writing like this...

with lots of ...

our oldest daughter had a victory all of her own. 

In the way that things tend to happen around here, her pump beeped it's low cartridge warning "13u or less" and at the same time, Sigums demanded a "Change Sensor Now". 

After a quick shower, the two of us tackled the chore of rewinding, loading, priming and changing sensor. 

When we got to the part of insertion, oldest daughter remembered the advice given to her from our beloved endocrinologist.  The advice contained was to spare the belly area from sites for a little while and to try legs.  Oldest daughter also remembered that her younger sister had just conquered her own fear of legs earlier in the day too. 

Not to be outdone, oldest daughter agreed to try an infusion set on her leg as well. 

This is the part of having two girls with type 1 diabetes that has been a blessing.  For a few minutes before the leg site was inserted, oldest and youngest daughters had an intense conversation on the level of pain that a leg site would bring. 

Oldest daughter:  How bad did it hurt?

Youngest daughter:  It didn't.  It felt like arm.

Oldest daughter:  Well, on a scale of one to ten.  How bad was it?

Youngest daughter:  I didn't even feel it.  Really.  It doesn't hurt.

Oldest daughter:  I think it is going to hurt.

Youngest daughter:  Nope.  It doesn't hurt.

I watched with awe as youngest daughter pinky sweared that it simply did not hurt and even promised a coveted sleepover in oldest daughter's room if it did.  (The currency of today is the sleepover bedroom of the weekend.  It is like throwing a hundred dollar bill on the table and calling a gambler's bluff.  One doesn't just say that unless they are loaded with good cards!)

With a long stare to make sure that youngest daughter was telling the truth, oldest daughter finally gave the go-ahead nod and before she could change her mind, I had it ready to go.

CLICK! and the infusion set was inserted. 

Not a single tear was shed either.

And being of kind spirit, youngest daughter offered to have the sleepover in oldest daughter's bedroom anyway.  I think because she loves being in her big sisters room.

A win-win!

And for so much more than just a sleepover:)  Today was a real diabetes victory!

Stomachs, Flanks, Arms And Now..... LEGS!

The little one seems to be the most daring of the two at times.

While I don't want to really ponder the significance of that statement (hello, sixteen is only 6.5 years away!), I DO want to relish the victory that this little person achieved.

Only 9 years old with a first infusion set on her outer thigh
- and right before leaving to head to school for the day. #Bravery.

Now, she can happily mark every single area of the infusion site chart at the doctors.

Way to go, Youngest Daughter!!!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Thank You To The Michigan Elks Association and the Wonderful ADA Camp Midicha

               MICHIGAN  Elks  ASSOCIATION

American Diabetes Association logo

Just went out to the mailbox and found the best two letters that a parent of children living with type 1 diabetes could find.  I wanted to share this bit of optimism and diabetes goodness with the world.  Because so often, when things seem bleak, it is nice to know that there are people out there that care.  A lot.  With tears in my eyes, I wanted them to know that we feel blessed and encouraged.  Lessons taught at camp start now, with the reminder that the world is indeed, a caring place.

Dear Michigan Elks Association,

Thank you to the Michigan Elks Association for understanding the importance of sending kids that are living with type 1 diabetes to camp.

Because of your generous scholarship, we will be able to send both Naturally Sweet Sisters to the ADA Camp Midicha. 

Camp as you know is the one singular place where kids can relax in an inclusive environment that accepts and understands the daily ins and outs of finger pokes, injections, site changes, insulin, carbohydrate counting and all other life with type 1 diabetes.  

Camp is also the place where tight bonds are formed, kids (and parents) learn trust, try new things and achieve acceptance of self.  

Your donation makes all of this possible for our family. 

I can not express how great this, especially in a home of x2 medical needs.

Our hearts are full today and we appreciate the kindness of your wonderful organization with immense gratitude.  We feel so lucky to be part of such a compassionate community that cares that kids are kids first!

Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

See you at Camp Midicha in June with big hugs!

The Naturally Sweet Sisters

American Diabetes Association logo
American Diabetes Association Camp

Friday, April 26, 2013

Seeing Double A1cs

So it has been three more months from THIS POST and I have to say with as much as I talk the talk about not worrying about how your children's appointment will go and trying not to stress about seeing those numbers, for the first time in a long time, I went into our appointment with a bit of trepidation.


The problem was that the anxiety really wasn't about my girls or their blood sugar logs.  I didn't even have a concern regarding their A1c.  I already had a hunch from keeping tabs on their logbook.   

However, what made me nervous was walking back out that appointment feeling unsupported. 

Three months may not seem long, but in reality to a T1d family, three months can be a lifetime! 

With a bit of dread, and maybe an extra cup of coffee, or four, I gathered up the family and off we went to the appointment.

Walking into the clinic office, my concern heightened a bit when the kind receptionist said, "FORMS?  You have THE FORMS?  Hey, 'so-and-so' did you know that THE FORMS are online?  Yes, 'so-and-so' these people have THE FORMS!"

Are you kidding me?????

Because if you remember from our last appointment, apparently THE FORMS are the match stick to the raging fire of tension for some of the staff.  Clearly, I was deranged for being so prepared.  It made me wish that I had just taken the normal way and waited to do the typical three-minute scramble of filling them out in the office.  Why oh why, did I not learn???

To my surprise, instead of yelling at me, the receptionist giggled and said, "Well, it is your lucky day because you can have a seat and relax!"  Then the receptionist shared how eventually the protocol for check-in will be to use an automated kiosk where a patient simply uses a touch screen to announce their arrival.  Cool!

After that, I 'relaxed' for those three minutes before a pair of vitals nurses called the children to head back for weigh-in, measure and vitals check. 

Let me just share that other families usually stare at us as not one, but two kids are called back at the same time.  It must look so odd from that angle of parenting just one with type 1 diabetes when two vitals nurses step into the reception room. 




I am sure that somewhere there is a circus theme song playing in the background as we walk in.

As the kids take their separate cubicles for weighing and measuring, we confirm that once again, our daughters had a tremendous growth spurt (now I can clearly explain the jump in the grocery bill to my husband).  A moment more, and then, we were escorted to Room 22 for blood glucose and A1c checks.

Because we are frequent fliers in this clinic, one of the games that we routinely play is called "Guess that A1C" and all four of us place our bets in front of the vitals nurse (mostly for accountability because at one point, one of us, ahem, switched guesses after hearing the results.  I promised not to name names, but HE is guilty and HE knows it!!!!).

It doesn't take long to get our results so after meeting with the dietician, our endocrinologist came in with the A1cs. 


Really and truly.  This is so funny because time and time again, the girls have had the same blood sugars despite the fact that they are two separate people with two very different pancreas.  The odds defy this kind of matching game but then again, our family does tend to defy the odds.  I know!  What a bunch of weirdos we are.  Good thing we are happy weirdos!

Back to the A1c result.  Now some of you might be thinking that isn't a very good A1c.  Before I go further, you should read THIS.

In our world, this number doesn't measure our value as people or how even how hard we are trying.  It is just another way of looking at blood sugar.  According to our average number of 756 +/- blood sugar numbers in the log, this points to an average of 185 and 186 respectively for the two girls. 

What this does not tell the world is that oldest daughter grew two more inches and gained 8 lbs in 3 months. 

It does not explain that youngest daughter grew an inch and gained three pounds.

It didn't shout that oldest daughter has been taking care of her own diabetes for an 8-hour school day and a 2-hour after school activity.

The number doesn't show that our youngest daughter was sick or that we went on vacation or that we had an unfortunate incident with Sigums (Dexcom G4). 

Yet, all of that is REAL STUFF.  Stuff that happens to a REAL FAMILY. 

Wow!  When I read that list back, I am almost giddy.  We kicked butt, people!  That is some serious type 1 diabetes booty right there.

And guess what?  The best part of this is that our endo team celebrated right along side of us.  Cheering us on.  Making us feel good.  Lifting us up and acknowledging the hard work that comes into play from all of our team members:  Mom, Dad, Daughter, Daughter, School. Endo, etc.. 

Now this is EXACTLY the way it should be when you go to an appointment.  Truthfully, this is really the way it has always been for our family.  I'm glad too.  Until there is a cure, we need this support.  It is a long and winding road, for sure.

In case you wanted to know, that aforementioned nurse was not in attendance today.  We never did see her.  I am sure that there is no correlation between our great appointment and her absence, it just happened to work out that way.  I meant it when I said that I would give her another chance, because I would.  I owe it to my daughters to set the example of forgiveness and to live the life that I hope they follow. 

Maybe that is what the take away from this post is... 

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
―     Winston Churchill

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Today, It Rains... Tears, too.

Me in my office with messy hair but a happy heart:) 

On average, I spend about an hour or two each month mentoring newly diagnosed families.

An email will be directed to me from either our diabetes clinic or from JDRF directly, politely asking if I would mind calling a new family and helping them find their footing in the new world of type 1 diabetes.

My first reaction is "OF COURSE I WILL CALL!" and I literally jump to grab the phone and dial the number.  My only wish is that I could reach through the line to give a bear hug, but I suppose that would be weird, so maybe it is best that I can't do that.

The truth is that when I see those emails, I feel privileged.  Those first few days, weeks, even months after a new diagnosis are often quite daunting.  To me, the greatest compliment is someone entrusting me with the care of handling a fragile new family.  I feel blessed to be able to give back.

The reality is that I was once the new family and trying to find my own way too.  And if my mentor family could have reached through the phone to bear hug me, I would have gladly accepted.  I cherished those first few calls because it was only through those conversations that anyone even understood a smidge of what I was going through.

And I remember quite clearly, that living in a brand new type 1 diabetes world can be more than just lonely, it can also feel isolating, sad and depressing. 

Reaching out to others is one of the best ways of realizing that you CAN DO THIS and YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

I say that with emphasis today and as well as with a very heavy heart.

My oldest daughter recently learned that one of her dear friends, a child who attended birthday parties with her, had play-dates together, spent hours on Webkinz with her, and all through elementary school, even shared the same teachers, was  diagnosed with type 1 diabetes over the weekend.

Sad doesn't even describe my broken heart.

So today, I am doubling my efforts in helping.  I want this family to feel secure and to understand that while this diagnosis of type 1 diabetes was not in their hopes and dreams, it will BE ALRIGHT and THEY ARE NOT ALONE. 

We, all of us in the diabetes online community (DOC), are here to guide, support and to bravely conquer type 1 diabetes, one step at a time.

If you have a moment, please leave a message in the comments, with an offering of hope and support for our friends and all of the other newly diagnosed families out there.  Maybe you want to share one of your best type 1 diabetes tid-bits, or a story that helps to explain that life that does not end at diagnosis, but continues in an even richer and fuller way than before. 

Thank you from one 'mentor' to another...  CURE!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Naturally Sweet Sisters 2013 Walk Video

With our ever lasting hope to find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes, here is the 2013 Naturally Sweet Sister's JDRF Walk To Cure Type 1 Diabetes Video.

If you would like to donate to our team, please click HERE.

At the time of posting, we have not received any donations, so this would be a great help and wonderful way to kick off the walk to cure type 1 diabetes.  No dollar amount is too small either.  Every single bit helps research and JDRF step closer to better technology and the ultimate goal of a cure!

Thank you for your kindness and encouragement.

In case you missed last year's - here is the 2012 JDRF Walk To Cure Type 1 Diabetes Video.

Monday, April 22, 2013

When Good Things Go Bad - Sigums Style

You all know about our love affair with the DexCom Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs) or as we now lovingly refer to as 'Sigums'?

While Sigums fell apart over the weekend. 


It happened as (ironically none-the-less) my daughter was 'skyping' her fellow 4th grade friend in Wisconsin, whom also has type 1 diabetes.

As youngest daughter removed Sigums from her pump pouch for a show and tell, the circular black faceplate popped off.   Upon inspection, we realized that the cheaply manufactured clips designed to hold the faceplate on had simply snapped, rendering the buttons useless.  A few moments later and we decided to take the sensor out - which is a shame as it was still in cycle.

The supply hoarder in me felt a little cheated at losing time with the valuable sensors.  Our co-pays are not fun this year and paying out of pocket means that we feel the pinch of wasting.

As a result of not having the sensor in last night, (giving me a little extra anxiety over putting my child with IOB into bed) I over did it on the drink box of chocolate milk.

Nothing like seeing a 400 mg/dl on the good 'ole blood sugar meter.

And to the nice DexCom rep that kept repeatedly asking me if we had water damage, the answer is still no.

That question baffles me.  Especially when I found out that the only way to get a replacement receiver was to give DexCom my credit card and agree to pay the entire replacement cost if DexCom feels like it was under water despite me telling them no.

Does this look like water damage?  Because being threatened is not a cool way to handle a manufacturing issue. 

Even though I asked the customer service rep if we were the only ones to have reported this issue, she politely refused to answer.

So I ask anyone else out there... have you had this happen? 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Serenity

calm down party - I love love this invite!

With the rush of the last few months of school upon us, this pinterest picture made me smile.  Sharing that smile with you.  And also, a carb count.... if you decide to have a calm down party, I am guesstimating that bread is 15 carbs a slice. 

Dose and Enjoy.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Making Photo Albums

After our latest Magical Kingdom visit, I found myself eager to make a few of those easy-peasy online photo albums.   There are many to choose from, but I often find myself using just one company so that I can load all of my pictures and know that as time goes by, if I need to reprint, the pictures are there for easy access. 

While I have been doing this for a long while, I have gotten away from the promptness of sorting, loading and organizing.  As I worked on the vacation pictures, it hit me that I pretty much neglected all of 2012 and a big chunk of 2011.  (hanging my head in mommy-shame!)

Not a great realization for someone who loves to take pictures.   I suddenly had a major undertaking on my hands.  From newly minted vacation pictures to almost two years of a back log. 


So I did what anyone would do, I made some popcorn and found something else to distract me. 

I'm kidding.  Sort of.  I did procrastinate for a few days but then, a friend gave me a freebie coupon for a picture book and that inspired me to get moving.

A couple of weeks later and three books have now been completed and ordered.  My backlog is down to a respectable half year and I feel more organized and efficient. 

I love when that happens.

You might wonder how this ties into the world of type 1 diabetes.  While sorting through the pictures, I came across several that depicted our family life while living with type 1 diabetes.  As we enter our seventh year, no longer is there a distinction between life BEFORE type 1 diabetes and life AFTER type 1 diabetes.

It all blurs together.

The only exception to that thought is this picture.  I found this shot in the online photo album and it was taken the weekend that youngest daughter was diagnosed.  She had just turned three years old. 

Seeing that picture brings back the flood of emotion of feeling terrified that no one had answers as to why my sweet little girl was so ill.

This picture is probably the only remaining visual of that horrific day.

The type 1 diabetes clock stops here.  But only for a moment....

Because just one more picture, and life resumes.  My daughters are back to being the sweet, little girls that grow up to be the girls that they are now. 

Growing, thriving and becoming the young ladies that they are meant to be. 

Explorers ready to take on any new adventure.  Even with a second diagnosis, life is not slowing or left hanging in the balance.  We continue on and savor every second!

Happy girls with happy memories.

This is the reason to capture it all... because from then until now, or from BEFORE to AFTER, life moves right along. 

I am so glad that we didn't let type 1 diabetes stop us from enjoying the view.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fresh Food Friday

A slow cooked kind of week led me to post this...

KEEP CALM TODAY IS FRIDAY - KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON Image Generator - brought to you by the Ministry of Information

But also to post this... a bit of fresh food Friday inspiration... FISH TACOS. 

It is pretty, isn't it? 

You'll need:

Cod (or fish of choice)
Shredded Cabbage
Green Onion
Russian Dressing
Salsa or Pico D'Gallo
Sliced Mango
Lime or lemon

Layer as you would like and serve!  Delicious and very low in carbohydrates.  Often, it even is a freebie as my little one tends to eat ala carte with no tortilla and only fresh lemon-lime as a dressing.

Fish Tacos /


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Children Coping With Tragedy

Since I normally do not watch t.v., especially during the daytime hours, I was unaware of what had been happening during the Boston Marathon.  My oldest daughter, home from middle school, had plopped herself on the couch with a snack and a remote to catch a few minutes of her favorite Disney Channel shows.

Before she could seek out her show, a 'News Alert' announcement flashed across the screen.  "Mom?  What happened?" she asked with a worried frown on her face.

I walked over to see what she meant and together, we sat down, trying to absorb the grim reality of what appeared to have happened just moments earlier. 

As the information clicked together, I suddenly had to face that my television companion was not fully understanding of what we were watching and most likely was a bit confused and scared.  Especially when the screen announced the number of causalities and total number of victims.  She reached for my hand and gave it a squeeze.  The unspoken words seemed to say, "Are we safe?"

"Yes.  Yes. Yes." I said outloud.  "Don't worry.  We are safe.  This happened far from us and I am certain, we are safe."

My daughter relaxed a bit and I used the remote to change the channel, hopefully signaling that there truly was nothing to worry about.

A few minutes of her program and I announced that it was time to pick up her little sister.  We shut the television off and didn't turn it back on for the rest of the night. 

Sadly, tragic news, especially for children who are already coping with huge amounts of stress, magnify anxiety. 

I have encountered this a few times.  The Sandy Hook Elementary shooting was not only scary for both of my daughters, but stress inducing as well.  Our school system handled the information sharing in an age-appropriate way but many of their peers knew more or had been exposed to detailed information that they shared in the cafeteria and on the playground to my girls.  The talk from their friends was frightening, especially from the child that said, "My mom told me to run all the way home so I do not get shot."  Which then led to my daughter asking if she was going to be shot if she stayed at school. 

While, we as adults, understand the complexity of tragedy and how a single event does not define the future, children are literal and can't necessarily separate one bad incident from the whole.  For a week after, my youngest daughter asked me to walk her into school.  Unfortunately, at the same time, our school was instituting new security procedures and asked for parents to strictly comply with drop-off procedures.  My daughter and I compromised with me pulling right up to the front door and giving her a big wave as she walked into the building, hopefully reassuring her that if mom wasn't worried, neither should she be. 

I think it worked but it is hard to tell with her as she internalizes much of what she hears and sees.  Part of this has been her coping mechanism of dealing with type 1 diabetes.  It worries me and I try to help diffuse as much of the anxiety as I can by giving her tricks to lesson the worry.  She probably is tired of me saying it, but my favorite comment is, "Let mom and dad do the worrying for you.  Your number one job is to be a kid." 

Before I sent my oldest daughter to school today, I took a few moments in our early morning alone time to ask if she had any questions about what she saw on television.  I explained that some kids may come to school and want to talk about it or perhaps, her teachers might open a discussion like they did when Sandy Hook made the news.

Her only question was this:

"Why did someone have to do that to those runners?"

And sadly, while I know I explained something about mental illness, I too, wonder the same thing.....


Friday, April 12, 2013

Fresh Food Friday

It's Yogurt Time!

Found a very tasty and low carb yogurt this week.  Available at most grocery outlets, I think you are going to LOVE this one.
Introducing Dannon Light and Fit Greek Yogurt!

This little cup of yogurt packs a BIG punch with it's traditional greek style flavor and creamy, delicious texture.  The best part of all is that it is only 8 carbs!  That's right!  Just 8 carbs!!!!!!
And this isn't the toddler sized carton either.  This is a full sized adult portion.  With 2x the protein at 12 grams and only 80 calories.  

Since I am reviewing it for you all, I had to open it up and show you how delicious it is.

And then, just opening it wasn't enough, so I had to pop a spoon into it and give it a stir.  After all, you needed to see that yummy blueberry fruit on the bottom.  So delicious.

Then, well, I ate it.  I couldn't help myself.  One container of creamy yogurt goodness.  Try it.  It is THAT GOOD!
The End.

Ps.  For full disclosure no one at Dannon knows about Naturally Sweet Sisters or asked us to try this product.  We did it for fun and to share a low-carb snack with all of you!  Enjoy!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Walt Disney World And The Mysterious Guest Assistance Card (GAC)

Please Note:  If you haven't been following the Naturally Sweet Sisters series on 'Disney and Diabetes' or are looking for more information, please click here for details on how to travel comfortably with the Mouse.

The most frequently asked question is from someone living with type 1 diabetes and about to embark on a Walt Disney World vacation is:


After explaining the card, the second most frequently asked question is:


Well, today, I am not only going to explain what it is and how it works, but I am also going to show you EXACTLY what it looks like and how you can get one for your next vacation.   

PLEASE NOTE:  This card is used exclusively for people that are living with type 1 diabetes (or other medical disabilities).  If you do not have a medical disability, please do not try to obtain one.  Using one when there is not a disability is considered fraud and Walt Disney World has every right to revoke your admittance.  In 2013, it was reported in several newspapers that people were actively seeking to take advantage of the Guest Assistance Card, even when it was clear that they did not have a disability.  It is shameful and disgraceful and reflect poorly on those of us that live with chronic conditions and truly need help.  Please consider using the FAST PASS system, which a free service at all Walt Disney Parks whenever possible.  Thank you!

(And feeling a little bit proud of myself for remembering to hang on to the card long after the vacation ended - because traveling for 22 hours straight in the family car is a bit of an organizational nightmare!!!) 

Before you go to the park, it is a good idea to do a little light reading.  Walt Disney World offers several Guides for Guests with Disabilities.  You can pick these up at any Guest Assistance Center, sometimes known as Guest Services in the Parks or in the City Hall located at the Magic Kingdom.

Each brochure provides a park map which highlights accessibility to every ride and attraction.

While all of our Type 1 Diabetes kids are mobile and do not require things like ramps or braille readers - in most cases - although some do!, they might need assistance with their Diabetic Alert Dog (DAD) and access to areas that offer companion restrooms.  I still LOVE companion (also known as Family restrooms).  Like my one mom friend shared, sending a young son into the men's restroom without an adult is NOT going to happen.  Companion restrooms solve this problem. 

When the girls were little, I often used the time in the bathroom to administer an injection or perform an infusion site change just because it was easier to contain them and offered a little bit of privacy for a very sensitive 3 year-old.  Not to mention that many offer in-room sinks for cleaning off sticky fingers for blood glucose tests.  They are ideal restrooms!

Another special feature that Walt Disney World offers is a Courtesy Wheelchair.  The chair is free of charge and is available to and from the accessible parking lot and the nearest 'in-park' wheelchair rental location.  Before you skip past this piece of information, if you feel like standing for your child in ANY line might be difficult on maintaining blood sugars, you might want to consider renting a wheelchair and then at the end of the day, using a free one to get your child safely back to the car.  It is a long walk from the parking lot to the monorail or boat and then into the theme park.

If you aren't in need of a wheelchair but still would like additional sitting room for your child, Walt Disney World also offers stroller rentals.  These aren't like typical strollers.  These are the hard molded plastic that can easily hold an up to 80-pound kid.  A bonus is that it is a great place to store your Type 1 Diabetes supplies.  Well, everything except insulin.  In the hot Florida sun, insulin can easily be cooked, so never leave it on the stroller unattended.  Read on for a perfect insulin storage solution.

Besides highlighting special restrooms, it also gives you a perfect view of where things like the First Aid Pavilion is located or a special spot at each park called the Baby Care Center.  The Baby Care Center is a bit misleading by it's title as it is a place for families to unwind, relax, and for our families, do a little type 1 diabetes maintenance.  The Center will also store and hold your insulin in their refrigerator (bring the insulin in a bag that is clearly marked and labeled with a cell phone reminder set to pick up the insulin on your way back out of the park at the end of the day). 

Using these brochures, you can also familiarize yourself with the layout of the park.  This is an important step that should not be missed.  When you head over to the Guest Assistance Center to ask for your GAC, the cast member will ask you what you need in order to 'accommodate your child'.  This is a critical point - YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT YOU NEED IN ORDER TO GET IT.  Whew!  What a tongue twister! 
Our family typically asks for two things:  1.)  Having access to a shady spot before getting on the rides as my girls tend to have erratic blood sugars when they overheat.  2.)  Standing for long periods of time - over 30 minutes - tends to deplete their blood sugars and they dip dangerously low, into hypoglycemia.  This means that we also need a place to sit... in the shade, preferably and my kids also need to have access to some fast acting glucose and/or water.  If you have been reading our blog, you know that I always carry water too.  Nothing wrecks havoc on blood sugar faster than being dehydrated from the hot Florida sun.  Disney and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) do not mix!

Unfortunately (and fortunately as well), Type 1 Diabetes does not neatly fit into the Walt Disney World standards of accommodations.  When you refer to the brochure, unless your child has another ailment, most cast members will not know how to help you as Type 1 Diabetes doesn't fall directly under Mobility, Visual or Hearing Disabilities.  So speak up, be nice and most likely, the cast member will give you what you NEED to help your child.
This is what our family needed: A red and white GAC!

Now with each trip, I learn something new.  There is another card that floats around the park which is green and white - but looks just like this one.  That is not the card for our families whom are living with Type 1 Diabetes.  The green and white version is given only to handful of people today, usually those that are terminal and only will stay at the park for a handful of rides.  I did have a cast member incorrectly direct me to the green and white card - he was also the ONLY crabby cast member that I met the entire day. 

The front of the GAC has a space that the cast member will either rubber stamp or hand write the accommodation direction.  We have had them do both on the card and there really seems to be no right or wrong way to go about getting one filled out.

Excuse the pencil but I wanted to cover up the girl's names.  Next to that you will see how many people the GAC will assist.  The maximum amount is six guests.  If you read the back side of the card, it states clearly that the card can only be written for six people.  Don't let this bother you.  We had eight people in our group for each day at the parks and only a couple of cast members made a comment.  We are a pretty easy going group though.  If a cast member had to follow the rules, we would have understood too.  My motto on vacation is 'RELAX' and that helps with the little bumps that you might come across once in a while.

Once we had the GAC, an amazing thing happened for us this year (2013) and while I am going to tell you all about it, you should know that this IS NOT TYPICAL OR EXPECTED.   The only thing that you should expect with the GAC is accommodations to get on the ride as stated on the card.  I would have sat anywhere that I could have with the girls to keep them safe and enjoying Disney but in some instances, there was no way to accommodate us.  There simply was NO PLACE TO SIT.

By showing our card to each cast member as we entered the line, we were able to help our daughters stay in good blood sugar range.  In many instances, especially at Epcot, there was absolutely no place to sit in the shade, so the cast members thought it was easier to just move us right onto the ride.  At Magic Kingdom, several rides did the same as well.  Many of the Magic Kingdom rides were indoors though, so we just went into the normal triage and got on the ride like everyone else. Sometimes, my girls did sit on the floor though.  We always try to take advantage of the space that we are in to preserve blood sugars. 

One point to note:  As long as our water bottle had a lid/cap, we were always allowed to take it onto the ride as needed.  So even in the indoor areas, we practiced good hydration. 

We also took our GAC to Disney's Quest located in Downtown Disney.  The lines were all indoor and very short, so the GAC was not needed at all.  Depending on the time of year that you attend Disney, it might be like that at every park.  So this is where I would say on whether or not you use it or need to use it, really depends on how full the park and/or ride is.

In the case that you decide not to use the GAC, you might want to get the FastPass. 

My husband and our other traveling men love securing FastPasses and because the GAC made it so easy to ride everything, we didn't always need to get them. 

For those that do not know how the FastPass works, let me further explain.  The FastPass is a FREE service that allows you to pick a ride and come back at a designated time on a ticket to enter a shorter entrance. 

The one in my hand is from Splash Mountain and it has a time to enter and a time to be able to get another FastPass ticket for a different ride. 

For most families, to maximize the number of rides and attractions, you will want to make sure you take advantage of this free service.  And let the husbands and other men do this.  I guarantee that they will LOVE figuring out this part of the adventure. 

 Here is the backside of the FastPass.  One neat thing about being at Magic Kingdom is that once in a while a cast member will gift you a free FastPass or maybe even a stranger who no longer wants to use them.  Accept them all and think about paying it forward if you have extras leftover.  One cute story I have is while walking from gift shop to gift shop with my sister-in-law, niece and daughter, a nice family stopped us and asked if we had been on Peter Pan's Magic Flight.  We shook our heads 'no' and to our surprise and delight, they pulled out four fast passes for us to immediately use.  I like to call that a magical moment! 

Feel free to ask any other questions that you might have about visiting Walt Disney World with Type 1 Diabetes.  Our family loves it there and because it truly is the most happiest place on earth, I would LOVE to help you get there too!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Vacationing with Type 1 Diabetes

After 12 days away, we are home and adjusting back to our normal routines.  Without meaning to, I find myself already counting the number of site changes (today makes for two each) since returning.   Even willing it not to, the mundane tedium of all that is type 1 diabetes has slithered and slunk back into our home.

Which means that we have welcomed the diabetes monster home as well.  Boo.

Because that is the thing about vacationing.  While we all know that type 1 diabetes never goes away, somehow when WE go away, it seems much less of a "thing".  It gently fades into the back ground and the girls (albeit for a short time) are able to focus even more on just being a kid.

Thanks to vacation.... well, and hotel rooms, swimming pools, walks on the beach, cousins, friends, aunts and grandmas and of course, the most magical place on earth, Walt Disney World!

So here is a tiny look in pictures of what we saw...






The End.

Ps.  Tomorrow, I will be talking about the Guest Assistance Card at Walt Disney World.  Be sure to come and see more about what this card is and to view a sample!