Sunday, September 22, 2013

Is He Pump Worthy?

At each three-month endocrinologist appointment that we attend, a set of paperwork is given to us to fill in before we see the doctors.  

For the most part, the paperwork is very routine with questions on blood sugars and pump settings, recent illness and or updates in care.  There is one section though, that I have started to think about a bit more. 

"Have you discussed with your son/daughter the effects of:
Diabetes and smoking? _______ 
Diabetes and alcohol?______ 
Diabetes and sex?_______"

The first two, I have.  Mostly about the dangers of engaging in risky behavior that is not only illegal but has serious health consequences.  I throw in 'drugs' for good measure.  And 'piercings'.  And 'tattoos'.  Blech.

The third, other than discussing the importance of waiting until marriage and how babies are born, not so much.  My girls are young and it has always seemed irrelevant at this stage in life, especially since they have not shown much thought towards boys or dating. 

What I have been saving for my daughters is my belief that they need to wait for the intimacy that comes with marriage not just for abstinence reasons but because the man that they are with needs to be 'pump worthy'. 

Their future love needs to be compassionate and understanding of the highs and the lows; to be a support in the face of an a1c that isn't perfect; to be a shoulder to lean on when it is needed; to be watchful and loving during the wee hours of the night; to navigate intimacy with a set of tubing, cannula, sensor and pump; and most especially to see well beyond the word 'diabetic' and only know that they are luckiest man in the world to be with the woman of their dreams.

Anything less than that is not only non-marriage material, but also not even remotely worthy of having sex with.

To explain that to my daughters, I need to wait until they have grown a bit more and are ready to understand that not all men are equal, even if they are 'cute'.  In the meantime, my job is to continue to nurture them in a loving home by setting an example with a strong, caring and supportive marriage. 

Last week, the Naturally Sweet dad and I attended our first parent night at the local junior high school.  Part of our rotation in and out of classrooms was to sit through a meeting in Life Skills, a class much like the old-school home economics that each of us took back in 6th or 7th grade.

The room looked generally the same, with stoves, sinks and sewing machines scattered about.  The main difference was the teacher discussion.  The topic focused entirely on sex education. 

With both us being fairly open (because I have always felt that it would be better to come from a parent than a friend), this was entirely new territory.  The topics that the child will be learning are listed below. 

Physical Changes
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Teen Pregnancy
Pregnancy and Child Birth
Sexual Harassment, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Predators
Sex and the Law
Family Planning and Contraception

Huh.  Shocking to say the least. 

That sure seems like a big load of adulthood coming towards these kids.  It is also in conflict with what I have taught them, or more importantly, what I haven't taught them. 

The fact of the matter is that kids need to learn these things.  Sadly, there ARE teen pregnancies and kids do go to school WITH stds.  It's awful.  It's shameful.  It's a million things that break my heart.

And while I sort through that, I think back to the forms that we fill out at the endocrinologist office with the simple discussion of diabetes and sex.

It's time to explain a little bit more.  And with the rest of the topics, it won't be a one-time conversation.  I will leave the door open to talk some more, because with type 1 diabetes in our home, the door is ALWAYS OPEN.

Which brings me back to a silver lining of living with type 1 diabetes; we are always here for our children to carefully watch over blood sugars, to guide, to nurture...

And to teach that waiting for the love of their life (and one who is pump-worthy) will be well worth it.

I wonder if some of those topics wouldn't be needed if that was the case for everyone.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

From Your Mouth to Their Ear

Photo: Walking!
Red Striders Walking with HOPE!  Cure type 1 diabetes, please:)

It is the season of walks for our state.  With this time of year comes a variety of walks to all help cure type 1 diabetes.  JDRF sponsors several walks throughout the region with targeted populations that are around a chapter office.  In contrast, the ADA sponsors only one walk with the target being the most centrally populated area of the entire state.

Naturally Sweet Sisters supports them all.  If we can't walk, we send messages and if we walk, we raise money.

After all, to get to a cure, it will take a village. 

This year however, I noticed something new.  Something that I wasn't entirely aware of in prior walks.  It wasn't just the need to GIVE support, but for me, it was the need to be SURROUNDED by the feeling of support.

We walk to raise awareness for the need to end type 1 diabetes, but now I realize that we also walk for the need to surround our family with something else;  HOPE. 

Why I think I recognized that is that for the first time, I was keenly aware that not everyone was walking for the same reasons.  Many of those that walked this past weekend were there for something else.  I am not even sure what it was. 

Like the people who crowded around the booth for free sorbet before the walk started.  As a man peddled the product to the crowd, a friend and I could overhear him say, "This is dye-free, preservative free and even good for people who are dealing with sugar issues." 

What does that even mean?  That life is good enough if we just eat the right things?  The reason that we walk is to point out that nothing will be good enough unless we have a cure.

I think that I hoped to hear him say, "This is the best darn product for everyone in the world.  And to make it even better, I am giving all of my profits to help ADA eradicate type 1 diabetes FOREVER!"

Or what about the people that showed up for a day at the zoo and were instead bothered by the people who were there for the walk.  Part of me felt compassion for them but the other part was slightly miffed because everyone should be welcoming an effort to eradicate a horrible disease from this world.

I really wanted to hear them shout, "Wow!  What an opportunity!  Let's give them the money that we would have spent on stuffed animals in the gift shop and join in to spread the message:  Cure Diabetes!"

I know that I was tired on walk day and a little bit sad that the other half of the Naturally Sweet Sisters weren't there.  (Our oldest had another commitment and the Naturally Sweet Dad was helping her.)

And on a brighter note... we were surrounded by other local families that continue to pledge their unwavering support for an end to type 1 diabetes.  I just couldn't shake the wish that everyone else knew how hard these families were working and helped to support them all.

Even in a recent email that I received, one young mom pointed out that she was really struggling with getting donations for her walk team.  She said people weren't excited about it and only a few were signing up.  She felt lost and didn't know what to do, especially with the walk just a few weeks away. 

I gave her some ideas and then later, as I thought about it, wished I have said this: 

While your voice may seem small, it is still being heard.  I am listening and I will share the message through Naturally Sweet Sisters.  And from there, maybe someone will share it with a friend of theirs and so on and so on.  Eventually, it may even get back to the peddler of ice-cream or the family that had no idea it was walk day at the zoo.  Eventually from your mouth to their ear, your small voice will change the world!  Just don't give up.

Keep the HOPE!

To donate to the JDRF Naturally Sweet Sister's Walk Team, CLICK HERE or enter the website into your browser

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A True Ghost Story

Yesterday as I am finally alone in my house and sipping my first morning coffee, I take a few moments to survey the wreckage from the weekend.  Our house tends to become a casualty of family life after two days of playing and living.  There were stray socks here and there, followed up by the occasional loose crayon, snack wrapper or mysterious board game piece scattered around the carpet.  Suddenly, I spy a little piece of tubing which is connected to a cannula.

"Oh no!"

My heart skips a beat because as my eyes trace the cannula and tubing, it leads to a zippered pump pouch clearly marked with youngest daughter's name.

"Oh no!  Youngest daughter didn't reconnect after she showered this morning.  That means that she went to school without a bolus for her breakfast.  Oh $%&#!"

Frantically I drop the board game piece, wrappers and stray socks to jump to grab her pump and pouch.  As I pick them up, I am already scanning for my cell phone and keys in order to quickly head out the door and drive up to her school.

But wait...

This pouch feels too light.  Almost as if there is air inside of it and not the slightly weighty feel of a normally full pouch. 

"What in the world??"

With my heart still racing, I carefully unzip the pouch and this is what I find:

Yes, our Rufus the Bear pump pouch from a few years ago.  Apparently, Rufus is the one who disconnected over the weekend and forgot to put it back on.

Later, youngest daughter explained that the new Girl Ghost decoration that we just placed into her baby rocker looked like she needed a boost of insulin too.  She said the Girl Ghost was a little pale (but what she doesn't know is that for a few seconds, I was too!)


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wacky Packies - New Adorable Pump Pouches

It's no secret that the Naturally Sweet Sisters and I love beautiful pump supplies.  It is one of the bright spots of making the world of t1d a little bit better, especially for two budding teenagers. 

One of my dear DOC girlfriends understands this and she offered to make the girls two custom insulin pump pouches.  As a mom of a t1d little boy, she said she was excited to try her hand at something girly. 

And wow!  Does she understand girls or what?  Thank you, Tracy!!!!!

Seriously adorable pump pouch with perfect teen style!

Too cute little girl pump pouch with adorable ruffle belt.  Our daughter wanted to 'show this off' and declared it to be the softest pouch in the world.
To explain how I met Tracy, a few years ago we found each other on a website devoted to babies and toddlers that were living with type 1 diabetes called  At the time, I felt so lost in the new world of type 1 diabetes, that I wanted to reach out and make a connection with anyone living anywhere that had some knowledge of type 1 diabetes.  To this day, the women that I met on babycenter, are truly some of the best diabetes friends that I have.  We have even made it a point to travel and meet or to Skype with each other or simply to send Christmas cards.  Each connection provides a little bit of joy in a world that mostly revolves around a life where few people live with daily insulin injections.  Having this group of ladies has made our world much more 'normal'.  Even though our kids have grown out of the 'babycenter' age group, we have stayed well connected and I cherish each and everyone. 
Let me give a shout-out to the BBC gang!!!!  'HELLO LADIES'!!!!!!!
Tracy writes about her own t1d journey on her website:
We are artists, friends, and moms brought together on this Type 1 diabetes journey by our amazing endocrinologist. Our kiddos were all diagnosed young at 17 months and 21 months and began pumping very soon after. It was challenging pumping through diaper changes, potty training, sippy cups and impromptu squirt gun fights. We hope you enjoy the simple designs, convenient clear vinyl windows and water resistant fabrics along your journey.
Learning to sew pump holders began together during play dates. It was truly a stress relief to be doing something creative while being around people that speak the language. "What time is it?" "Do we need a check?" "Are you feeling low" " What is the active insulin?" "When was the last bolus?" "What's the carb count?" "Did you eat all of it?" All the while watching our amazing and silly kids play, and making each other laugh, and or cry in the process. We wanted to not only make holders for our kids and the fun of making them for each others kids...but to donate them to our local children's hospital. Together with the help of many we have donated over 200 so far for the new pump starts and little kids camps in our area. Our goal is to donate 800+ which is the approximate number our endocrine clinic services. We are excited to continue donations with your help. For every 10 pump pockets purchased, another one will be donated. Also we would like to include words of encouragement, a "HEART Note" (Helping Every one Along the Road of T1D) in each pocket donated. Please take a moment and share your "HEART NOTE" on our FB comments section for us to tuck in a pocket.

The Wacky Packies that the Naturally Sweet Sisters are wearing were designed with the girls' favorite color choices in mind.  Our oldest daughter preferred anything 'grown-up' with black and white as her favorite color.  Our youngest daughter, who is known for her very girlie nature, asked for something 'pretty'. 

The attached waist band is a no-click belt, meaning it is simply one stretchy piece of fabric.  The girls prefer this style as often, the belt will accidently pinch tender skin.  No one wants tears when wearing a pump pouch.
Over the clothes and on there way to go outside and play - I think the words were 'hurry-up, MOM!'
My oldest daughter wanted hers to fit snuggly, like a pair of yoga pants.  She LOVED that this pump pouch fit exactly like that.  Here is a shot of the pouch under her t-shirt.  No pump bump in sight.

Under their clothes and still, the words were 'Are we done?  We want to play!!!'
Youngest daughter wanted hers a bit looser.  She is still not concerned with any type of bump, but prefers to wear her pump higher on her natural waist.  She doesn't want to have anything in the way when it comes to putting on other pieces of clothing.  I suspect if she would have pulled the belt over her hips, like her sister, than it would also be less of a bump.  In any regards, she feels comfortable and the best part is that the pump pouch can be worn any way a child likes.  Just like in diabetes care, you need to choose what works best for you!  Kids first, diabetes second!

Thank you Wacky Packies for sending our girl off in style!

For the first day of school, our oldest chose to wear a dress.  Normally, the question of where to put the pump would be a huge issue and possibly, even a deterrent.  This year, with the new pump pouch, nothing got in the way.  She felt comfortable and confident wearing exactly what she wanted to wear.  Not to mention, she was absolutely glowing.  Um, how in the world do you stop a child from growing up????  Eek!
So are you ready for your Wacky Packies?
Wacky Packies is now available for anyone to order.  You can find them online HERE.  Or type this link into your browser . 
Here are a few Wacky Packies that are currently listed. 
This PRETTY ONE, a pink, snap closed pouch is a mere $15.00.   You can click HERE to order it.
Or what about this cute one.  Called 'Argh', it is also just $15.00 and you can click HERE to order it as well.
Tracy even has cute designs for dolly and me.  Look at how adorable this would be, especially as alternative to oodles of Halloween candy.  Priced at only $20.00, your child will receive both the Wacky Packies for themselves and one for their favorite stuffy.  Click HERE to order your own set. 
Hope you enjoy this look at Wacky Packies.  If you stop by the Wacky Packies website, please let them know that you are visiting from Naturally Sweet Sisters.   They will love to hear from you!
And thanks to Tracy for creating the Wacky Packies brand.  You are making the world a better place for all of us that are living with type 1 diabetes.  Sending you huge HUGS!!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sigum Clocks

After the longest school week ever -which included the Friday night football game, our youngest daughter and I had made plans with another t1d family to meet up at the ADA Walk to Cure Diabetes on Saturday.  (Oldest daughter had a pre-planned birthday party and our Naturally Sweet Dad offered to be the carpool parent as needed.)

With just youngest daughter and myself attending, I was looking forward to a little ladies day out.  The only worry that I had was that both youngest daughter and myself had been running so much during  the week that I was afraid that I would sleep in and miss the early wake-up.  Our walk is over an hour away and we needed to be there by 8:00 a.m. for registration.  Plus the ADA walk is HUGE and meeting people can be a real challenge.  The last thing I wanted to do was to be late!

With the concern for promptness, I checked the alarm a few times before falling asleep and finally, sweet rest....


I sat up in bed and glanced towards the window.  Still dark but no worry, I was just grateful for having woken on time and not oversleeping.  I quickly dressed, careful not to wake my husband and headed over to youngest daughter's room.

Sleeping soundly, I gave her a few kisses and finally had to ask her to sit up.  She did and while she struggled to wake, I tested her blood sugar and entered the number into her pump and Sigum (CGMs).   As she dressed, I walked into her sister's bedroom to check her blood sugar.


67 mg/dl

I promptly walked down the hall to retrieve a bottle of juice and asked oldest daughter to drink it.  She did quickly and was soon back to sleep.  Youngest daughter waited patiently in the doorway for me to finish and then, holding hands, we descended down the stairs to the kitchen to finish getting ready to leave.

"Put your shoes on honey.  We will just eat in the car on the way."  I said as I walked into our office to pick up my cell phone.   

I walked back to the kitchen and suddenly thought I should check the cell battery to make sure that I didn't need to charge it in the car.  The charge was full but something else caught my eye.

"3:45 a.m."

Now, I don't know about your walks, but none of ours start at 4:00 a.m..  It suddenly occurred to me that what I thought had been the alarm clock, was actually oldest daughter's CGM warning.

Yes.  That's right.  I even woke up our youngest daughter to get her dressed and out the door.

Yes.  Really.

We ended up both going back to bed.  And both of us went back to bed wearing our clothes for the next the day.  In the end, we still made it to the 8:00 a.m. walk on time and met our friends with a funny story to share.

But the sad part?  I am still tired.  So if you see me out and I don't look like I should, maybe just ask me to check the time!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tales of Friday Night From An Overly Tired Mom

The end of the first full week of school came to a conclusion on Friday night.

By Friday morning, I was actually counting the moments until the kids were done with school and by default, I was done with my daily round trip to the junior high and middle school.

As my oldest child happily bounced into the passenger seat, I noticed that she had pen marks scrawled up and down her hands. 

"What's that?" I pointed to the marks.

"Oh this?  Well it is a home football game tonight and EVERYONE is going.  Can I go?  I want to see my friends.  Riley will be there and maybe Kate.  And EVERYONE else is going too."

It was one of those tortured mom moments... doing a simple thing for your child that could possibly crown you as 'coolest mom ever' or going home to fall asleep while watching re-runs on television.

So I said what every tired parent says, "Let's go home and see what Dad says."

A few hours later and after a nice dinner, suddenly the idea of getting ready to watch a high school football game didn't seem nearly as torturous.  In fact, it seemed kind of fun.  I felt kind of hip even.  Here I was taking my 7th grader to her first game to meet friends.  How cool was I? 

That was until she said, "Mom, this game is a black-out". 

"Oh no.  That is disappointing.  I wonder what happened to the stadium lights?  Everyone else seems to have power on."  I gave her a little hug and started to think about which sweatpants that I wanted to put on.

"Uh, no mom.  I mean it is a black-out.  That means that all of us need to wear total black and just add a few red accents in."  She walked by while shaking her head.

So I wasn't as cool as I thought after all.  Good-bye sweatpants.

On the way to the game, we discussed 'the rules".  A little sighing here or there but in the end, she seemed OK with it.  Whether she realizes it or not right now, I think this is what makes me the ultimate in cool... I care about her.

The Football Game Rules
1.)  She wasn't allowed under the bleachers.
2.)  She had to walk by the stands where her father, little sister and I were sitting every half hour.
3.)  If she bought anything from the concessions, she had to buy it with her own money.
4.)  She had to check her blood sugar before she ate or at least once during the game and as always, text me the number.
5.)  She had to stay with her group of friends and not go anywhere alone.

Upon arriving at the game, oldest daughter was immediately scooped up by three screaming friends.  They hugged and shouted hellos at the same time.  I couldn't understand everything said and in seconds they were heading off in their tightly linked gaggle together.  All I received was a backwards wave from oldest daughter and then, she disappeared into a sea of black.  Literally. 

We made it through most of the game until youngest daughter felt chilled and was ready to go.  Oldest daughter did her duty and walked by periodically, even waving at us.  Our neighbors were at the game too and I watched as she politely stopped to chat with them.  She texted me cheery text messages with random updates as well as one blood sugar.  Even though it was bit higher than I would have liked, I was happy to see her having fun.  I knew as I watched her from my seat in the stands that I was facing another life changing moment... my daughter was spreading her wings a bit further.  And diabetes wasn't interfering in the least.  In fact, it made almost no difference at all.  The rules would have been the same (with the exception of number 4) and she still had the time of her life.

And her words when it was all over?

"That was the best night EVER!  Riley and Kate and EVERYONE have made plans for next Friday night.  Mom, can I go?  And it is homecoming.  That means that everyone dresses up.  Just in case you didn't know, mom."

Monday, September 9, 2013

School's In Session - Amazement Lingers

The first full week of school is behind us.

It happened uneventfully. 

I'd like to think that it was a result of my planning but I believe it was more due to the fact that my girls are growing older.  They are aware of what needs to happen and how it needs to be done.  It is rather amazing because at the start of this journey, I was the sole responsibility of all things type 1 diabetes.  Now, I am really just one small piece.


For moms (and dads) that are where I was just a short time ago, I wanted to give you a glimpse of what is yet to come.

My girls are fully handling their type 1 diabetes while they are at school.  This means that they are checking blood sugars, texting me numbers and paying attention to those highs and lows.

No more aides.  Our sweet Miss D. is back at the old elementary and gently helping a new group of t1d children.  We texted each other on the first day like we did for all of those years prior.  Still, it wasn't the same.   Our baby birds have flown the nest.

And yet, neither one of us were overly sad.  Instead, we just felt proud.  Look at how far we have come.  Look at how far they have come. 

One of my favorite texts last week came from my 5th grader:  "Mom, I am 127.  Don't text me back.  Bye."

I could never explain how much that text made me smile to the outside world of non-type 1 diabetes.  But for all of you, I can explain that seeing that makes me know that she is feeling empowered by her care.  She has the confidence and knowledge of how to take over the day shift (and yes, I will fully resume the remaining 16 hours of the day) and still, be a kid.   Kids first, diabetes second.

In the way that we all say as parents, "You know you are doing your job if they one day have the skills to leave the nest", than the same holds true to type 1 diabetes.  I was never helicoptering by choice, but truly by necessity. 

She has learned so much and now, she can start to be more independent.  It is nothing short of amazing. 

Happy New School Year!