Thursday, March 31, 2016

Cutie Patootie Little Stickeroos Called GrifGrips


Spring is here!  

For our family, that means two things: golf and swimming!  Since both activities make it difficult to keep infusion sites and CGM sensors in place, I went ahead and ordered a package of these cutie-patootie little stickeroos.   Ok, so not the official name of the product, but that is all that I think of when I look at these adorable little decals. 

I bought a mixture of tapes with CGM holes and without as I wasn't sure what would work best.

While you may have viewed others that are similar, this particular brand is called Grif Grips and I ordered it after reading reviews from an online support group - honestly, isn't this still the most trusted and reputable source for 'hacks' that work???  

Aw!  So cute that even though the stickers are not reusable, I opted to get two with 'special' rhinestone-style initials.  

While I personally have not witnessed how these little guys hold up, I will be writing a follow-up in a few weeks as my youngest has an upcoming pool party to attend.  Nothing is crazier on infusion sites than a gaggle of girls swimming, playing and goofying around in contained space.  Unless you look at a gaggle of boys doing the same.  Then, it may be about equal!  

I also think that something similar may even be created at home.  Clearly, this is solid product but it also expensive and an optional cost for a long, line of very expensive and mandatory medical equipment.  Understanding the financial burden of T1D, it helps to be able to save money wherever possible.  If it works as intended, it may be worth it - and that is really our hope.  Wasted sites are a pain to replace and certainly, avoiding another poke is always a good thing.  

Check back to @natsweetsisters or here at our blog for updates.  In the meantime, here is the link to see the product up close.  If you have used Grif Grips already and would like to leave a review, please feel free either on, Facebook or Twitter.  

And please know, that I was not asked for my review, I did not receive any products from Grif Grips and the items in the picture were purchased by me.  

Friday, March 18, 2016

JDRF T1DNation Summit

type one nation summit
You don't want to miss this!

If you haven't attend a local JDRF T1DNation Summit, than this is for you!  As a long-time volunteer with both JDRF and the ADA, I can share that having the connection to our local community of T1D families, doctors, researchers and clinicians has been invaluable.  There is not only the comfort of getting to know others that walk in our same shoes, but there is the exciting, hope-filled feelings of learning about better care, treatments and ultimately, a cure for T1D.

At the JDRF T1DNation Summit, expert guest speakers fly in from all over the U.S. to share research advances, upcoming ideas and current innovation.  Best of all?  It's 100% free.  The cost to attend any JDRF T1DNation Summit is nothing more than the time it takes to sign up and register.  Visit your local to see if a summit is being planned near you.  You won't want to miss it!

AND shameless plug for me... if you are living near SE Michigan and would like to attend the 9th Annual JDRF T1DNation Summit here, I would love to see you!

Date:  Saturday, May 14th, 2016
Time:  8:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Location:  Wayne County Community College District - Western Campus
9555 Haggerty Road, Belleville, Michigan
Register HERE

I'll be in JDRF Teen Central along with many other wonderful volunteers that have collaborated to ensure that our teens have a great day.  There is also a Kids Camp and a Tot Spot for the littlest of T1D kiddos.  We provide these services so that our parents may attend the lecture sessions without worry or concern.

SE Michigan T1DNation Summit Speakers

To register, visit or to sign up for FREE resource material by visiting

Hope to see you there!

Follow me on Twitter @natsweetsisters on 5/14/16 to see fun pictures from our #Teent1d #JDRFSummit day!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Repost: Easter, Candy and the Big Bunny

A Repost from Naturally Sweet Sisters on Sunday, March 30, 2014

Easter, Candy and the Big Bunny

While it still seems like the arctic north where we live, there is no denying that even with snow on the ground, Easter shall soon be upon us.  

My philosophy with Easter has been very consistent through the years.  The Easter Bunny fills plastic eggs with spare change, gum and little trinkets and hides them all around the house or in good weather, outside in the yard.

The basket is also hidden and filled with a small smattering of candy and outdoor items like sidewalk chalk, bubbles, frisbees, kick balls and jump ropes.  One year the Bunny brought matching Razor Scooters and to this day, the girls still use those on a regular basis.

In fact, I think during my childhood in the 1970's, the Easter Bunny managed the holiday in much of the same way. I also remember getting jump ropes and colorful kick balls.  

However as time has gone on and the kids have grown, they are less interested in the small toys and trinkets.  They are now aware of certain things such as HOW the bunny operates.  I know this from suggestive comments and outright requests.

Two weeks ago, Oldest Daughter stopped in the heavily filled, pastel colored Target store Easter aisle and said, "Mom, if you can get a message to the Easter Bunny (while giving me a big, sly smile), please mention that I would LOVE this kind of chocolate bunny in my basket.

She points up to the top shelf where there is quite possibly, the largest chocolate bunny that has ever been made.  

Over 2 lbs of hollow milk chocolate, which makes this guy about three feet tall!

Not to be left out, Youngest Daughter squealed and said, "YES!  That is the chocolate bunny that I have ALWAYS wanted!"  She smiles just as broadly and with the help of her older sister, manages to get it off the shelf and into her hands for a closer look.

I stifle every single impulse I have to flip giant box over and immediately scan the nutrition label.  This thing is HUGE.  The girls are holding it together and giggling over the name.  "Big" in an understatement.  Ginormous Binks would have been better.  

This kind of confectionery monstrosity is NOT something that the Easter Bunny would normally consider.  In our house, the Easter Bunny has always brought a small, thoughtful and delicious Godiva chocolate bunny.  I am sure that the Easter Bunny believed that it was better to get some good chocolate than a waxy substitute, if you know what I mean.  Especially at certain times of the month when the children are gone and the ears need to be nibbled on.

But guess what?  Kid brains do not think that way.  They simply see the best as the biggest.  To their childish minds, having a bunny like that is the ultimate in Easter candy goodness.  It is like a trophy from the Furry Guy that shouts, "This kid is NUMBER 1!"

In fact, I remember back to circa 1970 something and begging my mom for a store-bought Easter basket.  The kind that was shrink wrapped on the shelves with a fake Barbie peering out and stuffed with paper to make it appear fuller than it was.  I wanted that more than anything our regular bunny lovingly put together.  During that decade, homemade was out and it was much more fashionable to get a K-mart basket, or so I thought in my ten-year old brain.

What my mom did, yes, she who led us to be grateful for whatever we were given, was to make an abrupt and shocking decision to send the Easter Bunny a note to request that shrink wrapped plastic goodness.

It was my favorite Easter of all.  I even loved the crumpled tissue in the bottom of the basket.   I think I cried when the doll's head popped off about 45 minutes into playing with it.  No matter, it was the best moment of all Easter time.  

I thought about that memory several times after we left Target that day.

That kind of happiness is simple enough to fulfill.  My wise mom knew it back in 1970 and probably swallowed her concerns over knowing that the cheaply made doll wouldn't last a day.  She knew even back then that childhood was fleeting and memory opportunities will last a lifetime.  

I thought about the nutrition label a few times more.  I also thought about the waste that will most certainly occur as no one will even eat it all.  But what really stuck out in my mind is what would the Easter Bunny have done without type 1 diabetes in the picture?  

Yes, you are probably right.  

So this year, perhaps the Naturally Sweet Sisters will have a delightful surprise on Easter morning too. 

Remember, kids first, diabetes second.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Got Flights? TSA Cares, But You Have to Call Them!

Spring has sprung!  Tell tale signs include not just birds and flora, but in an unusual uptick in temperatures.  At 50 degrees, flip flops are being worn by most teenagers.  Target is already running out of swimsuits and the nearby fitness hot spot is packed after a brief hiatus for those that gave up on New Year's resolutions.

Thus, spring break travel season has also arrived.

If you are considering flying to your vacation destination and have worries about navigating through the airport with children or adults that have medical needs, than you may want to contact TSA Cares.

TSA Cares is a free service in which passengers alert the TSA ahead of their scheduled departure (suggested time is three days before flying) of your specific medical concerns.  While the same security measures are applied, they are handled in a way that allows the passenger to retain privacy and dignity.

Trust me, as a mom who has utilized TSA Cares and also, gone without, the TSA Cares provided much more comfort in knowing that my daughters' needs were being carefully handled, with kindness and compassion.  This is completely opposite of an experience that was miserably created during a return flight from our nation's capital in which both my daughter and I were subjected to intense pat-downs while being separated from each other, hand swabs, luggage checks and carry-ons that were nothing short of vandalized.  The experience was so terrifying that if it hadn't been for the Delta concierge crew that rescued and calmed us, I am not sure if I would have had the stamina to even board the plane.  Thank you to Delta DC crew - we are forever grateful!

In an ideal world, security wouldn't even need to exist.  However, the reality is that post 9/11 the TSA screens millions of passengers daily in an effort to keep our nation safe.  Not knowing me or my daughter, they worked only under the assumption that our insulin pump, medication and other T1D gear - all unfamiliar to each and every security person that day, had the potential to do harm.  While it could be argued that the TSA was out of line in their handling of two females that frankly, look about as non-threatening as could be, the TSA was simply doing their job.  Still, I know that I never want to be in that terrifying situation.  Worse, I especially do not want my daughters to be subjected to such intense scrutiny - for what? - bringing along their life-saving medical items.

After my DC experience, I wasn't sure if the girls and I could manage the screening process again and certainly not by myself without the Naturally Sweet Dad.  (The reality is that we do feel more vulnerable when we are alone with the girls being split into two different directions - one parent can not be in two places at once and that is scary!) At the urging of another T1D mom (mind you, she has FOUR beautiful children and three of those have been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes) that recommended the pre-planning of TSA Cares, it became clear from her easy, breezy attitude of getting in and out of security that I needed to try at least once.  The mom explained that if airport security knew about our medical concerns ahead of time, than they could better understand how care for our family AND still retain the safety of the millions of other passengers.  While it shouldn't be this way, the system was working better for families living with T1D - IF- we called at let our personal medical needs be known.  I am sure that some where, right now, the creator of HIPPA is rolling over in dismay.   

Call TSA Cares at 1-855-787-2227 if flying with medical concerns

On our next flight, we planned in the time to call ahead (about three days prior) to TSA Cares so we could discuss our family's medical needs.  The phone was staffed with a polite young man (sounding fresh out of college and happy to help) that explained while he was not the actual agent that would meet us, he would make sure that someone at our airport would be alerted about our medical concerns and would find us before we stepped into the security line.  Oddly, I did not provide a physical description of myself or my daughters but as planned on the morning of our flight, a security agent found us as soon as we walked to the general screening area.  With a friendly smile, he waited while the TSA screening agents processed my ID and all of our tickets.  Then, the security agent led us to a medical screening line and helped us through the actual screening process - which still included swabbing, pat down (albeit gently with questions asked about where infusion sites and/or sensitive areas were) and metal detectors  that could safely manage the screening of an insulin pump that was attached - and without complaints of not being able to use full body imaging.  The manner in which our care was handled felt less accusatory and less criminal.  Instead, we were treated as United States citizens that simply needed to get to their destination by using airport transportation.


The difference between the two security screenings was critical as my oldest daughter needed to understand that having Type 1 Diabetes was not a restriction that limited her ability to participate in anything, especially the ability to be a passenger on a plane.  She also needed to understand that she could trust that the security agents were going to help and not hurt her, her sister, or even her mom.  

Our agent must have also sensed this need because he took the time to be calm, cheerful and to explain the procedures before proceeding.  Simple but effective.   Afterward, our oldest asked at what age could she fly by herself.  The question was just her way of showing that she had regained the confidence to continue. The TSA Cares agent reached into his pocket, pulling out the card shown in the pictures and while handing it to her shared an encouragement; "Anytime."

Each time after that first TSA Cares flight, I have called ahead to the TSA Cares hot line.  Happily, we have yet to encounter any of the issues that our DC flight had.  Instead, we have all agreed that we feel much like any other person that travels through security; meaning while it is not a fun process, at least we can retain our dignity and safety while trusting in the process.  Really, that is the best result that there could be.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Struggle is Real!

It's tough enough to feel any sort of inspiration on most Monday afternoons.  Add in the sleep-depriving effects of post-daylight savings and virtually the motivation to do anything ceases to exist.  This is why today, March 14th, is #NationalNappingDay.

Hurray for socially acceptable laziness!

Like our resident feline, I just want to curl up on the couch and pretend that I can only hear crumpling packages of kitty treats. Which makes me then debate about potato chip treats and maybe the added (thumbs needed for remote dexterity) about the need to binge watch Netflicks.  Hmm....What to do, what to do?  

Alas, neither because I am actually doing work.  Sigh.  Dumb, grown-up responsibilities.  ((grumble-grumble))

Because I am clearly at a high risk of feeling the couch-potato-induced effects (and someone is actually studying the couch-potato theory!) of our time change, I decided to bring you the other paradoxal internet driven day; #MotivationMonday.

Because after thinking about our couch-potatoed monkey friends, you might just feel the motivation to run out and change that 3-month old lancet.  Or maybe even pick up the used dust-bunny infused test strip that is on the stairs.  Or,well, um, clean out the old (and grossly melted, mostly expired) low blood sugar snacks that from the interior car console.  

Maybe you'll find the inspiration to be motivated, despite the time-change.  Well, after a good nap, anyway.  

The struggle is real.  

Friday, March 4, 2016

SAT and T1D

As you may be aware, for families living within the state of Michigan, beginning during the 2016 school year, colleges will utilize the results of the SAT as the preferred examination of a high school student's academic preparedness for college.  

What this may mean for our families that also live with Type 1 Diabetes is the need to access the new application process for submitting a letter of need for exam day accommodations.  While this may be similar to the old (and still functional) ACT accommodation process, it is slightly different, especially with the medical necessity of utilizing medical equipment such as the Dexcom Share G5 and corresponding cellular device.  

To help clarify the process, we have added a draft document from one of our local T1D clinics that offers a letter intended to explain to the College Board the exact specification and need of the medical equipment that is necessary for students living with Type 1 Diabetes.  

A letter of need for usage of Dexcom Share G5 and Cellular Device

In addition, attached is a letter in which accommodations were approved (minus a duplicate of accommodation) and the timing in which the letter was received after the submission of the above letter.  Families may not hear anything from the College Board for up to six weeks.  There is also a process of appeal should anything be denied.  More information may be found on the College Board website. 

Official Approval from College Board

One very key piece to note is that approval will stay with the student throughout their high school career once applied and approved. 

Specific Accommodations that assist with the medical needs of students living with Type 1 Diabetes

Please feel free to share the example accommodation letter with your own health care provider as a way to start the conversation on what your child will need to be successful and at their best level of health while taking a very lengthy, potentially exhausting examination.