Monday, November 29, 2010

A Look Back...My Two Sons.

So I'm a day late and several dollars short...who cares, right?  Yesterday was declared Special Sib of a D-Kid Day by some special D moms out there:  Alexis of Justice's Misbehaving Pancreas and Sherry of Jenna's Pet Monkey. It's a day to direct the attention to the kids who help out with all the diabetes stuff.  Their lives are affected by this disease too.  Thanks Alexis and Sherry!

I'm pulling an old post up from about 1 1/2 years ago.  I thought it fit the theme perfectly.  They may be a bit older now, but they are definitely still Special Sibs of our D-Kid! two sons.


Remember the old television show, My Three Sons? Well, this is the newest edition of "My Two Sons!" (Disclaimer: this goes against everything my mother ever taught me regarding boasting/bragging. Sorry, mom.) I thought it appropriate to write about my two boys for several reasons.

First of all, they're my boys and I love 'em! They have both played long and hard on their separate baseball all-star teams this summer. And as baseball sometimes goes, they both had games last night. Both their teams lost last night, which means...they are both finished with baseball. Well, at least for a while!

They are a funny pair.

Big C has brilliant red hair, stands nearly taller than I do and can pitch an insanely fast ball. He's 12. It seemed we had to re-iterate that fact several times to people during Little League this year because he stands taller than any other kid at his level. He will be going into the 7th grade this fall. He always gives us many reasons to be proud.

Then there's Middle C. His hair is also red, but more of a subtler shade. He is reminiscent of Opie Taylor -- Ron Howard's character on The Andy Griffith Show. Grandma tells him he looks like a young Brad Pitt. Either way, yes, I think he is handsome! He'll be headed for 5th grade this fall. And, I've got to say, the humor inside this kid keeps us laughing every day!

The second reason I wanted to write about them on the blog is regarding the roles they play in our family where diabetes is concerned. Their lives, too, are affected by this disease. A lot of time and attention is given to C because of type 1. And, though it is an intricate part of our family, we strive daily to carry on our normal routines. We never want diabetes to rule whether we do activities or not. But there are times, when it rears it's ugly head at inopportune moments. My boys have seriously never once grumbled about the "diabetes-interrupted" times. A low may need to be treated when heading out the door. Or, maybe the low happens at the end of a baseball game when the team is heading to the local pizza parlor. And, we just need to sit and be patient while C struggles to feel better. Diabetes is demanding. And it's demanding on all of us, including my two sons.

They support our efforts in raising awareness and raising funds for the JDRF. They participate in walks. They've attended Family Camp Days to learn more about diabetes. They were so excited this past May, when we set up a Sno Cone sale at the baseball fields. All proceeds will be going to our walk team. At one point during the day, they took over running the booth with some of their baseball buddies!

Big C recently wrote a paper all about type 1 diabetes and how his sister deals with it all. I was so touched...I posted it back in May. It shows how much he knows about this disease, more so than many people. It also shows that he doesn't take it lightly.

The last reason I wanted to write about my two sons in this post is to highlight one other thing they do in the fight against diabetes. They both participate in TrialNet. It's the ongoing trial to find answers from lab work gathered by siblings and cousins of type 1 kids. And, although they aren't jumping up and down with excitement to get their blood drawn yearly, they do it because it's what they can do to make a difference. I'm proud of them for that!

My two sons...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

eat. pray. bolus.

It's been a little over a week since our JDRF Walk.  I wish that time would just slow down a bit.  Really.  There is so much going on all around us...I wish we could absorb more of it.  Anyway, let's get back to the walk, shall we?...

On Sunday, November 7th, C headed up her first walk team ever!  For the past however-many-years, we have joined a couple different teams.  But this year, C made it clear that she was ready to take on the task of forming her own team and putting in the effort to raise funds.  So, how could we say "no" to that??

And, so, C's Pack formed.  Family joined.  Friends joined.  Friends of friends joined.  Relatives of friends joined.  All-in-all, her team ended up being over 60 people strong!  Donations started rolling in from distant relatives and from some we've only met online!  It truly amazed us!  Her team efforts resulted in donations totaling over $2,600.

What touched us even more than the financial generosity was the participation...the actual walkers who showed up to support her and the others we know that deal with diabetes every single day.  To say the least, it sparked a fire in her, I believe!  What encouragement she (we) felt to see her little friends walking up and down the hills of Dodger Stadium...

It was a terrific day.  And, maybe even a little education was given to bring more awareness to the disease.  We handed out a paper with lots of myth-busting information regarding diabetes.  We just felt that the turn-out for C's Pack was so tremendous, we wanted everyone to go home with a better sense of why we were going to such effort to raise money.

Here's a look back on the day...a terrific one!

60 + strong!


Heading up her own team.

Friends made it special!

eat. pray. bolus.  Our shirts were a hit!

Supportive friends.

Every time we're there, I think I'll take a picture of this...World Diabetes Day, you know!
 If you'd like to see the entire photo album, come join us on our Facebook page!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

6 Little Ducks.

It's D-Blog Day!!

However, blogging has been no where close to consistent lately.  And, so I'm arriving a bit late to the party today.  But how could I let a post slip today, of all days?!
Our very own Diabetes BFF, Gina, from over there at Diabetes Talkfest, first initiated D-Blog Day in 2005.  It is taking the DOC by storm today!  The topic this year is:  6 things you want people to know about diabetes.

Well, I even asked Gina, "Only 6 things?"  Because, really, I could list tons more.  But, I am a rule-follower, so I will obey!

We recently made a list of diabetes awareness facts that we handed out at last Sunday's JDRF walk.  We were so pleasantly surprised at the incredible support given to our little C and her team efforts!  We felt it was important to take that awesome moment and educate, if just a bit, to our family and friends who came out to show their support and love and raise funds for diabetes research.  We handed out our list of things we want people to know about diabetes to them.  But, believe me, there were way more than 6 on that paper!  I've struggled to narrow things down a bit.

6 Things We Want People to Know About Diabetes
  1. The warning signs:  extreme thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, weight loss, fruity smelling and shortness of breath, blurry vision and more.  Know these and tell others.  It could save a life!
  2. No one gets diabetes from eating too much sugar.  Sugar can actually save a diabetic's life.
  3. There are theories, but not even the experts know why a person get type 1 diabetes.  There's nothing that was eaten, done or said that gave them this disease...and, it's not contagious.
  4. However wonderful insulin is (and it is!), it is not a cure.  It is life support.
  5. Kids with type 1 diabetes grow up to be adults with type 1 diabetes.  They will not grow out of it.
  6. Diabetes is 24/7...every minute of every day.  It is a constant balancing act between blood sugar checks, carbohydrates, insulin, exercise, stress, hormones, etc.  There is no break or vacation from it...until there's a cure. 
Oh...there's so much more!...But, I'm not gonna do it...nope, not gonna.  Here's how I'll remedy my restlessness with this issue:  click here if you are curious about all the other things we want the world to know!

(Oh...and the duck thing?  Every time I began thinking about this post, the song "Six Little Ducks" popped into my head.)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Big Blue Test

The Big Blue Test is almost here!  On November 14th, at 2:00 pm (local time).Click here to find out more about the Big Blue Test and the Diabetes Hands Foundation.

Here's something you can do right now to, not only help spread awareness, but to give life-saving insulin to children in need.  Just watch the following video.  That's it.  Simple, right?!  It will take a mere minute and 49 seconds of your time but will give a child with diabetes a week supply of insulin!

Then, spread the word by telling your friends and family to do the same.  Post it on facebook.  Tweet about it on twitter.  Email the link to everyone you know.  Let's see how many views we can help make happen between now and November 14th...

Monday, November 1, 2010

What Did You SAE?

November 1st.  It's just the beginning of Diabetes Awareness Month!  Around here, we're going to lay out some facts and SAE It Loud!  (Thanks Sarah, aka: Sugabetic, for rallying the troops!)

The idea here, is to SUPPORT, ADVOCATE, and EDUCATE about bring to light the facts on this, too often, misunderstood disease.

There are so many great things happening this month!  Here are just a few:
  • SAE It Loud around the blogosphere and give some comment love to fellow D-bloggers.  Here's a list of participating blogs from Sarah...
  • JDRF Walk at Dodgers Stadium on Sunday, November 7th.  C is captain of her first team and we're excited!
  • November 9th is D-Blog Day.  Topic:  what 6 things do you want people to know about diabetes?  Check in with your diabetes' BFF, Gina to learn more!
  • November 14th is World Diabetes Day...yes, world!  This is the day to drench ourselves in blue and "bring diabetes to light" around the globe.
  • The Big Blue Test will be happening on November 14th as part of World Diabetes Day.
  • and so many more things that will unfold this month!
The underlying hope, running through all these events?...a cure.

However, in between, and long after November, life with diabetes will continue.  Every day.  Counting carbs before every meal.  Finger sticking multiple times a day.  The monstrous fear of complications.  I guess it's our motivation then, to raise awareness...and SAE It Loud!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Baseball Dreams...

Click here to view list of blogs participating in No D Day.

...Cooperstown Dreams Park, New York...

The highlight of my son's life so far:  traveling to Cooperstown, New York with his baseball team this summer.

The anticipation of this trip reached its peak toward the middle of August.  Fund raising was over.  New equipment was bought.  His hard work was about to pay off!

There were fund raisers all know, selling things, having raffles, and finding local companies for sponsorship.  But above and beyond all these efforts, Big C put in some old-fashioned blood and sweat.  He mowed lawns, watered plants and even gave up some of his weekly allowance, in order to go on this trip of a lifetime.  I really was so proud of him.

The only bit of disappointment was in the fact that this would not be a vacation for the entire family.  But it would be an extraordinary memory-maker for him and Dad.

We got him all packed equipment and all.

We had really stressed to him that the trip was expensive.  And that he would have to do his part and work hard.  The money he had earned for the last many months was put away...for just that purpose.  So, you can imagine his surprise when we handed all his hard-earned dollars back to him on the week before the be his spending money.

In the middle of August, they took off to New York.  It was a long week back at home for us.  We missed them terribly.  But we got to talk nearly every night.  Team families would text some highlights (like Big C's 2 home runs!)  And, we even got to watch one of the games live, online.

When the day came to pick up Dad and Big C, we headed to LAX, ready to hear all about their week.  Well, this kid talked and talked and talked and talked some more!  It was so obvious that it had been a dream-come-true for him...

Here are some highlights from that experience:
  • bunking with the team + 4 coaches (Dad included)
  • going to the Baseball Hall of Fame
  • eating their fill and then some, at meal time
  • BBQ'ing and relaxing at team families' condos
  • trading pins with a thousand other boys
  • buying souvenirs
  • walking around a totally baseball-themed town
  • being given a special ring for the tournament
  • ranking 18th out of 100 teams
  • hitting a home run
  • hitting a 2nd home run
  • visiting Doubleday Field, home of baseball
  • simply traveling across the country to play baseball
  • spending 1 last exciting week with teammates he's played with for the past 3 years
And that, my friends, are what baseball dreams are made of...

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Walk to Remember.


We walked.  We met friends.  We smiled and laughed.  We ate.  We listened.  We celebrated.  We also sweated a whole lot!!  (Southern California had immense humidity last week!)

We walked in the Ontario, California JDRF walk to cure diabetes for the 5th year with team Kids That Care.  Our faithful teachers came out to support the team once again.  The team is headed up by our friend, K, who does so much for the cause.  She was also recently appointed junior board member for the Inland Empire chapter.  We're proud of her and proud to walk on her team!

K's mom, K and C
Kids That Care

We met friends...some, for the first time.  You couldn't miss them!  They were the largest team out there...all in black...ready to battle diabetes...Team Ninjabetic!

George had put the word out to the DOC (diabetes online community) to join the team, raise money, and celebrate...20 years to the day of his type 1 diagnosis.  He put the invite out there.  And, they came.  Boy, did they ever!  I'm not certain of the final count, but probably 12-15 of George's fellow PWDs either drove or flew cross country to walk on his team.  His team totaled over 60 people in all.

Look who we found! The Ninjabetic & Mr. Scott Johnson
Cheering Team Ninjabetic!
After the walk, we headed over to George's celebration.  I don't think I'm going to do this thing justice in writing about it.  I was quite overwhelmed.  What support and love was in that room!  We ate and talked and made real life connections with people.  

Near the end of the party, George had prepared a presentation of sorts.  Really it was his story...with diabetes.  It was a glimpse deeper into his life.  A new D mom friend and I talked as we both observed all that was going on around us.  "These people are inspirational to me," she said.  Yes.  Do these people even realize how they inspire us parents of type 1s?  They welcome us into their circle and let us see that our kids can have wonderful, full lives.  And as Sara told me:  "and that we grow up and do just fine and have fun!"  

What a celebration!
So of course, George, being the ninja that he is, included all PWDs there that day.  He invited them to stand and introduce themselves along with the number of years each has lived with diabetes...little C included. He sang his song, Not By Choice.  I had intended on taking more pictures.  But I was quite lost in the moment.  I sat there with husband and new D mom-friend and C next to me.  Thankfully, it was recorded.  You can click here to watch and listen, courtesy of Sara.

George sang his song, Not By Choice.
D Mom Emily, me & Mr. Scott Johnson
Thanks George, for including us in your celebration!

Friday, October 1, 2010


 Tomorrow is the 1st of 2 JDRF walks we will be participating in this fall.  We have walked in this one for the past 5 years.  Always, we have bee welcomed warmly onto the Kids That Care team, headed up by our friend K.  They were the first type 1 family we met, way back when...

This particular walk is super fun and family-oriented.  Kids are even encouraged to bring their dogs...which reminds me of the year we went to the walk with 1 dog and came home with 2.  (Don't ask.)

However, this year's walk has an extra special twist.  We will meet and walk with the Kids That Care team, as usual.  The special treat will come after the walk is over.

A friend from the DOC (Diabetes Online Community) will be there, walking with quite the awesome "Team Ninjabetic."  We've been invited, along with many other DOC'ers, to a wonderful celebration afterwards.  You see, George, the Ninjabetic, is celebrating his 20th diaversary...that's 20 years of living with diabetes.  Celebrating, you ask?  Yes!  Here is a clear example of  looking through positive glasses at a life with diabetes.  There is so much to celebrate!  This is what helps us stay encouraged and strong in our fight against diabetes...people like George.

In addition to meeting the Ninjabetic in person, we will also have the opportunity to "meet" many other DOC'ers.  I'm looking forward to being among so many others who understand our situation with diabetes, completely.  On a day-to-day basis, C stands very alone with this disease.  Not tomorrow.  It should be an awesome time!

I wonder if there will be bacon?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake!

I was at the public library with C the other day.  As she was browsing for her selections, I found myself thumbing through books on diseases, written with children in mind.  Of course, my eyes shot to the few on diabetes and I grabbed one.  The cover was cute and it was written for very young children, maybe K-2 grades.  The illustrations were sweet.  I flipped through the pages.  It had all the same shocking turns that our own experience held:  illness, hospitalization, diagnosis, insulin injections, finger pokes, nutrition, emotions.  However, one of the last pictures made me pause.

It showed a birthday party scene.  Happy children gathered around a table.  Party hats and streamers.  Each child was enjoying a thick slice of birthday cake, except one little girl.  On her plate was an apple.  An apple?!!  Her face was so sad.  The couple of sentences underneath this picture eluded to the fact that because this child has diabetes, she no longer was allowed treats.  What?!!!

Now, I'm a big fan of apples, really.  But I 'm a bigger fan of allowing my type 1 kid to be a kid, to not make her stick out of a crowd, like an apple at a birthday party! 

I quickly flipped the pages back to the beginning.  When was this book written?  1991.  Okay, that is quite a ways back.  But still I question:  Why in the world was this still on a book shelf?  I mean, seriously, that gave me the feeling of a pit in the bottom of my stomach.

I glanced over at C.  Do I show her the few little books I found on diabetes?  Do I show her this one?  I thought to myself, We could talk about how she's on a pump --how we calculate carbs for treats -- how she can certainly have birthday cake.  But I stopped.  She was happily busy looking for a book on Pandas.  Not today, I thought.  We don't need to talk diabetes today...not right now.

I slipped the book back in its place.  As we checked out our stack of books, I kept wondering, Do people really believe that still?  I know the myth is alive and kicking in non D circles.  But do parents of type 1s still think this way?

Birthday cake.  It's a challenge, for sure.  As are a lot of other delicious, carb-exploding foods.  But challenge or not, everyone deserves a piece of cake now and then.  Hopefully, our library just has an old publication.  Hopefully, that book has been updated.  An apple instead of birthday cake?  I don't think so.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Mexican Caesar Salad

This is a family favorite!  Middle C continually asks for it.  Yes, salad!

Romaine lettuce, chopped
pepitas (roasted/salted pumpkin seeds)
shredded parmesan or romano cheese
crushed tortilla chips


3 T. pepitas
3 T Parmesan/Romano cheese
3 T red wine vinegar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 t salt
1/8 pepper
1 bunch cilantro

Combine all dressing ingredients (except cilantro) in blender.  Blend until smooth.  Add cilantro, a little at a time, until well combined.  This is a lot of dressing and can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple days.

That is it...fresh and delicious and no preservatives or chemicals!  A perfect salad to accompany Chicken Tortilla, Chicken Tortilla, Chicken Tortilla Soup!

Sometimes I add chicken, black beans, corn and tomatoes to make the salad a complete meal in itself.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Five Oh Four...or...Diabetes & the Annoying Orange

We had our meeting...the 504 plan meeting, that is.  All went well.

I am so glad that we started having a plan right from the beginning of kindergarten.  I was apprehensive about it back then.  I remember asking the only other family with type 1 at our school regarding their daughter's plan.  She was considerably older than C.  They had never done one.  The Health Aide said there was no need for one.  The nurse agreed.  But something told me, though these people had C's best interest at heart...and, they are lovely people...I needed to protect my little type 1 kid's rights, in writing.

Each year, the plan is tweaked just a bit, to accommodate a growing kid.  As I think back over the last 3 years, I am pretty amazed at how C has grown in her self-management of this disease!  Don't get me wrong.  She will always be able to count on me to be a part of it all.  I read plenty of grown-up diabetes blogs to know she will continually need a strong support system even when she's an adult.  I am just in wonder sometimes, when she demonstrates a deeper understanding of this crazy thing called diabetes!

So...back to the five oh four...

Really, the only changes this year included the point that one of her parents or designated caregiver must be allowed to ride with her on the bus, for field trips.  There had been a couple instances last year that made me feel that it had better be stated in our plan.  The comments and stares from other parents don't really bother me (kind of).  But when her teacher tells me on each field trip day that I'll be allowed to ride on the bus "if there's room," I figured we should include this little stipulation.

Another small change was the simple added statement:  C will work toward testing and treating out-of-range blood glucose in the classroom.  By 4th and 5th grade, I don't want her to miss any instructional time, unnecessarily.  I really just wanted to mention it to the nurse and principal so they have an idea that the time is coming.

During last year's meeting, I seriously wanted the 2nd grade team of teachers to all handle the glucagon kit and be educated about when and how to use it.  It was quite a hurdle for me.  Maybe this year's teacher expected it. He had no qualms about it.  He went for it!  It almost seemed like he couldn't wait to give that orange an injection! Maybe he had heard about this mom who insisted on teaching the staff about how to inject glucagon into her daughter using an orange. Who knows?

I ended up sharing about the meeting later that night with the family.  Big C chimed in..."Wouldn't that make a great Annoying Orange episode?!"...

"Diabetes & the Annoying Orange"

You say you've never heard of The Annoying Orange??  You're missing out...or...maybe you don't live with a 13 year old!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Chicken Tortilla, Chicken Tortilla, Chicken Tortilla Soup!

It's D-Feast Friday time!
I admit that some days are just too packed with after school activities.  Yesterday was one of those days.

After working all morning on the computer, my dried-up, blurry eyes couldn't take it anymore.  So, I closed up shop and moved on to the laundry...oh joy.  And in between loads I began preparing, what I call, "real" chicken!  Not from a can (I'm guilty of using canned chicken at times...) and not pre-cooked, pre-packaged.  6 honest-to-goodness breasts of raw chicken, bone-in and everything.  I was feeling almost victorious over the day already.  The chicken was roasting and I gathered the other ingredients for...chicken tortilla soup.

Now, we live in Southern California.  So the first inkling of cool weather is cause for celebration and the return of wonderful, stress-free, crock pot cooking!  It's been cold and cloudy the past few days (okay, low 70s is cold for us!)  The family started suggesting a bunch of our favorites.  Chicken tortilla soup seemed to dominate the conversation the night before.  So...soup was on!

It's soooo simple and soooo delicious.  It's low-fat and filling.  It's great as a leftover the next couple days too!  The whole family has learned to love it as much as I do.  My mantra holds true and this recipe is proof:  "Serve it, and they will eat it."  (Now, it may take a dozen times, but they WILL learn to love it!)

And, although our afternoon turned crazy with all our fact, we didn't get home until 6:45 least dinner was ready and waiting for us.  On the way home, everybody asked, "What's for dinner?"

"Chicken tortilla soup," I said.

And the chanting began:  "Chicken tortilla, chicken tortilla, chicken tortilla soup!...Chicken tortilla, chicken tortilla, chicken tortilla soup!"

Yes.  They love it!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 large jar of chunky salsa
1 can black beans, drained/rinsed
1 can corn, drained/rinsed
32 oz. chicken broth
32 oz. water
2-3 large chicken breasts, cooked/chopped

Dump all ingredients into crock pot.  Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for longer.  We like to place tortilla chips on the bottom of the bowl, scoop over the soup and top with grated cheese.  It's so yummy.

Now, I'm sure you could use different ingredients.  Experiment...and enjoy!

(As for the carb count...we count the chips for C and that's it!  She doesn't get much of the corn or beans in a small bowl.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

School Supplies.

Every year, we receive a packet from the school, giving a suggested supply list for each grade level.  I don't remember going shopping for all these things when I was young.  "Back-to-school shopping" was simply for clothes and shoes.  Maybe there's a conspiracy between the retail stores and the education department!  Or maybe it's just a a sign of the times.  (I mean, these poor teachers don't even have a budget for a box of tissues!)  But, whatever it is, it certainly is exciting for the kids!  So, off to Target, we went...

Here's the suggested list for 3rd grade:
  • box of 10 washable markers
  • box of colored pencils
  • box of #2 pencils
  • pack of 3 pink Pearl erasers
  • box of 16 or 24 crayons
  • pack of 3 glue sticks
  • pack of 3 highlighters
  • dry erase markers
  • pencil sharpener w/shavings catcher
  • pack of 3 x 5 cards
  • usb drive
  • small pencil/supply case
  • pair of child scissors
  • lined spiral notebook
  • 2 reams of white copy paper
  • wide-ruled notebook paper
  • boxes of tissues
  • hand sanitizer
  • disinfectant wipes
And, although the above items are important...I paid more attention to the following supply list while back-to-school shopping:
  • 2 boxes (Health Office and classroom)
  • extra meters
  • lancets
  • test strips
  • glucose tablets
  • juice boxes
  • extra carb-y snacks(cheese/peanut butter crackers, granola bars, etc.)
  • extra site change supplies (quick-serter, reservoirs, infusion sets)
  • insulin (kept in H. O. fridge)
  • glucagon kits
  • emergency directions/picture
  • emergency syringes
  • extra AAA batteries
The most important school supplies.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Presenting Diabetes to 3rd Graders...

When C was in kindergarten, she helped me create a picture book that taught the class about diabetes.  We shared it with the class in the beginning of the year.  We used it for 1st grade and 2nd grad too.  It was really adorable, if I do say so myself.  And the kids really got into it.  Each year, I would go into the classroom and C would demonstrate a blood sugar check and talk about what life is like with diabetes.

Well, this year, I asked her if she wanted to do that again.  She did want to but thought that our little book is too "baby-ish" for 3rd grade.  "I'll just tell them about it, Mom!"

So, I helped her type up her words in a short explanation.  She wanted to present it herself, no help from me. 

"Can I at least come in and listen?"  I asked. 

"Okay," she smiled.

I'm so very thankful that she has such a courageous spirit.  I would not have wanted to do anything of the sort when I was her age.  The following is what she presented.  (And, of course, she shared her bear and supply box!)

Hi! I’m C and I have type 1 diabetes. I was diagnosed before I was even 2 years old. I got very sick and had to be in the hospital.

Diabetes means that I have a disease. My pancreas doesn’t work well. For you, your pancreas is the organ in your body that makes insulin. Mine, doesn’t. So, I have something called a pump that gives me the insulin I need. When we eat food, we need insulin to help our bodies use the energy from food.

I have to poke my finger to check my blood sugar before I eat food and when I don’t feel well. This number is important and gets put into my pump. My pump is NOT a toy. It’s like a little computer. I tell it how much food I’m going to eat and then it figures out how much insulin I need. My pump helps keep me healthy.

You may see me check my blood sugar in the classroom. It might be because I “feel low.” My number might be too low. This can make me feel sick. To help get my number back up, I need to drink a juice box or some tablets, something that has a lot of sugar. Then my body will feel better.

Most of the time, I will just go to the Health Office to do my checks. I’ll need some good friends to walk with me. It will be great this year to be able to count on all of you to help me. I hope I can help you with something someday too!

The important thing I want to tell you today is that even though I have type 1 diabetes, and even though I need to check my blood sugar, I’m really a lot like you. I am on a soccer team. I like to ride my bike and play with my friends. I just need to take care of my diabetes too.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Diabetes Art Day

September 1, 2010...Happy Diabetes Art Day!  I just can't wait to browse around the blogosphere today and enjoy the creativity!  Did you get artsy??  Hey, it's not too late...

Below is a picture created by C.  I told her to "draw whatever comes to mind when you think about diabetes."
"Pinky in the Meadow"

I just can't help myself...I must comment on this picture! 

This is an 8 year old's point of view on diabetes.  "Pinky" is C's pump.  Look how happy he is!  He's taking C's meter for a walk.  I love this!

My own interpretation:  The insulin pump is taming her blood glucose numbers!  Notice "99," the dog?...he's the meter!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Are You Artsy???

Well, even if you're not, I hope you'll join in on Wednesday, September 1, 2010 for Diabetes Art Day.  Lee Ann, over at The Butter Compartment, has initiated this project.  I am really looking forward to seeing all the art posted on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, TuDiabetes...wherever!

 courtesy of

This is another opportunity to spread awareness.  Please go to Lee Ann's blog and read all about it.  You don't need to be a Picasso or Van Gogh to participate.  I know C has something up her little 8 year old sleeve.  And I'm going to try and coax creativity out of her brothers as well!

If you write your own blog, you can post an image of your diabetes art right there!  If you don't have a site, don't worry...Lee Ann gives us several ideas of where and how to post our pictures.  She'll even do it for you if you email your stuff to her!

So, go gather your crayons, finger paints and old diabetes supplies, and let the creative animal free!!

See you back here on Wednesday!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Back to 3rd Grade

So, the kids went back to school this week.  All things considered, it was a smooth transition.  We officially have a 3rd grader at one school and the 2 boys are at the middle school (6th and 8th grades).  I know that kids all over the world grow up to the next grade each year.  But I find this truly remarkable...right here, under my own nose!

This has been such a reflective summer for me.  It started off in June, when I celebrated my 5 year mark...5 years since my cancer diagnosis.  And even though I thought this time would pass...that I would be able to fold up the last 5 years, neatly, and put them up on a's the strangest thing.  I haven't been able to do that.  I'm reminded of it every day.

I was reminded of it on Monday, as I walked onto campus with C.  There we walked, hand in hand, to the classroom where 5 years previously I had walked Big C to 3rd grade.  (Well, different room, but same teacher!)  I remember shaking the young, first-year teacher's hand.  I remember explaining to him about my cancer, as I peered from underneath one of my many hats.  I remember his eyes, big and round as saucers.  "If you could just keep an eye on Big C," I said.  "It's been a tough time on him too."

I remember.

I remember being so thrilled that I felt well enough to take the kids to school that day 5 years ago.  I had already begun my chemo treatments.  Little C was just 3 years old and was still home with me.  I remember thanking God that I was the one to send the boys off to 1st and 3rd grade.  It was a prayer answered.  I remember.

So Monday, my mind was flooded with thoughts of the last 5 years, again.

We had brought by C's supplies to class, earlier the past week and talked diabetes with him.  And, since he is already familiar with our family, the diabetes issue was not a surprise.  We greeted Mr. H.  We talked for just a few minutes.  Soon, we will be scheduling a 504 meeting soon, after things settle down a bit.  I really just wanted to go over the very basics with him.  C handed him a very cute pink box, loaded with D stuff.  Teacher and C decided together where the best place would be for it...easy access to her extra meter, juice boxes, snacks and such.

We shook hands and turned to leave.  He expressed to C how happy he was to see her name on his class list.  "This will be a great year!" he said.  "I remember having Big C in class 5 years ago."

"Yes," I replied.  "I so remember.  This will be a great year!"

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pasta Fazool

The wonder child of Lorraine, Elizabeth and Karen!

I am happy to be participating in the First (Weekly?) D-Feast Friday!!  It's a day for us to come together and share a recipe, diabetes-friendly or not, and walk away with a slew of new recipes to try!  So, without further adieu...

Pasta Fazool

Now, this is a staple meal in our home and has been, long before diabetes entered the picture.  But what's so great about it is that it really works great with C's blood sugars.  And, as anyone who deals with a faulty pancreas can tell you, usually pasta is one of those foods that misbehaves.  Because this recipe is balanced with beans, the fiber can actually be subtracted out of the total carb count.  Hence, making it a more manageable meal, bloodsugar-wise.

Some of you might be more familiar with it's other name:  Pasta Fagioli.  It's kind of like a pasta/bean soup.  My dear mother-in-law taught me how to make it.  In fact, when each of the grandkids were old enough (11-12), she taught each of them how to make it too.  Unfortunately, she is no longer with us to teach our kids.  I have already taught my oldest and now middle C is next in line.

When I was still a newlywed, she brought a bag full of groceries to our little apartment and showed me exactly what to do.  It's a challenge for me to write it down because it really does help to see it done.  But, I'll try!


2 (15 oz.) cans of Great Northern or white beans
+ 2 cans of water
1/2 can (4 oz.) of tomato sauce
+ 1 can of water
3 T. olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 heaping T. oregano, crushed between palms
1 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1 c. ditalini pasta
1/2 c. spaghetti, broken into 1 " pieces
chopped onion for garnish (optional)

*Keep a couple cans of water near stove in case you need to add to pot when pasta is boiling.

Heat all ingredients (except pastas) in large pot to a gentle boil.  Turn down to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Turn heat up to boiling again and add pastas...stirring every few minutes so that the pasta does not stick.  Gently boil for 10-12 minutes.  At 10 minutes, check the ditalini for done-ness.  If, during boiling, mixture becomes too thick, add water.  It should stay at a thick, soupy, consistency.  (I like it thinner and usually add water when it's done.  This cools it down a bit too.)

That's it!  My kids love it and ask for it regularly.  I wish I had a picture of it to share.  But it's been so hot that I haven't made it recently.

It serves 6-8.

After much trial and error, I have finally found that counting a 1/2 cup serving as 10 grams of carbohydrates works well for C.  But, please do your own calculations from the bean label and pasta packages.  The great thing can subtract out the 7 grams of fiber per serving from the carbs!

Enjoy!  And, Happy D-Feast Friday!!

Friday, July 16, 2010


So, whenever we change any type of setting on C's pump (basals, carb ratios, etc.), I'm not sure why, but it always takes a good 4-5 days until the true result is seen and felt.  So, this time was no different.  Slowly and ever surely, her numbers were calming down.

Usually when we go to an appointment, her endo knows not to overwhelm us (me) with too many changes at once.  But this time, C had been so high for so long, around the clock, that I knew I had to throw some of my caution to the wind and trust that it was for the best.  Also, her doc was out on vacation, so I was working over the phone and the CareLink website with one of the nurses.

We increased every single basal setting and even added a couple new ones.  We changed several carb ratios during the times of day when she would really shoot up high.  And, lo and behold, this sweet nurse recognized that C's active insulin time was set at 3 hours, not the normal 2 hours...meaning the pump would calculate corrections knowing that any insulin coverage would last 3 full hours.  Sweetly, and calmly, she told me that the 3 hour setting is "really only used for babies and toddlers."

"If we change it to the normal 2 hours, that will really help with her correction doses."

"Huh.  Well, I guess it's still at the 3 hour setting because, huh, she started on the pump when she was still a toddler!  Thanks for noticing that!...I was never told to change it once she got older."  I had been enlightened. : )

"Now, be sure to do a few nights of 12 and 3 checks," she said as we were just about finishing up.

"Oh yes, yes we will.  I'll email her doc in about a week so she can go over the new numbers.  Thanks so much!"

Days passed.  And, like I mentioned before, C's numbers gradually started dropping back into range.  Then a sneaky little low popped up of 60...and honestly, I was kind of glad. Numbers in range...ahhh!  But then one low turned into 2 in a row.  And then, there were more lows than highs.  I backed off corrections.  I began second-guessing my high-level carb-counting skills.  The midnight and 3 am checks were continuing.  And the "ZING" of anxiety shot through my body as I woke early in the morning.  I lowered a couple of the basals again...

...and then, it was America's birthday!

We were busy with pancake breakfasts, parades, bounce houses, friends and family all weekend long.  And C kept experiencing lows all weekend long.  And, when we were standing in line to go into the local high school football stadium to await the glorious fireworks show, it happened. 

I looked down at C, who was sitting on the sidewalk since the line wasn't moving.  She looked pale.  I tossed her meter to her and told her to check.  And, then intuition kicked in.  Slightly panicked, I shoved everything I was holding into my husband's arms.  I dropped down and took over testing her finger.  And, this is what the meter spewed back at us:


Okay, my heart did a swan dive into my stomach.  I tore through her bag and ripped open a juice box.  She downed it in seconds.  I held the meter up to show the husband.  I couldn't really even speak at this time.  I shoved another test strip in the meter:  58.  **Gigantic sigh**  58?  We can deal with that!  But what in the world was that LO GLUCOSE reading???!!!

I had never seen that before.  In all the 6 1/2 years we've been doing this thing called diabetes...not once.  I wonder, Has anyone else ever experience this nasty message?

Now, if you look closely (at my poorly photographed image), you'll notice that C tested at 58 only one minute after the LO reading.  So, maybe that means, she really wasn't too much lower that one minute before.  So, I'm still not understanding that message.  Oh well. 

To say the least, it was unnerving.

And, after contacting her endo the next morning, we gladly followed her advice to back off on some of those changes we had made the week prior.  I asked her about the LO reading, but in her email, she didn't make mention of it.  I'm sure it will be a topic at C's visit next month!

(Still uttering big sighs around here.)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Insulin Gone Bad?

Just when I think Gee, C's numbers have been really great lately...boom!  Relentless highs.  I mean blood glucose readings in the 200s, 300s, and yes, even 400s. Gobs of insulin corrections weren't making them even budge at times.

These highs began happening as soon as the kids were out of school last month.  But I couldn't figure it out.  It didn't make sense.  We were even more busy, with lots of activities...swimming included.  And swimming always makes C go low.  It was so frustrating.

What was totally insane was that it wasn't just at one or two different times during the day.  It was round-the-clock.  I'd get her down to the mid 100s with jumbo corrections, only to have her test in the 200s or 300s before her next meal.  This continued throughout the nighttime.  I did a couple of our famous middle-of-the-night-site-changes to no avail.

I began changing the site daily...opening another insulin vial, and then another.  Maybe it's gone bad, I thought.  Maybe it's a bad lot.  I just kept pushing forward, checking and correcting overnight, feeling overly exhausted.  You know this kind of tired...when the first thing you think of upon wakening is the bottle of Advil.

And then one day, I B-lined it for the pharmacy.  The insulin must have gone bad, I kept thinking.  Maybe they'll replace these vials that are barely used...I know, wishful thinking.  But, I was tired.  So off I went with C to the pharmacy.  I asked to speak with the guy who's been there the longest, as long as we've been getting insulin for C.  There are really only 2 employees left at our particular pharmacy who  remember me from the beginning...the haggard, emotional mom who needed, yes, 300 test strips a month for her baby.  He's one of them, so I thought for sure he'd see things my way!

"My daughter," I said, "her numbers have been crazy high.  I've opened like 3 new vials of insulin in the last week.  Could the insulin have gone bad?"  I asked.

"Uh, no," Mr. Pharmacist said.  "Let me see the, they should be good.  Our shipments go directly in refrigeration.  She's possibly having a growth spurt."

A growth spurt?  That really didn't cross my mind.  Why hadn't it?  I thought for sure the insulin had gone bad.  Her numbers were high across the board.  Usually when we make adjustments and tweek basals in the pump, it's because numbers are creeping up, sneekily...not all at once.

So, with blurry, sleep-deprived eyes, I nodded, "Hmmm," I said.  "thanks."  We headed back home...determined to make adjustments and figure this out.  Over the course of the next few days, with some nurse help over the phone and internet, we adjusted every single basal setting and even added 2 more.  We changed so many things!  It made me nervous.  I'm very much a fan of the scientific method of changing one variable at a time.  But I knew we had to wrangle these numbers in a bigger way.  So, that's what we did.

It seems to always take several days for any type of setting change to really work itself out and show results.  We dug in for the long haul.  I knew this meant lots more testing and lots less sleeping but...oh well.  That's life with diabetes.

And, did the basal changes help?  Boy, did they?! But that's to be continued in another post...
Insulin gone bad?  Well, I know it can.  But not this time.  Now we have 3 newly-opened 
Sometimes insulin can go bad.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

But I Made Bacon & Eggs...

It's been a few weeks now.  I think I can sit back and write about this subject with a little more objectivity than I had at the time.  I think I least with as much objectivity that living with diabetes allows.

We had state standardized testing spread out between 2 weeks of school in May.  This is probably nothing different than any other school, at least in our state.  Letters had come home to inform parents of the testing schedule.  They had some pretty big hints about not taking students out of school for any unnecessary reasons during these times.  Giving our kids some extra protein-enriched breakfasts was also going to be appreciated by the teachers.  Well...okay, I thought.  I can do that!

Middle C put in his order.  "Okay, mom, for the first morning before testing, I'd like eggs, bacon and toast!"

So, I did that.  It didn't throw too much of a wrench into our morning schedule.  Usually, my kids make their own breakfasts, consisting of cereal, toast or an English muffin.  But, hey, the direction was specific...more protein.  So I got up just a bit earlier, made the eggs, bacon and toast.  (Okay, I used pre-cooked bacon! fact, I probably will never cook bacon again.)  The kids were happy and tummies were full and off to school we went.

After I kissed and hugged them good-bye and did my usual stop at the health office, I crossed paths with C's 2nd grade teacher.  In a flurry, she told me that the class would be snacking during the testing time and to just let her know "what C can or can't have!"

"Well, I'll just have to come by the room before recess to see what the snack is and what we should bolus," I said.

Oh, no..."you're not allowed in the room while we're testing," she explained.  "It's not going to be at recess time.  The children will be allowed to eat as they take the test...they'll be grazing," she said with a smile.  She had done this for the last 16 years and felt that children did better and stayed calmer if they were allowed to eat during the test.  All the while, we were walking quickly to the lines of students, as the bell had already rung.  She rattled off several different snacks and added, "and so-and-so's mother is bringing in fresh fruit!  Isn't that lovely?"

Lovely?  Hardly.  What was happening here?!

The teacher had the stack of tests piled high in her arms.  I could tell she was in a hurry for our conversation over crackers and fruit to end.  "Just tell me what she can or cannot have and we'll be fine!"  UG!  I felt so not fine at the moment.

"Uh....hmmmm..." I didn't quite know what to do.  I raced into the classroom and saw all the different snacks that had been brought in.  Why I wasn't notified about this was beyond me.  It is even stated ever-so-clearly in C's 504 plan that "the parents (that's me) will be notified prior to any extra food offered in class for special events."

"What can she have?"  The room was filling with kids, scurrying around us. 

"Uh...she can have anything," I said.  "She just needs to test and bolus for it."  Why, at the end of May with just 3-4 weeks to go, I was needing to explain this basic type 1 fact

I grabbed some animal crackers, checked the carb count, counted them out, found a paper cup and wrote the grams on it.  "There," I said.  "She can have fruit though.  It's not here for me to see it and count it and feel comfortable about it.  (Uncomfortable about fruit?...yes.)  But she will need to test before and have the health aide work the pump for the bolus."

Well now, that did throw a wrench into the whole "calming, snacky-eating thing" for the entire class!  I was told that C could not be leaving the room to go down to the health office during the test.

"Hmmm," I said, "Can't the Health Aide come into the room to do it?"  I felt like I was asking for a small miracle.

Eventually, things got worked out by the end of the week.  The second half of the testing schedule went along much smoother.  But, sheesh! was pure craziness, I tell you.  Nearly at the end of the school year and I was still trying to explain C's diabetes management. 

As I drove home, I kept thinking to myself  But I made bacon and eggs.  I did just what they said to do.  Yep, I made my kids a big ol' breakfast.  Why does C need to snack on animal crackers, pretzels or whatever?  I made a big breakfast. 

In reality, I do know why C needs to snack on those yucky, dry, little animal crackers.  She needs to be just like all the other kids.  And we want her to feel normal...even with diabetes.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

5 Years.

Today marks 5 years since my breast cancer diagnosis! It seems like yesterday and yet, at the same time, it seems like forever ago...

As you can imagine, this date holds a lot of memories for me, both good and bad. And, as it approached, I knew I wanted to contact you with heartfelt gratitude for the role you played in cheering me on through the muck of it all.

I will never forget all the wonderful emails I received during those dark months. In fact, I've kept them all in a file, because some are just too precious to delete! I will never forget the gifts and meals that were brought to our home to lighten the load. I will never forget the anonymous, GIGANTIC basket full of goodies that was delivered to our doorstep before Thanksgiving! (I did finally figure out who sent it...hahaha!) I will never forget the phone calls, the flowers, the notes, the PRAYER that covered me and my family. I will never forget the dear friends who flew into town just to be with me...who came over just to rub my back when every inch of me was hurting from the chemo.

My sweet church family banded together and paid for several months of a housekeeper, so that I could rest comfortably in a clean home. Gift cards were given to us for restaurants so that we wouldn't have to think about meal preparation.

And, I will never forget the few special people who spent countless hours learning how to care for our little Claire who had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just a year and a half earlier...and then, they actually cared for her!...doing checks in the middle of the night so that Dan and I could rest.

Did I mention the friends who didn't say "call us if you need anything!"...instead, they actually called me..."have the kids ready by 9 am," they would say, "and they will be returned clean and ready for bed by 8 pm." No, I will never forget all of you.

It's been 5 years. Because this special date was coming up, I asked my oncologist about it at my last check in April. I asked her about the 5 year mark. When do we count the 5 year mark? Is it 5 years from diagnosis? 5 years from surgery? 5 years from the end of treatment? I was confused.

She told me that patients are always asking her that. And, medically it would be 5 years from the end of treatment, when bloodwork shows no evidence of disease.

"However," she said, "I think you should celebrate on June 8th."

: )

As I've contemplated this day, it dawned on me that my most sincere prayer has been and is being answered. I am here, raising my kids. Thank you, my dear Lord and my God!!

Claire was just 3 when I was diagnosed. Chase was 6. And Cole was 8. What a difference 5 years truly makes! We now have a teenager! Chase just turned 11. And Claire, the youngest is 8 years old.
I told my 11 year old that today is my anniversary. He looked puzzled. "Your wedding anniversary?" he asked. "I thought that's in July."

"Noooo," I said.

Without hesitation, he said, "oh, it's your breast cancer anniversary...your cancer-versary!"

"Yes. Yes, it is."

So that's what I'm doing. Celebrating. 5 years.