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!