Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Tuesday Tidbit

Amy and I had the floolwing converstaion this morning:

Amy: "mom, it's getting easier isn't it?"

Mom: "yeah, I think we're getting the hang of it."

Amy: "yeah, we're getting good at it!"

Don't you just love Breakfast talk?

Friday, 24 May 2013

Sparks Sleepover

We are headed to our first organized extracurricular sleepover with Sparks.

Sparks is the youngest age group within Girl Guides of Canada.

I was a Sparks leader last year, but was unable to commit this year.  However, I am attending the sleepover this evening.  They needed a few extra parent volunteers in order to hold the sleepover, so I figured I would make it easier on myself, Amy and the head guider by participating.

I have extra snacks, strawberry milk drinking boxes, cheese strings, yogurt tubes, extra pump supplies and all the regular stuff we tote around in our diabetes bag.  If I happen to forget something at least we are just down the road.

I need to figure out a way to quietly check Amy's sugars at 3am, and hope I don't wake up any other little Sparks.  I'm thinking that setting the alarm on my iphone should be loud enough for me but quiet enough not to wake everyone else.

I have one excited little girl on my hands!

Wish us luck!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Life is Short Laundry is Eternal

I was the lucky recipient of Scott Benner’s giveaway of his debut book, Life is Short Laundry is Eternal, Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad, on his blog Arden's Day. 

I must admit I was delighted to be the winner, as this was a book that I had on my list of must-reads.  I’ve been a follower of Arden’s Day since October 2012 when I discovered the diabetes online community -  the DOC as Benner affectionately refers to it in his book - after my own daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in February of last year.  I had read some excerpts from the book through this site, and was intrigued enough to want to read it.

Right from the opening chapter I was hooked.  It felt like we were sitting down together on the sofa chatting…..about our mutual dislike for laundry.  And this was the tone for the rest of the book, like old friends chatting about life, work, family, values and history. 

I’m a big believer of parental leave.  Not just maternity leave, but parental leave.  I feel that it’s not just the mom’s job to raise the kids, or to stay at home, but it is a shared responsibility between both parents.  How you’re family dynamic works for you, is your decision, but people need to know that there are other, non traditional options, out there. I feel this was portrayed beautifully here. 

Scott seems to downplay what he does, with anecdotes of how he came “close to breaking, losing or otherwise ending Cole’s life three times” but this makes him relatable.  All the fear that he felt before his first child was the same fear that I felt before mine.  Just like most parents, he is initially apprehensive as he learns the ropes, but appears to do everything with love and for the betterment of his family. 

Although I found it very easy to relate to the entire book, the chapters about Arden’s diagnosis with T1D were definitely the most emotional for me. It brought me back to our own diagnosis day and all the fear and uncertainty came flooding back. I’m hoping that in the years to come, my family is able to fit diabetes into our lives as seamlessly as it is described here.  I’m sure it’s founded from a tremendous amount of work, but they make management look easy and natural, when diabetes is anything but.

The emotion that Scott shows towards his wife is incredible, and every woman should be so lucky to have a partner that is so obviously head over heals in love with them.  I love how he thanks Kelly for giving him the opportunity to be there for their children, and acknowledges the work that she does outside the home.

To me, his underlying messages are to learn from your mistakes, communicate, and just love your family.  Don’t just walk away if the going gets tough, that “if you stay until the end, the good parts will far outweigh the bad ones”.

I laughed, I cried and I nodded my head in agreement. 
Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Life is Short Laundry is Eternal, Confessions of a Stay at Home Dad today.

I received a copy of Life is Short Laundry is Eternal from a give away from Scott Benner's blog Arden's Day.  This review is completely of my own opinion.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Summer Pump Management

I hope you didn't read my blog title and think that I was going to give all these great tips on how to manage the pump and diabetes in your child during the summer months and during summer vacation.

Because I'm not.

I need your help!!!!

We have been pumping for 3 months (already!).  We are slowly learning as we go, however this will be our first summer.

Some of you may know that yesterday was a holiday in Canada (Victoria Day) and hence a long weekend.
It may have snowed in Gander, but it was sunny and 18C+ in my hometown.

I was battling lows all weekend.
had her pump disconnected, had it on 25% basals, gave extra food.
Still went low.

Does anyone have any advise or suggestions on what they do with their kids?  What about during summer vacation?  What works for you?  What hasn't worked?

As always, I realize you guys are parents like me, and for the most part, not medical professionals.  I will of course, discuss any changes with my CDE.

Thanks :)

Sunday, 19 May 2013

D-Blog Week, Day 7 - Spread the Love

As another Diabetes Blog Week draws to a close, let’s reflect on some of the great bloggers we’ve found this week. Give some love to three blog posts you’ve read and loved during Diabetes Blog Week, and tell us why they’re worth reading. Or share three blogs you’ve found this week that are new to you. (Thanks to Pearlsa of A Girl's Reflections for inspiring this topic.)

I've fairly new here around the DOC. My daughter was diagnosed February 8, 2012.

I live in an isolated community.  It takes us a plane ride to the capitol city of our province (and 3 days off work) to attend a clinic day with our endo at the children's hospital.  There are no other children Amy's age in our town that have T1D.  She is the only child in her school.  There are a handful of children a few years older.

I think I found my first blog A Sweet Grace, in October.  I can't begin to tell you how much it helped me to read about a parent who was dealing with what I was.  Who had a child similar in age to my daughter.  I read her entire blog in a weekend.  And it snowballed from there.

I'm not going to tell you about a great blog post that I read this week.....there were so many that I enjoyed.  I'm not going to tell you about any new blogs that I found this week......as I find new ones I love all the time.

Instead, I will give a shout out to those that helped me when I needed it most. 

Check them out.

They're awesome.

And because of them, I know I'm not alone.

Naturally Sweet Sisters
Arden's Day
The Princess and the Pump
Candy Hearts
Mom of an Extra Sweet Insulin Challenged Girl
Death of a Pancrease

Thanks for reading this week.  I hope you have enjoyed my posts and will continue to visit us and follow along our journey with diabetes.

To read more from today you know the drill!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

D-Blog Week, Day 6 - Diabetes Art

This year Diabetes Art moves up from the Wildcard choices as we all channel our creativity with art in the broadest sense. Do some “traditional” art like drawing, painting, collage or any other craft you enjoy. Or look to the literary arts and perhaps write a d-poem or share and discuss a favorite quote. Groove to some musical arts by sharing a song that inspires you diabetes-wise, reworking some song lyrics with a d-twist, or even writing your own song. Don’t forget dramatic arts too, perhaps you can create a diabetes reality show or play. These are just a starting point today – there are no right or wrong ways to get creative!

D - Demanding 
I - Insulin
A - Apprehension
B - Bolus
E - Everlasting
T - Trying
E - Eventful
S - Sleepless

Just some of the words that describe diabetes to us.

For more posts from today's topic click here.

Friday, 17 May 2013

D-Blog Week, Day 5: Freaky Friday

Just like in the movie, today we’re doing a swap. If you could switch chronic diseases, which one would you choose to deal with instead of diabetes? And while we’re considering other chronic conditions, do you think your participation in the DOC has affected how you treat friends and acquaintances with other medical conditions? (Thanks to Jane of Jane K. Dickinson, RN, PhD, CDE and Bob of T Minus Two for this topic suggestion.)


There are many chronic diseases out there.

As a pharmacist I have seen the struggles and devastation that they inflict.

Would I change chronic diseases if  I could?

The answer is simple.


Each of these conditions have their own set of problems, their own set of struggles, and their own management techniques.  It’s not even the fact that we have learned how to manage diabetes, that I wouldn’t trade it.  I just feel that one is no better, or worse, than the other.  They are all conditions that we would rather not have to deal with. 

We would rather our children, or ourselves, be healthy.

My participation in the DOC has benefited me.  I’ve found a group of people who share a similar way of life and who can truly understand our day to day struggles.  However, I don’t feel that it has affected how I treat people with other medical conditions. 

I’ve learned compassion and acceptance from my parents and through life experience.  Although, I would say that our experience with diabetes has allowed me to look at life situations differently.

The next time you are in the grocery line and a child is crying uncontrollably, don’t think its from misbehavior, maybe the child is autistic, has a sensory disorder, has low blood sugar, or is tired from the seizure they had last night.

The next time you see an elderly person fumbling with their purse or looking disheveled or lost, see if they need help.  They’re not just old and feeble.  Maybe the have arthritis, poor vision, alzheimer’s or dementia.

The next time you see an overweight person, don’t think they are unmotivated and lazy.  They may have hypothyroidism, heart problems, depression or type 2 diabetes.

The next time you start to judge someone.
Stop and think.
It could be you being unfairly judged.

Here's the spot to read more from Fridays topic

Thursday, 16 May 2013

D-Blog Week, Day 4 - Accomplishments

We don’t always realize it, but each one of us had come a long way since diabetes first came into our life. It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 weeks, 5 years or 50 years, you’ve done something outstanding diabetes-wise. So today let’s share the greatest accomplishment you've made in terms of dealing with your (or your loved one’s) diabetes. No accomplishment is too big or too small - think about self-acceptance, something you’ve mastered (pump / exercise / diet / etc.), making a tough care decision (finding a new endo or support group / choosing to use or not use a technology / etc.). (Thanks to Hilary ofRainie and Me for this topic suggestion.)



I think our biggest accomplishment has been out mind set.

Sure we’ve had our overwhelming moments, but right from the beginning, as a family we decided to take it one step at a time.  Basically, we didn’t have a choice but to work through it as it wasn’t going to go away.  We had to deal with it, and we decided to tackle it head on. 

My husband is an engineer.  That means he has a very systematic mind, and hence everything he does tends to flow in a step by step manner.  That’s how we have dealt with diabetes.  Step by step. 

There are things that you can’t plan for, but you can have a plan to deal with those things.  We don’t know when a site may come out, when there will be a bogus high or an unpredictable low, but we can have things in place to work through them.

You often hear “kids first, diabetes second” and that’s how we want to live.  We want Amy to know that she can do anything that she puts her mind to, despite diabetes.

When Amy was diagnosed, it was late Wednesday night.  She started her first insulin dose at 10pm that night in the emergency room.  They sent us home with a vial of 30/70 after showing me how to inject using a syringe.  They didn’t even have a glucometer to give me. Since I work at the hospital I ran down to the pharmacy department and took a new Aviva from our shelf (and replaced it the next morning with one from our CDE).  We had a 4 hours visit with the CDE the next morning, then an hour with the dietitian and another two hours with the CDE on Friday.  That was our education.  We were on our own.

I scoured the internet and found some useful information from BC Children's Hospital, Toronto Sick Kids, and the Canadian Diabetes Association.  I did up an information package for the school, and poured over all my notes to relearn how to take care of my little girl.

She went back to school 5 days later.

And we haven’t looked back.

  I think about how we will take care of her in the teenage years.   How will I let go and transition her care to her.  How will I handle new things like driving and dating and university. 

Then I remember that all parents have to think about this.

And we just have to take things day by day.

Step by step.

For more posts on today's Topic, please click here.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

D-Blog Week, Day 3 - Memories

Today we’re going to share our most memorable diabetes day. You can take this anywhere.... your or your loved ones diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you’d like to share. (Thanks to Jasmine of Silver-Lined for this topic suggestion.)

Its only been a little over a year, so I don’t say I have the stories that others have about diabetes, but I’m sure there will be plenty in the years to come.

There are two days that really stick out in my mind though.

The first being the night that Amy was diagnosed.

There were a few things that triggered in my mind that Amy could have diabetes.  The two main symptoms included drinking A LOT and dribbling in her panties throughout the night.  She was a child that didn’t usually drink much and here she was going to the fridge reloading her water bottle and she had never wet the bed.  I was hoping it was just a UTI and had scheduled an appointment for her with our family physician.  For the time being, we started restricting her water.  We wouldn’t let her drink anything after bedtime snack.  After a huge bruise appeared on her leg from playing xbox kinect, I went to work and brought home a glucometer to test her sugar.  She was 19mmol/L.  Long story short (you can read our full diagnosis story here), when I brought her over to the emergency department and they got ready to give her the first shot of insulin, she started to wail and say “I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.  I’ll stop drinking so much!”  This totally broke my heart, and I will always remember the look of terror in her face.

The other story was about a week later.

We were sitting at the table eating tacos for supper.  Amy stopped mid-chew and nonchalantly said “Having diabetes is better than being dead”.  I just smiled at her and said “yes baby, that’s right”, excused myself from the table, went to the bathroom and had a good cry.  I think that was the first big cry I had about the diagnosis, and likely won’t be the last in the years to come.

Click here to read more from others on today's topic.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

D-Blog Week, Day 2: We, the Undersigned

We, The Undersigned - Diabetes Blog Week Post 2

Diabetes Blog Week - Post # 2:  Recently various petitions have been circulating the Diabetes Online Community, so today let's pretend to write our own.  Tell us who you would write the petition to – a person, an organization, even an object (animate or inanimate) - get creative!! What are you trying to change and what have you experienced that makes you want this change?

So much emphasis tends to be placed on the A1C value and meeting targets by our health care teams. Sure they important to guiding therapy, but they are just a measure of gycated hemoglobin that shows the a AVERAGE plasma glucose concentration over ~3 months.  The A1C tells you the WHAT of your blood sugar.....it doesn't tell you the WHY!

It doesn't tell you that your child attends school and fought off two colds and a bought of Gastro.  It doesn't tell you that your child grew 2 inches and gained a pound.  It doesn't tell you that you celebrated your birthday or Christmas, or Easter or went on holidays.  It doesn't tell you that you were fighting lows and subsequent highs.  It doesn't tell you that your 7 year old is scared of going low on the bus and all the kids will tell her she is not allowed to eat or drink on said bus, so she drinks an apple juice before boarding.  It doesn't tell you that the school doesn't have a school nurse and you have to set safe guidelines for your child and teacher to follow, that wouldn't be the same if you were doing it yourself.  

The A1C is just a snapshot in time from the movie about diabetes management.

My petition would be:


We, The Undersigned, give ourselves permission to accept the A1C as just another number in our daily lives dealing with diabetes.  That this number is not a "report card" nor does it reflect the time and care we take in managing this condition.

Print Name: _____________________  Signed Name: _______________

Read more from Day 2 here.

Monday, 13 May 2013

D-Blog Week: Share & Don't Share

Todays' Topic:
Often our health care team only sees us for about 15 minutes several times a year, and they might not have a sense of what our lives are really like. Today, let’s pretend our medical team is reading our blogs. What do you wish they could see about your and/or your loved one's daily life with diabetes? On the other hand, what do you hope they don't see?  (Thanks to Melissa Lee of Sweetly Voiced for this topic suggestion.)

In some ways we are lucky.  Our health care team at the Janeway Children's Hospital sees us for about 2 hours every 4 months.  During those 2 hours we see one of the Endos, one of the CDEs, the dietitian, and there is a social worker available too if needed.  They take the time to explain things to us, they do the A1C using blood pricked from your finger using your own lancet, and they have been very helpful.

The problem is that it takes us a 2.5 hour plane ride, and 3 days away from work/school to attend these appointments.  And the communication in between is either by email or phone.

We do have a family physician here in our town (which takes at least a month to get into see) and a local CDE, who is great, but has minimal experience with children (but I'm so thankful for her!)

What would I like them to see?

Well, a plan that looks good on paper, may be difficult to carry out in practice.  It's easy enough to tell me to reduce that basal for the afternoon, but she isn't active at that time everyday and goes high; or to drink an AJ before outdoor lunch in a child who is excited to get outside with her friends and may forget; or any number of scenarios that change on a day-to-day basis. Yes, plans need to be put into place, and settings optimised, but they may not always work.  We try to do what works for us within your suggested framework.

The target range is wide for 6-12 years olds at 4-10mmol/L graduated to the child's age.  Although the guidelines say its okay to be in the 9/10 range for her age, we find her moody, whiny, and having decreased concentration and listening here and above.  We prefer readings lower than this.

Sometimes our food choices are not the best.  But she's a kid.  And she has extracurricular activities to go to. Some days that healthier meal takes a back burner to getting out the door in time for soccer or Sparks.

Yes, we test a lot.  I mean a lot.  Like 13-15 times a day some days.  Yes, we would like to start CGM. We have all the supplies on hand.  We are waiting for the Medtronic rep to train us to start.  Which keeps getting delayed.  It's also not always us parents doing the testing.  Amy tests when she feels like she needs to, and I will never dissuade her from doing so.

Our A1C isn't great.  But we try.  And are hopeful that the pump will help bring us to target.

I would also like them to know how grateful I am that they are partners with us on this journey.  Good medical care and a team effort from caregivers and patients is essential for successful diabetes management. Thank You for always telling us that we are doing a great job.

To our local diabetes team.

I'm grateful that I work at the hospital and have you at my fingertips for times of need.  It does take a long time to get into see the family physician, but he is great for answering my emails or returning calls.  What I would like him to know is how time consuming this disease can be.  When we were applying for the disability tax credit this year, we were asked if we actually spent at least 14 hours per week managing diabetes (not including counting carbs).  

AS IF!!!

If they only knew that as long as Amy was awake, we were somehow managing her.  Some of this management and planning is now automatic, kind if like driving a car, but we are always aware of it.

I don't think there is anything I wouldn't want them to see, unless you count wiping the finger blood off in my nightgown in the middle of the night if there is no tissue around!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

More Than a D Mom

Fifteen months ago I became a member of a group I didn't ask to join.  I became a dMom.

Diabetes has consumed our lives since that day in February 2012.

Test. Count carbs. Prepare food. Give insulin. Test......and Repeat.  Day and night. Everyday.

I'm still learning.  I'm meeting more members of this club, both in person and through the DOC (diabetes online community).  Although I didn't ask to be a dMom, I wouldn't have made contact with these wonderful mothers otherwise.  And I thank them for all the advise and support they have provided.

However, I'm more than a dMom.

I'm a regular mom too.  I do laundry, wash the dishes, sweep the floor and vacuum the rugs.  I clean the bathroom, make snacks, cook supper and get groceries.  I rake dog poop, tend to my flower garden and sort the recyclables.  I play hopscotch, ride bikes, and walk the dog.

I'm just like any mom.

I like to read books.  I like to do crafts and scrapbooking.  I love photography and would love to learn more about taking better pictures.  I love camping and our cabin.  I like reality tv.  I love my boot camp style exercise classes. And I'd love to learn to run.

I'm a working professional outside of the home.  With two bachelorette degrees, one in chemistry and another in pharmacy, but I'd give it all up to stay home with my girls.  I love my family.

Although I'm consumed with thoughts of Amy's well being all the time, I'm learning to trust her instincts and my own.  We are working towards teaching Amy that we must always be aware of diabetes and how she is feeling.  But she's more than that.  She can still do anything she puts her mind too despite diabetes.

Diabetes doesn't rule us, and that's why I Am More Than a dMom.


I saw a number of More Than a DMom posts pop up all around the DOC, and was both encouraged and inspired by them.  Some of these ladies have experienced diabetes for a number of years, and it is comforting to see that they haven't lost themselves in the process.  Please view the original post in this series here at The Princess and the Pump.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Self Esteem

Our biggest hesitation in starting the pump was having a way to tell that Amy was different just by looking at her.  When you are on needles, you look just like everyone else.  You blend in.  Yes, we made sure that everyone at her school knew who she was, and that she had T1D, but you couldn't tell that just by looking at her.

We struggled with that a little bit.  We thought about when she gets older.  How fitting in with your peers is so important.  We thought about how bullying still happens even with all the awareness campaigns.  We thought about how much easier bullying is with the advent of social media.  And we thought about extreme examples of bullying that resulted in the recent suicides of both Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons.

After all that, we felt that the benefits of pumping far outweighs the negative impacts it may have.  We are hoping that we can raise a confident, self assured child (and eventually teenager) despite the obstacles that diabetes may place in front of her.

To hear Amy talk about her diabetes, to see how far she has come, how much she has learned, and to hear her explain to others in school what T1D is, and how she manages it, makes my heart swell with pride, and break at the same time.

It hurts me when she says that she doesn't want people who don't know her to ask what is around her waist.  Or that kids are telling her she's not allowed to eat or drink on the bus, or that she doesn't want to be the only one who has an afternoon snack, or that she feels stupid because the buses are being held up for her to ensure that her BG has come back up to safe levels before going home.  That she doesn't want to be singled out.

We are working on it, we roll play a little with educational and positive things she can say about what and why she is able to do some of these things when others can't.  We talk about when she gets older and how she may feel.  I know that at age 7, she still has a long way to go, but I'm hoping that by preparing her early she will be more comfortable with everything, diabetes included, that makes her who she is.

What made me think about self esteem today was reading posts on Facebook and in the news about A tween clothing giant and their CEO.  Apparently comments were made years ago, but are being dredged to the surface again.  Essentially they say that they don't make clothing for overweight people because they are targeting the "cool people".  There are a number of articles and the actual comments out there and I also came across a great rebuttal to The CEO that touted him the King of Bullies.

[added May 10/13 @ 11am AST. Check out this response.  I wanted to stand up and clap!]

How do you handle your or your child's feelings of being different because of diabetes? And have you/them been bullied because of it?

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Peanut Butter Cookies

When Amy was first diagnosed with diabetes, my best friend, who lives in Nova Scotia, sent me a cookbook that she thought would help us.  It was Canada's Best Cookbook for Kids with Diabetes.

I've browsed through it a number of times.  Truth be told, I browse through cookbooks a lot, so it was a real gift from the heart from my friend.

Last night was the first time that I've made anything from this cookbook.  Before the pump, I found that the recipes sounded good, especially the treats, but still went above the number of carbs that I would typically give for a snack.

I've been thinking about peanut butter cookies for days, and decided to see if there was anything that sounded good in this book.  I read the recipe, liked what I saw and gathered the ingredients.

I thought of replacing either the white sugar or the brown sugar with a sugar substitute, but decided to follow the recipe......almost.  I didn't have quite enough stick margarine, so I used what I had and added a bit of extra peanut butter, and I substitute half the flour for whole wheat.

The cookies were amazing.

When I make them again, I think I will cook them for a little less time, then I did this time.  I was going to take them out at 8 mins, but left them in for another 2.  Still yummy.  Especially with a big glass of milk!

The recipe:

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup soft margarine
1 large egg
2/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla

preheat oven to 350F
1. combine dry ingredients
2. beat margarine, sugars until fluffy, add rest of wet ingredients.
3. add together and mix until blended
4. roll dough into 36 small balls, flatten with fork.
5.bake 10-12 mins until lightly browned

1/2 carb, 1 fat

80 calories
2g protein
4g fat
1g sat fat
9g carbs
0g fiber
6mg cholesterol
72mg sodium

Give them a try and let me know what you think.  Also, if you have any great baking recipes that you would like to share, I'd love to hear about them.