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Monday, November 17, 2014

I'm a Disney Princess!

Okay, not really... but I am a guest blogger on the awesome Lilly Diabetes/Disney blog; T1 Everyday Magic.

Some time ago they asked me to write a post describing how you know you're a T1D parent. I mean, besides the obvious fact that your child or children have type 1.

And some time ago, I wrote and submitted it.  And then forgot about it.  Because that's what I do.  Forget.  Everything.

Whatever.  My kids are fed and I do remember to put on clothes when I go outside.  I call that a win.

So, click here.  Read it.  Let me know what you think or if you have anything else you would have included.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Today

***This is a re-post of a blog I wrote 2 years ago.  It's just as true today as it was then.



This is my daughter, Elise.  She is 7 years old. She loves to play soccer.  Paint and draw.  Read.  She loves to dance and sing.  Making her little brother laugh. The colour pink.  Roller-coasters and waterslides.  She's a girly-girl with a tough side... the absolute best of both worlds. 



She makes me laugh.  Loves everyone she's ever met. Blows me away with how smart she is.  She has the innate ability to drive me bananas, but at the same time; I am so very proud the be her Mom.  And today, she makes me thankful.

Without today, Elise would not be alive.  If it wasn't for today, I would have had to say goodbye to my first-born over 6 years ago.  If today had never happened, this would be one of the last pictures I have of my daughter...


During a month that is supposed to be filled with thanks, I am most thankful for today, November 14.

Because on this day, in 1891, a baby boy was born in a small farm house in Ontario, Canada.   He would grow up and make an astonishing discovery that would save my daughter's life 119 years later.  Not just the life of my daughter, but the lives of countless others too. 

Because in addition to everything I wrote about her above, Elise also has type 1 diabetes.  Her body NEEDS insulin to survive, but no longer produces it. 



It was nothing she did. Or didn't do.

Nothing she ate. Or didn't eat.

There is no cure.  No special diet.  No secret spice.  There isn't a bark that grows on a tree that can be brewed into a tea.

But there is insulin.

Today, I don't have to watch my daughter literally starve to death because of a faulty pancreas.  And that is why I am thankful for today, the birthday of Dr. Fredrick Banting; inventor of insulin. 

He saved my daughter's life.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

In memory of Nicolas Daniel

Yesterday was National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day.  I didn't find that out until well into the afternoon.  It makes me sad that the day that is meant to honour our lost children isn't really talked about. 

Much like the loss itself.

I discovered that there would be a candle lighting close to where I live, so the kids and I went.

I lit a candle and cried for my son.  And for all the little lives taken too soon.




Every cry is a song
Every song is a prayer
And our prayers must be heard
Fill the air
-Hothouse Flowers

Monday, October 6, 2014

There is a lot to love about Leaf & Love

You know what I love about this little DOC of ours?  How innovative we can be.  There are so many cool products out there that only exist because someone with diabetes (or a loved one with diabetes) saw a void, and decided it was up to them to fill it.

Take, for example, Leaf & Love Inc.  It was formed by two childhood friends who became moms-on-a-mission.  Co-founder Sara Williams-Curran's daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 3.  Sara was frustrated by trips to the grocery store, where she would try to find beverage options for her daughter that were not either filled with artificial sweeteners or sugar

So she and Amy DiBianca (no affiliation with type 1, but wanted something healthy and delicious for her 4-year old son) took to the kitchen to develop a yummy, zero-sugar alternative to all the other high-sugar, empty calorie choices.

Why is Leaf & Love Organic Lemonade better?  Because it is made with all natural ingredients, including 100% USDA organic lemon juice.  They use organic stevia, which is a natural sweetener derived from the leaves of the stevia plant.  Stevia has no calories, a zero glycemic index (meaning no carbs), no artificial ingredients, and NO effect on blood sugar!

In the words of Elise, "you mean I can drink it even if I'm high?  AWESOME!"

Happy girl with her Leaf & Love Lemonade
It is also non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, and provides 15% of the daily recommended vitamin C.

But most importantly, how does it taste?




Elise loves it. Loves. It. And is so excited that she has a juice box that is all her own.  We love sharing in this house, but these babies belong to Elise.

See that? only 2g of carbs.  Squeeeeeee!
Curious, I took a sip for myself and thought it was quite tasty.  There was a bit of aftertaste that I'm pretty sure is from the stevia, but my taste buds are ultra-sensitive.  Redheads are cool like that.

This past weekend, we took the kids to a birthday party at a bowling ally.  There was pizza, pop, lemonade and cookie cake; a carb-infested nightmare.  When the server announced that there was lemonade, Elise turned her big doe-eyes up to me and asked, "pleeeeeeeease Mom?" Ugh.

Luckily, I'm a planner, and had brought with me a bunch of Leaf & Love Lemonade juice boxes.  She was even more excited about drinking that than the "real" lemonade.  Winning!  

Good thing too, she consumed 4 pieces of pizza and well over 150g of carbs.  I threw up in my mouth a little when I bolused her.

So, now that I've espoused the incredible goodness of this lemonade, I bet you're asking where you can find it... good question! Currently Leaf & Love Organic Lemonade is being sold by the case  (32 boxes) on Amazon for $28.96 and will be available at retail locations soon.  Better yet, you can purchase the lemonade through Amazon Smiles and donate a little somethin'-somethin' to the JDRF while you're at it.  Double winning!

For more information, you can also visit www.leafandlove.com, or for those FB-type people; www.facebook.com/leafandlove.

Thank you so much Sara and Amy for making lemonade out of a big, fat lemon of a disease!

***Leaf & Love sent us a juice box to sample, but did not tell me what to think or write.  All opinions are my own.  Elise may have helped too.***

Monday, September 22, 2014

Talking some Bionic Pancreas with the DSMA 'Rents Peeps!

About a month or so ago, Lorraine Sisto contacted Fred and I about doing a DSMA "Rents chat about Elise's experience wearing the Bionic Pancreas at Camp Clara Barton.  

"Cool!" Thought I.  "Must remember to blog about it."

So here I am.  Blogging about it.  Almost a day late and a dollar short since it's all going down tonight, but at least it's something.

It's all happening at 8:00 pm CT (check your local listings), so if you have a spare moment, have a listen.  Call in.  Join the conversation.  Click here to do so.

But we'd better not get a call from anyone named Hugh Jass.

I'm looking at you, Shannon or Katy.




Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Thanks for nothing, One Touch

I'm busy.  I'm sure almost everybody skimming this post can relate.  This time of year is especially exhausting; three birthdays in the span of a week, back to school for all three kids, soccer for two, birthday parties to plan.  Not to mention all the daily stuff that life brings.  

So it's no surprise that my to-do pile could only be described as the leaning tower of paperwork.  I think it's height now surpasses my youngest.  

I wish I were kidding.  

The other day I split it into three piles to try and make myself feel better.  It didn't work.

One of the things on that pile was a vial of test strips.  I needed to put a call into One Touch because these strips were reading dangerously wrong.  Like over 100 points over the actual BG.  Once I tested Elise and her meter said 230.  She was actually 108.  Thank goodness we have the dex and I didn't correct off of that number.

Just for chuckles, I also checked my BG with the bad strips... 198.  Oh dear...

Because we discovered the bad strips during a very busy time for us, I put the vial aside for when I had time to deal with it.  Because we all know that when we call companies about our supplies, they answer promptly and never make you wait on hold for 45 minutes.

One afternoon, when Elise was in school and the boys were napping, I tackled the pile and came across the strips.  They had expired in July and it was now August, but I didn't think it would be an issue.

Wrong.

When I got customer service on the line, I reported the issue and asked if they were the same lot number on some other vials I had called about a few months earlier.  Turned out, they were.  

Towards the end of the call, I asked about them replacing the vial of strips, which were a 50 count.  The guy said that because they expired, that they wouldn't.  I argued that they were not expired when I used them and he replied that I should have reported them when I called about the other lot numbers.  To which I replied that the person never asked me if I had any others and I didn't think to look.

Finally the guy (very reluctantly) agreed to replace them.  A few weeks later, I recevied this in the mail:

"Proven Accuracy"?  Yeah... right

Gee, how very generous One Touch. You replaced a weeks worth of test strips with a one day supply.

Jerks.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

N-Style-ID: Speaking for my daughter when she cannot

Once upon a time, I never worried about Elise wearing a medical ID bracelet. She was always either with me or her Dad, and we figured it was just not necessary.  Besides, finding a bracelet that was practical for a baby was impossible.

But then one night, as I was trying to sleep, but couldn't, and my mind was racing a million miles a minute; it hit me... What if we were in a car accident and were not able to let the paramedics know about Elise's diabetes? She was on shots then and had no telling signs of type 1.  The next day I was on a mission to find something that worked for Elise.

The result was a very cute princess bracelet that had pink and purple beads, an crown, and fit her delicate wrist perfectly.  Unfortunately, she hated wearing it. I forced her to and eventually the ID part became so scratched up you couldn't even read the information on it.  As she got older, she learned to take it off herself and it was game over.  

But now Elise is older, and able to understand the importance of wearing her bracelet. So when N-Style-ID offered to send us a bracelet, I jumped at it.  Just in time for back to school!

I showed Elise the choices and she was immediately drawn to the Hoot Medical ID Bracelet.  It didn't hurt that it had one of her favourite animals, and it came in her favourite colours too!


One of the things I really liked was the engraving.  Earlier in this post I wrote how you couldn't even read the information on Elise's first bracelet.  The reason was the engraving was hard to see in the first place, and the scratches made it almost impossible. N-Style-ID uses a laser engraver (black ink) on all their non-precious metal ID's.  Plus, engraving is free with your order!
The contrast makes it easy to read

N-Style-ID was founded by Toni Bisell, whose daughter was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of 10.  She had a hard time finding a medical ID bracelet that her daughter would wear, so she did what any creative, driven Mama would do; she did it herself!  N-Style-ID was born and with it a line of fun, fashionable medical alert jewellery.
As well as a ton of different styles of bracelets, N-Style-ID offers necklaces, and pendants for woman, men, kids and teens. And they guarantee quality on all their items.

One thing I was worried about was the clasp, which is a plastic snap clasp (I have no idea what it's actually called, but here's a picture of it):



I thought Elise might have a hard time opening it, but it turned out to not be a problem at all.
The best thing?  She will actually wear it.  And now that she's becoming more independant, it's a good thing she does.



Both Elise and I are very happy with her new bracelet, it feels very durable and I love that the engraving is so easy to read.  If you are in the market for some new medical alert jewellery, you can check out N-Style-ID by clicking here.

***N-Style-ID sent Elise the bracelet pictured above complete with engraving for free, but did not tell me what to think or write.  All opinions are my own.  Elise may have helped too.***

Friday, September 5, 2014

Lucky Number Seven


It's been quiet around here.  Too quiet. Celebrating 3 birthdays in the span of a week will do that to you.  No matter, I'm hoping to get back on the blogging bandwagon soon.  

So many posts to write, so little time.

But for right now I'm just in shock that she's 7 years old.  Tomorrow we will host a joint birthday party for her and Mattias, as well as quietly celebrate the fact she's been not only living with, but living well with diabetes for 6 years.

September is crazy around here.

Monday, August 25, 2014

And she's off!




Today Diabetes decided to give me the big ol' double middle finger.  I woke up to find a nice 235 staring back at me on the meter.  Of course on all the days leading up to this one she had been waking up in range.

But never mind that.  There is a reason I wake up super early... So I can catch these high BGs, pre-bolus, and make sure she's on her way down before breakfast. All in plenty of time to get her off to school.

So that's just what I did.  Except...

Except THIS morning I received a Bolus Interuptus in the form of a shrieking pod.  The PDM tells me all but .05 was delivered, but that's what it ALWAYS says.  I think the PDM likes to lie sometimes.

But all is well.  The pod was changed, breakfast consumed, and one very happy girl got on the bus and made her way to first grade

All the while, I know she's doing okay.  

We've come a long way, baby.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Just... wow.

I have been meaning to post. Really.

I have all sorts of bionic pancreas updates, videos and information from Elise's experience that I want to share.

But I can't.  I sit down to type and all I want to do is cry.  It has been so incredibly hard to get back to "normal", whatever THAT is.

So I thought I'd share a story instead.  At first it will make you mad.  Really mad.  But in the end I think we can all agree to just laugh.  Because if you don't, you'll cry.

And I have done enough of that in the last three weeks to last me a lifetime.

Yesterday, our family, as well as Laura's, went to a local water park.  Hawaiian Falls hosts two "Champion's Days" every summer.  This is where they open up their park to the families of children with special needs two hours early, and at a discounted price.  Our family of five stayed all day for only $15.  

We love this place.

Anyway, Elise and I were standing in line for one of the slides when a little girl, perhaps around 4 or 5, asked Elise what happened to her leg (where her pod was).  Lately Elise has wanted no part in "talking diabetes", so I explained to the little girl that Elise has type 1 diabetes, and that she was wearing an insulin pump that gives her medicine to keep her healthy.

And that's when the child's mother leaned over and said, "you see, Ava, that is what happens to you when you eat too much sugar."

Wait.  

What???

Was I suffering from severe heatstroke or did this woman just erroneously use my child to scare her own?

Seldom am I rendered speechless, but it was like all of my words just simultaneously blew out of my head while my jaw hung somewhere two stories below the tower of stairs we were on.

I snuck a look at Elise who was giving me some googly eyes while shaking her head, so I turned away from the grossly misinformed woman and knelt down to Elise's level.

"You know that's not true, right?"

"Yeah Mom... I know."

"Do you mind if I explain to her that she's wrong and tell her about the real cause of type 1?"

"No Mom, I don't want you to."

There was a bit more back and forth, but the gist of it was Elise really didn't want me to try and do any educating.  So I didn't, but silently fumed about this woman and her hurtful and mistaken statement.

When it was finally my turn to go down the water slide, I saw the woman at the bottom waiting for her children.  Since Elise was still at the top, I took the opportunity to set the woman straight.

"I just wanted to let you know that type 1 isn't caused by eating too much sugar, it's an auto-immune disease where my daughter's pancreas doesn't make insulin anymore because the insulin-producing cells were destroyed."

What came next floored me as much as what she had said earlier.

"Oh, I know about diabetes... I just wanted to scare my daughter, she eats WAY too much sugar.  We have all sorts of diabetes in my family.  Type 2, type 3... plus they're all Italian."

At that point, I chose to walk away.  Like I told Fred when I related the story to him, "you just can't educate the stupid out of people."

Today I can laugh at it.  But what I really wanted to say to her was, "Listen you erroneous boob... how dare you use MY child and all the hardships she endures just so you can frighten the sugar out of your daughter. Plus, with one incredibly stupid statement, you manage to not only insult me and my child, but all type 1s.  And type 2s.  Plus the Italians.  If I can compare your comment to ALL the comments I have ever heard about diabetes to a garbage pile, then yours is the biggest, poopiest, steaming diaper full of crap in there."

I know this lady was not the norm.  I've had all sorts of responses when I put on my advocating hat. Most people I've talked to will actually listen, and sometimes even thank me for telling them.  But this woman sure took that cake... all 25, full-sugar grams of it.

Which, incidentally, did NOT give my daughter diabetes.