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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Snacks gone wild

I've played soccer for a long time... probably longer than some of you reading this have been alive.  Man, that makes me feel old and stuff.  

The bowl cut!  I can't look away!

I don't really remember having snacks when I was really young, but as I got older, the fixture became orange slices at half-time.  When I was a teenager, the team manager put lemon slices in our water... now that was something special.

Before my Big and Middle littles starting playing soccer, I had head rumours of the post-game snacks; donuts!  Gatorade! Rice Krispie Treats!  Juice!  Sometimes all of the above at the same time!

Holy crap and then some.

It's not that I'm opposed to those things (okay, some of them I am), I just don't get why anyone would feed that junk to their child after they had just gone out and done something good for their little bodies.

I mean, when was the last time you saw a runner crack open a pop after running a 10k?

When Elise started soccer at the age of 4, I took the snack coordinator aside and told her about Elise's diabetes.  She was still on NPH at the time, so snacks were tricky.  Honestly, I'm not sure how we even handled it at the time.  We agreed that healthier snacks were the way to go and she asked for parents to stick to those guidelines when bringing snacks.

Now that Elise is older, I don't yell "DIABETES" at the snack mom.  In fact, we don't really mention it anyone except the coach and how we deal with the post-game snack really depends on what her BG is doing.  

It gets hard on the days that Mattias and Elise have their games right after one another.  For some reason, siblings are included in the post-game snack.  I  guess all that watching (right after breakfast, may I add) makes people hungry.

Just a picture of my cute little guy at his first game
My biggest face-palm moment came this year after one of Mattias's games.  The grandparents had brought (wait for it...) pigs in a blanket (full sized ones) and donuts.  Oh yeah, and juice.  Before I knew what was happening (I was alone wrangling blood sugars and an ornery 2 year old), Mattias had grabbed one of each and was stuffing them in his face.  Elise saw what was happening and went in for the spoils.

I stopped her and let her know she could choose one thing, and she would be splitting it with Lucas.  Before the protest could leave her mouth, I stopped her and told her she had just eaten breakfast 90 minutes ago, and that she had not done anything but sit there and watch.

Of course the grandparents told her to take one of everything, and I politely told them that we were okay with just one donut.  They insisted, telling me there was more than enough and I firmly told them, "no thank you... my other two are fine with sharing."

It got me some strange looks, but I'm sticking with my siblings-do-not-need-snacks policy (and yes, I realize in this case I gave the siblings a snack, but it was all over when Lucas saw the donut... I barely made it to the car alive).

So what do you do when it comes to sports and snacks?  I'd love to hear how other parents handle it.

And for the record, my go to snacks are (not all at the same time); yogurt, cuties, popcorn, applesauce and water .  

Because I'm lame like that.
Makes my heart happy

Monday, March 23, 2015

Different kind of same

When Lucas was approaching 6 months old, I turned to the Internets to see what was new in the world of baby food.  I had made all of Elise's food from scratch, but never did with Mattias because he pretty much refused to eat anything.  But I was pretty sure Lucas was going to be a great eater and I was looking forward to making my own food again.

As I delved into the murky waters of mommy-dom on the internet, I started reading about a new trend; baby led weaning.  This is where you pretty much give your baby whatever you are eating, except in baby-sized pieces. I even saw pictures of babies gnawing on the bone of a pork chop.

Excited, I set out to try baby led weaning.  Except that Lucas hated it.  Hated. It. Everything I gave him, he gagged on.  I had made him a few purees at first and he did great with those, but if he fed it to himself, he just couldn't eat it.  Not wouldn't, just couldn't. So I went back to making purees for him.

One of the things that bothered me about many of these pro-BLW sites is how they put down people who fed their babies purees; calling it "gross" and "old-fashioned".  One blog pooh-poohed the "bizarre and disgusting food combinations" that people fed their babies.  They led you to believe that BLW was the ONLY way to feed your baby.
He eats like this now, but it wasn't always that way
You may be wondering why I'm writing about this on a diabetes blog.  It's because the attitude I found on those blogs is so similar to something I see from time to time in the D-community (not just on-line, but in person too); and it really bugs me. It's the my-way-is-the-only-way-and-all-other-ways-suck attitude.

I have had people question my pump choice, my carb-counting choice, my doctor/hospital choice, my insulin choice, and even the way I approach life with D (the optimistic vs. realistic way people deal with diabetes).

Someone once told me I was a bad Mom for letting Elise be on NPH.  I had another tell me that the Omnipod was awful and they would never use it on their child.

Luckily as a Mom with three kids, I knew the BLW sites don't know what's best for me and my kids, and that I should follow my gut.  And I am thankful that I feel confident enough in my choices and my D-skills to know what works for Elise.

But what about the rookie Moms out there? And the rookie D-Moms?  I've always said that having your child diagnosed with T1 is like becoming a new parent all over again.  There is so much to learn, and it can be frightening.  You're afraid that one wrong move might irrevocably harm your child.  And there is so much information out there that sometimes it's hard to know what is best for your child.

When it comes to giving advice on diabetes, I now wait until I'm asked for my opinion.  It wasn't always that way, when I first met Laura I was high on the power of carb factors and I just HAD to share it with her.  Like a teenager gushing over her first kiss, I went on and on and on (and on) about how awesome carb factors were.   And I probably acted like it was the ONLY way to count carbs.  Luckily, Laura found what worked for her and didn't shun me for verbally vomiting all over her.

The way I look at it is that diabetes is not a "one size fits all" disease.  Just like there are different ways to parent, there are different ways of managing your child's D.  If you are new at this and trying to find your way, there will be lots of trial and error, but you will find your path... I promise.

And as frustrating as it can sometimes be having so many options (and not knowing which way is best for you), there is beauty in choice.

We all do it differently, but it's a different kind of same.

5 different D-Moms.  All doing it differently.
And rocking it in their own way.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Missed Diabetes Connections

Have you ever read the "Missed Connections" section in a newspaper?  They fascinate me.  I often wonder; do they work? Has anybody ever read one and realized it was them?  And what would compel a person to write one in the first place?

If you've never read one, it goes a little something like this:

You Unicycled your way into my heart...

Me: Sitting on the patio of the Starbucks at Main and Other Generic Street Name on a sunny Friday afternoon.  I was wearing a pink tu-tu and a hand-made non-GMO, free-range hemp sweater.  In my hand was a venti-half-frap-quarter-whip-mochaespressochino.

You: High upon your one-wheeled, eco-friendly mode of transportation, you sported a top hat rather ironically.  Your suspenders and bow tie completed the look.  Your blue hair was electric!

Wanna ride a bicycle built for two sometime?

Get the picture?

It was when I was reading this article that I thought, "someone should write a diabetes version."

Then, "I should write a diabetes version!"

So without further ado... Missed Diabetes Connections for Jerks.

You were the older lady behind me in line at Fill in the Blank grocery store last Tuesday.  When you saw me looking at my daughter's CGM you asked with total seriousness if that was a Lo-Jack for kids.  You make me laugh. We should get coffee so you can make me laugh some more.


You: TSA guy at Major Hub Airport.  Bad disposition.  Inflated sense of self-importance.  Ill-fitting uniform to go along with your hairpiece.  Made my daughter cry because you had no idea what the guidelines are for travelling with a child who has diabetes.
Me: Angry Mom who you separated from the rest of her family who was desperately trying to console said crying child. My red hair matches my temperament.  I can't wait to go through your line again!


We talked briefly in line at Big Happy Fun Waterpark.  You wore a garish bikini that made me wish for my sunglasses.  You told your child that my daughter got diabetes from eating too much sugar.  Want to meet again so I can give you a super-atomic wedgie before pushing you down a waterslide?


It was a beautiful sunny day... I was one of the hundreds of people walking at Suburban Park during the diabetes walk.  You were the angry biddy riding her bike through the throng of people, yelling at them for being in the way.  I hope I see you again so I can tell you to chill out while I ram a stick through your spokes.


A missed connection Haiku...

Mommy and Me group
You asked, "is it the bad kind?"
My brain exploded


I was sitting behind you at The Yummy Baked Goods Place.  You and your friend were discussing the signs advertising the campaign in which Yummy Baked Goods Place would donate $1 of each cupcake sale to Well-Known Diabetes Foundation.  You proclaimed with a sneer, "Nice!  They cause their own disease and want you to fund their cure!"  I just thought you should know I've never wanted to punch someone more than at that moment.


You and your family ate next to us at Popular Children's Fast Food Restaurant.  As I checked my child's blood sugar, your look of interest turned to disgust when you saw the blood.  Just thought you should know I was just trying to keep my kids alive.

***Yes, I have experienced all of the above exchanges, although some non-important details have been changed.  Since all of the above is pretty negative, I thought I would leave you with one very sweet story...

You were the older couple who kept glancing over at my husband and I as we ate dinner with our daughter at XYZ Family Restaurant. At the end of the meal, you (the husband) approached us and asked if our baby had type 1 diabetes.  You then proceeded to bring tears to my eyes as you told us we were doing a good job and you could tell we were wonderful parents.  You closed with, "She is going to be just fine".  I just wanted to let you know that I have never experienced such kindness at the hands of a stranger.  Thank you. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

It's a fact

Wanna know something?

I HATE adjusting basals.  Like, really, totally, majorly hate.  I'd rather do some hard-core toilet scrubbing than sit down with the PDM and adjust those basals.  

Because it seems to me that even though I wait the requisite three days, see a definite pattern, then change the basal; she will then just go ahead and swing the opposite way.  ALWAYS.

Case in point: Overnight... she was going high, high, high a few hours after midnight.  Like into the 400s high. We are pretty much dealing with "fasting" BGs, because she hasn't eaten in about 6 or 7 hours.  So, I change the basal an hour or two before the highs show up, and BOOM.... hello 50s!  

I only change the basal by .05 (smallest change available on the pod), and start off with a small time period, so there is no way it is dropping her that much.  

What I'm guessing is that the growth spurt finally ended, and she's back to her normal insulin needs.  So these days, instead of messing with my basals, I just run a temp basal for the equivalent of raising/lowering her basal by .05.  I'll do it for about 3 days, and if it works, THEN I change the basal.  This method has been saving my sanity for a few months now.

I love finding an "easy" fix.

I read this the other day and it made me laugh.
Sometimes life with T1 can be just like this

This is in no way medical advice.  Nope... not even close.  If you are so far gone that you are taking advice from some weirdo in your computer, then may I suggest you have far bigger problems than messed up basals?  This is all just anecdotal.  I think you need to talk to your doctor.  

That is all

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Out of the mouths of babes. And #dblogcheck day

Today is #dblogcheck day.  I've not been so good about keeping up with my favourite bloggers and their blogs, but I figure I can ignore my three littles for a bit (it's spring break), and see what's happening in the best Online Community there is.

Here's my contribution.  If you stop by, please leave a comment so I know you were here.  Happy #dblogcheck day everyone!


A Mattias-ism just too good not to share:

I had made some chocolate chip cookies for the kids the other day, and today at lunch, as Mattias was picking out his cookie for dessert he asked me, "Mom, does this cookie have poison in it?"

Bahahahahaha!  Someone has been paying attention!

This boy is all sorts of awesome

Friday, March 6, 2015

My Friday Four

There's a fun little meme making it's way around the DOC.  I first saw it on Scully's blog, and most recently on Tina's.  I thought I'd take part just to keep the writing process flowing.  It's not terribly exciting, but it's something... right?

I stole this from Tina who took it from Laddie's blog

1. Four names people call me other than my real name. 

Jo - There are some people out there who are unaware my full name is Joanne.  People always refer to my husband and I as "Fred and Jo".  People who have heard about us, but never met us think we are actually a gay couple.

Joey - What Fred mostly calls me.

Jo-Jo - A few friends call me this.

Moooooooooom! - Self explanitory

2. Four Jobs I’ve Had 

This one is a little hard since I technically "retired" at the age of 23 (that's what I call it when one moves to a country and isn't permitted to work).  Here goes anyway...

Bank CSR - This was my first job out of high school.  I took a break for a year and found I really enjoyed it.  I kept the job on and off throughout school.

My other three main jobs were in radio:

Promotions Girl
Weekend Producer
Morning Show Producer

Wow... that's some short resume.

3. Four Movies I’ve Watched More Than Once 

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (I'm so oooooold)
Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Indiana Jones Trilogy (I don't acknowledge the last film)
Office Space

4. Four Books I’d Recommend 

The Stand by Stephen King
The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King (cheating because there's 7 plus a short story and an extra novel)
LOTR trilogy by JRR Tolkien
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

5. Four Places I’ve Lived 

Born in Montreal
Vancouver, B.C.
San Francisco

6. Four Places I’ve Visited

A whole bunch of countries in Europe, but I'll just put Luxembourg because it's cute.

7. Four Things I Prefer Not To Eat 

Mexican Food
Indian Food
BBQ (not meat that has been grilled, but brisket et al)

8. Four of my Favourite Foods

Strawberry Rhubarb pie

9. Four TV Shows I Watch

Amazing Race
Most HGTV shows
The Soup
30 Rock (on Netflix)

10. Four Things I’m Looking Forward To This Year 

Summer being over (and it hasn't even started yet...)
Home improvement projects
Selling our rental house

11. Four Things I am Always Saying 

Get out of the pantry Lucas!
Is it bedtime yet?
I'm tired

***this post has been edited to include 4 foods I like. Don't know how I missed it in the first place.  Thanks to Jeff for pointing it out.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Letting go and letting her

I'm a control freak.  There's no denying it and I have no problem letting my control freak flag fly (within reason, of course... I do my best to not let it affect other people).

Elise was diagnosed at 12 months old, so obviously either Fred or I were in charge of everything at the start.  For the most part I did most of it because I wanted to.  Because along with being a card-carrying member of the Control Freak Society, I also have some type A tendencies.

These two things can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to diabetes.

I constantly read and try to learn all I could about type 1... but all that information can be scary.

I weigh her food counted carbs down to the decimal point because the accuracy can be crucial... but it can cause meal times to be stressful and makes me crazy at times.

I study her BG readings and dex graphs, trying to figure out how to dose for problem foods, even keeping a journal at one point hoping I could spot patterns... but it's exhausting and what works one day doesn't work the next, causing this control freak all sorts of rage.

Elise has now had type 1 for over 6 years and is in charge of certain aspects of her care.

She does all finger pokes (except while she's asleep, of course)
Helps set up for pump/dex changes.
Cleans the insulin vial/dex transmitter with an alcohol wipe, along with the insertions sites.
Presses the start button to insert the cannula for the pod.

But part of me has been wondering lately if I need to let go of more responsibilities.  She vacillates between wanting more, and wanting nothing to do with D.  And I struggle with the question, "how much is too much?"  She's only 7 after all.

Sometimes just asking her to wash her hands and check her blood sugar puts her into a tailspin.

"Why do I have to do this and nobody else in the family has to?"

"I'm tired of checking my blood sugar!"

"I'd rather not eat so I don't have to poke my finger again."

On days like these, I offer to do it for her.  She seems tired and over-burdened by the disease and is grateful to have me step in and do it for her.  But then I worry... Am I enabling her?  Will this delay her independence?  What will happen when she moves out on her own and there isn't anyone there to take over?

Other times she is gung-ho about her diabetes care. She wants to learn how to count carbs, even asking me to print up a cheat-sheet of her favourite foods to hang on the fridge.  She wants to check her brother's BG after she checks hers (and the sweet boy always obliges). She begs me to let her fill her pod with insulin.  But again I worry... how much is too much?  She's going to be doing this for a long time and I don't want her to burn out.

Because there are so many aspects of her care that I will slowly be doling out on her way to adulthood.

Dealing with insurance companies.

Making doctor appointments.

Scheduling lab work.

Managing prescriptions.

Ordering supplies.

Organizing supplies.

Keeping up with all the technology.

The list goes on (and on).

Parents of kids with T1 who are diagnosed at an age where they rely on us walk a very perilous tightrope. On one side we run the risk of raising a child who is totally unprepared to live on their own.  Cannot count a carb or figure out an insulin dose, and is completely dependent on someone to help with their care

On the other, there's the real possibility of them burning out very early on, when they have decades to go in living with this disease.  We must let them be kids first, and kids with diabetes second.

We try to stave off burnout by doing it for them.

We try to teach independence by letting them do it themselves.

It's a dance, and I'm doing my best to teach Elise the steps.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Spare a Rose Save a Child Day!

We don't really acknowledge Valentine's Day around here.  I am lucky to have a husband who shows me that he loves me pretty much every day of the year. And I don't need a card company or a calendar to tell me when and how to be romantic.

The only one allowed to be that bossy around here is me.

I did, however, text the following Valentine to Fred this morning as we were frantically getting the kids ready for their 9 am soccer games... it made me giggle.

More importantly, we skipped the flowers thing and donated the money to Life for a Child as a part of the Spare a Rose Save a Child campaign.  

One year's worth of insulin for child who might otherwise go without... I don't think there is a sweeter gift out there.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Flowers die... spare a rose so child child won't

The following conversation took place a few years ago...

"Mama? Why do you hate flowers?"

This question was posed to me by Elise just the other day. A neighbour had brought by a vase of flowers because she and her family were going away and she didn't want them to go to waste. Elise saw them and proclaimed them to be, "absolutely so gorgeous."

Apparently she noticed my indifference, because she then asked her question. I made some off-handed remark, then distracted her with something bright and shiny.

Because really, how do you explain to a five year old that flowers are stupid because they die, without sounding like the most heartless person ever?  It's just hard for me to spend a lot of money on something that just sits there for a few days, and then... Poof! They go to the great flower bed in the sky.

Give me chocolate any day.

So why the post slamming flowers? Because Saturday is Valentine's Day. And no doubt roses are in your future; either as the giver or recipient. Enter the Spare a Rose, Save a Child campaign.

In my fridge I have vials of insulin.  Enough to keep Elise alive for months at a time.  Even better, I have access and the means to get more; insuring that Elise has every opportunity to live a long and healthy life.

But it's not that way for everyone.  In some countries, children diagnosed with diabetes will not survive even a year.  In Haiti and countries in Africa, there is a mortality rate as high as 90%.  

The Spare a Rose campaign is simple: instead of giving a dozen roses this Valentine's Day, give 11, and donate the cost of the 12th rose ($5) to provide a months worth insulin to a child in a developing country.  The money goes to the Life for a Child program, which is sponsored by the International Diabetes Foundation.  The IDF distributes the funds raised to established diabetes centers, helping them to provide ongoing care and education to children with type 1 in developing countries.

For the cost of JUST ONE rose, you could donate to save the life of a child. Even though here in the U.S., I am able to keep my daughter alive with life-saving insulin, in developing countries, type 1 diabetes can be a death sentence.

To donate, just click here.  Flowers for Valentine's Day might be nice, but saving the life of a child is even better.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

It's been awhile...

There's been some fun and exciting things happening around here, but finding a few spare minutes to even compose a thought about them has not been easy to find. So here's a few bullet points before I forget entirely:

  • The video "I am Type 1" was picked by JDRF Canada for their fundraising video for the Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes.  They did some editing, so not as many lovely faces made the final cut at the end, but it's still pretty cool!  You can see their version by clicking here.
  • They also did a french version called, "Je suis un Type 1", which was fun to listen to.  Listening to make me realize that my french is beyond rusty and the "cookies made with poison" line just doesn't have the same ring to it.  You can view the french version here.
  • Right after Elise was in the Bionic Pancreas trial, Fred was contacted by a reporter from Times for a quote or two about it for an article they were doing on Ed Damiano.  Ebola kept pushing back the publishing date, but it finally came out this week.  
Elise checking out her name in print
  • And we finally booked our trip for Friends For Life 2015.  Don't know what that is?  Pretty much the most fun temporary Diabetes commune on the planet.  There are parties!  And learning!  And food labelled with carb counts! And friendships!  And SWAG (Stuff We All Get)! Whew... I could go on and on, but it's something you and our family need to experience for yourself.  Check out the Children with Diabetes website for more info.
So there you go... that's what is happening around here. I have some other blog posts up my sleeve, but for now they only exist in my brain. For now, I'm going to make the acquaintance of the lovely mug of Earl Grey tea that is calling my name.