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Saturday, November 14, 2015


***This is a re-post of a blog I wrote 3 years ago.  It's just as true today as it was then.

This is my daughter, Elise.  She is 8 years old. She loves to play soccer.  Paint and draw.  Read.  She loves to dance and sing.  Making her little brothers laugh. The colour green.  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 7 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.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Lucky Ones

We live in a country where we have access to the latest and greatest diabetes technology.

We are some of the lucky ones.

My husband has a job that provides us with health insurance.

We are some of the lucky ones.

We're able to afford a CGM and necessary supplies for our daughter.

We are some of the lucky ones.

If we ever ran out of any of our supplies, we have a whole community to turn to for help.

We are some of the lucky ones.

Our support team of doctors and nurses are pretty amazing.

We are some of the lucky ones.

Insulin is readily available to us.

We are some of the lucky ones.

My daughter's diabetes was caught very early on and we didn't have to suffer through the horror and agony of DKA or the PICU.

We are some of the lucky ones.

We have access to people that will help my daughter through the emotional toll diabetes can take.

We are some of the lucky ones.

For us, diabetes is not a death sentence.

We are some of the lucky ones.

As hard as diabetes is, I always have to remind myself of the people who are not as fortunate as we are.  For people in developing countries, diabetes can be a death sentence, and that's why I'm thankful for the work the International Diabetes Federation does through the Life For a Child Programme. And while I am all about supporting those who are working to find a cure or ways to make life with diabetes easier, we can't forget those who barely have access to the medicine they need to live.  IDF is currently helping over 17,000 children and youth with diabetes in 46 countries by providing supplies and education.  Please go to their website to donate or find out more about them.  

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Nine. Times.

It was 1:45pm on Monday when I started this post.  As of 10 minutes ago, I have been on the phone with our school nurse 9 times.  Nine. Times.

The first call was around 8:00 this morning, only 15 minutes after school started.  The reason?  Elise was low. I honestly can't remember the number because there are so many from today, but she was below 100.  Only an hour after eating.

Even though I changed basals and I:C ratios (so she'd get less insulin), she only topped out at 120 after breakfast.

The rest of the day so far has followed suit.  Low after low after low.  In fact, I'm expecting a call soon, since my watch is telling me she's dropping.  Again.

All those spikes you see were from the many, many carbs consumed.
But she always came right back down
Now it's Tuesday, about 24 hours later.  I never finished the post yesterday because... well, life.  And again, I've been on the phone with the nurse nine times.  Including one phone call where Elise was 51 in P.E.

As much as this sucks, I am very thankful we have probably the rocking-est (is this a word?  No?  I care not) school nurse in the history of ever.  We are the lucky ones.  I have heard from so many parents how care at school is a battle, the nurse isn't helpful, and things being done to their child are downright illegal.  

We are contemplating moving to another state.  I am unfamiliar with the laws and unsure of the protections that exist for Elise there.  I do know that right now we live in one of the best states when it comes to protecting our kiddos with T1.  

It shouldn't be this way.  There are so many struggles when it comes to diabetes; finding an endo you gel with, getting the supplies you need, insurance battles... the list goes on.  I'm lucky that when I send Elise off to school, I know she's in amazing hands.  Not everybody has this and it hurts my heart for them.

This month, I am thankful for so much.  But after what we've been dealing with over the last few days, our nurse is at one of the top spots on my list.  If you have a good one, make she she/he knows it.  If you don't... well I'd be shouting that from the rooftops too.

And I think a certain nurse will be getting a "just-because-you're-awesome" gift tomorrow.

Second verse, same as the first... but worse lows this time

Thursday, November 5, 2015

My new job title

Conversation with Elise yesterday:

E: S told me that his mom is an art teacher.  I told S that you are a diabetes teacher.

The hours suck, and so does the pay.  There's no time off and the work itself makes you crazy.

But there's nobody else I'd rather work for.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Watch me meme

Awhile back, I was asked if I'd like to contribute a meme to the T1 Everyday Magic website in honour of World Diabetes Awareness Month.  After looking up what a meme was (I kid!), I agonized  over what my submission would look like... should it be funny? Mention poison cookies? Should the humour be subtle, yet sprinkled with sarcasm?  

Click here to find out, and to see some other great memes from some pretty cool DOC peeps.

Monday, November 2, 2015

A witch, a ninja, and Dusty walk into a bar...

Under the influence of candy and the trick-or-treating hasn't even started yet.

These blood sugars are brought to you by hours of running around and over 30g of uncovered Halloween treats.

And what you don't see?  The continued lows all night; including a 72 at 10:00 pm, a 62 at 1:15 am, and a 64 at 5:30 am.  Thank goodness we're all stocked up on sugar here.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

National World Diabetes Awareness Month

Before you use diabetes as a joke or a punchline, think about Elise, and the millions of children and adults like her who struggle everyday with the burden of diabetes.

She did not cause this.
She won't outgrow it.
There is no cure.
It is 24/7/365.

And if you can eat something, then so can she.

Monday, October 26, 2015

I want my $1!

In light of what's been going on around here with diabetes, I decided to try and have some fun with it.  We try to avoid using words like good/bad when it comes to blood sugars, but I've heard of some people doing this and thought it was worth a shot.

For every 100 that pops up on the meter, Elise gets $1.  It's not for having  a "good" number, it's just for fun.

Some people have told me that it's bad to mix BG numbers and rewards, but I've told Elise this is not a reward, but a fun game we can play.  So far, she's enjoying it.  And that's all that matters.

Friday, October 23, 2015


Things have been rough lately.  Diabetes has been a big, stupid jerkface, and Elise is collapsing under the burden of it all.

The other day we had a meltdown of epic proportions. My heard was breaking because I couldn't fix it.  She's hurting down to the depths of her soul and I can't do anything about it. It was haunting to listen to.

She's right... Diabetes is awful.  And horrible.  And not fair.  She's right to ask, "why me?"

But what, as parents, can we do about it?  We can hold their hands. ease the burden in any way possible, validate that their feelings about diabetes are okay (though I've had some argue with me about this.  That's another post for another day), and love them as best we can.

But there is no tangible way to help.  And that's the kicker.

I went to bed that night with a shadow resting over my heart.  I replayed her sobs in my head, feeling like an utter failure.

It's my fault she has this.

My fault her numbers have been erratic lately.

My fault because nothing I do fixes them.

My fault because by now, I should know what to do.

The next morning I awoke with a renewed determination.  First and foremost I wanted Elise to know how proud I am of her.  And how she constantly amazes me with her strength.  And even though diabetes is hard, she is bigger and better than it, and it won't beat her.

So I wrote it down in a note and tucked it into her lunch bag.  Usually I write her jokes, but that day she needed more than a laugh.

There were quite a few calls from the nurse that day (because of the erratic numbers), and I could always hear her in the background; she sounded in good spirits. Usually multiple nurse visits cause major grumpiness.

When she got home, she bounced off the bus to meet me and gave me a big hug when we got in the house.  Then she said this:

"You know that note you wrote me?  Thank you.  It made me smile.  I also read it to M (other girl n her grade with d), and it made her smile and happy too.  And then we talked about how hard diabetes is.  Can I keep the note forever and look at it when I need to?"

With that, she showed me exactly why I wrote the note.  Because it's true.  All of it; she's amazing, and brave.  Strong and a fighter. There are days when diabetes will get her... but she'll prevail in the end.  I know it.

And sometimes... even though I feel like a failure when it comes to diabetes, it's nice to know that I can get it right.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Feeling low?

What do you do when you find boxes and boxes of Jelly Beans in the clearance bin at your grocery store?

You buy as many as possible.

And then text your fellow D-Moms in the area to alert them to the booty of low treasure that awaits them for just 45 cents a box.

It's the small things people...