Monday, December 29, 2008

If you haven't checked it out yet, I suggest you wander on over to my husband's blog, He updates it daily with diabetes information, inspirational stories, and the occasional funny cartoon. He also has some very useful links for all things diabetes.

Team Elise is the name of the group that walks in Elise's honour in the annual JDRF Walk for a Cure. Last year we raised over $3000 in just two weeks! Look for a bigger team, and cooler Team Elise t-shirts coming this September.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tip O' the Week

Learn how to solve for X. You're gonna need it. Seriously, dust off that brain of yours. You really should have listened when your math teacher told you that you would need this someday! Because Elise is on such small carb amounts for her meals, every carb counts! And so I can get an accurate idea of how many carbs are in that 32g bowl of pasta, I need to solve for X. Here's a basic lesson:

Look on that package of pasta. How much does a serving weigh? 58g? Okay, now look where it shows you the amount of carbs in that serving... great, 41g. This is what the equation will look like (and yes, I had to physically write it out each time in the beginning):

58 - 41
32 - x

(the way I would say it in my brain is: if 58 grams of pasta equals 41 grams of carbs, then 32 g of pasta equals what?)

To solve it, you multiply 32 by 41 and divide by 58. So in this case x= 23 (I rounded up) That 32g bowl of pasta has 23 grams of carbs. Ta da.

And the formula is always the same, whether you weigh in grams, ounces, stones... whatever. Once you've memorized the formula, the rest is easy as cake and simple as pie. Mmmmmm, cake and pie.

***there is something called carb factors that you can also use to figure out carb counts, but my brain just isn't ready to tackle that yet. I'll let you know when I get there.

Edited to add: This comment from Gail, who nicely informs me I was using carb factors already... go me! She explains it rather well, and also has a tip about figuring out the carbs in pasta.

Gail said...
You're essentially using carb factors already. You can think of carb factors as just the amount of carbs in 1 gram of the food. So if a food has a carb factor of 0.71, for example, you just weigh the food (say you get 32 grams) and multiply the weight by the carb factor. For 32 grams of that food, 32 X 0.71 = 22.7. That's for the pasta in your example.
One caution - if you're using numbers from a pasta package, they're usually for the pasta UNCOOKED. So make sure you also weigh your pasta dry since the weight will change when you cook it.
January 5, 2009 6:49 AM

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sometimes you Want to go Where Everybody Knows your Name

Finding a community is so important after your child is diagnosed. Whether it be real, live, breathing, in-the-flesh people, or a more virtual kind of group; you need to find something. It is imperative to have people that have been-there-done-that and are willing to share their experiences with you.

I have found a wonderful on-line community called The Pace for Parents. I know I can go on there, post my questions, comments, rants, or whatever; and there is a compassionate ear there to listen. These parents are so wise, and so willing to help that more often than not I am moved to tears at how they can care for someone they have never even met. They're the ones who inspired me to start a blog, so maybe one day I could be the one making someone cry. But in a totally good way.

Here are some other on-line communities:
Children With Diabetes

You can also contact JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) to see if they have a support group in your area.

So after the shock of the dx has worn off, make sure you find a place where your voice can be heard. The burden is too heavy to travel this journey alone.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Meal Ideas: Quesadilla

Coming up with new and exciting meal ideas for an almost-toothless toddler is no easy task. But I have found a favourite by slapping some cheese and chicken together between two tortillas!

What you need:
Shredded Cheese (any kind - I use sharp cheddar)
Chicken (or any meat for that matter - I use Kroger's Boars Head Oven Roasted Chicken Breast)
Two tortillas (again, any kind - I use Mission)

To Make:
*Warm a skillet (or frying pan - something the tortilla will easily fit into) up on med/low heat. Put a tortilla in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle some cheese on the tortilla.
*Layer some chicken over the cheese.
*Sprinkle a bit more cheese over the chicken (this is important because it helps the second tortilla stick to the chicken), and place the second tortilla on top.
*When cheese on the bottom has melted, flip so the cheese on the other side melts too. The quesadilla is done when all the cheese has melted.
*Use a pizza cutter to cut into bite sized pieces.
*Serve with a bit of sour cream for dipping.

Carb Count:
I give Elise 1/4 of the quesadilla, which is 1/2 of one tortilla. For the Mission brand of tortilla that I use, that comes out to 8.5g of carbs. The sour cream is 1g of carbs per 2 tbsp, but I never give her that much.

Why It's a Great Meal:
*Elise will eat it
*I can use whole wheat tortillas if I want a healthier option
*Add some fruit and it's a pretty balanced meal
*The 3/4 of the tortilla that she doesn't eat, ends up being MY lunch!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Food Glorious Food

One of the hardest part of diabetes is the food. Sure the finger sticks and shots are horrible, but you get used to them in the same way you get used to that neighbour's dog that barks you awake at 5:00 a.m. every morning. Although the urge to go over to their house and hide a baby monitor speaker in their bedroom is very great (because wouldn't that be an awesome way to pay them back?), you resist it. And pretty soon, you grow accustomed to the barking and are able to snooze right through it. And the dreams of liberating said dog by "accidentally" leaving their gate open slowly fade away.

Now what was I talking about?

Ah, but the food. Trying to figure out what am I going to feed her three times a day is overwhelming. Add to it that Elise didn't get her first tooth until only a month ago, and my list of foods that I can feed her rivals that of good songs by Hanson. That, my friends, is a very short list. And due to the fact that she STILL has only one tooth, the list hasn't grown any.

But I have found some tried and true favourites, and want to get my act together enough to share them on this blog.

And if anyone reading this blog has some food ideas for a nearly-toothless-toddler, well I am all ears!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tip O' the Week

If your child is on MDI (Multiple Daily Injections) and gets more than one insulin, colour code your insulin vials so you don't accidentally give the wrong insulin. Twice. In the span of three days. Not saying I did that. But I'm not saying I didn't do it either.

For example, Elise gets Humilin (N) and diluted Humalog (DH) in the morning, DH at dinner, and N at night. On a white label, we write a big N or DH with a Sharpie, the expiration date, and we colour the label with a highlighter. N is pink, and DH is blue. I'm a very visual person, so when I'm looking up the doses on our refrigerator cheat sheet (yes, I still look at the cheat sheet because her insulin doses change on a weekly basis - YOU try to keep up with all those numbers), the doses are also highlighted with the correlating colour. I know at dinnertime, I need to grab the blue vial.

And if I'm unsure that I gave her the right type of insulin, all I have to do is remember the colour of the vial I grabbed, instead of trying to remember if it had an N or DH on it.

Just one way to make this exhausting disease a wee bit less exhausting.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What Doesn't Kill me Makes me Stranger

I haven't been ignoring this blog... it's just been a tough week, D-wise. We are just getting over our first illness since Elise was diagnosed. Last Thursday morning, Elise was being very clingy and just wanted to be held. Even when I held her she would just wail. I checked everything D-related, and determined that wasn't it. So I sat with her on the sofa and we watched Planet Earth together. To my immense surprise, she fell asleep in my arms at 10:45 am! This is a child that hasn't taken a morning nap since she was about 10 months old!

I let her sleep, and when she woke up I checked her temp. It was 100.8. Sugar? A low-ish 95. Weird. On a hunch I checked for ketones. Large. Uh-oh. Not good. I knew that even non-D people can spill ketones when they are sick, so a call to the pedi was in order. But should I call her endo first, or her pedi? Meanwhile, Elise is shrieking in my arms.

To make a very loooong story short, the pedi fit us in within a hour of my call, and determined that it was a viral infection. What followed was 5 or 6 days of pure hell. Sick babies are hard, but D makes it even tougher. She didn't want to eat, her sugar was sky-high, she had large ketones, and one day her fever even hit 104. She would wake up sometimes 8 times a night because she was so congested she could hardly breathe.

But, we made it. She's not completely well yet, but you can tell she's getting there. I had been so scared of going through our first sickness, and it was every bit as hard as I thought it would be.

But now, at least I (somewhat) know what to expect.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Days like these... a follow up

So after I wrote the post below, I had pretty much resigned myself to getting a bit of sleep while waking up every two hours to get Elise's BG. That actually would have been preferable to what REALLY happened.

I finally crawled into bed around midnight, and had turned off the light, when about 15 minutes later Elise started to scream. Not just crying, it was a terrifying I'm-about-to-explode scream. So I rushed into her room, afraid she had thrown up again. She hadn't, but was standing at the end of her crib, arms raised and wanting to be picked up. I calmed her down, rocked her and put her back to bed. I went back to my room, 10 minutes pass and the screaming begins anew.

I go back in, check her BG (it's fine), lay her back down, and stay with her until she's actually asleep. I leave, get back into bed, and start to drift off. At about 1:00 am, she starts screaming again (before I had totally gone to sleep), and startled me so much that I knocked my water cup that's sitting on my nightstand over (it's the huge one you get when you're in the hospital), and spill water all over my magazines, books, TV remote and other items that are piled there. It also runs down the wall, into the electrical socket and forms a huge puddle on the floor. Meanwhile, Elise is still screaming.

I check her BG again (this time it's a bit high, probably from all the crying), so I checked for ketones (negative), took her temp (100.3), and get her calmed and asleep again. This goes on until 2:00 am and I am at my wits end. Because Elise seemed to be in pain (she was writhing in my arms every time I picked her up), and because I didn't know what else to do, I gave her some baby Tylenol. That kicked in at about 2:30, and she finally fell asleep.

I went back to my room, cleaned up the water and quite literally crawled into bed. It took me about 30 minutes to fall asleep. Elise again woke at 5:30, crying. I was able to calm her down and she fell asleep until 7:00, a full hour earlier than usual.

This was tough to handle anyway, but when you add D to the equation, it's downright miserable. I had pretty much ruled out that it was D related, but what if I had missed something? There seemed to be no reason for Elise to be crying (yes, I checked her gums - no teeth coming in), except that maybe her stomach was still upset from getting sick.

The good news? I discovered I can still function on only 2 and 1/2 hours sleep. Go me!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Days like these...

I was all prepared to do a cool little post about what to feed a baby with diabetes (tips, ideas, maybe a recipe or two), when stupid diabetes decided to kick me in the butt (for a change).

Basically, Elise threw up after I put her to bed. On everything. Her sheets, herself, her blankie and her stuffed dog. It's a good thing I have duplicates of the last two items. She was high when I put her to bed (379), but when I checked her a few hours later she had dropped to 229. Methinks that's too quick of a drop. So it looks like I'm on checking-every-two-hours-through-the-night duty (or until it looks like her numbers have stabilized). Who needs sleep, anyway?

Oh, and did I mention that Fred left for New York this afternoon? It figures...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Diabetes Dx Journey Part 2

***If you haven't read Part 1, then this post might not make sense. To read it, click here.

I couldn't believe what I was hearing when Elise's doc told us we needed to take her to Children's Hospital that night. I am so thankful that we were surrounded by some wonderful friends that were at our house for Elise's birthday party. They stayed with us until we had packed our bags, and even cleaned up our house.

We had also called some friends to see if they could look after our dog Seven while we were at the hospital. Pam and Michael live all the way in Richardson, but *just happened* to be in Irving at an event. If you don't know DFW geography, Irving is right on the way to the hospital from our house. Pam and Michael took wonderful care of Seven, even keeping her for a few days after we got home so we could get settled.

On the way to the hospital, all sorts of thoughts ran through my mind, mostly ones where I blamed myself for Elise being sick. It was hard to believe that my daughter, who looked as healthy as any other baby, had this horrible disease raging inside of her. I was also so scared of the unknown. I didn't know what this meant for Elise right now and in her future. And was praying hard, that somewhere, someone had made a mistake.

We checked into the hospital Saturday night and didn't leave until Tuesday afternoon. Those days were a whirlwind of doctors, nurses, information, education and lots and lots of tears. We learned what diabetes
is and isn't, how to test blood sugar, how to give insulin shots, how to count carbs and monitor Elise's diet so her blood sugar wouldn't get too high or too low, and what to do if it did.

I've made a lot of progress since we were released from the hospital a week ago. I can now give Elise her insulin without any help; something that would have sent me into hysterics before (I have a teeny-tiny aversion to needles. Actually, make that an incredibly huge phobia). I can more-or-less figure out her carb intake without getting a headache, although I still have a lot to learn in that department. Who knew algebra would EVER come in handy? Thank God I have a husband that uses that part of his brain... solving for x makes me cry.

And thankfully, I can look at my baby girl without the word "broken" tarnishing her beautiful face. I hate that I felt this way, but I'm beginning to see she's a little girl who happens to have diabetes.

Just like like I'm a girl (okay, woman), who has chronic back pain, or you're a person that suffers from migraines, or you might know someone with arthritis, or your brother who is autistic, or that girl you went to school with who had epilepsy. You get my point? We all have our stuff, and it sucks. But it shouldn't define us. We're not broken, the world we live in is. And one day my back won't hurt, and my little girl will never need to be poked with another needle, ever again.

Diabetes Dx Journey Part 1

***This is a post from my other blog that I wrote right after Elise was dx. I wanted to repeat it here for those who haven't read it before.

A fluke. That is how we found out that Elise has diabetes. She had no symptoms, and we had no reason to suspect anything was wrong with her. Because she had been diagnosed with UTIs a few months ago, the doc decided to do a urine test at Elise's 12 month appointment just to make sure it was clean. I think they were as surprised as we were when they found sugar in her urine.

When I got the call Friday afternoon, my stomach dropped. The nurse said it could just be a mistake, and we should bring her in for a retest the next morning. I had a diabetic friend in junior high, so I knew what sugar in the urine meant. I hoped that it was just a mistake.

Saturday we were busy getting ready for Elise's first birthday party, there was a tonne of things to do, but first we had to go to the doctor's for the repeat urine test. We went home and waited for the news. When the doc called she said it was still positive for sugar, so she was waiting to see some results from the blood they had taken the day before. Fred had a lunch to go to, so I was home by myself when the doc called and told me we needed to take her for another blood test called a hemoglobin a1c. It would show us her blood sugar levels from the past few months.

So off we went to Children's Hospital ER in Plano. The reason we went to Plano was because (our doc's reasoning) it had only been open for 3 weeks, and wouldn't be as busy as Children's downtown. It wasn't really an emergency, but there wasn't anywhere we could get blood drawn and results back so quickly.

We made it home only 10 minutes before her party was supposed to start. We were about an hour into the party when we got the call. I started to cry and could barely think straight. Our doc told us we needed to check into Children's Hospital so they could monitor Elise. Stunned doesn't even begin to describe how we were feeling.

Click here to read part 2.

Cheery Little Blog Title, isn't it?

Welcome to Death of a Pancreas. My sanity blog. A place where I can post about all the strife that goes along with having a child with diabetes, without sounding like a broken record on my other blog. Here, you know what you're going to get; All Diabetes... All the Time.

But it won't be just about the hardships. I'm hoping to post about a lot of victories too. I want this blog to be a source of encouragement to others who are walking the same treacherous road. And I'm hoping to completely abandon it one day... when they find a cure.

Oh, and if you're wondering about the address of the blog:; it is an homage to Seinfeld where he talks about hating to go to the doctor because they always make you take your pants off. Sort of a power struggle thing. So pants always beats no pants.

I thought it quite apropos.