Friday, May 29, 2009

Momma knows best

I can remember all too well the first fight I ever had with one of our CDEs. It was about a month after Elise's dx, and we were fighting blood sugar numbers is the 300-400 range and moderate ketones. She wasn't ill; we were just having a hard time figuring out her insulin dosage.

One morning I was either in or near tears and the educator kept asking me if I was giving Elise water (it helps to flush the ketones out of her system). I had been trying, the problem was Elise would scream at the sight of her sippy cup because I was trying to force water on her at the insistence of the educator. She even thought that I should go out and buy some Crystal Light or sugar-free Kool-Aid. As if my daughter who had never drank anything but breast milk or extremely watered-down apple juice would enjoy such a chemical-laced concoction. As she lectured me on the importance of making sure Elise was drinking, I snapped.

"Look, I 'm not sure if you've ever had any experience with a 12-month old, but if she doesn't want to drink, SHE WON'T DRINK. Since you think it's so easy, please come on over to my house and try it. Hear the screaming? It's not because she's HAPPY!"

I know it was a bit rude, but I was a parent of a newly diagnosed baby, and this woman didn't seem to understand my situation at all. In fact, now that I have a few more months under my belt, it sometimes seems "the experts" are just as clueless as I am sometimes. I think you can chalk it up to the fact that they don't really have much experience with babies who have diabetes.

So I have learned my own little tricks; we own about 10 different sippy cups, I've gone out and bought some fun straws for Elise to sip water from, and I've taught her from very early on to drink from a cup like a big girl because it's one of her favourite ways to drink water. I also have some bottles with the sports top on them because that's another way she loves to drink her water. Another trick I use is to let her suck on some ice, which also helps when she's teething.

I've found that variation works best for Elise, and I learned this through my own trial and error. Because, although the educators and doctors have Elise's interests at heart, they don't live it everyday (unless they have diabetes, or a child with diabetes) like I do. I've learned to trust my gut and my own instincts and use what I've been taught when it works for us.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Meal Ideas: Pumkin Soup

Sure it's about 90 degrees here in Texas lately, and fall is 5 months away; but I make this soup often for Elise because she loves it so much! I've put all the carb amounts (and fiber too) in brackets next to the ingredients.

What you need:
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour (5g cho)
3 C chicken broth
15 oz can pumpkin (39g cho, 5g fiber)
1 tbsp honey (or agave which has 16g cho) (17g cho)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk (36g cho)

To Make:
*Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes *Gradually add broth, stirring constantly until thick.
*Stir in pumpkin until combined. Add honey, salt, and nutmeg. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
*Stir in milk and heat for 3 more minutes.

Carb Count:
The total carb count for this recipe is 97g of carbs. It usually has a carb factor of about .08 (so to figure out how many carbs are in Elise's bowl, I just weigh it in grams and multiply it by .08. For a more detailed explanation of carb factors, click

Why It's a Great Meal:
*Elise will eat it. In fact, Elise LOVES it. In fact, Elise cried the other day when I took her not-quite-finished bowl away to re-heat what was left. "Waaaaaaaah! Soup!" She said.
*I can make a bunch and re-heat the extras for another meal. I also freeze amounts that I pre-measure in a muffin tin. After it freezes, I pop them out, wrap them in saran wrap, and put them in a freezer bag labelled with what it is, when I made it, and how many carbs are in each serving.
*Lunch for me, too!
*Cheap and easy to make.
*The pumpkin has lots of fiber as well as cancer fighting properties, vitamin C and potassium.

I usually pair this with some yogurt, crackers or whole wheat toast and some fruit. It's a nice, light meal that Elise loves.

***Edited to add: don't just take my word on the carb counts, check your labels! I made some more soup today with a different brand of pumpkin and evap. milk, and both carb counts were different from the ones I had used previously.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

When D makes our choices for us

I've been noticing that other Mom's that have kids around Elise's age are starting to check out Preschools. I haven't even thought about it, much less done any research because it seems to me that it's just not an option for us.

As much as I love my daughter, I think having a few hours a week to myself would be lovely. Because I'm selfish like that. But I'm guessing her having diabetes makes it a moot point, right? I mean, the only time we leave her in the nursery at church is when one of her one-on-one buddies can be there with her. And that's only for just over an hour, once a week. I'm guessing that preschools don't have that kind of care.

I have never been away from her for more than a few hours since her dx, and we don't have anyone here that knows how to care for her. I am so burnt out right now that I can't help but be jealous of the other Moms who have this option.

All I want for Elise is to live a normal life, and not be denied experiences because of her diabetes. I don't want to use diabetes as an excuse as to why she can't do something. Although I do realize that at this point in her life, it's a reality for us because of how little she is.

And perhaps the reason I want this so bad for her, is because I really want it for me. And that makes me feel like a bad Mom.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Numbers, numbers, numbers!

Life has been crazy lately, with little to no time to sit down. Life with a toddler, eh? I just wanted to post some amazing, wonderful numbers we've been getting lately. I hope I don't jinx it by writing about it!!!

7:47 am - 205
11:54 am - 95
2:50 pm - 94
5:00 pm - 112
7:50 pm - 114
9:03 pm - 232

7:30 am - 177
11:52 am - 121
2:43 pm - 88
4:57 pm - 125
8:04 pm - 91
9:11 pm - 186
11:32 pm - 271

8:02 am - 132
11:54 am - 55*

*Okay, that number wasn't so great, but I think her NPH was peaking a bit early.

I've stopped taking her BG at mid-morning because we are getting such high numbers at that time and I would get so frustrated by it. Even Elise's endo admitted that they see a lot of those and haven't had a lot of success controlling the mid-morning spike.

She said if Elise was on a pump they could try some things, but the only advice she had is to tinker with what she eats at breakfast (cheerios, strawberries, milk, and toast with some soynut butter on it). I don't really see anything that could be causing a spike, but does anyone have any advice???

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tip O' the week: the sticker and stamp solution

Remember this post lamenting how difficult it's been giving Elise her shots? I could have charged admission to our daily wrestling matches, only I was too embarrassed at getting out-maneuvered by an 18-month old.

I was pulling my hair out trying to come up with a way for Elise to get over her fear of the shots. She was getting too old (in my opinion) to forcibly hold down, and too young to reason with.

I am happy to say, we seem to have found a solution.

Elise loves story time at the library. Namely the end of story time. Because that's when the magical lady hands out the magical stickers that send Elise to the moon. It took a few weeks, but the hamster that runs on the wheel inside my head got moving, and I got an idea.

Why not use her love of temporary body art to help (bribe) her with her needle fear? And it works. It really, truly has 100% worked.

I went to Michael's and found a whole bunch of sticker booklets in their dollar section. We're talking 400+ stickers for a buck. I also bought a stamp pad that came with a bunch of stamps in Target's dollar section. Man I love a good deal!

Now when Elise sees me taking out her insulin, she starts yelling, "'tick? Tick? Tamp? Tamp?" (sticker and stamp) And makes a bee-line for the couch that we sit on to give her the shots. The leg shot, which was the trickiest, has become no problem at all! She just sits there and picks out a sticker (or holds onto the stamp), while I give her the shot. No crying, no fighting.

I am so ecstatic I found something that works. I'm hoping that it can be useful to others as well.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

You know you want one...

Check out the cool shirts that Team Elise walkers will be wearing for this year's Walk to Cure Diabetes. A HUGE thank you to the amazing designer Josh Wiese for all his hard work! (click on the shirts to see a larger image)

The team sponsor on the t-shirt (DG FastChannel) is only a placeholder - it gives sponsors an idea of how they will be showcased.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Factor THIS!

When Elise was first diagnosed with diabetes, I was overwhelmed by trying to count carbs. A calculator and scale became my best friends, and I am never without a piece of paper and a pen when I'm fixing Elise a meal.

But the math part was very difficult for me, and I often had to write out the equation on the paper to get my mind around it (for example, if 1 oz of banana has 6g of carbs, than how many carbs are in .7 oz of banana). This especially sucked if I was in a hurry.

Then someone on a message board told me about carb factors. I read their explanation, but my poor little brain was so blitzed from all the new information I was learning, that I couldn't make sense of what they were telling me. So I put carb factors on the back burner until a time when I wasn't feeling so stupid.

Well, the fog has lifted and I am a carb factor convert. If you haven't heard of carb factors before, here's an explanation:

Different foods are made up of different parts: carbs, fat, fiber... etc. Carb factors are the percentage of a food that is made up of carbs. Let's use a banana as an example. They are 20% carbs, or have a carb factor of .20. But how do I figure out exactly how many carbs are in the little bit that I give Elise for a snack?

To figure out exactly how many carbs are in that piece of banana, all I need to do is weigh the banana (in grams, not ounces). Since I know that any portion of a banana is 20% carbs, all I need to do is multiply the weight by .20 (the carb factor for a banana). So if a banana weighs 15 grams, the amount of carbs in that banana is 15 x .20 or 3g of carbs.

You can even use carb factors for pre-packaged foods. Elise LOVES goldfish crackers, but can't eat an entire serving. To figure out the carb factor for her crackers, I just divide the amount of carbs in a serving (19g), by the serving size (30g). Remember, all weights MUST be done in grams for it to work. So goldfish crackers have a carb factor of .63. To find out the carb factor of any packaged food, it's always carbs divided by grams.

So easy! All you need is a scale that weighs in grams, a calculator, and a list of carb factors. I'm working on compiling my own list and hope to post them on my blog soon. Apparently, you can also find a list of carb factors in Pumping Insulin by John Walsh (I've never actually read this book, but that's what I hear).

I've started labelling all my packaged foods that Elise eats with their carb factor. The cheerios container has a big .71 on it.

Figuring out the carb factor for homemade food is easy too! Just figure out the # of carbs in each ingredient and weigh the whole thing and add up all the carbs and divide the total carbs by the total weight and you now have the carb factor for your food. So when I made a stew for dinner the other day, I weighed all the veggies and other ingredients that went into it. The whole pot of stew had 80g of carbs. When it was done, I poured the stew into a container, weighed it, and it came to 1560g (not including the weight of the container, of course!). Then I divided 80/1560, and found that my stew has a carb factor of .05.

If you need to convert ounces to grams, I've found this website to be a good one.

I hope I did a good job explaining carb factors. I know they have really made things easier for me.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I'm it!

I am so excited... I was tagged! I've never been tagged before. Woo! Penny, from My son has diabetes put the slap on me, so here it goes... I think I just peed my pants a little.

Eight things I’m looking forward to….
-Finding a cure for Elise and everyone suffering from diabetes

-Going ANYWHERE on vacation
-Fall, or at least cooler and less humid weather
-The JDRF walk in September
-Taking Elise to see the ocean or mountains
-Getting a pump for Elise
-Getting pregnant and having another baby

-Just one day when Elise will nap for more than 45 minutes and doesn't wake up crying

Eight things I did yesterday…

-Played hide and seek with Elise
-Watched the Canucks lose to Chicago (boo)
-Walked the dog
-Cursed diabetes when I had to keep Elise home from a play date at the park with some friends and their kids because Elise's BG was 504 and she had moderate ketones
-Wondered how Elise's BG can go from 504 to 57 in less than 6 hours and no extra insulin on board
-Hand washed my dishes

Eight things I wish I could do…
-Cure diabetes
-Take Elise to Vancouver to meet my Dad, my brothers and my friends

-Play the guitar better
-Take wonderful pictures

-Get a full nights sleep
-Be independently wealthy
-Be better organized

Eight shows I watch…
-Amazing Race
-Stanley Cup playoffs
-Law & Order
-Law & Order SVU

-30 Rock
-The Office

Eight people I want to read 8 things about…
-Maria (
On the Carousel of Time)
-Hannah (
Diabetic Dilemma)
-Jade (
Your Head is Punk)
-Amber (
My Cup Runneth Over)
-Val (
In My Backyard)
-Laura (
Mommy Moments)
Should you be Reading This)
-Christy (On the most Intimate Terms)

I am cross posting this on my other blog because there are people I listed above that read this blog, but not my other one and vice versa. This was fun, thanks Penny!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sucker punched by D

Just when I think I'm doing the diabetes thing pretty well, it turns around and kicks me in the teeth. I've heard other parents talk about this before, and have even experienced it to a degree, but nothing, NOTHING scared me like today did.

Elise and I were out for a walk after her afternoon snack. She woke up with a BG of 130, which is pretty good. I gave her 6g of carbs, which is enough to hold her until dinner time. About a third of the way around the neighbourhood, Elise asked to be picked up (I had been carrying her off and on throughout the walk). When I did, I noticed she was a bit... er, floppy, for lack of a better word. Her head seemed to be lolling all over the place and she was whimpering.

Let me say something here. I always, ALWAYS, bring my emergency bag with a meter, glucagon, apple juice and my cell phone. Today, I didn't. Lesson learned. I was about 15 houses away from my own, so I started to run with her in my arms. NO easy task with a 24 pound toddler in your arms, and walking a crazy 42 pound dog.

I get her home and check her BG. Yikes, 47! I cut up and weigh about 8g (of carbs) of banana. History has shown me that it will be more than enough to get her BG up. The reason we use banana is because she has never really liked juice and the few times we've tried; she's refused it. Plus banana ALWAYS does the trick (I'm sensing some sort of pattern with the always here...).

When she finished the banana, she starts screaming like I have never heard her before. Not when they put the IV in her arm in the ER a few weeks ago. Not when she fell 1/3 of the way down our stairs. The noise the was coming out of her will haunt me... I never want to hear it again. She was absolutely wailing. I checked her BG 15 minutes later... 52. I had to put her down to get her some more banana, and she started walking away, looking like she was drunk. I gave her 7g more for the total 15g, and when I tested her 15 minutes after that... 57. What the *insert expletive* is going on here? All the other lows she's had, we never have a problem getting her BG up.

Since my experience with this situation is limited, I decided to call the endo, because I am absolutely panicking. It's now dinner time, and I can't get her BG up, and she is still screaming like she is dying (has anyone else with small kids with D heard this cry? I get shivers every time I think about it). In the meantime, I decided to try the juice, which to my shock, she drinks!

The endo helps calm me down, and when I re-check, Elise is now at 150. But she is still wailing away. The endo told me that it sometimes takes awhile for the brain to feel the effect of the sugar, and that's probably why she was still crying, even though she was in range.

Since she got 30g of carbs during this experience, I expected her BG to rebound high at bedtime, but it wasn't too bad at 298.

This may sound like no big deal to people, but it was a hard, scary thing for me to deal with... especially by myself. I think if my husband was around at the time, it wouldn't have been so hard. I hope I never have to hear that cry again.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Accu-Check coupons

I recently bought an Accu-check meter because it was free after rebate, and it comes with a multi-clix. While we don't use the meter, we love the multi-clix. When the company sent the rebate, they also sent some coupons for $5 off the drums, and $5 test strips.

Since we don't use the strips and we are VERY well stocked on the drums (thanks to a Mom whose son used to use multi-clix, but has switched so she sent me the rest of her stock), I am offering the coupons to anyone who needs them. I have a total of 5, so depending on how many responses I get, I'll figure out who gets what.

Just leave me a comment with an email address that I can contact you at to get your address, and we'll go from there.

Doing what's best

We live in Texas, and there have been several confirmed cases of the swine flu in our area. My husband and I stayed home from church yesterday, and yes, it was because of the swine flu. I will also probably be sticking close to home and avoiding the story times we usually go to for the next week or so.


Have we been brainwashed by the panicked media frenzy? I would answer that with a resounding no, even though people may roll their eyes and shake their heads at us.

You see, we have a very important duty; to protect our little girl, even if it means making decisions that might look strange to other people. Because these other people don't understand what life with diabetes is all about.

They don't understand that a simple virus can lead to a trip to the ER. And the flu could land us in the hospital for a couple of days. They don't understand how hard it is to balance insulin and food when your child is ill, or the dangers of ketones and high blood sugars. They don't understand the worry and anxiety that comes with your child being ill and having diabetes.

They don't understand that when you hear a toddler who had underlying medical issues died of the swine flu, you wonder if those issues could have been diabetes.

So when Elise was sick last week and her pedi told us that keeping her away from large gatherings would be a good idea, we decided to listen.

It sucks, but as parents we have to learn to do what's best for our kids. We make the tough decisions and that's why they pay us the big bucks... right???

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Endo Apptointment

We went to Elise's quarterly endo appointment on Friday, and she said everything was looking good. Elise's A1C was 8.9 (up from 7.7), which she was okay with. I was a little disheartened at the news, but the doc assured me that 8.9 is still a good number, especially with one so small. Plus, she had been sick twice in the month of April and had really high blood sugar during those times. We made one adjustment to her insulin, and that was it.

I was a bit upset because I didn't get to ask all the questions I had. The doc was running late, and our appointment was at 11:00 am. That already puts us so close to lunch time (Elise is on N, which peaks at a certain time and therefore HAS to eat lunch at a certain time). By the time the doc saw us it was 11:40. After she got through examining Elise, it was almost noon and we had to check Elise's BG... 77.

Our plan had been to go to a restaurant half-way between the hospital and our house for lunch. I had brought some of Elise's food (fruit and yogurt), but was going to order the rest at the restaurant. So we had to start feeding Elise at the hospital, then get in the car drive 15 minutes, and feed her the rest of her meal. Because everything else was so late, we left the restaurant very close to nap time and had to fight to keep Elise awake for the 15 minute drive home.

Being on such a strict schedule is something I hate about the NPH, but we've had such good numbers, I hate to switch to something else and start all over. Plus, NPH means one less shot for Elise, which is important too.

We are interested in a pump, but don't think it's an option for Elise yet. We want to wait until she's a bit older.

So all in all, not a bad appointment. I guess if the doc's happy, then so am I!