Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Diabetes gave me a birthday present

Or at least that's how I'm looking at it.

Yesterday I decided to choose one of those hibachi Japanese restaurants for my birthday dinner. I think the baby was craving some dinnertime entertainment to go along with our food.

Before we left the house, we checked Elise's BG... 95. Wow, she was 299 when she went down for her nap at 2:30, that was a pretty big drop in two hours. Happy with her pre-dinner number, we made the 15 minute drive to the restaurant.

It's 5:00, so we (along with the rest of the 65 years and up crowd) sit down and wait for the food to start flying. We gave Elise her insulin, and our food started to arrive.

I nervously watched Eileen, just waiting for those darn double arrows and numbers in the high 200s that have been showing up lately towards the end of dinner.

Elise happily had some soup, salad, zucchini, brown rice and steak, along with her milk and some cantaloupe for dessert. The entire time Eileen sat there with a flat arrow (meaning stable BG), and didn't go any higher than 120. The whole freaking evening. I was so happy that when the waiters had me stand up so they could sing me the birthday song, I did a little dance... pregnant belly and all.

I thought for sure by bedtime, her BG would start to shoot up, ruining the chance for Elise to have some cake with her snack, but a finger poke showed 109. Awesome!

Then I was CERTAIN that the cake, combined with the new, lowered dose of NPH, would shoot her to the moon overnight. But overnight checks proved me wrong. By midnight she was 158 and hovered there pretty much all night long, waking up at 159 this morning.

Thank you diabetes... and Happy Birthday to me. It's the smallest things that can make all the difference in the world.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I'm tired. And yeah, I know I'm preaching to the choir on this one... but I never thought it was possible to be physically exhausted to the point of wanting to throw up.

We've had a bad couple of nights lately. Lots of lows. Eileen buzzing and alarming. Elise's blood sugar keeps dropping into the 60s overnight. We give her carbs only to have her drop about an hour later. I guess it's time to lower her nighttime NPH.


If I had to estimate, I'd say I'm probably getting about 2 hours of sleep a night. Unfortunately, it's not all at the same time. I might fall asleep for 15 minutes, then I need to pee. Or after 30 minutes of shut-eye, Eileen warns us that Elise is dropping. Or after a mere 5 minutes, my back is complaining that I need to roll over. Or my husband starts to snore (if he's not using his CPAP machine).
Or if he is, it starts to make too much noise. Or. Or. Or.

And it's starting to affect me mentally, physically and emotionally. I have tons of examples, but I will spare you from the boring minutiae of my day-to-day life. I will say this, I pity anyone who dares be rude to me, cut me off in traffic, or look at me the wrong way. We have an expression around here and it's called the "WOJ".

And it stands for the Wrath of Joanne. Woe to anyone who wrongs me in my increasingly fragile mental state. I am exhausted. I am 9 months pregnant. I am hormonal.

You have been warned.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Recipes: Citrus Smoothie

I love smoothies. Love them. In fact, I could probably go on an all smoothie diet and not miss solid food at all. Maybe I'm just too lazy to chew my food. Anyway, if I were to buy my smoothies at those fancy-schmancy smoothie places, I'd go broke in a hurry. But they are so easy to make at home. Here's one of our family favourites.

Joanne's Citrus Smoothie:
(all measurements are in weight grams... because that's what I use to figure out the carb factor)

What you need:
*approx. 170g of plain yogurt. I use my homemade recipe that can be found here. (carb factor = .05)
*200g strawberries - I use both fresh and frozen (carb factor = .08)
*65g bananas (carb factor = .20)
*65g frozen pineapple
(carb factor = .13)
*125g (about 1/2 C) of orange juice. I use Tropicana w/ added calcium (carb factor = .108)
(I have been known to do a 50/50 juice to water mix too)

Approx. carb factor when using the above measurements = .09
These measurements make enough for a small glass for Elise and a tall glass for me... YUM!

To Make:
*If you don't know how to make a smoothie, I just don't know how to help you.

Why it's so great:
*So easy to make.
*Cheap, cheap, cheap!
*Healthy, because you control what gets put into it
*A great meal idea (or part of a meal) when you are on the go. I just pour it into a plastic cup with a lid and straw for Elise, and she can drink it while we're in the car.

A few notes about his recipe:
*I sometimes throw a handful of blueberries in there too (carb factor = .145)
*By no means should you follow my exact measurements... I love more strawberry taste than the rest, so I use a lot of strawberries. My husband would probably want me to put two whole bananas in there. It's all up to your taste buds!
*The best (and cheapest) way to have a good supply of frozen fruit on hand, is to buy it fresh when you find a good deal. Then just wash it, cut it up, put it on a cookie tray in your freezer, then put it in a Ziploc bag when it's frozen. Don't just put it into a bag before you freeze it, or it will freeze all clumped together.
*If you don't use frozen fruit in this recipe, you will need to add ice.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Team Elise... in Portugal!

The picture to the left is of a good friend of ours, Tiago. Fred met him a number of years ago in New York, and he has been an amazing supporter of Team Elise from the very beginning. Last year, he surprised us by flying in from New York so he could do the walk with us.

Unfortunately, Tiago has moved back to Portugal, but is still very much a part of Team Elise. On September 25th at 3:00 pm (the exact date and time of the walk here in North Texas), he will be walking in Lisbon. He had some shirts made up, raised sponsorship money, and is rallying his friends to come join him. Fred and I cannot thank him enough for his devotion to Elise and our cause.

How cool is that? Team Elise has been represented in THREE (U.S., Canada, and now Portugal) counties now. The only question is, where to next???

Sunday, August 22, 2010

To bank or not to bank?

Fred and I have been looking into banking Mattias's cord blood in the event that it could one day be used to help Elise. We're running out of time to make the decision, and we're still very much on the fence about it.

Let's face it... it's not cheap. Over $2000 initially, then a fee of $125 per year after that. But, I would HATE to put a price on a possible cure for Elise. Could you imagine the regret?

We've talked and talked about it. Asked Elise's pedi about it. We plan on talking to Elise's endo this week too, but I'm wondering what all my D-peeps think about it.

Have you done it? Looked into it? Have any thoughts about it? Opinions? I'm looking for some fresh input before we decide yay or nay.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thank you Chick-fil-a!

So what do you call something that far exceeds your expectations into a whole new realm of awesomeness? I call it Team Elise Night at Chick-fil-a.

Tracy Matlock and the Southlake Chick-fil-a went above and beyond for us and I am so thankful for their support. Even more amazing is the number of friends that came out to "Eat Mor Chikin" with us. Some people drove 45 minutes to come see us. Some I hadn't seen in almost three years. Everybody came out eager to eat some good food and support a worthy cause while they were at it.

At last count I think we had over 120 friends (kids and adults) come join us. And that's not counting friends that went through the drive-thru, or friends of friends. I'm not sure on the exact total of what was raised, but we should have that number in the next few days.

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to see us. You have no idea what it means to Fred and I to be surrounded by so many people cheering us on. I think Elise said it best today during a conversation we had:

Me: Did you have fun last night with all your friends at Chick-fil-a?
Elise: Yeah... I loved all the people. Why so many people come to play with me?
Me: Well... I'd have so say it's because they love you... you are one very loved little girl, did you know that?
Elise: Yeah, that's amazing!

It sure is Elise.

Here are some fun pictures we took of the event... enjoy!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cuddle Time

This is what I saw when I walked into Elise's room at about 11:30 pm the other night. She was snuggled up with her CGM pal, Eileen. Awwwww, how cute, right?

Except that when I grabbed the receiver to see what her number was, and saw the "grey box of death". Yup, my darling not-quite-three-year-old has figured out how to stop the sensor. Greeeeeat.

It made for a very long night.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Diabetes and Discipline

It's hard being a first-time parent, even though it's something we (meaning those of us that make the plunge into parenting) must go through. Basically, you have to learn everything on the fly. Sure you have your ideas of how you want to parent, but when you add one little, but very distinct personality to the mix, those plans can go right out the window.

Now, add diabetes on top of it all, and it can be downright impossible. I'm talking about having to discipline your kids.

This may come as a surprise to you, but Elise is not the amazingly sweet, wonderful angel I make her out to be. Oh no, she has way too much of her Momma in her for that. And lately we have noticed that along with a couple of inches, Elise has grown a wee bit of an attitude to match.

People have told us all about the terrible threes, and I'm sure this is what we're dealing with when we hear her yell "no!" at us, or she doesn't listen, or the tantrums, the not sharing, the refusing to do what she's told... man, did my two year old skip a bunch of years and turn into a teenager when I wasn't looking? Should I hide my car keys and lock up the liquor?

The problem, as all you D-parents can attest to, is sometimes it's hard to tell if it's a "typical-toddler" issue, or a "diabetes" issue. Is her bad behavior because of a low or high BG? And how am I supposed to discipline her when I have to test her BG to rule it out? By the time I've done that, we've lost our "teachable moment".

For any other child, discipline would look like this:

-Child acts out
-Discipline child (for us, the first step is a time out, after a warning of course).

-Explain to child why what they did was wrong, why they were punished, and how they can make a better choice next time.

-Hug it out and go on your merry way.

With Elise, it's more like this:
-Elise acts out
-I wonder if she's just misbehaving, or if it's D-related

-I run around the house, looking for her meter

-Elise continues to misbehave

-I try to get her to wash her hands... she tells me no

-I lose patience and use an alcohol pad

-I tell Elise I need to check her BG

-Elise yells no and runs away

-I finally get her to listen and check her BG... normal

-Now why the hell was I checking her in the first place???

Okay, that may be a little exaggerated, but you get the idea.

Another thing I hate is how Elise has learned to use her diabetes as a stalling tactic, or when she's looking for attention. This usually comes into play at bedtime, when she'll tell us her tummy hurts, or that she's hungry (for her, these are signs of a low). She fully understands that this means we'll need to check her BG, and she'll possibly get a snack. With the introduction of Eileen, we can now show her that she's okay... but it doesn't stop her from trying.

I've tried to explain to her that she shouldn't say these things if they're not true (I've even read The Little Boy who Cried Wolf... she didn't get the parallel), but of course I'm not going to punish her for it. The last thing I want is for her to not tell me something because she's afraid of getting in trouble.

All in all, I'd have to say we are pretty lucky... despite having a strong personality, Elise is pretty quick to listen, and we usually don't have to go past the "warning" stage with her.
But I am feeling pretty beaten down trying to figure all this out.

So what do YOU do? How do you handle discipline and diabetes? Come on... help a rookie out and tell me your secrets!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Don't Forget to come Eat Mor Chikin with us on Thursday!

This Thursday from 6 - 8 pm, the Chick-fil-a in Southlake is doing a fundraiser for Team Elise!

Just come by the restaurant, located at 2301 E Southlake Blvd, Southlake, TX 76092, eat some yummy food, and hang with the cutest little Chick-fil-a fan there is!

A percentage from all sales during that time will go to Team Elise, which is already 50+ members strong for this years Walk to Cure Diabetes on September 25th. Speaking of which... have YOU joined yet? Just go to teamelise.com to sign up or make a donation
. Thank you so much for all your support!

I also wanted to say thank you for all the wonderful comments on my last post. I think I'm better now. Chalk it up to just the right mixture of guilt, pregnancy hormones, self-inflicted perfectionism, and exhaustion. Seeing your child in pain, and knowing that YOU had a hand in it (no matter how accidental) is excruciating. But I learned some lessons and I'm moving on. Your kind words and support mean the world to me, and helped a lot.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I made a mistake

I am human. I am not a pancreas, although I try really hard. And as much as I hate it, I make mistakes. What makes it so hard to handle is that they affect my daughter. My screw-ups hurt her, and it kills me.

Within the past week, there have been some evenings that we've added some diluted Humalog to Elise's nighttime NPH shot, so she can enjoy an extra treat. We've discovered the vast bevy of frozen yogurt shops, and we've found that if we time it just right, Elise can have about a 15g serving. And if we add the right amount of DH to her shot, it all evens out.

The problem lies in finding the right amount of DH. Elise's ratios are a bit weird, especially right now since her illness. She's about 4:1 (4g of carbs to every 1 unit of insulin - remember, she's on diluted) at breakfast, and 3:1 at dinner. She doesn't have a lunchtime ratio because she's on NPH. Also, all her snacks are uncovered.

Last night, I screwed up. I thought I had it all figured out. I didn't. The problem was two-fold: I think I over-shot my WAG at how much insulin she should get, and I lost track of time and gave her her bedtime snack about 45 minutes too late. It was a perfect storm.

For almost two hours, her BG hovered in the 60s. It was late and she needed to sleep, but I couldn't put her to bed like that. The extra carbs I put into her just maintained her BG; though I knew it was just a matter of time before it all caught up to her and her BG went through the roof.

Finally at 11:15, she could take no more, so I lay in bed with her; waiting for the moment Eileen would show me the beautiful sight of an upwards arrow. And as I watched through my tears as Elise slept, I cursed myself and this stupid disease.

How is it fair that when I make a mistake, it hurts her? It is my screw-ups that cause her harm, and I remain unscathed. I should be the one feeling crappy. It should be MY tummy that hurts, not hers. I made the mistake and she pays the price.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mom-tuition strikes again

I've talked about it before... those little voices in your head that start to natter at you when something is up. When it comes to all things diabetes, I've named those voices Lenny and Harold.

Last night Lenny and Harold decided to wake me up about 12:30 am; a mere 45 minutes after I'd fallen asleep. I think Mattias had gotten in on the act by kicking my bladder. Lenny and Harold really, really wanted me to go check on Elise... even though I had been in there an hour before and Eileen (CGM) told me that Elise's BG was at 135 and heading up.

But Lenny and Harold threatened me with a duet of "Do You Think I'm Sexy" - the lounge version - so down the hall I went, only to find Eileen telling me that Elise was 112 with double arrows down. A quick finger check told me she was 93.

(double arrows down on Dexcom means that the person's BG is falling at a rate of 2 -3 every minute - meaning in a mere 10 minutes, Elise's BG could fall from 93 to 63).

Thankfully, I know that Eileen would have chimed in at some point and alerted me to the low, but it was nice to catch it before it happened. After 8g, Elise went back up and hovered around the 110 - 140 mark all night; waking up at 125.

Lenny. Harold. I don't know how you do it, but keep on doing what you're doing.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

May you live in interesting times

Apparently, I have a flair for the dramatic when I'm pregnant. With Elise, I fell in the bathtub at 32 weeks and went into labour. I had to say in the hospital for a weekend, but they managed to stop the labour and send me home.

This time around, I caught a nasty little stomach bug that, despite my best efforts, dehydrated me severely. When I called my OB's office on Wednesday, they became concerned when they heard I hadn't been able to keep anything in me since Saturday, and told me to go to L&D (labour and delivery) to make sure everything was okay.

Upon checking in and being hooked up to various and sundry machines, they discovered my contractions were about 2-3 minutes apart, and I could definitely feel them getting stronger. I was also dilated to a 3, and at 70% effaced.

It took 3 shots of Terbutaline, and 3 bags of saline; but they finally stopped the contractions about 7 hours later. As an added bonus, I was also diagnosed with a UTI and reflux.

But, I'm at home, taking it easy, and little Mattias gets to cook for a little while longer. One thing I have to mention is that my husband is a complete and total ROCK STAR. He has done an amazing job of looking after both Elise and I. While working from home this morning, he wrangled Elise, managed all her diabetes care, and even cleaned the whole downstairs.

All while I slept blissfully upstairs (at least one of the drugs I'm taking knocks me out). What can I say, I married well!

Friday, August 6, 2010

What's going on?

It's been a weird, wild and wacky couple of days. Starting with the night my husband fell down the stairs and Elise puked.

The next day (Thursday) she woke up at 179. We did everything as we normally would, except about an hour after Elise ate her breakfast, she said she didn't feel so good. Eileen says everything is A-okay in the mid-100s, but a quick finger poke says 132.

Did you catch the part where this is one hour post-meal? Yeah, she should be MUCH higher than that. Except she wasn't.

I calibrate Eileen and head off to open gym. When we get there, Eileen starts beeping her head off. Quick poke... 48! Crap-on-a-stick! To make a long story short, it takes 33g EXTRA (on top of her 15g snack and 25g lunch) to get her above 80. Her post-lunch number is 108. I give her a pre-nap snack, thank God for Eileen and put Elise down for her nap. Everything is great until right at 3:00, when BAM, her BG shoots up to 310. I guess all those extra carbs caught up to her.

Fast forward to today. Elise and I are so, very excited because we're meeting Tracy and Matthew for lunch. Elise wakes up with a bg of 174, and again we do everything as we normally would. About one hour after breakfast, Eileen starts screaming LOW again. Finger poke... 48. Crap-on-a-stick and holy déjà vu!

I start stuffing Elise with carbs and head off to lunch after I get her BG up enough. Another long story short... today it takes 50g of extra carbs (on top of lunch and snack), and she never gets any higher than 99 (pre-nap number).

Because of what happened yesterday, I'm a bit leery about giving her a snack before her nap, but I do anyway. All is well until I walk into her room to check out her CGM. I notice a smell. A very bad smell. Elise has thrown up all over her bed, and is sleeping in it. Oh. Dear. Lord.

At this point she's only been asleep for about 30 minutes, so I do what will surely get me nominated for Worst Mother in the World... I let her continue to sleep in a puddle of her own vomit. My reasoning is this... better she be covered in vomit and well-rested, than covered in vomit and cranky. Right? Can I get a holla? Anyone?

All this to say, aside from meeting Tracy and Matthew, it's been a pretty sucktastic day. Elise has been amazing through all of this. The weird thing is, she's not acting sick. She's her usual sunny self. She has no fever, no ketones... just these crazy low blood sugars, throwing up, and just for fun; a few bouts of diarrhea. Thankfully, she has an appetite and will eat and drink, although we've drastically reduced her insulin amounts until whatever this is has run it's course.

I'd be remiss if I didn't add how much fun it was to meet Tracy and her AMAZING son Matthew. I was wondering how the dynamic of a 3 year old girl and 9 year old boy would work, but Matthew was so sweet with Elise, and she stuck to him like glue the entire time. I think her hero-worship started when she saw Matthew do his shot at lunch all by himself.

Tracy was so much fun to chat with, and I am so glad she made the long drive over my way to meet up. Thanks guys for bringing some fun into an otherwise Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chronicle of a long night

9:40 pm
As Fred is loading the dishwasher, he tells me we are out of dishwasher cleaner. Oh no, there is no way we're going to hand wash those puppies at this late at night. I tell him I'll run to Target to get some and he makes some joke about not making it back anytime soon. Since Target is closing in 20 minutes, I let him know that I will be in, out and home in 15 minutes. I win. Go me.

11:00-ish pm.
Eileen calls us. Elise is 270 with double arrows up. We scratch our heads and wonder how this can be when all evening she barely made it above 100. We decide to see where things go.

12:55 am
One of my many potty breaks of the night. I decide since I'm up to go see what Eileen has to say. Nothing but question marks, something that had happened frequently throughout the day. Gee, thanks Eileen. I check Elise and she's at 144.

2:22 am
Eileen still has many questions, so we check Elise again. Crap, 72. With no way of knowing if she's heading up, down or holding steady; we decide to give her some banana.

2:25 am
Fred falls down the stairs while going to get the banana. I almost go into labour upon hearing the multiple thuds and following crash. Poor guy, I think he hurt his neck. And I discover I can still move pretty quickly for someone who is 8 months pregnant.

2:49 am
Eileen still has nothing to say, but a finger poke shows Elise is coming up and is now at 102.

4:11 am
Hello? Eileen? Fine, another poke... 152. Back to sleep for the remaining 3 hours.

4:30-ish am
Heard over the baby monitor: Cough, cough... BLURK!
Out of bed and down the hall to discover Elise has thrown up. So we strip the bed, check her temp (normal), check ketones (0.1), BG is fine. She claims that she feels okay, not sick at all. Well that's ONE piece of good news. Thankfully I washed her other sheets, and have a spare to put on the bed. I do not, however, have a spare mattress protector. Fingers are crossed that this is a one time event. Downstairs to put her sheets in the laundry.

8:00 am
Eileen STILL doesn't want to talk, but Elise's meter says 148. Yawn... did I sleep at all last night? Alright Thursday, let's do this...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

One more reason to LOVE Chick-fil-a!

If you live in the DFW area, here's your chance to eat some YUMMY food, and help support Team Elise!

The Chick-fil-a in Southlake is doing a fundraiser for Team Elise on Thursday, August 19 from 6 to 8 PM (a percentage of the proceeds from that two-hour block will go to Team Elise).

Fred, Elise and I will be there and would love to have all of our friends in the DFW area join us for dinner at the Chick-fil-A in Southlake at 2301 E Southlake Blvd, Southlake, TX 76092.

A big thanks to owner Mark Guilbert and marketing director Tracy Matlock for helping us raise funds to find a cure for diabetes!

If you haven't already, you can go to teamelise.com to get more information about type 1 diabetes, make a donation or join Team Elise for the 5K JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes on Saturday, September 25 at 9 AM at Granite Park in Plano, TX .

Monday, August 2, 2010

Come on Eileen!

I am so, so happy to report that this second time was way better than the first. Elise handled the insertion like the rock star that she is. And two hours later, we are getting our first set of readings... 170 and holding steady pre-nap. That's what I like to see!

Sensor insertion... she didn't even cry!

Showing off her sensor (yes we used the leg again... it's really the only place she has any fat)

Her prize for doing so well... Belle!

To say I'm excited is an understatement. Elise was even pretty pleased about the whole thing.

♫ Remember Toora Loora Toora Loo-Rye-Aye ♫
♫ Eileen I'll hum this tune forever ♫.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Things I learned about Diabetes this month... July edition

-The carb factor for lemon meringue pie is approximately .47. But just because I know this, and she wants some, doesn't mean Elise should eat lemon meringue pie. Eating lemon meringue pie will cause Elise to go poopie three times in a four hour stretch, and will significantly diminish my ever-dwindling diaper supply. Plus, her BG will go low-ish a few hours later (but was it pie or poopie related? We'll never know.). How could something as wonderful as lemon meringue pie cause something so bad?

-Your child having diabetes can make YOU do stupid things. Like refusing to call your doctor when you've been having contractions for about 90 minutes that are 5 minutes apart (and you're only at 33 weeks), because your husband is out of town and it's 10:30 at night. Because you know the doctor will tell you to go to labour and delivery right away, and the idea of rousing said child from her slumber, and hauling her off to the hospital is not your idea of a fun time. Because your child is due for a BG check in an hour, so there is no way you can call a neighbour over to stay at your house while you go to the hospital to make sure everything is okay.*

-Good things can come out of great stupidity like what was described above; like realizing that I need to get off my butt and type up that Care Manual for Elise that I've been thinking about for the last 4 or 5 months.

-I need to take time out for myself to enjoy life. I am the type of person who throws herself 100% into the important stuff, and that is what I have done with Elise's diabetes from day 1. The problem is, I haven't taken any time out to breathe. I finally did with Laura and Jessica this Saturday, when we treated ourselves to a mani/pedi, lunch and frozen yogurt. Have I mentioned how much I love those girls?

*Thankfully, everything WAS okay... after I sat myself down and guzzled glasses of water. The contractions finally slowed down by about 11:00 pm. I think I had just overdone it and was dehydrated.