Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sending out the bat signal to the DOC

I need help. And while that's true on so many levels, right now I'm referring to help on the diabetes front. For the last week, Elise has been CRASHING after dinner, only to soar to record BG highs three hours later. I'll explain:

For her dinner, she usually gets 2 units of humalog, and 35g of carbs. The carb amount has been slowly creeping up over the last few weeks to 45g (I'd rather give her more carbs than try to measure out 1/2 units). We give her the insulin about 5 minutes before she eats at dinnertime, and her BG going into dinner ranges from 80 - 170.

About 1 hour after dinner, we start to see arrows down on the CGM. Sometimes there's a small spike, but a lot of times (like tonight) she stays even through dinner until she starts to fall. But when she starts, she falls fast. Like 100 points in less than 30 minutes.

A lot of times, we don't catch the crash until she's in the 60s (tonight we caught it at 80). We give her carbs (10-15g), then 3 hours later she's in the low to mid 300s and stays there most of the night. A few nights ago we had to correct her in the middle of the night (we've probably only done that 3 or 4 times since her dx), and last night we gave her the correction up front (because she was in the 300s) with her bedtime dose of NPH. And she STILL only came down to the mid 200s and cruised there throughout the night.

So tonight we lowered her dinnertime insulin to 1.5 and she still crashed. We gave only 7g of banana to bring her up. Right now she's out with Fred visiting a neighbour in the hospital, so I have no clue what her BG is, but she was holding steady at 103 when she left.

So what the what is going on here? The food she's eating isn't out of the ordinary. Tonight it was tortellini soup with some bread and yogurt for dessert. Last night it was sandwiches, grapes, yogurt for dessert and chocolate milk. It's almost like there's a delay in her food absorbing.

Everything else is normal as can be. I am just scratching my head over this one and would love any insight that anyone has to offer.

Edited to add: thanks everyone for the comments. If it were a food absorption issue, wouldn't it happen at every meal? Why just dinner? The food she's eating is the same as she always eats. And we haven't contacted our endo or CDE because; A) today is not the day to fax in logs, B) they won't talk to you without looking at your log, C) the CDEs are useless and I haven't talked to one in over a year and a half and, D) you have to go through a CDE first to get to the endo. Yeah, the system sucks.

Last night she was in the mid-300s all night and woke up at 242. Gotta figure this out.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Anniversary, Blog!

Two years ago I was drowning.

Two years ago I was lost.

Two years ago, I had no idea if the loneliness would ever subside.

Writing has always been therapeutic for me. I used to write poetry to circumvent my teenage angst. After Elise was diagnosed, all that angst came back. Times 10. To the power of infinity. My head was going to explode if I didn't do something.

So I took a deep breath and started Death of a Pancreas. Oh sure, I had another blog, but it didn't seem to be the place for all the emotional vomiting I was going to do.

As well as a place to vent, I really wanted my blog to be a place where people in the same situation could come and see they weren't alone. Maybe to learn a few things. I wanted to share my vast two-months worth of wisdom with the world-wide-web-information-super-highway.

Instead, I was the one who was helped. I found others that had blazed this trail before me. I found encouragement. Understanding. Empathy. Friends... no, make that family. I found "same".

So on this two year blogaversary, I want to say thank you to everyone who reads my posts. Everyone who leaves comments. Everyone who has made this crazy journey a little more bearable.

And thank you, blog, for being the place where I can leave all my crazy and you never judge.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Special Sib of a D-Kid Day

He's only two months old. He doesn't know how special he is.

He doesn't know how much he will love her.

He doesn't know how protective he will be of her.

He doesn't know that she will need him.

He doesn't know how much he will help me.

He doesn't know that he will fight for her when she can't.

He's only two months old. He doesn't know how special he is.

But one day he will.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What would YOU do?

Have you ever seen that show, entitled "What would you do?" It's on one of the major networks and the basic concept of the show is they set up a dangerous/uncomfortable/bizarre scenarios, and then let their hidden cameras capture how people that see it, react.

For example, one time they had two people acting like they were on a blind date. When the woman steps away to go to the bathroom, the man, not-so-surreptitiously drops something in her drink. The man and the woman are in on it, but the people sitting around them are not. The point of the show is to see if people will step up to the plate and help the woman, or if they will mind their own business, or pretend they don't see what's going on.

The show really makes me mad. Rather, the people who keep their mouths shut and don't offer help in any way make me mad. And I had a first-hand experience with people that just didn't want to get involved.

You'll recall my post about Elise going low during a shopping trip. I am sad to say that there were people watching me during the whole episode, but never offered to help. Even when I was struggling with carrying an 40 pound child, a backpack, and a cart (don't ask me why I just didn't abandon it).

Even when I sat in customer service with a nearly catatonic child, the contents of my bag strewn everywhere. Discarded alcohol wipes, empty juice bottles and used test strips littered the seat next to me. As I sat and rocked Elise, I saw them watching me. Even a cashier that worked at the store stared at me every chance she got. But nobody offered to help.

It's not that I needed help, really... what could anyone do for me? But an offer would have been nice. Maybe they could have refilled the juice bottle with water for me when Elise asked for it, so I didn't have to leave her sitting on the chair by herself. Sure, the fountain was only about 10 feet away, but I wanted to stay close to Elise in case she passed out.

I think what I was looking for was a friendly voice. Someone to tell me it was okay, and I wasn't alone. Somebody to help me not to freak out.

I've always thought that I would speak up or step up in a situation where others wouldn't. After my experience, I now know that I would.

So, what would YOU do?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

JDRF Awards dinner

A few weeks ago, we had our JDRF Awards dinner. Team Elise was honoured for our fund-raising efforts... the final tally for our team was over $16,000! Fred spoke, but was upstaged by Elise who got up on stage with him, then proceeded to prance and dance around the stage. I didn't know whether to laugh with everyone else or go fetch her from the stage. Laziness won out and I stayed in my seat. I didn't manage to get too many pictures, but here are some of my favourites...

Elise being... well, Elise

Having fun on stage

Liam and Elise

"Mine", she says

Oh dear, I think we may be in trouble

The "H" is a little droopy

This picture makes me smile. Love it. Love them.

Fred spoke, but Elise stole the show

JDRF Ambassadors - check out the happy couple in the front row to the right

Accepting our award. Mattias is snuggled in the wrap and if you look closely, his name tag is stuck on the outside!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Of all the things I've lost, I miss my sleep the most

I wake up every morning dismayed to find out that it is, in fact, morning. My nights are spent wandering in and out of sleep; punctuated with a few moments of sitting straight up in bed, thinking, "OH MY GOD, WHAT TIME IS IT? DID I SLEEP THROUGH THE ALARM? WHAT IS HER BLOOD SUGAR? WHERE ARE MY GLASSES?"

In our house, 6 hours of sleep is a good night. About 4 hours is the norm. If it were 4 hours of
uninterrupted slumber, I could live with that. Instead it is broken up into 30 to 60 minute increments. I think the longest I've gone without waking is 2 hours.

During the day, I walk past my bed and it calls to me; a siren's song
enticing me to just come and lay down for awhile. Giving a two-month old and a three year the run of the house while I take a snooze is not the best idea, but my resolve is growing ever weaker.

I think what vexes me the most is how I've aged about 10 years in the past two. I've never been
particularly vain about my appearance, but it used to tickle me when people would think I was a teenager. In fact, while I was pregnant with Elise (in the early stages... you couldn't tell), a guy at my church asked me what high school I went to. And no, he wasn't legally blind or senile. And no, it had nothing to do with my behavior either.

I know I'm preaching to the choir here. A very sleep-deprived choir. One that would probably fall asleep while singing
The Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah. But I feel like I am sleep-walking through my life. I'm never 100% present. My brain feels like it's been insulated with cotton. I forget words. What I'm saying in the middle of a sentence. Why I've come into a room.

When I do sleep, I have some of the most awful dreams you could ever imagine. Dreams of not being able to get the meter to work. Dreams where Elise is high and we have no more insulin. Dreams of a tornado and I can't find my glasses, so I try to find Elise without being able to see and I cannot find her.

I'm starting to wonder how long a person can live like this and stay sane?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thank you and maybe an explanation

First, thanks to all who responded to my last post. I was still pretty shaken up when I wrote that. Not because of the number, but because of how Elise was acting. We once had a 32 and she was acting completely normal. I have never witnessed anything like this before, and it still makes my heart race when I think about it.

One piece of good news, I think we've figured out that it wasn't anything I did. Rather, Elise has suddenly become more sensitive to insulin over the past few days. She has gone low after every meal that she's received a shot of humalog for (lunch she doesn't get a shot, so she's usually fine afterwards).

For example, this morning after her shot and breakfast, she only went as high as 136... and that's just after she finished! And that 136 was via the dexcom with a slightly downward arrow. We had to give her 7g just to keep her in the 80s, and after her mid-morning snack (15g), she never went any higher than 100. Dinner last night was a similar story to what happened on Friday, except we caught the low before it got bad.

Oh, and thank you to Tracy (Superhero and the Princess), and Denise (My Sweetest Boy) for my Versatile Blogger award... I need to do my post so I can put my award in my trophy case!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Respect the D

We had grand plans, Elise and I. Usually Friday night is "date night" for our family, but this time Fred was stuck at home dealing with a work emergency. So I asked Elise if she wanted to go out, just us girls. The response was an enthusiastic YES! Mattias needed his beauty rest, so he stayed home.

We hit up her favourite restaurant, the Macaroni Grill. Her dinner was grilled chicken, broccoli, and spaghetti. Of course she started off with their bread; dipping it in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Which is the whole reason she chooses the Macaroni Grill.

And we finish off in style, a piece of chocolate cake. If you ask me, every dinner should culminate in this way. To allow for this carb-fest, I gave her 1/2 a unit more. It isn't often we girls get to go out on the town solo!

We then decided to so some shopping. And this is where it got bad. One minute she was fine, the next, she said she didn't feel so well. Her CGM wasn't receiving for some reason, so I got out her meter.

That's when I noticed all the light had gone out in her eyes and was replaced by a vacant stare. When I saw the number, I knew why. 36. Oh. CRAP.

I whipped out a bottle of apple juice and commanded her to drink. We were in the middle of an aisle, blocking traffic, but I didn't care. She was shaking so bad, a lot of the juice ended up on her shirt. Freaking out, I picked her up and ran to the customer service area so I could sit down with her and get her to drink some more juice.

Carrying her was like carrying a lifeless rag doll. A very heavy rag doll. Her head kept lolling to the side and I was pleading with her to stay awake. Finally I sat her down and continued to get the 1000-yard stare. Only 5 minutes had elapsed, but I checked her anyway... 64.

Okay, coming up, but she was still acting "gone". When I'd ask her a question, it took her about 5 seconds to answer. She just sat there. Not crying. Just staring. I checked her again... 95.

I cradled her in my lap, and she leaned on me as if her life depended on it. I felt the tears threatening, but I wasn't going to cry. One final check revealed a 130. And in an instant, she came back to life. Almost like nothing had happened.

She saw a stuffed Tigger and asked for it. That extra 1/2 unit of insulin at dinner brought me tremendous guilt, and what kept running through my head was, "of course you should buy it for her, you nearly killed her."

Not true? Hyperbole? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe I sometimes I think I've got this disease figured out and dole out insulin and carbs rather cavalierly. More carbs should equal more insulin, right? Except for tonight, it didn't. Maybe I'm too cocky. Or I don't give this disease the respect it needs. I don't know. I do know this experience has left me rather shaken.

And Elise? Well, tonight she's sleeping with a stuffed Tigger cuddled in her arms.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dear Mattias

You are my second born. My son. I have loved you since the moment I found out about you. And yes, I love you just as much as I love your sister. Such a strange thing for a mother to have to say, but I feel there just might come a day when you don't believe it.

I want you to know that it breaks my heart when I hear you crying in your bassinet. And I'd love more than anything to come scoop you up; hold you close and stop those tears from flowing. But I can't. I'm busy at the moment checking a blood sugar, giving insulin and preparing food. So you must wait. And though it might seem like all my attention is focused on your sister at the moment, you are certainly on my mind and I am working as quickly as I can to get to you.

And I hate to hear you whimper when your tummy is empty and you are asking for food. But I cannot feed you at the moment. You see, your sister has low blood sugar and I have to tend to her needs first. And the testing, giving carbs and re-testing might take awhile, especially if I'm waiting until her blood sugar is in a safe range. If I am nursing you, I won't be able to help your sister. And right now, she needs me. I know that you need me too, and I feel so torn.

I am sorry that you get the leftovers of our attention. The leftovers of our energy. Diabetes is a very selfish sibling and demands so much of our time. But that is no excuse. I hope you feel that you can tell us when you are feeling ignored. Just know that the patience, perseverance, and empathy that you are learning right now will serve you well in life.

Know this above everything; you are a very special, and very loved little boy. I pray you grow up knowing and believing that. I am so blessed that you are my son.

Your Momma

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Diabetes by the numbers

What do you get when your daughter's BG readings are:

84 at 11:30 pm
85 at 12:30 am
and 109 via the meter, and 85 with double arrows down via the CGM at 3:30 am?

20g of carbs throughout the night and a morning BG of 259.

Crap-on-a-stick... stupid diabetes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

WDD in pictures. Plus a few words thrown in too

We had a nice WDD here in North Texas. We met up with the Houston clan for lunch and some fun on a carousel. Then we joined some other Moms from the local yahoo group at Dave & Busters (think grown-up Chuck E Cheese). We don't go to many of the get-togethers with the yahoo group, only because their kiddos are a lot older than Elise. But we had a great time and it was nice to meet some new people.

Pictures from yesterday:

nails painted blue? Check!

Mattias wore blue too!

Woo-hoo, carousel fun!

Elise, Sophie and Emma

Fred and Elise

Wearing the shirts from last year

More carousel

Jim and Super Nate!

Even Fred painted his nails

Family pic... Mattias is a little camera shy

Showing off our nails

All in all, a pretty good day. Numbers behaved (until last night), and Elise LOVED hanging out with all the kids. I feel like I dropped the ball with the shirts this year. I had so much fun getting the shirts printed up and shipped out to everyone, but I just didn't have the time to do it this time around. Hopefully next year, I will have my stuff together, and be able to take orders starting in the early summer.

Happy WDD everyone!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Maybe if I ask nicely...

Dear Diabetes,

I wonder, do you have a pact with the universe to bring it at the most inopportune times? To kick us when we're down? Do you see us in difficult situations, call up the universe on his cell phone and tell him, "it's go time!"

Because that's what it seems like to me. Realistically, there's never really a good time to deal with you when you decide to rear your butt-ugly head. But really, some times are better than others.

Like, why do you decide to crash Elise's BG while I'm nursing and alone? Kinda hard to treat a low BG while you have a baby attached to your boob. And do you know what happens when you pull the baby off in the middle of you milk letting down? Milk shower for everyone... YAY!

Or take for example the other night... it's just me, all by my lonesome, and it's time for Elise's BG check, snack and shot. Mattias also needs to eat and is getting quite fussy. So I check her BG, make her snack, prepare her shot, then settle down to feed Mattias while she eats. For some reason, she decides to get upset about something, drop her yogurt all over the carpet and then start to scream. Which freaks out Mattias; he stops feeding and starts to cry. Then spits up all over me and the sofa. And then refuses to feed.

Meanwhile, I have no idea how much of her yogurt Elise has eaten, how much is now on my carpet, how how many carbs I need to replace. Seriously... do you find situations like these humourous?

Or how about this past Friday... date night. I use the term "date night" rather loosely since dragging 2 kids and three bags o' crap to dinner with you, is in no way a date. But it's okay, because someone else is doing the cooking.

So why, 30 minutes after dinner, is Elise's CGM telling us her BG is 48 with double arrows down? And why while we're driving? Do you know how hard it is to check a BG while in a moving car? Of course you do... that's why it happened this way. And why, after stuffing 20g of smarties and fruit snacks in her, does the CGM still read LOW with a slanting downwards arrow? And why won't Mattias stop SCREAMING?

Look, all I'm asking for is a bit of a break. I'm tired. I'm beaten down. I'm stressed and I'm sad and I'm struggling. I just need you to go sit in the corner and behave for a bit, okay? Please?

Thank you for your attention in this matter.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest We Forget

Growing up in Canada, November 11th (Remembrance Day) was a time that we would reflect and give thanks to those who gave their lives for our country.

There was always an assembly at school (usually the day before, since Remembrance Day was always a day off), marked by the reading of In Flanders Fields (see below), and the playing of Last Post. This was followed by two minutes of silence at 11:00 am (the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month), the time the Armistice of World War I was signed in 1918. To this day, the sound of a lone trumpet makes me want to bow my head and stand silent.

We wear poppies on our lapel to honour our veterans; a symbol of the famous poem In Flanders Fields which was written by a Canadian during WWI. To read more about the history of the poem, you can go here.

I thought it appropriate to post the poem today, in Remembrance of all who died so we could live free.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
— Lt.-Col. John McCrae (1872 - 1918)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I'm not even kidding

I originally wrote this two years ago and posted it on my other blog. It's still as true today as it was then. I'll keep re-posting it every year until someone does something about it.

Dear Person or Persons in charge of Daylight Savings Time,

Yes I know the time change was a few days ago so this may seem a little late. You see, it took a few days to put my thoughts down into writing because I've been wandering around my house trying to figure out WHAT BLOODY TIME IT IS.

It seems some of my clocks are smarter than me and change on their own. Some, my husband changed on Sunday. And others still display the "old" time. My problem is, I can't figure out which is which.

So, onto my issue with you. I hate the very concept of DST. It is, quite simply, a load of crap. I don't care that on some farm, in a far away land it makes the cows happy, or whatever bull you're touting, but it screws with my life and it must stop. And I don't appreciate the propaganda the news is spewing by telling me, "you gain and EXTRA hour!" That is pure crap to the highest degree.

We're onto you, yes we are. Who are we? We are the parents of children who cannot tell time, and ergo do not give a flip about your stinking time change. We are the parents of children who are now waking up a FULL HOUR EARLIER than normal now, because of a reason that no longer exists. My daughter has decided to add an extra half hour to that, because that's how she rolls.

An hour may not seem like a lot to you, but when your days are filled with house-cleaning, meal-preparing, blood-sugar-checking, insulin-shot-giving, child-rearing, errand-running, diaper-changing, laundry-washing and nose-wiping; and you do it all while suffering from the 500th consecutive bad hair day, AND quite certain you have poop smeared somewhere on your person (because why else is THAT SMELL following you around the house like the dog when she's hungry), well then, I would say an hour is HUGE.

So I am urging you, PLEASE, for the love of all that is holy... do away with DST. Or I shall be forced to hunt you down, find out where you live and start banging away on your bedroom window an hour before you usually get up. I will also knee you in the groin for the extra half hour. Because that is how I roll.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Six

**D-blog Day was started on November 9th 2005 (by Gina Capone) during Diabetes Awareness Month, to help unite diabetes bloggers and create awareness about diabetes. For more information, head on over to Diabetes Talkfest.

For this Dblog day, we are supposed to write about 6 things we wish people know about diabetes. Jeez, just 6? That's like saying you can only have one bite of cheesecake. Or watch one episode of Jersey Shore. Or have just one square of toilet paper to wipe yourself with. One of those things I don't give a flying crap about. Guess which one!

But one thing I definitely, with-all-my-heart, would-give-up-cheesecake-for, do care about is making sure the general public is edu-ma-cated about Type 1 Diabetes. These are my 6...

1. I did NOT give my 12 month old too much sugar and that is why she has diabetes
Let me make one thing very clear. I tried to do everything "right" when it came to Elise's diet. I breastfed exclusively for 6 months, and until she was 2 1/2. I made most her food myself, using wholesome mostly organic ingredients. When she did have jarred baby food, it was all organic. I think the most processed food she ate was cheerios. The girl never even drank cow's milk until she was 18 months (well after her dx). Diet does not cause Type 1 Diabetes. It is an autoimmune disease which means for some reason, your body is attacked by its own immune system. This can result in any number of diseases; rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, grave's disease, and of course, Type 1 Diabetes.

2. There are only two things my daughter cannot eat; poison, and cookies... made with poison.
Elise and others with Type 1 can eat anything you or I can eat. We just have to make sure we give her the proper amount of insulin to cover that food. Unfortunately, there are some foods (pizza, ice cream, mac & cheese - you know, all the kid favourite foods) that wreak total havoc on her blood sugar, but we think it's more important to let Elise be a kid first, and a kid with diabetes second. We are striving to teach Elise how to make good choices when it comes to food, and that almost everything is okay in moderation.

3. Yes, she will have this disease the rest of her life (or until we find a cure)
Unfortunately, there is no growing out of Type 1 Diabetes. You cannot cure yourself, no matter what Halle Berry says. Just because she's pretty AND a movie star, doesn't make it true. Elise will live with insulin injections, finger pokes, high/low blood sugars, insane medical costs, and the risk of complications for the rest of her life.

4. There is more to this disease than just avoiding sugar (which is false anyway) and getting shots.
I wish people could see the seedy underbelly of this disease. The honeymooning pancreas which can cause dangerous lows. Blood sugars that are all over the map just because the wind is blowing out of the east today. Fear of Dead in Bed Syndrome. The inability to leave your child with just anyone. The horror of dealing with a stubborn low blood sugar. The 12, 3, and 5 am blood sugar checks. Trying to balance food with exercise and insulin. Having to send your child to school with a 7 page care manual. The fact the you even NEED a freaking care manual for your kid. Day after day of trying your absolute best and it STILL goes horribly wrong. I could go on, but this list is too damn long already.

5. If you have a friend whose child is diagnosed with diabetes, they need your support
This is not so much about the disease, but the aftermath of a Type 1 diagnoses. I don't think I have ever been so scared, and shell shocked in all my life. And what made it worse is the fact that we felt abandoned by pretty much anybody we considered a friend. Hardly anyone came to visit at the hospital, and almost nobody was there to even lend an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on. Don't keep your distance; your friend is probably incapable of reaching out. You need to be the one to extend your hand to them.

6. People with diabetes are Rock Stars (and so are the ones who care for them)
Outsiders have no idea how much work goes into caring for diabetes. And as hard as I try, I will never know what it's like to live with this disease. I am amazed at how Elise deals with diabetes. Sure, we have days where she cries and doesn't want her shots, or her Dexcom sensor injected. And really... can you blame her? But most days she just hops in my lap and rolls up her sleeve (or drops her pants). She learned to check her own blood sugar at the age of 2 1/2. She helps us give her her shots. When you ask to check her blood sugar, she dutifully holds out her finger and a lot of times doesn't even look up from what she's doing. When you ask her to look at her Dexcom receiver, she'll tell you the number is "one, five, two... flat!" She can eat in her sleep. She'll tell you she has diabetes in the same way she tells you she has green eyes or brown hair. It's a part of her and who she is... but it doesn't define her. I hope one day she will know just how proud of her I am.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Why I love the DOC

Is it weird that I feel closer to the people living in my computer than some of the real live breathing people in my life?

Maybe it's because you get me.

Maybe it's because we live very similar lives.

I know it's because you guys have my back no matter what happens.

When Eileen gasped her final beep on Friday night, I had resigned myself to the fact that we had to wait 4 rather long days for a replacement. That's when Carrie swooped in and saved the day.

If you haven't met Carrie yet, you should head on over to her blog. Her now 2 year old son was dx about 6 months ago. Before last night, we had never met, just exchanged an email or two. When she read my post about our CGM kicking the bucket, she sent me an email saying we could use an extra receiver they happened to have. They live about 20 minutes from us, so I hopped in the car to get it.

So now we are up and running until we receive our replacement on Tuesday, and I am so thankful. I know we could have made do without it... we lived with D for almost two years before Eileen came along.

But I liken it to being blind. And then for a glorious period of time you are able to see, and you are amazed at everything you've been missing. And then, without warning, your sight is taken away from you, and while you lived before without being able to see, you know know what it's like to have sight, and you miss it terribly.

That 24+ hour period without Eileen was hard. Static numbers are hard. Not knowing is hard. Thanks to Carrie and John for making it easier for us!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Please come back to us Eileen

She was only with us a few short months, but we quickly came to love and depend on Eileen. She was our eyes when we couldn't see. Our ears when we couldn't hear. And saved our butts more times than I can count. Sure her whining grew tiresome at times, especially in the middle of the night. But as scarce as sleep is around here, I would give up a week's worth just to see her arrows and numbers once again.

Eileen left us tonight at 9:23 pm CST admidst beeps and shutdowns and failure messages. She gave us one final message: Err Code: 16R0F2D93c. I just wish I knew what it

Okay, I'm sort of trying to be funny here, but this really, really sucks. And because I seemed to have pissed off the universe in some way, Dexcom shipping is shut down for the weekend and they won't be able to send us a new receiver until Tuesday.

I foresee a lot of sleepless nights in our future...

D-Feast Friday - Beef Stew

Fall is here, fall is here! Time to get out the jackets, scarves and hats!

Okay, seriously, we've had one cool-ish (mid-60s) day here in Texas and it's supposed to go back up to the high-70s next week, but one hint of cool weather was enough for me to break out my stock pot and make my all-time favourite Beef Stew! This recipe is courtesy of my sweet friend, Liz.

Old Tyme Beef Stew

1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb. cubed stewing beef
1 small onion
3 - 6 cloves garlic
1 1/2 C beef stock (sometimes I double the amount of liquid, just remember to double the amounts of all the following ingredients, except veggies, if you do)
1/2 C water
dash pepper
dash salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 large bay leaf

This is the best part of this meal, you can pretty much use any veggies you have in your crisper that need to be used! This is what I usually throw in the pot:
3 med. carrots
2 stalks celery
potatoes (amount depends on what kind you use, I like red potatoes)
about 1 C of frozen peas (I do this with about 10 mins left)

At the end you will also need about 1/4 C of broth and 1 tbsp of flour to thicken (you can also leave this out to make this into a soup instead of a stew).

-Heat up oil (med. heat) in stock pot, add beef. Cook until brown on the outside, then add onions and garlic.
-Saute, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add broth and water (you can use all broth if you want).
-Add all the rest of the ingredients (except veggies), cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
-Add veggies, cook for another 30-45 minutes
-Bring to a boil.
-Mix 1/4 C of broth and 1 tsbp of flour together (remember to double if you doubled the liquid), and add to pot
-Boil until thickened, then turn down heat, add peas and simmer for another 10 minutes.
-Serve with a lovely, crusty bread and ENJOY!

***I would love to give you a carb count on this, but of course it depends on what (and how much) you put into your stew. My carb factor usually comes out to .05 to .08.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hats off to Cindy!

Just wanted to show off my cuties sporting their adorable hats (and booties for Mattias) made by Cindy from Eaten Alive. Thanks Cindy... we love them!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Diabetes Olympics

One night, as I was unable to sleep, I began comparing the care of diabetes to Olympic events. And this is the subsequent post that followed. Yes, all I do is write blog posts in my head when I should be sleeping. And yes, I even awarded myself medals.

Shooting (up) - Points are deducted for blood or a wet shot (insulin seeping out of the skin after the needle is removed). I'm pretty good at avoiding both of these, but it's really just a crapshoot.

Result: Silver

Synchronized Living - This is the ability to balance carbs, insulin, exercise, growth spurts, illnesses, and hormones; and still achieve reasonably good numbers.
Result: Some days it's a gold medal and they're playing "Oh Canada" while I stand atop the podium and wave. Other days, it's a big, fat DNF (did not finish).
Speed Getting Ready - I do this twice a week while trying to get Elise to pre-school. It involves getting her up and dressed. Test her blood sugar. Get her shot ready and give it to her. Make her breakfast. Make her snack (actually, three snacks... what she eats depends on what her BG is at snack time). Write a note for her teacher, so she knows which snacks have how many carbs in them. Pack her bag. Get myself dressed. Get Elise to finish her breakfast in less than 30 minutes. Have her go potty, brush her teeth, brush her hair, and put her shoes and jacket on... all of which she needs help with. Get Mattias up, change his diaper and put him in the carseat. Load everyone into the car. On some very special days, add nursing a baby to this list. All of this is done in the span of less than 60 minutes.
Result: Gold, baby!

10 Meter Dash - This is pretty much the distance from our bed to Elise's. I've gotten pretty fast at shooting out of bed and making it to her side when I hear Eileen alarm, or she starts having a night terror episode, or I wake up and realize that we slept though the 2 am alarm. But I get points deducted for a slow start... trying to find my glasses in the dark does tack some seconds onto my time. Then there are the nights that I'm still asleep as I leap out of bed and I run right into a wall. Awesome.
Result: Bronze
WAG-ing - (stands for Wild Ass Guessing) Some people can just look at a piece of cake and be able to tell you how many carbs are in it. I really can't, but I have gotten very good at figuring out an item's carb factor. A lot of times it's just knowing a similar item's carb factor and going from there. But there are those foods that are unlike anything else on earth... You may remember my post on the Best Cake in the World. It was probably a fluke that I got it right on the first try, but it does feel good when you nail the landing.
Result: Silver
Juggling - Now that I have two little minions to take care of, I have learned to become a gold medal juggler (jugglist?). It's what you end up doing when both kids need you at the same time; for example: Elise has just woken up and needs her BG checked, shot given and breakfast made. Mattias has also just woken up and needs his diaper changed,, reflux meds and his morning meal. I usually handle it like this; check the BG, change the diaper, give the shot, give the meds, make the breakfast, nurse one side, give Elise her breakfast (I like there to be some lag time between shot and food), nurse on the other side.
Result: I'd give myself a silver, only because there are some mornings I totally flip out if one more thing gets added to the pile (copious amounts of spit-up resulting in a clothing change for me, Mattias, or both, a potty run, a telephone call... etc.)

Biathlon - Which, of course is the combination of two sports. For me, I find the crap usually hits the fan when I am momentarily indisposed. I've become pretty good at checking a BG, and treating a low, all while nursing Mattias. The key, as any good athlete will tell you, is preparation. This means I carry fast-acting carbs with me at all times. Yes, I've been known to pull a roll of Smarties out of my sock.

Result: Gold

Accuracy - Just a fun little game I play in my head to take the monotony out of checking Elise's BG 10+ times a day. I try to guess what her BG is going to be. It was a lot harder before Eileen joined our team, but I got to be pretty good at it. Of course I had a lot of what-the-crap moments too.
Result: Silver

Wrestling - I don't participate in this sport anymore. Now that Elise is 3, she's a lot more accommodating with her shots. But when she was 12 months old, you should have seen some of the leg holds I had to put on her. Because when you are just one person, and you have to use two hands to give the shot, you become pretty creative in the ways you hold your baby down to administer a shot.
Result: Gold

Swimming - As in "just keep swimming". Usually done on days where you swear you cannot do this for another second. When you are bone tired and there is nobody to take the baton from your hand. When all you want to do is climb up onto your roof and scream the F-word (no, not fine) for as loud and as long as possible. When it seems like the tears will never stop falling. You still kick your legs and flail your arms to keep your head above the water and "just keep swimming". Because you have to.
Result: Total gold medal. I've been doing it every day for 2 years and 2 months now and don't ever plan on stopping. I think that deserves a gold.

Anybody else care to join in on the fun?

Monday, November 1, 2010

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

-It's important that we let Elise be a kid first and a kid with diabetes second. This month that meant sending her off to pre-school in the morning two days a week. It meant trusting that the teacher and other staff will take care of her in the way she needs. And when they have a party at school with all sorts of yummy, sugary treats... I will let Elise partake in the fun and deal with the ensuing crazy BGs afterwards. It was hard to see that 220 and the single arrow up during a time when she's pretty much always in the low 100s, but at least it wasn't double arrows up, right?

-When we see either double arrows up or down on Eileen, we can be pretty sure a tantrum is imminent. A friend of mine who is type 1 said it's not the highs or the lows that are hard on her, it's the fast rise or drops in her BG that makes her feel awful. It seems it's the same for Elise.

-Halloween is a beating. And my child is obsessed with candy. Ergo, Halloween is a beating. I'm not sure why Elise would love to roll around naked in a vat full of chocolate; we've never forbidden her from having any. I guess she has inherited my love of the sugary nectar o' the gods. All she wanted to do all day on Halloween was eat candy. And she was very upset at the fact that we were going to hand out our candy to other kids. We're working on the concept of sharing.

-Used syringes are good for picking up the crumbs that fall into the keyboard of your laptop. Namely, small pieces of caramel corn.