Monday, December 17, 2012

My blogging hiatus

And the reason...

Welcome to the world, Lucas Andre... you sure were in a hurry to get here.

But I'm awfully glad to see you.

Lucas was born Saturday, December 8th, after a frantic 60 minute, 100 mph drive to the hospital.  I told Fred that if I had a baby in a car on the side of a road I would kill him.

Lucas came a month early and because of premature lungs, he is still in the NICU.  We are hoping to bring him home today.

Need I say that we are hopelessly in love?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

We have a winner!

Sorry I'm a day late... I've been a bit busy feeling sorry for myself.  You see, I'm 35 weeks pregnant, uncomfortable, AND it's been 80 degrees here the last few days.  It's December for the love of all that's holy.  DECEMBER!  Today our church had live Christmas music after service, as well as tables laid out with cookies and hot chocolate to enjoy while listening to said music. 

Did I mention that it's 80 freaking degrees?  This is not natural.  And to all those reading this who live in colder climates and are saying to themselves, "what an ungrateful cow!  I would give anything for some nice, warm weather in December!"  Let me assure you... no, you wouldn't.  It would be okay for about 30 seconds, and then the tiny life you are incubating inside you would make you feel as if you are going to burst into flames at any moment. 

Now that 've had my hormonal rage for today, onto happier things!  Like drawing the winner of the WDD Hope sign...

Mixing up the numbers... we're a high tech household.
She took her job as number picker very seriously...

And the winner is.... comment #4!  Sarah from the Ethan & Issac Show!

Congrats Sarah, just email me your address by clicking the "contact me" link, and we'll get the sign sent out to you.  Or maybe I'll just come up there and hand deliver it.  I could use some rain right about now.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Just call me MacGyver

That, my friends, is a lot of tape.  It worked though... this pod made it the full three days. 

And don't forget to leave a comment on my
Special Sib of a D-Kid post if you want to win this.  Adorable boy giving the stink-eye NOT included...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Special Sib of a D-Kid day - two years later

Two years ago, I wrote this about Mattias on the Special Sib of a D-kid.  He was only two months old at the time.

And now, at the age of two, some of those things are beginning to dawn on him.

He loves her.

He hurts with her.

He's there when she needs him.

The rest will come later.  For now he'll continue to do his thing.

Hugging her when she cries.

Watching her be brave during pod/dex changes.

Learning to check his own BG so "he can be wike Eweese".

And occasionally stealing Smarties (that we use for lows) from her diabetes bag.

He's Mattias... that's how he rolls.

And on this special day, Mattias would like to let you know that we're doing a giveaway here on Death of a Pancreas.  My talented friend Marla made this in honour of World Diabetes Day (yes, I know... I'm so very late posting this) for me to give to one lucky reader. 

Marla takes pieces of old wood and re-purposes it into art.  You can check her out
here.  It doesn't come with any hardware to hang it, but you could certainly add it yourself, or just prop it on a mantle.

To win, all you have to do it leave a comment.  I will draw and announce the winner on Dec.1st.

Good luck and Happy Special Sib of a D-Kid Day to all the amazing siblings out there!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A tale of two Dexes - My thoughts on the G4

Thoughts.  Not review.  Mostly because my brain can't handle a full-fledged review at this point.  My melon is far too consumed with growing a baby to be very coherent these days.  So the following is the best I have to offer...

Lunchtime with the Dexcom G4
Let me start of by saying I love me some G4.  So much so that I want to run off to Hawaii, marry it and have a whole generation of little G4s with it.  Does that make me weird? 

What has me swooning:

-The range. Oh-sweet-Lord-in-heaven-above, the range!  The G4 boasts a range of 20 feet, but we have seen  far better than that.  In fact, we can keep the receiver in our room at night, and it picks her up over 20 feet away and around a few corners.  I nearly peed myself with excitement when I realized this.  Although the peeing itself is not so special in that it doesn't take much these days.  Seriously, a stifled giggle is a huge problem.  All the Mamas in the house know what I'm sayin'.

What was I talking about?

-The size.  When I saw side-by-side comparisons, they did not do justice to just how much smaller the G4 is than the 7+.  Gone is the cumbersome oval-shaped curiosity (most people could not figure out what it was... one woman asked if it was a GPS for Elise), and in it's place is a sleek, Ipod-esque receiver that most people don't give a second glance to. It is lighter, thinner, and overall has a nice feel to it.

You'd think I'd clean off my counter to get a decent shot...

-The colours.  The interface is pretty much the same as the 7+, but the colours make it a whole lot easier on the eyes.  The reds for lows and yellows for highs irk my husband, but I'm coming around on it.  I like being able to look quickly at the graph and see the trouble spots in plain view.

The prettiest 24-hour graph I ever did see.  Yes, I am bragging!

-The COLOUR.  As in pink.  I'm not such a fan of the pink as I am the marketing geniuses that made it attractive to my daughter.  As I've said before, well played.

What makes my bum itch
(as an aside, this is why I could never be a professional reviewer.  Seriously, what company would want someone who talks about marrying inanimate objects, incontinence, and itchy bums?)

-The alarms. Not the fact that they exist, but the ear-splitting annoyance of them.  You have a few more to choose from, but I find the new fancy-schmancy alarms to be worse than the originals.  I am still in favour of being able to upload music and use those for alarms.  Since it looks like an Ipod, couldn't it sound like one?  I would go with "Low" by Flo Rida for lows, and "High" by The Cure for highs.  Not too original, but I think it shows off my diverse musical tastes, don't you?

-The rashes.  You'll remember that Elise used to get horrific rashes from the adhesive when we were using the Dexcom 7+.  It was one of the main reasons we didn't fight her when she wanted to stop using the dex.  I was so tired of looking at her swollen, red skin.  So far the rashes haven't been as bad, but you need to read my next point to find out why.  I just wish they could figure out a way to make the adhesive hypo-allergenic.

-The failures.  We are two-for-two on sensor failures so far.  The first sensor lasted only two days.  The second, five.  Now I will say that Dexcom is GREAT at replacing these sensors, but they still bug me.  Leading up to the failure, we usually see an hourglass in the upper right-hand corner, followed by the dreaded ???. Each time, the Dex came back, only to fail outright a few hours later. Still, this doesn't deter me from loving the G4.

-The transmitter and how freaking hard it is to remove it from the sensor.  I don't remember having as much of an issue with the 7, but both times I've changed the sensor, removing the transmitter has been a fight.  I can't even use the designated remover-thingy (not it's real name), because it broke when I tried.  We use baby oil or unisolve to take the sensor off of Elise's skin, so that doesn't make it any easier.

Things that make me say "meh"
(in other words, things that don't bug me)

-The transmitter size.  Yeah, it sticks out a bit more, but if that's the trade-off for better range, I'm all for it.

Old on the left, new on the right
 -The transmitter life. Only 6 months compared to the 7+'s 18-month life.  Again, if that's the trade-off for better range, I'm okay with it.

-The insertion device.  Some people hate it, and seem a little ticked that it hasn't changed.  I have no issue with it, and Elise barely flinches during the insertion, so it's no big thing to us.

So... those are my thoughts on the G4.  I'm glad Elise happened to be looking over my shoulder when I was reading about it, because I never would have pursued it on my own.   We took a break from it last night after the sensor failure and I miss it already!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


This is my daughter, Elise.  She is 5 years old. She loves to play soccer.  Paint and draw.  Read.  She loves ballet and tap.  Making her little brother laugh. The colour pink.  Roller-coasters and waterslides.  She's a girly-girl with a tough side... the absolute best of both worlds. 

She makes me laugh.  Loves everyone she's ever met. Blows me away with how smart she is.  She has the innate ability to drive me bananas, but at the same time; I am so very proud the be her Mom.  And today, she makes me thankful.

Without today, Elise would not be alive.  If it wasn't for today, I would have had to say goodbye to my first-born over 4 years ago.  If today had never happened, this would be one of the last pictures I have of my daughter...

During a month that is supposed to be filled with thanks, I am most thankful for today, November 14.

Because on this day, in 1891, a baby boy was born in a small farm house in Ontario, Canada.   He would grow up and make an astonishing discovery that would save my daughter's life 117 years later.  Not just the life of my daughter, but countless others too. 

Because in addition to everything I wrote about her above, Elise also has type 1 diabetes.  Her body NEEDS insulin to survive, but no longer produces it. 

It was nothing she did. Or didn't do.

Nothing she ate. Or didn't eat.

There is no cure.  No special diet.  No secret spice.  There isn't a bark that grows on a tree that can be brewed into a tea.

But there is insulin.

Today, I don't have to watch my daughter literally starve to death because of a faulty pancreas.  And that is why I am thankful for today, the birthday of Dr. Fredrick Banting; inventor of insulin. 

He saved my daughter's life.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Dex-ing we will go!

I never thought I would utter (or type, as it were) these words again, but we are about to be Dex-ing once again!

It all started when I was reading about the release of the brand-spankin' new Dexcom G4.  Elise happened to be looking over my shoulder and asked what I was looking at.  When I told her it was a brand new Dexcom, her eyes got very wide and she exclaimed,

"You mean it's PINK now???"

Oh you devious little marketing rascals of Dexcom... Let me just interject that you missed the boat by not offering one in camouflage.  You missed that oh-so-important demographic of boys, ages 2 - whenever-camo-stops-being-cool.

Anyway, when I confirmed that, yes Elise... there IS a pink Dexcom, she decided she wanted to wear a CGM again because, "sometimes it helps to know where my blood sugars are going!"

After chatting with our insurance and our supply company, we found out that it would be covered at 100%.  What-the-what???  Free Dex?  Giddyup!

Or course, what this really means is we've just already paid an obscene amount out-of-pocket for all the other medical stuff, but I'm going to pretend I don't know that.  FREE DEX!

So we're about to fire that baby up.  Today will be a pod change/sensor insertion day.  Awesome.

At least SHE'S happy about it... for now.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Things I learned from diabetes this month... October edition

-Halloween and pod changes do not mix.  This was our first Halloween pumping, and I had no idea what to expect.  Unfortunately, a pod change was due and she ended up running high almost all night.  We've always battled lows while trick or treating and I think I prefer that to the wailing and gnashing of teeth that comes with having to say no to a piece of candy.

-I can go away for a few days and the world as I know it will not end. Honestly, I never actually thought this was the case, but diabetes gave me an excuse for not ever having left my children for more than a few hours.  My trip to SF was much-needed and gave me a chance to recharge before my life gets uber-cray-cray.

-I have the most wondertastic husband in the world.  Okay, this is nothing new, but how great is it to be able to leave town for a few days knowing that whatever crap diabetes will throw his way, he's got it and then some?  It's pretty freaking great.  You should have seen Elise's numbers while I was gone.  Oh wait, you can.  Because he texted me a picture of it (pretty much representative of her numbers the entire time I was away):

Looks like my pancreating abilities are not needed anymore. Anybody up for a visit from a pregnant ex-pancreas?

-Apparently there is a mysterious phenomenon wherein a trip to Target will cause PWD/CWD to go low.  I've experienced this with Elise countless times over the years (and had lots of examples since Target is my home away from home), but had never heard anyone else talk about it until I read this post on Colleen's blog.  Even Elise has noticed it as evidenced by her observation last month: "Mom, have you ever noticed that I ALWAYS go low in the candy aisle at Target?  It's like my pancreas WANTS me to eat candy!"

Smart pancreas.  Even smarter girl...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Life. In bullet points

Things are quiet here on the Death of a Pancreas front.  And not without good reason.  Here are just a few:

  • I am 31 weeks pregnant.  And feeling completely unprepared.   'Nuff said.
  • A few weeks ago I was able to fly out and spend some much-needed time away with a bunch of wonderful D-Mamas. Though I got less sleep than I usually do at home, I had an amazing time.
  • Except on the flight home I picked up some sort of crud. Blergh.
  • Then as said crud was exiting stage right, I got food poisoning.  Seriously? This is the second time I've had food poisoning while pregnant, and it was just as craptacular as I remembered.
  • Yesterday? 10 loads of laundry.  Today?  4 more loads. How does that happen in a family of only4 people?  Oh yeah... see above.
  • Diabetes-wise, things have been coo-coo bananas. Pods falling off in the middle of the night.  Kinked cannulas. Numbers in the 500s.  Swings from 450 to 102 in just an hour with .75 IOB.  Which would drop her by 150.  Halloween.  Pod changes on Halloween. Trying valiantly to save yet another pod from falling off by MacGyvering it up with about 5 pounds of tape. SERENITY NOW!
Plus I feel guilty about not doing anything about National Diabetes Awareness Month, have nothing planned for World Diabetes Day, and have not even read a blog or commented in weeks.

As good as all this whining and complaining has felt, I'm going to stop now.  Baby L is kicking up a storm in my belly and I think I deserve to sit and enjoy the wonderful-ness that is life growing within me. 

I love that little baby punches can show me that life is still beautiful, even when mired down in the blerghy-ness of it all.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Superheros for a cure

This summer, a family friend and amazing photographer Tressa Thomas asked if we were interested in Elise taking part in a photo shoot for her Love Capture Give project; which brings awareness to charities through her beautiful photos. 

She had partnered with Superkids Capes, which donated the capes and accessories, to give the photo shoot a superhero theme... which is only too fitting for our type 1 kiddos.

Elise had a great time, and I love the way the pictures came out.  Here are a few of my favourites:

Please make sure you check out the Love Capture Give blog for the entire post which was beautifully written by Tressa.

And if you're a facebook peep, go to her page and like her while you're there.  You can also check out her website if you're in need of a photographer... working with her was awesome, and you can see just how talented she is by the pictures above.

Thanks Tressa for capturing our little hero exactly how she is... beautiful and amazing!

Monday, October 15, 2012

4 countries, 3 continents, 1 hope

When Team Elise was formed over 4 years ago, it was done so only a few weeks after Elise was diagnosed. Some shirts were hastily put together the night before and a handful of friends came out to walk.

This year, Team Elise had over 100 people join us (we had close to 150 sign up, but many people had to back out due to illness and bad weather). Despite the rain, I was overjoyed at how many people came out and walked in support of Elise and people with diabetes everywhere.

But do you want to hear the coolest thing of all?  Besides the U.S.A., Team Elise has had people walk in Canada, Portugal, and now Mozambique.  Four countries.  Three continents.  It fills me with such hope

If you've read my blog for awhile, you know that we have a good friend in Portugal (Tiago) who took it upon himself to organize a walk for Team Elise.  There is no JDRF walk there; HE went out and got the sponsorships, had the shirts made, got people to sign up and raised money.  Two years in a row...

Last year, we had the honour of walking with almost 200 people, most of which had no connection to diabetes or Elise.  It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever been a part of.

Of course, there is also Team Elise Canada.  Put together by Fred's Mom and sister in Toronto.  I love that we have people walking for Elise in my home and native land.

This year, sadly, our friend Tiago moved away from Portugal.  But I was blown away to learn that his Mom taken up the torch this year for Team Elise and on the very day we were walking in Texas, there was a group of beautiful people doing the same in Portugal.

Not only that, but half a world away, Tiago was at it again... this time from his new home in Mozambique.  Again, on the very same day we walked.

Keep in mind, there is really no JDRF presence in Portugal or Mozambique, this was all done by people on their own time.

I still cannot wrap my head around the love these people have shown us.  And I don't think I can properly express just how much it means to me when people take the time to stand with us.  On the days where diabetes has kicked me down, and I feel like I can't take one more minute of it, I think I will return to this post to bring me to my feet again. 

Thank you to everybody who has given me the strength to keep fighting this fight for my daughter.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Things I learned from diabetes this month... September edition

-Elise needs a +50% temp basal running when we are at amusement/water parks.  My little girl is somewhat of a dare devil and all the adrenaline from those thrill rides causes her BG to skyrocket.  Never mind all the running around she's doing, it does nothing to combat the highs.  I had been scared to run a temp basal in these situations, because I was positive she would crash.  But the last two times she's been at an amusement park, I went for it and it worked like a charm!  This is not meant to be medical advice, just something I've observed in MY child.  As Bennet's blog says, your diabetes may vary!

-When two of your prescriptions look very similar, don't make the mistake of putting them near each other.  Especially when one of them knocks you out.  I accidentally took a Phenergan instead of my Synthroid the other day, and didn't realize it until an hour later when I started to feel woozy.  I know I didn't go to sleep, but I have no memory of what I DID do that morning, because somehow, Elise ended up at 32 by lunchtime.  She usually needs a small, partially covered snack in the morning, and I don't know if I just forgot to feed her, or if I bolused her AND forgot to feed her.  In any event, I felt pretty crappy about it.  Sleepy, but crappy.

-Costco cake is of the devil when it comes to Elise's BG.  Usually she can eat cake with little to no problem.  Except for Costco cake.  I don't know what they put in it, but it causes her to go high about three hours after eating, AND to stay there, despite any rage-bolusing I do.We've had several examples in the last month since both kids had Costco cakes for their birthday, we just went to a party where they served it, and they also had it at out Neighbourhood Night Out party this week.  This last time I tried an extended bolus (30/70 over 3 hours), and it was pretty successful, but I think I need to extend it even longer. 

Evil, evil Costco cakes.  Yes, each of my kids got a birthday cake.  Their birthdays are only 3 days apart, so we have a combined party.  Somehow we ended up with 70 people RSVP-ing yes.  It was crazy, yo. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Still nerdy after all these years

If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you may remember when I was pregnant with Mattias, I checked my own BG during my gestational diabetes test.

If you haven't been reading this blog for awhile... Yes I did. I'm a nerd like that.  And like I said in that post, you gotta take the perks of having a kid with type 1 where you can find them.

The result halfway through? Here ya go.  Anything above 140 at the end of the hour is a fail.

And here's the final result:

Looks like my pancreas kicked that orange goo's ASS!  Winning!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Meeting Mattias

He doesn't get a lot of attention on this blog, but he is still a huge part of our family.  In fact, the only thing that is really little about him is his waistline (poor guy can still wear 9m shorts).

Of course, I'm talking about Mattias.  He's two now, with a personality that is larger than life.  Not a day goes by that he doesn't do something to make me laugh.

He's turned into a pretty chill toddler, (for the most part - he has his moments like any two year old), with a very sweet and caring heart.  He ooohhhs and aaahhhs over babies, and loves cuddling our dog.  He also doesn't like to see anyone sad and quickly runs to give Elise a hug when she's crying.

I can tell he's going to be a sporty little guy and loves to play "Go Bola" (his term for any sport played with a ball).  Hockey sticks, soccer balls, baseball bats, golf clubs... you name it, we have it. And he plays with reckless abandon.

I also love his passion for pretty much everything in life.  Almost any question you ask him (want to have lunch, go outside, play "go bola", etc) is answered with a, "YEEEEEAHHHHHH!"  Usually accompanied by a dance.  He loves trucks and motorcycles and each time he sees one, it's like the very first time.  "MAMA... camiĆ£o!!!" (Portuguese for truck). 

He has turned out to be a very good traveller, with trips to Portugal and San Francisco under his little belt already.  During our trip to SF, we were pretty nomadic; not staying in the same place for more than three nights, PLUS all of us were in the same room, and he did awesome.  His whole schedule was out of whack, but he stayed pretty happy the whole time.

He loves Elise and they are so sweet together.  Of course they have their moments, but their adoration of each other is very obvious.  The other day I went into Elise's room to find them both lying on her bed, giggling at who knows what.  Love it.

In my humble opinion, he is Mama's little man, but he also LOVES his Papa.  He asks every morning when he wakes up, "Papa go work?" and is always sad when I answer yes.  When Fred comes home from work, Mattias lets out the sweetest little "happy shrieks".

There is so much more I could write about the littlest man to ever steal my heart, but I can't do him justice.  In his two years on this earth, he has brought so much joy to my heart.  When he naps in the afternoon, I am actually excited to get him up, because I have missed him.

His smile is contagious, his laughter infectious and I love him so much it takes my breath away.