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.