Monday, November 14, 2016


***This is a re-post of a blog I wrote 4 years ago.  It's just as true today as it was then.

This is my daughter, Elise.  She is 9 years old. She loves to play soccer.  Paint and draw.  Read.  She loves to dance and sing.  Making her little brothers laugh. The colour green.  Roller-coasters and waterslides.  This Halloween she dressed up as Hermoine from Harry Potter.  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 8 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 119 years later.  Not just the life of my daughter, but the lives of 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.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Hey Jealousy

A few days ago, some friends of ours had to take their 3 year old son into the local children's hospital because of seizures.  Fred was away camping with Elise, so I kept up with their situation using his facebook.  At some point, she posted about how she was feeling jealous of everyone's "ordinary weekend".

Hey Jealousy... I remember you well.

Because it wasn't long ago that I couldn't take Elise out to eat, or be at a birthday party, or on a playdate with friends, without having to suppress a terrible rage that threatened to bubble out of me when I saw how easy it was for other people.

Jealous of toddlers that could eat whenever, wherever.

Jealous of not having to check blood sugars.

Jealous of kids who could "graze".

Jealous of Moms who could just leave the house with a purse or diaper bag.

Jealous of not having to wait due to a high BG.

Jealous of forcing my kids to take a time out to eat because of a low.

So much jealousy.

So when I saw her post, I felt a pang in my heart.  I remember yearning for "normal", and "ordinary" so badly that tears would spring to my eyes every time.

I wasn't mad at the "normals", I was sad for me and my daughter.

Then I realized that jealousy is not really a burden I carry anymore.  I will admit, when diabetes is being a jerk, a lot of those feelings come roaring back.  Especially when I'm in a group situation, and life for everyone else is just flowing along while I'm in a corner, trying to tame an ugly beast.

But in the day-to-day, diabetes is just a part of our routine; check, bolus, repeat.  With a pump change, dex change and an occasional shot.  It's a dance and we've figured out the rhythm pretty well.  But I'm curious as to when jealousy decided to slink off into the night.  Whenever it was, I'm glad he's gone.

This weekend, I've had a taste of ordinary.  Fred and Elise were away camping from Friday until Sunday, and in that time the boys and I ate our way through soccer snacks, post-game slushes, a pumpkin carving party, and plenty of eating out.  

And nary a blood sugar check or bolus was seen.

It was so extraordinarily ordinary.  So normal.

So freaking easy.

But even if it is, missing her, is so very NOT easy.  

And I'm glad she's back... blood sugars, boluses and all.

Monday, September 26, 2016

FFL 2016... Bullet-pointed for your Pleasure

Friends For Life 2016 has come and gone, and strangely enough, my suitcases aren't putting themselves away (okay, they are now... two months later).  So, in true procrastinator fashion, I'm going to write my FFL run-down instead of dealing with said suitcases. As always, bullet-pointed... because that's all my brain can handle:

  • There's nothing like waking up at 6:00 AM, after getting very little sleep due to some wicked storms that lasted all night, and finding out your flight leaves a whole hour earlier than you thought.
  • I also love racing to the airport, only to sit on the plane for 90 minutes at the gate.  Because they were waiting for catering. 

  • Florida in summer is truly the third circle of hell.  But that's okay, Texas is the fourth circle, so I'm kind of used to it.  Also, POOOOOOOOOL!

  • Nothing like watching fireworks from the pool.
  • One very interesting take-away I heard in not one, but two sessions, is that the biggest determinant of a1c is the amount of support the person with type 1 has.  Not technology, not diet, not type of insulin... but support.  I don't know why that made my head explode (in a good way), but it makes so much sense.
  • So someone start building that commune, already!

  • Ed Damiano gave the opening keynote speech, and what can I say?  He and the whole Go Bionic team are amazing.  And I love seeing Elise's pic up there on his slides.

  • Faster!

  • I also had so much fun seeing these girls again... I had forgotten how much we laugh together.

  • So one of my bestie FFLs couldn't make it this year, so I went around and took selfies (and if you know me, I am NOT a selfie person), with some of her favourite people.  And proceeded to  probably annoy the crap out of  her by texting every last one of them to her.  

  • Also, Joe Solo smells good.  #sniffjoe

  • We got to see our friends whose oldest daughter went to school with Elise for two years.  They then moved away to another state, and their youngest (same age as Lucas) was dx'd at Christmas.  So glad they made the trek to FFL!

  • The banquet was Wizard-themed this year... lots of fun props to play with!

  • Collect all the stuff

  • George Canyon played a few songs during the dinner... he's T1, Canadian, and he sang a song about farts!  Triple crown! Seriously, I am so thankful for the prominent people with T1 that come out to FFL.  I love that our kids have some great role-models out there.

  • Besties

  • And can I just say how amazing the childcare/elementary programs are?  My kiddos love going to their groups.  And this girl, S... Mattias loves her.  When they were saying goodbye, he didn't want to let go.
  • Speaking of Mattias... do you know what's awesome?  Your 5 year old throwing up multiple times during the night.   Having housekeeping come at 1:30 AM to change a vomit-covered bed was the part of my life I didn't know was missing.  Thankfully, it was right before we went home and only lasted for 12 hours. 

  • Whoever thought up Sports Central is awesome.  We loved hanging with Bill and Betsy, and playing soccer until they shut us down.  

  • And just in case anyone asks, we most certainly did NOT have our three year old fall asleep on the floor in the corner of the soccer field. Okay, maybe we did.

  • If you're on the fence about FFL, and you have a way to make it happen, I encourage you to go.  Just go.  You have no idea the information, love, support, and new friends that await you. It not only helps Elise to feel "normal", but I think is great at teaching empathy to her brothers. It has taught me how to "roll" with diabetes better, and to really understand that this disease is not a "one-size-fits-all" kind of thing. I love hearing everyone else's perspective.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Team Elise... walking this weekend

See that adorable face?  That was Elise on the day she was diagnosed.  Over 8 years ago.  Fast forward to this:

This Saturday, this cute face, along with 150+ others, will walk in the JDRF One Walk in Dallas for Team Elise.  If you live in the area and want to join us, just go to and click "Join".

If you don't live in the area, but would like to support Team Elise, you can do so by following the above instructions which will take you to the JDRF fundraising page.

Go Team Elise!

Monday, August 22, 2016

She's Perfect

A few  days (weeks, months... I'm not entirely sure) ago, I was watching the Friends episode where Chandler and Monica are trying to find a sperm donor.  The unsuspecting mark is John Stamos (well, some dude whose name I can't remember, played by John Stamos) who thinks he's just there for dinner.

Monica and Chandler start bombarding him with bizarre questions about his health and family history, and I was all smiles and chuckles until Monica piped up with, "Do you have a history of diabetes in your family?"

And that's when it hit me.  I mean, I guess it has hit me before, but in bits and pieces.  But this time it struck me full force in the face... the world views my child as damaged, or less than.


I know there are people out there who see diabetes as a liability.  I've had at least one mom tell me flat out that she didn't feel comfortable driving Elise to or from a sporting event.  I've witnessed her get left out of birthday parties that included sleepovers.  Another Mom confided in me that having Elise over for a play date makes her nervous.

But I also wonder what judgments await her down the road?  Will diabetes be responsible for her not making a team?  When she turns 25 and starts dating will potential partners hear diabetes and head for the hills?

Elise herself has told me she's not entirely sure she should have kids because she doesn't want to give them diabetes.

Sad things to think about when you're 8.

In fact, Elise told me a story about a boy who told her she couldn't play soccer with them at recess because "she has diabetes".  

Cue blood boiling.

But here's where I see hope.  Because a little boy in her class turned to the soccer-bully and told him, "you can't talk to her that way."  Side note - I really like this kid. Between you and I?  She should totally marry him. You know, after she turns 30.

Sometimes the kids get it though.  Better than we adults.  One of my favourite stories is about a little boy in Elise's kindergarten class who was sweet on her.  R's mom told me that she overheard him say to his Grandma, "I think I'm in love... Nana, you should see her!  She has diabetes and even wears a pump... she's beautiful and she's perfect!"

A little 5 year-old who gets it.

He's right.

She's perfect.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Diabetes Hit and Run

These are your child's diabetes supplies:

These are your child's diabetes supplies after they've been run over by your friend's car:

Any questions?

***Don't worry... said friend replaced all items (that he could) within 24 hours.  Even the iPhone. And miraculously, both the PDM and CGM survived the squishing, although I don't know how. Even better?  The friendship survived the Great Diabetes Bag Crushing of 2016.

Friday, July 29, 2016

And then... Diabetes

Today has been one of those days.  Admittedly, it's only halfway over, but I am all the way done.

Today has sent one of my children into tears anytime you talk to them.  Crying because they have to sit on the toilet, eat breakfast, sit at the table, wear shoes (or anything on their feet).  Crying because they are not allowed to wear pyjamas out to run errands, the dog is in their way, and it's too hot out.

So. Much. Crying.

Today it took almost 60 minutes to leave to house.  Because of wardrobe issues, foot ware issues, having to poop/not being able to poop x 2 (kids, not me), and our dog going missing.  Turns out she was locked in the office, and hadn't run away into the back field like I thought she had.

Today was supposed to be a day of running errands to three different stores, but we only made it to two, because I might have been a little afraid that I would leave my children at the last stop... accidentally on purpose.

Today one of my children decided to wear shoes that were too small (despite being warned), and ended up with ginourmous, painful blisters on their feet. This necessitated said child having to ride on the side of the cart, which resulted in said child knocking a bunch of salad dressing bottles to the floor as we were trying to pass another cart.

Of course, because today was today... the plastic bottles broke and ranch splattered everywhere. Much like my hopes for today getting any better.  Clean up on aisle 8, please.

Today the store was out of milk.  And Orange juice.  Meaning I'll have to go back at some point.

And the child in the second paragraph?  Still crying.

And it's times like these that diabetes always decides to be a jerk.  It's never when I'm sitting on the sofa with my feet up, noshing on some bon bons (she said, sarcastically).  

Nope, diabetes seems to like to poke it's head in when I'm losing my proverbial shit.

Because today, a dexcom sensor was ripped off as Elise was getting dressed.  A three-day old sensor.

Being blind during the warm-up period, we didn't know she was going high.  Because of Nightscout, I had my raw data, and it was telling me she was running in the high 100s (normal after breakfast). The 2-hour check put her closer to 300. So we corrected off that number.

That correction plummeted her to 40. She was barely coherent. It took her 30 minutes to get better.

As an aside: I'm pretty sure meter accuracy is the culprit on this one. Even though the strips are testing in range with the control solution (albeit, on the higher end), every 5 strips or so, we notice a huge discrepancy between the meter and dex.  Today, we checked twice (to calibrate dex), and both numbers were around the same. 

So I'm deciding to to send today to time out.  Along with my children.  Because I've got some bon bons to eat.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Just Don't Say Nothing

This past FFL was a hard one to go to.  Two years ago, I was 15 weeks pregnant with my fourth child.  Two weeks after I came home from the conference, I lost the baby.  The Marriott is full of bittersweet memories.

As I was on my way to one session, I passed a seating area that I remembered from two years ago.  There I had sat, flanked by two of my wonderful FFLs, talking with Joe Solo.  I was feeling so tired.  But so happy.  I could feel my baby kicking, and it was wonderful.

This Thursday marks the two year anniversary of the day Nicolas was born still.  And much like most sad anniversaries, diaversaries included, it will pass largely unnoticed.

This post really isn't directed towards those living with D, but those of you who knows someone who does.

Anyone who has had something sad or bad happen to them, knows that most people don't know how to respond.  As the "anyone" in the last sentence, let me give you this nugget of wisdom:

Just Don't Say Nothing.

Even if the diagnosis was years ago, they still might need your words.

Sometimes when they're living in the mundane, everyday of their life, they need to know that someone is thinking of them, and caring about their struggles.

They need to be seen.

I'll never forget the time I was out at a restaurant with Elise when she was a baby.  I had checked her BG, given her a shot and fed her.  Towards the end of the meal, an older gentleman came up to me and said, "I think you're doing a wonderful job, mom."

Oh. My. Gosh.  The tears.  He saw me.  There I was, just doing what had become routine (a very crappy routine), and he saw me.

And Said Something.

After I admit that I've been struggling, people often ask me, "why didn't you say anything?"

My answer is this; sometimes, you are too busy drowning to scream.  When you're drowning, it takes every ounce of what you have to just keep your head above the water.  You don't have the energy to scream.  You need those who are around you to look up and take notice.

You need to be seen.

While I was at the conference, a friend mentioned my blog, and talked about Nicolas.  And you know what?  Mentioning Nicolas didn't make me sad.  I'm already sad.  My heart already hurts.  Speaking his name cannot break my heart anymore than it already is.

No, talking about Nicolas brought me joy.  Because someone remembered him.  My friend "saw" him. And by doing so, saw me.

Just Don't Say Nothing.

I've also experienced the opposite; friends that are completely tuned out.  And their silence speaks volumes.  

If you know someone with diabetes, or who has a child with diabetes, or a spouse with diabetes, or is dealing with some type of heartache:

Tell them you see them.

Tell them you love them.

Let them know they're doing a good job.

Just Don't Say Nothing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Miss In-D-pendent

One of the things I love about going to Friends For Life (post-conference wrap-up to be posted soon... I hope), is how it not only renews my energy and hope, but it also gives Elise a boost in self-confidence in taking control of her own care.

She's shown signs of this pre-conference; not having to be asked to check her BG before a meal, entering the carbs and bolusing herself, and even helping me to count the carbs. Gone are the days of total dependence.

Sure there were slip ups... like the time she was bolusing herself for her lunch, and she somehow pressed the up arrow on the amount of insulin to be bolused, and received double the insulin she was supposed to get.  The only reason I caught this was because after she finished eating, dex was showing double arrows down. Which led me to investigate what had happened on her PDM.

It took a few minutes of blinking stupidly at the PDM, but I eventually figured out the error and bonus carbs were dispensed.

Have I mentioned how awesome the dex is lately?  No?  I apologize... thank you Dexcom for helping me to keep my daughter safe.  You rock.

Anyway, Elise arrived home from FFL and let me know she wanted to be "more mature in taking care of herself" (yes, those words exactly).  

She decided she wanted to wear my old Pebble watch, so she could keep an eye on her numbers.

She told me she wanted to make food choices that weren't so hard on her blood sugar.

And, unbeknownst to me, she wanted to start doing all the checking, bolusing, and carb counting without any adult supervision.  Oy.

Because of the aforementioned slip-up, we had talked about needing to show me her PDM before she bolused... not because I didn't trust her, but I just wanted to make sure all the numbers made sense.

Well, the other day, after we got back from FFL, the kids were attending their summer camp at the local pre-school.

Side note: This is the pre-school that all my kids have gone to.  They hold a two week summer camp for kids 2-5 years old.  Obviously, Elise does not fall into this category, but because her former teacher there runs the camp, Elise is always invited to attend the camp with her brothers as a helper. Our pre-school also rocks.

During camp, the kids eat a snack and their lunch.  I told Elise she needed to call me when she was going to eat, so we could decide on what to bolus.  The first day I got a text from her with her BG and the carb amount.  Nothing more.  I texted her back asking what her IOB was and what was bolused.  Silence.  So I texted her teacher, who got Elise to call me and let me know her bolus was 1.55 units for 26g of carbs.  Waaaaaaaay to much insulin. I then realized that the snack was early enough in the day that her breakfast ratio was the culprit. I told her to eat some glucose tabs and all was well.

Yes, that one was my fault.  I should have adjusted the time on her breakfast ratio, but I forgot. When she got home, I explained to Elise why it is so important to go over the numbers with me and that was that.

Until the other night.  She was at a friend's house when they decided to have a snack of baby carrots and ranch, without telling the mom.  They had eaten dinner only about 90 minutes earlier, so there was still IOB.  Elise took it upon herself to count the carbs and bolus herself.  

For 80g of carbs.  

She had 10 carrots.  She looked at the carb amount and the package said 8g. So Elise reasoned that if she had 8 carrots... 8 x 10 = 80.  

I guess it's time to have a lesson on serving sizes.  

Luckily, Elise also reasoned that she had enough IOB to cover the carrots, so she zeroed out the bolus and didn't give herself any insulin. Crisis averted, another discussion had. 

I realize this is a very long post, but lately I've been struggling with the "letting go and letting her".  I am all for kids being able to go out and learn from experience and making mistakes... it's just that there's a chance that if Elise makes a mistake and it's not caught, there could be dire consequences. 

Like I've said before, "it's a dance, and I'm doing my best to teach her the steps."

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Back to Reality

Re-entry into the real world is hard, yo.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Friday, July 1, 2016

Happy 149th Birthday Canada!

It all started with a simple picture of my 10 month old daughter holding a Canadian flag.  Now 8 years later, all 3 of my kids proudly wave the maple leaf on Canada Day. 

Tell me what’s a Douglas Fir 

Betcha never heard a bobcat purr

Have you ever seen a lobster crawl?

In Canada, we get to see them all.

We get to see the maple trees, maple sugar and the maple leaves,
We got the biggest wheat fields growing tall

In C-A-N-A-D-A, where we see the reversing falls
In Canada, we get to see them all.

Tell me, what’s a tidal bore,

Have you ever heard the ocean roar?

Just listen to that wild goose call.

In Canada, we get to see them all

We get to see the maple trees, maple sugar and the maple leaves,
We got the biggest timber woods so tall 
In C-A-N-A-D-A, where adventure ever calls,
In Canada, we get to see them all.

Have you ever heard a maple creak?

Betcha never seen a mountain peak.

In the land of the big snowball.

In Canada, we get to see them all.

We get to see the maple trees, maple sugar and the maple leaves,

We got the biggest wheat fields growing tall

In C-A-N-A-D-A, where we see the reversing falls,
In Canada, we get to see them all.

Have you ever seen a magnetic hill?

Or a lady on a dollar bill?

Betcha never seen the autumn fall.

We get to see the maple trees, maple sugar and the maple leaves,
We got the biggest timber woods so tall 
In C-A-N-A-D-A, where adventure ever calls,
In Canada, we get to see them all.

*Lyrics from the song C-A-N-A-D-A by Raffi

Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian peeps out there.