Monday, November 22, 2010

DAM -n- NaBloPoMo Day 22 - Can't. Keep. Up.

I have to admit that this month’s "DAM –n- NaBloPoMo" has been a challenge for me. From the standpoint of finding something about diabetes to write about each day…well, that’s not that hard when you think about it as much as I do, just as every caretaker of a “special needs” child thinks about “it” for a good chunk of the day. Most of the time D hovers in the background of my consciousness until an alarm (either my watch, or my phone, or my Mommy alarm) goes off and something needs to be tended to.

But, making myself think about it when I don’t “need” to think about it…that’s been a little more challenging. This month, D has helped itself to the forefront of my consciousness more often throughout the day than I care for. “What, oh, what shall I write about today? Oh, yeah, D! Of course!” And, honestly, it can be a little depressing. So, I’ve missed a couple of days already, and I’ve back-dated a couple of posts trying to keep up. But, I figure that happens to newbies their first time around. Right?

But, what I really can’t keep up with is EVERYONE ELSE’S BLOGS! There are so many fabulous folks out there participating in NaBloPoMo, whether DAM-related or not, that I love to read, who don’t usually post EVERY day, and now they are. And, I just don’t have the time read them all! Darn!

But, (and, yes, I am aware that I’m not supposed to start three paragraphs in a row with “but”, but I’m doing it anyway), we’ve got a long holiday weekend coming up. Hubby does all of the Thanksgiving cooking (aren’t you jealous?), and we’ve got a relatively small crowd coming for dinner. So maybe, just maybe, after cleaning the entire house top-to-bottom (with the help of my lovely friend, S), I can take a day and catch up with all of my lovely blog friends (including S who has two blogs!). I promise to leave comments!

And, while I’m on the topic of posting every day, I have to just say I am completely in awe of my friend, Grace, who took on the challenge of writing and posting one Haiku every day for the entire year of 2010 on her blog, My Year In Haiku. I don’t think she has missed a single day, and every day is a treasure of words and fabulous photos. You really have to check her out. And, leave a comment!

And, (there I go again), I will do my very best to catch up with EVERYONE in My Blog World this week! It's been lonely without you all!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

DAM -n- NaBloPoMo Day 21 - No Pudding For You!

I felt like The Soup Nazi from Seinfeld. Isn't it adorable? And, no, you can't eat it right now!

We do our best to let T-Bear eat “like other kids” as much of the time as possible, at the same time keeping fairly healthy and balanced foods in the house so there are healthier foods to choose from. But, sometimes, you’re just not in a position, as a D-Parent, to channel “carb moderation” in your diabetic child’s direction, and today was one of those times.

Birthday parties. I feel every D-Parent out there cringing. I know you slap on your game face and support your child in their child-ness, and do your best at birthday parties. And, I also know how challenging they can be.

So, birthday party. Pizza. And cake. And ice cream. And soda (no diet!). And goldfish. And pudding! It was a D-Parent’s carb overload nightmare. The perfect storm of “spike carbs” and “difficult carbs”, and so many of them all at once. It’s hard to be a kid with diabetes at a moment like that. Especially when you have to wait to eat, when all the other kids are digging in. Whenever they want. And I hate that I have to be the “Mean D-Mommy” and not let T-Bear dig in to his heart’s content.

Because the invitation said “cake and ice cream and play” and was at 2:00, I assumed a “dessert-based” party. My bad. I should have asked when I RSVP’d, but I hate coming off as the over-protective, overly-controlling mom of a “special needs” kid, and I’m willing to punt when necessary. So, I fed everybody before we went to the party.

And walked into a pile of pizzas. Ooops. So, while BroBear immediately grabs a plate and digs in (after woofing down two sandwiches and a bowl of soup at home because he’s gearing up for yet ANOTHER growth spurt!), T-Bear has to wait another hour to test. And, he’s so patient, it breaks my heart. Puberty is really going to suck for him.

So, by the time T-Bear was good to test again, and was ready to eat, it was time for cake and ice cream. He was high (205). Really NOT a good time for pizza and a big dose of sugar. So,I limit him to one slice of pizza (he wanted two). Plus cake. And ice cream. NO soda. And NO pudding. And, still, 13.5 u of insulin. That’s just so much to be injected into his little butt at once. And, he sucked down his 90+ estimate carbs in about 10 minutes. And, really, I was just guestimating the carbs to come up with his insulin dose. Which always makes me a wee bit nervous. Okay, makes me really nervous, because my son’s life is ENTIRELY in my hands at moments like these.

But, I slapped on my game face. I was as subtle as possible when I had T-Bear test his BG. And when I counted up carbs and estimated a dose. And drew it (needles tend to make some folks a little uncomfortable). And made sure T-Bear closed the powder room door entirely before pulling down his pants to give himself his insulin injection (after all, there were girls around).

The kids had a great time, and so did the parents. Despite my own “behind the scenes drama”, I gotta give total heart-felt kudos to today’s hostess/mom for pulling off the most relaxed, low-key, enjoyable kids’ birthday party I’ve been to since….well, probably ever. Which is probably why T-Bear’s BG was a very rockin’ 161 at dinner time, instead of the 300+ it would have been if he’d been overstimulated and/or stressed during the party (which he usually is). Woohoo! Thank you, Mama A!

And, the adorable little pudding cup the girls made was T-Bear’s bed-time snack. A nice balance of carbs, protein, and fat.

Shoot. How many carbs do you suppose are in that?!?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

DAM -n- NaBloPoMo Day 20 - A Bit Worse For The Wear

Rufus has been through quite a bit since he was adopted by our family a year and a half ago. Just take a look to the right to get an idea of how clean and fluffy and unruffled he originally was when he showed up at the hospital to keep T-Bear company after his diagnosis.

Since then he's been washed several times, been lost a few times (but always found again, obviously), and has been on a number of family trips and camping (including our Tour of America last summer). His little white shirt, I am certain, will never be white again, the "JDRF" logo is permanently faded off, and he's got a ridge under his chin where T-Bear tucks his forearm to carry him around.
But, Rufus is still around. He still accompanies us when we go places, still shows up here and there around the house, and still sleeps with T-Bear at night. He's a little worse for the wear, but he's still hanging in there.
Some days, I feel kind of like Rufus.

Friday, November 19, 2010

DAM -n- NaBloPoMo Day 19 - No Prescription

There is no prescription for managing Type 1 Diabetes.

Well, that’s not entirely accurate. There are a lot of prescriptions that need to be filled to help manage diabetes. When T-Bear was first diagnosed, we paid $250 just in co-pays to fill every prescription on the prescription order. It was a lot of stuff.

But, there’s no prescription that says “Take one pill three times a day, preferably with meals.” Or even, “Give 6 u of Insulin A with each meal and 11 u of Insulin B at bedtime.” Its way more complicated than that. There are carb-to-insulin ratios, which can differ from meal to meal, and there are corrections factors than differ depending on the time of day, and these formulas are often adjusted from week to week. Then there's the basal inslin, which can also change from week to week. And then there are the “other” factors that affect blood sugar, like exercise and stress and growth and heat and whether or not it’s raining (I just threw that one in to see if you were paying attention). And how long, exactly, does insulin stay in your system, and do you do an IOB adjustment only for corrections, or for boluses as well? Because if you get the calculations wrong, it could be disastrous.

Meri at Our Diabetic Life spelled it all out for us recently, taking us all through ONE bolus calculation for ONE of her sons with Type 1, with the help of a smart pump. Go check it out and decide for yourself how "close" your bolus calculation would be to what was needed.

Every Type 3 Diabetic wishes for two things. 1) A cure. 2) That managing our loved one’s blood sugar, keeping diabetes under control, and staving off complications were as simple as “Take one pill three times a day, preferably with meals.”

If only it were that simple.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

DAM -n- NaBloPoMo Day 18 - Type 3

I'd never heard the term "Type 3 Diabetic" before, but that's me, and Papa Bear, and BroBear, and BooBooBear. And every D-Mom and D-Dad out there. We are all there. Every day. Every hour. With only the slightest glimmer of hope that it will end anytime in our lifetimes.

Yeah, The Georges made me cry. But, I think my friends are getting used to that.

Check out NinjaBetic. I think you'll like him.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

DAM -n- NaBloPoMo Day 17 - Take Me Instead

Dear Diabetes,

On May 13, 2009 you made your presence known to my family. You’d been sneaking about, lurking in silence and shadow inside my son’s body for … I don’t know how long …. doing your evil and trying to kill him. The day you made your brazen announcement was one of the worst days of my life, and of our family’s life.

I want you to leave my son alone. If you have to have a hostage, take me instead. Leave my son’s body and come snuggle into mine. I’ll do all of the finger pricks on myself every day for the rest of my life. I’ll do all of the injections on myself every day until you kill me. I’ll go to the endocrinologist every quarter, and to the eye doctor every year, waiting for them to tell me that the complications have begun. That I’m beginning to go blind. That my kidneys are beginning to fail and I will have to go on dialysis treatments. That the sore on my big toe from when I stubbed it is never going to heal and they have to cut it off.

If you have to pick on someone, then pick on me. ‘Cause I can take it. If you have to take someone, then take me.

Just leave my son alone.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

DAM -n- NoBloPoMo Day 13 - Another Video

Can't talk about this video without getting all sappy and crying, and y'all know how much I dislike that. So, I'll just show you the video.

Thank you, Lorraine.

Friday, November 12, 2010

DAM -n- NoBloPoMo Day 12 - So Close

We're close! We've got 91,000 views, and only need to get to 100,000 for the full $75K to be donated. And we only have 2 days left!

So, if you haven't already watched it, then click and do it now. Right now! Hurry! Shooo! Off you go, now!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

DAM -n- NoBloPoMo Day 11 - No Words

Okay, maybe only one word. "High".

Okay, may be only two words. "High", and "Damn".

If only I were a real pancreas.

And he never blames me. Ever.

It breaks my heart. Every time.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

DAM -n- NoBloPoMo Day 10 - Clocks

Time Changes. Bugger.

Yeah, I know the time change was four days ago, but I’ve been dealing with it each day since then.

I hate these twice-a-year time changes that are supposed to increase productivity. Even in the autumn when we’re supposed to “fall back” and get an “extra hour of sleep.” It just ain’t worth it to me. Why? Because T-Bear’s biological clock does not reset itself just because I run around resetting all of the clocks in the house. T-Bear’s biological clock does not recognize the difference between Eastern Standard Time and Daylight Savings Time, so twice a year I have to bruise my brain figuring out how to adjust his Lantus dose.

You see, his Lantus is supposed to be given within the same 15 minute window of time each evening. If you give it too early, you get an overlap and might get an unexpected low in the middle of the night. If you give it too late, you get a gap and might get an unexpected high in the middle of the night.

So, I have TWO alarms set to go off to remind me to draw his Lantus dose and have him take it at 7:00 pm. At PRECISELY 7:00 pm every night. But, suddenly, on Sunday last, my alarms were telling me it was 7:00 pm, but T-Bear’s body was telling him it was 6:00 pm. Inconvenient.

Sunday it’s 7:00 pm Clock Time, and 6:00 pm T-Bear Time. I can’t vary his Lantus dose time by more than 15 minutes, so I give it at 6:15. On Monday, I give it at 6:30 pm. On Tuesday, I give it at 6:45 pm. On Wednesday (TODAY!), we’re back to giving Lantus at 7:00 pm.

At least for the next six months. You can imagine what a nightmare this was when we were jumping a time zone every day or so on our trip this summer.

Curse you, Benjamin Franklin, for even suggesting this nepharious scheme! (Not really, because I totally adore Ben).

I take my hats off to all those D-folks on pumps and CGM’s who have to try to tell their equipment about this little “adjustment”, and accordingly fix all of the settings and segments and ratios accordingly. Tech-supported D-management is way more complicated than MDI management. It must take weeks to make the adjustment. May the force be with you all.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

DAM -n- NoBloPoMo Day 9 - Nutrition Lables

Three different flavors of popcorn. One nutritional label. Because, apparently, plain 'ol popcorn, cheese-flavored popcorn, and carmel-covered popcorn all have the same carb count. 21 g for 1.25 c of popcorn. Right?

Or, maybe it's an average?

Any ideas?

Monday, November 8, 2010

DAM -n- NoBloPoMo Day 8 - Not Funny

Dear Onion Editors,

It’s not funny. Not even remotely. Children dying, under any circumstances, is just not funny. The death of a child is an incredible tragedy, every time, and should not be made light of. It should not be used as the punchline of a joke. It should not be used to poke fun at a public figure who is working to increase awareness about a serious disease and give support to children who suffer from it.

Children being hacked to death with machetes in Rwanda. Children starving to death in Etheopia. Children dying of AIDs in Africa. Children being shot to death the cross fire of gang wars. Infants dying of SIDS in their sleep. Children dying in car accidents. Do you find humor in any of these deaths? Are they also a joking matter to you?

Type 1 Diabetes in an incurable life-threatening disease that requires constant vigilance to keep at bay. Those children who survive to adulthood face a lifetime of possible health complications including blindness, heart disease, kidney disease, amputations, and death. With the help and support of their families and communities, these kids battle for their lives every single day. Their dying, of any cause, even in jest, is not funny. Ever.

You should immediately remove the article and publish an apology. I don’t expect you will, but you should.


A Mom

Note: This is not the actual letter I sent to the Editors of The Onion. That one I won’t reprint here, because I was not very polite.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

DAM -n- NoBloPoMo Day 7 - Paint Job

I don't usually paint my nails. Not enough time, patience, inclination, etc. most of the time. But, for the month of November I will be sporting blue nails (the color of both Diabetes Awareness Month and World Diabetes Day) with red dots (you can probably figure out what those represent). Kinda clever, huh?

Are you sporting blue this month?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

DAM -n- NoBloPoMo Day 6 - SPIBelt Unzipped

This is T-Bear's SPIBelt, which is attached to his person each time he leaves the house.

The SPIBelt itself is a very cool little gizmo for folks who want to carry a few small items discretely, and is becoming popular among diabetes for carrying testing supplies and/or pumps.

T-Bear's SPIBelt containes:
* Freestyle glucose meter.
* Freestyle test strips.
* AccuCheck MultiClick lancet device.
* Alcohol wipes.
* Glocose tablets.

Everything you need for a carb-free outing.

Friday, November 5, 2010

DAM -n- NoBloPoMo Day 5 - Posting Frustration

No, not blog posting. Package posting.

I had several packages to post today. Eleven to be exact. One needed to be shipped FedX, and the other 10 by the postal service. All packages were sealed, labeled and ready to go this morning when I set off to post them. The one for FedX even had a pre-paid label, so I really just needed to drop it off.

It used to be you could go into a ship-it place and take your pick from all of the major carriers – FedX, UPS, DHL, the postal service, or whatever. They would even tell you when each option would arrive and which option was cheapest. Now, they’ve all gone specialized. The UPS store only ships UPS. FedX Office (formerly Kinko’s) only ships FedX. USPS, of course, will only do USPS. But, Office Depot is all wild and crazy and will actually do both UPS and the USPS. But I can’t find any place near me that does all of them. So, I had to make at least two stops to ship my packages. FedX wasn’t bad…at least once I found the place. Then I had a choice between Office Depot or the Post Office for the rest of my packages. I went with Office Depot, because they usually don’t have much of a line, and Post Office almost always does. Besides, the PO is another 10 minutes away.

I won’t make that mistake again.

I’m used to doing UPS at Office Depot, and kind of prefer it over the UPS store, simply because I can enter the shipping information in the computer myself, rather than write everything out by hand and then stand there while the clerk enters the same information into the computer (seems kind of inefficient to me). But, I wasn’t shipping UPS, I just needed postage slapped on each of my already-labeled packages.


I was told I had to enter all of the shipping information on all ten packages into the computer. Really? Just to get USPS postage? So, it took me ten minutes to enter all the shipping information into the computer. I was mildly irritated by this, but what the heck.

Then, the clerk had to take each package, weigh it, measure it, and answer at least 30 other questions on the computer about each package (nine of which were identical). Then print out a label. FOR A PACKAGE THAT WAS ALREADY LABELED. And get the little plastic sleeve to put the label into. This process took another 15 mintues. By now, I was more than mildly irritated.

Because my alarm went off. It had been 2 hours since T-Bear had tested his BG, and he needed to test again. He hadn’t eaten breakfast, and I was concerned about him dropping before I could get back home with lunch. I had timed my morning, I thought, so I could get the packages shipped and pick up lunch and be home in time for that 2-hour mark.

But, I was still standing there, waiting for the clerk to finish printing out labels FOR PACKAGES THAT WERE ALREADY LABELED so I could get postage applied and mail the damn things.

When the clerk took the first package on the stack, and opened the plastic sleeve, and slipped the label into it, and carefully sealed the sleeve, and carefully applied the plastic sleeve with the label in it to the back of the package – that would be the package THAT WAS ALREADY LABLED ON THE FRONT – I must have started turning purple thinking I would have to stand there and watch her do this to all ten packages before I could check out. So, when she asked if I would like her to check me out now, I probably had a bit of an edge to my voice as I responded, “YES. PLEASE.”

It took another five minutes to print out each bar-coded entry, then scan those entries into the cash register computer, then run the transaction, then print the receipt both for me and on the back of their documentation.

All so I could get postage on my little packages.

And, what does all of this have to do with diabetes, aside from my usual concerns that T-Bear’s BG may drop before I can feed him if my timing does not work out perfectly?

All of the packages, all 11, were diabetes related. The FedX package contained a three month supply of Pods that needed to be returned to Insulet because they – oops – sent us a shipment after I had told them we were no longer using their pump. For a second time. Since they only use FedX, they sent me a prepaid return label.

The other 10 were JDRF Walk t-shirts that we were sending to some of the folks who sponsored T-Bear in this year’s Walk.

Next time, I’ll just drive the extra 10 minutes, and stand in line for 10 minutes, to get postage slapped on my already-labeled packages.

Oh, and to add insult to injury, I pulled into a drive-through for some “fast food” trying to make up some lost time…and had to sit in the parking lot for 10 minutes waiting for my box of tacos.

I give up. At least for today.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

DAM -n- NaBloPoMo Day 4 - Our Diabetes Counter

This is the sideboard in our kitchen/dinnette area, where I keep everything we need for T-Bear's day-to-day D-care. Our "backup" supplies are in the pantry.

So, starting from the left, we've got:
* A mug for holding new syringes. Sort of like a pencil cup, I find it easier to grab one when they're all standing up.
* Our black D-bag which holds everything we need (except for the test kit) when we go anywhere.
* Poking out of the D-bag is the blue Poucho which holds and keeps the insulin cool during the hotter months. It's a pretty clever little gizmo, activated by water so you don't have to carry an ice pack around during the summer.
* Also barely poking out of the D-bag is the rocket (Inject-Ease device) that makes T-Bear's injections a bit less painful.
* Not poking out of the D-bag are alcohol wipes, glucose tablets, spare test strips, and spare lancets.
* T-bear's flame-colored SPIBelt that contains his testing supplies and glucose tablets.
* Log sheets and pen.
* Two vials of insulin in their protective cases (so they won't break when I drop them on the tile floor). Blue is Lantus, pink is Humalog.
*T-Bear's vitamins and supplements, and the fancy little glass we put them in.
* Spare test kit (the SPIBelt is often floating around the house).
* Calculator for adding up carbs and calculating doses.
* Empty milk jug for collecting used sharps.
* Nutrition scale for weighing foods and determining carbs.
So, that's about it. Everything we need to calculate and prep a dose of insulin as quickly and easily as possible. And, it's easy to load up the D-bag with whatever we need when we are heading out the door.
Where do you keep your D-stuff?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

DAM -n- NaBloPoMo Day 3 - Naked Diabetes

Most of us in the D-World don't really get detailed about how we manage D on a daily basis. But,
Reyna at Beta Buddies has issued the “Naked Pancreas Challenge”, and I’m stepping up. Here's the naked truth about how I manage T-Bear's D on a daily basis.

1. What kind of insulin management mode do you use? T-Bear does Multiple Daily Injections of fast-acting, combined with a daily basal insulin.
2. How often do you inject/change pump sites? He does 4 – 6 injections per day depending on how often he eats.
3. What type (s) of insulin do you use? Humalog and Lantus.
4. What are your basal settings ? 17 u Lantus at 7:00 pm.
5. What are your correction factors ? Full correction (with meals) is (BG-100)/40. Half correction (without meals and at bedtime snack) is (BG-100)/80. Bedtime correction with no snack is 1/4 normal correction with meals.
6. What are your meal ratios ? At the moment, all meals are 1:10 except bedtime snack which is 1:30. Gonna have to change that soon. Again.
7. What do you do for activity and/or PE? Being homeschoolers, our PE is playing outside, Park Day, or the WiiFit when the weather is not cooperating. Because T-Bear’s activity levels are pretty consistent from day to day, it’s pretty much incorporated into our current D-routine.
8. How do you manage Pizza, Macaroni and Cheese, or any other "difficult to manage" foods? Per instructions during our last endo appt, we give a normal bolus before the meal. Two hours after eating, retest and give ½ correction as needed.
9. How do you prefer to manage your logs/data? Write it out manually as we go. Transfer to a computer file and e-mail to the endo when we need to report or get adjustments. I find it really helps to have the times of each test and bolus listed, especially when trying to determine trends.

So, that's it. Pretty simple, eh? Not. It's all guess-work, guts, and input from the pros to keep T-Bear's A1c in line.

But, tomorrow is another day....and all these numbers will change...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

DAM -n- NaBloPoMo

Ain’t that a mouthful?

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. It’s also National Blog Posting Month. Sounds like a natural combination to me, as well as to many D-bloggers out there.

Yeah, I know I’ve been a slacker the past few months and haven’t been posting consistently. Honestly, our Tour of America kind of did me in…taking pictures, writing about and posting about EVERYTHING we did and saw, EVERY DAY kind of sucked out all my blogging juices. And, as hubby has pointed out, we apparently never made it home, since my last ToA post was about Tombstone, AZ. “The Town That Wouldn’t Die” was just about the death of our blog.

But, I’ve turned a new leaf. I am ready to take on the NaBloPoMo challenge – post on your blog every day for the entire month of November. And, like many D-mamas and D-papas out there, I’m doing it for a cause…Diabetes Awareness Month (DAM!). Every day in the month of November, I’m going to post SOMETHING about diabetes. I’m going to bore you to tears, endlessly droning on about diabetes and how much is sucks. Hopefully, sometimes, I’ll bring you to heart-felt tears, because tears are a big part of caring for a child with diabetes.

And, when I can’t come up with anything to say, I’ll just post a picture. Because every day is a series of pictures for me. T-Bear pricking his finger for a BG check. T-Bear waiting patiently to eat while his brothers can dig in whenever they want to. T-Bear holding his breath and puffing out his cheeks, steeling himself for the pain of that needle stabbing into him. Every day. Five or six times a day.

So, in the month of November, I’m going to post about diabetes every day.

Because…Diabetes IS Every Day.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Big Blue Test

Quick! Watch this video! Right now! Do it!

If you watched this video, you just bought a week's supply of life-saving insulin for a child who would not otherwise have it. Wasn't that easy?

I found out from D-Mom that November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and November 14th is World Diabetes Day. And, that Roche has committed to donate $75,000 to two organizations which provide insulin and diabetes education to those who need it, Life for a Child and Insulin for Life. But, the donation will be in proportion to the number of views the video receives. We need 100,000 views between today and November 14th for the full $75,000 donation to be made.

So, spread the video! Let's get insulin into the hands of kids who need it! Thanks!