Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Premier of D-Feast Friday!

To kick off my participation in D-Feast Fridays, I am going with a meal idea that I’ve recently blogged about, mainly because it is something I’ve recently photographed.  It’s nothing difficult or extravagant, but what it lacks in sophistication it makes up for in visual appeal and healthfulness.  So here’s my first contribution to D-Feast Fridays!  Next week I’ll tackle something a little more involved.

Veggie Kabobs

-An assortment of your choosing of various pretty, fresh vegetables like zucchini, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers (all colours), red onion, mushrooms, egg plant, etc.  Be brave.  Try different veggies!
-olive oil
-salt & pepper

Cube or slice your vegetables but not too small.  Cut your zucchini to about 3/4” thickness.  Cut your onion and break up the layers so that each piece is approximately 1 1/2 to 2” square.  Chunk your bell peppers to be relatively the same size as the onion.  Cube up your eggplant to about 1 1/2 to 2” cubes.  Of course, the mushrooms (provided they are button size) and cherry tomatoes need no slicing.  

Now comes the fun part.  I get my kids involved in this step.  They love it!  Start skewering your lovely chunked veggies on metal or pre-soaked bamboo skewers.  Mix 'em up.  Encourage your kids to create patterns!  Just leave an couple of inches at the end to avoid the veggies slipping off on the grill.  Then lay all your loaded skewers on a large cookie sheet.  Brush them with olive oil and sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper over them to taste.  I’ve even been known to go with Mrs. Dash or just my own blend of herbs and spices like garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, etc.

Preheat your grill and place your skewers on.  I find it takes no longer than about 6 to 8 minutes on the grill with a few turns to grill evenly.  You’ll find the tomatoes will crack open but as long as you are
gentle with them they should hold on to most of the juicy, sweet goodness inside.

I serve these over brown rice or you could even do a risotto!  You can keep it vegetarian or do up some chicken skewers to go with.

I don’t count any carbs for these beauties.  Only the accompanying starch is what I bolus Jenna for.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Feeling Different

We went to the beach the other day.  It was a beautiful, sun-drenched day of beachy fun, sand castles, splashing in the surf, running on the sand and hunting for the elusive (and hideous) geoduck, (pronounced “gooey duck”).

I packed a cooler with fresh summer fruits, individual serving sized packs of crackers, cheese, raw veggies and cold water.  No sandwiches, no salads, just grab-and-go type snacks.  Jenna enjoyed spot-on blood sugars in spite of being disconnected for a good portion of the time.  I would just connect her long enough to give her a bolus for whatever carbs she consumed then promptly disconnect her, slip her pump back into the cooler (to keep the insulin happy and hidden from the hot sun) and send her off to run and play once more.

Watching Jenna play in the sand and surf with no pump strapped around her waist put a smile on my face.  I know she enjoys being free of it, if just for a little while.  Only the presence of her infusion site over her right deltoid told the tale of a child with more going on than the average 4 year old.

We had a blast.  But during the drive home,  Jenna shared an experience she had while she and her sister were off playing with several other beach-going kids.  She became mildly upset as she explained to me that other kids were asking her what “that thing” was, referring to her infusion site.  I asked her if she taught them something about diabetes and she said she didn’t tell them anything because she didn’t like having something different than everyone else.  She punctuated our conversation by saying “I wish I didn’t have diabetes”.

You can imagine what this did to my heart.  I couldn’t help wondering if this was but a taste of what the next 15 years holds.

I told her that if she wants we could be sure her site is hidden the next time we go to the beach.  She shook her head, then turned her scowling face toward the window, quivering chin and all.  I knew that, for now at least, she didn’t want to discuss this any further.

It made me think of how wonderful it will be for her when she attends any event where type 1 diabetics of all ages convene.  She needs to feel like she’s not alone.  She needs to meet people in real life that have diabetes like she does.  I fully intend to sign us up for a family diabetes camp next year.  This year I tried but the camp filled quickly and we were unable to secure a spot.  But next year I’m all over it, come hell or high water.   If I’m not the first one reserving a spot I’ll be surprised.  That’s how badly I want this for her - for us.

But this summer will end with a fabulous bang when we attend the CWD - FFL Conference in Vancouver!  As a family we are excited about this event.  But individually, our reasons for being excited are varied.

Jenna asked me if they’ll have a bouncy castle there like at the JDRF Walk To Cure Diabetes.  I told her I’m not sure but I bet the hotel will have a pool.  Her eyes widened to saucer proportions and her hands clapped together excitedly.

That’s all she needed to hear.  She’s in.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Right to Affordable Health Care

Diabetes is a disease that has left my child reliant on insulin in order survive.  In addition to insulin, there is a plethora of other medical paraphernalia required to monitor her condition every day to keep her healthy and safe from harm, all of which cost money. 

As Jenna’s Mom, I have imagined every hypothetical, rational scenario (and a few irrational ones too) that would lead to a situation in which I would be unable to obtain the life-sustaining insulin and supplies my child needs:  natural disasters, stranded on a deserted island, melting of the polar ice caps causing global flooding and all the pharmaceutical manufacturers along with it rendering them unable to churn out our precious insulin, The Rapture... I’ve envisioned them all.  But as a Canadian, financial hardship is one scenario that isn’t that much in the forefront for us because we have a government funded health care system. 
Imagine not being able to afford the insulin you or your child needs to live.  Or the syringes to administer that insulin.  Or the blood glucose test strips to determine how much insulin or food he requires.  Or the hospital bill for that 2 day stay in PICU after an unfortunate and frightening dance with DKA.  It’s the kind of scenario one would picture in relation to some third world country, which doesn’t make it any less tragic.  But what makes it so utterly inexcusable is that it is happening to people right next door in one of the richest countries in the world.  
Our system in Canada is far from perfect.  In fact, there are those who could find plenty wrong with it.  But as a rule no one need go without necessary care and medication just because they are unable to afford it.  So it’s hard for me to wrap my head around anything less.
Every human being should have access to health care no matter what their economic situation is or what geopolitical boundaries they are defined by.  And furthermore, no one should be forced into financial ruin to sustain the life of a family member stricken by disease.  It’s hard enough to deal with managing chronic illness day after day.  To then pile on the financial burden that goes along with it for some is adding insult to injury in a very literal sense.  
I have recently become friends with another D-Mom (thanks to the D-OC.)  She fights the “D” every day for her beautiful son, just as we all do for our children.  She has started a petition.  It is a push to set up a  “Diabetes Life Net” to make insulin and other diabetes supplies accessible for people with limited financial resources.   
Please take the time to read her petition and sign it if you agree.  

And really, how can you not?