Saturday, September 25, 2010

Random Thoughts

“Dude.  Can I borrow your lid?"
  • I’m sitting with my girls as I type this.  We are colouring and cutting out dinosaurs, giraffes, and other assorted characters.  Each character is getting a popsicle stick taped to the back as well as a fashionable, custom made paper handbag (Jenna’s idea).  I’m guessing that a puppet show of sorts is in the works.  It’s times like this during parenthood that I anticipated with excitement long before I became a parent.      
  • Today the ice cream truck came cruising up our street.  Today— a day when Jenna has been spiking to high heaven and making ketones like a professional....ketone.......maker.  We don’t see an ice cream truck all blasted summer, then fall arrives— Jenna has the worst diabetes day she’s had in months and the ice cream truck appears.  Irony anyone?
  • On any given night I can be found, once or twice, between the hours of 10pm and 4am clutching a small, green flashlight between my teeth while I perform a blood glucose check on a sleeping Jenna.  It occurred to me that a miner’s hat would be a more appropriate illuminating device for this task.  Hands-free, you know?  I can’t help but laugh at the thought of strapping on a miner’s hat over my crazy bed-head, fresh out of dreamland.  Still, it would really make things easier.
  • I enjoy Autumn.  I’ve mentioned this before, I know.  But it’s worth repeating since today has been a delightfully cool and windy Autumn day, in spite of the blood sugar gremlins.  Colourful fallen leaves were dancing playfully in the streets and the sweet smell of bonfires laced the air.  J and I dropped our girls off at their morning art class then enjoyed a latte while we chatted and perused the aisles of books at our local Chapter’s.   It was an hour of calming bliss.
  • My dishwasher is making very strange sounds and I fear an expensive breakdown is imminent.   
Okay.  So that’s all the random thoughts I’m having at the moment.  I’m sure there are more but I’m being sent to the photocopier for the umpteenth time to make more paper characters.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend and maybe think in-range blood sugar thoughts for us, k?  Thanks.  

Friday, September 17, 2010

I Want A Cure.

Jenna’s bedtime reading was 2.2 tonight.  She had none of the typical symptoms.  It breaks her previous all time low of 2.3.

We gave her two carb tabs and I read to her a chapter from the book we’ve been reading before tucking her in and kissing her goodnight.  She was exhausted from a full week of school, swim lessons, gymnastics and play.  So exhausted, in fact, that when I checked her again 20 minutes later to ensure she was recovering and discovered she was still only 3.6, I could barely get her to eat another carb tablet, let alone the two that I would have preferred to put my mind at ease.  She wouldn’t even drink the usual few sips of water we always offer to help wash the sugar off her teeth after treatment!

I thought we had the whole pizza deal figured out.  I had attended Gary Scheiner’s talks at the CWD-FFL conference and had taken meticulous notes.  I reread the section in his book about how to deal with foods notorious for posing blood sugar problems.  Then not long after the conference I applied all of the recommended techniques after a pizza feast and experienced a night of blood sugars that would have made Mr. Scheiner proud.  No spikes.  No lows.  In fact, Jenna stayed within two points of her goal all night!

Perhaps we got a little cocky—dialing up temporary basals and combo-boluses tonight with a little too much reckless abandon.

Or maybe the difference was the pizza itself.  I noticed tonight’s pizza glistened with a greasy glaze.  Maybe the fat content was markedly higher than the one we had had such success with before.

Or perhaps the increased activity I mentioned previously is a factor.  It’s very likely that she has increased insulin sensitivity because of the extra physical demands on her body.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless, of course, she experiences jaw-dropping lows because of it.

It just goes to prove that there are far too many variables to be able to pin down one formula to apply to every situation.  Diabetes is always a guessing game.

I know how this is going to play out.  The 2.2 she had will likely result in a rebound high.  And because she had two low readings within the span of half an hour, in spite of treatment, I suspended her combination bolus and temporary basal rate.  This means that the delayed high she will undoubtedly experience from the fatty, carby pizza will remain unchallenged unless I ramp up her basals again at some point, or make sure to check her every two hours all night and correct, correct, correct.

After we treated the initial low tonight and settled Jenna to bed, I was tucking my oldest daughter in.  She asked me what would happen if Jenna’s blood sugar went to zero.  All I said was that it would be very bad and that that’s why we check her all the time, day and night.  

But my tone and facial expression must have said more because the look on her face told me she knew what it was that I wasn’t saying.

We left the unspeakable unspoken and hugged for an extra long time before we said our goodnights.

I want a cure.

For every parent who has ever been afraid to let their diabetic child go to sleep at night and for every person with diabetes who has ever been afraid to close their eyes....

...I want a cure.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cool Give-Away!

So this is pretty awesome!

Heidi over at D-Tales is hosting a give-away!  Cool medical ID bracelets that you just have to check out!

I’m not usually one to enter contests.  But since Jenna has developed a sensitivity to nickel and can no longer wear her stainless medical alert bracelet as a result, and since I purchased a really pretty beaded one for her that arrived one size too big and now sits in our diabetes drawer until she does some serious growing....*deep breath*....I’m totally entering this awesome contest.

You should too!  Head on over there now!  Tell her Sherry sent ya! ;-)

Friday, September 10, 2010

D-Feast Friday: Blueberry Banana Smoothie

This is a delicious and nutritious drink that makes frequent appearances at our breakfast table.  Truth be told it is also an occasional after supper dessert.  It is just so darn delicious that my girls ask for it often and I am thankful for that.  There are far worse things they could crave.  Jenna, being a lover of anything ‘berry’ is always game for this little bit of heaven in a tumbler.

Blueberry, Banana Smoothie

1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt, nonfat
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (I prefer frozen to give it that frosty texture
1 banana, medium, ripe
(I’ve been known to sneak in a couple table spoons of wheat germ now and then for an extra punch of nutrition.)

Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth and creamy.  Serve immediately.

*For a variation, try frozen mango pieces or strawberries!

Makes 4 servings with 23 carbs per serving.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Diabetes Family Utopia

Imagine a place where the food is delicious, healthy, plentiful and you don’t have to prepare it.  Each dish has a card with the serving size and carb count itemized beside it.  Glistening silver punch bowls overflow with tubes of carb tabs, Skittles and Starburst candies to treat lows.  In this place everybody knows your name and you theirs (gotta love name tags) and speaks the same diabetes lingo you do.  When you discuss carbohydrate counts and the fat content of the foods your child is eating, no one looks at you judgmentally like you are grooming your child for a future eating disorder.    
Imagine a place where everyone understands, I mean, really understands what it’s like to live with diabetes every single day and night because they live with it too.  A place where there are energetic teens with type 1 diabetes who happily and competently care for your D and non-D children while you immerse yourself in learning more about the many facets of diabetes management.  In this magical place no dishes need doing, no tables need setting and no meals or snacks need preparing (well, not by you anyway).  The coffee and tea is freshly brewed and on tap all day long to help you stay awake and alert in spite of your chronic state of sleep deprivation.  
It is a D-family’s Utopia.  And it exists.  I know.  I’ve seen it with my own eyes!  Trouble is it only lasts one weekend then it’s gone, like a glorious fleeting dream that you are awakened from all too soon.
The girls pose with Medtronic’s Lenny the Lion
The Children With Diabetes - Friends for Life Conference came to Canada for the first time two weekends ago and welcomed over 500 more people into their family.  We were lucky enough to be among those people. 
Conference attendees take part in two and a half days of mingling with other D-families and attending lectures by people who have made diabetes and it’s management their life’s work, often because it has touched them on a very personal level.  People like Gary Scheiner, a certified diabetes educator and exercise physiologist.  He also has type 1 diabetes, diagnosed 24 years ago, and likes to open his talks by sharing the irony that his diagnosis took place in Sugarland, Texas.  No lie. 
I was pretty pumped (pun intended) about hearing Gary Scheiner speak.  He wrote the book "Think Like A Pancreas" which is a must read for anyone managing type 1 diabetes either with MDI’s or with an insulin pump.  I refer to him as “The Pump Whisperer” because he has many tricks up his sleeve to help people get the most out of their insulin pump.  I attended every talk Mr. Scheiner gave that weekend, feverishly taking notes like some super-keener, nerdy college student determined to pull off straight A’s or die trying. I hope he doesn’t think I was stalking him... 
George Canyon performs at CWD - FFL Canada
Meeting George Canyon was pretty awesome too.  I’m not the biggest  country music fan but he won me over when he opened with Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” at the Saturday night banquet.   He also has an amazing presence and charm that is impossible to resist.  Earlier in the day George could be found outside the large conference room taking pictures of individual children with type 1 diabetes, with their parents consent of course.  He intends to display the photos as a slide show presentation while he performs at the CCMA on Sunday, September 12.  George himself was actually taking the pictures.  So if you plan on watching that awards show you just might see Jenna’s face appear on the screen behind George along with the faces of many other type 1 diabetic children.
But the absolute best part of the weekend was being surrounded by people who understand because they live it like we do. The dessert served at the Saturday evening banquet was cake with a thick, buttery, chocolate icing.  I suspected when she ate it that Jenna’s blood sugar would go rogue hours later while she slept.  Sure enough, she spiked pretty high between midnight and 3am.  When we were getting up every 2 hours to hack down her ever-rising blood sugar I wondered how many others in attendance were waging the same wee hour war on a post-cake high like we were.  It was oddly comforting knowing we were likely one of many.

Dancing in front of the Olympic Cauldron in Vancouver 
Looking around and seeing a pump on every other person’s waist, seeing people pull out their meters to check before meals, watching parents as they loaded up their child’s plate and took careful note of the carbs in each item, it made me feel like we weren’t alone after all.  But at the same time it moved me to tears knowing just how many lives are affected by this disease — a disease without a cure that is on the rise and no one really knows why.
Throughout the weekend, on occasion, I found myself sitting quietly, emotions surging, scanning the conference room, conscious of the fact that I was surrounded by so many incredibly brave people — children and adults with type 1 diabetes as well as the families that care for / about them.  I was humbled and honored to be there making their acquaintance, offering and receiving support.  
And I want to go again, a whole lot.   

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Moment Worth Sharing.

I just sat down after cleaning up from the lunch chaos to check email and see who’s tweeting what.  My girls are downstairs playing with toy cars and dinosaurs — they call it “Dinosaurs and Cars”.  Go figure.

As I sit with my freshly steeped cuppa tea, logging in, perusing and all the while listening with one ear to my girls play, I catch this exchange:

Jazmine:  (Gasps) “Oh!  Is your site okay?

Jenna:  “Ya, it’s okay.”

Jazmine:  “Oh, phew.  Okay.  Where were we?”

...and they continue playing without missing a beat.

I can only imagine, since I wasn’t able to actually see what happened, that Jenna’s site perhaps got caught on something, or someone, as they played.  But what struck me was how diabetes is just another part of their “everyday”.  And what really touched me was Jazmine’s genuine concern for her sister.

How did I get so lucky to have two crazy-cool kids?