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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Say "Boo!" to Diabetes


Mario and Luigi are in the house!

Yes, my boys are dressing up as their favorite video game characters for Halloween. I can't wait. They're going to look so cute in their costumes together.

Madeline is going as a midnight fairy. She's essentially a witch with wings, but with her style and swagger, she's going to rock that midnight fairy costume.

I've been debating whether to get a costume for our puppy, too.

Can you tell I love Halloween?

I do. I love the spirit and energy of the day. I love that it's a stress-free holiday. I love the costumes. I love all of the pumpkins and silly, supposedly spooky decorations. I love the trick-or-treating. And, I love the candy!

I can not wait to sink my teeth into a couple of Reese's peanut butter cups! Okay, maybe more than a couple. Maybe several. Reese's are my absolute favorite!

My kids are not as particular. Reese's, Snickers, Sweet Tarts, Twix, Dots, Tootsie Rolls, Tootsie Pops, Dum Dums, M & Ms, 3 Musketeers, Kit Kats, Hershey bars you name it, they love it! They love it all!

They're not finicky when it comes to candy, and on Halloween, we let them enjoy it. We figure why not? It's just one night.

That's our motto: it's just one night. One night out of the year. One night to indulge.

So on Halloween, we go trick-or-treating. We come home. We assess the loot. We let each kid select several pieces of candy. We let them eat their chosen chocolates and other assorted sweets. Then we bring out gifts for the kids, and they happily trade in the remainder of their candy for their gifts. And I do mean happily. There's no convincing or coercing.

Some years, we allow the kids to pick out their own presents ahead of time. Other years, we surprise them with gifts we've chosen.

This year, I paid close attention to all the "I want..." and "Can I have...?" requests. I bought the boys some Star Wars Mighty Beanz. I know they're going to be ecstatic when they see them. I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "Maah-um, puh-lease can we buy some Star Wars Mighty Beanz?...I want a Clone Trooper...I want Darth Vader..."

For Madeline, I bought some rainbow-striped yarn, some fuzzy yarn, and assorted colors of string with which she can make scarves and friendship bracelets. She's obsessed with crafty braiding, weaving, and knot-tying at the moment, so I know she'll be thrilled.

I also bought all three some Silly Bandz.

(Mighty Beanz, Silly Bandz - what's up with these products that pluralize with a Z?)

After the kids trade their candy for presents, their candy time is over. But, by that point, they're ready for it to be over. They've had their fill of sweet, sour, sticky, chewy, gooey, creamy, crunchy candy. They've enjoyed. They've gotten the pleasure of shoving piece after piece in their mouths. The candy goes bye-bye.

Later on, after the kids go to bed, Gregg and I sort through the left-over goods. I eat a few more Reese's peanut butter cups. He downs some Sweet Tarts and Snickers. We set aside candy that we can use to treat low blood sugar episodes, like Smarties, Skittles and Starburst, and we put the rest in a bag for Gregg to take to the office the next day, or we give it to neighborhood kids.

We get the candy out of the house, so that it no longer tempts and taunts the kids...or us!

It's all about balance and moderation. It's about celebrating. It's about having fun. It's about making memories. It's about indulging. And it's just one night.

This will be our fourth Halloween with diabetes, and in the previous three years, we've done a good job of saying "Boo!" to the blasted disease. We've kept tabs on Jack's blood sugar; we've tested, as he's gone running through the neighborhood trick-or-treating, before eating his precious loot and after satisfying his sweet tooth. We've counted carbs. We've given insulin accordingly. We've gone back to double check Jack's blood sugar level. We've tested him more frequently during the night. And, I hope I don't jinx us by saying this, but we've never had a problem. He's never gone too high as a result of the candy. We've been able to achieve nice numbers year after year.

Maybe it's because of all of the activity involved in trick-or-treating? Maybe it's because we're careful when counting carbs? Whatever it is, Jack's been able to enjoy the holiday as much as his non-D sister and brother have. We've always treated all three kids the same when it's come to Halloween, and this eat-some-candy-trade-the-rest-for-a-gift routine has worked well for us.

Just thought I'd share in case you're wondering how to deal with diabetes on October 31st. Our way is not the only way. This is simply what works for us. I'm interested in knowing how your family handles the holiday, too.

Whatever you do, have fun on Sunday!

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Give-Aways Galore

I'm here to tell you about contests happening on three blogs! Three! How fun is that?!

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(1) First, for this week's Sugar Bolus, click here to go to My Sugar Bugs to win a beautiful, handmade beaded bracelet of hope.

(2) Then, click here to head on over to Pumpsley and Me, where you can win a couple of great goodies: a cool digital keychain and a basket of honey products.

(3) Last, but not least, click here to view The Vintage Pearl's contest in which you could win one of five $50 gift certificates to be used toward The Vintage Pearl's fabulous jewelry. If you scroll down the page, you'll see there's a second contest going on over there, too.

Good luck!

Friday, October 22, 2010

D-Feast Friday - Chicken Casserole



Mourning the loss of Eilish, feeling angry, sad and scared, and with the weather here turning damp, dreary and chilly with intermittent rain, I wanted comfort food.

I didn't care about fat, calories or carbs. I didn't want anything fancy or frou-frou. I wanted warm, hearty and home-cooked. I wanted something simple that wouldn't keep me in the kitchen for long and something I could whip up while the kids were in school.

So I made my favorite comfort food: chicken casserole.

I don't remember from where I originally obtained this recipe, but I've seen similar recipes on the internet. One version is called "Poppy Seed Chicken," and as its name suggests, it includes poppy seeds. My finicky family would reject a food filled with black specks, so I've always omitted the poppy seeds. Besides, I don't think they're necessary. We like this meal just fine without them. No, make that, we like this meal A LOT without them.

This is a family favorite. The kids always give it a "yum!" But what's not to like? It's chicken covered in a rich, creamy coating and topped with buttery cracker crumbs. It's not health food. It's not fine dining. It's the ultimate in comfort food.

The recipe calls for cooked chicken that's been cubed or shredded, which gives you options. For one, you could buy a roasted chicken at the grocery store. You could use left-over chicken. Or, you could do what I do and boil four boneless breasts in chicken stock or broth with a few spices thrown in the pot for added taste. Sometimes, I even add an onion, carrots and celery to the pot. (Like Emeril, I give it the old mirepoix "BAM!")

I had intended to take a picture of the casserole fresh out of the oven, but Gregg started serving the kids before I had a chance. (He didn't realize I was going to blog about our dinner.) So I snapped the above "half-cass" shot. Then I took some plate shots, but honestly, when a portion of this casserole sits on your plate, it just looks like a blob of chickeny goodness. Yes, a blob. There's just no way to make this dish look pretty. So I decided to show you the end result of our dinner. Here it is below. :)


Chicken Casserole

4 boneless chicken breasts
16 oz. sour cream
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 sleeves of Ritz crackers, crushed
1 stick of butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9" x12" casserole dish.

Boil and shred the chicken.

Mix the sour cream and soups together, and then add the shredded chicken.

Spoon chicken mixture into prepared casserole dish.

Cover with crushed crackers.

Melt butter and pour on top of crackers.

Bake for 40 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and topping is lightly browned.

Enjoy!


 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Miscellaneous

Today, I have lots to say about a number of different topics. Some serious. Some light. Some emotional stuff. Some fun stuff. All of it on my mind…

First, while I posted on D-Tales yesterday, it probably seems as though I’ve been MIA lately. There’s been so much going on.

My kids were home on fall break last week, and rather than spend time on the computer, I spent time with them. It was wonderful to have full days to do as we pleased and enjoy each other’s company. I recognize that the days with my kids, while they are young, are fleeting, and the days on which we have nothing scheduled are rare. So I really savored fall break.

I have carpal tunnel syndrome, and it’s been bothering me. So I have limited my computer time.

We’re walking in our local JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes on October 30th, and we’re working our tails off to make the Walk as successful as possible.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve had several friends visit from out of town.

And then, of course, we’ve been dealing with diabetes. Jack has been battling a string of lows. We’ve seen too many numbers in the 30s, 40s and 50s lately.

So if I haven’t commented on your blog or returned your email, please don’t take it personally and please accept my apologies. I’m sorry! I haven’t been able to keep up!

Thank you for all of your amazing support after I wrote about our troubles with Jack’s teacher. I can’t begin to tell you how much your comments and ideas helped. We met with his teacher this morning. We discussed the emotional aspects of diabetes. She was surprised to hear how Jack has reacted to what’s happened at school. She had no idea how embarrassed he’s felt or how much he’s internalized. She clarified a few things for us, and we made it clear to her that Jack is not to be responsible for his diabetes management or ever reprimanded for something diabetes-related that he neglects to do, like carry his diabetes kit from the library to the classroom. Gregg and I left feeling optimistic.

Thanks also for the kind words you posted regarding the anniversary of Jack’s diabetes diagnosis. In some ways, it’s hard to believe that three years have passed already. In other ways, it feels as though we’ve been battling this beast for an eternity already.

After receiving the news of Eilish’s death, putting Jack to bed last night was tough. I didn’t want to stop hugging him. I cried walking out of his room. I checked on him more often during the night to make sure he was still breathing, and I was so happy to see his handsome little face this morning. I’m sure my fellow D mamas were feeling and doing the same.

From what I understand, Eilish was diagnosed at the age of three. Her parents managed her diabetes for 10 years. That's 10 years of finger pokes, insulin administration, highs, lows, ketones, carb counting, endo appointments, middle-of-the-night checks, sleep deprivation, number analysis, dosage and ratio adjustments, fears about complications...and then their worst fear came true. Gregg and I are doing all we possibly can to maintain Jack's health and to enable him to live life to its fullest. We strive to get him the best medical care available. We’re teaching him how to best care for his body. We’re constant in the level of care we provide. Sure we make mistakes, but overall, we take damn good care of our son. It frightens me to think that we can fight long and hard only to have our worst fear realized. It terrifies me to think that no matter what we do, it might not be enough.

It is presumed that Eilish passed away as the result of dead-in-bed syndrome. I’m trying to maintain perspective. I’m reminding myself that while this is fresh right now, it’s also rare. Yet, one life lost is too many! And there have been a number of kids this year, who’ve lost their lives to dead in bed syndrome. Those kids should still be with us today!

And while it’s rare, I’d be lying if I said dead-in-bed syndrome doesn’t worry me. I try not to let it get the best of me. I'm generally a happy, positive person, who’s filled with hope and optimism. But I fear dead-in-bed syndrome as I fear nothing else. It’s the kind of fear that lurks deep within me and about which I don't talk much. It's always present. No matter how much I try to forget it, it's always there. I hate that I live with a fear like that. I hate that that fear revolves around my son.

Eilish’s death came ten days before our local JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes. I keep thinking THIS is WHY we walk! THIS is WHY we fundraise! THIS is WHY we need a cure!

This is also why I blog. I must raise awareness and let other parents raising children with diabetes know that they're not alone.

This is why we check Jack every single night.

This is why I fight for his safety at school. Diabetes can be deadly. It’s not just dead in bed syndrome that can claim my son’s life, and it’s not just in the middle of the night that it can happen.

This is why I count my blessings and savor the time I have with all three of my little loves.

In addition to grief, Eilish’s death has brought to the surface feelings of guilt. I do not worry about Madeline and Max the way I worry about Jack. They do not have diabetes, and I have the luxury of kissing them good night or good bye and not worrying that I won't see them wake up in the morning or walk home from school in the afternoon. (Of course, anything could happen, but the chances are slim with them.) I have such intense emotions regarding Jack's well-being, and his diabetes requires such vigilance, that I feel guilty for not thinking as much about my other children. It's not that I love them less. It's that I love them differently, because I can. I'm deeply grateful for their good health, but at the same time, I fear that I do not give as much of myself to them as I do to Jack and therein lies the guilt.

Sigh…

Don’t forget to enter Tracy’s Sugar Bolus contest! She’s giving away great goodies! You only have until midnight tonight! Go here for more info. 

Last, but not least, don’t forget about this month's Blogger Basal. Submit your story to Hallie from The Princess and The Pump at theprincessandthepump@gmail.com. Go here for more info.  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Eilish

My heart aches.

It aches for a family I've never met.

It aches because diabetes claimed the life a 13-year-old girl named Eilish.

I can't begin to imagine the pain Eilish's family feels.

All I know is the pain I feel, and it's intense. I am overwhelmed with grief.

I've cried more today than I have in a long time. I haven't accomplished my usual tasks. I have sat paralyzed, mourning the loss of girl I never knew.

From Facebook and many blogs, I've gathered that I'm not alone in my reaction. Her death has sent shock waves of fear and sadness through the diabetes community.

To Eilish's family, I am a complete stranger, who lives across the world. Yet, I feel as though I have lost a dear friend. I know others feel the same.

Diabetes does that. It connects strangers with a common bond.

And so my heart goes out to Eilish's family.

I hope somehow, some way they feel the love that surrounds them right now. I hope it comforts them.

Rest in peace, Eilish.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Super Seattle Sugar Bolus



Have you all entered this week's Sugar Bolus?

Jen's giving away great stuff: a spibelt and an assortment of Seattle goodies. Seriously, GREAT stuff! I want to win this contest!

Go here to enter. But go before midnight tomorrow (Thursday, 10/14).

Good luck!

Friday, October 8, 2010

1,095 Days

October 8, 2007 - October 8, 2010

Today marks the third anniversary of Jack's diabetes diagnosis. In our family, we call this D day.

I'm feeling a jumble of emotions. Sad that he has this disease. Mad that he has this disease. Yet, accepting of this disease. Wistful as I clearly remember the days when diabetes wasn't a part of our lives. Grateful for the insulin that allows Jack to live. Glad and relieved that diabetes hasn't caused any complications yet. Thankful that I get to hug him, watch him grow, celebrate his birthdays, help him with homework, watch him swim and play tennis, and pick up his dirty laundry off the floor.

I'm recalling memories from October 8, 2007 and realizing how far we've come.

As parents, we always want to make things better for our kids. I can't make this better for Jack. I can't wave a magic wand and make diabetes disappear, but I can look on the bright side.

Besides, I need to look on the bright side, because if I don't, I'll cry. I've been holding back tears all day. Crying can be cathartic, I  know, but I don't want to go there.

Rather, I want to look at all the good that's come from Jack's diagnosis. Why dwell on the downside?

The positives are many.

We've seen our son soar. We would have been proud of Jack no matter what, but seeing the way he has accepted and handled his diabetes makes our hearts swell with more pride than we thought possible.

As his parents, Gregg and I deal with the stress of the numbers of diabetes. The numbers, they represent highs and lows that we must treat. For Jack, they represent physical symptoms that he must endure. What we find so remarkable is that he endures them with few complaints. He deals with whatever comes his way. He never ceases to amaze us.


I think the status update I wrote on my Facebook profile sums it up: "Heidi...is celebrating my incredible, real-life super hero Jack. He was diagnosed with diabetes three years ago today, and he has shown more bravery, more strength and more determination than Superman, Spiderman and Batman combined."

Through diabetes, we've made wonderful friends. We would have missed out on so many rewarding friendships had Jack never been diagnosed.

We've grown closer as a family. We've realized that we can handle anything that comes our way. We've learned not to take good health and good times for granted.

We've been the beneficiaries of tremendous support when we've participated in the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes.

As Jack would tell you, we've been able to snag a Guest Assistance Card at both Sea World and Disneyland, and those cards rock! We've been able to meet Bret Michaels, which was a thrill. (I'll save that story for another blog post.)

Diabetes has infused me with passion and a greater purpose. It's turned me into an advocate and a mentor, not to mention a fundraiser and a philanthropist. It's reinvigorated my writing. It's shown me a strength I never knew I had. 

It's given Jack strength, too. It's influenced his sense of self. He knows he's capable of doing anything, if he works hard and focuses. He knows he can overcome obstacles. He knows that we believe in him, and thus he believes in himself. He knows he is not defined by one aspect of his life.

It's taught all three of our kids that not only is it okay to be different, but that we should recognize and appreciate difference. They've learned that everyone has issues and challenges and that we all need to have respect and understanding for one another. They now recognize that life isn't always fair.

Madeline and Max not only know that sometimes they must put another's needs before their own, but they actually do it. That's not easy when you're a little kid.

As we venture into our fourth year, we are at a new level of acceptance with diabetes. What once devastated us, now makes us stronger. Where once we could only see the bad, we can now see the good as well.

We continue to long for a cure, but we move forward with hope.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

No D Day: Apple Crisp

Thanks to George (a.k.a. Ninjabetic) at The B.A.D. Blog, it's No D Day! As George said, "it means we spend one day not writing about, tweeting about, Facebook status-ing about Diabetes!"



I've always enjoyed cooking and baking. When I was a kid, I loved perusing the pages of my Betty Crocker's New Boys and Girls Cook Book and picking a recipe to make.

When I moved out on my own, I took my Betty Crocker cook book with me. I still have it today. I have such affection for it. It's like my prized possession, and I still use some of the recipes.


One of my favorite recipes is the one for apple crisp. It's a simple recipe that yields a delicious dessert. It's great for fall, when apples are in season. If you have a basket of freshly picked apples, and if you like apple pie, consider trying this recipe. You won't be disappointed. It's easier than making a pie, and it turns out terrific every time.


Look at the topping! It's a crispy combination of butter, flour and sugar that crumbles and crunches and tastes oh so good. It's heavenly!


The apples below are soft and covered in a cinnamon syrup that forms in the oven while the crisp is baking.


A dollop of freshly whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream takes this recipe to the next level of deliciousness. But, it doesn't need to be "dressed up." It's scrumptiousness by itself!


Apple Crisp

Heat oven to 350°.

Spread evenly in a square pan, 8x8x2 inches:
     4 cups sliced, pared apples

Sprinkle with:
     1/4 cup water
     1 teaspoon cinnamon
     1/2 teaspoon salt

With pastry blender, mix until crumbly:
     1 cup sugar
     3/4 cup flour
     1/3 cup soft butter

Spread crumb mixture over apples.

Bake, uncovered, about 40 minutes.

Serve warm.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Why?

I am heartbroken.

I'm feeling terribly for Jack.

I'm feeling frustrated with his teacher.

Jack is supposed to remember to carry his diabetes kit (a.k.a. his survival kit) with him everywhere he goes on his school campus and to bring it home at the end of the day. However, it is ultimately his teacher's responsibility to make sure that happens.

When I say "teacher," I mean all of his teachers: classroom, PE, library, music, art, etc. They are supposed to be aware of whether Jack remembers to take his kit when he leaves the classroom, the cafeteria, the library, etc. They are to serve as his back-up and remind him when he forgets.

So Monday, when I went to pick up the kids from school, I was walking across the school campus, and I ran into Jack. He was heading over to the nurse's office with a classmate. Their class was being treated to Oreo cookies in honor of a student's birthday, and Jack was going to get an insulin injection from the nurse. I noticed he didn't have his D kit with him. I stopped him in his tracks, sent him back to class, since it was five minutes before the end of the school day, and told him that I'd take care of the shot rather than the nurse.

I was concerned that he didn't have his D kit. What if he went low on his way to or from the nurse's office? What if a lockdown occured while he was in the nurse's office? There's a reason why his kit needs to accompany him at all times. That kit contains everything he needs to manage his diabetes and survive not just an average school day, but an emergency as well.

Later on that afternoon, I discovered that Jack hadn't taken his D kit home from school with him. Okay, mistakes happen. Jack had been focused on his Oreos and his insulin shot. Gregg and I didn't get riled up. We simply sent him into school on Tuesday with a bag of supplies to replenish his kit and reminded him to take his kit wherever he ventured at school.

Guess what happened on Tuesday? He failed to bring home his kit yet again.

When we talked about it with Jack this morning before school, Jack told us how yesterday, during school, he forgot to take his kit from the library back to his classroom, after his library session had ended.

Apparently, when the librarian saw the kit left in the library, she picked it up and kindly delivered it to Jack's classroom.

Jack said this got him into trouble. He said his teacher said in front of the whole class, "Jack, look at what you did! You made Ms. S [the librarian] have to walk all the way across campus to bring this to you."

When telling us this story and mimicking his teacher, Jack's tone of voice was ugly. It was obvious that his teacher had shamed him.

It was also obvious that we have a problem that needs to be addressed immediately. Jack's kit is not accompanying him at all times, as it should.

So this morning, Gregg walked Jack to school and went into his classroom to restock his kit and speak with his teacher.

The teacher acknowledged that the kit didn't go home on either Monday or Tuesday, but said nothing of the library incident, and she blamed Jack. Yes, you read that correctly. She blamed Jack! Jack and only Jack!

Next, she said that she and Gregg needed to address this with Jack and needed to present "a united front" to Jack. Without saying anything further or giving Gregg a chance to respond, she called Jack over to join the conversation. Mind you, this happened while other students were in the classroom, and this was NOT Gregg's idea of a united front. Gregg did NOT appreciate the way she was handling this. But before Gregg could interject, she told Jack that he needs to make sure that his kit goes home with him, and she asked Jack what he thought he should do to ensure that happens. Her tone was condescending. She reprimanded Jack and again placed all blame on him.

Gregg watched Jack's face. He saw his reaction and could tell that Jack felt as though he were getting in trouble again.

The teacher then abruptly ended the conversation by excusing herself to move onto her morning routine.

Gregg felt so badly for Jack. He didn't want Jack to think he was in trouble. He didn't want Jack starting his school day feeling upset over something that ultimately is not his responsibility. So he told Jack that he wasn't in trouble and that he shouldn't worry.

Gregg returned home with steam blowing from his ears. He was annoyed with the way the teacher shirked her responsibility and placed all fault and accountability on Jack.

Now, I'm steamed, too. That's just wrong!

It bugs me that his teacher has shown no remorse. I don't necessarily think she needed to apologize to us, but she could have simply said something like, "I'll work with him to try to prevent this from happening." Or, "It's apparent that we can't rely on Jack to remember. I'll do my best to make sure he has his kit with him at all times."

Jack came home from school today and told me what happened when Gregg was in the classroom this morning. "Mom, it was so embarrassing," he said. "Miss B told me that she was disappointed in me. Dad told me I wasn't in trouble, but Miss B sure made it seem like I was."

Jack is seven. He already faces more responsiblity than his peers. Yet, he needs to be more mindful. We do expect him to remember to carry his kit with him at all times. However, we also expect his teachers to help him remember. His teachers are his back-up. His teachers are in charge.

Moreover, we do not expect him to get in trouble or feel as though he's in trouble. He is not to blame when there is a lapse in his diabetes care. He is not to be used as his teacher's scapegoat.

It's not easy to be a kid with a grown-up disease. We realize it's not easy to be an adult caring for a kid with this disease either, but we expect compassion and understanding. If his teacher is unwilling to take on the demands of diabetes, then she never should have accepted him into her class in the first place.

So, we're in this catch 22.

It's only October. We have a long way to go until the end of the school year. We need to work with this teacher. We need her to treat Jack with kindness. We don't want to piss her off.  We don't want Jack to be considered "a problem child." We don't want to be considered "pain-in-the-ass parents" either. But we can't allow the teacher to treat Jack like this, and we need her to accept and handle the responsibility that is hers.

Moreover, we need to know that Jack is safe at school.

We feel as if we're damned if we say something, and we're damned if we don't.

If we say something, we'll undboutedly annoy the teacher. No matter how softly we step around the issue or how tactful we are, we are bound to annoy her, because she thinks Jack was in the wrong and she was in the right. If we say something, we risk a rocky road ahead.

If we don't say something, then we will put Jack's safety at risk. Silence would also convey that we condone her behavior, and silence would impart the message that we agree the responsiblity is all Jack's and that it's okay for her to reprimand him for his forgetfulness.

We must say something. We can't let this go on. Jack depends on us to ensure his well-being, and when he's at school, we must rely on his teachers and the school administration to ensure his well-being for us. Not only that, but we don't want her scolding him, embarrassing him or making him feel as though he's done something wrong when he hasn't.

We are not willing to let something happen to him because a teacher refuses to do her job properly. We're not willing to let something happen to him, because we don't want to make waves.

We also want to protect his emotions. He shouldn't carry around the fear that he'll get into trouble if he forgets his D kit, forgets to test his blood sugar, or do something else related to his diabetes. He shouldn't shoulder any shame.

The question is though: how much do we say and how do we say it?

It's so upsetting and frustrating that we're dealing with this. It's heart-breaking that his teacher has humiliated Jack and made him feel as though he's done something terribly wrong.

Jack said to me this afternoon, "Mom, she just doesn't get diabetes." He's right. She doesn't understand.

This whole issue brings up the invisible aspects of this disease. Jack looks healthy. He acts like the other kids at school, if not more mature. Sure, he has to test his blood sugar level. Sure, he has lows and highs that need to be treated, but he usually handles those lows and highs with ease. He rolls with the punches and rarely complains. He just deals and generally seems okay. He keeps up with his school work. He's a smart cookie, who consistently earns high grades.

He makes it seem as if diabetes doesn't get in the way. He makes it seem as though he's "normal."

The reality is that he's a special needs kid. Diabetes is a serious condition. It can be deadly, if mishandled, and it affects every part of his life, including school. He has to handle the physical and emotional aspects of the disease, all the while keeping up with everything else that comes with school and childhood in general.

Though Jack appears to be living life to its fullest and appears as "normal" as any other kid at the school, he's not. He has a disease that no other student there has. He's the token diabetic in a school of more than 1000 students.

We work hard to make sure diabetes doesn't stop him from doing anything he wants or needs to do. Still, at times, diabetes gets in the way. It creates inconveniences and problems. It must be dealt with. It can't be ignored.

We can NOT take chances with Jack. We can NOT expect him, as a seven-year-old little boy, no matter how much more mature than his peers he appears to be, to be entirely responsible for his diabetes management.

Can you imagine if Gregg and I put his diabetes care on his shoulders? His health would suffer. The State's Child Protective Services would be after us in a heartbeat.

Expecting him to take on his diabetes alone is like leaving a young child at home alone. Kids can not be held responsible for themselves. That's why when we need to leave our children, we leave them under the supervision of a babysitter. Kids do stupid things. They don't think things through. They don't realize consequences. They don't see the big picture. They're forgetful. They don't have the wisdom or common sense of an adult. The bottom line is that they're not mini-adults.

Plus, I firmly believe that kids should be allowed to be kids. They're only young for such a short time, and during that time, they're learning and growing. They have enough challenges simply being kids. They have the rest of their lifetimes to face responsiblities and deal with grown-up issues. Diabetes is a grown-up issue.

In the school's weekly newsletter, the principal is often asking parents not to stop at school and deliver forgotten homework, lunches or instruments. He asserts that the students must learn from their mistakes, and that they will never learn, if their parents repeatedly bail them out.

I agree. When my kids forget their homework, they must suffer the consequences. And they must be treated like every other kid at the school.

However, a diabetes kit is a survival kit. Jack forgetting his diabetes kit can become a matter of life and death. Jack can't just suffer the consequences in order to learn a lesson. Gregg and I are unwilling to risk his well-being, because of a simple error on his part.

If Jack forgets his kit, and if on the way home from school, his blood sugar level crashes fast and hard, and if something happened to him, who would be responsible? The school! They'd be liable. Not us and not Jack.

We've informed the school of Jack's diabetes. We've placed a 504 plan on him. We've conducted diabetes training sessions. We've conveyed the seriousness of this disease. We have made it clear in no uncertain terms that Jack is ultimately not responsible for his own welfare.

If his teachers (or school administrators) choose to ignore the 504 plan and the information we present in training sessions, and if something happened to Jack as the result of his teacher's (or school administrator's)neglect, we could sue the pants off the school district. Does his teacher not realize that?

Jack is supposed to test his blood sugar level before he leaves school at the end of the school day. His teacher is supposed to look at his meter and determine whether he's good to go as is, whether he needs to boost his blood sugar if it's low, or whether he needs to see the nurse if it's high. She's supposed to be the one who makes the judgment call. At that point, if he's forgotten, why can't she remind him to place the kit in his back pack to ensure it goes home with him? Is that really such a big deal? Is that asking too much of her?

This is so troubling. Why is it that I have a tale to tell here? Why can't we depend on Jack's teacher? Why can't she own up to her mistakes? Why is she embarrassing Jack? Why is it that once again we find ourselves in this uncomfortable position of having to confront the school with a diabetes issue? Why is this so difficult?

Sigh...

This is a long post. I'm upset and I have rambled. Thanks for being there!!! Thanks for reading!!!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Disney Channel TTI:The Time I Walked To Cure Diabetes

Madeline was watching TV yesterday. I was in another room.

"Mom, come quick!" she yelled.

I thought something was wrong, so I ran to her side. She was fine. She wanted to show me the below video, and I'm so glad she did.

Have you seen it? It's airing on The Disney Channel.

I love it! Thank you, Disney! Thank you, Zach!






And have you visited Life is Like a Box of Chocolates lately?



There's a fun contest going on! Misty is giving away some great stuff! Go here to enter!

Friday, October 1, 2010

D-Feast Friday - Pot Roast


As soon as there is even the slightest hint of autumn in the air, I start craving warm, hearty fare, and considering Gregg is a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy, who hasn't had much meat and potatoes lately, I decided to make a pot roast today.

Short on time, however, I opted to use my crockpot. While I prefer slow roasting in the oven, tonight's dinner made me realize that I need to use my crockpot more often. This recipe is so easy to prepare, and it turns out a tender roast with delicious flavor.
 

3 - 4 lb. Rump roast
Baby carrots
New potatoes
1 - 2 packages of Lipton Onion soup mix
16 - 32 oz. beef broth

A note about ingredients: This recipe has a lot of flexbility. Haven't had much luck with rump roasts? Prefer a different cut of meat? Then use it. Several times, I've made this recipe using brisket. Baby carrots are not your thing? Then use regular carrots and cut them into chunks. You like a lot of vegetables? Then add a lot of carrots and potatoes. Or feel free to add in celery, peppers, onions or other root vegetables. You want a mild onion flavor? Then use one packet of soup mix. You want a more intense onion flavor? Then use two packets. You hate onions? Try vegetable soup mix. How much broth should you use? It depends on the size of your crock pot. I like to make sure that my meat is covered with broth, so I use somewhere between 24 - 32 ounces of broth. You want to use reduced-sodium broth? Go for it. That's what I use. You prefer to use mushroom soup? Use it. It's all good.

Also, this is one of those "cheater" or "semi-homemade" recipes, considering it calls for onion soup mix. That's what makes this so great for a weeknight meal.

1. On stove top, brown meat on all sides.

2. While meat is browning, clean and cut vegetables into chunks. Place into bottom of crock pot.

3. Stir together onion soup mix and broth, and then set aside.

4. After meat is browned, place it in the crock pot on top of vegetables.

5. Pour broth mixture on top.

6. Cover and cook on low for 8 - 10 hours.

Enjoy!

The carb count will depend on the number of carrots and potatoes you eat. Jack hates potatoes, other than French fries, and will only tolerate three or four cooked carrots. So for him, this meal is super low-carb.

Lastly, please excuse my photography. I'm realizing I need to brush up on my food styling skills!