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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

You Can Do This

Our lives were turned upside down when Jack was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on October 8, 2007.
Jack was only four years old, and in the weeks following his diagnosis, the mere mention of a finger poke or insulin shot sent him running. He would hide. He would cry. He would kick and scream. He would beg and plead. 
He would ask all sorts of questions. “Why did this happen to me?” ... “Why are you doing this to me?” ... “When will diabetes go away?” ... “When can I be normal again?” 
For me and Gregg, it was heart breaking. We were not only trying to help Jack cope with his emotions, but we were confronting our own pain and grief.  
In addition, we were overwhelmed with the everyday life of diabetes. Even though our endocrinologist had advised us to feed Jack as we had always fed him, we still struggled with what to feed him and how to count all of the carbs. We had to get into the routine of carrying a diabetes kit with us every time we left home. We had to make room in the house for the insulin vials, meters, test strips, syringes, glucose tabs, juice boxes, glucagon kits, food scale, Calorie King book and so on, and we had to figure out a way to pay for it all. We were learning how Jack's body would react to all the variables that affect blood sugar levels: foods, ratios, activities, stresses, illnesses, weather conditions and more. We were scared to send Jack to preschool or even have him leave our side. We had two other children, who were only five-and-a-half and two at the time, who also needed us.

We were a mess!
And because we knew one else whose child had been diagnosed with diabetes, we felt alone.
Somehow, we pulled through. We cared for all three of our kids as best as we could. We took things one day at a time. We leaned on each other. We sought other parents and children like us. We eventually gained confidence in our D skills and began to trust our intuition. We let more and more of our “old” life creep into our “new” life. 
We discovered we could do this thing called diabetes. We could be happy again. We could incorporate diabetes into our lives, giving it the attention it demanded without letting it consume us. 
We also realized we had to encourage and enable Jack to live the same life we’d always hoped he’d lead. 
And here we are today, nearly four years later, thriving with diabetes. We still have our moments when diabetes gets us down. We still have our days when we long for an easier life. We still wish our son wasn’t battling this disease. We still want a cure more than anything else.
But we’re out there, making the most of every day, and you can do this, too!
You can learn more about the You Can Do This Project here, and you can also find the project on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

Thank you, Kim, for organizing this important project!

Hangin' with Hallie


If you need me, I'll be at Hallie's house today. I'm blog-sitting at The Princess and The Pump.
I shared one of my all-time favorite recipes over there.
Go check it out!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I wish...

A few nights ago, I met three friends for dinner. Mom’s night out! 
My friend K was telling us about her new boyfriend, who is a paraplegic. Many years ago, in a mountain climbing accident, he fell 80 feet. He’s been in a wheelchair ever since, and he’s lucky to be alive. 
K sparkled as she talked about him. She’s smitten, and most of our dinner chatter focused on their relationship.
“He’s incredible the way he faces challenges and how he lives life to the fullest. I’ve never met anyone like him,” she gushed. “One day, though, he pointed to the stairs in my house and said, ‘I really wish I could just walk up those stairs.’”
That hit home for me.
“I get it,” I said. “Story of my life.”
All three of my friends looked at me as if I were crazy.
J sat there stunned and silent. R blurted, “Huh?” And K asked, “Story of your life?”
“I can relate. I know how he feels,” I said. “He wishes he could just walk up a flight of stairs. I wish I could just make dinner or feed Jack any meal or a snack without counting carbs. I wish I could just stop testing his blood sugar. I wish Jack could just eat without needing insulin.” 
They got my point, so I left it at that.
The truth is, however, I could have continued. I count my blessings and don’t dwell on the negative. I think that Gregg and I are both teaching and enabling Jack to live life to its fullest, too. But still, I have my moments when... 
I wish Jack could just leave the house without a survival kit. 
I wish I could just send Jack to school or camp without having to train his teachers and counselors how to manage diabetes...not to mention without a 504 plan.
I wish Jack could just enjoy an ICEE or an ice cream cone on a hot summer’s day without having to take his blood sugar level into consideration.
I wish Jack could just swim, skate, bike and play tennis and other sports without worrying about lows.
I wish Jack could have even just one day where his blood sugar level was stable.
I wish Jack could just eat pizza without having it wreak havoc on his blood sugars for hours. 
I wish I could just sleep uninterrupted without setting alarms, without checking on Jack throughout the night, and without worrying that he’ll go too low or too high. 
I wish I could just go on vacation without a suitcase full of diabetes supplies. 
I wish I could just get a babysitter...any babysitter...the high school kid who lives down the street...on a moment’s notice, so that Gregg and I could be spontaneous or could go out with friends who call with a last-minute invitation. 
I wish I could just drop off Jack with all of the other kids at birthday parties, Cub Scout meetings, play dates, tennis lessons and other events.
I wish I could just feel more at ease when Jack wakes up late in the morning or unexpectedly falls asleep during the day.
I wish we could just be free of doctors’ appointments and high medical expenses.
I wish I could just stop the damage diabetes does to Jack’s eyes, heart, kidneys and so on.
I wish the researchers could just find the cure already.
I wish people would just stop saying, “It could be worse.”
I wish the media could just get it right.
I wish others could just understand that type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, not the result of being overweight or eating too much sugar.
I wish we could have a break from diabetes for even just one day.
I wish we, too, could just climb up those stairs.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Shooting for Dinner

Jack has been giving himself insulin for about a year now, but no matter how many times I see him inject himself, he never ceases to amaze me. There’s just something about watching my seven-year-old son pierce his skin with a needle and then shoot life-saving insulin into his body that gets me. My seven-year-old. Seven-year-olds should not know how to wield a syringe. At the same time, I’m so glad Jack does. Bittersweet.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I like a little Shedd's Spread with my Popsicles.

Last week, I was in the grocery store with the kids, and we passed by a freezer full of Popsicles. 
You know what came next. My three children began to beg and plead.
“Can we get Popsicles? Please, please, please!”
“Yeah, we want Popsicles.”
“If you get us Popsicles, we promise we won’t ask for anything else.” 
The next thing I knew, a box of sugar-free orange, cherry and grape Popsicles was sitting in my grocery cart. Normally I don’t buy them, and in general, I’m not a fan of sugar-free foods, but I figured why not? It’s summer, right? All things in moderation, right? Make the kids happy, right?
So I bought the kids some frozen fun.

We went home, and before I could lug all of the groceries in from the car, the kids had opened the box and were claiming their colors.
“I want a red one!”
“Me too! I want red!”
“I want purple!” 
I had looked at the nutritional label in the grocery store, but I wanted to double check the Popsicles' carb content. I picked up the box and discovered a nasty little surprise. 
The pull-tab that opens the box had ripped right through the center of the nutritional label, as it’s designed to do.

So today, with my kids in camp and a quiet house all to myself, I called the phone number listed on the Popsicle box. 
When I finally reached a customer service representative, I explained that I have a son with type 1 diabetes, and therefore, I must read nutrition labels and account for every gram of carbohydrate that he consumes, even if the food item is sugar-free.
I described how the Popsicle box pull-tab destroyed the nutritional label. I talked more about the importance of that label, especially considering that the individual Popsicle packaging lacks a label. I told her how I had to dig the pieces of the pull tab out of the trash, feeling lucky that I’d actually been able to retrieve them and fit them together like puzzle pieces.

She asked questions. I gave answers. 
She said, "I'm very sorry you had trouble with your Popsicle box." 
I didn't have trouble with the box. It opened exactly as it was designed to open. The issue is that the box features a poor design that, when opened properly, renders its nutrition label useless. I can't help but wonder about the intentions there.
And then you know what she offered me?
A coupon for Shedd’s Spread Country Crock! I kid you not! 
Just goes to show you that truth is stranger than fiction.
Now, I didn’t call there wanting freebies or coupons. I simply wanted to give what I believe is important feedback. But, if I’m going to be offered a coupon, shouldn’t it be for the product about which I’m calling? Or at least a related or similar product? 
What made her think I want a coupon for Shedd's Spread? Imitation butter and flavored ice pops don't exactly go together. I never once said, "I like a little Shedd's Spread with my Popsicles."
A useless nutrition label and a mindless customer service representative! That speaks volumes about the company, doesn't it?!
I'm now laughing over the ridiculousness of the conversation. I mean, come on! The only thing she could do was offer me a coupon for freaking Shedd's Spread?!
The next time my kids ask for Popsicles, perhaps I'll suggest we buy some Shedd's Spread instead. I'm sure they'll love that. 
I wonder what flavors Shedd's Spread comes in. You think it comes in orange, cherry and grape?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

There went our waterproof case...

It was bound to happen.
I just didn’t think it would happen on day one.
Yes, day one.
Day one of Dex nestled in his waterproof case.
Yesterday morning, I sealed Dex in his new case and sent him off with Jack on their first day of summer camp. Dex stayed safe and dry, and Jack had a blast. 
Jack came home tired and, while watching TV, fell asleep on the playroom floor.

Dex fell out of Jack’s pocket. Or, perhaps Jack checked Dex and left him on the floor.
Regardless, Alex, our dog, found Dex and thought it would make a good chew toy. 
And there went our waterproof case. 
Dex survived unharmed, thank goodness.
But, can you guess where I’m going today? Back to R.E.I. to buy another case, of course.

If my guys weren’t so sweet, especially when they sleep, I might be annoyed, but I’m not. It was bound to happen. 
Such is life with a boy and his dog...a dog who only chews the things the boy and his siblings leave on the floor (other than his own dog toys). He never chews shoes or furniture. I’ll lose an inexpensive, waterproof plastic case over a pair of shoes any day!
Perhaps I should buy two cases today?
P.S. In case you’re wondering, we declared Dex # 1 dead. After 10 days, and still no signs of life, we agreed that no amount of time or rice was going to revive him. 

P.P.S. If you haven’t already registered, please consider participating in the Race to Cure Diabetes. It’s a virtual 5k that you can complete any time over a three-day period. I’m not a runner, and it’s going to be hot outside, but I’m doing it. I’m going to walk and help fund the cure! This "race" costs a mere $10, but that puts us $10 closer to a cure. Plus, there are prizes just for entering. Won't you please join us? See Mommy’s a Runner for details.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Jumping Jack Chlorine Fingers

"Look, Mom, no Dex!"
Yes, our new Dexcom continuous glucose monitor is up and running, and I’m happy to report that it stayed nice and dry inside the house while Jack went swimming this morning.
Our old Dex remains comfy in his rice bed, but still refuses to work. I’m giving him more time. At this point, I have nothing to lose. I’m simply satisfying my curiosity.
Anyone want to place any bets on whether the rice will revive Dex? :)
The kids have been swimming every day, and every time I check Jack’s blood sugar level after pool time, I am reminded of something I learned way back when: chlorine can produce a false low.
I don’t know where I learned that. I know it wasn’t from our endo or CDE, and I’m wondering whether it’s accurate information. 
A little internet research revealed nothing. I couldn’t find a single article out there to corroborate the claim.
Anybody else ever hear that? Has your endo, nurse or CDE advised you to clean fingers really well after swimming in order to remove chlorine and eliminate false readings?
To play it safe, I make sure Jack doesn’t step out of the pool and test without first cleaning off the chlorine. It can't hurt. It's not a big deal. Besides, it’s good practice to clean hands really well, and we generally do that regardless of what Jack’s been doing. 
What do you think? True or false? Chlorine on the fingers can produce a false blood sugar reading indicating hypoglycemia.