Saturday, 31 March 2012

Biting the Bullet

Friday morning I road-ran a 5km time trial, just to see exactly what my current pace is. I didn't go full out by any means, but focused on keeping a strong and consistent pace. At the end of the run, I was pleased to discover that I've shaved 1:19 seconds per mile off my last road race pace.

The excitement led me to finally register for two road races in the near future. The first is the Vancouver Sun Run, the largest 10km road run in North America, attracting over 50,000 participants every year. It's one I've run at least a half dozen times in the past, and it's lots of fun. With a group that large, the energy is electric, and there's musical entertainment every kilometer to keep the runners pumped up. Athletes start in waves and are grouped by expected completion time, though the first kilometer is still more of a walk than a run due the sheer mass of bodies plugging along. It's an experience, that's for sure. The race is Sunday, April 15th, and info can be found here.

The second race is the BMO Vancouver Marathon on Sunday, May 6th, in which I have registered for the half-marathon. Again, a race I've run in past, this one twice, though 2012 brings a totally new, and much better, course. The previous course traveled through the downtown east-side (downtown Vancouver's most drug infested neighborhood) and included a long steep hill that could bring even the strongest runners to a walk. The revised course highlights some of the cities most beautiful sights, with almost half the course waterfront, and actually features a decrease in overall elevation. Info about this race can be found here.

I'll be taking lots of pictures en route, and will share my post race thoughts via Blood, Sweat & Carbs. Until then, let's keep running!

Friday, 30 March 2012


I don't know how many infusion sets I have changed over the years. A lot. Once every three days, for four and a half years (Dylan was on MDIs for his first two years with diabetes), would mean somewhere around three hundred and fifty site changes. It's basically always the same thing - disconnect tubing from Dyl, peel off old set, rewind pump, dispose of old reservoir, fill new reservoir, attach new tubing, insert in pump, prime, insert new cannula in Dylan, attach pump, fixed prime. Good for another three days, assuming nothing plugs, falls off, gets kinked, infected, or runs out batteries. It's become routine. So routine, in fact, that I rarely need to think about it; I move in an almost robotic state, much like when tying my shoes or brushing my teeth.

But today, for some bizarre reason, something was different. As I popped the new reservoir onto the top of the insulin vial and pulled back the plunger to fill the reservoir with insulin, I found myself struck by the oddity of it. I watched as the life saving serum slowly filled the tube-shaped reservoir, the liquid creeping up the marked plastic: 50 units, 100 units, 150 units. As it neared the 180 unit mark (Dylan will only use about 120 units over 3 days, but I always add a little extra), I released the plunger and removed the reservoir from the insulin vial.

I found myself overwhelmed in a way I cannot even explain. How can something so small be responsible for so much? This tiny amount of simple, watery-looking substance gives my son life for three days. Without it, he would die. I am well aware of this fact, and I am eternally grateful to Frederick Banting for his miraculous discovery over ninety years ago. I am in awe of the advances in the field of medicine, that enable my son to wear an insulin pump, essentially a mini-computer, that continually injects him with one of six different preset amounts of basal insulin, specific to his body weight, activity level, and the time of day.

And yet today, for the first time, I was genuinely struck with a feeling of surprise at how readily we accept and embrace this blend of nature and technology. Pumpers are not alone in their use of health technology; the addition of man-made materials to the human body is widely used, ranging from braces to pacemakers, to prosthetic limbs, to breast implants, to wheelchairs, among other things. Each device serves a purpose, and many are brilliant inventions that not only enhance lives, but save them, each and every day.

With the exception of insulin itself, an insulin pump is the greatest advancement in diabetes care to date. It has changed diabetes itself, enabling it to become an easily manageable disease with fewer side effects and a longer life expectancy than ever before. I love Dylan's insulin pump and I am so thrilled the technology is available. Yet it is still a machine, and for today I found that odd, that's all.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Blood, Sweat & Carbs Joins Facebook!

That's right! As part of my 1 year blog celebration, there is now an official "Blood, Sweat & Carbs" Facebook page. Simply check out the page, and click "like" to have BSC updates added to your Facebook home page.

And don't forget to enter our blogiversary contest, for your chance to win a $200 prepaid credit card! Click here for full info.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Draw Something, Diabetes Style

While playing "Draw Something" with Dylan this morning, he sent me this:

Ignore the rushed image and the spelling mistake ("wite" should be "white"), neither of which are a reflection of his actual drawing or spelling ability, and look at the bottom left of the image. In order to illustrate "milk," which is what he was drawing, he thinks in terms of carbs...

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

1st Blogiversary ~ $200 Giveaway as a Thank You

One year already, wow! On March 27th, 2011, I started "Blood, Sweat & Carbs" out of a desire to share my thoughts about raising a child with Type 1 Diabetes. I didn't know what direction it would take, nor how long it would last, yet 1 year and 12,000 hits later, here we are!

I've known for a while that I wanted to do something big for the blogiversary; a special thank you to my readers for their ongoing support, love, and comments. Then I stumbled upon Accu-Chek Canada's "Care to Win" contest and I knew exactly what I wanted to do! Accu-Chek understands that for successful diabetes care, an awesome support crew is a huge benefit, so they want to thank those supporters. How? In conjunction with their "We've Got You" campaign (for more details on the campaign itself, read my earlier post here), Accu-Chek Canada is currently running a contest on Facebook in which they are giving away $200 to one lucky winner, every week for 8 weeks, and a grand prize of a $3500 getaway (click image below to enter). In return, they are asking fans what they would do with the $200 if they won.

So what would I do with $200? Give it to you, dear reader. In fact, that is EXACTLY what I am going to do. Starting today, March 27th, 2012, I am launching my first ever blog giveaway. One lucky winner will receive a $200 prepaid credit card!! The contest is open to anyone, and all you need to do to enter is leave a comment on this post, before midnight (PST), May 6th, 2012, telling me what you would do if you won the $200. Be sure to include your name in the comment. Any comments without a name will be eliminated.

But that's not all. After leaving a comment on this post, earn up to 5 extra entries by doing any or all of the following:

1) Follow Blood, Sweat & Carbs via Google Friend Connect (1 extra entry)
2) "Like" the brand new Blood, Sweat & Carbs Facebook page (1 extra entry)
3) Share this post on Facebook (1 extra entry)
4) Follow @bloodsweatcarbs on Twitter and tweet about this contest (1 extra entry)
5) Blog about this giveaway (and send me the link!) (1 extra entry)

The lucky winner will be randomly selected, May 7th, 2012, via draw at Once drawn, the winner will have 72 hours to email me at to claim their $200 prepaid credit card or a new winner will be randomly selected.

Monday, 26 March 2012

We Made It!

Well, I survived. 11 days on vacation with his dad, and me having no control over Dylan's diabetes care and I made it. WE made it. Tomorrow they board a flight in Jamaica and return home with photos, memories, and a ton of pump data for me to analyze.

I can't say I haven't been absolutely sick with worry the entire time because I have. I have thought about about Dyl so much of every day, wondering how he's doing, how he's managing highs or lows, and how his carb counting skills are doing with all of the exotic food he's been exposed to. I've worried about the heat, the change in routine, and the extra exercise, not to mention the general worry about safety while he and his brother are in a different country without me.

Before he left, Dyl and I reviewed so many things, including temp basal rates (for heat and extra exercise), square boluses (for the all you can eat buffets), and pump storage while swimming (to prevent theft and to keep insulin cool). I knew he as ready; he went away with his school for 5 days in January and absolutely rocked his diabetes care, but the teacher in me had him review, review, and review again. I asked him to text me if he had ANY questions, and to update me once during the trip so that I didn't go completely crazy with worry.

Last Wednesday morning he called me, around 11:00am my time, or 1:00pm in Jamaica, ready to recite 5 days worth of numbers for me. Wow, what a trooper! At the time he called, I was boarding a tram to go up my local mountain and spend the day snowboarding with my daughter, so I asked him to give me the mini-version.

"Numbers have been good," he said. "A few 12's and 13's (216-234 mg/dl), but otherwise all in range. No lows." Three little sentences and I felt a massive weight lift off my shoulders.

"Are you having fun? What have you guys been doing?" I asked.

"Well, we went horseback riding yesterday, and this morning we went sailing and then jet skiing," he responded.

"Fun!" I said, "Liv and I are just about to board the tram to go skiing for the day, so I can't talk long."

"Aww, lu-cky," he said. That's my guy, always knowing how to warm him mummy's heart.

"Dude, you're the one in Jamaica!" I laughed.

That was the last I heard from him, but no news is good news. I can't wait to see him and his brother tomorrow!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Sharps Overflow

Five years ago, when we used syringes to inject Dylan with insulin three times a day, we would fill a sharps container with used needles and lancets within a few weeks. Now that he's on a pump, the only thing going in the sharps container (other than lancets) is the needle used to insert the cannula of his infusion set. And since we change the sets every three days, it takes about a year to fill up the sharps container.

Well, maybe not quite a year...I let this one get a little fuller than it's supposed to be.

Time to swap this baby for an empty one!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Training Update March 24

With only 6 weeks until the BMO Vancouver Marathon, my half-marathon training is finally taking off! After an awesomely productive week this week, I may be ready for the race after all. Still taking it one day at a time, and I'll wait a couple more weeks before registering, but right now it's looking good!

So how did this week shape up? I ran Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and snowboarded Wednesday, Saturday. Tomorrow will be another run day, or perhaps a well earned rest day. With the addition of this new nutritional supplement I've been taking, I can run longer, harder, and faster, without worrying about hypoglycemia. I can't even begin to describe how terrific it feels to be able to just go out and run.

As for my triathlon training, it's nonexistent at this point. If I'm going to be ready for the May long weekend race, I need to start my swim and bike training in early April.

For now, I'll just keep running!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Preliminary Results ~ 7 Days In

On more than one occasion, I have written about my battles with hypoglycemia. I do not have diabetes, but I have always suffered from hypoglycemia and lately the episodes have become more and more frequent. A family member suggested this nutritional supplement/protein powder to help stabilize my blood glucose levels and I have committed to give it a 90 day trial, but I want to share my preliminary results after a mere 7 days.

After 7 days, I have had NO instances of low blood sugar, even when exercising, and I have pushing myself hard during exercise. In fact, I have shaved 1.5 minutes per mile off my regular run time and have completed an intense cardio workout every day for the past week. In addition, I feel great. I have more energy, am sleeping better, and have a more positive outlook. And an added bonus: I have lost a pound, and decreased my waist size by an inch.

Once I've completed 14 days, I'll provide much more detailed feedback, as well as information about the supplement itself.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Perspective

Perspective ~ another diabetes metaphor.

It may seem stormy and bleak down there, but up here it's clear skies.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Loosening the Reigns A Little

How do we, as D-parents, let go of the need to be in control of every aspect of our child's diabetes care? Is it even possible? For six and a half years I have attended virtually every medical appointment, A1c test, eye exam, and prescription pickup. I have sat in the IEP meetings, attended the research symposiums, and handled basically all of the day to day diabetes routine. Until this week.

It's no secret that Dylan's dad and I are divorced. We share custody, but Dylan has always resided primarily with me. Over the years he has spent more and more time with his dad, and recently we switched to a 50/50 access schedule, meaning that Dylan spends one week with me, then one week with his dad. But, as mentioned above, I have handled the overwhelming majority of the diabetes care since Dyl's diagnosis and that remains the same today. Until this week.

I have always tried to encourage Dylan to be as independent as he can with his diabetes care so that he can take complete responsibility for it one day. And so far he is well on his way to being able to do that. But planning for his independence far in the future, and actually relinquishing control, are too very different things. Until this week.

This week Dylan is on vacation with his dad and older brother, leaving me completely out of the diabetes loop. It is the first real vacation they've ever had with their dad. Sure, he's taken them on short jaunts here and there, by car, for 3 or 4 days, but they are always within a few hours of home, close to hospitals, and available by cell phone, email, and text. They've never traveled anywhere far away with their dad, especially to an international destination. Until this week.

Last Friday they flew to Jamaica for 11 days. That's 11 days of not knowing how his blood sugar will react to the hot humid weather, increased exercise, or different food. 11 days that I can do nothing but trust another person to look after my baby and keep him safe. For me, putting Dylan's life in the care of another individual, regardless of who it is, is the hardest part of all.

So here I am 4 days into the 11. Full of worry, but staying strong. So far. 7 days until I exhale.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Accu-Chek Canada's "We've Got You" Campaign Launch

Last Spring I partnered with Accu-Chek Canada to promote their revolutionary new "stripless" blood glucose meter, the Accu-Chek Mobile (see here and here). This spring, I have joined forces with Accu-Chek Canada again to help promote their latest diabetes campaign, entitled "We've Got You," which launched March 12th.

"We've Got You" is an initiative the company launched to bring attention to their Circle+ program for Canadians who use insulin. By simply asking their pharmacist for a Circle+ card and then activating the card via mail, Accu-Chek's website, or a toll free 1-800 number, Canadian insulin users can save up to $7 on every box of Accu-Chek strips or cassettes. Cardholders also receive helpful e-newsletters, have access to online tools, and be eligible for contests and giveaways, such as the insulin mini-fridge currently being offered. For more information about the Circle+ program, watch the brief video here.

Accu-Chek understands that living with diabetes is anything but easy. They also know that supporters, such as parents, spouses, siblings, friends, and caregivers, are an essential part of successful diabetes care. Accu-Chek would like to say thank you, and "We've Got You," to all those supporters by offering them a chance to win one of 8 weekly draws for $200, or the grand prize of a $3500 getaway with their "Care to Win" contest. The idea is that the winners will use their $3500 getaway or $200 to show their supporters how thankful they are.

The contest is open to all Canadian residents who have reached age of majority in their province or territory. To enter, simply "Like" Accu-Chek Canada on Facebook and fill out the contest entry form. There is a limit of one entry per person, but if you invite friends to enter, you will receive one additional entry for each friend, up to a maximum of 10 additional entries.

Good luck and check back here for more information, including info about Accu-Chek's latest blood glucose meter, as well a contest from Blood, Sweat & Carbs in which I will be giving away a $200 prepaid credit card to one of my lucky readers!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Mussels alla Diavola

My husband and I were grocery shopping Saturday afternoon and were thrilled to discover live mussels, caught that morning, on sale, so we grabbed a pound. I wanted to prepare them that evening, while they were still fresh, so this is how we enjoyed them. They were FABULOUS - I definitely will be making this again.

4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1/6 cup olive oil
1/3 (28-oz) can whole tomatoes in purée
3/4 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/3 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
1 tablespoon drained bottled capers
1/6 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives (1 oz), pitted and chopped
3 tablespoons dry red wine
1/3 lb dried linguine
1 lb mussels (preferably cultivated), cleaned

Thoroughly clean the mussels by scrubbing with brush under cold water until no barnacles or beards remain. Cook garlic and red pepper flakes in oil in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes with purée, tomato paste, herbs, capers, olives, and wine and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally and breaking up tomatoes, until sauce is thick, about 15 minutes. Cook linguine in a 6 to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente, then drain in a colander. While pasta cooks, increase heat under sauce to moderately high and add mussels, then cook, covered, until mussels just open wide, checking frequently after 3 minutes and transferring to a bowl. (Toss any mussels that remain unopened after 6 minutes.) Serve linguine with mussels and sauce. Makes 2 large servings.

*This recipe is adapted from one which appeared in Gourmet Magazine in July 2003.

Friday, 16 March 2012

D-Supply Packing Blunder

When prepping to go on a trip, be it a short jaunt or an extended holiday, packing just the right things is an important part of a successful trip. There must be appropriate clothes and footwear, necessary toiletries, and perhaps some entertainment in the form of a book or electronic device. Packing to travel with diabetes requires a additional amount of prep and thought into packing. Insulin, extra infusion sets and reservoirs, syringes in case of a pump malfunction, pump batteries, a spare meter and meter batteries, glucagon, juice boxes, and lots of dextrose tabs, made up our travel kit last weekend before we headed off on a 4 day train trip to Japser and back. (Can you spot the major oversight? I forgot one VERY critical item in my packing...)

Our train left at 8:30pm on Sunday night, and I started packing at 5:30pm that evening (yes, a bit last minute to say the least). The kids each packed their own bags, while I packed my own stuff, and Dyl's D-supplies. Everything went into a big resealable freezer bag (my favorite D-supply travel bag because everything is visible at a glance...very handy in times of lows), which then went into a duffel bag that would remain in the train car with us at all times.

5:45pm and we appeared to be all set. The station was only a 20 minute drive from our house, so we were planning to leave around 7:30pm. (Translation: we were ready early!) I grabbed Dylan's kit to toss into his backpack and did a quick check on its supplies. Lots of lancets, 4 strips. Wow, good thing I checked! I opened the cupboard to grab another bottle of strips, only to discover that there weren't any! (Read: answer to oversight above). Crap. We absolutely NEED strips before we go because there are no stops on the way to Jasper, not to mention Jasper is a tiny little ski-town and its pharmacy (assuming it has one...) may not have Dyl's strips in stock.

A quick call to our pharmacy, which thankfully is located only 3 blocks from our house and always has Dyl's test strips in stock, and more strips were being prepared for us. Then just as I am about to hang up the phone with the pharmacist, she says, "and you know we close at 6:00pm tonight, right?" It's 5:52pm. Another call, this time to my husband, who is out running last minute errands, to beg him to drop whatever he's doing and RACE over to the pharmacy before 6:00pm. Bless his heart for making it on time.

The trip was fabulous, and most of the supplies I packed were totally unneeded, as usual, but when traveling with D, you can never be too prepared.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Blindsided by Highs

Diabetes is anything BUT predictable, meaning what works today may not work tomorrow. Yet we must trust that when we regularly check blood glucose levels, count carbs accurately, change infusion sets every few days, and don't drastically change activity or stress levels, that numbers should be in range, at least MOST of the time, right? Wrong...

Yesterday morning we returned from a 4-day train trip to the Rocky Mountains and back. Just over 500 miles each way, with a lot of sitting and eating. But we kept a close eye on Dyl's sugar level and he was in range almost the entire time. All day yesterday glucose was good, then Dyl tested right before bed and...WHAM! 18.2 mmol/l (327 mg/dl). Um, hello high, where did you come from? We decided to change his infusion set, then bolused for the high. He went to sleep and I rechecked him just over two hours later (yes, I should have checked sooner, but I totally thought the set change and bolus would take care of it...stupid mistake). Rather than having come down quite a bit, as he should have, he was up to 28.8 mmol/l (518 mg/dl)! Holy crap, I don't remember the last time we saw a number anywhere near that high. Another bolus, this time of 7.1 units (which at night is enough insulin to scare the sleep right out of me) and we checked again an hour later. This time 24.5 mmol (441 mg/dl). Finally coming down.

Cut to this morning and his sugar was right back where it should be, and I am left wondering what happened? We did everything just as we always do and yet the result was drastically different. The only major change in our routine was the train trip. Delayed reaction to decreased activity? Perhaps. Just another day of riding the diabetes roller coaster? Definitely.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ The Diabetes Mountain

I recently traveled to Jasper, Alberta, a town perched amongst the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The scenery was breathtaking, and I was struck by what a simple metaphor a mountain can be for diabetes. Diabetes can seem life an insurmountable obstacle; a mountain simply too high, or too steep, to conquer, and yet we traverse it by simply going one step at a time.

More pics of our trip to follow soon!

Monday, 12 March 2012

BSC Book Club ~ February 2012

Somehow this entry never got posted at the end of February...

February has come and gone already and, like in January, I managed to read only 2 books this month. Nonetheless I am sticking to my original goal to read 50 books in 2012.

3. Diabetes for Canadians for Dummies by Ian Blumer and Alan L. Rubin

Synopsis: This Canadian guide to diabetes management provides the information you require to rule your diabetes. From diagnosis, to symptoms, to treatments, this book guides you through the complex world of diabetes.

This is a great little diabetes resource, particularly for newly diagnosed individuals and their families. The book covers both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, with the focus predominantly on type 2. It is chalk full of useful tips and basic care information, though for those who have lived with diabetes for some time, much of the information is redundant. The version I read is pocket sized and easily fits into a purse or small bag, so it would be super-easy, and handy, to carry around when first diagnosed, in case a quick reference is needed.

I would recommend this book to newly diagnosed individuals, especially type 2's. For those with type 1 diabetes, this book is not ideal, especially since there are lots of more thorough and specific texts out there.

4. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Synopsis: In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, "old same," in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she's painted a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on fans, compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together, they endure the agony of foot-binding, and reflect upon their arranged marriages, shared loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their deep friendship suddenly threatens to tear them apart.

What a beautifully written, poignant tale of women's life in China in the 1800's. I absolutely adored this book and found myself completely swept away by the lifestyle and culture so delicately presented. The detail in parts was shocking, such as when the girls foot binding began, while the setting and strict cultural traditions are vividly embedded on every page.

The real greatness of this story, however, is the intimate relationship between the laotongs, or "old sames," Lily and Snow Flower. A tale of true friendship, this story emphasizes the importance of trust, openness, and, ultimately, forgiveness, as the two girls grow into women and experience love, loss, and motherhood.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Don't Forget: Meter & Pump Adjustments!

It's daylight savings time, so we'll be putting our clocks ahead one hour tonight. But it's not just clocks. In addition to changing the batters in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, don't forget to adjust the time on all of your blood glucose meters, insulin pumps, and continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGMs). And for those on MDIs and using long acting insulin, you'll need to check in with your endocrinologist or certified diabetes educator and find out about tweaking your injection times.

And while we'll lose an hour of sleep tonight, we'll gain an hour of daylight, so no more morning runs in the dark. Yippee!!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Hope vs Acceptance

When Dylan was first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes six and a half years ago, I was adamant about doing everything I could to help to find a cure; I fundraised, I volunteered, I advocated, and, above all, I hoped. My hope that a cure would come in Dylan's lifetime was so unwavering that I would stop at nothing to see it into fruition. And we were not among the parents who were told by medical professionals that a cure would be found within five, or even ten, years. I clearly remember our endocrinologist saying that she felt a cure for Type 1 Diabetes would be available by the time Dylan was my age (I was thirty at Dylan's diagnosis, he was three days shy of his fifth birthday), but that there were no guarantees. Yet I jumped into my advocacy as if a cure was imminent.

Those first few years, Dylan and I used to talk often about what a cure would mean to him. He was young and a cure would mean freedom from this new restrictive lifestyle. It would mean no more injections, no more finger pokes, no more counting carbs, no more mom obsessing over his every move, no more constant worrying (well, the latter two would probably continue regardless, I am a mom after all...).

Then when Dylan was nine, he volunteered as a Youth Ambassador for JDRF and gave a number of speeches to corporations about what it was really like being a child and living with type 1 diabetes. At the end of each speech he always spoke briefly about what a cure would mean to him. His speech ended with,

"What would a cure mean to me? A cure for diabetes would make me feel free. Free to eat what I want, when I want. To eat my Halloween candy on Halloween and my Easter eggs at Easter, free to be just a regular kid. Right now there is no cure for type-1 diabetes, but we can change that with your help. This June, join me and the many other children, teens, and adults with diabetes as we walk to find a cure, so kids like me can live happy and free. I don’t let my diabetes get me down, but I do want a cure so I don’t have to deal with diabetes every minute, every hour, every day."

That was only two years ago, and yet so much has changed. At eleven years old, Dylan has become a young man, and has become so responsible with his diabetes care. The disease has been fully enveloped into our lives; it is routine, in a way. And sometime in the last two years, Dylan and I stopped talking about a cure. It wasn't that we stopped believing, or gave up hope. Maybe it was due to the fact that he could no longer remember life without diabetes; or perhaps it was that those conversations simply took a backseat to everyday life. Whatever the reason, a cure was no longer on the forefront of our minds. We went from hope to acceptance.

Fast forward to last week, when I got a mass email from the Canadian Diabetes Association asking individuals to share their stories. They want Canadians touched by diabetes to describe what a cure would mean to them, and post it to the CDA Facebook page. Readers will then vote on the stories, and the author of the story with the most votes will win an iPad 2. I really didn't think anything of it at the time, but later I realized how long it has been since Dylan and I had talked about a cure. 

That same evening I asked Dylan what he thought. I didn't ask him if he hoped for a cure, because we all know the answer to that question; I asked him if he still thought about a cure. His response came immediately, without any hesitation. "Every day," he said. "Really?" I asked. "Yes," he replied, "but I try not to worry about it too much. I've accepted that diabetes is my life, so I deal with it." That was it, end of conversation.

As the tears inevitably flooded my eyes, I stood up and left the room. I was literally unsure of how to feel about his response, and I'm still torn. A part of me is so proud of him for his mature outlook and acceptance, partly because it would break my heart to learn that he pines for a life he may never have, and partly because, in the long run, this attitude will likely lead him to take better care of his diabetes as he gets older. At the same time, however, hope is important; believing that a cure is out there somewhere can provide solace and comfort in times of need and desperation.

So I guess my question for readers is: At what point, if ever, do you give up hope for a life free of diabetes and simply accept the life you've been given?

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge is Back!

Can you write 30 posts in 30 days? If you think so, sign up for Wego Health's Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge running through the month of April. 30 health-related prompts will be provided to get the creative juices flowing; the rest is up to you!

I am so excited about this! Last year's HAWMC started less than a week after I began blogging, and I wasn't anywhere near ready. But I completed the NHBPM in November 2011 and loved it, so I am ready to take on this challenge!

Sign up today and you'll receive the posts prior to April 1st so that you can start planning your posts. You'll also get images to add to your posts and blog.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Friends For Life Canada 2012

Who's in? And for those with type 1 kids, going to FFL Canada or USA, are you taking your child, or going alone?

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Running & Low Blood Sugar

Currently I am training to run a half marathon in early May; well, that is the goal anyway. Over the past few days I have started to accept the fact that it just might not happen because I may not be ready in time. I HATE HATE HATE the idea of putting it off, but I ran a half last year totally unprepared, and promised myself I would never do that again.

Why is there a chance I won't be ready by May? It's not for lack of trying, or because of missing motivation. It's not even due to fact that I've been super busy lately. It's in part because of injury (I strained my lower back about 2 weeks ago and it has been a slow recovery), but mostly because of crappy blood sugar.

Running has become scary for me lately. It seems that on almost every run, my blood sugar bonks about 20-30 minutes in. I've tried adjusting my pre-run meal, but have seen little improvement. I've tried downing masses of juice immediately before going out, and while I'm sure my blood glucose rises pretty quick, it plummets even faster. The result? Shorter runs, and too many runs on the treadmill, where I can keep a bottle of dex tabs beside me at all times. Too bad that all the 30 minute treadmill runs in the world aren't going to help me run 21.2 kilometers on the road.

Frustration is mounting. I love running, but these lows come from out of nowhere. One minute I feel great, and the next I am shaking, dizzy, and unable to put one foot in front of the other. It sucks. So I am testing out a new (to me, not new to the market) nutritional supplement/protein powder that claims to do wonders for balancing blood sugar levels. It's low calorie, high protein, and is loaded with vitamins and minerals. I officially start taking it next week, when I get back from my mini spring break vacation, and will take it every day prior to training. But out of curiosity, I took some this afternoon and jumped onto the treadmill for 30 minutes. 15 minutes came and went, no low symptoms. 20 minutes, 25, and 30. Not only did I not feel even slightly low, I felt fabulous. I ran 0.2 miles per hour faster than I have been lately (not much, but hey, it's something) and I finished the half hour knowing I could have run another one. This supplement is looking good so far. The real test will start next week when I begin taking it daily.

Monday, 5 March 2012

JDRF Family Appreciation Day

Yesterday we had the pleasure of attending JDRF's annual Family Appreciation event for Vancouver (and surrounding area) families. With over 300 people in attendance on behalf on JDRF, it was a fun filled afternoon.

We were treated to an AHL hockey game between the Abbotsford Heat and Texas Stars (sadly we lost, but it was still fun to watch), followed by a presentation by Heat President and former NHL player Ryan Walters. We checked out the sponsor tables, got autographs from the team captain and assistant, and had our picture taken with "Hockee," the team mascot. Finally we watched a few lucky winners receive cool raffle prizes courtesy of JDRF. And the best part? All of the costs for this event were generously covered by sponsors!

I love attending these JDRF events. They are always extremely well organized and everything always seems to go flawlessly. The kids had a blast watching the game and were excited about the "goodie bags" they received from the Heat. Personally, I love visiting the sponsor tables, especially the big "diabetes" companies (this event had LifeScan Canada reps present, from both OneTouch and Animas), to check out the latest blood glucose meters and insulin pumps. Running into familiar faces is always terrific too, and while I didn't know many people at this particular event, I did get a chance to catch up with a few families, and chatted with my Medtronic sales rep.

I wish I had taken more pictures. As usual, I totally forgot, though I did get a couple of shots early in the hockey game.

A big thank you to JDRF, its sponsors, and the Abbotsford Heat for putting together a great event!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

In Need of a Miracle

There is a family in need of our help. An absolutely awesome family. A mom, dad, and 4 boys, who have already faced so many challenges in life, and yet are being asked to take on perhaps their toughest challenge yet. The Schuhmachers are a truly remarkable family, and while I have never "met" Meri, I consider her a friend. She is an incredibly witty blogger at, a loving wife, and an awesome mom to 4 boys, 3 of which have type 1 diabetes. They are asking for our prayers as Ryan begins his treatment and uphill battle against cancer. In her own words, Meri writes,

"Dear Family and Friends
We have received some bad news, and we need your help. Three years ago my husband Ryan was diagnosed with Melanoma. He had surgery and chemotherapy and we believed we beat it. This weekend we received the news that his cancer is back with a vengeance. He has 6 tumors in his brain, as well as multiple tumors in his lungs and abdomen. The news is obviously not good but we have not lost hope.

We are asking all of you for your continual prayers, and ask if you will join our family in praying this Sunday March 4th, for Ryan. Please pray specifically for a miracle, because that is what we stand in need of at this moment. Please spread the word to your churches, prayer groups, friends and families. All religious denominations everywhere. We have a strong belief that we need to bombard the gates of heaven with prayers for Ryan on Sunday...and beyond.

For those of you that do not know our family very well, you can find out more about us at My husband and I have been married 19 years, we have four boys, ages 16, 14, 10 and 8. Three of our boys have Type 1 Diabetes. Ryan is 40 years old.

Please. Please pray. We believe in miracles, and have already witnessed many since the diagnoses on Sunday. We can do this. Your prayers can and will help.

Thank you in advance for your prayers and good will for our family. We already feel it lifting us.

Much love, Meri Schuhmacher and Family"

The outpouring of support by the DOC has been absolutely overwhelming and I have been awestruck the past few days as I see more and more people change their Facebook profile pictures to show their support for the Schuhmachers. I've always known the DOC was awesome, but I really didn't realize just how awesome until now. We are a family and we have each other's backs. This is the use of social media as its best and for the ultimate purpose: to bring people together. Family and friends of the Schuhmachers have banded together, praying, hoping, wishing, dreaming, for help for Ryan and his family. It has become a social media movement and I know in my heart that our prayers will make a difference. They have to. This family is in need of a miracle.

To read more and show your support for about the Schuhmacher Family's Miracle, visit and "like" the Schuhmacher Family's Miracle Facebook page, add their button to your blog, and change your profile picture. And above all, pray.

Blog button

Profile picture

Donations are being accepted to help the family with ongoing medical costs. Should you wish to make a donation, you can go directly to the donation page by clicking the link below.