Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Rookie Mistake (365:11)

So this past weekend we went up to Nicola Lake to camp for a few days. As we're packing up extra infusion sets, reservoirs, dex, and a couple of glucagon shots, Dylan says to me, as a joke, "Don't forget the insulin, Mom."

"No way," I reply, chuckling. After all, I had just picked up a fresh vial from the pharmacy the night before so that we'd have more than enough for the trip, and for the site change we'd need to do while away.

Two hours later, we're in the car, entering Chilliwack (about an hour from home), when Dyl's pump beeps low reservoir. And then it dawns on me. I packed all the d-supplies from the cupboard but left the fresh and the old vials of insulin in the butter compartment of the fridge. Holy crap!!

Option 1? We could go back, but it's at least an hour home, and we're smack in the middle of rush hour traffic. Then the four hour drive to the lake. That would mean we'd arrive at the campground around 10:00pm to assemble tents and make dinner in the dark. Not fun.

Option 2? Stop at the nearest pharmacy and beg them to give me a vial of insulin. There are two immediate problems with this option. First, I have no prescription on me, and while my local pharmacy (who knows me, and is very familiar with Dylan's prescriptions) would do it no questions asked, other pharmacies may not. Second, all drugs in BC, including insulin, are monitored and patients are only permitted to draw them at a pre-set frequency, depending on established use. Meaning that the government computer system knows Dylan's regular insulin use, so if we suddenly try to get twice as much as normal, red flags go up. I picked up a vial the night before, plus another vial a few weeks ago, plus whatever Dylan's father might have recently ordered for his place. Would we be at our cap? There was only one way to find out.

I dragged Dylan in with me so he could show them his pump if there were any problems with the lack of prescription. Luckily the pharmacist was super understanding and immediately gave us a new vial. Yes, we were over the insurance company's drug limit, so we had to pay for the vial, but within 15 minutes we had insulin in hand and were back on our way to the campground.

A rookie mistake that I'll definitely never be making again.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Are You High? (365:10)

Until recently, Dylan didn't experience distinguishable or telltale "signs" when his blood sugar was high. His low blood sugars have always been apparent to him and to me, but highs not so much. Even today, there is really only 1 symptom that accompanies every high.

Walking to the local library recently, we noticed something wasn't quite right with Dyl. He was a bit quieter than usual, and not his lighthearted, cheerful self.

He was focused and deep in concentration; so much so, that he didn't see this sign and proceeded to walk right into it, bonking his head on the bottom. Normally, he would laugh something like this off, and we would laugh along with him. Side-note: I realize it may seem mean to make fun of someone who has just potentially hurt themselves, but Dylan has a very particular sense of humor, plus I knew he wasn't hurt, just caught off guard because he literally didn't see the sign coming.

No, no joking around today. Today he got defensive and bitter, snapping at his sister and I for giggling, accusing us of making fun of him. Totally out of character for him.

I didn't think too much of it at the time. Maybe he was tired, or a little warm (we've had a hot summer and he reacts easily to the heat and humidity). But then on the way home, we crossed a street together, his sister and I turned left to continue down the next street and Dylan kept walking straight. He was headed in a direction that would have taken us further from our destination, and he normally would know this. 

After about 10 yards or so we realized he wasn't with us anymore and called out to him, again chuckling a little. This time he got really mad at us and then it dawned on me.

"Are you high?" I asked him - a legitimate question to a child with type 1, but also a bit of an inside joke between him and I because he's entering high school next week and is very anti teen drug use (again, his sense of humor...).

"I was 10.4 (mmol/l (187 mg/dl)) when we left the house." 

We had been walking for about 15 minutes. Ahhhh, that explains it.

Anyone else experience big mood swings with elevated blood glucose levels?

Friday, 23 August 2013

Week in Review, Diabetes Day Camp (365:9)

What a week Dylan had at diabetes day camp at West Van Community Centre. He attended Monday-Thursday and experienced four days loaded with fun activities, great friends, and lots of diabetes education.

Day 1, Dylan arrived, thrilled to discover that he knew a bunch of the kids already from Camp Kakhamela! The group headed to Lighthouse Park for a hike and geocaching lesson, then back to the rec centre for lunch, board games and some diabetes ed.

Lighthouse Park, Day 1
Day 2 they went pitch & putt golfing, where Dylan experienced one of his lowest blood sugars ever. 1.7 mmol/l (30.6 mg/dl)! A full 10-pack of dex later and he was back into normal range, but then a few hours later, at snack, he had dropped to 3.0 mmol/l (54 mg/dl). Honestly, I never would have thought to temp basal for golf, and neither did he. Lesson learned.

Day 3 the group went up Cypress Mountain for an exploratory nature hike and to pick wild blueberries. This time Dylan set a 50% temp basal and ran a little high for the rest of the day, but not too bad. After picking, they returned to the rec centre and made blueberry pancakes with their pickings, practicing carb counting and how to count carbs for an entire recipe, then adjust it to a per serving amount.

Thursday was a food day. They spent the morning at Lonsdale Quay market, exploring the food vendors and talking about healthy food choices. For lunch they selected a food stall for their meal (making sure it was a healthy, balanced lunch) and estimated the carbs in their meal.

Dylan missed today to go camping for the weekend with his dad, but the group ferried to Bowen Island to go kayaking and visit a working bee farm!

Throughout the week, they created a video for newly diagnosed kids, too. Touching on ideas including injection fear, navigating the quarterly clinic and A1c test, and when to start pumping, the video will be shown to newly diagnosed kids to show them they are not alone. Very cool idea.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Diabetes Day Camp at WVCC is Back! (365:8)

Last summer, the North Shore Chronic Disease Services and West Van Community Centre partnered up and ran a 5-day diabetes day camp for 11-15 year old kids with type 1 diabetes in Vancouver. Dylan attended and loved it, and is super excited to be returning again next week for another round!

Funded by Lions Gate Hospital, Medtronic, and Animas, the kids get a fully supervised all-day camp Aug 19-23 (10:00am-5:30pm), all meals and snacks, a daily out-trip, and even some diabetes education. And the cost? Only $100 for the week!

Check out the flyer below for full info, or call NSCDS at 604-984-5752!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Swimmer's High (365:7)

Swimming is one of Dylan's favorite activities, and he's a great swimmer to boot. But for someone with type 1 diabetes who wears a non-waterproof insulin pump, managing blood sugar while in the water can be a challenge.

We've been lucky in the past and the carb-burning exercise of swimming has always balanced out the lack of insulin. So much so, that on vacations in past years, we've let Dyl disconnect from his pump for 3 to 4 hours at a time, without an increase in bg afterwards. No pre or post swim bolus required - the swimming simply replaced the pump. Easy peasy...

But diabetes, being like Murphy's Law, throws a curve ball when we least expect it. When we think we have it all figured out. When we try to use almost 8 years experience to base a decision today. It shows us that even after something has worked time and time again, it won't necessarily work today.

Between increased insulin needs, the early onset of puberty, a higher body weight, and possibly dozens of other factors, swimming no longer burns enough carbs for Dylan to be disconnected for any length of time. We learned this the hard way yesterday when he hit the pool with friends for an afternoon swim. 

After 3 hours in the pool diving, flipping, swimming, and playing in deep water, he came home with a blood glucose level higher than I've seen in a long time. A whopping 20.6 mmol/l (370 mg/dl)! A big bolus (6.25 units) and a 30 minute wait later, we faced a 24.8 mmol/l bg (446 mg/dl) and a pump telling us Dylan had too much active insulin to bolus further. A manual override of another unit bolused, and another 45 minute wait, and bg was down to 9.6mol/l (173 mg/dl) and still dropping. 2 hours post-swimming we were down to 6.4mmol/l (115 mg/dl) and I finally started breathing normally again.

On days like this, being a d-mom is extra difficult. It's so easy to focus on the negative and worry about the damage that's being done to his heart, kidneys, nerves, or eyes when his blood sugar is high. It's easy to feel like a failure as a parent and a caregiver, for not keeping my son away from harm. It's easy to let diabetes win.

But this 365 project is about staying positive and not allowing diabetes to be all bad all the time. Because like it or not, he will have type 1 diabetes for his entire life, and I don't want him to think of it as a death sentence, a disability, or a hindrance in any way. I don't want him to mope around focusing on how diabetes gets in the way.

I want him to understand that living with type 1 diabetes can be a challenge, but there is absolutely nothing he cannot do. I want him to accept it, to own it, and to know that when bad s*#t happens, we pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off, and we get ready to take on the next challenge.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Dead Glucagon, or Each One, Teach One? (365:6)

After Dylan returned from camp, I put away his unused diabetes supplies back in the d-cupboard and discovered a box of glucagon tucked behind some infusion sets. My initial reaction of "score!" was quickly subdued when I looked at the bottom of the box and saw an expiry date of November 2012.

In Canada, a box of glucagon costs about $110 without private insurance coverage (luckily we have a very generous insurance provider who covers the cost of virtually all diabetes supplies). Knowing this, it makes me sad to see it expire. Seems like a waste to simply throw it away, especially when there are families who cannot afford to have multiple boxes of this magical reconstitution lying around the house "just in case." It gives me that same kind of guilty feeling I get when have to throw away uneaten food; I wish there was someway I could make it useful.

Moments later I remembered what the diabetes educator had told us in training: never throw away a box of unused glucagon. Use it for practice, or donate it to the hospital and they will use it to teach someone recently diagnosed. In neither case would it be injected for real, but the act of drawing out the water, injecting it into the vial, mixing, and redrawing the solution into a syringe is good practice, and might help avoid the foamy mess I created the first time I ever had to use glucagon in an emergency situation.

Which led to to remember the numerous and horribly frightening times in which we've needed to give Dylan glucagon. Times when it made the difference between life and death; bringing up a dangerously low blood sugar in a matter of minutes. Part of me feels gratitude towards this little box and its capabilities. Another part of me is relieved that glucagon does, in fact, expire in our house now, because it means we didn't need to use it. I can only hope there are many more unused expires boxes in the future.

What do you do with expired glucagon?

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

The Go-to Low Treatment (365:5)

Yes, it's chalky, tastes horrible, and leaves a powdery mess on everything it touches, but nothing is more effective at treating Dylan's lows than good ole' Dex. So when Dylan woke up feeling low, after sleeping out in the backyard in a tent with his sister and the neighbors' kids, he did a quick test and self-treated with Dex. That's my rock star!

Um, yeah that's a blood smear on the tester's plastic cover...

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Creek Set (365:4)

Escaping the relentless heat has been a challenge this summer, until Dylan showed us this little spot he had visited with a friend. Located at the mouth of the Seymour River, it's quiet, private, and offers a sandy entry to a slow-moving section of cool clean water. Can you spot the infusion set?

Monday, 5 August 2013

Celebration of Light SWAG (365:3)

Saturday night marked this year's finale of Vancouver's Celebration of Light, so we headed downtown to take in the action. A simple trek, however, it is not. With hundreds of thousands of spectators converging into the West End, early arrival is critical to get a decent viewing point. The performance begins at 10:00pm, so we arrived downtown at 8:00pm, parked 2km from the site, and walked the remaining distance. Knowing we'd have to walk 2km back to the car after the show, I was a bit worried about Dylan's bg. He's an active kid, but doesn't usually walk this type of distance late in the evening.

Warning: SWAG'ing ahead: A 20 minute walk at 10min/km will burn approximately 12 carbs, plus playing at the park will burn a few more. Special solution for tonight? A summer treat! We grabbed a box of 4 Klondike Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream bars (28g carbs per bar) and each had one. Post walking/firework bg: 8.2mmol/l (147.6mg/dl). I'll take it!!

Pre-fireworks sunset and a shot of the show

Sunday, 4 August 2013

August Goals (The Connection Project)

My little connection project is well underway. I've established a focus for August (my spouse) and set up a list of goals that I'll be doing my best to adhere to throughout the month. First off, I should state that there is nothing wrong with the connections I have now. My marriage is doing well, as are the relationships I'll be focusing on in later months. My aim with this project is to build on and strengthen the relationships that are most important in my life; I'll also be developing relationships that are not as established, in later months. So it's not "fixing" per se, but more like "making even better." Time seems to be passing so rapidly, and I want to take a year to get into the practice of being grateful for what I have; to celebrate, enjoy, appreciate, cherish. every day.

I have to admit, I'm really excited about the project. I love trying new things and I know that having daily goals will help keep me accountable. I am a relentless list-maker, and the practice of checking off completed items on a list gives me a sense of satisfaction. While the goals for August are not "new" and are things that really should be practiced daily anyway, by keeping them in the forefront of my mind, I'm hoping to be more aware of their presence and ensure that they happen. So what are the goals for August?
  • Give 1 hug and 1 passionate kiss every day. This is a minimum, it can always be more than 1!
  • Bite my tongue. I have become overly critical of my husband, and I hate it. Even the littlest of criticism I'll be doing to my best to keep to myself, or, even better, spin into a compliment.
  • Ban harsh startup. Anyone that's read John Gottman's The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, will know what I mean by harsh startup. For those that haven't, harsh startup is essentially beginning a discussion in a negative way - with a criticism, in an accusatory tone, etc. It might be because one partner is angry or frustrated and an issue has been building. Or maybe he/she has simply had a bad day. Regardless of the reason, it virtually guarantees a negative outcome and is a marriage killer. I'm guilty of this practice from time to time and have witnessed its futility. Bye-bye harsh startup.
  • Hold my head high. This one will be tough, but I've been practicing for a while and am getting better and better at it. My hubby is one of those people that will never back down from an argument; he will fight any fight, and hold to his beliefs no matter what. In many ways, this one of the things I love about him. He's passionate, loyal, and will always have my back. He would defend me, or anyone he cares about, to the ends of the earth. But being on the opposing side of that in an argument is beyond frustrating, and in the past I have allowed myself to get wrapped up in an argument with him when I know the best solution is to walk away and resume the conversation when we're both calm and adrenaline has settled.
In addition to the 4 goals above, I'll be focusing on keeping myself in the best condition possible. My relationship with my spouse is strongest when we're both healthy, well rested, and calm. For me, that means getting 7.5-8 hours of sleep every night, exercising daily (with at least 4 cardio sessions a week), eating clean (no grains or processed sugar, lots of protein and fresh fruits and veg), and avoiding alcohol and other potential stressors.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Breakfast of Champions (365:2)

One of the breakfasts offered at d-camp this year was a do-it-yourself breakfast wrap and it was a huge hit with Dyl. So much so, that he recreated this camp favorite his first morning back at home. Filled with yummy carb-less foods he loves, the only carbs found in this high-protein meal are those in the tortilla itself (33g of carbs in the flour tortilla he used). And if that's not awesome enough, he made this ALL BY HIMSELF!

His fillings included scrambled eggs, ham, greek yogurt (a healthy alternative to sour cream), salsa verde, and a little cheddar cheese. Definitely bolus-worthy! 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Diabetes Camp Rocks! (365:1)

Diabetes camp can be one of THE most amazing experience for a child with type 1 diabetes. Fully supervised by medical professionals, with trained and knowledgeable staff, it provides an opportunity for d-kids to experience all the activities and fun of residential summer camp in a diabetes-safe environment. Plus it offers the added bonus of introducing kids to other boys and girls with type 1, so they can swap stories, compare histories, voice complaints about d, whatever they want, all to someone else who actually GETS it. Empowerment is the goal here, and camp staff teach and encourage kids to self-manage their diabetes,while fostering a growing sense of independence.

At camp pick up, holding his bag of d-supplies and sporting his new camp toque

This year was Dyl's 5th time at Camp Kakhamela on BC's Sunshine Coast, and his best camp yet. They had flawless weather, he made tons of new friends, and he even learned to sail! Can't wait for next year!

Kakhamela is one of 12 Canadian Diabetes Association overnight camps. For full info, visit www.dcamps.ca/.

Changes at BSC!

It's no secret I've been absent from this blog for the past few months, with posts being sporadic at best. Well, that is all about to change, as I launch two exciting new projects today!

A Year in the Life of a Child with Type 1 Diabetes
This new project will feature a year's worth of photographs and anecdotes, documenting day to day life with type 1 diabetes. Similar to other "365" projects you might have seen before, different aspects of life with type 1 will be recorded. Each post will emphasize the positive aspects of living with type 1 diabetes, rather than the negative; the focus being a celebration of the things Dylan does WITH diabetes. In our house we don't let diabetes get in the way. Of anything.

I want others to know that this IS a manageable disease. It doesn't have to define you. And that life can still be totally amazing and awesome!

The Connection Project
For lack of a better name, the Connection Project is my own personal journey that I will post on from time to time. I recently read Gretchen Rubin's "Happiness Project," and was struck by how simple, yet effective, some of her ideas were. I love the idea of choosing an area of life to improve on each month, and then focusing on small, measurable goals, using a check and balance system for follow through. This speaks to my list-making self in so many ways. But while Rubin's purpose was to find more happiness in her life, my purpose will be on building connections and celebrating the people and values in my life that mean the most to me.

While still in the early stages of development, I have a rough idea of what my goals will be each month. The project starts today, August 1st, and this month's goals will all revolve around building connections with my spouse.

I'm super pumped to get underway!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Race Report ~ Spartan Sprint North Vancouver

The more time that passes before I finish these race reports, the less likely I'll be able to remember which race was which... Just kidding, I've completed 4 races in the past 2 months, but 2 were road races and 2 were obstacle races, and they were all different distances. A pretty well rounded collection actually!

The Spartan Sprint on June 1 was my first Spartan Race of 2013. The "king" of obstacle course racing, Spartan is the original OCR organization and they've really set the bar for the various other mud and obstacle races that have appeared in the last few years. Definitely my favorite race series, Spartan races are all about strength, speed, agility, balance, grit, and in the longer Spartan distances, endurance. Competitors are fierce, well trained, determined, and adventurous.

Personally, I  thought the entire race was amazing. Package pick-up was the day before, so there was no messing around with line ups on race morning. Racers were divided into decent sized waves, so traffic was good getting to the race itself and into the starting corral. I raced in a group of 5, 3 women, 2 men, all of somewhat similar fitness level.

As for the course itself, it was typical Spartan, with one major unforeseen issue causing a number of last minute course adjustments: snow. June in Vancouver is usually warm, and the majority of snow has typically melted from local mountains by late May. But not this year. The course was essentially a bent figure 8, consisting of two loops which intersected in the middle. We started at the base of the "Mystery" chairlift, and followed one of the intermediate ski runs up to the top of the chairlift, and back down a different ski run almost to the start line, before veering off to the left and down to the lower half of the course.

The top half,or first loop, of the course (approximately 3k) was 100% covered in snow, about calf-deep, making for some interesting running! Obstacles faced in the first loop included over/under fences and barbed wire, pulling a 30lb cement block for about 40 feet, a sandbag carry up and down a hill, and even a little a bum-slide in the snow. We speed walked up the hill, ran down, and completed the first loop in decent time.

Loop 2 was where they had placed most of the obstacles, because it was snow-free. First up was the monkey bars, where I, far too excitedly, leaped out onto to the bars, my swinging legs following. In fact, my legs swung so far forward, my hands let go of the bars and I fell the 10 or so feet to the gravel below, landing entirely on my lower right arm. While I attended to the blood gushing from my arm, my teamates split my 30 burpee penalty (for failing to successfully complete the obstacle), and we continued on. Other obstacles in leg 2 included climbing up and over cargo nets, down and up through a steep muddy ravine, crawling through mud under barbed wire, up over walls, a javelin throw, a rope climb, traverse wall, tire toss, fire jump, and gladiator fight. There may have been a couple more that I've forgotten, too.

We kept up a good pace throughout the race. There were a few times the team stopped and waited while teammates completed burpee penalties or made it up hills, before finishing together as a group, in a time of 1 hour and 12 minutes. Could I have completed the race faster? Definitely. Am I happy with the time? Totally. I didn't go into the event with a goal to finish as fast as I could, I wanted to run it as a group and have fun. And that's what we did :)

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

"Failed Batt Test"

That pesky warning that pops up when we change batteries in Dylan's insulin pump, and perhaps one of my most hated diabetes phrases. Why, you ask? Shouldn't changing a pump battery be a simple, straightforward task? One would think so, but in our case it seems to always be anything BUT simple.

I honestly have no idea how often the pump batteries should be changed, or how long they're "supposed" to last. I guess it depends on what kind of batteries are used, and maybe how frequently the pump is accessed. Alarms, night lights, bolus reminders, do they use extra battery life? Probably. Regardless, it doesn't matter in our house, where batteries, especially AAAs and AAs, have always been more sought after than toilet paper.

With the amount of battery-requiring electronics, one would think that we had a surplus of spare batteries lying around, but that is far from the case. One would also think that as a parent of a child with an insulin pump, I'd have extra batteries reserved exclusively for pump use. That would certainly make sense, but, again, would be incorrect. Well, kind of. I buy batteries for pump use, but no matter how explicit I am about their purpose, they get snagged up by kids and used in other devices - toys, remote controls, video game controllers, etc.

Case in point: about 6 weeks ago, Dylan's pump was nearly out of batteries, so we took out the old one and went to pop in a new one, but couldn't find one. The next step was to take a partially used AAA our of an electronic device in the house, yet every one we tried failed the pump's battery test. We literally lined up batteries on the kitchen counter, testing one after the other. We'd put it in, tighten the cap, and wait. "Failed Batt Test" would appear on the screen, over and over. Finally, after over a dozen attempts, we found one with enough life to pass the battery test and power the pump.

It was mayhem; an absurd and unnecessary amount of panic and stress, after which we swore we would NOT got through again. So we hid a battery where only my hubby or I could find, so that we would have a spare no matter what.

Last night, while we were changing Dyl's infusion set, I noticed that the battery bars were empty, so I took out the old one and went to my "hiding spot" to grab the spare. Only it wasn't there. WTF??? I asked my husband, "do you know what happened to that spare battery we set aside for Dyl's pump?" "Oh, yeah, I think it's in the clicker for the Blu-Ray player," he responded. Hmmm. After a few muttered expletives, I grabbed the clicker and took out the two batteries, placing one after the other in the pump. "Failed Batt Test" on both. Are you friggin' kidding me?? I didn't even bother testing any others, as I know from last month that a AAA can have enough power to operate a remote control, but not enough to power an insulin pump.

At 10:00pm I drove to the store, bought an 8-pack of AAAs, took one out for the pump, and locked the rest in the glove compartment of my car. No, not really, but lets hope the next time we do a pump battery change there are some left!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Memories; The First Low

Diabetes Blog Week Prompt, Day 3: Today we’re going to share our most memorable diabetes day. You can take this anywhere.... your or your loved one's diagnosis, a bad low, a bad high, a big success, any day that you’d like to share. 

I love that these topics are really getting me thinking...there have been so many diabetes memories, both good and bad. I could post about Dylan's diagnosis. Or about Cyclebetes, the cross-Canada cycling event I was lucky enough to participate in not once, but twice. I could write about one of the many amazing JDRF events we have partaken in, or about the day we started pumping. All worthwhile choices.

But no. Today, the memory that keeps flashing to the forefront of my brain, is of Dylan's one, and only, REALLY bad daytime low. Sure, he's had hundreds of lows, in fact, lately he gets them daily. But this low...this bad boy was different. It had attitude. It was the type of low that keep a d-parent living in fear. The type of low that makes you want to hold on to your child and not let him or her out of your sight. EVER. 

One day, within the first year after Dyl was diagnosed (he was 4 years old at diagnosis), he was spending the day with grandma at her house, which is about a 10 minute drive from our house. (For the record, she is and always has been knowledgeable about Dyl's diabetes, and is one of the few people I've always been comfortable leaving Dylan alone with.) After spending the afternoon together, she was driving him home when she decided to make a quick stop at the library to drop off a few books. She pulled up in front of the building and noticed Dylan had fallen asleep in the back seat of the car. Side-note: this was a very common occurrence, and still is now. Dylan frequently falls asleep within the first minute or so of travel time. Knowing this, she left him in the car and ran the 10 or so feet to put the books in the outdoor return slot. She hopped back in the car and drove to my house. When they pulled in our driveway I could see her, from the kitchen window, struggling to get him out of the car. Again, this wasn't uncommon. He would sleep so soundly for short drives, that we would often have difficulty rousing him once we reached our destination. I saw her pulling him out of the booster seat and trying to get him to walk up the flight of stairs to the back door. And that was when I knew something was very wrong.

Normally Dylan would be disoriented after snoozing in the car, but he would still semi-wake up and stumble into the house. This time he wasn't. My mom was literally dragging him; she had both arms hooked around his chest in a sort of sideways embrace, and was attempting to pull him up the stairs, his legs and feet dragging behind. As I opened the door to help her, she apologized, explaining that he had fallen asleep in the backseat and she couldn't rouse him. 

I immediately knew the truth. He wasn't sleepy, he was hypoglycemic. Between the two of us, we brought him inside and sat him on the couch. I tried, unsuccessfully, to give him dex, but he wasn't responsive enough to chew the tablets. I grabbed a juice box, rammed the straw through the metal hole, and squeezed the juice up through the straw so that it dribbled slowly into Dylan's mouth. For the first few seconds, he didn't swallow, the juice running out of his mouth and down his chin, spilling onto his t-shirt. Then suddenly, as I was about to prep the glucagon for my first real use, he swallowed a few sips of juice. Then a few more. And slowly, as if by magic, the life returned; the color slowly returned to his cheeks, the clarity to his eyes, and the control to his limbs. He was back. 

Nothing, I repeat, nothing, can prepare a parent for that experience. I thought I was ready - I had done all the training, been through the procedures, I knew what to do in an emergency. But nothing I had read or studied could have prepared me for the real deal. That afternoon was the first time I TRULY understood just how unpredictable, powerful, and terrifying, diabetes could be. 

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

We, The Undersigned

It's Day 2 of Diabetes Blog Week, and today's prompt is, "Recently various petitions have been circulating the Diabetes Online Community, so today let’s pretend to write our own. Tell us who you would write the petition to – a person, an organization, even an object (animate or inanimate) - get creative!! What are you trying to change and what have you experienced that makes you want this change?"

I, mother of a child with type 1 diabetes, hereby petition the people of planet Earth to do their absolute best to correct and/or overcome any and all preconceived and unsubstantiated notions about the cause and treatment of type 1 diabetes. This includes any misconceptions, ignorance, simplicity, incapacity, naivete, callowness, and basic lack of understanding about the disease itself, as well as how to "best" manage it, and how to reduce long term risk of type 1 complications. Examples of such ludicrous notions include, but are not limited to:

  • questions related to things my type 1 child "can" and "cannot" eat. And I apologize in advance because one of these days when another adult asks me "can he eat this?", I just might go off the deep end and shove aforementioned "this" where the proverbial sun don't shine. YES, he can eat that.
  • suggestions that my son "got" type 1 diabetes as a result of too much sugar, lack of exercise, or obesity. Umm, hello? Have we met? I am borderline obsessive about diet and exercise and would never feed my children copious amounts of sugar or saturated fats, and I ensure they get plenty of exercise. Though that's totally irrelevant because there is NO LINK whatsoever between diet and/or activity level and the incidence of type 1 diabetes.
  • stories about someone's second cousin's friend's mom who was "cured" of type 1 diabetes after taking some magical herbal/cinnamon/new age discovery. For starters, there is NO CURE for type 1 diabetes. Period. Second, if there were some secret cure out there, don't you think we would have tried it by now? And third, see first bullet for my in-advance apology, as this applies to you too, and where I'd like to put your "cure".
I wish that the lack of knowledge about type 1 diabetes was limited to the above list, but in fact these are only a handful of the masses of incorrect ideas floating around. There are myriads of great resources available to educate about type 1 diabetes. Check out my resources tab for some helpful links.

Friday, 3 May 2013

The End of My Love-Hate Relationship with Running

At the end of 2012, I decided to make some huge changes to my physical health. While I've always considered myself healthy, I knew I could feel even better, so I made 2 major changes for 2013 in terms of diet (I now eat Paleo almost exclusively) and exercise. An active person for the most part, my love-hate relationship with running has gone on too long.

For years, I have run in spurts. I'd sign up for a race, train (usually not even close to enough), run, take some time off (long enough to lose all of my fitness), and repeat. The result? I never saw any significant improvements in my running speed because I was always starting from square one; I had no consistency. The other problem with this method? No maintenance; I was always building mileage. That meant that the runs were always hard because I was pushing my body to run further or faster than before. Plus my dietary habits were causing spikes in my blood sugar that would result in brutal lows during my runs, causing me to actually fear running. No more.

Starting in January I changed the way I was running. I ran for fitness, for fun, and for stress relief, not with the goal of a specific event or race. I set goals for weekly and monthly mileage, and for number of runs per week, and I made sure I hit them week after week after week. My goals were ambitious, but not so much that they were hard to attain. January's goals were to run 75km, and to be able to run 5k without walk breaks. February's goal was 100k. March was also 100k, but with a focus on speed during the week, and on the long slow distance run on the weekend. April's goal was 125k, and by then I knew I was ready to run a 10k race and beat my previous best time. I also registered for a half-marathon May 5th with the hope of setting a PR there too.

Paleo eating has been massively helpful too. I diet of low glycemic index foods, protein at every meal, and a ratio of 35/40/25 carbs/fat/protein, keeps my blood glucose steady all day, including during runs. And with a focus on what I put in my body and when, I have drastically decreased recovery time and eliminated my need to "carb load" before long runs. My energy level is stable, by appetite is strong, and my stress level has never been lower.

Overall, these changes, albeit small, have totally transformed the way I think about diet and exercise, especially about running. For the first time ever, I wake up in the morning excited about running. It's gone from being work to being entertainment, and I celebrate and enjoy every little improvement. Finally, I have found a way to run that I know I can stick with!!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Reflections on Boston and Family

Let's face it, I'm not keeping up with HAWMC this month. Today's entry has nothing to do with the prompt for the day, but this is where my head is at right now.

Whether I'm running myself, or a spectator, I love everything about racing. I love the training, the package pick-up fairs, the bibs and medals, the cheering and celebration, and, especially, the atmosphere. There is an air of accomplishment in racing and it doesn't matter if you're racing to place, for a PB, or simply to complete. Everyone is a winner.

Monday morning I woke up and immediately found a website that was broadcasting the Boston Marathon live. Not only is it a huge event, and the pinnacle of marathons in North America (because it's the only marathon that has qualifying times just to enter), but my sister was running it for the first time, and I wanted to watch her cross the finish line!

Flipping back and forth between a site that was updating runners times at every 5k mark, and the live broadcast, I was thrilled to see that she was well on her way to a PB and possibly even a sub-3:00 hour marathon!! But just after the two hours mark, minutes after the male winners crossed the finish line, I lost the feed on the site I was on, and couldn't get it back. 15 minutes later, still nothing, so I headed out for a 40 minute run of my own, knowing I'd be back home before she finished. When I returned, still no live race coverage. Refreshing the stats page every few minutes, I was thrilled to learn that my sister finished the marathon with a time of 2:57:37; a best for her, and an absolutely incredible race time. After bragging in a Facebook group about her awesome achievement, I went on with my day.

About an hour later I received a message from one of the group members I had been boasting to, stating, "Jen, I hope your sister is ok." There was a link attached and upon clicking it, I learned of the horrible aftermath that had occurred mere minutes prior. With my heart in my throat, I knew I had to find out if she was ok. But get this: I don't have a phone number for her. I didn't even know what hotel she was staying in. Why? Because we aren't close. In fact, we barely know each other.

Here's the deal, in mini version. I was adopted as an infant because my parents were teens. They split up, went on with their lives, married other people, and had more children. I grew up in a great home, with terrific parents. I always knew I was adopted, but I knew I had to meet my biological parents. Not because I was unhappy or felt like something was missing, but because I needed to know where I came from. Period. When I met my mother, I was 19. She was 36 with 12 and 14 year old sons. I didn't meet my father until I was 29. He had 4 children, 3 boys who were then 19, 16, and 14. and a 17 year old daughter.

The age difference between my siblings and I is pretty big, and it seemed even bigger when they were teens and I was an adult. When I met my father's children, I already had 3 kids of my own, the oldest of whom was 10. The whole situation was awkward and strange for everyone, and I don't think any of my siblings really understood what was going on, or why I had suddenly intruded into their lives. Is that reason enough to barely know them after so many years? No. As completely overwhelmed as I was trying to assimilate all the new members into some semblance of organization in my head, I should have tried harder to get to know them. I should have made a more concerted effort to find out who they were as individuals, and build relationships with each of them. But I haven't. And I regret it.

So here's what I learned from the Boston marathon bombing, in a nutshell: I love my family more than anything in the world. And life is too short, too precious, and too unpredictable; every day is a gift, and should be lived as if it's our last. My plans for today? Give my husband and each of my children a hug and tell them I love them. And call my sister.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Comments for You

Day 15 Prompt: Comment! Pick someone else’s blog post and write a comment to them. Write that comment as your post for today and link back to them to let them know you were inspired.

As usual, I am behind on my HAWMC posts, but still trying to catch up :) For today's prompt, I chose to comment on a post written by fellow HAWMC diabetes blogger. Sweetly Voiced, written by type 1 advocate Melissa Lee, is a blog I've been following regularly since joining the diabetes blogging world.

After reading Melissa's post It's Cuplicated this morning, I knew this was the post I wanted to comment on for today's (actually yesterday's) prompt...

My comment:
"I love this post because I can so relate to it. Be it type 2, gestational diabetes, pre-diabetes, whatever, each comes with its own set of challenges, and each person's blood glucose level reacts a little bit differently to food, insulin, and exercise. But we ALL react. Just because someone is not dependent on multiple daily insulin injections, does not mean they are any less susceptible to the blood sugar spike after eating the granola bar or ice cream sundae or whatever other high carb, high glycemic index food they are ingesting.

And while advice or feedback from a non-doctor, or non-type 1 may be well intended, until someone has "walked a mile" in type 1 shoes, so to speak, I don't think they really get it. I don't think they CAN get it, no matter how good their intentions."

Monday, 8 April 2013

1, 3, and 5 Year Goals

Day 5: What’s your one, three, or five year plan for your Health Activism?

Ask me this 5, or even 3, years ago, and I would've spouted on about the big "C" word, and the importance of raising funds for diabetes research. 2 years ago my focus was almost solely on advocacy. Today, to be honest, it's a mixed bag, but overall, I'm focused on the now.

While I understand that a cure is not in the immediate future, I so still believe with all of my heart that there is one out there, and that the number one barrier to discovering it is money. As a parent of a child with type 1, I can't stop believing in a cure because it's the ultimate goal, the holy grail so to speak. But do I actively seek a cure and tirelessly fund-raise for it? No, not anymore.

And I certainly understand the critical importance and role of advocacy. There are simply too many people who do not receive, or cannot afford, even the most basic of diabetes care, such as insulin and test strips. There are too many children who do not receive government funded insulin pumps, and there are far too many people suffering  the side effects of type 1 diabetes, such as blindness, neuropathy, and kidney problems. Type 1 diabetes is a cripplingly expensive disease and we cannot simply sit back while others struggle. We have the opportunity to be not only a voice, but a gateway between those with information, and those without.

Today, I'm focused on the now. On the present and nothing more. I'm purposefully letting go of the past, and not worrying about the future. I have wasted far too much time and energy stressing over yesterday, and obsessing over a tomorrow that is beyond my control. The present is where I live, and I'm taking care of myself and my family as best I possibly can. I am learning and growing constantly, and teaching my children to do the same. In terms of diabetes, we are focused on day to day care: regular testing, carb counting, daily exercise, consistent sleep patterns. Tomorrow'a A1c, or future complication risk, is not dictated by what we do in the future, it is based on what we do today, and everyday, one day at a time. 

Thursday, 4 April 2013

My "Care Page"

Day 4 Prompt: Create a “care page” – a list of your best resources that someone who is newly diagnosed could go to when starting to advocate for themselves or a loved one. 

My initial thought when reading this prompt was to create a list of links to organizations that promote diabetes awareness and raise funds for diabetes-related research. Then I thought maybe I should share a few links to previous posts I've written., You know, our diagnosis story; how I dealt with with my son's diagnosis; how and why I started advocating myself, stuff like that.

But then I really thought about it; about what I would want to know if our diagnosis was today...and the answer was obvious. I would want to know that I wasn't alone. And that I would never ever be alone with diabetes. Because a diabetes diagnosis comes with an open-armed and open-ended invitation to one of the coolest, most welcoming, supportive, and totally awesome communities out there. The DOC really does have all the answers. Have a question? Post a status update on Facebook. Feeling overwhelmed? Send out a tweet. Need a virtual hug? Simply ask, and the response will amaze you.

Diabetes sucks no matter how you tilt your head, but being able to share frustrations, concerns, and day to day dilemmas with others who understand what you're going through is invaluable.

Oh, and if you are looking for links to previous posts, check out:
And visit the websites of your national and regional diabetes organizations. See the "Resources" tab above for a few links to start.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Wordless Wednesday, HAWMC Day 3

Day 3 Prompt: Post a picture that symbolizes your condition and your experiences. 

Seeing as today is a day in which we write hope on our hands to raise awareness for those with type 1 diabetes, here's my hand!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Day 2 Prompt: Introduce your condition(s) to other Health Activists. What are 5 things you want them to know about your condition/your activism? 

When people learn that my 12 year old son has type 1 diabetes, the usually make certain assumptions about that the disease is, or where he "got it" from. Sadly, misconceptions are rampant when it comes to type 1 and the volume of incorrect information floating around is abundant. Sometimes it seems easier to tell people what type diabetes IS NOT, rather than what it is. 

It is NOT:
  • caused by eating too much sugar, either as a child or adult, or by sugar at all
  • caused by any lack of care or neglect on the part of a parent or caregiver 
  • a casual disease that comes and goes. It is 24/7/365.
  • a result of being obese or overweight, nor does it have anything to do with weight at all
  • contagious, meaning you can't "catch" it from someone else
  • a disease with diet restrictions. My son can eat chocolate, sweets, starchy foods, and sugar, just like your child (though when eaten in excess it WILL cause cavities, and lead to obesity and other health issues, just like in your child). We just need to balance his carbohydrate intake with insulin.
  • curable.
Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas are destroyed, causing the body to stop producing insulin, and blood glucose levels to rise. Without insulin, the body cannot survive, so type 1 diabetes IS fatal if untreated. Fortunately, it is treatable with insulin, which can be delivered either via syringes or subcutaneously using an insulin pump. While insulin therapy is far from a cure for type 1 diabetes, it provides patients with a tool with which they can live a long and healthy life.

It is a disease that never sleeps. It IS manageable, but with vigilance and constant care. Blood glucose levels must be checked throughout the day and night, and insulin must be given multiple times per day to keep blood glucose levels within an ideal range. Variations in blood glucose levels throughout the day are to be expected, but readings outside of the target range (highs and lows) should be treated immediately. Food intake must be closely monitored (carbohydrate intake causes a rise in blood glucose), as do activities that burn carbohydrates, such as exercise. Other factors that can, and do, affect blood glucose, include temperature, stress, illness, and hormones.

There is no cure for type 1 diabetes, so utmost attention to diabetes management is critical and lifelong.

Ok, so that's a few more than 5 things. It is what it is.

Monday, 1 April 2013


Today marks the first day of the Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge, otherwise known as HAWMC. Every day for the month of April, I'll be writing from a preset list of topics. Feel free to follow, comment, share, or tweet. And should you wish to write your own posts, you can sign up for HAWMC at http://info.wegohealth.com/hawmc and get all 30 prompts. So without further ado, let's get to it!

Day 1 prompt: Why HAWMC? This is our third year of the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge – why did you get involved this year? Are you a newbie to #HAWMC or a veteran?

I guess you could say I'm a veteran. This is my second year participating in HAMWC; 2012 was my first year, and I'm pumped to be part of the challenge again. 

Why am I getting involved this year? One word: accountability. If you've been following my blog for a while, you'll have noticed that the entries have been few and far between lately. Not only have I been busy, but diabetes has been on the back burner (knock on wood) in our house lately. It's been one of those rare periods in which things just go as they should, without any unusual incidents, or bumps in the road. And I've realized that when things run smoothly, I don't blog as much. Is it that I only write about the problems diabetes brings to our lives? Jeesh, I certainly hope not, but I think I do. Regardless, I think HAWMC is exactly the kick in the butt I need right now to get me back into a consistent blogging schedule.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Is It Good News, Really?

While it definitely doesn't feel like it's been a few months already, last Friday marked Dylan's latest quarterly endo appt. With mixed emotions, we headed into the clinic, me wondering whether today's meeting would bring news good enough to reassure my worried brain before Dylan heads off for a week in the Mexican Riviera with his dad and brother.

At our previous appt in early January, Dylan's A1c had been 8.8. Not good, but better than the 9.0 he had had two months prior, and his endo actually congratulated him for bringing it down 0.2 in two months, considering one quarter of that time was Christmas break. With puberty right around the corner, his A1c is expected to be a bit higher, but 8's are still out of my comfort zone. Something in the 6's would be ideal, but I'd be happy in the 7's.

This appointment was a quickie. No nurse or dietitian today, we were only meeting the endocrinologist. A quick evaluation of his pump data showed his testing is getting much more consistent, though he's STILL struggling to maintain the lunch time tests at school. There were more highs than I expected (though most are mid-afternoon reactions to his missed lunch tests), but overall it looked pretty good. We moved on to measurements (he had grown 0.5" and gained 2 lbs since Jan, bp was normal, as always), and then the dreaded A1c. After seeing the scattered highs in the pump data, I was starting to worry even more about the A1c. Yes, I know it's just a number, and one we shouldn't take personally, but damn it's hard not to. As independent as Dylan is for his diabetes care, at the end of day, I am responsible for his well being and when his A1c is high, I feel like I've failed to fulfill my responsibility to care for his and keep him safe. Dylan, on the other hand, wasn't worried at all. He was convinced it would be a much better number than last time.

So what was the outcome? Drumroll please..........8.1! Still a ways to go from where we'd like it to be, but down 0.7 in 2.5 months (and 0.9 in 5 months)? We are heading in the right direction, and quickly. I'll take it!!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Paleo Chicken Satay with Fiery "Noodle" Salad

I record cooking shows like they're going out of style. Individual shows, series', anything and everything that looks interesting. Some I watch right away, others may sit on the PVR for months, or even years. Such was the case with a show that inspired Friday night's dinner. Recorded in the summer of 2011, I watched Jamie's "Chicken Satay with Fiery Noodle Salad" episode of "30 Minute Meals" and with only a few minor adjustments, made it fully paleo, without losing any of the incredible flavour or adding to the cooking time. I omitted the dessert altogether and we had some cut up fresh fruit instead.

As Jamie points out in the episode, in order to keep the timing down, you really need to get everything organized first. Read through the recipe in its entirely, and get out all of the ingredients and equipment needed.

1/2 a small bunch of fresh cilantro
1 fresh red hot chili
1/2 clove of garlic
3 heaped tablespoons good-quality crunchy almond butter
dash gluten-free tahini
2cm piece of fresh ginger

180 gram skinless chicken breasts

Noodle Salad
2 cups cooked spaghetti squash (1/2 cup per person)
100 grams unsalted cashews
1/2 medium-sized red onion
fresh red chili
1 small bunch of fresh cilantro
1–2 tablespoons gluten-free tahini
1 lime
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon honey

little gem lettuces (I used a spring mix)
1/2 handful of fresh coriander
1 fresh red chili (optional)
dash gluten-free tahini
1 lime

Start with the satay sauce. Add the coriander (stalks and all), chili (stalk removed), peeled garlic, 3 heaped tablespoons of almond butter and a lug of soy sauce, to a food processor. Peel and roughly chop the ginger and add. Finely grate in the zest of both limes, then squeeze in the juice from 1 of them. Add a couple of splashes of water and process to a sauce. Season to taste. Spoon half into a nice bowl and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, put the rest aside.

On plastic cutting board, cut the chicken breast into 1"-1 1/2" cubes and thread onto wooden (or metal) skewers. Scoop the rest of the satay mix from the processor into a roasting tray, add the chicken skewers and toss with your hands to coat, rubbing the flavour into the meat. Remove cutting board and knife and wash hands. the chicken with olive oil and season with salt. Put on the top shelf of the oven, under the broiler, for about 8 to 10 minutes on each side, or until golden and cooked through.

Bake 1 medium spaghetti squash and scoop out the flesh with a fork to make "noodles." Put the squash in a medium sized bowl. Bash up the cashew nuts and add to the pan to toast. Peel the onion and place in a processor with the chili and cilantro. Pulse. Place in a large bowl with 1-2 tbsp tahini sauce and a little olive oil. Add the juice of 1 lemon, the sesame oil and fish sauce. Season and add to the cooked spaghetti squash. Toss the cashews in the pan with some sesame seeds and 1 tsp honey. Once golden, add to the bowl with some more cilantro leaves.

Serve with extra cilantro, fresh red chili, tahini and lime wedges.

Nutritional Information (per serving)
Calories 404.2, Fat 25.6g, Saturated Fat 4.1g, Cholesterol 44mg, Sodium 158mg, Potassium 482.1mg, Carbohydrates 22.0g, Fiber 5.4g, Protein 25.1g.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Skating Along

The ice surface has been so smooth and sheen, free of cracks or dents, that we didn't even notice the big open hole ahead. Blindly we skated forward, bearing down, picking up speed, hurtling towards the gaping pit of freezing cold water. Before we knew it, we were submerged; soaking wet, struggling to get out before falling below the surface forever.

No, we didn't really fall under the ice, but this metaphor seems perfect to describe our family life with diabetes lately. Diabetes here has been uneventful, routine, common even; each day predictable and manageable. No lows, no highs, just a whole lot of 6's and 7's.

We were enjoying the skate, getting comfortable, and even temporarily forgetting that ice couldn't be perfect forever. Inevitably D would rear it's ugly head and we would fall. And that we did last night when Dylan's pump ran out of insulin in the middle of the night.

My own fault really, I should have refilled the reservoir earlier. I should have understood that with the stomach bug Dyl's has had the past couple of days, his insulin needs would have been higher. I should have been on top of it. But I wasn't.

Around 3:30am his pump alarm went off, signifying the end of the insulin and in his half-asleep state he heard it, but ignored it. By the time he woke up this morning his bg was 22.4 mmol/l. A quick site change, refill, and bolus, and we waited for the new insulin to do its job. We waited, and waited, and waited some more. Half an hour later we tested to discover a bg of 24.1 mmol/l. Crap. Another bolus, another wait, another test, and finally it started to come down.

A sudden and effective reminder for us to never get too comfortable with D because it has always been, and always will be, anything BUT predictable.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Wordless Wednesday ~ Overcoming Obstacles

At times, living with type 1 diabetes may seem like an insurmountable mountain, but it IS manageable when taken one step at a time.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Sleeping Over with Diabetes

The dreaded sleepover; it can be a d-parent's biggest fear. Putting your trust in another parent, let alone one who doesn't know your child as well as you do, can be scary. Terrifying in fact. At the same time, Dylan having as normal a life as possible is critically important to me. I have always made it a rule to never let diabetes get in the way of his doing anything and this has forced me to relinquish a bit of control and trust him to take responsibility for his diabetes when I am not with him.

Sleepovers were one of the last things I allowed. For years, I would permit friends to sleep at our house, but the idea of Dylan staying somewhere else was simply not an option for me. Even his dad's house and grandparents' houses frightened me. Over time, however, as he has become more and more responsible with his own diabetes care, my trust in him has increased accordingly.

His first few sleepovers at friends' houses were with his best friend, who lives a block away from us, and whose parents are very familiar with diabetes and Dylan's care. They know to remind him to test frequently, they know how to treat his lows, and they recognize his low symptoms. And when they're not sure about something, they call or text me. In short, I am comfortable when Dylan is at their house.

Last Friday night, on the other hand, marked the first time I've allowed him to sleepover at the house of a friend whose parents (in this case a single mom) I don't know well. Dylan desperately wanted to stay there, and though every part of my being wanted to say no out of fear, I really had no rational reason for denying him this privilege, so we came up with a plan. Dyl was to text me every few hours with bg readings, especially before eating anything, and if anything was out of the ordinary, we would address it, and bring him home if necessary.

I dropped him off at 4:30pm, with a blood glucose level of 6.2 mmol/l. His pre-dinner text revealed that he was 5.1 mmol/l, and another text before bed showed he was 7.8 mmol/l/. At home, we would bolus for 7.8 mmol/l, if it was at any time other than before bed, as that's a tiny bit high for my liking. But we've always kept a marginally higher "acceptable" range for bg readings immediately before bed because Dylan has had nighttime hypoglycemic seizures in the past, though not in years. His nighttime bg levels have been very steady as of late, and he wakes up if his sugar nears 4.0 mmol/l, so I let him skip the middle of the night test for the sleepover. Yes, I really other parents would think I'm crazy for skipping a 2:00 am check, but with no variation in activity for the day, and bg readings steady for the previous few days, I felt confident that he would be fine. An early morning text showed a bg of 9.0 mmol/l, which he followed with a breakfast bolus for the french toast he was about to eat, and an insulin correction for the 9.0 mmol/l, all on his own. That's my guy; a true rock star when it comes to managing his diabetes.

So am I more comfy with sleepovers now? Not a chance. Yet baby steps are getting us there slowly but surely.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Paleo Mexican Beef Soup

I've been eating paleo for two months now, and while my kids will gobble up the occasional paleo meal, they're not ready to jump on board full-time, so I tend to nab whatever chance I get to cook paleo food that my kids will enjoy. This morning I lucked out when I was hit with a wave of creativity while cruising through old facebook posts. I saw pic of a beef stew/soup posted by a friend on mine and fellow blogger mom over at momontherun.ca and decided to use the pic as inspiration for lunch!!

A quick look in the fridge revealed we had lots of fresh veggies, as well the end of a roast beef from the the previous night's dinner. I literally started cutting things up and tossing them into a big pot. Once it was all in, I brought the pot to a boil, then simmered, covered, for 1/2 an hour. I ladled the soup into bowls and topped it with sliced avocado. and a dollop of organic greek yogurt (my one paleo exception). So delicious, and a great warmer on a cold rainy day. Makes 8 bowls.

Finished product before serving
28 ounce tin diced tomatoes
tin tomato paste
6 cups reduced sodium beef stock
2 cups water
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cups cubed cooked roast beef
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 tsp oregano
1 small green pepper, diced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup celery, diced
3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
1/2 cups cilantro, chopped

Topped with avocado and greek yogurt
Nutritional Information (per bowl, without toppings)
Calories 234, Fat 3.6 g, Saturated fat 1.1 g, Sodium 1220 mg, Potassium 717 mg, Carbohydrates 27.6 g, Fiber 4.6 g, Protein 23.8 g

Friday, 1 March 2013

Full Circle

What do 23 months, blood and urine tests, an echo-cardiogram, full allergy testing, a pediatric urologist, cardiologist, and 2 allergists give you? In our case...nothing. Since Spring 2011 we, with the help of Dylan's endo, have been trying to determine what is causing him edema in his face, hands, feet, and sometimes stomach and we are no closer to figuring it out now, than we were 23 months ago, except for knowing what it's NOT.

A round of blood and urine testing revealed it's not his thyroid, nor is it a simple hormonal or nutritional issue. The kidney ultrasound and additional urine testing told us that Dylan's kidneys are in perfect condition. Great news considering we're now 7+ years living with diabetes, but not getting us closer to an answer. The echo-cardiogram revealed Dyl's heart is functioning properly, so it's not a matter if poor circulation. And the 2 allergists agree that Dylan has NO allergies, even minor. He was tested for everything, including foods, and no reaction whatsoever. And it's not celiac or angioedema. For more details on the tests we've endured so far, click here.

His endocrinologist is now out of ideas; she's eliminated everything that can cause edema. Could it be hormones due to the possible onset of puberty? Dylan is almost 13 after all, but he's had this edema for almost 2 years...

The second allergist that we saw, just last week, said that some of us carry a higher than normal amount of protein in our blood and that it can cause edema in the extremities. It's not an indication of a kidney problem, it's just something unexplainable that some people have. She was not overly concerned about it, and gave us yet another lab requisition to have Dylan's protein levels measured at various times over the course of a day. So that's next, and hopefully it will give us some answers.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Spare a Rose, Save a Child

A quick reminder: buy one less rose this Valentine's Day, and donate the value of that rose to the Life for a Child program.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Spare a Rose, Save a Child

In case you haven't already heard, there is a pretty amazing initiative spreading through the DOC and around the world this week, called Spare a Rose, Save a Child. Put together by DOC advocates Kerri Sparling, Kelli Close, Manni Hernandez, Jeff Hitchcock, and Bennet Dunlap, with the help of some folks at Johnson & Johnson, the super simple idea is to buy one less rose this Valentine's Day and share the value of that rose with a child with diabetes in the developing world. How do you do that? Easy peezy lemon-squeezy. Simply click here and make a donation to Life for a Child.

So instead of buying that dozen roses for your sweetie this Valentine's Day, buy 11 instead and donate the value of the twelfth to a child in need. It's a simple, caring, but life-changing message.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Thai Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

The second in my new Saturday recipe highlight reel, is a Thai Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup. After snowshoeing with my husband and daughter Saturday afternoon, I came home craving comfort food - something warm, filling, and perhaps with a hint of sweetness. After a very brief search, I discovered this recipe at Fast Paleo, an online Paleo recipe sharing site. The soup did not disappoint, and not only is it totally Paleo, it's easy and quick to make, and absolutely packed with nutrients.

1 small butternut squash
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
3 carrots, chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil
1-2 tbsp red curry paste
1 cup canned coconut milk
2 cups low sodium chicken broth

Preheat the oven to 375. Slice the butternut squash in half, scoop out seeds and place face down in a baking dish. Cook until tender, approximately 35-45 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add onion, garlic, ginger and carrot, cook until tender. Stir in red curry paste. Set aside.
Once squash is done, scoop out 2 cups flesh, place in a blender. Add chicken broth, coconut milk and mixture from the frying pan (I had to do this in 2 parts to fit it all in my blender). Blend until smooth. Return to pot and heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top soup with garnish of your choice, such as toasted crushed pecans, coconut, or cilantro. Makes 8 cups. 

Nutritional Information (per serving)
Calories 107.7, Fat 7.4g (Saturated fat 6.2g), Cholesterol 0.0mg, Sodium 215.8mg, Potassium 323.9mg, Carbohydrates 9.7g, Fiber 2.2g, Protein 1.8g.

Chocolate Banana Paleo Protein Bars

I've decided that each Saturday I am going to post a couple of my favorite Paleo recipes made during the previous week. This week I made 2 amazing things, the first of which is Chocolate Banana Protein Bars.

Since going Paleo, I don't miss bread at all (shocking, as i really thought I would), and I rarely crave sweets, but with all of the running I'm doing, what I crave is fuel. As the mileage gets longer, my desire for a protein bar gets stronger. Not to mention, protein bars are a great snack post-run because they're easy on the stomach and so dense with nutrients. So I took to the Internet and started searching for a recipe for a protein bar I could easily make at home. I found a few possibilities, and chose the following recipe for two reasons: I love chocolate, and I already had all of the ingredients in the house.

I found the recipe on an old blog that doesn't seem to be updated anymore, and the recipe itself was incomplete and had no instructions or nutritional information, so I played around with it a bit, and this is the final product. It is more like a brownie than a protein bar, so my search is not over yet. But hey, a chocolate Paleo snack with less than 100 calories per serving, 4.3g of fat, 9.3g carbs, and 5.3g of protein? I'll take it!

1/2 cup almond flour
2 tbsp coconut flour
1 tbsp ground flax seed
3 scoops Vi Shape shake mix (or other protein powder)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp honey
2 mashed bananas
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8x8 square baking pan with parchment paper. Mix all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine almond butter and honey. I quickly zapped them in the microwave for 10 seconds to soften them up for mixing. Add mashed bananas and eggs, mix thoroughly. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir. My product looked, and smelled, like chocolate cake batter at this point. After closer examination, it tasted like chocolate cake batter too!!

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes, remove from pan (with parchment) and cool completely on wire rack. Remove parchment and slice into 16 small bars.

Nutritional Info (per bar)
Calories 95.3, Total fat 4.3g, Cholesterol 26.7mg, Sodium 41.9mg, Potassium 111.8mg, Carbohdrates 9.3g (Dietary Fiber 2.7g, Sugars 4.1g), Protein 5.3g.