Sunday, June 26, 2011

JDRF's Children's Congress, Part 1: Before the Official Events

It's taken me a few days since getting back home from Washington DC to sort through all of my thoughts to try and put this post together. I think I've finally come to the realization that I can't possibly squeeze everything into one I'm splitting it up into a couple of posts. So to start off, here's a recap of our 1st 2 days in DC...the Saturday and Sunday before all of the official Children's Congress events began.

On our way to DC!!!
Last Saturday morning seemed to take forever to arrive and came too quickly all at once....we'd been waiting for this day to arrive for months! Charlotte was so excited to travel to Washington DC for JDRF's Children's Congress!!! She couldn't wait to fly on the plane...the last time she'd flown was just a few months before her diagnosis at the age of 2. I was a little anxious about security and travelling with all of our D-supplies, but everything went really smoothly. Our bag of supplies made it through security without question. Our only "hiccup" was that Charlotte beeped going through the metal detector (both going and coming back home) and ended up getting the official "pat down"...the TSA staff was great with her though and made it as quick and non-stressful as possible. It wasn't until after going through security on our way back home that I finally realized she was beeping because of the metal clip she was wearing on her pump, oops...lesson learned for the next time we travel! Our flight was on time and went smoothly...hardly any turbulence at all! Charlotte really enjoyed flying...and I was glad to have her Dexie on her and working well for our flight to DC. Her blood sugar stayed pretty steady, but did drop at one point and I was able to catch it before it got to be an issue! I'm sure she got tired of me asking "What's Dexie say?", but having never flown with D I just wasn't sure how her blood sugar might be affected.

Charlotte at the Washington Monument
After getting settled in our hotel room, Charlotte and I decided to wander out and explore the area. We walked a few blocks and saw the Washington Monument...and had a bit of an adventure trying to get a glimpse of the White House. It was around 5pm or so and the area behind the South facade of the White House was already being fenced off for the we got as close as we could and snapped a few pictures. As we started walking back toward 15th Street, we were forced to make our way through a big muddy area in the field. We managed to stay pretty steady and upright, but Charlotte was none too thrilled when she ended up with mud in her sandals and between her toes. So after that adventure we headed straight back to the hotel to wash our feet (and shoes) and then go grab some dinner.

Sunday morning we woke up early and started off on a new adventure. We explored the Newseum for the better part of the morning, then off to the National Gallery of Art and National Museum of American History.  Charlotte was really impressed by the American Flag...and I think she enjoyed the First Ladies exhibit too (one of my favorites)! But even with all of the amazing sights to see and things to do, Charlotte was most eager to get back to the hotel...she knew that one of her new friends, Avery, was supposed to check-in at the hotel on Sunday afternoon and she couldn't wait to finally meet her!
Incredible view from the 6th floor
balcony at the Newseum
By mid-afternoon, I decided we'd done enough sight-seeing and agreed to head back to the hotel. Once we got back and all freshened up, Charlotte insisted that we head down to the hotel lobby to hang out and wait for Avery and her family! I ended up recognizing them on their way in and we finally met in person! The girls were a little shy at first..but we decided to meet up for dinner that evening to give them a chance to get to know each other a little better.
Instant friendship!!!
Charlotte and I had a GREAT time at dinner with Avery and her family! It was so nice to spend time with another mom who "gets it" and a family the "same" as ours! Charlotte and Avery really seemed to hit it off at dinner...they were so cute whispering secrets to one another and just being silly girls! Diabetes was present (as always)...and was what brought our families together...the girls knew they were the "same", but it went unspoken and took a back seat for the night!

After getting back to the hotel, I asked Charlotte if she enjoyed our dinner with Avery and her family. She looked at me as if I was crazy and told me "Of course, mom!" and followed that up by telling me that it felt "awesome" to not be the only one checking her blood sugar before dinner! The delight in her voice and in her eyes when she shared those words warmed my heart! Words can't begin to express how much something as simple as that means to me! I'd been told that our trip to JDRF's Children's Congress would be an amazing experience...little did I know! This opportunity gave both Charlotte and I so much more than I could have ever imagined!

Stay tuned....Part 2 of our Children's Congress experience to come later this week!

***Disclaimer: Charlotte was selected as a delegate for the 2011 JDRF's Children's Congress. JDRF paid for our air travel as well as our hotel accommodations and some meals during the 3-days of the Children's Congress events. JDRF did not ask for me to blog about Children's Congress...I just chose to since it was such an incredible experience! 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Beauty Shop "Small Talk"

This morning I spent some time at the salon getting my hair cut and highlighted for our upcoming trip to JDRF's Children's Congress. I figured it was just going to be some nice, quiet "me" kids and no D to worry about. Little did I know...

I settled into the chair and started chit-chatting with stylist...just a little small-talk to pass the time. I mentioned that Charlotte and I would be leaving for Washington DC next weekend and she asked if the trip was for anything in I explained that Charlotte is one of 2 delegates chosen to represent our state for JDRF's Children's Congress and a talked a little bit about what we will be doing during out time there. She seemed genuinely interested in learning more about Charlotte and how her life is impacted by Type 1 I explained about her insulin pump, blood sugar checks and carb counting. She asked about Charlotte's diagnosis and how we I explained. I told her that Charlotte was 2 years old when she was diagnosed and that we had noticed that she had been going potty A LOT, having more potty accidents, and soaking through her Pull-Ups to the point that they would literally drip urine. I also told her how thinking back we now realize that she was drinking A LOT too.

Charlotte - 3 months before diagnosis
After listening to the story she mentioned that she has a 2-year old little girl who has been drinking a lot and soaking through her diapers. She said she had mentioned her concerns to her daughter's pediatrician who told her it was probably nothing to worry about and that toddlers go through phases where they do things like that. But she said she still can't shake the feeling that it's something more than "just a phase". I try hard to not be an alarmist...I realize that not every child who pees a lot has Type 1 diabetes. BUT...I would hate for anyone to go undiagnosed until its too late because they didn't know the signs to look for or what to do! So I shared with her some of the warning signs of Type 1 diabetes: extreme thirst, frequent urination, increased appetite, sudden weight loss, drowsiness/lethargy, and fruity smelling breath. I told her that I truly hope the pediatrician is right about her daughter's drinking a lot being a toddler phase...I hate to think about another child being diagnosed! BUT...I also encouraged her to not ignore her concerns and to have her daughter's blood sugar checked if it hadn't been already. She seemed to be truly appreciative of the information and said she is going to have her daughter's blood sugar checked.

Funny how what I thought would be a couple hours of "me" time, turned in to so much more...and how a little "small-talk" in a beauty shop might have saved a little girl's life!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Airport Anxiety

Only 7 more days until Charlotte and I hop on our plane and head out to Washington DC for JDRF's 2011 Children's Congress!!! We're both extremely excited about going, but as each day passes I seem to be getting more and more anxious about travelling.

Before you ask...yes, we have traveled with Charlotte since her diagnosis. We've just been fortunate that we live in an area in close driving distance to our family vacation destinations. The last time we flew with Charlotte was in July 2005, just a few months before her I have absolutely no experience with airline travel and T1.

Being the super-planner that I tend to be (with most things), I started our packing list weeks ago. It's insane to think that we have a whole separate list exclusively for her D-related stuff. And because I don't trust the airlines with our D-necessities, all of these supplies will be packed in one of our carry-ons. So far it looks like I'm planning to bring an extra infusion set for each day, 2 extra Dexie sensors, a back-up meter, and double all of our other usual supplies (strips, lancets, alcohols, etc). Also I found out just the other day that, unfortunately, TSA no longer allows liquids (juice boxes, water) through the security check points even if it's due to a medical need, so I've had to rethink our standard low treatment (juice boxes). It looks like we'll be using glucose tabs and fruit roll-ups instead. I'd love to hear some other ideas that would be easy to travel with if anyone has any!

I'm also a little concerned about the actual security check-point experience. I flew last year and was the "lucky" recipient of the "pat down" before my flight home....and I'd love to avoid this for Charlotte if it's at all possible. Fortunately, I thought about this back when Charlotte had her endo appointment a couple months back, so I did get a letter explaining that she has T1 and needs to travel with all of her stuff. Hopefully that will help us avoid too much hassle. I've heard a few different things about how to handle her Dexie and pump (Animas Ping)...some say that leaving them on will create the need for a "pat down" and others say that the x-ray scanner can cause it to malfunction. I'm not sure what the best approach is...I'm thinking we may just leave them on and take our chances??? I've already started preparing Charlotte for what to expect going through security...taking shoes off, putting belongings through the scanner, walking through the metal detector, etc. I'm just really hoping that all this preparation will help keep things low-key.

I'm sure I'm just I've often been accused of doing. But I just want this trip to be a positive experience from start to finish for Charlotte. So, if anyone has any good airline travel tips I'd LOVE to hear them!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Girls Weekend

Okay, I realize this I should have posted this about a week ago...but better late than never, right???

Memorial Day weekend was a lot of fun for Charlotte. Charlotte's favorite twin cousins came in town to visit for Great Pa's 98th birthday celebration...and that meant a fun-filled girls weekend for the 3 little "besties"! 

After packing up what seemed like an insane amount of stuff for only a 2 day stay by Am-maw and Paw-Paw's house, the girls and I took off across the lake...daddy to follow later in the day! As soon as we got there the squeals of excitement began...we unpacked the care and (of course) they all immediately wanted to change into their bathing suits and hop into the pool! We were on day #6 for Dexie and day 2 of her pump site so I thought all was foolish of me! 

Charlotte lounging pool-side...what a diva!
Within less than 30 minutes from setting foot in the pool I had a gaggle of little girls running to tell me that Charlotte's Dexie sensor had come out. I take a peek, only to see the darned thing halfway hanging out and stuck to her only by the grace of a tiny bit of the adhesive backing. I had questioned myself before letting her in the pool if I should reinforce with a Tegaderm, but she had refused and I thought it would hold at least for the day so we could get the full 7 days worth of use....lesson learned! So I pull the sensor and shut Dexie off and let Charlotte back in the pool. Not much later she comes running again with the gang to show me that her pump site is coming out. Now this makes me cringe, to see that needle pulled out and rubbing/scratching against her skin since the Tegaderm is still trying to do its job to hold everything in place....ouch! So off that goes. Check her sugar...looks I let her back in the pool for a little while longer. Once lunch arrives (courtesy of Am-maw and Paw-Paw) I pop a new site in, bolus her up, and let her eat. Fortunately, that ended our run of D-site fails and complications for the weekend. 

D behaved itself well for the most part and let Charlotte just enjoy the birthday festivities and holiday weekend with her cousins. She even got to indulge in a few very special treats...cake, beignets, and a chocolate snowball! And yes, she can have all of that...we just cover with insulin! This D-momma can SWAG bolus like a pro (most of the time)! 

Red velvet birthday cake for a VERY special Great Pa!
The girls composed and sang an original song for Great Pa
Beignet breakfast with the cousins
Charlotte was SO excited to be able to get a
Chocolate Snowball....takes after her momma!