Monday, September 10, 2012

Back to School - Our Lunch Time Dilemma

So we've been back to school here for just about a month now. And we've had plenty of teacher, new school, new responsibilities! This year, Charlotte is taking on a lot more in terms of her T1 care. She no longer has a "para" assigned to her to help with her T1 care as she has in the past. 

Admittedly, I was a little worried about the lack of a para at first, but I've found that it actually is working out quite nicely. Charlotte's teacher this year was already familiar with T1 since she's had students with it in the past...and while every T1 kiddo may not manage in exactly the same way, it was nice to know that she was at least knowledgeable about the basics! Once we met with her teacher and I was able to put my mind a little more at ease, my main concern was focused on lunchtime. Lunchtime is the time of day that Charlotte really needs to function most independently. Our plan for lunch this year is for her to check in the classroom immediately before leaving for the lunch room. She boluses after her meal (which is different from our practices at home - where we bolus pre-meal) just in case something unforeseen happens to her lunch causing her to not be able to eat it and I'm not there to replace those carbs (or at least wouldn't be able to do it quickly and easily). Once she's finished eating she calls me from her phone (which we've had written into her medical plan this year) while she's still in the cafeteria. We go through what her blood glucose was at the pre-meal check, how many carbs she's eaten, and how much insulin she should bolus and I give let her know to give it or to adjust the amount based on the million and one factors I know may be impacting her BG at that time (hormones, growth spurt, fat content in the lunch, crazy BGs the night before or that morning, etc). She let's the lunch room monitor (who has been trained by the school nurse) know the instructions and I speak with her if needed...and she boluses the insulin with supervision. It all seemed easy enough...but she's only 9 and would she really remember to call!!! 

So this is where my Pinterest addiction paid's where I came across these adorable printable lunchbox love notes that I've been sending with her each day as a visual reminder to "call me to do your insulin"! 

These cute little notes are strategically tucked on top of her lunch in her lunch box every morning! On the back of the note I print out all of her carb information for the food that's been packed that day, a spot for her to jot in her blood glucose before lunch, and all sorts of "extra" information. 

It's been a work in progress over the first few weeks. As we've settled into the school year, we've tweaked down her desired range and made a few other changes.

Our new little note card system has worked very well for us so far! She's been happy to have all the carbs counted out and added for her so that as long as she eats everything she can quickly "do her insulin" and get out to the playground! And I think she enjoys having her "note" from mom (despite what it's all about)...she never knows what kooky way I'll describe the day (marvelous monday, wacky wednesday, etc) or what silly message I might include other than the standard "call me".

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Diabetes in the "Wild"

This past Sunday morning, hubby and I decided to take our girls for a special breakfast. Despite the stolen hour of sleep, we woke up "early" (for me anyway) and took the girls to Cafe du Monde for some delicious beignets (fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar -- the yummy goodness in my blog title photo)...and a Mocha Au Lait for me! For those that might be wondering -- yes, Charlotte can and does eat beignets...powdered sugar and all! They're a "special treat" so it's not something we indulge in often, but we've learned to SWAG the insulin bolus pretty awesome accomplishment if I do say so myself!

Pic from a Cafe du Monde breakfast with the cousins in May 2011
Occasional weekend breakfasts at Cafe du Monde are something our family has done since I was just a wee one...and a tradition Jay and I have continued with our girls! These trips are usually pretty uneventful...but this one was a little different. As we were paying for our breakfast another young family enter the cafe...I immediately noticed that one of their children was wearing a 2010 JDRF Walk to Cure shirt. Of course, I quietly pointed it out to my family...I'm pretty certain that at that point Charlotte began to internally groan at me, but she managed to tolerate my excitement from this "D in the Wild" experience without any outwards signs of annoyance. In true D-mama fashion, I also did a quick scan of each family member for obvious signs of D (a pump or visible meter case) but with no I "let it go" figuring that their D-connection was maybe just a friend of this boy. 

We continued along on our way, taking our food and choosing a table. We sat down, Charlotte checked, we SWAG'd her bolus and started eating without another thought....until that family sat down at the table kitty-corner to us. When they sat down, I could see in my peripheral vision that the mom and daughter were involved in an exchange all to familiar to Charlotte and I. I saw the little black case pulled from the mom's purse and out came the glucose meter and lancet...the "shunk" and "beep" followed quickly! I tried hard not to be too obvious as I watched this interaction...although hubby would tell you I wasn't very successful. I noticed that there was bit of discussion and then a quiet scramble as mom went to take a peek at the boxes of beignet mix and then searched on her phone what I have to imagine was an app like Calorie King for the carb count for the beignets. At that point I wanted to leap from my chair, introduce myself and share our beignet SWAG information with took a tremendous amount of restraint for me not to do it -- but I didn't. I wanted to start up a conversation with them....ask them if they lived near us, how old their daughter is, when she was diagnosed, what type of insulin she was using, what their biggest D challenges are, etc...but I knew I would just end up embarrassing Charlotte (and quite possibly this other little girl). So I just sat back with my family, enjoyed my breakfast, and thought how seemingly ironic (but incredibly wonderful) it was to have this "Diabetes in the Wild" experience in a place full of such sugar-coated goodness!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Last weekend my mother-in-law had the girls over to spend some quality time with them and to help me be able to get my grocery shopping and chores done without my "littles" in tow. During their time with Nonna they did some Thanksgiving artwork. Amelia made the traditional "hand turkey" drawing...but Charlotte decided to take things in a slightly different direction. 

I'll admit I giggled quite a bit when I first saw the picture! I'm not really sure what Charlotte had in her mind when she drew this.  My guess is that her thoughts were focused on the Pilgrim's clothing and that she prefers her colorful fashions to the "drab Pilgrim garb". Or maybe she was thinking that about the lack of technology (TV, computers, etc) back in those days. 

After my initial giggling, I actually dwelled on her drawing and statement for quite some time. And I've decided that I agree with the sentiment for a few reasons! The obvious being that I'm thankful I didn't have to set sail and journey to a new world and endure the many hardships that our early settlers endured. The maybe not as obvious...I'm thankful that I'm not a Pilgrim since living during the 1600s would have meant living before the discovery of insulin. I am incredibly thankful to live in a time and place where I have access to the drug that saves my daughter's life every day! Had we lived before 1923, Charlotte would not have survived long after her diagnosis with Type 1 best she may have survived a few months by following an extremely restricted diet. 

Unfortunately, there are still children in other parts of the world who do not have access to insulin. It's estimated that there are 100,000 children with diabetes around the world who are in need of assistance to access insulin. Without insulin, these children will die within 1 week. We can do something to help though. Wendy over at Candy Hearts has partnered with several businesses in a campaign to support Life for a Child. You can help save a child's life and support Life for a Child by making an investment in the Candy Hearts Collection. Proceeds from this campaign will provide insulin and supplies to children in need around the world. Direct donations for the campaign are also accepted through Hope Worldwide

I'm thankful that even though there may be times when things get tight for us, our family is able to provide Charlotte with the medical care needed to keep her alive and well. I hope that I can help provide the same for another family in need. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Too Quiet???

For the past 24 hours, Charlotte's blood sugars have been great...especially compared to what we were dealing with just 2-3 weeks ago. They haven't gone much above the 150 mark and just a minor bump this afternoon with a low...but nothing horrendous! 

I figured this Dex graph needed "framing"  :)
I know should sit back and be thankful for this "break" of sorts! But I have a hunch that this is going to be like those days when both girls are home and the house falls just a little too know that usually means trouble! That little voice in my head keeps telling me that this is quite possibly the calm before the storm...I so hope that voice is wrong! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

D-Mamas (and PWDs) are like Boy Scouts

Always prepared...

Last night (actually 2 weekends ago since this post has been sitting) turned out to be a "shining" example of why I try to always follow the Boy Scout motto, "always be prepared". What started out as a visit to Charlotte's Am-maw and Paw-Paw's house for dinner and to watch a football game could have ended in disaster if I hadn't been prepared for the unexpected.

After the girl's gymnastics class on Saturday morning we headed back home for baths before our planned trip across the lake for the evening. While Charlotte was in the tub I was busy checking her pump and supplies to make sure we would have enough for the afternoon trip (and then some). I was happy to see that she had a good 2 day supply of insulin still left in the cartridge on her pump...but her meter/supply bag was pretty bare. I started throwing in all of our usuals (alcohol swabs, lancets, a new container of test strips) and then a new infusion set and a couple boxes of Nerds (Charlotte's latest preference for treating lows). I'm sure when I was finished it looked as if I had packed her up for a 3-day vacation rather than just an evening across the lake.

Once everyone was finished with their bath and a quick lunch we piled in the car and were off. And as every fun girls trip requires, we took a side trip to the mall for a little fun shopping before arriving at our intended destination.

We spent the evening with Am-maw and Paw-Paw. Enjoyed a delicious dinner and a nail-biter football game! At half-time of the game I loaded up my crew with plans to head straight back home. I pulled out the driveway, but didn't get too far before realizing I had a flat tire! It was LATE and there was no chance of getting the spare put on in a reasonable amount of we stayed put for the night. To be honest, I was less than thrilled that our outing had turned into a "slumber party"...but my girls were thrilled.

I did a quick scan of Charlotte's supplies and was relieved that I had re-stocked with the extras...I knew that we'd be good (supply-wise) through the night and next day until we could get back home.

Of course, D never seems to play nice and insisted on making things more complicated. We had some lows through the night...but nothing our "extra" juice boxes and Nerds couldn't handle. Morning came quickly...and Jay came to "rescue" us! The spare tire was put on and back home we went...but not before enjoying Am-maw's special pancake breakfast!

Had this D-mama not been prepared with the extra supplies, our unexpected "slumber party" would have been a lot more stressful...and cost more than just the set of new tires!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Our WDD Celebration

Yesterday (November 14, 2011) was World Diabetes Day! Charlotte and I celebrated with matching endocrine appointments...mine for my thyroid and hers for T1. I was a little nervous about what her A1c was going to be since things had been beginning to decline over the past 2 weeks. Her pump and Dexie downloads looked good, but I still just knew that our quarterly "report card" would be one I wouldn't want to show off. So when I called and got the update from my hubby as I was leaving my appointment I was ecstatic! Charlotte did GREAT! She's growing on target (both height and weight)...and her A1c dropped just over 1 point since her Spring visit!!! I couldn't believe my ears! We worked hard to get those numbers in target as best we could....and we did it! I know there will always be room for improvement and we will keep working to lower her A1c a little bit further, but I was thrilled with the result!!! I have to give partial credit to Dexie since she's made our basal tweaking less of a guessing game...but I gotta give Charlotte (and my D-mama self) a pat on the back too!!! We worked hard and totally rocked it this quarter!!!!

World Diabetes Day 2011 - New Orleans, LA
So to celebrate last night, Charlotte, her little sister and I went and got Jr. Frosty's for dessert (Charlotte's request)! And her dad took a drive into the city and took a couple of amazing photos of the Mercedes Benz Superdome all lit up in BLUE!!!! Truly an incredible sight to behold...and an awesome way to end such a wonderful day!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


This year our family will be participating in our 5th JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes on November 12, 2011. Our family walk team has grown over the years...we've gone from being just our immediate family to a group of family, friends, and even some friends of friends. We've had many repeat walkers over the years and although not everyone is able to make it out to walk with us every year we always know that those who weren't able to make it are still cheering us on on walk day!

Charlotte, her sister and her cousins at
the 2010 Walk to Cure Diabetes
Charlotte always enjoys helping out with the walk preparations. She helps set up her walk fundraising webpage and chooses her picture that will be included in our family team letter. She helps select the song for her walk video (albeit with guidance from yours truly). She chimes in with suggestions on our team t-shirt design and provides the final stamp of approval on both the design and color. Then once all of her tasks are handled she enjoys sitting back and watching as her thermometer gradually rises. 

For the past few weeks, Charlotte has been watching patiently as the walk donations had begun picking up. She knows (especially now after having had her experience at Children's Congress this past summer) that these donations translate into money for research for better technology (like the Artificial Pancreas) and ultimately a cure for Type 1 diabetes. So she gets excited when she sees that she is making progress toward her goal and towards our team goal. So yesterday a few extra donations came in and around lunch time I noticed that she was just shy of reaching her goal. I put out a message on my facebook page mentioning that she was oh-so-close to her goal and asking for donations to help her reach it. Not much later I received an email notifying me that Charlotte had not only reached her fundraising goal, but had exceeded it. Our family has always been grateful for each and every donation we've received for JDRF on Charlotte's behalf...but as times have gotten tougher with the economy we've been even more humbled by the generosity of those who have donated. Charlotte arrived home from school I was eager to show her her fundraising thermometer and the "fireworks" for having reached and exceeded her fundraising goal. It was obvious that she wasn't feeling well though...she was my surprise was put on hold for a moment as we checked and treated. As she was downing a fun-size box of Nerds I pulled up her page and the "fireworks" went off. Despite her funk from the low, I could tell she was excited. In her true competitive nature she asked me how her fundraising compared with our other team members....she of course wants to be #1! And she wanted to know who had donated throughout the day too...she's always curious if it's someone we know personally or a friend of a family member. I shared with her the names of the new donors from the day and we talked about our plans for our thank-you cards and what we wanted to say in them. 

As Charlotte's blood sugar rose to a decent level she took off to enjoy some afternoon fun before starting on her homework and I sat there reflecting on the amazing outpouring of support our little girl has received over the past 5 years. Each year, despite the worsening economy, our team has seen growth in both team member numbers and our total donations. I don't think there are words that can truly express how appreciative our family is of the kindness, support and generosity of those that surround us. While some may dismiss their donation or walk participation as "no big deal" to our family it is HUGE! We know how valuable your time the presence of each individual showing their support on walk day means the world to us! And each and every donation (whether large or small) is appreciated more than you can imagine. Every dollar donated makes a difference...each one gives us a little extra hope that our precious girl will benefit from improved technology helping her live a healthier life and will ultimately see the cure within her lifetime....and for that we are unbelievably thankful!