Tag Archives: Parenting

Back to School!

This school year, everyone is going to be prepared!

Last year and the year before I wasn’t great about keeping a lot of supplies at school. A box of graham crackers for awhile….maybe a few extra juice boxes. But this year I’m not going to have the luxury of running up to the health room if someone pulls a set or needs more strips for their meter. So, in the hopes that as many issues as possible can be taken care of at school, I put together diabetes supply boxes for Evie and Luke:photo 1 (11)

I felt like I was packing for a week in the wilderness! Diabetes is all about troubleshooting and planning ahead, so there are multiples of everything that either of them could need at any time; anything they could need replaced, or forget, or run out of is in this box.

  • Glucose Tabs
  • Ketone Test Strips
  • Infusion Sets
  • Reservoirs
  • IV-3000
  • Skin Tac WIpes
  • Alcohol Wipes
  • Insulin Syringes
  • Disposable Lancets
  • Pump Batteries
  • Extra BG meter
  • BG Test Strips
  • Lancets
  • Meter Charger
  • Snacks
  • Juice Boxes

Did I forget anything?

The only thing not in here is insulin, which I will eventually have to provide per Washington State’s Disaster Preparedness Plan. I just don’t have enough right now to tie up two bottles at two different schools. That stuff’s like gold.

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It fits!!!

Well, we’re they’re as ready as we’re they’re going to be. Happy Back-To-School (with diabetes)!

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The Little Daily Gifts

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I’m grateful for the smallest gifts, like a tiny hand casually draped over the bunk bed rail so, this time, I don’t have to root around and under the small boy who is sound asleep in a knot of blankets in the top bunk, at 2 am when I can barely keep my eyes open, to do a blood sugar check.

Connections All Around Us

We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.
― William James

Earlier this week I was sitting in the aisle seat on a flight back from California and got to talking with a mom in the seat across to me, whose teenaged son was headed to diabetes camp. We had noticed her fiddling with a BG meter, and then a familiar blue insulin pump.

I tapped her on the shoulder and asked her about her child, and the pump, and shared some of my own story. We talked about some of the difficulties of being Type 1 parents. We swapped contact information, and went on our separate ways when the plane landed.

This interaction reminded me that we have connections (and potential resources and support) all around us, if we pay attention and have the courage to say hello!

The Perils of a Hotel Mini-Fridge

Two Bottles of Frozen Insulin

We took a road-trip North to Great Wolf Lodge (aka, Kid Paradise) yesterday to celebrate the end of the school year. The boys were in charge of packing the cooler at home before we left, and unpacking it into the hotel room’s mini-fridge when we arrived.

What I neglected to do is double-check their work.

What I found when I went to pull out yogurts for breakfast this morning is that my efficiency-minded little boys had packed all the smallest things into the smallest part inside the fridge. We grown-ups know this part as The Freezer.

Another small thing from the cooler? The little container that held the insulin bottles I brought with us for Luke’s site change he’s going to need this morning. *stomach drops*

Yes, my friends, this is what frozen insulin looks like. And consequently, now completely useless insulin. Dead insulin on vacation? Awesome. Let the trouble-shooting begin….

DBlog Week 2013, Day One: Share And Don’t Share

Click for the Share And Don’t Share-Monday 5/13/13 List of DBlog Post Links

DBlog Week is an entire week in which diabetes bloggers will be posting daily using pre-determined writing prompts. I’ve never written every day for a week before, so this is going to stretch my brain in a new (and hopefully interesting) way. I can’t promise that the chaos of my life won’t interfere….some posts may happen in the wee hours of the night….but I’ll do my best to write on every topic!

So here goes….

“Often our health care team only sees us for about 15 minutes several times a year, and they might not have a sense of what our lives are really like. Today, let’s pretend our medical team is reading our blogs. What do you wish they could see about your and/or your loved one’s daily life with diabetes? On the other hand, what do you hope they don’t see?”

First off, our endo provider is also a parent of type-1 diabetic kids, so I know he already “gets it” in the visceral sort of way that providers without type 1 kids can’t. All of the anxiety, stress, worry, chaos, uncertainty, and fatigue that I feel is something I know he understands. That’s a blessing when it’s time to come in for those dreaded check-in appointments.

So for all the other providers out there who don’t have such a personal connection to Type 1, I wish they could see that I eat, sleep, and breathe diabetes. It’s ever-present in my mind; sometimes at the forefront, when I’m in the middle of carb counting or a set-change for instance, and sometimes just as a low-level anxiety, like a mosquito buzzing in my ear.

I download insulin pumps every two weeks to search for patterns and make pump adjustments. I memorize food labels and ingredient lists. I organize and keep inventory of our myriad diabetes supplies. I skip sleep to make sure I get middle of the night blood sugar checks and corrections done. I read about diabetes. I research available technology. I troubleshoot, and I problem-solve, and I teach, and I teach some more. I haggle with our insurance and mail-order pharmacy for hours. I worry about exerting too much control over their food choices. I worry about exerting too little control over their food choices. I worry about everything, and yet I know that I’m doing the best I can.

I take that on as a mom so that my kids don’t have to feel that, and so it doesn’t dictate our family life. I keep a straight face even as I’m stressing about their upcoming A1C results, so they don’t ever feel like they’re burdening me. I talk with them about their diabetes in an age-appropriate way, all the while thinking about the very real and life threatening implications of the disease.

It’s a lot, and sometimes it’s overwhelming. What I never want my providers to see (but which I have to cop to), is that we sometimes go 4-5 days on an infusion set because I don’t have a great system for remembering to change them. My kids eat more treats than I’d like and is good for them. A lot of the time we’re rushing around and I do things like forget their diabetes kit, or that they needed more strips. Lancet-changing….doesn’t happen.

An although I know I’m doing the best I can, there’s always room to do better. I’m going to be so happy when I’m doing enough to finally see some good Hemoglobin A1C numbers. More on that another time….

Diabetes….Run With It!

I’ve had such fun running with my kids this spring!

Will and Luke both surprised and humbled me by finishing a 5K fun run with me a few weeks ago, the longest distance either of them has run before outside of soccer practice. They enjoyed the attention they got by being the two youngest runners, and I was insanely proud of them!

I knew beforehand that Will could run the distance, but I wasn’t sure about Luke. In fact, I hadn’t even planned to have him run, but he stepped up for his bib number without a second thought. I tucked the business parts of his blood sugar meter into his SPIbelt (which is how he wears his insulin pump), along with some glucose gel and meter strips, and we took off! 

Both boys ran about a mile before we had to slow to a walk for a bit. We all stopped again after the second mile for a quick blood sugar check (a little elevated but not worrisome), but Will took off on his own after that. Luke started to struggle a little in the third mile, but always managed to turn on the heat when someone was cheering him on or there was a photographer taking his picture!

Will finished his run in just over 30 minutes; Luke and I crossed the finish line after about 45 minutes. We checked his blood sugar one more time and then bolused for his post-run snack. There’s always a worry during exercise that Luke’s body will chew through his blood glucose too fast and he’ll have a low. Having the tools with us to check for and treat a low blood sugar is non-negotiable!

It was not only amazing to see my two small boys run a distance race, but to witness the pride and accomplishment that they felt within themselves at the finish line! And as icing on the cake, they won 1st and 2nd place in their age group (which I’m pretty sure was created on the spot).

It’s so important to me that all three of my kids feel confidence in their physicality, whether they happen to have diabetes (Evie and Luke) or they don’t (Will). Running a distance race was a perfect way for them to safely feel what it’s like to push themselves towards a physical goal, and to learn that they can do more than they can imagine! This is a lesson that I learned late in life, and it pleases me to no end to see them learning how to enjoy being active now, when it can become a lifelong habit.

It’s Race Season….Run! Run! Run!

After several months of holidays, busy schedules, and the resultant relaxation (no, the complete neglect) of my exercise habits, I’m feeling a little sluggish. In the past few years I have maintained a healthy level of fitness and activity through yoga, hiking, running, and whatever else I can grab time for. Physical activity, more than anything else in my life, keeps my mind clear and focused, my emotions steady, and my body strong and healthy. Which all make me a better mom, better partner, better friend….a better woman in general!

So we’ve rolled over into a new year, and are rounding the corner on winter. I’m craving some exercise and the pick-me-up that comes with it. Spring will bring sunnier days and warmer temperatures and….race season!

I just started running a couple of years ago with the encouragement of my sister, Kate, a marathoner. She’s inspirational in her own running and I’ve had so much fun racing with her! And she’s not afraid to yell “Tie that shoe Angie!!!” in the middle of a course.

Downloads

Left: June 2011 Solstice Run, Vancouver WA. Right: June 2012 Pacific Crest Sports Festival, Sunriver OR

Just like Kate has passed her love of running on to me, I aspire to instill the same feeling of excitement about fitness in my kids. Evie has participated in three seasons of Girls On The Run, a great program that builds confidence and love of fitness in grade-school girls. She and I have run three 5K races together as part of that program! I’ve been delighted to run together and encourage her, and to see the pride on her face when she completes a race and improves her time.

Left: Evie and one of her Girls On The Run pals after their Spring 5K. Right: Evie’s very first GOTR 5K. Will and Luke provided moral support and comic relief.

We participated in the weekend-long Pacific Crest Sports Festival last summer in Sunriver, Oregon, and Evie, Will, and Luke got a taste of the triathalon world. They each rocked the Kids’ Splash, Pedal, and Dash, and Will finished with an impressive 6:49 (that’s minutes).

We hung around transition areas and cheered. We watched athletes claw their way to the finish of a challenging triathalon course and then break out in laughter and smiles at the accomplishment! And in our downtime we rode miles and miles of paved and unpaved bike trails through the gorgeous Deschutes National Forest (Bonus!).

Kids' Dash

Left: Luke, Evie, Will (and cousin Ella) at the mini-tri bike transition. Right: Post-race smiles, and medals all around.

The very, very best thing about this particular festival is that it serves to generate excitement for fitness in the whole family. Kids run, moms run, dads run, friends run, strangers run (and bike and swim!), and everybody has a great time!

Emphasis is on personal best and finishing, not winning, and everyone’s efforts are recognized. Our group had racers in both triathalon events, the half-marathon, 10K, and kids’ races, and everybody’s finishes were celebrated wholeheartedly. I honestly can’t think of a better way to make fitness fun and to model that health is important and valuable.

1-mile Dash finishers

Left: Luke, Evie, and Will after their 1-Mile Dash finish. Right: Luke was especially proud of his race medal, and has since permanently affixed it to his school backpack.

So I’ve set a goal for 2013: I will run a 10K race in under an hour. I only have one 10K time under my belt for reference, but I think it’s doable. I have one race lined up for April, and I’m anticipating a second chance in June.

In the meantime, I’ve got to get running!

What activities excite you and make you want to get moving? Please share!