Saturday, July 30, 2011

Welcome ~ Lauren's Hope!

Hi everyone! As you all may know, Grace wears a medical ID bracelet at all times. I mean all times. I truly believe that all our Type 1 children should have one thing they wear that identifies them as diabetic. It could save their life.

When Grace was first diagnosed in January 2009, I searched, from the hospital room, for a medical ID bracelet that looked like her. I thought, if it's not pretty and girly and has some pizzazz, she is not going to want to wear it. And then, what's the point, to fight about wearing it? No thanks. I wanted something she would look at and actually want to wear, and that it happened to be her medical ID too was just a bonus.

Well, back in 2009, there wasn't much online. I came upon medical ID bracelets that were all, well, they were stainless steel medical bracelets that looked every bit the man that they were made for. Until I stumbled, through an internet search that led me to Lauren's Hope. Immediately my eye was drawn to pink bangles, silver balls on light chains, rainbow colors and beads that sparkled. I knew I had found something that Grace would wear.

I wrote about our story of how we found Lauren's Hope here. It won their contest back in March of 2010. We are truly fans of what they make and what they do. Their owner, Denise, is one of the sweetest women you will meet, who truly cares about what she makes. Their bracelets and necklaces are sturdy, bright, beautiful and meet our kids needs. I cannot say enough about them.

You might not know that Lauren's Hope was named for a girl named Lauren who is a Type 1 diabetic! Read about the company and her story here.

Jenna, who works at Lauren's Hope, is my guest blogger today. Here is her take on medical IDs and their importance. Thanks for guest blogging Jenna!

There is nothing your kids can’t do. If he wants to be an astronaut, there’s not a doubt in your mind that he can become an astronaut. If she wants to be a princess, as far as you’re concerned, she already is one. And if he or she is fighting diabetes, you know for a fact your child has what it takes to overcome the condition with strength, bravery, and grace, and be an astronaut or a princess or whatever he or she wants to be.

You’ve taught your kids that diabetes is nothing to be ashamed of, that they should wear their diabetes proudly, with poise - maybe in the form of a pump, a meter, a team t-shirt at an awareness walk. But as much as you’ve taught them to accept their condition, it’s still not acceptable to give up personal freedom and sense of style. It’s never easy to succumb to the necessity of one of those bold, chunky, ugly medical alert bracelets - a generic label on your child’s wrist that defines him or her as a disease rather than an individual. Let’s face it: the best, most effective way to convey their important diabetes information to medical personnel in an emergency is through medical identification jewelry

But who says medical ID jewelry has to be so...medical? Your kids are brave. Bold. Fierce. They are individuals with personalities that are not easily suppressed - and they’ve proved it. You’ve taught them to never let diabetes determine what they can and cannot do - so why let it determine what they can and cannot wear?

We are Lauren’s Hope , and we believe firmly in self-expression and that “I will beat this” attitude. We believe that that is what your kids’ medical ID jewelry should say. Not, “I have diabetes,” but “I am a strong, brave, remarkable kid and I will never let my diabetes stop me.”

Lauren’s Hope has created a wide variety of kid-friendly medical alert bracelets  and dog tag necklaces  perfect for any child with any sense of individualized style. Options range from waterproof adjustable bands for active kids and trips to the pool to stylishly beaded bracelet strands that attach to your custom engraved medical ID tag. 

Whatever your kid’s sense of style, protect them and your peace of mind by arming them with a medical ID bracelet - you never know when your little astronaut or your little princess might need it.

Medical identification is the quickest, most effective way to communicate important medical information to first responders in an emergency situation. It is essential that medical personnel are aware of your child’s diabetes, medications, allergies, and any other medical conditions even when your child is unable to speak for his or herself. Lauren’s Hope medical ID jewelry  can speak for your child in a situation like this, allowing medical personnel to treat your child quickly and effectively.  

Consult your doctor on what information they recommend you have engraved on your child’s diabetes ID. You may wish to engrave your child’s medical ID tag in the following format:

Example Engraving:
MOM 555-455-5566
DAD 555-455-5567

Thanks Jenna! This is good stuff folks. What Jenna stated above for the engraving is exactly what Grace has engraved on her bracelet. And just to make it even better, the kind folks at Lauren's Hope have provided me a bracelet to giveaway on this blog!

Stay tuned, in a couple days, a giveaway, 
of a Lauren's Hope medical ID bracelet!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A1C Haunts

That's Grace's latest A1C. As in today's endo appointment.
Her last A1C, in March of this year, a mere 4 months ago?
Was 6.4

What the hell happened and why do I feel like crap about it?
I know, I know, let me start the D Mama mantra of the following phrases...
It's not a grade!
You and Grace should be proud of that A1C!
It shouldn't be a reflection of self-worth or make you feel bad!
It just tells you what you need to do, it's just a guide and one piece of the puzzle.
You should see my son/daughters A1C, I would take 7.1 in a heartbeat!
A1Cs are just glimpses into what's going on with diabetes and your daughter.

I KNOW all of these things in my head, honest I do. I just don't feel them. Hell, I say those things to other D Mamas and Papas when they are disappointed in an A1C. Truthfully, it was like a kick in the gut. I wasn't even sure I could blog about it, how's that? I wasn't even sure I could list it in the sidebar of my blog, where I list all Grace's A1Cs since being diagnosed. I am super hard on myself. I see a goal and I am there. I see 7.0 and I say that I will get it below 7.0, just to make sure. Is anyone else feeling this? I work damn hard at this diabetes game. I'm a player - or should I be cool and say I'm - a - playa (now that statement makes me laugh out loud)
I learn, I do, I react, I change, I adjust.
Damn it, 7.1?

But I DO know why it's 7.1.
I was trying so hard to avoid lows, like the 29. Yeah, that appeared about a month ago, overzealously bolusing for pizza.

And Grace grew. Like a weed.
1 1/2 inches in the last three months and 4 3/4 inches in the last year alone. Yikes.

Growth spurt hormones leave Grace reeling with high blood sugars. I think the pre hormone game has begun around here and no matter if I bolus, adjusted basals and created temp basal increases, we had two good stretches of three weeks at a time of highs that I could not get down. Then like the wind that blew them into our diabetic life (nod to Meri for those words). The wind blew them out and we were back to stable BGs. Happened during two periods of time in the last 4 months.

So, the only way out of this is up, but not really, the only way out, for me, is to go back and revisit basals and come up with a solid plan for periods of growth in Grace's life. I need to know what to do when the highs hit from puberty and growth hormones and not-just-cause-we-SWAGed-that-meal-wrong and then  won't go away.

I need to know what to do in the storm that it feels like to me. The highs when they hit Grace's BGs feel like a storm to me, I cannot even imagine what it feels like for her. I want to get out of the hormone storm and know how to get out. I want to be able to teach her how to get out too, safely and calmly. I'm not sure I know the secret to getting out, but you'll be hearing more from me when I learn what to do.

I know where I will start.
Basal test.
Meet and plan with Gary.
Log like hell.
Note when the high BG storms start to hit.
Cross my fingers.
And get on with it.
Oh, and stop feeling so damn bad about it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Of Falling and Freedom

Rrrrrrinnnnngggg, rrrriiiiinnnggg (that's my phone at home, isn't it cute?)

Hi, is Grace there?
G, phone for you!
Oh hi M, uh, yeah, let me ask my Mom. Mom, can I go to a Splash Party tonight with M at her swim club? It's from 7-10 pm.

Uh, sure, yeah you can. I can pack your bag and all.
What I thought: M's mom is pretty savvy, had G for playdates, I can give her the cheat sheet for Grace for swimming, all should be ok with this...

Oh and she said it's a drop off splash party. M's mom is dropping her off and then picking her up about 9:30 PM.
Can I talk with her Mom?
Hey there J, yeah, tell me about it... (lots of adult supervision by the swim club, half her school belongs to this local club, there is a DJ, food, games and prizes, the Mom used to go to them when she was a little girl)
What I thought: GULP. Grace all alone to care for herself and her D? But surrounded by her friends who know her. Adults who don't know D at all. She will be devastated if she can't go and the only reason I give is that she can't because she has diabetes. That would suck. I can't tell her that. Cause thats just not true. But can I really let her go to this???

And before I give it one more second to suck the joy from the moment, I answer:
Absolutely, she can go.
Where the hell did that answer come from so fast I think. Then, you know what, I surrender to it. Of course she can go. I would have let my other kids go. She's responsible. She's ready.

Grace jumps. For joy that is. And hugs my legs.

We start to plan. Decrease your basal for swimming by how much Grace?
-30% Mom, for an hour at a time
What are you going to do if you feel the slightest bit low?
Get out of the pool. Tell a friend and an adult. Test and drink one juice if I am 50 or above, and drink two juices if I am below 50. Wait 15 minutes and recheck.
What if your Pod falls off?
Call you on my cell phone and you will come down and help me change it. Disconnect that Pod and wait for you.
You are right, I am only 10 minutes away, I will come and help you.
And Grace, you have to call me every hour, with your number, ok? It means you will call me at 8 pm and 9 pm. OK?
Ok, I can do that. Can we make it 8-8:15 and 9-9:15?
Ok, I'm willing to do that.

8 PM phone call
Hi Mom! I'm 88. I forgot to decrease my basal when I started swimming, so I just did that now.
Ok hon, why don't you have a juice too, before you jump back in the pool?
Ok. I went off the diving board!
Cool, what else you doing?
Hanging out with my friends, half of the school is here. I swam in the deep end. They are playing a game right now and kids are out of the pool, but I didn't feel like playing the game.
Ok hon, have fun.
Bye Mom, talk to you at 9!

9:10 PM phone call
Hi, is this Grace's mom? Yeah, Grace fell at the pool just now. She's pretty scraped up, but doing ok. She's really crying though and would like you to come and pick her up. We've cleaned the scrapes the best we could, but she wants to come home.
Hubby races in the car to the pool, about 8 minutes away.

Grace pulls up at home, sobbing. Out hobbles a little girl who looks like she was running the bases and slid into home - on her toe, right knee, right side of her tummy and right elbow. 'Tore up' isn't even the words to describe it. You know when concrete/cement walkways around a pool meet skin? Yeah, that.

We sit her on the kitchen counter and amidst the sobs, hear her story of how she started to run and then remembered she wasn't supposed to run around the pool and went to slow down, only to trip and fall on the cement. The lifeguards quickly helped her. The concession stand woman helped her. Her friends surrounded her and helped her.

And my little girl says 'It was all going so well until this happened.'

And I start to ramble about 'you should see how many times Mom and Dad have fallen around pools and on cement and it could happen to anyone, everyone has scars on their legs of times they have fallen, it could have happened anywhere and aren't you lucky it happened at close to 9 PM and not close to 7 PM when you first arrived' and she starts to calm down, among the cleaning and the Neosporin-ing of her 5 scrapes.

And then, as the night closes in and when we are sitting on her bed together, re-hashing it all, sitting in the cool air conditioning, in a Mommy-fashioned nightshirt and underwear that lets all the scrapes breath and be free, she leans close to me and says..

'Thanks for letting me go tonight Mom. It was great freedom.'

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bag Of My Dreams

It really is the simple things that can give us D-Mamas the greatest pleasures, isn't it? I mean, one great D bag and you want to shout it from the rooftops that you have found something that holds everything you need. Well, I found it.

Grace pumps with the OmniPod and you can read about my adverse reactions to carrying the OmniPod case around. I found a new case that I love. Grace actually said to me, after we got it in the mail, 'I really want to take my kit around everywhere now!' and she knows of what she speaks, cause she came to really dislike that black bag of doom that was the OmniPod carrying case. It wasn't her. And frankly, when a little girl has Type 1 diabetes, we are looking for any bling we can get or any sort of happy we can get out of a kit.

I said it in yesterday's post about the black case and I'll say it again:

Here's where the incredible Laura of Houston We Have A Problem blog came in. She posted a video response to 'Submit Your Kit' vlog and I saw a bag that held everything in her video! You can see her video here. Laura even lost her precious diabetes bag and got it back! (You can read about that experience here.) She posted later about her bag, it was a cosmetic case from Murval. I wanted to weep. It had pockets! And bags that zippered! And more than one area to contain things! And it looked like the PDM fit into the pocket with it's gel skin on.

Voila! Here it is, our new OmniPod carrying case, a Murval cosmetic bag:

Look at that - something girly!!!

Look! Places for d-supplies!
And it's like a 3 ring notebook with it's two attached pouches!

Yep, its fits everything. Everything we need for complete site changes. Everything for emergencies. Everything. Including glucagon and I can zip it all closed! It has pouches, pockets and two incredibly large zippered pouches which attach to the center bar, just like a 3-ring notebook. And it's easily cleanable (is that a word? it is now) on the outside, with it's slick, waterproof cover. Girl, it's actually COOL.

It fits the OmniPod PDM on the inner pockets, along with her lancing device, a bottle of insulin and her strips. Just like that. And it's fits them all easily, no squeezing in clear plastic bands, no velcro straps. And we actually have two more pockets for extra vials of strips!

OMG. It fits. It's accessible.
And extra pockets too!

The two attached pouches, which each zipper closed and are easily removable if you don't want them in there, or just need one pouch, hold all sorts of everything. As I said before, Grace needs to be able to have everything she needs for a site change at all times. She has it now.

The zippered shiny sided pouch contains a new Pod, SkinTac, TacAway, HypoFix and alcohol pads. It also contains two extra batteries for her PDM. It all fits in and there is room to spare! She now knows the shiny can't-see-through-it-pouch contains all that she needs for a complete site change. It brings tears to my eyes. It's NOT in my purse any more!

Everything for a complete site change.

The other, mesh see-through pouch contains things she might need in an emergency, things that she needs to know she has at all times. Glucose tabs, needles, extra lancets and an extra lancing device, should she ever lose or drop or need another one. Easy peasy, see right there what we have.

Mesh pouch with glucose tabs, needles, lancets and extra lancing device.

Oh and here's a side pouch that fits a giant glucagon case in it. Totally hidden, but right there. 

Pocket under the word 'Murval' holds a glucagon case.

Close the entire case and here it is. Zips close like a breeze, no squeezing it shut, no trying to cram it all in. And it's fits into my purse or into her backpack. I've attached one of those little pill cases from CVS, that's for our used test strips. It comes in handy as I hate to leave used test strips anywhere we go and I can never find a trash can. Voila, problem solved, into the red screw lid pill case they go. I empty it every once in a while :0)

I can thank Laura for the recommendation. I also found that the eBay seller that I bought this from also has some for sale for $8.99. You can go here and link up to her site. She has more than 10 available as of this blog posting. 

Yeah - a bag that works for us! This D-Mama is one happy Mama.

OmniPod Case review (oh and it's not a good one)

Grace is on the OmniPod insulin pump. For us, for her, it's wonderful. She loves the fact that its tubeless, loves the auto-insertion and loves that she can rotate it all over her body - arms, thighs, belly and bottom. I cannot say enough good things about it. Love the pump, got it?

Hate the carrying case that comes with it. Absolutely, positively, cannot stand it.

Here, let me count the ways:

1. It's black. Totally pitch black. Really good for keeping that insulin cool, right? Yeah, cause there wouldn't even be a place for an ice pack if I would need one. Black says yuck to me. It says "We couldn't think of a color palette to give people a choice of, so everyone gets black."

For little girls who are diabetic, I'll bet not one of them would choose black as their color. Grace doesn't. She has never once chosen black in anything. She wants bright, glitter, pizzazz, and some sparkles. Or at least a rockin' pink or purple. But black, no thanks.

Give us a choice OmniPod! Make a range of color cases. I'll gladly rock the OmniPod logo on the front of a bag that kicks color and is well, more functional, as you will see in the following points...

2. It's too small! It doesn't fit everything a person with diabetes needs to carry! Sure, little battery holder straps are cute, but the one tiny zippered pocket only fits a little tube of glucose tabs, some lancets, a strip or two of HypaFix tape, some SkinTac and TacAway, and a needle or two. And that's me jamming them into the mesh pocket.

There is no room for extra glucose tabs, or some liquid glucose, medical bracelet, extra test strips, extra batteries, extra lancing devices, more tape, more alcohol pads, more SkinTac or TacAway. I have to be limited as to what it can hold and be decisive about what goes into this pocket.

The back of the case has another mesh pocket. It's supposed to hold an extra Pod. Good luck on that folks. I can cram the extra Pod into the pocket and I can close the velcro tab, but it takes some doing, because everything gets caught in the mesh. Then, the case becomes so bulky and unwieldy, with an extra Pod attached to it's back, that it's hard to hold in my hand. I tend to carry the extra Pod separate from the case in my purse, but that's not so handy when Dad takes Grace somewhere is it? Then the extra Pod gets forgotten and we are screwed.

PDM fits into clear strap band with no gel skin on.

PDM with gel skin on it does NOT fit into the clear strap band.

3. The PDM with the gel skin on does NOT fit into the clear see-through tab pocket!  Did anyone test this case out before they manufactured it? I think not, because someone would need to TRY to fit the PDM (remote controller to the Pod) into the clear strap and see that it DOESN'T FIT. Not even a little bit. So, when I open her case, I have to be careful to  open it so the PDM doesn't fall crashing to the ground. Here's where the gel skin saves its life. It is such poor design on so many levels when it comes to this. Here's a great gel-skin that pretties up and protects the PDM, but no, don't try to actually fit it into the case. It's one of the giant errors in design.

So, OmniPod bag that I have carried since her pumping start in April 2010, I have to say goodbye. It's been fun, but not fun enough that I can continue to put up with all this nonsense. Now that Grace can change her pump site herself, she needs to carry everything with her should the need arise for her to do just that. She needs a bag that holds everything and then some, just for emergency and frankly, any day, any hour of the week, can be an emergency.

Here's where the incredible Laura of Houston We Have A Problem blog came in. She posted a video response to 'Submit Your Kit' vlog and I saw a bag that held everything in her video! You can see her video here. Laura even lost her precious diabetes bag and got it back! (You can read about that experience here.) She posted later about her bag, it was a cosmetic case from Murval. I wanted to weep. It had pockets! And bags that zippered! And more than one area to contain things! And it looked like the PDM fit into the pocket with it's gel skin on.

And so I got one. On eBay. For $6.99.
And that will be my next blog post. A diabetes supply bag that works for us!
Stay tuned...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Happy 9th Grace!

Happy 9th Birthday Grace!

You are an amazing kid.
You are strong, resilient, funny and kind.
You amaze me daily with your bravery and your fortitude.
You make us laugh and put a smile on our faces, just because you are you.

Happy Birthday sweet girl!
I hear 9 years old is the best age to be!

Monday, July 11, 2011

D Meet-up and FFL

While we were on vacation, I called the fabulous Kelly of Diabetesaliciousness fame, to see if she wanted to hop on over a town or two and meet up with us. Of course she said yes, cause she is totally fabulous like that!

We met in our traditional spot in town. We walked the shops. Grace had her nails painted. She showed us American Girl doll accessories she wants. We watched a magician perform as it was 'Family Thursday' on the Avenue. It was HOT. Like surface-of-the-sun hot.

We got hungry. Well, Grace got hungry and we followed suit. Found a great A/C lunch place. Menus were fussed over, choices about breakfast-for-lunch were made and we had a grand old time catching up face to face, as opposed to the emails and text messages we send each other.

Kelly helps Grace in so many ways.
She lets her see a woman who is living her life with diabetes.
And there are conversations between them that I cannot help with, that they have with each other.

I can tell Grace that she will be fine, that she will grown into a strong woman, a strong mother and grandmother, but it's Kelly who brings it home to her.

It's Kelly pulling out her pump and testing and telling Grace she's a little high today and Grace nodding in agreement and telling her that whew, she had a few high days this past week too.

It's Grace telling Kelly that she hates this diabetes and Kelly nods, and Kelly tells her that it's not the falling down that's the problem, it's the staying down.

It's Grace telling Kelly that Momma has a saying of 'Just Do It' when things get bad and when she doesn't think she can do it one more day. And Kelly says she has 'Just Do It' days too.

It's Grace telling Kelly that she told her Momma just last week that diabetes was a good thing in some ways, that she would have never met her, never gone to diabetes camp and never met her D friends, if she didn't have diabetes. And Kelly smiling at that.

It's a million of these things that happen when we are together, that I cannot replicate as a non-PWD, that make me love Kelly. She gives me strength, she gives Grace strength and she lets Grace feel communion with another soul who truly does 'get it.'

I knew that Kelly was missing Friends for Life, the Children with Diabetes conference in Orlando, Florida this week. I knew she missed the communion that she gets by going there. I know she missed her friends.

I also know that when PWDs attend Friends for Life, they wear green wristbands to identify themselves as people with diabetes. It's a badge of honor among them and a show of solidarity. I hear people keep them on long after the conference is done.

So I bought a little treat for both Kelly and Grace, to show that they are one, and indeed, friends for life.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Scenes from a vacation

Ahhh, vacation at the beach. Simply 90 minutes from our house, but a world away.
Here are some glimpses into our week. It was glorious.

Fireworks on the beach on the 4th of July!

Boogie boarding. That Pod on her left leg survived 5 hours in the ocean.
It was a good Pod, I wanted to have it bronzed.

Sunset dolphin watching cruise around Cape May, NJ.
We spotted lots of dolphins and one beautiful sunset.

Bike riding on the Boardwalk every morning.
It's tradition.

One killer wave and BAM the Pod came loose.
So, Pod change on the beach. We made a lot of trash.

All week long, this guy in the light blue trunks was at our beach.
Grace swore he looked EXACTLY like Nick Jonas!
I had her pose in front of him so I could get her picture with the pretend Nick.

Hot chocolate treat for our breakfast out.
I SWAG-ed that baby at 30 grams.
Sand with your sisters.
Good times.

A D-meetup with our favorite gal, Kelly.
More on this to come....

What would a vacation be without some rides to make you scream?

The beach restores our souls.
Somehow, you realize how little you really are.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Spirit of 76!

Happy 4th of July everyone!

It seems that even blood sugars are in the spirit today!

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Grace went to be at 88. All was well. Decreased basals a wee bit through a temp basal for a few hours and she should sail steady until the 2 am check.
It's the first day of vacation and there has been A LOT of walking and rides and well, activity.
I should know better, really.
And something in the back of brain DID know better and came to the forefront to save her.

I got to bed myself about 11 pm.
And I woke like a shot at 12:30 AM.
Like a shot I tell you.
From sound asleep to wide awake eyes.
And my brain told me to go check her. I could HEAR it in my head, is that odd?

I walked down the longer than normal hallway, and checked her at 12:30 AM.


Two juices and a decreased basal later, now I was wide awake.
And thankful for the little protective voice, that knew, somehow it just KNEW to wake me.
I don't depend on it.
I don't ask for it.
It's only ever happened once before to me.
But I sure am glad, that somehow, it's there, in my head.
And that it saved my child.