VitalPak - A Review and Give Away

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A few weeks ago, we were given the opportunity to try a new product designed for people with Type 1 diabetes and other medical needs called VitalPak. 

VitalPak was created by nine year old Kyle Houlihan after he was diagnosed with diabetes.  "VitalPak is a medical backpack with a removable snap-in Essentials Kit that allows Kyle and others living with diabetes to carry all their essential medical supplies and devices without drawing attention to their disease.  VitalPak is the brainchild of Kyle, with the help of his father, Tom Houlihan.  The father-son team created the backpack  after searching for a product that would not draw attention to Kyle disease while also giving Kyle the functionality, style and organization to keep all his supplies in one place.  VitalPak can always be customized to help those who suffer from other conditions, such as asthma or allergies, where minutes can make a difference in treatment.  It can even be configured as a portable first aid kit for active families and individuals."

To see Kyle talk about his creation, click here!

VitalPak features include:
  • Durable, water resistant, nylon body material

  • Shoulder straps with layers of foam for added support and comfort

  • Padded back panel with for extra mid and lower back support

  • Large main storage compartment

  • Large front mesh drop pocket

  • Small front panel stash pocket

  • Removable, Snap-in Essentials Kit 

VitalPak comes in black, red, orange, dark grey, light grey, and blue!

Of course, we love supporting people with T1 - especially kids with T1 - who are working hard to make living this disease more manageable and efficient.  Sweets is getting to the age where she is becoming more independent with her care.  She's also starting to want to make her supplies a little more inconspicuous.  This made VitalPak a great fit for us!

We really liked the idea of the removable essentials kit.  We thought that this could really come in handy when traveling when there are times you might need an entire backpack and other times when that wouldn't be necessary.  I can see us using this bag while traveling.  I think it might be the perfect bag for our upcoming trip to Disney.

We like the size and comfort of the bag as well.  It's not quite as bulky as a regular backpack and it's definitely more comfortable.

I must say, Sweets was not overly thrilled with this bag.  She is a nine year old girl and if it isn't purple, pink or covered in glitter or sequins... she's not into it.  It was too plain for her.  Which, ironically, is part of the whole idea of the supplies being kept more discreet.  But like I said - she's all about the glam. 

My husband was a big fan of this bag!  He is used to having to carry around all those glitzy, girly diabetes bags.  He is very tired of our Vera Bradley!  He really liked having a bag that was a little more masculine.  We can really see this bag appealing to men and boys! 

My husband and Sweets like to ride bikes together.  When they do this, someone has to carry the supplies.  And it's not her!  He liked having this bag to use for bike rides.  No more girly bags.  No more uncomfortable bags or trying to rig something to the bike.  This backpack was a good fit! 

I think this bag could really come in handy for those who are athletic and involved in different kinds of sports.  There's a place for your diabetes that is easy accessible and also a place for your sporting equipment, extra clothes, etc.

Want to try it out for yourself?!?

Enter Here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
You can also get your own VitalPak right now by clicking HERE.  Until Monday, May 18th at 9 am the bags are 25% off!  

Good Luck! 

VitalPak provided a bag for this review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Happy Mother's Day: To All the T1 Moms

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

Being a mom is not an easy job.  It is filled with situations and experiences that you never dreamed you'd ever encounter.  You find yourself doing and saying things you'd never imagined.  You're more tired than you've ever been.  And you find yourself loving those little people who call you Mom more than humanly possible. 

It's not for the weak, that's for sure.

And when you add Type One diabetes into the mix...


The job becomes infinitely harder.

As moms of kids with Type One Diabetes, we deal with all the stuff other moms deal with.  And then so much more.

We keep our kids alive on a daily basis while functioning as their pancreases (pancreai?  I don't know the plural for pancreas.).  We measure and weigh their food.  We count every carbohydrate that goes into their mouths.  We calculate insulin doses and have this constant running dialog of how much we should give based on factors like activity level, illness, hormones, and the phase of the moon.  We learn to give them injections and to insert different devices into their bodies.  We learn to live on little sleep.

We worry that making a mistake could kill our child.  Or affect their long term health.

We have found that diabetes has an uncanny way of making us feel like a failure as a parent.  Because very little of what we do works perfectly more than once.  Because we can't make this disease go away.  Because it shows us how little control we really have.  

If motherhood changes you as a person, being the mom of a T1 definitely changes you.  It makes it so much easier to lose yourself in all of the mothering and caregiving.  We find that one day we look in the mirror and don't recognize the person looking back.  We wonder where that girl we knew went.  If she's ever coming back.  And if anyone even realized that she left. 

Although we knew motherhood would bring it's share of difficult situations.... we didn't expect this.

But we've learned that we can do it.  We can be doctor, nurse, psychologist and mom.

We've learned that we can give our kids shots and do things that other people say, "I could NEVER do that!" - because we've learned that we don't have choice. 

We've learned that we are a lot stronger than we ever imagined.

And we've learned that this journey is so worth it.  Our kids are so worth it.  And everything we've gone through and will go through is making us into some pretty incredible and strong people.

On this Mother's Day,  I want you, fellow T1 Moms, to know that I see you. 

I see the you that drags into a darkened bedroom in the middle of the night to test a blood sugar.
I see the you that fights with the insurance company.
I see the you that gets up after only a couple hours of sleep and goes to work all day long.
I see the you still cries - no matter how long it's been.
I see the you whose heart breaks when your child isn't included in something because of T1.
I see the you with tears in your eyes when you have to hold your child down for a shot.
I see the you that is afraid of what might happen in the future.
I see the you that is full of nerves and apprehension - but still a smile - when your T1 is gaining independence.
I still the you that does everything possible to make sure your child is able to do what everyone else does.
I see the you that tirelessly advocates and fundraisers.
I see the you that hurts because of friendships you've lost with people who don't understand this life and it's demands.
I see the you that is letdown - again - when someone you thought would step up and be there for you... isn't.
I see the you that puts everyone else first.
I see the you that thinks that no one notices how hard this job is.  That no one asks how YOU are.  
I see the you that wonders if YOU even exist anymore.  

I see you. 

And I want you to know that you're doing a great job.

We don't hear it often enough.  So I want to tell you again...

You are an amazing mother.

You are doing a great job.

You can do this!  You ARE doing this!

So today and on those days to come when you begin to falter and question yourself know that I see you.  And I respect you more than words can say.  And I'm honored to be part of this "club" with you.

Happy Mother's Day - to some of the most amazing and incredible women I know!

A facebook friend posted these and I knew I just had to share them with you!  Enjoy!

Signs of Spring: Green Grass, Blue Sky, Blooming Flowers... and 504 Plan Reviews!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Spring has sprung! 

The arrival of spring always brings with it the promises of things to come...

Flowers, blossoms, leaves, sunshine, blue skies, warmer temperatures....

and a 504 plan review!

In the spring, we always get together with A's school staff to review her 504 plan and make any needed changes for the coming year. 

504 plan reviews and the development of such plans can bring with a lot of anxiety and frustration. 

But it doesn't have to be that way!

I was totally honored to be asked by Disney's T1 Everyday Magic website to write an article for them about just that!  As a teacher and a parent of a child with T1D, I have a unique perspective on managing the school system.  The article is called "What Your Child's Teacher Doesn't Know About Type 1".  And you can read it by clicking HERE!

We are lucky to have no difficulty with A's 504 plan.  In all honesty, our meetings last about 10 minutes because we have not made any changes for the past few years.  A few years ago we added accommodations specific to standardized testing and since then it's been working perfectly. 

I am expecting to begin to need to tweak her plan a bit probably next year and she's gaining more and more independence in her diabetes management and we will want her plan to reflect that. 

But for now, it's good! 

I feel strongly about the need for a 504 plan.

And if anyone didn't need one - it was me!  We created a plan for A when she went to preschool.  At that time, she was in my school building where I teach.  I handled all her care.  And I trusted our staff completely.

So why would I want or need a plan?

I feel strongly that the time to create a plan is when everything is going well.  Don't wait for trouble.  You want the plan in place before trouble arrives.  That's what it's there for!  I view it as a safe guard. 

I knew that A would not always be in my school or in my district.  When she went to first grade, we moved her to the school district that is where we live.  And it was wonderful to be able to have her plan move with her to her new school and district. 

If you are new to all of this, take a look up at the right side of the blog where it says "School and Other Caregiver Information"  Or just click here.  You will find lots of different information that we use for school including teacher information sheets and a sample 504 plan.  (I don't think this is our current plan but you'll get the idea and what you want in your plan is entirely personal and up to you!)  There are also some links to other sites you might find useful!  You also might want to check out the ADA's Safe at School website for great information about the law and more! 

If you want my best advice for having a successful meeting your child's school... just read the article

Good Luck!


Monday, April 27, 2015


Six years ago today Sweets was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes.

Looking back... she was just a baby!  

It's hard to believe that it's been that long.  And yet it feels like it's been part of our lives forever. 

Year one... that was a big deal. 
Year two... we were inpatient after Sweets had a low induced seizure.  That sucked.
Year three... that one marked the point where she had lived longer with diabetes than without it. 
Year four... we celebrated by going to see Taylor Swift! 
Year five... that one was rough.  That one was really hard and emotional.  It was powerful for many reasons.  You can check that one out here

Year six. 

This one is different. 

Dare I say.... this one is just another day?

Not everyone celebrates a diaversary.  I get why you would want to forget that day.  There are parts I would love to forget. 

However, we choose to celebrate it.  We use it as a day to honor all that she goes through with diabetes.  We acknowledge all that goes into keeping her healthy.  And there is so much YUCK that goes with diabetes - if there's a way we can add a little fun into it - we are all for that! 

Because today was filled with school and work and JDRF meetings and dance class, we celebrated yesterday.  We went to dinner and got ice cream - which is what Sweets wanted to do! 

So today...

It was so different than the past diaversaries have been. 

In the past I've spent the day thinking of that day.  And what were doing.  And what it was like.  Reliving those emotions. 

But today... Today I barely remembered. 

Maybe it's because we've been so busy.  This past week has been filled with cheer clinics each night for a couple of hours.  Of course, before and after clinics involved practicing at home!  Saturday was try out day!  And then we waited all day for results.  This really kept our minds focused on one thing... cheerleading!  The good news is that Sweets made the competition cheer squad for fourth grade!  We are so proud of all her hard work!  Now we're already planning for the coming season - uniform fittings and coaching meetings (I'm coaching her basketball squad again). 

Maybe there just wasn't time to think about April 27. 

Or maybe...

Maybe we are entering a new phase of life with D.  A phase that I've felt might be on the horizon. 

Maybe after six years, diabetes is just so ingrained into the fabric of our family that her dx day is truly just another day. 

I'm sure there will still be days when it all overwhelms me.  I know there are still tears to be shed over this disease. 

But maybe it's truly become such a part of who we are as a family that we forget not everyone counts carbs and tests blood sugars and tweaks ratios and set countless overnight alarms. 

And maybe.  Hopefully.  There's a lot of hope in that. 

Because at first... I didn't know if we'd ever get to this place.   Those first days... year... was so overwhelming and scary and lonely.  All the what ifs.  All the fears.  All the unknowns.  All the firsts.  Wondering how we were going to have a normal family life.  How she was going to be able to be a normal kid. 

But we've done it.  SHE has done it.  We've come so far...

And so... I think that is definitely something worth celebrating!


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