I've Never Told You... (and WINNER!!)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Today's topic in the Wego Health Blog Carnival is to write about something that our readers probably don't know...

Hmmm....  I'm pretty open.  I've shared some of my very raw feelings here on this blog.  Us being friends and all!  (And I DO think of you as friends - even though I've only met a few of you IRL)

But there is ONE thing that immediately comes to mind.

BUT....

I can't tell you.

YET.

You have to wait until September 2.

See - it's part of a project created by the amazing Alexis of Justice's Misbehaving Pancreas and the also amazing Kim of Texting My Pancreas and the You Can Do This Project.  And all I can tell you about is that I'll fill you in as soon as I can!

I know...  no fair, right?

But it will be worth the wait.  Promise.  I'll be sharing something with you that very few people know about me.

There is ONE more thing that I CAN tell you today!

The WINNER of the Stick Me Designs Scavenger Hunt!



With a mere 3 minute lead, the winner who correctly located all four logos was......

KELLY HARP!

Congrats, Kelly!

I know you are going to LOVE your new Deluxe Clutch and Tuff Band!

Now, if you are super sad that you didn't win (and I'm sure you are), all is not lost!  You can order your own from the Stick Me Designs website!  And trust me - her items are worth every single penny!  I carry my Deluxe Clutch EVERYWHERE!  It lives in the bottom of my purse, kitchen counter and Sweetpea's nightstand.  It takes a beating and STILL holds together well and looks super stylish!  You won't be sorry going with this bag!

And while you're there - take a look at some of the other awesome things you'll find!  I am currently IN LOVE with her blue circle t-shirt and will be ordering one ASAP!  And I also love the D Monster pump pet!  I'm thinking stocking stuffer....  But actually I want one for myself!!

A BIG THANK YOU to Stick Me Designs for participating in this giveaway!!!

And now... I want to know what you thought!  Did you like the Scavenger Hunt?  I thought it was fun and different!  But I want to know what YOU think!  So let me hear it!  It's right over there on the right!



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The Beanstalk - Challenge Accepted

Thursday, August 23, 2012






Thoughts at the Bottom of a Beanstalk


Once upon a time there was a little boy named Jack who was about to climb his very first beanstalk. He had a fresh haircut and a brand-new book bag. Even though his friends in the neighborhood had climbed this same beanstalk almost every day last year, this was Jack's first day and he was a little nervous. So was his mother.


Early in the morning she brought him to the foot of the beanstalk. She talked encouragingly to Jack about all the fun he would have that day and how nice his giant would be. She reassured him that she would be back to pick him up at the end of day. For a moment they stood together, silently holding hands, gazing up at the beanstalk. To Jack it seemed much bigger than it had when his mother had pointed it out on the way to the store last week. His mother thought it looked big, too. She swallowed. Maybe she should have held Jack out a year...


Jack's mother straightened his shirt one last time, patted his shoulder and smiled down at him. She promised to stay and wave while he started climbing. Jack didn't say a word. He walked forward, grabbed a low-growing stem, and slowly pulled himself up to the first leaf. He balanced there for a moment and then climbed more eagerly to the second leaf, then to the third and soon he had vanished into a high tangle of leaves and stems with never a backward glance at his mother. She stood alone at the bottom of the beanstalk, gazing up at the spot where Jack had disappeared. There was no rustle, no movement, no sound to indicate that he was anywhere inside. "Sometimes," she thought, "it's harder to  be the one who waves good-bye than it is to be the one who climbs the beanstalk."


She wondered how Jack would do. Would he miss her? How would he behave? Did his giant understand that little boys sometimes acted silly when they felt unsure? She fought down an urge to spring up the stalk after Jack and maybe duck behind a bean to take a peek at how he was doing. "I'd better not. What if he saw me?" She knew that Jack was really old enough to handle this on his own. She reminded herself that after all, this was thought to be an excellent beanstalk and that everyone said his giant was not only kind but had outstanding qualifications. "It's not so much that I'm worried about him," she thought, rubbing the back of her neck. "It's just that he's growing up and I'm going to miss him." Jack's mother turned to leave. "Jack's going to have lots of bigger beanstalks to climb in his life" she told herself. "Today's the day he starts practicing for them... And today's the day I start practicing something too: Cheering him on and waving good-bye."

--Author Unknown


This is a little story that I send home with my students the first day of school. I think that it's so true and so appropriate. And as I read it this year, I realized how true it is on an entirely different level.

As parents of children with diabetes, we feel the same worries as other parents. We worry about our children's safety and how they will acclimate to school. We wonder if they will behave and if they will miss us.

But we have other things to worry about, too.

Scarier things.

We worry about mealtimes, insulin doses, if anyone knows how to treat diabetes, if our children will alert when they feel low... or high... and if anyone will listen. We worry about hypoglycemic reactions. We worry that the pump will quit working. We worry that the finger stick was not accurate due to dirty fingers. We worry about birthday treats. We wonder if our children will be left out. We wonder if they feel different. We worry that they will be sent to the nurse on their own. We worry because they don't have a nurse.  We worry that they will start to crash and no one will recognize the symptoms. We worry that they will go low on the bus. We worry that no one really knows how to use glucagon.

We worry that no one but us takes diabetes seriously.

Yes, our worries are different.

And I think that's a HUGE challenge we face as parents of children with diabetes.

Even though our kids look the same on the outside, they are different.  They need extra care... extra attention.  But because they "don't look sick" we often have to work hard to get people to take this disease seriously.  To understand what it's really all about.

And so we walk the tightrope.  What a challenge THAT is!

We balance between making them feel and be as normal as possible while also making sure they are safe and healthy.  We hide our fears and our worries.  We practice the blank face when looking at the number on the meter.  We put on an image of calm.  And yet we need them to understand that taking care of themselves is imperative.

Of course, it's not only with our children that we do this - is it?

How many times have you had to pull it together?  To act like you're fine.  You're good.  You're not worried.  Not constantly checking your phone.  Not preoccupied.  How often do you cover the dark circles and pretend to listen when you're really half asleep?  So often just functioning is a pretty big challenge.

But the biggest challenge, in my opinion - at least right now, is letting go.  It's standing at the bottom of the beanstalk and waving goodbye.

Sweets is starting first grade today.  At a new school.  Not with me.  I'm not there to handle things.  She's on her own.  And I'm trying REALLY REALLY HARD to not completely freak out and lose it!

In my head, I know - it's a wonderful situation.  She's going to do great!  She's ready for the independence.  She's excited and looking forward to it.  She's got this.

But it's not so easy to wave goodbye when you're the parent of a child with diabetes.  It's all those other worries we have...

But,  no matter how hard it is for us to do it (at the least the waving part), that's our goal. To get our children to the place where they are confident and capable. Whether it's going to school, taking care of diabetes, or handling anything else life throws their way.


Knowing the toughness and tenacity of our kids, I know they are going to be just fine.

And knowing the toughness and tenacity of D-Rents, I know we are going be just fine, too!




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Wego Health Blog Carnival: Day One and Two

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Before I start in with today's post, I want to clarify the contest going on!  My hubby tells me I was not clear! Imagine!

Each day you will look for a Stick Me Designs logo on either the Stick Me Designs website or this blog.  When you find it, post on our facebook pages.  Don't give it away - just say you found it!!  On Thursday, all four logos will be there.  When you have found all four logos, leave a comment on the original post saying you found all four.  The first person that finds all four wins - IF they know the location of the logos!!  I will email the first person to find all four.  If that person is able to tell me where the logos were located, they will win!  If not, I will go to the next blog comment.  

For more information, take a look at the original post!  If you have any questions, leave me a comment and I'll answer you best I can!  Have Fun!

Now on to today's post...

This week is the WEGO Health Advocating for Another Blog Carnival!



I missed yesterday's topic so I'm going to combine yesterday and today into one post!  I'm crafty like that!

The prompt for yesterday was to write a descriptive portrait of your child/ren. Share qualities that make them, them and include an image! Today's prompt is to write 5-10 of your favorite things about your loved one. Celebrate their uniqueness and be sure to tell us why those are your favorite things.

I love sharing pictures of Sweets so that's not a problem!  I know I'm not alone in this...  As a parent, don't you look at your child or children sometimes and marvel at what beautiful, precious, incredible little people they are?  This usually happens when they are sleeping...

My favorite thing about Sweets is her personality.

She can be shy at times.  But once she gets to know you she comes out of her shell.  And that's probably putting it mildly!



She has a large personality.  She's hilarious and has a good sense of humor.  You can joke with her and she gets it.  She likes it.  

She's very dramatic.  

The other day she decided she wanted to make a dance video to send to a contest the Disney Channel was promoting.  She looked it up online with her Dad.  And she found out that you had to be 8 years old to apply.  This is the conversation that follows...
Sweets:  You're probably wondering why I'm not making my dance video....
Me:  Ummm.... yes.  Why aren't you making your video?
Sweets:  You have to be EIGHT!  It will be YEARS until I'm EIGHT.  My life is OVER.  I am NEVER going to get to LA now!

Yup.  That's her.  

She's very curious and asks lots of questions.  She likes to read and play school.  She LOVES books.  

She's never really enjoyed coloring.  Never sat down with a coloring book.  Never saw the point.  She has always preferred to DO.  To play pretend.  To dance.  To sing.  

She never uses toys for the intended purpose.  She has lots of Squinkies but they are all used for play food or something else.  

She has a large vocabulary.  And a LONG memory.

She's very independent.  But she prefers for me to do her diabetes care.  

She's sweet and caring and loving.  She likes to rub noses and tickle.

She has the best giggle ever.

And she's a fighter.  She's tough.  She never complains about feeling ill.  Never complains about not feeling good or feeling funny when she's low or high.  

She handles all the shots and the pokes and the blood and the counting and the testing and all the other crap that comes with life as a type 1 with a strength and grace that very few adults could show.  

My daughter is only six.  And she's incredible.  

She's my hero!
 

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Stick Me Designs: Giveaway & Scavenger Hunt

Monday, August 20, 2012

Today I am thrilled to be bringing you an AWESOME giveaway from Stick Me Designs!



As you may know, I fell in love with Stick Me Designs a while ago.

I'm always looking for a new diabetes supply bag.  Or I WAS....  I need a bag that is big enough to fit all of Sweetpea's supplies.  But yet small enough to fit in my purse.  I don't want to carry two bags around.  And I don't want to carry around something ugly.

Enter the Deluxe Clutch.

LOVE.  IT.

This is hands down my absolute favorite supply bag.  I can get EVERYTHING inside it!  For reals!  Here's what I keep in our bag...
-meter
-test strips
-extra meter
-batteries
-Smarties
-Juicy Juice
-Glucgaon
-blood ketone tester
-Multi-Clix finger pricker
-lancets
-extra pod
-alcohol wipes
-adhesive remover
-numbing cream
-teagaderm
-Opsite Flexifix strips (used to cover Dex site if she's going swimming for hours)

That's a lot of stuff, right?  And it all fits nicely.

I don't always carry around all that stuff... but when I NEED to, I can.  And it slips nicely into my purse!

Stick Me Designs has graciously offered to give away one Deluxe Clutch of your choosing!

Have you seen the new designs?  I like pink - but there's some super cute stuff for boys and some new, fashionable styles for everyone!

Oh.... but that's not all!

She is also giving away one of her new Tuff Bands!

"Tuff Bands are what you wear when you need well...a tough band! The Tritex design is our newest addition to the Tuff Gear Collection. These handcrafted bracelets make a statement with color and awareness. Featuring a stainless steel shackle to finish off the design. Rugged and durable made from 8 strand paracord rope, and hand-stamped tag." - information courtesy of Stick Me Designs Website

Plus they are really cute and you can even get two different colors!




Here's your chance to win BOTH awesome products in the colors and designs of your choice!

And here's where things get a little different....


We're going to have a SCAVENGER HUNT!

We will be hiding 4 Stick Me Designs Logos on our sites (4 total - not 4 on each).  A new one will be hidden each day.  

Because I'm nice, I'll show you what you are looking for...




And to win, all you have to do is find all four!  

When you find one, post it to our facebook walls!  But DO NOT tell where it is!  Just say - "Found the first logo!"  "Found the third logo!"  You get it...

Here are the links:

Then, when you have found all four logos, leave a comment on this blog post saying that you found all four!  (Again - Don't give away the locations!)

The FIRST PERSON to find all four logos WINS!  The time stamp of your comment on this blog will help determine who is first.  In the event of a time, the winner will be picked by a random draw.  

The winner will be announced on this blog on FRIDAY, August 24, 2012.

Good Luck!



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Paperwork Piles and Some Upcoming FUN!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I'm not missing!

I'm here!

I'm just drowning in a sea of paperwork getting Sweets ready to go back to school!  And I had to go back to school for Kindergarten screening so I've been busy.



I've updated the links on the School and Other Caregiver Tab above.  All links are in working order.  If you are looking for some help getting your child ready to go to school with type 1 along for the ride, check it out.  I think you'll find lots of useful information.  Just click HERE!

Some people have mentioned that they have been unable to print the documents.  I think that all you need to do is create your own account (it's free) and upload something in order to be able to download. You can upload anything and make it private.

Oh... and I've been busy with something else, too!

I've got a giveaway starting on MONDAY with one of my FAVORITE diabetes retailers!  You DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS!

But check in early - because the rules are different this time and the first one completing the scavenger hunt (yes-- I said scavenger hunt) will WIN!!!

I hope you're excited - I think it's going to be fun!





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The Post with a Thousand Names and a Million Emotions

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I had a ton of ideas for what to call this post...

A New Adventure?

Moving On?

On Her Own?

Bittersweet Goodbyes?

Mama is Nervous as Hell?!?


Nothing seemed right.

I've even been putting off writing this post literally since the school year ended.

Because writing it makes it real.

And I'm not sure I'm ready...


Deep Breath....


Sweets will be going into first grade in a few weeks.

For those of you who are new to the blog, she has spent the past three years going to school with me.  I am a kindergarten teacher.  I teach in an early childhood center that houses only preschool and kindergarten.

It has been a blessing to be able to have her there with me at school and do 95% of her diabetes care.

It's been really hard.  But oh so worth it.

Next year, she has to go to a new school.

And I will not be there with her.


It's a very long story... but after lots of prayers and lots of tears, we decided to send Sweets to the school that the other children in our neighborhood attend (The school where I teach is in another district.  I am able to drive her and she could attend that district if we chose.  A "teacher perk".).

We had originally planned to send her to an elementary in the district where I teach.  But things happened... and there is no nurse at the school.  I was told there would be no nurse at the school to bolus her at lunch....

I cried.  A lot.  I wanted to send her there.  I really did.  I wanted her close by.  I wanted her THERE.

But....

I simply could not send her to a school without a nurse.  At six years old.  When she doesn't feel her lows or count her own carbs or bolus herself...

It started looking more and more like what was supposed to be was that Sweets should go to the school that is in the district where we live.

They have a nurse.  A full time nurse.

She would not be the only child with diabetes at this school.  In fact, she would be one of FIVE.

And so....

It's funny how you have it all planned out, you know?  JUST KNOW how it is supposed to be...  And then God says.... Ummmmm, not so fast...

Lucky for us, I happen to know another D Mama whose child attends this new school.  Misty from Life is Like a Box of Chocolates filled me in!  And if you've read any of Misty's posts about school, you know that she LOVES their school nurse.

So that made me feel hopeful....

I visited the school.  I was REALLY IMPRESSED with the nurse.  I don't think I impress easy when it comes to diabetes.  But she was amazing.  I didn't have to invent the wheel.  She gets it.

And I felt confident....

Sweets is actually excited about attending the new school.  I thought she would be devastated about leaving her best friends - but she wasn't.  She is THRILLED to go to school with Ally and Jessi!  And her friends from our neighborhood.  She is THRILLED to not be the only one with D.

One of the best parts?  There's going to be another T1 IN HER CLASS!!!!

And I was SOLD!


God totally works things out....  Even if it isn't the way we expect.

Still.....

I'm nervous.

Letting her go.  Giving up control.

SCARY!!!!

I know that this will be good for us... for HER.  She's ready for the independence and the responsibility.  She needs to know that someone other than Mom and Dad can handle her diabetes.

It will good for ME to have a little separation, too.  To be able to simply be a teacher instead of a teacher AND a pancreas.

I know all this.

It's all true.

But every time I think about it my stomach starts doing flips.

The 504 is done.  (You can check it out here.  This is last year's copy but it didn't change much.)

I need to make her supply boxes and info sheets and fill out her orders and .....

Every time I think of it I feel ill.  Scared.  Nervous.  Worried.  Excited...

So I keep putting it off.

She will be fine.  I couldn't ask for a better set up.

I will be fine.

I know this...

But being a D Mama (or Papa) is just so hard sometimes.



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Discrimination

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Discrimination.


It's an ugly word.


And it's even uglier practice.


It's one of the things that I think motivates us the most as parents of children living with diabetes.  At least it motivates ME.  I want so badly for my daughter to KNOW that she can do anything - even though she has diabetes.  That diabetes is not going to stop her.  It's something that we talk about a lot and really pound into her head...  YOU can do ANYTHING.


And that's true.  A person with diabetes CAN do anything! 


Except when someone tells them they can't.


A few days ago my friend, Michele, sent me a message.  She was upset.  She was crying.  She didn't know what to do.


She had taken her children - including her daughter with T1, to a local water park.  Her daughter was told that she could not go down the slides if she was wearing her insulin pump (she wears an Omnipod).  She was told that it was a liability and that the rule was no plastic so if they let her wear it then they would have to let anyone with plastic on their swimsuit go down the slides.


I can see why she was upset.


Plastic on a swimsuit does not compare to a medical device that infuses life sustaining medicine to your body.  


Now, it is possible to take an insulin pump off for awhile?  Yes...  technically.  But you take a risk...


Unlike insulin pumps with tubing, the Omnipod is attached directly to the body.  Therefore, you can't take it off and on at will.  You can't reattach it to give yourself missed basal.  When you take it off, you terminate the pod and if you want insulin you have to fill a new one and insert another site into your body.  You can wear the Omnipod in the water and we have found it great for swimming and other water activities because Sweets is able to get the insulin she needs continuously - her basal insulin rate is never interrupted.


Sure- you can take an insulin pump off.  But when you do, you are not getting the basal insulin that is infused into the body continuously throughout the day.  You might be able to go without it for a little while.  But not an entire afternoon.  Certainly not a whole day.  Ketones develop quickly without basal insulin and high bg's creep up.  We have found that just a few hours without basal can leave Sweets with high ketones, high bg and vomiting.  


So, by telling this girl that she could not wear her pump, they were telling her that in order to participate that she had to - basically - put her life in danger.  I know that sounds dramatic.  But how many times have you witnessed what missed basal can do to a person with diabetes?  It's not pretty. Every person is different.  Each day is different.  But going without basal for an extended period is NEVER a good option.


Not to mention that she couldn't eat.  Without the pod attached, she would be unable to bolus for food.  


The water park said that it was a liability and I understand that they could be concerned about it hurting the person wearing it or the plastic damaging the slides.  However, she was wearing it on her stomach.  You don't go down slides on your belly.  And she wouldn't be hurt (nor would anyone else) if the pod came off.  


The water park was unwilling to work with this family.  And that makes me very sad.  And angry.


Because all of what I've said about basal rates and food boluses is not the point.  


The point is that a person was denied access because of her insulin pump.  


An insulin pump is not a piece of plastic decoration on a swimsuit.  It's not a necklace that you can just take off.  It's a medical device that a person needs in order to stay alive.  


How can you reasonably ask someone to do this?


What option does this person have?


The American Diabetes Association states that:



Under Title II of the ADA, state and local governments must provide you with services that are not any different from those they provide people without a disability. They must not screen out or exclude you because of your disability. They must modify their policies and provide reasonable accommodations as long as doing so does not pose an undue burden. For example, a court house should permit you to carry your diabetes supplies with you—this might be a modification of a general policy against allowing sharp objects and food.

All this little girl wanted was to go have fun... just like everyone else.  
When you live with diabetes, you are used to feeling like the odd man out at times.  You're used being the only one counting carbs and delivering insulin.  You're used to being the only one testing your blood before you eat.  You're used to taking your lunch to the nurse.  You're used to leaving class.  You're used feeling different.
Because no matter how much we try to make sure our kids know that they can DO anything... we can't help that they are the only one in their school with diabetes.  We can't change the fact that none of their friends wear medical devices 24 hours a day.  We can't change the fact they have to test their blood before they eat even if all their friends are digging in.  
We can't keep them from feeling different.
We encourage them to keep going.  We tell them how incredible they are.  How brave, special, strong, important.  We tell them that even though they might feel different at times, this disease does not have to ever hold them back.  Because they CAN DO ANYTHING!
And then someone tells them they can't.
Why??
A reason that, to me, makes no sense at all.
As far as I'm concerned, this water park FAILED miserably.
Don't you agree?
If so, would you be willing to write to this water park and ask them to change their policy about people with diabetes wearing insulin pumps?  
Here's the info you need:
Splash Zone Water Park Facebook Page Click HERE.
Splash Zone Website (including address) Click HERE.
Also - could you please send a copy to Michele herself?  You can find her at: micheledoughman@yahoo.com


Michele is not taking this lying down!  She has contacted the ADA and even though the water park told her that they would "no longer talk to her about this" she is not taking no for an answer.  


This is not about making a fuss.  Or causing a scene.  This isn't about causing drama.  Or even getting something that others are not entitled to.


It's about what's fair.  And what's right.


She's not just doing this for HER daughter.  But for mine.  And yours.  


Because we believe that NO ONE with diabetes should ever be discriminated against or asked to put their health at risk to gain the same access as someone without diabetes.


And THAT is worth fighting for!


Thanks for your help!



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