Monday, 30 May 2011

Sunday Snapshots ~ Cycling the Biennale Sculptures

The Cyclebetes National Relay begins in less than 3 months, at which time I will be part of a team of 6 riders, cycling from Vancouver to Calgary. As part of my training for the 1000+ km journey, I am cycling at least 3 days per week with one of those rides being a minimum of 3 hours in length. These longer length training rides are not focused on speed, but rather on endurance - get my legs spinning for long periods of time, and my body, especially my shoulders, upper back, and butt, used to extended saddle periods. The other 2 weekly training rides consist of shorter distances with the focus on speed and fitness.

Yesterday my long ride entailed touring around the city to view the Biennale Sculpture exhibit. The Biennale Sculptures are an outdoor art exhibit currently featured throughout the city of Vancouver. Consisting of 33 large sculptures, the exhibit has been here for 2 years, though I didn't hear about it until last week. All of the pieces are either for sale or sold, and starting next month they will be removed from their current spots and shipped to their permanent homes. For full info check out their website at vancouverbiennale.com.

So a group of us decided that we would hop on our bicycles and ride around to check out some of the pieces before they're gone. We managed to see 19 out of the 33 sculptures in Vancouver and its neighboring city of Richmond. Total mileage for this route was just over 50km (50.2 to be exact).

I took tons of pictures so that I could share these interesting works of art on my blog:

Walknig Figures by Magdalena Abakanowicz (Poland), Broadway & Cambie Canada-Line Station

Eros Bendato Scrippolato by Igor Mitoraj (Polish-Italy), Yaletown Park, Nelson and Mainland

Barbora by Vladas Vildziunas (Lithuania), Thornton Park, Station Street & Main Street

King & Queen by Sorel Etrog (Canada), Harbour Green Park, between Jervis & Bute

Artificial Rock #143 by Zhan Wang (China), Vancouver City Centre Canada-Line Station

A-maze-ing Laughter by Yue Minjun (China), Morton Triangle on Denman at Davie

Close up of one of the laughing men above

Pillows by Liu Jianhua (China), Harbour Green Park

Meeting by Wang Shugang (China), Cardero Park, Cardero Street and Coal Harbour Quay

Ceramic Forms by Yee Soo-Kyung (Korea), Cardero Park, Cardero Street and Coal Harbour Quay

Doors of Knowlegde by Patrick Hughes (UK), Minoru Park, Richmond

Reverse of above

Echoes by Michel Goulet (Canada), Kitsilano Beach Park at Watermark

Miss Mao by The Gao Brothers (China), Elmbridge and Alderbridge Way, Richmond

Water #10 bu Jun Ren (China), Cambie Plaza, Cambie and River Road, Richmond

Freezing Water #7 by Jun Ren (China), Vanier Park, Whyte Avenue and Chesnut Street

WE, 2008 by Jaune Plensa (Spain), Sunset Beach Park, Beach Avenue and Thurlow

Engagement by Dennis Oppenheim (USA), Sunset Beach Park, Beach Ave between Broughton and Jervis

Cabeza Vainilla, Cabeza Cordoba, Cabeza Chiapas by Javier Marin (Mexico), 

The second piece in the same series

The third piece in the same series

Donut #7 by Fletcher Benton (Canada), Queen Elizabeth Park


Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Good Old Comfort Food ~ Meatballs and Pasta

Meatballs and pasta. They go together like peanut butter and jam. Good old fashioned comfort food. This particular version was created by one of my favorite chefs, Jamie Oliver. We tested it on Monday evening for dinner, after Dylan specifically requested spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. I've made meatballs many times before, but lately I've been testing quite a few of Jamie's recipes, so I figured I might as well check this one out! Everyone in my family loved it and gobbled it up quickly; we'll definitely be making this again.

The thing I love about Jamie's recipes is that he always uses fresh ingredients and basic cooking techniques. Nothing's super fancy, it's just delicious food made with things grown close to home. And this recipe is no exception. The aroma that filled my kitchen as I lightly fried the fresh rosemary was absolutely divine. And then when I combined the rosemary scented meatballs with the tomato sauce mulling with balsamic vinegar and lots of fresh basil, my kitchen was transformed into a little italian villa. Mmmmm....

So here is the recipe itself, taken from Jamie Oliver's website.

Ingredients
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
12 Jacob’s cream crackers
2 heaped teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 lb  good-quality minced beef, pork, or a mixture of the two
1 heaped tablespoon dried oregano
1 large egg, preferably free-range or organic
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
a bunch of fresh basil
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
½ a fresh or dried red chilli
2 x 14 oz tins of chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 lb dried spaghetti or penne
Parmesan cheese, for grating

Directions 
(From Jamie Oliver's website)
To make the meatballs: Pick the rosemary leaves off the woody stalks and finely chop them. Wrap the crackers in a tea towel and smash up until fine, breaking up any big bits with your hands. Add to a mixing bowl with the mustard, minced meat, chopped rosemary and oregano. Crack in the egg and add a good pinch of salt and pepper. With clean hands scrunch and mix up well. Divide into 4 large balls. With wet hands, divide each ball into 6 and roll into little meatballs – you should end up with 24. Drizzle them with olive oil and jiggle them about so they all get coated. Put them on a plate, cover and place in the fridge until needed.

To cook the pasta, meatballs and sauce: Pick the basil leaves, keeping any smaller ones to one side for later. Peel and finely chop the onion and the garlic. Finely slice the chili. Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. Next, heat a large frying pan on a medium heat and add 2 lugs of olive oil. Add your onion to the frying pan and stir for around 7 minutes or until softened and lightly golden. Then add your garlic and chilli, and as soon as they start to get some colour add the large basil leaves. Add the tomatoes and the balsamic vinegar. Bring to the boil and season to taste. Meanwhile, heat another large frying pan and add a lug of olive oil and your meatballs. Stir them around and cook for 8–10 minutes until golden (check they’re cooked by opening one up – there should be no sign of pink). Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer until the pasta is ready, then remove from the heat. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the packet instructions.

To serve the meatballs: Saving some of the cooking water, drain the pasta in a colander. Return the pasta to the pan. Spoon half the tomato sauce into the pasta, adding a little splash of your reserved water to loosen. Serve on a large platter, or in separate bowls, with the rest of the sauce and meatballs on top. Sprinkle over the small basil leaves and some grated Parmesan.

*Nutritional information for this dish has been omitted because it varies so much depending on the ingredients chosen. 

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

TEAM DYLAN 2011 - Where did the time go?

Time is going WAY too fast lately. With less than three weeks until the 2011 JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes in Vancouver, we are way behind where we usually are at this point. I need to get my butt in gear and get organized!

Walk Details
Date: Sunday, June 12th
Time: 11:00am (registration opens at 8:30am)
Location: Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC
Visit jdrf.ca for full walk details

TEAM DYLAN Update
(as of May 24th)
Members: 7
Funds raised: $470.00
To join TEAM DYLAN, click here
To donate to JDRF, via TEAM DYLAN, click here

Upcoming TEAM DYLAN Fundraisers
3rd Annual TEAM DYLAN Pub Night
Saturday, June 18th
6:00pm-10:00pm
Seymour's Pub, North Van, BC

*Tickets only $10 each. Includes 25% off all food (appys, entrees and desserts), drink specials for ticket holders only, balloon pop, door prizes, plus our amazing silent auction!
For a current list of Silent Auction items, click here.

Contact Jen for tickets

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Training Schedule Week of May 23rd to 29th

Finally, the weather is getting a bit better and I can start putting some serious road miles on my bike! I have 4 rides planned in the next 7 days, so as long as it the rain holds off, it should be a great week.

Monday ~ Cycle 60 minutes, intense
Tuesday ~ Run 60 minutes, easy
Wednesday ~ Cycle 90 minutes, easy
Thursday ~ Cycle 4-5 hours, moderate
Friday ~ Run 40 minutes, pace  
Saturday ~ Run 75 minutes, easy
Sunday ~ Cycle 3-4 hours, moderate

Hoping to post some ride pics over the week too!




Thursday, 19 May 2011

Life From a Bicycle Seat

Is there any better way to see the world than from the seat of a bicycle? The rush of wind through my hair, the touch of the fresh air on my face, the sunshine warming my arms. These are moments I treasure. Moments of complete and utter freedom; no worries, no stresses, no thinking about D. Just me, my bike, and mother nature.


Yesterday marked the first decent bike ride I've had this season. Sure, I've been out a few times in the cold and rain, and have certainly spent my fair share of time on the stationary bike this year, but yesterday was the first warm, sunny day, allowing me to spend 3 hours on an absolutely gorgeous ride in Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve. Just after 11:00am, I began my 22km journey through the old growth forest, taking in the sounds and smells as I silently cruised along. Up and down the rolling hills I went, in and out of the sunshine as I weaved through dense forest and into open spaces, before venturing deep into the forest again. I was in no rush; speed was not the focus today.

8.5 kilometers in, I left the paved private road and entered the old growth trail; a densely treed area that has existed for hundreds of years. Slowly I pushed on, under the canopy of old fir trees. At kilometer 10, I was parallel to the Seymour River and pulled over to sit on the shore and enjoy my lunch while listening to the peaceful churn of the river.

View from my lunch spot

After a quick lunch I rode another kilometer or so to the fish hatchery, then the seymour reservoir and dam, where my local drinking water originates. Here, my journey paused again, with a short break to enjoy the view.

Seymour reservoir and dam

During the 11km+ journey back, I didn't stop at all, just pedaled and listened to the birds, the wind, and my own thoughts. Life from a bicycle seat - a terrific way to spend a sunny day.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

What I've Learned ~ Diabetes Blog Week, Day 7

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The final Diabets Blog Week entry. Alright, it's 3 days late, but life happens right?

It was a truly incredible week! For someone who just joined the DOC in March of this year, I am constantly blown away by the outcry of support, friendship, and love displayed by DOC members.

So when asked what I've learned this week, like many others, I've learned that I am not alone. That there are so many other D-Moms and D-Dads out there just like me and that there are so many other PWD like Dylan. It's like one big huge virtual family, and I love it!

I've also learned that there a ton of awesome diabetes bloggers out there. I have LOVED LOVED LOVED reading all the great posts over the week, seen this pictures, the vlogs, the poems, the stories. They have touched my heart and I can't wait to read more.

So that's it - short and sweet for today!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Saturday Snapshots ~ Diabetes Blog Week, Day 6

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For Day 6 of diabetes blog week, Karen of Bitter~Sweet suggested that we express ourselves through photos instead of a typical written blog. My original thought was to take some diabetes related photos throughout the day - perhaps some pics of the pump, testing, food, etc. But then in the afternoon and a series of pictures just sort of presented itself and I knew immediately these photos had to be in my Saturday Snapshots blog post.

Because diabetes control is such a careful balance of food, insulin, and activity, I have always encouraged Dylan, as well as the rest of my family, to be as active as possible and live a healthy lifestyle. This means that we do a lot of fun physical activities as a family, one of which is walking. Saturday afternoon, during a brief break in the rain, we headed downtown for a walk in an area we haven't visited in quite a while. We parked right downtown, in Vancouver's Yaletown (a very posh, new neighborhood comprised mostly of single thirty-something adults) and started our walk along the waterfront. We strolled past the site where a number of last year's Winter Olympic pavilions were set up, then around to what was the Athlete's Village (now waterfront condos for sale to the public). Just in front of Athlete's Village I snapped a quick pic of Dyl and his older brother Josh, before we took a brief stop to explore a little "island" off the boardwalk.

Dylan, 10, and Josh, 14, with the North Shore mountains in the background

The "island" we explored was a small island off the shore, that connects to the mainland via a little man-made footpath. While Dylan and his 7 year old sister Olivia took off ahead to check out the island, Josh and I took our time making our way out and stumbled upon a mother goose and her four baby goslings.





Diabetes- related? No. But seeing rare, magical scenes, such as this one, reminds me that life does not revolve around diabetes. Life is more than just us. Life is precious and special. And when we to take time to enjoy the little things, it makes the bigger things, like D, easier to handle.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

The Awesomeness ~ Diabetes Blog Week, Day 5

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Today's blog week prompt is to highlight some of the awesome things you have experienced as a result of diabetes. We have had some pretty amazing experiences since diabetes has entered our lives, and while originally I had planned to blog about the DOC, or Diabetes Camp, or some of the amazing vacations we've taken with diabetes, I thought it might be fun to highlight some of the more unusual, extra special things we have experienced as a result of diabetes. I asked Dylan to narrow it down to his favorite three experiences and here they are:

The 3 Most Awesome Things Dylan has done BECAUSE of Diabetes

3. Meeting George Canyon. For those who might not have heard of George Canyon, he is a pretty famous Canadian Country singer, who has been T1 since he was a teenager. He is the spokesman for Animas in Canada and does a lot of promotional work for JDRF throughout Canada. A couple of years ago he was doing a cross-country promotional tour via his own private plane (yes, he is a T1 certified pilot - pretty amazing) and stopped at the Vancouver Museum of Flight to perform a private concert and talk for a small group of JDRF supporters. Our family was among the lucky few that got tickets. It was an amazing show and afterwards he posed for photos with each child, and gave an autographed "I Am George Canyon's Wingman" t-shirts to every T1 child in the audience. He spoke to the audience about how strictly he has to controls his blood sugar in order to keep his pilot's license, and how he has never let diabetes stand in his way of reaching his dreams.

Dyl and George. Too bad Dyl is blinking and the focus is off, but oh well...

2. Electronic Arts tour. Dylan has been a youth ambassador for JDRF for the past 3 years and it has afforded him some unbelievable opportunities. He has traveled around the city of Vancouver speaking to corporations about T1 diabetes, has met tons of super cool people, and has really taken ownership of his diabetes as a result. 3 years ago, Dylan also participated in what the JDRF Vancouver office calls the "Hero Program," in which T1 kids are partnered up with a local hero at the annual walk to cure diabetes. The hero spends the full day with the child, learning about what it's like to be a kid with diabetes, and then the child spends the day with the hero at their place of work. Dylan's hero was a woman who worked in the community affairs department of Electronic Arts, one of the world's largest and most famous video game design companies, which happens to be based in Vancouver. The EA building itself is a fortress, with stricter security than any other building in the city. No one can go in unless they work there, or are specially invited. In addition to being a fully functioning office building, this place boasts an indoor gym, yoga studio, swimming pool, tennis and squash courts, and a full size movie theatre. Outside there is a basketball court, beach volleyball court, and an artificial turf soccer field. There are massage therapists who come to your desk, an arcade, a spa, and a full cafeteria in which you eat whatever you want whenever you want, and it's all free to staff. All of this to keep the staff happy and working. We received a private tour or the entire facility, including lunch, a meet and greet with some of the gaming designers, and Dylan got to choose three games, at no charge, to take home with him. For a kid who absolutely loves video games, like Dylan, it was a dream come true. Literally. And all thanks to JDRF.

1. Disneyland. In October of 2008, Dylan got to live out the ultimate kid dream come true. He, along with a number of other children, got to fly to Disneyland for the day. Yes, for the day. The trip was arranged by an organization named "Dreams Take Flight," a non-profit company that offers special travel experiences to children who might not be able to normally travel due to medical reasons. At 5:30am on a Tuesday morning, we dropped Dylan off at a private Air Canada hangar at the Vancouver International Airport. He boarded a chartered, private plane, along with the other lucky children, a team of doctors and nurses, and volunteers from Air Canada and Dreams Take Flight. They flew the two and a half hours from Vancouver to Los Angeles, landed in a private hangar in LA, and boarded a chartered bus to Disneyland in Anaheim. They arrived at the park around 10:30am and spent the entire day there. Around 7:00pm they left the park, rode back to LAX, and flew the same private jet back to Vancouver, where I picked Dylan up at 11:30pm that night. The charity covered everything - not just the cost and the medical team needed to accompany all of the kids, but they gave each child $30 to spend at the park, covered all of their meals, and gave them Mickey Mouse ears, t-shirts, and tons of other souvenirs. The only catch was that the kids had to go without their parents and it had to be their first visit to Disneyland. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that Dylan will never forget.

Main Street Ice Cream break

Dyl with his new friend Stevie, showing off some Disney loot!

On the flight home, after a terrific day

Friday, 13 May 2011

Ten Things I Hate About You Diabetes ~ Diabetes Blog Week, Day 4

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It's Diabetes Blog Week and the topic for Day 4 is to name 10 things that you hate about diabetes. Easy, peasy, lemon-squeezy, I could name 100...

Ten Random Things I Hate About Diabetes
10. Needles, needles, needles - tester needles, infusion set needles, and lab needles
9. Worrying about highs 
8. Worrying about lows
7. Worrying about Dylan's future
6. The "stuff" we need to cart around, especially when traveling
5. Nighttime blood checks
4. Nagging my son all the time - did u test? did u test? did u test?
3. The constant carb counting
2. That "look" when I tell another parent about Dylan's D
1. That I can't take this disease away from my child

Dia-Bloopers ~ Diabetes Blog Week, Day 3

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Day 3's topic for Diabetes Blog Week, is to describe any funny situations that have happened as a result of diabetes. Here are my top 10.

Top 10 Dia-Bloopers
10 Forgetting tester at....(fill in the blanks, this has happened WAY too many times)
9. Going out for dinner only to discover when we arrive that the tester is out of strips, or has a dead battery
8. Removing pump for hockey then forgetting to put it back on, for most of the day
7. While camping, we put the tester and extra insulin in the cooler to stay cool. Woke up in the morning to find tester floating in pool of water at bottom of cooler. Dried it out and it still worked!
6. Licking the powder at the bottom of the bottle of dex because tabs are all gone and Dyl is still low
5. Cat eating through pump tubing while Dylan was in the bath
4. Dyl wrestling with friends and ripping off infusion set
3. While jumping on the trampoline, pump came out of case. Dylan went down, pump went up, infusion set ripped off
2. Me, in a robotic state, doing a site change for Dyl and then trying to put the new site on my 7-year-old daughter, who does not have D (this has happened more than once too...lol)
1. Dylan pretending he is Tarzan, beating his chest and screaming, then getting his hand caught in pump tubing, ripping off infusion set

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Dear Seizure ~ Diabetes Blog Week, Day 2

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Dear Seizure,

To a Type 1 parent you are one of the most terrifying words, and experiences, imaginable. Luckily for most parents, you are something they will hear or read about but you will never visit them. I wish you had never been to my home, but you have, too many times. So let me tell you what I remember of your last visit, and tell you what I think of you.

You do not know me directly, but you know my son, Dylan. He is 10 and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes five and a half years ago, when he was 4. Sometimes, I think of diabetes as a roller coaster ride. Up and and down, up and down, it is our personal roller coaster, and while lately the ride seems to have slowed down and and stayed pretty level, there was a period of time when the lows seemed leave the coaster track, transcend logical space, and settle in a vortex somewhere beneath the earth's crust. That is when you would visit us.

It's been so long since we've seen each other, I had almost forgotten you, or had at least buried you in a part of my brain that I could access at my will. And then I stumbled upon a poignant and emotional blog post written by Hallie, author of The Princess and the Pump, and my memories of you came rushing back. I felt as if you had just visited.

It is your first visit I remember the most,  perhaps because first impressions are so very powerful. It was August 3rd, 2007. A quiet summer evening no different than any other. And our family had no idea that we were about to experience the most terrifying event of our lives to date. The details of that specific day are a bit fuzzy, up until your visit. We'd never had problems with major highs or lows since Dylan was diagnosed, and at this time, we were still using syringes, though it would be your first visit that led us get Dylan an insulin pump. I remember that Dylan's sugar was a bit low a few times during the day, but nothing too worrisome. Then at bedtime we tested and he was 3.0 mg/dl (54 mmol/l), so we gave him an extra snack, retested, and everything seemed ok.

Dylan went to sleep, and my husband and I went to bed a few hours later. At 2:28am, I awoke, thinking I heard one of my 3 children calling me. It was my eldest, Josh, who was 10 at the time, and shared a bedroom with Dylan. They slept on bunk beds and Dylan was on the bottom bunk. "Mom," Josh called, "Dylan is having a..." and before he could even finish his sentence, we were out of bed, racing down the hall. I ran to the boys bedroom, and sure enough, you were there in full form. Dylan was at the beginning of a full tonic-clonic seizure. He was convulsing on his back, foaming at the mouth, and his eyes were partly rolled back and glossy. I called his name over and over, but no response. You were in complete control of his body.

I rolled Dylan onto his side as best I could, while trying to console my daughter, who was 4 at the time, and sobbing, while my husband raced downstairs to the kitchen to get the glucagon shot (in hindsight, I now keep one in my bedside table). He couldn't find it. "What does it look like?" he called from the bottom of the stairs. "Hurry," I screamed, "It's in a long, thin white box."

OMG, in that brief time, I thought you were going to take him. I have never been so frightened. I sat there helplessly watching my baby seize, unable to do anything to help him. Suddenly my husband reappeared in the doorway and I felt the hugest sense of relief seeing him standing there with the diabetes supplies, while I thought, "We weren't too late." He had been unable to locate the shot itself, so he brought the entire rubbermaid container, in which we keep ALL of the diabetes supplies, upstairs, and dumped it out on the carpet. I grabbed the glucagon and began to prep it, desperately trying to remember my diabetes training from almost 2 years prior, when the nurse had shown us how to prepare the shot.

My hands were shaking so badly and everything around me seemed to be spinning. I was crying. The only thing I could think of was "please don't die, Dylan, please don't die." I tried to stick the needle into the vial and hit the metal rim instead of the rubber dam. The needle bent to a ninety degree angle, but it didn't break off. I pulled it back straight and tired again. It went in. I shot all of the water in and shook the concoction, way too quickly, and it was all bubbly and foamy. I didn't care, I was desperate and my baby was still seizing. I drew at much as I could into the syringe and when I saw that the syringe was half full, I rammed the needle into Dylan's thigh so hard that if he could have screamed, he certainly would have. I injected what fluid I had in the syringe and then repeated the process, drawing up the last bit of glucagon in the vial and injecting it into his thigh again.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the seizing slowed and then stopped. Dylan was still unresponsive, but after a few minutes his eyes started to focus and he looked at me. In that moment I knew it was finally over and you were gone. It would still be a long night ahead, as I monitored Dylan and checked his blood every 15 minutes for the remainder of the night, though within 30 minutes of the glucagon shot, he was up to 16.9 (304 in the US). Your visit left him exhausted and he vomited several times later that night.

My husband had tested Dylan while I administered the glucagon and his sugar was 3.7 (or 66 for those in the US), which is low, but not that low. He had been lower before without any problem. We later learned a number of things from your first visit. First, upon the beginning of a seizure the liver releases a shot of stored glucose into the bloodstream, so our reading of 3.7 told us what Dylan's sugar level was AFTER this liver glucose shot, not before. Second, always keep a glucagon shot within reach. Third, Dylan has, what his endo calls, a low seizure threshold while sleeping. This means that he is prone to nighttime seizures and that a low blood sugar that is easily treatable during the daytime, is much more dangerous for him at night.

You have visited us twice since that summer night in 2007, with your last visit being in the summer of 2009.As much as I dread the possibility of you ever visiting again, I am grateful to you for one reason. That you do visit. Some children do not receive your visits. Dylan is lucky, in a way, because your visits save his life. For some unknown reason, you are his body's last resort; it's way of alerting us that something is terribly wrong. Without you, his blood sugar would slip lower and lower and he would fall into a coma, or worse, and we would not know anything was wrong until the morning.

I am a D-Mom. I am strong and determined, and unwavering. I will never give up fighting for my son, and you will never beat me. But I will also be eternally grateful for your help in saving my son's life not once, not twice, but three times.

Thank you,

Jen

Monday, 9 May 2011

Admiring our Differences ~ Diabetes Blog Week, Day 1

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I am super excited to be participating in Diabetes Blog Week, the awesome 2nd annual undertaking of Karen from Bitter Sweet. Today's topic: pick a type of blogger who is different from you and tell us why they inspire you - why you admire them - why it's great that we are all the same but different.

This topic couldn't have come at a better time for me. Over the past few weeks I have been going through a bunch of crap lately in my personal life and it has left me feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and depressed. Probably a lot of it is simply burnout; I've been working way too much and neglecting myself as a result, which, in turn, makes me feel guilty and more bummed out.

This morning, however, I awoke to a feeling of excitement for the first time in weeks. Lying in bed, I suddenly remembered that it was Diabetes Blog Week and before I even got out of bed, I reached over and grabbed my iPhone so that I could start reading all of the posts that others had written today. Funny that something so small could make me so excited, but it suddenly dawned on me how inspiring these blogs, and the fantastic individuals who write them, are to me.

So who inspires me the most? Many of the blogs are brilliantly written and give me hope and faith in my ability to parent a child with diabetes, and yes, there is a connection between D-parent bloggers, as I'm sure there is between T1 bloggers or T2s or LADAs, but each touches me a different way and I find inspiration from different people at different times. We are all connected by this disease, and while we all come from different background and may approach diabetes from differing perspectives and belief systems, essentially we are all deeply rooted together with a common purpose. Some of us may focus on awareness, some on education, some on advocacy, some on day-to-day care, but at the end of day, we all want the same thing - a cure.

And when I think of it terms of the end result - finding a cure - I realize that there is a silent group that we tend to overlook: those who fight for diabetes without a direct connection. I'm referring to that group of heroes that fundraises, and advocates and spreads awareness because they believe in the cause, not because they are T1 themselves or know someone who has T1. Many of these heroes might work for JDRF, or other diabetes related organizations, they might be diabetes nurses, or endocrinologists, or just regular people with very big hearts.

The diabetes community is made up of some pretty incredible people from all walks of life and I am thankful to all of you for your commitment and devotion, and for giving me something to look forward this morning, on a day when I really needed it.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

How God Selects the Mother of a Child With Diabetes by Erma Bombeck

Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit. Did you ever wonder how mothers of children with diabetes are chosen? Somehow I visualize God hovering over earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

"Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron Saint Matthew."

"Forrest, Marjorie, daughter, Patron Saint Cecilia."

"Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron Saint Gerard. He's used to profanity."

Finally, He passes a name to an angel and smiles, "Give her a child with diabetes." The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy."

"Exactly", smiles God. "Could I give child with diabetes to a mother who does not know
laughter? That would be cruel".

"But has she the patience?" asks the angel. "I don't want her to have too much patience, or
she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off,
she'll handle it. I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I am going to give her has her own world. She has to make it live in her world and that's not going to be easy."

"But, Lord, I don't think she even believes in you." God smiles. "No matter. I can fix that.
This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness." The angel gasps. "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?"

God nods. "If she cannot separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive.
Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with less than perfect." "She does not realize it yet, but she is to be envied. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see .... ignorance, cruelty, prejudice ... and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as if she is here by my side."

"And what about her patron saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in mid air. God smiles. "A mirror will suffice."

Friday, 6 May 2011

Diabetes Blog Week!

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Diabetes Blog Week starts in 3 days! This is my first time participating in a blog event like this and I am super excited to get writing and to read all of the great posts that others will be sharing.

The event is organized by Karen of Bitter~Sweet and runs from May 9th to 15th. It’s open to everyone, so if you already blog about diabetes, or have been thinking about getting started, this is perfect for you! Here is a bit more info about it, directly from Karen’s website:

“For those of you who weren’t a part of this event last year, the idea is that bloggers sign up to post about a set topic each day for a week.  This way, readers can jump around the D-Blog Community and get a plethora of different perspectives on a single topic.  Write as much or as little as you like.  There are no right or wrong answers - just read over the topic and start blogging!  I've also included two wild card topics to choose from.  If one day’s topic doesn’t inspire you, feel free to post about one of the wild card topics instead!" 

Karen will even have a place on her website where you can post blogs if you don't have your own blog already set up. Check out who has signed up already! All you have to do to participate is let Karen know by leaving a comment on her blog, or sending her an email at DBlogWeek@bittersweetdiabetes.com

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Cycling to Find A Cure for her Son

From the Non-Blog Archives:
Cycling to Find A Cure for her Son
Local Mom wants to help those with diabetes
Dave White/John Ackermann Sep 04, 2010 09:00:26 AM

The below is a brief news article that aired on a local radio station in September of last year, while I was cycling across British Columbia with Cyclebetes.

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) - It's called 'Cyclebetes,' and it's a pretty big accomplishment for a North Vancouver mom.  She's wrapping up a 1,000 kilometre cycling journey tomorrow and it's all for a good cause.

Jennifer Aragon is riding for her nine-year-old son Dylan, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes five years ago.  She admits it's not easy.  "I've always been a bit of a bike rider.  I'm not, by any means, an avid cyclist, I'm more of a runner."

Aragon and nine others are riding a total of 5,000 kilometres split across each province; they pass blood glucose metres as batons at provincial borders.

She and her partner have cleverly named their two-person tandem bicycle, "Diabetsy."  This is all part of a promise she made to her son when he was diagnosed, that she'd stop at nothing to find a cure.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Training Schedule Week of May 2nd to 8th

It's a 70 hour work week for me this week, so exercise time will be limited, to say the least. Nevertheless, I'm going to TRY to get something in every day, even if it's just a short workout.

Monday ~ Yoga / Run 60 minutes, easy
Tuesday ~ Cycle 30 minutes, fast
Wednesday ~ Cycle 60 minutes, moderate
Thursday ~ Run 70 minutes, easy
Friday ~ Run 40 minutes, pace  
Saturday ~ Cycle 3 hours, easy
Sunday ~ Run 90 minutes, easy

I'm hoping to add a yoga session or two in the morning before work this week, but we'll see how that goes. I have really enjoyed reuniting with my yoga practice over the past few weeks, and my body is certainly loving it, but early mornings are not my thing. Here's hoping maybe I can wake up a bit earlier at least once this week :)

Sunday, 1 May 2011

A Double Dose of Jamie for Easter

I had promised in a tweet earlier this week that I would share a couple of Jamie Oliver recipes that I made over Easter weekend, so here the are.

The first is an omelette that I made for my family the morning before Easter Sunday. Predominantly eggs, it's low carb, low fat, and high protein. The hint of rosemary on the palette is present is every bite of the omelette, while the tartness of parsley salad on the side perfectly balances the savory eggs. I added a sprinkling of goat cheese to the omelette for the last minute of cooking time too, just because I love cheese.

The second recipe I prepared for Easter dinner itself. We had a large family dinner and I was asked to bring a potato dish, so this was the one I chose. Wow, what a great choice. It pairs perfectly with the sweetness of an Easter ham. I'll definitely be making this one again.

Potato and Chorizo Omelette with a Kinda Parsley Salad
"This omelette is a cross between a Spanish tortilla and an Italian frittata. It’s Spanish because of the chorizo and potato, but a little Italian too because I like to finish it off in the oven instead of on the hob, so it puffs up like a soufflĂ©. It has all the things I love in it –potatoes, sausage and eggs."

Ingredients
4 small waxy potatoes, scrubbed and cut into chunks
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 large free-range or organic eggs
2 x 60g good-quality Spanish chorizo sausages, cut into 1cm thick slices
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
2 shallots, peeled and very finely sliced
juice of 1 lemon
extra virgin olive oil
a bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked

Directions
"Preheat your oven to full whack, or get your grill nice and hot. Put the potatoes into a saucepan of boiling salted water and simmer them until cooked, then drain in a colander and leave them to steam dry. Beat the eggs with a fork in a large mixing bowl, season well with salt and pepper, and put to one side.

Heat a 20cm non-stick, ovenproof frying pan. Add the chorizo slices and the potato chunks. The chorizo will start to sizzle, releasing all its tasty oils and spices. After a couple of minutes, when everything’s lightly golden and crisp, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and put to one side. Sprinkle the rosemary leaves into the hot fat. As soon as they hit the pan, they’ll start to crisp up. Pour the beaten eggs on top immediately, adding the potatoes and chorizo and spreading everything out evenly. Place the whole pan in the preheated oven or under the grill until the omelette is golden brown on top and just cooked through in the middle.

While the omelette is cooking, put the shallots into a bowl with the lemon juice, some salt and pepper and a glug of extra virgin olive oil. Toss and pinch the shallots with your fingertips to soften them slightly, then mix in the parsley leaves. Serve a little on top of the omelette and tuck in!"

Balsamic-Baked Onions and Potatoes
(From Jamie Oliver, via Food Network)



"This dish has attitude - it uses a lot of balsamic vinegar but, trust me, it works really well! The onions and potatoes are baked in the vinegar, making them crispy, dark, sticky and sweet. I've chosen to serve them with roasted pork, but beef or lamb works just as well. I prefer red onions for their color and sweetness.”

Ingredients
3 1/2 pounds medium-sized waxy potatoes (all purpose), peeled and quartered lengthwise
Olive oil
7 ounces butter, cubed
1 bunch fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
1 whole bulb garlic, quartered or smashed
5 medium red onions, peeled and quartered
1 1/2 cups cheap balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
"Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the potatoes into a pan of boiling, salted water and cook for around 8 minutes, then drain and return to the pan. Chuff them up a bit by shaking the pan. Get another roasting pan, into which you can fit the potatoes in 1 layer, and heat it on the stove. When hot, pour a glug of olive oil into it and add the butter, rosemary and garlic. Add the potatoes and toss them in all the flavors. Add the onions and all the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes on the burner to reduce the balsamic vinegar a little. Place the pan on the top shelf and cook for around 50 minutes, until the potatoes and onions are dark, sticky and crispy - removing the pan to toss the onions and potato halfway through."