Saturday 30 July 2011

Training Schedule Week of July 31st to August 6th

My incredible journey with Cyclebetes begins two weeks today. We will cycle from North Vancouver to Calgary, a distance of 1045km, over a period of 4 days, from August 13th to 16th. I am excited, anxious, and nervous all at once!!

As of now, this week's training will look something like this, but very well could change as the week progresses.

Sunday ~ Cycle 6 hours, moderate
Monday ~ Cycle 5-6 hours, easy
Tuesday ~ Run 40 minutes, pace
Wednesday ~ Cycle 2 hours, hills
Thursday ~ Grouse Grind (hiking)
Friday ~ Run 75 minutes, easy
Saturday ~ Cycling 1 hour, intense 

Friday 29 July 2011

Pump-Free Summer Fun

We've had a very slow start to summer here in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, we're still waiting for summer to arrive! But every so often we get a little glimpse of normal temperatures, and yesterday was one of those cherished moments. So for the first time this year, my kids got to partake in one of their favorite summertime activities. And the bonus part for Dylan: pump free fun! Dylan is in the blue t-shirt, and the other 2 children are my daughter and a neighbor from across the street.

We place the sprinkler under the trampoline and the water comes up through the weave of the tramp mat. It's a blast to jump on, and a fun way to cool off!

Wednesday 27 July 2011

"O is for Outrage" ~ 90 Years of Insulin and We Still Haven't Got it Quite Right

Today marks the 90th anniversary of the discovery of insulin, the drug that keeps my 10 year old son alive. He, along with thousands of others, simply would be here if it weren't for the incredible work of Dr. Banting and Dr. Best. And while I am, and always will be, eternally grateful for this miracle drug that provides life-sustaining therapy for my son, I find myself unable to comprehend how, after 90 years, there can still be people on this planet without access to insulin.

This is simply unacceptable. We MUST do better. 

On that note, the International Diabetes Federation has launched the "O is for Outrage" campaign. Their wish is for President Barack Obama show the world that he is committed to the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by attending the UN Summit Sept 19-20, 2011. 

What can you do to help the IDF? Visit their website and create a postcard, or use one of the templates provided. Submit it directly via their site, or save it and email it yourself. For full information, postcards, and to read more about the International Diabetes Federation's "O is for Outrage" campaign, visit:

Tuesday 26 July 2011

It's Not About the Numbers

Last Friday was Dylan's quarterly diabetes checkup with the team of caregivers. I've often wondered how diabetes checkups are done with other endocrinologists; ours has kind of a different approach I think.

Every 3 months we see the endo at what our local hospital calls the "Diabetes Education Center," which is essentially a wing of the hospital comprised of a large classroom and a few smaller, private rooms. Our stay lasts anywhere from as little as 45 minutes to as long as two hours and in that time we meet with at least 3 different individuals. A dietician is available to weigh and measure Dylan, take his blood pressure and talk about any changes in diet and/or activity level; a diabetes nurse does Dylan's A1C test, uploads Dylan's pump data to a software program to evaluate the numbers, and answers general health questions or issues; and the endocrinologist evaluates the numbers, both from the pump and the A1C, talks to us about changes, both good and bad, and adjusts Dylan's basal rates, carb ratios, or insulin sensitivity factor, if needed.

After we see everyone, there is always an educational session led by one of the individuals from the medical team. Topics vary from advanced pumping, to traveling with diabetes, to what to do when sick, among other topics. And then there are always a few other people there too. Last week our medtronic rep was there, as well as a medical student from the local university.

Together this amazing medical team provides a well balanced approach to diabetes that covers all aspects. But I think everyone's favorite part of the quarterly visit is the chance to sit and talk with other parents of type 1's. The appointments are scheduled by sex and age, so when we go, any other type 1 patients who are boys between the ages of 9 and 12 are also there. This is such a great opportunity not only for me to talk to other parents, but for Dylan to talk to other kids his age who have diabetes, an opportunity he doesn't get too often.

For the record, his A1C was 7.8. A bit higher than I would like, but an improvement over his previous one of 8.2, and the best A1C he's had in almost 2 years. The endo was happy to see it moving in the right direction, and it long as it continues to go down over the next few visits, I'm happy with it too.

So how do diabetes checkups work where you live? Do you see the endo alone, or is this team approach the norm?

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Diabetes Camp - A Mother's Take

Prelude: I actually started this post last Friday, just before Dylan returned from diabetes camp, but encountered computer problems. After taking our home computer in for what we thought would be a simple repair, it turns out we have blown something on the motherboard and need either a new motherboard, or a new computer altogether. Seeing as everything else on the computer is quite new, we opted for a new motherboard. So while we wait for it to be shipped from who knows where, I will be blogging from my iPhone, hence the delay...

Original post, Friday, July 15th, 2011:

Day 5 of diabetes camp, the final day, Dylan is coming home. He is spending the weekend with his dad, so I won't actually see him until Monday, but I can't wait to hear all about his week!

Dylan is at Camp Kakahmela, a diabetes camp organized by the Canadian Diabetes Association, and located in Gibsons, British Columbia, Canada, about a 10 minute drive and 40 minute ferry ride from our house. This is year 3 for Dyl and he absolutely loves it. Type 1 kids, and type 1 counsellors, travel from all over the world to attend this camp, so we are very fortunate to have it in our backyard! A team of diabetic nurses is there, of course, as well as 1 pediatric endocrinologist, who this year happens to be Dylan's endo, who has overseen his diabetes care since diagnosis in 2005.

What does all this mean to me, as a d-parent? It means some peace of mind, which any type 1 parent will tell you, doesn't come often. Yes, he is away from home, and participating in activities that pose a potential risk, but that has nothing to do with D, that is typical of any camp.

I get peace of mind because I trust the staff. I trust Dylan's endo explicitly; she knows him well and knows his diabetes patterns and history. She knows that he needs to run on an 80% temp basal for the week to avoid nighttime lows. She knows he can count his own carbs and enter all of his own data. This year she'll be thrilled to learn that he can change his own infusion sets - entirely by himself (not just the insulin, priming and tubing change, but he can insert the new cannula too, and we don't use a quick set, so he actually sticks that big long needle into his own tummy without help)!

I know that they will stay on top of his testing, including twice at night, and I know that when he gets home and we upload his pump data the numbers will be more stable than when he's at home. How do I know this? Because it happened last year and the year before.

This week i get a little break from being a d-mom. I get to sleep through the night and show my other 2 children that the world doesn't always revolve around diabetes. Of course I'll miss him, and I'll worry, even though I know he's safe. But that is really the best thing about diabetes camp, and the thing that a d-parent, and every parent, prays for each and every day - to know that your child is safe.

For more information about Camp Kakhamela visit:

Friday 15 July 2011

Reflections on Fundraising and the TEAM DYLAN Pub Night

Fundraising. To many it's a nuisance, and for some it's not even a consideration. But for those of us affected by diabetes, or any other disease, it's really a necessity. Why? Because I believe that I cure is out there, we just haven't found it yet. And as long as to continue to hope that a cure for type-1 diabetes will be found, I will continue to fundraise to support the cost of the research required to find that cure.

Over the almost 6 years since my son was diagnosed with diabetes, I have raised, along with the tremendous help and support of friends and family, just under $50,000 for JDRF and diabetes research. At first, it seemed easy to raise money, but as time has gone on, it has become more and more difficult and I find myself asking why. More competition? Maybe. Burnout from some of my donors? Perhaps. Less effort from me? Possibly. Repetitive ideas? Likely.

Last Saturday, July 9th, TEAM DYLAN hosted their third annual pub night to raise funds and awareness for Type-1 Diabetes research. When we hosted the first one in 2009, it was a massive success. The pub was standing room only and we could barely keep up with the demand for balloons, 50/50 tickets and auction bids. Not a bad problem to have. Year 1's pub night raised just over $6500 during the 3 hour event. Last year there were less guests, and slightly lower valued items in the Silent Auction, but we still raised $3500. This year, our guests dwindled substantially and the end result was $1800 (which is actually pretty darn awesome considering how many people were there!!)

So why the change, I keep asking myself? Timing, yes. Year 1 was in April, year 2 in May, year 3 in July, and in Vancouver, that's a big difference weather wise. For last weekend's event, it was a stunningly beautiful day. The first hot and sunny Saturday of the year in fact. The other problem, I think, is the repetitiveness of the event; maybe people are getting bored of doing the same thing 3 years in a row. So definitely for 2012 I will take a break on the pub night idea and maybe I'll try something else instead.

Which, of course, leads me to the question, what else can I do? What other good fundraising ideas are there? What have you done, or attended that works? I am asking people to share their thoughts on effective fundraising, via a comment at he end of this post, or a quick message to me directly.

And for those of you who supported our event last weekend, thank you again.We WILL find a cure for type-1 diabetes, and with your support we are now one step closer. It means so much more than words can say.

And if you missed last weekend's event, but still wish to support our efforts, click here to donate to JDRF via my Cyclebetes National Relay campaign.

Thursday 14 July 2011

Strawberry Madness Part 3 ~ Fresh Strawberry Crepes

Continuing with our strawberry filled weekend, my daughter and I made strawberry crepes for breakfast. Crepes are so delicious, and look very elegant, yet are so easy to make.

2 tbsp salted butter; melted
4 cups sliced Strawberries, hulled
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp orange-flavored liqueur or orange juice
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs
1.5 cups milk
tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp orange-flavored liqueur or orange juice

In bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Whisk together eggs, milk, butter and liqueur; whisk into dry ingredients. Strain through sieve into bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. 
Heat 8- or 9-inch crepe pan or skillet over medium heat; brush with some of the butter. For each crepe, pour 1/4 cup batter into pan, swirling to coat; cook, turning once, until golden, about 1 minute. Transfer to plate.
In bowl, stir strawberries, sugar and liqueur; let stand for 15 minutes. 
Spoon 1/4 cup of the strawberry mixture into the middle of each crepe. Roll up. Garnish with whipped cream, fresh strawberries and/or icing sugar.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving/Recipe makes 16 servings): Cal 262, Pro 8g, Total fat 10g ,Sat fat 5g, Carbs 34g, Fibre 3g, Chol 112mg, Sodium 163mg, Pot 253mg.

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Strawberry Madness Part 2 ~ Strawberry -Glazed Brie

This is the second in a series of strawberry recipes that I made with my daughter over the July long weekend. While our jam was setting, we made this quick, easy recipe. It is absolutely delicious. 

I made one slight alteration from the original recipe: I only used 1 round of brie with half of the strawberry topping. The other half of the strawberry mixture I tossed with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar until salad dressing consistency, then served over some mixed salad greens, and topped it with sliced strawberries, goat cheese and toasted pecans.

Brie recipe is from Canadian Living Magazine
"Surround this gooey warm cheese with crisp crackers to scoop up the cheese and some of the tangy topping. You can use an 8-oz (250g) wedge of cheese if you can't find the rounds; however, the melting cheese won't look as attractive."

3/4 cup strawberries, mashed
4 tsp packed  brown sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 rounds Brie Cheese

In small saucepan, combine strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 6 minutes or until thickened; let cool slightly. Remove rind from top of Brie; place on ovenproof platter. Spread strawberry mixture evenly over top; bake in 300°F (150°C) oven for about 12 minutes or until cheese is softened but not melted.

Training Schedule Week of July 11th to 17th

With just over 4 weeks until the Cyclebetes National Relay kicks off, I have upped my cycling time to ensure that I am ready for this amazing journey. This week's training will look something like this:

Monday ~ REST DAY
Tuesday ~ Run 35 minutes, pace / Cycling 30 minutes intense
Wednesday ~ Run 45 minutes, pace / Cycling 90 minutes, moderate
Thursday ~ Grouse Grind (hiking) / Cycling 60 minutes, moderate
Friday ~ Run 30 minutes, pace / Cycling 2 hours, easy
Saturday ~ Cycling 4 hours, easy
Sunday ~ Cycling 2.5 hours, vigorous 

Wednesday 6 July 2011

Strawberry Madness Part 1 ~ Classic Strawberry Jam

This past weekend, my kids and I went strawberry crazy. Local strawberries are abundant right now, but only for a limited time, so we grabbed 6lbs and started cookin'!

When it comes to summer fruit, and especially berries, the first thing I always make is jam. I love everything about making jam, from choosing the fruit, to preparing it, to the smell of the fruit and sugar heating on the stove, to the canning itself, to watching the jam thicken and cool, and finally to sampling the delicious finished product. Jam is a comfort fruit of sorts for me, providing a sense of satisfaction, nurturing, and productivity.

So here is the recipe I use for strawberry jam. It is a classic recipe, simple and easy, but loaded with flavor and goodness. Makes 8 (1 Cup) jars.


6 cups crushed strawberries (12 cups whole)
1 pouch liquid pectin
4 cups granulated sugar

1. Clean and hull the strawberries
2. Pour strawberries into large Dutch oven or stovetop pot
3. Add sugar and bring to a full rolling boil (meaning boiling does not stop when stirred), stirring constantly.
4. Pour in liquid pectin; stir into mixture. Return to full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
5. Remove from heat. Stir for 5 minutes to prevent fruit from floating, skimming off foam.
6. Using sterilized metal funnel or soup ladle, pour into hot sterilized 1 cup canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch room at top. If necessary, wipe rims.
7. Cover with hot lids; screw on bands fingertip tight.
8. Process in boiling water canner for 5 minutes. Remove jars and let cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours. Check for seal, ensuring that lids curve downward. (If not, refrigerate and use within 3 weeks.) Store in cool, dry, dark place for up to 1 year.

Friday 1 July 2011

Happy 144th Birthday Canada!

Wishing all of my fellow Canadians (and non-Canadians) a very happy Canada Day!