Friday 28 December 2012

Turning the Page

I had set a goal for myself to read 50 books in 2012, which is about a book per week. How did I do? Not so great. I read a total of 37 books, though more than half were read from Oct-Dec.

I am resetting and going with the same goal for 2013. I WILL read 50 books this year!

Side note: Notice the glaring lack of diabetes related books? I only read 3 the entire year. I would LOVE some recommendations on worthwhile diabetes-related reading, either fiction or non-fiction.

Books read in 2012
1. Not Dead Yet: My Race Against Disease: From Diagnosis to Dominance by Phil Southerland and John Hanc ~ Hardcover, Cycling/Diabetes
2. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows ~ Paperback, Historical
3. Diabetes for Canadians for Dummies by Ian Blumer ~ Paperback, Diabetes
4. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See ~ Paperback, Historical
5. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain ~ Hardcover, Historical
6. The Book of Better; A More Excellent Life with Diabetes by Chuck Eichten ~ Paperback, Diabetes
7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins ~ Paperback, Teen Fiction
8. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom ~ Paperback, Historical
9. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins ~ Hardcover, Teen Fiction
10. The Complete Sun Tzu for Business Success by Gerald a. Michaelson and Steven Michaelson ~ Hardcover, Business
11. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins ~ Hardcover, Teen Fiction
12. Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain by Ryan Blair~ Hardcover, Business
13. 10th Anniversary by James Patterson ~ Hardcover, Thriller
14. Quantum Paleo by Dr. Doug Willen ~ eBook, Food/Diet
15. 11th Hour by James Patterson ~ Hardcover, Thriller
16. Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill ~ Audiobook, Personal Growth
17. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James ~ Trade Paperback, Fiction
18. Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James ~ eBook, Fiction
19. Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James ~ eBook, Fiction
20. The Walk by Richard Paul Evans ~ Hardcover, Fiction
21. Miles to Go by Richard Paul Evans ~ Hardcover, Fiction
22. Love in a Nutshell by Janet Evanovich ~ Hardcover, Mystery
23. One For the Money by Janet Evanovich ~ Paperback, Mystery
24. Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 10 Powerful Tools for Work and Life by Marilee G. Adams ~ eBook, Personal Growth
25. Chocolat by Joanne Harris ~ Trade Paperback, Fiction
26. The Road to Grace by Richard Paul Evans ~ Hardcover, Fiction
27. Wallflower in Bloom by Claire Cook ~ Hardcover, Fiction
28. The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg ~ Hardcover, Fiction
29. Those We Love Most by Lee Woodruff ~ Hardcover, Fiction
30. Do Yourself a Favor...Forgive by Joyce Meyer ~ Hardcover, Personal Growth
31. Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister ~ Hardcover, Fiction
32. The School of Essential Ingredients ~ Hardcover, Fiction
33. Bared to You ~ Trade Paperback, Fiction
34. Say When ~ Hardcover, Fiction
35. Reflected in You ~ Trade Paperback, Fiction
36. The Night Circus ~ Hardcover, Fiction
37. Letting Go of Anger: The 11 Most Common Anger Styles and What to do About Them ~ Trade Paperback, Personal Growth

Wednesday 21 November 2012

What Does 7 Years with Diabetes Look Like?

I'm deviating from the NHBPM prompts today because it's Dylan's 7 year anniversary of the day he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

7 years ago today we found out that Dylan has type 1 diabetes (his diagnosis story can be found here).  That's significantly more than half of his lifetime. And while we're not big on celebrating his diaversary, this is how 7 years with diabetes breaks down, from a basic care standpoint:

15,340+ finger pokes
2190 injections (pre-pump)
609+ infusion set changes
1092 lows (avg of 3/week)
4 hypoglycemic seizures
3 hospitalizations
Approximately 63,800 units of insulin
$55,000+ spent on diabetes supplies
2557 days of worry
1 still-broken pancreas in a child only 11 years old

Diabetes is 24/7/365. Imagine what these numbers will look like after 20 years, or 40, or 80...

Tuesday 20 November 2012

What Alternatives?

Write about alternative treatments / regimens / medicine. What do you support? What is crazy?

Some days it seems like everyone's great-grandmother, third cousin, and neighbor's friend has a supposed "cure" for type 1 diabetes. Be it massive doses of cinnamon, unique herbs, the bark of a special tree, or a new mysterious diet, the claims of diabetes being curable and/or reversible are abundant. Alas, they are also a load of crap.

Type 1 diabetes is autoimmune disease that is NOT curable, reversible, or preventable. The pancreas of a person with type 1 diabetes no longer produces insulin, so it has to be injected subcutaneously, either via syringe, pen, or pump. The ONLY treatment, regime, or medicine that will keep a type 1 diabetic alive is insulin. Period. There is no way around this. No insulin = death.

Sure, there are lots of things that might help a person with type 1 diabetes to live a long and healthy life. Exercise, a healthy diet, and good blood glucose control are all very important. But they alone, together, or in combination with any above said "cures" will all result in the same disastrous outcome. No insulin = death.

There will always be people spouting false and unfounded ideas about cures for diseases, just as there will always be those of us trying, again and again, to educate them. All we can do is address them one person at a time.

Monday 19 November 2012

Question for Type 1 Parents

The NHBPM prompt for Day 19 asks us to pose questions to other patients. 

We have been riding a carousel with Dylan's diabetes care for quite a while now and I desperately want to get off the ride. Around and around and around we go, repeating the same problems over and over. Now I am asking for help/advice/tips from the DOC.

For as long as I can remember Dylan has been pushing for independence with his diabetes care. He has always shown a high level of interest in doing his own testing, entering carb counts for meals, and calculating his own correction boluses. I oversee everything, and do all of his site changes and setting adjustments, but for the most part, he handles the day to day stuff on his own. This system has worked for us. Until recently.

Just over a year ago, Dylan started forgetting to test from time to time. He'd come home from school and we'd realize he'd neglected to test for his morning snack, but gone ahead and eaten it anyway, resulting in a slightly elevated bg at lunch. I'd catch the oversights early, and the problem would go away. Then a few weeks later it would happen again, and again, and again. 

Then last November we adjusted the custody agreement between Dylan's dad and I, implementing a week on-week off schedule. Great for the kids, not great for diabetes monitoring. The forgetfulness with testing became more and more frequent, and without me hovering and reminding Dylan constantly to test, missed bg tests at school became the norm rather than the exception. Upon uploading the pump data, I would immediately see the problem, talk to Dylan about it, and it he would be more diligent at school, at least temporarily.

The cycle has continued on and off since and we don't seem to be getting anywhere closer to a permanent solution. His testing habits at home are great, but school is an ongoing problem. He doesn't have any support worker or aide anymore, and I can't be there to remind him. He has always been very good at recognizing highs and lows, too, so when he feels good, he is more likely to forget to test.

So my question is...

How do other parents ensure that their tween/teen tests at school? What system/precautions do you have in place?

Saturday 17 November 2012

Diabetes Playlist

Why do I associate certain songs with diabetes? Each of the songs below has a story; a memory that forever binds it with diabetes. These songs carry weight in my heart and can bring tears to my eyes within seconds.

Without further ado, here are the top 6 songs on my "diabetes playlist":

1) "Fix You" by Coldplay. Aside from the obvious message in the lyrics, this haunting song is my favorite diabetes song for two reasons. First of all, when Cyclebetes (the diabetes cycling team I am part of) was first formed, this was used as an unofficial theme song of sorts. Second, Dylan sang this song earlier this year in front of an audience of about 250 people and it was one of the most emotional experiences of my life.

2) "Breathe Again" by Sara Bareilles. I first heard this song at the 2010 Vancouver JDRF Gala, as the background music to an awareness video created by a mom who had multiple children with type 1 diabetes. The lyrics and melody touched my heart, and the song has been on my playlist ever since.

3) "Invincible" by Hedley. Dylan's theme song. This local band is from Vancouver, where I live, and I've followed their rise to fame for years. While this song is great on its own, the music video enhances its power, as the song speaks to overcoming any and all obstacles.

4) "Have a Little Faith in Me" by Joe Cocker. Just a little reminder to get stop believing in yourself because truly anything is possible if you set your mind to it.

5) "Superwoman" by Alicia Keys. I first heard this song at a benefit concert for TEAM DYLAN in 2010 and it immediately struck a chord with me. To all my d-mommas out there, this one is for you.

6) "I Believe" by Nikki Yanofsky. The official theme song of the 2010 Winter Olympics, this song speaks of the sacrifices we make to achieve our dreams. My theme song :)

Friday 16 November 2012

Type 1 Diagnosis, Now What?

Day 16's prompt asks bloggers to use a picture or video to inspire a post. I've chosen a picture that contains a quote that I find particularly applicable to living with type 1 diabetes.

A diagnosis of type 1 diabetes can be devastating. Crippling even. And is it not a disease of patience. Diabetes doesn't wait for us to grieve, or be angry. It doesn't even afford us the time to let the enormity of its implications sink in. No, diabetes is a disease of action. It has requirements; things that must be done to enable survival. But how? Amid the shock, confusion, or overwhelming despair, how does a parent move forward and ensure the best care for their child? The only way we can: one step at a time.

Thursday 15 November 2012

2012 Health Activist Awards

Halfway through National Health Blog Post Month already! Today's prompt asks us to nominate a fellow blogger for a 2012 Health Activist Award. 

I've nominated some of my favorites, have you? Nominating your fave blog is super easy. Simply choose the category in which you wish to nominate, from the following options:

Advocating for Another Award  someone who advocates for the health condition of someone they love. 

Best Ensemble Cast – A group who advocates and raises awareness. 
Best in Show: Blog - Someone who exemplifies the use of blogging. 
Best in Show: Community/Forum - Someone who exemplifies the use of a community or forum. 
Best in Show: Facebook - Someone who exemplifies the use of Facebook. 
Best in Show: Twitter - Someone who exemplifies the use of Twitter. 
Best in Show: Video – Someone who exemplifies the use of video. 
Best Kept Secret –Someone in the online health community who hasn't gotten a lot of attention. 
Health Activist Hero – An inspiring, supportive, and knowledgeable Health Activist . 
Hilarious Health Activist Award - The Health Activist who makes you laugh alongside their advocacy.
Ms/Mr. Congeniality – Someone who always has a kind word, a positive note, and a virtual hug. 
Paperboy Award – The Health Activist who always delivers the latest and greatest health news and research.
Rookie of the Year – A Health Activist who came on the scene in 2012 but has inspired the entire community. 
Silver Stethoscope – A healthcare professional who utilizes social media to make the world a better place. 
Trailblazer Award – The Health Activist who is ahead of every curve and excited by new technology. 
Unsung Hero Award – The member of your community who may not know how amazing and valuable they are. 
Then head over to WEGO Health's Health Activist Awards nomination page by clicking here. It only takes a minute and anyone can nominate a blog, or as many blogs as they want!

Saturday 10 November 2012

LOL Post

Day 10's prompt asks bloggers to write something funny or share something they found funny.

First of all, I have to say right up front, that I don't find anything "funny" when it comes to type 1 diabetes. Diabetes is a serious, life threatening medical condition and, in our house, we treat it as such. However, in prepping this post I actually searched for "diabetes jokes" and "diabetes humor." Big mistake. What some people might consider funny, I find offensive and ignorant. Enough said.

That being said, funny things DO happen during the day to day care of child with type 1. Examples? Finding used test strips in all sorts of weird places; being overly tired and trying to poke my daughter's finger by mistake because she just happens to be standing closer to me; or overfilling pump a reservoir and spilling insulin down the front of my shirt.

And yes, I think that having somewhat of a sense of humor when it comes to diabetes, IS necessary. Without it, one would go crazy from the stress, lack of sleep, and inane comments made by those whose knowledge of diabetes is zilch. Don't even get me started on some of the ridiculous things I've heard when people find out my son has type 1 diabetes...

Friday 9 November 2012

Exercise Induced Lows

Today's NHBPM prompt asks for a descriptive account of a memory. I've deviated a bit from the task, and written more of an evolution of a problem, rather than a specific, one-time memory.

In case you're not familiar with my blog, or my story, let me start off by stating that I do not have diabetes. My 11 year old son, Dylan, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in November of 2005, at the age of 4.

I, however, have struggled with hypoglycemia for as long as I can remember. Throughout my childhood and teenage years, low blood sugar was a regular occurrence for me. If I skipped breakfast, my blood glucose would tank by 10:30 or 10:45 am and I would start shaking uncontrollably until I ingested fast-acting sugar. I slowly learned the importance of breakfast, but then in my twenties, the causes of my hypoglycemic episodes expanded. Suddenly I couldn't handle large amounts of simple carbs anymore. I had to eat protein at every meal and keep simple carbs to a minimum. Over time, it became an easily manageable problem.

In my late twenties I took up running and at first everything seemed ok. But as my endurance increased and my runs consisted of 10-25km each, I was faced with a new cause of hypoglycemia: inefficient carb-loading. For the first few years of my running career, I could get away with a pre-run snack of a banana and a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter. And I would carry a bottle of Gatorade, and a tube of dextrose tabs, with me at all times to cover my regularly occurring mid-run low. That worked for a while.

Then last year the lows became more extreme. Suddenly the recovery got slower and I would feel weak and shaky for half an hour after treating the low, making the rest of my run near-impossible. At this point some people might have considered giving up running, but I love it. And not just for the exercise; running is my stress relief, my time to myself, and my time with nature. So I gave up the nature part and started doing all of my runs on my treadmill. Boring, yes, but still effective.

In May 2012 I got involved with the 90 day challenge and everything changed. The shakes I was drinking daily left my blood sugar stable all day and my lows stopped happening. Suddenly I could run outside again, plus I could run faster and further than ever before. It was amazing! I went 6 months without a hypoglycemic episode...until today.

I upped my exercise regime quite substantially this week, adding some intense strength training, and speed intervals to my running. The increase was clearly too much too fast, and my body responded with a brutal low. It kicked my butt. I had to stop moving, take in 45 grams of fast-acting carbs and wait half an hour before feeling somewhat better. I had almost forgotten how scary it feels during that waiting period. Almost...

Thursday 8 November 2012

NHBPM, Day 8

I am going to pass on today's prompt and use one of my 2 "Get out of post free" days!

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Finding Balance

The prompt for day 7 of WEGO Health's National Health Blog Post Month is, “Be mindful. Write about what helps you stay centered in the present…"

Mindfulness has been on my mind a fair bit lately. Between having 3 kids and 3 jobs, my life is hectic, and I find that I have to force myself to stop and be present in my own life.

Those who've been reading my blog for a while, know that I promote the 90 Day Challenge. In fact, I am currently participating in my third 90 day challenge. My first two challenges focused on athletic performance, and I experienced some incredible results. My current challenge, however, is much more holistically based. Entitled, "Finding Balance," I am challenging myself to be mindful in my daily life  every day for 90 days, striving to find a healthy balance between body, mind, and soul. I am taking care of myself physically (via proper nutrition, ample exercise, and adequate rest), mentally (by reading both fiction and personal growth books, and writing daily), and spiritually (by identifying and dealing with stress, spending quality time with my children and husband, building relationships with others, and participating in daily meditation and prayer).

While this may seem redundant to those who already have a solid balance in these three realms, for me it is taking real effort. For years now, I have emphasized the importance of taking care of my physical health, but I have neglected my mental and spiritual health as a result. Finding balance is a real struggle for me, but I am up for the challenge and determined to maintain these healthy changes in my life.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Taking the High Road

Day 6 asks bloggers to write about a time they had to take the high road. I decided to repost a piece from last year...

Strangely, the best conversation I had this week was tonight, after Easter dinner. While at a small family gathering we got into a brief discussion about type 2 diabetes and its causes, and I quickly discovered that misinformation exists, even among family. 

An immediately family member on my husband's side has recently (a few months ago) been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. After a few months of paying attention to diet and limiting high sugar/high fat foods, he has lost weight and reduced his need for oral medication by 25%. He is doing fabulously, and has adapted very well. Yet he was telling me how a nurse at the diabetes clinic had recently informed him that even if he loses more weight, eliminates his need for oral diabetes medication, and stabilizes his blood sugar, that his type 2 diabetes will never go away. The symptoms may disappear, but he will ALWAYS have type 2 diabetes. FYI - This was a direct contradiction of what he had been told at diagnosis, so thanks to that diabetes educator/nurse for setting the record straight.

He then went on to say how there have been numerous cases of type 2 diabetes in my husband's family, both on his maternal and paternal sides, thus greatly increasing the risk to other family members. At this point, a third person joined the conversation, casually inquiring about his personal risk. I explained that there are a number of factors that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, particularly genetics, obesity, age, and race, and that his particular risk would be considered low because he is not overweight, exercises regularly, and is relatively young. Yet, he is hispanic (the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is 15% in people of hispanic descent, as opposed to 6% in individuals of caucasian descent) and carries a genetic disposition to the disease. I then said that the best way to reduce his risk is to continue to exercise regularly and maintain a healthy body weight, particularly as he gets older. But, I said, there are no guarantees. Genetics dictate that even with the best prevention, he may still develop type 2 diabetes at some point in the future.

At this point, the conversation shifted as two other family members jumped in and contradicted what we had been discussing, stating that as long as he exercised regularly, there was no chance he would EVER develop type 2 diabetes; that type 2 diabetes is caused by poor diet and a lack of exercise. 

Whoa whoa whoa, hold on a minute, are you effing kidding me? My own family? Tell me it isn't so...

I certainly do not claim to be any kind of medical professional or diabetes "expert," but with a son who has had type 1 diabetes for over 6 years, I've read a ton of diabetes literature, attended dozens of conferences and research symposiums, and have tried my absolute best to educate my family and friends about diabetes. And part of that education has been with a focus on eliminating myths and the spread of misinformation. If ANYONE in my family still believes that diabetes, be it type 1 or type 2, is caused entirely by lifestyle factors, I have clearly failed in my efforts to educate.

Monday 5 November 2012


Today's prompt asks bloggers to write a #ListOf3 things that they are thankful for / excited about / or inspired by. Personally, the most challenging aspect of this prompt is narrowing the choices to only 3. So here are mine:

1. My children - a no brainer. My kids are the most incredible and inspiring part of my life. They fill my days  with joy, laughter, and love, and I am eternally grateful to be a part of each of their lives.

2. My health - I spend a lot of my time taking care of myself, so that I can better take care of others and ensure that I'm here as long as possible. I don't want to simply cruise through life, I want to live every day to its fullest and experience everything this amazing world has to offer. Without health, nothing else matters.

3. Diabetes treatments/technologies/medications - this is health activist blog carnival after all, and while I will tirelessly advocate for a cure for type 1 diabetes, until its found, I am thankful for what we do have thus far. The constant improvement and evolution of technology and medicine enable those with type 1 diabetes to live longer and with fewer side effects than ever before. 

There is still lots of time to participate in WEGO Health's November Blog Carnival. Simply click here to find out more info and to sign up for the daily prompts!

Sunday 4 November 2012

Full Disclosure

Day 4 Prompt: How do you decide what to share? What do/don't you share?

Anyone who reads my blog knows I share a lot. Maybe too much, in some people's opinions, but it's within my comfort level. My blog is like my journal - a place where I can share my feelings, my ideas, my hopes, and my fears.It's where I process my thoughts and deal with what is happening in my life. What I share on a day to day basis really fluctuates with my mood; some posts are in-depth and some more superficial. Some talk about personal issues, while others are more informative in nature.

Do I have limits? Sometimes. I don't write about my non-D kids very often. My readers certainly know I have 3 children, and they may know their names, but my writing focuses on Dylan. I very rarely write about my husband because he's not as comfortable as I am sharing his life with the world. 

For the most part, my blog focuses on raising a child with type 1 diabetes and all of the daily challenges and experiences that come with that.

There is still lots of time to participate in WEGO Health's November Blog Carnival. Simply click here to find out more info and to sign up for the daily prompts!

Saturday 3 November 2012

Talking to the Doc

Day 3 of NHBPM asks about a conversation with the doctor. It's a topic I've been considering writing about for a couple of months now, but haven't. Why am I avoiding it? Fear.

Rewind to spring of 2011. Dylan had been experiencing some edema (swelling/water retention) in his face, hands, and feet, and I was a bit worried about what was causing it. From what I could find, there didn't seem to be any correlation between diabetes and edema (though if I'm wrong, please let me know), so we asked our GP about it. Our GP (family doctor) thought maybe Dylan had developed an allergy, so he referred us to the allergy clinic at Children's Hospital (where we were added to the bottom of a 18 month waiting list). He didn't seem concerned, so I decided to let it go and wait for the clinic appointment.

At our next quarterly DEC (diabetes education centre) appointment, I mentioned the edema to our endocrinologist. She agreed with the GP.

Fast forward to August 2012. We finally received our appointment at Children's Hospital for the 28th. After a full medical exam and history, followed by a series of scratch tests for animal, plant, and environmental allergens, the allergist had no idea what Dylan was allergic to, if anything. He had no reaction to any of the scratch tests, and because the edema was constant, the doctor ruled out a food allergy. He gave us lab forms for celiac testing and Angioedema and sent us on our way. A 2 hour waste of time in my opinion, but at least we were one step closer to figuring out what WASN'T causing Dylan's inflammation.

A week later (early Sept 2012) we were back at the DEC for a check-up and this time it was anything BUT ordinary. After doing the routine weighing and measuring, evaluation of pump data, and quarterly A1c test, we sat down with the endocrinologist. As soon as she looked at Dylan I knew something was wrong. She was surprised he was still suffering from such severe edema. She had copies of the reports from both the GP and allergist, but had assumed the swelling had decreased since she had last seen him. She was noticeably worried.

There are not a lot of things that cause edema in the extremities in children and we had already eliminated the less severe causes. Her first suspicion was kidney failure, or a thyroid problem, so she ordered more lab work. At the top of the lab forms she wrote a message to the lab technicians asking to rush the tests and call her immediately with the results. She then told us to go straight to the hospital. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Now I was panicking.

We live a block from a hospital, so we the lab work and went home. 2 hours after leaving the DEC clinic, I got a text from the endo stating that all the test results were normal. Dylan's thyroid and kidneys were functioning perfectly and all of the other bloodworm was also normal.

A wave of relief flooded over me, but again, it was temporary. We still didn't know what was wrong. The endo suggested Dylan go for an echocardiogram to make sure the swelling was not a result of a heart defect. Wtf? Are you eff'ing kidding me? Could this possibly get any more frightening? I was told to wait for Children's Hospital to call me with an appointment time.

Fast forward again, to last week, when we finally got a date for the echo. It's this coming Thursday. I'm emotionally torn, to say the least. My fingers are crossed that the echo reveals everything with his heart is normal, but a part of me is thinking, what else could it be?

Friday 2 November 2012

Oh, the Weirdness.

Day 2's NHBPM prompt is, "Write about the weirdest thing about your health condition?"

Upon first reading this prompt, my initial reaction was, "what isn't weird about type 1 diabetes?" At its most fundamental, it's a disease that is essentially the same in everyone (an ability of the pancreas to produce insulin), yet it shows itself so differently from day to day and person to person. What works for one person may not work for another, and what works for someone one day may not repeat itself the next.

So I thought I would pick one aspect that is perhaps more frustrating than weird, but still a regular issue in our house. Exercise.

Last year and the year before, Dylan played ice hockey. A grueling, strenuous, and highly skilled sport that demands a level of fitness and commitment that can challenge any child, and parent, let alone one with type 1 diabetes. Yet we managed. After some trial and error with temp basal rates (and different rates for practices than games), we finally found a system that worked for us. MOST of the time at least.

Then this fall Dylan decided he wanted to switch back to soccer instead, so that he could play on a team with many of his friends.

Back to square one we go. While hockey and soccer may appear similar in terms of cardiovascular fitness and physical exertion, according to Dylan's blood glucose rates, they are quite different. Well, at least we think they are. Every time we think we've got the temp basal for games figured out, his post game bg is totally different than the previous game.

So many variables are involved - what position he plays (he'll run much more playing midfield than defense, for example); what the weather is like; how much playing time he gets (dependent on the number of subs available at each game); what time of day the game begins (is it right before lunch, or 2 hrs after lunch, for example)?

After the first game of the season we were convinced we were on to something! He ran a 70% temp basal starting 15 minutes prior to the game. He drank a 750ml 10 carb electrolyte drink instead of water, and had 4 orange wedges at half-time. His post-game bg was 4.7mmol/l. Not bad. The following game I wasn't there and he forgot to run a temp basal altogether. He drank water and his post-game bg was 11.9. Wtf? Without the temp basal his bg should have been low, not high.

And so it has continued every game since then. Up and down, up and down. The weirdness of type 1 diabetes...

Thursday 1 November 2012

Why Do I Write?

Today kicks off WEGO Health's National Health Blog Post Month, with a prompt asking, "Why do you write?" I wrote on this topic for a blog carnival earlier this year, so I've revised and re-posted my previous piece.

Why do I write about my health (my son's health) condition? My reasons for writing about my (my son's) health condition: I write for me and I write for Dylan.

I Write For Me
My blog is my journal; my diary; the place where I process my thoughts and feelings about raising a child with type 1 diabetes. There are days when I don't know what to write about, and yet once I start the words just flow out; other days I have a specific purpose for a post. Some posts are superficial, while others run much deeper. Regardless, I have become addicted to the cathartic power of writing. Not only is it an avenue for me to express my ideas, it is a tool that helps me to reflect on how I feel about diabetes and all that comes with it. 

Through blogging I have come to terms with my son's diagnosis, and feel a sense of peace that I never had before. It is no longer just about fighting for a cure. It is about accepting that this is the life we have been given. It is about understanding that each day is a gift. It is about knowing that I can choose to make the most of each and every day. It is about connecting and being part of something much bigger than myself (the DOC). And it is about making my voice heard.

I Write for Dylan
All of the above being said, this blog started because of Dylan and I will continue to fight for a cure for type 1 diabetes, for my son and for the thousands of individuals living with this disease. And until that cure is found, I will advocate and educate about type 1 diabetes at every chance I get. Why? Because I can't stop. I will never give up. It's that simple. 

A few years ago I gave a speech, at one of JDRF's Research Symposiums, in regards to why I walk with JDRF every year. I'm going to borrow a bit of it, as it can also be applied to today's topic. 

"When I ask myself why I walk (blog), I am always presented with the same image – the day Dylan was born. I think of that moment when the nurse put him in my arms and I held him for the very first time. I remember our first eye contact. That moment, be it very brief, felt like an eternity, and I could have lived in that moment forever. It was the moment that every mother is blessed with, when you realize that you love your child beyond all possibility, beyond all measure. And in that moment, your life is changed forever because everything you thought you knew about life, love, and what is important, is called into question and everything you thought you knew about yourself requires self-examination. In that moment the only thing in the world that matters in your child.

As parents we know that in loving our children we must also try to keep them safe. And when I think back to that first moment with Dylan, I know that I certainly never thought that keeping him safe would include safety from the immediate and long-term side effects of type-1 diabetes. But as long as it does, I will continue to walk – year after year after year – and I will never give up until there is a cure. I owe him that."

Visit every day in November as I tackle the daily prompts in the National Health Blog Post Month!

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ NHBPM!

National Health Blog Post Month starts tomorrow. 30 days, 30 health posts. I'm in, are you? Click the image above to sign up!

...and Happy Halloween!

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Sending Relief to Storm Victims

We have all witnessed the devastation brought by Hurricane Sandy, though most of us via television or internet. For those who live in the areas hit by the storm, who have lost power, homes, or experienced injury as a result of the storm or its damage, I offer my deepest sympathies and pray that you find the strength and supoort to pick up the pieces and rebuild your lives.

Numerous organizations have offered, or will be offering, relief to victims of Sandy, be it in the form of food, temporary shelter, warm clothing and blankets, or medical treatment. ViSalus is one of those organizations. Between now and 11:59pm PST Friday, November 2nd, ViSalus will be directing all of their Community Challenge donations to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. These donations are in the form of meal-replacement shakes. Each shake provides complete nutrition and is a balanced meal suitable for adults and/or children. To date, the ViSalus Community Challenge has donated over a million meals to people in need, including food banks, to after-school programs, to natural disaster relief.

Challenge yourself to make a difference. For a $24 donation, ViSalus will donate 30 meals on your behalf, and match your donation with an additional 30 meals. That means $24 will get 60 meals to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Visit the ViSalus Community Giving page for further information, and to donate.

Thank you for your support.

Monday 29 October 2012

Blogroll Updates

After completing a thorough review of my blogroll, I've decided to do some updating. I removed a few blogs that are no longer active or haven't been updated in the past 6 months or more. I've also been reading other bloggers lists to get ideas for new diabetes blogs to include on my roll.

That being said, I know there are tons of worthwhile diabetes blogs out there, so if you wish for me to include yours, or notice there's a great blog out there that's mysteriously absent from my list, please post a quick comment with a link to the site I should check out and I'd be happy to add it to my blogroll!

Sunday 21 October 2012

Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Just in time for Halloween and the holiday season, this festive bundt cake was a huge hit with my family. Personally, pumpkin flavored foods are not my cup of tea, but I found myself drawn to idea of doing some pumpkin baking and giving the gourd another try. I'm so glad I did! I used the recipe below, which I adapted slightly from a recipe that appeared in Epicurious in October 2007. I also added a light glaze consisting of icing sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and milk, to the cooled cake.


3 1/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice or mace
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup canola or light olive oil
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups canned unsweetened pumpkin
2/3 cup orange juice, milk, or buttermilk (I used milk)


Position rack in lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare the pan as directed. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sifted flour, baking powder (if using), baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.

Add the granulated sugar to the large bowl of an electric mixer and crumble in the dark brown sugar, breaking up any clumps with your fingers. Add the oil and 2 eggs and beat until blended, then beat in the remaining eggs and the pumpkin. Scrape down the bowl and beater. With the mixer on the lowest speed, alternately add the juice or milk (or buttermilk if using) and the dry ingredients. When everything is blended, scrape down the bowl, then beat a few seconds longer until the batter is smooth and creamy.

Scoop the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 65 to 70 minutes (or for the time indicated for your altitude in the chart) or until the cake has risen, is springy to the touch and is cracked on top, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out dry. Cool the cake in its pan on a rack for 20 to 25 minutes. Slide a knife around the pan sides and the top of the tube to release the cake. Top the cake with a foil-covered cardboard cake disk or a flat plate, invert, and lift off the pan. Cool the cake completely. Makes approximately 16 servings.

Nutritional Information (Approximate, Per Serving)
Calories 383, Fat 19.5g, Sodium 380mg, Cholesterol 26.4mg, Carbohydrates 50.2g, Dietary Fiber 2.1g, Protein 3.9g

Friday 19 October 2012

Maze of Fear

Throw this into the mix to add a bit more fuel to a d-mom's fear. Dylan is going on a corn maze trip tonight with his class. 25 kids, ages 11 and 12, are headed out to a corn maze located about an hour from where we live. They'll enter it at dusk, and proceed to find their way out using their wits, sense of direction, and flashlights. This is a BIG maze. We went last year and it look us about an hour and a half, of steady fast walking, to get through it. The kids will start all together, but will quickly split into smaller groups. And while there are a few parents going, I am not one of them (I have to work), and my 2 "go-to" parents, that are very familiar with Dyl's diabetes and recognize his low symptoms, are not going either.

So let's put this all together: type 1 child on a pump with newly increased basal settings + excitement of 24 other kids and a nighttime adventure + 3.5 acres of corn maze to get through, aka major exercise + dark + no diabetes-knowledgeable adult supervision + a maze (potential to get lost). Am I insane letting him go? What if he has a low and he can't find anyone? There are so many "what ifs" running through my head.

I have to keep forcing myself to remember that he is almost 12. He's not a little boy anymore, and he's lived with diabetes for almost 7 years now. He recognizes his lows early on, and is very good at treating them effectively. This is one of those times when I can hold on, or let go. And I need to let go, so that he can continue to grow and take on more and more responsibility. So I'm permitting him to go and have fun with his friends, knowing that he's armed with a tester, a juice box, a bottle of dextrose tabs, and his cell phone.

An example of a local corn maze

Thursday 18 October 2012

Tweak, tweak

Last week I wrote about the problem we were having with Dyl constantly running slightly high (Trends Don't Lie). As a result, we upped a couple of basal rates in the hopes that it would at least curb the 2 daily spikes he was experiencing. And we were right, it did combat the spikes. However, it still left him elevated throughout the day, all day.

Fast forward to today, when we were back at the diabetes education center for a check-up. In addition to doing Dyl's quarterly A1c, weighing and measuring him, and talking about changes and updates in diet and exercise routine, the endocrinologist took a really hard look at Dyl's pump data and decided to make some pretty substantial changes. In fact, she increased every single basal rate. Background note: Dylan has six different basal rates which vary considerably at different times of day. For example, because he is prone to hypoglycemic seizures in his sleep, he takes less insulin at night. For some reason, which we really have no idea, he requires more than twice the amount of insulin between 2:30pm and 6:00pm than he does at any other time of day. The other 4 rates fall somewhere in between. (This ability to vary insulin delivery over a 24 hour period is one of the MANY reasons I love pumping over MDI.)

I've said this before, and I'll say it again and again: I love our endo and I trust her explicitly. So when she says increase all the basal rates, I do it. And I did, but not without fear. This is, by far, the most drastically we have ever altered Dylan's settings, and a couple of the settings were increased by as much as 0.2 units per hour. In an MDI user that injects insulin two or three times a day, 0.2 units may not seem like much, but in an 11 year old pumper, who boluses additional insulin for food, it's a lot. Fingers crossed that these changes get his bg levels back into ideal range, at least most of the time.

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Signs of...

Driving to work yesterday, I was struck by the stunning color of the leaves on this tree. So much so, that I stopped and took a picture. Fall has definitely arrived. And while fall is perhaps my least favorite season (because in Vancouver it rains pretty much every day in fall), fall means Diabetes Awareness Month in November!!

Monday 15 October 2012

Big Blue Test!

It's back! Once again, the Diabetes Hands Foundation is running the Big Blue Test, from Oct 14th to Nov 14th. Participate and help those around the world with diabetes in need.

How Does it Work? Simply test your blood sugar, exercise for 14-20 minutes, test again, and fill out the super-simple form on the Big Blue Test website. It's that easy! Don't have diabetes? No problems, simply track your exercise only!

Why? The average person participating in the Big Blue Test sees a reduction in their blood glucose level of 20% after 14-20 minutes of exercise. And if that's not enough reason to get you motivated, how about this? Every test gets the Diabetes Hands Foundation one step closer to their goal of 20,000 entries.And if they achieve 20,000 entries, Roche Diabetes Care will donate $100,000 to organizations that provide supplies and services for people with diabetes in need.

Quick, easy, and effective. This is a no-brainer. Test today. Test every day between now and November 14th.

Friday 12 October 2012

Trends Don't Lie

Up and down, up and down. Just when I think I have pump rates set so that "in range" is a reasonable goal for the immediate future, diabetes goes and changes everything again. Call it Murphy's Law, call it karma, call it whatever you want, I call it living with diabetes. At it's best, it's manageable; at it's worst, it's a roller coaster, but it's always uncontrollable. And the more we try to control it, the more elusive that control becomes.

After some pretty decent bg readings for most of September, we have seen some consistent highs for the first half of October. And not "high" highs, which are so much easier to correct, in my opinion, with a nice, big, well-measured bolus. No, we've been dealing with what we call "low" highs in our house - those pesky high blood sugar levels that don't appear to be have an obvious cause. The ones that hover just a little above the "ideal" range; too low to continually correct, to high to ignore. The 11's were our battle for Thanksgiving. Not just one, not two, not even three, but a solid 48 hours of blood glucose readings ranging from 11.0 mmol/l (198 mg/dl) to 11.5 mmol/l (207 mg/dl). Furthermore, Dylan felt fine. He didn't feel high and wasn't showing any symptoms of hyperglycemia. It didn't seem to matter what he ate, or how many times we corrected the highs, the next reading was another 11. We changed infusion sets, tried a new vial of insulin, double checked against multiple meters and the result was still the same...11s. It became a bit of joke with Dyl after a while, as he'd test and then say to himself, while waiting for the number to appear on the meter screen, "anything but 11."

What does one do in that situation? Personally, I am always hesitant to adjust basal rates because so many things can cause a temporary increase in blood glucose levels. Maybe Dylan was under a bit of stress, or fighting the early stages of a virus. Perhaps he had a decreased amount of exercise for that 48 hour period. Or maybe it's the beginning of puberty - something I've been dreading, from a diabetes standpoint, for a while now. The point is, it's so hard to determine what causes a rise in bg, that basal adjustments are not always the best answer.

So I did what I usually do in this situation, after I've tried the obvious solutions (bolus, increased water, bout of exercise, infusion set change, new insulin, different meter) and haven't seen success - I look to the numbers to tell me. After all, numbers don't lie. And while a single number, or even a day's worth of data, can't always provide a clear picture, trends over time can reveal a lot. So I sat down at the computer, uploaded the last two weeks of pump data, and stared long and hard at the information, looking for trends, patterns, or anything that would shed light on the situation. Sure enough, I quickly discovered a number of problems. Twice during the day, for the past 2 weeks, Dylan's bg levels had been quite elevated (prior to the 2 days of 11's). It was always at the same time each day, and always a similar level of elevation. So I increased the basal rates for the few hours prior to those 2 times, in the hopes that it would help to curb the spike.

I then texted the endocrinologist to let her know that I had uploaded new data, and increased two of Dylan's six basal rates. I also asked if could she please let me know if any other changes were required. Yup, after almost 7 years of parenting a child with diabetes, I still ask the endo about every change to pump settings. And I probably always will.

Sunday 7 October 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing all of my Canadian readers and their families a wonderful thanksgiving!!

Tuesday 2 October 2012

BSC Wins Award!

KwikMed, a leading health care provider with a profession, modern approach to healthcare, is one of just two fully licensed online pharmacies in the USA.

Last week, KwikMed recognized 20 diabetes related website/blogs for their excellence in contributing editorial content to the diabetes community. After reviewing hundreds of sites, the specialist panel of judges selected Blood, Sweat & Carbs as one of the 20 diabetes sites to receive this award!

I am so flattered to be included on KwikMed's list! For a full list of recipients, visit:

Monday 1 October 2012

What if it All Came Crashing Down?

I keep envisioning this image of myself as a juggler, trying to simultaneously spin multiple plates on his hands, feet, elbows, knees, hips, head, and any other body part one could possibly balance a plate. I've been spinning them pretty darn well for a long time, balancing a child with diabetes, a struggling and rebellious teenager, a stubbornly demanding nine year old, three jobs - one of which is on call and very unpredictable, a range of familial problems, a husband who has changed jobs four times in sixteen months, financial struggles, my own personal health and exercise goals, and a marriage that has been suffering as a result of me being on overload for too long. It's been a precarious experience and I've been feeling like if I took a moment to breathe, all of the plates wold come crashing down. And broken plates is simply not an option.

So I checked out. On blogging, on life, and on myself. I've stretched myself too thin for too long, so I forced myself to step back and really evaluate my life. I asked questions, about what I want, what's important to me, and what things are not worth my time. Where do I want to be in six months, in a year, in five years? What do I truly want for my family, and for myself? Asking questions like these can be hard, because the answers are not always what we want to hear. But if I'm to get to where I want to be, I need to make some sacrifices, and focus on the things that will help me achieve my goals.

So more negativity. No more living in the past. No more worrying about, or even thinking about, trivial things. It's time to focus on what matters. On the positive, on the meaningful, and on making the most of each and every day.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Camp Kakhamela 50 Year Celebration!

Camp Kakhamela is celebrating it's 50 year anniversary this year, with a party at Richmond's Olympic Oval on Saturday, Sept 15th, from 11:30am to 4:00pm. Anyone who has attended this diabetes camp, or is family or friends with a past attendee, staff member, counselor, or member of the medical team is welcome to attend! To preregister, visit

Wednesday 22 August 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things

August is "Advocating for Another" month and WEGO Health is running another of its great blog carnivals as an opportunity for bloggers who dedicate their time to caring and/or advocating for another to share their thoughts and ideas on the subject. With a preset list of topics in 4 different categories, hundreds of bloggers will contribute daily posts to the carnival between August 21st and 28th. 

Day 2's prompt is entitled, "These Are A Few of My Favorite Things." So here we 5 favorite things about Dyl!

1. His sweetness. Dylan is the ultimate sweetheart. He is kind, generous, loyal, forgiving, affectionate, and always knows exactly what to say or do to make someone smile. He has a unique ability to see everyone and everything in a positive light. Since toddler-hood this has been one of his greatest qualities. He is a terrific friend, a loving son, and will make a very special husband one day.

2. His open mindedness. Be it food, an activity, a new book, or even a movie, Dylan is always open to trying new things. 

3. His sense of humor. Quirky and silly, Dylan is always cracking jokes and keeping us smiling. 

4. His courage. As mentioned in yesterday's post, he is unbelievably courageous. Never caring what others think, he is comfortable in his own skin and very sure of who he is. 

5. His ownership of his disease. He has taken ownership of his diabetes since day 1 and has never looked back. He learns everything he can about type diabetes, he talks to other type 1 kids and adults, he advocates for JDRF, and he does not hide his diabetes. EVER.

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Advocating for Another Day 1 ~ Portrait Post

August is "Advocating for Another" month and WEGO Health is running another of its great blog carnivals as an opportunity for bloggers who dedicate their time to caring and/or advocating for another to share their thoughts and ideas on the subject. With a preset list of topics in 4 different categories, hundreds of bloggers will contribute daily posts to the carnival between August 21st and 28th. 

Day 1's topic is entitled Portrait Post, and asks bloggers to "write a descriptive portrait of your child/ren. Share qualities that make them, them – and include an image! (A photo or creative work of them!):"

As soon as I read the topic, I knew what I wanted to share. I have mentioned previously that Dylan has recently taken up vocal and instrumental performance and participates in a weekly performance class. Twice per year the kids have a live concert, in which they perform for their parents and peers. Two months ago, in June, Dylan performed a haunting cover of Coldplay's "Fix You" in front of a live audience of approximately 250 people. 

As a parent, I think I was more nervous for Dylan than he was. Unlike his ability to easily learn music for instrumental play (he plays the sax and the guitar), he's not a strong singer. And "Fix You" is not an easy song to sing. Most kids chose faster paced rock songs, or newer pop songs by idols like Taylor Swift. Not Dyl. He wanted to sing "Fix You" because he knows it's one of my favorite songs, and a song whose lyrics remind me of diabetes and my "inability" to fix my son's disease.

Courage is one of the qualities that I most admire in Dylan. He has an ability to do whatever he wants without any regard for what others think. And not in an arrogant manner. He is simple sure of himself. Self consciousness? He doesn't have it. Timidity? No, none of that either. Self doubt? No way. He is uber-comfortable in his own skin. I only WISH I had that level of confidence.

Wednesday 15 August 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Monopoly Anyone?

I saw this posted on Facebook a few days ago, and just had to share. If anyone knows who created this, please let me know!!

Sunday 5 August 2012

Officially a Warrior!

Yesterday I completed my first obstacle race, and wow did I ever have a blast! The 5.5km Warrior Dash is an obstacle race literally perched on the side of Mount Seymour, one of Vancouver's local ski mountains. Traversing up and down the rugged terrain, competitors battled the heat, the incline, and each other, while tackling a dozen obstacles along the way.

Group pic post race

Competing in a team of 4, with 3 truly awesome ladies, we donned neon clothing and arrived ready to tackle the mountain for our 10:00 am wave start. By the time we checked in, picked up our race kits, and checked our gear, the temperature was already nearing 25 degrees, but nothing was holding us back!

The first of many uphills...notice the magic
carpet lift behind us as we run up a ski run?

Up and down the mountain we zigzagged, oblivious to the burning in our legs and lungs, focussed only on the next obstacle and water station. Pulling ourselves over walls, wiggling under barbed wire, and climbing over cargo nets, no obstacle too high or too hard. 

Completed the last obstacle and the finish line is in sight!

Finally, after over 5km of running, we neared the final 2 obstacles - a couple of leaps through fire, a quick crawl through a mud pit, and we crossed the finish line to receive our finisher's medals and await our hose down.

Crossing the finish line after a terrific race!

What an incredible morning - I can't wait for the Super Spartan in September!!

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Thai Lettuce Wraps (Paleo)

It's been so long since I posted a recipe, I just had to share this one. With my new paleo eating, and since I do the cooking, my family has been eating paleo dinners without even realizing it (shh). Last night we had an amazing paleo meal of Thai Lettuce Wraps.

I found the recipe at Everyday Paleo, a fabulous site dedicated to paleo cooking, and had to test it out. I was a huge hit, so I will definitely be making it a 2nd time! Serves 5-6.

2 pounds ground beef
large red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 bunches Thai basil leaves or sweet basil leaves
3 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 tablespoons coconut aminos
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1-2 teaspoon hot chili
Juice from 1 lime
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Several butter lettuce or other large green leaf lettuce leaves for the wraps
More Thai basil leaves and chopped cilantro leaves for garnish

In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium heat.  Add the bell peppers and onions and saute until tender. Remove the bell peppers and onions from the pan and set aside. In the same pan, brown the ground beef. While the ground beef is cooking, whisk together the coconut aminos, fish sauce, lime juice, hot chili sauce, sesame oil and garlic. Add the bell peppers and onions back to the pan with the ground beef, pour in the sauce, add the Thai basil leaves, and stir just until the basil leaves are wilted. Turn off the heat and you are ready to serve. Fill lettuce leaves with big scoops of the meat mixture topped with chopped cilantro and more basil leaves for garnish. Top with more hot chili sauce if you want it spicier.

Nutritional Information (per serving) Calories 367, Fat 26.9g, Cholesterol 84.8mg, Sodium 331.2mg, Carbohydrates 8.9g, Fiber 2.9g, Protein 22.6g 

The original recipe can be found here.

Monday 30 July 2012

Paleo Eating & Diabetes

As a parent of a type 1 child, I am acutely aware of what foods my son puts in his body. Every food contains its own nutritional value and, as a parent and caregiver, I try to maximize Dylan's nutritional intake to ensure that he is as healthy as possible.

So a few months ago, when I heard about the Paleo diet in a CWD (Children with Diabetes) discussion group, my interest was piqued. It appeared that type 1 kids who ate predominantly paleo were reducing their insulin requirements by 50% or even more! The skeptic in me immediately doubted the validity of these claims. However, as I started researching, I found more and more scientific evidence to support this way of eating, not just for type 1's, but for everyone. Then I learned that a number of my coworkers (and some of the healthiest and fittest people I know) have been eating Paleo for years.

For those who may not have heard of Paleo before, it is a dietary plan based on the eating patterns of man during the Paleolithic Era. Basically, only foods available during that hunter/gatherer time are permitted. Commonly consumed items are fish, grass-fed meats, vegetables, fungi, nuts, seeds, and fruit. Excluded foods are grains, dairy, legumes, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils. Still not sure I understood completely, my next step was to read "Quantum Paleo" by Dr. Doug Willen and really get my head around what the diet actually entailed; what foods were "in," and which were "out."

After careful consideration, I've decided to try it out. Willen suggests a 21 day trial period, which is what I intend to do, starting today. During the 21 days, I will eat entirely paleo, but expose my family, including Dylan, to a variety of paleo meals and see how it goes. If I like it, I'll stick with it permanently; if Dylan likes it, I will start him on a complete paleo diet as well.