Saturday 30 June 2012

Saturday Shake-Up ~ June 30th

Detoxing Green Smoothie
I've been experimenting with the smoothies this week, in search of a yummy detoxer, and I found it!

2 pieces of kale, stems removed
1/2 fresh banana
1/3 cup fresh pineapple
1/3 cup fresh mango
1/3 cup fresh strawberries
1 cup coconut water
2 scoops visalus shake mix
4 ice cubes

Blend until consistent in color, and enjoy. Not only is this smoothie great for detoxing, it's also loaded with Vitamin C to boost the immune system.

Nutritional Information 263 Cal, 1.6g fat, 50.4g carbs, 9.5g fibre, 15.1g protein

Thursday 28 June 2012

What Do I Take?

Ever since I started promoting the Body by Vi 90 Day Health Challenge, people are always asking me about it. And the number one question, after "what is the challenge?" is "what do I take?" 

Every 7 seconds someone in North America drinks Vi Shake!! Every 7 seconds!! Why? Because it's amazing stuff, that's why. There is a reason it's referred to as "the shake mix that tastes like a cake mix." It tastes great, it's simple, it's inexpensive, and, most importantly, it works. People of all ages, and medical histories, and from all over North America, are getting healthy with the 90 Day Challenge. Whether it's by losing weight, adding muscle mass, toning their bodies, or simply getting more balanced nutrition, they are making it happen.

The cornerstone of the body by Vi 90 Day Challenge is the Shake. What's IN the shake? Let me show you...

For more information, and to get started on your 90 Day Challenge, click here.

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Monday 25 June 2012

Evaluating the Numbers

Diabetes is a numbers game. We are forever chasing the elusive bliss of bg perfection, a better A1c, or day of spot on carb counting. Some days the planets align and all seems okay; other days we chase highs and lows via the diabetes roller coaster. But how do we evaluate success? And failure, for that matter? For many the quarterly A1c test is the ultimate report card, for others reporting is a daily process.

I fall somewhere in the middle. I look forward to (or dread) the quarterly A1c because I like the overall picture it presents. It gives us a "big picture" idea of how Dylan is doing, and while I try not to take it as a reflection on my ability as a d parent, let's face it, it's pretty hard not to. My problem with the A1c is that it doesn't take into account what is going on in Dylan's body each and every day. It's doesn't identify areas in which pump settings need to be adjusted, or carb ratios altered.

For this information I turn to the pump data itself, and while I have heard from countless people that they hate the Medtronic CareLink reports, I quite like them. I upload pump data every 2 weeks (or that is the goal anyway) and I go through the numbers with a fine toothed comb, looking for patterns, problems, or anything out of the ordinary. Without fail, I always learn something new; no 2 uploads are ever the same. In fact, that seems to be the rule with diabetes - as soon as things start to make sense, they change.

Over the past few months, one trend emerged over and over in the reports - Dylan was not testing enough. This has been an ongoing problem for us, and the one things we are continuously working on. Dylan is amazing about testing when he's at home, but regular testing at school has always been an issue, more so as he's gotten older.

The most recent upload, however, showed quite an improvement in testing, and more tests means a more accurate picture of what is really happening inside his body. So what did I learn this time? I learned that we need to up his basal setting almost across the board. In the 2 weeks of data, only 3 days did his average bg fall into the ideal range. The remaining 11 days it was just above normal. Was I surprised? At first, but then I took into account a number of things. First, it's been a couple of months since we made any pump adjustments. Second, he's growing, and has been eating a lot more lately. Third, hockey season is over, so his activity level has decreased a bit. Each of these factors, or all three, could be causing his bg to rise.

Without the reports, or a log of some kind, I would have to wait until our next quarterly A1c test and endo visit to find out this info and to make pump adjustments. But our next appointment isn't until the end of July, so that's a full month in which Dylan's bg could be running higher than it should, wreaking havoc on his body and making him feeling like crap unnecessarily.

So now what? We tweak. We increase basal rates a bit here and a bit there, and maybe increase carb ratios a tad. And we fire the data over to the endo for any additional changes. Then in 2 weeks we repeat the process. And we do it again, and again, and again, every couple of weeks, to ensure that Dylan's pump is giving the ideal amount of insulin to his body throughout every day.

Friday 22 June 2012

The Mystery of Increased Insulin Use

Earlier this week I posed about how Dylan had gone through about 125 units of insulin in 48 hours - a first for him. His intake is usually pretty consistent, with daily insulin ranging between 35 and 40 units per day, so using over 120 units in 2 days is alarming. Was it a pump/tubing issue? Faulty insulin? Major growth spurt? None of the above actually.

The mystery was solved when we woke up Wednesday morning to find a sick little boy, complete with nausea, a stuffy nose, and nasty cough. He stayed home from school all day Wednesday and then tried to return Thursday, lasting all of 15 minutes (I dropped him off at 8:45am and he called from the school office at 9:00am saying he wasn't feeling well enough to stay). This morning he woke up feeling a whole lot better, though still not 100%.

In the meantime, insulin dosage seems to have to returned to normal. We've been monitoring closely, but BG levels have returned to "normal" at his regular pump settings. Thinking back, I can't recall having experienced this before, where insulin dosage increased by 50% in the couple of days leading up to an illness, but then returned to typical amounts during the illness. Anyone else noticed this before?

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Near Emergency, but Avoided

A near catastrophe tonight...

As the kids were getting ready for bed, Dylan did a quick nighttime bg check and noticed that he had only 5 units of insulin left in his pump. Hmph. It had only been 48 hours since his last infusion set change and he NEVER runs out of insulin before the 72 hour set change time. In fact, he usually has lots leftover because I always fill the reservoir, just in case.

Oh well, I thought, we'll just change his infusion set a day early, no big deal. I reach into the fridge's butter compartment to grab a vial of NovoRapid insulin, only to discover that there is none in there. I reach into the produce drawer for the back-up penfills I keep for emergencies (I've always kept a stash of short and long acting insulin penfills just in case of a pump malfunction or brief return to syringes). There is NPH in there, and some Levemir, but no rapid. 

After a brief second of confusion, I look to my right, where the familiar white and orange box sits perched atop the microwave. The EMPTY box that I purposely placed there the day before to REMIND me to refill the prescription. Somehow in my insanely busy schedule lately I forgot to re-order it. F*^k and double f*^k. My mind starts racing as I realize we are actually OUT of insulin for the first time ever. Completely out; not a drop in the house and only 5 units in the pump. And to add to my panic, I look at my watch to discover it's 9:20 pm (damn the late summer sunsets, I thought it was earlier) and the pharmacy closed at 9:00 pm.

Option 1 at this point is to find a late night pharmacy, which there are, but without a prescription I have to pay for the insulin and I'd rather not, seeing as we have insurance that covers the full cost (with a prescription). Options 2: borrow insulin from someone. At times like this Dylan is fortunate to have divorced parents who share custody and live close together. 

15 minutes later, I am home, insulin in hand. Near emergency avoided. Just another day with diabetes...

Monday 18 June 2012

Undiagnosed Tragedy

Type 1 Diabetes has struck again, and this time taken the life of a 35 year old man. It was with great sadness that I learned, a few months ago, an acquaintance of mine from high school had died suddenly. While I didn't know him well, we had a number of common friends, and shared one very close friend. At the time of his death, there were many questions. No one knew what had happened and there didn't appear to be an obvious cause of death. Until now. Late last week I was informed that he died as a result of undiagnosed type 1 diabetes.

My initial reaction was shock, then anger, then sadness, as I tried to explain to my heartbroken friend that it takes all of about 3 seconds to diagnose type 1 diabetes; that the symptoms are obvious; that it is a manageable disease; and that his death could have been prevented had someone, anyone, known what to look for. He had suffered months of weight loss, increasing dehydration, and, finally, severe flu like symptoms.

Type 1 diabetes continues to be a silent killer. For those of us within its sphere - who are type 1, or have a loved one with type 1 - the symptoms are easily recognizable. Yet, for those outside of the circle, it is an invisible illness. Education and awareness on the signs of type 1 diabetes are lacking. Period. Like many others, I used to be in the dark. When Dylan was diagnosed I knew absolutely nothing about diabetes. I had no idea that his excessive thirst, frequent urination, massive and sudden weight loss, pallor, and lethargy, were signs of hyperglycemia induced ketoacidosis. Like most parents of a type 1 child at the time of diagnosis, I just thought he had the flu.

While my early advocacy was always focussed on finding a cure for type 1 diabetes, with time I have realized more and more, that awareness and education are just as, if not more so, critically important. Never has that been more obvious to me than now.

*On a side note, this is the 3rd person from my high school class that developed type 1 diabetes as an adult. The 3rd out of 375 graduates. That's a stat much higher than the average.

Saturday 16 June 2012

Saturday Shake-up ~ June 16th

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Banana Smoothie
8oz nonfat milk
1/2 tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
1/2 fresh banana
2 scoops ViSalus shake mix

Blend and enjoy!

Nutritional Information 332 calories, 10.3g fat, 37.5g carbs, 8.4g dietary fiber, 25.8g protein

Thursday 14 June 2012

Run, Bike, Crawl ~ Summer 2012 Events

With summer right around the corner and my 2nd 90 Day Challenge just underway, I have completely revamped my summer event schedule and added some new events to give my body an extra challenge!

Training started this week for a 122km cycling race Sept 8th, and my first full marathon Sept 30th. I'll also be competing in an obstacle race in early August and a half marathon in mid-August. Training updates will be posted from time to time, highlighting unique experiences and reflections on progress. Full race details below.

Warrior Dash, August 4th, North Van. My first obstacle race and I am so psyched!! This one is an entry level 5km trail run with a dozen obstacleS, ranging from climbing walls to fire jumping to crawling through barbed wire.
Sea Wheeze, August 11, Vancouver. This is Lululemon's first half-marathon event and it's taking place along the beaches of downtown Vancouver!

RBC GrandFondo Whistler, Sept 8th. An epic 122km road race along the Sea to Sky highway from downtown Vancouver to Whistler Village. 7000 cyclists of all abilities compete in this event!
Surrey International World Music Marathon, Sept 30th. My very first full marathon!

Monday 11 June 2012

The Bigger Picture; Reflections on the First 90 Days

Today marks the last day of my first 90 day challenge, and I wanted to take this opportunity not only to document my success, but to reflect on how much my opinion about the company itself has evolved over the course of the 3 months.

When I began my challenge in March, I was excited to try something new. I had been feeling run down, tired, and burned out, for quite some time, and I knew something had to change. My brother and his wife had recently got involved with the Body by Vi 90 Day Challenge and had experienced some pretty awesome results, so I thought I'd give it a try. Starting on the most basic kit they offer, I drank one of their protein/nutritional shakes per day, instead of eating breakfast. Within a few days I could feel an increase in my energy level and a feeling like something was coming alive in my body. It's hard to describe, but it felt almost like my body was reacting at a cellular level; like parts of me that had been dormant for ages were suddenly waking up. As days passes, I felt better and better and noticed I was losing weight too! My clothes fit better and I felt incredible.

At the same time I started to notice that I could run easier. A LOT easier. I was running faster than before, over the same distance, but was less tired, both during and at the end. So I started pushing my body harder and harder to see what it could do. Halfway through the 90 days I ran a half-marathon and finished 14 minutes faster than the half I had run 10 months prior. My training hadn't changed at all, only my diet. In fact, I was careful not to change anything about my training because I wanted to see exactly how much this new nutritional program was helping me. I ran the same amount of days each week, and the same distances I had run the previous year leading up to the half marathon.

At this point I started to get really excited about this program, so I upgraded my personal kit, and I signed on to start promoting the challenge too. I've always been a big supporter of a healthy active lifestyle, so it was a natural step for me to start sharing the 90 Day Challenge with others. Through the month of May I experienced some pretty decent success. I made my initial little investment back in the first couple of weeks and at the end of the month I qualified for the company's BMW program, which means that they now pay for me monthly to drive a BMW. I can drive any model, black, silver, or green, new or used, leased or financed, and they will contribute $600 a month towards its cost.

All very exciting, yes, but I still didn't understood the true potential of this company, and their goals for the future, until recently. I didn't stop to think about why the 90 Day Challenge is the largest and fastest growing health platform in North America, or why the company is experiencing massive record setting growth when other companies are struggling to stay afloat in today's economy. I didn't see the bigger picture. I didn't understand their "why". Until now.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a regional training event, at which numerous different individuals spoke about their success within the organization. One of the speakers was co-founder Blake Mallen, who spoke about the company's past, present, and future. At some point during his speech I experience a shift in perspective so monumental that it completely altered the way I view the entire program and my purpose within it.

For me now, the 90 Day Challenge is no longer just about weight loss, or nutrition, or athletic performance; it's about being part of a movement that can and will literally change the world as we know it. It's about helping people achieve their goals, live a long and healthy life, and be proud of who they are. It's about standing up to the fast food industry and giving them the finger; saying no thanks, we'll take it from here.

Most importantly, it is about changing society so that obesity rates start to decline for the first time ever; so certain health conditions, such as heart disease, some types of cancer, hypertension, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes, start to become less and less common. Because while many of us know that diet and lifestyle are not solely responsible for any medical condition, they play a huge role in the development of so many different diseases. It is in our power to change that, and this company not only wants to help us do just that, they are giving us to the tools to make it happen.

So what will the next 90 days bring? Stay tuned, it's going to be a wild ride!

For more information about the 90 Day Challenge, click here.

Sunday 10 June 2012

2012 JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes ~ Part 2

Today marked our 7th year walking for to find a cure for diabetes. 7 years! At times it feels like it's been so much longer; other times it feels like it was just yesterday we were in the hospital, learning how to test blood glucose levels and inject insulin.

The walk for me is a bag of mixed emotions. On one hand, I love the event and the way it brings so many people together. I love the rally, and the sense of hope, albeit fleeting, about the possibility of a cure. But I hate the reason why we're there. I can't stand that there are so many individuals, both children and adults, that live with type 1 diabetes, and I especially dread the stories of loss we hear each year, about a child taken too soon, or a college student who died from a low because they lived alone. But as long as Dylan has diabetes, we will walk year after year, building on memories and creating new experiences.

It's strange how certain moments or experiences are permanently etched in our brains, providing a vivid snapshot that doesn't seem to fade over time. Other memories grow weaker with the passing years. Our first walk is one of those burned on memories for me. It was in May of 2006, 6 months after Dylan's diagnosis. We were so new, still so unaware of what it really means to live with type 1 diabetes on a permanents basis. Dylan was still honeymooning and everything seems pretty straightforward. Almost easy. Little did I know that a charity event on a warm May day 6 years ago would change my life forever, because it would be the first time that I truly realized the magnitude of this disease.

That first year we arrived at the walk site early, and we did what we do every year. We dropped off our pledges, picked up our swag bag, and proceeded to visit all of the sponsors and exhibitor booths. I remember we had so much free stuff in our bag that lugging it around for the 5km walk wasn't easy! We crossed the finish line and everything seemed ok. Dylan's blood glucose level was great, he had no problem with the distance, and we had a nice turnout of family. It was shaping up not only to be a day to remember, but to be a day to look forward to each year.

And then, 10 feet over the finish line, Dylan turned to me, with a look of pure intrigue, and said, "Is that it mom?"

"Yes," I said, "The walk is finished, we did it!"

To which he asked, "So I don't have diabetes anymore?"

Whoa, stop right there! Had someone just punched me in the stomach? I couldn't breathe, and I literally did NOT know how to respond. We had talked about the permanence of type 1 diabetes on numerous occasions, but Dylan was 5. I really had no idea how much he actually understood, versus how much he wanted to understand. After a few forced breaths I finally managed to gather my thoughts and respond, "No sweetie, you still have diabetes. What made you think it was gone?"

His response is one I will never forget. He looked me square in the eye and stated matter-of-factly, "because it's the walk to cure diabetes. We walked, so my diabetes should be cured, right?" That's my guy. Always thinking logically, way ahead of the pack, even at the age of 5. (For years after this event, as I became more and more involved with my local JDRF chapter, I seriously contemplated telling them this story and suggesting that maybe they should consider renaming the walk.)

So every year when we walk, I remember that 5 year old boy with his innocent, yet valid, inquiry. And while we may have added many great walk memories to the list since then, this one will always stand out.

Saturday 9 June 2012

Saturday Shake-Up ~ June 9th

Cafe Mocha Shake
8 oz of cold strong coffee (or 8 oz water and 2 tsp instant coffee)
2 scoops ViSalus shake mix
1 Chocolate Shape-up Health Flavor pcket
6 ice cubes

Toss everything in the blender, blend, and enjoy!

Nutritional Information 98 Calories, 1g fat, 9g carbs, 5g dietary fiber, 12g protein.

Sunday 3 June 2012

2012 JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes ~ Part 1

Since 2006, our family has participated in the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes in Vancouver every year. We fundraise, we wear team shirts, and we walk proudly on this special day. It's a day when everyone affected by diabetes; be it type 1, type 2, LADA, or type 3; can unite for a common purpose: to spread awareness and help raise funds for research.

This year, however, we've been busier than usual. Life has gotten in the way of our regular preparation for the walk. I didn't do any major fundraising this year - no pub night, no team barbeque, no school coin drive. I really only started asking our regular donors for their support this weekend. If I'm really honest with myself, I know it's not that I have been too busy, because if I really wanted to make it happen this year, I would have found the time. I just didn't want to do it. After years of going full throttle on the fundraising, I'm burnt out. I need a break. So we've toned it way down and are doing minimal fundraising this year. Dylan has set a personal goal to raise $1000, but that's it for us this year.

A part of me reads that previous paragraph and is ashamed of myself. How dare I feel like I need a break? What right do I have to feel burned out? What about Dylan? He's lived with diabetes every minute of every day since November 21st, 2005. Six and half years of finger pokes, injections, site changes, carb counting, basal adjustments, and me constantly asking how he's feeling and what his last bg reading was. Over 2370 days; more than half of his lifetime. And he doesn't complain, ask for a year off, or feel burned out. He keeps plugging along, making the most out of his disease, by owning it and never letting it stand in his way. He is a better person than I am, that's for sure. A much better person.

The JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes is one of Dylan's favorite days of the year. Why? Because it's the only day of the year that he feels completely normal. Having diabetes doesn't make him stand out on walk day. He can whip out his meter, plop down on the grass in the middle of a crowd to do a quick bg check, and no one even bats an eye. He can pull out of his pump to bolus for his lunch and no one does a double-take. No one asks how he got diabetes, or gives us suggestions on how to "cure" it, or eliminate his need for insulin. In fact, no one talks about diabetes at all. The walk is about celebrating life DESPITE diabetes. It's about sharing experiences and stories with others. And it's about realizing the we are not alone in this battle. There is a huge and wonderful community of people who are going through exactly the same thing we are. People who understand the daily struggles, the highs and lows, and the overwhelming feelings. People who get it.

So if you want to join us on walk day, we will be walking in Stanley Park, on Sunday, June 10th, at 11:00am. Or should you wish to make a contribution to JDRF and help Dylan meet his fundraising goal, click the badge in the top left corner of this site, or click here. Thank you in advance for your support.

Saturday 2 June 2012

Saturday Shake-Up ~ June 2nd

Strawberry Banana Smoothie
4 fresh strawberries
1/2 fresh banana
8 oz skim milk
2 scoops ViSalus shake mix

Combine ingredients in blender, puree, and enjoy!

Nutritional Information 241 Calories, 1.9g fat, 34.5g carbs, 6.3g fiber, 25.2g protein