Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With Ribbon

August 22 • Day 2: These are A Few of My Favorite Things Post (trying to catch up with some great prompts from WEGO Health Advocating for Another Blog Carnival)

List time! Write 5-10 of your favorite things about your loved one. Celebrate their uniqueness and be sure to tell us why those are your favorite things.

 

Sweetstuff  

Sweetstuff:

  • Responsible – takes care of her diabetes with little help, watches her brothers when needed, always does homework without reminders.
  • Kind to all living things – animal lover (and they love her back), helps strangers and friends without questions.
  • Wise and witty (slightly sarcastic) – she is wise beyond her years and has a quick mind that often gets her into trouble with a touch of sarcasm.
  • Humble – she accepts a compliment with grace, admits she isn’t perfect, asks for help when needed.
  • Compassionate – she feels deeply for all those she knows both on two legs or four. She will sacrifice her own comfort for others and seeks to help when needed.

Sugarboy

 


Sugarboy:

  • Joyful – the boy is always smiling and finds joy in most everything in life.
  • Sincere – he is honest and true to his heart.
  • Funny – he shares jokes and funny stories and finds humor easily in even difficult situations.
  • Resourceful – he will find a way to make something happen if it is important to him.
  • Kind – Aside from with his sibling he rarely shares a cross word and will help all who are in need.

Middles

 

Middles:

  • Generous – the boy will always give up what he has if it will result in happiness for another.
  • Sensitive – His heart is too big for his brain at times and thus he can get his feelings hurt easily but this also allows him to recognize how easily others can be hurt.
  • Polite – ALWAYS remembers his manners.
  • Fearless – he will try new things without a second thought – he is afraid of nothing other than developing diabetes (can you blame him?)
  • Loving – For every hug I get from either of my other two kiddos I get three from Middles.

 

What do you see?

Im a day behind (lol – started this post on Wednesday – didn’t finish it and now I am 3 days behind) but for the next week I will be taking part in the “Advocating For Another Carnival 2012” via WEGO Health.

As a parent of two children with Type 1 diabetes and a third kiddo that has had some pancreas hiccups I spend a substantial amount of time advocating, teaching, sharing, and learning. Why do I do it? For the following reasons….

We all have great photos of our kids and family having fun on vacation, playing in the yard, taking their first steps, learning to ride a bike, holidays, birthdays, etc. Unlike in the magic world that Harry Potter resides our photos don’t move. The subjects in the photos stay frozen for ever. The huge grin when they open a birthday gift, the look of pride when they learn to ride a bike, even the looks of annoyance as parents make them pose for yet another scenic photo will be forever still and thus enjoyed for years to come. However, the photographs and portraits don’t really say who the person is behind the smile. Is the person in the photo healthy, kind, funny, smart, sassy,  musical, athletic, etc.

Yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) prompt asked writers to “write” a portrait of those we advocate for.

Sweetstuff is a nearly thirteen year old that occasionally acts as though she is an equal with her dad and I. She is very independent – except when she isn’t. She has huge round green/blue eyes that seem to be a window to her very soul. Eyes that I want to protect with every once of my being because with diabetes retinopathy is a common complication.

Sweetstuff’s smile is wide and welcoming shared with strangers and friends alike. Photos rarely show the times her smile is upside down due to high/low blood sugars. Sweetstuff is kind to all and a loyal friend. She doesn’t judge, she doesn’t care about economics, color, race or religion; although she may ask questions about things she doesn’t know. She has a thirst for knowledge and believes that asking questions is the best way to learn.

Sweetstuff loves singing and will soon be in the String Orchestra at her middle school. If it were me I would be terrified that I wouldn’t be good enough – she sees it as an adventure (I secretly hope she chooses the Cello). She is wicked smaht at math but her spelling is not so great (she gets that from me – the poor spelling not so much the math). She worries about diabetes complications and sometimes she gets overwhelmed with all that is diabetes. She loves animals – especially cats and owls. She hopes to be an opthamologist one day. She is disappointed in herself for not having learned a sport at a younger age (seriously I think she thinks she is over-the-hill). She can be shy in large groups and even more so when meeting someone new – this is often confused with arrogance. She is confident in many of her abilities but very insecure about who she is (makes me sad).

Sugarboy is 8 and entering the third grade. He was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was just 2 years old. He doesn’t remember his life without diabetes.

Sugarboy is loved by all who meet him. He is kind, smart, happy and his smile is infectious. He loves soccer and puppies most of all in life – Lego’s take a close third. He is a pesky little brother and a great playmate to Middles and Sweetstuff. He never fails to say good morning and good night. He is excited to be starting a new school but misses his old school terribly. He is small for his age but as brave as brave can be. He has HUGE green eyes and his brown hair is always disheveled (if he ever needs glasses he could quite possibly be mistaken for Harry Potter – yes another Potter reference – yes I’m a nerd.)

He has owned diabetes since his first day back to pre-school two weeks after his diagnosis when he entered the classroom and announced to all, “gather round friends, I have diabetes, watch me check my blood sugar.” He has never let diabetes stop him from excelling at soccer and swimming or anything else. He can check his own blood sugar, count carbs and dose insulin (via his insulin pump) in the time it takes for to hear the title sequence of Phineas and Ferb. He often sleeps with his arms curled under his head, his knees tucked up under him and his bottom sticking up in the air just like he did as an infant. Of course this sleeping position makes checking his blood sugar at 3am a bit difficult because as I try to tug an arm out from under him he seems to develop superhuman strength insisting to keep his hands hidden beneath his pillow – all while sound asleep. The boy can also down a juice box in 4 seconds flat – even while sound asleep.

My Middles does not have diabetes (right now). He is at a high risk though since he has tested positive for antibodies that are commonly present in those who’s immune system is attacking their own body. (Sweetstuff had the same antibodies two years prior to dxd.) BUT right now he does NOT have diabetes and we pray daily that the signs are wrong – meanwhile he will begin a study with TrialNet that may help delay or stop the development of Type 1 diabetes.

Middles is a textbook example of a middle child only he has it much worse than typical middle kids since both his siblings also have Type 1. He struggles with jealousy, fear and sadness. He get’s jealous of Sweetstuff and Sugarboy for all the extra attention he perceives them receiving. He is afraid he will develop diabetes and fears for his brother and sister’s safety. He is sad for them too – he hates being around for infusion set (insulin pump thing) changes and worries when his little brother has a low blood sugar. He recently shared with me how angry he is that diabetes takes up so much time and how he thinks it makes my life hard. (Lots of hugs for that one)

Middles is tall for his age – and skinny – too skinny (scares me cus he seems skinnier lately – goes back to high risk for diabetes). He, like his siblings, has huge bright eyes – only his are more blue than the other two (more like his daddy’s eyes). He has sandy brown hair that seems to always need to be cut and is always in his eyes. He has a lazy eye and slight astigmatism which requires him to wear glasses or contacts. One would think that in this day and age kids would no longer be picked on for wearing glasses but that is not the case. Kids at his old school in TX took great pleasure in teasing him for his glasses. He had begged for contacts since he was 8 years old. We gave in when he turned 10. He is great at caring for his contacts and his confidence increases when he wears them. It is sad that kids pick on differences – I blame the parents.

Middles loves skateboarding, biking and video games. He enjoys athletics but has not found the best fit yet. His depth perception is not fantastic with his lazy eye so ball handling suffers – yet this has never hampered his desire to play and always tries to improve. He is one to try anything – food, sports, thrills, and meeting new kids. He is extremely outgoing – always excited to introduce himself and get to know others. He is so very kind, generous and polite. He doesn’t utter a request without a “please” and rarely forgets to say “thank you”. He will help all who ask and wouldn’t dream of putting another down (well if you don’t count siblings).

He is destined to be a lawyer or politician for sure. He will argue with all those he feels have wronged him or another. He will insist on being heard and will not easily concede if he feels he is in the right. (This does not always go over well in the classroom environment but we are working on it.)

Well – this was likely one of my longest posts and if you made it this far you should get some sort of prize – alas I have nothing but a heartfelt “thank you” to offer. I started this blog to sort out my own head. I am grateful for this prompt because it made me sit and give thanks for my wonderful children who teach me as much as I them.

Keeping it Kewl

In mid July I received an email notifying me that I was selected to receive a ClimaPak made by Kewl Innovations. I was thrilled to be chosen to try a new product that I feel there is a great need for.

I received my ClimaPak on Monday July 30th. Kewl Innovations expedited shipping due to our fast approaching cross-country travels to our new home.

I received:

  • ClimaPak device with USB charger and battery
  • Additional lithium-ion battery back
  • Auto charger

I charged each battery for 8 hours. I loaded a Lantus pen and vial of Novalog. It took me a bit to figure out how to load the Lantus pen. A small oversight allowed the unit to be sent to me (one of the first ever sent out) without an owners manual. Thus, it took me a moment to realize that the insulin pens have to be loaded without a cap. Of course the fact that I didn’t need the manual to determine this is a testament to the ease of use with the ClimaPak device – in my opinion. A quick message to the Kewl Innovations and I received the owner’s manual via email for future use. 

The first battery lasted over 5 days despite leaving the unit in a hot car and in direct sunlight. (The product manual suggests not doing the above two things but honestly I wanted to truly test the product.)

The unit never allowed the insulin to be out of temperature range while left in a vehicle for nearly an hour in 111 degree outside heat. The unit did alert me to temperature out of range after being in direct sunlight for an hour. However, the unit only went out of range by 2 degrees. Still very impressive.

So how about some bullet points – everyone loves bullet points.

Left in the freezer for 4 hours – insulin comfy at 48 degrees.

Things that are very Kewl:

  • Simple to use and program
  • True to its word – keeps insulin at a proper temperature despite being left in high temperatures that would have normally rendered insulin useless. Keeps insulin at proper temperature despite being placed in a freezer (yes I did do that).
  • Batteries last at least 5 days each and can be charged using a car charger with USB. I have not tried my portable battery charger with the unit yet but I suspect it will charge the unit batteries just fine. If so – I should be able to get nearly 20 days worth of battery life without having access to electricity.
  • Easily transported – fits in my kids backpacks, Camelbacks, and my purse (ok I do admit I have a large purse)

Concerns:

  • While the unit only weighs 1.8 ounces it will add weight to a backpack. With two boys in cub scouts and a daughter in girl scouts we camp frequently. Many of the campsites require a good hike in and out so additional weight is a concern. However, that being said – there have been a couple of camping trips in which the temperature dipped below freezing – rendering insulin outside my kids pumps useless.  I am not aware of another product that will keep insulin warm in cold temps.

Just so you know –

I was chosen to be one of the first users of ClimaPak during their pre-launch campaign. Thus, I did receive my unit at no cost with the following requests from Kewl Innovations:

  • Share my honest opinions about ClimaPak via conversations with friends and followers online
  • Provide feedback to Kewl Innovations about the product
  • MOST IMPORTANT: Be myself – no script provided – what I say is totally up to me.
  • Be Honest – Share my honest opinions, not a sales pitch just say how the product worked for me.

I am thrilled to be one of the first to try the ClimaPak and look forward to many adventures with CP. I will share any additional thoughts we have in future posts, twitter updates and Facebook updates.

 

California for Bust

http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/08/02/twitter’s-6th-birthday-a-look-back/

Technology is an awesome thing. Social networking sites keep us connected, informed, and entertained. Technology is also addictive and having been mostly unable to get connected for the last week has been causing me major withdrawals. There should be a 12 step program for this addiction.

We left TX on the 3rd of Aug. I lost my connection at my home on the 30th of July (thus no blogging – blogging from my phone is just painful – I tried). I have tried my best to keep up reading a few blogs from the road (very few quiet kid free moments in hotels made it difficult). Aside from the occasional instagram picture posted on Twitter or Facebook I haven’t been around. Keeping 3 kids, 2 dogs, 2 cats and a grandpa entertained has taken up most of my time and energy (not complaining it has been wonderful being fully focused on those I love).

Our ClimaPak by Kewl Innovations. More to come in a dedicated post tomorrow.

During our adventure I was asked to test drive the new ClimaPak produced by Kewl Innovations.  I will write a separate post to share our thoughts on CP.

Managing the kids blood sugars have proved very challenging. Moving out of our TX home on the 30th meant no way to cook healthy meals. Restaurants that do have healthy choices are often sit-down type places and are usually more costly. Thus up until we arrived at my dad’s home in AZ we were eating take-out and fast food. We did do subway but that proved difficult since my dear daughter has been having some issues with bread – ie. gluten (at least we suspect this is an issue). Not so healthy food choices combined with  16 hours in a car resulted in very yucky numbers and grumpy kids – despite increased basal rates.

The week of ugly numbers 250+ (even a few 400’s – due to missed meal boluses and a bent canula) combined with higher than normal numbers likely due to increased stress and anxiety will not result in my kids best A1Cs (not gonna make a great first impression with new endo in Cali). Yes I know an A1C isn’t the ‘end all be all’ of diabetes management but it is still a mommy report card and it does cause me guilt, frustration, and even embarrassment.

We will leave AZ on Wednesday to travel to California. It is an 11 hour trip, which is too long in a car for my traveling zoo. We will stop half way to rest. Planning on reuniting with my dear husband late afternoon on the 9th. Excited to be attending a Giants game on the 10th with the Bay Area JDRF.

You can donate to Ghosn’s vs. Diabetes by following this link: http://www2.jdrf.org/site/TR/Walk-CA/Chapter-GreaterBayArea4057?team_id=55803&pg=team&fr_id=1799

Bullets from the road:

  • Dads will always want to drive even if the daughter (that’s me) is 38 years old and it’s her van
  • Soda’s left in a hot vehicle should not be opened until chilled properly (sorry Hampton Inn)
  • Cats don’t travel well
  • Always go potty if given an opportunity – the next rest stop may be 73 miles away
  • You never need everything you pack – pack less.
  • Van Horn Texas has exactly one traffic light
  • If the kids fall asleep while driving in the late afternoon – wake them up or they will be awake at midnight in the hotel room
  • ‘Dry Heat’ is a myth people from AZ tell others so they don’t seem so crazy for living here (The mermaids in the lake and unicorns on the hill agree)
  • Even in the middle of the Texas Desert you can get Rush on the radio (Ill leave it to you if you want to think that is a good or bad thing)
Keep calm and drive on.