Explosives Detected

Recently we were fortunate enough to host one of my daughters BFFs from CA. Her sweet friend stayed with us for a week and it was wonderful watching my dear daughter laugh with her friend.

Sadly the visit had to come to an end. Although this friend is past the age of ‘unaccompanied minor’ according to airline regulations we still wanted to escort the friend to her departing gate.

My husband was not able to stay home with my two boys which meant me and all my kids accompanied the friend to the airport.

Traveling with diabetes can often be a real pain in the hindquarters and much of that pain can simply be getting though the security check points at the airport. Accompanying someone to the gate with gate passes means passing through the security check points.

The airline had no problem issuing the four guest passes we needed to escort the friend to the gate. The lines for security weren’t too terrible and we had plenty of time since her flight was delayed.

My boys each wear the Animas Ping pump. My daughter wears the Tandem TSlim.

Sometimes the position of the insulin pump can effect the metal detectors. We never send the pumps through the X-ray machines – some do – we don’t.

I asked all the kids to move their pumps in the center of their bodies – in front of belly buttons. I don’t know why this makes a difference but it does.

I don’t let the kids go through the full body imaging thingy because of the pumps.

We lined up for the old-fashioned metal detector line.

I have always warned the TSA agents that my kids wear insulin pumps and will likely cause the metal detector to alarm. That way we don’t waste time with the TSA people asking kids if they emptied their pockets – blah blah blah.

In the past if the kids don’t alarm (they don’t always alarm) TSA waves us on.

My daughters pump always alarms and since she is over 13 that means a full body pat down. Its annoying but she’s normally a good sport.

This time my boys did not alarm. We should have been waved through. Nope.

The TSA agent had a bee in her bonnet. She insisted they had to swab the boys.

Me: “But they didn’t alarm”

TSA: “Its policy”

Me: “But they DIDNT alarm”

TSA: “They are wearing pumps”

ME: “You wouldn’t have known that had I not told you – you can’t see the pumps.”

TSA: “Its policy.”

Me: “Oh for the love of bubble gum”

It took nearly ten minutes for them to find a TSA agent to do a swab and pat down my daughter since it was shift change time.

FINALLY someone shows up to swab the boys. This meant they had to touch their pumps then get their hands swabbed.

Sugarboy was first. Touch pump, swab hands, insert swab strip into machine.

“EXPLOSIVES DETECTED”

Oh Holy Hell.

The man with the cool mustache looked down at Sugarboy, looked at me, then looked at my other son.

Thankfully he said “its the machine. we will give it another go.”

Of course this meant waiting on a TSA supervisor to come resent the machine. Another 5 minutes. Machine reset – touch pump, swab hands, insert swab strip. All clear. Rinse repeat for Middles.

Meanwhile my daughter is waiting on a female to do a pat down. I look over and she is standing with her arms held out while the TSA agent recites a very long speal about what she is going to do during the pat down. My daughter is rolling her eyes and trying to just say “ok I’ve done this” but the lady just keeps talking.

Nearly 20 minutes after we stepped through the metal detector we were allowed to carry on.

Of all our air travels – this was by far the longest we have been detained by TSA. The worst part was we weren’t even boarding a plane.

The moral of this story –

If you have an Animas pump try placing it in front of the body just under the belly button and for the love of Pete don’t tell TSA first.

Also – plan for these possibilities when traveling by air – plan extra time because you will never know if someone peed in the TSA Cheerios earlier in the day causing some of them to be less than accommodating.

We have not used it but I have heard many in our club to have great luck with TSA Cares. If you have air travel coming up you may want to check into it.

For all my dear friends traveling to Children With Diabetes Friends For Life conference this week – I wish you safe travels and easy check points.

 

I Hate Our Normal

When I was growing up summer was a free for all. As long as my chores were done and it wasn’t my day to watch my younger siblings I was off doing all kinds of crazy crap. My crazy crap included long hikes in woods where we made our own trails, catching tadpoles in the pond, jumping in lakes, long bike rides (often to the store to buy soda and candy), walks to the A&W for hotdogs and floats, impromptu baseball games using our flip-flops for bases, unplanned sleep-overs and building forts. My parents both worked so honestly they never really knew what I was up to, where I was or when Id be home. This is how I spent my years between ages 8 and 15. When I was 15 I got my first job at a photo lab and road my bike there each day to work. It was a grand time. My biggest worries were mosquito bites and sunburn and honestly I didn’t actually worry about either.

We recently moved to one of the most beautiful places within the continental US. Everything is green, the air is warm but not hot, the breeze is cool and clean and there are countless trails and ponds to be explored. Our neighbors are wonderful and the neighborhood is full of kids of all ages. My doorbell rings non-stop with kids asking if my boys are home. Kids come and go jumping on the trampoline, playing lacrosse in the yard or basketball in the driveways or scooters in the road, assassin in the cul-de-sac, and playing video games in the rec-room. It is all just wonderful.

Then on a random Tuesday afternoon I am reminded that our normal is not the normal I grew up with and I’m pissed.

Middles was playing video games in the basement (rec-room) with a few friends. Their laughter could be heard on the 3rd floor. All is fabulous. Then after a few moments I realized the laughter was gone. I checked the basement and all the boys were gone. I didn’t think much of it they were likely all in the backyard or the cul-de-sac or the park down the road. I actually smiled to myself thankful they’ve put up the controllers and gone out to play.

A couple hours passed. I wasn’t watching the clock because Middles was gone but rather because I needed to get Sugarboy to soccer. I fed Sugarboy and hustled him off to get ready for soccer. I figured I best let Middles know I was leaving for a bit so I called his phone. No answer. I called again. No answer. Again. No answer. Then Sugarboy yelled down from the stairs – ‘Mom are you calling Middles phone?”

Crap. It was on his bedroom floor.

I turned and saw his glucometer on the counter. I checked the clock again – now its been over two hours since he was last home. How long before he had left had he checked his blood sugar? When did he last eat? Crap. I have to leave, Sugarboy will be late otherwise.

Middles and his friends were not in the backyard. I couldn’t hear them by the pond. They weren’t in the driveway. I grabbed my keys and drove through the cup-de-sac (it’s really more of a circle  with a wide group of tall trees and heavy brush about 50 feet by 100 feet in the center which works well for assassin, Nerf wars and airsoft assaults), I drove the 1/4 mile down the road to the park checking other driveways as I went. No Middles to be found. (I wouldn’t normally have driven but I was in a hurry)

I started to panic a little. Over two hours without a blood sugar check (which by itself is not an issue), no fast acting sugar on him, no cell phone on him, do these friends understand diabetes? Has he told them what to do in an emergency? Crap. Crap. Crap.

I call a few neighbors. Have you seen Middles? Nope.

Finally after what felt like a hundred hours but was more like 4 minutes I see him emerge from a friends backyard with his friends all boasting lacrosse sticks.

That’s when I let out the breath I didn’t realize I was holding.

He approached the van. Casually he asked where I was off to. I simultaneously wanted to throttle him and hug him.

I told him I was taking his brother to soccer and asked him to get his phone, check his blood sugar and put some fruit snacks in his pocket. I didn’t need to scold him. I could see in his face he knew he messed up. He apologized and told me they were gonna toss the lacrosse ball around in the backyard.

I dropped Sugarboy off at soccer then cried as I drove home.

Screw you diabetes. Screw all of it. Dammit I just wish my kids could disappear into the woods, skip rocks at the pond, ride bikes to the market to get ice-cream, and worry about nothing but bug bites (we will ignore the fact for the moment that there are bears and other clawed animals living in the woods around me).

Yes, I know things could always be worse. My kids are happy, healthy and able to do everything everyone else can do – it’s all the extra crap they have to do that is pissing me off right now.

This feeling will pass and I’ll gently remind my kids to have phones on them and charged, candy in their pockets and to keep me updated on their general whereabouts.

Raising kids with diabetes has many challenges (school care, nighttime numbers, birthday parties, sports, sleepovers, etc). When they were little they were nearly always with me or another adult well versed in diabetes. However they insist on growing on with each year they want and deserve more freedom to explore the world around us. This is just another challenge we as a family with an uninvited member will need to negotiate.

 

 

I Saw Red

Middles has been pumping via Animas Ping since Jan 5th. We’ve been mostly faithful Animas users for over seven years. Sugarboy started pumping with Animas in Aug of 2007. He upgraded to Animas Ping just as soon as it was available. Sweetstuff started pumping Animas Ping in Aug 2009 just 3 months after diagnosis. She switched to Tandem TSlim in December of 2013. Both Sugarboy and Sweetstuff used the Medtronic 530 and Enlite for 90+ days during a study as well but those units were returned after the study. I’ve never shared my thoughts regarding the 530 pump and Enlite because they wore them as part of a study and it wouldn’t have been ethical for me to share my thoughts regardless of our experience with the devices.

Over the years we have had very few issues with our Animas pumps. But tonight we had an issue with Middles pump.

He got a low battery alert earlier today but we were busy so he acknowledged the alert but didn’t switch the battery right away.

Nearing bedtime my boy checked his blood sugar and was running high. Unusually high. He went to correct and couldn’t read the screen. The text was red and jumbled up.

pumpphoto

Thinking it might have something to do with the low battery we replaced it. We would have replaced it before bed anyway.

Although difficult to read we changed out the battery and completed the required full rewind and load for the cartridge. I was able to do this despite the limited visibility because after 7 years I know the screens by heart.

After the battery change and cartridge load it was still unreadable.

Thankfully we have a spare Animas. I input Middles pump settings in Sugarboy’s old pump and sent him off to bed.

I dialed the toll free number on the back of the pump as my husband was suggesting it was too late and surely they wouldn’t be open. Silly man. Pump companies always have 24 hour tech support.

After a failed attempt to reset the contrast with the help of the Animas tech rep I was told a new pump would arrive Wednesday. Man I love Animas. Im also very relieved we had a spare pump handy.

Hoping for a safe landing for Middles and for some quality TV tonight so I can stay up and check his blood sugar in a couple hours to be sure he did land safely.

 

That’s Not The Answer I Wanted To Hear

I can’t tell you how often I have been asked it.

I never knew how scary my answer could be to others.

Until  – I asked the same question of someone not in the diabetes club.

historyphoto

Yesterday I met one of the strongest most beautiful women I’ve ever met. Not just physically beautiful, although she is. She also had this energy around her. Something that screamed “Im beautiful, life is beautiful and so are you.”

I normally drop my youngest at soccer practice and return home or run to the store. Practice is an hour and a half. He checks his blood sugar prior, has snacks, water and his meter in his backpack and his coach knows so I feel confident he will be fine. Yesterday I stayed. At first I stayed because I was chatting with another mom but still intended to leave. Then I stayed because Sugarboy ran to the sidelines saying he didn’t feel right. He checked, his blood sugar was 327 so he drank some water, gave a correction and ran off. Still I didn’t think I’d hang out but then I got to chatting again with two other moms and I was having fun playing with one of the other mom’s dog. I’m a sucker for a fun dog.

I can’t recall how it came up but at one point one of the moms mentioned, almost as a side note, that she has breast cancer and then our conversation continued with some other topic – kennel cough? homework? tattoos? I honestly don’t recall what we were talking about but all those things too. I kept thinking ‘but she has all her hair and she looks fabulous’. The conversation circled around and there was an opportunity for me to ask about the cancer. I don’t know all the rules regarding how one askes about cancer and I told her that too. She was so kind and said there aren’t any rules.

So this beautiful mom, women, wife, daughter was diagnosed over 8 years ago with stage 4 breast cancer. I know nothing about breast cancer so she explained stage 4 is not curable. At that point the cancer had spread to her bones and liver. There isn’t a cure, nothing can be cut out to save her. She only learned she had breast cancer because her neck hurt. Her neck hurt for months and she contributed it to being on bed rest prior to delivering her youngest son. After her son was born she did see a doctor. The pain was due to tumors compressing part of her spine. At the time she had a newborn a toddler and a second grader. Over the last 8 years she has done radiation twice and multiple rounds of chemo, including one that did cause her to lose her hair. She laughed as she recounted stories of drawing eyebrows on only to inadvertently wipe them off thus leaving only one brow. Have I said how beautiful her laugh is. I should say that I recognized her beauty before the word cancer was ever used. She was like one of those people you meet and hear talk and you just know you want to be around them because they would make everything fun, one who simply sends positive energy out just by laughing. I mention that because lots of people want to say how kind and wonderful people are after they learn the person has some chronic illness – it wasn’t like that, I was drawn to her before I knew.

Anyway – we talked more about kids, school, bears, soccer, and of course cancer.

Then I asked it. I prefaced it first with the fact that I know the question sucks but I still wanted to ask.

“Does it run in your family?”

No. No she is the only one. The first (hopefully the last). 

That answer stung. I mean really really stung. It wasn’t the answer I wanted. Not that I wanted to hear that many of her family have also had cancer, I wasn’t wishing ill will on others. It stung because that answer means it can and does happen to anyone. She was 39 when she was diagnosed. A month before her magical 40th birthday which would have allowed for the yearly mammogram.

Her advice – do breast exams starting as soon as you have breasts. Do them often. Know your body. The lump that started it all for her was tiny, it wasn’t a sphere, it wasn’t something she would have recognized as something to be concerned about. The only way she would have known to be concerned was if she had been doing regular self breast exams because she would have known it was ‘different’.

DO SELF EXAMS. KNOW YOUR BODY.

SCHEDULE THOSE APPOINTMENTS TO HAVE MAMMOGRAMS. (I have an appointment slip on my counter that Ive had for two weeks – waiting to call and schedule the appointment. Somewhere in our twisted minds (at least mine) not going means I’m safe. That’s stupid.)

Back to the question. In no way am I suggesting type 1 diabetes is anything like cancer. It isn’t. But that question – that scary ass question is something I’ve answered more times than I can remember. I’ve seen the look of ‘fear’ pass over the faces of people who’ve asked it – whether they are families with one child with diabetes who worry for their other children or families with no connection to diabetes – no one wants to hear that I have 3 kids with type 1 and no history on either side of our family tree.

Diabetes and Cancer (not comparing – just including) don’t care if there is history. They don’t care if a person is humble, generous, kind, intelligent, beautiful, educated, a mom, a dad, a baby – they do not discriminate.

Share the signs and symptoms of early onset diabetes so others may catch it early.

Do self exams to know your body.

Get anual physicals (that means turn and cough guys).

Wear sunscreen.

And always, always, love one another.

Random Encounters

It wasn’t the first time I met someone with a diabetes connection while in line to get a latte, probably won’t be the last.

Last weekend the daughter and I were in target. After checking out we stopped by the Starbucks located inside Target. (How ingenious is it to have Starbucks inside Target? If only movie theaters would follow suit.) While in line I placed a call to husband to ask him to have Sugarboy check his blood sugar because he had been in the 400s twice that day. The second time because he didn’t correct the first 400. I did not use the word diabetes.

I ended the call (funny how the phrase ‘hung up’ isn’t really in our vocab any more – curious if there are teens across the country saying ‘no you end. No you end. I’m not ending first, ok lets end together’)  <<(blame my ADD) and asked daughter if she wanted a beverage. Just then I made eye contact with another mom ahead of me. She smiled and simply said “type 1?”

We chatted for a few minutes while the sweet barista waited patiently to take my order. Sneaking a peak at the two children with her I asked if she also had a child with Type 1. She answered in the affirmative but her cwd wasn’t with her. Her cwd is a 14-year-old daughter and she shared that her daughter is currently having a ‘hard time of it’.

My daughter isn’t always excited to share with the general public that she has type 1 so before I made any mention of my daughters diabetes I stole a glance at her and she nodded her permission.

I told the other mom I had 3 with T1D. I waited the few seconds for that to process with the other mom. Often when I share ‘that’ with parents a couple of things happen – they sneak a peek at their non-T1D kids and their faces show a brief look of concern and I imagine they are thinking ‘what, how, why – really? could my other?’ I think it can be a scary thing to meet a family with multiples so I usually toss in a comment like ‘we are not the norm’ and watch as they relax a bit. I can’t recall if I added that tidbit during our brief encounter.

After sharing that I have 3 cwd I told the mom my daughter was also 14. Since my brain is mush lately – it being the last week of school – I can’t recall all we chatted about in our brief coffee line meeting. I do recall mentioning CGMs (Dexcome G4) and inviting my daughter to show off her TSlim pump which was greeted with the typical ‘oohh and ahhh’ (I mean lets face it Medtronic and Animas have nothing on TSlim when it comes to the initial WOW factor – it is sleek and sexy (I don’t use the word ‘sexy’ with my kids but if ever an insulin pump could be sexy the TSlim is) it is also very easy to use and IMHO a fabulous choice for teens and adults – my boys are still rock’n their Animas Pings and I do love them (the pumps and my boys of course) too) – how many parenthesis are in that run on sentence?

I also asked if the her child would be attending a sleep away diabetes camp this summer. She will be, the same week as my daughter. I saw the corner of my daughter’s mouth curl with a smile. My daughter isn’t nearly as excited about meeting other T1Ds or T1D families in the wild. She is happy to spot them, like some diabetes game of eye-spy but rarely wants to approach them. She tolerates my enthusiasm to a point. She was a good sport this day.

I gave my contact information to the other mom and wished her well.

Meanwhile a meet-up of families with kids attending various weeks of diabetes camp was coming together via a private Facebook group for the area. Thinking of the sweet family Sweetstuff and I had met I sent an email to the sleep away camp. I had nothing but the child’s name and HS she would be attending. The mom had introduced herself but alas my brain….

My contact at the camp was able to locate the family and shared the meet-up info with the family. I wasn’t trying to be weird or come off as stalking the other family, I just wanted to invite them to the meet-up. Thankfully when the mom emailed me she assured me she didn’t think it weird. Unfortunately they are out of town the day of the meet-up but we hope to get the girls together before camp.

My point to this post – I don’t really have one. I just thought it was fun to share.

well I guess I have a couple of points:

First – always be sure your kiddo is ok with you sharing diabetes stuffs – even if when they were younger they didn’t mind and actually participated in sharing – the silly thing about kids is they grow and they become these separate little people with their own thoughts and preferences. I am very cautious about what I share regarding my daughter now and almost always get her permission first – whether it be here on the blog, in a line at target or on other social media. There are many things I wish I could share because maybe something I share would help someone but the thing is this isn’t all my story it’s hers and she needs to own it. I guess that’s a bit off topic from a random diabetes encounter but since I had mentioned that she doesn’t always want to share I thought Id explain further.

Second – well there isn’t really a second but since I started with ‘first’ I think proper grammar/writing rules says there has to be a ‘second’ something like in an outline you need a ‘B’ if you have an ‘A’. I’m not always great with grammar which is why its unlikely I’ll ever write a book.

I do love random diabetes encounters.

The membership to our club is costly but I must say the members are priceless.