Thursday, October 28, 2010

Our 2nd Halloween with Diabetes

Diabetes came into our lives just a month or so before Halloween last year.  Nate came down with a stomach bug and it landed us back in the hospital just a week before the big candy fest.  So, pretty much all that taken into account and the fact that Nate was only 15-months old - Halloween was pretty much a non-issue for our family.

Nate had a costume last year but he HATED it so he didn't even wear it to go trick or treating --

No devil costumes for Nate!!

Nate & Jim Trick or Treating 2009

OH BOY! How things have changed in a year!  Nate is is now 2 and we've been living with D for just over 1 year now.  Oh yea and did I mention that Nate LOVES candy, cookies, cupcakes -- well, pretty much anything sweet?!?  Biggest Sweet Tooth EVER!

So, this year I am quite sure he will partake in the family tradition of chili dogs, trick or treating and then the candy fest!  This year he is ready to GO - - -

I promise he is going to wear pants on Sunday! 

Trick or Treat - GIVE ME ALL YOUR CANDY!!

I know it will be trial and error but this year we will just do the same thing we have done for the girls every year.  We trick or treat until their little hearts are content and then head home to pass out the candy we just received to all of the trick or treaters that come to our door.  Don't get me wrong --- we eat plenty of candy too but we always get SO much there is no possible way that we could eat it all.  And - Hello it saves me money by not having to purchase Halloween candy. The girls have always been allowed to eat their candy in moderation and I see no reason to make any changes here for Nate.

I mean really - do you really think little Emma could have eaten all of that?  Ok, maybe she could now but NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!!  She got to pick out her favorites, we handed out the rest and then Jim and I devoured all of the leftovers after she went to bed!!  :)

Am pretty sure Sophie would have loved to eat all of that candy!  Instead she ate a few that she picked out and we handed out the rest to all of the little urchins that came to our door.  :)

All of that to say Halloween is not a huge issue with our family.  I sweat a lot of things (Christmas and Thanksgiving are currently more stressful because of the excitement of the day causing high bgs and just overall timing of it all with extended family in the mix - - blah blah blah) but Halloween I can handle.  Everything in moderation and we'll be just fine.  Plus if it is anything like Easter - - - Nate was low for hours from all of the running around looking for eggs that he got to happily munch on many treats throughout the afternoon.

I believe this is just another one of the things that everyone handles differently.  What works for me may not work for you and what works for you may not work for me.  That's what I love so much about the DOC -- it's about sharing your experiences and not pushing your theories, ideas or beliefs.  Just sharing and trying to help one another.

Happy Halloween Y'all!!
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nakend Pancreas - Houston Style

The very lovely and very foul-mouthed (2 things that I absolutely love about her) Reyna over at Beta Buddies started the Naked Pancreas Challenge.  Here are my Naked Answers!!

1. What kind of insulin management mode do you use?
Nate pumps with the OmniPod

2. How often do you inject/change pump sites?
  We change Nate's pod every 72 hours or sooner if necessary.  He's a 2-year old boy so it's usually sooner because it's always necessary. 

3. What type (s) of insulin do you use?

4. What are your basal settings ?  
When we 1st started pumping we had 10 or 12 basal settings but right now these 3 are (knock-knock-knocking on wood) working for us -

12am : 0.05 units/h
4am: 0.15 units/h
1p: 0.10 units/h

5. What are your correction factors ?
Nate goes to bed at 7p so it's a little higher starting then --- I hate the way he drops at night.  :(
6a - 7p: 1:250
7p - 6a: 1:300

6. What are your meal ratios ?
Oh Mercy!
12a - 830a: 1:20  Breakfast
830a - 1030a: 1:28 Snack
1030a - 730p: 1:26 Lunch and Dinner
730p - 12a: 1:27  Anything in between! 

7. What do you do for activity and/or PE?
So far at the ripe old age of 2 this has not been a major issue but we are finding that when Nate is super active he drops like a rock.  We are still trying to figure out just the right amount a free carbs to offset his activity level.  This is not easy.

8. How do you manage Pizza, Macaroni and Cheese, or any other "difficult to manage" foods?
So far we have not had any major issues with pizza (again --- knocking on wood) but macaroni and cheese kicks my arse.  He goes low then goes high and I am still trying to figure out how to conquer it with the extended bolus.  I think a lot of the 'problem' foods are not really a problem for Nate because he is still so young.  He doesn't eat THAT much of any one item.  I'm sure our day will come but until then we shall eat pizza!!!! 

9. How do you prefer to manage your logs/data?
I am the queen of spreadsheets!!  I have a kick butt spread sheet that I used to use all of the time but honestly I stopped logging months ago.  It's all in my head.  Seriously - I don't know my name 1/2 of the time but I can tell you everything about everything when it comes to Nate's bg numbers, basals and ratios.

Ok, I exposed myself "as a naked pancreas" to the whole D-OC thanks to Reyna's Naked Pancreas Challenge.

Anyone else game? 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Before Nate was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes I knew nothing of it -
I remember my dad telling me adults have type 2 and children have type 1.  That's it - end of story.  I never gave it a second thought. Ever.

Then on September 17, 2009 Nate was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and now I can tell you just about anything and everything you want (or do not want) to know about it. I wonder often if when I get so frustrated with my friends and family for not understanding what I go through on a daily basis if it makes me a hypocrite?

My cousin was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 10 years ago --- he was very private about it but I never took the time to understand what he had or how to help.  I hate to admit it but I actually remember feeling frustrated with him one Christmas (I was hosting our VERY large family for Christmas day) when he asked me if I had Splenda for his tea.  What?  Hello - can't you see I'm busy here.  NO - I don't have any stupid Splenda for your tea.  Ok - hopefully he's not reading this because I'm pretty sure he never knew I felt that way.  I was a little overwhelmed by my ENTIRE family being in my house, preparing a meal (ok, an entree or two), having my kids running around and all of the usual stresses that come with the holidays.  No Excuse.  If I had known then what I know now I would have had Splenda and whatever else he needed to make things easier for him. Carb counts - heck yes! Splenda - yep!  I would have done more.

Here we are 1-year after diagnosis and I am so frustrated that people still don't get it.  Although just a few years ago I didn't get it.

I am trying to educate, advocate, share our story, and teach my friends and family.
My frustration comes when I see that now not just 1 but 2 family members have Type 1 and my family still doesn't 'get it'.

We count carbohydrates - not just occasionally but every single gram that goes in Nate's mouth.  It doesn't matter if it is "sugar free", "diabetic friendly", or "reduced sugar" -- we still count every gram of carbs that go into his mouth.  Insulin keeps Nate alive.  Insulin can kill Nate.  A high bg make his tummy hurt and makes him very grumpy.  A low bg makes him sweaty, shaky, weak and lethargic.  Nate has a very important schedule.  We still eat at around the same time every. single day.  A schedule is important (in my opinion) for any child but it is even more important for a type 1 child.  Nate doesn't get to eat whenever and whatever he wants AND there are times when he really shouldn't eat.  It's hard - it's complicated but it is our life.

All of these things are important.  They are important to me, to Jim and to our family.  These things help us keep Nate safe and healthy.  Clearly, unless you live this life you don't get it and it doesn't mean much to you.

We plan everything.  We do not expect our extended family to revolve around Nate or our family but assistance with accommodating our schedule is always appreciated.  We do not have the luxury of being all willy nilly with our plans.  Keeping our son alive is our priority.  What happens during his day directly effects what happens during his night and what happens during his night directly effects what happens during his day. It is non-stop.

I really do not think anyone outside of this life understands.  I have no idea who in my family reads my blog but am sure if they are reading this one I will catch all kinds of grief.  This is my place!  This is my blog.  This is where I let loose.  So, if you are reading this and are offended -- please don't be.  Or stop reading now before it gets worse. :)

This weekend we are having a family get together which we do every year to celebrate Halloween.  It is always in the late afternoon/evening.  We grill hot dogs, make chili, bob for apples - - - it's a lot of fun and the kids LOVE IT.  This year we were told that we would need to move the time up to 2p because there was a chance that the Rangers would be in the World Series (Woot-Woot!!).  Ummmm - yea - I'm super happy about the Rangers this year too but I'm sorry - my family doesn't have the luxury of planning events around a baseball game.  It's just not that easy for us.  We compromised on 3p which is still early for Nate's schedule but we don't want to be a major pain.

Hey - guess what??  The Rangers are in the World Series and it was mentioned that it would be better if we could move the time back up to 2p which we cannot do.  Not even possible for us.  Nate naps at that time and if it is at 2p --- what time would we eat?  How would that effect his bg?  How would the rest of the night go?  What if he's high - what if he's low? See - everything is about diabetes in our world and although it is the most important thing to us --- it clearly is not even on the radar of others.  It's such a hard balance.  I'm totally stressed because I know I come off as looking like a hard ass that won't budge but it's just not that easy.

Now I'm consumed with Thanksgiving and Christmas and what those days will hold with family.  What time will we eat, how will we control Nate's diabetes those days?  Should I just ease up and let him have an off day?  One day won't hurt him ---- or will it?  I just don't know and it is not worth the chance.  I work so hard to keep him healthy, his numbers in range and am always thinking about how each and every number effects his little body.  I find it very difficult to just relax and roll with it when it comes to Nate's health.

Don't get me wrong Nate's OmniPod makes life much easier than it was when he was on MDI but he still naps and is very grumpy if he doesn't and we still need to stay on a schedule so that I can keep my sanity.  :)
What's left of it anyway?!?!!?

How do you balance it and make everyone happy?

I'm such a hypocrite.  Two years ago I didn't give a flip. Why should I expect the others around me to care when  not so long ago ---- I was one of the others?!?!
Monday, October 25, 2010

It Is Time

It's time for me to come back to my blog. I've missed it and I have a lot to write about ---- so much to share but my heart is still heavy from the loss of Eilish, a 13 year old little girl that passed away in her sleep last week.  Eilish had type 1 diabetes and is believed to have passed away from Dead in Bed Syndrome.

For a mom it is very hard to hear about any child losing their life.  I. Cannot. Imagine.
I've been staring at the screen for hours and really cannot find the words --- I'm at a loss.

I don't worry any more or any less about Nate's diabetes because of this passing.  The fear has always been there.  So many people are not aware of the of what goes on in the life of a mom with a child with diabetes.

The fear, the worry, the exhaustion, the schedule, the math, the counting, the dosing, the never-ending work. 

The hard part is knowing that you can do it all right.  You can count every carb, weigh ever gram of food, accurately dose insulin, and repeatedly check blood sugar and still this disease is never really in your control.

Last week I did not cry at the news of Eilish's passing.  Since Nate's diagnosis I have read about several children passing away from the complications that are associated with diabetes.  I somewhat stayed away from the blogger community and kept to myself.  I think this was my way of ignoring the situation in an attempt at not having to deal with the reality of an all too real situation. 

Last night I stepped back in and have been completely blown away by the compassion, grief, and overwhelming sorrow that I am now feeling.  My tears are flowing freely for a little girl that I have never met.  I cry for Eilish, her mother, her father and for her little sister, Ella.  I also cry for Jesse Alswager's family, for Alec Temple's family, for Trent Nicholson's family, and Chantal Driver's family

You see I am not looking for answers --- I know that diabetes does not play fair.  I know these parents did everything right and still diabetes took their children.  I know that this very easily could be my family one day.  I live with that reality every day as do all of the other parents living with diabetes.  I only hope that all of the families that are struggling with the loss of their children know that there is a very large community thinking about you, loving you and lifting you up every single day. 

The outpouring of love and support has been amazing -


There are many, many more but these are the ones that I have read to date.  They are all so beautiful and telling of a community that is truly grieving.

Today Michelle Page Alswager, a long time diabetes advocate and mother of Jesse Alswager guest blogged on Diabetes Mine.  I have never met Michelle personally but have followed her journey on Triabetes Took Over My Life since Nate's diagnosis in 2009. Her amazing strength and grace has been an inspiration to me both before and after her son's passing.  She has always been an advocate for diabetes and has continued to advocate, educate and speak out since Jesse's death.  I admire her for her strength, resolve and most of all for her honest and open communication with the DOC. Please read her wonderful guest post over at Diabetes Mine.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Parade of Pumps - OmniPod

I have posted several times about my love for the OmniPod Insulin Management System. Today I would like to share the reasons why we chose the OmniPod and why I love the OmniPod so much I am thinking about marrying it. :)

Just about 2 weeks after Nate was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes our family participated in the JDRF Walk for a Cure. While at the walk my friend, Kimberly introduced me to the OmniPod representative, Rainne Brandt. We discussed the OmniPod briefly at that time but I was still completely overwhelmed by Nate's diagnosis so she gave me her card and some sample pods & I moved on.

When our family started thinking about pumping I thoroughly investigated and researched all of the insulin pumps currently on the market. All the while these little pods were sitting on my desk staring at me every time I sat down. After narrowing it down to the 3 most popular pumps: OmniPod, Ping and MiniMed it was such a clear choice for our family. We had to have the OmniPod!

* Probably the most obvious reason that we chose the OmniPod is NO TUBING. I spoke with several other D-Moms about their experiences with tubing all of which were positive but still the tubing was 100% an issue for Nate. I knew from the beginning that we needed to be tube free but I wanted to get all of the facts. I was honestly afraid my crazy boy would rip out that tubing and try to lasso his sisters with it - - - seriously, would not surprise me one little bit!

I love that Nate can do all of this with nothing in his crazy way!

* Selfish, selfish me! Let me tell you why . . .
I hate shots! I hate getting shots and I hate giving shots. When the the nurse in the hospital made me give Jim a practice shot I nearly passed out. It was awful! The thought of inserting something larger than that little syringe into my son almost made me want to die. I watched several videos (over and over) of different people doing site changes and I knew I could not do it. Nope, not going to happen! When I saw a video of the OmniPod with its AUTO-INSERTION ---- it had me at Hello!!!! The pod sticks to Nate's little body, I push a button, count to 5 and DONE.

Priming the Pod

Placing the Pod Video Video

Auto Insertion Video

Disclaimer: Site changes for Nate are hit or miss. Some nights they are no big deal and some nights he screams and cries. This night it was 50/50 but i t is the only video I've got of site change night. Welcome to my chaotic life - - - !!!!

* Although I did not love the Freestyle meter when we got it --- I seriously love it now. It is built into the PDM and the strip requires the smallest amount of blood. I actually moved Nate's lancet from a 2 to a 1 and it is the perfect amount of blood. The strips have two sides so there is NO MORE ERROR 5 and can I just say that the little light on the end of the meter totally rocks for all of our nighttime checks.

* The PDM (Personal Diabetes Manager) is by far the easiest remote control that we have in the house. The screen is large, bright and very easy to read. It asks simple questions like "Are you going to eat now?" and "Would you like to change your pod now?". Once it asked "Would you like to marry me?" I said "Yes" and we have been together ever since. :)~

Here is a picture I took of Nate today. We were in the truck on the way to gymnastics. I had just checked his BG on the built in meter. He was a nice 150 (with a decreased basal (by 50%) for gymnastics) but I thought he needed a few carbs to keep him steady during his 1 hour class so I bolused him at a red light and gave him some cookies! The cookies were 15g and I wanted about 10g to be free for gymnastics. SO EASY!

Oh yea - he was 120 after class! I love that!

* The BEST SALES REP EVER - Rainne Brandt. I mentioned her earlier in this post but let me just tell you how absolutely spectacular she is:
  • She has been with us every step of the way. We started talking with Rainne long before we made a decision on which pump we wanted and she was always available to answer any and all of my questions
  • She delivers. She came to our house and delivered stickers for Nate to 'pimp his pods', she brought us samples of different products to help with Nate's sensitive skin and products to help keep his pod in place.
  • She texts! Rainne and I have had an entire text conversation while I was bathing the kids and then I called her back at 11:00 PM and we talked a little more!
  • She is Type 1 and she wears the OmniPod.
  • She let me do a site change on her before I had to do one on Nate.
  • She knows her stuff and I trust her completely.
  • She cares about Nate, she knows his na me and his diagnosis date and didn't stop calling or caring after she made the sell.
All in all there is so much more I could say about the OmniPod and I am sure as time goes on I will come back and add things to this post. I would love to discuss IOB, Temp Basals, Suspending Insulin and so much more but I will have to save it for another day. As I am sure you have figured out by now Hallie, Meri and I decided to do this post together as a Parade of Pumps and we set a deadline which I must meet today! :)

But, before I go I wanted to share with you what my pumping partner in crime, Jessica had to say about her love for the OmniPod:

Liam likes to play with stuff. Random pieces of stuff he finds around the house. Pieces of packaging, assorted electronic accessories, etc. You get the picture. So the idea of attaching a piece of tubing to his body that we were going to rely on to give him life supporting insulin, and then expect him to not touch it, play with it, turn it into some kind of space ship or something - was just not realistic, from a practical sense. And that was aside from our own issues about seeing him tethered to some sort of medical device. We didn't want anything holding him back.

That was the initial appeal of it. We did some research, and we liked a lot of what we heard. We liked that there weren't multiple parts needed for each site change. We liked that the insertion was so fast, and after feeling it ourselves, almost painless in comparison to other sets. We liked that he didn't have to worry about disconnecting for bathing and activities. It became clear that it was the only choice for us.

We definitely had our questions. We may have attended pump class with the OmniPod in mind, but we listened to the advantages of the other pumps, and we asked a lot of questions.
Now that we have it, I love the PDM. I love how clear the display is, how I can bolus him remotely, that it works as a meter so that we have less to carry around. As confusing as pumping can seem when you are new to it, I have always found the PDM to be very intuitive and easy to follow. So easy that I feel comfortable that his teachers at preschool bolus him for his snack by answering a series of very easy questions. I love that he doesn't have to think about wearing his pump - he forgets it's there. No tubes to get tangled in, no digging it out of his clothes to bolus him.

It's made life so much easier.

The OmniPod was the right choice for our family. I hope by posting this with both Meri and Hallie everyone will have a chance to look at some of the pumps available and make the right choice for their own families.
Friday, October 8, 2010

This, That & The Other

1st --- I want to say that I thought all of the No D-Day Posts were greatness.  I really enjoyed reading and learning more about the people that blog about D (yes, you people that live in my computer - I'm talking about you!!).

Way to go Ninjabetic!!  Congratulations on a very successful No D campaign!

2nd --- I would like to thank everyone for all of the kind words about our home.  I love to decorate and am excited to be able to find that passion again after a year absence.  And for those of you that thought my house was tidy - - - please know it's all in the angle of the camera!!  Just so that you don't think I'm a big, fat liar --- here is a picture of my office.  OMG - are you ready for this??  It's embarrassing! 

Yep - - - that's where I'm sitting RIGHT NOW!!  No wonder my posts are always so crazy - look at my work area.  If it doesn't have a home - - - it somehow always ends up in this room.  I may or may not clean it out this weekend - - - that remains to be seen.  :)

3rd --- I forgot to thank Reyna over at Beta Buddies and Hallie at The Princess and the Pump for giving me the idea of a home tour for my non-D post.  Thanks, Ladies. 

4th --- Check out Jen's Sugar Bolus over at I Am Your Pancreas.
 It's a good one so GO CHECK IT OUT!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

No D Day Post


George over at Ninjabetic had a great idea - a No D Day! Where we all blog, Facebook and Tweet about our other lives, where no D is mentioned or even hinted about.

Well, here it is the No D Day Day and I have nothing.  Really.  Is my life so full of the letter that shall not be mentioned that I cannot come up with 1 post minus that letter?  Maybe.  Maybe I need to get a life!!

I don't really feel like writing about myself --BORING!  I think you all know Nate, Sophie and Emma.  I've posted about my little darlings plenty.   So, I'm going with a hodge podge - (are those even words) of different things to give you a glimpse into my life.

1st off - - - 

Home.  Home is after all where the heart is --- right?

Anyway - - - here it is:

Our house faces east - - - I took these this AM.  Notice all blinds are shut! Vampires could not survive for a moment in our house in the AM!!

 Live - Action shot this morning.  Sophie and Nate eating breakfast at the table and Emma standing at the counter.  Messy - Messy - Messy!! 

 We're up soooooo early - it's still dark outside. I'm not at all a morning person.  This is about 6:45 this AM.  Emma has to be at school by 7:45 so we usually leave at 7:30.  Behind Sophie is the wine cooler - - - it's full of yummylicious grape goodness! Come one over - - - let's relax and unwind.  No D - remember!!  RELAX!

Here is our dining room.  I just decorated for fall/Halloween yesterday!!  I love to decorate my house for every holiday. Here are some of the things I posted on FB yesterday:

 Next up - Christmas!!  My all time favorite!!  I can't wait!!

This is where the little man sleeps. Look closely and you will see there are plenty signs of -- oops not going there!

Yep - here it is.  The playroom.  Holy Guacamole - how did this place get so messy this early in the AM? Oh that's right - we were too tired to clean up last night.  

Sophie's Messy Room

The formal living area is actually right in the middle of the house - - it very big and very open so we use it a lot. It's formal but livable - the kids use it a lot to build train tracks, put on shows and play tag.  On the chair are the Super Nate shirts I have yet to mail out.  Kim Green, Amanda Thompson and a few others.  Should get on that!!  See that box on the sofa??  Oh yea baby - Am I allowed to say this D Word??  DexCom sensors arrived!!  Woot-Woot 3-month supply!!  Happy Dance!!

So about mid way through taking pictures I decided the house is really way too messy to be showing you around!!  Emma's room was a disaster - I walked in and walked right back out!  My office is embarrassing and my bedroom seems a little too private!!  :)

Tour is over!! 

Moving on . . .

So on to something to make you laugh:

This is what your Rx looks like when your last name is HOuston!!  :)


Here are some non-D pictures of Nate - - - each one has provided me with a chuckle and an additional gray hair:





Just a Mom

I am NOT a doctor, nor do I play one on this blog.

I AM a wife.
I AM the mom of 3 wonderful children.
I AM my son's pancreas.

The information provided on this blog is from our personal experiences with Type 1 diabetes. Because something works for us does not mean it will work for you.

Please consult your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your health care options.

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