An Unexpected Anniversary

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An Unexpected Anniversary

October 30, 2000 I am in the kitchen baking up Halloween treats for the kids Halloween parties at school. I loved these moments. The excitement, the energy, the creativity. Halloween was so much fun.

But…that day transitioned into a life I never thought I would ever entertain on October 31, 2000. That was the day I learned I would become the parent of a child with Type 1 diabetes.

On the morning of October 31st I got the kids ready for school. I packed the plastic containers with Halloween baked goods & saw them on the bus.

That afternoon as the kids unloaded off the bus & I walked them in the door asking how their day went & how their Halloween parties went, Kurtis say’s the words a parent does not want to hear.

“I didn’t eat any treats today because I felt sick to my tummy & drank & peed all day.”

I felt the energy drain out of my body. I didn’t even have to test him. I knew.

I asked Kurtis if Mommy could poke his finger like Mommy does to test her sugar. He flat out refused. I was on my own so did not have the help of another adult to convince him otherwise. Luckily I happen to still have Keto-Diastix in the bathroom. After I dipped & confirmed what I already knew with 4+ sugar & negative ketones, I placed the call to my GP’s office. He reassured me that based on the fact he had no ketones, take him out for Halloween as usual but don’t allow him to eat any treats loaded with sugar & bring him in first thing in the morning. At that point we would begin the transition to insulin with education to be a parent of a child with Type 1 & subsequently living with it.

Initially, the next 2 nights were the hardest. Halloween involved me trying to portray it was a normal night out with the kids trick or treating. With the exception that my 7 year old baby had just learned he had diabetes like his Mom. He would have to take needles & poke his fingers & have low blood sugars that didn’t look nice. As we walked up the road, from house to house, Kurtis would throw himself on the side of the road belly first & wail “I don’t want diabetes” or “I hate diabetes.”. I would leave him briefly then say as I tried not to cry “Okay Buddy, l know it sucks. Let’s go to the next house & trick or treat.” I honestly didn’t know how else to be. I knew he had to grieve even though it was about something he didn’t quite understand in it’s entirety but knew starting tomorrow he would begin to learn the essence of what living with diabetes was about. He only understood the external ‘bad’ things with diabetes….severe lows, needles & finger pokes. He didn’t yet understand the other side….how he’d feel being low, high, going to the Dr’s the next day to have blood drawn or the complexity of counting carbs, the demand it would have on his body & mind 24-7-365 & the ridicule he would receive at school for years to come.

The next day was emotionally distressing for both of us. I was the only parent present. His father refused to come home from out of town to support this critical event or his family.

While Cayla went to school, Kurtis & I made our way to the GP’s office. After a lot of coercion we finally tested Kurtis’ sugar by finger poke to determine his fasting sugar was 13.5 mmol/L. I blamed myself. I felt guilty. What have I done to my child?

The GP called the Paediatrician’s office & the hospital to arrange an appointment at the Adult Diabetes Clinic as there was no Paediatric clinic at that time.

We knew the Paediatrician from 6 years prior when Kurtis had an anaphylactic reaction to Benadryl & severely ill with chicken pox in which he almost died at the age of 1. We chatted briefly & said to me…”Mom, you have Type 1 & you’re a nurse, you know what to do. I’d rather not put him in the hospital so here’s the prescription for the insulin.” He gave me the dose to give him & sent me off to the hospital to learn how to carb count.

Once at the hospital I sat with the dietician as she taught me how to carb count. The entire visit Kurtis had marker in hand. Standing in front of a flip chart he wrote time & time again in big 7 year old letters “I HATE DIABETES” “I HATE DIABETES” “I HATE DIABETES”. It hurt so much to watch but I knew it was good for him to get it out. Me? I was on robot mode. Survival. Take it in. Learn it. Function. Sacrifice emotion for taking good care of my baby. Helping him through this time so that he accepted & transitioned into such a terrible diagnosis.

Once home, I explained to Cayla what had happened during that day. She was 9 & a mature 9. She grasped it fairly easily & knew she had to step back & let me care for Kurtis for a little while. Closing into supper time I explained to Kurtis that just like Mommy he will test his blood & take a needle. That’s where it didn’t go so well. Testing his sugar was a bit of challenge but doable. He tested at 32 mmol/L. I explained to him that he really needed his insulin to bring his sugar down as I didn’t want to have to take him to the hospital & have someone else do it. He didn’t care. He just didn’t want the needle.

After about an hour of trying to convince him, going into another room & having a little cry on my own, I called my Mom. Knowing she had been through worse then me with my diagnosis, I asked for her help. When Mom arrived my head was spinning, Kurtis was crying & Cayla was trying to keep the calm in a whirlwind of frenzy. I was also angry because his father wasn’t present in a time we all needed him.

In my mind I can still see Kurtis sitting on the kitchen chair on an angle from the table explaining to me in tears how he doesn’t want the needle & his rationale as to why he doesn’t need it. His eyes swollen with tears pleaded to me & it broke my heart. Thankfully my Mom had already been through the heartache of my diagnosis at age 5. She had raised a child with Type 1.

In her calm, she finally convinced Kurtis to let me inject in his arm.

After I got the kids settled to bed, I cried & cried. I felt it was my fault. I caused this.

How did I move forward? My Mom asked me a question that changed my attitude which helped me transition to a Mom accepting she has a child with Type 1 diabetes. “Would you have had him if you knew he would get Type 1?”

No regrets. It sucks but attitude & the choice to transition to a new life is essential to living life with Diabetes Beyond Borders. This year is another Diabeteversary. October 31, 2013 Kurtis has lived with Type 1 for 13 years. The transition continues.

Trick or Treat

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Trick or Treat

October 31st is a significant day for me. I have 3 major memories that I associate with this day.

1. Going out for Hallowe’en as a child living with Type 1 diabetes.

2. October 31, 2000 is the day I dipped my 7 year old son Kurtis’ urine to discover he had 4+ sugar and thankfully no ketones but knew he had developed Type 1 diabetes. I dipped his urine as he refused to let me test his sugar with a glucose meter. I had poked his fingers 2 years earlier and knew this day would come.

3. I became a parent of a child with Type 1 diabetes trying to figure out how to let him enjoy going out for Hallowe’en without allowing his blood sugars to go askew.

This Blog is 1 of 3 parts sharing my experiences with October 31st.

Part 1:

When I was a child there were no pumps, rapid acting insulin or carb counting. My Mom did not have the technology at her finger tips to count carbs, push a button &/or inject & eat the treats. For the first few years, my Mom & Dad would take me out for Hallowe’en. They would use the bag of treats for when I had low blood sugars. I don’t recall having them as a random treat.

I don’t recall how old I was but I was under 10 when there came a time my parents figured I would be old enough to keep the bag of Hallowe’en candy in my closet. They told me I could keep it in the closet in my bedroom on condition that I tell them when I felt “funny” so I could dip my urine…yes…dip my urine!! to test to see if I was negative (a possible low). Then I could ‘treat’ with my treats.

I recall trying to have self control but what child under 10 can keep a bag of candy in their closet & not eat it at will? I understand why my parents did what they did, they wanted to try and incorporate some normalcy for me. They felt by doing this it would help me feel included in choice.

What happened? Each day when everyone was busy I would sneak candy. How did I get caught? My Dad was an avid runner. He always chewed gum when he ran. One day he went to go out for a run and realized he was out of gum. He came to me and asked to take some gum from my Hallowe’en bag. I still remember the panic. I felt horrified. The bag was full of wrappers but nothing else.

Little did I know that my Mom had been perplexed for weeks wondering why my urine was dipping positive for high sugar. After trying to avoid my Dad from going into my closet to get my bag of stash that no longer existed I knew the jinx was up.

I stood there with a full body panic as Dad looked into my bag. Dad was pretty cool. I do believe in that moment in time he knew that him & Mom shouldn’t have allowed this to happen. It was explained to me the implications of what happened to my sugars as a result of my choices. Mom was relieved because now she knew why!! Two very important lessons I learned and interestingly will never forget.

What happened with subsequent Hallowe’ens? It was actually pretty cool! Mom, Dad & I with my little sister & brother would go through our stash as most do. When we did, Mom, Dad & I would negotiate the price of my stash. It was a game. With that money I was allowed to go shopping for my own treats. Off to the local convenience store I would with my $1-$2 and go buy whatever sugar free treats that were offered.

I don’t feel like I missed out. Not once.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

Making Diabetes Sexy

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Making Diabetes Sexy

Pictured is my “Keeping Diabetes Sexy” bag. If you saw it in my purse you would think it was a make-up bag. It’s pink, it’s pretty, it’s girly, it’s sexy. It has character & looks glamorous. But, that is not the sexiest part of this bag, what is? The contents contained within.

Inside is a back up infusion set, tubing, cartridge, Tegaderm, AAA battery, pen tip, lancet, 1/2 unit pen with rapid acting insulin, test strips, Dex 4 gel, SweetTarts (in it’s own sexy container), ketone meter, ketone strips, BG meter & gum. GUM?!? Yep. What’s the one thing that is so not sexy when you have a high sugar??? Bad breathe!!

So why are these items that are products to support my diabetes in a time of high or low blood sugars sexy? Let me convince you they are by telling you what is not…

1. In 1995 I worked full time at a daycare. Driving home from work I realized that I was going low. All I had with me was a really ripe banana. Cayla & Kurtis were in the car with me. I managed to eat the banana & arrived at a convenience store only to discover I had no money on me. At that time there was no debit, no cell phone. I decided I could make the 15 minute drive home to get the juice I so badly needed. I don’t remember driving home. I could’ve killed my children, someone else or left my children without their Mom.

2. Just this past November we attended a Christmas dinner. We stayed overnight. About 2am I woke feeling very, very sick to my stomach. I tossed & turned until I realized I should run to the bathroom. I didn’t make it. From that time until about 8am I continued to vomit violently. My muscles ached, I couldn’t shake it. My BG’s were between 12-15 mmol/L. I determined they were high because of the stress of vomiting. I thought for sure I had food poisoning as the salmon I ate dinner was a bit ‘funny’. I continued to correct & at one point did see my BG drop to 8 mmol/L. Finally at 8am when I was struggling to breath, my chest felt so heavy, every breathe I took burning like acid, I turned to my fiancé & asked him to take me to the hospital, something was really wrong. It was at that moment I picked up my pump to correct a high one more time & realized I could feel the wet insulin coming through the tubing at the connection of the cartridge. It was only then I realized I was in DKA. Thankfully I had an extra site change, tubing & cartridge with me. I changed it up & took a sufficient bolus to avoid hospitalization. I reversed the DKA fairly quickly on my own. I had no ketone meter & no ketone strips to test & avoid this. So not sexy…my fiancé cleaning up after me every time I threw up not knowing what else to do.

What’s else makes our diabetes look unattractive?

1. Having a low & asking someone for something… anything… because we didn’t have our sexy bag.

2. Running out of test strips & ‘guessing’ BG’s only to find out they were out of target & resulted in being sensitive to someone that was unnecessary…or thinking you’re low when you’re high, treating & ending up being really high…because we didn’t have our sexy bag.

3. Being stressed because the infusion set tore out & now acutely making a Plan B to get insulin by injection or an infusion site….because we didn’t have our sexy bag.

4. Having the insulin pump run out of insulin & no access to any for several hours…by the time you get to some you are very high, feel sick & really, really crappy…ugh!! Not sexy!

5. Having the lancet device in your ‘poker’ bend (believe me it’s happened!!) & have no way to check for a full day because there isn’t a sexy bag with a back up…refer back to #2.

6. Having your infusion sweat off to the point of you having to hold in place for hours because the ‘sticky’ stuff is no longer working or accidentally ripping a stainless infusion set out when taking off your shirt to put on a gown for an x-ray. Sexy is having a Tegaderm & infusion site to to stick it down or replace it.

All these events don’t sound so attractive do they?…quite frankly, if you stood back & watched someone have these things happen AND they had pulled out their “Keeping Diabetes Sexy” bag you would’ve thought to yourself…wow, that person has it together, even living with a 24-7-365 disease…that’s attractive!! AND…what is so good looking & sexy about a plain old blue or black case that stores your pens, meter & pump stuff?? Dress them up, make them yours!!

SO….go shopping!! Have fun picking out a bag that says who you are. Fill it up! It’s time for you to own “_____________(insert your name) Keeping Diabetes Sexy” bag….it’s time to make your diabetes sexy!!

Losing and Loving It

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Losing and Loving It

Eden is SO busy!! This incredible young lady has energy abounding!!

Only a few days from the finish line of finishing her University Education, she has her nose to the grind. BUT….she has made the time to share with us more of her tips & tricks on her journey to losing weight in a healthy way while living with Type 1 diabetes.

Here is some more insight & inspiration….thank you Eden!!

“Hello Everyone,

Since I had an eventful couple days, I have not been able to post (after Saturday you will get one from me daily I promise!) So I weighed myself today and I lost 1.5 pounds….after a major plateau for a couple weeks and I am finally 172 pounds!!!!! SO HAPPY! Let me tell you I am learning a lot from about my own body on this journey!

I even learned a couple things this week.

First thing, I learned that cutting your sweetener intake ACTUALLY reduces your waist line. Now I am sure most of you use Splenda on EVERYTHING…believe me I did. On average I would use anywhere from 3-12 packets a day. In the last couple of months, I have been losing weight one week and having a plateau for 4…but as soon as I started using Truvia (Stevia) and using 1 Splenda with it, I started to see a change again. So if you can mix the Stevia and Splenda up, or just use Stevia.

Second thing, cheat days! Now lets talk about those glorious days ha ha. I follow a program where I do not eat very much gluten, and I eat 2 carb choices a day (these are usually a grain or sweet potato etc). On my program I should not have cheat days, and most people say it’s a lifestyle change and you can never have another regular cookie again. YEA RIGHT! For me (like today) I need a day sometimes to give my body something it wants because it makes me follow my program and see progress. Today I had 3 carb choices, a piece of cake and a small brownie (a bit too much sugar, but oh well). I NEVER have this every single day, and I haven’t had this much since Christmas. You do not gain all your weight back on because you had one bad day. You gain weight because you are not eating right the rest of the time. So if you splurge, do not quit! Get back on that horse the day after!

Third thing, people are so uneducated about Diabetes. Yet again in my town, I was taking insulin (by pen) in my stomach before I had my lunch on Friday…and someone came over to me and asked why I was doing a needle in public (I have actually been asked this a couple times). I explained I was Diabetic thinking she was curious, so I explained it further. During the first couple seconds of my speech, she looked like she wanted to hit me! After my speech she apologized, and thought I was taking a form of illegal drug in the local coffee shop when her child was present. I was like nope and kind of laughed it off, but I was shocked! I also have had the stupid arguments with people I know who were trying to educate me about my own disease saying it’s because I was overweight and ate too much sugar….Anyone else have this? Yes I could slap these people. If you have friends and family who know you have diabetes, maybe start educating them so they can educate others!

Sorry I had a long rant today HAHA.

Eden”

Cravings

Want tips & tricks on eating well & losing weight? Here is Eden’s next Blog about her Journey. Eden is a busy woman!! She lives with Type 1, at the end of her years in University, about to graduate in May and working hard to lose weight & exercise so she is looking good for her height for graduation.

Help me support Eden in her goals as she moves closer to her goals!! Cheers, Tracy

“Hey Everyone!
Sorry my blogs have been so spaced out! Last week of classes so my blogs will be every other day lol Lots going on! So I thought I would share some of my favorite snacks that I tend to have during the evening. Sometimes in the evening is when I feel like eating the contents of my fridge ha ha! Before I started caring about my weight, I would typically not think twice about eating chips, cookies, 2 granola bars (sometimes more) and god knows what else! So it is hard to not want to eat at night, and I know if I don’t I will be hungry and probably have low blood sugars. So these are some of the things I now LOVE
1. One thing I always have is a drink of water, and a HUGE chai tea with one Truvia (or 2 splenda) and my almond milk. Almond milk takes a month or so to really get used to in beverages, but there is NO SUGAR and VERY LOW FAT! I LOVE IT!
2. Another thing I love having is almonds. I usually buy Blue Diamond Lime and Chili almonds, these are salted, but I only allow myself 11 at night if I choose this. If I choose this, I usually have 1 cup (usually 6) strawberries or a small apple with cinnamon baked for 1 minute in the microwave.
3. My Cheat Night Snacks: Ok so everyone has these, and if you were to tell me I would never have another chip or cookie again, I would die! So I figured out different ways to have things I love, but that are healthier for me. So tonight (for example) I had Special K cracker chips (they have sour cream and BBQ flavors) 18 cracker/chips are 80 calories, 1.5 grams of fat and 14 carbs! Compared to regular chips which are ten times the amount of fat and calories!
For cookies, I make my own which take 20 minutes MAX! I usually put in a bowl 1 cup of oatmeal, ½ cup of egg whites, 1 or 2 splenda, and I use half a scoop of chocolate protein powder (I think cocoa would be fine) I mix it all up and bake them in the oven for 10 minutes at 400 (depending on your oven, keep an eye on them!) I also like adding some natural peanut butter on top for some extra flavor. If you mix it up, and it seems dry add some more egg whites and some water 
Hopefully you like some of my ideas! I always have a chai tea because of its health benefits and it makes you feel full ”

Eden’s Journey – Tips, Tricks & Must Have’s

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Eden's Journey - Tips, Tricks & Must Have's

Below is more of Eden’s Journey to exercising and losing weight in a healthy way. Eden lives with Type 1 diabetes. She has a goal to be in tip top shape for her graduation from University in May. Help support and encourage Eden as she shares with us her journey. Today Eden shares tips & tricks that have worked for her & may for you as well. She recommends a “must have” piece of equipment that will encourage & support you when exercising!!

“Okay as I promised, I am going to talk about how I have handled my blood sugars at the gym ha ha. Now I am sure a lot of people struggle with this. You get a low and you don’t want to eat because you want to burn calories and it becomes pointless, or you do not want to go high and have to take insulin to bring it down etc etc etc. It is honestly a battle for some, and it has been for awhile with me. I have noticed in the last 2 weeks since I have been working out so hard, I have struggled with this. I would work out and go down to 3 or lower (obviously not good).

Here are a couple tips that seem to work for me.

1. If you know you are going to work out after a meal, eat a carb during that meal. I find yams are a great thing to eat, and healthy for you. They do not have a huge amount of sugar, and metabolize well. I usually bake mine with a bit of olive oil for 10-15 minutes till they are soft…so good. I also tend to eat a lot of Ezekiel brand products (they have no gluten or flour!). Do not be shocked when you go to a store and see a loaf of raisin bread for $5.99 at Sobeys! The loaf for me alone lasts usually2-3 weeks. I recommend their products; they seem less heavy on my stomach and work well with my sugars.

2. If you are working out during a time where you did not have a meal within the hour, I usually eat a small banana before my work out and a kiwi after. I only do this when I know I will be burning 500 plus calories. Sometimes this is needed for me, but everyone is different.

3. DRINK LOTS OF WATER…Most people seem to think there is a magic pill, there is! It is something that is free and at your disposal all day long. I bought a bottle that’s big enough for my “8 glasses a day.” I found that you instantly feel more refreshed, have more energy and needless to say my skin looks like it has a nice glow to it ha ha. Seriously drink your 8 glasses and I can guarantee with a bit of exercise you could lose at least an inch or two in one week !

I am by no means a doctor! These are tips that seem to work for me, and maybe they can help you. I have had to do a lot of figuring out of this stuff on my own.

Here is a pic of me at the gym last week with my low blood sugar 😛 I thought every post needs a picture!”

Eden’s Journey – Part 3

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Eden's Journey - Part 3

So I thought I would post one of my favorite desserts! I always look for new stuff, since I cannot do the “just eat greens and plain chicken” idea of healthy eating…YUCK! I love different flavours, and ways of cooking so you may see a lot of recipes ha ha. I usually have 11 almonds at night with anything else I eat (I LOVE BBQ flavour almonds …mouth-watering hehe). This has been one of my favorite things to make for the last couple of weeks! I eat it along with my almonds and a giant chai tea. Also an FYI chai tea is great for diabetics! It cleanses your kidney, and it also has many other health benefits.
Ok so here is the recipe….SO EASY TO MAKE

Pumpkin Pie

1 cup of almond milk (I use this because there is no sugar in it, only 35 calories, and 2.5 grams of fat per cup…..I recommend Silk Unsweetened vanilla. It is awful drinking it on its own, but great in teas and desserts)
1 can of pumpkin (has only 3 grams of sugar in it for half the can!)
2 massive teaspoons of cinnamon (you can add more next time if you want it more “spicy”)
2 tablespoons of splenda (you can use stevia, but I stick with splenda since I know its yummy)
2 eggs

Mix together in a microwave safe bowl. It takes about 20-25 minutes…maybe longer depending on your microwave. Just keep checking it every 5 to 10 minutes so no one burns it! It should not be runny, and usually starts separating from the sides of the bowl. You can add Greek yogurt on top if you like it or a couple of walnuts. I like it chilled, so I put in the fridge once it is finished, but….sometimes I cannot wait haha I find it gets a bit firmer in the fridge.

I hope you enjoy, remember to follow me on instagram edenalexandriadaly I post a lot of pictures on their day-to-day!