Feb 27, 2013

Candy Crush Saga..

I've been suckered (pun intended!) into the game Candy Crush and it hit me today how much this game is kind of like the game of diabetes (and no...NOT because it's candy). A game of swagging, bolusing, counting, weighing, calculating, factoring in stress/puberty/exercise/illness. It doesn't matter if you do everything the EXACT same everyday...you can still have wonky numbers. However, many of us, myself included, have this tenacity to get numbers in range. We see it almost as a challenge. Oh...you want Frosted Mini Wheats? Okay, a little pre-bolus, temporary basal and you enjoy them mini wheats...two hours later your dealing with a high/low...no problem...we will try again next time.

So how does some game and diabetes relate? Well, I am stuck on level 33. I've been stuck on this level for DAYZZZZZZ! Ask my husband...I'm driving him nuts with it. As I was eating my lunch I thought I'd give it a whirl...maybe this is my time to pass this level. Yea, that would be a big fat NOPE. It was then I thought about giving up. Seriously, I've been trying to clear this stupid level for days and I'm done.

That's when it hit.

I'm no quitter!! Not in anything! I will keep pushing forward...I WILL clear that ever lovin' level 33 if it's the last thing I do. I'm like that with life too. A series of highs/lows? I'm on it. Oh, three kids with chronic illnesses...BRING IT! Yes, I get tired and frustrated but I can't quit on any of them. I may whine and complain but I have all of you to sympathize/empathize with me. Your living it too. I find the DOC is the most wonderful place to bounce ideas, ask questions and rally the troops. Yes, I loosely compared a game to diabetes but the trying and trying until you get it right, or in this case pass the level, are the same. Now...on to play my little game. (Oh and if you want to send me some lives I'll take 'em!)

Feb 26, 2013

Everybody Knows Somebody #NEDAwarenes

This week brings awareness to a struggling sometimes taboo subject that potentially lingers in the background of diabetes. Eating Disorders. The theme this year is Everybody knows Somebody. Whether you, yourself, have one, a friend, a loved one have an eating disorder or poor self image, body issues or food issues. It seems as I am reading more posts about eating disorders and diabulimia in regards to diabetes. This week the National Eating Disorders Association is broadening its outreach efforts to include these topics and offer support to those who are struggling.

I never wanted food to be an issue for my kids and diabetes. When Children's was teaching us how to take care of Nora (she was 4 years old when diagnosed) the Nurse asked when do you want to bolus? Before or after a meal. I thought about it. I had a  picky eater who may or may not finish her meals. So I chose after because I didn't want to get into the habit of fighting about food. "You HAVE to finish your plate" or "fine, you can have smarties instead of finishing your dinner". I never wanted to create that monster. Now that she is older (she's 12) we are transitioning into the bolus before eating. ESPECIALLY if we know she is going to finish her meal. Be that good or bad it works for us. She has grown up knowing food is nourishment not something to fight over. Then I have my eldest who boluses before she eats. She's 18 so she can pretty well gauge what she is eating and know if she is going to finish it. However, it's still a struggle. There are times the girls may want ice cream, lets say, but they've had a crappy high blood sugar day and know it's probably not the best option as it may spike their blood sugars higher. So they choose the lower carb, high protein snack to help combat the highs. They are old enough to know how that all works and want to feel better by lowering their blood sugar to their range. In the end they are usually happy about their food choice. Food and diabetes just go hand in hand. The constant weighing, measuring, counting. I'm positive I think about food and healthy choices more than if my kids weren't diabetic. Which maybe isn't a bad thing...

If you have read this and clicked on the above link and thought hmm...I know someone or I am someone with an eating disorder please know you are not alone. There are wonderful resources out there for you to use and that is what this week is about in raising awareness but finding hope and happiness in living your life.

Feb 25, 2013


Insurance...ya gotta love it. As most of you know our eldest is 18 years old (well...she would say she is 18 and a half which makes me 39 and a half but really? I gave up half birthdays years ago!) she has started getting personal mail from our insurance (we still carry her on ours) about managing her health condition. The letter welcomes her to their health program and states "based on your medical claims you may have a health condition (nah, you don't say) so we have matched you to a program that can help you now."

Now? Um...she was diagnosed in June of LAST year. But thanks for your letter and booklet in February of 2013! I would hope she received help by now! (and now that I think about it...I believe they sent something in July last year...at this point my brain is mush!)

I guess it's me. I get all defensive when this stuff comes in the mail. I remember the same kind of service was offered to us when Nora was diagnosed. I asked the nurse on the phone why would I call you when you've never seen my child, know nothing of her diabetes and yet feel you can give me advice? I would call her diabetes clinic before I would call some 1-800-Nurse-on-call (yes, I know...it's too many letters). She had no answer for me. Imagine...if I happened to call them AND the diabetes clinic and got differing views on treatment. It's confusing enough...why make it that much more? Especially for newly diagnosed???

I will step back, however, and give them kudos for at least knowing the difference and actually differentiating the different types of diabetes AND getting it right! It does provide tips for monitoring your blood sugar, exercising, taking your medicine, staying healthy, watching your feet and eye health. It even has a Kids' Corner that offers advice on sending your diabetic child to school and they do offer good tips! Good for you United Health Care!

I have to wonder how often these services are used. We are lucky to have a good diabetes clinic here for my girls so that their services are not needed. However, I also know the area in which I live being diagnosed as an adult has much improvement to be made. So in that I'm sure these services would be needed. It's a quick diagnosis with no hospital stay (for Type1's) and a bunch of info thrust upon you as you leave the hospital. Leaving many in a state of panic and helplessness. I just hope that the nurse on the line is caring and empowering to the newly diagnosed. I wish she knew about us, the DOC, so that she could tell them all about us and WE could give them the encouragement they need. That yes, it's scary but your not alone.

So I end with a thankfulness in my heart that my girls have a wonderful Endo and a good diabetes clinic, a sadness that not everyone does, a hopefulness that this program works for those that need it and a weariness that they offer good advice.

Feb 23, 2013

Jen's One Year

It's been one year (a little over...I got busy and forgot!!) since I have been "working" for the Blue Heel Society!!

Woo Hoo!!

And really it's not work when you love what you do. Well, I don't love diabetes but I love being a voice and raising awareness.

AND...thank YOU...for listening to my rants, worries, joys and craziness I call life.

We are all in this together.

The counting carbs, bolusing, temp basals, 3 am BG checks, stubborn lows/highs, school nurse issues, Ref issues (still need to blog that one), insurance issues, moral support, new tech critiques, supplying extra diabetes supplies to those of us when we need them...

ALL of us together.

I've been blessed to be part of a great team: Diane, Tony and Thomas. Thank you, three, for believing in me! I've had a great year with BHS. I'm excited to see what happens with you, our new Luminaries. Not for sure what that is? Click on the Shoebox tab above and find out what we are doing around the world! And we ALWAYS need you to help spread the awareness!!

Thanks again, my BLUE-tiful peeps!! Let's strap on, lace up, slip on our Blue shoes and go kick some D butt!!

<3 Jen

Feb 17, 2013

Empathy or Sympathy...which are you?

I was scrolling through my Facebook the other day and I love the inspirational quotes that people share. Some are good and others are just perfect. The one I'm sharing with you today really struck a cord with me. Here it is:

It then goes on to say the following:

There is a big difference between empathy and sympathy. Empathy is when you can relate emotionally to what someone is going through. Sympathy is just when you care about what someone is going through. Both are good, but when you're going through your hardest seasons there is nothing like having someone who can empathize with you! 

I read this and a light bulb came on. For as much as I want to empathize with my daughters (and all diabetics) in what they go through; truth is...I HAVE NO IDEA! I know EVERY THING about the care of diabetes but I don't know the emotional side. I don't know what it's like to feel high, have ketones, be in the middle of a test at school or trying to make a lay up at a basketball game. I do know, a little, what it feels to be low as I have had some low blood sugars (usually in the morning hours when I'm running around like crazy and forget to eat). But I don't know what it feels like to be battling lows constantly...for hours...while in your sleep or even trying to go through a normal school day. I don't know what it feels like to be THAT kid with diabetes. To hear the stupid diabetes jokes. To be singled out during a volleyball game because of a medical alert bracelet. I don't know what it's like to see my food placed in front of me but have to stop, check my blood sugar, bolus AND then eat. To worry about NOT waking up in the morning...

When my 12 year old was crying the other night and telling me she feels alone and different...I told her I was sorry...I absolutely have no idea what you are going through...I wish I could take it all away. That was one of the toughest 4 words I have ever said to her...I HAVE NO IDEA. I'm the mom...I'm supposed to have the answers and yet I have no idea.

The words on the sign above kinda makes me sad that I truly can't pick them back up. How many times have you, as a caregiver, tried to pump up your favorite diabetic with words of encouragement and understanding only to be met with an eye roll or an "ugh"? But then they end up talking, texting, facetiming another diabetic and then suddenly their world is right again. And it is...because they found someone who knows EXACTLY how it feels. So I have come to the conclusion that I will never be able to empathize with my girls. But I will be the best damn sympathizer for them as I can be.

Feb 15, 2013

Diabetes: The Ugly Side

I have seen the ugly side of diabetes. I'm not talking high blood sugars, ketones and gallons of water...I'm talking about the mental side of diabetes.

 The emotional side.

The ugly side.

Last night my 12 year old daughter was in tears.

She's tired of it.

She wants to give up but knows she can't.

 She's had D since she was 4 years old. This summer she will have had diabetes for 8 years. She has been battling this stupid disease for longer than she hasn't. She's frustrated.

She's tired of worrying she is going to die.

She's tired of going to the Nurse's office to check.

She's tired of stopping during her sports to check her blood sugar and treat her low.

She's tired of wearing a medical alert and people asking her what it is.

She's tired of Ref's singling her out because she HAS to wear her medic alert bracelet...(that's a whole separate blog...more on that when some answers are given).

She's tired of being...DIFFERENT.

As her Mother; I'm supposed to make everything all right. It kills me that I can't. I can't do anything.

I can bolus, count carbs, weigh her food, check her blood sugar, treat her lows and highs but that's all I can do.

I feel helpless sometimes. Not all the time. But last night I did. When she is in tears...sobbing. And I can do nothing but hug her. I can't even tell her "it's okay" because it isn't.

This is the side of diabetes that they don't talk about when their diagnosed. They equip you with all the bells and whistles on how to keep them alive but they sure don't equip you with the bells and whistles of ugly diabetes.

She keeps a journal. She will never have to worry about me reading it. I already know what's in it. It breaks my heart. Just like last night. A million pieces of broken heart all over the floor.

She has D friends that she can talk to and email.

I think that sometimes she gets overwhelmed and just needs to let it out.

Don't we all?

There are very few days that I can honestly say that D beats us up. But last night...it did. It's a feeling in the pit of your stomach like you've been sucker punched. It's disappointment. It's helplessness. It's ugly. It sucks.

This isn't a pity party by any means.

This is a post that lets you know you aren't alone.

This is a post about the ugly side of diabetes.

Feb 10, 2013

A Valentine Challenge...

As most of you know Valentine's Day is fast approaching...in just a mere 4 days. WAIT!!! Don't freak out!! Before you run out to go buy jewelry, a box of chocolates or flowers...I want to challenge you!


you didn't buy that jewelry, chocolates or flowers ... I'm not suggesting you willfully put yourself in the "Dog House"!!

Hear me out!

WHAT IF, instead...

you chose to SAVE A LIFE!?

I know you are now thinking I've lost my mind! How in the world can not buying your traditional Valentine's Day gifts save a life? Easy. The Blue Heel Society has been asked to help spread a unique initiative from some wonderfully awesome DOC people and organizations. It's called the Spare a Rose, Save a Life. All we are asking is instead of buying a dozen roses buy 11 and the value of that 1 extra rose you donate to a diabetic child in need. It's easy to do!

Click HERE or copy this URL into your Browser: http://bit.ly/SpareRoseSaveChild and the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) will guide you through the fast & easy process for you to donate!

I am blessed that my D kids have access to their insulin, pump and testing supplies at ANY time. Sadly, others don't. There are children living in third world countries that have one bottle of insulin stored in unregulated temperatures and one syringe to last them a month...sometimes longer. There are children dying because they don't have the basic diabetic necessities. Donate $1, donate several, Save a Life!! Then sit back and enjoy your 11 roses knowing that 12th rose saved a DIABETIC life.

For more information please visit http://diabetesadvocates.org/c/spare-a-rose-save-a-child/
where there is information on how to help promote 'Spare a Rose, Save a Child' effort on your Website/Blog.