A family living well with type 1 diabetes.

Posts tagged ‘support’

Super Powers? Don’t All Moms Have em?

The prompt: If you had a superpower — what would it be? How would you use it?

When I was a kid, my Mom could make it all better. Somehow, her hugs and kisses just did. Even if she really didn’t actually make it better — for me, just her TLC was enough to make me feel better. It is the magic Moms possess.

Kids want Mom when they don’t feel well.

Jenna doesn’t feel well when she has a high or low blood sugar. This means she doesn’t feel well on a daily basis. She musters through, sometimes without missing a beat and no one is the wiser. But other times, the glycemic ride from hell can knock her flat on her little scar tissued posterior. She wants hugs and lots of em. She wants snuggles with Mom on the couch. She wants a gentle voice telling her she is going to be okay. She needs to feel safe and comforted. And during those times there is no place on earth I would rather be than with my little girl snuggled in my arms.

Superpowers? I’m a Mom. I’m good to go.

Jenna had a low tonight at bedtime. I employed my ‘superpowers’ to help alleviate the symptoms. Also, three carb tabs.

I try.

I sit quietly with my cell phone to my ear, listening while Jenna takes instruction from her support worker on what numbers to program into her pump to give herself her morning snack bolus at school.

“Okay. You are going to eat 36 carbs, so make that number a 36. Three – six.”

“Okay. Three – six?”

“Yep.”

A few seconds pass while Jenna presses the up button on her pump. When the pump flies past her goal (the numbers tend to get away from you if you just hold the button down which can be frustrating) she presses the down button to make the number what it needs to be.

“Oops — You went past.”

“I know…”

“THERE! That’s it. Okay, now you press OK. Good. Now you are going to enter your BG. What was your BG, Jenna?”

“14.6.”

“Right. Good job. Okay. So you make that 4.4 a 14.6.”

“Okay. 14.6.”

“That’s right.” More time passes and I listen to the din of children in the background chatting and laughing while they eat their snacks as Jenna toggles up to enter her rather high pre-snack blood sugar reading into her pump. The seconds start to feel like minutes. I know Jenna also hears the other kids — her friends. I know she wants to join them.

“Oops. You went way past, Jenna. Okay. Focus, my friend.”

“Ooops!!”

I hear a sigh of frustration from my little girl. I feel my jaw muscles tighten and I take a sympathetic deep breath for her. I talk to her in my mind. I don’t want to add to the frustration by chiming in. Just stay calm, Jenna. Focus.

Then Jenna’s support worker gives further encouragement,”C’mon, Jenna. Look at your pump. You’re almost there. 14.6.” I imagine Jenna is looking back at her classmates who don’t have to jump through such tedious hoops before they eat their snacks.

Then, in frustration, Jenna blurts out, “Why don’t you just do it?”

Her good-natured support worker retorts, “Ha! Because it’s your job, missy!”

And there it is.

It’s Jenna’s job to give herself her insulin, a life-saving (and potentially lethal if overdosed) drug. She’s five years old and she must do this. She doesn’t know that her support worker isn’t allowed to even touch her pump, let alone give her insulin.

Jenna often doesn’t want to be bothered with bolusing herself for every carbohydrate containing snack or meal she eats. She has worn an insulin pump since she was two years old — far too young to administer her own insulin dose. Oh sure, she would, on occasion press the OK button to initiate the actual bolus after I or her Dad had done the programming. But Jenna has been spared the monotony of bolusing for most of her diabetic life. She has been doing her own snack boluses at school for several weeks now and overall, she has rocked it. And I know that the more she does it, the easier it will be and the faster she will get at it.

Even still, no matter how fast she gets at it, it’s not what most people have to do before taking in nourishment. And it’s always prefaced by the ubiquitous blood sugar check. There are just so many damn HOOPS! Is it any wonder I worry about what the future holds?

I remember in my nursing training, when we were covering diabetes, we were taught that during the teen years it is common for teens to rebel when it comes to the necessary minutia they must constantly carry out to stay healthy. It is so common, in fact, that the training we received in caring for teens with diabetes focused heavily on our verbal interactions with them and the psycho-social implications of this disease on this particular age group. And then, as if to punctuate this theory for me, during my corresponding practicum for this unit, I was assigned to a teen with diabetes who had been admitted with diabetic ketoacidosis and was undergoing further patient teaching as part of his recovery.

It was a long time ago, and I don’t remember much detail, but I do recall getting a sense that this teen was struggling. The struggle was just as much emotional as it was physical. He seemed sad. Perhaps even depressed. I felt so inadequate. I felt like I knew nothing of what this young person was going through. I felt ineffective and in over my head. I was only in my early twenties at the time and this diabetes deal that I was just learning about seemed like such a heavy burden for any person! For a teen? It must feel like the biggest bullshit, shitty hand anyone could ever be dealt. How on earth could I be of any help to this person? I was young, in training, and knew nothing of the ever-present, constant, worrisome, unpredictable, obtrusiveness that is diabetes.

I was a good student and I imagine I did my best with this patient and tried hard to NOT sound like I was reading from a script in my verbal exchanges with him. Honestly, I think I was relieved when my assignment changed. But the sadness that was so tangible stuck with me. I knew this young man was dealing with demons I knew nothing about.

And now here I am, the mother of a child with diabetes. I don’t need to tell you I have my fears. I work hard at keeping them in check. I try to look at my past professional experiences with diabetes not so much as warnings of what lies ahead but as wisdom, if put into proper perspective. I keep reminding myself that just because it is common enough to be taught in nursing theory classes and just because I happened to be assigned to a teenager recovering from diabetic ketoacidosis due to lack of self-care from typical teenage rebellion, doesn’t mean my daughter will do the same thing.

But I know how hard this disease can be. I know how exhausting and maddening it is. I know how much it can mess with your head. I also know how much being a teenager messes with your head. I’ve seen these two forces collide. I’ve seen what can happen. Teenage years + diabetes = the perfect storm for noncompliance (a term I now loath but is all too common in the medical world) and disaster.

I try to not worry so much about the future. I read about other people’s experiences and try to glean from them what is useful without causing myself too much unnecessary, premature aging worry. I try to stay positive. I try to have faith in myself and my amazing, strong, smart little girl. I try.

… but it’s hard sometimes.

Diabetes and Doctors.

I’ve recently found myself in the upsetting position of having to defend the 8 to 12 blood sugar checks we perform daily on Jenna to a pediatrician. It was during a routine check up. An a1c drawn at this appointment revealed pretty darn good control at 7.8. Still, this medical professional felt that checking Jenna up to 12 times a day on occasion, was excessive.

Jenna does not wear a CGM. For those who read my blog but don’t live with diabetes daily, first – thank you. You give a damn. You want to learn more. That’s so awesome! Second – a CGM (continuous glucose monitor) is a device that has a sensor which is inserted under the skin and stays in place for several days, measuring blood glucose in interstitial fluid many times throughout the day and night. It is a great piece of technology, but it has a ways to go before it is a consistently accurate and reliable way to monitor blood sugar. We are waiting until the technology improves before investing money and subjecting Jenna to yet another jab and another device to have to wear. In the meantime, regular blood sugar checks are necessary to ensure Jenna is safe. This means we get up every night, sometimes more than once depending on the circumstances, to perform blood sugar checks.

You see, each reading is merely a snapshot. She may be 5.8 at 10:00pm – an excellent reading, but what you may not know is that she is headed down fast because of the insulin on board from that bedtime snack she had or the extra hard playtime when she ran for an hour solid earlier in the day! By midnight she could be 2.1! The only way to know is to check.

I left the doctor’s office that day feeling so many emotions – anger, frustration, annoyance – but the worst, the absolute worst was the self-doubt and shame I felt. I actually let this doc get to me! I questioned whether we were doing the absolute best we could be doing for our little girl. He made me feel like we were setting Jenna up for failure with our diligence. How would she be able to pick up the baton when it was time to hand it over to her? This question was posed to me as I defended our nightly blood sugar checks to ensure her safety. He stated that if it were him, he wouldn’t be able to function on the broken sleep we were getting.

Never mind that I made the valid point that she will not just suddenly, one day, be charged with her entire diabetes management – that it will be a gradual process that has already begun that won’t overwhelm her. No, he felt we were setting the bar too high and needed to pull back. He then went on to assure me that Jenna would awaken if she were to go too low. Absolutely, for sure. Without question.

Now, the whole idea of checking and monitoring is to avoid highs and lows. AVOID them! Not to let them happen and deal with the low when it materializes in whatever frightening form that may take, i.e. seizure, or worse. I DO NOT want to have to administer glucagon, call the paramedics and pray that my daughter survives, all because I needed my sleep. We have survived the past three and a half years getting up in the night to ensure Jenna is safe. We have adapted, just as countless other parents have done. And I happen to know that not all people awaken when their blood sugar drops too low. Tragedies happen only too often. How does this doctor not know this?

I was a broken woman when he was finished with me – as broken as Jenna’s pancreas. I never want to feel that way again. And I never, ever want another parent of a child with diabetes to feel that way.

Being a pancreas to a child who’s own pancreas is busted is NOT easy. It is a constant, demanding, ever-changing, exhausting, unruly, scary, unpredictable, 24/7 job. No breaks – no holidays. Any parent who does this – any person with diabetes who does this – deserves respect and support – NOT criticism.

I recently read a quote written by another mom of a child with diabetes that sums it up beautifully:

…I have learned that it is not just about the needles and the numbers –it is about the constant burden of having to perform a critical body function externally . Think for a minute about having to tell your heart when to beat…and how fast. Imagine what it would feel like to know if you slipped for a moment what the consequenc es would be. It can be a heavy weight to bear at times.

Just for the record, I did tell this doc that, with all due respect, I was the parent of a child with diabetes – not him. But I did let what he said hit too close to my heart and I shouldn’t have. It took me days to recover from it. But with the help of my husband, who was furious at this doctor for making me feel so inept, and the reassurance of members of the diabetes online community who validated my diligence and questioned this doc’s knowledge of type 1 diabetes, I bounced back stronger than before. I felt reassured that I am doing the very best I can to keep my daughter safe and healthy and I shouldn’t have to defend what I do to ensure that goal is met every single day and night, especially to someone who doesn’t know what it is like to be a satellite pancreas – medical degree or not!

To the doctors out there: I urge you to tread carefully when you are sitting across from the parent of a child with type 1 diabetes, or a PWD. I know your intentions are good, but unless you have a child with type 1 diabetes, or you have diabetes yourself, you can’t possibly know what it is like to do what we do. Be positive, supportive and understanding. But above all, please be humble. Know that each diabetic person’s disease is as unique as a fingerprint and the approach to managing it can be just as varied and individualized. We are all doing the best we can. It’s not easy and some days are harder than others. You are merely one member of a team in the management of this disease; you are not the definitive expert, as hard as that may be for some of you to accept. Also, a little praise goes a long way. A pat on the back for the 7.8 a1c would have been nice.

Luckily, we had a check up appointment with Jenna’s endocrinologist two days later and received the positive reinforcement and validation we so desperately needed. We always have a positive experience when we see Jenna’s endocrinologist – who, by the way, feels that we are, in no way, paranoid or checking Jenna too much. As always, she applauded our efforts and praised our approach. I am so grateful for her.

Tech Support Needed!

One of the many perks of pumping insulin with the Animas Onetouch ® Ping has been the software that comes with it. I used to take Jenna’s pump and meter and snuggle up to my PC, cup of tea in hand, download the data from the past two or three weeks, print off a couple of charts and then pour over the numbers looking for trends. This would help me to determine whether changes to Jenna’s settings were needed. This was especially useful to do the night before an endo appointment. Jenna’s endocrinologist appreciated receiving our package of printed out data. She could easily glance at Jenna’s blood sugars and advise us accordingly.

And then we moved. Our PC is no longer in service and we have jumped ship to Mac. The software that accompanies the Animas Onetouch ® Ping isn’t compatible with the operating system on my Macbook.

And our endo appointment is creeping up fast as well as a pediatrician appointment. I know I could resume logging all of Jenna’s numbers and carb counts on paper, as well as the bolus amounts and the kind of bolus. But MAN! That kind of sucks. Logging numbers is a royal pain in the keister. Ask any PWD and they’ll tell you, logging is a loathsome task. And what makes it so abhorred is the inability to stick to it. It is already a challenge to do all the absolutely necessary steps involved with maintaining this disease — adding this extra step is like asking someone to balance their cheque book. Several times a day. Every. Single. Day.

I was diligent about logging when Jenna was first diagnosed and was on multiple daily injections. But that was before I got a taste of the good life with diabetes software keeping impeccable records for me and laying it all out in beautiful, colourful charts and graphs. Now I always start with good intentions and a brand spanking new pretty journal (the theory being that if the journal is new and pretty, I’ll stick to my logging) but I derail rather quickly, sometimes as early as later the same day. Sad. I know.

I miss my software and all it’s fancy charts and graphs. I miss being able to see trends and make the necessary adjustments to pump settings. I feel like I’ve been trying to manage Jenna’s diabetes with one arm tied behind my back.

I’ve spoken to our Animas rep about it and he seems to think there is a way. But when I call Animas and ask, I’m told that there is a compatibility problem with the ezMax software and Mac operating systems. I’ve been put on a list of people that need to be informed as soon as the problem is resolved, but that was months ago. I have heard nothing.

And my withdrawl is escalating.

Jenna’s numbers have been pretty crazy lately. I sense that some changes need to be made but I have no way of seeing the trends to make these changes. I am getting my pen and paper ready because I know what must be done. It starts with an L and rhymes with dog. But oh, how I loath using such primitive devices. I’m far better with a hard drive, a dongle (what screwball came up with that name, by the way?) and a printer.

I could really use some advice or information on how I can install the ezMax software on either my Macbook or my desktop, if it’s possible at all. Has anyone used this software successfully on their Mac? If so, please tell me how you did it. PLEASE?

World Diabetes Day Postcard Exchange!

If you haven’t yet heard, there is something going on in the global Diabetes community that you really don’t want to miss. Seriously. I mean, this is sheer brilliance. But then, it comes from the creative genius of none other than Lee Ann Thill of The Butter Compartment — the very same Lee Ann Thill who came up with Diabetes Art Day — so I’m not the least bit surprised.

If you submit your mailing address to Lee Ann, she will then forward it to another PWD (Person With Diabetes) and send you the address of that person as well and then you create a postcard incorporating the World Diabetes Day blue circle in the design, then you complete a mini D-meme on the back with details such as your name, your address, your connection to diabetes, etc., then you mail it off to your recipient and that person will return the favour! The idea is to make connections with people in other parts of the world who know the D as you do. It is a way to feel less alone — to connect.

But you should really just head on over to Lee Ann’s blog and read her description. She has all the need-to-know details there for you, including her email addy.

I am really chuffed about Jenna being a part of this. I know she will be tickled to get something in the mail from someone who “gets it”. Heck, she’ll just be revved to get her own piece of mail! And if this becomes an annual event (as I’m confident it will), she will look forward to World Diabetes Day every year for such a fun reason.

Anything that helps Jenna and others with diabetes feel less alone in this, as well as gets people’s creative juices flowing is a beautiful thing.

Stealing A Moment.

It’s been over three weeks since the start of the school year. September of 2011 is only hours away from going down in the history books. I am sitting in my new little haunt, Starbucks, with my Grande Pike Place brew sitting comfortingly beside my laptop.

I don’t spend all of my spare time here; I also haunt my daughter’s kindergarten classroom and the school in general. I am a welcome face for most teachers who need a little help with some prep work. I’ve become somewhat of a fixture at the school. This has it’s pros and cons.

I’ve been going through my own little personal identity crisis lately. Having been immersed in motherhood and surrogate pancreating (totally just made that word up) for the past eight years, I am feeling a sense of impending obsolescence. I realize that there are many more years of mothering and pancreating ahead of me. But things are in a state of change right now and I’m still working on what is next for me, personally and professionally. It hasn’t been an issue for me for so long that I don’t quite know what to do with it.

But I’ll continue to ponder the possibilities while I am putting out the usual daily fires that go along with school-aged kids — the tangled hair that needs brushing, the lost agendas, the packed lunches and personal taste preferences of two little individuals, the favourite pair of jeans that is still in the laundry hamper but is the only pair of jeans that will do today, the ponytails, the interesting wardrobe choices that leave me screaming inside while I struggle to keep the supportive smile on my face, the lost library books, the permission slips that need signing — not to mention the minutiae of diabetes management that is so much a part of our day. Every day.

Some days I fear for my very sanity. Some days I feel the tears welling up as I feel just how frustratingly human I am.

So some days, after I drop my girls off at school, I take my laptop and a mitt full of change and head to the coffee shop for an hour or so. I sit by a window and sip coffee and smile at other people looking for a moment of respite from their own personal insanity.

And I write.

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Letting Go

There are a few significant events in every parent’s journey that mark a time of pride and excitement; first words spoken, first steps, the first time you say goodbye to your child at the babysitter, preschool, kindergarten… These are events worth documenting, photographing and celebrating.

But some of these events are also pretty darn anxiety laden. It isn’t easy for parents — often (but not always) moms — to say goodbye to our babies and trust their care to someone else. But we must, and we do. Sometimes it doesn’t feel natural, but it’s a part of life, right? …to say goodbye and help our children make that slow journey toward ever increasing independence.

Jenna has begun her school journey. She is attending full time kindergarten and, in all honesty, she is absolutely loving it. She no longer has to feel left behind watching her big sister walk into the school every morning. She is a big kid now, in real school. She is ready.

Sure, she had some anxiety at first. She was shy, withdrawn and a little lost. But her teacher, Ms. C, handled it beautifully and in no time Jenna warmed up to her.

Of course, the big pink elephant standing right smack-dab in the middle of the room is…

DIABETES.

Without question Jenna’s diabetes has been a tricky one to juggle. There are a few factors that make it so:

  • Jenna is far from completely independent with her diabetes management. (Of course she is, she’s five.)
  • Jenna is often unaware of her lows until she is well below what constitutes a low.
  • Jenna is stoic. This scares the ever-loving stuffing out of me as she is not apt to speak up if she is having a problem, preferring to avoid the spotlight and be “just like all the other kids.”
  • No staff member at the school is legally allowed to administer either insulin OR glucagon to a child with type 1 diabetes in our province.
  • A single teacher in a busy kindergarten class of 20 young children, all equally deserving of attention, cannot possibly be expected to do her job AND watch a child with type 1 diabetes for the often subtle signs and symptoms of hypo or hyperglycemia, let alone react to a low or high in the appropriate way. (I have two children and trust me – this is no easy task at the best of times.)
  • Since no staff are able to give glucagon, it is absolutely vital that Jenna receive timely intervention in the event of a low to avoid a dire situation.

Given these obstacles, it was crucial that we obtain government funding for an additional support staff in the classroom to assist Jenna with her care.

The trouble was, we had to actually prove that she really does need this assistance.

Jenna’s pediatrician likely anticipated this because I received a letter from him this summer stating that her medical condition placed her in the special category that makes her eligible for this added support. That letter turned out to be the means to a fabulous end and the way it played out was beautiful poetry to this D-Mom who felt all kinds of panic wondering why I actually had to prove my daughter’s need for help to ensure her safety while in school. To me it was as clear as the nose on my face. But this is the system we have and this is the way things are done.

This summer I met twice with the public health nurse who gathered all the pertinent data regarding Jenna’s medical needs and her care. She drafted a care plan outlining, to the utmost specificity, how Jenna’s diabetes management is to be conducted in school: If A, then B. Then follow up with C fifteen minutes later. However, if D, then E…

It is clear, precise and to be followed to the nth.

This care plan was presented at a meeting we — members of the school staff, the public health nurse and I — had last week in preparation for Jenna’s school start this past Monday. This meeting was to provide diabetes training to the staff and give a chance for the concerns of everyone involved to be voiced. The vice principle was also present. She is the lady with pull. She, along with the letter from Jenna’s pediatrician, was key in achieving the ideal outcome.

When the meeting was winding down, I noticed her eyes were wide as she digested the full scope of what she had learned. She realized that this was a life and death situation which would require constant diligence and monitoring beyond what one teacher would be capable of. She promptly excused herself from the meeting stating she had some phone calls to make in her office, assuring us that she would be back.

Staff members who had been pulling for us since last spring when this whole process got started gave me subtle, reassuring pats on the back. They knew her and knew that this reaction bode well for us.

I whispered to Jenna’s teacher “What does this mean?”

“It’s a very good sign. She realizes now what we are dealing with. She can make this happen for us” she whispered back then gave me a wink.

It was all I could do to maintain my composure. All the anxiety and fears I had been living with regarding Jenna’s start in the public school system that dated all the way back to her diagnosis were daring to subside.

The vice principle returned not 15 minutes later and announced that Jenna would have an assistant assigned to her in the class room for four hours everyday.

And it was like  letting go of something I had been clutching with a death grip for three and a half years.

It was validation. They understood how precarious my child’s health is — the fine line we walk.

So now Jenna is attending classes everyday and looking every inch the big girl, school kid that she is in her new school clothes with her giant backpack on her back. I still go in to the school to give her boluses for her snack and her lunch — that won’t change until Jenna is old enough to do so on her own with supervision — and, until today, I had been spending my days in that little room off her class room to be available in case there were any questions. But my presence there has become less necessary as her worker, who is so awesome, has become more confident and capable. I must remain in town (we live rurally, almost a twenty minute drive from the school) to bolus and in case there is a problem — a stubborn high, a dislodged infusion site, etc. — but I am quickly phasing out my constant presence there.

And now it’s my turn to feel lost — proud and relieved, but lost, nonetheless. Suddenly I am struggling to fill some free time and it’s a foreign feeling. I am trusting others to ensure my child’s safety, as capable as they are. I won’t deny it, I’ve had some moments of anxiety sneak up and put me in a head-lock. But I’ll be okay. If there is one thing I am, it’s tough. That is undeniable. I’ve been able to wrestle free from the anxiety when it does ambush me. I just remember that there are good people at that school who really care about my daughter and her wellbeing. They want her to be safe too.

Another milestone, complicated by diabetes, has been reached. Now there’s just the dreaded teen years and college to worry about.

Just keep blogging, Sherry — just keep blogging…

It’s The Little Things…

Jenna has started full time kindergarten this week. Needless to say, life has been rather crazy and a little more stressed than usual for us.

I have been wanting to write about the whole process we have undergone, that started last June, to ensure Jenna is safe at school yet is offered as normal an experience as possible. This is no easy task and it requires the cooperation of everyone involved — from the public health nurse to the school board to the administrative staff to the teaching staff to the support staff to us – the parents.

It has been quite a journey and I am eager to share it.

And I will share it.

But today I am compelled to share something else — something that will give you some insight into just how wonderful Jenna’s kindergarten teacher is.

I have been spending a great deal of time in a small room off of the kindergarten class to be available to staff requiring my assistance with Jenna’s care while everyone gets used to the routine. But I feel strongly about being “not visible” because I want Jenna’s school experience to be as close to a typical experience as possible — hence the seclusion. I will be gradually tapering my “not visible” presence off as teachers and support staff become more confident. Until then, I am occupying this small, yet comfortable space during the day, nipping out for a half hour or so every day to get my Starbucks fix or run a quick errand.

Jenna’s teacher is amazing. She is one of those people born to teach young children. She has a gift. She is energetic, positive, kind, warm, caring and just plain wonderful. She has invited me to join the teachers in the staff room during breaks and has made a point of making me feel welcome to be present in the classroom whenever I want. It is I who feels strongly about not being too visible. She respects that.

Today when I slipped into the classroom, in super-stealth mode, to make my way to the little room I have been haunting lately — the room I am now blogging from on my laptop — I was surprised, delighted and touched to find this waiting for me on the table at which I sit:

I am enjoying the Egyptian Licorice tea as I write this. Yummy!

The note was accompanied by a jar of different herbal teas and a mug (and I just happen to be a tea enthusiast!) — a kind and thoughtful gesture to help me feel like a welcome part of the team here at Jenna’s school.

I am so grateful for the amazing support the entire school has extended to us as a family. This has been a wonderful experience.

And it’s going to be a great year.

:)

Bathroom Art!

Today is the second annual Diabetes Art Day. Lee Ann Thill of The Butter Compartment came up with this fantastic idea to give people a creative outlet, bringing together the Diabetes community in a way like no other.

And bring us together, it has. The creative capacity of our community is astounding. The unique way each of us interprets our own journey with diabetes is impressive and thought provoking.

This year, I saved some diabetes trash instead of recycling it. I had been collecting stuff since the start of the summer in anticipation of creating something for this day. I wasn’t sure what we would do but I had no doubt that between myself and the incredible, creative capabilities of my two little girls, we could come up with something exciting.

So, on a rather tight budget, we visited the craft store for more inspiration. I wanted something to ‘hot glue’ some of our D-junk to — a form of some sort. Jazmine pointed to a twig wreath and since the price was right (under 4 dollars!) I jumped on her suggestion. We also found a string of white lights, some blue pom-poms and blue glittery spiders, and so the “Glittery, Spidery Circle of D” was born:

"Glittery, Spidery Circle of D"

Only blue insertion devices were attached, in keeping with the whole World Diabetes Day blue circle theme. Jenna envisioned using the pump tubing to create the spider’s web in the centre of the wreath and so that’s what we did. Jazmine – my deep, thoughtful, almost-eight-year-old, explained that the spider’s meaning was in reference to the constant, ongoing hard work D management is — much like the hard work a spider must engage in to construct its web to survive. A meal certainly doesn’t come easy to the spider. And the same could be said about a person with diabetes, in a sense. I was so proud of Jazmine for her depth and insight and her incredible grasp of artistic symbolism at such a young age.

As pleased as I was with the results, it wasn’t the easiest piece to photograph. Hanging it up somewhere where I could plug in the lights and where the backdrop wouldn’t detract from the piece was incredibly challenging. I ended up taking a suction cup hook thingy and hanging it on the mirror of my bathroom where a plug was available. I played with the exposure and colour saturation to make the wreath pop and hopefully to make it less obvious that we were in a bathroom, of all places, even though I’ve heard that Jim Morrison recorded the vocals for “Hyacinth House” in a bathroom for the unique acoustic properties. So this isn’t the first time art has been enhanced by the distinct ambience of the loo. If it was good enough for The Doors, it’s good enough for me.

So there you have it. Our contribution to Diabetes Art Day 2011. If you would like to check out what we created last year click here.  Now I’m going to go check out more art on the Diabetes Art Day site.

Hey! You should too! Come on!

Happy Canada Day!

There are a few things going on in the Diabetes Blogosphere that I felt worthy of a late night bout of blogging. So join me in a rare, bulleted JPM post, won’t you?

  • The heartbreaking reality is that, in spite of the discovery of insulin 90 years ago, there are still people in the world that don’t have access to this lifesaving drug. Furthermore, diabetes is a global epidemic. It is projected that 490 million people worldwide will have diabetes by the year 2030. The International Diabetes Federation has just launched the “O is for OUTRAGE – Postcard Campaign” in an effort to compel President Obama to attend the UN’s second summit on global health issues. The hope is that if President Obama demonstrates concern for these alarming facts, leaders of other nations will follow his lead and more action will be taken to intervene. Visit the IDF’s “O is for OUTRAGE – Postcard Campaign” site here to sign and submit your postcard to President Obama urging him to take action.

  • Kerri of Six Until Me posted this vlog today. Evidently, Kerri is sprouting a green thumb and as a fellow green thumb sporter, I can completely relate to the sheer exhaustion she speaks of after a stint of “playing in the dirt”. But if my treadmill ever says to me the things Kerri’s has said to her, I might just go flying off the back end of the thing in a fit of hysterics. Check it out:

  • Lee Ann Thill of The Butter Compartment is hosting the second annual Diabetes Art Day. Last year’s event was a huge success and she is gearing up for another awesome D-art extravaganza! I’m already pondering the possibilities for my own artistic submission and that of my two girls. The date is September 1st and this year Lee Ann has launched the official Diabetes Art Day web site! Check it out! And get those creative juices flowing.
  • Finally, I have to share a little something, in keeping with Canada Day tomorrow, that is just plain cool. Apparently, we Canucks are getting some new money. And it’s made from polymer. And it’s see through. And it pays homage to some homegrown boys that have come to mean a great deal to me and to millions of other people affected by a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes. The legacy of Dr. Banting and Dr. Best lives on to this very day, saving lives the world over with the tireless work they did to isolate insulin that allows people with the inability to produce their own insulin to live. Check out the video put out by the Bank of Canada here and look for the bottle of insulin on the $100 bill.

A Facebook friend and fellow Canadian pointed out how fitting it is that the image is on such a high monetary denomination. I agree, it is an outrage that this little bottle of liquid life support is so expensive and unattainable for so many in the world.

Which brings this post full circle.

Have a fun and safe Canada Day.

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