A Time We Bossed Diabetes

We travel a lot over the summer, and while staying with family this summer our kids saw real live commercials for the first time. And they wanted Airheads, Fruit Loops, Num Noms, and Mr. Clean Magic Erasers.

Thanks to a talk, “Hypoglycemia Prevention and Treatment” given by Gary Scheiner at Friends for Life 2016 we learned about candies that have dextrose, which are a quick rescue for lows, and Airheads just happen to be on the list. We jumped at the chance to hand over candy without consequence instead of chalky glucose tabs to treat our son’s low blood sugars.

It’s true that people with type 1 diabetes can eat anything they want to, and we don’t make foods off limits in our house. Instead we practice a little bit of all things. However, bolusing for extemporaneous juice or candy is an exercise in certain failure. Often, the carb will peak before the insulin starts to act, and the sugar burns off while the insulin is still acting, so there’s a high high, then a low.

Due to summer activity, we’ve often had to dial back basal and bolus settings. We know certain activities like the beach, swimming, or playing outside when it’s hot are likely to drive Henry’s blood sugar low. In fact, for Henry, lows can come 12 hours after activity.

With a summer of beach trips ahead, I rigged up a pretty neat way to keep Henry’s insulin and pump in good working order, and my husband bought lots of Airheads. In fact, he bought every flavor of Airhead, and even doubled up on the White Mystery flavor.

When Matt showed Henry all the Airheads ready to treat his lows, Henry said, “Give me some insulin so I can go low and try one.”

Sure enough, our second day at the beach caused a low of 62, which he felt, and uncharacteristically needed a little time from which to recover.

 

With each low, he bounced back, declaring what flavor of Airhead he’d try next. So far,  we’ve visited Edisto Beach, SC, and St. Augustine Beach, FL, and tried an orange, cherry, and blue raspberry Airhead. Lots of summer and sugar stretches joyously ahead.

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Orange Airhead, Cool Hat, St. Augustine Beach, July 2016

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This Guy & His Sign

Hell hath no fury like a sleep-deprived, insurance battling, carb-guesstimating parent of a T1D kid. So when this guy posts this sign in his aptly named restaurant, Mike’s Pig Pen, parents get even and educate.

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After the Facebook page for Mike’s Pig Pen was taken down, another popped up.

Local news outlets were contacted about covering the story.

Lots of one star reviews on Yelp! appeared.

The phone number for Mike’s Pig Pen appeared online, with the suggestion that the “squeal like a pig” scene from Deliverance be played when someone answered.

Mike’s expired domain name, http://www.mikespigpen.com, was purchased and now it reroutes to the American Diabetes Association.

The DOC (Diabetes Online Community) reacted and responded.

Locals defended him. People within the Type 1 community suggested that the outrage was too extreme.

Mike apologized.

Dust-ups like this happen when diabetes (type 1 and type 2) enters the picture. Only the players change: it can involve Cross-Fit, American Girl Dolls, and the list will continue.

I’m not sure that someone who openly practices discrimination (and thinks that diabetes is spread through blood contact) ever gets educated, whether it’s Mike, the customer who complained, the local newspaper editor who says that attacking Mike over the sign “is equivalent to bombing Main Street,” or the 100’s of people on social media who express outrage over having their meal ruined because they have to see a needle.

What I do know is that the sign, and all those who agree with its sentiments, that think people with a disability should be removed from public view, are a reminder that the fight is real. There’s a reason for advocacy and education.

 

When New Recipes Go Wrong

Welcome to type 1 diabetes: where you should know how much you will be eating, when, and what it’s made of— it’s like having a meeting to plan a meeting for the meeting.

Our son’s blessing (and curse) is that he loves food. Two weeks after his diagnosis at three-years-old, we started pre-bolusing because we knew he’d eat the food on his plate and probably ask for more.

In our house, no food is off-limits, but we try to eat locally and responsibly: a little bit of all things. We’ve observed vegetarian diets, belonged to a CSA, garden, and eat fast food on a bi-annual 1,700 mile road trip.

A little bit of all things. All this is to say, in general, we read nutrition labels, understand them, and conduct a quick benefit analysis for the food and occasion. If you read nutrition labels, you’ve probably figured out that about half of the shelf-stable food sold in the typical American grocery store should be a rare treat instead of a staple.

No food is off-limits for our child with T1D, but we’re using our insight of carbs and insulin (that we can see with a Dexcom) to inform more of our family meal and food decisions. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with a few substitutions: almond milk (1 carb per cup, instead of cow’s milk, 12 carbs per cup), applesauce and ripe bananas as a sweetener, almond meal and coconut flour, and chia seeds. We rocked a post breakfast BG with these Paleo banana chia bites.

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An ounce of chia seeds contains 12g carbs, 11g fiber, and 4g of protein. I was fairly certain we’d come across a diabetes superfood. Then I made this chocolate pudding, that uses dates as a sweetener, almond milk, cocoa powder, and chia seeds.

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WTF chia seeds? We had something special, then you had to go and ruin it with an overly sweet date.