The mess I’ve made:

It happens every three days, a big mess and a reminder of what life has become. Our lives have taken on a different meaning all to its own and diabetes has somehow played a role in that. So how this character in our life story shows up all the time, taking the role of the antagonist and playing all too well.  This night, it was a mess, a different kind of mess. A mess that is part of the schedule, so let me explain.

Today my wife and I decided it would be best if she went solo to parent teacher conferences.  Being that we’d have to find a baby sitter or take the kids with us, we decided I’d stay home. Besides she was meeting up with some local d-moms afterwards so that made it an easy decision. However, one important diabetes chore fell to me, site changes.

Both my girls’ use the Tslim insulin pump and I’ve been trained by my wife on how to do the cartridge swap, insulin fill and site changes.  Not real hard but it’s a little different than other pumps.  I managed to get them done in fairly quick fashion. After I was done I had a whole pile of diabetes stuff on the dining room table. I took a picture of it and posted it to Facebook saying “We make this mess, every three days to keep our girls alive and healthy. What will you be doing Saturday night?”

I can’t get over what a big mess diabetes is. Site changes are a mess, CGM sensor changes are a mess, insurance is a mess, test strips everywhere is a mess, my sleep cycle is a mess, my house remodeling projects are a mess, my diabetes blog is a mess, my hair is a mess, everything seems to be a mess.  Here’s a picture of the mess.

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Godspeed

Tim

Posted in insulin pumps | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Spare A Rose, save a child, A poem.

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Will you think about it

Some children go without insulin

In other places around the globe

They do not have

While you hold those 12 roses

A mother holds her child

The breaths are hard

And she wilts away

She cries mommy help me

But only a tear rolls down her cheek

She watches the dust come over the plains

Just like the death rolling over her daughter

Dry and parched are her lips

A father curses the night

As he hears her dying whimpers

Helpless he cries aloud

As you watch your 12 roses wilt

So does she

A mother’s heart breaks

A father cries out

Will you only buy 11 roses and donate the rest

You can change this story

You can change the end

Donate here please and for more information visit http://www.idf.org/lifeforachild/news/spare-a-rose-save-a-child-2014

 

 

 

 

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Dominating Diabetes:

Did I dominate diabetes? That’s a good question to ask. My wife was out of town at a 31 leadership retreat this weekend (Friday thru Saturday), so all the care of the kids fell totally on me, including the d-care. I posted many pictures of CGM’s on social media showing off the near straight lines. I got many responses, most were congratulations, many attaboys and a few saying I was being cocky. But I had a point to all my chest beating, let me elaborate.

My wife left for Toledo on Friday afternoon, with a hug and kiss she was gone for a few days of learning, relaxing and having fun. I was happy for her; she earned it and needed it. The first couple of hours were easy, the boy was asleep and I kicked back and planned out my all out assault on Type 1 Diabetes.

I picked up my girls from school and drove over to my accounts office and dropped off another tax document. After I got home I check the girls CGM’s (Dexcom G4 Platinum) and they had a great day at school. That helped me set things up. For dinner we breakfast food, easy for my limited cooking skills and the protein from the eggs was a bonus. Here’s the first picture I posted that night.

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The next day, the girls woke up with BG’s of 130 and 124. I posted that to social media, announcing my conquest, I got a bunch of complements and comments.

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We ate our breakfast, I got my cups of coffee and the morning was smooth sailing. I laid the boy down for his morning nap and I keep a close eye on the girls CGM’s, the trend was looking nice. The girls played upstairs and I got a little work done on my blog, checked email (cleaned out email) and other writing stuff.

Once little boy awoke from his nap we got everyone bundled up to head out. We had talked the night before about going out to the furniture store and looking at sectionals. With the kids in tow, the boy in his stroller and CGM’s in my coat pocket we most rigorously looked over sectional couches. The girls didn’t miss a thing and I keep a close eye on their blood sugars. They stayed level because I had them eat a quick carb snack before we left.

After we returned home I posted another CGM picture to social media, more spectacular lines.

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I did over do Auds lunch bolus, because she dropped low, but I was all over that, I had my eyes glued to those Dexcoms. However, that did detract how good their numbers were. Next up, I had some spare time to myself as I waited for the Villanova GeorgeTown game to come on, I’m a huge Villanova men’s college basketball fan.

Around an hour or so later, I left the living room; I was quickly run down by my daughter telling me someone was knocking at the door. I had forgotten my dad and brother were coming to town. It was a surprise to see them, and they brought my brothers old buddy Glenn. We had a nice chat for a few hours. I gave Glenn one of my 60 minute IPA’s by Dogfish Head Brewing Company, he’s a fellow home brewer. However, in the midst of chatting with my dad, my brother and Glenn, I lost track of looking at the CGM’s every 5 minutes. The result, Aud started to trend high, it was really the first time I seen 200 numbers in the last 2 days.

My friends were on their way in after a few hours of chatting and I was back on intense d-duty. I corrected Aud and she was back in range. I posted this picture of twin blood sugars after dinner. Later, we settled in for a movie and ice-cream sandwiches. We watched Star Wars Attack of the Clones (I’m burned out watching Barbie movies) and bloused for 26 carbs. The night went well and I never had a CGM alarm all night. Little boy woke up a lot, but he is cutting another tooth. I could have used the sleep, but that happens.

The next day I posted this final picture declaring my weekend of dominating diabetes.

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Here is my exact quote on social media, “My wife has been gone all weekend. I’ve watched the kids and I’ve kicked the crap out of Type 1 Diabetes. Domination continues. I got a bunch of comments; one was from a good friend and a long time veteran of Type 1 Diabetes. It was a humorous comment, but still slanted toward caution. I reassured her that I had a point to all this bragging I was doing. Let me explain my point.

Did I really dominate diabetes, or did it dominate my time? Fair question! I think it was a little of both to be frank. The girl’s numbers looked awesome most of the weekend, but they started going south when my wife got home around noon Sunday. Why? I no longer had the time to give such attention to managing their diabetes. Did their numbers get that bad, no, but we did have one 400 plus BG. I think it was due to undercounting some carbs for the afternoon snack. We corrected the high and moved one.

I guess d-parents could dominate Type 1 Diabetes, but you’ll spend a lot of time on it. The only thing you’ll do is look at CGM’s, count carbs and all the other d-duty stuff. You’ll have little time for other things. I did great for 2 and half days, but I did little else. The only other things I did were keep little boy feed and happy, made meals and that was it. Nothing else, watched a couple of movies with the girls, went to a furniture store. The rest of the time, I was chasing down numbers and I got some good numbers. This was a good time to do this, I was at home and no big things on the agenda other than watch the kids while my wife was gone.

In everyday life, we have a lot of things to do. If your child goes high, correct them, fix low and change sites, or whatever needs to be done. You have wives, husbands, non-d kids, jobs, pets, houses and the sorts to take care of too. Don’t lose track of life chasing perfect blood sugar; it’s not worth it and the return will only be a 6.8 A1C over a 7.5. Your life is more than diabetes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a big part, but not all of it.  I dominated Type 1 Diabetes, but it dominated my time too.

 

Godspeed

Tim

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4th Annual Orange Out:

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Friday night came with great expectation, so we loaded in the minivan and drove an hour to watch a couple of basketball games. Not just any basketball game, an Orange Out and a spaghetti dinner fundraiser. This game was at the high school I graduated from. My shadow hasn’t darkened those doors in 23 plus years, all my memories of my awkward teenage self-seem old and musty now. Those memories at the time seem horrid, but now seem trivial at best; I even swore I’d never return. But why did I go back when I swore I wouldn’t; why did I take an evening out my unending busy life? For the very same reason I write this blog: Type 1 Diabetes.

Last night we attended the Central Montcalm Orange Out Basketball game and spaghetti dinner; a fundraiser for the JDRF. The girls’ varsity and boys’ varsity each played Chippewa Hills High School. Why do they do this fundraiser for the JDRF? There are a number of students at that school system with Type 1 Diabetes. One of the teachers and a d-dad wrote a guest post a few years back about their fundraising and diabetes awareness.

First up was the spaghetti dinner, it was good, and from the looks of the donation jar, they took in a few hundred dollars. They had a large raffle table set up with many items: autographed basketballs, sports memorabilia, and other donated items. They also sold close to 150 orange out game shirts. All the proceeds went to the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).  Looks like early estimates that they took in several hundred in donations.

On the way in I stopped and talked with Nicole, her T1 son attends there and she heads up the fundraiser. We went to school together for a while, but I don’t really remember her, but now we’re fellow d-parents and fight for the same cause; a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.  It didn’t take long to see another d-parent Kari and her family. Her son is a good football player and was diagnosed a year and a half ago. The conversation quickly turned to hearing her son’s diagnoses story and life as a d-parent. I had never met her husband and don’t remember him from school, but I sure enjoyed meeting him; he is a nice guy and very tall like his son.

During the game I saw my kindergarten teacher, she even remembered me. She inquired as to what brought me to the game. I told her about the fundraiser and my family; she seemed a bit shocked that I had 2 kids with Type 1. She ask me what the JDRF stood for. I still can’t believe she remembered me; hopefully the memories of me as a student were good. I talked with a few other classmates, one knew I had one child with Type 1, but didn’t know I had 2 with Type 1.

During the introductions for the boy’s game, the brought out an honorary squad of starters, all 6 students have Type 1 Diabetes, and 2 from the school were unable to attend. During both of the games the announcer gave facts and statistics about Type 1 Diabetes. Here’s the picture of the lineup.

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Lady Hornets game recap:

The girls’ basketball team played a long and tall opponent in Chip Hills. They tied the game at the end and sent it to overtime. They played hard, but unfortunately they fell in overtime, losing 45-40. It was a tough loss but made the home crowd proud of their outstanding effort.

Box score:

Courteous of Central Montcalm High School. All rights reserved.

Courtesy of Central Montcalm High School. All rights reserved.

 

Boys’ varsity recap:

The boys’ varsity team took early control of the game and once again their top score Lane lead the way. Chippewa Hills was on their heels from the start. Central Montcalm Hornets won easily 53-40 but lost top score Lane Ledford to a broken arm. Our thoughts and prayer are with him and his family.

Box score:

Courteous of Central Montcalm High School. All rights reserved.

Courtesy of Central Montcalm High School. All rights reserved.

It was a fun night, but I’m always struck by the seemingly high numbers of Type 1’s in that area. This high school is in a rural farming community, the whole county is a farming community for the most part. The county has around 63,000 people and I’ve heard stories of similar number of Type 1’s in surrounding school districts. I’ll investigate further and find close to the exact numbers and if I can. A few years back a JDRF funding study showed that environmental factors can serve as a trigger for Type 1 Diabetes and autoimmunity. I’ll do a post very soon on that topic and provide the link to that study.  Where there is smoke, there is fire, so I plan to dig deeper.

We left the boys’ game early because my little boy was getting very fussy. The whole family had a great time; even my dad joined us and enjoyed himself. This was the fourth annual Orange Out Game and we’ll be back for the fifth. Next year there will be a Type 1 playing on the girls’ team and should make the night all the more meaningful. I walk out of the school that night with a stronger connection with it than I could have ever imagined 23 years ago, a connection that will last a life time, the cause of Type 1 Diabetes.  I’ll defiantly be back again.

 

Godspeed

Tim Brand

Posted in Type 1 Diabetes | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Looking back at 2014, and looking ahead:

So we made it, we survived 2014; it was a year of the highest of highs for me, and the lowest of lows. Through it all, friends, family and the Lord were there to celebrate and cry alongside me. How fitting would it be to look at 2014 in a stream of consciences; what is a stream of consciences you ask, you can google the definition. So here are my thoughts, in a stream about 2014. Disclaimer: no animals were injured during the writing of this post, however, a few glasses of beer were drunk, chips ate and none were gluten free.

Thee Artificial Pancreas, rebranded (no pun intended) to the Bionic Pancreas, made the national newspapers and social media news feeds. It was shared in everyone’s news feeds, shared in everyone else’s news feed, shared in groups, shared in pages and shared on blogs. Also it was shared by non-d friends on my wall because “we didn’t know if you heard about this yet” and “we wouldn’t want you to miss this story”. Oh, thanks, there’s no way I’d ever see it if you didn’t let me know non-d-person on my friends list (sarcasm intended). I read Diabetes Mine, Insulin Nation, Diabetes Daily, DiaTribe, well you don’t get the point, I don’t miss anything (most of the time), wink, wink.

Hey, let me tell everyone the story again; Dr. Ed (not a medical doctor) made a Bionic Pancreas, didn’t really make anything, just an amazing algorithm that works slick. He took a couple of Tslim pumps, a G4 Dexcom and an iPhone 4, loopy’d them all together and bam, Autobot Pancreas. Bill Woods, formerly of MyGlu, got to do a clinical trial, follow video link here and listen his gluttonous journey around Boston trying to break the damn thing (he didn’t). My blood sugar spiked (I don’t have diabetes) watching the whole thing unfold on social media.

I met Dr. Ed at Friends for Life conference (aka FFL). FFL is a really large meeting that goes on for few days where a bunch of people with kids with Type 1 Diabetes flock to Orlando Florida in July, it’s hot that time of year, but it’s inside and air-conditioned. Also, a bunch of people who come to the conference are adults with Type 1. I had a few people comment on my Facebook post that they couldn’t hardly wait to see me, when I saw them, all I got was an “oh, hi”, I was so confused. I did meet a twitter follower, she tweeted me that she just met my wife; it was cool to meet in person. I did see a lot of my buddies and got to meet some new people and make new friends, a bunch of them were from Chicago, awesome bunch of people; we’ll meet again.

I have to add, we drove 1200 plus miles to FFL, yes, I’m crazy. We’ll call it a diabetic road trip. We packed all 4 kids into a minivan, one six month old (non-d) 2 dkids and my oldest daughter also non-d. Lots of diabetes supplies, I repeat lots, and a bunch of other crap, that’s why I call it a diabetic road trip. Next time, we fly.

Here are a few more stories that made the headlines:

Inhalable Insulin was approved by the FDA, its insulin you inhale. Disclaimer: Bill Clinton can’t use it!

Breaking news, this just in, people do not change their lancets on a regular basis; this has caused a huge back supply of lancets. The meme is free of charge.

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More breaking news, researchers at Harvard did something with stems cells that they say it will cure Type 1 Diabetes. Once again, the ever so famous phrase was used; the cure is, quote “5-10 years away”.  A friend of my neighbors told us this same thing nearly 6 years ago when Audrey was diagnosed; she’s an eye surgeon, I’m sure she’s in the “know” on stuff like that, sarcasm intended. I really don’t want to see or hear from that individual again!

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The American Diabetes Association held its 74 Scientific Sessions in San Francisco this past June; they talked a lot about diabetus.

The JDRF announced the “go ahead” on it encapsulation program, it’s not a cure, but they, in a colloquial explanation, saran wrap beta cells to keep the killer t-cells from eating them. They do this in part because Type 1 is an Autoimmune Disease.

CGM in the cloud is a dominate discussion in many Facebook groups. I ask my friends who’s a meteorologist, if he knew anything about it; he didn’t. I did find out that it takes a smart phone, Dexcom receiver; I’m so confused I’ll quit talking about it now.

My friend Melissa of Sweetly Voiced, apparently likes the Asante Snap pump, and wrote a review. Also, she did some d-parodies which she posted on her blog; check them out, there funny. I saw her at FFL, she thought my son was awesome, I agreed with her on that. Lastly, Amy of mom of an extra sweet inulin challenged girl talks about her daughters 6th d-versary; once again, she portrays the emotions of raising a child with Type 1 like no one else. I don’t want forget Tom of Diabetes Dad blogs every day, and wrote about everything, I can’t condense to one sentence, so check out his blog.

Maybe the biggest thing of this year for me was having a new born baby; he was born a couple of days after Christmas 2013. So much of 2014 was dominated by adjusting our lives to him and raising 2 little girls with Type 1. Having 3 girls, it was a great relief to finally have a boy; it was emotionally the best feeling because we had decided not to have any more kids after our 2nd daughter was diagnosed with Type 1. The guy has become a rock star on social media; his pictures get a gazillion likes. I nick-named him Scrunch, because he takes my JDRF hat off, scrunches it up and chews on it. I sure hope the cotton is GMO free.

My daughters both switched to the Tslim pump, I wrote a blog post about the story. That will be an ongoing story into 2015. Speaking of next year, things I’m looking forward to in 2015, one is my children’s book being done; the illustrator has had it for a while. I told her I wouldn’t rush her. I can hardly wait to see the finished product. I hope that it helps little kids with Type 1, that’s the goal! Another is getting back on the horse blogging wise; see previous thoughts about having a new baby and 2 girls with Type 1.

There are big rumblings about the G5 Dexcom getting submitted to the FDA early 2015. This excites me because having 2 girls with Type 1; I’ll take every advantage I can get. Hey, did I mention the Bionic Pancreas?  It will help having the G5 looped in with that, G4 is pretty awesome; G5 is going to be better. I’d say it helps pave the way for it for the Autobot Pancreas.

I almost forgot the ADA 75th Scientific Sessions will be in Boston this June. I really hope I can go. I’ll be excited to hear all those research updates. I went to the 73rd in Chicago 2 years ago. I really enjoyed the free food. I hope to run into the guys from Pancreum again, sounds like they’re moving forward with their Autobot Pancreas too.

I’d really like to hear more on immunology in the New Year! My girls do have an autoimmune disease. I’ve been reading about this researcher from Israel, there are some exciting things going on. Dr. Eli Lewis discovered some interesting things, he’s an immunologist. I’m a fan of immunology, big fan! I sure hope Dr. Faustman gets the funding for phase 2 of her trial. I think these 2 might hold important keys for the cure of Type 1 Diabetes. Key word is might, try to understand that.

It won’t take long and summer will be here, maybe I’ll write about Father’s Day like I did last year.  This time, it will be posted here, on my blog. Summer time will be fun, as long as I get the addition on my house. I have a need for more space; see previous paragraphs on having 4 kids. But summer time once again will be marked by our yearly adventure to Friends for Life. I hope we can make it. I want to see my buddies from Chicago again. That’s a cool crew.

It looks like 2015 will be full of things, hopefully fun things, not loaded with stress like 2014. Maybe I’ll be able to load up the family for a camping trip to the Two Hearted River. Get away from the business of life and spend time watching the kids play on the shore of Lake Superior. Fish the Two Hearted River with my dad and hear all his stories again. Let’s see how much time I have left over for that; maybe I should throw some other stuff in the crapper and do that instead.

That is all the thoughts I have left for you my friends. If this post doesn’t make sense, just imaging not getting any sleep for the last year, CGM’s going off, crying baby at night, piles of stress and all the other d-parent duties added in. I do hold down a full time job and work a lot.  What sums up 2014 the best for me, the song How Bizarre does; its driving me crazy every time I look around. That’s the year I remember, in a stream of consciences. What will 2015 bring? You want to know the rest, hey, buy the rights.

 

P.S. Remember, its 2015, that means another year went by, so we’re only 4-9 years away from a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.

Godspeed

Tim

Posted in Type 1 Diabetes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments