The Magic of Book Buddies

“Book Buddies” is a program in my children’s school where older kids get paired up with younger kids and they spend time each week reading together.  Lila is in kindergarten, Caleb is in 2nd grade and Colin is in 5th.  Lila’s class is paired with a 4th grade class, which to her delight includes a certain love interest of hers, though she is not paired with him as boys are matched with boys and girls with girls.

Caleb knew his class was pairing with a 5th grade class and was disappointed to learn it wouldn’t be with his brother’s. Oh well.

It had been a more challenging than normal D week at school. I stopped by on Friday to pick up something PTO related, and bumped into the school nurse, Mrs. M.  She did as she normally does – talked to me about Caleb’s day, encouraged me, told me how well he handles things – she’s such a blessing. She went on to tell me that something very exciting happened earlier in the day, but she wanted to let Caleb tell me.  She described how absolutely ecstatic he was, describing his smile and elation. Whatever is was, it was big news, because she couldn’t say enough about how thrilled Caleb was. She let me guess and somehow I got close enough to force her to reveal the news.  It brought me to tears.  I’ll let Caleb tell you:

After a fews days of emotional lows, this was a particularly poignant high.  The moments when diabetes actually makes Caleb happy, and to this depth of happiness, are few. I cannot thank Caleb’s and David’s teachers enough for seeing this opportunity, seizing it and making this “Buddy” change.  This will be one of those moments that I know will stick with me, and I’m pretty sure with Caleb as well.

As far as being disappointed about not being paired with his big brother, well that’s completely forgotten.  He can read with Colin any old day.

No D Day | by Caleb

Caleb doing his thing

Hi, my name is Caleb, pernounced: Cay-lub.

I have a sister named Lila, a brother named Colin, a mom named Lorraine and a dad named David.  We are a family of five.  We have two frogs named Greasy Plate and Tushy.

I have brown hair and brown eyes. I am almost 8 and I like the Yankees.  Actually, I love the Yankees. I wear the number 13 when I play baseball because I like A-Rod.

I am tall and kindof smart.  I like school and I like music. Nick Jonas is my favorite rock star.

I like to eat sunflower seeds, beef jerky, pasta and meatballs. I am allergic to peanuts which stinks because I have to sit at the peanut table at school and I want to sit with my friends.

My favorite color is green.

I like to play mancala and chess.

I like reading and my favorite books are 39 Clues and Harry Potter. I’m in 2nd grade and I like it so far. It’s fun and I like my teacher.

The End.

Goodbye.

Click on the image for the complete No D Day blogroll

“It’s Like Heaven” | In Caleb’s words

I asked Caleb to help organize the new month’s supplies.  While doing so, he apparently became inspired to create more DArt.
I had been making dinner and Caleb was humming away as he often does.  I heard him say in his upbeat, happy-go-lucky way,

“Hey mom! Look! It’s an archway to a diabetes free world.”

He thinks another moment and states with equal excitement,

“It’s like heaven.”

Archway to a diabetes free world

#DArtDay | Fun and Games!

So, I accumulated a bunch of supplies, mostly used, and threw them on the dining room table. With only a little brainstorming with Colin and Lila, Caleb came up with the idea of depicting our cabin from DCamp – Rainbow Ridge:

Rainbow Ridge and all its occupants at family DCamp 2010

He included test strips as stairs, batteries as smoke detectors (I guess there were smoke detectors in the cabin, but I don’t remember), a sun, boats off to the right and lancets representing our family, the two other families, the counselors who bunked in the loft and the nurse coming through the open Pod-door for BG checks and insulin.

Colin created a simple test strip homage to camp:

Camps Barton and Joslin Forever!

Lila made what she called a Pod Blob:

Pod Blod complete with adhesive clouds and a surprised, O-mouthed sun.

Then she was inspired to create a game of chance that works as follows (for 2 or more players):

– Select a Pod.

– If the Pod has a test strip stuck to the bottom, you get to keep it and take another turn.  If there’s no strip, play continues to the next player.

– The player with the most Pods at the end of the game, gets the batteries in the middle as a prize.

Pod Game of Chance

Here’s Caleb with a WaveSense winner:

WaveSense Strip - go again!

And Lila with a Freestyle one:

Another winner!

I joined in and made a simple flower:

Pod Flower

In the middle of it all, Caleb rocked the 100!

Diabetes Art Day 100

Colin, Caleb and Lila were amazingly excited about what they could do with these supplies.  It was a fun time. Thanks Lee Ann for the inspiration! Happy Diabetes Art Day to all!!

Bayer’s DIDGET™ | Review by Caleb

We were excited to receive a free DIDGET™ blood glucose monitoring system from Bayer HealthCare.  I first heard of it about a year ago and was intrigued.

According to Bayer’s website, “Bayer’s DIDGET™ is the only blood glucose meter that plugs into a Nintendo DS™ or Nintendo DS™ Lite system. This unique meter helps encourage consistent testing with reward points that kids can use to buy items and unlock new game levels.”

If you’ve been following Caleb you know that he received a Nintendo DS™ when he braved his first DexCom™ insertion.  So with new meter, the Knock ‘Em Down World’s Fair DS game and a vial of test strips, we were ready to go.

Other than the meter, game cartridge and 25 strips, neither Caleb nor I are receiving any kind of compensation from Bayer.  Nor did Bayer specifically ask us to do any kind of review.

For more information on Bayer’s DIDGET™, including an online demo, check out their website.  If you search online for “Bayer DIDGET™ User Guide” you can get the complete instructions in PDF format. The way the system works is you use the DIDGET™ like any other BG meter to check your sugar. You then plug the DIDGET™ into your DS and start the special Knock ‘Em Down World’s Fair game.  The DIDGET™ uploads all the points earned from checking your blood sugar to the DS.  At this point you can remove the meter and play the game redeeming your points as you wish.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you consider our feedback on the DIDGET™:

  • Caleb uses the OmniPod insulin management system which has an integrated Freestyle meter.
  • Caleb checks his sugar eight to ten or more times a day without complaint.
  • Caleb’s use of Nintendo DS™ is limited to once, maybe twice a month. He’s a busy boy and screen time is a privilege in this house that is earned and only available after all other responsibilities and activities are completed.
  • Caleb had 25 test strips to use from which to earn “tickets” to redeem for rewards. More strips and longer use would enable a more comprehensive review.

Here’s Caleb’s candid responses to questions about the DIDGET™:

Here are some of my observations:

  • One of the first points made in the user guide is how to hold the meter when reading the blood sugar result. After personally having a mini panic attack when reading “26” on a OneTouch UltraMini that was actually a “92” held upside down, I had great appreciation for this instruction.
  • The rewards from using the meter are largely based upon frequency of testing.  You get rewards for checking your blood sugar regardless of the result.  The more you check each day (up to four times) and the more consistently you do so, the greater the rewards. There is a slight increase when your blood sugar is in range, but the lion’s share relates to frequency and consistency.  If you check more than 4 times a day, it doesn’t benefit you as far as rewards are concerned.  The User Guide has more specifics on how the calculations are made.
  • The game is not overly simplistic or cutesy. I expected that for some reason. It’s also not immersed in diabetes.  Other than a mini game called “Flash Carb” and needing to refuel your player with snacks, I didn’t see any reference to diabetes. I think these attributes will lend to longevity of use.
  • I was excited about the mini game Flash Carb that tests your knowledge of different food’s carb content. Estimating carbs is something we are currently working on with Caleb. But I didn’t know what kohlrabi or kasha were much less how many carbs are in them.  I do think Flash Carb increases carb awareness in general, but I was hoping for something a little more practical for us.
  • As you heard Caleb say, he enjoys the mini games and has his eyes on at least one he’d like to unlock with his rewards.
  • There is a battling component to this game that’s a little scary (emphasis on “little”). The music is a little tense and there’s a clown figure in it that makes me a little uneasy. Caleb agrees, although plays it without fear and no nightmares have resulted.
  • Caleb (age 7) can typically pick up a video game and figure out what to do without much (any) instruction.  The battle part of this game had us a little stumped.  However, older brother (age 10 who plays video games even less than Caleb) gave it a try and was much more adept.  I’m concluding that the game is targeted toward an age range that includes Caleb and children several years older and that’s why he (and I) struggled a little bit with this part.  Caleb was pretty excited just to watch Colin succeed at the challenges and I ultimately had to pull the game out of Colin’s hands.

Overall the quality of the game is good. This is based mostly on Colin’s and Caleb’s assessments and their ranking of it up their with any of their other favorite DS games. As you heard Caleb say, he would use the separate meter to check his sugar so that he can unlock more mini games and buy more food, costumes, pictures, etc.  He seemed very excited about it.

Is this going to make us switch to using the DIDGET™ on a regular basis?  I’m not sure.  The reward system won’t change Caleb’s D management.  He doesn’t need to be encouraged to check his sugar more frequently than he currently does.  Having to carry around a separate meter does not appeal to me, but Caleb doesn’t seem to mind.  Ideally I’d be able to split his prescription between two brands of strips – is that even possible?

The DIDGET™ definitely has the potential to improve a child’s D management.  But even if your child is already checking his or her blood sugar regularly, this game creates an intrinsic positive feeling about good blood glucose control. It’s something else available to kids to make them feel that living with diabetes isn’t “strange”.  I find value in that. Playing Nintendo DS™ is “cool” and having a game that’s made especially for kids with diabetes, which gives only them the power to earn the rewards, either for themselves or big brother, is pretty neat.

For other DIDGET™ reviews, visit:

Bennet at YDMV and again at YDMV and one more time at YDMV.

Leighann at D-Mom Blog, or

David at Health Central.

Dream a little dream. Caleb’s view of life with a cure.

Day 7 of Diabetes Blog Week.

Dream a little dream – life after a cure.

What do you think life would be like if a cure was discovered and you no longer had diabetes?
I would feel like I wouldn’t have to do anything like check my sugar.  I would feel like I was free from diabetes.  I would be happy.

I think I would be bored sometimes because of all the things I wouldn’t have to do.  Like I would feel like I was forgetting something if I didn’t do anything before I ate.

I think I might feel like I was vibrating where DexCom usually is because I would remember that.  My fingers and toes wouldn’t look like they had holes in them.

I would have a celebration with a bunch of meters around a table for decoration and then make a cake with a meter on it that says “100” and under that “Cure for D”.   We could also make a piñata in the shape of a pricker and make a big over-sized hand to beat it with.  Since the pricker is normally poking the hand, the hand will have a chance to win.

Day 1 – A day in the life of…diabetes.

Day 2 – Making the low go.

Day 3 – Your biggest supporter.

Day 4 – To carb or not to carb.

Day 5 – Let’s get moving.

Day 6 – Diabetes Snapshots.

Let’s get moving. What Caleb thinks.

Day 5 of Diabetes Blog Week.

Let’s get moving. Exercise . . . love it or hate it?

Running the bases.

Caleb:
I like to play baseball and to swim. Playing pickle with my dad and brother is fun. Sometimes I eat something before I go outside to play so I don’t go low because running around makes my blood sugar drop. Before I go to baseball, my mom gives me something extra to eat so I won’t go low during the game.

DexCom helps because if it buzzes low I know I’m on the way down and I just check my sugar. I might take a sugar tablet or drink a juice box if I’m low. Sometimes it’s a pain because I want to play instead of doing it. It really doesn’t get in my way though. I still do the things I want to do and I don’t need to stop doing them.

Activity did not pose a problem with Caleb’s blood sugar until about a year ago. Last summer Caleb swam almost every day. I have concluded that swimming is more potent and has a faster onset than any insulin out there on the market. It has been the hardest activity to manage, but we do it because the alternative – not swimming, playing baseball or generally living a full life – is simply not an option.

Chilling out in the pool.

Day 1 – A day in the life of…diabetes.

Day 2 – Making the low go.

Day 3 – Your biggest supporter.

Day 4 – To carb or not to carb.

Tomorrow’s topic: Diabetes snapshots.

To carb or not to carb. As Caleb sees it.

Day 4 of Diabetes Blog Week.

To carb or not to carb. Today let’s blog about what we eat. And perhaps what we don’t eat.

Chomping on a granny smith - 20 carbs.

In Caleb’s words (sorry, but this is a bit of a ramble):

I don’t eat peanut butter because I’m allergic to it. I don’t eat frogs, rocks, grass, slime or anything like that.

I like apples, cheese and crackers, pretzels, Nutrigrain bars for snacks and sandwiches, yogurt parfaits, peppers and fruit for lunch. I like cereal, muffins, toast, waffles and oatmeal for breakfast. I like pasta, chicken parm (but I don’t like eggplant parm) tacos, lentil soup and chili for dinner and cake, cookies or fruit for dessert. One time Dad made a wrap with sausage, egg and cheese and I liked that. I also like pizza, Chinese food and salad. I like cucumbers, carrots, Swiss cheese, pears, bananas, grapes, strawberries, mangoes, peaches. I like every kind of fruit there is. Ice pops, ice cream and jolly ranchers are good.

I think he would have gone on forever, but at this point, I just said, “Thank you, that’s enough.”

I worry, of course, about the impact that diabetes has on Caleb, both physically and emotionally. I worry about whether he feels restricted when it comes to food. There is nothing that I say “no” to because of diabetes, but there are things that I avoid because of the impact that they have on Caleb’s blood sugar. I am pleased that his response showed no indication of that. The fact that Caleb does not eat frogs or rocks or slime has absolutely nothing to do with their carb count, fat content or impact to his blood sugars – I promise.

Chowing down on Dad's hamburger 65 carbs with salad and milk.
Feasting on Mom's chicken pot pie - 70 carbs all in.

Day 1 – A day in the life of…diabetes.

Day 2 – Making the low go.

Day 3 – Your biggest supporter.

Tomorrow’s topic – Let’s get moving.

Your biggest supporter. In Caleb’s words.

There were lots of great suggestions to treat lows yesterday. I’m glad to have some new ideas. Thank you everyone!

Day 3 of Diabetes Blog Week.

Your biggest supporter. Today it’s time to gush and brag about your biggest supporter.

Caleb gets lots of support from many.  Nurse Ronnie, his school nurse, is a true contender for being his biggest supporter.  Any of his family members would be viable options.  He thinks differently.

Nick Jonas talks about his fight against juvenile diabetes at the National Press Club in Washington on August 24, 2009.

In terms of diabetes, who is your biggest supporter? Without hesitation, Caleb responds:
Nick Jonas.

Why?
I like him because he likes music and I like music.  He has diabetes so I feel like I can perform like him when I grow up because I think I want to be a musician.

Caleb’s brother, Colin, who is wise beyond his ten years, asks:
What about Mom?

Caleb responds:
Oh yeah because she will always drive her car into school and save me when I need it like she’s Super Pod Woman.

I love you mom.

Caleb imitating Mom as "Super Pod Woman" driving to school to "save" him.

Day 1 – A day in the life of…diabetes.

Day 2 – Making the low go.

Tomorrow’s topic – To carb or not to carb.

Making the low go.

Just part of the stash.

Thanks to everyone who checked in yesterday! Caleb really enjoyed reading all your comments. He sat and smiled and even chuckled out loud a couple of times. He has no idea what the food police are, but he found that reference downright hysterical.

It was great to read all your Day 1 posts and the different ways you all went about describing your day in the life of diabetes.

Caleb’s contribution today is most definitely short, and undeniably sweet!

Day 2 of Diabetes Blog Week.

Making the low go. Tell us your favorite way to treat a low.

Caleb’s top choices in his words:
Mom, it really doesn’t matter to me. I use lots of sugar tablets. My favorite is apple because they are sour. I use them especially at school because it’s easy, but I also like:

juice,

raisins,

yogurt covered raisins,

sour Skittles,

Starbursts,

Yogos,

sugar cubes,

sugar packets,

Swedish fish,

dried apricots

and pretzels.

That’s it – quick and to the point.

Unsealed and ready to go.
Unsealed and ready to go.

I try to unseal all the containers as soon as I get them so I don’t have to waste time with those nasty buggers when Caleb needs sugar FAST!

As a side note, Caleb says they are easy, but he’s told me before that he prefers glucose tabs at school because they appear more like medicine.  It makes him uncomfortable to eat a “treat” or drink juice around the other kids since they don’t also get to indulge (or perhaps its more like avoiding the envious eyes around the classroom).

If you missed it, Day 1 – A day in the life with…diabetes.

Tomorrow’s topic: Your Biggest Supporter.