Holidays and Diabetes | Guest Post Accu-Check Diabetes Link

Caleb Christmas 2012When I think of managing diabetes with the holidays, my initial reaction is that it’s just like any other day – one blood sugar at a time. But when Rob asked me to write a guest post on the subject, I realized we do handle things a little bit differently.

“Holidays: When a Kids Job is to Just Be a Kid” posted today at Accu-Chek Diabetes Link.

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Diabetes Parenting Week at Life of a Diabetic | Guest Post

Christ Stocker who writes The Life of a Diabetic, held a special guest blogger week featuring parents of children with diabetes. Included in the line-up are:

Bennet Dunlap of YDMV who speaks about the FDA

Wendy Rose of Candy Hearts Blog who shares a story about diabetes intuition

Scott Benner of Arden’s Day who discusses how kids need to be kids

and myself with how we handled the transition from summer days at home, to structured school days these past couple of weeks.

Hop on over to Chris’ part of the interweb and take a peek at what they all had to say.

Thanks, Chris for another opportunity to guest post. It’s always an honor.

Related Posts: The Power of Perspective

Caleb’s Take on #Diabetes at School

A week from today my kids head back to school. Summer always seems to go by far too quickly and this year is no exception. In recent years I felt like summer was cut even shorter with the time I spent getting forms, schedules and plans ready for Caleb’s care at school. This year I’ve been able to rely heavily on the groundwork that’s been laid in the past and the benefit of meeting with key school personnel back in May before the school year ended. Although I’m still getting some ducks aligned this week, it’s with a little less anxiety than other years. The fact that Caleb is older and more experienced plays a huge role as well.

Caleb and I had the opportunity to Discuss Diabetes with Laura from Sanofi. She wanted to know how we plan for school and what Caleb’s days are like managing diabetes while there. I invite you to read Caleb’s first hand perspective at Sanofi Diabetes’ Discuss Diabetes blog. My interview can also be found there, although if you only have time for one, I’d go with Caleb’s.

To all those kids who are heading back to school or to the many who have already started, equipped with sharp pencils, new notebooks and plenty of carbs, you have my best wishes for a productive, fun and safe school year!

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

A special weekend post for Mother’s Day thanks to DiabetesMine.com. I wasn’t familiar with this series of videos before Amy contacted me. I got a chuckle out of them. My “mom of a D-Kid” version doesn’t quite measure up, but I am so thankful for the response it’s gotten – thank you!

For all moms who will do anything to support, advocate and love their kids above all else, particularly my mom, from whose example I have learned how to do this, this is for you.

Talking with Tony

Tony Rose, of Blogging Diabetes

My good friend, Tony, of Blogging Diabetes, asked to chat with me for his Podcast today. I told him he was crazy, because I’m a babbler, but he still went through with it!

I was so excited to talk with Tony. I feel like he and I have been friends since the beginning. He’s one of the first people I connected with on twitter and we hit it off immediately. He’s smart, analytical and kind. He’s a caring dad and husband. But he’s a Red Sox fan. 😉

In the podcast we talk about:

– Caleb’s diagnosis and the impact on Colin and Lila

– Dealing with diabetes at school and advocating for your child

– Letting go and giving your child more responsibility

my favorite: standard deviation

– the awesomeness of Team Type 1 and the tip I got from Tony’s podcast with Phil Southerland

– and so much more.

I only wish I didn’t babble so much and Tony spoke more.

I’m going to reveal the special surprise Tony had for me at the end – a short little interview with Caleb. I had no idea. It was so nice to hear the two of them chatting. Caleb, however, is nice and succinct, not like his mom.

So if you dare, I invite you over to Tony’s blog, if not to listen to me, to listen to any of his amazing podcasts, and if nothing else, check out his great video on standard deviation!

What Some Would Call Lies with Mr. Mike Lawson | Guest Post

Mr. Mike Lawson

I am pleased to direct you over to Mr. Mike Lawson’s blog, What Some Would Call Lies, for a Guest Post of mine today.

Thank you Mike for inspiring me to write about some concerns Caleb recently voiced. Also, thank you Kim for your “You Can Do This” project which allowed for the chance for Caleb to voice those concerns in the first place.

My Certainty is You, Caleb

OmniPod® Insulin Management System | User Review

UPDATE FOR UST400 CAN BE FOUND HERE.

I was asked to give a review of the OmniPod® insulin management system for a Facebook group for parents of children with type 1 diabetes. The group is looking to maintain user reviews for each of the pumps available to help those who are trying to choose one for their child. I am honored to be asked, and happy to oblige.

OmniPod
OmniPod® Insulin Management System UST200

My son, Caleb, is currently 8, was diagnosed shortly before turning 4, and has been using the OmniPod® system for nearly four years.

When we were choosing a pump, the options presented to us were Cozmo, Minimed and Animas. After reviewing each of their features, one did have a stronger appeal than the others, but for the most part I felt that the functionalities of the pumps were all very similar. We just needed to decide which nuances suited our lifestyle and personalities best.

Then a friend told us about a “new” pump – the OmniPod®.  The system includes two parts – the handheld PDM (personal diabetes manager) and the insulin pumping Pod. These two devices communicate with each other wirelessly.

The obvious differentiation is its tubelessness. We love that. Though Caleb is always attached to a Pod, he doesn’t have to carry around a larger device on his person.

  • Caleb can swim and bathe without insulin disruption.  He swims daily and at length during the summer. I don’t have to compensate for missed insulin while he swims.  Although not advised, he’s also enjoyed our hot tub with no adverse effects.
  • Caleb can play sports without insulin disruption and without worry of damaging an expensive device. At the ripe old age of 8, there is yet to be a sport where the Pod has been a concern beyond sliding into a base every once in a while.  Even then, it’s not a big concern.
  • He sleeps without worry or even real awareness that he’s wearing a pump.
  • I can separate the PDM from him.  This is extremely helpful when I’m trying to analyze data, download information, change settings or even just bolus him.  As the manager of his diabetes, it’s nice to not have to try to physically keep up with him to work the mechanics.
  • I like that the separation lets me take a small burden off of him.  If my carrying the PDM gives even the slightest illusion that diabetes is a little less part of “him” while he’s still young, I’m glad to have it.

    Swimming with the Pod
  • To communicate, the Pod and the PDM must be within a couple feet of each other, but it takes less than a second to establish the connection. For example, Caleb checks his blood sugar and administers his bolus at school before lunch in the nurse’s office. Once he hears the “beep beep” that the message of the bolus has been sent, he’s free to go to the cafeteria and leave his PDM with the nurse even while the bolus is still being delivered.
  • He has no worries when going to the bathroom.
  • The tubelessness allows for some discretion. With a Pod hidden under clothing and the PDM appearing cellphonesque, it doesn’t raise too many eyebrows. Discretion is not a major concern of mine, but as Caleb matures, he may feel differently.

Beyond the remoteness…

  • I love, love, love the auto-insertion. I have never inserted any other pump site, so they all may be just as simple, but I love that the whole change process is so easy that Caleb can even do it himself.
  • The integrated meter is great. I love the new ZipWick™ strips too – they need very little blood.
  • I also have great appreciation for the method of bolus delivery.  Bolus’ are delivered somewhat slowly – in .05 increments.  So if I made a mistake and delivered a bolus for an overstated amount (like the wrong number of carbs), you have a chance to cancel it before too much is delivered.  I find that to be a good safety feature.

    Baseball and Podding
  • We were able to acquire a backup PDM when the 2nd generation was released at a relatively low cost.  Should something ever happen to his current PDM, we will only have to start up a new Pod with the backup PDM. There’s no worry about going to shots while we wait for a PDM replacement. We have yet to need the backup though (knock wood).
  • As new generation PDMs are released, upgrading is not an overwhelming financial burden.  When the updated Pods are made available, access to them will be as convenient as getting a new shipment of supplies.

There are two things that I think people considering the OmniPod should keep in mind –

  • You cannot schedule a zero basal rate.  When Caleb first started pumping and had a significant sensitivity to insulin (less than 2U TDD per day), it would have been pretty nifty to be able to program a zero basal at certain times. The smallest basal increment is .05 units and alternating a zero and .05 rate in the wee hours of the morning, for example, would have been nice. We worked around it by setting temporary basal rates of zero and his insulin needs grew rather quickly once he started pumping precluding the need for a zero basal.  Nevertheless, I’ve always felt that would be a good improvement.
  • The IOB calculation (insulin on board) considers corrections only; it assumes that meal bolus’ are needed for carbs consumed. Because we have never known any differently, this has never been an issue. I am able to compensate easily with a little division by 2 or 4. However, I do appreciate that having the option of including meal bolus’ in the IOB calculation could be very valuable, particularly when you have become accustomed to using such a tool in your diabetes management.

Today the options have changed a little, but overall I still feel that all the major players, including OmniPod®, generally have the same functionality. Each has its specific strengths with their own appeal. The bigger decision may be whether to pump or not.  If you’ve decided that pumping is right for you, then it’s just a matter of test driving the various models available to see what bells and whistles you like most.

I believe your mind, heart and perhaps most of all, your gut will steer you correctly. Only you know what’s best for you.

You can read more about our OmniPod® story here.

For an informative post on smaller Pods and DexCom integration, visit DiabetesMine.com.

“He’s Yours for a Reason” | #dsma Guest Post & #SibsofDKids

I’m honored to be a guest blogger at Diabetes Social Media Advocacy, a venture that Cherise created and moderates and of which I have the privilege of being an advisory board member.

As luck would have it, it coincides with the Sibs of D Kids event that Sherry and Lexi put together. One of the points of my post is how I try to balance my relationships with each of my children as equally as I can.

So I ask that you visit me over at DSMA to read about the inspiration behind my Twitter handle, Colcalli: Caleb and his D-Sibs, Colin and Lila.

Have a fun Sibs of D Kids day!!

School Blue-nity | #saed


calebThis is part of our story from last year’s World Diabetes Day. We are currently in the planning phases of this year’s School Blue-nity event which will be a little bigger and hopefully at least a little bit better.

When my son’s principal and I discussed holding a school spirit day to recognize World Diabetes Day, I imagined it coming and going like other ones – rather uneventfully.  I am happy to say that was not the case.

Our plan was to ask students and staff to wear blue and donate a dollar to support a cure for type 1 diabetes.  My son, Caleb, is living with diabetes, and the hope was to increase awareness.  Simple enough.

It turned into so much more than that.  I was able to personally draft a message to explain what World Diabetes Day is and a little about what living with diabetes is like.  Caleb was invited to announce the event over the loudspeaker in the principal’s office.  He was asked to count the dollars that were collected.  He was given the privilege of announcing the fundraising results and his thanks.

The impact was palpable.  Every staff member was donned in blue, several from head to toe.  Most students were dressed in blue.  I saw several that know and are friends with Caleb and I smiled knowing they did this for him, because they care for him.  I saw children who Caleb does not know and I thought they did this simply because they were asked to, and maybe they now know a little bit more about diabetes.  Or maybe they have a loved one living with diabetes and they did it in honor of them.  In any case, there was a sea of blue swarming through Caleb’s school and it made us feel good.

It was unifying.

During the day, Caleb followed his normal routine and he had blood sugars that were less than cooperative.  The school nurse commented how he couldn’t even catch a break on his special day.  She too, however, has come to realize that diabetes does not give any breaks.  She followed her empathetic statement with, “well that’s just diabetes, isn’t it?”

Yes it is.

What Caleb will remember though, is not the less than perfect blood sugar readings.  He will remember being special for a day.  He told me his favorite part was making the announcements to everyone at school.  He proudly listed all the teachers who now know him and call him by name. He will remember his friends who wore blue and gave dollars to show their respect for him and all people living with diabetes.

The day was a great success.  I am grateful to all those who took part in it and who support Caleb at school every day in such a caring way.

We are already planning how to build upon this event for next year.

Originally published at http://www.wddusa.org – November 2009.




Talking with Dr. Francine Kaufman about STAR 3

You may have heard the announcement of the results of the STAR 3 study last week. Amy of Diabetes Mine had a hot-off-the-press post about it here.

I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Francine Kaufman of Medtronic about this study on behalf of TuDiabetes.  Please visit me there to read what she had to say.

To me this study validates what many of us already believe – that the use of sensor-augmented pump therapy leads to improved blood glucose control.  I hope the claim that this will become the standard of care is realized and the troubles that people continue to have getting insurance coverage for these devices becomes a thing of the past.

I also hope that this momentum will continue to bring us within real reach of that artifical pancreas so many parents (me included) are hoping for our kids before they head off to college.  Should it come sooner, even better!