Friday, January 30, 2009

Pain in the Butt

Half the time Daniel does a site change, he does it on his own. Half the time I help him. We know how important it is to rotate sites so he doesn't get a goose egg under the skin and have trouble absorbing insulin. Per our diabetes nurse, we try to do about 6 different spots in one area, like the right side of the stomach, then do 6 more in another area, like the left side of the stomach, and then move on to the back of the arm, the butt, the side, etc. Daniel hates doing his thighs, so we've stayed away from that area. Too bad, because that would be an easy access for him.

It would be helpful for him to have arm extensions and a head that twisted all the way around, like an owl, to reach some of his sites on his backside. I don't know how people do it who don't have moms or partners around to help. I guess you get resourceful. Daniel's not there yet. So he directs me to put it there... no, *there*... and have the attachment for the tubing pointing kind of sideways... a little more... and I don't always get it right. Today he was complaining about his pain in the butt because I got the angle wrong yesterday.

I could say something about teenagers being a pain in the butt. Quite often they are! But then again, I'm not the one with a cannula sticking out of my ass, so I'll shut up and try for a better angle next time.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

FB Meme Transferred

On Facebook there's a meme going around... 25 random facts about me.

I know, you didn't ask. But in case you're interested:

1. I simply adore Gene Kelly.

2. I love the arts & humanities. I love music, visual art, writing, theater, singing. Yet I wish I had delved deeply into one of these things rather than dabbling a little into each.

3. There are books inside of me trying to get out. I feel that if I wait too long, the characters will perish, and I will be guilty of murder.

4. I teach Sunday school. But I'm a Unitarian, so Sunday school is pretty wacky.

5. I am surprised to find myself teaching for a living. I never believed I had the patience/planning/creativity for that.

6. I am allergic to eggplant.

7. Having to deal with my child's chronic illness has changed me. I think I became more anal retentive when I had children (just to stay on top of everything that *needed* to be done) and now that A.R. quality has been honed and intensified.

8. I believe I would be happy to work at a dead-end job for an hourly wage, as long as I could do it in Hawaii.

9. When my friends had kids with peanut allergies, I used to think "I don't know how they deal with that!" when it came to reading every label, separating all the food, dealing with school & parties, etc. Now that we have celiac in the family, people tell me that they don't know how I deal with that. But I do. I have found that you do what you have to do for your family.

10. Don't touch the crossword puzzle. It's mine.

11. I have to have music to drive long distances. And I have to sing loudly to arrive safely. Bring your ear plugs.

12. Must have chocolate.

13. I believe we are here for a reason. However, we may never know what the reason is.

14. My paternal grandparents died 10 years ago, but I still dream about them and sometimes sense them. I feel like I should call them sometimes.

15. I don't think I've reached my potential, and I'm afraid time is going too fast.

16. When I was quite young, my mom dressed me up and entered me into one of those pretty little girl contests. It was at a mall, I think. I remember being surrounded by all the lovely girls with their tulle dresses and flowing hair and knowing, at such an early age, that I was totally, utterly in the wrong place.

17. I've been to 5 Billy Joel concerts. Once I sat in the 2nd row and caught a drumstick.

18. I live vicariously through Brad, my oldest, dearest friend, who is an actor. I imagine my life if I had followed his career path. I wonder what kind of person I would be if I had gone north instead of west. Not that I'm unhappy. Quite the opposite. Just curious.

19. I loved the short time I spent in graduate school for poetry at the U. of Pittsburgh. It was a flowering, an awakening. I am so sorry I never got my MFA.

20. I'm scared of spiders, but I try not to let my kids see that.

21. My favorite chore is laundry. It is warm and gives you time to think. My least favorite is mopping. You have to move everything, and you have to vacuum first, which makes it a double chore. Or a triple one, actually.

22. I've quilted, knitted, sewed, and woven, but don't know how to crochet.

23. I think I can fix almost anything, as long as there is a clear instruction manual.

24. I found out that kids don't come with instruction manuals.

25. One of my favorite weekends was an escape spent with 3 girlfriends in Cape May. We solved all the world's problems as we walked the beach, snooped, shopped, played, sang, and drowzed. I'll treasure that weekend forever.

Tell me 25 random things about you!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bloody, bloody...

Maybe I should spit though my fingers when Daniel says, "I haven't had a bloody nose in a while!" Two in the past 24 hours. I blame video games. :) I might as well blame something, right?

I dropped Nora off at a birthday party today, and the mom of another of the party attendees stopped me to ask a question. She is someone I know from summers, from the our pool. Her niece was just diagnosed with T1... did I have any advice?

I thought those funny pool relationships. I don't know some of those people very well because I only see them a couple of months out of the year. But there are things that I *do* know. She's the one with the triplets. That's the guy in the messy divorce. She's recovering from cancer. She's the one with the diabetic kid. Oh... that's me.

When it comes to a scary disease, and the helpless feeling that accompanies it, I'm willing to talk to relative or complete strangers in search of answers and advice. Now that I've been through this terrible diabetes diagnosis with my own child, I'm certainly willing to be the person on the giving end of that conversation. The one who says, "You are not alone. Let me help you. We will get through this."

Thank goodness, once again, for our modern conveniences. Our cell phones and social networks, our blog sites and digital cameras. These are the tools we use to connect with people in similar situations, this is how we keep from drowning in fear. Although I may not find all the answers I seek online when asking fellow bloggers questions about diabetes & celiac, I always find a friendly voice, a companion on this journey, a light on the path. Sometimes, that's all the answer I need.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Spitting Through My Fingers

Ptui, Ptui, Ptui! Three times. Keep away, bad luck. It's one of those old country things, a funky superstition evil eye warder-offer.

Here's when I want to do it: Every time Daniel says, "Hey mom, my numbers have been really great these past few days."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change, Statistics, Hope, and Cake

It was a beautiful day for change. Cold and sunny and filled with joy. I was overcome with emotion as Barack Obama was sworn in, as the music played, and the poem was read. I hope for positive change in this country, and for a collaboration of the great minds in government and business and community to bring about a better health care system and support new directions in medical research.

I watched the inauguration on television, surrounded by family and friends. I whispered to my youngest, Dominic, that he will always remember the remarkable day in American history when the first African American was sworn in as president. That he could be proud that his family supported it, and was lucky enough to see the moment. As Barack Obama walked into the crowd and took his seat, waiting to be sworn in, Dominic had something to say.

"Now that Obama will be president, there's a fifty percent chance that Daniel will be cured! Maybe a 90% chance!"

Daniel, being a teenager, told his little brother to shut up. But for me, hope is always there. Hope is tangible, precious, and necessary. Dominic has heard us talk about the health care system, stem cell research, funding for clinical trials, etc. etc. You just never know how a young kid processes all that info swirling around the dinner table. Today it was processed into hopeful dreams for a cure for diabetes, based on the inauguration of Barack Obama. Well, why not.

On a completely different topic, yesterday my in laws and parents came to dinner, and I decided to try a recipe I found for gluten-free angel food cake. There have been luscious strawberries and blueberries in the grocery store this week, and I figured we'd throw some on top of the cake and call it dessert.

I had never made angel food cake before, gluten free or not. This turned out so good though, that I though I'd post the recipe. I found the recipe at glutenfreemommy, and I thank her for sharing it.

Use 1 cup gluten free flour ( I used the suggested mixture of 1/4 cup millet flour, 1/4 cup tapioca flour, 1/4 cup white rice flour and 1/4 cup sweet rice flour.) The texture with this flour mix was delightful. I was lucky enough to find sweet rice flour when I went to Connecticut during the holidays. I haven't found it in my area.

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

12 egg whites, room temperature (to maximize volume of egg whites). But here's a tip: eggs separate easier when they are cold. So separate them right when you take them out of the refrigerator. Then put the yolks in the fridge for another use (I made custard, yum!) and let the whites get to room temp before beating.

1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided.


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Separate egg whites in a stainless steel bowl and let them come to room temperature. In a separate medium bowl, sift gluten free flour, salt, xanthan gum, and 3/4 cup of the sugar (or whisk together well, if you don't have a sifter). Beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar. Beat until the egg whites form soft peaks. Beat in the other reserved 3/4 cup of sugar about 3 Tablespoons at a time. Beat until stiff peaks form.

I have a Kitchen Aid standing mixer. Not the largest one, but it's still a good size. When I got to this point in the recipe, the egg whites were up to the top of the bowl. They didn't climb out of the bowl, but they were high enough that they looked like they were planning their escape! I thought perhaps they weren't getting mixed in well enough, but soon they took on a nice, glossy sheen, and they reached the proper stiffness.

Stop the mixer at this point. Slowly fold in flour mixture about 1/4 cup at a time using a large spatula. Don't be so aggressive that you deflate the whites, but be thorough enough to distribute the flour. Once the flour mixture is combined, fold in the vanilla in the same way.

Slowly pour the batter into an ungreased tube pan (preferably one where the inside lifts out) and spread the batter evenly. I didn't have one where the inside lifts out, so I just cut a piece of parchment paper to fit and put it on the bottom. Run a knife through the cake to get rid of any big air bubbles. Bake for 50-55 minutes until top is golden. The sides may or may not begin to pull away. Cool for 10 minutes. Run the edges of a knife along the pan and pull out the insert to the tube pan. Or, if you don't have an insert, turn the pan over to release the cake. Remove parchment paper, if used. Invert onto a cake plate. Serve with topping of choice!

It was so delicious. I served it with fresh strawberries. I also cooked some strawberries into sauce to go along side. The whole thing disappeared! Well, there were 9 of us...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Numbers in line...

A week has flown by since my last post... a busy week here in our household! My husband returned from his business trip, so we had a re-Christmas and re-birthday celebration last weekend. More yummy foods, more presents to open, more of the general madness, merriment, and disruption from routine that is brought on by a holiday. This time Daniel's blood sugar stayed in line, however.

We seem to have difficulty keeping Daniel's blood sugar stable while traveling. Also, Daniel wasn't incredibly disciplined during this last trip... lots of food around grandma's house, lots of nibbling without really knowing a carb count. I know it is a chore on any given day to count the carbs of all the food he eats. I experience the same frustration doing Weight Watchers, trying to track my points. I greatly dislike tracking every little thing I put into my mouth, yet that's exactly what I have to do for Daniel. What he has to do for himself. Huh. I don't mind counting all *his* food, but I seriously balk at counting up my own. What's up with that?

I did gain a little weight over the holidays -- 1.4 pounds, but I'm not too upset with that. I'd rather have stayed level, but am very happy to have kept the gain under 5 pounds. I'm back on track with the program, and will *attempt* to write down all the foods I eat and get my own numbers in line. They say that people who do track their intake religiously lose more weight than people who don't. I guess I have to explore why I consider tracking to be so difficult. Honestly, half the time I just forget. I need to find a way to make this habit stick. To do for myself what I do for my son.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Long and Scary Roads

***Occasionally I find it hysterical that the life-saving medicine stands next to the butter.***

We raise our children only to let them go. It is my job as a mom to teach my kids right from wrong, to try to do their best, be polite, put their dishes in the dishwasher and pick up after themselves. Hopefully, when they are adults (in some far, distant future, right?) they will have the tools they need to survive the world and the personality traits and social skills to help them succeed.

Back in the stone ages when I was in high school, driver's ed was taught as an in-school class. The football coach put us through our paces, both on the driving simulators and on asphalt. After a semester of training (plus a few extra parallel parking lessons with parents) we were supposed to be prepared to take our exam. I remember that my parents needed to hire a driving instructor in addition to what I learned in school because all our cars were stick shift, while at school they only taught automatic.

Driver's ed is no longer in our high schools, sadly. It was slashed from the budget long ago. Unfortunately for Daniel, there is no real convenient driving school around. Nothing he can walk to from high school, and his school bus doesn't get him home in time to make the class at the one closest to our house. Drivers ed, for Daniel, may have to wait until spring break or summer.

Now that Daniel is ready to get his learners permit, and as much as I could really use another driver in the house, I feel like an invisible force is peeling my protective fingers off his shoulders. The force is time itself, the future that arrives with each exhale. The heartbeat that drums, "let go, let go, let go." I remember how ready I was at 16 to get my driver's license and experience the heady feeling of freedom (even though it was my parent's vehicle and I lived in their house). At the same time I balk at the notion of Daniel behind the wheel. Even knowing he is a good kid, even though he doesn't take chances with his health, it's hard enough to entrust Daniel to the supposed caution of thousands of other drivers on the road without even adding his diabetes into the equation.

Hypoglycemia while driving is as dangerous as any drunk driver. It can rush in as quickly as a summer thunderstorm, it is more distracting than texting while steering. Even before Daniel was eligible to get his learners permit, I explained the importance of testing his blood sugar before putting the key in the ignition, and of keeping sugar easily accessible.

You see, even if I do a perfect job as a parent , if all the lessons are properly taught and absorbed, there's always a wild card, a monkey wrench that can set us spinning off course. Like a rock on the road the size of a cauliflower (that was this summer) or a diabetes diagnosis. That's life, I know, and I make peace with that, or try to, on a daily basis. But there is a part of me that will always grasp for control, and will always reach out to protect my children. That's the mom part of me. It's bone-deep and unstoppable.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


War is a failure of humanity. An inability to communicate. To perform atrocities against another group of people, we must dehumanize them so we can ignore the fact that there are faces, hearts, loves being destroyed.

When I hear about the conflict in Gaza, all I can think about are the innocent families caught in the crossfire. Families on both sides of the border. The pain and the emotions run so deep, so far back in time, that I have little hope of a solution in the near future.

I heard today on the news about an Israeli blogger who calls himself "Hopeman" and a Palestinian blogger who calls himself "Peaceman" who live close to each other across the border around Gaza. They have come to know and trust each other through years of blogging. They have reached across centuries of hate and mistrust to strive towards a common goal: peace and cohabitation. That story sparked a prayer.

The world continues to get smaller with all of our technological advances. We can meet people across the world, or even our neighbors across the street, whom we would never otherwise talk to, through the miracle of social networks, blogs, and websites. Maybe there is a way to reach across cyberspace and make tentative, non-emotional contact. In the privacy of our own homes to find out, one by one, what it is like to step away from a tradition of war and hatred toward friendship. To find the face, the humanity of our supposed enemy.

Shanti, shanti, shanti. I pray for peace.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back To School

It was very difficult to get up at 5:20 this morning after a couple of weeks of awakening *after* the sun. But the body falls into a rountine, from bed to shower to kitchen counter, and before I knew it I was making lunches in my semi-wakened state. I had a few days of distress leading up to the first day back. It's almost like preparing for a performance -- do I know all my lines? Is my costume ready? Am I "in the zone?" And although it was an extremely long day, the kids pretty much behaved themselves and seemed resigned to returning to rountine as well.

After school was over I went to the kitchen to wash out my mug. One of our first grade teachers was there getting some caffiene, and she commented on how tired she was and how long the day was and that she only got a few hours of sleep.

"Why?" I asked. I hoped she was feeling okay with all the yukky bugs going around.

"I was nervous!" She said. Even though she has taught for many years, she was nervous to get back into the routine after having a couple weeks off.

Oh, that made me feel so much better. I thought it was just me, as a first time teacher, lack of experience, first year nerves, going through this kind of stress. But it must be more universal than I thought. I am so much more at ease for tomorrow now.

In diabetes news... I emailed Daniel's nurse today because he has had quite a number of nosebleeds lately. I did some research on line to find out if there is some correlation between Type 1 and nosebleeds. I found other people asking the same question, but no answers.

Daniel's nurse emailed me back that there is no real connection. However... if your numbers are high, you get dehydrated, which can also dry out the nasal membranes. Of course the cold weather/dry houses can cause nosebleeds without any help from high bloodsugars, and the combination of the two probably makes things worse.

Daniel was running high over vacation. Food everywhere... but his numbers were normal all day to day -- probably because he is back into his routine. I hope the nosebleeds disappear as well. They are a little scary!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

May this year be filled with blessings, good health, peace, and love.

My cousins sent me a fabulous youtube new year's greeting, and I'm happy to share it with you!