Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Parents go online for diabetes support (article)...

Article in the Murray Pioneer (South Australia) about two members of the online support group I started not long after Issie was diagnosed.

Monday, January 16, 2012

5 questions for a rainy day...

It's a rainy day here in my neck of the woods, the kids have a touch of cabin fever and have 2 weeks before the start of the school year! Not going anywhere because I don't want to spend any money at the moment - with our big trip only 3 1/2 weeks away - so my prediction for today is that I will be refereeing a number of skirmishes throughout the day and doing LOTS AND LOTS of laundry.

And... thankfully, nothing of any note to report on the T1D front - so far.

So, following in the footsteps of a fellow T1D mum and blogger, Hallie, I'm going to answer the same 5 questions - although the summer version, since we're in a different hemisphere!

1. What is the last thing you bought for yourself?


Yes, I know it doesn't sound that exciting - but it's my favourite freshly ground coffee from this little café in Manly - this coffee is sooooooo delicious, not too strong and with a yummy hint of chocolate! So, right at the moment while I'm sitting here typing I'm drinking a cup of this delicious coffee, freshly made at home by my coffee machine.

Simple pleasures - that's what life's all about!

2. What's your favourite meal on a hot summer day? (replacing the words "cold" and "winter" from Hallie's post).

Anything that I don't have to cook!

Actually - that's the lazy answer - we get some pretty hot days here, so on a REALLY hot summer day I don't cook - it's just too hot!

But, my favourite summer meal on a day that's not too hot to breathe?

Hmmmm - that would have to be a lovely fresh salad with a great big bowl of king prawns (shrimp) - provided someone else peels them for me!

3. Have you started looking at swimsuits for this year, and do you buy a new one every year? 

Well, since it's summer here swimsuits are unavoidable. I actually DID buy a new swimsuit this year - for the first time in about 8 years, mainly because I'm usually too terrified to even think about getting into a swimsuit! Not about to let anyone see me in it though - wearing of swimsuits is strictly limited to the safety of my own backyard swimming pool!

4. If you could be any candy, what would you be and why?

Interestingly, neither of my T1 kids really uses candy as a hypo treatment - for one it's juice and for the other it's usually chocolate milk or Powerade. Issie did use Jelly Beans in the early days post diagnosis but after a particularly bad hypo that involved the forceful expulsion (sorry) of about half a packet of Jelly Beans followed by the only Glucagon shot she's ever had, and a trip to the hospital in an ambulance, she will no longer go near them! So I don't really keep much candy in the house - mainly because if it's there, it'll be eaten - by ME!

But, that's not the question, is it?

What candy would I be - and why?

I would be a dark chocolate bullet! Don't know if they have those anywhere other than Australia? This would have to be my favourite candy! The rich dark chocolate on the outside with just the right amount of black liquorice inside!

Now for the why?

Because I'm the only one in my house that likes them! So that means that if I were a chocolate bullet in my house then I'd last forever - or at least, the liquorice bit of me would (the bit on the inside) because that's the bit the kids don't like! Also, since the kids don't like liquorice bullets, this is one of the few types of candy that I know don't know the carb content of! I don't need to know it! Maybe that's why I like them so much!

As for the symbolic reason for picking this candy - may seem a little weird - but I kinda see the contrast between the sweet chocolatey exterior and the rich liquorice interior as being a little like me! A bit of a surprise - a "more than meets the eye" kind of thing. Don't know if that makes any sense. And I think that this actually applies to just about every single T1D Mum on the planet!

5. What are you most passionate about?

A pretty obvious answer there of course, T1D awareness and doing what I can to help find a CURE for T1D! But, I guess something that I'm even more passionate about than those things is letting other parents know that they're not alone. The thing that hit me hardest after Issie was diagnosed was the lack of support on the community level and the importance of establishing a support network among families who live with this disease every single day.

Well, the next load of laundry is finished - and it's time for lunch!

Can't wait to read some other answers to the 5 questions!

Hope everyone in the T1 community is having a nice, quiet, uneventful D day!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The kids have a ball...

just a little play on words there...

Yesterday the kids and I headed out to Sydney Olympic Park for our final volunteering shift at the APIA Sydney International tennis tournament.

It was a bit of an early start for one particular child during the holidays - who usually does not surface until around 11am:

He eventually woke up, donned the blue JDRF Volunteer t-shirt and got to work drumming up customers for the Tennis Ball Lucky Dip.

All-in-all we had a great day and the kids were very proud of their efforts to help raise money to search for a Cure for the disease that they live with every single day.

There was one tiny shadow on an otherwise sunny day - an example of ignorance and selfishness that the kids found difficult to believe.

A rather large "senior citizen" came up to the kids at the JDRF lucky dip stand, asked about how it worked and what you would win and then asked, "so who does the money go to?"

Issie said to her, "the money goes to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to help find a cure for type 1 diabetes."

This woman's response was:

"Well, if it was going to seniors with diabetes then I'd be interested." then shook her head and walked off!

Yes, I'm going to say it - this woman was selfish and insensitive - she wanted the chance to win 2 tickets to the Mens' Final at the Apia Sydney International - but ONLY if the money she paid for her entry went to elderly obese people like herself with Type 2 Diabetes, the majority of whom can could have prevented the onset of Type 2 Diabetes by changing their diet and getting a little exercise!

According to the Garvan Institute, "Obesity is driving a worldwide epidemic in type 2 diabetes."

Whilst I acknowledge that Type 2 Diabetes is, like Type 1, incurable, the majority of cases of Type 2 Diabetes are preventable and to take a direct quote from the information provided by the Garvan Institute:

"Type 2 diabetes is often referred to as a 'lifestyle disease' and is promoted by poor diet, obesity, lack of physical exercise and an 'apple shape' body. This is where extra weight is carried around the waist. There is also increased risk associated with high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease."


"A healthy lifestyle is your best defence against Type 2 diabetes.

The risk of Type 2 diabetes can be greatly reduced by eliminating the risk factors that cause the disease.

Some risk factors are not modifiable, such as age, sex and genetics. But most risk factors can be modified.

Major modifiable risk factors include:

- overweight and obesity
- physical inactivity
- poor diet
- tobacco smoking"

Okay - that's my sermon over for the day.

I'm off to take Issie to a surfing lesson!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Get your Ice Cold Lemonade!!!

The start of the new year has already been so very busy - but definitely GOOD busy!

A lot of JDRF stuff going on in particular!

Right at the moment the APIA Sydney International Tennis Tournament is on and JDRF is the official charity once again - for the 5th year in a row!

So, I donned the blue JDRF Volunteer t-shirt and spent a few extremely hot and humid hours selling JDRF merchandise and collecting gold coin donations on Sunday last, and will do it again - this time with the kids - on Friday!

Wonderful to learn that the ATP presented the JDRF with a cheque for $10,000.00 on Monday during the event at Sydney Olympic Park!

Today the kids did their bit with the inaugural ISSIE & JADE'S JDRF TEAM CURE DIABETES LEMONADE STAND - we all had a lot of fun and raised $79.50 - donated directly to the JDRF via the Parents of Aussie Kids with Type 1 Diabetes Support Network Team Cure Diabetes Fundraising initiative.

Tomorrow I'll be helping out with the JDRF Peer Support Program by taking part in the filming of a short video about the Peer Support Program to be presented by Eli Lilly at an international conference in Phuket, Thailand, in February.

As well as all of this, thanks to a brilliant idea by one of my wonderful friends and fellow member of the Parents of Aussie Kids with Type 1 Diabetes Support Network, members are posting their kids' BGLs as their Facebook Status every day this week. The idea is just to post the numbers, with the hope that at some point one or more of their FB friends will ask what the numbers are all about - and then an explanation can be given about T1D - hopefully leading to a little more education about life with this disease! Great idea Shaula - and even if we educate just ONE MORE person we have succeeded!

So, lots to do, and only one month now until the kids and I head to Canada! Sooooooo excited! I know all you Canadians are probably very happy with the very mild weather at the moment - 12 degrees celsius in January in Calgary? Huh??? - but please - for us Aussies - can you put on a bit of snow for us! You can keep your mild weather for the next few weeks - but come 11 February - can you flip the switch and turn winter back on.... please????

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Here's to 2012!

2011 was a tough year for a lot of people. I can't tell you how many people I know who, rather than celebrate the start of the New Year at midnight last night, celebrated getting through a year most deserving of the title Annus Horribilis.

Yes, 2011 was a rough year, however, I think that when things are particularly bad it is even more important to look back on the good things that have happened, goals achieved, moments that have made us smile. Even the darkest day has a little ray of sunshine.

So for me, today - the first day of what I hope is a great year - I'm going remind myself of the great things that happened to me and my 2 kids - no matter how small.

  • Issie had a much better year at school! She made new friends and is finally starting to remember that she is Issie, not "Issie the diabetic".
  • Tim excelled at sport, is doing great with his music and managed to keep his grades up at school and get moved up to advanced classes in a couple subjects!
  • I learned to stand up for myself in situations that would previously have left me paralysed with fear.
  • My kids proved themselves as confident and competent public speakers.
  • I found my voice, and finally figured out where my life is headed. And, I know that I CAN do whatever I set my mind to.

Of course, there are other things that happened throughout the year, so I know that even though we had some very rough patches where we all really struggled, we, as a family, have a lot to be proud of. Not quite Annus Mirabilis - but definitely plenty to celebrate.

And now we look towards the new year.

Last night the kids and I were invited to a party at the home of some very good friends. This was their big family New Year celebration and I was honoured that the kids and I were considered "family". The party was typical of a big Italian family gathering, wonderful food, loads of happy kids running around, lots of laughs and wonderful stories.

When the clock struck midnight and the fireworks on the Sydney Harbour Bridge lit the night sky I found myself surrounded by so much love and happiness that it was almost overwhelming. I was embraced by people I'd never met before as though I was part of their family. Every single person was genuinely happy to be right there, in that place, at that time.

It was a beautiful start to what I know will be a beautiful year.

From my family to yours, may 2012 be a year filled with good health, hope and above all, happiness.