Archive for August, 2008

I’ll Have The Insulin And She’ll Take The Dandelions.

Something really bizarre-o happened today.

Lance and I have been going to a park for the past two years, and over that time, we have become good friends with a lovely Sudanese family. The older kids look after the younger kids, while their Mother uses her “me” time to study for her dressmaker’s certificate.

These kids have seen Lance slide down a slippery dip head first into a pile of sand. They all roared with laughter until they sensed my panic. Standing around me in a semi-circle, they watched with sombre frowns as I squeezed juice into Lance’s mouth. He kicked and screamed; things ended up getting so desperate that I had to get the honey out and smear it on his gums. After about 2 minutes, the storm died down, and I was able to hold my son close to me, and comfort him.

When Lance had recovered from his hypo, he wanted to go home. One of the kids asked me, “Please, can he stay and kick the soccer ball for a little longer?’

I smiled at him, and ran my hand though his tight curls.

“I’m sorry, honey. Lance has a sickness called Diabetes. Do you know anyone with Diabetes in your family?”

Suddenly, mass Arabic chatter filled the air. The older boys spoke seriously amongst themselves, with the occasional wild hand gesture and flickering eye contact between each other and me. I felt totally out of my comfort zone, and shook hands with each of them, let them have another photo together from my mobile phone, and bid them farewell. I had to carry Lance all the way home. He was in misery with a post hypo headache and dreadful fatigue.

This happened about 8 months ago. After that day, I subconsciously avoid that park, and chose another to frequent.

However, I still see the kids every now and again in the neighbourhood. It may be the two oldest boys, it may be a teenager with the three-year-old, or it can be all of them with their mother. We always exchange pleasantries, and the boys always dote on Lance. On one occasion, I commended their mother for doing such a wonderful job with her sons. She beamed from ear to ear.

Today, we met. Two mothers, both Australians, but both from very different worlds.

She goes by the name of Lily, and her English is very poor. She relies on her sons to translate for her, but today, she had to give it her best shot to communicate alone.

She asked me where my baby was. I replied that he was seeing his father, and that I was taking a walk. She nodded her head and smiled. I didn’t know whether that meant she understood, or whether she was simply being polite.

I asked how her boys were. She laughed, and shook her head. Okay, so that question didn’t go so well.

THEN, she knocked me for six.

“Your boy, he has sugar sickness?”

I slowed my pace, and I stared into her eyes. Eyes like pools of chocolate. Eyes that were wise and gentle. Eyes that knew a life so different from mine.

“Yes, Lily. Sugar sickness. It’s called Diabetes? Do you know about Diabetes?”

“Ya, ya. My mother and my sister has sugar sickness. She still in Sudan.”

I had a million questions but I knew that the language barrier would cause much difficulty.

“Your mother and your sister, do they have injections?”

She shook her head and screwed up her nose. I laughed at her pained expression.

“Your boy, he has injection?”

(There was NO way I was going to attempt explaining the pump, so I simply nodded my head in agreeance.)

“Lots of injections, Lily. Everyday.”


“Ahh, come to..come with you? Come with you?”

“Ya, ya. Sugar boy’s mother come with me.”

I knew that they only lived a street away, so I wasn’t too phased about walking her home.

She hurried her pace, and before too long, we were at her house.

Her children all greeted me with the warmest of handshakes. Lily spoke loudly and expressively in Arabic with her children, who all were responsive and listening intently. I was starting to feel slightly uncomfortable. I remembered that the high school kids spoke excellent English. I heard myself say outloud,

“Why am I here?”

Her son, David (obviously his English name) said to me that she knew how to cure Lance from his sugar sickness.

As much as I was intrigued, at this point, I just really wanted to leave.

David, sensing my uncomfortability, offered me a beanbag to sit on. I politely declined, and pointed at my watch. I told them that I should be going back to Lance.

David translated to his mother, and she nodded her head, and had all of her children walk me to the gate.

“Mrs Kate?” David grabbed me by the shirt.

I turned around, and the whole family were picking weeds out of the garden. Then out of pots, then out of a large planter. They were actually pulling the plants up by the roots, taking meticulous care to keep the plant in one piece.

Lily rushed inside for some newspaper, and wet it with the hose. She wrapped up the biggest bouquet of weeds and presented them to me. I looked up, and found seven beaming faces waiting for a reaction.

The Humble Dandelion. No cure for sugar sickness....

The Humble Dandelion. No cure for sugar sickness....

Lily spoke to David again. He translated for her. “Your boy won’t need needles again. This will cure him of his curse. My grandmother, my aunty, the both have the curse, and they eat these plants everyday, and they don’t need medicine. They are cured. It’s a miracle plant. Many, many people do the same thing in Africa. Your people treat it as a weed. My mum is going to write out instructions, and I will write them into English. What time is fine to bring them to your home?” he asked.

“ tomorrow okay?” I replied. He asked his mother, and she nodded and agreed.

I left the house, and powerwalked home with my weeds.

On the corner of my street lives a lady named Hazel. She has the most pristine garden, and also some quirky little habits, like feeding Heart Smart beefstrips to magpies that she tamed over the years. They visit her the same time everyday, and scream up a storm if she isn’t outside with their food.

“What in devil’s name have you got there?” she asked in a mortified but curious tone.

“’s a gift. It’s a gift from my Sudanese friends. It’s a customary thing, you know?”

“You’ve got yourself big pile of dandelions there, you silly girl! Why on earth did you accept them? Oh well, the last laugh’s on you, they cleaned up their garden and dumped it in the hands of a white lady. Ha!” she chuckled to herself.

 I wasn’t laughing. (From associating with wild birds for so long, she even gaffawed and darted her head about like one.)


I got home, to find Lance waiting at the gate for me.

“What’s that, Mum?” he said, frowning. “How come you’ve taken so long?”

I briefly relayed the story when I got inside. I was really eager to google “dandelions type 1 diabetes”.

This is what I found.

Both of these links mention the words “diabetes” and “insulin”, but both also stress the serious nature of Type 1 Diabetes, and recommend that consuming anything made from Dandelions be part of a holistic approach to treating symptoms only.

It is just so heartbreaking that we have drug companies handing out free insulin, free pens, yet the people of Africa often find admitting themselves to hospital is the easiest way to treat their diabetes, as glucometers, insulin, strips, and lancets cost BIG money-money that many families don’t even earn in six months. Many children in Africa with Type 1 Diabetes do not own a glucometer; they simply accept that they have to go without. Occasionally, they can visit a pharmacy for a blood glucose test, but even then, a fee applies.  I am so ashamed that I have collected five glucometers over the years.

Anyway, my dandelions are wilted, and still in their dampened newspaper. I can assure you that I will receive my translated instructions tomorrow. Dandelion root powder and tea have many tremendous healing properties, however, curing Type 1 Diabetes is not one of them. No matter how amazing it would be to find a cure as simple as a humble weed, most of us know, and worship the gift of insulin, whether it be given through MDI’s or a pump. INSULIN IS THE ONLY WAY TO SUSTAIN LIFE WHEN YOU HAVE TYPE 1 DIABETES.

For now, I need to find someone who is fluent in Arabic-as I have to provide a “thank you so much” BUT “it’s not for us” letter, if I don’t want to continue receiving dandelion parcels week in, week out!

Comments (8) »

There’s A Sugar-Free Party Down Under And Everyone’s Invited!

There’s that  myth about people who have Diabetes.

Some folk I come across have a very basic understanding about Type 1 Diabetes. However, the sugar paradox is just too complex for them to grasp in one sitting. Many assume that it’s imperative to avoid sugar. Sugar is the enemy.  A whiff of sugar will kill a person with Diabetes.

Of course, these is no truth to any of the above statements, however, you wouldn’t believe (or maybe you would…) how difficult it can be to get that point across!!!!!!

Now that Lance is established on the pump, and we still have some basal level issues (that will be addressed in a few days), I am constantly looking for new things that will interest him, ingredients that can be incorperated into other recipes and that won’t cause havoc with his blood sugar levels. However, we still have well-meaning, but totally clueless folk gasping in horror, exclaiming, “Shouldn’t you be giving him an injection of insulin or something if he’s so low??” (If I’m treating a Lance-hypo, I don’t have the time to shock them into silence with the facts of how an injection or a bolus of insulin would more than likely kill him with a 2.2mmol/L reading.)

There are a few supermarkets that have really gone all out on a limb with introducing sugar-free/carb free chocolate treats. Despite being a little on the expensive side, they are very convenient to have stored away for treats, to enjoy while watching a DVD, or simply an incentive for putting in a lot of effort with schoolwork. Just like most kids with Diabetes, Lance only gets to experience chocolate or lollies as hypo treatment. He often doesn’t remember his hypos, therefore, the empty wrappers or chocolate smeared across his top lip are the only ways I can prove to him that he actually did eat a portion of confectionery.

Now that he gets to experience some freedom in his diet as a result of the pump, I often will find him looking at the nutritional table on the back of his hypo stash. He has really enjoyed having the odd small chocolate here and there, and I’m so happy to be able to let him enjoy life’s little pleasures from time to time.

So, you can imagine my delight and excitement when I discovered a store that’s the equivilent of Diabetic Heaven.

Sugar Free Zone.

Sugar Free Zone desserts and ingredients

Sugar Free Zone desserts and ingredients

I had the biggest smile on my face as I explored each page of the website. Not only was every item in the store sugar-free, but this fantastic store is actually situated in Australia! (It’s very rare to see more than 4 shelves in a pharmacy devoted to Diabetes, let alone an entire specialty store!!!!)

Sugar Free Zone is ideal for those who have a sweet tooth, but end up sore and sorry at the end of the day from indulging in that chunk of chocolate mud cake with a side of cream. It’s also perfect for people on low carb diets or who have sugar allergies, or for those who are simply looking to reduce their daily sugar intake.

The staff at Sugar Free Zone stock mass amounts of varied confectionery, beverages, jams&sauces, baking ingredients, health bars, chocolate, desserts-if it’s not sugar free, they don’t stock it.

The website makes it virtually impossible not to place an order. It is so exciting (for Aussies, anyway!!) as speedy shipping is guaranteed, and international enquiries are welcome!

Now, before dieticians and the like start scrolling down to send me comments about foods containing artificial sweeteners, the staff at Sugar Free Zone have a detailed page about what sweeteners are used in each product. They also have nutritional details for each of their products online. “Diabetic” jams, biscuits and friends are considered “unhealthy” as, more often than not, they can have a high fat or cholesterol content.  However, when you have a child who has a diet that puts most grown-ups to shame, I find it acceptable to allow the indulgence of the occasional, sugar-free delicacy. Afterall, there’s only so long before a kid will refuse to get excited about cubes of diet jelly or other “free foods” as a tastebud sensation.

On an entirely different note, with our current obesity crisis, and the encouragement of our health system to beat the battle of the bulge, if the product is sugar and carbohydrate free, all the better!

With gift vouchers, gift baskets and a store filled to the brim with imported AND Australian products, (without a speck of sugar to be seen,) I felt that it was of benefit to show off our very own South Australian superstore!

Mark and his staff are only too delighted to answer any questions about their products, and to tempt you with their variety of treats that haven’t been seen in Australia before. (Maybe that’s why we have an obesity crisis…)

 For more details, you can find Sugar Free Zone at:

542 Goodwood Road, Daw Park SA AUSTRALIA 5041

or contact:

Adelaide Metro Callers (08) 8277 4222

Country & Interstate Callers 1300 558 705 (local call cost)

Fax (08) 8277 4228





Comments (1) »

“Mum,Will There Really Be A Cure?”

Lance is watching an episode of Ben 10 Alien Force at the moment. (Thanks so much for the recommendation, Brendon!!-We’re a bit behind the times Down Under, but thanks to handy services such as EBay and credit cards, I managed to get the series for Lance as a post-pump gift.)

I had to sneak away into my room and position myself on my bed (very Carrie Bradshaw like), and release  some pent up tears. I have had a lump in my throat and a quivery voice all day, and if there is one thing in my house that stops everything in its tracks, it’s the sound of my sobs. It distresses Lance so greatly.. Even our dog will plant his front paws on me and cock his head to the side. Therefore, I go to painstaking efforts to swallow back tears and dispense of them after bedtime.

Exhaustion and stress have been big issues lately. I have also had to come to terms with the fact that Lance can now express his feelings and emotions with such clarity and honesty, which is something that I am so thankful he has the ability to do. He will talk about his future, his birthday, schoolwork, family, and on the odd occasion, he will knock me into next week with a comment about his Diabetes.

This was today’s installment.

“Mum, I think my pump is so great. But, can you understand what it feels like to have a mechanical device attached to you ALL the time? It’s does get a little annoying.”

“Oh, I can completely understand that it’s gets a bit frustrating sometimes, because it’s so new and different to your old D Life. However, I’m really glad that you think it’s great. I can’t begin to tell you the difference it’s going to make to your health, and you already know that you don’t have barely any hypos anymore…”

“Yeah, but, what I want to know is WHEN are they going to give me my cure?”

(Silence for a few agonising moments..)

“Or, is it all a big trick? Like one of those things adults tell kids to make them believe everythings ok? I don’t know if I want to be a Youth Ambassador anymore, because I think I have realised that I am going to have diabetes forever, and I don’t think we should talk about the “C” word anymore. It’s a very unfunny joke. The Cure is a big joke.”

His azure blue eyes penetrated mine, searching for answers.

Firstly, I gave him a playful punch in the arm, accompanied with a dramatic gasp for effect.

He was only able to muster up a forced half-smile.

I leaned over and hugged him tight, and said quietly into his ear, ” ‘It’s’ so close, I know ‘it’s’ there, the scientists know what to do, we just have to be patient.”

He squeezed me tightly. He then pulled his head away, wiping his eyes on his shirt.

I had to use all my might to stop myself from breaking down at this point. This was probably the first time I have seen Lance shed tears about living with Diabetes, and maybe facing his future without The Cure.

 Hmm. Tears.

 I decided to do a fingerprick, just in case this was a hypo talking.

Nope, it was the real deal. He was perched on a highly desirable 7.8mmol/L. I looked down at his tubing. The insulin was steadily travelling into his site. I wanted to tell him the how lucky he was that his pump was going to change the way his life would pan out. However, the words, “lucky” and “diabetes” didn’t seem appropriate to use in the same sentence..not at the moment anyway.

I pulled out my laptop, and googled Lance’s full name. He has over a full page devoted to his JDRF Youth Ambassador work, his unwavering devotion to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and his fundraising achievements from the age of five.

It just didn’t cut it.

“The ads on TV, about Type 2 Diabetes, People think it’s me.. It’s true, they don’t understand. “

“WELL, that’s why we HAVE to keep creating awareness about Type 1 Diabetes, sweetheart. You are the most powerful asset to organisations like JDRF. You can tell people what it’s like to live with Type 1 Diabetes for most of your life…”

“Yes, but they forget. They pretend to understand, but they don’t. It’s really good that I don’t have to have needles anymore, but people are always going to be afraid of me.”

At that moment, my already bludgeoned heart shattered into a million pieces.

Lance wasn’t crying, he was mad. He had hot tears bleeding down his cheeks. For two seconds, I hated Scott for leaving me to deal with situations like these by myself. (These feelings quickly dissipated. However, I felt so alone, and for one of the rare times of my life, I was totally speechless.)

We managed to cheer each other up by looking at some really funny “Funniest Home Video” style You Tube. We sat on the bed with a bowl of popcorn, howling with laughter at the antics of puppies and kittens. Good clean fun without a vial of insulin or a carb counter in sight.

Later this afternoon, I almost had a very nasty accident whilst grating cheese.

“Chris (an almost-7-year-old who lives two doors down from us) reckons that people will call the police now I have my pump.”


“Well, he said it looks like I have a bomb strapped to me.”

I had to turn my head momentarily as I silently mouthed a selection of expletives. I looked at the clock, and decided that inappropriate or not, it was crucial to address this matter immediately. 

The Shirt Says It All. (Generally, I am very friendly and loving. Just don't mess with my kid!)

The Shirt Says It All.


So, we put on out uggs and our jackets, and marched two houses down the street. I politely knocked, even though the adrenalin pounding through my body would have easily allowed me to bash the door down like a carload of Feds.

Chris’s Mum and Chris answered the door.

I made it short and sweet. I let Chris know that I knew about his little revelation, and his mother gasped in shock when she found out the entire story. She sent him to his room, disgust and embarrassment evident in her tone. She got down to Lance’s level and gave him a big hug. He put his arms around her, too. Chris’s Mum apologised again, and I sent Lance home to open the door. I apologised for being a dobber, and for getting her kid into trouble.

However if my child has to suffer for just being himself, then I will do anything to amend his pain.


When I got home, Lance was sitting on the floor, in Lego mode. I smiled apprehensively, as I was aware that I could have caused him to feel even more humiliated by my actions.

He beamed at me.

“You go, girl.”

Phew. He didn’t think I was tragic.

“Thanks Mum. It’s great to have a Mum who isn’t scared of people.. Anyway, my pump is great. Just in secret, I do feel really cool in public, knowing that I have a $7000 pocket, and that I have a pretend organ clipped onto my pants.”

And that was that.


***Later on***- We received a knock on the door just after dinner. Chris stood on the doorstep, with a Wiggles umbrella protecting him from the rain. His Dad introduced himself, and said that Chris had decided that it would be in his best interest to get the apology over and done with. He did apologise, and quite sincerely too. I couldn’t help but smile. Lance grabbed his hand and shook it, and told him that it was “all cool.”  They smiled awkwardly at each other.  I encouraged them to go home quickly, as the rain was getting louder and heavier. Two figures scurried out of our front gate. I quickly shut the door behind me, and sighed loudly, at nothing in particular.

Note: Lance has had a permament smile on his dial for the rest of the evening. 😉

Comments (3) »

The Hunger.

“When it is good, it is very very good…”

We are entering Week Four of pumping.

Things are progressing incredibly! Site changes are a breeze, with no infections to be seen and readings that are almost too good to be true. Hypos are nowhere near as savage and insidious as they once were.

Despite some initial hiccups, it feels like a lifetime ago when flexpens were responsible for dispensing Lance’s insulin. Today it’s all about five buttons and a Main Menu. It’s just so fantastic to have some of the worry taken out of diabetes.

“but when it is bad, it is horrid!”

As I am responsible for Lance’s blood sugar control and insulin administration, I’m the first to say that there have been some days (and very long nights) where I feel so desperately alone. When the pump beeps at me, and flashes messages indicating a problem, my heart jumps into my throat and I experience such overwhelming nausea, that, just for a nanosecond, I want to pack the whole thing up and hide it in my highest cupboard.

It’s about a week until our checkup with the paediatric endocrinologist. As we are still sorting out basal rates and a few other issues, we are fingerpricking up a storm. I want to be able to give the Doc the best representation of how life has been since we last saw each other a month ago, so I have carefully compiled all of Lance’s readings in his record book.

I’m yearning for unbroken sleep..At the moment, I’m averaging about four hours a night in total, and it’s nowhere NEAR enough.

Meanwhile, there is another issue that has me tearing my hair out.

Now, that Lance is receiving only Novorapid via his pump, he is stupendously hungry, all the time. I can NEVER satiate his hunger, no matter how much low GI, carb laden food I put in front of him. I can spend two hours in the kitchen preparing an evening meal, and upon completing every last morsel, he is STILL looking for something else.

I have tried halving his bolus amounts, thinking that perhaps I am being too heavy-handed with how many units of insulin I am permitting the pump to administer. It’s not that, as an hour later, he is sucking back water, and squirming around like he has several ant colonies scurrying all over his body.

We have a dog, and a cat. They have been wormed, but with the pump hoopla, I had forgotten to worm Lance. That was taken care of two weeks ago. So, no dearest Elder, he doesn’t have worms from our pets. Still, he craves carbohydrates only half an hour to an hour after a huge main meal. His blood sugar levels are hovering around the 5.5mmol/L-7mmol/L area about 80% of the time, (oh and believe me, for this, there is no adjective grandiose enough to explain how it feels to say “good riddance” to those horrid dips and spikes..) but I simply cannot keep his mind off what he can eat next!!!

(I have spoken to the Diabetes Educator about it, and she has suggested that it is possibly just the last part of his growth spurt, and to feed him what he wants, simply accounting for the extra carbohydrates he consumes by bolusing. )

A month ago, the first words Lance would utter were, “Good Morning, did you have lovely dreams?”

Now, he is plotting and planning what he can have for breakfast, and exclaiming how ravenous he is.

I am spending more time preparing food, then I am sleeping!

This is the only place where I can publically vent, as I can NEVER show Lance that I am privately frustrated with preparing feasts that would feed a small African village. It is starting to frustrate him also, as he is tired of brushing his teeth everytime he has to snack, and I can tell he feels remorseful that he has to continously ask me to find suitable snacks for him. As all food consumed has to be accounted for, he has to report to me so that I can administer the correct dosage. Sleep deprivation isn’t helping one single bit.

I have found myself having to bite my tongue when bedtime rolls along.

“Mum, if I brush my teeth again, can I please have a box of sultanas?”


The opportunity to actually speak to the endocrinologist and outline these concerns will be a such a relief. I know that the extra Novorapid and the out-of-whack basal levels are causing the hinge of my fridge to develop a squeak, but it will be SUCH a comfort to drive away from his office, knowing that the corrections he makes will reduce an appetite equivilent to the winner of Survivor.

Other than The Hunger, all things Diabetes are really looking up!


Comments (2) »

My First Year As An Official D Blogger.

Today I took a moment to inspect my blog. It occurred to me last night that I have been doing this blogging caper for one month shy off a year!

I saw photos of Lance that actually made me gasp, as he has grown SO MUCH! His appetite has to be seen to be believed- is it any wonder I have transformed into Suzie Homemaker, preparing batches of cookies, muffins and other diabetes-friendly taste sensations. He’s morphed from a little boy into my best pal. We chit-chat and laugh all day long, and never tire of each other’s company. I’m so blessed to have him. 😀

My Best Mate-All Grown Up.

My Best Mate-All Grown Up.

I recalled historical events like World Diabetes Day, and the ousting of our former stale and tiresome Prime Minister.

The First Recognised World Diabetes Day.

The First Recognised World Diabetes Day.

Little Johnny Howard. Bloody GST!

Little Johnny Howard. Bloody GST!

I read comments from all of the wonderful, supportive and unfailingly kind D Bloggers, when Lance was diagnosed with his first complications.

I also marvelled at the many new and special friendships I have made.  I am so proud of the people that I call “friend” in my Blogroll, each of them are entirely different, and it’s that diversity that I dearly cherish .

Over the past year, I have reinforced my friendship with my good friend, Shannon, who is a fantastic confidante, and so unbelievably kind. Even though we have an ocean between us, we walk in very similar shoes. (Of course, I am Lance’s Mum, and Shannon is Brendon’s Mom, Brendon being Lance’s penfriend and link to what’s happening in the States.) Dan, my younger brother, has taken some collosal steps over the past year, and as a result is sitting in a very cosy nook, where the sun is always at its brightest. I am so proud of who you have become, sweetheart. Then there is Kerri, the first D Blogger I ever made contact with. She too, has had a fantastic 12 months, and a result, made a stunning bride in May.

I have also made some fascinating friendships along the way.  Janek-possibly the most charismatic man I have ever known. I swear, he is the equivilent of Human Valium-his ability to transform me from inconsolable and exhausted, to tranquil and calm is a true gift. He feels more like family these days. Dae is a really funky chick who Lance has taken an extreme liking to-her posts are very inspiring and fresh, despite lugging Type 2 Diabetes alongside her. Oh my, then there is Kezza. This gorgeous creature has left me wheezing from attacks of manic laughter. He also talks my talk, and without fail, has something interesting or inspirational to say. If Lance could grow up and manage to squeeze his Diabetes into his back pocket the way Kezza can, I would be a very content mother. Other “Mom’s” like Rhonda and Penny are inspirational women, and it’s been comforting to learn about their daily struggles and successes as parents of beautiful kids with Type 1 Diabetes.

To every person who reads my posts, and has sent love, prayers, best wishes and hope for Lance, thank you, thank you, thank you. A sentence with a kind sentiment included can make such a difference on a trying day. It also means a lot to Lance that people from all over the world have him in their thoughts.

This post is dedicated to each of you. You continue to provide me with glimmers of hope, and some raucous cackles thrown in for good meaure. The worst day can be turned around by some gentle, patient words of encouragement.

On the same note, please know that I am always really eager to know how your lives are progressing, and that catching up on your posts is always a special time of my day.

Ah, you are just a bunch of shiny, happy people.

Special. Divine. Wonderful.

Special. Divine. Wonderful.




Comments (4) »

When You Are Silently Dumped For Not Pumping.

Since Lance has started on the Minimed Pump, we have suddenly experienced a noted rise in popularity within our Type 1 Community. It’s not my imagination, even Lance has noticed it.

We have received kind gestures from family and friends, who know that Lance has been plagued with sudden, severe bouts of hypoglycaemia all his D life. They are genuinely delighted that Lance has the opportunity of not experiencing such exhausting days.

However, I’m not so sure about the members of my Type 1 Community. It appears that they are more interested in the prestige associated with Lance now that he has an insulin pump, rather than be ecstatic for a little boy who has been notoriously ill on so many occasions in his short life.

 Last week, we bumped straight into a mother and son at our local NDSS counter, who used to smile meekly at us, but never seemed keen to participate in conversation.  Her eyes used to follow the pharmacist as he stacked up equipment for our trusty insulin pens. I’m sure this isn’t too harsh, -but the reception we were greeted with today was like having an enounter with a Stepford Wife, or in this instance, ‘Stepford Mum.”

"Golly, I wonder how many carbs I'll have to bolus for when insulin pumps are invented?"

“Golly, I wonder how many carbs I’ll have to bolus for butter-laden frosting on my prize-winning chocolate cake when insulin pumps are invented…” 

Stepford Mum grabbed my wrists, and warmly congratulated me on finally becoming an insulin pump-savvy Mum.

“Tarquin! Come and look at Lance’s new pump!” she cried, whilst beaming down at Lance. (I was a little dumbfounded; I had NEVER seen this woman act so chirpy!!!)

 Tarquin darted from behind a corner as Lance lifted his sweater on cue.

“Oh look! Lance has the MiniMed!” squealed Stepford Mum, her eyes dancing, and each perfect veneer sparkling.

“Tarquin was 3 when he started on the pump, and back then, our private health insurer wouldn’t cover the Minimed,” she said in hushed tones. “Our next one will definitely be the Minimed, because you can’t get any better.”(Look out, Medtronic, you may just have yourselves an up-and-coming jingle…)

 I nodded and smiled in agreement.

“By the way, could I get your email address and cell number?” enquired Stepford Mum. I could actually sense slight vulnerability as she held her Blackberry, (not very Stepford-ish, I know) waiting to enter my details. I had to bite my cheek-giving her my email address was the easy part, however, it had been quite sometime since I had been asked for my “Cell.” (Most Aussies commonly refer to cell phones as Mobile phones,and commonly, “mobes” for short.) This was all too surreal…

“So, now that Lance is on the pump, we should get the boys together for a play date. You and I can indulge in an iced tea on the deck. What do you think?” Again, Stepford Mum smiled sweetly, her eyes searching mine for a reply. (So, Lance was unsuitable play-date material pre-pump? Hmmm.)

This was a woman who used to run her eyes up every inch of Lance, searching for the hint of a brand name or for the chance sighting of kiddy haute couture.. Tarquin was always sporting a crisp GAP or D&G ensemble. He would make a fantastic poster child for pumpwear, without a doubt.

Does having an insulin pump now mean we aren’t members of the old-school club of injectors, but gold class members of a new echelon of technologically-savvy diabetes treaties?

Stepford Mum isn’t the only one who has changed her tune. We have received emails from people that I tried to establish a Type 1 social group with two years ago, alas, Lance was one of the only kids who injected insulin. And often.

Despite the fact that we have been pumping for only just over two weeks, I was humoured by an email that was waiting alone in my inbox. I opened it, and had to backtrack in an attempt to recall where I knew the name.

Margot. She has a daughter named Sia. Sia started on the pump after the “terrible distress and agony” that having injections caused her. She was diagnosed as being psychologically “very delicate,” therefore, despite the fact that she was still clearly in her honeymoon period-her levels never exceded 9mmol/L- once she had started insulin therapy (!!!) It was literally weeks when she got the all clear from her private health provider to start pumping. This always annoyed me slightly, as she has probably endured a total of 50 injections in her D life. (And, as for the diagnosis of being psychologically fragile, traumatised and distressed, I have a gut feeling that Margot was referring to herself, and not little Sia.)

 Margot had discovered through a friend, and she felt that it was only good etiquette to email me. She too, expressed dissatisfaction with Sia’s current pump, and wanted to know how I found the Minimed. She also asked if I had any ideas about how to stop Sia from screaming and ranting every time she has a site change! (If Sia’s immune system decided that, yes, she would be special enough to have a chronic illness, Type 1 diabetes was the worst possible selection (for Margot) from the (un)lucky dip.) After five years, Sia has made “no ground regarding accepting her condition, in fact, she’s become worse.” (Her diagnosis really did a number on Margot.) Five years after diagnosis, Sia’s tears have flown enough to put an end to the drought. Margot was looking for life-altering ideas. I suggested that Lance and Sia meet up and do a site change together, with Margot and me providing assistance and encouragement. I left my mobile number in case she needed to get in touch. That evening, Margot was simply overjoyed that I had suggested the kids’ get together. Lance has no shame about any procedures concerning diabetes, however it will be interesting to see how Sia fares. In all seriousness, it would be fantastic to see her relax and accept the fact that no, she doesn’t have a stomach that is healing from over 8000 injections. She was very fortunate to be given a pump, only a few weeks after leaving hospital.

Which brings me to last but not least, Yasmine O’Donoghue. She has a 14 year old son named Jesse, who started pump therapy when he was 10. I had tried many times to make conversation with her, because, believe it or not, I actually thought that we could possibly be good candidates as friends. However, Yasmine was allergic to those nasty insulin pens. Our injection status always drew pitiful stares and upside down smiles. Whenever she would see Lance “old-schooling” it. I would always try to reverse the situation by giving the most dazzling smile I could conjure up. She would look at Lance and gesture sadly towards his bruised tummy.

Our paths crossed last week. I was picking up sugar-free, carbohydrate-free chocolate from a nearby pharmacy; she had just emerged from her chiropractor. She saw us from about five metres away, and sashayed her way over to us, planting kisses on cheeks, and an extra big hug for Lance.

“Yasmine, how ARE you?” I don’t know how I managed to sound so chipper.

“YOU ARE PUMPING! I heard all about it! Ooooh Lance, you MUST be thrilled that Mummy finally gave in and let you get a pump! Good for you!” she cooed.

There was deafening silence. My eyes narrowed like a cat on the prowl. Lance looked up at me; he knew how wrong that comment sounded. He wasn’t quite sure why. He just knew that Mrs O’Donoghue had made a rather nasty dig towards his mother.

I think she quickly realised her lack of tact had not been particularly well received.

“Listen, Kate, give me your address, and I will drop over and give you some of Jesse’s old holsters and pump pouches that don’t fit anymore!”

(As I am huge fan of accessories, whether it’s funky new luggage that I don’t need, pashminas, or Prada frames,(I don’t even WEAR glasses!) I have already invested in some cool skins for Lance’s pump, and a waist pouch, with a thigh pouch on the way.)

“Oh, thank you so much for the offer, but I already have all of those items!”I replied with a smile and a perky head tilt.

Oh, of course you do. Oh it’s just been so long since Jesse started pumping…” she sighed.

“It’s almost time for our upgrade, do you have any recommendations?”

(Jaw hit the floor.)

She was asking me ?  A few months ago, I was the woman who was looked upon as the kind of Mum who sent her kid to school in a home made knitted jumper a shade or three different than the school colours, rather than the specialty store variety that everyone else had.

I told Mrs O’Donoghue to come by my house anytime, as I had plenty of current literature about the pumps currently available in Australia.

She smiled, and gave me a distinct look of approval.

I was absolutely dumbfounded, whilst still being able to have a chuckle to myself. Is this what really happens? Was I really secretly looked down upon for all these years? Was I the topic of pity parties because I happen to be a single mother who doesn’t have full Private Health Insurance?

(In Australia, if you have been with your Private Health insurer for 12 months, most will pay out the entire  amount for insulin pumps.)

Just when I thought it couldn’t get anymore hilarious, Lance and I emerged from the supermarket today, with some weekend supplies. We collided with a woman who would like to think of herself as the closest thing to a Diabetes Educator, without acutally having the qualifications. (Granted, she is a vault of knowledge. I’ll give her that.)

Without saying a word, she slung her handbag over her shoulder, and began APPLAUDING us!

(For a split second, I thought I may have been on Candid Camera.)

Just like the people who approach you and ask to touch your pregnant belly, she asked Lance if she could see his site. Lance lifted his shirt, to reveal the evidence. She covered her mouth with one hand, and began fanning her eyes with the other…

OH PUH-LEESE. If there were tears, I was fearful that I may slap her wrist.

“Oh, it’s just so emotional when you see little ones finally get the’s such an amazing feeling knowing that their quality of life is going to be improved, and that they can live as close to being “normal” without a cure..”

Despite her initial over-the-top reaction, I couldn’t have agreed with her more.

So, we may be finally “pumping.” It’s hilarious that as a JDRF Advocate and JDRF Youth Ambassador respectively, Lance and I have been fighting to make people aware of the serious nature of his condition, and the truth behind Type 1 diabetes. However, within our small Type 1 Community, WE were being judged because of the way we chose to administer Lance’s insulin!!

We were the minority in a minority.

The past 2-and-a-half-weeks have shown that we are no longer recognised as wearing that knitted school jumper. Now that my son has a pump, he is considered to be uber cool in terms of owning superfly diabetes accessories. That’s until the next old-schooler moves up the ladder and begins pumping.

As far as I’m concerned, we were JUST as cool when we had toted our insulin pens and glucose tablets everywhere we went. I was proud to be an old-schooler. The way that Lance’s very first insulin injection transformed him within 45 minutes from a weak, almost unconscious baby into his babbling, curious and adorable self, smothering me in wet, slobbery kisses will always be a moment that is so incredibly dear to my heart.

Insulin is insulin.





Comments (10) »

Some Concerning Statistics From Madonna’s Hubby.

Guy Ritchie
Guy Ritchie

Guy Ritchie, aka Madonna‘s hubby, disclosed some words or wisdom for us common folk recently.

“Sugar kills…it’s responsible for more deaths than crack cocaine.”

I guess no one has told Guy that his beloved pints of lager contain yeast, which converts to sugar…

Madonna has said that Guy does enjoy his pint of lager with the "Missus"....

(Madonna has been quoted as saying how much Guy would prefer a quiet afternoon with the “missus” and a few pints of lager, than attending a movie premiere…)

When the director of gems such as “Swept Away” starts comparing crack cocaine to sugar..not only is it embarrassing, but tinkle-in-your-pants FUNNY!

Did I mention there was buzz that he gave Britney an audition for his next film???

Says it all, really.






Comments (2) »