Archive for September, 2008

The Broccoli Guy. (Yes, He’s Married.)

It truly warms my heart when a friend or even more so, an acquaintance, goes out of their way to let you know about a news article they have seen or read regarding something concerning Diabetes.

Tonight, I was surprised to find an email from an old friend whom I simply lost contact with. In fact, the last time he saw me, I was fraught with panic as Lance had crashed in the middle of a department store. I was crouched over the top of him, very indelicately, might I add, desperately trying to get Lance to ‘drink the juice’…

As soon as his blood sugar stabilized, my friend, Bryce, approached me with some trepidation.

“Hey, Kate! It’s been..what..three years since I saw you last?”

“Umm..yeah, probably. How are you?”

“Oh, fantastic!” (Holds up ring finger, and gives me the opportunity to study his wedding band.)

” Congratulations.” (Lance is moaning in my arms and defiantly indicating that he wants to go home. I soothe him, and tell him that I’m just saying goodbye.)

“So, what happened back there? This is your son, obviously?”

“Oh, yeah. Sorry. Bryce, this is my son, Lance. Lance, this is a friend of mine, Bryce. He just got married.”

(Lance gives his infamous half-smile as a way of acknowledgement.)

Bryce smiled back nervously, and said, “Yeah, so what was that all about? Or is that rude to ask? Oh, that was really out of line, wasn’t it?”

“There’s nothing rude about type 1 Diabetes, Bryce. Lance was diagnosed after his first birthday.”

“Oh My God. Geez Kate, I’m so sorry. Look, if you ever want to chat, here’s my number. I just can’t believe that you aren’t a total mess after dealing with that.”

“Ha. Well, I guess you were a good distraction in that case, huh?”

“Here’s my business card, do you have an email address?”

Pleasantaries exchanged.

“Well. good luck with everything. Sorry to hear about the diabetes. Poor little guy.”

“Ah, ok thanks, all the best for the future, congratulations again.’

I shuddered. What an awkward encounter.

It was so horrid that it seems that I blocked it from my mind completely.

So, you can imagine my surprise when, almost two years later, Bryce’s name appeared in my inbox!

The subject was left blank, which left me all the more intrigued.

The contents of the email read-


How are you? I am at my office and I have just come across some news that I thought may be comforting to know.

How is your little boy? I have never forgotten how scary that all looked that day. I have been a real jerk, and I wanted to apologise. Not one person came to see if you needed help. Including me. I was too busy gawking and I’m so ashamed of that. I should have rushed over to help you immediately. Anyone could see that you needed help, and here was I, with my mobile phone in my pocket, standing there like a idiot. I don’t blame you for not contacting me.

Anyway, after you told me about how your little man has type 1 Diabetes, I got some books out from the library to find out what it is. I’m a Dad now, too, and it scares me beyond belief that kids can get sicknesses like this. You’re a really brave girl, Kate. Even that day, you weren’t scared (I WAS!!!) and you didn’t panic.

Anyway, I hope this link can be of some use to you. Maybe it’s just silly, I don’t know.



Or maybe that simple gesture was perhaps the sweetest and thoughtful offering of human kindness that I have experienced in such a long time.

(He got books from the library!!!!!)

i don’t expect huge benefits to be held in Lance’s honour by my friends, or anything outlandish, simply because he has type 1 diabetes.

However, Bryce’s email has made me consider a question.

“When your life suddenly gets complicated, how do you define a true friend?”

I questioned myself. What have I done recently that could be considered a gesture of good will?

 I sat and gave my neighbour performance tips the day before her violin exam.

I heartily congratulated Lance’s friend, Lachlan when his goal won his team’s soccer match and organised our local paper to get a shot of him and his Beckham skills.

I put up my hand to babysit my friend’s twins,(one of them eats dirt and gravel every chance she can get), when she felt that some alone time with her partner would be beneficial.

A simple gesture can make someone’s day, and not take a great deal of effort or energy out of yours.

It’s been a long, long time since I received an out-of-the-blue phone call from a friend.

I realise, that yes, especially when Lance was younger, phone calls with me were difficult. However, I learnt how to speak, on speaker phone and set up a glucometer, and gave my baby a finger prick without another soul knowing-I try to give my full attention to people who have found reason to call me.

However, as I said, in the early days, I would have to simply hang up mid sentence, as a smiling but vacant-eyed Lance would be ready to bungee-jump off  1.7mmol/L any tick of the clock.

I was always the one who let the “team” down, because Lance had just happened to have three consecutive horror days in a row, and he was naturally very clingy to me after these episodes. The sighs of frustration and impatience used to sting my extroverted soul, everytime I’d have to make the phone call..

“I’m sorry, I just can’t leave him. He’s only 2-and-a-half, and my parent’s won’t know if he’s crying because he’s sick or low or fretting, and I will be the most atrocious company.”


My point is, Bryce’s link about the natural wonder-properties of broccoli was just an incredibly thoughtful and kindhearted gesture. I don’t care that it won’t cure Lance’s diabetes, or that he won’t magically regrow islet cells as a result of broccoli a la puree consumed three times daily-it was just an incredibly kind thing to do.

Broccoli-Super Food and Natural Smile Inducer.

Broccoli-Super Food and Natural Smile Inducer.

 Someone cared enough to think of my little boy, and me, and pass on some information THEY thought may help us.

With the miracle of the internet, how easy would it be to email a friend, who you know could do with a:

“Hi, just wanted you to know that I was thinking of you…”

Thank you so much, Bryce, for thinking of us. Your link about broccoli means more to me than ten links of pure gold.

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1 AND 2 Do Not Go Together.

Thanks a bunch to whomever is responsible..

Every September, Australia celebrates ‘What’s The Buzz” Day. We also have an annual Diabetes Awareness Week. That last sentence makes me want to force 1000 fingerpricks until the end of the lancet is rounded upon the person/people responsible for lumping type 1 and type 2 diabetes together.

Once AGAIN, the nation is utterly confused, and has no idea about where or what type of diabetes plays a role in childhood obesity. 

You See, Diabetes Has Basically Become A Polite Way Of Saying:- “Lazy Tub Of Lard Who Injests Sugar and White-Flour Laden Foods Every Moment Of The Day…

There are newspaper articles with the latest count of people with “Diabetes.” (Notice, no distinct segregation of type 1 and 2 diabetes listed by the journalist or the source.)

There are fears for the judge everyone loves to hate on Australian Idol. Due to his punishing work load, (starting the day at 3am to do his radio show, and then working through the day with his Idol commitments), Kyle Sandilands quaffs up to 30 lattes and numerous litres of Coke, along with a packet of cigarettes everyday. He unashamedly admits that his diet is less than desirable, and he has recently been branded as an appalling example to the young listeners of his successful radio program, and the young fan base that religiously follows Australian Idol. Last year, he was diagnosed with elevated blood pressure that has him branded as a walking heart-attack. Like him, or loathe him, he is overweight,but he doesn’t deserve to have the media behaving like vultures, waiting to see him on a stretcher."I Just Like Chocolate And Sweet Stuff Too Much..."

However, then, we have his fellow Australian Idol judge, Marcia Hines, who has lived with type 1 diabetes for many years now. 

Despite being diagnosed in her mid-thirties, Marcia now spends every second of every day loving life. She has a successful career, a wonderful husband and a world-wide fan base.

Marcia-Our Type 1 "Idol."

Marcia-Our Type 1 idol.

So, you could imagine, to my dismay, Marcia Hines appeared on an advertisement during the verdict show of Australian Idol, warning fellow Aussies to get checked out by their doctor and to watch their weight. She then goes on to say, “Diabetes is a serious condition, hey, I’ve got Diabetes!”

However, there was no mention of the insulin pump that continuously infuses insulin into her body, so that she can focus on her job and not have to worry so much about what her levels are doing. Under her signature, bright attire, that compliments her cocoa skin so beautifully, lives a Medtronic insulin pump-currently only used for people with type 1 diabetes in Australia.

So, who on earth is reponsible for having the likes of Marcia Hines, speak about her condition so casually?

Is the Federal Government in a lather over the alarming surge of type 1 AND type 2 diagnoses?

Surely, Diabetes Australia aren’t using a valuable person with fame and recognition behind her, to plug diabetes as what happens when you “supersize”…

Someone with Marcia’s celebrity calibre is too valuable to be fobbed off as a “Diabetic.” Why wasn’t she encouraged to speak about her work with kids who have type 1 diabetes, and the fact that she had to hide lollies in her chair when she could feel an impending hypo on live television??

So, we have one man, who is technically, “obese”, and has not even uttered any fear of contracting type 2 diabetes, and then, a disciplined, highly respected woman, who has lived with Type 1 Diabetes for almost 20 years, almost “forced” to disclose the fact that she has an auto-immune condition, for the pure purpose of shock advertising..

“Wow, if Marcia Hines has Diabetes, I could get it too! I mean, she’s in her late fifties and she looks amazing!”

If this is the case, I am utterly sickened.

 Marcia responded to a letter that Lance and I wrote her at the beginning of last year-she commended us for our fundraising efforts. She also took the time to write some inspirational words to Lance, encouraging him to never look back, and to allow type 1 diabetes to make him stronger.

(Lance was so starstruck, and impressed that he had received a response from the female judge of Idol!!)

I just want to get one thing clear.

I hold no resentment towards anyone who suffers from type 2 diabetes, no matter if it was bought on by lifestyle choice, heriditary factors, the end result of suffering from Gestational Diabetes, or even if certain medications caused beta cell damage.


However, when people see my son, and associate him, or me, as his mother and carer, with images like this:

Images Such As This Are Hammered Into Our Heads Through Advertising. People with Type 1 Diabetes Are Thrown Into The Same Category. SHAME!!!

Images Such As This Are Hammered Into Our Heads Through Advertising. People with Type 1 Diabetes Are Thrown Into The Same Category. SHAME!!!

I cannot begin to describe the anger and hurt. It’s easy enough to say, “Ah, take it with a grain of salt..”, “people are ignorant..’ This is MY son that people (who think they ARE right!!) are casting judgement upon.. MY son, who did not ask, or deserve this condition, and yet is asked almost everyday a variation on the same theme.

‘Did Mum give you a lot of sugar as a baby?”

“Does Mum have diabetes, too?”

“You shouldn’t be drinking soda if you have diabetes!!”

“At least you don’t have cancer.”

I am the first to admit that I tend to harp on this issue regularly in my posts.  I only have one child, and I gave my ALL to make sure that he had everything and was given the very best of care. Yet, when people give ME a look of “Well, you learnt the hard way, didn’t you?” I could almost scream and stamp and have a tanty like the best of them.

I’m tired for Lance, having to defend himself.

I’m tired, full stop.

Whoever is responsible for this disgraceful and heartbreaking advertising, you are messing with some really passionate and like-minded parents!

However, on a brighter note, my brother, (who last saw Lance just before he got his pump in late July,) caught up with him on the weekend. He was astounded by “how at peace, and how calm” Lance seemed, and how much healthier he appeared. (My brother is a man of very few words, so coming from him, these observations meant so much to me.)

I do apologise for the venomous rant, and I never want to hurt anyone by doing so who has Type 2 Diabetes.

It’s just this “obesity crisis”…it’s the topic on everyone’s lips. It’s heartbreaking to see a morbidly obese child who IS Lance’s age, licking the last morsels of Cheesel salt from their fingers… I am simply blown away that a parent could become so ‘relaxed’ with their child’s wellbeing. It takes so much work to undo years of bad habits associated with food. Maybe these kids feel like I do, angry that they have suddenly become persecuted and in the limelight for all the wrong reasons.

I appreciate that the government are not taking this grave issue lightly, but the spotlight is being falsely aimed at a demographic who have never had an issue of any kind with obesity!! 

 And of course, you know the first disease that comes to mind as a result of “indulging in one of the deadly sins”.

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We, The Unidentified.

Bravo, JDRF Australia!

THANK YOU for showing us the facts on paper. 🙂  Your team conducted a broad scale survey about what it’s REALLY like to live with Type 1 Diabetes, and you came up with some staggering results. 

Considering that Australia is the most obese nation in the world, and there has been millions of dollars poured into advertising for weight loss,( with the fearful threat intertwined of becoming a “hearty” candidate for type 2 Diabetes), it appears that all of the amazing advocacy work that we thought was leading us to finally establishing an identity of out own has lead us back to sqare one.

JDRF said that from the 2300 respondents (which was aimed at all age groups-adults with type 1 diabetes, parents with a child/children with type 1 diabetes and other people with a personal connection to type 1 diabetes-family, friends, co-workers, sent a very strong message that the current focus on obesity in discussions of diabetes had created a “blame culture”, which in turn causes misery and depair for families living with Type 1 Diabetes, as reported in “Update“-The Official Newsletter of JDRF Australia.


ADULTS living with Type 1 Diabetes reported a common complication that accompanied their condition-depression and anxiety, with 25% reporting a clinical diagnosis during their time living with diabetes.

Even more concerning were results indicating that this debilitating condition was not being managed as well as possible by health care professionals, with only 7% of respondents declaring that they had been referred for psychological support.

Heartbreakingly, depression or anxiety was ALSO the most commonly reported complication for children with type 1 diabetes, with a staggering 1 in 10 declaring this dreaded complication.

(Reassuringly, all of the candidates had been referred to a psychologist or other specialty care.)


Agasp… MORE than 50% of adults and 40% of parents reported that they had experienced a Health Care Professional demonstrating a blatant lack of knowledge about type 1 diabetes.

(I shuddered as I read this statement in particular, recalling a registrar in hospital, neglecting to read the nurses’ notes, and almost overdosing Lance with a double dose of Novorapid. 30 minutes later, I discharged Lance from the hospital, fully aware of the risk I was taking-however, as his fulltime carer, I felt he was at more risk in that ward than he was in his own cosy nest at home. Hate to say, ‘I TOLD YOU SO”, but in this instance, I was right. Also, how could I POSSIBLY forget the after hours doctor who told me to “break Lance’s “tablets” into halves, and only give him a half dose while he was unwell, despite having “TYPE 1 DIABETIC” emblazoned in red on his file!!!!!! Not to mention, I alerted the doctor,by stating;”I AM PRESENTING MY SON WITH IDDM TO YOU FOR A SECOND OPINION REGARDING HIS INSULIN DOSES….!!!!!!”)

30% of adults also reported that diabetes was not the first diagnosis when they became ill.

Almost 20% of adults did not consider their diabetes to be well managed, however, around half of repondents reported no complications, and no emergency room visits since diagnosis.


Almost 30% reported feeling extremely worried about having a hypo at work or school.

The good news was that just over half of the respondents felt confident that their fellow workers or school friends could assist in an emergency.


Nearly HALF of all parents reported being made to feel that their child’s type 1 diabetes was their fault, due to the constant confusion between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. EVERY PARENT  HAD AN ENCOUNTER RELATING TO AN INSENSITIVE, IGNORANT OR DELIBERATELY CRUEL REMARK ABOUT DIABETES, causing heartbreak to them or their child.


JDRF Update newsletter, Winter edition, 2008.

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An Aussie Sheila Havin’ Her Say About The USA.

Maybe it’s the upcoming elections, but I have been interested in the goings-on in America of late.

(OR maybe I am too disappointed in our government to care, so I’ve subconsciously shifted my interest to the Super Nation.)

Firstly, although almost a week late, I feel that I must make mention of the anniversary of 9/11.

Gone, but never forgotten.

I will never forget those images..those sounds..that fear…I was twenty-three years old, and so terrified that our nation would be next in line. I had a brand new baby, and I couldn’t believe what a horrorshow of a world I had bought him into.

To all of our friends’ in America, our thoughts are always with you at this time. Even though we lost many Aussies in the Bali attacks the year after, it was difficult to comprehend just how “real” it was. To know that your country was on red alert, with a President who wore that notorious “deer-in-the-headlights-expression” must have been the most petrifying and life-altering experience.

  In Australia, we were glued to our TV screens, screaming at our then-Prime Minister for kissing up to Dubya and sending our troops over to Iraq.

Then, of course, you have your upcomimg Election.

Wow. I bet many Americans don’t even know who our new Prime Minister is.

The prospect of having an African American President is so exciting. I don’t want to get into a political discussion, but I REALLY hope you get Obama. I mean, you deserve him after being led by a very traditional, set-in-their-ways government for the past eight years. Or is it six? Nevertheless, it’s been a VERY long time.

I have become very interested in America’s Health Care System, too.

The workings of it have always intrigued me, but after renting Michael Moore’s, “Sicko“, I was left feeling extremely warm and fuzzy towards our Medicare system.

In Australia, if a middle-income family have a child that is diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes, they would be given a signed report by their endocrinologist upon discharge from the hospital, to hand into Centrelink, which would immediately ensure that your child would receive a Health Care Card. The entitlements: ALL insulins are dispensed in bulk, (eg-Lance uses novorapid, we get 25 vials; five boxes each containing 5 units of insulin), for the sum of $5. Five dollars. This is regardless of whether you have health insurance or not. You only need a Medicare Card, which every Australian citizen is entitled to, anyway.

So, in this instance, what would happen in America?? Would a family of a newly diagnosed child (without health insurance) need to get a loan to cover the cost of insulins etc??

Can we still honestly say that we are the “Lucky Country”?

I also met a fan of Michael J Fox on the weekend. (We had plenty to talk about, as I grew up with “Alex P. Keaton“, and have loved him for as long as I can remember.)

The Fan, was very passionate about all of the phenomenal fundraising and organisations that have been established by Michael J Fox and the late Christopher and Dana Reeve. I too, was familiar with the awe-inspiring attempts at cracking the code for conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, Alheizmer’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Cystic Fybrosis and not to mention, type 1 diabetes, which were made possible by the genorosity of these wonderful people. We also discovered we both were huge Obama fans.

However, then things got a tad nasty.

We have been following “Who on earth is Sarah Palin” in recent weeks. She’s been getting her fair share of air time on the News and coverage in the the major newspapers, so it would be fair to say that a decent amount of Australian’s know that you have a female candidate running for Vice President. (She’s probably better known as ‘the Yankee four-eyed chick who the old Pubbo dude is having it off with. Oh yeah, she’s got a decent rack, too, so if she shut her trap, she’d probably be pretty hot, actually…’) either laugh or cry at the Aussie-isms that you run into occasionally-some people make the late Steve Irwin sound quite regal.

Anyway, back to the MJF fan.

She was concerned that, because Sarah Palin’s son has Down’s Syndrome, that she would be completely against any Embryonic Stem Cell research. I tend to broach this subject with extreme caution, as people get SO riled up. They are either extremely TOTALLY pro, or VEMEHENTLY anti. There’s very little “grey area”, where people will just shrug it off, and say, “Hey, I respect your beliefs, I’ve got mine, but can see your point, too.”

I smiled and nodded as MJF Fan verbally assaulted Mrs Palin. However, I refused to comment, which annoyed MJF fan all the more.

I’m not going to concern myself about it at the moment, I mean, I think it would be fabulous to have a new, fresh government in the United States, but as I am an outsider, and just a humble Aussie, I guess ALL that matters to me, is that your Health Care System gets refreshed and made fair for everyone. That could take my lifetime to amend, but ultimately, after watching Sicko, I was mortified that what I suspected was the case was actually true, only worse.

Meanwhile, you must be SO proud of Michael Phelps. 🙂

What an all round nice guy!! I saw a pic of him with our some members of the Aussie Men’s Swim Team along poolside, having a laugh together. Did I mention that they were all shirtless?

So, thank you for letting me act as your foreign correspondent, USA! Your country is SO much more exciting than mine at the moment!!

btw..Here’s a challenge for you.


What is the name of our current Prime Minister??

The first person to get the answer correct (who is not an Aussie, of course,) gets a post dedicated to their brilliance on my blog, and a donation made in your name to ‘Buzz Day.” 

NO GOOGLING or ANY other searches. ( I will know if you cheated!!!!)

Please entertain me. I’m bored.


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Assorted Pancreatic Tastebud Treats!

I spent hours on the World Wide Web this evening, looking for new and interesting stories to post for your reading pleasure, and so you can say that you’ve learnt a true fact for the day!

Please keep an open mind while taking in the bizarre, yet truly fascinating finds that give the word “pancreas” a whole new meaning!!!

(To be honest, it feels great to “find some dirt” about Ye Olde Void Organ. I need to laugh about Lance’s empty vessel sometimes..)

Here we go…

 GreenTripe, a one-of-a-kind pet food company,  specialise in providing only the “freshest” fine food for your dog. (They have EVERYTHING; when i say everything, I’m talking about dried trachea snacks for Rover.)

     Also on the extensive menu, are beef pancreas rolls for pooches who suffer from pancreatic complaints. ( I wonder if it has a warning, “Not For Human Comsumption” somewhere on the labelling??  *After some investigating, I discovered that it most certainly does indicate that it for animal consumption only.)*

 To prove that I’m not messing with your head, here is the link.

 (If your dog does have a dicky pancreas, then you really can’t go wrong with contacting the folks at Greentripe; they sell a 2lb roll of beef pancreas for $3.70-and, it’s especially ordered for medicinal treatment!) 

Fully Fledged Pancreas Chunks For Your Beloved Canine Companion.
Fully Fledged Pancreas Chunks For Your Beloved Canine Companion.

Now, don’t go getting all squeamish on me!

 I just found it very interesting that there are LESS than 200 healthy pancreas’s donated and able to be used for lifesaving pancreas/kidney transplants each year in Australia, yet slabs of cow pancreas’s for canine consumption are readily available over the internet, for the cost of the coins down the back of your sofa!!

Anyway, I’ve digressed. (Again.)

I really want to share a Chinese recipe with you all. Our friends in America have just entered the third week of Autumn, (Fall) and this recipe is perfect if you suddenly have the urge to whip up some cuisine from the Orient.

Here’s what you’ll need for: Silken Corn and Pig Pancreas.

(Admittedly, some ingredients may be extremely difficult to get your hands on. (Hmm, bad wording.) I’ll try again..some ingredients may be difficult to find, unless you visit your local abbottoir.


All symptoms of diabetes and high blood pressure.


Promotes diuresis to relieve edema, lowers blood pressure, lowers blood sugar levels.

Each serve should contain:

  • Pig pancreas 豬胰(豬橫利)– one whole (250 gm)
  • Corn with corn silk 玉米鬚� 2 cobs and corn silk or 40gm of dried corn silk
  • Chinese yam (shan yao) 淮山– 40 gm
  • Lean pork 瘦肉� 160 gm

  1. Wash pancreas and soak with 2 spoons of salt for an hour.
  2. Wash pancreas and put in boiling water to rinse for a couple of minutes. Retrieve, drain and cut into thin pieces.
  3. Wash corn and corn silk and cut into sections.
  4. Put all ingredients including the pig pancreas in a pot with adequate water and bring to a boil. Remove foam, reduce heat and simmer from 2 to 3 hours until 2 cups of water is left.
  5. Drink soup and eat some pancreas.


Eat on an empty stomach once a day and continue for three weeks as one course of treatment. Continue for a few more courses if necessary. This soup can be used to prevent and treat diabetes.(Author’s note: these are the words of the person who contributed the recipe, NOT MINE. I respect the beliefs of Chinese medicine very much, but I  cannot justify that sentence. As far as Type 1 Diabetes goes, there is nothing that can be taken or done differently to prevent its occurrance. People with Type 2 Diabetes can afford to experiment with alternative medicine as long as they are devoting an equal amount of time to Western medicine. 🙂

( I’m feeling a definite deja vu sensation…it’s the same feelings of uncertainty I had when I was handed the dandelions.)

Anyway, this is what your completed Pancreas creation should look like.

Mmm Mmmmmmmmmmm.

Mmm Mmmmmmmmmmm.

 Last but not least, a girl visiting Hong Kong provided a picture of something that resembled pan-fried potato strips.Seems Like There May Be a "101 Ways To Prepare Sumptious Pancreas" Recipe Book Doing The Rounds!

Uh huh, It was pancreas. This girl ate pancreas. She didn’t specify where the pancreas “came from”, only that she had eaten it.(I would have loved to have asked her if it “tasted like chicken…”) Any Aussie who has tasted crocodile or kangaroo or anything slightly exotic, will often reply that it “just tasted kinda like chicken, really…”

So, there you have it. Whoever knew that the pancreas could be used with such a spirit of adventure in the kitchen, and as a culinary and/or medicinal treat for your dog? It was jolly good fun to write about the pancreas with a half-smirk on my face, rather than a forehead full of wrinkles!

Please be sure to share with us if you decide to let loose and treat your dog, or if you want to capture the spirit of the Orient, and get adventurous with a pancreas!!!

Speaking of getting adventurous with pancreas’s….

Before I sign off, I will leave you with a giggle, especially if all of the pancreas cuisine talk has left you feeling slightly queasy…

Who Would Ever Have Thought That The Pancreas Could Provide So Much Entertainment!!

Who Would Ever Have Thought That The Pancreas Could Provide So Much Entertainment!!




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Site Change Complete With Pics 101.

Lance And His Insulin Pump.
Lance And His Insulin Pump.

 This post and pictures are dedicated to my dear friend, Kez, who has been so incredible  throughout the past month. Having had Type 1 Diabetes for the best part of his young life, he truly understands the nature of the condition. He barely ever mentions his own nightmares where Diabetes is concerned; he is more worried for Lance. He’s a true gentleman-an original Harry Winston pink diamond glimmering in a bargain bin brimming over of cubic zirconia.

Kez has been enquiring and asking lots of questions about Lance and his insulin pump. As we reside in different states, I thought I would take some pictures of the ENTIRE site change procedure. (There aren’t too many people who actually want to hear about the pump and its workings, so I decided to pay homage to my friend for being so incredibly supportive, and I figured that I may as well do this properly and show you EVERYTHING!)

This post is also dedicated to my Lance, whose patience and even-tempered nature never ceases to amaze me. You are a true inspiration to others, with or without Diabetes.

Meet "The Pump."

Meet "The Pump."

This is Lance’s five week old Medtronic Minimed Paradigm Insulin Pump. It’s a few cm’s shy of  the size of my mobile phone, and weighs slightly less. ( I don’t own a brick, either-it’s a top-of-the-line Sony job.) It’s available in blue, purple, clear or smoke. Lance chose smoke, as he felt that he would tire quickly of the coloured ones.
 “Smoke is classic, will be less obvious than a bright purple one, and it will look so
much more classy.”
 (Would you like some caviar and Cristal Champagne with your insulin today, oh Sir Lance-a-lot?) 😉
All jokes aside…On With The Show!!!!
First up…
Cleaning Hands With Antibacterial Gel

Cleaning Hands With Antibacterial Gel

 The first rule of changing a set is to have a clean area to work on, and thoroughly clean hands. As well as using soapy, hot water, I go that one step further and use an anti-bacterial quick drying gel.

What You Need To Change An Infusion Site.

What You Need To Change An Infusion Site.

Before I begin, I ensure that I have EVERYTHING that I will need to complete the set change.
I have Lance’s pump, his used, almost empty insulin reservoir that he has removed from his stomach. (This kid has no fear of pain! He just tears off the tape, which is sticky as..there’s no comparison!!) It makes me shudder at the thought of removing it. The closest thing I can compare it with is an eyebrow wax performed by a apprentice beauty therapist who is ripping the wax off in stages. 
I have two alco-wipes, which throughly clean areas that must be germ-free, a new, sterile reservoir, which simply resembles a fat, short barrel of a syringe. It has a blue, removable needle which draws up the insulin. There is also a new “set”, which consists of thin, clear tubing, with a lockable cap on one end, and that tape one the other, along with a removable needle. We’ll go into that more later. 🙂 There is also a cleaned Medtronic Quik-Serter and a vial of insulin.
A 3mL vial of Novorapid-So Little Insulin For Such A Big Problem!

A 3mL vial of Novorapid-So Little Insulin For Such A Big Problem!

Speak of the Devil! Here is the tiny little tube that will dispense three days worth of insulin to Lance. Even then, there is ALWAYS some left over. It’s difficult to fathom that everything revolves around such a tiny amount of insulin! The vial is shorter than my ring finger!! We use Novorapid, by Novo Nordisk.It sure knows how to punish excess sugar in the blood!!


Cleaning The Rubber Plunger Of The Vial-Hygiene Is A Must!
Cleaning The Rubber Plunger Of The Vial-Hygiene Is A Must!


Yep, I’m giving the rubber top where the needle is inserted the once-over with an Alco-wipe. I am meticulous about cleanliness, considering everything I touch or breathe on has the possibility of contaminating Lance’s site. OCD much?
Filling The Syringe With Insulin.

Filling The Syringe With Insulin.

Okay, this is the part where you take a deep breath and hope that you don’t get a case of Shaky Hands Syndrome. I turn the vial of insulin upside down, insert the syringe (unable to be seen due to the blue plastic thingy-me-jig) and pull the plunger at the bottom, to fill the reservoir ( a fancy, American name for syringe) with the entire contents of the insulin. Once I have ensured that there are only “champagne”size bubbles present, and no trapped air to be seen, I remove the blue plastic thingy simply with a twist, put the empty insulin vial in my rubbish heap and ever so carefully, twist the plunger anticlock-wise until it comes off, and you are left with something that looks like….
Attaching One End Of The Tubing To The Insulin Resevoir.

Attaching One End Of The Tubing To The Insulin Resevoir.

I have also connected the lockable cap to one end of the reservoir. This is usually the stage where people cotton on, and say “Ahhh, I think I’m catching on here…” The tubing is also visable in this shot, and the part that ends up stuck on and in Lance’s tummy.
Where The Insulin Lives.

Where The Insulin Lives.

The Reservoir full of three days worth of insulin has it’s own special home in the pump. You simply push the reservoir into the space, and twist anti-clockwise until it won’t twist anymore. (What’s with all the anti-clockwise twisting, you may ask? I know..Australians are a mob of clockwise turning folk..) I never realised just how much until my associations with Duplo. (OH! The Pump has a name, in case I have forgotten to mention!)
Drumroll please….
Introducing…. Duplo. I think there’s a hidden metaphor in there somewhere, along the lines of Duplo is the easy, user friendly version of the more complicated and high maintenance Lego. Get my drift?
Checking The Insulin Flows Through The Tubing.

Checking The Insulin Flows Through The Tubing.

So, after all that anti-clockwise twisting, the reservoir is safely locked into its home.
The Pump Pushes The Insulin FreelyThrough The Tubing.

The Pump Pushes The Insulin Freely Through The Tubing. At this point, I have to choose an option in the Main Menu called "Prime". This means I have to hold the blue ACT (short for Activate) button down, until I can see insulin flowing through the tubing, and a few droplets emerging at the end. ( I can usually smell it coming before I see it.)Droplets Of Clear, Pungent Insulin Appear! It Worked!


Not the best of shots, (HA! A Diabetes joke!) but I assure you, that the priming has been successful.  Two photos down, I am aiming the needle towards the camera, but you can’t see bupkus.
Introducing The Medtronic Quik-Serter.

Introducing The Medtronic Quik-Serter.

This blue plastic device that resembles a modern day egg cup, is actually a brilliant little device called a Quik-serter. (Everytime Lance sees the box in which the Quik-serter lives, he makes the same comment..”The Medtronic people are really smart for making such a great pump, but they can’t even spell “quick” right!!“) It basically does what its name suggests. It inserts everything quickly, with minimal fuss and pain. Definitely worth the $57 price tag!
Taking Off The Shiny Paper To Reveal Super Sticky Tape!

Taking Off The Shiny Paper To Reveal Super Sticky Tape!

I have painstakingly removed the plasic-coated paper without touching a millimetre of the stickiest medical tape known to man.
Almost There!

Almost There!

We’re at the business end of the procedure, now. The quik-serter has the adhesive side up, and is securely pushed in to avoid it falling tape-side-down on the floor, and heaven forbid, contamination and or brain bleed taking place!!
Loading The Quik-Serter.

Loading The Quik-Serter.

I have now pulled down the white part of the Quik-Serter, which in effect, loads it, almost ready to use!
The Needle Is Now Exposed.

The Needle Is Now Exposed.

I have now removed the light blue plastic cap, that protected the needle and captured those insulin droplets at the priming stage. Now, all I need is the child model to demonstrate!
Avoiding The Old Site.

Avoiding The Old Site.

Child model is not very happy. He wants to watch The Simpsons, and he’s slightly on the higher end of things. (14.3mmol/L to be exact.) I expose his tummy to look for a fresh site that is all healed and unmarked. It’s a tough job-but I managed to find one. You’ll notice the reddened round circle with the hole in the middle–that was where I put Lance’s last set. I apply a little anti-biotic cream to the spot where the cannula lived for almost three days. Sometimes, Lance complains that “it’s uncomfortable” after it’s been removed. The antibiotic cream (prescribed by our wonderful family doctor) really dries up the opening and you can literally watch healing taking place. The reddened area is from that dang tape! It will settle down in a few hours.
Cleaning The New Site.

Cleaning The New Site.

I’m cleaning the whole area with an Alco-Wipe. Lance has to hold his shirt up until it dries. A lot of people blow on it to encourage it to dry quickly-this is a huge NO-NO. You could be breathing any type of bacterial infection into an area that has to be completely germ free!!
The alcohol takes only 30 seconds or so to dry. Finally, we get to see some action!
This is the part where you move quikly (hehe)&have chocolate ready..

This is the part where you move quikly (hehe)&have chocolate ready to distract yelping child....

A teensy amount of anxiety builds at this stage; sometimes I can get a spot that causes no discomfort at all, yet others, poor Lance is hollering, jumping on one foot and clutching his stomach like he’s just been the recipient of a bullet or four. I position the quik-serter onto the new site, and press two white buttons at the same time…you will here a “click” plus…  “Ow, ow, ow, ow, get the needle out, get the needle out!!!” When the white buttons are pressed, it forces the quik-serter to punch the cannula underneath Lance’s skin by a thin, long needle. I then press the top, round part of the quik-serter, which releases it from the area. Then you are left with something looking like this….
OUCH! (Just For A Teensy Second..)

OUCH! (Just For A Teensy Second..)

Fabulous! A successful site change!! I press down the tape to ensure that it is completely stuck down. (I was unable to get a shot of the removal of the needle. As it was, I hit a tender spot, and Lance was not a happy chappy.) Luckily,once the needle is removed, the initial sting only lasts for a couple of minutes. Lance’s tummy is a bit of a battleground, to put it mildly, after thousands of shots. However, he has “performance anxiety” about using his legs or the “upper outer quadrant of his glutimus maximus.” At this stage, I’m happy to let his tummy heal up but continue to choose suitable areas, rather than have him distressed every two days about having a site change. It’s important that most of Lance’s site change experiences are positive, because I know that as much as he admits he feels better with the pump, he would happily recommence multiple daily injections if I suggested it. It’s just because it’s all he ever knew, before Duplo emptied the bank!
Pumped And Ready To GO!

Pumped And Ready To GO!

Duplo is now ready to be attached to Lance’s pants, and is about to start dispensing his basal rate of insulin. I have to enter 0.3ml of insulin to be primed again, so that it’s right at the entry point of the cannula, ready to start pumping away the  insulin inside of him again.
Lance definitely chose appropriate PJ's this evening-he is quite the Superman.

Lance definitely chose appropriate PJs-He definitely is a Superman. 🙂

“Me? An Insulin Pump? I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about.”
Only the sharpest eye could possibly make out that Lance is wearing an insulin pump. The best part is that the average person has no idea about the delicate procedure Lance just went through.  
And that’s the end of the story…I’ve got this procedure down to 7 minutes without referring to reference books or watching the step-by-step DVD. Lance is usually so incredible and accepting of his pump; he’s slowly realising that living each day without being attacked by his Mum with a needle each hour or so wasn’t the quality of life he deserved.
  He has learnt to count carbohydrates, and bolus for however many he eats.
And  yet, from time to time, I forget that my son is only seven years old. When it actually sinks in, I cannot believe that he is already his own person, with his own opinions and beliefs.
He is happy, loving, intelligent, empathetic towards others’ and has lived almost all his life with Diabetes.
He considers his problems to be secondary to that of kids’ in hospital, or if our neighbour arrives home with a headache. Or if I have had no sleep.

 I guess I have Diabetes to thank for his incredible character traits.

Hope you enjoyed sharing a smidgen of our day, Kez!







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When Sugar Was As Sweet As My Baby.

While speaking to my dear friend, Janek, a very old photo came into my field of vision. It suddenly hit me as to why I couldn’t stop staring at it. It’s one of “those” photos where relatives and friends shake their head in disbelief and exclaim, “But..but..he just looked so..healthy!!!”

Yeah, well..looks can be deceiving.

The day this photo was taken…Lance, his Dad and I were in New Farm, enjoying a day of exploring the plethora of incredibly original and funky stores that Upper Brunswick Street is infamous for. This photo was taken at a cafe by Scott, who couldn’t resist taking a snap of our gorgeous baby. We’d just had a fabulous lunch after a blissful morning of shopping in Sunny Brisbane.

( It dawned on me that I can barelyremember what it’s like to sit down and have lunch without worrying if Lance had consumed enough carbohydrates to match the insulin already injected into his body hours earlier. I can’t remember eating a meal without giving most or all of my food containing carbs to Lance, in a desperate attempt to lessen the chance of a massive hypo in the middle of a city.)

 Food, Insulin, Nutritional panels…my brain is an entanglement of numbers and percentages, with a twist of fear and uncertainty intertwining through more numbers, and more percentages.  

However, in this photo, Lance was only seven, almost eight months old. I treasure this image. It was when Scott, Lance and I were a tight-knit family. No Diabetes, no mysterious symptoms present, just joyous times each and everyday. I used to long for Lance to wake up, I loved his company so much.

I remember other diners’ catching a glimpse of Lance, (who had just woken from a nap) and they simply couldn’t look away. That had always been the way with my baby-you had no choice but to be fixated by his huge smile and natural charisma that was already evident, even at such a tender age.

 Not one person would ever have thought that given a few months from that day, this baby’s rosy cheeks would be sallow and chalk white, his sparkling baby blue eyes sunken back into his head, dull and lifeless, and his warm expressive face crumpled with agonising pain.

So, here’s the shot that breaks my heart, yet reminds me how blessed I was to have that one, amazing, perfect year.

(Those little fingers had never been hurt in anyway, only smothered with kisses.)

I still have my baby, but he has had to fight so hard to become the amazing kid he is today. I’m watching him sleep as I type, and I can still see that baby in his “big boy” face. My favourite sound in the world is my son breathing as he sleeps.

Out of all of Lance’s pre-diagnosis photos, this one comforts me the most. It doesn’t make me sad, or bitter, or crave for a life free of Diabetes. It only reminds me just how lucky I am to have my son.

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