Saturday, January 26, 2013

Weekly Wrap-Up: The One With the Snow

Here. In Southeast Virginia. Boo! One of the reasons that I left Michigan is to avoid this stuff. Plus the people around here can barely drive when it's sunny and dry. (Sorry locals, it's true. Driving through Detroit during rush hour is less stressful.)

But snow is all anybody is talking about here so what's the point of telling you about the rest of our week. All anyone cares about is the snow. So here you go. Snow....

But there's a brighter future headed our way around here. It'll be coming on Wednesday in the form of 70 degrees. Woot!

Linking to: Homeschool Mother's Journal, Weekly Wrap-Up, Photo Collage Friday, Preschool Corner

Thursday, January 24, 2013

S is for... Symptoms

If people ever only read one post on my blog, then I would pray that this post would be The One.

Both of my daughter's were recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. My older daughter, who was diagnosed first, had been exhibiting the symptoms for well over a year.  So why didn't we catch it? Because we didn't know what the symptoms were.

Hind sight being what it is, it seems so obvious now. But at the time we attributed them to hormones, growth spurts, adolescence. Diabetes never even entered our minds.

Type 1 diabetes is a horrible thing to have to endure. There is no way you can prevent it and there is no cure for it. Your only option is to live with it and try to manage it as best you can. There's no magic formula. What works today probably won't next week. What works for your type 1 friend might not work for you. In the diabetes world there is a little acronym that is used often: YDMV. Your diabetes may vary. And believe me, it sure will.

The onset of diabetes is slow and the changes are generally subtle. Often a diagnosis isn't found until the child is very ill.  In the case of my older daughter, her onset was unusually slow and it's only by God's mercy that we found out before she was seriously ill.

Most likely diabetes isn't something that your doctor will be checking for at your well check up.  I'm told that this is because the test is some $$ and because, in the big picture, isn't considered that prevalent. About 15,000 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes each year. It seems like a lot to me but what do I know?

Diabetes (type 1 and 2) is referred to as The Silent Killer. Because the symptoms sneak up on you. Millions of Americans right now have type 2 and don't even know it. Often times people die from it before they even know they have it.

So we don't know the symptoms and doctor's aren't routinely checking anyone for it. That is scary!! And it's a real shame.

So my dear friends, today I am sharing my knowledge in the hopes that it might one day help you or somebody that you know catch this disease early. I pray that you'll never have need of it.

Symptoms of Diabetes

1) An increased in thirst or urination.  My older daughter was drinking an insane amount. She could drink 3 quarts of water in under an hour. She's go to the bathroom upstairs, walk down the stairs, and go again. Literally. Also watch out for bed wetting to appear out of no where. Or babies soaking their diapers quickly.

We thought the drinking was due to a growth spurt/sports and, well, when you drink a lot you pee a lot.

t1p_words photo t1p_words_zpscbf104c7.jpg2) An increase in appetite. Think the appetite of a teenaged boy. Non-stop, out-of-control eating. Mackenzie would eat one of those giant boxes of Goldfish in one week. Sneaking it because I would not allow anyone to actually eat that much. So also be aware of unexplained "missing" food.  She ate because her body wasn't getting the sugar to her cells for energy so her cells were telling her body to eat more because they wanted energy. It was a vicious cycle.

And unfortunately, kids eat more during growth spurts and puberty so it's not like you would be terribly suspect of this symptom.

3) Sudden, unexplained weight loss. Mackenzie lost weight seemingly over night. A lot of weight. We first noticed it during basketball season so we attributed it to that and puberty when kids often lose their "baby fat."

More than a pound a week or 5 pounds in a month of unexplained weight loss might need to be looked into. When the body isn't getting the energy to the cells then the body will use fat stores and muscle tissue to get energy.

4) Lethargy. Extreme tiredness.

I remember the day that Mackenzie was diagnosed. We were at the park with our bikes. Mackenzie kept coming to me complaining that her bike "wasn't working right." It was "too hard to pedal." I kept testing it and switching the gears and found it to be working just fine. I also remember being irritated with her over it. :o(  She was tired because her cells weren't getting the energy they needed. Insulin is the "bridge" that gets energy to the cells. No insulin = no energy. Bad momma moment.

5) A fruity odor to the breath.  I don't remember or not if she had this because, as I said, I wasn't looking for the symptoms. But I've heard of a lot of people catching it because of this symptom.

What to do if Your Child or Anyone Else Exhibits Any of These Symptoms

Having any of these symptoms doesn't mean that they have diabetes, so you shouldn't automatically freak out, but I would definitely have my child tested.

Call your doctor and get your child an appointment ASAP. If your doctor is a big loser, like my OLD one was, go to urgent care or the ER.  My old loser ped wasn't very concerned about the symptoms or the fact that my daughter's blood sugar was over 500 (my friend with a type 1 child tested her sugar) and didn't feel it necessary to get her in for about four days. She is no longer our doctor.

The more people that know the symptoms, the more lives we can save. So please share the knowledge.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Weekly Wrap-Up: The One With a Slug

That's right. I'm doing a Weekly Wrap-Up two weeks in a row. You probably shouldn't get used to this. =o)


I want to remember what Mackenzie did but it is so hard. She is very good at working independently. lol

Here's what I do know. We finished reading about William Carey and he is AWESOME. So inspiring. We were totally bummed when the book was finished. Wah.  I can't remember for the life of me what is coming up next. Oh well, that's what Homeschool Tracker is for.

We finished up our lesson on fishes. (Remember, fishes is correct because we studied more than one type of fish. lol) The experiment this week involved a live fish and we don't have one. Nor do I want one. I have enough with 2 guinea pigs, a tadpole that won't die or develop into a frog, a husband, and two kids with type one diabetes.

She's taken a break from decimals for the moment and is working on the metric system a bit. She prefers decimals.

We had a mammoth IEW lesson this week. 58 minutes long. Canadian Andy, as we lovingly call Andrew P. because our friends started calling him that and we cannot get it out of our heads, had a lot to say this week. And yes, we know he's not from Canada. While he does have a very distinctive way of speaking, he doesn't even sound Canadian to me. I'm from Detroit and I've spent a lot of time in Canada, so I'm very familiar with the accent. But we just can't get that name out of heads so here we are. But we love him and all that he says so very, very much. He's one of our two favorite video teachers. (We heart you too Mr. Demme!)

Mackenzie heard something so totally awesome during this lesson that she jumped up and hit pause because she wanted to write it down to put into her Smash Book.  What was this quotation worthy of interrupting our writing lesson, you ask?

"The slug got thorned.

What on earth? I'm sorry dear reader, you did read that correctly. The slug got thorned. It was said in an effort to make sense of one of his students suggestions but the way he said it, in his beloved Canadian Andy way, had us cracking up. For quite a while. It was the highlight of our school week. 

I guess I remembered more about this week than I thought. lol


Kayleigh was full of shenanigans and hijinx this week. Where to start, where to start...

Let's start with coloring. As you might recall she HATES it. She pretty much scribbles all over anything that requires coloring. Unless it's a gift for her music teacher Ms. Lewis. For her she'll color beautifully.

Well this week she was acting a little funny. Anything that she did this week she wanted to color on if it had a picture. She colored in every picture in her Explode the Code book, her Handwriting without Tears book, her Developing the Early Learner Book. Whether or not it was a requirement of the assignment or not.

At first I was a tad annoyed because it increased the length it took her to complete the work. But then I started thinking that maybe this would be okay and she'd do a nice job on her projects that required a little "art work." Enter her All About Reading project. She was supposed to color the K and the kite and glue on the string. I envisioned a beautifully colored page, FINALLY, to put in the book she was making with them. I wasn't even going to mind that the entire page would be colored in red and green. (She would only color the other stuff in red and green for Christmas. Maybe because our house is still decked out for Christmas? lol)  What was I thinking? Naturally she did a quick scribble and called it a day. She didn't even use red or green. Nor did she want to pose for a picture. How typically Kayleigh. Sigh.  

She loves, loves, loves to watch a show on tv without anybody bugging her. Loves it. Unless I'm working on school with Mackenzie. Then she wants to create havoc and discontent. This week she came in with her tea set and invited us to an impromptu tea party. 

I was surprised that she didn't insist on formal dress. Sadly for Mackenzie this tea was not zero carb and she had to get a shot to cover her tea. Yes, apparently at our house, even a pretend tea party is an event requiring a needle. She even offered to give Mackenzie her shot.   You might want to bear that in mind in case you're ever invited over for tea. Even I had to get a shot and I don't even have diabetes. Don't say you were never warned. lol

In other news, we were learning about simple machines this week in our Berenstain Bear Science book. Specifically, about levers. So I decided to make a simple lever with her for fun. She loved it and was really into it. 

So into it that she broke the ruler that we were using. Which wouldn't be even worth writing about except for the fact that she has broken three rulers in about six months. I wonder what she has against rulers? Rulers see Kayleigh coming and quiver with fear.  Wood, plastic...Kayleigh doesn't care. She'll take them all out. She's not picky. 

I am now the proud owner of a Fiskers flexible ruler. I feel like she won't be able to break that one. I'm sure she'll figure out a way but I'm choosing to remain hopeful. 

In other news, cheerleading has started back up and Kayleigh's joining us. That's proving to be very interesting. =o)


Linking to The Weekly Wrap-Up, Photo Collage Friday, Homeschool Mother's Journal, and Preschool Corner.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

R is for... Reality

Everyday, when I go to correct Mackenzie's work, I am greeted with stuff like this. Each and every day, she signs her work with a different name. Each name is as random as she herself is. Whatever her interest is that day, the name reflects it.

I always look forward to seeing what she comes up with each day. It's quite entertaining and I enjoy the chuckle.

Today, as I was grading her work, I thought about how boring it would be if she were in a traditional school setting and was limited to just writing her own name.

I get the necessity of it in that setting, I was a student and a teacher after all, but I couldn't help but think that sometimes "Reality" can be very boring and stifling.

 I bet there are other sixth graders out there who would love to be able to write a My Little Pony name or the members of their favorite band on their homework but can't for fear of being reprimanded with a zero or even teased.

So on particularly trying days, seeing the name "Octavia" on my daughter's paper reminds me of how blessed I am to be able to push back some of the realities of the "real world" for a little longer.

Of course, I might change my tune if she's still doing this in college.  =o)


Friday, January 11, 2013

Weekly Wrap: Really!

Well a new year has begun and with it we are back to school. Thank goodness we've had more breaks then I care to think about. We practically used up all of our time off for the entire school year in the first four months. Good thing that we homeschool so that I can control the schedule.

The students might not be as thrilled to get back of a more normal schedule after all of the craziness of the past four months, but this momma sure is.

Sixth Grade

Mackenzie has jumped back into her full load. Sorry girl, no easing back in at this point.

We are currently studying India and learning a lot about the culture. We are also learning about William Carey and his work there and that has been fascinating as well.

In science we are starting our lesson on fishes. And it was really a bit of a grammar lesson too. There are two correct plural words for fish. There is fish, which refers to more than fish of the same kind. And fishes, which refers to more than one fish of many varieties. Who knew? Not this girl. All this time I thought more than one fish was still fish, no matter what kind. I love that I learn as much as the kids while homeschooling.

I tried to find a virtual fish dissection app for the iPad. I didn't find exactly what I was looking for but I did find THIS APP. This was not a virtual dissection but was a series of short videos that showed someone else dissecting a fish. It gave a bit of narrated information about what you are looking at  and it reinforced a lot of what were learning in the book. We've been using it a lot with this lesson.

She is acing math at the moment. This year's Math-U-See focus is decimals and she is a whiz at decimals thanks to her diabetes care. You can see exactly why HERE.


Kayleigh has had a much longer break than her sister. She wasn't feeling it with all the upheaval, and I wasn't pushing it. She's been on break since some time in November. Lucky girl!

While on her break, she was really interested in writing letters properly. She was very to see that her Handwriting Without Tears lessons have move passed coloring and onto actual letter formation. She had fun with the manipulatives, we have them all, and with the iPad app. She even taught her sister's American Girl doll how to make an L. And she did a great job in the actual book. She was excited to write something besides her name. lol

Her reading lessons were all review since it's been so long since we did anything. I'm happy to report she hasn't seemed to forget anything. I guess we'll move on next week.

She was most happy to get back her Sonlight books. She was super excited to finally get to listen to her Tall Tales cd. This week we listened to Johnny Appleseed, so naturally we had to make apple prints. And eat apples. After we counted the carbs of course.

She also is working on a review item with me for The Old Schoolhouse and so far she seems to be having fun with that.  Naturally, I'm not going to spill the beans on that one just yet. =o)

She's plowing through All About Reading and having fun with the gentle approach. Her favorite thing this week was spreading jam on bread and then tracing J into it with her finger. That's a tasty way to practice writing your letters. Then she used it to make a PBJ sandwich for her lunch.

Here's hoping we're going to get into our groove. Finally. For the first time this year.

Linking to Weekly Wrap-Up, Photo Collage Friday, Homeschool Mother's Journal, Preschool Corner.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Q is for... Quicker

As in, we were a lot quicker in noticing Kayleigh's diabetes symptoms than we were with Mackenzie. lol As you'll recall, Kayleigh was put on a diabetes watch, back in the beginning of November, when we had randomly tested her and found some awful blood sugar levels. You also might recall that Mackenzie had been experiencing symptoms for at least a year before we caught on.

We are quite pleased that we caught Kayleigh much more quickly. This is the rest of Kayleigh's story.

Per the doctors orders we were to watch her for symptoms. Things like hugely increased appetite, non-stop thirst, frequent potty breaks, extreme tiredness, sudden weight loss. We were to weigh her every week at the same time and told NOT to check her blood sugar unless we felt something was off. And we were to alert him immediately if she lost more than 5 pounds in one month or more than 1 in a single week.

So we followed his rules. Except for the no checking the blood sugar one. We did that quite a bit. But not as often as we wanted. :o)  Since I know that you are wondering, I'll just say that they were always high during the day after she ate and always normal first thing in the morning before breakfast. Ack!

About 3 weeks after her failed ER visit, she had lost 2 pounds in one week. So I called Dr. Jensen. And he quickly pulled some strings to get her into the lab for some more testing. He wanted her in now.

 I quickly gave her a snack and packed some in my purse to make sure that her blood sugar didn't drop in the event of another endless wait. (They aren't getting me like that the second time.)

Dr. Jensen had said that he wouldn't get to read the A1C results until the next day. But in any event his plan was to start her on Lantus, which is a long acting insulin that lasts (in theory) 24 hours. He was not going to put her on Novolog (quick acting insulin that you would use to cover the food you eat) just yet, since her pancreas was still spitting out some insulin. (As evidenced by her normal numbers in the mornings.)  She was to bum supplies off of her sister until after the holiday. (This was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.) And off we went to the hospital.

Thankfully the lab is quicker than the ER so we, much to Kayleigh's dismay, didn't have to wait long. They quickly got her into a chair to draw blood for a glucose test and an A1C. (That's the average blood sugar over 3 months.) She was not happy at all and we had to bribe her with a trip to Build-a-Bear to get her to sit without screaming.

But we were out in under ten minutes and back on our way home. We were figuring on Kayleigh enjoying her last holiday meal without having to count carbs or administer shots.

So imagine our surprise when my phone rang and I saw that it was a military number. I answered it and it was Dr. Jensen. We weren't even home yet. I believe that when he announced who was calling that I might have said, "You already?" Boy was he quick on the result reading that day.

He told us that he had read the blood sugar results already and that hers was 700. (Normal is between 70-150). He was declaring her type 1 now, without waiting for the A1C results. Now this news wasn't a surprise to us. We knew in our gut that she was T1D when we saw the 331 on the meter weeks ago. But even so, it hit us like a ton of bricks. Knowing it in your heart and hearing it out loud by a medical professional are vastly different. Even having another sweet one already didn't soften the blow

The next thing you know he's spouting off numbers to us. Her insulin to carb ratio, her target number, her correction factor. Whoa!!! Back up the truck mister. What happened to just Lantus? What happened was a 700 blood glucose reading. His was putting her on the Novolog and the works.

It still surprises us with how stunned we were by that conversation. It still blows our minds that 100% of our offspring have type 1 diabetes. What are the odds? (3%-5%)

This is slightly off topic, but I just have to take a moment to brag about our endocrinologist because he is quite amazing. He is the best. He is generally the one who answers the emergency pager when you call it. I think he just likes to talk diabetes so he always volunteers. But he was actually giving it up for the Thanksgiving holiday because he was going out of town to run a 10k. Who does that when you could be gorging on pie? I'm just saying...

Anyhow, he was giving up the pager but he wanted me to have his personal cell phone number so I could call him since he already knows us and Mackenzie and he's familiar with Kayleigh's case. So the man told me to call him for any reason anytime we wanted and don't worry about what I was interrupting.  If he doesn't answer and it's an emergency we were to call the emergency pager. If not, he'd call us back as soon as he could. I told you he was awesome!!

I vowed not to call him even though I was tempted to call during the race just to see if he'd answer. I've had many conversations with him while he was doing his nightly runs. He just runs and talks like it's nothing. But we didn't have any emergencies or questions so I never did.

So we went home and broke the news, which were all expecting. And yet we were still all stunned. Mackenzie was crushed. Our good friends, who also have a T1D, were stunned.

So after we calmed the masses down, we regrouped. The girls were all going to Build-a-Bear. The boys were going to a paint ball store. We'd meet for dinner at Chick Fil A.

Now here's the part of the story that shows just how NOT quick we can be. What kind of idiots take their newly diagnosed, 4 year old diabetic to Chick Fil A on the very day they are diagnosed? We do.

Why is that dumb? Because we had to give her her very first shot of insulin in the middle of the mall. She did not like it. She was loud. We were holding her down waving needles like maniacs. We are King and Queen Ding Bat.

It must of have been a sight to see. Besides screaming Kayleigh, the masses also got to watch us shoot up Mackenzie and Connor after their dinner. What must have people have thought when they watched 3 out of 4 kids get shots?  Sigh... we were quite the spectacle.

Ah well, live and learn. :o)


Thursday, January 3, 2013

First Day ~ January 2012

At the pediatric endocrinologist office

Kayleigh met Dr. Jensen for the first time

Just another big haul from the pharmacy for us. This is totally normal.

We're stocked back up for a few weeks.


Technically this is the second day. I forgot to take pictures on the first day. lol But this day was more of a normal one for us anyhow. 


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