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Arden's Day Blog

Arden's Day is a type I diabetes care giver blog written by author Scott Benner. Scott has been a stay-at-home dad since 2000, he is the author of the award winning parenting memoir, 'Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal'. Arden's Day is an honest and transparent look at life with diabetes - since 2007.

type I diabetes, parent of type I child, diabetes Blog, OmniPod, DexCom, insulin pump, CGM, continuous glucose monitor, Arden, Arden's Day, Scott Benner, JDRF, diabetes, juvenile diabetes, daddy blog, blog, stay at home parent, DOC, twitter, Facebook, @ardensday, 504 plan, Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal, Dexcom SHARE, 生命是短暂的,洗衣是永恒的, Shēngmìng shì duǎnzàn de, xǐyī shì yǒnghéng de

Filtering by Tag: DiabetesAndFear

Having a Happy Thanksgiving with Insulin

Scott Benner

What do you think about when I say the words mashed potatoes, stuffing or pumpkin pie?

Most people hear those words and think "mmmmmm, it must be Thanksgiving" but some of us immediately begin to wonder how many carbohydrates are in stuffing. Many of the people who live with or care for someone who lives with diabetes, begin to panic. Instead of family and football they begin to think about Thanksgiving as a day that is trying to defeat them, they immediately feel stress and either decide to, sort of just give up and "do their best" or search for the measuring cups focused on getting the carb counts of every tasty Thanksgiving treat exactly right. In my opinion; there is a better response.

When I'm giving my daughter Arden insulin at a meal I focus on two things - How insulin works in her body and about how many carbs are in the food she is eating. In an effort to keep this, if you'll pardon the pun, digestible... I'm going to break this post into individual thoughts on subjects.

Questions I ask myself before I begin...

Is it more important to know A. exactly how many carbs are in a scoop of potatoes or B. how long it takes for insulin to begin to effect the blood sugar and how long it lasts in the body? - Answer is B

Will the day include a lot of grazing, am I planning for set meal times or is it both?

Do I have a reasonable understanding of the amount of carbs in the foods that will be consumed?

Am I afraid of insulin? - Be honest with yourself

My Goals...

My blood glucose goals for Arden are simple, yours should be too...

I am trying to maintain the steadiest blood sugars as I possible can. I want to avoid spikes and significant lows.

I consider a BG over 150 (after food) a high blood sugar.

I do not want Arden's BG to fall below 75 but steady at that number is a huge win, especially today.

For CGM users: I don't want to see arrows pointing straight up or straight down. If I do, I've mistimed insulin, miscalculated carbs or (for pump users) would have benefited from extending my bolus. When we were non CGM users: If Arden's BG is above 150-160 forty-five minutes after your mealtime bolus, you probably didn't use enough insulin. More insulin, more testing.

I want to create a stress free, carefree and happy day without frying my brain.

Insulin...

I have two steadfast rules about managing my daughter's type 1 diabetes. Read them, memorize them, live by them. 

1. It is far easier to stop a low or falling blood glucose then it is to return a high blood sugar to a safe range. In my experience most low or falling BGs can be stopped and steadied in a short amount of time, maybe 15 minutes. A high BG can take 3 to 5 hours to return to a safe place. I'll say it again. It is easier to stop a fall or a low then it is to effect a high. This thought guides everything I do with insulin.

2. If Arden's BG is high any time after a meal (140-150), I did not use enough insulin at the correct time. Two VERY important considerations in this sentence, they are AMOUNT of insulin and the TIMING of the bolus relating to when food consumption begins.

Before we move on I want to say this, these are my rules but you know as well as I do that diabetes will, on some random day, act in no way like you expect. That is a fact of living with manmade insulin. I refuse however to allow the fear of that random day to make me except high BGs on all of the other days. I would rather battle a low a few times a month then live with a daily average BG that is any higher than it needs to be. Bold with insulin!

Lets talk about giving insulin for a meal...

There are generally one of three situations I experience before a meal. 1. A higher BG then I want, 2. A lower BG then I want, 3. A BG in our comfort range. All of these may be steady, rising or falling. 

Let’s have some examples:

Step one for each possible situation is to pre-plan. Don’t start thinking about insulin at 4:55 if dinner is at 5, if that’s what you are doing... I’m willing to bet you see a lot of high BGs after food.

If our dinner is at 5 pm, I want to find out what Arden's BG is at 4 pm. 

If Arden’s BG is 160 at 4 pm I would bolus for the 160 with the goal in mind of getting it as close to 90 as I could by 4:45 pm because (in this example) at 4:45 pm, I am bolusing for dinner. Here’s me counting carbs. Scoop of potatoes… eh 30. turkey 0, gravy, let’s call that 7, probably have two dinner rolls… I’ll call that 30, corn lets say 10, green veggies nothing. Okay that’s about 80, how much insulin is 80 carbs? Last thing I do is ask myself if the amount of insulin that 80 carbs indicates sounds like enough or too much? “Sounds like” means based on my past experiences with similar meals. If it doesn’t, I adjust it manually. One way or the other I’m hoping to have a 90 BG 15 minutes before the meal begins and I am bolusing with the thought that the mealtime insulin (In Arden) won’t begin to work for at least 15 minutes. The goal is for her BG to be 80ish when two things happen. 1. Her mealtime insulin begins to work and 2. The carbs from the food begin to have an effect on her BG. I want these things to happen at the same time when her BG is around 80. Then I watch the struggle between insulin and carbs play out on her Dexcom CGM. Most times this results in no spike and a steady BG for the next two hours. Adjustments (In Arden) may be needed around the two hour mark. More insulin, some carbs… one never quite knows.

A steady and in range BG gets the same pre bolus. Again, I want the struggle between the carbs and insulin (insulin pulling the BG down, carbs pulling it up) to happen as close to the 70-80 range as possible.

If Arden’s BG is low or falling an hour before dinner I only want to bump it ever so slightly. I don’t want it rising or high at 4:45. On the lower side is a great way to approach a meal - But you still have to pre bolus. I can’t say to myself, “her BG is 80 at 4:45 pm so I can’t pre bolus”. I have to trust the process, I have to trust that new insulin won’t cause a low for at least the amount of time that I believe it takes for the pre bolus insulin to begin working. 

In the end, I can count the amount of times on one hand that a meal has gone well without a significant and well timed pre bolus. Only you know how long it takes for insulin to begin working in you or your child, so adjust accordingly with great deference to how long it takes the food to begin to effect the BG. 

Remember, it is easier to effect a low than it is to correct a high....

I know there is a ton of other variables that I haven’t discussed. What if my child is too young to properly assume how much they will eat… in that situation I'd pre bolus half and then get the rest of the insulin in as soon as I could confirm that the food will be eaten. Easier with a pump sure, but even when you are injecting... it’s either two shots at dinner or one shot at dinner and another an hour later while you are battling a 300 BG. Which sounds better to you?

Arden has a CGM which makes all of this so much easier. I can see when she’s falling 5 minutes before we eat and hand her a roll. I can see the speed and direction that her BG is moving. No doubt what I am talking about is easier with a CGM but it is not impossible without one. Pre bolus (or inject), test 45 minutes later, test again 2 hours later. Stay on top of the BG.

Don’t fall prey to the drama! Don't ell yourself that, “I did what the endo told me” or “I counted the carbs, what else can I do”. That's all bull%$#&. You can do plenty with a positive attitude and a calm reaction to the things that don’t go as planned. Keep it easy in your mind; BG too high, need more insulin. Too low, need more carbs.

Is it a grazing day? Try using a temp basal rate. Perhaps an increase of (maybe) 30% to start, then adjust as needed. Don’t be afraid to let it run all day and don’t forget that the effects of a new basal rate may not be visible on a BG for 30 minutes to an hour. Also, when you stop a temp basal, it will take that much time to return to a level that you are accustom to.

I won’t let a BG that has gotten crazy high ruin Arden’s day... I crush it with insulin. Then test often or watch my CGM closely - sometimes both. If it falls too far or too fast, I catch the fall with a fast acting liquid carb. I give myself enough time to treat the fall without having to over treat - stay off the rollercoaster! Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to just wait and retest, I know, but that is how you will avoid chasing highs and lows all day. At some point you have to say to yourself, "we need to find a plateau and start over".

Last things and this is important. Lots of insulin is going to be used today. Watch your overnight BGs closely. Look for lows, unexpected falls and even high BGs from those carbs that just won’t digest and be gone. No telling which reality you’ll experience over night. Best to be on the look out. Give yourself a chance to battle on a level playing field, don't begin Thanksgiving with a pump site that is failing or on it's way out. Get your tech going and stable before the stuffing hits the table.

Wishing your family a very Happy Thanksgiving… don’t forget my disclaimer nothing you read here today is to be taken as advice, medical or otherwise. I’m just telling the story of how I manage my daughter’s BGs. Okay, thats enough diabetes talk for me today, I have to got make the stuffing!

Go kick some carbs right in their ass! You can do it...


You Can Help to Create CGM Medicare Coverage

Scott Benner

If you speak up, things will change!

I am a huge proponent of continuous glucose monitoring and believe that everyone deserves it's benefits and protection if they want it. Please take a moment to help the JDRF give a friendly push to our legislators. Doing the right thing for older people who have type 1 diabetes is the least that should be done. Your participation only takes a few moments and I've seen the JDRF's actions help issues like this in the past. If you speak up, things will change! Thank you, Scott


Word for word from JDRF.org

One Voice Calling for Medicare Coverage of Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs)

We need your help. Ask the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives to cosponsor bipartisan bills to ensure people over 65, and who are Medicare-eligible, have access to life-saving CGMs!

The Co-Chairs of the Senate Diabetes Caucus have reintroduced important bipartisan legislation (S. 804)
—the “Medicare CGM Access Act of 2015”—that would facilitate Medicare coverage for continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) and help pave the way for the next generation of CGM-related technologies, such as artificial pancreas (AP) systems.

This legislation now joins a bipartisan companion bill, (H.R. 1427), the “Medicare CGM Access Act of 2015,” introduced in the U.S. House by the leadership of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus.

But we still need your help! Please take a few minutes to:

  1. Email your Representatives and ask them to support H.R. 1427, the “Medicare CGM Access Act of 2015.”
  2. Email your Senators and ask that they support S. 804, the “Medicare CGM Access Act of 2015.”

After you complete these two simple action steps, please ask your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers to do the same! And spread the word on your favorite social media pages using the hashtag #MedicareCoverCGM.

Why CGMS should be covered by Medicare

CGMs are FDA-approved, physician-prescribed devices that detect and display blood-glucose levels continuously—and reveal trends in these levels that often go unnoticed. A JDRF-funded CGM trial has shown that the rate of severe high blood-sugar (hypoglycemia) events among adults using a CGM fell by two-thirds over the first year of use. Not surprisingly, CGMs are recommended by national diabetes clinical guidelines—and they’re covered by nearly all private health plans. 

Unfortunately, Medicare does not currently cover CGMs—despite the evidence of clinical benefit. The result? Millions of seniors with diabetes are left vulnerable to severe low blood-sugar (hyperglycemia) events that can lead to seizures, bouts of unconsciousness and hospitalization. And the costs are not just physical:

  • Hypoglycemia inpatient admission rates are an average of $17,564 per visit.
  • Diabetes is one of the costliest chronic diseases, accounting for $245 billion in economic losses in 2012, including $176 billion in direct medical costs.
  • Of that $176 billion, 59 percent is attributed to those ages 65 and older.
  • Overall, 42 percent of Medicare fee-for-service spending is attributed to people with diabetes.

JDRF has been working closely with other interested stakeholders to encourage Medicare to cover CGM devices—and we have made it one of our top national advocacy priorities. While we continue to work to resolve this issue quickly, we need your help to build support within Congress.

Please take action today!

Remember, all you have to do is: 

  1. Ask the U.S. House to co-sponsor H.R. 1427
  2. Ask the U.S. Senate to co-sponsor S. 804

Will Hauver

Scott Benner

I would like to thank Lydall Hauver for her courage and for her desire to support the diabetes community. It speaks to the strength of our community that in the wake of what is undoubtably Lyndall's greatest personal tragedy, she would allow herself to be interviewed. I can promise you that if you have type 1 diabetes or love someone that does, this post and the podcast episode of my conversation with Lyndall will ultimately fill your heart with love, hope and a sincere desire to live well with type 1. So grab a tissue, read Lyndall's post and then listen to me chat with her and Will's good friend Paige, about his life and legacy. - My best, Scott


The tragic and devastating death of our son Will, a beautiful person on the inside, and a good-looking man on the outside, has taught me something very valuable.

One person has the ability to make a positive and significant impact on this world.

More photos of Will at JuiceboxPodcast.com

More photos of Will at JuiceboxPodcast.com

It has been made clear to our family that Will made a huge impact on many people in his 22 years. The quality of Will’s life, and what he did with those 22 years was incredible. Wherever he went, he made an impact. We have heard over and over again about how Will’s compassion, his way of including everyone, his friendship, ‘saved’ many a friend from transferring from college, from quitting a team, from not joining in a great event. Will had such a handle on the ‘big picture’ - what was important in life. He was often sought out by his friends for advice and help. Using his humor he could really relate his advice without being preachy and condescending. He had such an easy, approachable, welcoming way about him, with the confidence that others admired and respected.

One person has the ability to make a positive and significant impact on this world.

It is not length of life, but depth of life.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

This past summer Will was nominated to complete the ice bucket challenge for ALS awareness and donations. While donating $48.25 to an ALS charity (to an ALS charity Brigance Brigade) he filmed a video, which is very funny, and created a challenge for the JDRF and “LIVEabetes”. After Will passed away, his good friend from high school, Paige, one person, galvanized behind this comic but meaningful video, and created a movement to raise funds for the JDRF. Through a lot of hard work, a lot of learning about different social media options and a lot of creativity, Paige created a great group of supporters, myself, and my family included, to create a worldwide challenge raising awareness and money for type 1 diabetes. Incredibly, to date, we have raised over $80,000 for the JDRF to fund a cure for this dreadful disease.

Paige and Will, two young people, have made such an impact on this world, simply by being good people. They chose to live their lives by these simple principles: be kind to others, be inclusive, help others, know who you are and do not compromise your morals to fit in and make deep and meaningful connections with people you encounter. After Will’s death people from around the world rallied behind the man he was, to support the Egg Crack Challenge Paige worked hard to promote and grow. We now have an amazing community of friends, new and old, who have banded together to raise awareness and funds for a cure for type 1 diabetes.

One person has the ability to make a positive and significant impact on this world.

Our daughter Megan and Tommy are like Will and Paige, two people who have a keen sense of self, who stay true to that self. Similar to Paige they have worked hard to promote the Egg Crack Challenge. Additionally they have created T-shirts, posters and other item to share the joy Will created as an artist to raise money for type 1 diabetes and for scholarships in Will’s name.

Will told his girlfriend weeks before his death, “Each day is a gift, that is why they call it the present.” His ability to use humor, and kindness to live each day to the fullest, to make an impact on each person he encountered, has rubbed off on me, and on our entire family. This attitude is why we get up each day and try to salvage what we can out of each day, no matter how hard and how sad we may feel. Knowing that one person has the ability to make a positive and huge impact on this world makes me move forward to create my own positive, impact, each day. 

- Lyndall Hauver, Will's Mother

You can listen to my conversation with Lyndall and Paige with the player below, on Juicebox PodcastiTunesStitcher or your favorite podcast app. 

links you need:

Will's JDRF Donation Page
Egg Crack on Facebook
Will's Egg Crack Video on YouTube
Rollins College Memorial Service for Will
Egg Crack Homepage
Shop for gear and bracelets (Supports JDRF and scholorships)


I Can: A Diabetes Blog Week Day 1 Post by Nicky Gil

Scott Benner

Nicky Gil is thirteen year old Ainsleigh's mom...  Nicky wanted to write for blog week and tell the story of the fear that she felt as she contemplated meal preparation during the first days of her daughter's diagnosis with type 1 diabetes. Her words really get to the heart of how a type 1 diagnosis can make a person feel.

I can make eggs 10 different ways...

I can make eggs 10 different ways. Just ask my daughter. That’s all she ate in the first few days after diagnosis when my refrigerator became this vast, cold box of completely forbidden and potentially deadly foods; but eggs, the “incredible, edible” were warm, filling and safe.  We’d had nutrition training the first week of diagnosis.  We’d met with the dietitian, the endocrinologist, multiple nurses – all sources of solid, reliable dietary guidance; this was not the issue – fear was.  I would stand in my kitchen at mealtime, paralyzed that my wrong choice would cost her a leg, a kidney, her eyesight, her life.  I wasn’t ready risk it for the sake of a piece of toast.  Eggs!  Eggs were safe.

hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, bolus, basal, diabetic ketoacidosis,“carb to insulin” ratio

The eggs weren’t the only scrambled things those first few days.  New vocabulary bounced around my brain in no particular order - hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, bolus, basal, diabetic ketoacidosis,“carb to insulin” ratio - flashcards wouldn’t have been a bad idea.   Meal creation was too daunting a task, I thought, given my limited knowledge of what was “safe.”  Thankfully, our diagnosis occurred in the summer, when I had access to a carton of eggs and a stove all day long and mercifully didn’t have to contemplate meals beyond the house just yet.  Perhaps, this would have nudged me to conquer my fear a couple days sooner and saved my family my unfortunate foray into poaching – perhaps.

My daughter took her reduced option menu in stride as, I’m sure, my confusion was nothing compared to hers.  Overnight, her world had completely transformed.  The pantry during the summers her first eight years was an open door – stocked (somewhat) nutritionally as the hours between a prepared breakfast and a prepared dinner were much more free flowing than during the school year.  Our pantry might as well have had an armed guard standing next to it the first week of diagnosis; it was right up there with the refrigerator in terms of its standing as a weapon of mass destruction.  In addition to her now (severely limited) food choices, we kept coming at her with small needles a few times a day and sticking them into her fingers and slighter bigger needles at mealtimes and sticking those into her stomach.  And we were full of (misguided) directions those first few days – no soccer, no ice cream, no sleepovers, drink this, eat your eggs.

Nicky Gil

Nicky Gil

It took three days for my daughter to decide she’d had enough.  As I approached with the needle, my shaking hand not very reassuring despite her telling me in exasperation multiple times, “It doesn’t hurt,” she took the insulin pen, looked me in the eye and said, “I’ll do it!”  Three days.  She’d had enough.  She’d was growing weary of fear – mine and hers.  I followed her lead, albeit a little more slowly.  She seized control of her situation in three days.  I branched out to toast with the eggs a few days after.  She learned to prick her own finger and I began to mentally unlock the pantry and the refrigerator.  As she learned to cope, I learned to manage my anxiety.

Four and half years in and I’ve just picked up a package of double stuffed Oreos at her request.  Funny, this isn’t something I would have given her pre diagnosis but, now, I fund the rebellious cookies.  She’ll carb count, she’ll program her pump, I’ll advise against more than one.  Our meals now include a variety of foods, most healthy, some not so healthy.  She ice skates daily, she goes to sleepovers (and texts me her numbers religiously if she wants to be allowed to go to the next one), she packs her lunch bag.  We worked our way slowly out of our first protein packed, miserable days.  We fought fear in our own way that first week, now we fight diabetes together, daily.  

Ainsleigh still eats eggs...

Nicky Gil - Mom of Ainsleigh Gil, age 13
Richmond, VA

Remember, anyone that wants to write for blog week and doesn't have an outlet for their words only needs to email me - I am happy to give your writing a home. - Scott