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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: Type 1

Getting to Bold

Scott Benner

In the beginning of our life with type 1 diabetes I would cry in the shower...

The shower seemed like a good place to vent my fear, frustration and utter lack of confidence. I would emerge reborn having dumped my anxiety down the drain. The guilt and pressure would of course build up again but the venting would usually hold me over for a week or so. During that time I believed that this was how my life would always be. Every time Arden's blood sugar was too high, too low or just plain all over the place, I would think...

"Well, that's just diabetes. There is nothing I can do, it's out of my hands."

Here's the secret though. That's not just diabetes. At least it doesn't have to be. 

This blog and the people reading it saved me from that life but not perhaps in the way you might imagine. If you were to go back a decade and read my posts you would see a person struggling as I've described here. The blog was a raw nerve, a mirror to my worst moments, periodic triumphs and ardent fears. I would have an experience and then write about it. It was cathartic for me and the readers felt supported because they saw their lives in mine. This was my original concept of what a blog was for and what community meant. I would share my life transparently and you got the relief that came with knowing that you weren't alone. My daughter's A1c was 9, yours sucked too and we all felt the momentary relief of sameness. 

My idea of community has grown

I would make incremental yet unsatisfying improvements to Arden's care. We got an Omnipod insulin pump and her A1c went down, we cut out some foods and it went down again. Still, no great shakes just lower. Eventually Arden got a Dexcom CGM but all that seemed to do was enforce the notion that I sucked at taking care of my daughter's disease. Then one day our nurse practitioner told me that the biggest hurdle in type 1 diabetes management was fear.

More specifically. The fear of insulin

Those words clicked in my head and I began to force myself to not be afraid. This was no small feat as you are reading the thoughts of a person who caused two seizures in their daughter. Twice in the beginning years with type 1 diabetes I gave Arden too much insulin and she had a seizure. Today I realize that it wasn't the insulin that caused the seizures, at least not completely. It was my ignorance about how the insulin worked. When I realized that... everything began to change.

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Bold T-shirts 

Arden's A1c went from 9 to 8.5 to 8 to 7.5 to 7 to 6 to 5.6

A platitude is a statement that has been repeated so often that it is meaningless.

I figured it out. The next question was what is "it" and more importantly how do I share it with you without the platitudes that often strangle our community. Have you ever heard that, "marriage takes work" or been told to "enjoy this... it goes by so fast"? People love to say stuff but then not give you any details. Have you ever wondered why we don't speak with more detail? I think that some stuff doesn't require more so we don't offer more. We also often don't have the luxury of the time it takes to fully explain. Diabetes however deserves and requires the next level of the thought to be shared, for time to be taken. The tried and true methods should be given to anyone who is interested in knowing them. The problem is that it would be a lifetime of blog posts or a library full of books that you could never read. Still, what if you read the answer but couldn't apply the information or didn't quite understand and needed one more example. We say crap like, "well, that's just diabetes" because it's difficult to do more and those platitudes rob us of hope. One day I got tired of accepting that and wanted to do more. I threw out the old chestnut that tells us that everyones diabetes is different and that experiences can't be thoughtfully applied to others. I ignored that trope because it is not completely true and I knew that I could find a way to extract the basic tenants of diabetes and apply them to everyone. Once I did that the next step was to give the ideas the weight that they deserved and the thoughtful explanation that they required. Above all else, I wanted to provide real tools that were easy to use for the people who were ready to try and hope that one day they would be ready to those who weren't quite there yet.

A Phone call

Recent Juicebox Podcast reviews. Click to expand. Seriously, read them.

When you share online people sometimes contact you to ask questions. As you can tell by this post I can get wordy when I write. So one day when I received a question from one of you and I responded, "maybe just call me". The first time that I spent a half hour on the phone with a stranger explaining the tenants that I use in the day-to-day management of diabetes... it felt weird. That strange feeling was replaced a few days later when that person contacted me again to say that they understood. They made the changes that we spoke about and their child's blood sugars were suddenly and markedly better. I asked that person to keep in touch. I say that to everyone today. "Keep in touch... let me know how this worked out". I say it to everyone for two reasons. 1. I really do care and 2. your feedback helps me the next time that I speak to someone. When that first person reached back out six months later with a significantly reduced A1c I thought, "I wish I could talk to everybody at the same time.". 

So I started the Juicebox Podcast

The episodes of the podcast are self-contained, organic conversations that will help you to get to a better place with diabetes. But that isn't the real benefit of the podcast. Those episodes when combined reflect my continued maturation as a person living with diabetes. They are powerful separately but together they are an organic conversation that grows and builds and teaches - both me and the people listening. I never would have believed that it would be so powerful but I see it today in your social media posts, reviews and personal letters. 

Here's what I know. When I am Bold With Insulin my daughter's life is better. She is healthier, happier and less burdened by diabetes. I then take what I've experienced and we talk about it on the podcast. You will absorb information and begin to apply ideas in no time. I've tried to replace those hope draining platitudes with simple ideas supported by easy to understand details about how to make them work. I'm not a doctor but I do have a decade of crowd- sourced experiences and a knack for explaining them. 

You can help to shape how people talk and live

There are three people reading this post. Those of you who are already being bold, those who want to be and those who aren't sure if you can.  If you you're already there, please help to keep the platitudes out of the diabetes conversation. Be supportive without being reductive and encourage people to be bold. If you know the there is more to diabetes than what you've been told. If you can feel it in your gut but can't quite bring it into reality. Please listen to the podcast. If you think that I'm full of crap or just can't imagine things being better. Please, take a leap of faith. A better life is waiting on the other side. 

Be Bold With Insulin - Listen to the Juicebox Podcast

On your iPhone or Apple Podcasts

On your Android phone or Google Play

Online at JuiceboxPodcast.com

On iHeart Radio

You can also listen on your favorite podcast app by searching for Juicebox Podcast. The podcast is completely free for all listeners. 


"No good. Diabetes." - Donald Trump 

Scott Benner

Have diabetes? Trump thinks that makes you unable to perform your job.

This blog post will be quoting a reporter from Jonathan Swan at Axios.com. Jonathan is citing sources who say that Donald Trump believes he'll be replacing four supreme court justices during his term. 

"Asked how he comes to that jaw-dropping number, Trump mentions the obvious: he's already replaced Antonin Scalia with Neil Gorsuch, and there are rumors Anthony Kennedy will retire."

"Ok," one source told Trump, "so that's two. Who are the others?"

"Ginsburg," Trump replied. "What does she weigh? 60 pounds?"

"Who's the fourth?" the source asked.

"Sotomayor," Trump said, referring to the relatively recently-appointed Obama justice, whose name is rarely, if ever, mentioned in speculation about the next justice to be replaced. 

Trump explained...

"Her health, No good. Diabetes."

In ten years of writing about type 1 diabetes I've perhaps posted twice about something even remotely political. But today it is being reported that the President of the United States believes that type 1 diabetes is an impediment to acting as a Supreme Court Justice. I would like to know what further bias Trump holds against people living with chronic illness. If Justice Sotomayor can lose her job for having type 1, can you? Maybe she doesn't deserve healthcare? Why is it so easy for Trump to dismiss a human being because they happen to have type 1 diabetes? Why is the person making decisions about how the country receives healthcare so painfully unaware of what it means to live with type 1 diabetes. 

Please consider sharing this image on your social media channels and ask news agencies to look deeper into the Axios story. Use the hashtag #RespectUs

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ESPN Commentator Speaks Ignorantly about Diabetes

Scott Benner

ESPN commentator Stephan A. Smith apparently doesn't like Chicago Bears quarterback and person with type 1 diabetes, Jay Cutler

I'm not a guy who watches ESPN 24/7 but I do know that Stephen A. Smith has been in the center of more than a few controversies - probably by design. Normally we'd want to ignore people who say inflammatory sh*t just to get noticed but in this situation... maybe Stephen needs to hear from the diabetes community.

At some point in this clip Mr. Smith will say - speaking about Cutler - something to the effect of...

And I understand... they'll be people out there that say type 2 diabetes... the way I look at it we live in an advanced society where there is medicine everywhere to help you out.

Now I don't care if Jay Cutler is a good quarterback, nor do I expect for everyone to be a diabetes expert. But we should not allow someone with a platform like this to flippantly dismiss diabetes as if it were something that you take an Advil to clear up. Shouldn't we expect at the very minimum that if an ESPN employee is going to dismiss a serious diseases and the person who has it... Shouldn't that callous idiot at the very least, make sure that they are maligning the disease that the person actually has? I mean how difficult is it to find out that Jay Cutler has type 1 diabetes? 

Stephen A. Smith should get himself educated, publicly set the record straight, and apologize on ESPN First Take where he made his ridiculous remarks. As for ESPN, maybe they should choose more carefully who they allow to speak on their behalf.

If you watch the video please start at the 4 minute mark. You do not want to suffer this blowhard for any longer than need be...

I'm just going to leave these links here along with a hashtag...

Stephen A. Smith - Twitter
ESPN - Twitter -  Facebook 
ES
PN First Take - Twitter - Facebook

#GetDiabetesRight


Empathetic parenting: Pros and Cons

Scott Benner

Empathetic parenting has benefits but comes at a price...

empathy - noun em·pa·thy \ˈem-pə-thē\

1:  the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it

2: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also :  the capacity for this

Below are some excerpts from a Quartz article about the benefits and risks of empathy as it relates to parenting and caregiving. I thought we all would benefit from reading the findings. I pulled some interesting passages but encourage you to click over to Quartz and take in the entire article.

Best,

Scott


Caregivers of people with chronic illness develop chronic inflammation and elevated stress hormones over time
— Quartz

Kids with empathetic parents have well-documented advantages: less depression, less aggression, more empathy themselves. Parents also report better self-esteem when they make the effort to understand their children’s feelings.

But inside, it’s tearing them up.

It’s not selfish for parents to make time for those things—it’s actually critical for their own mental and physical health.
— Erika M. Manczak

Empathy requires us to push our own feelings aside to focus on someone else’s, an effort linked to increased stress and higher inflammation. Empathetic parents may also be more willing to sacrifice their own health for their children’s sake, forgoing things like sleep, exercise, and other activities that could mitigate the stress of caregiving.

In adolescents, parental empathy was significantly associated with both better emotion regulation and with less systemic inflammation.

For parents, being empathic was associated with greater self-esteem and purpose in life, but also with higher systemic inflammation.
— American Psychological Association

Recipe: No (Well, much less) Spike White Bread

Scott Benner

The world seems to be telling us not to eat bread, but bread tastes good!

The problem is that most bread that we buy is filled with preservatives, additives and other 'ives' that aren't good for us and only exist to extend product shelf life. They also seem to spike Arden's BG like theres no tomorrow. So I started making my own bread. No high fructose corn syrup, calcium stearoyl-2, lactylate or diglycerides (whatever the hell those are). 

I'm not telling you that you can eat a loaf of this bread without a blip on your CGM graph but it does make a sandwich or dinner side much more manageable. Here's the best recipe that I've found, it requires a bread machine. Also you'll notice that the flour is weighed, this is a totally necessary step to get a consistent loaf. 


Bread Machine White Bread

From King Arthur Flour dot com

for large (1 1/2 to 2-pound) machine

  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/3 cup lukewarm milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 480 Grams of bread flour, I use King Arthur
  • 1 tablespoon of vital wheat gluten

directions from King Arthur

  1. Put all of the ingredients into your machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. 
  2. Program the machine for basic white bread, and press Start.
  3. When the loaf is done, remove the pan from the machine. After about 5 minutes, gently shake the pan to dislodge the loaf, and turn it out onto a rack to cool.

directions from scott

  1. Add in this order. Water (just warm enough that it can warm the milk) - milk - sugar - salt - butter (cut into a few pieces) - flour (mounded high enough to keep the yeast from touching the liquid) - gluten - make a nest in the flour for the yeast. 
  2. Basic white bread setting, light crust.
  3. When the loaf is done, remove the pan from the machine. After about 5 minutes, gently shake the pan to dislodge the loaf, and turn it out onto a rack to cool.
  4. Have a piece warm with butter, because bread tastes good!

I've included an Amazon associate link to the bread machine that I bought. It is expensive compared to many others but its a workhorse and making bread in a machine is more difficult than you would initially think, this machine makes the process a snap. Many machines don't do a good job, this on does.

In the end, cooking with simple natural ingredients helps managing diabetes and in everyday health. There's no real secret here. We also have a lot of luck with this pancake recipe. Good luck with those spikes and don't forget to pre-bolus!