Off the Dial


Happy New Year

As with most holidays, Rosh Hashanah means some very sweet food.

But we’ve got it covered – after all, it’s 5775!

Apples = 15 carbs each

Honey = 17 carbs per Tbsp

Have a sweet and happy New Year!!

(Where were these videos when we were kids?!)




Spare A Rose

I’ve never been big on flowers for Valentine’s Day. I much prefer chocolate. Maybe it’s the timing? Valentine’s Day comes right about the time I’m ready to give up on my New Year’s diet. This year, I’ve got something even better for all of us to consider.

Please check out the Spare a Rose, Save a Child campaign going on right now. This is a way to get life-saving diabetes supplies and education to children in developing countries.

We complain about the cost of health care in this country and I’m never thrilled to spend hours with my insurance company arguing chatting about Benny’s diabetes supplies. I’m grateful, though, that my child has access to insulin and whatever else we decide he needs to live with diabetes. Other children around the world are not so lucky. For many of them, diabetes can be a death sentence

You can help. Think about buying one less rose this Valentine’s Day. Just one. Your sweetie can still receive a beautiful bouquet and you can put the price of that rose (let’s say $5) to save a child’s life. Click here to learn more ( The campaign continues through February 14th.



Dear Parents…

Every year I go into Benny’s class and talk about diabetes. My little presentation has changed a lot since preschool, and so have the questions. This year, Benny wanted to explain most of it himself and we changed an insulin cartridge so the class could see some of how the pump works.

I always send home a letter to parents that same day (the teacher usually emails it for me). I change it a little every year. So far, the only feedback I’ve heard has been positive and most parents have been very supportive. If you’re considering doing something like this, I thought it might be helpful to see mine. Happy back to school!

Dear Parents,

Our son Benny is in Mrs. ___’s class with your child.  Benny has type 1 diabetes and today I visited the class to talk to the children and give them a better understanding of what that means. The basic emphasis was on the fact that Benny is a regular 3rd grader whose body needs help in using food for energy.

Type 1 diabetes (formerly called juvenile diabetes) is caused when the body loses its ability to make insulin. This is different from type 2 (formerly called adult onset) in which the body still produces insulin but does not use it effectively.

People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin throughout the day to break down the sugar from the food they eat.  That sugar – called glucose – feeds each cell and gives us energy to move and think.

Benny gets his insulin from a pump he wears 24/7. He keeps it in a belt-pack around his waist.  Sometimes the pump is automatic and sometimes Benny will press buttons on the pump or a remote control to give him more insulin. Benny also checks his blood sugar by pricking his finger and testing a drop of blood 8-10 times a day.

Low blood sugar levels are an immediate concern. Exercise, lack of food, or too much insulin will cause blood sugar levels to drop. High blood sugar levels must be avoided in order to reduce the risk of serious health complications.  It’s a daily, even hourly, balancing act.

We are grateful to have been able to share information that will make Benny and the other students feel more comfortable at school. It has been our experience that Benny’s friends are as matter of fact and accepting of his condition as Benny is.

Please note: Benny can eat just about anything, even sweets and treats! We do need to know the carbohydrate count for the item.  If you plan to bring in birthday cupcakes or other snacks, please shoot me an email ahead of time.  Most items have nutritional labels, but many don’t. We’ve been doing this for almost 7 years and can estimate just about anything by now (example, Harris Teeter Oreo cupcakes = 35 carbs, cookie cake = 40 carbs per slice, etc). We try to stay away from sugar-free or “diabetic” desserts; they sound good but they usually have just as many carbs and lots of chemicals.

Feel  free to call or email with any questions you may have.



What your child learned today about type 1 diabetes:

A person cannot get type 1 diabetes by eating too much sugar or junk food.

We can’t catch diabetes

Everyone without diabetes has insulin in our bodies. It helps the food we eat give us energy.

People with type 1 diabetes don’t have any insulin in their bodies.

Benny gets his insulin through a small pump he wears every day.

Sometimes Benny puts a tiny drop of blood from his finger into a meter. This meter tells if Benny’s blood sugar level is low, high, or in range. This is called a blood sugar check. Benny does this about ten times each day.

Benny’s meter is also a remote control that works with his insulin pump.

Sometimes, especially after exercising, Benny’s blood sugar level may be too low. He may need to have an extra snack or juice to help him have more energy.

If Benny’s blood sugar is low or high, he may not feel well.

Benny can eat any kind of food, but we must keep track of what it is and how much he is eating, to make sure that he has enough insulin.

Occasionally, Benny may need to drink lots of water. He drinks lots of water when his blood sugar level is too high.

Benny wears a special bracelet that tells people he has diabetes.

Kids with diabetes like to play sports, hang out with their friends and have fun!

Diabetes Peer Pressure (the good kind)

How many times have you struggled to get your child to do something only to realize all it takes is seeing one of their friends do the very same thing? Sometimes diabetes care works that way too.

Benny took a step forward at the recent Children with Diabetes Friends for Life Conference.  Children with Diabetes is a wonderful online resource.  Friends For Life is their yearly conference, set up so that families can meet up, have fun and learn about diabetes.

There were more than 3000 people at this year’s event at a DisneyWorld resort and every family had someone carrying a meter or wearing an insulin pump or other diabetes gear. It’s a pretty incredible feeling to not be the only ones in the room – or even at the table – checking blood sugar or counting carbs.

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Yummy souvenirs we brought home. How many carbs in Mike Wazowski?

One night at dinner we sat with a family from Texas.  The daughter has type 1 and the younger son is Benny’s age. They were goofing around when Benny heard me talking about what kind of pump we use. He turned to me and said, “Mom, I want an SMG.”

I said, “A what?”

“Mom, you’ve been talking about it for years,” Benny rolled his eyes. “You know, an SMG. For diabetes.”

For diabetes? What the heck is an SMG? Did he see something new at the conference expo? SMH is how you text “shaking my head”, right? Is this “shaking my groove?” “sharing my glucose?” (I’m hopeless)

Finally, I got it. “You mean a CGM!!”

I’d been talking to Benny about a continuous glucose monitor on and off for years. Until now, he didn’t want anything to do with one.  I can’t say I blame him. The inset is the hardest part of our diabetes care and it’s hard to imagine another one on his body.  But I’ve always thought a CGM could be an incredibly valuable addition to our arsenal; all that information!

When we got home, I started the process of setting up a test CGM run at our next doctor’s visit, later this month. I don’t know if Benny will change his mind the minute he sees the inserter (and the needle), but I’m excited he’s even considering this step.

I’d like to think it was all my doing, but I know it’s because of what he saw at the conference. He’s started thinking of a CGM less as a burden and more as cool diabetes gear. The best kind of peer pressure, courtesy of Friends For Life.