Off the Dial

You Deserve a Medal

Benny is at a "regular" day camp now; it's our first time trying this sort of thing. We did a basic diabetes education for the staff and set up a schedule for blood sugar checks, eating and giving insulin. The counselors are just supervising – Benny is doing all work. Remember, he's 7! We're so proud of him (and, fingers crossed, so far so good).

Except.. yesterday at dinner he asked me if poking fingers too many times for BG checks could make someone die. That's what another camper apparently told him (thanks, kid). I suggested that maybe the other boy thought Benny was losing a lot of blood when he tested which could be dangerous. But that a drop or two a couple of times a day was fine.

He looked skeptical. Thankfully, the amazing Joslin Medalists popped into my head (more below). I told Benny that there are people living with diabetes for 50 years or more and checking their blood sugar didn't make them die, it helped them live longer.

"I bet they've tested a thousand times," he said. I laughed and got out the calculator.  Benny was diagnosed 5.5 years ago (that's about 2000 days).  We do BG checks approximately 7 times a day (often more).  He was very impressed to see he's poked his fingers more than 14,000 times and lived to tell the tale.

This is my favorite video featuring the Joslin Medalists. It's from the wonderful SixUntilMe. Thanks for letting me share it here, Kerri.  



"At camp, there was a zip line and your butt hit the water when you went over the lake!"

That's our 7-year-old just home from one week at diabetes camp. It was Benny's first extended time away from us.  I wasn't concerned about his safety, this is an American Diabetes Association program with docs, nurses and trained staff. I was worried he'd miss home (and, okay, that I'd miss him).

We dropped him off on Sunday. I held out until Tuesday.  I know several people there, so  I put out a couple of messages over Facebook and by text. Our diabetes educator made it clear Benny was having a great time, and I made it clear I wouldn’t text again.

"At camp, there was a giant banana slide and a big pool!"

I had modest hopes for Benny’s time at camp.  Make new friends, learn more about diabetes and maybe change his own inset once. The staff works hard to meet the family's goals, but I had my doubts about that one. Wouldn't you know, they actually got him to try it.


The counselors talk about Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) quite a bit. Benny got high marks for his and came home doing cheers and songs about it. He was also really proud of being the boy in his cabin who had diabetes the longest – 5 years (yay?).


"At camp, I was the loudest when we cheered at the rally. We won because of me."

(I believe this. Dude had no voice when we picked him up!)


Now that Benny is home, he's looking at labels and asking about what's on his plate.  We're pushing him to continue checking his own blood sugar and using the pump independently all the time. He’s done this at school for the past two years (and even his last year in preschool) but we've let him lean on us at home.


He changed his own insulin cartridge today and tonight we put in the new inset without numbing cream “because that’s what I did at camp.” If you’ve read this blog, you know the inset is one of our biggest challenges. It's hard to explain how much progress this is; I had to turn away because I had tears in my eyes.


Here's what else I love. Benny's favorite memories of this past week have nothing to do with diabetes. It's the zip line, the slide, the pool and his new friends. Yes, of course he knows why he went to that camp. He knows he shoulders more responsibility than his "regular" 7-year-old friends at home. But now he knows there's a place where he doesn't have to think about being "different." Because at camp, he isn't.


"Mom, don't take this wrong, but sometimes I like camp better than home. I wish the future was here today and I was already back."

Sweet Tradition

One of our end of the school year traditions involves ice cream.  Lots of ice cream.  

A few years ago I got into the habit of picking my daughter up at school once a week and swinging by the ice cream shop before grabbing Benny from preschool. It was our fun Tuesday girl time, but Lea was always disappointed that I never let her get anything bigger than a small cup or cone. 

IcecreamleaFinally, on the last Tuesday of the school year, I told Lea she could have anything she wanted. Double-scoop waffle cone, triple hot fudge sundae, large milkshake, whatever. She chose a giant oreo "boat" and she ate more than it than I could have imagined! Now our whole family goes out for ridiculous amounts of ice cream the last week of school.

Here's Lea with this year's selection. Brownie sundae, no cherries, chocolate fudge brownie ice cream.

Benny went with a banana split, all the way, with vanilla. 

I love to show pictures like this when I'm asked if Benny can ever eat sweets.  The answer is: of course! However, it does take some work. Mostly guesswork. 



How many carbs in a banana split? Should we give him the insulin all at once? Maybe use the pump's combo function?  That's sort of a time-release and it helps because all the fat in the sundae will slow down the absorption of the crazy amounts of sugar in that sucker.

We did pretty well, but of course, Benny's blood sugar was higher than usual for the rest of the evening.  That's okay. This isn't something we do very often, for our child with type 1 or for our child who doesn't have diabetes.  It's just once-in-a-while fun. 

(For your records, we figured Benny's dessert had close to 100 carbs. Slade and I split a chocolate/peanut butter sundae. There will be no pictures.)