Tuesday, February 18, 2014

and then our world turned upside down...

Tuesday 11 February 2014

at 10.10am in the small doctor's room in Cobargo

our sassy boyo was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes

just like that

finger prick

blood glucose level 28.9

paediatrics at Canberra Hospital was notified we were on our way

 and after 3 and a half hours of tense driving,
my sassy boy and I arrived  at the emergency department

and our journey into the world of diabetes mellitus had begun

now 'diabetes' is a pretty familiar word - most folk have heard of it
some folk have a few ideas about what it means

sometimes folk know that there are 2 main types of diabetes
Type 1 and Type 2

now I don't want to bore folk with info overload

so here it is in a nutshell

Diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin (or when the insulin that the body makes doesn't work properly). Most of the time when the word 'diabetes' is thrown around, it's Type 2 that is being described - and that's because 85-90% of folk who have the condition, have Type 2 diabetes. Only about 10% of folk diagnosed with diabetes have Type 1 diabetes (which used to be called 'juvenile diabetes' because this more savage form of the condition generally started in children under 15 years of age).

Type 1 diabetes is a life long condition

It cannot be prevented or cured

Without daily injections of insulin,
a person with Type 1 diabetes will die.

full stop.

welcome to our brave new world

After the initial shock and awe of diagnosis and admission to hospital, our steep (STEEEEEEEEP) learning curve commenced - and accelerated with alarming speed. When a young person is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (which in the medical world I'm learning is often abbreviated to DM1) here in Australia a whole team of folk mobilise... before we had even reached the emergency doors the troops had been assembled...  there's the paediatric endocronolgoist, the paeds registrars, paeds diabetes educators, the dieticians, the social worker... then of course once you're in the zone there are the paeds nurses, captain starlight and company to cheer up the small people, and the body-and-soul-restoring Ronald McDonald House volunteers (can't stand maccas food, but don't let me hear anyone diss the RMcD Houses.... without them I know I would have turned into a puddle of jelly)

(here's rufus bear - one of the smallest members of the diabetes team
 every child diagnosed with DM1 gets a bear that also has diabetes to keep them company)

We were lucky that our stay in hospital was brief - that's because our sassy boy was diagnosed before he developed the especially lovely condition diabetic ketoacidosis (or DKA - and no I hadn't heard of this before either...). It's unusual that a young person has Type 1 diagnosed before they develop DKA so of course waves of medicos came to quiz me about 'how did you know something was wrong?'

ahhhhhh well you see - my Farmer Phil has Type 1 diabetes... and 3 of his siblings had/have Type 1....  and one uncle, one great aunt, 2 nieces (this goes on for a bit...) had/have Type 1 diabetes

      so when our young lad seemed a bit lethargic and not quite himself

                 and started to drink a LOT of water

                                       and pee a LOT

                                                 and wake through the night (to pee a LOT more)

I thought a trip to the local GP might be in order... just to rule things out.... to have the doctor tell me 'ahhhhh the terrible teens are just a hormone or two away, this is all perfectly normal'...

       so here we are one week later

                      one week into the rest of his life

                                one week into multiple daily insulin injections and counting carbohydrates and blood glucose tests before meals, after meals, and all through the night, and weird new gadgets and a new language that includes things like 'carb exchange' and 'glucometer' and 'cartridge lancets' and 'hypoglycemia' or 'lows' and 'hyperglycemia' or 'highs' and 'ketones' and 'the honeymoon period' (no, not as romantic as it sounds) ....

 its all a bit of a head spin

and talking of turning heads....


just over two days after being released from hospital,
less than a week after dignosis and the commencement of a whole new way of being
there is our boyo back in the pool swim training like a champion

this friday he is off to represent his school
at the school zone swimming championships
yep just 10 days after diagnosis and a stretch in hospital
he's going to try to defend his title as zone age champion

even getting there will be pretty damn special don't you think?
(his stunned, yet supportive paediatric endocronologist seems to think its pretty amazing)

there may be more wet faces out of the pool than there are in it!

my hero

my boyo


Monday, February 10, 2014

and then there were two...

over the last week our household has gone from this...

to this... 

oooo my heart nearly broke into itty bitty pieces as six mini hounds
went to their various (wonderful) new forever homes

and we are left with two little mini hounds

sigma and gamma

tiggy-tiggy and gams will be our boys

and over the next year I will spend much of my time 
teaching them the ways of the creek

they will learn how to behave around cattle and sheep
to swim in the surf 
and travel in the vehicles
to run beside bikes and fetch sticks and balls

the will learn an array of commands
('sit', 'come', 'stay', 'drop', 'down', 'ball', 'up', 'in', 'over', 'behind', 'outside', 'wait'....
these boys are kelpie x collies
- pretty much the smartest dogs in the known universe -
so they can learn over 100 verbal commands if you have the patience to teach them...) 

 it's our job to show them what their purpose in life is
and help them grow into the special dogs that I know they are ready to be

oh this is going to be a glorious adventure!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I made a book...

a little blurb book...


and very soon I hope to make it available to the world



Sunday, February 2, 2014


hot summer days....

summer holidays finally over 
(small sob - this summer was so much fun without the pressure of 
study study study or work work work... but all good things must come to an end)

I have been wishing our pear glut would end... 

we have eaten so many pears that the very sight of them now instills just a little bit of fear

(little bit)

I have dried pears, juiced pears, slipped pears into curries and into salads

I have pickled pears...

and made jars and jars of pear chutney


 mmmmmmm pears!

also on the bench (for weeks and weeks and weeks it turns out)

is my inaugural batch of limoncello

(sounds as good as it tastes on a sunny summer afternoon)

ahhhhh limoncello - you potent little brew you

(you tricky little bugger you)

talk about a labour of love - and many many weeks of waiting

limoncello - where you put lemon zest
(without even a teeny bit of pith or it will be ruined)
and vodka in a jar and wait and wait and wait

then you make a sugar syrup and add this to the vodka/lemon peel mix
and wait and wait and wait

then you strain off the zest to leave...

a jar of something that looks like chilled pee!!!!

thankfully it tastes rather yum
drink it straight *wolf!!* with ice or a frozen cube of lemon juice if you are brave

or mix with sparkly water

lay back and feel the golden rays of summer warm you from the inside out

oooooo yessssssss