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Thank you for visiting Bands 4 Life.  This site has been a long time coming and a lot of hard work and determination finally come to fruition. As a mom to Jack, Michael and Brady, finding the time to create, design and found www.Bands4life.net was difficult but totally worth it!! This site is dedicated to making life easier for children and young adults living with Type 1 Diabetes. Each product on this site is meant to create a sense of fun and freedom all the while serving a necessary purpose for diabetics. Living with Diabetes can be an emotional and physical roller coaster and no one knows that better than the families and individuals living with Type 1 Diabetes. That being said, my philosophy has always been positivity and freedom. Everything I have always dreamed for Jack can still be a reality in spite of his diabetes. As long as he maintains good blood sugar control, his future can be whatever he chooses. Bands 4 Life is meant to convey the positivity, strength, fun and freedom that I wish for every child and young adult living with diabetes. Thanks for visiting with us and please stay connected to my blog for updated blog entries detailing everything from our family's challenges and triumps dealing with type 1 diabetes,  tips for Omnipod users, and much much more.... See you soon and Happy Pumping!!



Another Great Tip from one of our Readers....  

Recently, Brenda Morris, mom to Jackson, age 13 dx age 4 with Type 1 Diabetes, wrote to me and let me know that she had read my blog about Jack and his dry skin. She could truly relate to our issues with dry and irritated skin when dealing with pod changes because her son, Jackson, has an allergy to adhesive! This obviously has made pod changes extremely difficult and painful for her son. She had some great tips for people who may be dealing with the same issues so I decided to share her tips in her own words....

"Jackson began having dry skin issues a few years ago which led to a flat out allergy to adhesive. He is very sensitive to alcohol as well. We chose to seek out a solution and not give up on our Omni pod. I did the same thing that you did however, we eventually found that Jackson did develop a sensitivity to the IV prep pads. We worked with our pediatrician and some people that have been at this for a lot longer and came up with this plan. We have to use an adhesive remover for Jackson and found that the one that is the most recommended which is made by Smith&Nephew was also drying out his skin. We switched to a product called Detachol by Ferndale Laboratories(we tried samples from our pediatrician at first) to remove the patch that holds the Omni pod on. We then use Smith/Nephew IV Prep pads to prepare the area and follow that with a wonderful product made by 3M, Cavilon. Cavilon comes in a spray and we just spray that on. It is a no-sting barrier film that is used in the medical field for a number of things, colostomy and ostomy care, in nursing homes and hospice care to protect the skin of patients that are in contact with body fluids. I ordered and tried this after weeks of Rx strength meds to get Jackson’s skin back to normal. but it worked for us! We have been using this regiment of Detachol, Iv Prep and Cavilon for about 3 years now. In fact, Jackson’s skin is in such a better state when I rotate his pod than it was prior to all of this!"  

I am so happy to share Brenda's experiences and what seems to have worked for her son. For now, I am content using our baby oil gel to take off Jack's pods which has been keeping his arms smooth and free of irritation but for any one with allergies to adhesive or who wants to try something new....give Brenda's idea a try! I love that us D Moms can share with each other our own experiences, good and bad, and learn from one another all with the same purpose in mind...doing the best we can for our children living with Type 1.



Pods and Dry Skin Revisited.....

A while back I wrote about Jack's sensitive skin and how he was having reactions to the unisolve pads we were using to take off his pods. They were causing dry, breakable skin in the area of his sites and it was interfering with his pod sites that we needed to something fast! I turned to IV prep pads that I would put on Jack's skin first before I placed the pod on his skin and those really worked for awhile and gave his skin a nice break. However the IV prep pads got a bit annoying when it came to taking off his pods cause the prep pads would also have to come off and it was double the pain on take off. Finally, following another tip from my awesome endo.... I started using baby oil gel to take off Jack's pods at rotation time. It worked like a charm! Just rub the baby oil on the entire site where the adhesive is and then start to pull the pod off. It comes off easy and pretty painlessly. I then put a bit of neosporin on the site and all ready to go. His skin has never looked or felt better!!  I know all of us parents of kids living with Type 1 have our own routines and things that work best for us but this has indeed been our best bet yet!

 


Looking for a babysitter? I know...easier said than done...

I still remember what our endo told us when Jack was first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes 2 years ago at the age of 4...."Diabetes can be a lonely disease...you need to find a support system who are capable of caring for Jack apart from you and your husband." At the time I thought well of course we will have support, we have both of our families close by and tons of friends. I couldn't believe how wrong I was. To be fair, the issue was 100% me. The thought of leaving Jack for longer than 1/2 hour was not a possibility. My days and nights consisted of thinking/obsessing over Jack's blood sugars, carb counts, corrections, and treating lows. The thought of someone else handling that sort of control was not even an inkling of a possibility. Who else would be able to handle such a responsibility and most of all, who would not be scared to care for Jack for an hour much less a couple of hours? In the days and months that followed Jack's diagnosis, there were many people who declared their love and support for Jack and our family but as far as offering to take Jack for an hour or two on their own to give me and Brian, (who at the time were the exhausted parents of 3 boys under the age of 4 and 1/2), an hour of rest...not too many people stepped forward. Don't get me wrong, I understood their fear and hesitation... and so I resigned myself and my husband to handling all of Jack's diabetic needs without asking anyone else for help and not bothering to train anyone else. My thought process was that this was our new life and we would have to handle it by ourselves. It was our son after all. It was our responsibility. The absurdity and sheer impossibility of this notion finally hit me about a couple of months into Jack's diagnosis when one of my best friends who happens to be the mother of Jack's best friend, pulled me aside and said she wanted to learn how to check Jack's blood sugar and how to count carbs and everything else she would need to know to have Jack at her house. At the time we were still on insulin injections and I had never even considered that someone unfamiliar with our routine of injections and blood checks would want to learn. I was floored and immensly touched that she was so willing to learn how to care for Jack in spite of her fear and hesitation and all because she loved Jack and she wanted him to continue his friendship with her son and best of all she wanted us all a part of their life...diabetes and all. 

That was the moment that I knew we were not alone and that there were people in our life and Jack's life that wanted to be involved and all I had to do was let them be. 

Since that moment I have slowly found and trained my wonderful core group of people that are happy and willing to babysit Jack and his brothers for me and Brian to have a night out or to take Jack for a playdate after school.  Some of these people I didn't even know when Jack was diagnosed but who now after time have become some of my most loyal and trusting friends.  

 For those of you who are newly diagnosed or are still looking to find your core group of trusted caretakers, check out this fantastic website called www.safesittings.com which specializes in finding families of children with Type 1 Diabetes a trained and informed babysitter. Safesittings.com pairs you with a babysitter in your area who either is a diabetic themselves or who has extensive knowledge of how to care for children with Type 1 Diabetes. I was so happy to find this site and have already contacted one of the babysitters in my own area, who is a young woman who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 15. She now wishes to help other families who need support and care for their diabetic children.

 So in the end, my endo was right, diabetes can be a lonely disease if you let it be....but don't let it be. You are not alone and will never be.....we are all in this together, right?

Check out www.safesittings.com to a find a trained babysitter in your area!

 


Moms doing Amazing Things!....

Since I started this site a few months ago, I have been truly amazed at the awesome moms of Type 1 children out there doing such inspiring things for the diabetes community. There are so many moms who I have met who are taking time out of their busy lives to create their own network of support and I have to say, I am so inspired by the determination, kindness and positivity that these woman convey through their work on behalf of the Type 1 community. I could go on and on .....but since I have limited space, I do have to highlight 2 of these amazing women.

Kristina Proffitt of www.caylinscure.com is the mother of 5 year old Caylin who was diagnosed barely 3 months ago with Type 1 Diabetes. Since that time, she has started a website in honor of her daughter devoted to raising money for JDRF. Kristina describes her decision to start a website in her own words,

"I am SO inspired by people who take a difficult situation and turn it around and bring about lots of positive from it! That's what we HAVE to do. It shows our children SO much more and it really helps keep spirits up! That's why I knew right away that I wanted to start a fundraiser in honor of my daughter to raise money for JDRF. It's good to put energy into something that I know will help not only my daughter, but all of the other children with Type 1 and their families."

For every $10 someone donates to caylinscure, you enter to win a prize from one of her many awesome prize vendors...the most prize recent being an IPad 2.  So go ahead and check out Krisitina's website www.caylinscure.com and donate and hopefully win a really cool prize!!

While I am on the subject of amazing moms, I have to highlight one more. Leighann Calentine of www.dmom.com writes a widely popular blog, D- Mom Blog, The Sweet Life with a Diabetic Child. Her blog is colorful, fun, positive, knowledgable, informative, realistic and responsible. She offers numerous resources for the parent of a diabetic child as well as product reviews, interesting articles related to Type 1 and D- mom and D- dad weekly features. When Jack was first diagnosed, I refused to read anything sad or depressing having to do with Type 1. I found I couldn't handle focusing on the tough parts of diabetes rather choosing to put my energy into looking for the positive side. At the same time, I yearned for a support system where I could be informed as well as inspired and encourgaged. D- Mom Blog was this place for me. It got me through some really tough months when Jack was first diagnosed and for that I am so grateful to Leighann and her D-Mom Blog!! Check it out today at www.dmom.com.

 


Static Guard and Pods?...

A few blog posts ago, I had mentioned some unexplained pod failures. It was so frustrating because it would happen when we least expected it...once at a bouncy party and another at a bowling party... and a few times at home for no apparent reason.

Well recently, one of our Bands 4 Life moms (whose son is a bit of a collector of our bands because he must have every boy pattern we offer!) who is also a nurse mentioned to me that she too had some experience with pod failures. Over the years she and her husband seem to notice that many of the pod failures came during the winter months or when there was alot of rolling around or horseplay causing static electricity. So she thought of the idea of spraying static guard on her son's clothing and then when he started wearing the bands, she now sprays the actual band before covering her son's pod. Ever since they started using static guard on the bands, there has not been one pod failure!!

So this made me think about our own pod failures. One happened at a bouncy party where Jack was sliding down bouncy slides for an hour (which we know can cause some major static!) another happened at a bowling party where he was sliding along the lanes in his bowling shoes...( hmm..some more static..right?) and the following all happened after some rough housing with his brothers on our playroom carpet. Well - there definitely could be some wieght to this theory after all. At least - enough for me to go out and buy some static guard! Thank you "Gavin's Mom" for your wonderful tip on how to possibly prevent future pod failures!


Tip for Omni Pod Users....

This winter has been unbelievably cold and snowy here in NY and as a result of the cold weather, dry skin has been wreaking havoc on Jack's skin. His arms where he prefers to wear his pod have been getting dry and raw after each pod change and he needs the full 3 days so the skin can breathe in order for the skin to heal by the time we are ready for our next pod change.  It had been working out by switching sites from arm to arm but recently his arm was still so dry and raw at the time of the pod change that there were a few instances where I needed to move the pod to his thigh in order to allow the skin on his arm to heal. He really dislikes wearing his pod on his thigh because it often comes dislodged after a long day of active play.

So after a few weeks of trying every dry skin cream in the store in order to combat his red, itchy skin.... I called his endocinologist for advice. She mentioned to me that a good idea would be to put one IV 3000 pad on Jack's skin before I put the pod on. Just make sure you cut out a spot for the needle. Then place the pod over the IV 3000 pad and press start. Well after 3 days of trying this - I was sold! When I peeled off his pod and IV 3000 pad for his pod change, his skin was just a tad pink not beet red as it had been in the past. It worked!

So anyone who has any issues with dry skin, I would totally recommend this method. The IV 3000 pads were covered by our insurance. Our doc wrote a presciption for the pads and our insurance covered the expense.   This method really has helped relieve Jack's dry and itchy skin  so I wanted to pass along the information for anyone who might find this helpful! Hopefully it will work for you too!


Every Day is a New Lesson.....

So today was a tough morning. I sent Jack off to school today feeling great. I had just changed his pod on his arm last night and his numbers were looking good this morning before school. Made his lunch, wrote down his numbers in his log for the nurse, computed the carb count for the day and wrote it down in his log, packed his back pac and sent him off with a smile. We were beginning to get this diabetes routine down pat.

Fast forward to 10 am when I get a call from Jack's nurse at school (whom I love by the way). As I answered the phone in a breathless panic, she immediately calmed me down and informed me that Jack's  pod alarm had gone off and the PDM was reading insulin delivery stopped - change pod. Thank goodness, I live 5 minutes from the school, so I ran up there and entered the nurse's office to see Jack sitting there with a smile. I was still breathless and bit annoyed that diabetes had again disrupted his day. But I put a smile on and hugged Jack and said "ok, no problem Jack, this just means we have to change your pod." This has happened to us maybe a total of 5 times in 10 months and still have not figured out exactly why it happens. Once or twice it happened when he jarred his arm on a wall or by rough housing but it has also happened on occasion when he was sleeping so still not sure why. But each time, I write down the lot # and call Omni pod to relay the information and they always send me the replacement pods in my next order. 

So I proceeded to change Jack's pod while all the nurses and trainees interested in learning the workings of the Omnipod looked on. Jack sat there and obediently allowed me to make the change with no upset whatsoever. Here I am feeling annoyed and emotional that I have to do this to my son in the middle of the morning at school while the rest of his class  are enjoying their morning and not having a care in the world. Why can't that be Jack? Why does he have to worry about this stuff? Why can't he be a carefree kid like everyone else? My heart was breaking as I continued the change and I tried desperately to hold it together in front of Jack and all the nurses who were there to learn. When we were done, I put his arm band on over his pod and kissed him goodbye and told him I would see him after school. As I walked away back to the car, my eyes teared up thinking  about all the hardship and maintenance that this disease requires on a daily basis. NO ONE knows that except the person and family that Type 1 affects.

When I got back home, I immediately texted Jack's nurse to see how he was doing. I wanted to make sure he was not upset by the morning incident. She wrote back immediately saying, "he was a happy kid as usual and was acting like nothing happened, just back to the normal routine of the day." With a deep breath and an uplifted heart, I sat there yet again amazed by the resilience and positive attitude of my son, Jack. He seemed to take all of the difficulties of diabetes in stride, just going on with his day. Part of me will always hate that the diabetes way of life is all he will ever know but I am so proud of the way Jack has proven to handle his circumstance. I realized that I continue to learn the most important life lessons from Jack every day. Choosing to overcome any obstacle and choosing to be positive every day is the most important way to live your life. Never being a victim but instead choosing strength and hope makes all the difference in life and the shining example of those life lessons is right in front of me every day...my  Jack.

 


Stomach Virus+Diabetes+Vacation = Not so fun....

While we were all looking forward to spending our new year on a fun filled, action packed vacation with the family....turns out there were other plans in store for us. A nasty stomach virus going around our town decided to make its appearance on New Year's Eve bascially shutting down all fun filled plans for the day and night. Now me - I can handle the virus albeit annoying and uncomfortable but the minute Jack showed signs -a pit developed in my stomach, my mind began to race. Here we were 6 1/2 hours by car from our home and he was sick. Of course I had googled the nearest hospital before we left for our trip but the notion of having to go there brought sweat to my brow. Fortunately, the virus that my younger son and I had seemed to be a 12 hour stomach bug so I was hoping and praying that it would be the same for Jack. Last year - when we were on the NPH/Nova regime - this would have most definitely ended with us in the hospital. But this year on the pump - we were really able to manage Jack's blood sugar pretty well throughout the day. I was able to lower his basal rates during the day while he was sick which kept his blood sugar around the 95-130 range. I was also able to temp basal his insulin rate by a lower percentage to get us through the rough patch. All the while , I kept slowly giving him sips of water and lollipops to keep his sugars up. By the end of the day - he was exhausted but eating again. Although I was still nervous and watched him like a hawk for the rest of the night... he was ok.

So the new year's eve festivites at the resort went on all around us as we watched the firework display from our balcony while in our pajamas.... I couldn't help to feel proud. Proud that we again were able to handle this challenge of diabetes and we came through on the other side....OK.  Happy New Year and Best Wishes for a Wonderful year full of Health and Happiness!!