May 15, 2012

The Big 4-0

Today marks a new decade in my life...the big 4-0! This past weekend, I was doing this to celebrate:

Dinner (courtesy of my oldest) and bowling with my kids and brother. Today, I woke up to this on my bathroom mirror:

Drawn by my talented husband! (That so beats my "I love u!" written in lipstick, lol) Tomorrow, I'll be doing this:

Being treated to a spa day by my husband and having dinner again with our kids. Then, on Thursday, I'll be going down this hill:

That breathtaking drop is on Busch Gardens' brand new coaster Verbolten. It officially opens on May 18, but Matt and I will be attending a VIP launch (no pun intended) party on May 17, courtesy of Busch Gardens. Not only is the drop scary, but there are TWO free-falls where the track and car fall, ala Tower of Terror style. I know, right?

Stay tuned to my Twitter feed for live pics and to see if I'll survive to see another birthday! ;) I'll bring you a full review post as well after we ride. Oh and two of Busch Gardens' other coasters are up for awards on the Travel Channel's Insane Coaster Wars.

Click here and vote for Apollo's Chariot under "G-Force Giants," and Alpengeist under "Hang 'Em High." (Watch the videos for both while you're there too. They're proof that Busch Gardens knows how to do coasters right!)

Finally, on Saturday, we'll be going to a family reunion in Maryland and I can't wait to see my parents, grandma, brother, sister, cousin and more!

Who said getting old has to be boring? I'm having more fun now than I ever have! Hooray for 40!

P.S. I have an awesome giveaway on my review blog right now from Sony Music! Click here to enter to win Mariah Carey's new 2-CD collection The Essential Mariah Carey, an autographed booklet, and Mariah's fragrance, "Forever." Good luck!

Update, 6/5/2012- My review of Verbolten and details of the VIP party (including video) can be found on So a Blonde Walks Into a Review here.

May 1, 2012

Use of Artifical "Bionic" Pancreas in Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes

Note: This post was temporarily put into "draft" mode for several months and when I republished it, some of the content, including the video of the artificial pancreas, was erased by Blogger. I am working to find the missing info and will update this post again when I find it. Thank you for your patience! 

Of the many changes in my life since I temporarily closed my blog a couple of years ago, my little girl being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes has to be one of the most life-altering. On March 17, 2011, I took Natalie to her pediatrician after she was falling asleep randomly in the middle of the day, quit chorus because she was too fatigued to keep up with practices, had frequent urination and increased thirst, and was very moody.

I knew that all of those symptoms could mean diabetes, but my world was still completely rocked when the pediatrician walked in after checking a urine sample and said, "Well, your mom was right to be concerned. You do have diabetes." She gave me a knowing look that said, "I know you are completely freaking out but we are going to keep our cool for Natalie's sake right now." And that's what we did. (Thankfully, Natalie has been going to her since she was a baby and I trust my kids' life to her, literally. She has always taken such good care of my kids and has been spot-on in her diagnoses. She is a Godsend!)

She got us in to Children's Hospital in DC the next day and we began our journey in to the world of Type 1 diabetes treatment and care.

(Natalie, the day after being diagnosed. Dancing, playing and happy, despite the bad news.)

More than one year later, I cannot begin to express how proud I am of my daughter. She is 11 1/2 now and her spirit is simply amazing. Nothing gets her down for too long!

It's pretty hard to sum up in words what a bright, happy spirit she has but this video will give you a little glimpse of it:

And you simply can't bring that kind of spirit down. Diabetes picked the wrong person to mess with. Natalie has taken charge of this disease and doesn't let it control her. She went from being deathly afraid to ever giving herself insulin to sticking herself faster than you can say, "insulin." (It was her desire to go to a sleepover that got her over that fear).

She knows when she is too low and she knows when she is too high and she knows exactly what to do about it. She knows better than I do most days in fact! It is my belief that the more responsibility I put into her hands, the more she will be comfortable in managing this disease now and for the rest of her life. And she has managed it better than a lot of adults have.

At her last check-up, her A1C (which is an average of blood sugars) was near-perfect, something that a lot of pre-teens and teens do not accomplish because they're not as vigilant as she is in her care. I am so very proud of her!

But, as careful as we are, there are days that she is dangerously low, especially in the middle of the night. And days where she's dangerously high. There is no such thing as perfection when it comes to trying to manage blood sugars.

Enter the "bionic" artificial pancreas, which is currently in the experimental stage. I just showed this video below to Natalie and it brought happy, hopeful tears to her eyes (and mine as well):

This amazing, brave little girl Emma will be on "The Doctors" tomorrow to discuss her experience and inform the public about the hope that an artificial pancreas can give to those living with Type 1 Diabetes. Click here to check your local listings.

Emma's mother Stefany has been blogging about her daughter's experience with Type 1 Diabetes as well as with the artificial pancreas here. Emma had to leave the artificial pancreas at the hospital since it is still experimental but it may be available to children like her and my daughter in as little as four years.

Not having to worry if my little girl is going to go into a coma in the middle of the night from low blood sugars? Not having to watch her prick her poor, little fingers several times a day? Not having to stick her with a needle (or have her stick herself) four times a day? Being able to have her live a more normal life like other kids?

Four years cannot come soon enough.