The Blue Balloon January 2017

Welcome to the January edition of The Blue Balloon, bringing you the latest news from the Family Centre.

Welcome to 2017 at the Family Centre! We have a jam-packed calendar of community events, camps, education programs and FUN lined up for our families this year. We've already launched January's program with a bang: this month our Parent Advisory Group is holding its first Community Quiz Night, we're taking ten families on Family Camp, and making delicious low-sugar desserts at a fully-booked Teen Cooking! We can't wait!

In this edition, we've got some Back To School tips to share, a Clinic Chat about CGM, and opportunities to register for Flex-IT and Carb Counting workshops - but be quick, places are filling fast.

Read on, and enjoy.

Back to school with type 1 diabetes

School is nearly back, which can be a stressful time for parents with kids with type 1. Here are our top tips for going back to school with type 1 diabetes.

Make sure your Action and Management Plans are in place: Talk with your school and diabetes care team about how diabetes will be managed during the school day. Download the Action and Management Plans for Western Australian students here.

Check out Mastering Diabetes: The NDSS created the Mastering Diabetes resource after receiving requests for material to help children with type 1 diabetes at preschool and schools. It is designed to help teachers and families support children with type 1 diabetes, helping them to learn, grow and have fun. An electronic copy of Mastering Diabetes was posted to families in 2016, but so you don't have to hunt, here's the e-book!

Be brave and consider a talk: Many kids find that doing a talk at school really helps their classmates understand type 1. Stuck for words? We love the tips for How to Talk to Your Class About Type 1 from our friends over at Beyond Type 1!

Crowdsource your questions: The Family Centre's Online Parents Community is a local, live resource of more that 400 families with school-aged kids in Western Australia. Stressing out about talking with teachers, school lunchboxes, birthday cake policies, and swimming lessons? Jump into the community to crowdsource answers to all your diabetes dilemmas - our collective knowledge and experience is phenomenal!

Teach the teacher: Teachers need support too. Beyond Type 1's Teachers Guide to Kids with Type 1 is a brief introductory resource for a teacher who is new to type 1. It could help you to guide the next conversation with your child's teacher.

Use CGM: Stressed about your child managing on their own at school in the first couple of weeks? Take advantage of the Family Centre's Continuous Glucose Monitor Loan Program, and get plugged in to a round-the-clock glucose read to put your mind at ease. Register for a loan here.

Smash your diabetes goals this new year with FLEX-IT!

A new year is the perfect time for healthy new goals. The Family Centre's Flexible Insulin Therapy (Flex-IT) workshop will get your diabetes management off to a great start in 2017.

Flex-IT is our fantastic group program for people with type 1 aged 16+, developed by Baker IDI and presented by our smart, supportive Credentialled Diabetes Educators. It's intended as a comprehensive refresher course, updating you on the latest management strategies and type 1 tips.

Topics include:

  • Practical type 1 challenges like eating out and managing alcohol
  • Calculating insulin sensitivity and carbohydrate ratios
  • Adjusting insulin to suit food and physical activity
  • Carbohydrate counting
  • Hypoglycaemia and hyperglycaemia management

The course runs over two consecutive Saturdays in March 2017.

Date: Saturday March 18 and 25, 2017
Time: 9am-4.30pm
Place: The Family Centre, 11 Limosa Close, Stirling, 6021
Cost: $150 per person (Support person free of charge)

Places filling fast! Register by clicking here.

For more information, contact the Family Centre on 9446 6446.

Count Carbohydrates

Counting carbs is important. Whether your child is on a pump or injections, accuracy with carbohydrate counting and calculating insulin doses means better managed blood glucose. But we know the maths can make your head spin! The Family Centre’s hands-on, practical Carbohydrate Counting Workshop for parents is here to help.

Places are limited: Register now.

Date: Saturday February 18, 2017
Time: 9am-1pm
Place: The Family Centre, 11 Limosa Court, Stirling, 6021
Cost: $40 per adult.

Call the Family Centre on 9446 6446 if you would like more information.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring: Ride the Waves
Clinic Chat with Amy Rush CDE APD

Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) is a way to measure glucose levels in real-time, via a sensor that is inserted under the skin into interstitial fluid. A transmitter talks wirelessly with the sensor and sends glucose information to a receiver, pump, and now to a mobile phone. CGM reduces, but does not replace, the need for fingerprick blood tests.

Benefits of CGM
A fingerprick test gives a single snapshot of blood glucose at a point in time – it does not show which way the glucose level is heading. By contrast, CGM fills in the information gaps, so you can see trends and patterns. CGM helps you to know exactly what your blood glucose does through the night, or at times when it is not convenient to do a fingerprick test such as during exercise, exams or driving.

CGM shows not only the direction in which your glucose level is heading, it also shows you how quickly it is moving via the ‘rise’ and ‘fall’ arrows. You can set alarms to alert you when your glucose levels are heading high or low.

Software is available that downloads your data and packages it up into neat documents and graphs. I love using CGM in my practice, because seeing all of the information helps me give my patients highly targeted advice.    

Key things to pay attention to on a CGM graph:

Arrow direction: Use the arrows and be proactive. You may be sitting pretty at 6mmol/L right now, but check the arrow direction. It will tell you which way you’re headed so you can act before a hypo hits.

Alarm notifications for lows: Be conservative, and set the threshold a little higher than what you think is ‘low’. Remember, the CGM is always about ten minutes behind your blood glucose level.

Watch the waves: Compare days to pick up reccurring highs or lows and consider what’s happening at this time – for example, are you giving your breakfast bolus at the right time? Decipher foods that can cause a blood glucose nightmare, such as high carbohydrate meals that are also high in fat or protein. You can get a better idea if what you’re eating is supporting good glucose management, and how to time and dose your insulin too.

The Family Centre believes people with type 1 should be able to experience all the technology available to them – so we’re here to help support you with two different CGM options.

The Family Centre can lend you a Dexcom CGM
The Family Centre’s CGM Loan Program is here for you when you need round-the-clock glucose monitoring. Our special offer of two sensors and a Dexcom G4 system for only $50 is available for a limited time only. Click here to book yours today. And if you’d like to talk about Dexcom G5, which transmits your glucose levels direct to your mobile phone, the Family Centre can put you in touch.

New at the Family Centre: Medtronic Guardian Connect
The new Medtronic Guardian Connect transmits directly to your mobile phone so you can watch your blood glucose, anywhere, anytime. At the Family Centre, we're one of the first clinics in WA to have a Guardian Connect CGM transmitter to lend to patients. It takes two clinic appointments to set up the sensor and transmitter and to discuss the collected data, and during the days in between you can share your data with me live and receive email advice when needed. Contact now to book in.

Meet our January Super Supporter, Kate Scrivener

Do you know the game Never Have I Ever?
Twelve months ago, Never Had I Ever given insulin via needle to a 5-year old. Never Had I Ever watched a child sob uncontrollably because hypoglycemia made her so vulnerable. Never Had I Ever watched my language so carefully – avoiding the words Good or Bad, because a blood glucose level is neither; it’s either high or low and there is an action plan for each.
Working as a Special Needs Education Assistant to Lucy, who is in Kindergarten, has changed my life. Prior to this year, I didn’t know what type 1 was. I certainly didn’t appreciate the hour-by-hour decision making that is needed to keep a person with type 1 diabetes alive. I didn’t know what a relentless, unpredictable beast diabetes is.
Type 1 is an invisible disease, which makes it difficult for people to understand the ever-present danger that faces a child with type 1 every day, and how simple, everyday experiences such as exercise, excitement, stress or class activities can quickly compromise that child’s health. A day that appears to be the same as yesterday brings different sugar levels and demands different responses; nothing is simple, nothing is guaranteed and nothing is predictable. And type 1 doesn’t care if you are exhausted, if you have competing priorities – type 1 never takes a break.
How I have loved this year.
My first challenge was acquiring the technical expertise so I could keep Lucy on an even keel during the school day. Lucy’s Mum pointed me to the Telethon Type 1 Diabetes Family Centre, and their essential emotional and practical support services. There, I undertook the Family Centre’s Babysitter’s Training Course, and met the fabulous course facilitator Amy Rush, who became a reliable source of diabetes education and information.

The Family Centre CEO Bec Johnson also came to talk with our teachers. She presented her own experience as an adult with type 1, engaged them with witty anecdotes and then, while they were laughing, hit them with real life hard facts that were breathtaking. Throughout this year, I had become frustrated with teachers expecting Lucy’s diabetes to be stable and predictable, and not understanding just how elusive stability can be for a diabetic. After Bec's talk, several teachers expressed to me their awe after having their eyes opened to this invisible, crazy, unpredictable, insane disease.

I could not have asked for a better support team.
Lucy’s parents, Steph and Dave, are the most patient, giving, kind parents I have ever encountered. I have learned that behind every child with type 1 is a family that worries, stays up at night, makes sacrifices and puts in effort beyond imagination to give their child the opportunities they deserve.
Lucy is such a champion. She never complains or refuses treatment. She tolerates constant intrusion into her personal space to bolus insulin, and check her pump line and site. She always tries her best. She achieves academically outside of what seems reasonable. She has a maturity beyond her years.
Type 1 diabetics are fearless. They have to be - there is no other way. And all we can do as their supporters is help them achieve their goals; because Never Have I Ever seen forces to be reckoned with quite like people with type 1.
Recipe of the Month:
Lemon Garlic Chicken with Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes
Lemon Garlic Chicken with Sautéed Cherry Tomatoes
 A delicious dinner with flavours from the Mediterranean and in-season tomatoes. You could also cook this outside on the BBQ, perfect for a warm summer's night.
Serves 4
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • Salt and cracked black pepper
  • 4 x 200g skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2 punnets cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 200g green beans, trimmed
  • Preheat the oven to 160°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  • Combine 1 tbsp. olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, and salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  • Slice each chicken breast in half, to make two flat breasts. Add to the bowl, mix well to coat in marinade. Allow to sit for 30 mins to marinate - put in the fridge if you want to marinate longer.
  • Lay the chicken breasts on a chopping board and sprinkle lightly with the flour to coat each side.
  • Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat and add 2 tsp of olive oil. When oil is hot, place chicken in the pan and quickly brown on both sides. Transfer to the oven for 8-10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (if cooking on the BBQ, turn the heat down and close the lid).
  • Reduce pan heat to medium-high. Add wine and stir with a wooden spoon to deglaze. Add cherry tomatoes and cook, stirring, until they begin to shrivel and burst. Add salt and pepper to taste and continue to cook, tossing the tomatoes in the pan and stirring often, for 6-7 minutes, until tomatoes have collapsed but are still intact.
  • Meanwhile, steam green beans over boiling water.
  • Divide the chicken breasts among four plates and top with the tomatoes, sprinkle with parsley and parmesan. Accompany with green beans to serve
Nutrition information per serve
Kilojoules – 1490
Protein – 50.5grams
Fat – 11.6grams
Saturated fat – 3.5grams
Carbohydrate – 8grams
Sugars – 2.5grams
Fibre – 3.1grams
And finally, our Meme of the Month
(The answer is ... come to our Carb Counting Workshop!)

That's all folks! Stay tuned for our next edition of The Blue Balloon. 
We'd love you to share The Blue Balloon with your friends and family,
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Type 1 Diabetes Family Centre · 11 Limosa Close · Stirling · Perth, WA 6021 · Australia

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