Meet a D-Mom: Reyna of Beta Buddies

by Leighann on February 28, 2011

D-Mom Blog Featured D-Mom

I’ve been trying to get today’s blogger to let me “interview” her forever. I appreciate her use of expletives (I often think them even if I don’t say them) and she’s from one of my favorite states (to visit in nice weather). I invite you to read about Reyna, and then visit her blog Beta Buddies. You can also follow her on Twitter; she’s @betabuddymom.

Beta Buddies

I’d like to introduce you to Reyna of Beta Buddies.

Tell me something about your child.

Joe is a blade-cruising, puck-slapping machine. He loves hockey. He has been known to surf down Slip-N-Slides on Boogie Boards. He has been seen skate boarding in the ‘hood with flourescent orange traffic cones dangling from all four of his appendages. Joe is active. Joe is creative with his activity. Joe is fun!

Beta Buddies

What is your child’s favorite 15 gram carb (or less) snack

Pickle Wraps, thanks to Heather from Sweet To The Soul (meet Heather).  I posted on them on Beta Buddies.

How do you manage diabetes?

Joe sports the Animas Ping Insulin Pump 24/7/365. We count all of the carbs that Joe consumes by measuring and/or weighing his food.  Joe checks his blood sugar 10-15 times a day. We use a Dexcom 7+ CGM to help avoid lows with all of Joe’s crazy shenanigans.

What do you know now that you wish you had known at diagnosis

When Joe was diagnosed I had been practicing as a Surgical and Pediatric Intensive Care Nurse for over a decade. My job was to “maintain” parameters, whether it be heart rates, blood pressures, or blood sugars. I felt an intense pressure to keep Joe’s blood sugars in range. I quickly realized that this was unrealistic. I quickly realized that diabetes was not gonna play “nice”. I quickly realized to loosen parameters, to loosen this rigid and unachievable expectation I had placed on myself.

What has been the biggest challenge?

For us the biggest challenge is preventing low blood sugars with Joe’s activity level. The Dexcom 7+ CGM has helped immensely with this difficulty. I use the CGM primarily for “trending”. If Joe is in the 100s with a “double down” before hockey practice, before scootering, before swimming, etc. I pelt a couple of truffles at him and send him on his way.

How do you and your husband maintain your relationship?

Good question. Dave and I have been out, as a couple, only a handful of times in the four years since Joe’s diagnosis.  We spend a lot of time together as a family.  We go to many of our children’s extracurricular events as a family unit.  We spend hours together on our backyard ice rink during the winter months.

True bonding, camaraderie, and personal growth has materialized through our struggles in accepting type 1 and through the rigors of managing type 1 in Joe’s life.

What have been your challenges sending your child to school? Triumphs?

I think overall, Joe’s school experience can be viewed as a triumph. When he first stared elementary school there was a weak substitute nurse system in place. The district refused “delegation”. So, when the nurse was out the parent was expected to come into school and sit, as they would not even delegate BG checks and low treatments.

Within a couple of months, the district strengthened it’s substitute nurse program. The district also agreed to let non-medical personnel check BGs and treat lows after they received training from the parent and/or professional.

Lockdowns were also addressed within Joe’s first year of school. His diabetes bag and sugar was being locked in a cabinet in the Health Office initially. We identified this as an unsafe practice. Joe now has a bag with an extra glucometer, sugar sources, and cheat sheets (for non-medical personnel) that travels with him from class to class in case of emergency or lockdown situations.

What sports/activities does your child do and how does it work with diabetes?

OH.DEAR.LORD. Well, as you know from the above comments, Joe is fairly active.

I have always held the belief that we will support Joe in all that he does, diabetes be damned.  With that being said we make it work. We make diabetes work with hockey, with soccer, with t-ball, with careening down sled hills, and with scootering with chicken masks pulled over his face (don’t ask).

I have used decreased temp basals at times and I have also given free snacks prior to activity levels. Recently, Joe was in a hockey tournament where he played 4 games and had a skills session in one day. I got way behind the 8-ball on keeping sugar in him…to the point where I could not catch-up and Joe was pulled from the last 6 minutes of game #4 of the tournament. I learned a lot from the experience and I plan on trying some new tactics out at an upcoming tournament in a couple of weeks.

What vacations have you taken and how did you deal with diabetes?

Well, I have a great story of “joining the mile high club“.

I changed a failed site while at cruising altitude.  Joe wasn’t too thrilled with me, but sometimes you just gotta be a “Cow Girl”.

Have you found a babysitter, and if so, how?

No, not really. We did use “Safe Sitters” once and had Abby (aka SUM’s “Abby The Person”) baby sit Joe a few years ago.  That was a very positive experience.  She was the only type 1 babysitter registered in our area at the time.  We are ready to give a non-“D” babysitter a chance.  I think with some training and with Joe’s knowledge base it should work out.

How has diabetes affected your other children?

I am not sure if there is a “character limit”, but here goes.  Diabetes affects everything, everyone, all the time. There is never a break. It is with us every day. It is with us every night. It is with us for every snack and meal. It is with us for every activity. It is with us for every illness. It is with us for every holiday. It is with us for every car ride, every walk, every trip to the park, every errand to the grocery store, everywhere…all the time….always. So yes, this has affected my dear, sweet, dramatic, gorgeous, emotional, big dreamer of a daughter Bridget. She has scootered around the neighborhood with a pickle jar taped to her handle collecting funds for a CURE. She has ideas and hypotheses on a CURE. She loves deeply; she feels deeply. I worry about her more than I do about Joe, perhaps.

How do you find time for yourself?

I exercise daily.  I am a P90X fanatic and I run.  This is my “alone time” where I am able to clear my mind and sort through the craziness of our days.

What have you done to help your child become independent in their own care?

Since starting kindergarten, Joe has been determined to do all of his care while at school. He does his blood sugar checks, boluses, combo boluses, temp basals, and some of the carb counting…with the School Nurse supervising him. I think he realized early on that he would be “held up” from life if he didn’t get on with his care independently.

I have worked with him on reading nutrition labels and on tapping into how his body feels prior to and during activity to determine how much “booster” (free carbs) he needs to avoid a low.

To date, Joe has not been interested in pump site changes.  I haven’t pushed the issue.

Beta Buddies

How do you deal with tough diabetes-related questions from your child?

I answer him honestly, with love, care, and tact.

Since you are kind of, um, known for your great use of expletives, please tell me what your favorite phrase is. (I really admire Reyna for this, lol!)

First off, Leighann, I was trying to keep it “clean” for your respectable site!

I frequently use the term (usually in my thought-feed mind you)…”For F*ck Sake” muttered on exhalation with my eyes rolling to the back of my head scoping out my cerebral gray matter!  I think it reflects my annoyances with the trials of my daily grind to a “T”.

Meet other D-Moms and D-Dads on Mondays.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dawn @ Sugar Free Candyland February 28, 2011 at 7:36 am

Oh how I love reading about Reyna, and Beta Buddies! She is HI-LARIOUS!

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2 Reyna February 28, 2011 at 7:51 am

Thank YOU! Leighann for the interview. I had a great time answering the questions and it made me think of so many things and it brought me back to some things that I have tried to forget.

In the question “What do you wish you had known at diagnosis?”…I also want to add that I wish I knew that EXTREME grief was OK, and normal for some. I thought something was “wrong” with me…I was angry with myself for not just “snapping out of it” and getting back to the land of the living. I felt I should be on some “timeline” for the grieving process. When, in actuality, I believe there is a continuum and, unfortunately, I still get bummed out once-in-awhile. Sometimes I feel that I am one string of bad numbers away from going back to the “tunnel of despair”.

I guess I just want everyone to know…where ever you are in the process of dealing with diabetes in your child’s life that it is “OK”, it is “normal”, and that we, the “DOC”, have all been there or are there right now.

Again, thanks for reading and now go “PANCREATE” your little hearts’ out!!! WOOT!

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3 Heidi February 28, 2011 at 8:26 am

Love, love, love Reyna! 🙂

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4 Amy February 28, 2011 at 8:35 am

I can’t imagine there is anyone out there who doesn’t know Reyna already. As I’ve told her, I consider her the cheerleader of all d-moms! She’s a follower on every blog, with a nice, supportive comment for all. She definitely stands out in the DOC.

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5 Jen February 28, 2011 at 8:40 am

Hooray for featuring Reyna! She is one of my favorite voices in the DOC and I love that photo of her and Joe ..so sweet!

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6 nicole February 28, 2011 at 9:27 am

GREAT interview. I love love love Reyna and her wonderfully funny and loving family!!

You ROCK lady!!

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7 Donna ((Sweet Momma)) February 28, 2011 at 10:00 am

Reyna is by far and away one of our most caring, lovable and COLORFUL D Mama’s on the DOC. Her posts never fail to make me laugh, and she truly has a hear of gold. <3

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8 Tracy February 28, 2011 at 10:23 am

Love Reyna! One of my favorite D Mama bloggers!

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9 Kris February 28, 2011 at 10:49 am

Love, love, LOVE Reyna! One of my favorite blogs to read and one AMAZING D Mama!

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10 misty February 28, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Aww…I love this D Mama! Reyna has a way of making me cry and laugh all at the same time. I love that she is so real, so honest. I love that she is so full of life! Thank you for featuring a great blogger!

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11 Wendy February 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm

I HEART REYNA!

Joe is an amazing kid and a great example of the active life our T1 kids can lead….thanks, no doubt, to his awesome D Mama!

(PS…tried to comment earlier, but got an error message…sorry if this is a duplicate!)

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12 alexis of justices misbehaving pancreas February 28, 2011 at 2:35 pm

i loooove me some Reyna!!! Awesome interview!

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13 Lora February 28, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Reyna is one kick ass D-Mama… LOVE HER!!!!!

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14 Meri February 28, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Looooooooove Reyna. <3

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15 Laura Houston February 28, 2011 at 9:12 pm

I think everyone loves Reyna – What’s not to love??!!
She’s beautiful, funny, strong and has some amazing abs!! 🙂
She is one of my personal heroes!!

And Joe is pretty AWESOME too!!!!!

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16 Stephanie March 1, 2011 at 1:04 am

LUV me some Reyna!!!

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17 Heather March 1, 2011 at 6:00 am

Reyna is one of my favorite blogs to read!! She is an amazing D Mama!

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18 Julia March 1, 2011 at 11:45 am

Love the interview and really like Reyna’s (and other D Mom’s blogs). Joe is a real cutie. Reyna is informative and oh, so funny. I cannot find the comment section on Reyna’s blog, so I will take this opportunity to note that I wish there was a post detailing for each sport the temp basals and overnight basals reduction for each sport. Although each child is very different, I think it may give new parents some idea of how much they have to cover certain sports with ExCarbs and how much they may need to reduce the overnight basals…… and for how long a period. For us it is different for each sport. There are charts in the back of standard diabetes books, I find we need more carbs and stronger reduced basals than the charts advise. And she is not an athlete, though she is active. I remember shortly after diagnosis she was still on swim team. When she got tired of getting up at 6am in the summer, we breathed a sigh of relief (we were seeing 20s, even with a strong reduced overnight temp and she does not wear her pump in the water). If she had not had D, she would have been pushed to get up. when I read of Joe’s daily activities, I am amazed at how well you handle all this. So, Reyna, if you want to write a book……. sports, children and diabetes, a dangerous mix, and one you are well qualifed to comment on.

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19 Sara March 1, 2011 at 11:46 am

I so love you Reyna!

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20 sysy March 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Chiming in with the others, Much love to you and your precious family, Reyna! You make being a diabetic easier (believe it or not!)

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21 Hallie March 1, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Reyna is one kick ass D Mama! Love you, girl!

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22 Reyna March 3, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Thanks for the warm wishes guys.

@ Julia…you can always comment where it says “What My Buddies Had to Say”. I thought I was being clever with my comment title, but others have said it is difficult to find as well…maybe I should change it.

On the sports – again…thank you. I am always mixing it up, as “D” is ever-changing, especially in growing children. I don’t always do a decreased temp basal after hockey etc…For a period of time I did do a decrease by 50% x 4h after hockey games lasting longer than an hour as Joe was going low. Lately, his numbers haven’t been as sensitive and I have been “front-loading” him with free carbs. Swimming does not seem to affect Joe’s BG after the fact. So, no temp basal reduction there. I’ll start keeping better track of what I am doing for each sport. It will be baseball season soon – I am thinking that should be easy. Not nearly as difficult as hockey for sure.

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