Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2 Healthy years with Diabetes

Two short years ago today, we sat and watched while Clifford was still unconscious coming out of DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis), many tears were shed, I feared that my son wouldn't wake up from this nightmare known as diabetes. But here we are two years later with a happy healthy Clifford, bouncing and full of joy to share the news he has had diabetes for 2 years today.

It hasn't been easy, in 2 years of living with diabetes he's endured 13,140 finger pokes to check his blood glucose levels, and 4,380 injections. This is not counting the numerous blood draws he gets every 3 months, and the many IV's needed during hospital stays. In these 2 years we've had our share of scary experiences, one involving Clifford passing out from a hypoglycemic event, and being transported via ambulance to Children's hospital. The scariest of them all was when he suffered from seizures due to another hypoglycemic event and was life-flighted to Children's hospital, to this day I really do not like seeing a medical helicopter in the sky. It was only a 15 minute trip, during which I got sick, either from morning sickness with the twins, or stress of my son going through this.

However during these 2 years we've celebrated and witnessed much more positive events, A 7th birthday, then an 8th birthday, basketball practices, cub scout achievements, the birth of our twins, birthday's of siblings (I think we hit a 2 year birthday which btw was the day Clifford passed out, a 3 year birthday( 2 of these), a 4 year birthday, a 5 year birthday(again 2 of these), and (2) 6 year birthday's. The start of Preschool, Kindergarten (2 times), 1st grade (2 of these too), and 2nd grade. Many family holiday's and successful carb counting situations. Yesterday being one of these. It was swagging at it's finest and I would like to brag. Clifford's bg was 135 at his Blue & Gold banquet for Cub Scouts, some swagging involved for pasta, a salad and a piece of bread he was 75 when we returned from home. Then snack was given and a HI-C juice box since it was bedtime (75 is a good # but not one I like at bedtime), he woke up at 113 this morning! A nice way to start his 2 year celebration with diabetes.

We are soon embarking on a new journey with diabetes on the start of his insulin pump in 17 short days, we cannot wait. In all you can see it's been a trying time, but more so a fun and exciting time. Everyday is a celebration of a healthy day with D when he wakes up! So here's to many, many more healthy years with happy and exciting times with Diabetes!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Illness after illness

It's been a few days since I've been able to post, reason for that is we ran into the flu with Clifford. And you all may know that flu and T1 do not go together well. For the first time I considered having him go to the ER because of being unable to get ketones down. This may have been in part because I was so exhausted. But I pushed through kept doing what I knew had to be done (water, insulin, peeing every 20-30 mins) and gladly those ketones were gone by morning. He is feeling better minus some tummy pain but that is to be expected after having the flu and getting sick. Good news is we have zofran on hand because his ped called it in for us.

On Thursday Clifford was still home from school recuperating from the flu, and his sister Hayleigh came home from Preschool with pink eye, nice little swollen eye all red/pink with nasty stuff oozing out of it. ( I know a pretty picture for this early in the morning). Well they wouldn't even have her come into the doctors because it's "Highly contagious" so they called and drops, and she is doing better as well. They were both well enough to go to their dad's for weekend visitation, and in part that was a good thing because Friday during the day I started feeling "off" really just out of energy wanted to sleep and had a huge migraine that wouldn't go away. I went to bed early enough around 9pm, but woke up multiple times because the flu had hit me. I think at one point if asked I would have expressed that I was dying. I even slept in the shower for a few hours off and on because the water helped my stomach to not hurt as much. Which if you saw our shower you may wonder how I was able to do that. I am slowly recuperating as well but still feeling like crap, hot to cold temp, stomach aches, want to go to sleep. However I have things to do and have managed to pull myself to work, and hopefully get the dishes done here today. It's also been quite interesting in caring for the twins while sick. I'm hoping my frequent handwashing and non-kissing them (which is hard to do btw with those cute faces) has helped to not get them sick. It may sound selfish but I'm really for all illness to be gone from the house, I wish I felt a little better today so I could scrub and wash things like a mad woman. With 7 kids, we've had almost 2 months straight of everything from the flu (multiple times, 2nd time for me in a week), chicken pox, 2 different strains of pneumonia, pink eye, sinus infections galore, you name it we just about had it. It's expected, but we are just ready for a nice break like not again until cold/ flu season next year please!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Diabetic Barbie

I was able this past week to get an interview with Emma and her mom, who have created the "Diabetic Barbie", you can check out their facebook page, and give it a like while your there. They need to get to about 5,000 likes before they can contact Mattel to see what can be done about getting a Diabetic Barbie on the shelves for those with Diabetes.. I got the privilege to interview Miss Emma and see just what made her interested in creating a diabetic barbie.

What is your name, age, diagnosis story, and date to share with everyone: My name is Emma Ermel and I just turned 8 years old on Valentine's Day. I got diabetes when I was 4.

Emma's mom Amy was able to share Emma's diagnosis story with us all: Emma was diagnosed with diabetes on June 26, 2008. She had shown all the classic symptoms, increased thirst, started wetting the bed again, lost weight, but at the time I had no idea these were symptoms of diabetes. I took her into the doctor thinking she had some sort of bladder infection. Well we were sent in for a urine test and received a call from the doctor the next morning to come back in because the test had shown sugar was spilling in her urine, and they wanted to do a blood test to check it out too. So we went back in and did another urine test as well as a blood test. We received a call back from the doctor the following morning from the doctor and told me that I needed to bring Emma into the ER ASAP because her blood sugar was 33, and she was diabetic. My heart sank and I burst into tears, uncontrollably. We took her in, spent the whole day learning how to give insulin injections, count carbs, etc. Then they actually let us go home. We were the first family that our hospital had ever let go home on the day of diagnosis, unbelievable. Emma had her first low that night, it was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life, really, I felt so helpless. We survived though!

How has having diabetes changed your life? Diabetes hasn't changed my life much. I just had to get needles a lot before, but now I'm on a pump and only have to get a needle every 3 days, it's much better!

Do your friends understand about your diabetes? My friends know about my diabetes pretty much. they know I have to check my finger before I eat and they know that my pump is like my pancreas. They don't really bug me about it which is nice. a lot of them help me out with my fundraisers for JDRF too which is really cool!

Now tell me what gave you the great idea to come up with a diabetic barbie?
I thought a lot about having a diabetic barbie because I heard from my friends at school that they were making a bald barbie with cancer. It made me wish that there was a Diabetic Barbie at the stores to buy too.

Let's talk about barbie more, what kind of "accessories" will she have, as you know accessories are a girls best friend.
I think it would be cool for diabetic barbie to have a pump like more or she could have a case with a pen needle like I used to have. She would have a meter, and a case too. She could totally have all of the stuff that we have and maybe even carry it around in a purse like my Mom does!

So you know, you are a hero to many, as well as myself, but I'm curious, who is your hero?
Thank you for saying I am a hero! I think my heroes are my mom because she takes care of me, and probably Albert Einstein because he was really smart. But he was also silly, I saw a picture of him sticking his tongue out and read in a book that he liked to ride his bike and play even though he was a grown up. (note from Mom: Emma is currently doing a report on Germany for school and read a book about Einstein since he is German, she thought he was the coolest guy ever!)

What would you tell other girls and boys with diabetes?
I would tell other kids with diabetes that it's okay to have it. It doesn't make you weird. Everybody has something special about them.

When you grow up what do you want to do/ be?
When I grow up I want to be an artist, a dancer, and a song writer.

List 5 things that you love/like about having diabetes.
I get to meet other really nice kids with it too.
I get to go to cool places that JDRF does like a swimming party
I get to have my hot chocolate sale fundraiser for JDRF
I get to show people my pancreas is on the outside of my body

Is there anything else you'd like to tell everyone?
I guess all that I would say to people is that I hope someday kids like me can buy a Diabetic Barbie and get to play with her too!

Emma is a great girl who is determined, and motivated. Hopefully soon she can get to the 5,000 likes on her FB page so that she is able to tell Mattel how important to those with diabetes a diabetic barbie would be. Let's help her achieve her dream and do our part by taking a look at her FB page and sharing some love with Emma!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pumping update

As you all remember last week we were blessed to receive Clifford's insulin pump in the mail. Well now everything is in place and he will "OFFICIALLY" be on the pump on March 22nd. On March 16th, he gets hooked up to saline, and we begin our pump training. I've gone through the books and practice tests, I've done all the training on the education website as well, and went through their practice tests. I've even gone and read his pump manual. I think the next step is to look over our Nova Max link manual. We received our OneTouch meter, and I had previously called Nova Max to request a Nova Max link meter. The reasoning for this is we used OneTouch in the past and absolutely hated it. That is why we switched over to Freestyle Lite, then when CCS Medical stopped providing the Freestyle Lite Strips, we switched to Nova Max, because I actually had a Nova Max Plus at home giving the ketone testing a try. We ended up switching over completely to Nova Max because we liked it much better than Freestyle. Freestyle is only used in our house at night time now because of the handy dandy little light on the end. Makes it much easier than carrying a cellphone up and trying to use that as the light, or turning on Clifford's light and risk waking him up.

I've done the practicing of the bolusing, and setting multiple basal's with the pump as well. I'm very ready for him to start, and super excited about it. The funny thing is when she called to set up our Insulin start date it was actually on the date he had his diabetes clinic (3 month check up). So during the morning on the 22nd, we'll be meeting with his endo, and diabetes educator as well as the nutritionist like we always do. We'll get his A1c, which I'm curious about as I always am. We were 7.5 at our last check up which disappointed me because we were 6.8 at our previous one. But I try not to be too hard on myself as since he was diagnosed we've ranged from 6.8-7.5 with a couple in between. I don't think that's too shabby while on MDIs. During the early afternoon on that day is when we start on insulin and begin our pumping journey. I will keep everyone updated with how things go as I hope it will help those that are considering pumping see how the process works.

I am prepared to have a few weeks to months of chaos with the pump while we establish basals that work and tweak his ratio's etc. I guess it doesn't help that during this time he's growing too right? But even so I will update hopefully daily to let everyone know how things are going and how we're handling our pump journey. Clifford is excited as he thinks the Mio infusion's are tiny in comparison to his syringes. He is also excited about the idea of being able to participate in his care a little more and learn how to bolus himself for meals. He tried giving himself an injection with the help of myself once, but didn't care for it. I have a feeling in no time he will be interested in changing his own infusion sets as well. It's been almost 2 years in getting here. We are 1 week out for his 2 year Diaversary. I have decided to make him a cake, or cupcakes (not sure which), his favorite meal which is seafood enchiladas, and write him a letter telling him how excited and proud I am of him for coming so far in the last 2 years. I really hope he will have a fun day. He doesn't know anything about this, so let's keep it a secret! I want to surprise him after school with it all!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Day in the life....

I thought it would be an interesting concept to share with you "A Day in the life... With type 1 diabetes"... I cannot speak from a first person view, because our T1D is Clifford. However I can speak from a parent's point of view to help others that might not be familiar with T1D understand what is involved in a day in the life of a child with type 1 diabetes... So let's start at wake up....

Wake-up: Blood sugar is tested (a tiny little needle is pierced into his lil fingertips, which btw are already so blistered over, blood is collected onto the strip)... Wait 5 seconds for the beep and to reveal the start of our day....

Food is measured, or weighed out to the exact serving size to count all carbohydrates, this includes all food and beverages if any with carbs such as milk for cereal. The total carbs are then divided into his Carb to Insulin ratio. A nice little ratio that tells you how many units of fast acting insulin (Humalog for Clifford) he will get to eat his breakfast. His breakfast ratio is 1:18, this means he gets 1 unit per 18 grams of carbs. As an example this morning 1 cup of captain crunch berries was 35 grams, 13 grams for a cup of milk, and 26 grams for some pudding he wanted to have. Total 74 grams of carbs this equaled out to 4.1 units. However you now have to take into account their blood sugar number. Today Clifford woke a bit high at 265. Now you have the added fun of doing more math in the morning by finding out how much he gets for correction. The correction simply means to help bring his blood sugar into the target area, his target is 100. You take 265-100 and divide by his sensitivity(how much 1 unit of insulin will bring his blood sugar down) Clifford's sensitivity is 120 with this you get 1.4. So you add this to the 4.1 and get a total of 5.5 units of insulin.

After all that math it's time to give him an injection so he can start to eat. Another nice needle (bigger than the lancet this time) jabbed into his skin to deliver life saving medicine (sounds dramatic, but it's the truth).

After all this in 2 to 3 short hours it's time to do it all over again for Lunch.
1.Check blood sugar (more blood)
2..Math time (count carbs(this is the weighing and measuring part), figure out insulin or correction if needed)
3. Injection time (another jab or poke however you want to look at it)

Fast forward 2 to 3 short hours later (granted he didn't feel dizzy, or hungry, or have a headache or tummy ache) all of those could be a sign he is either high or low and would need to test his blood sugar.
Snack time
1.Check blood sugar (again more blood, you get the picture here)
2. Math time (food weighed, measured, carbs counted, figuring out the insulin and correction if needed).
3.Another jab of the needle

2 to 3 hours later
1.Check blood sugar (again more blood,)
2. Math time (food weighed, measured, carbs counted, figuring out the insulin and correction if needed).
3.Another jab of the needle

2 to 3 hours later and it's bedtime. Bedtime is not a fun time for those with T1D.
Now our bedtime routine is slightly different then the previous times above
1.Check blood sugar (again more blood, you get the picture here)
2. Math time (food weighed, measured, carbs counted, figuring out the insulin and correction if needed).
3. Not 1 count them 2 injections (1 to cover carbs (fast acting) and 1 for his 24 hour basal insulin)

I'd love to stop and say our day ends here but that's not the case. For the most part every night at midnight, Clifford gets his blood sugar tested. Here is a few examples of what has gone on during previous midnight testings.

1.Tested blood sugar (LOW, 68)
2.Run downstairs to get a juice box, and pixie sticks just in case
3.If I'm lucky I can wake Clifford up enough he starts drinking the juice box, or there are the other times he will not wake up, that I have to open his mouth and start pouring pixie sticks in it. Sounds easy enough except the opening of his mouth, he fights me in his sleep, I have to basically hold him down, and pry open the side of his mouth, hold it open, hope he doesn't bite me and pour in the sugar.
4. Re test his blood sugar in 15-20 mins (If above target for night time 120) good, go back to sleep for 2-3 hours, if however he is still low, repeat all the above steps every 15 mins until he is back up to target.

Now here is an example of high
1.Test blood sugar (high 325)
2.Go back downstairs, get a syringe, alcohol wipes, prepare the insulin in the syringe, take it back upstairs
3. Turn Clifford over (bum shots for correction during the night work best, ) If I'm lucky he'll sleep through the injection. But then there are other nights he moves like a crazy man and I have to make sure I have a tight hold on him before injecting and try to hold him down with one arm, and legs while injecting (getting kind of difficult with him being 8 and 4ft tall , only 14 inches shorter than mom)...
4. Go back to sleep retest in an hour to make sure he is coming down good, but not too much.

2:30-3am (this is when Lantus (24 hour basal insulin) likes to peak, so it's best to check to make sure he didn't drop low. If all goes well he's in rang and I can go back to sleep till 5:30-7ish depending on when I decide to get up. However if we are low again, well we repeat that fun low process.

After all this it's back to wake up time and to start all over. This does not include those days when we get crazy lows out of no where because that is usually 3-5 more times testing blood sugar during the day.

Welcome to the life of T1D, blood, needles, sometimes tears, cranky behavior from highs, annoying behavior from lows, fear of overnight lows they won't wake up from, lack of sleep, caffeine fueled.

In all it's not that bad :) Clifford is alive and we do the best we can to keep it that way along with healthy to avoid any complications as he gets older, and in the process teach him along the way of how to care for his diabetes responsibly.

Now this is just the life with T1D and injections.... This will all change soon when we're on the pump, and I plan on writing in the life of T1D and pumping for you all to see.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A little excited... Understatement

To say that I am a little excited about Clifford starting on the pump is a HUGE understatement. Included in our pump package yesterday was a bunch of what I referred to as "homework". This all was to be reviewed and practiced, etc before we start our pump training. At first I would say I was a bit overwhelmed at the thought of all this work. However I am happy to report The basic of insulin pump therapy, and a step by step guide to the pump as well as the owners manual to the pump was all reviewed and completed yesterday. In fact I finished up the practice portion of bolusing, setting basals, suspending, etc at around midnight. The CD that you see included went over all that plus some added extra's of learning how to fill the reservoir, the cannula and the tubing, as well as inserting the infusion set. All that was completed today. After all my studying and practicing I'm fully ready to get started in our pump journey!

How nice it would have been to have the pump in action last night when a correction was needed at midnight. He was 325, and had to be given a correction via syringe, would have been much easier and nice to press the button to bolus rather then to stick him on the bum with a needle. However he didn't flinch, still higher this morning but definitely better than 325.

This morning was a wee bit interesting for us at our house in the fact that Cliffords C:I ratio was changed for breakfast to 1:18. Now this morning he was 235 which meant he needed to be corrected and for that was 1.2 units. Now with what he wanted for breakfast the total units to be given was 6 units. I was a bit concerned with this large amount at one time. He hasn't really had over 5 units since diagnosis, but he is a growing boy and we're trying to combat the highs we've been seeing at school.

I called the nurse and he was 75 at lunch time. A little under target, but definitely not high. Now hopefully we got the highs at lunch under control, and now I'm looking onward to snack. I'm still noticing highs overall except a handful of times at snack time. I'm thinking it's time to make a change to his I:C ratio at lunch as well. I'm going to wait it out another day to see if the trend continues then give a call to his educator to discuss changing his I:C ratio from 1:40 at lunch to 1:30 to try to ward off some highs.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It's official the pump has arrived!

So Clifford's new insulin pump arrived today. I normally would say his new shiny blue pancreas arrived, but those in the house (not naming names) say it's a pump. I guess they are partially correct in that it's not an exact replica of the human pancreas. Because think about it. The pancreas measures the amount of glucose in the bloodstream so it can give out the exact amount of insulin needed to maintain glucose levels. While the pump will provide Clifford with his insulin we will still have to monitor his blood glucose levels. So technically speaking the pump and ourselves are his new "pancreas".... Yeah I'm silly but whatever! Today was a very exciting day knowing that it would be delivered today. At one point ice was melting off the roof and it made a loud sound, I jumped up and said UPS was here, but nope just ice.

In addition to the pump we also got some Glucose
Quick Sticks to try in treating lows. I will admit openly now that I did "test" them out first.. I was curious about the taste and if Clifford would like them. I am happy to report they were quite yummy, but I only tried a little bit, really wasn't in need of fast acting carbs at the time! So now onward to pumping we go. Included with the pump were the pump supplies needed for a month worth of pumping, and a boat load of homework for myself. Tons to read up on and practice, and take some quizzes to make sure we are ready to fill in the gap and help become a better pancreas along with the pump for Clifford, there I said it PANCREAS!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Almost 2 years in....

Well here it is almost 2 years into Clifford's diagnosis of Diabetes and we are finally making some headway. I received word on Thursday that his pump was being shipped out that day! Took only 2 days after being told it was approved that it was shipped. It was all very exciting in choosing the color, his infusion sets, the tubing length, etc, etc. I got off the phone with goosebumps. I think though I am the most excited of everyone about the pump coming including Clifford. No idea when we'll actually start pumping. We are supposed to get a call within a week from the trainer to get us scheduled for training and starting him on saline first. I know it's all going to be very overwhelming in the beginning, just like diagnosis all over again. But I also know that this is a better choice for Clifford for his diabetes management, and it will most definitely be worth it.

2 years.... That's like a lifetime in D care when you think about it. Diabetes care involves 24/7 watch and management. Technically it's been 17, 520 hours of constant care and attention. I know there are others out there that have done this way longer, and I commend all of you! I'm just very excited we are finally heading in the direction of treatment we were wanting. Only one last step of getting the CGM approved and we will be there! Clifford's already been prepared that the first week on the pump will not be too much fun. He will just be on saline and will still require his injections daily (6 x a day). So in addition to the injections we'll be changing infusion sites. But he also knows that after that week it's live on insulin and no more injections(unless needed). It's very exciting as we enter in a new "normal" for us. I think we just started getting used to our other "new" normal.

Last night D cooperated for the most part. Clifford really enjoys these peanut butter cookies we have, but they are pretty carb loaded, and at night time I do not like to give him a bunch of carbs. So I told him we were trying a test. 3 cookies is 26 grams. So 3 cookies for tonight it was with 0.5 units humalog, and 7 units of Lantus. He was 130 at 8pm, and 137 at 10:30pm, then 152 at 4am. But come wake up time (he actually woke up at 6:50) he was 68.. Yuck, just glad he caught it. So the test was if his blood sugar was good throughout the night we would let him have the 3 cookies, and a 1/2 cup of the carb smart ice cream (13 grams), so a total of 39 grams. Definitely more than I like him having. The reason is he seems more sensitive to the humalog at bedtime and tends to drop like a rock with anything over 0.5 units. For the 39 grams depending on his blood sugar at bedtime he will have to get almost a full unit. That's scary territory to me, but I'm willing to let him have his treat, and get up and test to see how it's working.

Back to the pump... It will be here Tomorrow! So Happy Valentine's Day to us. I told Chad if I could keep my mouth shut I would save it for Diagnosis Day (his D anniversary ) on 2/28, but I can't keep my mouth shut about his pump in the house for 2 whole weeks, so yeah not happening!

So almost 2 years in and entering into new territory soon with pumping. For those of you that pump and tips/tricks/words of wisdom you have would be greatly appreciated!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ice Cream for only 13grams????

I wrote about an ice cream previously that didn't hurt Clifford's blood sugar. Well to my surprise today when grocery shopping, I came across Breyer's Carb Smart. Apparently they have vanilla and chocolate, but I only found vanilla. Good news is for 1/2 cup serving there are only 13 grams of carbs. We haven't tried this yet so I can't really say how it affect's his blood sugar, but you definitely cannot beat a 1/2 cup for 13grams.

I felt the need to let everyone else know about it and give you a link to the nutritional information so you could review it yourself. If you find that your kids, or yourself love ice cream but they just have way too many crazy carbs, you may want to look into Breyer's Carb Smart and give it a try.

Here is a link to their nutritional info: http://www.breyers.com/products/Carb-Smart/Vanilla.aspx

Valentines Day Carbs.....

Valentine's Day is fun for the kids in school, with all the pretty cards, and tasty treats. However it can be a headache trying to figure out all those carbs. For the most part a lot of treats are labeled now a days which saves a lot of work trying to guess or SWAG the carb count. When we put our treat bags together, we make sure to label the number of carbs in the treats, because Clifford has a friend in his class who has Type 1 diabetes too. So I am hoping by labeling them it makes it much easier on her parents when it comes to carb totals.

But if you are the lucky ones that get the tasty treats without carb totals, take a look at Calorie King (which btw is an awesome book), they have a bunch of common Valentines Day Candy carb counts listed here:

Once we pass Valentine's Day it's onto Clifford's Dx Day. Still trying to figure out what to do for him that will make it a special celebration of a healthy year with Diabetes!

On a positive note, we got a phone call yesterday that his insulin pump was APPROVED! So he officially will have a new exterior pancreas. Although he likes to tell me it's not a pancreas just a pump, his pancreas is inside and it's broken. :/

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

*Archives* God and Diabetes

I think it's time to bring a post from my archives back in because it's definitely something I think about a lot.

Let me start by stating, I believe in God. However, when Cliffy was first diagnosed, I questioned why he was chosen, why did God have to make it so my son's life changed forever. It's just the nature of the beast to wonder why, and ask "why me". But let me tell you what I've learned from this experience.

Let's start with a snippet of a book I've been reading. In the future when I am tempted to ask the question "Why me?" I will immediately counter with the answer: "Why not me". Challenges are gifts, opportunities to learn. Problems are the common thread running through the lives of great men and women. In times of adversity, I will not have a problem to deal with, I will have a choice to make. Clifford's diabetes is NOT a problem. We have a choice daily and that choice is to live! I have learned from my past that I can handle a lot that is put on my plate. So if God chose my son to have diabetes, he chose him because he knew Cliffy and I could handle it. He knew that I would care for him to the fullest that I possibly can. He also knew not a day would go by that I wouldn't be educating myself about the disease, and learning as much as I possibly can so one day we could find a cure!

For me personally, Cliffy's diagnosis forced me to slow down in life. To take it one day at a time and cherish every moment I had with him and my kids. It showed me just how precious life is and that at any moment everything could change. He was diagnosed in DKA, and many of you know that is not something you would want your worst enemy to experience with their child. I cried the whole first day as it looked like something was taking over my son's tiny body. But with prayers and hope, things turned around for the better. Yes our lives have changed, yes he is no longer a normal child. But we can handle it, and we can move forward and make a difference.

If you are questioning why your son or daughter or yourself was given this fate, then take a step back and think, God knows you are really strong and you could handle it. He needs strong advocates in his corner to not only care for these special children and adults, but to fight to find a cure! Everytime when I would think about questioning why in the beginning, I would go back to a poem I read shortly after diagnosis.

How God Selects the Mother of a Diabetic Child
by Erma Bombeck Modified a great deal by me.

Some women become mothers by accident, most by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit. Did you ever wonder how mothers of children with diabetes are chosen? Somehow I visualize God hovering over earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

"Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron Saint Matthew."

"Forrest, Marjorie, daughter, Patron Saint Cecilia."

"Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron Saint Gerard. He's used to profanity."

Finally, He passes a name to an angel and smiles, "Give her a child with diabetes." The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy."

"Exactly", smiles God. "Could I give a child with diabetes to a mother who does not know laughter?"

"She has the patience?" the Angel agrees.

"Once the shock wears off, she'll handle it. I watched her today. She is strong. You see, the child I am going to give her will require great care. It's not going to be easy."

"But, Lord, could this make her stop believing."

God smiles. "No. This one is perfect. She has a strong faith in me."God nods. "Yes, this is the woman whom I will bless with this child. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work."

So if you remember anything from this posting, when you are tempted to ask "Why me", counter it with "Why not me". God obviously knows you and your child are strong, but the most important question is "Do you know"?.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rocking as a Pancreas- At least for the day!

It's how we roll in "D" land, one day at a time, and celebrating the small victories which I intend to do through pictures!!! Yesterday was a great day for us "blood sugar wise", minus the low at midnight to kick off the night/day previously, we definitely rocked the pancreas game later on. We had two lows, but they weren't even horribly low lows. One at 7:10 Clifford came down and was 74, so we treated since he still had some time before bedtime. He then came back down about 20 minutes later asking if it was okay to eat bedtime snack because he was hungry. He tested himself and it showed "255", um yeah no way he's that high after 20 mins and only having 15grams, so I had him retest after washing his hands, and he was "89!" much better.

I had purchased some "Carb comfort" Butter pecan ice cream yesterday from Schwan's, and he was wanting to try some. For a 1/2 cup it's only 15grams, pretty good, however he complained briefly he was only having a half cup, then after eating it asked why I wasn't giving him his Humalog because he ate "ICE CREAM". So I kindly explained to him that he was only 89 it was only 15 grams, to be happy no injection for this treat. He argued a little bit (as he's 8 and likes to argue with me) but finally went back to playing his video game. At bedtime 8pm, he came down to retest and get his Lantus injection. Turns out he was 116! Not too shabby, but I will test later just to make sure he's still good to go. Midnight check revealed he was 155, 5am check showed he was 149, and wake up today he was 115! The one thing both Clifford and I have realized as of late, is we are going to start listening to "me". With three different occasions that were done how the D Team wanted them and resulted in lows that were not good. But onto better things.

So here is a little show of our little victory yesterday through pictures.

We ended with a 7 day average of 132! Not too bad for the pancreas game!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Better than Christmas

We are very lucky in that it's taken almost 2 years but we are finally getting the supplies covered (for the most part, see the CGM post) that we need. I am a big time hoarder of his supplies because you just never know with insurance if one day they will cover the 600 strips we get monthly then turn around and cut us back down. It's taken almost 2 years, we started at only 300 strips a month, then increased to 450, now to 600. It's definitely a good feeling to see our shelf that's pictured here. I
t's actually better than Christmas, because I know we have what we need, and for a good while should anything happen. It looks like our shelf is a mini pharmacy and I love it. There are a lot of people out there without insurance that have to pay out
of pocket for their D supplies and those that have insurance and can't get enough of what they need paid for. So I know how very blessed we are that Clifford's is all covered. It's truly a lifesaver (literally).

This is also an inside peek for those without Diabetes or much experience with D to see just how it looks at home. Another section of pictures are what I call the "Clifford station" this is where I keep his meters, strips, lancing devices, extra lancets, juice boxes for quick usage, glucose tabs, pixie sticks, smarties, glucagon, you name it it's probably there. But it's in a centralized location in the kitchen that works very well for us.

I am thinking once we start pumping I may have to either a.) make more room on the D supply shelf, or b.) figure out another good place in the house that works to hold supplies. (still thinking ab
out this one, just haven't figured it out yet). I also want to get some supplies (meter, glucagon, strips, juice boxes, alcohol wipes, lancets, lancing device, etc, etc) to put in Clifford's room, just need to find the perfect spot that can be locked up because little fingers (sisters) like to get into everything. So for now during night time testing I either carry juice or other carbs up with me just in case or make a run for it back downstairs to get what is needed.

In all it's a very good feeling to be stocked up. I tend to buy our juice boxes in bulk during the month. Usually the lady at Dollar General looks at me strangely because I am usually there with 10-15 (4 packs) of 4oz juice boxes, 10 of those large smarties (good to use like tabs), and a couple bags of pixie sticks. I'm probably a nerd, but I replied that in our house this is considered medicine!
Our night last night wasn't much fun. I went up to test Clifford around 12:15 after staying up late to finish up work, I decided it was bedtime for me. And what did I find? So needless to say I was up a bit later, finally testing at around the 20-25 minute mark I got a 119. I really think this number was for correcting a 209 at bedtime. I didn't think this number really should be corrected just cover for the 15 grams of carbs for snack. But endo says correction at bedtime for numbers higher than target. So with correction and coverage he got 1 unit of humalog and low and behold dive bombed. You w
ould think I would just start listening to myself more than the endo, but now I can go back and tell them once again I was correct and look what happened. Thankfully I tested and didn't let him ride it out like only testing 2 nights a week as suggested by said endo. So in all with the treating of juice with this 63, he was 110 @3am and 114 @wakeup. Pretty good numbers minus the overnight scare.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

So why is night time so scary?

You may hear many parents of Type 1 kids talk about how they don't sleep much and how scary night time is. But why is night time so scary? Let's look at it this way as a person without diabetes, your pancreas is still fully working properly, you can go to bed and not have to worry about anything going wrong with your blood sugar, that's because your pancreas is working around the clock to ensure you are stable all though the night with insulin and glucagon (if you happen to get low). However with Type 1 diabetes Clifford's pancreas gave up and quit it's job. Now it's our job to function as his pancreas. Unlike a pancreas who really doesn't require sleep, we as human beings do. There are a few things I've learned about night time. 1. I dislike it, but also love my sleep. 2. It's so unpredictable with diabetes.

I've had an endo tell me once to stop testing overnight so much, that really all he needed was tested 2 nights a week. Well that didn't sit too well with me, but overworked, and sleep deprived I decided to give it a shot one time, and go to bed without testing him. Yes that might shock pretty much all of you, but we were new to this and I decided to listen to the medical professional. Well what happened you might ask? Clifford woke up at 3am and was "dizzy", after testing him he was low with a blood sugar of 50! I knew that feeling in the pit of my stomach was something to listen to when I went to bed.

So as we move on in this game I learned something else just last night. Last week before Clifford's dental surgery I talked with his diabetes educator, she wanted to get his numbers and see where to change his Lantus to before the surgery and the fasting he had to do. Well that night he was below target at 111 at 11pm, his target for bedtime is 120. So I decided to treat and give him 15g's to help get him above target. He happened to wake up a little higher at 240. The educator said with him being so close to target that he didn't need treated to help get him up. Okay well last night rolls around, I again tested him before I went to bed at 11, and he was 112, I decided NOT to treat, and went to bed, 2:30 he was tested again and he was 130, not bad. However 6:30 came around and Clifford woke up feeling "dizzy". After we tested him he was 68.

The lesson I've learned from these two experiences is one I've always knew 1. Diabetes is unstable. He could have been 112 another night and not got boosted up by juice, and still woken up high, or he could have dive bombed as he did last night. What I've learned is if I do not feel comfortable with the number prior to going to bed as I didn't last night (but listened to the educator) I will go with what I feel is best. I mean I understand that his diabetes team is very smart and educated in their field. They are however not experts at Clifford's body. Unfortunately I am no expert at his body either, but I have more of an inside look than they do in caring for him 24/7.

I think I may have sidetracked from the topic of this post, but you can probably guess as to why night time is so scary. Non -working pancreas can lead to many problems during the night, including fatal ones that cannot be undone. So every morning we Thank God that Clifford woke up alive and awake, and for that we are truly blessed.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Type one signs and symptoms

After a message from a friend today asking about Type 1 diabetes symptoms, I got to thinking that it's been awhile since I posted about the signs & symptoms of Type 1 diabetes. If even 1 person reads this and recognizes the symptoms early enough I will feel like I've accomplished something HUGE!

There was really no significant sign or symptom leading up to Clifford's diagnosis that I really thought stuck out. That is until the week prior to him being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. He had gone to visit with his dad and came home feeling a bit under the weather. The next day he had gotten sick a few times, and had what I thought was the "flu", and with what we understand about Type 1 now, he more than likely had the flu, and that is what triggered the autoimmune attack on his pancreas. He just didn't seem to get any better, he was very thirsty (wish I knew that was a symptom at the time), he lost some weight (didn't know this until diagnosis), and he was weak, and towards the time right before being diagnosed had a bit of labored breathing (which I really thought he got hit with a bit of cold on top of the flu.) Unfortunately I cannot go back and recognize the symptoms sooner, although I've wished many times over I could. But if there is a way to help someone else recognize the signs and symptoms sooner I will do my best.

The symptoms of type 1 diabetes usually develop quickly and over a brief period of time. They can be mistaken for a stomach virus because vomiting is often present at onset, especially in children. The classic symptoms of type 1 include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Continual thirst despite taking fluids
  • Severe hunger urges
  • Unexplained weight loss

Making Sense of the Symptoms

At first glance these symptoms don’t seem related, but they are. Because your pancreas has stopped creating insulin, a hormone, which is needed to process glucose taken in from food, your body is literally starving. Hunger, weight loss and fatigue are consequences of your organs not getting the glucose they need to function properly. Frequent urination and thirst occur because your body is doing all it can to get rid of the excess glucose by dumping it into the bladder.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Anesthesia and Diabetes

Many of you may already be aware that Clifford had to have some dental surgery done that required him to go under general anesthesia. I searched the internet and asked many questions on if anyone actually had experience with this with diabetes and how that worked. I received a lot good information, and I wanted to do the same here.

The one thing we experienced was high bg#'s. This could be in part from the worrying and stress Clifford was under because he was a bit scared about what to expect from the whole procedure. It could also be in part due to he had Orange juice to help bring him up from 99 (anything under 100 as per endo orders) at 11:30pm the night before. It could be both, or it could be 100 different things that diabetes does that we cannot control. They gave him some short acting during the procedure and monitored his blood sugar to make sure it was coming down. They were concerned about the high numbers. He was given what they called "Silly juice" before getting anesthesia. This helped to relax him so he wasn't as worried going into getting his anesthesia. It definitely relaxed him, basically made him drunk without all that puking ;).

After he was in there, they gave him the choice of scent to disguise the gas smell from the anesthesia. He took a few breath's in and within a few seconds he was out. His arms and legs did a bit of a flinch or jerk, but as they explained when they start to go out they will do that with their arms, legs, and shoulders. In total I think the whole procedure took 1-1.5 hours until he was in recovery already awake for us to go see him. He was out of it and looking miserable for another 2 hours while he went into a 2nd recovery room to watch cartoons, and make sure he could keep down 4 oz of liquids. The only scary side effect was his blood pressure went a wee bit low, but that was an effect of the anesthesia.

One important tip from me is not to watch the monitors like crazy because you will concern yourself. What I thought was his PulseOx or Oxygen Sat levels were in fact not, but they were his heart rate. Otherwise I was thinking 70s & 80s for pulse ox stats were something to be concerned of. In all he got 6 baby teeth pulled some due to overcrowding in his mouth, and 4 sweet new silver teeth as we told him (stainless steel caps). He got to bring his teeth home as well too, which need washed off so he can bribe the tooth fairy with them tonight for some cash.

Back to the diabetes part of it all. Although his blood sugar was high, I was not too concerned in fact that once in awhile with Diabetes you have highs that cannot be explained, and they happen. But I also knew that once it was over and he was more comfortable in his own environment and not scared and concerned they would be better and we'd get them back down, which we have :)