Monday, October 29, 2012

Diabetes Awareness Month

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Didn't know that? I didn't either, until recently, even though I have been living with a type 2 for about 9 years. When type 1 entered our lives unexpectedly, everything changed. I have always been aware of the research being done to find a cure, and I have always been hopeful that a cure would be found. But now it's personal, very personal.
There are a couple of things you can do to participate:
1) Be a type 1 for a day. Through the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), you can experience a tiny bit of what we go through each day. If you are game, sign up to receive text messages for 24 hours. You will receive text messages throughout the day to let you know what a type 1 experiences, minus the finger sticks and injections, in a day. Text T1D4ADAY to 63566. You will receive a confirmation text that completes your registration. Or visit for more information.
2) The Big Blue Test. Check your blood sugar, do a little exercise, check your blood sugar again, then log the results at The goal is 20,000 tests by November 14, World Diabetes Day. The organization will donate diabetes supplies to people in need.

Do it for these 2 that I love so very much.

One day, we will KDA.

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pattern management

After 2 nights over 200 at bedtime, we are struggling to get over 100 for bedtime tonight. Actually, it's morning. It's Friday night/Saturday morning after a high school football game, the first chilly one this season. Seth and I had already planned a couple of nighttime checks to see if we can figure out what is going on with his recent morning highs...are they real, meaning a Lantus increase, or are they rebounds? Or they could be cause unknown. Lunch has been a tad low the last couple of days, making me suspicious of rebounds. So, what better way to spend a Friday night than checking blood sugars a few times? Doing all we can to KDA!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Graduation Day

Today, we graduated! No more sending in Wednesday blood glucose logs. We are free to make our own dosage decisions, with support, of course. I think we are ready.
Today is also 2 months since diagnosis. Wow, hard to believe it has been 2 months. How did we spend the evening? Marching contest, followed by Dairy Queen for supper. Yes, we had mini Blizzards. We know how to calculate for those now. Life is slowly returning to a sense of normal. We will indeed KDA.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Sometimes it's just life

3 times today, I thought diabetes was to blame when it wasn't. Sigh.
1) During first period, I got an email alert that Seth was marked absent. Mini heart attack...I knew he rode to school with me and knows better than to skip class! Was he passed out in the bathroom or something? Calm down, call his teacher. Teacher was clearly confused...Seth is here, oh wait, I marked the wrong person absent. I have done that so many times.
2) Seth comes in to fix his lunch. He looks upset. Maybe he is low. I got my class started, then walked back to the prep room to check on him. Meter read 97, so not low. I asked what's wrong, he said he is tired, didn't sleep well. Which lead to #3.
3) Me: You weren't high last night.
Seth: No, I don't think that was it. I just had trouble going to sleep.
Me: Yeah, I have trouble falling asleep sometimes, especially on Sunday nights. (Maybe an ok save?)
Later we talked about how lots of teens seem to have trouble falling asleep, and suggestions I have read that should help. We'll see, I guess!
Oh, and we didn't make it a 3rd day in range. But he was BARELY out of range tonight. Still a win.

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Two whole days in range?

Every blood sugar check has been in range for 2 whole days, after 4 days of being high, followed by a roller coaster day. I have to say, I am feeling a little giddy, despite knowing that it isn't likely to last for long. I'll take as many in range days as we get, and remember that they are possible on the high or roller coaster days.

A beautiful sight!

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Saturday, October 20, 2012


On Seth's birthday earlier this year.
I remember the day Seth was born, and Josh ran up and down the halls at the hospital trying to get people to "come see my baby." Who knew that 16 years later, he would be helping take care of a very sick little brother? Through a strange set of circumstances, Josh didn't return to college this fall. He stayed home to work and regroup before going back to school. Little did we know how much we would need him. The week before Seth went to the hospital, Josh was his main caretaker. Jason and I were in our all-important staff development week preparing to return to school. So Josh tended to Seth. Thursday, the last day before diagnosis, was really hard for Josh. He could feel his brother wasting away. He later told me that once Seth was in the hospital, he quit worrying. He knew Seth would be ok. As hard as it is to watch your child when he is ill, it is also hard to watch your other child caring for their sick sibling.
Josh being home during this time has had another positive effect for Seth. You see, at 16, Seth has become pretty independent. That is our job as produce independent young adults. At diagnosis, I felt that independence slipping away. Enter Josh. Big brother can "hang out" where parents really can't. We would have never asked Josh to stay home to help us. God provided in a very strange way for things we didn't even know we needed.
Josh will leave again for college, probably next fall. That's the way it should be, and I'm excited about his future. But for now, it's nice having the brothers together again.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

What time is it?

If you ever need to know what time it is, ask someone with type 1 diabetes. Our life now revolves around the clock. Testing, injections, meals, snacks all perfectly timed. Until there is a schedule change. Yesterday was one of those changes. Seth took the PSAT at school, and the schedule was nothing like his regular school day.
First, the teacher in his testing room was a new teacher that neither of us knew. Would Seth have to fight for his scheduled snack? He carries a copy of his management plan with him...would that be enough? So we came up with the first part of the plan: get there a little early and talk to the teacher. If there were questions, he would then have time to call the nurse.
Second, lunch was an hour and a half later than normal. Would he go low in that time? So we decided to make his snack a bit later to avoid that. I also checked his bag for Skittles and a juice box, just in case. What to take for lunch? He wouldn't be able to come to my room like normal to heat up his food, so we had to plan something that didn't need heating up.  The directions for the teachers were not to let the students take belongings to lunch with them. Would it be an issue taking his supplies with him?
All worked out fine, as I was sure it would. He was a little high at lunch, but that is to be expected on test days, I understand. We had so many things to consider that I had never thought of before, but we planned and it worked. When exit level TAKS rolls around in April, I think we will be prepared!

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What's KDA?

I've had several people ask what KDA is. It is a statement of strength in honor of the beautiful memory of my friend Amy. She battled cancer with grace, but her battle ended the same day we realized Seth was very sick. Our friend Julie had coined the phrase KCA as our battle cry....Kick Cancer's Ass. We would regularly use that phrase to comment on Amy's Facebook updates. I asked my friends if I could change the phrase to KDA for Seth. The responses? "Absolutely. Amy would love that! I'm sure she is smiling!" So it has become our battle cry, and it reminds me daily not only of Seth's fight, but of my beautiful friend. Her memory and her legacy live on.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Just keep swimming

Those of you who know me personally know how much I love to swim laps; it helps keep me sane as well as healthy. Yesterday, as I was swimming I kept having to fight back tears. Even the music coming from my waterproof mp3 player couldn't drown out the screaming thoughts. I finally had to quit swimming....tears and goggles don't really mix very well. I realized I really haven't cried much since Seth got out of the hospital. Now it seems all I can do. Tears of relief, sadness, and fear all mixed together.  I know this phase will pass too, so I will let the tears flow. Then I will get back to swimming.

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Classes, classes, classes

The classes started while we were still in the ICU. We barely had time to digest what had already happened and they were already giving us homework. 4 hours of sleep total in the last 2 nights, and we were doing homework. I'm not sure how much we actually absorbed those 2 days, but we did our best. As a teacher, I love learning. But this isn't something I ever wanted to learn!

They told us he would be hungry once his appetite returned, and boy were they right! He was eating massive amounts of meat and cheese between meals and snacks, just to get by. A trip to Red Lobster resulted in 125 shrimp being eaten, along with carefully calculated sides. I was buying 5 lbs of chicken breasts at a time and baking them for between meal snacks, as well as boiling a dozen eggs at a time. How long can this go on?? But he was regaining the weight he so desperately needed to gain, so I just kept cooking those carb free foods!

9 days after discharge, a full day class. Tons of information presented in a PowerPoint. Needed information, but boring. We learned how to estimate carbs, more about doing corrections, how to figure out snacks/insulin when exercising, and lots more. The dietician said if he was eating a whole chicken breast for a snack, then he needed a meal plan adjustment. That helped a bunch!

First doctor's appointment at one month, we learned more even though it wasn't an actual class. They introduced us to ratios. Ratios will make life a little more normal, I think.
Too tall to be measured!

Playing video games in the waiting room

Today, we had our second required class. I think we are all feeling better about how the ratios work, and they introduced us to a little more flexibility in both meals and snacks. We also met a family that lives not too far from us. The boy is 14, and was diagnosed about 3 weeks ago. It was nice to make a connection.

We have one more class to go, if Seth decides he wants to get a pump. He is researching, trying to figure out if it's right for him. There seem to be lots of pros and cons. Something else to learn!

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Seth's story

Looking back, all the signs were there: weight loss, thirst, frequent urination, hunger. But they were masked by the fact that Seth has always been a skinny kid, has always had a big appetite, and was a lifeguard during summer. All lifeguards are thirsty and eat a lot. We were cautiously watching the weight loss, planning a check up with the doctor, just to be sure. Then he started getting sick on the day of his Eagle Court of Honor, August 19, 2012. He could barely keep his eyes open during the ceremony. I knew he was very ill.

Eagle Ceremony, Aug. 19
Jason called the doctor Monday morning, and scheduled the first available appointment, which was Wednesday. I took the day off from work to take him, then to attend a funeral that afternoon. The doctor was very thorough, I thought. Asked lots of questions, thorough physical exam, but no lab work. He ruled it a viral infection, possibly mono. Rest, plenty of fluids, should be good to go soon. We went home relieved. Fastforward about 36 hours. I came home from work on Thursday evening to this:

I cried and cried. Jason was at the Ranger game. I texted the picture to him. He got home as soon as possible. In the meantime, Josh was helping out. He was such an awesome big brother! We decided to have Seth at the doctor's office when they opened at 8 the next morning. Seth slept in our room that night, for the first time in about 16 years. We were up with him about every hour and a half, going to the restroom. Jason left about 6:30 Friday morning to get a couple of things done at work before we went to the doctor at 8. I got up, took one look at Seth in the early morning light and decided we couldn't wait until 8. I called Jason, he came right back home. I showered and quickly threw a bag together. Texted my department head and a dear friend from church. And called my mom. We headed to the ER.

Checking into the ER, Seth was so weak he couldn't even stand on the scale for a weight. They got him into a room quickly, and had a diagnosis in minutes. The glucometer in the ER simply read "Hi." They started 2 IVs, wide open, and insulin. We were getting transported to Children's Hospital in Dallas. Our dear friend Rachel came to the ER, contacted people from church, and stayed with us. Jason called his mom and step mom, I think. I really don't remember who called who. It's all a bit of a blur.

The transport team got there, and they had a little trouble getting a 6'6" 16 year old boy onto the pediatric transport stretcher. Then we were off to Children's. I knew how serious it was, but at the time I was very calm. God had his hand on me and kept me from falling apart. I rode in the ambulance, Jason and Rachel followed in their cars.

Once we got to Children's, we went through the ER for them to sign off on something, then straight to the ICU. Jason and Rachel met us there, and the attendant from the welcome desk came and whisked us away to fill out some paperwork. As we left the room, there were 6 nurses and 2 doctors working on my child. Later, it occurred to me....8 people were working on my kid!!!

The next 12 hours lasted a lifetime. A stream of nurses and doctors. The results of his blood sugar...935 when he first got to Children's. Which means it was much higher when we got to the ER. Facebook updates, texts, phone calls, visits. Assuring everyone he would be ok when I wasn't 100% sure of that yet myself. I spent the night, Jason went home so Josh wouldn't have to be alone. I pulled out the little couch and tried to sleep. Sleep wasn't easy....I didn't want to miss anything. I finally dozed off, and woke up to the sound of Seth's voice. That beautiful voice! It sounded tired, but normal! He was quizzing the nurse about what this and that was for. At that moment, I knew all would be ok.

He wanted to see what his view looked like, so I opened the blinds to this:

It's a terrible cell phone picture, but it symbolizes so much to me. There was peace in that ICU room that night, a peace that passes all understanding. I was able to get a little sleep after that. The next morning, he was so much better!  He needed to stay in ICU a little longer to get his sodium level back to normal (it spiked while they were rehydrating him).

Pictures from Saturday:

 The plan was for Jason to spend the night and for me to go home, but when it came time to leave, I couldn't. So we both stayed. I got more sleep that night, Jason got less.

On Sunday, my parents and my brother came, and they brought Josh.  They stayed a big part of the day. Seth got moved to a regular room on the endocrinology floor, my mom stayed with him so that Jason and I could get school started the next day.  She insisted that teachers shouldn't miss the first day of school.  I was too tired to argue with her.

Pictures from Sunday.  Left is sitting in a chair the first time, right is leaving ICU.

 Our great friend Michelle went to pick them up when he was discharged on Monday afternoon.

That first day of school was tough.  I think I cried in every class, but my students now know I am human.  I survived the day.  When I got home, Seth and Mom were there, Jason's mom and stepdad were there, and we had several visitors that evening.  It was a great evening, just exhausting!

He's home, and he just got his back to school haircut!  Thanks, Mrs. Norma!

Seth started school on Wednesday, Aug. 29.  His teachers are amazing, the school nurse has been great, and all the staff has just surrounded us both with love and support.  It has truly made it bearable.

First day of school, carrying his "shield against diabetes."

Friday, August 24, 2012 is a day that changed our lives forever.  In no way would anyone ever wish a chronic life threatening illness on their child, but I am thankful every day for the insulin that saved his life and will allow him to live a (mostly) normal life.  One day, we will indeed KDA!!!

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