Sunday, December 29, 2013

Do I do too much?

A comment on another blog recently made me wonder if I do too much for my guys.  After all, they are both capable of doing all of their own care.  I know little kids need much more hands-on care, but do my guys need the things I do for them?

Here are the things that I CHOOSE to do to help them out, and hopefully avoid diabetes burnout:

1) Ordering and organizing supplies. I am almost obsessive about this.  I order as soon as I can and have quite a stockpile of most things.  Just in case.  And I have everything in labeled drawers.

2) Calculating carbs. I weigh, measure, look up, SWAG, etc.  Seth has dubbed me the SWAG master overlord.  I take it as a compliment. I also have the carb info for every restaurant we visit on my phone. I make a post-it note for endless tacos/enchiladas. My mom calculates all the holiday meals.

3) Inserting Dexcom sensors. I do this for 2 reasons.....because they don't want to, and because they prefer them on the backs of their arms. Pretty difficult to get both hands behind your arm.

4) Night checks as needed.  I'll set an alarm if a problem is suspected, but mostly we just rely on Dex to alert us.

5) Looking for patterns and helping with dosing decisions. Seth needs more help with this.  Instead of doing it FOR him, we do it together.

6) Checking their d bags and making sure they are ready to go on the next venture outside the house. I empty trash, check insulin pens, pen needles, test strips, low supplies.

7) Research, research, research.  I try to learn everything I can to help them.

My conclusion?  Absolutely I should be doing these things for them!  Type 1 diabetes is a 24-7-365 disease.  They are the ones that poke themselves multiple times a day, wear Dexcoms on their bodies to help stay safe, feel the effects of their blood sugar going up or down. It can't consume our lives, but it does have to be considered at all times. Life with diabetes is NOT normal, but D-parents do everything we can to help it be as normal as possible.  So our kids can be kids.

And to the person who commented on the other blog:  Yes, type 1 diabetes is a big deal.  Yes, it can and does kill.  And no, we don't need to relax.  As soon as you drop your guard, that's when d attacks.  Not that I will let it consume us, but we must always be mindful, always be on guard.

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Diaversary #2

I started this over 2 weeks ago, but just couldn't finish it because of final exams at school, Christmas, life, etc.  Diaversary #2 was Dec. 14.

For the 2nd time in less than 4 months,  we are "celebrating" the day of diagnosis with type 1 diabetes.  We aren't celebrating the diagnosis,  but rather the fact that my awesome husband has KDA for a year. Now, if you are a regular reader, you will remember that Jason was diagnosed as a type 2 several years ago, but never had any semblance of control.  A1C numbers were always too high, doctors were always telling him to "do better, get more exercise," etc.  After Seth was diagnosed with type 1, I found information that led me to believe Jason was misdiagnosed.  His doctor agreed, and we ventured into the land of 2 type 1 diabetics in the house.  In that year, his A1C has been cut almost in HALF!!

It has been a tough year, but a good one.  Father and son have been a great support for each other. They remind/encourage each other to test.  They have little "contests" to see who is closer to 100, or who is closer to their Dex number.  They understand each other like no one else in the family can.  I hate they have that bond, but I'm glad at the same time.  Does that make any sense at all??

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Learning a New Language

Being diagnosed (or having a loved one diagnosed) with type 1 diabetes means learning a new language.  I have learned so many words and phrases in the past year or so!  Some of them are words/phrases you may have heard before, but they have a totally different meaning in the type 1 world.

High has nothing to do with drugs. You may hear the parent/significant other of a type 1 person say things in public like, "You better be high, acting like that" or "He's been high after school every day this week." In these cases, high means high blood sugar, and often results in unwanted behaviors.

Low is not about mood. Well, at least not primarily. It's low blood sugar, which can quickly turn into an emergency situation.  You may hear parents say things like, "Eat this candy right now, mister!" 

D bag has nothing to do with a person's character.  It's the bag of diabetes supplies that must be carried everywhere.

Shooting up also has nothing to do with drugs.  It's about injecting insulin.

PWD/CWD are acronyms for person with diabetes/child with diabetes. Many people are opposed to using the term "diabetic" as a noun.

T1P is a type 1 parent. Frequently found conversing with other T1P in the DOC.

DOC stands for Diabetes Online Community. When I first heard of it, I thought it was one website. I quickly learned it is a network of PWD and parents of CWD on many different social media platforms.  Such an important part of our lives!

Basal is not a misspelled herb. For those that pump, it is the background insulin that is constantly flowing. For those on MDI, it is one or 2 daily shots of a long-lasting insulin like Lantus or Levemir. 

Bolus is the insulin taken with meals, whether by pump or injection. This is a fast-acting insulin, such as Humalog, Novalog, or Apidra.

MDI is multiple daily injections. Most PWD on MDI take 4 shots per day, on average. Additional injections are needed for corrections, extra snacks, or if the PWD splits their Lantus or Levemir dose.

DKA is one of the scariest acronyms of all. Diabetic Ketoacidosis is a very serious condition where the PWD's body is producing large amounts of ketones. Seth was in DKA when he was diagnosed.  We hope never to experience that again!

I:C (ICR) is yet another part of daily calculations for  PWD. It's the insulin to carb ratio used every time a bite of food enters their mouth. That is, 1 unit of insulin is needed for how many grams of carbs.  Examples:  Seth needs 1 unit of insulin for every 10 grams of carbs at lunch, so his ICR is 1:10. Different times of day have different I:C. Often just called ratio.

SWAG in the diabetes world has nothing to do with bling or one's attitude.  It's an acronym for estimating carbs,  like at a buffet or potluck. Stands for Scientific Wild A$$ Guess. 

Poker is not a card game. It's what many PWD call their lancet, or lancing device, used to poke a tiny hole in the finger for testing blood sugar.

Pulling an all-nighter is not what it was in college.  It is usually needed when blood sugar numbers are erratic due to illness or other unknown factors. Frequent blood sugar tests are needed, resulting in the PWD or parent of CWD getting little to no sleep.

Check/Test/Stick are all different ways to refer to using a poker to make the finger bleed in order to test blood sugar level. This is usually done a minimum of 4 times per day, plus any time a low or high is suspected. Many people avoid using the word test, because it's not a test you pass or fail.  Numbers aren't good or bad, they are just in range or out of range.  The numbers tell the PWD what to do next.

Low treatment is basically candy. Pure sugar/candy/juice is needed to raise blood sugar when it dips too low. There is no "healthy" alternative.  Only sugar will raise blood sugar; other ingredients like fiber, fat, or protein can slow this down.

Correction is extra insulin, aside from the basal or bolus insulin that has been calculated. A correction is needed when blood sugar is too high. There is a calculation for this as well, called correction factor or insulin sensitivity favtor (ISF).

Ketones are a scary thing to PWD and parents of CWD. They are produced when the body isn't using the glucose in the blood. The body starts breaking down fat in an attempt to nourish the cells, and ketones are a dangerous by product of that process. DKA can happen quickly,  resulting in a hospital stay and possibly death.

DIB (Dead in Bed) is a VERY rare, but very scary, occurrence. No one knows exactly why it happens, but extremely low blood sugar while sleeping is thought to cause a fatal heart arrhythmia.  Even though it is extremely rare, PWD and parents of CWD are very well aware that it can happen.  Frequent night checks or the use of a CGM (or both) are ways to help avoid DIB.

CGM/Dex is a life changing device for type 1 families. A Continuous Glucose Monitor does just what it says, it continually monitors blood glucose via a tiny sensor placed just under the skin. Dexcom G4 is the kind of CGM we use. It's not perfect,  but we sleep better at night with Dex in the house. It is expensive,  but covered by insurance and well worth the money to keep my PWDs safe.

DAD also has a different meaning to those in the type 1 community. It refers to a diabetes alert dog, not a father. Although, I did read an article about a father that could smell his CWD's highs/lows. These highly trained dogs will alert PWD and CWD to high or low blood sugars. They are very expensive,  but invaluable to those families that have them.

KDA is a phrase that I adapted from a friend's long battle with cancer. KCA was a type of rally cry that we would text her or post on her Facebook. KDA stands for Kick Diabetes' A$$, and my guys do that every single day!

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pre-bolus backfire

Diabetes doesn't like to play by the rules. Even when you do everything right, it doesn't always work the way you think it should.  This weekend was a perfect example of this. 

Friday night, I made a soup that has pasta in it. Typically for my guys,  pasta needs insulin after eating.  This time, however, injecting after he finished eating resulted in double arrows up on Dexcom for Jason. He didn't go super high, just higher than he likes and got there pretty fast. He was back down in range by bedtime, so everything was ok.

Saturday for lunch, we had leftovers of the soup. Since the timing was off Friday night, both guys decided to inject 15-20 minutes before they ate, which they try to do with most meals. We were guessing there wasn't enough fat in the soup to cause a delayed rise in blood sugar like most pasta. So they tested (both around 110), calculated their carbs, injected, and waited about 15 minutes to eat. Halfway through lunch, Jason's Dexcom started buzzing low, and falling. Seth had just pulled his sensor that morning and was waiting until after lunch for a new one, but he said he felt low too. It wasn't long before they were both shaking and sweating.  I sat there not knowing what to do because THEY WERE EATING!!  How the heck do you go low WHILE you're eating?? And since when do both of them have the same reaction to the same meal??

Sorry for the poor quality.  Dexcom receivers are hard to photograph!
This is from a different low...I was way too flustered to take a pic during that fiasco!
As I was contemplating what to do (quick carbs?  Glucagon?), I noticed I was shaking and a little sweaty myself. It only took a few minutes for them to start feeling better as the carbs from their lunch kicked in, but those few minutes seemed like a eternity to me. It may be a while before we have that soup again, but next time we'll try something different. Inject right before eating,  maybe? It's just trial and error, really. But eating shouldn't be that hard, and the error is just unacceptable.  We are learning every day, but there is so much left to learn for us to KDA.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

A day of diabetes

This past Sunday, I took on an ambitious project for Diabetes Awareness Month.  Every time something happened that was diabetes related, I posted about it on Facebook.  It was a fairly uneventful day, diabetes-wise, until bedtime....

10:34 am For Diabetes Awareness Month, today I am going to attempt to post everything that happens in our house today that is diabetes related. Already this morning, I have checked both Dexcom receivers, both pretty good numbers. Jason just got up, Seth is still sleeping. Now would be a good time to hide me from your newsfeed if you don't want a constant stream of info 

10:42 am I'm out of bed now. Seth's Dex says 136 and steady. A little higher than we like, but he had dinner a little late last night. Hard to calculate needed corrections at bedtime. Jason is eating cheese since we slept late. Too late for real breakfast or lunch numbers will be high. BS check (finger stick). Meter says 124, Dex says 123.

11:46 am Lunch time for Jason! Another finger stick blood sugar check. Dex says 143, meter says 130. Lunch has been weighed and measured, carbs calculated, insulin injected. Seth is still asleep, so I checked his Dex. 113 and steady. He'll need to get up and eat soon.

12:29 pm Seth is still sleeping. He had a really long day yesterday doing mission work with his class from church. Dex says 105 and is asking for a calibration. I'll let him sleep just a few more minutes. Without Dex as a guide, I'd have gotten him up a while ago.

1:18 pm Possible problem with Jason's Dex sensor. No trend arrow. Hopefully it will sort itself out soon. Seth is awake, his Dex says 97. It's still asking for calibration. Hard to get a sleepy teenager out of bed.

1:37 pm Seth is finally up. Dex says 84, finger stick check says 127. Dex is calibrated again. Now it's time for lunch. Time to weigh and measure the food, calculate carbs, and inject insulin.

1:42 pm Jason's Dex has corrected itself. 171 with a steady arrow. Not bad for after lunch.

3:19 pm Quick Dex check. Jason is slowly coming down from lunch. He has been napping this afternoon so it has been slow to come back down. Seth is 100 and diagonal arrow down. He may need a snack soon.

3:46 pm Well, I was right. Seth is now 67 and still a diagonal down arrow. Skittles in. Recheck in a few minutes.

3:55 pm Dex says 61 and steady, but finger stick check shows 75. He's coming back up, Dex is just a little slow sometimes. He wanted some juice just to be sure, so we may be dealing with a high later. We always listen to his body over Dex or the meter. Now a little protein to help it stay up.

4:03 pm Jason and I are headed out to run a few errands now that Seth is back in range. Gotta check the D bag and make sure we have everything. Insulin, pen needles, meter and test strips, Glucagon, and candy for lows. All check, so we're off!

4:20 pm 2 boxes of these bars for bedtime snacks. They are the perfect combo of carbs and protein.

5:26 pm Standing in line waiting to check out, so a quick peek at Dex. 133 and steady.

6:16 pm Foods I didn't buy, at least not often or in bulk, before diabetes entered our life. Now they are staples.

6:51 pm Supper is ready. Finger stick checks, blood sugars are in range so no corrections needed with dinner. We're having a meal we make often, so no major calculations tonight. They just have to measure out their portions, calculate their total carbs for the meal, and inject their insulin.

7:50 pm Jason didn't give his insulin soon enough in relation to his supper, so now Dex is showing arrow up (blood sugar rising quickly). Seth is actually showing a higher number on his Dex, but only a diagonal arrow up (rising but not too fast).

8:02 Apparently the Dex transmitter can't send signal through the dog. She is between the transmitter and receiver, and signal has been lost to the receiver. Ugh.

8:23 pm Connection has been restored, and Dex is buzzing that he has reached his high alert (210). Hopefully he will start coming down again soon.

9:44 pm Even though we eat pasta fairly often, it's difficult to dose for correctly. Both guys are coming back down slowly according to Dex, but may need corrections at bedtime.

11:30 pm Bedtime blood sugar check #1: Jason. 140, which is a great number for bedtime and no correction from dinner is needed. We did better than I thought. Only 1 injection tonight, the long-lasting background insulin Lantus. He's eating one of those yummy protein bars to help keep him stable overnight. Dex has become our best friend, especially overnight, alerting us to possible problems. I definitely sleep better with Dex x 2 in the house.

11:39 pm Bedtime check #2: Seth. 144, another great bedtime number. The 2 of them are almost never that close at any point during the day. Lantus (long-lasting background insulin) injection and a yummy protein bar. Dex will alert for Seth as well, if there is a potential problem.

12:10 am And now it's time for me to go to bed. If you have read my posts today, thank you. It was a pretty routine day, diabetes-wise. My purpose was to give you a glimpse of what a day is like for us. I lumped some things together in single posts just to keep it from being a truly steady stream. You see, it never ends, never lets up, never sleeps. We do this every day because we really have no choice. It doesn't stop us, it merely slows us down at times. Until there's a cure, this is our life.

12:22 am Well, I just thought it was time for bed. Jason's Dex just alerted that he is below 70.

12:25 am Finger stick confirms 57. Looks like we'll be up just a bit longer. Skittles work your magic!

12:33 am Jason: Oh, I can feel it. I'm dizzy.
               Me: Well sit down!

12:43 am 15 minutes later he's come up all the way to 61! At this rate, it's gonna be a long night. Trying a Quick Stick now.

1:16 am Dex says 85, but it's usually a little slow to respond. Finger stick says 77. Hmmm, let's try one more treatment...more Skittles.

1:37 am 108 finally. Another snack with some carbs and some fat/protein to keep that number up overnight. A little bit of ice cream should do the trick!

2:00 am Dex is finally catching up. 99 with a diagonal up arrow. Now to sleep for a little while. Good night!

9:45 am (Monday) Last night, I posted that yesterday was a fairly normal diabetes day. I thought I was done for the day, headed for bed. But diabetes has a way of changing our plans. For reasons unknown, Jason's blood sugar started dropping and didn't want to come back up. You may have noticed that I continued posting into the night. That is not a typical night, thankfully, but we never know when it might happen or why. This morning, I'm happy to report that wake up blood sugar numbers were excellent. Thanks again for taking a glimpse into our daily life yesterday.

It was really interesting and exhausting to write it all down, but I really think it helped raise awareness of what we deal with every day. 

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

So many new diagnoses

I tried to write this a few weeks ago, but the emotions were so raw I couldn't even get it started.  For a period of a few days, everywhere I turned there was a new diagnosis.  The pharmacist's great nephew, a child my parents know from church, siblings of kids previously diagnosed, and parents of children with type 1.  Everywhere, both in real life and in the DOC.  Pair that with being around the time of Seth's diagnosis and it kinda made me a mess.
Since Seth's diaversary (anniversary of his diagnosis) there have been even more. A family in a nearby town is a new member of this terrible club. Their toddler was diagnosed last month. A facebook friend messaged me to pray for her friend's daughter, who is in a diabetic coma. She was just diagnosed last week and if I understood correctly has not come out of the coma yet.
Add to all that stories (and fake stories) of children dying in their sleep and because of being misdiagnosed and it has been a rough few weeks emotionally. It surrounds me, consumes me.
But through it all, we persevere. The stakes are too high to drop our guard. If I must be a member of this awful club, then I will be thankful that the other club members are really pretty awesome people. They are walking the same journey, experiencing many of the same things. They understand the trials, the emotions, the sleepless nights. What we really need is a cure. Until that day comes, I will continue to surround myself with others that are on the same journey. Together, we are stronger than we are alone. Together, we will KDA.

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Storage and disposal

Figuring out how to store and dispose of all the diabetes "stuff" is a big challenge. Most type 1 parents seem to build up a stash of supplies in case of emergencies, and I've been working on that for a while. 

Insulin was taking over our fridge. There was no room in the butter compartment for 4 boxes of insulin pens, so they are in the meat/cheese drawer. As the supply grew, the room for meat and cheese shrunk. So....when we got some handy little organizers from Sanofi, I moved the "stash" insulin to the extra fridge.  The system is still a work in progress. 

We also have lots of plastic storage carts in our house. All over the place. The system on the left is all manner of snacks and low supplies. I need another cart to stack on top. Notice the latches...the dog figured out how to open the drawers and was having a snacking good time while we were at school. Top right is Dexcom supplies (for Eddie and Little Steve). Bottom right is glucagon, chargers, test strips, pen needles,  etc. We have a pretty good supply of all those right now. We'll need another cart if anyone decides to start pumping.

I was curious just how much trash we generated each week just for diabetes.  Turns out, it's about a gallon.  That's a gallon jar stuffed about as tight as I can get it.  They didn't throw away very many boxes that week either, just one pen needle box and maybe a test strip box. That's a lot of trash!

This is the daily supply center. It used to be a wine rack, now it holds all the daily use supplies....meters, pen needles, lancets, insulin pens, log books, etc. To the right are our fancy sharps containers,  and the food scale.   

Finally, the D bags. These are the mobile supply centers that go everywhere. They contain meters, insulin pens, pen needles, snacks, low supplies, and glucagon. Both guys chose a backpack with a great pocket in the front. It's not an actual diabetes bag, but a tech-friendly backpack. They like it because they only have to keep up with one bag. 

So there ya go. Everything you ever wanted to know about how we store diabetes supplies. 

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Making Lemonade

I am a glass half-full/silver lining/making lemonade kind of girl. It has been incredibly hard for me to find the positives since Seth's diagnosis.  The DOC (diabetes online community) is an incredible positive. Someone is always there to answer questions,  give support,  or just listen. I participate in the DOC in several ways: blogging (reading and writing), Twitter,  a couple of Facebook groups, and my favorite The support, advice, information, etc has been vital to my survival this past year but I still struggle to make lemonade out of the stupid diabetes lemons.

Grasping at straws, I know, but here's a little bit of lemonade: Seth has had a positive impact on 3, yes 3, adult type 1 men.

1) I've written about Jason's diagnosis before here and here. The information I learned after Seth's diagnosis quite possibly saved his life.

2) Seth has a friend whose dad is type 1. He was diagnosed around 12, I'm thinking. He has never really taken great care of his diabetes, much to his wife's dismay. In fact, he has been using pretty much the same insulin regimen for much of the last 30 years. After Seth's diagnosis,  he updated his diabetes management,  moving to more modern insulin theray. AND, he recently started pumping.  He feels better, and I know how happy his wife must be. His son has told me several times how happy he is to see his dad taking better care of himself.

3) Jason has a friend that was diagnosed with type 1 in college.  He was one of the first people to visit Seth in the hospital. I don't know him well, but that meant so much to me. By his own admission,  he is a bad diabetic.  He doesn't test often, only when he feels bad. He knows his blood sugar numbers are high most of the time, but hasn't really worked to change it. After I posted on Facebook about Jason and Seth getting their Dexcom G4 systems, this friend called Jason to ask him about it, ordered it the next day, and started using it a couple of days ago. He wants to improve his management!

I hate type 1 diabetes every day, but seeing some positive things happening helps me deal with it just a little bit better. I cling to the hope that every day is one day closer to a cure!

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

They have names!

The guys have named their new Dexcom systems.

Seth named his Eddie. He likes it when Eddie matches the meter. 

Jason named his Little Steve. He also likes it when Little Steve matches the meter.

Sometimes Little Steve and Eddie match each other. We all think that's cool.

So far, with the exception of the first 24 hours of a new sensor, we are all in love with Eddie and Little Steve. They are already helping us manage the beast that is type 1 diabetes.

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Meet the Cyborgs

We have 2 new members of the family. They haven't earned their names yet, but I'm sure they will very soon.

They were delivered on Tuesday.

Seth was super excited!
Jason was a little unsure.
Different colors so we can keep them straight.
This is the sensor with the inserter. Looks kinda wicked.
Jason's sensor/transmitter. 
Seth did his own insertion.  He is a rock star!!!

First 24 hour graphs. J on top, S on bottom.
The 2nd day. Jason fixed his breakfast spike!
After 5 days with the Dexcom G4 systems, I can say life is already better. I can't honestly say I'm sleeping more, but I'm sleeping better. When I wake up at night, I check both receivers then go right back to sleep if we have steady arrows. Friday night, both of them rode just above the low line all night.  Before Dex, I'd have woken them up for snacks. Since I could see they were holding steady, I was able to sleep. 

Life with type 1 diabetes is hard, but Dexcom makes it just a little bit more manageable.  

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

A year of firsts, a year of lasts

One year ago today, type 1 diabetes officially entered our life. This past year has been a year of firsts. It's almost like starting over. There was the first day of school, the first football game, the first overnight practice with his band, the first restaurant meal, the first time back at church, the first Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Easter, the first birthday, the first day at work. Of course, he had done all of those things before, but not with diabetes.  Every experience with diabetes is brand new, as if they had never been done before.
We are now beginning a year of lasts that has nothing to do with diabetes.....last summer band rehearsal,  last summer assignments,  last first day of school, last pep rally, etc. Senior year officially begins on Monday. I know many parents are sad for their "babies" to be seniors, but I am not.  He is a senior, meaning he is still alive.  He is kicking diabetes' ass every day. Every day. Will I get misty-eyed throughout the year? Sure. Senior year is an emotional time for not only the seniors but also their parents. I intend to cherish every tear and enjoy every moment. One year later I am still grateful for every morning that he wakes up, every day he makes it until bedtime, and every "normal" moment in between.
We are trying to get to the place where diabetes only gets the minimum attention it requires. It doesn't rule our lives, it's just an annoying hitch hiker along for the ride. Today, we celebrate life by doing the things Seth loves to do: sleeping late, Endless Shrimp, and cake.  Tomorrow,  we go back to life as we know it. It really has become our new normal.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

One year ago today

One year ago today, I knew very little about type 1 diabetes.

One year ago today, I had a very sick child. 

One year ago today, I was relieved when the doctor said it was a mono-like virus.

One year ago today, there were no finger sticks or shots a minimum of 4 times a day.

One year ago today, I went to bed at night without the fear of my child dying in the night from severe low blood sugar.

One year ago today, I didn't know just how strong my child is.

One year ago today, I had no idea how strong I am. 

One year ago today, we had no idea how much our lives would change in the next 48 hours.

I don't have a picture from one year ago today, but this one is year and 3 days ago,  when we first really noticed how sick he was.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Getting away, Part 2

I wanted to update everyone on our trip. It was great! Blood sugars ran a touch high for both of my guys, but I'll take it! Several people wanted to know what the event was all about, so I'll do my best to describe it. Our lives do not revolve around diabetes, but they pretty much revolve around lifeguarding during the summer.

We were able to eat some good seafood and go to the beach before the games started. We also drilled the team with first aid flash cards pretty late the night before.

We overslept the morning of the competition.  The hotel room alarm clock was set on radio, not alarm. Not on a radio station. And at lowest volume.  So, the start of our day was a bit frantic. The team got there on time; they were in their own vehicle.  We got there a little bit late, but before the opening ceremonies.

First event was CPR. It was pretty straightforward. The team just had to demonstrate their knowledge of CPR skills. 

The 2nd event was first aid. Each team member had a different "victim" and each victim had 2 things that needed attention.

Next, there were 2 in-water scenarios. No instructions were given. The lifeguards had to assess the situations and respond appropriately.  The first scenario had a spinal injury, 2 shadows in the pool to find, and an asthma attack. Possibly something else I didn't catch. It goes quick!

The last scenario had multiple victims as well. Choking, passing out in the water, active drowning were all in this scenario. Again, there was probably something I missed.

It was a fantastic experience, and I hope to be able to go again next year!

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Memories of a year ago

Fridays are lifeguard inservice days. For an hour, they drill and practice their lifeguarding skills, as well as work on fitness. One drill involves the team treading water while holding a backboard out of the water. One at a time, the team members swim one lap. This continues until all team members have done a lap. That was one of the drills they did today,  and it brought back a memory of the same drill at about this same time last year. The biggest difference?  Last year, Seth could barely complete the drill and threw up after it was over. He had NEVER had problems with any of the drills before. I was worried, but he felt better and seemed to be ok. Less than a month later, he was in ICU in DKA. I don't beat myself up over it, but I do think of it sometimes.

Today, he swam and treaded like a champ. No vomit. What a difference a year has made!

Another thing the lifeguards do every week is have lunch together after inservice. Today, when Seth pulled the needle out after injecting, a stream of insulin shot out of the needle.  Not a drop, a stream. He tested 2 hours later: 104. He ate a snack, then tested at 4 hours: 137. That stream of insulin was a blessing in disguise. 

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Getting away

Jason and I haven't had a get away since either of their diagnoses. Time,  money, and being scared to leave the kids alone have kept us at home.  That ends today! We are getting away for a few days, just the 2 of us. We are headed to the state lifeguard games. Jason is the coach of one of the teams competing, and I'm just along for the ride.

Prep for a trip has really changed since type 1 diabetes entered our lives. I have checked and rechecked supplies.  Josh has had a refresher on glucagon, just in case.  Supplies, snacks,  and low treatments have been packed for Jason. We have a small cooler for insulin so it can stay cool on the trip.

I'm a little nervous about being gone, but my boys take great care of each other. Seth self-manages incredibly well, and Josh is excellent back-up for him. We have one neighbor that is type 1, and several that are nurses. So off we go for a few days of fun at the guard games!

Last year at State Games

PS Today is check-in day for d blogs. I'll be commenting on all the ones I read.

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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Quarterly check-up

Friday was Seth's quarterly check-up with the endocrinologist.  This visit was with the nurse practitioner,  not his awesome doctors. We sure do love both of them.  I was a little bit apprehensive because the last appointment with the NP wasn't awesome.  This time, however, it was great! She was engaging and helpful, as well as very complimentary of how Seth is tackling this awful disease. His numbers have been all over the place lately, and she affirmed that a) summer is even harder and b) the changes we have made were the ones she would have suggested. She noted that even though his numbers have been crazy,  none have been incredibly high so that was a good thing. His A1C was down 0.2 from last time (Yea!!). Even though it's not a report card, it sure felt like an A! Numbers aside, the compliments on how well we are doing were really a confidence booster! Our daily fight is worth it, and it's really really nice to have that recognized by a professional.

Seth has decided he wants to try pumping. Not gonna lie, I'm a little nervous about it. I feel like we have shots down, at least as much as you can with anything diabetes-related. It will almost be like starting over.  But you know what parents do, right? We do whatever our kids need. So we scheduled pump class and I asked other D parents in the area what the pump homework is. We plan to turn it in when we go to the class so we can speed this thing up. He has researched and decided on the Tslim pump. Of course, all that will coincide with the start of school, and me at a new job. Isn't that how it always works? Wish us luck!

After the awesome appointment,  we celebrated with carb-o-licious Mike Anderson's BBQ. Seth has decided to take advantage of our trips downtown to try out a new restaurant every time. If you have suggestions,  we'd love to hear them!

I really love watching this kid eat. It's a thing of makes you wonder where he puts it all!

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Is it worth it?

I have some super awesome friends that want to learn about type 1 diabetes. One of these awesome friends asked me to write about foods that are technically ok, but not really worth it to my guys to eat. In the DOC (diabetes online community), I have seen the phrase bolus-worthy used it worth the insulin (either from injection or pump)?

First, if you can eat it then a person with type 1 can eat it. A big misconception is that PWD (persons with diabetes) can't eat sweets. Truth is, no one should eat sweets often. Same for PWD. As a treat, sweets are fine.

So here are a few things that my guys have determined really aren't worth it.

1) Sugar-sweetened tea and soft drinks, especially fountain drinks. These are super hard to calculate! Example: A Route 44 Powerade from Sonic is supposed to be 64 g of carbs, according to the nutrition info on their website. Is that with or without the ice? What if the mix is not quite right? Too many variables, so it's not bolus-worthy. Sugar free drinks are just easier. Also, they are so used to sugar free drinks that they don't even LIKE the regular ones anymore.

2) Fruit juices. Seth uses juice boxes for lows, so they just aren't appealing to him otherwise. He had a big glass of orange juice with brinner (breakfast for dinner) one night, and the blood sugar spike was not fun for him. He felt icky for several hours. He decided to reserve oj for lows, or only small amounts for breakfast. 

3) Milk. Neither of them have acknowledged this one, but our milk consumption has SERIOUSLY gone down since their diagnoses. Unless it's with a meal, they don't drink milk anymore. 

Seeing a trend here? Drinks appear to be the biggest carb issue.

4) Cereal. Jason isn't a huge cereal eater anyway, so this isn't a big deal for him. But for Seth....oh my. This kid LOVES cereal. It has really been causing him problems lately, so he is taking a cereal break. Every time he has cereal for breakfast, he goes low in the afternoon. Weird. He is hoping to figure out how to dose for it so he can enjoy it again! 

Other than that, everything else is fair game. Sometimes they will choose not to eat something because they don't want to take a shot right then. But nothing is truly off limits. All things in moderation.

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Monday, June 17, 2013


Calculating lunch carbs seems simple. Except when it's not. Combo meals usually come with small fries, right? This time, it appeared they came with medium fries.
Me, looking at nutrition info: Medium fries, right?
Jason: Yep

Fast forward a few minutes.

Guess who got an extra 15 g of carbs for dessert?

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Another 6 months

Six months ago today, our lives changed yet again. As I've written before, Jason had struggled as a type 2 diabetic for several years. Despite diet and exercise,  his blood sugar numbers were always terrible. High A1C results at every dr appointment. I think he tried every type 2 drug on the market,  and some that are no longer on the market. All to no avail. He endured a foot ulcer that almost resulted in the loss of a toe. The last thing I noticed last summer and fall was a loss of muscle tone despite swimming almost daily (including a 5k at the end of the summer). I figured it was just because we are in our 40s, getting older....

Then Seth was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Through my research to learn all I could to help him, I discovered that maybe Jason had been misdiagnosed.  The symptoms fit, so he asked his doctor. His doctor concluded that yes, he had been misdiagnosed.  Scrap everything and start over....he is type 1, not type 2. The change in how he felt was almost instant. At his 3 month check up, his A1C was the lowest it has ever been, and all other lab values were NORMAL!!

Now that he is feeling better and his blood sugar numbers are much better, we are beginning to realize just how sick he was. He has energy now, and muscle tone has returned. He is able to continue doing the things he loves, like training lifeguards. All part of our life of KDA.

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Don't let diabetes stop you

In the past few days, my guys have been really busy! On Wednesday,  they acid washed a friend's pool. Seth had a little  fun in the empty pool.

(Sorry, I don't know yet how to put videos directly into the blog.)

On Thursday,  Jason taught a lifeguard recertification class. That night, it took 4 low treatments (60 grams of carbs) to get him up high enough to go to bed!  He still woke up during the night with a 67 and had to treat again! I thought since he was in bed with me, I would know if he was low and needed help. Wrong!  I slept through the whole thing. Thankfully, he wasn't too low and didn't need my help. Gonna have to figure that out too.

Summer will mean changes to all their doses, I imagine. This past weekend was another lifeguard class. They keep close tabs on diabetes, checking not only before meals but extra checks as well. Lots of extra snacks to keep their numbers in range.


Lots and lots of activity, including being the victim  during a spinal rescue scenario.


 Morning blood sugars today were 66 (Seth) and 81 (Jason). The extra activity really makes a difference! Just a few more days of school, then we'll be at the pool every day. A new setting for us to learn how to KDA.

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

State testing

The final round of TAKS testing is this week. The last group of juniors that have to pass this test before they can graduate.  Don't worry, the tests are being replaced with other even more ridiculous tests. Sophomores started that new round of tests, the STAAR tests, last year. Unless the Texas state legislature makes some changes soon, high school students will need to pass 15 tests to graduate rather than the current 4. 
What does this have to do with diabetes? This is Seth's first year to have to take these tests with diabetes. In the past, he has excelled at TAKS tests, scoring at the commended level on most of them. How does diabetes change that? Hopefully, it won't. But here are the possibilities:

1. He could have high blood sugar on testing day, making him feel sluggish and have trouble focusing. He would need to stop and check his blood sugar and give himself an injection, if necessary. 
2. His blood sugar could go low at any point, making it difficult for him to focus as well. He would need to stop during the test to check his blood sugar and treat it, if needed.
3. The change of schedule for testing day could cause either of the above, since his snack/meal schedule won't be the same as a regular school day.
4. ??? The unknown. You just never know what might happen.  I know that's true in all parts of life, but particularly with type 1 diabetes.

Seth hasn't had any problems with any type of tests all year. I don't expect any this week.  But with D, you just never really know. We have to be prepared for as many possibilities as we can, no matter how likely they are. It's the only way to KDA.

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Saturday, March 30, 2013

9 minutes of sleep

The best sleep I get is from 6:51 to 7 every morning. Jason kisses me good bye every morning around 6:45, and then Seth's alarm goes off at 6:51, and he hits snooze. At that time I know both are ok and I can sleep peacefully until my alarm goes off at 7. 9 minutes of peaceful, unworried sleep every morning. I never thought I would be  thankful for 9 minutes of sleep. Of course, I get more sleep than that, but none quite like it. So if I look really tired some days, now you know why. 9 minutes is not much, but it's what gets me through some days so I can help my guys KDA.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

A drawer full of cheese

Cheese has become a staple in our house the last 7 months. Virtually no carbs, it makes a perfect snack. A week or so ago, I bought cheese at Costco. Lots of cheese. It should last about a month.

A whole drawer in the fridge is dedicated to cheese, right below the drawer of insulin. 

They eat cheese plain, but they have also come up with some other ideas for low carb snacks.  One of the favorites is chipless nachos.  Sliced cheese with a jalapeno slice, baked at 400 for about 7 minutes. Yum! The inspiration came from this blog.

Cheese, meat, eggs, sugar free jello....those are about the only carb-free foods, so we keep plenty of all of those on hand.  Veggies are mostly low carb, but even some veggies with dip require an injection, depending on the veggie, the dip, and the amount.  All fruits require an injection. So I try to keep plenty of carb free snacks on hand.  Growing boys need lots of food, and shouldn't always have to take a shot to eat it.  Carb free snacks help my guys KDA every day!

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Don't forget the milk??

Several people have asked me to write about how things have changed since 2 diagnoses of type 1 diabetes in our house. It's hard to think of changes all at once, so I will write about them as they come up. This one struck me yesterday: we have expired milk in the house. Never, in 22 years of marriage and almost 20 years of having children, have we ever had expired milk. We were the family that could buy milk on the day it was marked to expire and STILL never have expired milk in the fridge. Seriously.  We were a 5 to 6 gallon  per week family. Then diabetes hit. Why did that change things?  After all, type 1 diabetics can still eat whatever they want, in reason. Healthy diet is the key, and milk is healthy,  right? Yes, milk is healthy,  and they still COULD drink milk. They just don't consider it bolus worthy,  at least not in the amounts previously consumed. Also, what is the main food that goes with milk? Cereal. Cereal is incredibly difficult on blood sugar levels, and Seth (our main cereal eater) decided it's just not worth the trouble. So I am trying to retrain myself to buy ONE gallon of milk per week, rather than 5 or 6.

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sick again

The pukes hit our house again today. I went down to the nurse's office for something this morning and Seth was in there.

Me: What's wrong?
Seth: I threw up.
Me: Want me to call your brother to come get you?
Seth: Yes, please.

After I called Josh and signed Seth out in the office, I texted Jason the grocery list. We already had ramen, chicken noodle soup, sugar free popsicles, etc. Here's the rest of the sick day list:

Yep, when a type 1 is puking, you need regular and diet of everything. You never know if they'll go low or high!

The puking has stopped, but I know there are lots of extra blood sugar checks in the next day or 2, along with some ketone checks. Hopefully we can avoid the wicked lows he experienced last time he had a tummy bug. Insulin will probably have to be reduced for a few days.  Who knows for sure??? Nothing with d is normal. Nothing. But we fight on and KDA!

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