Tag Archives: balancing life managing type 1 diabetes


My world has become consumed with numbers. A1c, 6.8, glucose rage 100 – 140, danger zone 70 or below, conversely 180 or above. Alarm sets for 12:00 AM, 3:00 AM, 6:00 AM, blood glucose checks every two to three hours, more if needed. Copay amounts, numbers of vials of insulin, amount of units to be dosed to cover carbs to be consumed, but through all these numbers, the most important number, five…..the age of my son who works through these numbers every hour of everyday with me.

Two nights ago, exhausted, my alarm went off at 3:00 AM, i snoozed it and 5 minutes later it went off again. I had checked Carter at midnight, and his blood sugar was 180. He didn’t have any insulin on board, other than his basal insulin and my body tried to convince me to just go back to sleep, that he was fine. My heart and brain knew better, I staggered out of bed and checked him……..45. The race began to save his life, as happens often with this disease.

My flight down the stairs began. I grabbed a juice box, a cup of milk, and some marshmallows, and his glucagon, running back upstairs prepared for anything. Carter started not being responsive to the juice box, I climbed into his bed, and sat him up, shaking, he started to open his eyes. I opened his mouth and squeezed the juice in. He started to respond. A new number became prevalent, 20, the number of minutes I would sit with him to make sure this low is properly corrected.

Carter fell back to sleep, in my arms, and I then sat counting his breaths. It’s never the same scenario, never the same number, never the same correction that works. It always feels like a gamble, shooting in the dark to see what will work this time. I then have this 20 minutes of sitting in the dark of my son’s room to think about the number of times I have called and beg and pleaded with insurance to approve the devices we need in order to keep my son alive, only to be denied.

My mind shifts to the number three, the exact number of weeks until Carter starts school, and will be in the care of teachers who don’t know what his lows look like, what his high blood sugars look like. Ten, the number of minutes it takes me to convince myself that pushing past my fears is the only way to give Carter a normal life in spite of this disease.

It’s all numbers, all the time. Luckily, this time everything worked out OK, after 20 minutes, I re-checked Carter and his blood sugar was 110. I spent the following 10 minutes stopping myself from think of the “what if” scenarios. Left back at one, another hour of sleep lost, but grateful that Carter was safe.

Managing Type 1 Diabetes is all about numbers, and calculations, and math. One wrong calculation can be unbelievably detrimental, and shift the whole day or night. We have become really good with numbers in this house, we have had to. Yet the biggest number that I hope to see grow, is the awareness of those in my life and beyond who will gain a better understanding of what carter goes through in order to survive.

Finding The Balance

Ashleigh 9.1.14It can be difficult to find the balance when you have more than one child.  Add in one child who has Type 1 Diabetes and things can get……complicated.

I have wonderful children, I have an almost 5-year-old who started kindergarten two weeks ago, and my two-year-old son who has Type 1.  Ashleigh started kindergarten in the middle of August, and with that new transition has brought wonderful joyous times, that allow her to have something of her own.

For the most part, Ashleigh has been a wonderful assistant, and cheerleader for her brother, yet as she ages, I can sense the twinges of jealousy, not just from the extra time Carter gets with me alone, but also because my mind is always half focused on her.  Intelligence is a wonderful gift my children have had bestowed upon them, it can make it difficult to mask my half attention while Ashleigh talks about her show and tell, and continuing to monitor Carter’s Type 1.

Lately Ashleigh has been acting out, I chalk this up to the old adage “any attention is good attention, even if it’s negative.”  I work tirelessly to be there equally for my children, but how do you explain this to a five-year-old who is desperate to share every moment of her day at school with you, even when it cuts into Carter’s lunch calculation.

Along with the new routine, I feel pulled in even more directions.  I have a son who misses his sister and doesn’t understand why she’s gone, then I have a daughter who wants all of me when she I pick her up.  Such is the life of a mother, yet things feel a little more tightly wound due to Carter’s needs.

I do my best to switch gears and give Ashleigh the attention she is so desperate for when I pick her up from school, but at the end of the day I am human, and it’s important that she gain a realistic perspective of that, even in these formative years.  We have a lot of discussions about being conscientious and self-aware, realizing when conversations need to be pushed for a 5 minute span in order to allow me the focus she is craving.  Ashleigh is good at understanding adult rationale and I am lucky in that arena.

I work so hard to meet the needs of others all day, and when everyone is in bed, secretly I feel like I am constantly failing.  I cloak those feelings with the victories we have had, me with Carter, me with Ashleigh and us as a complete family of four.  Mother guilt is there whether you have one child with special needs or two children with zero complications.  I work to not have Ashleigh feeling ostracized by Diabetes, and in the same fashion work to have Carter not feel left behind by Ashleigh’s kindergarten strides.

I know at some point we will find the perfect balance, now as I muddle through each day, reinforcing my love for both is the best I can give, and reminding myself that I did my best each night as I lay my head down on the pillow, allows me to not only love my children, but also love myself.