Tag Archives: Type 1 Diabetes Management

When You Feel Numb

There are days when you just feel numb. Whether you are new to diagnosis, or like us, have been managing Type 1 Diabetes for the past three years, some days are harder than others.

Carter has been struggling with lows lately, and sickness has once again permeated our home. My oldest daughter is recovering from bronchitis, and I have been working feverishly to keep the virus from attaching itself to Carter, add-on being 11-weeks into my fourth pregnancy and it’s a recipe for ultimate exhaustion.
While making dinner tonight, I heard Carter’s dex receiver beep. It was his low alert, I called him downstairs and asked him to bring me his receiver and come to me in the kitchen so I could help him correct his low. He brought me his receiver, I grabbed a yogurt handed it to him and told him to eat it.

Carter walked out of the kitchen, placed the yogurt on the dining room table, and went back upstairs to play with his sisters, unbeknownst to me. A few minutes later I hear his urgent low alarm sound. I run out of the kitchen, look at his dex, he is now 55. I race upstairs and walk into my daughter’s room and see a dazed Carter sitting on the floor.
I grab him, grab the frosting from his bag and shove it in his mouth. Once he is rising, and has finally hit a number in range, out of pure frustration I yelled at him. I yelled at him for being so irresponsible, for creating an emergency that wasn’t needed, but mostly because he knowingly left me to be the only one caring about his low blood sugar. Eventually Carter understood the error he had made, and promised me he would work harder at following instructions so this doesn’t happen again.

Now that my son is peacefully asleep, with good blood sugars, I am overwhelmed with guilt and sorrow. I understand that my son is only 4-years-old, but by the same token, having been dealing with Type 1 Management for the past three years, he is well aware of what is required to keep him healthy. I am very open with my son with the care we must have to ensure his survival, and what that entails, as well as the ramifications of not following the regime. Not taking care of himself results in a hospital stay at best, at worst it means death.

When Type 1 Diabetes has been dealt, there is no time for games. No time to test the waters, the consequences of playing games is too costly. I can’t be the only one in this house who cares about his health. With Carter starting school in less than six months, he has to obtain an accountability for his care.

He has to grow up fast, it’s unfair, it sucks, but it’s necessary. If I wasn’t preparing him to care for himself without my presence, I wouldn’t be doing my job as a Mom.

So though I feel guilty, though I feel sorrow, I know these feelings are temporary, that tomorrow is a new day, and that with each incident Carter is learning a lesson. He’s learning what my expectations of him are, what he must do to stay healthy, that he is accountable, but most of all, even though there was anger, he knows it is out of immense love for him that I am so serious about his care.

May tomorrow be filled with more feeling, feelings of joy, feelings of love, and less filled with the numb walk of going through the motions of managing Type 1 Diabetes.

Getting the Insulin Pump

animas pingIf someone would have told me that starting the insulin pump for Carter would change our lives, I would have agreed, but thought so for negative reasons.

Learning a whole new system of managing his diabetes, along with a convoluted new vocabulary, then the removal of the long acting insulin that kept him stable through the night, was enough to have me running the other direction.

I had debated the pump switch for well over a year, always finding an excuse to avoid the transition.  Carter’s  A1c seemed on track, and I was literally living day to day, hour by hour some days.

I made the decision in July of 2015, about a year and a half in to Carter’s diagnosis.  It took a while to get everything together and ordered, in order to set up his pump experience.

Carter officially started insulin pump therapy on January 5, 2016, and it has changed our lives, but for the better.  Although I am up virtually all night as we adjust to “pump life”, I am so thrilled with how much better Carter’s glucose numbers have been.

We recently went to Carter’s endo appointment and learned that his A1c was down from 8.0 in November 2015, to 7.8 in February 2016.  I truly believe that month on the pump prior to the A1c check made a huge difference.  It’s not a massive change to his A1c, but it was enough of a change to solidify that we made the right decision.

Carter does have tighter control on his numbers, and I have noticed that my happy child has returned.  Site changes have become easier and take only 2 minutes, every 3 days.  I would watch Carter tense up before every meal, anticipating the shot of his insulin in order to eat.  I love being able to dose him remotely and not have it hurt him.

We’ve adjusted relatively well to having a pump, and Carter loves the freedom it gives him, to graze and not be poked all the time.  It reminds me, that even though this disease is awful at times, and requires immense vigilance, we are so lucky to live in the time we do.  Having the luxury of these machines, that are able to help us live our lives in the closest manner to normal as possible, enables not just longevity, but a better quality of life overall.

Having better control of Carter’s numbers means the likelihood of complications as he gets older gets diminished.  This is better for me, as his mom, but most important, it is better for Carter.  Ultimately, this is why I chose to start the pump for Carter, though it was a major life change and adjustment, Carter, being able to live life to the fullest, not being help back by Type 1 Diabetes was worth every sleepless night.

Insulin Pump Comparison, comparing insulin pump functions, and pros vs cons.

 

Does Time Heal Everything?

Juvenile Diabetes
Our Son Carter and I post diagnosis in the hospital with his first bottle of milk

I honestly don’t know how we arrived here.  One year into my son’s diagnosis, it feels like just yesterday that we were in the hospital desperately trying to hold it together, watching our son connected to every machine, fighting for his life.

Having Carter diagnosed in November, which is Diabetes Awareness Month, makes this 1 year anniversary that much more complex.

This year has been a whirlwind of activity, and learning, and monitoring.  When I think back to his time last year, I knew nothing about Type 1 Diabetes, and today I know more about this disease that inflicts my son and tries its best to push my family around, on an unwanted intimate level.

This year, I find November to be a double-edged sword.  I am grateful for the awareness and the advocacy, I do my best to advocate on behalf of my now two-year-old son, yet I also find my heart break a little more each and every day throughout November.  Maybe it is because the wound is still fresh, and lately all I can think of is what was happening this time last year.

These memories I know will fade, and I will be able to steadfastly view our accomplishments, but these days, those accomplishments are shrouded in pain.

I remember watching my son suffer for a week thinking he was fighting a virus, getting thinner and more gaunt with each passing day.  I remember how small he looked in the huge hospital bed, barely visible under all the wires and life support he was connected to.

I remember the last look my son gave me was pained, and though he was only 17-months-old and couldn’t speak, his eyes screamed help me.  I remember rushing home to pack our bags, and hearing the helicopter that carried our critical son across the sky to the children’s hospital, watching my then 4-year-old daughter run to window to yell goodbye to her brother, and feeling so helpless.

I remember the PICU, and the 3 days where Carter’s future were classified under “maybe.”  Being told by the nursing staff to go across the street and get some rest, and my husband and I refusing to leave our son’s side.  I remember finally being moved down to the pediatric floor, and the expectations I had, expecting Carter to spring out of bed and run around, and devour food.  I still recall the devastation I felt when that didn’t happen.

I remember having to place my son in a wagon in order to get him around while in the hospital, since he had a central line that started at his groin and went up to his heart, that once removed hindered his movement for 2 weeks because of bruising and pain.

I remember with each minute of training, watching what our life used to be, becoming a distant memory.  I recall wracking my brain for what we did different with Carter than Ashleigh, that inflicted him with this, even amid the proof and reassurance of the endocrinology team that we didn’t do anything wrong.

The feelings of helplessness, failure, anger, frustration, fear, exhaustion, I remember all of these so clearly.  Watching my son squirm and cry when someone with scrubs would walk into the room, having to push my fear aside in order to comfort my son.

I remember leaving, after a week in the hospital, and watching Carter’s elation at life being what it used to.  Looking out the window and excitedly waving goodbye to the building that tortured and poked him multiple times a day for a week, and then arriving home and having the torture continue.

But having been through all of that, I remember about a week after we’d been home and “adjusted” to our new life, I distinctly remember my son’s laughter which I hadn’t heard for well over a month.  I valued it more than I had before.

I realize that without that week of hell, and a crash course that overwhelmed me, I wouldn’t have my son.  So instead of having to rely on memories, I am blessed with the joy of watching my son persevere.

So while the month of November has been hard on me this year, I realize the importance of the advocacy, and the educational opportunities for all through the stories of sorrow and tenacity.

But most of all, I clearly see how God protected my son and my family through this 2 week span in November of 2013, and kept us safe, throughout the ignorance that shrouded my judgment and kept my son alive, and guided me to get him the help he needed to survive.