insulin pump, Memorial Day, T1d

My beautiful T1D- a year later!

Hey there:) 
In prior posts you’ve likely read where I reference my daughters.  I talk of them often because they make me so proud! My older daughter (Hollyann)  is 22, and lives with her gf nearby. I don’t see her often enough, but she knows where her home is and that she’s loved here.  She’s made me really, very proud of how she’s handling life as a 22 year old young adult.  I know the day will come when she’s going to need the help of her mom and step-dad and I hope I am prepared to help her.  And if I am not, I will prepare quickly! She’s a great girl.

My younger daughter is 14 and was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at this time last year- almost to the very day.  Memorial Day weekend is synonymous with many things…cookouts…pool parties, the start of summer.. recognition of our service men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for ensuring our freedom, and being thankful for their service, as well as the men and women who currently serve.  It is also synonymous with Haley’s “Dx”…her diagnosis.

We were actually at the same park yesterday where she had what she calls the “worst day of her life.EVER”.  I made her walk the 2 mile loop around the lake at the Apex Community Park last year with our then-new puppy, Bo.  She was sluggish and tired.  I attributed to it being hot outside and being a typical teenage girl who maybe stayed up too late the night before play xbox with her friends.  What I would later learn about that awful day was that the kid was in DKA= Diabetic Acidosis.  Her Dx would come to us just a day later after she’d called to say she felt terrible and asked if Jason or I would come get her from school. 

If you’re a parent, you know that your kids will come to you when they are ill and that there is an urgency in their voice that can chill you to your very soul.  This was one of those times.  There was no MAYBE she’s sick.  I knew that Sunday on Memorial Day that she was sick.  I was going to call and make an appointment for her that Monday but again- it was a holiday weekend and the doctor’s office was closed.  I’d planned to call Tuesday by noon.  You know, go to work, get a few things done and then move onto picking her up and taking her to get checked out.  Only I never got that chance because of the bone-chilling phone call.

Haley had been drinking an unusual amount of water, tea, soda, anything she could get her hands on.  Sunday night’ revealed that she’d drank nearly a case of water and a 6 pack of Sunkist soda in less than 2 days.  That didn’t count whatever she drank during the weekend that I DIDN’T see…I just knew it was going to be a “sugar” thing, but I thought in the back of my mind that it was going to be a temporary thing.  I had some exposure to T1D because my first cousin has a son who is Type1.  I knew OF it.  I didn’t really know anything ABOUT their daily lives and struggles until the diagnosis came after Haley complained of muscle aches, unquenchable thirst, dizziness, seeing “spots” and having blurred vision

Here is the definition of DKA, courtesy of wikipedia:

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a potentially life-threatening complication in patients with diabetes mellitus. It happens predominantly in those withtype 1 diabetes, but it can occur in those with type 2 diabetes under certain circumstances. DKA results from a shortage of insulin; in response the body switches to burning fatty acids and producing acidic ketone bodies that cause most of the symptoms and complications.[1]
DKA may be the first symptom of previously undiagnosed diabetes, but it may also occur in people known to have diabetes as a result of a variety of causes, such as intercurrent illness or poor compliance with insulin therapyVomitingdehydrationdeep gasping breathingconfusion and occasionally coma are typical symptoms. DKA is diagnosed with blood and urine tests; it is distinguished from other, rarer forms of ketoacidosis by the presence of high blood sugar levels. Treatment involves intravenous fluids to correct dehydration, insulin to suppress the production of ketone bodies, treatment for any underlying causes such as infections, and close observation to prevent and identify complications.[1][2]
DKA is a medical emergency, and without treatment it can lead to death. DKA was first described in 1886; until the introduction of insulin therapy in the 1920s it was almost universally fatal.[3] It now carries a mortality of less than 1% with adequate and timely treatment.[4]

Hello.  It can be deadly. The ER doctor who treated Haley told us that if we had waited just 8-12 hours longer, we might not have such a happy story to tell.  Haley was in bad shape.  I am SO glad she was vocal about how she felt and that she was insistent on making me LISTEN.  
Once we had the diagnosis, Haley was upset for a few minutes, and then was like “ok. this really, really sucks.  But let’s deal with it and when can we go home”.  Meanwhile, I am texting my cousin, Regina, like a mad woman! Regina let me text her night and day for months, and I STILL DO! Even though we’ve been at this for a year, we still have highs and lows and I still ask for her advice.  It’s amazing the book of knowledge she is- and amazing that Wyatt is as calm, cool and collected as he still is after his DX around age five!
I don’t think anyone really realizes what a big deal it is.  Most folks thing Type 1 is lumped in with Type 2 and that you can control it with diet and exercise, but it can’t be.  And some folks think that it’s because I fed her too much sugar, which makes me giggle) And some think it will magically disappear if she were to lose weight.  That one makes me giggle, too:)  Type 2 is no joke, either, so please don’t think I minimize the seriousness of it.
But a year later, I feel like we are so much smarter and relaxed about things! She is eligible to get an insulin pump, but we are a little hesitant to do it right now.  She injects herself with HumaLog about 5x a day.  And she has a nighttime injection of Lantus (slow acting insulin) each night before bed.  Imagine injecting yourself 6x a day with a needle.  Fun times, right?  NOT.  She has more high blood sugars than she does lows, but the lows are a real worry for us.  Twice she has had dangerously low sugar levels.  One of which I thought she was checking out for sure.  Glossy, glazed over eyes, inaudible speech, clenching her heart,  It was the first time I was really faced with making a quick decision to get her sugar level UP an FAST.  I’ve learned these things…in no particular order!
1: cake icing, in particular, the gel kind, is the best way to get sugar levels to rise.  Squeezing the tube in between her cheek and gumline, and massaging it so that she swallows it, is the best method.  
2. Cake icing is the last stop before the “oh sh*t” glucagon shot that we carry around with us in the scary red case. See below!
3. Blood sugar goes way,way, wayyyyy low after vigorous exercise, like riding her bike, street hockey and swimming.
4.  Blood sugar goes way high when we eat pasta or pizza and we can expect it to be high for a couple of days!
5. Teenage girls are hellaMOODY when their blood sugar is too low or too high! That’s all we will say about that:)
6. I’ve learned to always keep some sort of candy or icing in my purse because we never know when a LOW is coming on.  We’ve been walking through the mall together and she will just give me a look like…hey mom, can we chill a minute and let me check my sugar?  And sure enough, she knows her body well enough to know she’s low.  We pop some skittles or something and she’s good as new!
7. No matter how much I try to prepare myself, I WILL leave the diabetic supply bag at home at least once in a week at home while we go somewhere and have to go back to get it!
8. I AM MORE SCARED of DIABETES than Haley will EVER be.  I think of it’s impact on her body…future complications and possible children that I hope she has.
9. She’s stronger than I EVER have been or will be.
10. Haley is a rockstar to the bone and I can’t say enough how proud of this kid I am!
I remember begging Jesus in my prayers to somehow take this from her and give it to me.  I remember making silent bargains with Him on my drive home from the hospital with her.  “I will be a better mother, a better wife, friend, anything- just give it to ME”. I convinced myself that somehow it was my fault.  But He knew us before He made us:) He made her special. He made her strong and I am convinced that she’ll use this as a gift for someone else someday.  Maybe she will be the babysitter whose specialty is caring for T1D kids.  Maybe she’ll be like the cool nurse who cared for her in the ER at Wake Med.  Maybe she’ll be the doctor who cares for T1D’s.  We just don’t know- but whatever she chooses, I know she’ll be great:)  
So a year later, we’re so much more efficient and smarter about Diabetes!  She’s so much healthier and has a great grasp on school and home life. Maybe one day soon we’ll revisit the insulin pump because we know it’s gonna simplify things for her greatly.  But for now, just one year into this trek, we have made GREAT strides!

Thanks for reading and letting me brag about my girls. They truly are my greatest blessings. 
Hollyann, me, Haley.  Mother’s Day 2013.

Taken just a few days shy of her diagnosis. Not feeling well, but still sporting a smile:)

Our JDRF Team last November! She has a great support group in family and friends!  We will walk again in November, should anyone want to walk with us! My girl needs a CURE!

Thank you for coming by to read about our first year.  We are not perfect by any means, but we are happy to have surpassed the 2am wake up calls to do finger pricks.  We are pleased to be more educated and sure of things now.
We’re just happy that SHE is healthy and feeling good.  Haley starts HIGH SCHOOL in the fall! I will surely have a whole other blog just for THAT!

God Bless! And hey- if you’re a member of our military and you’ve stopped here to read about my girl- THANK YOU for your sacrifice and service.  As much as I commemorate this weekend as Haley’s diagnosis weekend, I really do know that first and foremost, it’s Memorial Day and I can’t thank you enough for securing our freedom.  I know freedom is not free!


5 thoughts on “My beautiful T1D- a year later!”

  1. Sending you guys love! What a difference a year makes. 🙂 My dad is an adult-onset Type 1, and I'm VERY familiar with what happens when blood sugar plummets. (Um, yeah, SCARY.) What you said about it dropping with vigorous exercise- yup. Something to watch out for in the future- my dad's always dropped when he'd do a lot of yard work, like mowing on hot summer days, or shoveling the yard, and ditto for when we moved or he helped friends move. Those aren't activities you really lump in the categories of sports and fun, but they're situations where she'll need to be careful (and if she's anything like my dad, have someone there with her just in case, at least until she knows how her body tolerates those activities). Haley seems like such a cool young woman. :)You're a kickass mom, Dawnie. ❤

  2. THanks so much, Stephanie! She has had to do yard work a couple of times since her diagnosis, and agreed, it can have a big effect on her blood sugar! Thanks for mentioning it- now that the weather is warmer, I need to remember all of these things and keep my eyes open:)

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