I turn my back for a few minutes and my blog gets hijacked? What a sweet post from my husband. And if anyone else wants to say nice things about me, you can have my password too.
Well, now it's my turn. I am a lucky girl when it comes to sharing this burden. Far too many times I hear stories from wives about how they can't even go out for a fun night with their friends because their husbands haven't even tried to learn the basics of caring for their child with T1. Or if they do get to leave, they end up being on the phone with said husband the entire time. I'm not trying to throw the guys under the bus, but the majority of diabetes care usually falls to the wife. In our case, it makes sense, because I stay at home. But however the duties are divvied up, each spouse should be capable of handling all things diabetes. Fred does pretty much all the night checks. My problem is if I get up, it takes me a good hour to fall back to sleep. Sometimes longer. So way back in the beginning, Fred told me he would take care of all the nocturnal stuff. Best of all, I can go out and not even worry. Can I just say how wonderful that is? Because I handle all the ordering of supplies, paying of bills, endo appointments, and changing of pump settings (along with dealing with whatever diabetes throws at me during the day), there are some days I feel like all I do is diabetes. And my brain starts to hurt. I need breaks (not just from diabetes, but from being a mom too) so I can maintain my sanity. I am able to go play soccer, take in a movie, have dinner with friends, go shopping. or even a weekend away, and I know Fred is on top of things. So thank you Fred, for the kind words and for being a great Papa. I couldn't do this without you.
It's been almost 3 years since I've hijacked my wife's blog... In other words, it was overdue. Hi, the name is ______, Fred ______ (Joanne doesn't like to give out too much personal info). Just a quick shoutout to the best mom! Joanne was a great mom before diagnosis and multiple kids and became an amazing mom once Elise was diagnosed.
Thanks for doing an amazing job and for everything you do for Elise!
"This is my fight song Take back my life song Prove I'm alright soooooooong!' The lyrics blasted loud and strong from my backyard, not from the radio, but rather the lungs of my 8 year old baby girl. She was flying high on the swing, her hair flying behind her, legs keeping time with the rhythm of the song.
"My powers turned on Starting right now I'll be strong" I moved to the window and silently watched her as she belted the words out for the whole neighbourhood to hear. Tears started to well up in my eyes. "I'll play my fight song" Diabetes has not been nice to her lately. We had a long fight with pneumonia, during which we battled super high numbers. She also got food poisoning a few days ago. Her dex graph is so ugly I can barely look at it. And still she marches on. Worn, but not beaten. Tired of this life with type 1, but not ready to give up. That day she seemed to be telling diabetes where to go and how to get there. "And I don't really care if anyone else believes 'Cause I still got a lot of fight left in me"*
I believe it baby girl. I'd be a fool not to.
*Lyrics from Fight Song, written by Rachel Platten
At a birthday party we went to recently, they served juice pouches. As the boxes had already been thrown away, I took to the internets to figure out the carbs. This was one of the first sites to pop up:
Luckily, a seasoned veteran such as myself spotted the issue right away and bolused her for substantially less than that. During my search of the world wide web, the boxes were found and the true amount of carbs was 7g.
That is truly some weird math, and why you should always double-check when looking up carbs on-line.
I'm not on Faceboook, but my husband is. Or was, I guess. He's sort of on hiatus. I will pop on his account (with his permission) and see what's going on in the world of our people. A few days ago, on the top of his feed were some pictures of a little girl of a friends of ours sitting in an ambulance. There was a lot of text thanking people for prayers, but immediately my eyes were drawn to the words Type 1 Diabetes. And with that, we welcomed another into our family. We first met N and her family almost three years ago. We were part of a group camping our to get our kids into the dual language program at our school. They have a girl Elise's age, and another girl who is only a week older than Lucas. N has always been wonderful in regards to Elise's diabetes. She was a room mom and would always contact me about what goodies were going to be offered at the parties. She would ask questions about what Elise could eat, or what would be a better alternative. They walked with Team Elise, even after they moved to another state and happened to be in town during the last walk. Things like that mean the world to us and Elise... especially when people who live in town can't even be bothered. It was the younger daughter who was dx'd. Her name is V and she's just about as sweet and precocious as they come. I spent some time on the phone with her Mom, and I can tell they will rock life with type 1. I just wished they lived closer. As much as I hate hearing about another child being diagnosed, these are the ones hurt that the worst.
You may have heard about the storms that blew through the DFW (Dallas/Fort Worth) area the day after Christmas. At least 9 confirmed tornadoes killed 11 people. One tornado was determined to be an EF4. Pretty scary stuff. While the city we live in wasn't affected, a neighbourhood where my husband's friend and co-worker lived was obliterated. The friend (who I'll refer to as "I"), lost everything; his house was destroyed. "I", his wife, and their 5-year-old twin boys survived the tornado by hiding in a closet.
"I"'s house the day before
Events like these always bring the stark reality of our situation to my mind. What would happen to Elise if our house was destroyed by a storm like this? What would we do for supplies? How do we prepare ourselves so we're not scrambling to make sure we have what we need to take care of her? I'll be the first to admit we are not prepared in the slightest. I do have a bag of a few things in our "tornado room". For those who don't live in tornado country, you want to be in a room that has no exterior walls or windows, and is on the lowest level of your house. I used to have everything in there; strips, pods, extra meters, glucagon... the works. I had a reminder set up on my phone to rotate out the supplies every few months so they wouldn't expire. And after awhile, I got tired of it. So I took all the supplies that expire out, telling myself that I'd have enough time to get what I need in case we were ever in a situation where we had to take cover. Fred went to visit "I" the other day, to take him some food and check in on him. He was amazed at the huge path of destruction the tornado had left. "I" was at his house, surveying the damage and trying to determine what, if anything was salvageable.
What used to be the living room
He told Fred a chilling story; his wife and kids were already in the closet when "I" went to look outside. He saw the funnel cloud and took off running to the closet. Not 30 seconds later, it hit. The winds were so strong, it even blew open the door of the closet. He could hear glass shattering. Then, 10 seconds later, it was all over.
After the tornado
Half a minute is not a lot of time, especially in a panicked state of mind. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have time to run to the fridge to grab the insulin, let alone anything else, and get to the closet in time to be safe. And if I'm being brutally honest, there have been times where I've completely ignored the tornado sirens going off. Usually I'll turn on the news to see what they're saying, then take a look outside. Apparently I fancy myself quite the meteorologist. That's not to say I'm always so stupid. Last month ago we were having a pretty wicked storm in the middle of the night. Around 3 am, the sirens went off. A quick peek outside the window confirmed an eerily green-looking sky, so we scooped up the kids and ran to the closet. Side note: waking small children to huddle in a cramped closet at 3 am is about as fun as counting carbs at a Chinese buffet). In the end, we were fine, but we did see some damage to surrounding neighbourhoods the next day.
Storm from last month
So what about you? Are you prepared? Do you have a "go bag"? It's not just for those of us who have to worry about tornadoes... What about earthquakes? Fires? Hurricanes? Zombies? Land Sharks? Zombie Land Sharks? Okay, maybe I made some of those up. You can bet that I've decided to change my ways and make sure my family is prepared. Hopefully I'll do a follow up post to show you what I came up with. Many thanks to "I" and his family for letting me share their story.
In this post I wrote a few months ago, I talked about all the things we do to try and get diabetes to behave that outsiders don't see, and how exhausting it can get. When you look at the graphs below, you think, "hey! Not bad. Those are some pretty good after breakfast and lunch numbers!'
And you know what? They are. But what we've been dealing with over the past week is anything but nice. Strep. High fever. Ketones. BGs in the 400-500 range. Antibiotics. Blah. Over the past week, through trial and error, I've discovered that we can hold off those high BGs by bolusing her for double what she eats (so if she has 50g of carbs, I bolus for 100g). And starting at 1:00 pm, I run a 50% temp basal (so her basal + half for non-podders) for the rest of the day. The result is today's decent looking graphs. But the back story on those pretty numbers contains a lot of fear.
It's scary because at dinner, when she eats her most carbs, I am dumping a tonne of insulin into her. Just before she goes to bed. Just before we go to bed. Actually, I'm chicken when it comes to dinner and don't bolus x2. Last night I bolused for 140g when she ate 80g and she STILL hovered around 350 until we did multiple corrections. On this last day of World Diabetes Awareness Month, I wish that people would get what a double-edged sword insulin can be. Yes, it saves my daughters life. She cannot live without it. But it can also take her life if I don't tread carefully. It's a pretty frightening dance and I'm trying my hardest to sense when diabetes is changing the beat on me. Even 7 years later, I'm still learning the moves to this dance.
***This is a re-post of a blog I wrote 3 years ago. It's just as true today as it was then.
This is my daughter, Elise. She is 8 years old. She loves to play soccer. Paint and draw. Read. She loves to dance and sing. Making her little brothers laugh. The colour green. Roller-coasters and waterslides. She's a girly-girl with a tough side... the absolute best of both worlds.
She makes me laugh. Loves everyone she's ever met. Blows me away with how smart she is. She has the innate ability to drive me bananas, but at the same time; I am so very proud the be her Mom. And today, she makes me thankful.
Without today, Elise would not be alive. If it wasn't for today, I would have had to say goodbye to my first-born over 7 years ago. If today had never happened, this would be one of the last pictures I have of my daughter...
During a month that is supposed to be filled with thanks, I am most thankful for today, November 14.
Because on this day, in 1891, a baby boy was born in a small farm house in Ontario, Canada. He would grow up and make an astonishing discovery that would save my daughter's life 119 years later. Not just the life of my daughter, but the lives of countless others too.
Because in addition to everything I wrote about her above, Elise also has type 1 diabetes. Her body NEEDS insulin to survive, but no longer produces it.
It was nothing she did. Or didn't do.
Nothing she ate. Or didn't eat.
There is no cure. No special diet. No secret spice. There isn't a bark that grows on a tree that can be brewed into a tea.
But there is insulin.
Today, I don't have to watch my daughter literally starve to death because of a faulty pancreas. And that is why I am thankful for today, the birthday of Dr. Fredrick Banting; inventor of insulin.
I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. I am just a Mom whose little girl has Type 1 Diabetes. On this blog you will find tips and advice, but it should NEVER be a substitute for your doctor's wisdom. If your child has diabetes, or you suspect that your child has diabetes, please seek the attention of a healthcare professional, and not some crazy, over-worked, frazzled, sleep-deprived nutjob who has staked out her corner of the world-wide-web-information-super-highway and is espousing her viewpoints from it.
But I think that's good advice when it comes to anything, don't you?