Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What NOT to say to the parent of a Type 1 diabetic

I first saw this video on Facebook, and I knew when I started this blog I would post about it. It is really funny while getting the point across. People say some really insensitive things to parents of type 1 kids, and the logical side of me knows that they mean well but the Mom in me wants to let them have it! Whenever it gets to me I watch this video, and can't help but crack up, and then I feel better.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"You can't eat that, you have diabetes!"

It's time to address one of the most common myths about Type 1 Diabetes. People who don't know about the disease think that diabetics can't or shouldn't eat sugar. The truth is THEY CAN. They can eat anything anyone else eats. Diabetics control their blood sugars by counting carbohydrates and giving a bolus (or injection if on shots) dose of insulin based on the amount of carbohydrates they consume. A carb is a carb- any food with carbohydrates must be counted whether it's a slice of chocolate cake or a whole wheat tortilla. One of the first things we learned when Tyler was diagnosed was how to count carbs.

There is a difference between fast acting carbs and slow acting carbs and they do have different effects on blood sugars. When possible we do limit the fast acting carbs that are found in candy, juice, and regular soda. When Tyler does have an occasional soda, it is diet (0 carbs) and typically he only has juice to treat a low blood sugar. Other than that, he eats anything anyone else does. I can not imagine taking Tyler to a birthday party and telling him he can't have a piece of cake because he is diabetic! He can have that cake, but before he'll check his blood sugar and give insulin for it.

Limiting sweets can help keep blood sugars under control, but as long as we adjust his insulin he can eat them just like people without diabetes. I treat Tyler the same as my non-diabetic kid, we stick to a healthy meal plan and occasionally have a treat. I personally feel that it would be more damaging for Tyler in the long run to forbid candy and sweets. By forbidding the sweets, they would become more desirable and lead to him wanting them more than ever. This is not saying that the "Candy Holidays" are not completely frustrating. Valentines Day is one of the worst! Classroom parties in the school district we live in consist of two baked treats (usually a frosted cupcake and/or cookie) a juice box, and a goodie bag filled with candy. For Valentines Day add Valentine cards that include candy and it becomes a sticky situation. That's a lot of fast acting carbs to figure out. I tend to let the kids "junk out" on this stuff the first day or two after a holiday then end up throwing a lot of it away. Most of the time they never even notice.

One issue we have run into with Tyler is his "sneaking" food- usually candy or fruit snacks, resulting in high blood sugars. I have found candy wrappers hidden in the couch cushions, stuffed down the side of his bed between the mattress and the wall and even in vases on our fireplace mantle. We have taught him and continue to teach him that he has to have insulin for every carb he eats and are hoping that as he gets older and more independent he will make good choices and will administer insulin each time he eats carbs. We have told him that he can eat candy and snacks but needs to ask first, but of course just like with my non-type 1 kid I am not going to say yes EVERY time they ask for candy, there is a time and place for everything. The difference is that when my non-type 1 kid sneaks candy, it does not jack up his blood sugar, and he is smart enough to throw the wrappers in the trash where I would never notice them! ☺

Oh, and News Flash- Diabetic and “dietetic” foods generally offer no special benefit. Most of them still raise blood glucose levels, are usually more expensive, and can also have a laxative effect if they contain sugar alcohols. We tend to avoid anything with artificial ingredients and sweeteners believing that real sugar and fat in moderation is better for us in the long run.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Slumber Party FAIL

I promised a new post to update on our slumber party experience, I wish it were a happy ending but with Type 1 diabetes, it rarely is.

As planned, Tyler checked in several times over the course of the evening.

At 8pm he called with a blood sugar of 181 ready for cake and Ice Cream. Not a bad number- a little high but that's what I wanted while he was at the party. He gave insulin for the cake and Ice Cream and I told him to call back in 2 hours.

At 10 pm he called to check in with a blood sugar of 258. A little higher, but we left it alone. Better high than low at a slumber party. All is good, have fun and call again at midnight or bedtime, whichever is first.

Midnight- here's where it all went bad. He called and said they were going to bed, I had him check his blood sugar, and it was 56. 56!! I knew then that he was not going to stay the night but told him to drink a juice and eat a granola bar and to call me back in 15 minutes. I hung up the phone and got pissed off. There was no way I could leave him there at 56 at bedtime after all the running around he had been doing all night. I could not expect the Mom hosting to stay up all night checking his blood sugars every few hours, and I knew I would be up all night here worrying. The only thing to do was to bring him home. When he called back I told him I was coming to get him and he was so good about it- he said OK but I could hear it in his voice, he was crushed.

I walked over to get him, and as soon as we left the party, we both started crying. I told him that I would do anything if I could make it go away and that it was OK to be mad, that diabetes sucks but we are not going to let it win. He held my hand on the walk home, and I was just heartbroken. When we got him home his BG was only up to 69, so I gave him a juice and put him to bed. He fell asleep the second his head hit the pillow. After an hour we checked again and he was barely over 100, so one more juice down the hatch. It's amazing that Tyler can drink a juice box in his sleep without waking up or remembering that he even drank it later! Finally at 2:30 he was over 150 and we were able to go to bed ourselves.

This morning at 7am the phone rang- it was the boys from the party calling to check on Tyler and to ask if he wanted to come back for breakfast. He was up and dressed in seconds! I think that today I am more upset about it than he is. He really only missed the slumber part of the party. He had a blast hanging out with his friends, playing basketball, telling ghost stories and was even there to witness a boy drawing on the face of the first boy who fell asleep with a sharpie! I hope when he looks back on this that he remembers the fun stuff and the fact that he had to come home because of his diabetes is just a minor part of the memory.

Type 1 diabetes is awful, there is no denying that. I wish with all my heart that we did not have to deal with it, but we do and we are going to look it in the eye and do the best we can every day. We may have to do things differently than others, but we will do those things and make the most of it. It's all we can do.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Slumber Party

It was bound to happen sooner or later. I just dropped Tyler off at his first slumber party. I worry about him going because so many things can go wrong! It would be too easy to tell him he can't go, but I don't want his living with Type 1 to equal CAN'T. I want him to do and enjoy the same things other 10 year old boys do. We CAN do this, it will require some preparation and tools, but he deserves that, and he wants that so we are giving it a shot.

He is armed with the green bag- extra juice boxes, and a cell phone. The Mom hosting the sleepover got a copy of my high/low blood glucose cheat sheet and got to witness my little breakdown complete with tears. Yay for me. Lucky for us, the family lives right across the street from us, that makes it a little easier to handle. I'm not gonna lie, while walking him over there I suggested to him that he could hang out and come home when the other boys go to bed- he was not interested.

The plan is for him to call with his blood glucose reading BEFORE cake and Ice Cream, then to call again 2 hours after that, whatever that call brings will determine then time for the next check in. Its going to be a LONG night for me, I'll post tomorrow on how it all ends up.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Don't leave home without it!

We keep a bag packed at all times with diabetic supplies that goes everywhere with us. We have it down to a science. This handy little green bag is always packed and ready to go. We have used many other types of bags in the past, but I like this one best- it is small enough to fit in my purse if I want but big enough to hold the essentials. The mesh on the front is nice to quickly see that everything we need is in the bag. It is important to always have some kind of fast acting carbs on hand in case of low blood sugar as well as insulin and syringes. We have learned the hard way to always keep a pump site change with us, just in case.
The bag contains:
  • juice boxes- these small size Juicy Juice are the best for low blood sugars, 15 grams of fast acting carbs
  • Blood glucose meter (in the pouch is a lancing device, extra lancets, and test strips)
  • glucose tabs
  • glucose gel
  • supplies for a pump site change (reservoir, infusion set, iv prep wipe)
  • vial of insulin
  • syringes (in case of pump malfunction or other reason a shot of insulin may be necessary )
  • disposable lancing device ( in case the one in his test kit gets lost or broken )
  • Glucogon Emergency Kit- in my opinion the scariest diabetic supply EVER
  • Ketostix for checking for ketones in the urine in times of extreme high blood sugar or illness

Friday, February 18, 2011

Getting Started

My son Tyler was diagnosed six years ago at the age of four with Type 1 Diabetes. We have been through a lot since then, and continue to battle Type 1 every day. It is a never ending job, and is a constantly changing process.

As the Mom of a kid with Type 1 diabetes, my life is never boring. I have been thinking about starting a Diabetes related blog for a while now. I envision a place where I can vent about Type 1, review products, discuss diabetes in the news and keep a journal of our lives living with this crazy roller coaster of a disease.

I hope that by putting it all down in writing, it will serve as some stress relief for me, and hopefully provide some insight to those in our lives who may wonder what life is really like for Type 1 diabetics and their caregivers.

So here we are- Type 1 With Tyler is that place, welcome to our world!