December 20, 2011

Christmas Dress Shopping

When I'm dress shopping for my girls, I do have to consider each one individually.  Jessi has certain requirements, something of the Fancy Nancy nature.  The frillier the better!

Ally likes something cute and hip.  Being the oldest, she also tends to get more new clothes than the other girls. It only stands to reason, because she doesn't have any older sisters passing clothes down to her. Recently, we went shopping for a nice Christmas dress.


When buying a Christmas dress for your little girl, what do you look for? Frills or ruffles? Bows or lace? Special colors or patterns? 




Those things are all important, but there is something else that we have to consider when buying a special outfit.

 
Ally wears an insulin pump.

I know, if you are reading this, you already know that she has type 1 diabetes and most likely also know that she wears an insulin pump.  But that is an important factor that we have to consider when making our holiday dress selection.


Ally's insulin pump is connected to her with a site, which we rotate every 3 days between her arms and hips or bum area.  The pump is usually worn in a pump pouch around her waist.  When Ally needs to give herself insulin, or check her CGM reading, she needs to look at her pump.  Easy enough. 

Now picture this seemingly simple task, while wearing a dress.  She would have to pull up her dress in order to do this.  Not so easy!

It is not so pleasant, in the middle of class or church, to have to pull up your dress because your pump is alarming.  Nor is it fun, in the middle of a party or a restaurant, because you want to bolus for your food.  This is when the remote feature would really come in handy.  But her MiniMed Revel pump does not have a remote.

So we adjust.  She still looks really cute (and don't forget hip) in her sweet little bubble skirt, sweater and leggins with bows :)



Photobucket

December 18, 2011

Seven Days and Counting

Seven Days.  That's 168 hours.  And still counting.

Oh wait!  Did you think that I was counting down until Christmas?  Wow!  I guess that is only 7 days away.  But that's not what I was referring to. 

It has been 7 days since Ally started feeling ill.  Last Sunday afternoon (day #1) she started complaining of a stomach ache.  She wouldn't eat anything and spent the rest of the day laying on the couch, holding her stomach.  Anytime she has a stomach ache, I check for ketones (because stomach pain and nausea are both signs of ketoacidosis).  None.  No fever.  Blood sugars were holding steady in the 120-140 range.  And the cycle began.

The cycle where I tried to figure out what was going on in her body.  Is she getting sick?  Is the stomach ache from diabetes?  Maybe it was just something that she ate earlier that didn't agree with her?

Monday morning (day #2) we woke up to a nice blood sugar of 121...and ketones!  The moderate kind (.8 on blood ketone meter).  We keep Ketostix (urine strips) for routine ketone checks because they are cheaper than blood ketone strips.  However, if I ever suspect that she is sick, I skip the urine strips and go right for the blood ketone meter.  Children With Diabetes highly recommends blood ketone testing over urine testing.  Read more about it here.  I originally learned of blood ketone testing, not from our endo, but from one of my favorite fellow bloggers, Reyna of Beta Buddies.

So, .8!  I thought that she must be coming down with a tummy bug. We worked hard to get rid of those ketones all day. We gave her insulin to correct for the ketones and she was doing a great job of drinking lots of fluids to help flush them out. The ketone level dropped, according to our blood ketone meter, to .6.  But she still didn't feel like eating. She was afraid she would throw up.  So I didn't force it.   Then a few hours later, ketones were up to 1.5!  I realized that since she hadn't had any food all day, she was not getting any insulin (other than her basal and a little for ketone correction).  After speaking with the on-call endo, I started giving her carbohydrate filled drinks to sip on so that I could get a little more insulin in her to help fight those ketones.  I was checking her blood sugar and ketone levels every 2-3 hours through the night, correcting with insulin when needed.

(Sidenote: Since we were originally trained to read ketones with Ketostix (urine strips), I can never remember what the number readings from the blood ketone meter mean. Small? Moderate? or Large? Luckily, I remembered that Hallie of The Princess and The Pump has a sick days tab on her blog. I quickly hopped over there and found this helpful chart for reading blood ketone meter results. Thanks Hallie!)

This up and down ketone battle continued through days #3 and #4.  She started having low blood sugars, so I set a temporary basal rate in her pump for the night.  That worked to bring her blood sugars to a comfortable overnight number, but then the ketones would come back. 

So, let's recap the vicious cycle going on inside my head (and inside her poor little body!).

Tummy ache = no eating = ketones = more insulin = low blood sugars = temp basal = good blood sugars, but more ketones = more insulin = low blood sugars = more tummy aching = ???? Is there an end???

But wait!!!  This cycle did end.  On Thursday morning (day #5), Ally felt good.  Tummy felt better.  No ketones.  BGs running on the lower end, but not many lower than 70.  She ate a small breakfast and headed off to school.  The school nurse and I checked in with each other all day.  I was worried about her having lows at school, following this tummy thing.  Instead, she was high all day. 

And a new cycle began.  High blood sugars and a fever!!  I was seriously beginning to think that this was never going to end.  Poor kiddo missed school again on Friday (day #6 and also her 4th day absent this week).  She cried each day that she missed because she wanted to go to school so badly.  She was afraid that she would miss out on the "secret" school project (ie: gift for parents) that her class had been planning.


So, day #7 and we were still fighting fevers and high blood sugars.  Yes, that says 500!

Day #8, I'm holding my breath and hoping that I can now stop counting the days of this lousy illness and begin counting down to Christmas!!

Photobucket

November 28, 2011

Calling all Health Activists for Recognition!



Since I started blogging, I have been inspired by so many amazing Health Activists.  What is a Heath Activist?  WEGO Health defines them here:
Health Activists are online leaders who work daily to improve the way people talk and think about health – active in multiple communities, passionate about health causes, dedicated to finding the best information, and relentless in their commitment to helping others. They also use every tool possible to lead their communities, especially through social media.

When I learned about this cool upcoming program for recognizing some of them, I knew that you would want to hear about it too!


In December, the online health community and WEGO Health will be celebrating all the awesome achievements made in health leadership and patient advocacy in 2011!  WEGO Health, a different kind of social media company dedicated to empowering Health Activists, has just launched the first-ever Health Activist Awards program, to recognize Health Activists (both new and established) for all of their great work over the course of the year.

You can get involved by nominating your favorite Health Activists by sharing what has inspired you, moved you, and made a difference in the online health community.  I have already nominated some of my favorite Health Activists and I hope you’ll take some time to recognize your favorites too.

There are 10 different awards.  I am sharing them here so that you can start thinking about those who have inspired you in each of these categories.

Rookie of the Year - The Health Activist who came on the scene in 2011 but has inspired the entire community. 

Best in Show - This Health Activist dominates a particular platform and is a great model for taking it to the next level. Nominate!

Paperboy Award - The Health Activist who always brings you the latest and greatest news and research.

Health Activist Hero - Who has changed your life?  Recognize the Health Activist who has made a significant impact on you.

Advocating for Another (Best Parent or Caregiver) - Award the dedication of someone who raises awareness for the condition of someone they love. 

TMI Award (Too Much Information!) - This Health Activist always goes there - no matter how personal or embarassing the story.

Hilarious Health Activist - You swear you're at a comedy show.  This Health Activist brings the funny with the advocacy.

Offline Crusader - This Health Activist did amazing things offline this year.  Tell us about your favorite. 

Best Affirmation Post - Recognize the best single post that explains, outlines, or affirms the Health Activist mission.

Best Kept Secret - Help us find the hidden gem of the Health Activist world - and share them.

You can check out WEGO Health’s Health Activist Awards 2011 homepage  to nominate your favorites, as well as information on how to join the Health Activists Awards Jury to help select the Award winners, and to find out what Health Activists will win if they’re chosen.

Together, let's celebrate the Health Activists that have made the biggest difference 2011.

Photobucket

November 14, 2011

World Diabetes Day 2011


Today is World Diabetes Day!  We are off to a great start this World Diabetes Day!  Blue fingernail polish -check.  Blue shirt - check.  Blue circle hair accessory - check.   Blue circle blueberries for breakfast - check.  And best of all...Morning blood sugar of 114 - check!

I asked Ally if she'd like to help me write the blog post for World Diabetes Day and she said, "Mom, all I would say is that I'm just a normal girl!"  So, I guess I'm on my own with this one ;)

World Diabetes Day is the day that people all over the world are uniting for diabetes.  November 14 was chosen as the day to raise awareness for diabetes because it is the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting.  Banting, along with his assistant, Charles Best, discovered insulin in 1922. 

Sir Frederick Banting was one of the twentieth century's most celebrated medical heroes. His discovery of insulin, made with his assistant Charles Best and other colleagues, was one of the most important medical breakthroughs of the century. Since its discovery, insulin has saved or transformed the lives of millions of people with diabetes.


You see, prior to his discovery of insulin, a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes was a death sentence.

I can't even find the words to justly describe how grateful I am to this man whom I never even met.  It is thanks to him that my daughter is "just a normal girl" - despite diabetes.


Happy Birthday and Thank you to Sir Frederick Banting!



So, why all the blue circles??  The blue circle is the international symbol for diabetes awareness.  You can read about the history of the blue circle here.

If you'd like to help spread awareness of diabetes and don a blue circle...check out www.idf.org/worlddiabetesday.


Photobucket

November 11, 2011

False Advertising...err...Educating

False Advertising Educating

My sister sent me a text the other day.  She was sitting in a lobby waiting for her son to finish his music lesson.  She couldn't believe the conversation that was going on in an adjacent conference room.  There was a woman addressing a group of people.  My sister's best eavesdropping guestimate was that this woman was holding some sort of training for home health care givers.  And these are quotes that my sister overheard...

"People have diabetes because we've been fed too many fatty, sugary foods over time and it has depleted our insulin stores."
WRONG.
"People are born with type 1 diabetes or develop type 2 later in life." 
 Again.  WRONG...on both accounts.  My sister couldn't believe her ears.  Her next text to me read "I'm about to pop in and correct her!"  But wait, the "training" continues...


"That's why its important to keep those honey buns away from your grandma!"
At this point, I am texting furiously back begging my sister to "pop in AND pop HER!"  I so badly wanted to drive over and do some educating of my own.

I guess, in all fairness, I should say that I don't really blame the people who don't know the facts about type 1 diabetes...or even that there are two kinds.  I really didn't know before Ally's diagnosis.  It's no wonder that there are so many misconceptions about diabetes though, if there are people "training" others who don't even have it straight. 

Photobucket


Diabetes Fact #1:  Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.

 
 Diabetes Fact #2:  No one knows exactly what causes type 1 diabetes. However, it IS known that it is NOT caused by poor diet or lack of exercise. Scientists believe that both genetic and environmental factors are involved.

 
 Diabetes Fact #3:  Type 1 diabetes, sometimes referred to as Juvenile Diabetes, can strike at ANY age.

 Diabetes Fact #4:  Type 1 diabets can occur suddenly and causes a dependence on insulin for life. Until there is a cure.


 
  Diabetes Fact #5:  To stay alive, people with type 1 diabetes must take multiple insulin injections daily or continually infuse insulin through an insulin pump.

 
  Diabetes Fact #6:  People with type 1 diabetes must test their blood sugar 6 or more times a day by pricking their fingers. Ally's fingers look dirty - but when you look closer you see tons of tiny holes.

 Diabetes Fact #7:  While trying to balance insulin doses with food intake, daily exercise and activities, people with Type 1 Diabetes must still always be prepared for serious hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemic (high blood sugar) reactions which can be life threatening.

 Diabetes Fact #8:  While insulin injections or infusions allow a person with type 1 diabetes to stay alive, insulin does NOT CURE diabetes.

Diabetes Fact #9:  No matter how diligent a person with type 1 diabetes manages their disease, bad things can still happen. Simply injecting insulin and counting carbohydrates does not necessarily prevent complications.

 
  Diabetes Fact #10:   Complications of type 1 diabetes include: kidney failure, nerve damage, blindness, amputations, heart attacks, stroke, and pregnancy complications.

 
 Diabetes Fact #11:  Other factors that affect a person's ability to tightly control their diabetes include: stress, hormonal changes, periods of growth, physical activity, medications, illness, infections, and fatigue.

November 8, 2011

Choices


I voted today.  Lexi went along with me and had big fun with several of the "I love voting" (Ohio style!) stickers just like the one above.  There were several choices to be made on our ballot.  I always vote, but today I was especially there to choose a school board candidate that I supported.  As we were driving away, I was thinking about choices

Many things in life happen without our choosing.  We can't do anything about them.  However, we can choose how to respond to them.

JDRF recently ran a full page ad in the Washington Post and New York Times.


This is what the smaller print of the ad reads:

In fact, kids and adults are dying every day from low blood sugar or complications caused by type 1 diabetes. 
In the next few weeks, the FDA has a chance to show it is leading the world in medical innovation, not standing in its way.  It will lay out the pathway to bring to market the first artificial pancreas, a lifesaving technology now under development, and the most revolutionary treatment in diabetes since the discovery of insulin
Three million kids, teens and adults with type 1 diabetes are counting on the FDA to get it right.  Our lives and health are at stake.

There are clearly mixed feelings about the ad running loose around the DOC.  Some people feel that it is too harsh or "scary".  Others feel that it is a really bold ad which could go a long way for educating the public about type 1 diabetes.  Amy at Diabetes Mine  offers some good insight into these "mixed feelings".

Aaron Kowalski from JDRF chimed in on "the ad" thread on CWD.  "I want to say unequivocally that this ad has nothing to do with fundraising and everything to do with driving home the life saving and life changing potential of artificial pancreas technologies."

I am not here to debate about the ad.  But I do think that what Aaron Kowalksi says above is key in understanding the message behind the ad.  I am not focusing on the one in twenty will die from low blood sugar.  I already know what type 1 diabetes can do.  The part of the ad that got my attention was the most revolutionary treatment since the discovery of insulin.

Back to choices...

I cannot change the fact that Ally has type 1 diabetes.  But I can choose to be educated about it.  I can choose to do everything in my power to make sure that she lives the best life possible.  And I can choose to advocate for continued research and technology.  I have no other choice!

Photobucket
Diabetes Fact #1: Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.


Diabetes Fact #2: No one knows exactly what causes type 1 diabetes. However, it IS known that it is NOT caused by poor diet or lack of exercise. Scientists believe that both genetic and environmental factors are involved.

Diabetes Fact #3: Type 1 diabetes, sometimes referred to as Juvenile Diabetes, can strike at ANY age.

Diabetes Fact #4: Type 1 diabets can occur suddenly and causes a dependence on insulin for life. Until there is a cure.

Diabetes Fact #5: To stay alive, people with type 1 diabetes must take multiple insulin injections daily or continually infuse insulin through an insulin pump.

Diabetes Fact #6: People with type 1 diabetes must test their blood sugar 6 or more times a day by pricking their fingers. Ally's fingers look dirty - but when you look closer you see tons of tiny holes.

Diabetes Fact #7: While trying to balance insulin doses with food intake, daily exercise and activities, people with Type 1 Diabetes must still always be prepared for serious hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemic (high blood sugar) reactions which can be life threatening.

Diabetes Fact #8:  While insulin injections or infusions allow a person with type 1 diabetes to stay alive, insulin does NOT CURE diabetes.

November 7, 2011

What's Your Type?

Do you know that diabetes has more than one type?  If you are part of the DOC, or affected by diabetes in any way, no doubt you would be able to answer this question in much detail.  But I would be willing to bet that the percentages of people who could answer goes down significantly for those not directly affected by one or both of these diseases.  AND, I would go further to say that the percentages go down even more for those that have not somehow been affected by Type 1 diabetes.  One of the reasons that I feel so sure of this is that if you had asked me back in 2008, I would have told you "sure, I know what diabetes is"...only to spout out information about type 2 diabetes.  I also can tell you that we have encountered numerous individuals, who have shared their take and experiences with diabetes with our family.  I know that they are well-meaning "advice-givers", however, they have got it ALL WRONG!  Mostly, they are all quoting experiences of dealing with type 2 diabetes.

So, let's clear up this type thing...

Both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are serious!  They both increase a person's risk for many health complications.  But there are some real differences that matter between the two and I want people to KNOW!

Causes:  Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease.  It is caused when the body attacks itself, destroying the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.  This leaves the person dependent upon receiving insulin via an insulin pump or multiple daily shots.  Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder.  With Type 2 diabetes, the body is still producing insulin.  The problem here is that it is either not producing enough insulin, or it is not able to use it effectively.

Risk Factors:  Type 1 diabetes is not preventable.  Many people think of diabetes as resulting from an unhealthy lifestyle.  This is not the case with type 1.  Exercising more or eating certain types or amounts of food will not prevent or reverse type 1 diabetes.  Genetics, being overweight and lack of physical activity are all risk factors that can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes accounts for only 5-10% of the people with diabetes.  The majority of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, accounting for 90-95%.

I found a great chart showing some differences between type 1 and type 2 on Revolution Health.  I'd like to share the information from the chart here: 

Differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes
-Symptoms usually start in childhood or young adulthood. People often seek medical help because they are seriously ill from sudden symptoms of high blood sugar.

-Episodes of low blood sugar level (hypoglycemia) are common. 

-It cannot be prevented.

Type 2 diabetes
-The person may not have symptoms before diagnosis. Usually the disease is discovered in adulthood, but an increasing number of children are being diagnosed with the disease.
 
-There are no episodes of low blood sugar level, unless the person is taking insulin or certain oral diabetes medicines.

- It can be prevented or delayed with a healthy lifestyle, including maintaining a healthy weight, eating sensibly, and exercising regularly


 

I am certainly no doctor!  So, here are a few additional resources I found which discuss the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/7504.php

http://www.revolutionhealth.com/conditions/diabetes/diabetes-basics/difference-betewen-types/index

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/DiabetesOverview/story?id=3843306


Photobucket


Diabetes Fact #1:  Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.


Diabetes Fact #2:  No one knows exactly what causes type 1 diabetes. However, it IS known that it is NOT caused by poor diet or lack of exercise. Scientists believe that both genetic and environmental factors are involved.


Diabetes Fact #3:  Type 1 diabetes, sometimes referred to as Juvenile Diabetes, can strike at ANY age.

Diabetes Fact #4:  Type 1 diabets can occur suddenly and causes a dependence on insulin for life. Until there is a cure.

Diabetes Fact #5:  To stay alive, people with type 1 diabetes must take multiple insulin injections daily or continually infuse insulin through an insulin pump.


Diabetes Fact #6:  People with type 1 diabetes must test their blood sugar 6 or more times a day by pricking their fingers. Ally's fingers look dirty - but when you look closer you see tons of tiny holes.

Diabetes Fact #7:  While trying to balance insulin doses with food intake, daily exercise and activities, people with Type 1 Diabetes must still always be prepared for serious hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemic (high blood sugar) reactions which can be life threatening.

November 6, 2011

What I Want You to Know

This is a re-post from last November, during Diabetes Awareness Month.  As I was thinking of posts that I could do to spread awareness this month, I remembered this post.  A year later, I STILL want you to know...

6 Things Ally Wants People to Know About Diabetes

(* I thought it would be fun to hear Ally's version...she did not even bat an eye when I asked her and spouted out #1. I guess she's been thinking about what she'd like other people to know about diabetes already...here's what was on her mind, in her own words!)


1.  I'm mostly like everybody else...I'm not that different.

2.  I have an insulin pump. I have a site and a needle goes in my body for the site. I also prick my fingers to check my sugar lots of times every day...I'd say like 20 times a day!!

3.  When I was first diagnosed I was in the hospital....I didn't feel good. I thought when I first got diagnosed...well, I thought I was going to die. Because of "die-abetes"...but I'm not going to die.....

4.  I also thought it was because I ate too much sugar but it has nothing to do with that!!!

5.  I didn't cause diabetes. My pancreas just said "I'm too lazy to do the work anymore."

6.  If I'm low I have to drink a juice box. (Ally's target range for her blood sugar is 70-130; She is "low" if she is less than 70.)

Well, after that I'm not sure there is much more to say! But I'll give it a go anyway!



Now for My Version....6 Things I Want People to Know About Diabetes

(When I started thinking about this, several of my answers were exactly what Ally was saying! She is not only brave, she is wise beyond her years. And even though I say that with pride, I am also angry that she has to know about this terrible disease. I will continue to support, advocate and educate in the best ways I know how until. there. is. a. cure!)


1. There are two major types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which a person's pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which a person's body still produces insulin but is unable to use it effectively. Type 2 is usually diagnosed in adulthood and does not always require insulin injections.

2. Ally can eat anything that she wants. We just have to measure or weigh the food and count the carbohydrates in the food or drink that she is consuming. We account for that by giving her the proper amount of insulin. Now, with that being said...I strive for Ally to eat a well balanced diet, just as I do for the rest of my family.


3. Ally did not do anything to cause her diabetes. Her pancreas quit on her! Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which a person's own body (white blood cells) attack the insulin producing cells (beta cells) in the pancreas.

4. Type 1 Diabetes is not reversible. It is not controlled by diet and exercise. Ally is kept alive by insulin. People with type 1 diabetes must take multiple injections of insulin daily or continually infuse insulin through a pump.

5. I worry about Ally's blood sugar numbers all the time. If you know me, you know this. But let me tell you why...This is because of what high blood glucose can do to Ally's body over time (refer to #6). Even more immediately threatening is severe hypoglycemia or low blood glucose. Severe hypoglycemia can lead to unconsciousness, seizures, coma or even death. Even when we do everything right...monitoring her blood sugar, accounting for carbs, etc...lows can happen and they can come on quickly.

6. She is not "just fine." We do not "manage her diabetes really well." YES, she is beautiful! YES, she is a trooper and I'd bet you've never even seen her complain about all those finger pricks, shots, or sites inserted with a needle. But she is not fine. She suffers every day from this horrible disease, whether we can see it or not. Below are some of the major complications of Type 1 Diabetes. She is not fine. We need a cure.


Cardiovascular Disease

The risk of heart disease is substantially increased for people with diabetes.


Kidney Disease (Nephropathy)

After 7 to 15 years, 25 to 40% of all patients with Type 1 diabetes develop microalbuminuria. Of these, over 90% progress to proteinuria over time. Kidney function declines at variable rates; it appears to be a slower decline in Type 2 diabetes. After 10 years of persistent proteinuria, the incidence of chronic kidney failure is 50% in those with Type 1 diabetes.


Blindness

Three complications of diabetes can lead to blindness: retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma. Of people who have had diabetes for at least 15 years, 97% of insulin-taking patients and 80% of those not taking insulin have retinopathy; the most severe manifestation, proliferative diabetic retinopathy, occurs in 40% of those taking insulin and 5% of those not taking insulin. Of people who have had insulin-dependent diabetes for 30 or more years, 12% are blind. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of new cases of legal blindness among the working age population.


Nervous System Disease (Neuropathy)

Roughly 60% of people with diabetes have some degree of diabetic neuropathy, and in half of these it develops within nine years of diagnosis. Most have a mixed motor/sensory deficit resulting in decreased sensation, increased sensitivity, pain, weakness, and muscle wasting. Frequently, abnormal functioning of the autonomic (self-functioning) nervous system leads to disorders of the heart and circulation, and gastrointestinal and genitourinary tracts.


Lower Extremity Amputations (LEA)

The risk of lower extremity (limb) amputations following diabetes diagnosis is 6% at 20 years and 11% at 30 years. Lower limb amputations are typically the result of a foot infection that does not heal and eventually becomes gangrenous. The initial wound is often the result of a lack of protective sensory function in the foot due to neuropathy. The inability of the wound to heal properly is due to decreased blood and nutrient flow to the lower limbs, the result of peripheral vascular disease in most cases.


High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease.


Dental Disease

Periodontal disease (a type of disease that can lead to tooth loss) occurs with greater frequency and severity among people with diabetes. Periodontal disease has been reported to occur among 30% of people aged 19 years or older with Type 1 diabetes.


Complications of Pregnancy (for women with pre-existing diabetes)

The rate of major congenital malformations in babies born to women with pre-existing diabetes varies from 0% to 5% among women who receive preconception care to 10% among women who do not. Between 3% and 5% of pregnancies among women with diabetes result in the death of the newborn; the rate among women who do not have diabetes is 1.5%.


Other Complications

Diabetes can directly cause acute life-threatening events, such as diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar nonketotic coma, as a result of biochemical imbalance in uncontrolled diabetes. People with diabetes are more susceptible to many other illnesses. For example, they are more likely to die of pneumonia or influenza than people who do not have diabetes. Type 1 diabetes can reduces life expectancy by 15 years and does cause premature death.

Enough said.



...And a year later, I am still amazed at how smart and strong my little girl is!  She wrote that when she was just 7 years old!

Photobucket

Diabetes Fact #1:  Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.


Diabetes Fact #2:  No one knows exactly what causes type 1 diabetes. However, it IS known that it is NOT caused by poor diet or lack of exercise. Scientists believe that both genetic and environmental factors are involved.


Diabetes Fact #3:  Type 1 diabetes, sometimes referred to as Juvenile Diabetes, can strike at ANY age.

Diabetes Fact #4:  Type 1 diabets can occur suddenly and causes a dependence on insulin for life. Until there is a cure.

Diabetes Fact #5:  To stay alive, people with type 1 diabetes must take multiple insulin injections daily or continually infuse insulin through an insulin pump.


Diabetes Fact #6:  People with type 1 diabetes must test their blood sugar 6 or more times a day by pricking their fingers. Ally's fingers look dirty - but when you look closer you see tons of tiny holes.

November 5, 2011

Going the Distance

When it comes to "Going the Distance" for Diabetes Awareness, Team Type 1 is unbeatable!  They are truly an inspiration to the entire diabetes community...and beyond.

I would like to share this press release with you about what Team Type 1 and TrialNet are doing this November.












Team Type 1 and TrialNet Go the Distance for Type 1 Diabetes

Team Type 1, a group of elite athletes with type 1 diabetes, will Run Across America, starting in San Diego and crossing the New York City finish line on November 14, World Diabetes Day. Expecting to cover 200 miles a day for 15 days, the runners hope their 3,000-mile trek will help raise awareness of type 1 diabetes.

At the same time, TrialNet, an international network of researchers exploring ways to prevent and delay the progression of type 1 diabetes, will be attempting to cross a finish line of its own. TrialNet’s goal is to screen an additional 3,000 people—one for every mile that Team Type 1 runs—for increased risk of type 1 diabetes. Reaching this goal will bring the total number of people who have participated in TrialNet research to 100,000.

The test offered by TrialNet is not your standard type 1 diabetes test. This test can actually detect an increased risk for type 1 diabetes up to 10 years before symptoms appear. TrialNet offers the screening free of charge to relatives of people with type 1 diabetes (whose chances of developing the disease are approximately 15 times greater than those with no family history).

Why is identifying increased risk so important? Screening is the first step in the pathway to prevention. Those identified at increased risk may be able to join research studies testing ways to delay and even prevent the disease.

Team Type 1 and TrialNet want people to know that great strides have been made in early detection and treatment of type 1 diabetes. “These athletes inspire all of us, especially children newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes,” said Bill Russell, M.D., TrialNet principal investigator at the Vanderbilt Eskind Diabetes Clinic. “They send a message that says people with type 1 diabetes can do anything!” Dr. Russell has accompanied Team Type 1’s cycling team as a team physician and witnessed their hard work and dedication firsthand.

Nearly 200 TrialNet locations nationwide offer screening and research studies. Screening test kits are also available by mail.

You and your family can join the team by getting screened for type 1 diabetes. To find a TrialNet location or to learn more, visit http://www.DiabetesTrialNet.org/ or call 1-800-425-8361. To learn more about Team Type 1 and follow the Run Across America, visit http://teamtype1.org/.

# # #
Led by the National Institutes of Health, TrialNet is supported by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the American Diabetes Association.


Team Type 1 is a global sports organization changing the lives of people with diabetes around the world through racing, groundbreaking research, international outreach, and philanthropic initiatives in developing countries.


I had the TrialNet screening done this year with my friend Hallie.  It was really quick and easy.



Don't forget to visit the Team Type 1 site to track their Run Across America.  It's been fun watching them Go the Distance!
Photobucket

Diabetes Fact #1:  Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.


Diabetes Fact #2:  No one knows exactly what causes type 1 diabetes. However, it IS known that it is NOT caused by poor diet or lack of exercise. Scientists believe that both genetic and environmental factors are involved.


Diabetes Fact #3:  Type 1 diabetes, sometimes referred to as Juvenile Diabetes, can strike at ANY age.

Diabetes Fact #4:  Type 1 diabets can occur suddenly and causes a dependence on insulin for life. Until a there is a cure.

Diabetes Fact #5:  To stay alive, people with type 1 diabetes must take multiple insulin injections daily or continually infuse insulin through an insulin pump.

November 4, 2011

Happy BLUE Friday!









Blue Fridays is an initiative to bring attention to World Diabetes Day, and to advocate and bring awareness for diabetes and the people living with it. Diabetes is more than a national issue; it's a world epidemic. This year, I want to rally the diabetes community to celebrate World Diabetes Day and Diabetes Awareness Month by asking people to wear blue every Friday during the Month of November and on World Diabetes Day (November 14). Please help spread the word.
Thank you,
Cherise Shockley
Diabetes Social Media Advocacy
http://www.facebook.com/wddbluefridays

Thanks to Cherise for rallying the troops!  We will be wearing BLUE every Friday this month.  Won't you join us?



Photobucket



Diabetes Fact #1: Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.


Diabetes Fact #2: No one knows exactly what causes type 1 diabetes. However, it IS known that it is NOT caused by poor diet or lack of exercise. Scientists believe that both genetic and environmental factors are involved.


Diabetes Fact #3: Type 1 diabetes, sometimes referred to as Juvenile Diabetes, can strike at ANY age.


Diabetes Fact #4:  Type 1 diabets can occur suddenly and causes a dependence on insulin for life. Until a there is a cure.

November 3, 2011

Educate and Re-educate!

With this being Diabetes Awareness Month, I feel most compelled to spread awareness of the symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes.  So, I'd like to share a guest post which I wrote back in July for my friend Heidi over at D-Tales.  I apologize if you have read it before, however, these stories can't be shared enough.  They could save a life.

Ally was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in February of 2009. I began blogging a little over a year later, in March of 2010. Many of my favorite blogs, written by fellow D Mamas, included their “diagnosis story.” I sat down back in March of 2010 with the intentions of writing our diagnosis story. But I couldn’t. It was still too raw for me. I tried again this year as we approached Ally’s two year diaversary. Still couldn’t do it.

But since then something has changed.

Ally and I met some new friends this week. We met a mother and daughter who live a somewhat parallel life to us. My new friend’s daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes one year ago. As she and I were talking about each of our diagnosis stories, I got a sort of chill down my spine.

I still have not written Ally’s diagnosis story, but there is a part that I feel needs to be shared. Just before Ally’s diagnosis I had noticed some changes in Ally. I now realize that they were classic Warning Signs of Type 1 Diabetes.


Ally was extremely thirsty. Ally was urinating all the time. She became tired, very tired. She did not have enough energy to speak above a whisper. She could not hold her head up off of the arm of the couch, and eventually fell to the ground when she tried to stand because she did not have enough energy to hold her body up. I had noticed that she seemed to have a funny smelling breath and I kept asking her if she remembered to brush her teeth. Her kindergarten teacher had expressed concern that she was having trouble reading (even though she was reading chapter books upon entering kindergarten!) and that possibly we should have her eyes checked. A few of these symptoms happened over a couple of weeks, but for the most part they all came to a head in one weekend.

Now, the reason that I feel compelled to share this part of our diagnosis story is because of the response that I got when I called the pediatrician’s office early on the morning of February 10, 2009. I asked to speak to a nurse because I was so concerned about Ally and was debating whether or not to just drive her to the ER. I described ALL of the above symptoms to this nurse and she told me that I should bring Ally in to see the doctor and she could get me in at noon. I said that wasn’t soon enough, I AM DEBATING TAKING HER TO THE HOSPITAL…SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT! She told me to calm down. She told me to give her some juice. Let me repeat….give her some juice! And bring her in at noon. I put Ally in the car immediately and drove to the pediatrician’s office (it is about 5 minutes from our house). I said that I needed one of the doctors to see her immediately. They did take me in. And a few short minutes later, we were on our way to Children’s Hospital ER with a “99% sure” diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Since that day, I have replayed the conversation with the nurse over and over again. I am shocked that she did not even have a suspicion that it could have been diabetes. I am shocked!

And then when talking with my new friend about her daughter’s diagnosis, I heard a similar version of that conversation with our nurse. She had taken her daughter to the doctor because she thought she had a UTI. They took a urine sample. They told her that she did not have a UTI, but she did appear to have all the symptoms of one, so they treated her for that. Six days later this very persistent Mama went back and demanded another urine sample and blood work…the idea of type 1 diabetes had somehow (miraculously!) popped into her head one night while she laid awake worrying about her little girl. This time the nurse told her that they had been meaning to call her because her daughter was spilling sugar into her urine…uh, this was 6 days later folks!!

I am so concerned about the lack of awareness about Type 1 Diabetes. I’m not talking about what we go through on a day to day basis.  Nor am I talking about the lack of knowledge out there about the difference in type 1 and type 2 diabetes (that’s a story for another day!). I’m talking about the warning signs. Yes, the signs can come on quickly and they also can look like many other illnesses. But speaking for myself, as a parent, as a teacher of young children, I did not know about these warning signs. And obviously, hearing of just these two accounts, we have more than one member of the medical field who also does not recognize these warning signs and symptoms.

(Side note:  Since originally writing this post, I have met yet another friend whose young daughter's diagnosis was almost missed because they sent her back home telling her it was probably a UTI.)

Something needs to be done. Warning Signs of Type 1 Diabetes need to be taught (or re-taught) to all those in the medical field, shared within schools, posted for parents. Something needs to be done. And if not us, then who?
Photobucket





Diabetes Fact #1: Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.

Diabetes Fact #2: No one knows exactly what causes type 1 diabetes. However, it IS known that it is NOT caused by poor diet or lack of exercise. Scientists believe that both genetic and environmental factors are involved.

Diabetes Fact #3: Type 1 diabetes, sometimes referred to as Juvenile Diabetes, can strike at ANY age. And whenever it hits you, it's forever. Until a cure.



November 2, 2011

Prove It!

Dear "Chiropractor Hurtsville",


You picked the WRONG month to leave your comment on my blog!  You see this is November.  This is Diabetes Awareness Month.  This is the time to educate others about type 1 diabetes and to spread awareness so that one day we may have a real life cure. 

Then again, as I'm typing this, I'm thinking that maybe your comment came at just the right time.  You have proven why it is so important for us to spread awareness...because there are so many - LIKE YOU - who don't have the facts straight! 

I welcome you to follow my blog, especially this Diabetes Awareness Month, so that you too may clear up your misconceptions.

Sincerely,

Misty
Mom of a beautiful girl with Type 1 Diabetes (who did NOTHING to cause this!!)


The comment that I am referring to in the above note ironically was submitted on the first day of Diabetes Awareness month on a very old post of mine Ten Things I Hate About You Diabetes.  Here is the idiotic comment (which I am sharing here to make a point, but NOT publishing on my blog post as a comment).



chiropractor Hurtsville has left a new comment on your post "Ten things I hate about you, Diabetes":

Diabetes is truly a pain to deal with. In this case, the old adage "prevention is the best cure" holds true. I'm glad you came up with this post, because I'm sure it will warn a lot of people before they start having diabetes themselves.

P.S. You got one thing right in this comment - Diabetes is a pain!!!  But I challenge you to PROVE to me that I could have done something to prevent Type 1 Diabetes from happening to my little girl. 

Diabetes Fact #1:  Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.

Diabetes Fact #2:  No one knows exactly what causes type 1 diabetes. However, it IS known that it is NOT caused by poor diet or lack of exercise. Scientists believe that both genetic and environmental factors are involved.

October 27, 2011

What's in your Doctor Kit?

Do your children have a doctor kit?  Or maybe you remember having one as a child.  It was one of my favorite toys as a kid.  The one my girls have is a much fancier version than the one that I remember having.  This one even includes a "pager"!

That is not the only thing in my girls' doctor kit that is different from my childhood version.  Ours also includes an old blood sugar meter, a couple of test strip containers, an expired test strip or two (and hopefully, they haven't found any of the thousand used ones we find lying around and thrown those in there too!), and a lancing device.  Don't worry, no lancets, just the "clicker"!  It seems, however, that we have forgotten something in "our family's version" of a doctor kit.  Watch this video and you'll see Lexi discover what we forgot.


Ahh...she needs her juice!  When I walked into the playroom, I found Lexi "checking her baby's blood sugar".  She looked up at me for 2 seconds, said "She's high," and went right back to it.  She was not happy until she heard the "shunk" of the clicker.  (Did you notice that she forgot to check what the meter said??)

I laughed out loud when she threw the meter and went running for juice!  I guess this doctor kit needs some fast acting carbs added to it!  (And, possibly, we need to teach her that LOW means juice :)
Photobucket

October 14, 2011

The Day Will Come, Will We Be Prepared

I was just reading an article on http://www.diabeteshealth.com/ titled Celebrating Caregivers
It took me back to the week of Ally's diagnosis.  I remember sitting in the hospital room, hanging on every word that the dietician was saying.  I was so scared that I would not be able to take care of Ally once we left the hospital.  Obviously she taught us a lot those couple of days.  But the one story that I can still "hear" her telling us was about a young girl, who she had recently met with, that was getting ready to go away to college.  She said that this girl had been in tears, afraid, overwhelmed.  You see, this young lady had an amazing D Mama.  This Mama had managed her diabetes care for years since her daughter's Type 1 diagnosis.  And this young girl, ready to take on the college world, had no idea how to count carbs or to figure her insulin boluses. 

Ok, so by college, it is hard to believe that she would not have picked up on some of these skills (Yes!  Those who count carbs and bolus insulin are skilled! :)  I remember making a note that day, amidst all of the how-to's of D care, that we should include Ally in her diabetes management - as much as possible, at the appropriate ages, but before its too late!  Ally was in kindergarten then, so even though I "noted" it, I may not have really internalized it.  Over the years, I have.  I get itI know the importance of teaching Ally to be responsible for her own diabetes care one day.  But I still just don't want to imagine it.

I think it is a constant struggle (isn't everything about diabetes?) - How much of her diabetes management should I expect Ally to do at 8 years old?  Will I be able to pull back when it is time to let Ally take the reigns?

This excerpt from the article is still ringing in my ears.
"I resented it, frankly. Why was my mom, the person who was supposed to take care of me, giving me ownership of this daunting disease? The answer, of course, was that the best way she could help me in the long term was by giving me control of my treatment. It stung a little, and I certainly wasn't perfect. But my mom knew I needed a chance to not be perfect, to grapple with diabetes on my own terms."
And also this...
"If I've succeeded so far, it's largely because of the example she set for me in those first 10 years. And where I've fallen short, it's because I've forgotten about or ignored that example."
It is so hard for me to imagine not holding Ally's hand through it all...but this article has reminded me of the importance of her taking on the responsibility of her own D care, eventually.  And also, that in the meantime I am responsible for setting a good example :)

Photobucket

October 4, 2011

Ally Rocked the Powerpoint!

When I started this blog, my goals were three-fold.  1) To connect with other people living with and/or parenting a child with Type 1 Diabetes,  2) To educate others about Type 1 Diabetes, and  3) To just plain vent about it!  It has been my therapy.

Today, as I am writing this post, I'm feeling like I have become a bit bragadocious on the blog lately.  Please know that my blogging goals have not changed.  But, this feels like the best place for me to show how very proud I am of Ally.

Last week, I told you about Ally not wanting me to read the "childish" book about diabetes to her class, as I have in years past.  I also told you about Ally's inspiration from Avery's awesome video and her decision to model her own Powerpoint presentation after this.  We were just waiting for Ally and her teacher to decide when to share it with the class.  She had asked me if I could come in and just sit in the back of the room, in case any of the kids had questions that she couldn't answer.

Keith & I had the chance to get away for a couple of days last weekend.  (Many thanks to my awesome Mom for taking care of the girls!)  While we were out of town, I received this email from Ally's teacher.
Hi Misty,

I meant to email you today, but got busy and it slipped my mind, so I'm doing it now from home.  Ally did her presentation today and did a beautiful job.  She seemed very comfortable sharing her book and Powerpoint and answering questions.  As you know, I've been talking with her about when she'd like to do it and if she wanted to do it on her own or with you, a friend, Mrs. P (nurse), etc.  Each time before, she hasn't been sure or quite ready, but today when I talked with her about the possible options of setting it up for next week and having you come in or doing it herself, she was just ready.  I think she's become more comfortable with communicating with me about needing to go to the clinic and sharing info from Mrs. P and has had a few different friends escort her to the clinic or help her with assignments, so maybe she was just ready to bring everyone in the loop.  She did want Mrs. P to join us, which she did.  The truth is, she didn't really need me or Mrs. P except for a little moral support.  She was very organized and mature-She even smiled a lot.  I was really impressed and pleased with how comfortable she was.  Her classmates were very concerned and interested and were attentive the whole time.  The Powerpoint was great.  You both did a very nice job with that.  I have a lot of respect for Ally.  She is amazing.  I'm glad she's in my class this year.

I hope you had a good trip. Have a nice weekend! ~Mrs. R

Tears. I was so proud of her! Ally tends to be shy when talking about her diabetes. Actually, until she feels 100% comfortable, she is shy in any situation. I was shocked (in a good way) that she had decided to go ahead and do the presentation without me. This is her presentation.  She decided what she wanted to say, what pictures to use and even the title (lol!) on her own!


(Click to advance to each new slide.)




Ally reported that the presentation went very well and the kids had some really good questions.
 
How does the pump work?
How long does it take you to go back high, after you are low?
Can you trade your pancreas with someone else?

She was proud of herself too! 
Photobucket

September 30, 2011

I AM in Third Grade Now, Mom!

Ally's 3rd grade teacher has been amazing so far!  Honestly, I've never felt the love like I do from her.  Ally was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in February of her kindergarten year.  Her kindergarten teacher was very concerned and willing to do whatever was needed.  Ally also had extremely compassionate 1st and 2nd grade teachers.  There is just something extra special about Mrs. R.  Or maybe another way to say it is that she has come along at just the right time for Ally! 

Ally is Mrs. R's first student with Type 1 Diabetes.  She has a distant relative with T1 and she had gestational diabetes during her pregnancy, but she admits to not knowing much about caring for someone with diabetes.  I have met with her a few times.  Each time that we have met, she has been very focused, prepared with questions about Ally and questions about diabetes.  It is obvious that she has researched Type 1 Diabetes by the questions that she asks.  She told me that she has read through Ally's school packet several times.  She wants to understand the whole picture, much more than "When should I send her to the clinic?"

The latest conversation with Mrs. R was about our choices for educating Ally's classmates and their families about Type 1 Diabetes.  Mrs. R wanted Ally to decide how and when the information would be delivered to her classmates, as well as who she would like to do it.  In both 1st and 2nd grades, I went into the classroom and read the book Lara Takes Charge by Rocky Lang and Sally Huss.  It is a cute story about a little girl with type 1 diabetes.  I like it because it is colorful, doesn't deliver more information than young children can understand (or need to know!) and the little girl in the story wears an insulin pump.

This year, Ally told me that she didn't want me to read that book to the class.  I realize that she is in 3rd grade now, and maybe having your mom read a book to the class is less appealing than it has been in the past!  She also says that the book is kind of "babyish."
I found this article, Back-to-School Tips for Parents Managing a Child with Diabetes on dlife.com. I especially liked the section titled "Get and Keep The Child Involved." It has this advice...
Depending on the age and how long the child has had the disease, a child with diabetes is generally happier and healthier the more s/he is involved with the diabetes care. It is key to engage the child in the school plan and letting him or her help choose when and how fellow students learn about diabetes. Keep the lines of communication open about managing diabetes at school and while the child can help in the care, diabetes is not a do-it-yourself disease, so the adults at school need to remain involved.
Ok, I got the message.  So, I asked Ally how she would like to share information about diabetes with her classmates.  She quickly reminded me of an amazing video that we had watched together.  It was shared by a fellow D Mama and facebook friend, Kim.  Her 6 year old daughter, Avery, tells all about having Type 1 Diabetes.  It is really awesome!  Ally thought that she might like to make a similar video.  I loved this idea!  But then when she came home from school the next day, she plopped down on the computer, opened up PowerPoint (I didn't even know I had it on my laptop!) and began writing her own story.  I was so happy that she had felt empowered to do this on her own.  I think that she will be so comfortable sharing this story, with real pictures of her pump and other diabetes supplies.  She and her teacher are working out the details about sharing it with the calss.  We printed and laminated her story, but since she used PowerPoint, they may choose to share it on the Smart Board instead!

And if you have not seen this video by the amazing Avery, you will definitely want to check it out!  So inspiring!!




Photobucket

September 28, 2011

Proud of My Girl for Speaking Up




I am so proud of my sweet Ally.  I will tell you why, but first, let me remind you that this is the same girl who has a hard time speaking up to her teachers when she feels low.

Ally had soccer practice the other night.  The coach brought treats to celebrate their hard work in the weekend's game.  She had ice cream sandwiches and popsicles.  As she passed them out she told the girls to choose one or the other.  Ally looked over at me for approval, I nodded giving her the go ahead.  Then I said, "Ally, check the box."  (She knew that meant to check the carb count so that I could give her insulin to cover the carbs when we would reconnect her insulin pump at the end of practice just a few minutes later.)

The coach heard me ask Ally to check the box and she said, "It's ok.  The popsicles are sugar free."  I'm sure that she thought (as many do) that sugar free means that Ally can have them free of needing insulin.  (Not the case...sugar free popsicle = 4 carbs.)   


In some instances, possibly including this one following an hour of soccer practice, we would not cover those 4 carbs with insulin.  Sometimes we do.  However, my point was that they still have carbs and for us, carbs = insulin.

But none of that actually mattered because Ally picked the ice cream sandwich!  (Don't blame her.  I couldn't have helped myself either!) 

She looked at the box and yelled "20 carbs, Mom!"  Coach said, "You can't have that.  Have a sugar free popsicle instead."  Ally did not skip a beat saying, "Well, those still have carbs and I can eat whatever I want as long as I have insulin for it!"

Now, I really like her soccer coach.  And while I do appreciate that she was thinking about Ally when she made these purchases, I was disappointed that, once again, my words had gone in one ear and out the other!

But most importantly, I was so proud of Ally for speaking up!

Photobucket

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...