November 11, 2010

To Insulin and Beyond....

This is a follow up to my Independence and Beyond post.  Back in September, I wrote about my fears of Ally one day growing up and moving out.  I talked about how Keith and I are her functioning pancreas now...and about how I know that we must teach her to function as her own pancreas...before that moving day comes.

We do try to encourage her independence in small ways now:
  • Ally checks her own blood sugar.
  • At school, she logs her information herself, with the nurse looking over her shoulder and recording it on the master school document.
  • A few times a week, Ally helps me write out the carb count for each item in her school lunch.
  • As often as I think of it (not as often as I should!) I have Ally read nutrition labels to me...looking at serving size and carbohydrate count.

I am beginning to see Ally gaining independence.

The other day Ally went to a friend's house.  The family knows enough about Type 1 Diabetes to know that she checks her blood sugar, she has to have insulin before eating or drinking almost everything and that they should call me if they notice Ally having any of the symptoms of high or low (especially) blood sugar.  A very basic understanding, but a start none-the-less.  (I have also printed out Playdate Cheat Sheets to give to the parents when Ally goes to their house for a playdate.  I borrowed this idea from Reyna..check out that and other homemade documents for educating schools and friends at Beta Buddies.)

They were willing to have Ally over to play and so I agreed to a 2 hour playdate.  We don't live far from them and I was a quick phone call away.  The mother told me that they would be having a snack and I was able to count the carbs for some of it and I sent a substitute for the remainder.  So, Ally had a little index card listing her snack and carb count.  I told her she could call me when it was snack time so that I could walk her through it if she wanted to.  No phone call.  As it turns out, Ally checked her blood sugar and wrote it in her log book along with what her CGM was reading at the time (I didn't tell her to do this!).  She also wrote down the time, how many carbs she was eating and the amount of her bolus.  As soon as she got home, she pulled out the logbook and showed it to me.  I was so proud of her!  I know that she is capable of doing this, but she never does without the supervision of one of her parents, the school nurse or sometimes Grandma :)

Then, again this week, she proved that she is beginning to move in the direction of independence.  Ally checks her BG at the end of every school day before getting on the bus...this particular day it was 127.  Sounds good.  Well, she felt "shaky" on the bus ride home from school.  She looked at her CGM and it said "90-something" with double arrows down.  So, she told the bus driver that she felt low and asked her if it was ok if she ate a glucose tablet.  The bus driver alerted me that she might be low as she was getting off the bus, so we checked her right away....75.  And this was after eating the glucose tablet.  Thank goodness she had the sense to do that!  Now, we did talk about the fact that if she feels low, it's ok to go ahead and eat two or three of those tablets!  And I do keep a meter in her backpack despite being discouraged to do so last know that BIG SCARY LANCET is a weapon after all!  I just didn't ask this year.  Guess she didn't think to use it...oh well, important thing was that she spoke up and treated herself.  I am very proud of her!

Another small step....To Insulin and Beyond!

**Please share your ideas for creating this independence in our young type 1 children.  You can post it here in the comments or email me at  I will compose all of the hints and post them here.



  1. Wow, that is awesome! Great job, Ally! And great ideas for helping to encourage independence in our kiddos. Something I need to start thinking about for sure.

  2. Way to go, Ally! And way to go mom and dad, as I know it's not easy to let go, even by taking baby steps!

    We do much of the same things you're doing with Ally.

    Jack is still on MDI, but we allow him to give himself injections. We draw up the insulin and then he injects himself.

    We also often ask him how he thinks we should treat situations (highs, lows, meals, etc). We include him in the judgment/decision-making process.

    We often allow him to select his quick-acting carb of choice to treat a low.

    We're honest with him. We don't sugarcoat diabetes. Though, we're careful not to tell him more than he needs to know.

    Jack often weighs food on our scale to determine the number of carbs, under our supervision, of course.

  3. Love that Ally recognized she was feeling low, looked at the CGM and saw the double down and gave herself glucose tabs. She and Joe sound similar in what they are doing.

    Does she do her boluses too?

    Joe started doing his own boluses in K-garten b/c he felt the nurse "took too long" - LOL (that is SO Joe). So he is allowed to self-bolus as long as he shows the nurse the total amount of insulin he should be giving, what he has scrolled in, she must say "OK" and then he can deliver it.

    I haven't started the "logging" component of the independence...great idea and I think I'll check with Joe to see if he would like more of a hand in that.

    Like Heidi, I always show Joe his number and ask..."what do you want to do with that?"...especially at times where he is active. I am trying to get him to pay close attention to his body and how he feels.

    What a great post Misty...

  4. My heart swelled a little SHOULD be very proud!! I like how you get her involved..I think that is important. I try and do that with Addison too..

  5. That is awesome! I am looking forward to those days with Lovebug, but at the same time I'm not. Then I know she will be much more aware of everything. I'm not sure I am ready for that. I am trying to do little steps to start getting her ready. I do let her put the strip in the meter but she hasn't asked to poke herself or anything...yet. I know the day is coming though. She is fiecely independent and I'm surprised it hasn't happened already.

  6. I'm so proud.

    Of both of you :)

    Great job, Team Ally!

    Small day we'll be a bunch of grandmothers blogging about the old days when our kids USED to have T1D :)

  7. Ally has always been a very mature little girl, I'm sure she never ceases to surprise you! I can only imagine how hard it is to give her some of that independence when there is so much at stake. You're a great mom, Misty! You're doing all the right things!


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