Diabetic v. Diabetes

My son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was three, so it took some time for us to master a new lexicon that had suddenly become part of our daily language: ketones, glucagon, hypoglycemia, and the list goes on. For the first few weeks after diagnosis we moped around the house, afraid to leave for fear of restaurants and grocery stores, puzzled at how to check a blood sugar in the car with a kid in a carseat. During this time, Henry had lots of questions about his “dia-bee-bees.”

Even in those early days after diagnosis, when someone referred to my son as “a diabetic” it irked me in a way I didn’t fully yet understand. When I broke the news of Henry’s diagnosis to friends and family, I closed the email with, “Henry is a healthy three-year-old boy, who also happens to have diabetes.” In those early murky days, when I was struggling to understand the difference between Lantus and Humalog, it was always clear to me that Henry was a person before he was “a diabetic.”

The 2016 Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes is out, and there’s a huge shift in the lexicon surrounding diabetes. The Summary Revisions section declares, “In alignment with the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA’s) position that diabetes does not define people, the word ‘diabetic’ will no longer be used when referring to individuals with diabetes in the ‘Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes.’ The ADA will continue to use the term ‘diabetic’ as an adjective for complications related to diabetes (e.g., diabetic retinopathy)  (54.)'”

“Diabetic” is an adjective for complications related to diabetes, not my kid. My kid is a person with diabetes. Sure, “person with diabetes” (PWD) is more awkward to say; there’s three additional syllables, and the language is obviously stretching to avoid labels, but the change in perspective can be life-enlightening.

At our house, we used to call the Fed-Ex delivery van “the pincher truck.”

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a pincher truck on delivery

This made total sense to Henry, who came up with the name. One day after he’d spent the night in the hospital, his parents, who’d never physically hurt him, had to hold him down 5-7 times a day and give him shots. Not only did they have to give him the shot, but they had to hold the needle in and count to three just to ensure better delivery of the insulin. Sometimes, they had to do this in his sleep. Then they started taping these pinchers (Dexcom) to his skin, and these pinchers came out of the pincher truck every month or so.

Henry’s almost two years into living with diabetes. He wears a pump and CGM (continuous glucose monitor), and he understands why. He’s also learned that sometimes toys come out of the pincher truck. He’s learning there’s never just one thing in this world. There are people, and some of those people have diabetes.

The first line of the 2016 Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes Introduction reads, “Diabetes is a complex, chronic illness requiring continuous medical care with multifactorial risk-reduction strategies beyond glycemic control. Ongoing patient self-management education and support are critical to preventing acute complications and reducing the risk of long-term complications.” That’s some heavy shit.

Here’s the subtext of that Introduction. Diabetes is a disease and a condition. Diabetes (types 1 and 2) is presenting complexities to a medical system that’s been modeled on fixing acute conditions, not managing a chronic disease across a person’s lifetime, which is why so much of the care, education, and financial burden for diabetes falls on the person and the person’s family.

My son needs strength and confidence to take the extra steps of self-care to manage his disease. At five-years-old, he’s already making sacrifices that are necessary to live a healthy life with diabetes. Those first seeds of strength and confidence come from others seeing him as a person first, not a condition.

Diabetes & New Year’s Resolutions

I really enjoy the first week of the new year. The glut of the holidays is packed away, and while there’s reflection on the past, there’s more focus on the upcoming year. I work in academics, so the semester has yet to start, and our small town is usually covered in about a foot of snow. It’s quant, so this seems like the perfect time to reflect and plan. However, I’m not someone who makes New Year’s resolutions. In general, I believe that if there’s something I want to change or start, any random Thursday is just as good as New Year’s.

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a new year walk in the snow

Yet, type 1 diabetes has made me reconsider many assumptions and mores. The possible wisdom in establishing some resolutions at the start of the new year is just one of them. On her blog, Inspired by Isabella, T1D mom (and mother of triplets!) Kristina Dooley, wrote a post called “Losing Sight” that bravely discusses some of the biological stressors of being a T1D caretaker to a young child. Almost two years into the life of a d-mom and I can feel the effects of chronic sleep deprivation: foggy thinking, an increasing obsession with coffee, and higher stress levels.

Diabetes (both 1 and 2) is insidious for hundreds of reasons, but at the start of the new year, it seems that T1D is particularly cruel because there’s never a chance to regroup. Once that medical professional says “your child has type 1 diabetes” there’s no off-ramp. Instead, the person living with T1D, and to a smaller extent, his or her family, is running a marathon. For life.

We’ll look for the shady spots, like a three hour window with in-range steady blood sugars.

Maybe the start of 2016 is another good moment to rest. We don’t have much time before we’re back in the slog, so I think a few resolutions might help reframe our 2016 leg of T1D marathon: more protein, more sleep, and less worry about what’s beyond our control. On second thought, these are pretty lofty goals. I’ll settle for more sleep.

99 Diabetes Problems and Breakfast Is One Of Them

Having type 1 diabetes means following a pattern of exact measurements and calculations, all the while knowing that a pattern or desired result could likely not be the outcome. One day, Henry can run around like a madman at the playground and then come home to compete is some serious sofa jumping, and sometimes this physical activity will cause him to have a low blood sugar, but other times his blood sugar can go up.

However, there is a constant calculation in type 1, a perfect diabetes storm: food, stress, and biology, otherwise known as breakfast.

Food

Common breakfast foods such as sugary cereals, pancakes, waffles, and bagels are refined carbs that jack up blood sugars. The quickest way to see two arrows up (which indicates a rapidly rising blood glucose) on a CGM is to eat these common, simple carb-rich breakfasts foods.

Stress

I’m always confused by those scenes on T.V. shows and movies where families sit down in work clothes to pitchers of orange juice, bacon, and omelets before work and school. Really? Does this really happen? Really? A montage of a morning scenes at my house involves waking up two young kids, brushing hair and eating at the same time, putting at least one article of clothing on backwards, forgetting something, the kids playing a last minute game of school with stuffed animals just minutes before they go to their actual school. And diabetes care.

Biology

Breakfast is literally breaking a fast. When we go a long time without food, our body makes its own energy through glucoseneogensis, which is exactly what the word sounds like: the creation of new glucose, which is done from glycogen stores in the liver. In someone without T1D the beta cells of the pancreas send a message to the alpha cells of the pancreas to start the process of glucoseneogensis, which prevents our blood sugar from dropping too low, or around 70, in long time periods without food, like overnight or interminable work meetings.

In someone with T1D, the beta cells are non-functioning and therefore can’t communicate with the alpha cells. So the result of this is sporadic and unreliable glucoseneogensis. If endogenous (originating inside the body) glucose is being circulated, it takes exogenous (coming from outside the body) insulin to bring a blood glucose back in range. People with T1D are taught to account for exogenous glucose (glucose coming from food), but endogenous glucose is a crapshoot.

I don’t have type 1, and I’ve worn my son’s continuos glucose monitor on occasion. In the picture below, you can see a CGM on the top, which is my son’s. He woke up with a high blood glucose just below 200, and experienced a quick rise from the carbs he ate for breakfast. I woke with a blood sugar around 80, and it rose after I got up, cooked, and got the kids ready. The arrow points to where my blood sugar rose because of glucoseneogensis, but my endogenous insulin production quickly brought my level back down. The rising line on my son’s CGM shows just how difficult it is to get biology and math to line up.

morning glucose

Top CGM: T1D with high waking BG post breakfast with insulin and carbs, Bottom CGM: non T1D with waking BG around 80 and glucoseneogensis

Here’s one of the great challenges of diabetes care: a person caring for type 1 diabetes has to make decisions that simultaneously require anticipation and reaction. Every morning, we have to react to the waking glucose value and anticipate the food, activity, emotion, and invisible metabolic processes that Henry will encounter during his day.

It’s taken a while, but here’s how we’re navigating the perfect storm of diabetes and breakfast.

Food

Now that we’re paying attention to food, it’s really obvious that everyone should not eat some things. On occasion, I’ve worn my son’s CGM, and I can watch my non T1D blood sugar rise after eating a few crackers or a bit of bread. When I eat a salad or lean protein, there’s no rise in the line that indicates my blood sugar. It’s an easy conclusion: some foods, usually shelf-stable refined carbs, should not regularly be eaten.

For breakfast we try to balance our son’s plate with a fat, a protein, and carb. A typical breakfast for him might be something like an egg sandwich (check out this low carb bread) with cheese and an apple, or a wholegrain waffle with sugar-free syrup, sausage, and an egg.

Stress

I got nothing here. Diabetes makes everything harder. In related news,  (see above) we’ve opened a casual breakfast diner at our place.

Biology

Diabetes brings consistent inconsistencies. This morning Henry’s waking blood sugar was 94. Yesterday, it was 186. His blood sugar will be inconsistent, but we can consistently pre-bolus. Lately, while our son is still waking up, often in bed, or as part of getting dressed, we pre-bolus his insulin for breakfast. As his body goes through the metabolic process of waking up, and we complete the morning tasks of getting ready, this is a great time to pre-bolus and let the insulin’s onset of action time line up better with the carbs he’ll be eating in about 15-20 minutes.

With all this science, research, and effort, here’s yesterday’s two-hour post breakfast data.

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Looks like we’ll be pre-bolusing and serving up eggs over easy at Casa Del Semisweet from now on.


 

Announcing our first GIVE AWAY!

You’re invited to comment and with a recipe, link, or breakfast idea that’s blood sugar friendly. I’ll leave a few ideas and links in the comments to some breakfast foods we’ve been trying. If you post your comment by December 31st, a winner, at random, will be selected to receive a bar of handmade Semisweet Soap. I’ll contact the winner for shipping information, and we only ship within the U.S.

Team Pancreas: Caregivers Matt & Rachel

How would you describe your child’s condition?

Matt: Henry has type 1 diabetes. This means that his entire life is centered around the fact that his body does not produce the insulin he needs to process glucose, so we check his blood sugar about ten times a day by poking a small needle into his finger and adding that drop of blood onto a meter that tells us what his BG (blood glucose) is. Depending on what the number is, we give him insulin, sugar, or wait. This means that we deal with low blood sugars, which are potentially, immediately, fatal; high blood sugars, which can have drastic, long-term consequences for his life; or “normal” blood sugars, which help keep him healthy. We get up every two hours every night to help maintain his blood glucose. Two weeks ago, Henry looked at me and said, “Diabetes is a hard life.” I agree.

Rachel: Our son, Henry, has an autoimmune disease, type 1 diabetes. Something triggered his beta cells to stop producing insulin, so he must take subcutaneous insulin for the rest of his life, test his blood glucose 8-12 times a day and always account for the carbs he eats with insulin. There’s never a break from type 1 diabetes, because the person with diabetes or the person’s caregiver/s is trying to replicate a job the pancreas once did.

What care for your child is required, and how do you and your partner divide this care?

Matt: We make sure that he gets enough insulin to cover the carbs (sugars) he eats so that his blood glucose does not get too high and cause damage to his organ systems. We also make sure that his BG does not drop to a low level that could result in seizure or death. We count all of the carbs he eats and program his (miraculous) insulin pump to keep him in balance. We also change his pump site every two to three days, as well as his constant glucose monitor (CGM), another amazing device that keeps us updated on an estimate of his BG. Rachel definitively manages the difficult logistics of this care. She deals with insurance companies, refills at the pharmacy, and talking to the reps at Animas (insulin pump) and Dexcom (CGM).

Rachel and I both deal with the daily stresses of handling diabetes. We both count carbs, take BG readings, get up in the middle of the night and evenly split the duties of changing Henry’s pump and CGM sites. Henry has developed a pretty nasty allergy to the tape that holds both of these machines onto his skin, so we have to take a lot of precautions to make sure that his exposure to them is minimized. Rachel reached out to the diabetes online community and found people who helped us come up with solutions when our docs had basically given up and asked us to go to multiple daily injections.

The best balance that we have, in terms of day-to-day care, is that Rachel is very good at keeping track of what Henry needs medically and practically; she amazes me with how much she has learned about diabetes and its care—  and I am helpful in the ways that I try to create some distance from a life with diabetes and a “normal” life for Henry. I’m probably more likely to encourage us to get ice cream or wait to change a site— this balance only functions because of how hard Rachel works.

Rachel: In the wise words of Kenny Rogers, “Know when to hold ‘em, /  Know when to fold ‘em / Know when to walk away / Know when to run.” I know when to hold ‘em, which comes in handy with the rigor and attention counting carbs and dosing insulin requires. Matt knows when to fold ‘em and let Henry live the life of a five year old with birthday parties, extra ice cream, and a day longer with a site. Henry will need both of these skills as he learns to live and manage his diabetes. Balancing diabetes is an art and a science, so I’m the science while Matt’s the art. Matt and I both know when to walk or  run away from a negative comment, failing site, or excessive carb scene.

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Team Pancreas

How has being a caregiver changed your relationship?

Matt: I don’t think it’s changed us fundamentally. We don’t always agree about everything to do with Henry, but we always talk about why we think a certain action is best in the certain moment. Ultimately, we are both focused on making sure that Henry is safe and protected. Chronic conditions are definitely an added stressor, and I’m sure that we get a little snappier at 3:00 in the morning, but we are both committed to each other and to caring for Henry.

Rachel: A lot, but a little. A lot because we are now caregivers for our son, who has a chronic condition, but not a lot because we decided to become partners and then parents together long before diabetes entered our lives, so we’ve mostly figured out how to handle stress and difficulty. A day to day difference is struggling with time, because everyday actions, such as preparing for a trip or eating at a restaurant, are now more complex and require discussion, preparation, and planning. We have to depend on each other more.  

Describe a caregiver technique you and your partner do differently.

Rachel: We both do really hard things. For the past 18 months I’ve put in Henry’s pump site, which feels like I’m stabbing him with a giant needle. Henry anticipates site changes, and it’s just awful to know that I’m causing my child physical pain, even if it’s for treatment. When Henry asks something like, “Will I have diabetes when I’m a grown up?” Matt can answer this question honestly and have Henry laughing within a few minutes, whereas I have to leave the room because I don’t trust myself to answer without getting choked up.

Matt: We have split things up, but we talk or text at least two or three times a day about his care when we are both at work. Changing the site of Henry’s pump is stressful because of the precautions we have to take with his skin and because he dreads them. We put Lidocaine on his skin to decrease the pain but they still worry him. I prep the area on his skin and get the pump primed to administer insulin and hold him while Rachel actually inserts the pump.

In twenty words or less, describe your partner’s caregiving superpower.

Rachel: Matt’s superpower is levity that inspires patience and laughter, needed in the shadow of a wrong number at the right moment.

Matt: Rachel’s superpower is her love for Henry and how this gives her a laser-like focus on keeping him alive.

A Season of Thankful Awareness

In a recent post on A Sweet Life, “Neonatal Monogenic Diabetes: Cameron Lundfelt’s Story,” Cameron’s mom describes the overwhelming standard of care given to young children with garden variety T1D, “I was always concerned about when did he last eatWhat are his sugar levels?  When is the next time he has to have a shot?  Did I give him too much insulin at the last meal? Did I not give him enough insulin? I lay awake at night wondering how I could have done better at keeping his sugars ‘within range.'” Through Cameron’s mom’s diligence, it was later discovered that Cameron has a rare form of diabetes caused by a genetic mutation that can be controlled with oral medication, but all parents of children with diabetes know the fears and worries she describes.

November is almost over, so Diabetes Awareness Month is coming to a close, but the end of the year holidays are starting. Diabetes Awareness Month juxtaposed to the holiday season means awareness morphs back into silent difficulties for so many families living with T1D.

Here we are, at the end of November, taking a deep breath and sharing the life we live in two hour increments during each day and night of all twelve months.

Super T1D in blue with blue d-bag. #bluefridays #projectbluenovember

A photo posted by @semisweett1d on

As we enter the holiday season, we’re glad for:

  1. insulin
  2. Fredrick Banting and Charles Best, discoverers of insulin
  3. Dexcom, a continuous glucose monitor
  4. batteries that power insulin pumps
  5. insulin pumps
  6. the Diabetes Online Community
  7. Children with Diabetes, Friends for Life Conference
  8. Henry’s dedicated and caring preschool teachers
  9. Ed Damiano, Denise Faustman, JDRF
  10. Henry’s sense of humor

And after all the chaos, illness, and destruction, the last thing to fly out of Pandora’s box:

The last thing to fly out of Pandora's box. #handsofhope #projectbluenovember

A photo posted by @semisweett1d on

Tom Hanks Sausage Links! a.k.a.: Co-Parenting Children with T1D

Presenting, in comic strip form, texts with my husband and fellow co-caregiver, wherein I just text letters to get his attention about a rapidly dropping low blood sugar, and autocorrect adds title inspiration: hanks link.

Tom Hanks

Parenting a young child with diabetes is a mixture of all-the-time-low-level-anxiety and anger/worry/warrior/defeated super vigilance, so it’s better to have two capable people on the front lines. My husband and I have a complementary approach to care; I’m the letter of the law and he’s the spirit of the law, and for our son to balance the burden of T1D across his lifetime, he’ll have to be both.

One random morning in March almost two years ago, my husband and I were learning to test each other’s glucose, but now we’ve tested Henry’s glucose over 6,000 times (20 months X 10 or more times a day). Every two days we change a site for his insulin pump and every seven days we insert a CGM (constant glucose monitor). About every 45 minutes, one of us looks at our phones to see where his blood glucose is, and every time we ever give him anything to eat or drink for.the.rest.of.his.life, we calculate the carbs and apply insulin or sugar.

I’d do this for Henry for the rest of his life if I could, but I know that living a life of independence, freedom, and self-sufficiently means I’ll teach Henry to care for his diabetes little by little, and that crushes me, because right now my husband and I are working really hard to replicate a pancreas, and it takes sleep,

my nightly alarms

my nightly alarms

brain-space, sacrifice, hauling gear, literal hours from our day, money, and focus. Type 1 diabetes is a heavy burden to share, but it seems insurmountable to carry alone.

November is both Diabetes Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month. Before my son was diagnosed with diabetes, I thought caregiving was typically something the younger did for the old. In it’s more raw version, caregiving reverses its normal evolution and becomes something the older does for the younger, either for a lifetime or a portion of a lifetime. Now that we’re parents who are also caregivers, I see how many other parents share this joint occupation, so this November, Semisweet will be highlighting stories of parents who are caregivers.

To kick off the discussion, please check out this great video, “I Am the Pancreas,” by Rick Suvalle, dad of two T1D kids. He followed his son and daughter around for a few days with his iPhone to show what caring for T1D kids is like. To the parents of young T1D kids: we are the pancreas!

Diabetes Awareness Month Begins!

About two years ago, I was celebrating a lack-luster birthday. My son had been lethargic for a couple of weeks. He was peeing through diapers, drinking a lot, and he was very cranky. After bedtime, a friend stopped by our house for a birthday toast. What should have been a pleasant conversation devolved into me telling her how I’d scheduled an appointment for my son the next morning because I thought he had diabetes. Earlier in the day, my mother-in-law called to wish me happy birthday, and I quickly switched the topic to Henry’s strange symptoms and my suspicions of type1 diabetes. I look back at these moments and am thankful I acted so quickly; however, now I realize how little we knew about living with type 1 diabetes. Twelve hours after my friend left, my husband and I were in the car with our three-year-old son on the way to the major children’s hospital in our state.

Now, I’m really aware about diabetes, but here’s the paradox about awareness: you can see outlines of what you don’t know. I don’t know how Henry is going to handle T1D in school. I don’t know how his teachers will handle managing diabetes in a classroom as we change grades from year to year. I know Henry can and will rebel against T1D in his teen years, and I don’t know how to walk that with him yet. I wonder how T1D will affect his major friendships and relationships, and potential children, who would have about a 10-20% chance of developing T1D.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and November 14 is World Diabetes Day, which is celebrated on the 14th because it’s William Banting’s birthday. Banting and Best co-discovered insulin in 1921. Diabetes Mine lists the many social media campaigns planned for this November. Semisweet is planning some guest blogs and will be participating in Project Blue November’s Instagram campaign this November. We’ll see you here and in pictures.

Now that we’re recovering from Halloween, we’re kissing diabetes goodbye.

#kissdgoodbye & Halloween via Dexcom

#kissdgoodbye & Halloween via Dexcom

New Insulin? Apply Glucose!

Tonight, before dinner, Henry slid into the kitchen like it was home plate. He lay splayed on the floor and shouted, “I feel low.” Then he groaned, “I feeeeel looooooooooooow.”

He started a new vial of insulin yesterday, so we’d been on the lookout for lows. In fact, we increase his ratio so that he gets 10% less insulin on the first days of new insulin.

Just a couple of minutes prior, his Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) read 128, with an arrow straight across. Now the CGM read 83 with one arrow down. I can count on one hand the number of times Henry’s told me he felt low. Like many pediatric people with type 1 diabetes, he has hypoglycemic unawareness. If he was telling me he felt low, then I knew he was low, low, low.

I gave him a glucose tab before checking his blood glucose, then wiped his finger, tested his blood, and during the four second countdown Henry asked, “What do you think it will be? 21?”

Here’s my four-year-old son, guessing his blood sugar during hypoglycemia. It’s moments like this that slay me as I walk the diabetes tightrope that is anchored to the wind.

“Let’s hope not,” I said. “21 would be very low.”

“What if it’s 12? Would 12 be bad?” he asked.

“Yes, 12 would be too low,” I said.

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“43! Mama, I’m 43.”

Henry ate two more glucose tabs and sat in my lap as he sweated through a shirt. But sure enough, the sugar started surging and he glided up to 61 then 124. The low left him ravenous, so he ate dinner in five minutes. Then after dinner (and insulin for dinner) this:

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Here’s the irony. The only thing that’s going to bring down 314 is more really potent, new insulin— the same thing that caused the 43. 

It’s Never Just a Number

Now is a really exciting time to have type 1 diabetes. I realize how absurd that sounds, but just 18 months ago we joined the diabetes world with a bag of syringes and a log book. A few months later our three year old transitioned to a pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM). However, the data from pump and CGM were not compatible with a Mac. We found a workaround for the pump’s data through Diasend, but at the time it wasn’t approved for use in the States. Dexcom didn’t send data to anything other than the receiver. So these great tools existed, but they spoke different languages.

Thanks in large part to a vocal patient base, now a plethora of diabetes devices are working to speak the same language. The FDA is releasing products and software faster than anticipated. Just last week Dexcom G5 came out, which means a smart device can stand in for the receiver. Also, there’s the new Mac compatible software, Dexcom CLARITY. Here’s the great part: it works with Dexcom G4 and Dexcom Share. You don’t need Dexcom G5 to use Dexcom CLARITY. All you need is an account at Dexcom to download Dexcom CLARITY on your computer.

Information is power in the world of diabetes. Here’s the CGM data from the last two weeks.

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This is our best day; 74% of the readings were in range. On our best day we got a C-.

There are three common mantras in the diabetes world: numbers are just information, it’s never just a number, and keep calm and treat the number.

A few months after diagnosis, an adult friend with diabetes shared wise advice, “Never call a number good or bad. Just call it high or low.” We adopted this practice immediately, but are only now starting to see the reason.

Before programs like Diasend and Dexcom CLARITY, we looked at one number. If his meter said 70 we gave him a glucose tab or two. If his meter said 220 we corrected with an ezBG. Now we’re looking at aggregate data.

To keep our son’s blood sugar in range my husband and I have to work harder and more consistently on this than most of our daily tasks. We’re doing our best, so it’s easier to hear that he has, “significant time above the threshold from 9:50 p.m. to 12:20 a.m.” than, “those are some bad numbers.”

Right now, our best is a C-, but we have information we’re using to study for the test we’ll take in two weeks when we download the CGM’s data again. We have adjusted his basal program and decreased his bedtime snack bolus.

Here’s a question from next test:

Q. If a number is just information, what’s a gaggle of numbers?

A. Hopefully, a B-.

A Week In Review: Diabetes’ First Week at Preschool

It’s Sunday night. With only one work and school week behind us, the next week and the one after that loom. Last week was mixed with some new ratios (adjusting how much insulin is given for a set amount of carbs), a couple of lows, technology failures, and an embarrassing encounter with my neighbor. Here are some of the highlights mixed with a few tales of low.

Monday

Having a continuous blood glucose monitor (CGM) is like having a porthole into this strange metabolic dance between insulin, carbs, exercise, and stress. After Henry’s first day back at preschool it wasn’t his sweat soaked hair or his teachers remarking how much more “outgoing” he is this year, as it was the CGM data that told me he was a wild man. He was really, really glad to be back at school, exerting lots of energy, which lowered his blood sugar. For dinner he ate a cup and a half of pasta and was double arrows down with a reading of 135 an hour after dinner. By blood he was 80. His blood glucose never rose above 160 the entire night. If only first days back could be bottled and used with insulin to help control high blood sugars.

Tuesday

My husband teaches an 8am class, so on Tuesdays and Thursdays I get the kids up and off to school on my own. I woke to Henry’s pump beeping because the battery was dying. Here’s the short of it: a battery change requires priming, which means a new site. It still takes two adults to help with Henry’s site changes, so I cheated and changed the battery with a new cartridge. I did this in the dark, not wanting to wake up Henry, and in this great plan, I didn’t realize I’d put the battery in backwards. Now the battery cap would not come off and the pump wouldn’t turn on. No matter how hard I tried, I could not unscrew the cap. I began looking out my backdoor, wondering which neighbor’s door I could knock on before 8am and ask for “the man of the house” to help unscrew the battery cap from an insulin pump. Thankfully, I caught a neighbor on his way to work. With my wet hair still in a towel and in bare feet, I set feminism back a few years, but Henry got insulin and everyone got to work and school on time.

Wednesday

I know only about 10-20% of people with type 1 diabetes use a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), but based on the hold time with Dexcom, I’d say market penetration is closer to 90%.

Thursday

At preschool drop off Henry was 111 with double arrows down on the CGM, but he was really 60 by blood. He still had over a unit of insulin on board. I stayed during group time to correct the hypo. One juice box and 4 glucose tabs later his numbers were moving in the right direction. This was when I realized preschool has ushered in a new activity level, so while sitting criss-cross applesauce during story time, I increased the insulin to carb ratio. The further those dots (a glucose reading sent out every five minutes) are from each other, the faster things are happening.

arrows on CGM

Friday

There was a light spirit in the air; as a family, we were closing the first week and moving toward the weekend. Over breakfast and out of the blue Henry asked, “Will I always have diabetes?” Henry’s asked this question before, and we’ve always answered in the affirmative. Matt, Henry’s father, took a deep breath and said, “Yes.” 

This sat with all of us for a moment. Then Matt added, “But people are working really hard to create new things to make diabetes easier. It will get easier.”

It will get easier. We’re ready for the second week.