I Can’t Even…

I don’t even know what to say here.  I just know that I haven’t posted anything in three weeks and I feel like I need to write something here, even if I can’t write about the real reason I haven’t posted anything in 3 weeks.

I’m going to say that the sh*t hit the fan recently and we are all still trying to recover and mop up the insane mess that our life has become.  Diabetes isn’t the biggest monster under the bed.  And that’s all that I can really say.

I hope everyone is well and enjoying summer break (if it’s started yet).

Q&A: Ask a D-Mama

We are just over one month away from National Diabetes Awareness Month in November.  As someone who has made being educated about all things diabetes a priority, I’d like to start a Q&A series about diabetes on my blog.  No question is off limits if it is related to diabetes.  The point of this will be to educate and to hopefully dispel some common myths about Type 1 Diabetes.  I don’t care how much or how little you know about Type 1, please feel free to ask questions.  If I don’t know a definitive answer off-hand I will research it and answer to the best of my ability.  My hope is to encourage people to ask questions, and to avoid making assumptions if they do not deal with diabetes first-hand.  In addition to answering questions I will be giving away a mystery prize pack to one lucky winner (Est. value $20).  Entries will be tracked using Rafflecopter and will run through Nov 30, 2014.  Click on the link below to make sure your entries count!  Options for entering include: Commenting on this blog post, emailing your questions to chasinglows@gmail.com, tweeting about this blog post and giveaway along with your question, liking “Chasing Lows” on Facebook.  If you would like your question to remain anonymous please use the email option and state in the email that you would like to remain anonymous.  All questions and answers will be posted over the next two months in separate blog posts.  Please share this post with friends and family members. All are welcome to enter the giveaway by asking their own Type 1 Diabetes related question!

Highs and Lows

It’s been a couple weeks since I popped in on here so let me share what’s been going on.

On May 19 we had a very nice park outing with a group of type 1 families in our area. The group rented a bounce house for the kids and the adults got to sit around and chit chat while the kids played.  It was very nice and very good for us to get out and socialize and get some insight from others who have been dealing with this longer than we have.  Us moms have a facebook group and we communicate on a regular basis, but it’s nice to actually get together in person with the whole family.  The dads got to socialize with the other dads and the kids got to feel like “normal” kids for a little while.  Type 1 was normal for those few hours.  Exercise, especially prolonged exercise, and excitement/adrenaline can have a pretty profound impact on blood glucose readings.  Every once in a while you’d hear one parent or another say “Come on, (child), out of the jolly jump to check your BG real quick.  Oh, you’re low, have a cookie (which one of the moms kindly provided – only 10 grams of carbs a piece!  Score!)”  And so it would go for most of the kids there who are living with this every day.

For Angelina, she’s an only child, we didn’t have many friends with kids, and the friends we did have with kids we didn’t spend a ton of time with because who has time for a social life when you have kids?!?  Anyway,  at her school she is also the only kid with Type 1 so it’s just her.  Luckily she is a pretty resilient kid and isn’t afraid to tell people about her health conditions or educate them on what they are and what to do about it, but it still makes her somewhat different from her peers so it was great for her to have at least those few hours where almost every other kid there was the SAME as her and had to stop and check BG’s and be encouraged to eat some cookies so they could keep playing and stay out of the adult’s hair for another half hour.

So, we were chasing lows most of the rest of that day as the excitement, adrenaline, and extra exercise ran it’s course.  Then on Monday morning she was 47, which meant she was going to school late.  Well, that was a stubborn low.  It didn’t want to come up and I had to treat her 3 different times before we got her BG over 100.  Then she was getting dressed and said she felt bumps on her lower back.  It just looked like irritation from her waist band so I told her she still needed to go to school.  She and I decided to grab some McD’s for breakfast and load her up on carbs since the lows from the day before seemed to want to carry over to Monday.   We’re sitting eating our breakfast and she’s complaining about her back.  I lift up her shirt and she’s got these bumps all over her back and around her neck.  It looked kind of like hives, but they weren’t particularly itchy and they weren’t red at all like her hives generally are.  I decided to call her in to school that day, I gave her some benadryl and we headed back home.  I tried calling the pediatrician’s office but they didn’t have any appointments that day, only the next day.  Well, I figured whatever it was would probably be gone by the next day so I declined the appointment and figured I would just keep an eye on it and I could always take her to urgent care if it seemed worse.

She seemed good most of the day even though the bumps persisted.  The benadryl didn’t do much of anything for them.  We had to go to Target in the afternoon so I grabbed a tube of hydrocortisone and benadryl cream to try.  She put some hydrocortisone on in the care, but we saw no improvement.  Later in the evening after her bath I put a mix of hydrocortisone and benadryl cream on and sent her to bed.  In the morning, the bumps were still there but they seemed to have gotten smaller, but more spread out. I called the dr’s office again and they got her in at 10am.

I took her into the pediatrican who just said it looked like some type of reaction, possibly from the park the day before.  It just seemed weird to me because it took 16 hours after we left the park to show up, and she had a bath as soon as we got home from the park.   I do know delayed allergic reactions are possible, but we’ve never seen one like that with her.  She also wasn’t exposed to any of her KNOWN allergens, which means if it was an allergic reaction then she’s developed new allergies.  The dr just said to use the hydrocortisone and do our normal eczema skin care routine.  She said the rash didn’t look dangerous and probably wasn’t contagious so she was fine to go back to school and normal activity.  During this whole time I noticed her bg’s were up-down-up-down throughout the day.

On Wednesday she seemed fine, still had some bumps but dr had said it was okay, so she went to school.  Then Thursday morning I went in to get her up and she said she didn’t feel good.  She felt a little warm so I checked her temp and she was 100.1.  Hooray!  We saw high blood glucose readings most of the day and we just kind of hung around the house. She was feeling okay and seemed fine, just that low grade fever.  David had a cold Monday-Thursday so I thought maybe she was coming down with that since she had been sneezing somewhat in the morning.  Friday was the same, low grade fever most of the day and high BGs.  Around 4pm I decided that I might want to talk to her endo dr so I put a call in to the office, but the dr is only in our clinic on Thursday and they just said she would get the message when she came in next.  LAME!  So I sent her an email and told her what was going on and asked her to call me.

I didn’t hear back from the dr until Saturday afternoon, at which point Angelina’s bg’s had been on a downward trend and fever was all gone.  I missed the dr’s call by 5 minutes, but she pretty much just told me to keep doing what I was doing, which was correcting bgs at every meal and maybe erring on the side of more insulin when she ate.  So, that made me feel a little less out of control of the situation.  I don’t know why I am so obsessed with being in total control of this illness.  I know I will never be as effective at keeping her Bg in range as her pancreas was before diabetes.

So, then her bg’s started doing the up-down-up-down dance again.  She would be good in the morning (somewhere in the 100’s), then HIGH (like 300’s) at lunchtime, low again late afternoon or before dinner and we have been seeing that all week this week.  I have a feeling we are in for some carb ratio adjustments in the next few days.   Just waiting to hear back from the endo.

The New Dirty Word – Diabetes (The ER)

Her blood glucose was 570 at the pediatrician’s office so we were sent to the ER.  I pretty much knew at that point that we would be spending a couple of days there.  We checked in right around noon and they checked her BG again – it was at 535.  They also had her pee in another cup.  We waited in the waiting room for what seemed like forever, but in reality it was maybe 30 minutes.  The real waiting started once they got her back into a bed.  They came and got her for a chest X-ray since I had told them about the pediatrician hearing something in her lungs, and since we were there anyway it was good to get checked out.  She was excited to be able to see the picture of the inside of her chest.

There wasn’t anything immediate that needed tending to aside from getting an IV in.  That was kind of a nightmare because they couldn’t get the needle into the vein in her elbow, so they were poking around in there for a few minutes before giving up and going for her hand.  Throughout all of it she was amazingly calm and all the nurses remarked about how well she was doing and how they had some adult patients who could take a lesson from her.  Finally the nurse had a second nurse come over to assist with getting the IV in after the second site wasn’t cooperating and her vein kept moving around.  They finally got it in and everything hooked up and started her on a normal saline drip to get her hydrated and flush out some of the sugar and ketones that were floating around in there.

From there we mostly just waited.  The ER doctor did eventually come in and confirm that it was, in fact, diabetes and that she also had pneumonia (so glad we got those x-rays).  They started her on an insulin infusion shortly after.   A little while later (pardon my timeline, the entire hospital experience is just a time blur) we were greeted with a teddy bear named Rufus who came accompanied with a blue JDRF backpack full of goodies for kids with diabetes.  Really, Rufus was the goody and the rest of the stuff was educational materials and a brand new Accu-Chek glucose meter and our favorite invention – the fastclix lancing device.  Well, a favorite as far as lancing devices go.  The backpack was brought to us by the Diabetes Nurse Educator who wanted to introduce herself and make sure Angelina was okay and to let us know that she would be spending a few hours with us the next day to get us educated on managing Angelina’s diabetes care.

After that we just did some more waiting.  We were told around 4pm (maybe?) that they would be moving her to the Pediatric ICU eventually.  My husband was at work through all of this and we had been texting back and forth.  He was finally able to get out of work “early” at 5pm (after working since 6am) and headed up to meet us.  Angelina was so excited to see her dad, I think mostly just because she had been stuck in a little curtained room with me for the past 5 1/2 hours.   Shortly after her arrived they FINALLY came to move us up to her room in the PICU.

To be continued…


The New Dirty Word – Diabetes (The Dr’s Office)

I am going to have to write the diagnosis story in a few posts as it’s all still very fresh and emotional for me.  So here’s Part I:

Angelina, who is 9, woke up Monday morning and started complaining about her vision being blurry.  She had a bad cold and I just assumed she had eye crusties that were causing problems.  So I set her up with a warm, wet washcloth and hoped that would do the trick.  Except it didn’t.  She didn’t complain so much so I didn’t think a lot about it.  When we ventured out to the store on Wednesday I picked her up some eye drops and hoped maybe THAT would work.  We just didn’t have the money right then to take her to the eye doctor, and I was pretty sure the level of nearsightedness she was reporting wouldn’t have happened overnight anyway.  I mean, I’ve worn glasses for 15 years and it took as long for my vision to get as bad as it is.  From what she was telling me her vision was as bad as mine.

Well, later on Wednesday I realized she was making a lot of trips to the bathroom and I asked her if she was feeling okay.  I suspected a UTI since she has a history of them.  But she said everything was fine, although she had been drinking more water so it seemed like a normal thing that she would also be using the toilet more, right?  Then I talked to my husband on his lunch break around 4pm and he was telling me that he was glad I wasn’t obese while I was pregnant with Angelina because he was listening to a program on NPR about women who are obese or consume a lot of sugar or high fructose corn syrup during pregnancy are at a greater risk of having a child with Type 1 Diabetes.

And then all of her symptoms clicked.  So, I did what any responsible mom would do and I logged into the WebMD Symptom Checker just to get a second opinion and this is what came up:

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I had pretty much ruled out nearsightedness just because of the degree of blurred vision. So I tried to convince myself that it had to be a UTI, or maybe dehydration (although that wasn’t likely with the amount of fluids she had been taking in).  I decided to give it a couple of days and see what happened.

Thursday morning she woke up and felt terrible and was coughing like crazy and it was all wet sounding.  I asked her if she wanted to go to the doctor and she said yes.  Just for background purposes I have to say that my kid is no stranger to the doctor’s office.  She has several other medical issues and on average sees the dr at least once a month for one reason or another so if she doesn’t HAVE to go she’d prefer not to.  So when she willingly agreed to go to the dr that day I knew she was in pretty bad shape.

I called when the office opened at 9am and they said to come in at 10am.  So I woke her up and we got dressed and stopped at McDonald’s to grab some breakfast.  I had told them that we were coming in for her cough and because she had “other” symptoms.  I was firmly in denial and kept trying to convince myself it was just a UTI.  I mean, I don’t know anyone with Type 1 Diabetes.  No one in either mine or my husband’s immediate family have it, she can’t have diabetes, right?

Of course, they had her pee in a cup (which took a while).  She had actually lost about 4 lbs since we were there 3 weeks prior, which of course was concerning.  So, the dr came in to see her and said they were going to check her urine, but in the meantime they hooked her up to the nebulizer because the dr said she heard some wheezing.  So we sat for the 15 mins or so while her breathing treatment finished.  Then the dr came in with this serious look on her face and said “We need to do a finger poke to check your blood sugar.  If it’s high I’m going to have to send you to the ER because there is sugar and ketones in her urine and it looks like it’s probably Diabetes.”  (and yes, the capital D was on purpose)  Her blood sugar was 570 mg/dl.  In case you’re not familiar what “normal” blood glucose levels are – Between 70-100 is considered “normal”, 101-126 is considered “pre-diabetes” (generally referring to the development of Type 2 diabetes, which is a completely different disease), so a reading of 570 is pretty obviously not normal.

To be continued…