Day 21: Sweet
There are many misconceptions out there about sweet treats.
- that you can’t have sweet treats because you have diabetes.
- that diabetes was caused from eating too many sweet treats.
Even though my daughter has type 1 diabetes, she still enjoys sweet treats. A few of her favorites are cake, ice cream, marshmallows and chocolate.
Diabetes isn’t caused from eating too many sweets. Type 1 diabetes happens when the pancreas can no longer produce insulin. It is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, called beta cells.
Having diabetes doesn’t stop you from having a sweet treat once in a while!
Day 20: Healthy
Seeing the eye doctor once a year is a great way to make sure your eyes are healthy.
Regular eye check-ups make sure that my eyes are healthy.
What you might not know about eye complications for a person with diabetes (taken from the ADA website):
- People with diabetes are 40% more likely to suffer from glaucoma than people without diabetes. The longer someone has had diabetes, the more common glaucoma is. Risk also increases with age.
- People with diabetes have a higher risk of blindness than people without diabetes.
- People with diabetes are 60% more likely to develop cataracts. People with diabetes also tend to get cataracts at a younger age and have them progress faster.
- Diabetic retinopathy is a general term for all disorders of the retina caused by diabetes. There are two major types of retinopathy: nonproliferative and proliferative. In nonproliferative retinopathy, the most common form of retinopathy, capillaries in the back of the eye balloon and form pouches. In some people, retinopathy progresses after several years to a more serious form called proliferative retinopathy. In this form, the blood vessels are so damaged they close off. In response, new blood vessels start growing in the retina. These new vessels are weak and can leak blood, blocking vision, which is a condition called vitreous hemorrhage. The new blood vessels can also cause scar tissue to grow. After the scar tissue shrinks, it can distort the retina or pull it out of place, a condition called retinal detachment.
Day 19: Chronic
Diabetes is a chronic illness. Once it comes into your life, it doesn’t leave. You can’t tell it to go away and you can’t walk away. You can’t eat cinnamon, go on a raw food or starvation diet, pray or make a million wishes for it to disappear.
There is no cure, no way to make it go away. It’s here to stay 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Diabetes doesn’t care if you are sleeping or on vacation. It’s always there.
Chronic illnesses affect us every day and every night.
Day 18: Frustration
In this journey with Type-1 Diabetes, nothing is more frustrating than doing EVERYTHING by the book and feeling like you failed and you’re getting no where!
Putting in a new pump infusion site or continuous glucose monitor site just to have them fail within a few hours.
Counting carbs, giving insulin and doing what needs to be done to keep your blood sugar low, only to check a few hours later and finding a blood sugar that’s too high. Or the exact opposite where you check and find a blood sugar that is getting too low and you have a LOT of insulin still being used in your body and having to eat to cover the insulin.
Knowing you did everything the way you should, and having this happen is frustrating.
Having someone ask why a certain blood sugar is too high or too low is super frustrating. There really is only one answer that works “I’ve got diabetes”. Stress and emotions play a huge part in blood sugars, more than they should.
Having people tell you that you shouldn’t eat something because you’ve got diabetes, is super frustrating. Just because you’ve got diabetes, doesn’t mean you can’t eat what others are eating. And that disgusting ‘sugar free’ candy, have you tried it? Seriously?!? It doesn’t taste good and the stuff they use in it will cause gastrointestinal upset.
Day 17: DOC
The Diabetes Online Community is well known as the DOC. This community is a place (or places) where those with diabetes or the parents of a child with diabetes – no matter what type – can find someone who ‘gets it’.
Some of these communities are JDRF, tudiabetes, Children With Diabetes (CWD), and Glu are just some of the places that you can find support for ‘almost’ whatever you are looking for. Along with this there are blogs, so many of them, which are all amazing in their own way. You can also find communities of support on Facebook. In this community you never have to feel alone there will always be someone who’s been where you are and can help you through it and you will come out feeling empowered and able to take on the world.
A few of the amazing people we’ve met from the D.O.C.
We’ve had the pleasure of meeting a few from this community, in person. A few years ago we met Dr. Natalie Strand, she is not only a person with diabetes but she was also on the winning team in the 17th season of The Amazing Race. We met Cynthia in Sept 2012, who blogs at Diabetes Light. Yesterday, we met Kerri who blogs at Six Until Me.
We’ve also met so many others locally through JDRF and just by pure luck. It’s so amazing to have these connections with other people who know what it’s like to have a pump site or CGM site that fail, that understand the 2 am blood sugar checks, the sleepless nights, the hopes and dreams that they have, exchanging new ideas and recipes, the frustration of dealing with the ins and outs of a disease that can not be controlled perfectly no matter how great you micromanage it! Who else would completely understand all the D terminology that we use on a daily basis?!?
The DOC simply is amazing in this journey with diabetes, one that I’m thankful to be part of in this journey. Without these amazing people, who are also on this journey, I would feel alone. I hope to attend the CWD conference in the near future to meet so many more of these online friends from the DOC.
Day 16: Blood
We deal with blood every single day in our house. At least 12 times in a day, sometimes more.
Every 3 months we see the endocrinologist, there is blood there too. At each of these visits my daughter’s A1c is checked. And once a year when we go to see the endocrinologist, we take a trip to the lab for more blood work. This blood work checks to see how the rest of her body is doing. One thing test done is a celiac panel because she has been running borderline for this since the day of her T1D diagnosis.
Needles are never fun, but sometimes they are necessary. Look away if you need to, it’s okay.
My daughter gets poked by needles on a daily basis, but she isn’t use to it. It still hurts, she still doesn’t want it done. However, it needs done and she puts her tough girl face on and does what she needs to do. We know that all these pokes and needles mean keeping her alive and healthy. My daughter’s mottos are: “What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger” and “Diabetes won’t stop me”.
Day 15: Alert
When living with a chronic illness or disease, like Type-1 Diabetes, you wear a medical alert bracelet. This is to notify first responders or others that might come in contact with the person in an emergency.
In any house, you have alerts. Alarm clocks, timers on the microwave or stove, thermostats and sometimes even our smoke alarms. We have these things to warn or tell us when something is done or when something is wrong.
In our house, alerts are the norm. We have lots of medical alerting devices along with the above mentioned ones. They too alert us if something is wrong.
The insulin pump will alert if there is an occlusion in the tubing or cannula, if the cartridge is running low on insulin, if the battery is getting low, or if there is a problem with the pump when it goes through it’s safety checks. The continuous glucose monitor (CGM) will alert if it senses the blood sugar rising or falling too fast, if the blood sugar is too high or too low, if it’s battery is getting low, if the sensor isn’t reading like it should, and if the sensor has failed.
We have alerts/alarms to help us react quicker to impending problems. Without a medical alert bracelet, someone may not know that my daughter has diabetes and not get her the help she needs immediately. Without the CGM alerts, we might not catch a low blood sugar until it is too low. Without the pump alerts, we wouldn’t know that delivery has stopped until the blood sugar is too high. We live with these alerts for a reason, to help save a life!
Just some of the alerts in our lives.
Day 14: World Diabetes Day (WDD)
World Diabetes Day is November 14 each year. WDD is led by the International Diabetes Federation, they began their campaign in 1991. It became an official United Nation Day in 2007. It’s purpose is to help with raising awareness of diabetes worldwide. World Diabetes Day is observed or celebrated on November 14th to mark the birthday of Frederick Banting, who along with Charles Best, who first discovered insulin in 1922 and saved the lives of many.
World Diabetes Day’s theme for 2009-2013 is diabetes education and prevention.
Thanks for dressing in blue to celebrate WDD with us!
World Diabetes Day is represented with a blue circle. This blue is said to represent the sky and the color of the UN flag. The circle represents life and health. Together, the blue circle, signifies unity of the global diabetes community.
We do many things to celebrate WDD. For the past three years, my family and I have participated in the World Diabetes Day Postcard Exchange. We create and send postcards around the world to others whose lives have also been touched by diabetes. We wear blue to show our unity and support of those who are living with diabetes.
Day 13: Awareness
Have you ever stopped to think about how many times you do something in a day, week, year? We sat down and figured out that in 4 years my daughter had been poked over 19,500 times. No wonder she feels like a pin cushion, and no wonder I feel like she is a pin cushion some days.
No wonder I feel like a pin cushion!
Blood sugar is checked approximately 12 times a day.
Pump sites are changes every 2-3 days. Before the insulin pump, injections were given 5-7 times a day.
CGM site is changed every 7 days.
Ketone checks are done every 4 hours when sick and ketones have been detected.
In 10 days, we will celebrate 5 years of my daughter LIVING with Type-1 Diabetes.
Day 12: Work
When you’re 11 yrs old, school is your job!
When you are 11 yrs old, the only work you really have is school. My daughter checks her blood sugar before all tests at school. If her blood sugar is lower than 100 or higher than 250 she doesn’t take her tests. She will wait until her blood sugar is in this range to test. If she tests with a low or high blood sugar she cannot concentrate and she does badly on these tests.
After school, before starting on homework, she checks her blood sugar. If her blood sugar is low she has a snack before starting on her homework. If her blood sugar is high she will often take a break from school work until her blood sugar has come down enough for her to concentrate. One of her favorite ways to wait for her blood sugar to come down is by playing outside.