Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Before They Leave...

Today was a typical Wednesday morning.

The Keurig sputtered another hot, steamy mug of happiness while the girls blared music from their bedrooms and loudly asked to borrow each other's things in order to look "cute" - the new word that has surfaced whenever they dress.  The Naturally Sweet dad bounced from room to room, "looking" for things that he had inadvertently scattered upon coming home the night before and the family cat swished around the kitchen hoping for someone to notice that he needed a kitty treat.  

Although it was another happy bustling morning within the series of many, everyone seemed to be energized and ready to tackle the day.

As I strategically went through the mental checklist of schedules, plans and after school activities, I quietly checked purses for glucose, changed lancets from meter bags and packed extra carb-filled snacks into backpacks.  

Only later, after dropping off our girls at school, did it occur to me that what I was doing was intentionally planning for worst case scenarios.  Sadly, this is what we need to do.  There is not a choice.

Anyone peeking into our buzzing hive of a home would only see a typical active family.  The truth is that our home is our haven.  Everything that we need to survive a severe low-blood sugar or a raging bout of ketones is carefully stored in this house.  Our guard drops ever so slightly when we know that we at least have the safety of our medical supplies, our glucose and the expert T1D eyes of our family of four.

Outside of our home, we head out into four different directions each morning, there is no guarantee that anything or anyone will be available in case of an emergency.  Much like my own mother advising to always carry cash in case I was ever stuck, I have cultivated the mantra to plan ahead for not one low blood sugar, but three.  Except in the world of T1d, this is actually the difference between life and possible death.

Before they leave, I have already quietly processed a thousand gruesome 'what-ifs' and reconciled that I may have not prepared for everything.

I'm sure that they have too. 

Before they leave, I watch the look on my youngest daughter's face as she opens her pencil box and shakes a thin vial of glucose tabs.  Hearing a rattle, she opens the container to peer in and see how many tabs remain.  Her mouth frowns ever-so-slightly and I watch as she heads to the pantry to refill from the larger bottle. 

Before they leave, my husband, tugging at his coat, reminds us that he will be unavailable for several hours in the afternoon due to a meeting.  While not clarifying his statement, the intent is clear; he will be unable to monitor the CGM app (our blood sugar safety net) during that time.  We are on our own. 

Before they leave, as we load into our minivan, I noticed my oldest daughter patting her pocket.  She quietly mumbles "Phone, CGM, Meter" as she checks her jeans.  She smiles when all three are accounted for and then says, "I have everything.  Let's go!"  

And so we do. 

While the rest of the world does much of the same routine each and every Wednesday morning, before they leave, T1D safety planning has already taken us for a ride. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Today is World Diabetes Day - Tomorrow will be too....

I thought about what I wanted to write for World Diabetes Day.

A week went by.

During that time, we evicted yet another unpleasant round of ketones from our teenager.  We also fought a rare, exhausting blood sugar swing of up to 600 mg/dl and hours later, plummeting to 30 mg/dl.  We missed a 1/2 day of school, trying to attend at lunch time, only to be picked up later as blood sugar crept yet again, and later, cleaned up a brand-new car from the aftermath of ketones.  We comforted tears, we railed at the unfairness and we spoke of hope for the day that all things T1D would disappear.

And yet, during that time, as the 'we' became 'me', not once could I sit down and articulate how I was really feeling...

Anger for the kinked cannula that caused no insulin to enter my daughter's body through the night.

Anger for the continuous glucose monitor that while able to detect blood sugars, was not able to alert to the ketones that were raging war inside my child.

Anger for the unfairness of a child pressed to go back to school during finals week but unable to get beyond one class before her body gave out for a second time.

Anger for discovering that a second infusion site failed to properly inject and instead, created a second bout of high blood sugars.

Anger for the imperfect insulin that while life-saving, delays the ability to feel better quickly.

Those emotions were slowly replaced by sadness at the thought that I was unable to protect my daughter (or her sister) from this horrible autoimmune disease.

Despite our vigilance as a family, the deepest emotion was and continues to be grief that our daughters do indeed suffer and there is nothing that I can do to make it all better.

The reality is that while the world announces a global diabetes day, unless there is a miracle of all miracles, tomorrow, our family will be one of many that continue to live World Diabetes Day, every day.

And the same for the next day.  And the day after that.  And all of the days until there is a cure.

What I hope is that when the spotlight is no longer on November 14th, that you will continue to express the need for medicine, research, government and private sector to collaborate UNTIL WE HAVE A #CureT1D.

That's our hope and that's what gets us through every day, even World Diabetes Day.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Go Blue - Did I Just Say That???

As a tried and true, diploma holding fan of Michigan State University, I'm not ever sure that I actually have said "Go Blue!".  It goes against ever fiber of green in my body to potentially send a cheer to our biggest college sports rival.

However, as JDRF kicks of #T1DLooksLikeMe for November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, I am putting aside any ill feelings to encourage each and every person to "Go Blue" to show their support for Type One Diabetes.

Click HERE to create your own Go Blue profile.

It's fun and easy and even if you are a Michigan State fan like me, you will appreciate uniting to help shed light on a very invisible disease that desperately needs to be cured.

#Togetherwecan #CureT1D