Thursday, November 1, 2012

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

November is a month where diabetes gets to take front and center (not that it doesn't take front and center EVERY SINGLE DAY in my house!). But, in November, we 'D' families try and spread as much awareness as we possibly can into the dangers of diabetes. We explain what Type 1 diabetes is, how to spot the signs, how T1 is cared for, and how life is like with diabetes.

So, since Halloween just passed, I'm going to start my month of blogging with that. Halloween is such a magical and fun time for kids, and mine are no exception. They were SO SO SO excited to wear their costumes and go out trick or treating. So, I started working on their costumes in the beginning of October and got both done a couple days before Halloween. Anne was SilverMist from Tinkerbell and Elly was Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.

For me, Halloween can bring a bit of anxiety. The girls are very excited, which usually makes their blood sugar plummet, and then with all the walking they will do, it will prolong the low, as exercise also lowers blood sugar. But, they are kids, and kids go trick or treating, so off we go while mama keeps her anxiety to herself.
Before we left, I checked both of the girls' blood sugar so I have a starting point. Elly was in the low 200's where Anne was around 150. I left them both even though they were a little high, and off we went. Within about 30 minutes of trick or treating, Anne's CGM starts beeping "low predicted." At the time, her blood sugar was 144 but I went ahead and gave her a glucose tab since we were staying out a while longer. After about another 20 minutes, her CGM beeps again with a "low predicted." This time, I didn't not do a finger check and just treated with another glucose tab. Once we got back to the house, her blood sugar was 141. If I had not given her those 2 glucose tabs while we were out, she most definitely would have gone low.

When we got home, I got the girls right into bed. They were both very tired and both fell asleep within 30 minutes of getting into bed. For the first half of the night, both girls' CGM's were beeping "low predicted." Anne was hovering at around 100, which is an amazing number during the day, but at the beginning of the night, it is way too low. Elly was hovering around 130. I treated both girls with a few Tree Top Juice Treats (my go-to low blood sugar treatment at night) but neither girl's blood sugars rose to a "safe" nighttime level until after midnight (I put "safe" in parenthesis as this number is very different for every family. Some families want their D children to sleep in the 200's or higher where some families want their kids to be in the low 100's. It is a comfort level, and my comfort level for the girls is between 150 and 200. Before they were on a CGM, my comfort level was anything between 200 and 250, as I wasn't able to see where their blood sugar was heading). Then, Anne's blood sugar decides to sky-rocket into the 300's, and i need to start bolusing her to get her back down. This can happen sometimes when coming down from excitement. Elly's blood sugar slowly started rising after midnight and by morning she was in the mid-200's, but Anne woke at a beautiful 117.

 And now, the day after Halloween, candy is 50% off. This is a beautiful thing to many D mamas. Fun-size candy is a perfect size to combat lows. For my girls, skittles and starburst are perfect to raise low blood sugar, and peanut butter cups or hershey bars are great for when blood sugar is on the low side but not too low, where it can slowly raise blood sugar and keep it there (chocolate contains fat, and fat slows the absorption of sugar into the blood stream. The fat is great to raise a mild low and keep the blood sugar more steady, but when you have a severe low (below 70) you don't want the chocolate so that is where the skittles or starburst come into play). So, off to Wal-Mart I go to buy some Halloween candy.
Yes, my girls can have candy and sweets, in moderation, just like any other child. Diabetes does not mean that they have to swear off of sugar for life. In fact, sugar is necessary for their survival. Because they have to take insulin via an insulin pump, it isn't an exact science and insulin overdosing is a way of life. I am their pancreas since their pancreas decided to go AWOL, and I can't do nearly as good of a job as a real pancreas can, and sometimes a bit too much insulin is given. Too much insulin causes blood sugar to drop too low, and the only way to stop low blood sugar and raise it back up is to eat sugar.

But, if their blood sugar is within a normal range, they can have a piece of candy or two, and it just needs to be covered by insulin. So, yes. My girls can eat sugar, just like every other child. My girls my have diabetes, but they are children, and they need to be allowed to act and behave as such.

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