Our life wth T1D – Diabetes Awareness Month

    For the first 5 years of my son’s life it was just him and I.  I went back to work before he was a year old and from then until he was about 3 1/2 I hardly got to see him.  He was with my Mom a lot and I was going to school in the morning and working until 10pm at night.  His Dad had bailed on us when I was 7 months along (something I have long gotten over)…so I had to work to provide for us and schooling was to upgrade and get a better job to secure a good future for us.  I went through school and came out with a Diploma in Legal Secretary, and Administrative Assistant and I tried finding work in those but it was slim pickings in that city.

I kept working and I really worked hard I got a job at a call center working for MSN (yes MSN as in Microsoft) doing technical support.  We were one of the top call centers for so long – we got visits from Microsoft reps, Microsoft swag, MSN swag, I was apart of a special group that did round table meetings once a week on what we need to improve and what we could do to improve it – we talked direct with Microsoft.  Those were some great times, I love my job, met some awesome people and got to enjoy time with my son after work.

When Cam was 5 we noticed that something was off about him, he was always thirsty and he couldn’t hold his pee – he was always going…we took him in for tests and the first time around they didn’t do the keytone test for Diabetes, the second time they did and it was positive.  Life as I had known it right there was about to change – A LOT.  We were rushed to Victoria (90 minutes from our house) and we had no idea what kind of things were going to await us at the Hospital there.  We thought a few days and we would be out.  Well that was an ill conceived notion.

The took Cam into a room and needed to get blood work done, my Mom went in with him and I was filling out paperwork (in hindsight that was probably for the best) all I remember is listening at the door and feeling so horrible, he was screaming and crying and they were trying to calm him down.  20 minutes later the door opens and he is covered in gauge all over his arms and there is blood ALL over in there.  He apparently didn’t like or take to the blood work well.

Anyhow he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes – it was all so surreal to me.  I was lost, confused, scared, and wondering how we were going to get through this.  I was lucky though to have some good people in my life at that time, my friends Helen, Cathy and one of the best friends I have ever had Kyle.  Dang I miss that guy…he always knew how to make things seem not so bad and then there was Kevin, I had met him online when I was using ICQ (yes I know I am old) he actually told me Cam had Diabetes before the Dr.s did (didn’t know it then but he also has Type 1) and I just didn’t want to think about it but the Dr.s sort of let it be known that I HAD to think about it and that it was NOT going to go away.  They don’t sugar coat things that is for sure.

Anyhow we spent 10 days in the PICU at Victoria General Hospital.  All through Halloween we were in there and he was not happy.  We had a lot of training to do, learning about carbs, and insulin dosing, about foods and the glycemic index for foods, how some foods break down fast and others slow, how to handle low and high blood sugars and how life was going to be different, harder but doable.  It was a lot to process and get a handle on.

When we returned home from the Hospital it was hard at first, juggling blood sugars, food, blood sugar tests, school and work.  It sure didn’t come easy for me, raising him on my own and having to deal with all the things I did.  Not long after Kevin and I moved in together and soon I found myself having to deal with two type 1 Diabetics.

I have had to call the Paramedics for Kevin more than a few times, one time he was .08 that’s (0.08 mmol/l = 1.44 mg/dl) and when he gets migraines he gets low blood sugars.  It never ends, we have been in minor accidents due to sudden onset of a low blood sugar.  One time he got low and was heading to his Dad’s work truck to take his Dad some tools and he ended up in a ditch, we had to call out the cops, search and rescue, fire department and helicopters to try and find him.  It was down to literally the last ditch effort and one of the FIre Department guys went down a road he had been down 3 times and he just happen to spot the car.  So many thoughts run through your mind, the last thing you said to them, the worry about what you would do if they don’t find them, just everything and anything.  It’s really hard sometimes – blood sugars can drop so fast for so little reason.  They can also get high really quickly for many reasons, not enough insulin, insulin that has gone bad, stress, sickness etc.

What was a real kick in the butt was when my youngest Kalea spent last Christmas in the Hospital diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes as well.  She was 9 months old at the time.  I thought I had it all figured out – and well I sort of did.  I saved her life, my persistence and nagging at the Hospital staff to test her blood sugar level resulted in a 27.8 (27.8 mmol/l = 500.4 mg/dl) on the meter.  They were in shock, and I was more or less resigned to the fact that I had known it for 2 days but no one at Children’s would believe me.  What a shock for me to in a lot of ways, she was so little and realizing her whole life was going to be finger pokes, insulin injections and watching the carbs she eats, getting enough exercise etc.  It was a tough pill to swallow.  I sure don’t recommend spending time in the PICU – so many little ones so sick, RSV was the case for us to so we were in isolation.

It’s not an easy life at times, but Kalea doesn’t let it stop her for anything – she is a hyper, happy and growing kid.  She is in the 75th percentile for height and weight and her A1c’s have all been good – she has made the A1c wall of fame all of her first 3 post diagnosis tests 🙂  You can still have a mostly normal life, you just have to be vigilant of your sugars and the foods you eat.  Always making sure you have snacks and insulin and extra supplies when going out.  You can’t let Diabetes be your whole life, sometimes you have to put aside the fear and worry and pursue your dreams.  Anything is possible with the right care and the right attitude!

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