Read what type 1 diabetes is here.
Read about my son's diagnosis and the weeks leading up to it here.
Settling into the routine of checking blood sugar, calculating carbs, and scheduling routine endocrinology appointments happened much quicker than you would imagine. It was no time at all and my son was doing nearly all his checking and calculating with us watching over him. Of all ages to be diagnosed, eleven feels a bit like a golden age - old enough to help in nearly every aspect of his care and still have a bit of time before hormones wreck the picture.
We dealt with a lot of low blood sugars those first six months. My son was so sensitive to insulin initially, and that is typical. The body is funny. Now receiving adequate insulin his body had a breather and his pancreas was able to squeeze out insulin on its own (not enough but some). This is called the "honeymoon" period.
My son took his time coming out of honeymoon, and it was not a rapid, overnight process. He caught a cold in the fall, which increased his insulin needs. Then a growth spurt - again, more insulin. This pattern continued. We would barely adjust dosing needs, something would happen, his blood sugar would raise, and we would respond with more insulin. A year out from the start of that process, my son's insulin needs have more than quadrupled.
Today, our adjustments are fewer than over this past year, but hormones are driving the rollercoaster now. Every day is a surprise. My son checks his blood sugar often, as do my husband and I during the night.
While there are times we are frustrated or just have a good laugh about diabetes, overall emotions are good and my son takes it all with a shrug and a smile. To show you how he is, he once told me he would rather have diabetes than his siblings.
My boy now...
A Day in the Life...
The night before... Bed time was a good number at 118. He came in a few hours later and checked in at 119 around 11:00 pm.
My husband did a middle of the night check because his morning number had been below 100. He was 73. It was around 4:00 AM so we let him go, knowing that the body naturally raises glucose in the early morning hours.
Sure enough, breakfast at 8:30 found him at 132.
Lunch was early. We had been out for confession and were early to the girls' piano lesson so we ate our packed lunch. He was 302. Hmm... he seems to be going high before lunch again. We'll have to keep an eye on that.
Check again a few hours later to make sure he's down. 211. Darn. He doesn't feel well again, he tells you. He seems to be coming down with something since Monday. He does feel a little feverish. Ketones negative thankfully (they were small yesterday).
An hour and half later... He doesn't look so good. He's 54. Treat and retest - 89. Dinner in an hour.
An early dinner at 4:00pm because of dance and CCD, which I decide he will miss because he still seems off, with a possible fever.
8:00 pm - after CCD, he still doesn't feel the best. He's 410. Ketones - trace - are present.
After reading for awhile - he still won't sleep even though he doesn't feel well - he's 269. Correct with insulin and back to bed. Of course, not feeling well means a middle of the night check again. Seems like we are doing more of those lately than we have in awhile. It's a good thing my husband is a night owl.
An interview with my son. I tried to do a video interview, but he would only agree to answering questions.
Do you think about having diabetes often?
What do you like least about having diabetes?
Uh, I don't know. Sometimes the insulin burns. I don't like lows. I feel too hungry. I could eat anything when I'm low.
Is there anything good about having diabetes?
My kit gives me more storage. [His kit holds all his diabetes supplies, and he takes it wherever he goes. He always has to be prepared.]
Do you mind when people watch you check your blood sugar, give yourself insulin, or ask questions about diabetes?
Do you like to educate people about diabetes?
Yeah, if they want to know about it.
Is there anything you feel you can't do having diabetes?
Twelve year old boys are so expressive.
I hope you enjoyed this 3-part series, and maybe even learned a thing or two.