Kycie Needs Prayers

Kycie was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes this year. Her blood sugar at diagnosis was over 1000! Normal is around 70. She recently came home from the hospital.. Unfortunately she is back in the hospital and very ill. Please, please pray for her, her mom, her dad, and her 4 brothers.

This is her Facebook page: Kisses for Kycie

Diabetes Yo Yo

It was a bit of a rough night. The morning started way too early for my liking, although our two year old seemed okay with it. (UGH!)

When my husband tested his blood sugar last night, it was in the 240’s. We kind of expected it to be high, because we had jasmine rice at dinner. We rarely have rice, but last night I was hankering for this for dinner. I will be having it for lunch today too. It was hard to stop at just one bowl. 🙂 At about 2:30AM, I heard my husband’s c-pap machine turn off. At 5:45, I don’t notice it, but my mind must have known it was the wrong time. I sat up, put my glasses on and asked what was going on. I asked if he had a low blood sugar and he said he thought so. He sounded a little slow, so I got up to check it for him. 57!

In the course of four and a half hours it went from 240 to 57.

This does not reassure me about his upcoming business trip!

After bringing his blood sugar back up to the normal range, covering the sheets from his sweat fest, and laying back down, I couldn’t sleep. First he was snoring. Then that two year old wasn’t interested in going back to sleep. I was going over “Where did we (I) go wrong?” And I couldn’t stop thinking about how to prepare him for his trip, to ease my mind and to help him in the case of a low blood sugar.

I told him that he had to wake up to test each night he is gone, no matter what. I am going to make sure he has some Squeezable apple sauce, pbj’s, and small sodas available. And I am going to pray A LOT.

(What are some other ready to go snacks he could have available?)

Parents of kids with diabetes, how on earth do you survive time away from your kids? I feel like a control freak, or that I am being really annoying about this. We’ve survived time apart before, but still I worry.

By the way, I went to the library yesterday and brought this home:

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Just a little light reading for the kids’ summer break. 🙂

Back to that low blood sugar, what’s the deal with rice anyway?

Have You Tried Essential Oils?

Ahem. I might step on a few toes today. That is not my intent, but sometimes the suggestions given to my husband are crazy, even if they are well intentioned. Nobody likes to see a friend or a loved one suffer from a disease that *might* be cured or managed. My husband has heard some zingers. These are a few of the suggestions he has heard from others regarding his diabetes and the reason(s) why he is not/ has not/ will not try(ing) them.

1. Have you tried essential oils? No. His doctor doesn’t really recommend essential oils has a viable method of controlling his diabetes.

2. I heard that okra in water will cure diabetes. No. I think if this worked, we would all know about it and there would be an okra shortage. (Source: http://www.diabetesdaily.com/blog/2014/03/why-okra-will-not-cure-your-diabetes/)

3. If you just had more faith, your diabetes would be cured. Do I believe that God COULD cure diabetes? Yes, but so far He hasn’t. My husband said that he was approached at a family wedding by an aunt who thought she could cure him with her faith. This many years later, he’s still diabetic. This has become an inside joke for us though. When his blood sugars are whacked, I tell him to get “in the word”. I’ve heard it’s a cure for all that ails ya. (Don’t hate us, we’re believers. We also think we are funny)

4. Medifast.  I can’t tell you how many times Medifast has been recommended for my husband for weight loss and diabetes control. I have seen Medifast work wonders for some people. I am not discounting that it’s a great product for some people; however when we looked into it we were told that my husband needed to check with his health care provider before starting this program. In fact, straight from here is this: If you have type 1 diabetes, it is essential to discuss Medifast with your health care provider or diabetes specialist before you start any of our plans for weight loss. He has been seeing the same doctor for 15 years. He has a good relationship with him. He asked him about Medifast. His doctor said that he did not think this was a good option for my husband. Rather than leave the people hanging that had recommended this to us, I politely informed them that his doctor did not recommend this route. These were the responses:

  • “What? Really? I have never had a doctor say no before” (There’s a first time for everything?)
  • “He obviously doesn’t understand what it is. Let me give you information to take with you next time. In fact, do you want me to come with you?” (no)
  • “That’s weird. Our doctor said it was okay for my diabetes.” (ok)
  • “Why would he say no? That doesn’t even make sense!” (none of your business)
  • “If his doctor said no, he has a good reason. Honestly, I sell it and wouldn’t recommend it for your husband.” (smile)

5. What about an insulin pump? Yes. Yes. Yes! We have looked into this before, but at the time, the cost was prohibitive. Now my husband has double coverage. I just checked his benefits and BOTH insurances cover the insulin pump! He has had some major medical expenses in the past two years and our out of pocket costs have been minimal. It looks like this will be the case for the pump. He has an appointment with his doctor soon and we will be asking about this again!

Did I step on your toes? I hope not, but when you are a diabetic (I am not) you have heard it all…. for the most part. To keep our patience, we try to remember that people are just trying to help because they care. It’s actually the people who are offended that we are not taking their suggestion that test our patience. We have learned to say “Thank you” rather than give the reason why what they said will not work for him. If you are diabetic, what are some helpful/ unhelpful things you have heard to cure or manage your diabetes? 

ETA: Out of all these things, the only one he has tried is prayer, although he isn’t praying that he’s cured. He’s praying that he manages well. So he can’t say without a doubt that none of these will work to manage his diabetes. 🙂

P.S. in an earlier post I talked about how my husband’s insurance only wanted to cover 100 test strips a month. We talked to a different pharmacist the last time we filled his test strips and she knew the work around/ coding needed for insurance. They just needed to know that he had a condition that required the test strips, because people like to fake diabetes, you know. 

Links and Resources

It’s a short one today, dear readers. Short but important. I want to share the links and resources that I find are valuable in managing my husband’s diabetes. He tests the blood sugars and gives the shots, but I learn the info. It works for us.

Here are two other diabetes related blogs I have come across since starting this blog. To be honest, they found me, and I am so glad they did. I enjoy reading their writings:

Diabetes and Donuts

MumofType1: Surviving parenting 3 boys, one with Type 1 Diabetes

Resources 

These are a few of my favorite go to Resources

Think Like a Pancreas This is my go to book. It has great information. The best part is it’s written FOR diabetics BY a diabetic. (Type 1)

Google Yes. I love to google. It is quick, easy, and painless to Google “how many carbs are in watermelon?” Try it. 🙂

Calorie Count We make a lot of meals from scratch and the carb count isn’t always available. This website makes it simple. I have found a few times when the carb count was off, but balanced with what I know and what I can Google, it’s a wonderful resource and gives a ballpark idea.

Apps: A list of apps for helping to manage your diabetes. These are Android apps, because that’s what we use. I know that Apple has some too. 🙂 My husband uses Accuchek. He has finally ditched the small paper book, which is great because those are getting difficult to find!

What are some of your favorite resources? Do you know of other diabetes related blogs? I’d love to visit! 

Where Are We Going?

When I look back, it’s hard to believe that 17 years ago, I knew absolutely nothing about diabetes. Well, I guess I can’t say NOTHING. I knew my husband had it. I knew he had to test his blood sugar and take shots. I didn’t know about carbs, high blood sugars, low blood sugars. I was about to get a crash course though.

Less than a year into our marriage, my husband, stepdaughter, and I went camping with my parents. My parents have never camped in the local parks. Oh, no, as children we hiked miles to our camping locations. As adults, it was a little gentler, we just drove hours to our destination. (By the way, I miss those days!)

On this particular trip, I don’t remember how long we had been there or how long we were staying. I do remember waking up at some point in the night and knowing that something wasn’t right. I checked my husband. He was breathing, but he wasn’t particularly responsive. Fortunately I knew enough to know that not responding was not okay. I grabbed his blood glucose monitor. I had seen him use it hundreds of times. I looked at that thing, I pushed buttons, I looked at it again.

I had no clue what I was doing.

I ran to my parents’ camp site and knocked on their trailer door. “Something is wrong with Chad!” They woke up right away and came to our site. They tried to figure out this blood sugar tester thingamabob and we. were. CLUELESS. It was a bad time to realize that we had no idea how to operate this thing. I am not sure that I should even get points for knowing we NEEDED to use it.

My dad said the hospital was some 40+ miles away. Somehow we were able to get my husband into the truck. My mom stayed behind with my step daughter. My dad was hurtling down this windy, curvy road as fast as he could maneuver the corners. It was dark and it was a little concerning and I don’t think my anxiety could handle a trip like that today. I remember wondering what it was going to be like at the hospital. What would they do? Would he be okay? I didn’t have any experience in this department and I hadn’t prepared myself very well. It was his disease. I was just married to him. I never gave any thought to his diabetes.

Somewhere between the camp site and the hospital, my husband came out of his low blood glucose stupor. (I can’t remember if we had tried to give him anything. My mom probably remembers) What a surprise it must have been for him! He looked around and said “Where are we going?”

I told him we were headed to the hospital, because he hadn’t been responsive. Then he asked where his daughter was. I figured if he was aware enough to worry about the care of his daughter, he was probably okay, so I gave my dad the all clear to head back to camp.

You better believe that we learned to use that monitor immediately!

Also, the next morning, we were talking to the camp host and told him what had happened. He said he was diabetic and he could have helped us. Why didn’t we think of that?

I know the answer to that. Back then we didn’t think about a lot of things. We would eventually learn though.

Test Strips, Test Strips Everywhere!

My husband goes through a lot of test strips. 4-6 per day on a good day, up to 8-10 on others. He says he throws them away, but I am telling you, I FIND THEM EVERYWHERE! I’ve heard other people say the same thing about their family members, friends, or self with diabetes. Test strips everywhere. When we were on vacation, I found test strips in the driveway. I wonder if he has ever inadvertently left any in a restaurant?

I knew that he had reached new heights in dropping test strips when my 15 year old daughter came in the kitchen and said “I just found one of daddy’s test strips… IN MY BED!”

Now this is a miracle. He never even goes in their room and she is in the top bunk of a bunk bed!

We’ve got test strips…. everywhere!

How Low Can He Go?

The right amount of carbs + the right amount of insulin = Diabetes Bliss

The right amount of carbs + too much insulin = Diabetes Hell aka a low blood sugar

My least favorite thing about diabetes is the low blood sugar.

This is my husband

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This is my husband with a low blood sugar

Chad blood sugar beachThe difference may be so subtle that many people wouldn’t even notice. I don’t like this picture. It is a reminder of the time that I was so focused on something else that I didn’t notice he was not “right”. Usually I can look at him and tell by his stance, the look on his face, the way he holds his hands, and the way he talks to me. On this day, I completely missed it, and he had to bring it to my attention. A few days later I was looking through the pictures I had taken and it was as clear as day.

According to WebMD, symptoms of a low blood sugar include:

I normally have a sixth sense when it comes to my husband and his blood sugars. I called him from work a few years ago and knew he had a low blood sugar. I was too far away to help in a reasonable amount of time, so I called the paramedics.

Low blood sugars can be caused by too much insulin, too little carbs, and exercise. It happens when the body does not have enough glucose in its blood stream.

I asked my husband what it is like to have a low blood sugar. He said that for him, low blood sugar leads to confusion, exhaustion, and feeling like it is extremely difficult to move. I looked at him and smiled. “That explains the time you kept telling us your feet were glued to the floor”. He said that is exactly what it feels like, as if he is slogging through mud and it takes all of his strength and effort to lift his feet one more time. I asked if he knows that he is having a low blood sugar. He said “Sometimes, but it’s like I am in an alternate world. I know that’s what it is, but I can’t figure out what to do to take care of it.” He also said that diabetes likes to trick the brain. His body feels off, but his brain keeps telling him he is okay.

My daughter says that the scariest time for her was a day we were at Goodwill. My husband was shopping with the kids elsewhere in the store. I hadn’t seen him for a while. My daughter came up and said “Something is wrong with daddy”. It was very crowded and I had a hard time finding him. When I did, he was staggering like a drunk. I found a chair and sat him down. We had been at Target prior to Goodwill and I just happened to buy an orange juice. I had taken a sip of it, then put it back in my purse. His blood sugar was so low that the bottle didn’t help much. I grabbed a bottle out of their cooler and gave that to him. We’ve had to do this a few times over the years, and I do it knowing that I could risk making an employee angry. I don’t care. 🙂 Sometimes, like that day, a low blood sugar comes on so quick that he doesn’t have time to react to it.

Night time is the worst, because it is generally 8 hours of untreated diabetes. If you are resting, you are not testing your blood sugar. Lucky for my husband, I don’t sleep. Okay, I’m kidding. I do wake up several times a night to check on him though. I don’t always check his blood sugar, but I make sure he is breathing and not sweating. When he is sleeping, I can predict a blood sugar by the way he breathes and if he is sweating. A low blood sugar sweat does not present itself in the same way as “this room is way too hot” sweat.

I wish that people who know he has diabetes understood better the signs and symptoms of a low blood sugar. Last week, I made a spur of the moment decision to visit him at work. I didn’t tell him I was coming, I showed up. When I walked in, he was glad to see me, then he said “I’m not doing well”. He sat down and tested his blood sugar. It was 32. (anything less than 70 is considered low, although he is much more functional at 67 than he is 32) Even while he was treating his low blood sugar, his co-workers were talking to him, asking him questions, and trying to push him out the door for lunch.

If my husband has calculated his carbs and his insulin amount, he can’t decide halfway through that he just isn’t hungry anymore and skip eating the rest of his meal. Since he has already dosed for the entire meal, he’s kind of stuck eating the entire meal. It’s pretty inconvenient.

A low blood sugar can be relatively easy to counteract, you just have to catch it. One of the challenges we face is his insurance company only wants to cover 3 test strips per day. One for breakfast, one for lunch, and one for dinner. Without insurance coverage, test strips are very expensive. He needs to test, at a minimum 4 times per day. (He needs to test before bedtime) If he feels off, he needs to test. If his blood sugar is low, he needs to treat it and retest in 15 minutes. It is very hard to get by on just 3 strips per day.

Have you ever seen someone with a low blood sugar? Do you know how to treat it? The general consensus is 15 grams of fast acting carbs and retest in 15 minutes. I’m official. I have glucose tablets in my purse at all times.