School is almost out for the summer, and even though I missed a lot of time because I was in the hospital and recovering at home dealing with my new diabetic life, I still got it done. I’m really glad it’s over!
Day by Day
I thought I knew a lot about animals, but on a recent trip to the Los Angeles Zoo, I learned something new. Monkeys can have diabetes, too!
When we read the sign on the cage, my mom did a double take. There weren’t any zoo keepers or volunteers around to ask about the monkeys, so when we got home, my mom and I did some research on the internet. It seems that a monkey can get diabetes 100 times quicker than a human. My mom says that the zoo monkeys probably have Type 2 Diabetes, since Type 1 in monkeys is much rarer. I just hope people visiting the zoo read the sign and NOT feed the monkeys.
Here are some other pictures from our zoo trip:
March 14th is Pi Day so my class is celebrating by having pizza pie for lunch, and then at 1:59pm, we are having pie! Sadly, when I say we, I mean they. I can eat pie, but not at that time. My mom said she’d buy me a strawberry pie so I can have a slice with my dinner. Now I see why my parents are so eager to get me on an insulin pump. If I were on a pump, I could have that slice of pie with my classmates! Here’s how it works:
- Basal rates
- Bolus doses to cover carbohydrate in meals
- Correction or supplemental doses
Basal insulin is delivered continuously over 24 hours, and keeps your blood glucose levels in range between meals and overnight. Often, you program different amounts of insulin at different times of the day and night.
When you eat, you use buttons on the insulin pump to give additional insulin called a bolus. You take a bolus to cover the carbohydrate in each meal or snack. If you eat more than you planned, you can simply program a larger bolus of insulin to cover it.
You also take a bolus to treat high blood glucose levels. If you have high blood glucose levels before you eat, you give a correction or supplemental bolus of insulin to bring it back to your target range.
It seems kind of weird wearing a pump 24 hours a day, but if it will help me live a better life, then I’m all for it. For now, I have to deal with daily injections, but as soon as my endocrinologist gives me a thumbs up, it’s pie time!
For the hundredth time my mom tried explaining this to me again today. I still don’t totally get it, and I’m the one with the diabetes! My mom said she’s going to have me start counting carbs more often so I don’t make another mistake. Anyway, I guess I should tell you the story…
We had a Valentine’s party in my class today. My mom told me that if the party was at snack time, I could have a Go-Gurt, a couple of strawberries and a tiny bit of Goldfish crackers. If the party was at lunch, I could have whatever I wanted, but the nurse had to figure the carbs into my lunch. Well, the party was at snack time and I had what my mom told me I could have, plus a piece of sugar-free banana bread. I thought I could have it since it was sugar-free, but when I went to the school nurse to get my lunchtime insulin shot, my glucose level shot up higher than a rocket! I had to get 2 extra units of insulin just to bring me back down. I knew when my mom saw my number for the day, she was going to freak out. Well, she did a little, and then explained the whole sugar versus carbs thing again.
You see, if I have this package of crackers, I am eating 24 grams of carbohydrates, which means I need 1.3 units of insulin to balance my glucose level (my ratio is 18 to 1, and may be different from other diabetics). IF the sugar grams were also at 24, then it would most likely be a piece of candy and I wouldn’t be allowed to eat this until the weekend, BUT, since these crackers have only 6 grams of sugar (1/4th the amount of carbs), I can eat them as long as I get a shot of insulin to cover for the carbs. Because I only get shots at mealtimes, I have to work in things like these crackers into my meal. OTHERWISE, I can only have snacks that are well under 18 grams to avoid a shot. Get it? No? I know, it’s a lot of information!!!
My mom said banana bread is about 35 grams of carbs–no wonder my number was so high! I guess I have a lot still to learn about diabetes. Luckily I have my whole life ahead of me and plenty of time! I’m just looking forward to this weekend so I can dive into that pile of Valentine’s candy I just got! Happy Valentine’s Day!
My mom and dad are really excited about this new pump. My mom says that this is why we support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Hopefully I’ll be eligible for a pump sometime this year!
Recently during an evening holiday event someone asked me why I wasn’t drinking hot chocolate with everyone else. My quick response to this question was, “It’s because of my diabetes”, but there is more to it than that. Actually, as a Type 1 Diabetic, I can eat anything you can eat, the only difference is I need to count my carbs and make sure I’m given enough insulin to account for those carbs. All my “treats” are added to my well balanced meals and I am given a shot for the number of carbs I am eating at that time. If I want to drink hot chocolate I can, but I’d need to have insulin. So before you worry about me eating a cookie with my Christmas dinner, or a cupcake at a birthday party, my parents and my insulin shots have got me covered.
By the way, do you know what the real reason why I wasn’t drinking hot chocolate? I don’t like my chocolate milk hot!
Being sick is no fun. Having diabetes and being sick can be a challenge. Having the flu can raise my blood sugar level so I have to check my levels every two hours, and test my urine for ketones twice a day. So far this flu hasn’t been too terrible, but because I also have asthma, my parents worry about pneumonia. At least I’m at home and not in the hospital!
It’s a weekday, which means SCHOOL. Everyday starts the same: wash hands, check blood sugar level, get ready for a shot. I prick my finger with a lancet and squeeze until I get a bubble of blood. The glucose monitor tells me my sugar level. If I am in the 100’s, my mom is happy.
It’s time for breakfast, but first my mom has to count the carbohydrates in my meal . She uses the total number of carb grams and my blood sugar reading to calculate how much insulin I need . I prep my leg, arm or tummy with an alcohol swab and wait for the injection. Sometimes if the needle moves a bit, it hurts, but after already having 120 shots since I was diagnosed just a month ago, I’m getting use to the pain.
Now, I’m off to school. My mom packs my lunch with a note for the nurse that lets her know the number of carbs I’m going to eat. She also packs a snack that has no more than 5 grams of carbs, plus a protein. In two hours I need to go to the health clerk so I can check my blood sugar levels again. If my number is too high I need to drink water. If it’s too low, I need a carb to bring it back up. The nurse at school has all my medicines, supplies, juices, waters and snacks.
During the day I need to remind myself to let my teacher know if I have a headache or feel dizzy (my sugar level is too low), or if I am having trouble reading because of blurry vision (my blood sugar level is too high). If I have any problems, I need to go visit the nurse and get out the lancet.
Lunchtime means another visit to the school nurse for a blood sugar check and a shot of insulin. I don’t use a syringe anymore. Now I use an insulin pen . All of my readings are recorded and sent home with me every day. My mom is always anxious to see “my numbers”.
Two hours after lunch and its back to the nurse’s office again to check my sugar level. If I have PE that day I need to remind myself to let my teacher know if I feel tired or sluggish. Strenuous exercise can affect your blood sugar levels.
When I get home I can have a snack, but it can’t be just anything I want. The snack has to include a small carb and a protein . Gone are the days that I can reach into an M&M’s jar anytime I want. All my snacks and meals have to be balanced and all the carbs must be counted.
My dinner routine is the same as my other two meals. I check my blood sugar level, my mom counts my carbs, and I am given a shot of insulin before I can eat a bite. I can have sweets once in a while but it has to be eaten with a meal and the grams of sugar need to be no more than 1/3rd of the total grams of carbs.
I can’t take a shower until an hour after I have an insulin injection. The heat from the shower can affect the insulin and make my blood sugar levels dip drastically. After my shower I have another snack of a carb and a protein. My favorite snack is a low-calorie rice cake with peanut butter.
Before I go to bed I check my blood sugar level again. This is the sixth time I have pricked my finger today. My dad gives me my 24-hour slow acting insulin shot. He tries hard to be careful with the needle and not hurt me, but he needs more practice. If my number is low my parents check my sugar level again at 2:00am. Sometimes I sleep right through it.
In the morning, yeah, you guessed it, I start all over again. My parents have told me that someday everything will be much easier. I won’t have to check my levels as much, and they hope I will be able to wear a pump that will eliminate my four daily shots. My doctors have told me that they WILL find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes in the future. That is why mom and I have started this blog…we hope we have opened your minds to my daily “normal” routine and you will help the Juvenile Diabetes Reseach Foundation find a cure by sponsorinmg my JDRF Walk. Please see the JDRF page on this blog. Thank you!