Monday, March 30, 2009

Memory Mondays: Dec. 6, 2005

I had to smile when I read this post. Ahhh, how naive I was back then to think that when I gave insulin Riley's sugar would always go down.

And, 1/2 unit of insulin per 45g carb? Holy cow, how did I do that? Riley barely eats 45g carb per meal now.


The Science Experiment

Anyone else out there feel like your child or you are a science experiment? I just am still uncomfortable with trying a new dose to see what it does. I know the only way to know if something will work is to try it, but sometimes I feel like a mad scientist (emphasis on the mad).

Riley's sugars had been running a little high after he ate, so I figured it was time to adjust his carb ratio. So, instead of 1/2 unit per 45g, I went to 1/2 per 30g. Well, yesterday his sugar at lunch was 80. He ate 35g carbs, so he got 1/2 unit NovoLog. Well, a little over an hour later, it was 375. Now how did that happen? I'm wondering if his sugar dropped low and he rebounded. I just can't see how it could jump so high so quickly and he had taken insulin. Then, at supper that same night, it was 173. He ate 45g carbs (including regular cake for my mom's birthday party). Well, he got 1/2 unit for that and 2 hours later it was 78. So what's the deal? I think his pancreas is just screwing with me.

Then, the only way I can keep his sugar from dropping too low during the night is to give him regular pudding before bed, but that tends to shoot his sugar up. Last night when his sugar was 78 he had pudding and at bedtime it was 243. So, what do I do? I don't like his sugar dropping into the 50s and 60s, but I don't like them in the 200s either. We've tried different things for his nighttime snack (including corn starch) but the pudding seems to work the best to keep his sugars up. How do I decide which is the lesser of two evils?

OK, I'm going to get back to my science experiment. But, on the bright side, science was always my best subject.

Friday, March 27, 2009

TGIF (updates)

  • Riley had a filed trip yesterday. He was so excited. He loves getting to ride on the bus. The problem is that when Riley gets excited he tends to go low. He went to see a play. The night before the trip I set a basal just for the field trip. His eating schedule was going to be all screwed up. He usually eats lunch at 11:15 and snack at 2:15. But, because of the timing of the trip he ate a snack at 9:15 and didn't have lunch until almost 2:00. He did OK except for a couple of lows. When they arrived at the play he clocked in at 47. It was brought right back up by juice. Then, on the bus ride back he went in the 60s once and then hovered in the lower 80s until he had lunch. All in all, I'd say it was a success. The trip has been looming in my mind for over a week now. I'm glad it's behind us and that everything worked out OK. I didn't go with him for three reasons: 1) His teacher cares for his D every day and I knew she'd do OK with it. 2) I didn't want Riley to be the only one with a parent going. 3) The play was held in the same city where Michael works. I knew if anything major happened he'd be near-by to take care of it.

  • Holden's prom is tonight. It was all I could do last night when he dressed up in his tux not to cry. He looked so handsome and grown up. He will be heading to beach after the prom to spend a couple of nights with friends (and one friend's parents). I told Michael it will be a preview of what life will be like in a few months when he goes away to college. It's been a very long time since Holden spent a night away from home, let alone 2 nights in a row.

  • Riley's overnight sugars were excellent. Those sugars have been the hardest to wrangle in lately. He was 186 when Michael and I went to bed. He got a tiny .15 correction and the rest of his sugars were wonderful. He woke up with a sugar of 89 this morning. You gotta celebrate the small things, you know.

  • My favorite season is just around the corner. I love spring. I can't wait for it to warm up here and stay that way. We've had a few nice, warm days and then it will cool back down again. And, spring break is only 13 days away!!!! Michael and I will both be off of work and both of the kids will be out of school. I can't wait.

  • It was brought to my attention by a reader (hi Chris) that his daughter had noticed that Riley did not have a medical alert bracelet on in any of his pictures. Riley has had a couple of bracelets and a necklace over the last few years, but I've never been really strict about him wearing them. I guess because for the first couple of years he was hardly ever away from us. I started researching what jewelery other kids were wearing. I found Riley's old necklace. It's a little dog with a medical alert symbol on it. I made him start wearing it all the time. Holden wears some sort of necklace every day, either his purity rings or my dad's dog tags from Vietnam. So, Riley decided it was cool to wear a necklace because big brother Holden wears one. He did OK for the first few days, but then kept asking to take it off. I wouldn't let him. He's been wearing it for a couple of weeks now and doesn't seem to notice it at all anymore. And, I feel better, especially when he goes on trips like he did yesterday.

  • Next Saturday we will attend open house at the college that Holden will be attending. It will kind of be like a homecoming of sorts. Michael and I both attended college there. We will be looking at apartments that day also. It's just bringing us one step closer to Holden leaving home. sigh......

  • I haven't mentioned my dad in a while. Regular readers may remember that he was diagnosed with throat cancer back in August. Well he went through several weeks of chemo and radiation, several rough weeks which included a hospital stay, but now he's good. The treatments worked. He has no sign of cancer anywhere in his body now. Thank all of you for your prayers.

  • I guess that's it for now. I hope each of you have a wonderful and safe weekend.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Keeping a Positive Attitude

I wrote in my post yesterday that I am going to chose to have a positive attitude. I have been doing that. But, on my ride into work this morning I was thinking how much easier it makes it to have a positive attitude when Riley’s sugars are doing well.

His sugars have been much better the last few days. I’ve been making basal adjustments at least weekly and have gotten his sugars reigned in for the most part. The only time he’s going high consistently is right after bedtime. I adjusted his basal a bit last night as well as his nighttime carb coverage. He’s also been going on the low side around 3 in the morning, so I’ll adjust again tonight to account for that.

I’m thinking my positive attitude comes from the good numbers. And, a good, long cry I had a few nights ago. I had felt it building up but had been trying to push it aside. Even though I know sometimes it helps to just let everything out, I hate to cry. I don’t think it’s a sign of weakness, but maybe a sign of defeat. When diabetes gets me down enough to cry, I feel like somehow it’s won.

Thursday night, I couldn’t contain it anymore. Riley started complaining of an ear ache. He was crying and holding his ear and he had a temperature. I knew he had yet another ear infection, his 3rd in 5 weeks. I gave him Tylenol for the pain and I had him lie with his ear on a heating pad. It didn’t help. He continued to scream out and hold his ear in pain. A couple of hours after the Tylenol I gave him Ibuprofen. After a while that seemed to help.

Michael and I sat in the floor with him and played several games of Sorry Sliders. Then, it was off to bed. A quick check of his sugar showed he was soaring in the 300s. I increased his basal like I do whenever he has some sort of infection and administered insulin as well as his nightly inhaler. All the while I was holding back tears. I refused to cry.

I tucked Riley into bed. As I sat on the couch thinking about having to call the doctor in the morning, I started to cry. It was soft at first. I quietly slipped out of the living room and went into the bathroom. That’s where I do most of my crying.

I sat in there and cried and prayed. I cried from deep within my soul, crying like I hadn’t done in a very long time.

I felt defeated and helpless. Riley has had so many infections and sicknesses over the past several weeks that it makes basal adjustments hard to do. You have to have a few “normal” days of sugars to adjust, but with all his sickness it was rare for him to have several normal days in a row.

In addition to defeat and helplessness I felt guilt, lots and lots of guilt. I felt guilty that I wasn’t doing enough to fight Riley’s diabetes. I felt guilty that he ended up with diabetes in the first place. I felt guilty that it wasn’t me instead of him. I felt guilty that I hated a disease that was part of my son. I felt guilty that I felt like I just couldn’t do it anymore.

My head knew that I didn’t give Riley diabetes. My head knew that I have been working very hard to care for Riley. My head knew that I would take it away from him and give it to myself if I could. My head knew that I could take care of him; I didn’t really have a choice.

But, my heart was a whole other matter. My heart didn’t care what my head thought.

I sat in the bathroom long enough that Michael eventually came to check on me. When he asked if he could come in I told him no. I needed to be alone for a while. He came back several times to see if I needed anything. He was very sweet and understanding.

I finally emerged from the bathroom. Thankfully, Riley was asleep and Holden was at work, so they didn’t have to know about any of it. I let a few more tears out before the night was over. By the time Holden got home from work I was done with the pity party and ready to move on.

Riley went to the doctor on Friday and was diagnosed with a “nasty ear infection”. He is on his third antibiotic in 5 weeks. His sugars started to come down by Sunday and I was able to get rid of his temp basal. His sugars for the last two days have been the best they’ve been in a while.

My positive attitude is still there for now. I am going to try very hard to keep a positive attitude even when things are not going well.

I hope I have a while before I have to find out how I do with that.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Memory Monday: Dec. 2 ,2005 (yes I know it's Tuesday)

I don't know what to say about this post. I was so happy that Riley's A1C was 7.9. Now, a 7.9 brings me to tears and makes me feel like a failure.

This post reminds me that perspective makes a huge difference. I can chose to see things as positive or I can chose to see things as negative. I've been choosing negative lately.

Today, I will chose the positive.


The Endo. Appointment

Well, just a quick post to tell about Riley's first endo. appointment. It went very well. I didn't know what his A1C was in the hospital. I found out today that it was 9.7. Today it was 7.9!!!!! I was so excited.

For his age, the Dr. wants it between 7.5 and 8.0. The ADA recommends 7.5-8.5. So, either way he's in range and I'm very happy. Plus, he's only had D for 2 months. Since it is a 3 month average of his sugars the endo. said that he has a month in there where we didn't know he had D, so if we checked again next month, she seems to think that it would even be lower.

Overall, a good appointment. But, I didn't get the answer I wanted about the pump. They wait at least a year before they'll even discuss, then they don't really recommend it.

On the way to eat after the appointment, Riley said "I forgot to ask about the hook thing" (that's what he calls the pump because I told him he'd be hooked to it) I told him I had asked. "What did she say?" "She said you're too young." "Well, I don't like taking shots. Can we find another Dr?"

So, I will be scouring the internet for ped. endos. that are within 2 hours from here. Wish me luck. 7.9, yeahhhhhhhh!!!!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Memory Mondays

I have decided that every (or most, let's be realistic) Mondays I am going to re-post an older post. I will start with the oldest ones and work my way forward.

I've been spending more time on Children With Diabetes lately. I spent A LOT of time up there in the first few months after Riley's diagnosis. I got a lot of good advice there. Now, I check in at the forums from time to time. It's my way of giving back. While I am by no means an expert at diabetes, I know that the 3 1/2 years of experience can help a "newbie". If nothing else I can give some encouraging words and a shoulder to cry on.

Reading the comments made from the newer parents kind of brought all the emotions flooding back for me. I went back and read some of my older posts. It brought up a lot of emotion, but it also made me realize how far we had come.

Anyway, this was originally posted on November 30, 2005 (8 weeks after Riley's diagnosis). I wrote it one night when I was feeling particularly sorry for myself.


Somewhere A Mother Is Crying

My sweet little boy just took a shot
Somewhere a mother is crying
Sometimes he asks "Will it hurt a lot?"
Somewhere a mother is crying

We check his sugar several times a day
Somewhere a mother is crying
When his sugar is high, we go out and play
Somewhere a mother is crying

My son has diabetes and I feel sorry for myself
Somewhere a mother is crying
I worry about the long-term effects on his health
Somewhere a mother is crying

My boy is full of life
Somewhere a mother is crying
One day, I hope he has children and a wife
Somewhere a mother is crying

A mother somewhere has just lost her son
If only there was something she could have done
She learned of the cancer six months ago
Now she has had to let him go

She sobs and she grieves for the life he'll never live
She mourns because he had so much love to give
She cries because she misses him so
It was so hard letting him go

My son just came in and gave me a kiss
Somewhere a mother is crying....

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Slap

Riley is sick again for the fourth time in about six weeks. He’s had two ear infections, a bout with asthma, and now, he’s running a fever, no other symptoms, just a fever which has made his sugars go up.

Last night he was sitting on the couch in between Michael and me. He eventually put his head in my lap. Next thing I knew he had fallen asleep. When Michael picked him up to put him into his bed he noticed he felt warm. I checked his temperature and it was 101.6. His only complaint all day had been a headache. His sugars had been good too, the best they had been in a while.

Ibuprofen brought his temperature down. The regular middle of the night sugar checks including temperature checks. He did OK until about 6:30 in the morning when it started to rise again and he got more Ibuprofen. Somehow, his sugars were perfect all night long.

That hasn’t been the case today. He’s been high all day. Right now he’s running at an increased basal to try and counter-act that.

For most other kids, being sick is no big deal. As a mother you hate to see them feel bad. You worry about them, but not like you do when diabetes is involved.

When your child with diabetes is sick, you feel more than sympathy, you feel fear. You’re on alert all the times anyway, but now you’re on high alert. Every little complaint could mean something. A tummy ache becomes a very big deal.

It is days like today that diabetes slaps me in the face, leaving my cheek reddened. It stings and I feel my eyes fill with tears. My hand flies to my face and I rub my cheek wondering why I didn’t see it coming.

I know I’ll deal with this and move on. The fever will subside and life will return to our kind of normal. Riley will have highs and lows. He may even have a few days of good sugars.

The pain comes from knowing that it won’t last. Just when I convince myself that I can handle this, that we have things under control, diabetes will reach up and slap me in the face again.

And again, and again, and again……

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ode to ER

When ER first started I was in nursing school. The thing to do on Friday morning before class started was to laugh about what happened on Friends and to discuss what happened on ER.

I remember the very first episode where the audience was first introduced to Noah Wyle’s character, Dr. Carter. I loved him from the very first episode and was sad to see him leave the show.

I haven’t liked every character on the show. I was never a fan of Susan Lewis. I didn’t like Dr. Weaver from day one. I was actually happy to see her leave the show. And, you couldn’t help but dislike Dr. Romano, but sometimes I found myself liking him in spite of myself. Once he got his arm (literally) chopped off I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for him. I didn’t like Archie (Dr. Morris) for a long time, but now he is one of my favorite characters currently on the show. Neela has never been one of my favorites either.

My favorite character will always be Dr. Carter. But, I also loved Dr. Greene and Doug Ross. Abby was always a favorite of mine. And, her mother was played by one of my favorite actresses, Sally Fields. Peter Benton was an awesome character. And, Jerry, the desk clerk, who couldn’t like him? I loved Dr. Pratt. Dr. Banfield is still growing on me.

I am not a big TV watcher. I have a few choice shows I watch. ER is the one show that I consistently make a point to take time to watch. I’ve been doing that for 15 years.

I particularly loved last night’s episode. Old characters have been brought back a lot this season. This started with the much loved Mark Greene. Dr. Carter just came back to the show a few episodes ago. And, last night saw the return of Dr. Benton, Carol Hathaway, and Dr. Ross.

For someone who doesn’t watch a lot of TV I guess this seems like a strange post to write. But, like I said, I’ve been watching this show for 15 years. I have come to love the show and while I know it’s time for it to end, I will be sad to see it go.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How Do You Feel About Embryonic Stem Cell Research?

I have never gotten political on my blog. I'd like to keep it that way.

I read Amy's blog today and was appalled at the things some people will say, both those who support ESCR and those that do not.

I was just wondering how those in the diabetes community feel about it without making it into a political/religious war.

If you would like to leave a comment that's fine, but anything that is disrespectful to someone else's religion/opinion/race/whatever will be deleted.

Take my poll.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Most days diabetes doesn’t get me down too much. If Riley is really high or really low it might upset me for a bit, but once the high or low is gone I’m OK.

But, for the last several days the needle pricks and the counting of carbs have stung a little more than usual.

I think it all started on Thursday. While we were on our way to the doctor to follow up with Riley’s asthma, he’s doing great with that, by the way, Riley started talking about diabetes.

I’m not sure what started it, but at some point he said, “If I get rid of my diabetes that means I can eat whatever I want, right?”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

“So, that means I can just eat as much as I want? I can drink real drinks too?”

“Yes, that’s what it means.”


I felt my throat catch. It’s such a foreign thought to him. The idea that he can walk to the cabinet or fridge, grab whatever he wants, and eat or drink it sounds like heaven to him. It’s something that we non-D people just take for granted.

He’s mentioned diabetes a few more times since then. And each time it’s tugged at my heart.

Thursday night I made some basal adjustments. I called Riley into the room so I could remove his pump to reprogram it.

As I was reaching into his pocket to pull out his pump he stated, in a very stern voice, “I hate diabetes!”

“Me too, son.” Then, I gave him a great big hug.

And, that adds to the pain. All I can do is hug him when he feels this way, listen to him vent his frustrations. I know hugs and listening to him are important, but it doesn’t change anything.

He still has diabetes. He still has restrictions on his eating. I know we say “People with diabetes can eat just like everyone else.” I’m not sure why we say it. We all know it’s not true.

That’s something I struggle with too. He’s a growing boy, I want to just let him eat and eat whenever he wants. But, it’s not as easy as it sounds.

One night this week I was on the couch. I had been eating some mixed nuts. Riley saw the container and asked for “one”. Yes, just one. I know nuts don’t have many carbs in them. But, he only asked for one because he knows he can’t just reach into anything and grab a handful and walk away.

My throat caught and my heart ached again. This time I almost cried. I grabbed him and hugged him and told him I was sorry that he has diabetes.

Maybe it wasn’t the best the best thing to say. But, I said it, because I meant it.

Usually it’s the highs and lows that alter my moods. But, sometimes it’s just the plain old day in day out stuff that comes along with the disease.

And, because that “stuff” happens to my son instead of me, sometimes it’s almost unbearable.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Why I Love the Pump

1. Being able to accurately dose tiny amounts of insulin.

2. Riley can eat his meal and then if he wants something else after he's already had insulin all we have to do is program it in the pump and give the insulin, no extra injection needed.

3. 2-3 needle pokes per week compared to 28-35.

4. Being able to adjust insulin levels at certain times of the day. (Riley has 7 different basal patterns in one day.) He ALWAYS went low at night on Lantus no matter what we did, corn starch, large snack, split dose, nothing worked. With the pump I can decrease his insulin at night and it works very nicely.

5. Temp. basals: I absolutely love temp basals. They make life so much easier. We mainly use them at night, if Riley is lower than I like (but still in range) I can just decrease his basal for a couple of hours and most times it takes care of it. There is no need to wake him to drink juice or eat fruit snacks (as long as he's not low, low). Temp. basals are also very handy for sports or other increase in activity.

6. Having a happier healthier Riley.

7. Having a happier mom (me).

Riley started on the pump exactly 3 years ago today. I hate that he needs it in the first place, but am so grateful that he was able to get it so early on in his diagnosis. Life is never easy when it comes to diabetes, but the pump makes it easier.