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July 28, 2016

Update Post 1 - Diabetes and Life

Hi readers!  Wow, I've been rather bad at updating this blog in the past few years!  I know for certain that having my little one has definitely had a lot to do with that!  Every time that I think I'm finally "settling in" to a new routine, life seems to have other plans and I have to start over.  But I miss blogging, and so I'm simply going to start by writing about the main thing that has overtaken our life in the last year - having a toddler with Type 1 (T1) Diabetes.

This post could really be a book - so I'll do my best to keep it reasonable.  Type 1 Diabetes is the insulin-dependent type that is an auto-immune disorder.  Basically, my daughter's pancreas no longer makes insulin, and so we have to check her blood sugar and give her insulin multiple times a day in order to manage her blood sugar levels appropriately.  It was a gigantic change in our routine, and requires a huge amount of structure, measuring, and monitoring.  Here is a link to the basics from the American Diabetes Association if you'd like to read more!

Basically, about six-eight times a day we take my daughter's blood sugar and then give her insulin based on the blood sugar level.  Imagine giving your two year old over eight shots a day.  My husband and I were terrified at first, but our child is amazing and does the finger tests and shots extremely well.  She is also a good eater and sleeper, which has made us having a very structured routine much easier than it might have been.  I do think she has a sense that there's no choice in it, and that to be healthy we need to do all of the things that she's asked to do.

People have told us that her young age is a benefit because she will never know life without diabetes. I agree with that in the long run - I've spoken to many T1's who were diagnosed older and had a very rough time transitioning into the lifestyle.  However, right now her age provides many challenges.  The first one was childcare.  No daycare in our area was trained to take care of a T1 child, because most of them aren't diagnosed until they are well into actual school.  We were lucky that our amazing daycare did not turn us away, but offered to get trained and work with us on a very close basis to manage her diabetes.  They have done and continue to do a phenomenal job!

We have still had challenges with daycare, mainly because when our daughter gets sick, it is much more complicated than any other normal toddler - and kids at daycares get sick.  In the past year, we ended up getting our daughter ear tubes and spending a LOT of time with her pediatrician (new since her T1 diagnosis, her original pediatrician missed her diagnosis several times and we chose to leave the practice).  We also have an excellent team at our local children's hospital that I love and speak to very regularly.  Lots of communication and learning through experience has made us better at dealing with these challenges.

Also - the most important part of the team to me has been my husband.  He is a fantastic father, the "nighttime blood sugar ninja" and my partner in the T1 management in every way.  I could never do this without him and am very thankful to have such an amazing partner in parenting.  =)
Me and the Hubs - my T1 Dream Team
Bottom line - we have learned a lot about how to give our daughter the best setup for success with having T1 at such a young age, and much of the first few years is going to be determined by the actions that my husband and I take with regards to her disease.  We work hard each day to balance keeping her diabetes managed and making her childhood feel as carefree as it should for all children.  Other than making insulin, there is nothing else wrong with her body, and T1 should never be a reason to hold her back from doing anything she wants.  She is an amazing child, and my personal hero.  I'm constantly in awe of how well she handles life as a T1 toddler.

Whew, this was a long post but one that I've been wanting to do for awhile. If you have any questions about our life with T1, please feel free to ask!  Thanks for reading, and I'll be back soon!

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