Monday, December 29, 2008

Life Is Strange

Life can be so very strange.

We’ve had a great Christmas, but as is the normal for our winter months, it also involved Nikki being sick. Along with having type 1 diabetes, Nikki has an almost non-existent immune system and is sick a great deal in the winter months. Though the constant illnesses are not caused by diabetes, they are complicated by diabetes. She spent the overnight hours on Christmas Eve throwing up every hour; that ceased around 4:30 a.m. Christmas morning. She was feeling well enough to open her presents and gradually felt better as the day went on. Like always, she kept on keeping on.

We left for Gatlinburg, Tennessee on the 27th with our church youth group. We took around 60 or so teenagers for a weekend of Christian concerts and amazing speakers. Nikki wasn’t able to get all the way through the first night, but after having the stomach flu a couple of days before, she was simply worn out. She woke up Sunday morning refreshed and ready to go. We were blessed with a weekend of praising the Lord, great friends and wonderful memories. Thankfully, Nikki is feeling pretty great.

When I got home today, I checked my facebook account and found out that a friend from my school days received some bad news this morning. Her name is Nicole and her blog “All 4 of My Gals” is linked through mine at the very bottom of the page. One of Nicole’s lovely daughter’s has Downe Syndrome and I have found her story, her faith and her energy to be very helpful to my own journey. This morning another of Nicole’s daughters’ was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Nicole and I hadn’t seen or spoke to each other for almost 25 years, until we both joined Facebook (along with about 70 or so classmates at about the same time). How strange and wonderful it is that God would bring so many of us together at a time in our lives when we can really draw strength from the trials and journeys we have each faced and taken.

Like I said, life can be strange; but once again God has shown me just how great he is and how much he cares about every second of every day for every one of us. Please join me in praying for Nicole and her daughter Emery; the coming days, weeks and years will be tough (as we all know).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Insulin Manipulation - Diabulimia

I wrote a brief article a while back for a class at Western Kentucky and I wanted to share the information. It is something that families need to be aware of.

Think back to when your child was first diagnosed. He or she was probably suffering from ketoacidosas which produced weight loss along with other problems. Some teens intentionally induce ketoacidosas by withholding or drastically reducing their insulin therapy in order to lose weight.

Diabetic children and teens have to grow up much earlier than most of their peers. They face a life and death struggle on a daily basis. The fact that type 1 diabetics spend such a large part of their day worrying about what they are eating, carb counts, sugar content, exercise and the overall underlying stress that comes with this disease makes type 1 children and teens more likely to become victims of anorexia or bulimia.

One study, conducted at the University of Toronto and the Hospital for Sick Children, showed that eating disorders are twice as likely to occur in teenage girls with type 1 diabetes versus girls who do not suffer from the disease (Manazella, 2007).

Parents, caregivers and friends need to be aware that cutting back on insulin will cause a diabetic to lose weight. This seems like a fast way to drop a few pounds; however the long term affects are devastating. The most common damage is done to the eyes; a condition known as diabetic retinopathy which is damage to the blood vessels in the eyes (Barrett, 2006).


• Poor blood sugar control, extremely high readings consistently.

• Consistent hyperglycemia: excessive thirst, frequent urination.

• Obsessed or preoccupied with appearance (weight)& food intake.

• Moodiness and constantly criticizing oneself.


Among the many and complex feeling that parents and families of diabetics endure is the feeling of helplessness in the face of this disease. Having a diabetic child who is now battling an eating disorder can seem insurmountable; but there are things you can do. (Manzella, 2007)

• Be aware that this disease exists and can become a problem very rapidly.

• If you suspect an eating disorder contact your doctor immediately.

• Seek professional help. Your diabetes caregiver will be able to direct you to the right people.

• Talk to your teen. Communication is your first, best weapon.

Teaching people with type 1 diabetes to develop a healthy relationship with food and insulin at an early age can help prevent them from practicing harmful behaviors such as insulin omission and restriction later on. . . Kids and families need to learn that food isn’t toxic. New England Journal of Medicine

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Diabetes Humor

A small collection of humor from parents of diabetic kids, and yes some of them are mine.


In conversation, your husband describes his personality as Type 1 instead of Type A.

You ask your child how her day at school was, and she answers with a number.

The microwave beeps and your d-child shouts “that wasn’t me!”

Everyone in the family says they are "low" instead of hungry!

When your parents answer the phone, the first thing they say is "What's wrong?"

You have no problem asking your child if they are "high" in a middle of a public place.

You make sure your child has candy in bed with them

You ask your child what they had for lunch and they reply 45 carbs!

Your daughter wakes you up in the middle of the night and says, "Mommy, I'm beeping."

Your child says "I'm tired" and you ALWAYS have to wonder if he's low, high, or just plain tired.

You travel with as much food as you do baggage!

You hear another parent wish that kids would come with instructions and your diabetic child pipes in and says, "I do, and I don't leave home with out them."

Your first grader calls you from school to tell you that his teachers, nurse, and health aide are all absent so you decide to go to first grade for the day.

Your child refers to sequel movies as "Type 2".

You automatically wake up at 2:00 a.m.

Every meal turns into a math equation.

Your child falls and before you ask if they're okay you ask, "How's your pump site?"

You base your entire self-worth on your kid's last A1C!

You know what glucagon is and what it does.

You wake up the entire house because you accidentally finger poke your daughter's best friend for the middle of the night check - they look way too much alike.

Your daughter has a sleep over and her friends line up for blood sugar check, and none of them have diabetes.

Your daughter begins to miss the school nurse over summer break.

Your child refers to having a cold as being 'real people sick'.

You laugh out loud reading this list.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Diabetes Camps

I mentioned in a post a couple of months ago that Nikki met and talked with Kris Freemen this past summer at Camp Korelitz (Camp Korelitz is a camp where all the counselors and campers have diabetes). Kris is a former and current member of the United States Cross Country Ski Team and will be competing again in the next Winter Olympics. Kris is also a type 1 diabetic and uses an insulin pump.

At the end of August of this year he spoke at the Democratic National Convention about the need for the government continuing to fund research and trials that will eventually result in a cure. I wanted share a portion of the speech he gave:

Over the years I have worked with Lilly {pharmaceutical company} to spread this message at camps for kids with diabetes around the country, and to raise awareness for the disease. The camps I have gone to are amazing. It is easy to feel isolated and alone with diabetes. Many schools around the country are not equipped to properly care for their diabetic students, which only exacerbates these feelings of isolation for the children. Some schools outright discriminate against these students by not allowing for glucose testing and other essential treatments while studying. This has led to placing diabetic children in remedial classes despite having no intellectual or learning disabilities. The last thing any child wants is something that makes them feel like an outsider. By coming together at camp, children with diabetes get a sense of unity that gives them strength. This harmony is contagious and has consumed me as well. The kids feed off the familiarity of the challenges and hardships that they face in their daily lives and leave camp with a newfound determination to live life to the fullest.

I’ve seen firsthand the positive impact that diabetes camp can have on the self esteem of a child. Camp also helps form friendships that will forever hold a special place in the campers’ heart. In fact, a couple of the people on my Facebook list are former camp counselors and fellow diabetics of my Nikki.

Though it seems way early to be thinking about summer camps; I encourage you to seek one out early in winter if your child does not already have a camp to attend. It is a week each year that will make a priceless change in the life of your d-child; and yes, you (the parent) will hate every second of them being gone for a very long week – but that is a small and insignificant price to pay for the positive impact it will have on the life of your precious child.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


It feels so strange to have all this extra time. With finals behind me, I feel like I have more time than I know what to do with. Bryan is heading out to Puerto Rico for the week; he leaves tomorrow morning. After that, we’ll have a full 2 weeks of family together time – which is much needed and always enjoyed.

Nikki is adjusting really well to her Cozmo. In fact, most of the time she gives herself insulin and THEN tells me about it. That works okay because the Cozmo will calculate carbs for her; and because she eats the same things, so she has the carb content memorized for each serving of her favorite foods.

The one thing Nikki is insisting on is the use of Emla cream before a new site insertion. I can’t say I blame her. Emla numbs the area, so she doesn’t feel it when I put the new cannula (which is basically an I.V.) in. We change every 2 days and if I can elminate even one ‘poke’ - I will.

Her fingers are looking terrible these days. Just coming off some incidents of ketones – which cause her to have to check her blood sugar even more often than our normal 9 times a day – a couple of her fingers are literally black on the tips. It’s heartbreaking to see, but she doesn’t even notice anymore – and never really complains. I put bandaids on the fingers that are really bad, to help remind her to use other fingers for testing.

All for now ……..

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I’m writing this in the middle of the night, which is normal for me. We’ve had a busy few weeks, which is normal for US. Nikki was sick a couple of days this week – ‘real people sick’ – which is always complicated by diabetes. She had ketones for 2 days and felt generally yucky. She went back to school on Thursday, just in time for her chorus concert Thursday night. The chorus sounded really great and Nikki loves singing. Next week Amber’s chorus is singing at the mall and then is doing their Christmas concert at our church (they’ve outgrown the facility at school) on Thursday night.

Tonight (Friday) Amber went to her friend’s house for the night and Bryan is in Louisville with his referee crew for the Kentucky State High School Football Championships. Tomorrow night our high school, Simon Kenton (where Amber will go next year), is playing in the ‘big game’ for the first time in the school’s history. We have a lot of kids from youth group involved with the team and 2 of Bryan’s closest friends are the team’s doctor and physical therapist. The whole town is pretty pumped about the game – even if they don’t win, they’ve never made it this far before. With the weather being so cold, and this being a tough time of year for Nikki healthwise, we are going to watch the game from the warmth of our home.

Since Amber and Bryan are both gone, Nikki and I went to a movie. We saw Bolt, which turned out to be one of the cutest movies I’ve seen in a long while. We ate McDonald’s for dinner; then came home to wrap presents and watch Christmas movies. It was a really nice mother/daughter evening. As I write this, Nikki is sleeping beside me – talking. She is sound asleep, but she talks A LOT in her sleep – it never fails to crack me up.

One bit of pump related news..... We now know that on the Cozmo you HAVE to change the pump site every 2 days, no matter what. If not, you routinely get a blockage on the 3rd day - which usually means ketones are present by the time the pump notifies you that there is a blockage. We like the pump and I suspect that the longer she is on it, the more familiar we will be with the little quirks - just like the mini med before.

All for now......

Friday, December 5, 2008

Dance, Dance, Dance

This posting is just to show off some pictures I took of Nikki at dance class. I hope it also shows how diabetes doesn't have to hold you back from doing anything you want to do. You can see Nikki's pump in all the pictures, sometimes she disconnects and other times she just doesn't want to fool with taking it off and on.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Crazy, Crazy, Busy, Busy

Wow! It’s been a long, crazy, busy 2 weeks. Last week, on Tuesday, Nikki’s class took their annual 5th grade field trip to Frankfort, Kentucky. We went to the Capitol Building, the old Capitol Building and the History Museum. It was a fun trip. Nikki even stopped Kentucky State Senator, Damon Thayer, to introduce herself and tell him she was hoping to go to Washington this Spring, to talk about diabetes.

Thanksgiving was wonderful. We were able to spend the day with our family in Lexington. Towards the end of the evening, Nikki’s pump beeped at her and told her there was a blockage – which means she wasn’t getting insulin (and we didn’t know for how long). She was high and had ketones. I had to insert another site, etc. etc. After that was done, I sent Nikki in to Nini’s room (my mom, her grandmother) to get her coat. When she didn’t come out right away, I went to check on her. She was standing in the room crying silently. It sucks (excuse the language) to have to deal with diabetes problems on Thanksgiving. She got through that rather rapidly and moved on, like she always does.

Bryan, the girls and I have the house decorated for Christmas, all 5 trees are up! It looks great – if I do say so myself. I’ve had finals all week for my own coursework and it’s taken several hours every night to get all the work done; that’s after teaching all day and all the other stuff that most busy people have to do. The good news is I’m done with all but one exam until January!!!! Yaaaahhhhooooo!!

Last night Nikki had another unexplained high. It took a while to get it down and that meant she didn’t get a great night's sleep. So now it’s 8:30 a.m. and I still haven’t gotten her up for school (which I am getting ready to do). I wanted her to have a little bit of extra sleep since tonight is dance class – it’s also parent observation night which means LOTS of new dance pictures!!!