Bloodletting is a Good Thing?

Its strange the things that go through your head at three in the morning. Perhaps its because my brain is still asleep. Maybe it thinks that I am still dreaming. I am really not sure but either way, I have had some of the strangest thoughts as I search for a finger and blood.

Last night came a reoccurring thought…how sick is this process?? I mean really! Each night, I crawl into my son’s room to slice his finger and make him bleed. I actually take pleasure in injuring my son’s pale skin.  I am upset when I do not see that red glow of blood flowing from him. This is what diabetes has reduced me to.  A callous parent who is pleased to see blood spill from her child!  

Its true. Blood gives me so much information. From his blood I know if his pump is delivering insulin properly.  I learn if he bolused is meal in the correct manner. I know if we miscalculated for exercise.  I know if we need more insulin, an early morning meal, or if I can sleep feeling relatively confident that he will wake up in the morning.  

I began to wonder how many other diseases are this invasive?  How many other parents take pleasure in seeing their child bleed multiple times over a 24 hour period.  How many others breathe a sigh of relief when a needle pierces the skin of their child multiple times during a day because they know that it means that they will be alive for another day. 

Diabetes is a sick disease.  I am sure that there are other diseases that require our loved ones to be abused simply to stay alive but I thankfully have not experienced them.  I have experienced filling a tiny finger with blood upwards of twelve times per day just to keep him healthy.  I have also experienced seeing a tiny body laying lifeless in Intensive Care with tubes and wires running everywhere. I have seen my strong, young son grey and weak as ketones threaten to ravage his body.  The bloodletting sadly seems justifiable but I pray that one day there will be a better way–a better way to keep him alive and healthy. 

One for Diabetes…Sleepless for me

Diabetes wins…but I put up a good fight!

This weekend was definitely one made for my youngest son.  Friday night he got to take his quad for a run.  He was able to check out a few new roads and race his machine over the snow.  An hour of activity, no real need to worry abut a drop in bg levels during the night.

Saturday saw him head out for another few runs.  He continued his exploration, following skidoo trails and finding amazing paths…until he hit a bog.  He found himself knee deep in mud with a quad that refused to budge.  There were no trees near enough for him to winch the bike out.  His phone had died thanks to the cold.  My young son and his friend began the trek back to the cabin with plans to return to the area in the daylight with reinforcements. 

He got back with a reading of 3.9 (70).  He was just in time to grab a juice before diabetes could cause him trouble.

Later that evening, fearing that someone else might remove the quad from the mud before morning, we headed back to get his machine.  After Mom ended up with mud in her boots and deftly avoided a near disastrous fall into the mud, the quad was free and back on the snow where it belonged. 

That night he ate…and he ate.  Mom was thinking however and under bolused his meals.  Diabetes was not going to ruin her night’s sleep! It didn’t. When I woke to test him, he was in a beautiful range and we both could continue to rest uneventfully. 

Sunday was another day of fun…without the mud.  My son headed off to re-explore a trail we had enjoyed in the spring.  We then packed up our belongings and headed for home.  Before my car was unpacked, he was off again but this time on skidoo.  Two hours of racing through powder I am sure topped off his weekend and made studying for exams that evening slightly more bearable.

I should have known that there would be trouble. I had dodged the bullet all weekend.  He had some hot chocolate as he studied.  He later came into my room announcing that I had failed in my carb counting and he was low.  I reminded him to be over 6(108) before heading to bed.  After a few more prompts of “did you test?”, we both headed off to sleep.

I planned to wake by 2 or 3 at the latest but those watching over my son knew better. I slept until 4am. I kicked myself as I got out of bed.  Somehow I knew that this night I was not going to be lucky. This was the night that he would be low.  

My premonition was dead on.  He wasn’t low…yet but my continuous glucose mom alarm said that he was probably dropping.  Two glucose tablets in his mouth and I headed back to bed to wait.  I knew I wouldn’t sleep. I hoped for a 15 minute nap at least but no, I stayed awake, watching the clock and reading about other mother’s also up with their children with diabetes.  After 15 minutes I checked my son’s blood again.  He had stayed the same.  More glucose tablets were required. I was not going to be able to sleep with him in the 4s (70s).

As the clock ticked down, I waited.  I tossed in my bed. I wondered if it would be possible to go back to sleep after all of this. I knew it would not be easy and that by 6am my upstairs neighbours would be banging around getting ready for work.  I was right on all counts.  My son was finally in range after 5am and I probably got another 30 minutes of sleep before I had to get up. 

Diabetes won this round…but I still have my son.

Diabetes Coach

Living with diabetes as a caregiver or as a person with the disease is a challenge. Diabetes has lived in our house for almost 13 years now and some days I still remain exhausted and desperate for it to simply disappear. 

Its the unwanted house-guest that makes a visit from your mother in law seem magical.  Diabetes makes a root canal sound pleasurable.  Its a disease that few understand and leaves you feeling hurt and isolated. 

Diabetes is invisible for the most part. It is a silent killer that lurks around each corner.  We fear sleeping and we fear the damage that it is doing to organs and the brain while we are awake. As parents, we fear our children going to school, heading off to university, and living alone. We worry about the chances of them finding an understanding partner and the dangers of them drinking when a family member isn’t there to watch out for them. 

After diagnosis, parents often want to fix the world for their child.  They could not protect them from the disease so they will change the world to accommodate their child.  We have energy and courage.  We are fueled by our own grief.  

Those living with diabetes have told me that after diagnosis, they tended to spend their time in denial.  They cannot see a faulty pancreas and therefore they do not have anything “seriously” wrong with them.  They soon pass off the recommendations of their diabetes team as not really pertaining to them. They are different.  They don’t have diabetes “really bad”.  They will be fine if….they don’t test, they don’t watch what they eat, they don’t take their insulin. 

Both scenarios are unhealthy. The person in denial is jeopardizing their health by putting themselves in very dangerous situations. The parent who has taken on the world runs the risk of serious burnout.  They need to find a middle ground. They need to find balance. 

That is not an easy task.  It often requires the help of support groups, counselors  or workshops. Yet another solution is a process called Diabetes Life Coaching. Like all other areas, diabetes coaches come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They specialize in a variety of areas such as exercise or living life with diabetes.  As a parent of a child with diabetes, I have become very interested in this process. 

For years I have found great support in an online support group.  I have learned through various conferences and diabetes gatherings.  These were always places that I felt at home.  Over time, I found myself giving back. I was spending more and more time listening and offering parents ideas that had worked for my family and families.  I facilitated mom’s discussion groups and found a passion. 

This summer I took this passion a step further.  I became a Certified Coach Practioner.  I was now able to take my knowledge and put it into practice in a specific way that would help even more people living with diabetes.  I now had the tools and a very specific process to help parents and patients regain control of their lives.  

Life coaching does not fix everything. It does not cure you but when used in conjunction with your current health care routine, it can help you to feel better. Together we can set manageable goals.  We can work together to put fears in perspective.  We can work to find a way to reclaim your life and your relationships while maintaining your best diabetes care. 

If this sounds like a process that you would be interested in, contact me today to begin.  Pricing is reasonable and coaching takes place online or over the phone so you never have to worry about getting to an office appointment on time!


Twice a week should do it!

Over the holidays, my boys  and I were sitting at our kitchen table enjoying an after supper conversation.  My youngest son happened to look at a drug store receipt on the table and said “$160 for a month of test strips? That’s crazy!”

I quickly explained that sadly that did not cover a month’s worth of testing.  I also reminded him that there was still the cost of insulin and pump supplies to add to that monthly diabetes care bill. 

He was completely incensed.  He was adamant that he would NOT be spending that kind of money on his diabetes care when he was older.  This was insane by his calculation.  No one should have to pay such crazy amounts to stay alive.

He decided that he would have to seriously cut down his testing when he was forced to cover his own supply costs.  He informed me that when we went to diabetes events and he filled out cards, they always asked if he tested only a few times per week.  He had to state that he was the child of an obsessive tester and tested closer to 10 times per day.  My young son felt that these cards(geared to people with Type 2 diabetes) justified him not testing in his adult years.

I groaned and tried to explain to him that a lack of testing was not an option to consider.  I had invested in a Disability Savings Plan for him and reminded him that it would give him some money towards his diabetes supplies when he was older.  I also encouraged him to keep contributing and taking advantage of the free government money.

This did nothing to pacify him.  He remained horrified at the cost of his care. He decided that it was the job of the government to cover his costs.  If they did not pay for his supplies, he would die. It was simple.

I wish it was that simple. I wished that governments actually cared. His throught processes scare me at times. I pray that he does have good coverage when he gets older…and more importantly that he uses the tools available to him to keep himself healthy.

The Dog Did It!

“You were really high last night.  Did you forget to bolus something?”

“Mom, you know how I eat in my sleep?”

“Yes, I know that if I feed you, that you will chew without waking. What about it?”

“Well, I think that is why I was high last night! I am pretty sure that while I have been sleeping that Sweedums has been feeding me.  You know, she is getting me a sandwich and making me eat it. She has probably been force feeding my some of my Christmas chocolate too!”

Oh my! Where does he come up with this stuff? “Perhaps if she feels the need to feed you at night, you could remind her to bolus as well?”

It may be a new year but somethings never change!

The boy and his dog, Sweedums…she does have a guilty look!