Diabetes Blog Carnival time again! I missed a couple of prompts this fall that just didn’t speak to me, but December’s definitely does:
Out with the Old, In with the New – Diabetes Style. With this topic, anything goes. Maybe you have a diabetes habit you want to break and replace with a new habit. Perhaps you are going to revamp your exercise plan and trade in an old workout routine for a new one. It could be time to put a new focus on yourself, such as limiting some online advocacy in favor devoting time to things you need to stay healthy and happy. You might be thinking of changing up some current tools (meters, pumps, diabetes apps) for a new version. Or maybe you have plans to make some food swaps or try a new eating plan. What ever it is, we want to hear about it!
So, what would I like to say goodbye to…
Fear Baggage: As a T1 parent of a T1, I will always have fears about potential emergencies for either myself or our daughter. Part of good management of diabetes is being honest and aware about the real risks so that you don’t take any unnecessary ones. But, in 2013 we had one especially bad experience with a babysitter/friend that could have killed the Bear in her sleep. I still find myself raising my voice, getting shrill, and feeling panicked when I talk about that situation or a situation where I fear that a similar thing could happen. If I can’t put that experience into a rational context at some point, I will keep the Bear from doing things that she will want and need to do. At the same time, I have to feel confident that the people who care for her when we aren’t around can be relied on to follow our instructions correctly and/or contact us to ask questions.
Hypoglycemia Unawareness: This falls into the category of something I know I “should” be saying goodbye to (or trying) but that I don’t believe I will. I was diagnosed at 29 yrs old, married to a man whose stepfather was a T1 diabetic who of course hadn’t had the advantages of the tech that we have today. Years of urine testing, slow insulins, and high bg variability had left his body heavily compromised. He died just 1 year before my diagnosis – he was 50 years old. In the years before his death he had had heart attacks, car accidents, and a broken ankle that led to infection that put him in and out of the hospital for months. I had listened to years of stories about how diabetes and blood sugars had impacted the whole family. Then, there I was, in the ER in DKA. Long story short (I know, it was already long) – ever since my diagnosis I have been fearful of and angry at hyperglycemia. I was a rage-boluser before I knew what rage bolusing was. I used to run my bgs below 100 as much of the time as possible – happiest with bgs around 70. I ate the same things at the same time in the same amounts, logged everything, and had very OCD rules about what, when, and where I could eat. No surprise then that I have always had a high percentage of low blood sugars. Intellectually I can remember a time when I might feel low with a bg in the 60s or even 70s, but it was long enough ago that I am really only remembering the memory. These days, it isn’t all that unusual for me to test at a scheduled time (not because of how I feel) and see a number in the 40s, and feeling fine. Or to muddle along in the 50s for a couple of hours because I treat, get distracted and don’t realize that the CGM graph hasn’t moved. I know I should be afraid of hypoglycemia — that’s the piece that gets you in the short run. I wouldn’t feel comfortable with the Bear running as low as I do – no way. Yes, I have been in therapy for years (with a great therapist who specializes in chronic illness & T1), and yes, I have woken up in the ER with no memory of how I got there. Over time, I have tried to get more diligent about avoiding hypoglycemia, and the CGM definitely helps with that (hooray for “falling” alerts), but after a few months I always seem to fall back into old habits. I will keep working on this one so that the BHE and the Bear can feel confident that I am taking care of myself to the standard that they would want.
Things I would like to say hello to…
Dexcom G4 for the Bear (at least part-time): We have the request for this in the works even though we know she doesn’t want to wear it (and says that she won’t). With forthcoming insurance changes it makes sense to do it now – and also, I could use the help with tracking her overnight bgs at least some of the time. We participated in a pediatric G4 trial last year and the experience of inserting the sensor really turned the Bear off from trying one again, but I’m hoping that between talking about it, showing her mine more, and a bit of “you just have to, but only for a little while” we can get some use out of a great tool.
Hypoglycemic Awareness for the Bear: Since her diagnosis at age 3 (now, 6) the Bear has had no ability to recognize or communicate when she might be low. Of course, we test her a lot but I will feel more secure when I know she can tell an adult that she is low and what she needs. It isn’t uncommon for young children to not be able to recognize/communicate their own low bg — after all, kids this age don’t have the body awareness to really describe how they are feeling inside — and our CDE says they have kids who start to do it very young and others who don’t until they are in the 4th/5th grade or even later. So, this may not happen for the Bear in 2014, but a girl can still hope. [and let’s not talk about how much I wish that this wasn’t on the list of hopes that I have for my little girl]
I’m sure there are about a million other things that could be on my list. I want to continue the better eating habits I established in 2013 and maintain the weight loss. I know that means I will have to continue to log (using MyFitnessPal which is so easy!) what I am eating. I also hope that I can add more exercise into my routine, or at least maintain any kind of consistent schedule. I would be better off exercising once/week if I could do that every week than exercising 3/week for 5 weeks and then nothing for a few months. We still have some major schedule challenges so this one may take some time and finagling. In the meantime, I hope to use the tools we have to keep the Bear and myself as healthy as possible so we can enjoy everything ahead of us in 2014.
This post is my December entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetescaf.org/2013/12/december-dsma-blog-carnival-3/