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Dear Brand New D Mom,

Dear Brand New D Mom,

I know when you looked at your child for the very first time the day they were born you never expected a day like the day they told you your child was sick and they’d never get better. I know you had hopes and dreams and Type 1 Diabetes has seemingly taken away all the aspirations you had for your child.

I know you are scared.

You feel like you no longer have control of your life. You can’t take away the pain that is inflicted daily to your child. You in no way can make this better.

You didn’t cause it, but you can’t fix it. That in itself has left you feeling broken and useless.

You feel weak because you are broken, but I’d like to tell you that it’s just simply not the case. You have a strength in you that you didn’t know was there. Type 1 Diabetes isn’t who your child is and they will continue to amaze you daily.

 

You will begin to realize your child will be as amazing as you’d always dreamed WITH Type 1 Diabetes.

You are a fighter and so is your child. Type 1 is a diagnosis that breaks you in a way no one but D parents understand. I am now a year into the fight that you are just beginning. I remember being glued to Google and Calorie King, logging endlessly doses and carb intakes and feeling like that was the most control I had at the time.

My heart ached with every dose of insulin I put into my child.

I spent countless nights sobbing into my pillow, hiding in the bathroom letting the water run to mask the my broken cries. We all go through those nights. We all sleep with our newly diagnosed child close by just to make sure we don’t miss a low, to try and protect them from the demons that cloud our ever waking and sleeping moments.

Let me be one of the people who tell you that YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE IT.

This is hard, but you are a Warrior Mom alongside your Warrior Child. You don’t see it in yourself right now, but its there and when the dust settles you will see that this fight never became easier,

YOU BECAME STRONGER. From one D Mom to another, YOU GOT THIS!

– Ashlea Mello

Also Written: The “D” World and What It Means To Be a Mother Of a Child With Diabetes


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This Is My Life Support, This Is Type 1 Diabetes

This Is My Life Support, This Is Type 1 Diabetes

By: Katharine Orona

Instagram: @this_is_type_1_diabetes | Blog: thisistype1diabetes


10 years ago I was only a few weeks away from having my life turned upside down and changed forever. I was only weeks away from being diagnosed with an incurable disease, one I didn’t bring upon myself, and one I knew nothing about.

I was about to be diagnosed with Type 1 (LADA) Diabetes.

I had been the picture of health. Perfect blood work results at every checkup, thin, and young. I was 26 years old, about to get married, and recently promoted at work. It was then that I thought I had everything under control and everything seemed to be perfect.

I had all the classic symptoms but didn’t know what they meant: extreme thirst, frequent urination, and rapid unexplained weight loss (at 5 feet tall, I went from 106 lbs to 90 lbs in less than 3 months). My doctor knew right away it was diabetes when I went in with my symptoms. I went to the ER, was immediately admitted, and spent 5 days at the hospital.

After that it took me 5 years to come to terms with my disease.

5 years to go through anger, denial, and grief over losing a life I had known for 26 years. 5 years to decide I was ready to start using a different form of treatment, an insulin pump.

I was so resistant to this technology. I saw it as life support, I saw it as a restriction, I saw it as something I would have to conceal and be ashamed about. When I was finally ready and took the plunge, I loved it from day one. To my surprise, it was freeing, not restricting.

life support

It is life support, but I am thankful for it.

However, I still felt the need to conceal it. I dreaded being asked questions about it or having people wonder why I was wearing a pager (90s folks you know what that is). I felt embarrassed that I needed something to live that other people did not. It took a long time to own it.

A few years later when I was pregnant with my son and my doctor suggested a continuous glucose monitor I went through the same feelings all over again. Another medical device? More things that will make it harder for me to pick an outfit that can conceal that too? But, I knew I had to do it so I did.

My son was worth every awkward stare and every question I faced.

These are tools that I use to make my life a tiny bit more normal. They keep me alive. When my son was born 5 weeks before his due date, and I later made the connection, I realized that he was born on the 6th anniversary of my diabetes diagnosis, at the same hospital I spent those first 5 days after diagnosis.

That fateful day in 2007 that I thought was the worst day of my life, turned out to be the best day of my life 6 years later.

Today I can finally say I not only wear my medical devices with pride, I rock them.

And no matter what method of treatment you choose, know that it’s keeping you alive and you are stronger because of it. Feel comfortable with whatever makes you different. Because it makes you YOU.

As Dr Seuss once said: “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”


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The Diabetic Honeymoon Phase

The Diabetic Honeymoon Phase

By: Camilla Roelants


The Diabetic Honeymoon Phase. I often wonder who decided to call it that, and what on earth they were thinking.

The word “honeymoon” evokes in me images of newly-weds, skipping along the beach, hand in hand under a glorious sun, beaming, happy faces, relaxed and care-free, their excitement at starting this new adventure together near palpable.

Not the ugly reality of this particular honeymoon – the dying process of the islet cells of my pancreas, under auto immune attack, slowly but surely losing all ability to produce the insulin I need to live.

Sixteen months into my Type 1 Diabetes honeymoon phase and I feel exhausted from it all.

This time has been fraught with hurdles and worries and struggles. Despite having done everything in my power to gain control, blood glucose levels have been erratic.

The dying beta cells in my pancreas occasionally and unpredictably produce a little bit of insulin, causing chaos where I have already bolused according to my insulin to carb ratio at mealtimes. I suffer frequent, sudden and terrifying episodes of hypoglycemia.

honeymoon phase

I’ll be doing something very mundane – reading, cooking, or even just chatting to someone on the phone. When I suddenly realize that I’m feeling “off”.

I usually can’t put my finger on it immediately – my brain is already starting to become impaired.

I can’t think straight. I stop whatever it is that I’m doing. Mid-sentence, mid-shower, mid anything. I stumble, and mumble ” check levels ” to myself.

At this point, I have eyes only for my meter. I put a test strip in. Prick my finger. I notice my hands are shaking. My five year old is asking me something. It sounds distant, although he’s standing right next to me, tugging at my T-shirt.

“Not now Darling, Mummy needs to check her sugars. I can’t talk right now, sorry.”

honeymoon phase

My meter is counting down -those 5 seconds seem interminable. My son is still talking, but I can’t concentrate.

Before my meter tells me, I know. I know I’m low, because already my heart is racing. I’ve broken out in a sweat, and everything is fuzzy, spinning around me. I’m shaking like a leaf.

I feel like I’m dying, for lack of a better description.

Need. Sugar. Now. A feeling of panic washes over me. I grab what’s at hand. Fizzy soda, fruit juice, sugary tea, or glucose tablets.

Some of those choices might not be the best from a nutritional point of view, but right now I really couldn’t care less. I would do anything to not feel like this, feel like I’m about to fall off a cliff into the abyss if I don’t deploy my parachute fast enough.

The soda, the juice, the tea, the tablets, are my parachutes.

Any one of them will do. As I gulp down my sugary remedy as fast as I possibly can, I grit my teeth. I know the feeling won’t go away for 15 minutes or so, which is how long it will take for the sugar to be absorbed into my bloodstream. I take a few deep breaths, in the hope this might help my heart slow its alarming rate.

I give myself a few seconds, then turn to my son, and say:
“I’m sorry love, I’m having a hypo and so I need to take some glucose, but I’ll be OK again now in a minute and we can have a proper chat then.” I smile at him reassuringly.

I have a terrible urge to drink more, and a hunger beyond compare – as if drinking more or eating half a packet of something might help me shake this god awful feeling quicker. But I know this is untrue. I resist the urge.

I know the 150ml I’ve just drank will bring me back up into a normal blood glucose range. All I can do is wait and hope my 9 month old won’t wake from his nap during the next few minutes. The lows leave me feeling very tired, as if I’ve just done a couple of rounds of boxing.

They are often followed by rebound hyperglycemia, where my blood glucose levels become too elevated. Prolonged episodes of hyperglycemia can cause long term complications, and in the short term can lead to Diabetic Ketoacidosis.

Hyperglycemia will also leave you feeling bone-tired and lethargic. Hypoglycemia – due to the effect on the brain’s ability to function and episodes of tachycardia- can cause cardiac arrest and cognitive impairment down the line.

It seems you just can’t win with this disease.

It is impossible to predict how long this honeymoon will last for, as it varies from one person to another. For some it is a matter of weeks, others a matter of months, or even years. It looks like in my case, it’s the latter.

A honeymoon is supposed to be a joyous, stress-free occasion. But this honeymoon is the exact opposite. It still isn’t over, and already I want a divorce!



 

Diabetes Is There Every Step Of The Way

Diabetes Is There Every Step Of The Way

By: Angela Ameno


Dear Diabetes,

I can sit here and write a novel about how much I hate you.

How you’ve crept into every aspect of my boy’s life and made yourself at home. You, the unwelcome guest, the burden he will carry as of now, forever.

You are there when he’s happy or excited. You are there in his dark moments. You are there when he’s taking an exam. You are there running beside him on the basketball court. You have graced us with your presence at his tender age of 8 so most likely you will be there for many firsts; first kiss, first time he drives, first job.

Needless to say I hate you for everything you do, the highs and the lows you bring. The constant 24-hour battle you wage inside my son’s body. The calculations, the guessing, the needles. The freedom sucker… that’s how I see you. Every thought has you in it. Every step has you behind it.

I also hate you because you confuse people. My son will forever feel the need to tell people he did not cause this. He did not eat too much sugar. It will not get better with time. It cannot be controlled by a pill.

What’s sad is that after only three short years, my son is already growing weary of explaining, but he remains strong. He is surrounded by family and friends who love and support him and never make him feel like he’s different. We will all continue to advocate and educate.  You will not win.

So guess what diabetes?

I may have this all wrong. Maybe I shouldn’t despise you. My son still smiles his amazing smile even though you are constantly around. And although you were there during his exams he still has a 99 average.

And despite your presence on the basketball court, he can still play a full game and maybe even nail some three-pointers while he’s at it. He enthusiastically speaks of his future and his goals and will surely succeed in everything he does regardless of your existence.

So let’s try this again.

Dear diabetes,

I still hate you but I thank you. I thank you for bringing out the courage and strength in my boy to face each day with a smile. I thank you for showing my son what true love and friendship means because he always has someone to turn to.

I thank you for teaching him not to judge others because we may never know what battle they are fighting.  I thank you for allowing him to have empathy and know that it could always be worse. And mostly I thank you for making him realize you will not stop him, you will not be the reason he doesn’t try.

You will not hinder him on his journey in life. You can just come along for the ride.



 

I've Got 99 Problems And Insurance Is One

I’ve Got 99 Problems, And Insurance Is One

I’ve Got 99 Problems, And Insurance Is One

By: Angela Boeddeker


I’ve been denied by Anthem insurance for a new up to date insulin pump. Anthem states the insulin pump is investigational.. NOT a medical necessity. The Medtronic 670 G insulin pump would allow me to live a little less stressed.. Help me sleep with a little more ease. Let me finally have some confidence in my form of insulin therapy.

I’ve been pumping for a whopping 7 months and if you lived in my home, you would know the TREMENDOUS difference this has made in my life. My A1C has dramatically decreased at every doctors visit since beginning the pump, too, but let’s be honest here, Anthem doesn’t have a clue!

The 670 G insulin pump is the first of its kind. With the ability to adjust and even stop the amount of insulin being released.. Wait for it… WITHOUT ME!

The 670G has a blood glucose target range of 120. Once the also newly upgraded Guardian Sensor 3 detects my BG is declining, it changes the amount of insulin being released so I won’t have to worry about severely dropping below 70 for my insulin pump to suspend itself.

The last 2 words of the previous sentence speak loudly to me, as it should to you. Why on earth would i want to suspend my lifeline? And for that matter, if my insulin pump suspends in the middle of the night, it will not resume for 2 hours on it’s own. (Hello, glucose readings over 300!)

Insurance

Diabetes is the MOST difficult, but ghostly disease ever heard of in my personal opinion. Just because we look ok (unless we are rocking off the usual 3-5 hours of sleep because the blood sugars kept lifting our heavy eyelids with beeps, vibrations and chirps every time our restless minds dosed off to place of no disease) doesn’t mean we feel ok.

Why limit a person from receiving any possible chance of living a more balanced and enjoyable life?

The Medtronic’s 670 G news was a tearful article to read—happy tears though. I truly thought, ” Angela, this may be your way to live a little more like the rest, a chance to battle with the best, and its about time you got this off your chest”.

So, here’s looking at you million and one insurance companies, dig a little deeper to the reasons for our submissions of countless claims, repeated phone calls and an abundance of emails. We just want to live a long, non medically consumed life! Not to mention a just a good night’s rest!



 

This Is My Low With Diabetes

This Is My Low With Diabetes

Michelle Meyer


My eyes are heavy and dry and sometimes watery. They’re tired. My breathing is slow. And fast. Heavy and shallow. So tired. My thoughts are jumbled. Scattered. Confused. Angry. Sad. Scared. Tired. Too tired and/or confused to speak.

My body is weak, shaky, hot, sometimes sweaty. Tired. I’m thirsty, hungry.

I’m too tired to get up to get some sugar. I’m too tired to think about what I need to do. My head is too heavy to hold up. My jaw is too tired to chew. I’m too tired to swallow. I need to pee but I’m too tired. My heart is beating so fast.

I’m going to cry. I just want to curl up and get cozy. Fall asleep. I probably won’t ever wake up. I need to move. Stumble to the other room. Stand and stare. What was I doing? Why am I in here?

Oh! Grab my low blood sugar stash. Force myself to eat it while trying to remember how to breathe. No, don’t close your eyes. Chew. Swallow. Again. Get my glucometer and unzip the case.

this is my low with diabetes

Try to pry open the strips container without spilling them all over. Get just one of them into the tiny little opening the right way. Stab my finger and try to milk enough blood out so my glucometer can tell me exactly where I’m at. Try to make sense of the number.

Nevermind. I can look later. I know I’m low.

Try to remember to set the reminder timer to do it all over again in fifteen minutes. Stay awake. Breathe.

Sometimes after a few minutes, I feel safe enough and my next blood sugar check will be okay so that I can rest after starting to die. Sometimes I need to still keep trying to do life while still dealing with the after effects of starting to die.

Sometimes I continue dying for hours and have to just keep fighting to stay awake and breathe and think enough to remember to keep trying to nurse myself back to life even though I’m nauseated and full from eating and drinking.

There have been many times when I couldn’t stay awake or didn’t wake up to begin with and have gone into seizures. Sometimes after getting my blood sugars to a better, safe level, they go too high and then I have to deal with another set of effects/symptoms and another fight to get them to come back down to normal, safe levels.

I do this almost daily. Sometimes multiple times a day.

This is just one tiny part of my life but it’s a really HUGE part!

So many contradictions. So much fighting. So much exhaustion. Constant and consistent thoughts about if, when, where, why, how. Almost daily, I save my own life.

I am exhausted but I am also a fighter. I am strong! I am a type 1 diabetic and this is my low.



 

dear diabetes

Dear Diabetes –

Dear Diabetes –

Photo Credit: David Marcu


Dear Diabetes,

The monster, the nightmare, the thing I never wanted to meet.

Here we are.

Here I am—standing stronger than ever.

Alive, thriving, living beside you.

Day after day.

I’ll admit, I didn’t know that I had it in me.

I didn’t know if I could make it this far.

But you pulled strength out from within me that I didn’t know existed.

You made me who I am today.

Through all the darkness has come light.

I hate you.

I hate something that I can’t put a face on.

I hate that nobody knows how bad this disease really is.

I hate that I can’t fight you off, you won’t go away.

Why me?

I used to ask myself this very question.

What did I do to deserve this?

I’ve been nearly close to death and somehow I’m still here.

You haven’t left me alone, not once.

But even after enduring all the battle scars—I just keep getting right back up, brushing myself off, and keep going.

There’s never been another choice.

The time I’ve spent with you feels like a test.

It’s a fight that’s never ending.

One minute I think I’ve figured you out, and the next I’m completely lost.

I don’t feel like I’m winning but I can’t tell if I’m losing either.

You’ve challenged me to take control and face my worst fears.

You’ve pushed me to the point of breaking, but I never surrender.

I always persevere with whatever strength I have left in me.

I used to be afraid of your capabilities, the unknown, and of all the things I can’t control.

But I’m not afraid.

Dear Diabetes

You don’t have control over me.

This is my life and I’m going to live it.

Even if that means that I have to dance in the rain.

Sincerely,

Me



 

Things Only a Person With Diabetes Would Understand

Things Only a Person With Diabetes Would Understand

By: Rachel Murray


I think the most frustrating part about Type 1 Diabetes is there is no breaks with it, you can’t just turn it off when you’re tired or when your sick of it. You can’t just stop thinking about it because you can’t be bothered for a day.

You can’t just do day-to-day things like eat foods, exercise, shower etc, without taking diabetes into consideration. You can’t leave the house without double checking that you have all your supplies, it’s also trying to find the room for supplies in your bag, finding the time and space to fit spare cannulas, reservoirs, insulin, blood glucose meters, sugar, snacks etc.

It’s pulling out the meter out in public and getting “oh whats that?”, or doing an injection and getting comments like “ah does that hurt?” “If I had to do that everyday I would die haha!”

Or getting told to go do your injection in the bathroom because it’s “disturbing” someone’s meal. It’s the comments you receive like “why don’t you just go on a diet?” , “so you can’t have sugar”, “you don’t look overweight”.

 

It’s remembering that not everyone will understand your disease, and trying not to get frustrated when they don’t understand. It’s frustrating because you can be fine one minute, and then passed out on the floor the next and the fear of falling asleep and not waking up again.

It’s the reminder that you will never live a full life if you don’t look after your diabetes. Doctors say that I could die “earlier” than “normal people”. I may go blind, I may have limbs amputated, my kidneys may fail, plus hundreds of more complications.

It’s the feeling as if you have everything under control, and then it just flips in a matter of hours or even minutes.

It’s the frequent hospital visits and admissions. Its the nagging you receive from your parents and your endocrinologist when you accidentally slip up every once in a while.

It’s the “why me” feeling, “why did I get chosen…”

It’s the having nobody to understand that blood glucose fluctuations can and will affect my moods, and I may not always be able to control it.

It’s the missing out on things, or just wanting to lay around all day because my blood sugars aren’t perfect.

It’s the late nights, getting up every 2 hours or more often, just to check the blood glucose machine reads over 4 so you don’t have a fit in your sleep.

It’s watching peoples disappointment when they see you struggling or not trying.

diabetes and the unexpected - diabetes blog week

 

It’s the disrespectful and frustrating comments that absolutely kill you inside, but you have to laugh it off anyways and pretend it was a good joke, like “Why are you shooting up in public, haha!”… “Oh you’re such a druggo, haha!”… as your thinking to yourself “laugh it off and praying that they will go away and leave you alone…”

As much as I have tried to accept my life threatening disease, I accept that unless the health professionals find a cure for my life, then this is my life forever.

I can’t help it.

I sometimes hate the way I have to live and often think of my life being better if i wasn’t around.

I can’t help think of the two words, “why me”.

I can’t help but think “why can’t my pancreas just produce insulin like a normal person does?”

And then I think…“Why can’t I be normal”.

But this is your life and you just have to keep going.


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Fertility, Diabetes, & My Miracle Baby

Fertility and Diabetes –

Fertility and Diabetes –


Dear Diabetes,

I lived my life for 33 years with an ease I never understood that I had before you showed up. I had fun and carefree late nights, spontaneous days, and memories that will last forever in bright vivid color.

I met my husband, got married, and decided it was time to really start our family. Then came the word infertility. We decided to start this journey with fertility drugs and were ready.

Then I began to experience symptoms. I began to lose weight. I was SO tired. Then came the water. Drinking and drinking, I just never could get enough. I knew something was wrong but thought it could be just the side effects of the fertility drugs.

I called my OBGYN and she suggested I take a 2 hr glucose test in their office just to rule out diabetes.

My ovulation test indicated pre-ovulation the day before my 2 hr glucose test. We started trying to get pregnant that night. Then the morning of my 2 hr glucose test I was ovulating.

We were planning on trying again when we got home at the end of the day. It was a normal day. My husband went to work. I played with my niece and painted her nails. Then I got the call.

You have diabetes. You must go to the ER now.

This wasn’t suppose to happen. I cried to the doctors that I was ovulating and there might be a chance I was pregnant from the night before. All precautions were taken as I started learning my new normal. I went into the hospital seemingly healthy and left battered, bruised and broken.

The color of the sky, the color of my niece’s nail polish, the color of my world.. was gone. Spontaneous days were now filled with planning. Carefree nights were taken over by you.

The hope of having a child was blurred. The world felt like stone.

Three months after you stormed into my life my A1c was down from 10.7 to 6.1. I was still tracking my ovulation, but was not taking any fertility medication. One day my test said I was ovulating. Two weeks later another test said I was pregnant.

You made life so hard for me. I worked so hard to keep the growing child inside me safe from you. Nine months felt like nine years with you by my side. My due date was October 23rd, also, my first diaversary.

At 38 weeks and 6 days, I gave birth to a beautiful 7 pound baby girl. The moment she looked up at me and all I could see was her BLUE eyes.

Ever since I saw those blues eyes, color has tried to slowly make it’s way back into my life.

I see it every time she smiles with those little white teeth and cherry red lips. I see it in her soft light brown hair that goes in a wave over her ear and I see it in her rosy cheeks. I see life again.

Everyday is not going to be easy, but everyday I’m going to fight.

Because I have snuggles to give, monsters to chase, graduations to see, wedding bells to hear, and grandchildren to love. And if you would excuse me, Type 1 Diabetes, I have a little toddler’s nails to paint.

-Becky


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Diabetes, You Have Not Won

Diabetes, You Have Not Won –

Diabetes, You Have Not Won

Dear Diabetes,

You came into my life almost 2 years ago without much warning. In case you’ve forgotten, I was only 19 years old when you came in and tried to mess things up. I was in the middle of my second year of college and I was a very good student, I was eating well, I was exercising, and I seemed to be the picture of health.

Slowly, my energy began to fade, I wasn’t feeling myself, and I was literally wasting away to nothing. I soon would learn that I had YOU inside of me and there was nothing I could do to get rid of you.

You have stole my freedom and every bit of youth and innocence I had left. You have taken away hundreds of hours of sleep. You have scarred my small body. You have ruined my once perfect fingerprints. You have made mealtimes a hassle.

You have made people distance themselves from me. You have given me a label that most people do not fully understand. You have made me shed more tears in the past 2 years than I had in my entire life. You challenged my family financially and emotionally.

BUT, you have not won.

Little do you know, you’ve helped shape me into who I am today. You made me brave. You made me health conscious. You gave me empathy. You made me mature. You connected me with some of my best friends.

You gave me new opportunities. You made me an overcomer. You strengthened my faith in the Lord. You gave me a cause to fight for. You have shaped me into a strong young woman who doesn’t let anything in life get her down.

After all, if I can fight you every day and still stand tall, what can’t I do? So, to you, I say thank you. Sorry you couldn’t totally ruin my life like you might have intended, I’m still standing tall and I won’t back down.

-Ashlyn


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