Friday, June 29, 2012

It's been a rollercoaster of emotions and events!

I've spent a couple weeks thinking I really need to update my blog because of this event or that event. Now there are so many I don't know how to organize it all, but I'll try my best!

Diabetes Camp
All the way home from dropping Alex off at the bus stop, I cried. I'm not sure I can pinpoint the reason. I wasn't sad or scared for her. I was going to miss her for sure. But I was confident in her happiness and in the competence of the staff. I think I cried for the same reasons I always seem to cry after leaving any diabetes event or get togethers. It's when we are with other kids and families dealing with diabetes that reminds me this is real and this is not going away. You'd think the never ending shots and blood tests would be enough but when you're in the moment of giving those, you're thinking about getting it right. When you're placed in a group of people with kids who have been living with this disease for years and years, you realize where you are and where you're going. Diabetes is a part of our lives. It won't go away. It's comforting to be with others dealing with this disease. It's also saddening and scary to me.

Anyway, the first day or so she was gone, it was so odd not to be counting carbs and logging numbers. Fortunately, I planned a getaway to California with my son and that kept me preoccupied and not spending the nights wondering what her numbers were.
It's a good thing too! Apparently she had a serious low of 28 one night during a movie. I'm kinda glad I wasn't the one who saw that number. I'm still fearing see a "bad low". But all's well that end's well. She came home extremely happy, more confident, and full of fun stories.  And...she was drawing up her own insulin and giving herself belly shots with minimal assistance. Indeed, camp was good for her and for me.

Our First Road Trip/Travel with Diabetes
Just 3 days home from camp, Alex and I were set to drive 1000 miles to a family wedding in Idaho. Originally, my husband was supposed to join us which was the main reason I agreed to go. Sometimes, things don't just work out the way intended. Joe ended up getting a good job offer and the start date was the same week we were set to go to Idaho. After much discussion, I decided to take Alex to Idaho anyway with my brother in law assisting with the driving and such. I really wanted to support our extended family and be present for this wedding. I also wanted to see family we hadn't seen for quite some time. I felt confident I could handle diabetes. Truthfully when all is said and done, I managed. But just as truthfully, it was extremely stressful and frustrating for me at the same time.

We were gone for 6 days. Every single meal was a dining out adventure. I tried to pack some items to eat in the hotel but it just never happened. We only ate at a few established chain places with accurate carb counts. Most places I had to make some wild guesses. I spent at least 15 minutes or so trying to figure out carbs on my phone and getting her shot ready each time. Family tried to talk to me and I felt rude because I couldn't multitask. Everyone was super nice, but it's hard to explain what you're doing and why you're doing it especially since most people don't understand how type 1 differs from type 2. It's also hard to explain when at the same time I felt like I didn't want to spend lots of time talking about diabetes and coming across as being all about my diabetic kid and not about why we were there...for a wedding! So I just didn't know how to talk or handle anything and I ended up stressed and not sure what to say or not say. Alex ran high most of the time with one wild day of lows and highs (80 to 430 in a few hours). It then caused me more stress because I felt I wasn't getting her doses right and couldn't get them right with the odd foods and schedules. To top it off, this trip proved something else I've noticed...Alex likes diabetes attention. She gets over the top about talking about lows and highs and wanting to be obvious about getting shots and such. I don't want her to hide it. But, I don't want her to seek pity and attention because of it. I don't know what to do. And I question if I am talking too much about it if she is picking up those cues from me.

Pumping insulin
Just 1 day home from Idaho and we were off to Children's Hospital to start up Alex's new Animas Ping insulin pump. I was scared to death and again alone...Joe couldn't take off from the new job. We arrived and the educator quickly got into inserting the infusion sets. There was one other family there. The educator told us a family member must insert the set into themselves before inserting it into our child. Since I was the only one there for us, guess who had to do it!!!! Honestly, I dreaded it and feared the needle. But I KNEW I had to do it. I knew I couldn't act scared or express pain if it indeed hurt. I just had to remember how much crap Alex deals with and suck it up! So I did...and it was probably the best thing I could have done. It gave me confidence. It also taught me it wasn't THAT bad. It felt like a bad flick or something from my brother in law when he is goofing off.

Then I inserted one in Alex's arm. It went well. It totally set my confidence soaring. Before I did it, I kept thinking back to the day I did Alex's first shot from me and how badly it went. I had that in my head. Being successful on the first try of the infusion set was awesome. We set up the pump and were told to change the site the next day to a belly site. The next day, I taught my husband how to do it. We again had no problems with the belly site. Alex was brave and much less bothered by the site insertion than the insulin syringes too.
The next day, we returned to start the insulin in the pump (saline for the first 2 days). Alex and I were both so excited. I packed away the syringes at home to a less used shelf in the bathroom. It felt good to do that. The pump already has made me realize how much syringes have been a burden in our lives. We inserted yet another new site and filled a cartridge with insulin. When we left the hospital, I cried. It was another milestone in diabetes. It was also another reminder of the permanent nature of this disease. But I also felt hopeful for the first time in a long time. I hate those damn needles. I'm so glad they won't be a part of our lives 6+ times a day. At 3 am I don't have to turn on the light to draw up insulin and get rid of the air bubbles when she is high. I HATE THAT! I'm so glad now I just do the blood test and push a few buttons on the meter to send her a correction. No more moaning in her sleep when I insert a needle to correct her!

There has been some frustration with the experience of getting the Animas pump and communication but it doesn't overshadow the ability this pump allows us more freedom and better diabetes control. I can already see the positives not 24 hours from the live start yesterday!

Onward and upward...

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