Welcome to the Adventures of Injectagirl!

Our daughter was diagnosed as Type 1 on May 16, 2016. She is the only Type 1 Diabetic child in about a 50 mile radius of our home. As her mom, I began to scour the internet for resources and encouraging things to help her not to feel alone. I discovered that most things on the internet were geared toward parents/adults. Then Diabetes Awareness Month came around, and Katie was more “out there” on the internet, answering questions and things. As part of celebrating November 14, her older sister did a special superhero makeup look for her…and Injectagirl was born.  We began a YouTube channel, and today we have begun our blog.

If you have questions you’d like to ask, or videos/demonstrations you’d like to see, let us know in the comments!  You can see our YouTube page here, and the Facebook page here.  We are glad you are joining us!

How to do a Dexcom Sensor Insert!

how-to-insert-your-dexcomsensorWhen we first got our Dex, we had no idea what we were doing. There were tutorials in the box, but I sure wished a normal, unmanicured person would show me what it really looked like. And on a kid. That’s different, you know. 😉

One of the reasons we started the YouTube channel was for this express purpose. To let other Type 1 kids have a child to relate to. And so, we shot a video last week of how we do a Dexcom insert.  Go here to view it!

 

 

The Perils of Being a Pancreas (Part One)

superpancreasWe spend a lot of time focusing on the needs of our kids. Understandably so. But if we are not careful, we will get ourselves run into the ground while caring for our T1s. There is nothing noble about destroying our own health while caring for that of our kids. If you have been a MOD for any stretch of time, you have discovered that being a Super Pancreas for your child requires superhuman skills.  Lots of late nights, navigating the stress of dangerous highs and lows, sometimes waking up multiple times a night (even though it’s been years since you’ve had a newborn in your home)…it all takes its toll.

coffee-ivWhat do we normally do when we feel tired? We tend to caffeinate, don’t we? I found my normal one-cup-in-the-morning-because-I-like-it routine morphing into a 3-or-4-cups-because-I-need-it-to-stay-upright routine.  I know some MODs who live on pop, drinking multiple bottles or cans of cola (or energy drinks) every day. Coffee or pop, it doesn’t solve the problem, does it? Nope. And it creates new ones. One big one is dehydration. Caffeine is a diuretic…it draws water out of the body. Want to feel tired? Start tapping the H20 out of your system!

Another strategy for remaining vertical is to consume more quick carbs. Sugary foods, starchy foods. Things that convert into sugar after they are consumed. We get a surge of energy, but then fall on our faces an hour or so later, and need another pick-me-up.

Not long ago I asked a question in a support group, requesting a “show of hands” from the members regarding how many of them had gained weight since they received their diagnosis. The response was overwhelming. Why is this?  Go back and read over the above. More caffeine, more sugar, more quick carbs…all of that stuff kicks the metabolism into high gear and creates something called adrenal fatigue. Essentially, we convince our bodies that they are in emergency mode (sometimes called “fight or flight”). Our bodies become convinced that they’d better prepare for some sort of ensuing apocalypse. Set up fat stores in the body in case of the possibility of not having food. Do you find you are gaining weight around the middle, where you never had before? I am.  And if you are at all health conscious, you know that is the most unhealthy place to gain weight.

So, what’s a Super Pancreas to do?  Start simple, with doable goals. Be realistic.  I’ll post helpful things for us MODS periodically here on the blog. I don’t plan to promote products, but basic lifestyle changes. So you won’t see me selling Beach Body, Plexus, or those wrap things here.

greenteaHow am I starting?  One step at a time. I have a couple other health issues I’m also dealing with, that will affect my plan of attack. But one simple thing I plan to try is moving to a cup of green tea each morning instead of several cups of coffee. Along with that, I’ll be cutting the sugary creamers I love. It’s a win-win! Sugar is front and center for ALL of us ALL of the time, so this is a good first step!

Let me know if you are trying Super Pancreas Phase One (cutting coffee–or pop if that is your favorite source of caffeine) with me this month! Click here to read some great health benefits to cutting caffeine intake! Comment below, or use the “Contact” tab to send me an email.  We’re all in this together!

Injectagirl’s Mom (aka Mrs. Super Pancreas)

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This blog is not intended to give medical advice, but only sharing our own experience. Please contact your endocrinologist or general practitioner if you have questions about the management of your diabetes concerns.

Cereal is Evil

cerealI have seen so many T1Ds and their parents curse cereal…the favorite way for many kids to start their day. We don’t do cereal every day, and often opt for eggs/toast/bacon/yogurt which gives more lasting energy to burn. But cereal just tastes good once in a while, right?

Something else I’ve heard in the Type 1 community since our diagnosis is “My child comes first, diabetes comes second”. What that means is we MODS and DODS like to keep life as normal as we can for our kiddos, within reason. If others are having a treat or sharing a pizza, we like to make that happen for our kids too. Injectagirl enjoyed all of her favorites at holiday meals this year (turkey and gravy, rolls, mashed potatoes, and even pie), just in a more controlled manner. There is already so much about this disease that can make a T1D kid feel alone, out of place, or “weird”. So, I want to share how I keep Katie first and Diabetes second when it comes to that “evil” bowl of cereal.

The main idea here is patience. We are MDI (multiple daily injections) and not on a pump, so we can’t just push a button and dose for food or snacks on the fly. It takes some planning.  We did a little video here about carb counting and dosing, to show what that looks like.

We just got our Dexcom a few weeks ago, and it has really helped me to begin to understand how timing and food can affect our little superhero. She doesn’t like to inject her insulin for a meal and then wait to eat, so we did a bit of an experiment. One morning I allowed her to inject and then eat her cereal right away. The result of that is on the left below. She literally went off the chart with a spike, stayed up above 400 for some time, and then dropped like a rock (that’s what the double down arrows mean…a very bad feeling, and it makes her feel like she is starving because her body kicks into emergency mode). If you are not careful you can grab too many carbs to compensate for this terrible feeling and you begin a very VERY unpleasant roller coaster ride.  I asked Katie if she enjoyed what she was feeling. She. Did. Not.  I then asked if she would now understand why I ask her to wait until her insulin is working to eat her cereal. Yes, she got it.

Fast forward to this morning. She asked for cereal again. This time I measured the cereal and milk, counted the carbs, dosed  her for that amount and we waited 15 minutes (she was about 170–I’ve seen MODS suggest waiting 20 minutes if in 200s and 30 minutes if in 300s…haven’t done a trial on that). The result is on the right. Yes, it elevated her blood sugar. That is normal for any kid. But there was no rocket ride on the above-400-shuttle, and no double arrow drop either.  Lesson learned.  Cereal lovers, I hope this helps!

Injectagirl’s Mom 🙂

ps Some have found they get better results using high protein cereals and/or Fairlife milk. You may want to try it!

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This blog is not intended to give medical advice, but only sharing our own experience. Please contact your endocrinologist or general practitioner if you have questions about the management of your diabetes concerns.

Scary Sickness

Ambulance at Emergency EntranceI posted our sick day protocol about a week or so ago, but things hit the fan two days after the post. Things were looking like we might get off easy with a little tummy upset and some fever. The storm came after the calm in this case.

So what does it look like when you are fully engaged in helping your T1 get through a stomach virus? I assure you it looks different than you imagine beforehand when you think you have all your supplies stocked up and instructions printed out.

No one likes to see their child suffer illness…but we as MODS know that flu is a very different thing, a sometimes very dangerous, even fatal thing for our kids.  So I thought I’d post what things looked like in our home as we worked our way through this episode with our super hero, to help calm fears and maybe give some helpful information.

The flu has many different faces this time around, we’ve found. Katie got a tummy bug with vomiting, then a cruddy cold. Our oldest daughter got a MAJORLY cruddy cold/fever/chills but no tummy bug, I got fever, aches, headache and tender tummy; my husband has fever of 102 currently, with vomiting and very bad respiratory issues.  Not fun.

So when you have to think on your feet, what do you do? We thought we were doing pretty well managing things, trying to get our T1 to drink to bring down her sugar levels (which were over 400, then in 300’s but never under 250) and help eradicate ketones. The Zofran had worked for about a day and a half. Then she started throwing up, and I began to think in exclamation points.

Dehydrating Illness with High BG

Katie was topping out at about 102 degrees fever. I treated this with ibuprofen, as acetaminophen (Tylenol) can mess with Dex readings. She stayed high in her numbers, even with the vomiting, so we never needed to navigate the dangerous lows sometimes associated with this kind of sickness. Still, I wanted to be prepared. Our dx was in May, but we’d already seen how quickly things can change and numbers can dive or sail. I printed out the sick day protocol I linked to in the previous post.

 

lgketonesWe went from small to large ketones in a matter of two hours (her tummy felt raw and she was really not interested in drinking volumes of liquid…hence, ice chips), so I began to get concerned with her BG numbers so high as well. Our protocol said to check BG every 3 hours (we have an edge on that, having just gotten a Dexcom), and to correct with one and a half times correction if she was high.  But we came up on bed time and I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to do that increase of insulin through the night. I called the nurse at the Diabetes Clinic at Children’s Primary (where Katie was diagnosed and treated). I was told that I should check every three hours through the night, and continue the one and a half times correction through the night as well. Keep as hydrated as possible (we used mainly ice chips, but had low calorie Gatorade, sugar free apple drink, and diet Sprite on hand as well). We told our daughter that if things did not improve and she did not choose to drink more, we’d need to take her to get an IV so her body would have the liquid it needed.  That was tough talk. Not a vain threat.  And it motivated her. I tried to have her check her urine for ketones every three hours as well.  We were told when ketones were trace, and numbers were holding in range, we could go back to normal insulin dosage.

Dehydrating Illness with Low BG

This never happened with us, but I got a plan from the nurse just in case.  We are 45 minutes from the ER, and 3 hours from our Children’s Hospital, so “information is power” in a big way here.

In the event of vomiting/diarrhea plus large ketones, we were told to give enough carbs (15-30)to bring her up into the range where we would normally give her insulin (over 200 in our case). Then give insulin (because it is needed in addition to hydration to control ketones).

miniglucagonIf she got so low that she was not responding, we could do a mini Glucagon shot. Essentially, you mix the Glucagon as per the instructions, and then use a syringe to draw out a small dose. One unit for every year–so, for our ten year old, we would draw out 10 units.  Administer in outer thigh. Wait 15 minutes. If still not responding, the dosage can be doubled (20 units in our case). I think at this point I’d also be calling an ambulance while doing this. Our nurse told us that this double dosage can be given 3 times.  Like I said, with an unresponsive child, I’d be calling 911 while drawing up the syringe. In theory, by now the BG should be up in range again. Then you can continue with hydrating measures to reduce the ketones if present.

Happily Ever After–The Relief only a T1 Mama Knows

After Katie made the choice to start drinking more, her ketones backed down in a hurry. Inside of two hours she was back to small ketones. Within about 4 hours (by now she had stopped vomiting) her numbers were coming down into the 200s again, and she was nearing a normal body temp. We had gratefully escaped without having to go to the ER.

This was about a 4-day stint altogether, from start to finish (we are still keeping an eye on ketones, but her temp is normal, BG pretty much normal, and no more flu symptoms). This scary sickness could have been much scarier. Thankfully it wasn’t.

katiebetter

Again, click here if for some reason you do not have a sick day protocol from your doctor.

 

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This blog is not intended to give medical advice, but only sharing our own experience. Please contact your endocrinologist or general practitioner if you have questions about the management of your diabetes concerns. 

Letters from Katie: Don’t be Afraid

I asked Katie (aka Injectagirl) to share some thoughts for other Type 1 kids who might visit here. Here is what she said.

Dear Kids,

This isn’t an easy thing to do, especially when you’re young. But being a diabetic isn’t SO bad. It has ups, downs and in-the-middles. 🙂 If you are afraid of needles, you’re going to have to face that fear. I still don’t like needles. There’s this special Person and He can give you courage to do things. I’m not talking about a super hero. He’s kind of like one, but He’s real. He’s called God. He created the Earth and everyone on it! Me, you, and everybody! If you have Type 1 Diabetes He knew that you would have it. It’s not like He’s a villain who gave you Diabetes. He’s a “good guy”. Maybe we need to ask Him what He wants to do with the Diabetes. His Son died for us so that we could be happy and live forever. If you are scared, just tell yourself there is Someone who can give you courage. I know He loves me. I might die. That’s what I thought in the hospital. The most important thing is to know that God is there. He’s always there. He’s taking care of you. If you’re scared, pray. Ask Him to help you be brave. I hope you pray to God when you’re afraid. I know I’m never alone. Ever. God is with me. If you feel lonely and sad, you don’t have to be. When I’m sad I can still be happy that I’m alive, I’m walking, I can see, I can feel. I’m thankful that I’m still alive, and He gave me the strength to do that. He has a plan for each of us. A special kind of plan. He knows what He is doing even when things don’t make sense to us.  And that’s it. 🙂

Love,
Katie

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” Psalm 56:3