Type 1 Diabetes

Diaversary, Year Six. Mother’s Day. Numbers! 


72 Months, 2190 days, 312 weeks. 17,280 finger pricks,  10,950 shots to cover food, another 2190 shots of Lantus. 13,140 shots total. When I told Joey these numbers he said 17,000 finger pricks on these two little fingers??” He’s referencing the fact that he only uses two fingers to check his blood sugar. They are very calloused.

These are the numbers that coincide with Joey’s 6 year “DIAVERSARY.”  It’s daunting, but it’s our reality,  and it showcases the life of a person with type 1 diabetes.  These numbers are pretty typical. There isn’t a way to shortcut through type 1 diabetes, you have to check your blood sugar number to stay healthy!

what's your number?
what’s your number?

These numbers are based on Joey’s life of checking his blood sugar up to 8 times a day, (including my 2:00 AM check) eating up to 5 times a day, which requires a shot, and sometimes he eats more than 5 times in a day!

Numbers, numbers, numbers!!! What’s your number? How were your numbers today? Did you check your number? I see numbers in my sleep and I’m sure Joey does too!

The good news is that Joey is healthy because he checks his number every time he eats, and if he feels that his blood sugar is to high or to low. Fortunately he uses the Omnipod Insulin pump to deliver insulin to his body! This allows his body to get the correct amount of insulin 24/7! And the best part, no more shots!! He still has to prick his finger to get his blood sugar number, but the insulin pump replaces the shot.

Yesterday we were at a track meet, I saw the track coach who is also the freshman football coach so I went to ask him if we could set up a meeting to discuss Joey being on his team in the fall. He was standing with a coach from a different HS. When I mentioned type 1 training, that coach said he has had experience with type 1, and that one of his players wore something on his body that delivers insulin.  So recognizing  a teaching opportunity, I had Joey come over and show them his insulin pod, which is the unit that delivers insulin to Joey. They were fascinated which most people are. When I showed them the *Glucagon Emergency kit, Glucagon kitnot so much, the look of fear set in!  Which is normal because it’s a big needle and you have to mix the liquid with the powder, I don’t blame them! But once they understood its purpose, all was good. I need to feel comfortable leaving Joey on the football field, or in a weight room getting ready for football. In order to do that, coaches and trainers have to be trained and his coach is willing!

Tony and Joey football Joey was diagnosed on May 10th, 2009. It was Mother’s Day. That morning he was wrestling with his older brother Tony, they were right in front of me and he said “I just peed my pants!” He had just turned 8 two weeks before so this wasn’t typical!! I told him to go change and next time stop in time to get to the potty.

jenny and cooperMy daughter stopped in with her son Cooper, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes 2 years earlier, at age 22 months. I was going to be watching Cooper later in the week and the thing is, when you have a child with type 1, you can’t just let anyone watch them, you have to be confidant that the person knows how to execute type 1, so I needed to practice taking a blood sugar. Joey became my guinea pig and the kid that peed his pants wrestling with his brother 3 hours earlier had a blood sugar number of 466! My daughter grabbed my leg so hard because even though I was looking at the monitor and it said 466, it didn’t connect. Moments later I almost fainted! My husband got mad, and thankfully calmed everyone down. We didn’t noticed that were reacting in a panic mode which was scaring Joey!

I needed to call my friend Bill, a pediatrician. My daughter and I took a drive so we could talk about what to do, and I called Bill. He recommended coming to the office in the morning for a checkup, which believe it or not I already had scheduled! Remember it was his birthday and I had his 8 year checkup scheduled. My daughter on the other hand disagreed and thought we should go to the Children’s ER. Bills thought was that Joey wasn’t presenting sick, his number although high wasn’t over 500, and the risk of going to the CHW ER during the H1N1 pandemic put him at greater risk! The ER was full of sick kids and who knew if there was even an exam room open.

20140517-085426.jpgI remember Cooper’s diagnosis day at the ER, all those pokes and prods on a 22 month old baby! Broke our hearts and I wasn’t going to see Joey go through that so we went the next day. I think it was the right thing to do, less traumatic for all of us. I wouldn’t recommend waiting if you think your child has type 1, and if you can’t get to your pediatrician, most definitely seek medical attention. Our situation was different in that my daughter was an expert at type 1 and I had a friend who was a pediatrician. Our outcome could have been very different if we didn’t have those two elements, and of course God’s hand.  I was off work, going to have major back surgery, if I would have the surgery, my husband would have been dealing with me recovering, and Joey getting sicker, and sicker. I truly feel it was God’s hand that put Jenny on my couch that day, because we had spent the day together on Saturday, she wasn’t planning on stopping by on Mother’s Day. She called me out of the blue and said, Mom I can’t miss seeing you on Mother’s Day, can we stop for a few minutes?” That few minutes turned into hours, and our world as we knew it changed, now we have TWO Champions fighting type 1 diabetes.

We started our type 1 classroom training Tuesday morning, and that was the first time he got a shot of insulin.  That evening we had to give him his first shot of Lantus, the 24 hour “background” insulin, I remember him screaming as we had to hold him down! I still cry when I think about it.  The insulin pump also replaces the Lantus.

One year after Joey’s diagnosis we were approved for the Omnipod wireless and tubeless insulin pump.  omnipod-insulin-pump1

The doctors and diabetes care specialists want you to have a clear understanding of the disease before they approve you for the pump, and it makes perfect sense because you make adjustments in the amounts of insulin needed as Joey grows his insulin requirements change. What a blessing it is to have the Omnipod. No more shots every time Joey eats, which is a lot. And it’s not just that he would have to have a shot when he ate, but when you are on MDI or Multiple Daily Injections, you have to do some fancy calculating. When you eat a carb, you have to dose, or give yourself insulin, so lets say you have a 15 carb snack, and then an hour later you want something else that has to be covered with insulin. You then have to take into consideration the amount of insulin that you gave yourself for the snack, figure out how much insulin is still on board, (which without the pump is just an estimate) the dose should be decreased to account for the amount of insulin still active from the previous injection. Sound confusing, YES it is. With the Omnipod pump, it does all those calculations for you!! No more trying to figure out dosages, which can lead to serious complications of dropping to a low blood sugar. Joey LOVES his Omnipod Insulin Pump!

So, it’s “our” 6 year Diaversary, and this year it once again falls on Mother’s Day!  So many have asked me, how in the world did you get Joey to let you poke his finger with a needle that day? Truth is, we bribed him, told him he could go to the store and buy a toy!  I can’t remember if we took him to the store that day…but he has gotten many gifts since then.  Joey is one of my precious gifts, and regardless of the number of times he gets irked at me for asking “what’s your number,”  a Mother’s Love is for infinity!

*Glucagon  is a natural substance that raises blood sugar by causing the body to release sugar stored in the liver. It is used to quickly increase blood sugar levels in diabetics with low blood sugar who cannot take a quick source of sugar (e.g., fruit juices, table sugar, regular soda) by mouth.


2 thoughts on “Diaversary, Year Six. Mother’s Day. Numbers! 

  1. Loved this, Therese. Joey is amazing. Jake always said that he was such a smart kid and so good at being mature about managing his diabetes. He’s got an amazing mom, too. Happy Mother’s Day!

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