Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Christmas....... It's meant to be relaxing!!!

When you think of christmas, what springs to mind? The season of good will, spending quality time with the family, over indulging with chocolate and yummy food. Eating big breakfasts, a huge Christmas dinner followed by cheese and crackers, and apparently according to some study it has been shown that we eat on average every 23 minutes over the Christmas period!!! That's a lot of eating!
So, let me stop there, if I am honest I thought that this Christmas would be easier. Last year Samuel was on Novo mix 30/70 insulin. We struggled with this for over a year, and it just wasn't working for us, there is not much room for adjustments. However, since changing to MDI using Novo rapid and Lantus things have been much calmer.
So, imagine how we felt when Samuel woke full of excitement on Christmas morning, opening all of his presents that Santa brought, only to discover on testing that his blood sugar level was 25.6!!!!! Not the level that we wanted to start the day with, but sometimes these things just happen and you have to roll with it. So, we gave a correction dose, and because he was so high he didn't feel that he wanted any breakfast. The day carried on without any drama, that was until dinner time.
On any normal day we are quite regimented in the times which the children eat. Breakfast is at 7:30, lunch is at 12:00 and dinner at 5:00. However, during the school holidays and especially Christmas, routine goes out of the window. He didn't want breakfast, and we missed lunch because we were having an early dinner at 3:00. So by the time we arrived at dinner time his blood sugar was 3.9 as I hadn't given him a snack to compensate the missed lunch. We treated, he had his dinner, then I gave him his injection, taking into account that he had dessert. After his dinner no more food passed his lips, yet at bedtime his sugar level was 23.5!!! Once again, we corrected and off to bed he went, only to come down two hours later complaining of feeling unwell.......2.1!!!!!!

Christmas should be a time of not worrying about how much we eat. Who cares if we eat our bodyweight in chocolate, sweets, nuts and cake. Christmas is a time to relax, let our hair down, and not worry if we gain a few pounds, we can join the gym in January and work it off.
But..... That's not the case for us or for Samuel, or for all the other families that have diabetes in their lives. We still have the carb counting, and the insulin ratios.
So, while others are relaxing and taking Christmas off, please spare a thought for us.....diabetes doesn't play by the rules, and it never takes a break, not even for Christmas.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Type of diagnosis......

Following on from my post about the age of diagnosis, I have been thinking about the 'type' of diagnosis, or the 'health' of the child at diagnosis.
Obviously the child is not in particularly good health as they would have been living as an undiagnosed diabetic, which let's face it would have been making them feel very poorly, as well as the weight loss, and the thirst etc. However, we were very lucky with Samuel, he never really got sick, he was never admitted into hospital, and to people who didn't know, on the outside you would never have known he was ill.
Unfortunately that isn't always the case. Some parents have their child diagnosed in much more horrific ways. They don't realise anything is wrong until the child hits the floor and goes into a coma. They carry their child into A & E hours away from death, maybe minutes or sometimes, in the most worst cases they arrive too late.

The way in which diagnosis occurs has to have an impact on how you move forward as a family. I feel lucky that we had the diagnosis we did. Generally speaking I am a laid back person. I try not to worry too much about things that I can't control, and diabetes is something that I can't easily control. Don't get me wrong, I worry every day about Samuel, and obviously I know how serious an illness it is, but because he has never been 'ill' I think that it is all to easy to 'forget' just for a moment.
On the flip side if they were really poorly how do you get that image out of your head? How do you function knowing how close you came to losing them, and knowing how easily it could happen again?

I don't know the answer, all I know is is that we take it one day at a time. We are thankful for the good days, try and learn from the bad, and hope that one day we may have a cure.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Would you want to know?

A couple of months after Samuel was diagnosed I was looking through the JDRF newsletter that I get sent about a trial being run in Cambridge called D-GAP. It is looking at the antibodies of unaffected siblings of a diabetic child diagnosed under the age of 16. By looking at these antibodies we may discover how likely it is that the non affected sibling will develop diabetes.

The first phase of the trial required the sibling (who has to be over the age of 5), to dribble into a pot. Now, I have to admit that Olivia thought it was disgusting, however she did it, even though it took ages! The second phase required a trip to Cambridge to have a blood test done. Not everyone would be called back, and it was going to be completely random. Well Olivia got called back!

So off we went to Cambridge. When I originally filled out the consent forms they asked if I would want to know the results of the blood test, and I said yes. However, it did get me thinking, did I REALLY want to know? What would I gain from the results?
We caught Samuel's diabetes really early, we knew the signs, my husband has been diabetic since 1996. We often randomly test the girls ourselves, I know we probably shouldn't but I bet all of us parents with diabetic children test. So why should I find out?

I think knowledge is power, to be forewarned is to be forearmed, and if I am honest I don't want others knowing something about my child that I don't.

When we went for the test I signed the form to say yes I want to know the results. Olivia was very good at having her blood taken, she didn't make a fuss, and in three months time we will know how many of the three antibodies that they are looking at Olivia has. Hopefully she won't have any, and the likely hood of her going on to develop it will be low. However, the results show otherwise then we will be on the lookout for the signs, like we aways do, randomly test, like we always do, and treat her the same, like we always do.
If she does go on to develop type 1 diabetes then so be it, but we will be ready, and we won't let it beat us.
We do want to know......... but......would you?

Thursday, 9 December 2010

A great thing happened on October 31st!!

A great thing happened on October 31st, and no, not that i was born, although obviously that was a great thing, but that happened in 1974.
On October 31st 1920 there was a discovery by a great man. This discovery enables me to still have my husband, and my son.
It enables thousands of people to carry on living.
This discovery was insulin!

Below is an article taken from CTV news website. http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Health/201030/banting-insulin-101030

Sunday marks 90 years since Banting's idea for insulin

Dr. Frederick Banting (left) and Dr. Charles Best discovered insulin in the 1920s.
Dr. Frederick Banting (left) and Dr. Charles Best discovered insulin in the 1920s.
Dr. Frederick Banting (left) and Dr. Charles Best discovered insulin in the 1920s.

Sir Frederick Banting awoke early on the morning of Oct. 31, 1920 with an idea that some call the most important medical discovery of the 20th century -- insulin.
His discovery would eventually lift a death sentence for millions of people around the globe who suffered from diabetes.
A three-metre-high sculpture by local artist Daniel Castillo is to be unveiled Sunday at Banting's London, Ont., home to mark the milestone's 90th anniversary.
Before Banting's "light bulb moment," the life expectancy for a diabetic was six months to two years. The only treatment offered was a starvation diet.
That changed when Banting came up with his idea by literally sleeping on it, said Grant M. Maltman, curator of Banting House National Historic Site of Canada.
The doctor had prepared a lecture on diabetes that he was to give on Nov. 1. He perused an article about the pancreas while trying to read himself to sleep the night of Oct. 30.
"So he reads the article, turns out the light and then goes to bed," said Maltman.
"And basically at 2 a.m., in his own words, he said 'it was a night of restless sleep. The lecture I prepared and the article I read had chased each other in my mind. At 2 a.m. they came together. I got up. I wrote it down and couldn't stop thinking about it for the rest of the night."'
He jotted down words in a notebook that suggested a connection between the hormone produced by the pancreas and the body's ability to process sugar.
Banting teamed up with Prof. John James Rickard Macleod, Charles Best and Dr. James Bertram Collip at the University of Toronto. Early experiments were on dogs in 1921. The first successful insulin test on a human came in 1922.
Soon after, people began writing letters to Banting and the university asking for insulin supplies, said Maltman.
One letter was from a Quebec man who was told there wasn't enough of a supply to give him but that he could go stay at Toronto General Hospital and receive insulin there. The man did and lived, he said.
Another family gave their teenager a one-way train ticket to Toronto in 1923 so he could get insulin at the hospital.
The same year, at age 32, Banting became the first Canadian -- and youngest person -- to win the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
People from 58 countries visited Banting's home in the last year. Some stood in Banting's bedroom and left thank you notes, said Maltman.
"They're writing things like 'Dear Dr. Banting: thank you for giving me an opportunity to live a fulfilling life with my family,' or Dear Dr. Banting: this site is the greatest moment for all children with Type 1. My daughter diagnosed last week at age two deserves to live. Thank you for your gift,"' said Maltman.
Ninety years later, Banting would be disappointed a cure for diabetes hasn't been found, said Maltman.
"We have better insulin today. What we don't have is anything better than insulin and that's why Banting is still regarded around the world as this global hero," he said.
Worldwide, an estimated 285 million people have diabetes.
The incidence of diabetes is on the rise in Canada, according to the Canadian Diabetes Association.
About three million Canadians have diabetes and about six million are prediabetic, said association president and CEO Michael Cloutier.
Untreated, diabetes can lead to complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputation of limbs.
Good nutrition, weight loss of five to 10 per cent and increased physical activity can delay or prevent diabetes in some people, he said.
Symptoms include extreme thirst, sudden weight change, fatigue, blurred vision and a slow healing process.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Age at diagnosis.......does it make a difference?

As I have witnessed the two boys in my life both being diagnosed at different times in their lives I feel that I am qualified to answer this question. In my opinion, I think that the age of diagnosis has a big impact on how well you 'deal' with it.

Let me start by telling you briefly about my husbands diagnosis. It was the beginning of January 1996, he was 24. He was a typical bloke, liked his beer and likes a fag. He still does, a little bit too much for my liking. Anyway he had been poorly for while, had lost lots of weight, was, tired, thirsty all the classic signs.It wasn't until his vision started to go that he began to think that there was actually something wrong. We had just registered at a new Dr's, so at our appointments, I mentioned my concerns to the Dr. To cut a long story short, his sugar levels were in the 30s and he was admitted to hospital, and there he stayed for two weeks.
He took the diagnosis very hard, and one to be honest I don't think he has ever really accepted , I don't think he ever will.  At 25 years old you don't really want to be told what you can and can't do, what you can and can't eat, and what you can and can't drink.

Samuel on the other hand seems to be completely different. He was 4 1/2 when he was diagnosed. He was never actually admitted into hospital, as he never really got ill. We noticed on on the day that something was not quite right and we acted on it. Samuel is much more accepting of his diabetes, he just gets on with it, obviously he gets cross sometimes, and has days when he doesn't like being diabetic, but there are not too many of those days. Obviously, this wont always be the case, I am sure when he gets older he will rebel, he wouldn't be a normal teenager if he didn't. However, I will be ready for it! I have had enough practice with his dad!

So in answer to my question, I believe it does make a difference, I have seen it first hand. As much as it pains me to inject Samuel four times a day, I am pleased (if that's the correct word) that he has been diagnosed young, because lets face it, it won't remember living any other way!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

This really annoys me!! Diabetes is rarely mentioned!!

Now it could just be me, but there are some things that really annoy me about how little is known about type 1 diabetes.
For example, October is breast cancer awareness month, nothing wrong with that, but the media goes mad over it. Tickled pink is everywhere, everyone knows about the pink ribbon, we have the race for life. Don't get me wrong, breast cancer is close to my heart also, my mum was diagnosed two years ago. November is all about prostate cancer, with the normally clean shaven men growing the most strange facial hair! Again all for a good cause. The 1st of December is world AIDS day, everyone on the TV are sporting the red ribbon. These are but a few of the worthy causes that are advertised every day.

However, let's stop and think about this for a moment. How many times was type 1 diabetes mentioned in the media last month?
How many people know the relevance of the date November 14th?

For the record November is diabetes awareness month, November 14th is world diabetes day. Those of us with diabetes in our lives know this, and we turn things blue to mark the day, and try our best to inform people of our cause.

It would be nice for this disease to get more recognition, many people do not know the signs to look out for, they get it confused with type 2, and many don't understand the impact of having type 1 diabetes in the family. Not just for the person who has it, but for the WHOLE family!

So, my aim now, is to raise awareness wherever I go, because there are so many people, young and old who deal with this 'silent killer', there are children dying because they are not being diagnosed correctly, and there are parents, like me, who have to inject their children everyday with insulin, which doesn't cure them, it keeps them alive!

So, please, when you are reading about, cancer, AIDS, and the many other worthwhile causes in the media, remember us, on our own, with not much help trying to save our children