I wanted to write about Diabetes because in our household we are dealing with Diabetes out the wazoo. Our 13-year-old son was diagnosed with Type 1 in the middle of the summer last year (2019) after a bout of Strep Throat. It’s a crazy diagnosis especially at this age although I can’t even imagine what it would be like to deal with it in small children- yikes! Being diagnosed at 13 is a tough one though because number one he is getting ready to go through puberty and number 2 he is at an independent age as far as food choices and whatnot throughout a major portion of his day so this makes for quite a challenge as far as me controlling it. My husband and I are both Type 2 Diabetics. I had 3 super high-risk pregnancies because of my Diabetes and 3 super high-risk C-sections and deliveries. We worried at the time that our babies would be predisposed to Diabetes because of this but the specialists told us that there would be no higher risk for them than any other child so the fact that we have Diabetes in no way factors into RexKeegan (Rex) having Type 1 Diabetes. You would think that all of us having Diabetes would make it easier to control it and to have good Glucose readings (70-110 mg/dL is a normal value) but so far it’s been the ultimate challenge. Rex being newly diagnosed is still struggling with his numbers. He’s had a couple lows to where he was around 40-50 mg/dL but mainly stays around 350-400 mg/dL and our readings are in the 200 more often than not. We all just got the Dexcom 6, a continuous glucose monitoring device where we have a patch on our tummies that transmits to a device with a reading every 5 minutes. We just figured out how to get the readings on our phones- isn’t technology amazing- so we’re on our way to controlling it better. I tell you about this so that you can follow our journey as a family trying to get healthy (including mommy and daddy losing weight). I mean what better motivation than doing this for our kids’ health too. We have a game plan that includes us going to a nutritionist and also adhering to the Diabetic exchanges. In the food section of my blog, you’ll be seeing healthier lower carb meals that are yummy and tailored to the younger palate. I hope you’re as excited as I am to explore this way of life and all the neat changes that it will bring about. I hope it helps your family too!
I have a lot of people ask me just how we found out about Rex’s Type 1 Diabetes and how it was brought on. His doctors tell me that sometimes an illness can awaken this response in the body. In Rex’s case, he had just recovered from a bout of Strep Throat. Over a period of a week or so, I noticed an increase in hunger, an increase in thirst, and a frequency of going potty (tinkling). It’s not something I really said to myself, “Aha!” at least at first. That is until one day he came to me and told me that his eyesight was extremely blurry. That was my Aha! moment. I got my blood glucose monitor and poked his finger and applied the drop of blood to the test strip and wowie! It was 354 mg/dL. If you remember earlier I told you that a normal value was 70-110 mg/dL so as you can see, his numbers were astronomical- out of the ballpark. I called his Pediatrician immediately and we got in right away. She immediately suspected type 1 Diabetes because Rex really didn’t have the normal attributes associated with children having Type 2 Diabetes such as being overweight for one. She sent us to the hospital right away and from there they ran blood work. They confirmed her suspicions right away and from there they hospitalized him to treat his high blood sugar (if it goes too high you can get what’s called Diabetic Keto Acidosis or DKA and that’s super dangerous- life-threatening even) and to educate us as to how to live with and manage his Diabetes. I’m not going to lie to you. There’s been a lot of tears and a lot of fears so far but we’re learning as we go. The two types of Diabetes are so different and of course, when something like this affects your precious child it involves a lot of emotion- guilt, fear, worry, etc. Phoenix Children’s Hospital has been fantastic though. They’re amazing! There are so much support and tons of educational materials. Lately, we’ve been battling the occasional low or hypoglycemia (as opposed to his usual high numbers or hyperglycemia) and I can tell you this is where the gray hairs are starting to set in because it’s happened at bedtime if you can imagine so I battle to get it back up to a normal range by feeding him yogurt because you need sugar to raise it and protein to stabilize it. It takes two to three yogurts in some cases which then makes him want to throw up and that’s the last thing he needs. We manage to keep it down and get him to bed but he’s terrified. I’m terrified. He finally falls asleep, I stay up all night long watching his numbers afraid I will sleep through the alarms from his meter (on the phone) and then he starts creeping up up up and away again. I’m new to this so I’m sure I’ll eventually get it right but holy cow! This is so scary. I can’t even imagine younger children going through this. I really feel for all you parents out there going through this with younger ones!
Type 1 Diabetes can be such a challenge. We’re having such a difficult time keeping up with his sugars- they’re so high on average. The doctor has yet to find how much Insulin he’s supposed to be taking per carb given his body and also just how much he needs to take to correct the highs. He’s wearing his Continuous Blood Glucose Monitor (his Dexcom 6) now religiously. It’s so amazing what technology can do. We went to his doctor and I thought it was going to be so difficult to download the numbers given the fact that we have everything on his phone and so, therefore, don’t carry the device with us (it’s actually in a drawer) but it was so amazingly easy. We just opened the program chose the little people icon and then the data for 3 months and then chose the generate code button and voila! The nurse copied down the code and that was it. Now the doctor can see not only all the info so far but can also see what his blood sugars are every 5 minutes as he’s walking around, eating, sleeping, etc. Is that so cool or what!
I woke up this morning with new inspiration. Last night Rex went to bed with an infection started in a hair follicle on his side close to his chest. Having high sugars keeps him from fighting infection so I’m now on a mission. No matter how hard it is or how tempting it is out there in this world full of such yummy foods, I’m vowing to become an expert at Diabetic cooking. I have some awesome Diabetic cookbooks. One of the cookbooks is for slow cookers, one is an Instant Pot Diabetic cookbook and the other is all about desserts. This is doable. Not only is it absolutely necessary for Rex but my hubby (his name’s Greg by the way) and I absolutely need this too because of our Type 2 Diabetes. It will be a great thing for the girls too because they definitely need less sugar, less fat, and better carbs in their diet not to mention lower sodium and better nutrients from fresher foods.
I hate to admit it but as a family, I think we just have had our heads in the sand. We kind of have eaten any way we want and just increased our Insulin intake and as for Rex, this is so new to us. Type 1 Diabetes is so different from Type 2 so we’re still learning but I’m bound and determined to get on top of all of this for my family. As a matter of fact, I’m going to go right now and pick a recipe for dinner. I’ll let you know how it goes.