Sunday, March 12, 2017

Signs of Type 1 Diabetes

Text books and doctors can give us the definition of type 1 diabetes and make it sound pretty simple. However, it is the furthest thing from simple! Matter of fact, it feels like a life-long (mathematical) science experiment not only to those who are diagnosed, but also to the scientists who have worked, and continue to work, diligently for a cure. All of that being said, let me fully disclose that I started college in intermediate math, failed accounting twice and chemistry three times. Fast forward an (obvious) college major/degree change and many years later and, ironically, I am in charge of managing my daughter's T1D. If I can do this thang...then YOU can do this thang! #inthistogether

So. What the heck is Type 1?

Type 1 diabetes is characterized by the body’s immune system attacking its own body (not cool, right?!), and in this case, it is part of the pancreas. To date, scientists and doctors are still uncertain as to why this is. However, what happens is the immune system mistakenly recognizes the insulin-producing cells called ‘islets’ (pronounced EYE-lets) in the pancreas as foreign and, therefore, ultimately destroys them. So what’s the big deal about islets? Well, islets are the cells that sense glucose in the blood and, in response, produce the necessary amount of insulin to normalize blood sugars. (Insulin, by the way, is the ‘Gate Keeper’ or ‘The Keeper of the Key’ that opens your cells and allows the glucose to enter which then allows you to use the glucose for energy. No islets = No insulin...No Key.) Without insulin, the sugar stays and congregates in the blood. This results in the body’s cells starving from the lack of glucose. And, if left untreated, the high level of ‘blood sugar’ can damage kidneys, nerves, heart and eyes. High blood sugar can also lead to coma and/or death. All of the aforementioned, categorizes type 1 diabetes as an autoimmune disease.

Know the Signs:

Once it was determined that MBG had type 1 and was admitted to the hospital, her BG (blood glucose) level was over 600 (#overachiever). However, had I known the signs, I could have prevented such a dangerous and harmful BG. All of that being said, please know that NOT ALL of the following signs need to be present for a type 1 diagnosis. Some of the most frequent signs are:

1.     Frequent Urination
2.     Extreme Thirst
3.     Unintentional/Unexplained Weight Loss
4.     Increased Hunger
5.     Fatigue
6.     Blurry Vision
7.     Sweating
8.   Nausea and/or Vomiting
9.     Peripheral neuropathy
10.  Mononeuropathy, (aka ‘focal neuropathy’)
11.  Autonomic neuropathy

Also know that these signs can, and often are, mistaken for the stomach flu or virus, strep throat, growth spurt, and urinary tract infection. Equipped with this information, ask your doctor for a urinary test to test for ketones and a blood test to test BG levels. Type 1 diabetes hasn't been proven to be 100% genetic. Whether you have a family history of T1D or not, if you are experiencing the aforementioned, take action!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The ER (Without George Clooney)

MBG and I arrived to the ER around 6:30 pm. As she continued to ask where we were going and when we were going home, I failed to hold back the fountain of tears. Walking through the doors and immediately to the front desk, the nurse took one look at the diagnosis and BG levels, looked at the other nurse and said, "Oh no, that's not good at all." Now, not only was I angry with God, the doctor and my husband, but it took all I had not to bring complete disgrace to the ER nurse and myself.

Within ten minutes from that moment, they had MBG prepped and ready to start a lifetime of insulin doses. Between starting an IV, taking blood, urine tests and a swift introduction to insulin, my anger continued and found no limits. We spent hours in a dim lit ER room, then at 30 minutes past midnight, they moved MBG to ICU.

The following days were spent trying to raise our heads above the fog we had found ourselves in. MBG spent two days in ICU followed by three days in a room on the diabetic floor. During that time, we met with numerous nurses, administration staff and doctors of all sorts. We watched 'Welcome to Diabetes' videos, read educational books (packed with more information than one mind can hold), took multiple choice tests to ensure we were 'somewhat' prepared to leave the care of the hospital, cried...(bawled, actually), researched the diagnosis, cried, asked a million questions, learned how to take blood glucose levels (every 2 hours), count carbs, determine insulin doses...and cried some more. I don't think an hour of sleep was had by a single one the entire week. We were scared to leave the hospital, yet anxious to be home.

Towards the end of the week, in additional preparation for self-care and as a 'newly diagnosed' T1D individual/family, we received a 'Bag of Hope' on behalf of JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). At the time I was too angry to appreciate the bag and its contents, however, it truly does become a 'go-to' resource. The bag was filled with educational materials, carb counting material, links to informational videos, a diabetic reading book for your child, glucose monitor and, last but not least, Rufus - the Bear with diabetes - whose purpose is to show your child that she is not alone while learning to take shots and test blood sugar. Admittingly, due to my anger of MBG's diagnosis, I tossed Rufus in the trash the moment we arrived home as I wanted nothing to remind me of this time in our life. However, looking back, Rufus could have quite possibly been the only one that MBG found an ounce of connection with during her hospital stay as she 'gave him his insulin shots and tested his blood sugar levels'.

At the end of the week, MBG was released from the hospital and we made our way our new home and our new way of life (did I mention that we were moving into a new home the day that MBG was admitted to the hospital?) We walked through the door holding a stack of T1D literature while navigating a maze of brown, unpacked boxes...once again, I cried at (all) the road ahead. It has been over one year since that day and we have experienced our share of highs and lows - both emotionally and blood sugar-wise. We made the move from four+ individual shots a day to the Omnipod pump. We still check her blood sugar every two hours through the day and the night. I have become an active member of our local JDRF Chapter and heavily involved in fundraising. I also, finally, went to God on my knees asking for forgiveness of my anger and begging for guidance. Our family prays daily for a cure while also proclaiming and praying vigorously that God, our Mighty Physician, will lay his healing hands on MBG's pancreas and heal her...throwing diabetes to the depths of the ocean, as far as the east is to the west, where it can never touch MBG and our family again. I truly believe that He can!

"O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my [MBG's] health." - Psalm 30:2

(If you have a child who was recently diagnosed with T1D and was not given a Bag of Hope prior to leaving the hospital, you can visit Type One Nation and complete the online form to have one sent directly to your home.)

Monday, January 4, 2016

Lifetime Sentence

Many things life-changing events have happened since my last post. Most good. Others...I could live without.

The Good

I joined the E.Leigh's (@eleighsboutique) family as Marketing Director in January of marks my one year anniversary. I couldn't love it more! The team has become my second family that I have daily communication with and look to for laughs, pick-me-ups, inspiration, growth and encouragement.

Lane and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary.

Lane quit his job of 14 years to journey down the road of entrepreneurship. Words can't express how proud I am of him and his tenacity, skill, knowledge and success.

We recently purchased a new home that we can definitely call our "Forever Home".

The Bad

My 4 year old daughter (aka 'My Best Girl' or 'MBG'), was recently diagnosed with and given a lifetime sentence of Type 1 Diabetes (juvenile diabetes).

It was Monday, November 16, 2015. A horribly rainy day and I had left MBG with my mother and father the night before so we could complete our move into our new home and I could finish some much needed work. Around 3:00 pm that afternoon, my mother called asking me to come pick MBG up. She was crying for her mom, had just vomited, was extremely thirsty and running to the bathroom non-stop. Before I could put the phone down, my 'mother's intuition' already knew her diagnosis.

I ran to my car, tears streaming down my face, racing down the interstate in the middle of a storm to get my baby girl. Once I arrived at the home of my parents (which is 35 minutes away), I picked her up in my arms and ran her out to the car. I couldn't get her to the doctor soon enough. Driving back in the pouring down rain, I vigorously prayed that I was wrong.

Our normal pediatrician was unable to get her in that day, giving me a next-day appointment. However, I couldn't...SHE couldn't wait that long. So instead, we went to a medical clinic somewhat close to our home, and it was there, drenched from the rain, MBG and I were told, by complete strangers, that her blood glucose levels were too high to even register on a monitor and that it was most likely, juvenile diabetes. The doctor instructed us to go directly to the ER at Children's Hospital and he would see to it that she was admitted immediately.

At that very moment, I held my sweet girl as tight as I could. I sobbed. She asked endless questions. And then I soon became angry at God for letting this happen to her. Angry at my husband for not being there with me to hear this diagnosis. Angry at this fallen world. Angry at the doctor for giving me this news. Angry at the nurse for taking her blood. Angry at everyone and everything, except MBG.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Here Comes the Cape Blazer

Cape Blazer from E. Leigh's Little Rock Location / LOFT Sheer Dotted Tie-Neck Blouse 
Black Shorts (old, but love these) / Spanx Tights (Best Tights EVER!) / Nine West Black Heels
Gold Snake Print Clutch from Proposals (similar here) / Bangles from Indigo Little Rock

I'll never forget the time in college when I was asked by a long-time crush of mine to be his date to a wedding of mutual friends. After gawking over this boy for a handful of years, I started planning what I would wear before he even finished the verbal invitation! As luck would have it, the imperfection (pimple) of a lifetime decided to grace my left temple with it's award-winning presence the day before the wedding. Out of great despair, I did everything but surgically remove my unwanted accessory...pestering it death and drowning it in darn-near bleach before I went to bed. Not to mention a very indepth prayer of pleading and reasoning with the Dear Lord Above to remove this pimple from my temple and throw it as far as the east is from the west. (After all, He does ask us to come to Him with whatever is on our mind and this pimple was, literally, on. my. mind.)

With visions of pimple-free skin dancing in my head as I slept, I awoke the next morning to a throbbing in my head and my left eye completely swollen shut! Yes, I said...Swollen. Shut! Apparently you shouldn't mess too much with a "pimple on your temple". Not only do you risk losing a future date, but you will at some point, lose your vision. (Mark that one in the books as a lesson learned and feel free to thank me.) With the fear of my imperfection outshining the bride, I decided to cancel the date and not attend the wedding with who would soon be "Mr. Not So Right".

Fast forward many years later, THE Mr. Right (aka LP, aka the Hubs) and I had a wedding to attend last weekend, with thankfully, no pimple in sight. Having this black cape blazer from E. Leigh's at the forefront of my closet, I quickly knew what I would be wearing. I loved pairing the over-sized cape blazer with shorter shorts as it allowed the cape blazer to stand out a bit and show off its uniqueness. The sheer and dotted tie-neck top underneath added the perfect dose of femininity! I received so many compliments on this blazer that I wished I had brought stock to sell! As the weather gets cooler, I'll be pairing the blazer with a pair of fitted "faux-real" leather leggings and heels. How will you be wearing your must-have cape blazer this fall?