Thursday, December 29, 2011

Let It Snow!

Rick and I are snowmobilers.  We love snow.  We love winter and watching the snow totals add up.  The more snow the better.  Bring it on!

Winters in Southeastern Wisconsin are pretty unpredictable, so we trailer our sleds to Northern WI or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  We've been doing this for many years and every trip is just as fun as the very first one. 

I've only missed 2 snow seasons all these years: Sophia and Madeline. Yep, prego.  Somehow bouncing down a trail, in the middle of the woods 7 months pregnant, didn't sound so fun.  So I took one for the team, and stayed home.

This snow season, I am once again faced with the reality, I may not be able to ride.

Madeline's medical needs are not something I can just put on a To Do list for someone else.  Rick and I live with diabetes in our life everyday, and we are still learning.  It's a  tremendous amount of responsibility and not for the faint of heart.  Madeline's life depends on it.

So what's a mom to do?  Get your helmet Madeline, you're coming with mommy and daddy!  How bad could it be? (please don't answer that)

We won't know until we try.

Madeline's ready!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

10 Things I Ponder

1. Why does Madeline scream and cry when I comb her hair, but tell me it tickles when I give her a shot?

2. Will I ever be able to say endocrinologist doctor correctly?

3. Is it appropriate to say "hear comes the prick" when giving shots?

4. Why do I love Edward from the Twilight series so much?  Is it because we both care about blood?

5. Why don't I have time to finish wrapping Christmas presents, but have time to write on this blog?

6. Why do I laugh when Rick hurts himself, but panic if it's one of the kids?

7.  Will I have permanent shoulder damage from carrying a massive purse with all Madeline's diabetic supplies?   

8. Is it weird my kids run around and pretend to give people shots with clipped needles? (sorry to those of you that thought they were using real needles)

9. Do I seem like a mean mom when I say "if you eat that treat you will be shot" (with insulin of course).

10. Why does our freaking Elf on the Shelf always seem to be looking at me more than my kids?

Yep, lots to ponder..............

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Great Big Thanks!

We did our first JDRF Walk To Cure Diabetes on September 17 at the Milwaukee County Zoo.  It had only been 2 1/2 months since Madeline's diagnosis, so there was not much time to get organized.  I quickly created the Silkworth Family team and recruited my sister, niece and nephew to walk with us.

We sent out our emails asking for donations for our JDRF walk team, not really knowing what to expect.  Well, the donations were overwhelming!!!   Because of our very loving family, friends, and friends of friends generous donations, we collected almost $1600.00 for the Silkworth Family team!

A very special thanks to the Lake Beulah Drift Skippers and Star Motorcycle Chapter 372 for their club donations!  We are so lucky to know such great people and be apart of such wonderful clubs!

We may have had a small walk team this year, but we put many miles on and had a great day!  We are already planning next years walk and hope to recruit many more walkers!

Because of all the generous donations, the Silkworth Family team recieved 2 awards from JDRF.  We will proudly display these to thank all those who have supported our goal to cure diabetes.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Why So Testy

Testing blood glucose is a life saving step in a diabetics life, especially children.  Yes, it's important to test before meals so you know how to dose insulin, but what a lot of people don't know, is testing can go on all day.  Diabetes never takes a break.  Blood glucose changes constantly and you need to know what the body is doing at all times.  High blood glucose numbers are frustrating and just not good.  Low blood glucose numbers are serious, and can be life threating if not treated immediately.  Madeline is 2.  She doesn't say "wow, I feel like I'm running a little low" or "you know, I think my numbers are high", so test, test test.

Finger pricks hurt.  I tested myself....once.  I'm a real wimp compared to Madeline.

The good thing is Madeline doesn't seem to mind too much.  I make sure to test quickly and let her be on her way.  She has even stopped mid-snack because she couldn't remember if she had been tested.      

Someday, when Madeline can truly understand, I can't wait to tell her what an amazing little girl she is.   


Friday, December 2, 2011

Some Honeymoon

I learned there is period of time, after a Type 1 diabetics diagnosis, that is referred to as a "honeymoon".  Diabetes is caused by the lack of insulin produced from the pancreas.  Once insulin is introduced back into the body via injections, the pancreas says "wow, guess I've been slacking, now that I'm rested, let me help".  Now I'm not dissing the pancreas for wanting to help, but in reality, it's not much help at all.  We went from Madeline's blood glucose numbers hovering around 200 to dropping into the 60's at times.  This happens because I'm giving her insulin to cover her food as well as her pancreas "helping".  Once we learned how to adjust her insulin it was actually quite nice having her pancreas around for awhile.

Mealtimes were such a stressful time for me.  I had learned to hate food.  Madeline was only allowed 45 carbs for her meals.  If you have ever counted carbs in foods, it doesn't take much to get to that number.  It takes a lot of thought how to give healthy and satisfying meals without adding carbs.  But then comes the honeymoon!  Wahooo!  I could give a little extra food here and there, and her glucose numbers stayed in range.

Is honeymoon really a good word for this phase?  Not to a non diabetic, but being a Type 1 diabetic means having to give an insulin shot for all the food that goes into your body.  Think of all the food you eat in a day, then try to imagine having to count the carbs, test your blood glucose, dose insulin and give a shot, all within a specific time frame.  To regain a little freedom from the day to day rules of being a diabetic, honeymoon is a word that fits quite well. 

They warn you in the diabetes classes to not get comfortable with the honeymoon period.  There is no definite time for when it will start, or when it will end, but it will end.  Some people never even have a honeymoon.  If you get to comfortable with the food freedom, it will be like being diagnosed all over again when it ends.  Well, they were absolutely correct.  Because Madeline's pancreas is so small, it gave it's all, but in the end it could only help her for about a month.  Back to a very strict meal plan and 5 shots a day.

Sleep tight little pancreas.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Crazy Train

I am usually a very calm and rational person.  Yes, my kids can drive me nuts at times, but I can usually collect myself and get through it.  Somewhere between "you were right, Madeline has diabetes" and "survival training", I lost that calm and rational side of me.  I had become this high strung, irrational woman that was close to spinning out of control.

A great example of my craziness came the first day I had to deal with Madeline's diabetes without Rick's help.  All I had to do was test Madeline so she could start to eat her lunch.  Ten minutes later I am on the phone with Rick crying that I can't get the meter to tell me what Madeline's numbers are and she's crying because she just wants her lunch.  Rick raced home from work so he could do the testing.  Beeeeep, the numbers came right up.  Just to be safe I had Rick stay until I was sure I could do Madeline's insulin shot as well.  I would have to read the book on the meter so I didn't keep going through the test strips.   

Test strips are like dollar bills in a small plastic container.  Yes they are very important to tell me what my child's blood glucose numbers are, but they are also very expensive and not something you waste.  This is where I knew I was losing my rational side.  All I had to do was go to the pharmacy for test strips.  We had received a couple of free meters from the hospital so we just wanted test strips for that specific meter.  Nope.  Insurance says they don't cover that meter.  Are you kidding me?  I would need to contact this person and that person and get approval.  I couldn't even think.  I headed out to the parking lot and cried for 10 minutes in my car because I didn't get my daughters test strips.  In the end, Rick called and cleared up the confusion, but I had completely lost control. 

I cried because I was tired.  I cried because my daughter was diagnosed with diabetes.  I cried because I wasn't spending time with my 5 year old.  I cried because I wanted my old life back.

Still do.

Survival Training

Once diabetes is diagnosed, there is no time to dwell on the "why me" or "why did this have to happen to my child".  You must learn to test blood glucose, dose insulin and give shots.  You learn there are different insulins that are given at different times and doses.  All food must be counted by the number of carbs so that insulin can be calculated correctly.  You meet the diabetes doctor and staff that will now be a part of your child's healthcare management.  Survival training.  This is the actual term used by the health care professionals after diagnosis.  My head was spinning.  Most of this was explained before Madeline had even received her first meal since diagnosis.  The crazy thing is, I should have had a greater understanding of all this information with Rick being a Type 1 diabetic.

Rick has always been very private when it comes to his diabetes.  He absolutely hated testing his blood glucose before meals, and more or less gave up keeping track.  Privacy was a must for insulin shots.  Even after 12 years of living with a diabetic, I had no idea how to manage diabetes.

Because Madeline's dad was diabetic, we would be released from the hospital after only 1 full day.  We would need to come back to the hospital early the next morning for another survival class, but at least we could go home.  It wasn't until 10:00pm that Madeline was tucked nice and safe in her own bed.  We were instructed to test her blood glucose at 12:00am and 3:00am to be sure she was in a safe range.  Rick volunteered to get up to test, so after 40 hours, I was finally able to get some sleep.

To say I was a mess by the morning is an understatement.  The reality of our new way of life had started to set in, and I wasn't sure I could handle all the responsibilities that came with it.  I was sleep deprived, had a family that needed my love and attention, and most importantly, I had to be my child's pancreas.

Thank God for coffee.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Our Story

June 21, 2011

Madeline has always been our very high maintenance child.  Just days after she was born the colic kicked in and just never seemed to end.  She was never a good sleeper and had us up and down at all times of the night.  We were so happy when she turned 2 in April 2011!  Even though we dreaded the terrible two's, we thought she was finally at her turning point to start being a "big girl".  That was very short lived.

She seemed to become more agitated at the little things, and just never seemed to have fun.  She wouldn't play well with her big sister and became very clingy.  She lost all energy and seemed to be sleepy all the time. Her bedtime sleep habits changed.  She would cry when we would put her to bed, but sleep so sound that I would have to wake her in the morning.  Jammies and bed sheets soaked every morning.  That's when I really took notice of her thirst.  She was so thirsty.

I looked up everything I could on the internet trying to find another reason for all of Madeline's symptoms.  They all came back with the same result:  Type 1 Diabetes.  Deep in my heart, I knew. 

Madeline's dad, Rick, has been a Type 1 diabetic for 12 years.

I tried to tell myself that she must have a virus and all of the symptons would go away.  They didn't.  I forced myself to call the doctor's office to make the appointment.  On June 21, 2011 the Dr. called with the news I had hoped to never hear: "you were right, Madeline is diabetic".  Her blood test came back at 901.  Dangerous.  Normal numbers are closer to 100.  We needed to get her to Children's Hospital quickly to begin treatment.

Once settled in the Children's ER, Madeline was hooked to an IV to begin fluids and insulin.  She was very dehydrated and her blood glucose was still in the 500's.  It would be a slow process so her little body could handle all the changes.  We stayed in the ER for 8 hours while the nurses and doctor worked on getting her numbers back in range.  At 10:00 pm I was told we could finally move to a hospital room so they could moniter Madeline throughout the night.  I was exhausted.  Rick had gone home 3 hours earlier to take care of our 5 year old daughter, Sophia, so I was on my own.  At 11:00 pm we were finally in a private room.

My little Madeline was so tired she didn't even know she was being transferred from her ER bed to the hospital room crib.  Once the sides were up on her crib, she was completely incased.  I could only put my hand through the slots to stroke her head.  She was sound asleep holding her favorite little Lambie tight.  I was told I would need to complete the final paperwork before I could lay down myself.  At 12:00am Madeline and I were finally alone in our room.  I didn't even bother making the couch into a bed.  I just laid in the dark and cried into the pillow.  I never slept that night.  I wanted to be right at Madeline's side if she would wake up and get scared.  The nurses came in and out constantly to check blood sugars or to change a diaper.  I couldn't wait for the sun to come up.

At 6:30am Madeline opened her eyes and gave me a huge smile and said "hi momma!"               

Our new life had begun.