A School Nurse of Distinction

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We sat in a ‘support group’ shortly after her diagnosis.  The parents at the meeting looked mostly sleep deprived and concerned.  A few smiled only when you smiled first.  The topic was Supporting Your Child With T1D At School: What you need to know.  I thought ‘Okay, this is an important topic’.  I normally talk, a lot, but in these meetings I think its helpful to just listen.  Most of the families have been dealing with this condition far longer than we have and we have a steep learning curve.  So, “shut up and listen”, I say to myself.  One parent sat with her arms crossed and said, “Our school nurse is terrible, absolutely terrible.”  She went on to describe how the nurse wouldn’t touch her daughter’s insulin pump and didn’t provide the basic care her daughter’s condition required.  This challenge drove her to write letters to the principal and superintendent, even the school board.  At one point, and rightfully so, she said incredulously “I mean, her care can mean life or death for my daughter”.  Continue reading “A School Nurse of Distinction”

Independence: Not Only Inevitable But Necessary

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What can a simple bowl of cereal represent?  For a child with T1D, more than you might think.  I don’t blame my sweet child for her desire for normalcy. To her, a bowl of cereal should just be a bowl of cereal and not a set of carbs that require counting and mathematical formulas to determine units of insulin to be given prior to eating. I get it on some level, though I can’t understand her experience completely.  As a mom, I just want to protect her and care for her.  That makes it easy  at dinner time to grab her insulin pump, determine the carbs on my own and plug it into her pump. But, doing this does not help her.  In fact, it harms her more than it could ever help her.  In our world, a simple bowl of cereal can represent independence. Continue reading “Independence: Not Only Inevitable But Necessary”

A Lush New Discovery

You’ve heard it here before and it probably won’t be the last time either, A and I spend some significant time on her hair. I’m on the hunt again for organic products for my sweet one’s hair and skin.  Since diagnosis it seems like  her hair has gone through a ton of changes, but so has her skin.  The start of the winter months here haven’t helped. Both her hair and skin need some TLC and I am always on the look out for great natural products to meet that need.  To recap, some of our biggest issues have been, extremely dry scalp, skin and hair.  She seems to have also developed a sensitivity to certain products within the last six months or so. Continue reading “A Lush New Discovery”

Glitter for Emotional Wellness?

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Outside of my parenting and blogging life I am also an educator who is super passionate about social emotional wellness in children and adults.  Take a moment to think, you adults out there reading this.  When you were growing up, who taught you about your emotions?  Who in your life, whether you parents, teachers or other important people in your life, discussed emotions and their importance? Continue reading “Glitter for Emotional Wellness?”

A Sweet Book Review: T1D Superheroes

A book review of ‘Even Superheroes Get Diabetes’

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Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 8.54.17 PMAsays “Mom, do you think I have Fly-A-Betes?”  I respond, “I don’t know.  We will need to test it out.”  She gets out of bed, climbs up on the side of the bed posts, puts both arms out and jumps.  Boom.  She looks at me.  “I didn’t fly, mom.”  She checks her insulin pump and tell me that her blood sugar is 136.  We look at each other and smile.  Tonight we read Even Superheroes Get Diabetes written by Sue Ganz-Schmitt. Continue reading “A Sweet Book Review: T1D Superheroes”

The Sugar Free Gang Is Never Sugar Free. Shout Out To You, JDRF!

Our experiences with the JDRF Sugar Free Gang monthly meetings and what it has meant to our sweet brown child and our family.

One Wednesday each month, regardless of the weather conditions (hey, we live in a part of the country known for epic winters) or what else we’ve got going on in our personal family life, we head out to the Sugar Free Gang. We rely on the support and education that comes from the monthly JDRF Sugar Free Gang meetings. During these sessions the sweet ones go with educators who do activities with them and the parents stay with guest speakers.  However, there’s more to these ‘meeting of the minds’ than just education.  It’s not without a little sweetness. Continue reading “The Sugar Free Gang Is Never Sugar Free. Shout Out To You, JDRF!”

Not The Dawn Phenomenon At All

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You can feel, almost touch, the anticipation that a new day brings. The glorious early morning orange glow signaling a new beginning. As an early bird I’m somewhat biased but I feel that dawn is the most beautiful time of the day. It will beat out dusk for me any day of the week. At the end of the day there is little to look forward to leaving only the reflections of what went well, or not so well during the prior hours.  The early morning marks another opportunity, a new chance to do something meaningful. In our home most of us are early risers. Now that her honeymoon period (a period of time shortly after diagnosis when blood sugars remain fairly level) is over we’ve noticed that A’s blood sugar is an early riser as well.

We usually notice this rise in BG (blood glucose) levels around breakfast.  After some research and discussion I thought it might be the product of what is known as the Dawn Phenomenon.  My understanding of this phenomenon is that there are often hormone surges early in the morning that lead to increases in BGs.   These surges then impact the insulin required to counter the highs and, in A, may be showing up as highs following breakfast. She typically does not have BG spikes after lunch or dinner, just breakfast.  After doing some reading, speaking with medical care providers and other parents of children with T1D it seems that this is common.  However, this is not due to the Dawn Phenomenon at all because when she immediately wakes up her blood sugar is not elevated.

There is some psychology involved in these early morning blood glucose rises, like most other things.  A doesn’t want to manage highs first thing in the morning (or at any other time of the day I guess).  I can’t blame her.  Who wants to start their day like that? The other part of the psychology here, she’s got other things that she would like to keep their attention on as she starts the day like her upcoming birthday,  having lunch with a friend or what to look forward to in school that day.    We’ve started to consider her routine that may impact these early morning spikes.  Here are some things we’ve found that sometimes work to counter the early morning high:

  • Exercising before breakfast — This is not one we typically turn to.  Given that A is still fairly new in her diagnosis we don’t want her to feel like to eat she needs to do 20 jump and jacks.
  • Bolus 15-20 minutes before eating (this is called pre-bolus)- Normally when we give her a bolus before a meal it is as she is sitting down at the table.  For breakfast we start a little bit earlier.
  • Bring on the dairy — I’ve heard that adding dairy in the morning can counter the effects by increasing absorption.
  • Lower carbs in the a.m.- I don’t like the idea of limiting what my daughter can eat.  When she wants pancakes she should have them.  We are fortunate, however, that she loves hard-boiled eggs and other lower carb options to eat for breakfast.  We go for that win!

The blog ‘A Sweet Life’ does a nice job of breaking down some of the other reasons for highs BGs in their post ‘High Blood Sugars After Meals and What To Do About Them’ https://asweetlife.org/high-blood-sugar-after-meals-and-what-to-do-about-them/.