It wouldn’t be the end of the year without a “top” list post, would it?
Some of these are firsts for us, some are exciting, some are unwanted. But here are twelve diabetes-related things that have impacted our family.
Top 12 of 2012
1. It took tremendous effort as a family for me to write Kids First, Diabetes Second. I wrote each Sunday either at the library, locked into my home office, or with the laptop perched on my knees in bed. My husband and kids were very understanding. Q is so proud of me which means the world because she was obviously the inspiration. I have had wonderful feedback from families who have read the book and commented that it fills a necessary gap of information and support that the medical team doesn’t provide at diagnosis.
2. Partially in support of the book (we did a book signing in the OmniPod booth*), Q and I were able to head to Orlando for the Children With Diabetes annual Friends For Life conference. It was great to meet so many families in person.
3. Q not only flew for the first time (four times if you count each leg of our travel), but she also went to Disney World. Since we were already in Orlando, I couldn’t resist finding the time to get her to Disney, even if it was only for one day. Disney with Diabetes is totally doable. We tested often, had plenty of supplies and low blood sugar treatments on hand, and used a Guest Assistance Card to help keep us out of the July heat and reduce wait times.
4. Q was finally old enough to go to diabetes camp. It was horrifying and embarrassing to me that her blood sugar was 300+ when I checked her in. Horrifying to her was that they made her pee in a cup to check for ketones! But after that she had a great week and is looking forward to returning again each year. She even had a top bunk, which I think made me more nervous than handing over her diabetes care to someone else.
5. I was able to travel* to a few diabetes-related events this year. In addition to CWD FFL, I went to California for the Medtronic Diabetes Advocates Forum, New Jersey for the launch of Sanofi’s iBGStar blood glucose meter, Indianapolis for Lilly Diabetes Blogger Summit, and back to Indy for Roche’s Social Media Summit. Even though the travel is sometimes grueling (a lot of travel sometimes for a short event) and it’s time away from my family, I enjoy seeing other PWD’s and caregivers, many of whom I have developed relati
onships with over the past few years.
6. We added a new piece of diabetes management equipment to our arsenal. We hadn’t given much thought to having a continuous glucose monitor and always thought we would wait until it was integrated into our insulin pump. We were given the chance to try the Medtronic mySentry* and associated CGM in the spring. (The mySentry works with their integrated pump/CGM, but we only used the CGM function). The Medtronic CGM wasn’t quite right for us, mainly because we didn’t want to utilize the insulin pump function and that was the only way our insurance would cover it. But using a CGM made us realize how much we valued the contextual information it could provide. We got approved for the DexCom and have been using it almost every single day ever since.
7. My social media and writing has gone beyond D-Mom Blog and Kids First, Diabetes Second this year as I contributed to other websites such as OmniPod’s Suite D, Sanofi’s The DX, and Disney Family.com.
8. Q has always done a lot of sports and activities, but this year she did her first play. For six weeks there were two or three week night practices from 6-8:00 pm, which completely threw our schedule off. Performance week was six nights of two to three hour practices and performances with two shows on the last day. Either my husband or I stayed for each of the practices. But after the second performance we decided that she would be okay backstage without us and we could sit in the audience.
9. The D-Mom Blog Facebook page eclipsed 2,000 likes. It is definitely bittersweet: I’m glad that families are looking for support online, but at the same time I’m sad that so many people need it.
10. For Diabetes Awareness Month I posted a daily fact, tip, or thought across social media channels including Facebook and Twitter. It was incredibly well-received and I hope that as people shared these thoughts on their own timeline that the information was disseminated beyond the diabetes community.
You can view and download all 30 Diabetes Awareness Month facts, tips, and thoughts as a PDF.
11. I had some allergy testing done on Q and was quite surprised to discover that she’s allergic to tree nuts and milk. As if we don’t already have enough to schlep around, now we are carrying an epipen in her supply bag. It seems like every single product out there was produced in a facility with tree nuts! Because she had a minor anaphylactic reaction to walnuts (throat and hives) and tested positive for all the tree nuts, we have to be cautious. The milk allergy deserves a paragraph all its own…
12. I was a little reluctant to try a total milk elimination for Q, mainly because it’s a pain in the arse. But we decided to take her off of milk entirely for 2-3 weeks Thanksgiving weekend. (After having pumpkin pie with whipped cream!) I was thinking that it would clear up the eczema on her hands and maybe some of her stuffiness, but I was completely astounded by the real effect that was noticeable from day one: low blood sugars. (And of course none of this is medical advice. Ever.**) After a week of low blood sugars, multiple low blood sugars each day which each required multiple treatments, I asked the CDE if it was coincidence. She said that during an allergic reaction the body produces histamine and that histamine raises blood sugars. So that’s where we are now: figuring out how to deal with all these lows and adjust her basal rates and insulin:carb ratios to even her out. And she wants cheese so bad…who wouldn’t?!
Looking Forward in 2013
In 2013 you can look forward to more D-Mom Blog as you know it, but I am always open to ideas for content or direction. And of course I love guest posts if there is a story you would like to share!
I’m so pleased to announce that I will be devoting most of my time in 2013 to writing, advocacy, and volunteering. I hope to take on more freelance writing (websites or print), social media consulting jobs, and editing work. For more information on my professional work, please visit LeighannCalentine.com.
*Disclosure: Insulet paid for some of our travel and conference expenses for our appearance in their booth. Companies paid for my travel to their corporate events. Medtronic loaned us a mySentry and CGM and gave us associated supplies. No compensation was received for social media events or product trials and opinions are always my own.
**Disclaimer: The information provided on D-Mom Blog is for entertainment only and should never be considered medical advice. Please consult a physician with any medical questions you might have. Please read the disclaimer.