I’ve been trying to get today’s blogger to let me “interview” her forever. I appreciate her use of expletives (I often think them even if I don’t say them) and she’s from one of my favorite states (to visit in nice weather). I invite you to read about Reyna, and then visit her blog Beta Buddies. You can also follow her on Twitter; she’s @betabuddymom.
I’d like to introduce you to Reyna of Beta Buddies.
Tell me something about your child.
Joe is a blade-cruising, puck-slapping machine. He loves hockey. He has been known to surf down Slip-N-Slides on Boogie Boards. He has been seen skate boarding in the ‘hood with flourescent orange traffic cones dangling from all four of his appendages. Joe is active. Joe is creative with his activity. Joe is fun!
What is your child’s favorite 15 gram carb (or less) snack
How do you manage diabetes?
Joe sports the Animas Ping Insulin Pump 24/7/365. We count all of the carbs that Joe consumes by measuring and/or weighing his food. Joe checks his blood sugar 10-15 times a day. We use a Dexcom 7+ CGM to help avoid lows with all of Joe’s crazy shenanigans.
What do you know now that you wish you had known at diagnosis
When Joe was diagnosed I had been practicing as a Surgical and Pediatric Intensive Care Nurse for over a decade. My job was to “maintain” parameters, whether it be heart rates, blood pressures, or blood sugars. I felt an intense pressure to keep Joe’s blood sugars in range. I quickly realized that this was unrealistic. I quickly realized that diabetes was not gonna play “nice”. I quickly realized to loosen parameters, to loosen this rigid and unachievable expectation I had placed on myself.
What has been the biggest challenge?
For us the biggest challenge is preventing low blood sugars with Joe’s activity level. The Dexcom 7+ CGM has helped immensely with this difficulty. I use the CGM primarily for “trending”. If Joe is in the 100s with a “double down” before hockey practice, before scootering, before swimming, etc. I pelt a couple of truffles at him and send him on his way.
How do you and your husband maintain your relationship?
Good question. Dave and I have been out, as a couple, only a handful of times in the four years since Joe’s diagnosis. We spend a lot of time together as a family. We go to many of our children’s extracurricular events as a family unit. We spend hours together on our backyard ice rink during the winter months.
What have been your challenges sending your child to school? Triumphs?
I think overall, Joe’s school experience can be viewed as a triumph. When he first stared elementary school there was a weak substitute nurse system in place. The district refused “delegation”. So, when the nurse was out the parent was expected to come into school and sit, as they would not even delegate BG checks and low treatments.
Within a couple of months, the district strengthened it’s substitute nurse program. The district also agreed to let non-medical personnel check BGs and treat lows after they received training from the parent and/or professional.
Lockdowns were also addressed within Joe’s first year of school. His diabetes bag and sugar was being locked in a cabinet in the Health Office initially. We identified this as an unsafe practice. Joe now has a bag with an extra glucometer, sugar sources, and cheat sheets (for non-medical personnel) that travels with him from class to class in case of emergency or lockdown situations.
What sports/activities does your child do and how does it work with diabetes?
OH.DEAR.LORD. Well, as you know from the above comments, Joe is fairly active.
I have always held the belief that we will support Joe in all that he does, diabetes be damned. With that being said we make it work. We make diabetes work with hockey, with soccer, with t-ball, with careening down sled hills, and with scootering with chicken masks pulled over his face (don’t ask).
I have used decreased temp basals at times and I have also given free snacks prior to activity levels. Recently, Joe was in a hockey tournament where he played 4 games and had a skills session in one day. I got way behind the 8-ball on keeping sugar in him…to the point where I could not catch-up and Joe was pulled from the last 6 minutes of game #4 of the tournament. I learned a lot from the experience and I plan on trying some new tactics out at an upcoming tournament in a couple of weeks.
What vacations have you taken and how did you deal with diabetes?
Well, I have a great story of “joining the mile high club“.
I changed a failed site while at cruising altitude. Joe wasn’t too thrilled with me, but sometimes you just gotta be a “Cow Girl”.
Have you found a babysitter, and if so, how?
No, not really. We did use “Safe Sitters” once and had Abby (aka SUM’s “Abby The Person”) baby sit Joe a few years ago. That was a very positive experience. She was the only type 1 babysitter registered in our area at the time. We are ready to give a non-“D” babysitter a chance. I think with some training and with Joe’s knowledge base it should work out.
How has diabetes affected your other children?
I am not sure if there is a “character limit”, but here goes. Diabetes affects everything, everyone, all the time. There is never a break. It is with us every day. It is with us every night. It is with us for every snack and meal. It is with us for every activity. It is with us for every illness. It is with us for every holiday. It is with us for every car ride, every walk, every trip to the park, every errand to the grocery store, everywhere…all the time….always. So yes, this has affected my dear, sweet, dramatic, gorgeous, emotional, big dreamer of a daughter Bridget. She has scootered around the neighborhood with a pickle jar taped to her handle collecting funds for a CURE. She has ideas and hypotheses on a CURE. She loves deeply; she feels deeply. I worry about her more than I do about Joe, perhaps.
How do you find time for yourself?
I exercise daily. I am a P90X fanatic and I run. This is my “alone time” where I am able to clear my mind and sort through the craziness of our days.
What have you done to help your child become independent in their own care?
Since starting kindergarten, Joe has been determined to do all of his care while at school. He does his blood sugar checks, boluses, combo boluses, temp basals, and some of the carb counting…with the School Nurse supervising him. I think he realized early on that he would be “held up” from life if he didn’t get on with his care independently.
I have worked with him on reading nutrition labels and on tapping into how his body feels prior to and during activity to determine how much “booster” (free carbs) he needs to avoid a low.
To date, Joe has not been interested in pump site changes. I haven’t pushed the issue.
How do you deal with tough diabetes-related questions from your child?
I answer him honestly, with love, care, and tact.
Since you are kind of, um, known for your great use of expletives, please tell me what your favorite phrase is. (I really admire Reyna for this, lol!)
First off, Leighann, I was trying to keep it “clean” for your respectable site!
Meet other D-Moms and D-Dads on Mondays.