Saturday, August 31, 2013

Type 1 Diabetes 101

Today at the zoo, making silly faces 

I made it to the zoo today with the boys- by myself! You're probably going- okay, so what? It's hard to understand, but the easiest way to explain how it feels taking Brad out is to compare it to taking a newborn home from the hospital for the first time or your first trip to the store with your week old baby.  It's a little scary. You worry about something happening to them. Do I have everything before I leave the house?  Do I have his meter, test strips, insulin, syringes, juices, glucagon, etc... That is how it feels to take him anywhere. Connor was so excited to go to the zoo. He thought we were treating him since he has been the great, big brother.  The trip to the zoo was a success and we even ate lunch at the pond together! It was Bradley's first meal outside the house since we have been home from the hospital except for eating at my mom's house once. We are doing great! A lot of adjustments and mixed emotions but we are also feeling very blessed that Bradley is doing very well.

One of the biggest things that I have become aware of since Brad's diagnosis is the misunderstanding about what he has and what has caused him to have diabetes. I saw this really simple chart on Pinterest that gave some great information about type 1 diabetes and not confusing it with type 2. Bradley has TYPE 1 diabetes. I know we will constantly be educating people about what he has and helping people understand the differences between the two. Don't feel bad if you are one of the friends or family members that confused the two.  I didn't have NO idea what either one of them were a few weeks ago. My only knowledge of diabetes came from Steel Magnolias and that was no help!  

But here is a little TYPE ONE 101 to help you understand what Bradley has.  Most of this is from a pin on Pinterest. I tried just inserting the actual pin but it wasn't working for you to read it well. If you want to see the real pin go to my Pinterest board :) 

This is what I hear almost every day "My grandma has diabetes too. She can't have any sugar, but can cure it with diet and exercise."

No, that is not what Bradley has. Brad has Type ONE diabetes. It sounds likes your grandma has type two. 

What is Type ONE diabetes??

Type 1 is an autoimmune disease in which a person's pancreas stops making insulin. You need insulin to get energy from food. 

How does this happen?
Bradley's body immune system attack and destroyed the cells that produce insulin in his pancreas. 

Is Bradley unhealthy?
No- it has nothing to do with his diet or lifestyle. There is nothing you can do to prevent Type 1 Diabetes and nothing you can do to get rid of it. 

scary faces

26 million Americans have diabetes
3 million have Type 1 Diabetes

Here are a lot of misunderstanding about diabetes

* Taking insulin is not a cure, but it keeps Brad alive
* There is no cure for Type 1 Diabetes
* Obesity has no relationship to the cause of Type 1 Diabetes. Eating too much sugar is not a factor either.
*People with T1D can eat anything, but need to eat a balanced healthy diet. ( how everyone is supposed to eat)

Bradley's hero

Saying 'hi' to strangers at the zoo

Sunday, August 18, 2013

New Beginnings

My little trooper playing at the park after being in the hospital for almost a week.

They say that your life can change in a split second. Late morning on Friday, August 9, 2013 has been the most tragic and shocking day in my entire life. That day we were told that Bradley has Type 1 Diabetes. Bradley was rushed in an ambulance to University of New Mexico Hospital, because his sugar levels were so high that he could have gone into a diabetic coma.

How did we find out he had diabetes??
I thought I was going to the doctors to get some diaper rash cream for a rash that would not go away and to discuss why my son have developed a habit for drinking too much water and minutes later I find out that my son has diabetes. For about a month, Bradley has been drinking non-stop. He could drink 2 sippy cups each hour all day long. He was also wetting his diapers insanely fast. He could pee out of his clothes in 45 minutes if I didn't change him quick enough. I thought that since he was drinking so much it was causing him to pee more. But it was much more than that. His blood was so full of sugars since it could not convert it into energy. His body was not producing insulin so his body was trying to flush out the sugars with water. When we arrived at UNMH, we also found out he had Ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis means your body starts to breakdown the fat and protein storage in your body since his body wasn't receiving enough fuel (sugars) which caused him to have a high level of acid in his body.  It can be very dangerous and has to be closely monitored in intensive care.
 Playing at Pete's Playground at UNMH
Playing at UNMH
How did he get diabetes?
Type I Diabetes is an auto-immune disease. Bradley was born with the gene and something triggered his body to attack his pancreas. It could have been a virus or environmental triggers OR this was just his time to get it. He did not get diabetes because he ate too many sugars. He did not get diabetes because he is unhealthy. No matter what my son eats or drinks he will still have diabetes.

What is Type I Diabetes?
Type I Diabetes is disease where your body does produce insulin. When you eat anything with carbohydrates your blood absorbs the carbs and then uses insulin to convert them into energy. Bradley's body stopped producing insulin so his blood was just full of sugars that wasn't converting into energy. When you have Type 1 diabetes you become insulin dependent. Which means we have to inject insulin to help his body convert his sugars to energy. With that, you have to worry about them getting to much or too little insulin (hypergylcemic and hypoglycemic). You determine how much insulin to give them based on their current sugar levels and how many total carbs they consume for each meal. So, Brad cannot eat something with carbs without insulin (unless it only has a few grams of carbs).  There is no cure for Type I Diabetes. Bradley will have to manage and be aware of his diabetes for the rest of his life or until science make a breakthrough.

 How do we manage his diabetes?
Since he is very young, managing his diabetes is very challenging. His body is so little that the amount of insulin that he receives is insanely small. His gets half a unit of insulin for each 20g carbs that he consumes. A half unit is about the size of the tip of a pencil. So it is very easy to give too much or too little.  You have to be extremely careful or he could die. His body is also sensitive to the insulin since his body also decides to occasionally make insulin of its own sometimes which throws his levels off too. This will eventually go away, it is not a cure. We are checking his blood sugar levels every 2 hours during the day and several times during the night time. Diet is extremely important. He has to make sure and eat very healthy all the time. It can cause many problems if his blood sugar spikes too high.  His goal is to eat 30 grams of carbs for each meal, and a no carb or light carb snack. He is not allowed to have any liquid sugars except if he has low blood sugar.
Having fun with daddy yesterday at the park

How is he doing?
Bradley is doing amazing with his insulin shots and blood sugar checks. He does not even cry anymore when we have to give them, except when he is sleeping. The hardest thing is that he is not allowed to graze on crackers or have a second helping of mashed potatoes but that will come with time. His levels are still up and down but that is very common in early stages of diabetes, especially for very young diabetics. We are very optimistic that since he got it at such a young age that this will be very normal to him and he won't feel any different than anyone else. This will just be something that is a small part of his life that he has to manage but that does not define who he is.

How are we doing?
Right now our #1 goal is to become educated all we can about diabetes. A week and half ago I didn't know ANYTHING about diabetes. UNMH did an amazing job educating us about diabetes. They did not let us go home until we were ready and comfortable. My emotions are all over the place. Sometimes I am fine and other times I am complete mess. I have no choice but try to hold it together since his life depends on our composure.

Brotherly fun at the park 
How is Connor?
Connor is also doing very well with it. He has had a couple of meltdowns but for the most part has done a great job being a strong, big brother. We've had many discussions about the changes and what is going on with Bradley. He seems to understand pretty well what is going on and why things are different. He is very excited to start school and soccer soon.  

If you are still reading, I want to thank all my wonderful family and friends for all the support, prayers, and offers to help. We appreciate it so very much. We are very lucky to have such amazing friends and family. Thank you for everything. It means a lot to me and my family.