Monday, January 31, 2011

Pullin' up the big girl pants...

Diabetes sucks. There I said it and it about summarizes all emotions that have occurred in the last four days.

Friday I heard about the five, count them that is F-I-V-E young ones who died because of Type 1 Diabetes.  There was a young woman who went into DKA while her parents were on vacation.  The callous reaction was to say, well she should have caught that she was high and treated. What was wrong with her? Reality--some people go into DKA very easily and the situation can quickly escalate out of control especially with no one to help you.

There was the nine year old little one who became so depressed that she took her own life.  She was nine! She was so devastated by this disease that she ended her life? Heartbreaking for those of us reading about it but the pain for the parents must be unimaginable.

As well, there was an eighteen month old baby whose diabetes was not diagnosed until it was too late. This child's life was cut down before it started.  This story hit very close to home as my own son was only one year older than this child and was within twelve hours of death himself when diagnosed.

There were two other families who lost their loved ones in the past week to this evil disease. I didn't know what to do with all of the information. I didn't cry.  I got a little angry at those people who think that I am too obsessed with diabetes and those who think that I worry over nothing when this could have been my child.  Highs and lows happen but few people really get how serious they both are.

The anger eventually faded because our own reality came pouring in.  My son was high...I mean HI and he was quietly dealing with it himself. I asked why he was drinking so much and he said it was because he was in the 30s (over 540mgdl).  I was ready to have a heart attack. All afternoon? I grabbed the meter and couldn't see past the latest reading "HI".  HOLY CRAP! Can't register????? What the......?? I quickly told him to drink water, change his site and his cartridge.  We checked for ketones. Yep, they were there.  I hate highs.  Six hours later and he was finally down to 8 (145) and I could breathe again.

Yesterday my son happened to be looking over my shoulder as I checked out my Facebook page.  "Mom why are there all of those blue candles?  You have one, Jen has one.  What's with all of the candles?"

I paused, I thought, what do I say? I have been blunt with him over the years about the seriousness of diabetes but did he need to know this? He is coming out of himself, enjoying life and taking care of himself.  I had been reminded of all of the amazing people that I knew who lived with diabetes for 20, 30, 40 and FIFTY years.  I didn't want to bring him down but I couldn't lie to him....
"They are memorial candles."
"Memorial candles?"
"What do you mean?"
"They are to remember people that have lost their lives to diabetes."

That was enough for him.  He didn't know if they had died last week or six years ago.  He was okay with things left there. I breathed a sigh of relief. I hadn't cried. I had pulled up my big girl pants and focused on the living and the wonderful possibilities.  I was okay. My son was okay.

Then I read, "He Held Me".  Tears were very close. The author explained her feelings as she went low last night and had to rely on her spouse to bring her around.  My heart broke.  I hated diabetes even more.  Why did she have to go through this? Why do we have to deal with such a gamut of emotions. Can things just stop for a few minutes please? Can we experience some "normal" for even a day?  But then I remembered..."normal" is only a setting on the dryer so I guess its time once again to pull up the big girl pants and count the incredible blessings in my life rather the dwell on the sadness that can consume you. 

My son is alive. He has many wonderful role models in the diabetes community.  I have amazing friends and family who do get "it".  Accidents happen.  We are saddened but we must move on... Time to give them an extra haul.  


  1. I appreciate this post, Barb. Straight from the hear.

  2. Thank you Barb. I have been somewhat quiet on these deaths...sometimes I have no words when I am a bit "stunned". I do know that we have to keep on with living our lives and showing our children how to live their lives to the fullest. That is what life is all about. Right?


  3. I had a coma last September. If my friends hadn't come looking for me when I didn't show up for a picnic, and immediately gotten me to the Emergency Room, I would have died by the next morning.
    The lesson for me, and I think a lot of diabetics, is how to recognize when you're in more trouble than you can handle by yourself. No one ever told me that when my BGs were in the 400 - 600 range and I COULDN'T get them down, no matter how much insulin I took, I was in danger. The girl who died in DKA may have tried to self-treat, and didn't know to call 911. I certainly didn't. The best I could say is that I knew I was in trouble, but I didn't know how much.
    I'd love to see a column, and more advocacy about how to know when you need help.

  4. evil chuckle An insulin reaction is kind of like the '60s. "If you can remember them, you weren't there." No kidding. I have had people tell me that 2.4 is a bad low. . . Like expletive deleted it is. 2.4 and my husband can still chomp glucose tablets. I gave him a tube of insta-glucose --yup, it's back on the Canadian market--a couple of nights ago and, then, tested: 1.8. I'd slept through the time to give my husband his cortisone so he had low cortisone and low bg because his basal was 2.5. We were hours getting the bg up and then, hours getting the reactive high down even with two super boluses of 10 units 1 h. apart. Cheers! I was in a cabin miles from civilisation a few years ago and my husband was running at 20 all night. I just kept bolussing after changing a set and when his abscess on his head broke, the bg came down with a bang. I even gave him a shot and changed to a new vial of insulin. Nothing worked until that abscess broke. You're supposed to dial 911?