Sunday, August 31, 2008

Wee hour worries

If the number had been 11 or higher I would probably be sleeping peacefully right now. But the number was 9.2.

Jenna's 2:00 am blood sugar reading this morning is well within the "good" range, but due to several factors, I am left to toss and turn in bed, unable to return to dream land, wondering if she will dip too low before dawn.

I had awakened 20 minutes early for some unknown reason and decided to take a reading anyway and avoid the unpleasant sound of my alarm cutting into the lovely quiet. I had given Jenna her bedtime dose of intermediate acting insulin a good hour later than usual. As well, Jenna didn't eat quite as much as usual last evening. For these reasons, and admittedly probably because I am still a rookie at managing my daughter's diabetes, I am forced to wrestle with my worrying mommy mind and try to anticipate what her little body will do in the hours to come. I decided that a 4:00am recheck might be in order and this is where I believe I sealed my sleepless fate.

So instead of remaining in bed while I endure this torture I opted instead to tip-toe into the kitchen, grab a little wee hour snack- a single portion pack of Funbites Fruit Snacks I had purchased in a Costco sized box to treat Jenna's occasional lows (one would think I'm treating a hypoglycemic elephant considering the quantity I purchased)- and retreat to the office to munch and ramble.

So many thoughts flood my now completely conscious brain; menu planning for my oldest daughter Jazmine's fifth birthday party, the all too busy week ahead full of appointments, a pediatrician appointment for Jenna, dental appointments, an appointment with an accountant to discuss our new business, the start of the school year for Jazmine and the most daunting item on our schedule this week, starting Jenna on an insulin pump.

Jenna hasn't even had diabetes for three months and yet we have been able to set in motion the long series of events that will, in three days help us realize our long awaited and highly anticipated goal of Jenna's pump start-up. This is due largely to the fact that I feel incredibly strongly about Jenna getting tighter control over her blood sugars and have hastened the process along.

And yet now I am filled with apprehension and doubt about our ability to master use of the pump and of how my two year old will cope with being constantly connected to a little appliance.

Now, in the eleventh hour I am riddled with doubts and fears!

Could it be just my strange state of mind at this ungodly hour? Perhaps I'm just feeling overwhelmed on account of my far too full schedule of the week ahead. Or perhaps I know my daughter only too well and my fears will be confirmed when she won't leave the thing alone, wants to play with the buttons (thank goodness it has a lock-out feature), or just rips the infusion set right out... OUCH! This last senario would be just enough to sour her on the whole pump idea- not a good thing!

But hopefully this is just one of those things in life that is so intimidating because it is so worth doing. It's a huge step in the life of a person with diabetes to switch from MDI's (multiple daily injections) to pumping insulin! There is a pretty steep learning curve, and when you have spent everyday of your (or your child's) diabetic life trying to master MDI's and it's many peccadillo's, having to relearn another way of managing this cursed disorder, no matter how much better the outcome, is like looking up at Mt. Everest from the very bottom trying to muster the energy to climb it... YET AGAIN!

Well, worry and doubt aside, 4:00am is minutes away and I have a blood sugar check to do after which I will try to salvage a couple more hours sleep, provided Jenna's blood sugar is still in the normal range. Otherwise, I'll be trying to feed juice to a sleepy toddler and waiting 15 more minutes to do another check.

Such is the life of a parent of a child with diabetes.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Deep breath and... begin.

I'm not at all the type to compromise my anonymity by starting a blog. Or perhaps that should be past tense; I wasn't the type.

I suppose I can blame/ thank diabetes for this sudden change in character. Although, with the amount of anxiety I am feeling as I type this and prepare to post my first ever blog entry, I'm not so sure I've undergone a character change, but more experienced something so life changing and so fraught with uncertainty that I feel an overwhelming need to reach out and find others who understand what it means to be the parent of a child with type 1 diabetes. I also long to experience the catharsis that comes with writing one's emotions down.

So here I am... sharing... purging... worrying... losing sleep...

I am the proud mother of two beautiful girls, Jaz and Jenna. The youngest, Jenna, aged 2, was diagnosed with type1 diabetes just two months ago. Any parent who has gone through what we have gone through these past two months has my complete respect.

I should also explain my blog name. I'm sure it seems a bit odd and perhaps even humorous to some...

While my husband and I were in hospital with Jenna after her initial diagnosis, learning about how to manage her care at home, I was attempting to wrap my head around it all and put everything into some sort of perspective. One day while waiting for the elevator to go to the Diabetic teaching room I stated to my husband and our Diabetic Nurse Educator that it was like we still had our same precious little Jenna but that she now comes with a pet monkey, metaphorically speaking.

Like it or not, our little girl now comes complete with a pain-in-the-ass pet monkey that we have to feed, care for and supervise constantly. That's the deal. No debate, no discussion.

I am still attempting to cope with this new "family pet" and trying to take things one day at a time. Because when I look too far ahead there are just too many worries and what-ifs. Like when she's old enough to take over her own care will she be responsible and diligent? Or will she rebel and enter into a dangerous phase of denial?

But I will stop there as it is counter productive and each day brings plenty of things to worry about as it is, like will she have a low in the night tonight? Is she ever going to get over that cold she's had for, what seems like, a month now? Did I give her enough protein and carbs to see her through the night? Did she get more exercise today than I accounted for when I decided on her bed time insulin dose? Does my pediatrician really know what she is talking about when she assures me that Jenna will awaken with a nightmare if her blood sugar drops too low or will she , perish the thought, sleep right through it?

To conclude this pilot entry I wish to concentrate on the positive side of Jenna's diagnosis. For as devastating as it has been, it has also been rewarding. I have seen a side of my baby girl that I had yet to see prior to her diagnosis. She is incredibly brave and unbelievably tough. She truly is my little hero. In fact, both my beautiful, dear girls are inspirations to me to face life's challenges head-on and not let obstacles stop me from realizing my dreams and ambitions. I have witnessed positive change in every member of our family as a result of diabetes. Personal growth does indeed arise from life's trials and challenges.

So perhaps this "monkey" isn't such a curse after all. Could a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes be a blessing in a very good disguise?? I'd give anything for a cure right now so that my Jenna could go through life unconcerned with occasionally over indulging in sweets or balancing activity, exercise and stress with carb intake and insulin doses or possibly facing the devastating long term repercussions of poor blood sugar control.

But maybe type 1 Diabetes offers people an opportunity to gain wisdom beyond their years and learn a few valuable life lessons that most of us may only learn after a lifetime, if ever. And that just might almost make it worth the ride... almost. But I'd take a cure over extra wisdom any day.