Those of you who know me personally are aware that I am first, and foremost, a mother to a beautiful, strong, and intelligent two year old daughter named Coral. She is unique in the sense that she has a broken pancreas, or Type 1 diabetes. It's an autoimmune disease where the body attacks its pancreas destroying the insulin-producing beta cells. Eventually, a Type 1 diabetic (T1d) will cease to produce their own insulin completely and becomes dependent on it to live and fight another day. They have to take insulin either by injections or an insulin pump, which Coral now has as of March 2017. She was diagnosed at 16 months of age on March 11, 2016 at Kapiolani Medical Center. Three days prior to that, I noticed she was lethargic, peeing heavy diapers, and drinking an excessive amount of water. When I look back at photos of her in the weeks prior to her diagnosis, she had loss some weight. These are the typical signs every parent needs to be aware of with T1d. Other more severe signs include fruity breath odor, blurry vision, headache, stomach pain, heavy breathing, and vomiting.
Acting as her pancreas is far from easy and requires me to monitor her blood sugar 24/7/365. Before we got her the Dexcom G5 continuous glucose monitor (CGM), we were having to poke her tiny fingers to check her blood glucose (BG) or sugar level about six to 10 times a day (see figure below). A toddler her age who is diabetic should roughly be between 80-150mg/dl. She was nearly in the 500's at the time of diagnosis and in diabetes ketoacidosis (DKA) where your blood becomes dangerously acidic due to the lack of insulin in the body. It can lead to a diabetic coma and even death.
The figure above is a screenshot from my iPhone of the Dexcom app. This was a very good day of blood sugars, which allowed me to sew and catch up on some more work while she napped for almost three hours.
It's been almost 14 months since that dreaded weekend and I cannot say it's been easier since then trying to manage a small business while acting as her pancreas. I'm only able to catch up on work when her BG is stable and in range. I've found that a strict balanced diet of protein and fiber and precise timing of the accurate dose of insulin, am I able to keep her healthy. I'm typing this as she naps in the other bedroom and her BG is 154 and steady. She ate non-fat plain Greek yogurt with chia seeds, blueberries, and raspberries. Pre-meal BG = 187, 12g carbs = 0.80 units of insulin.
Timing her insulin and time-management are crucial in being and staying productive. She'll probably nap for about two hours each afternon and that gives me time to cut, sew, write this blog, etc. Coffee and coffee ice cream in the afternoons keeps me going. You know what else motivates me? Seeing all your adorable doggies in Island Doggie swag and using our Poopie Bags in public. Keep sharing and tagging @islanddoggie on your pics on Instagram. It reassures me that I have created something worth sharing with other people. So, thank you very much from the bottom of my heart.
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all the other moms out there who hustle and work hard to give their children and/or furkids a better life than perhaps the one they had before. Especially, those who are also fighting hidden autoimmune diseases, I see you, I empathize with you and I want you to know, you are NOT alone. Until there's a cure for Type 1 diabetes, I will never stop spreading awareness. For those who care to learn more about this disease, follow us on our personal journey on Instagram @seashell808_t1dmom.