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Tips and tricks to challenge adversity January 22, 2010

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The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus said, “You don’t develop courage by being happy … every day. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”

Issue: We use tegaderm (a clear plastic sticky piece to secure Ayden’s inserts), but he finds them quite painful to take off. We have tried using a wipe called ‘remove’ to take them off, but it just melts the plastic. In the end you have a real mess.
Tip: Use a blow dryer to heat the tegaderm until some of the glue loosens up off the skin. Only remove it up to the beginning of the insert and then use the remove wipe to take off the rest of the insert.
Tip 2: When using the remove wipe on the other parts of the insert, let it soak in for 15 minutes before taking the insert off.

Issue: Over the last few weeks we have seen fluctuations in Ayden’s levels.
Tip: Track everything in your daily schedule from how your child was acting (normal, sick, hyper) to anything special you did that night (ate out or went shopping).
Tip 2: Let your health care team in. Use them as the resource they are to analyse patterns you may not have seen. Remember the absence of a pattern is a pattern in itself.

Issue: Ayden is an incredibly active three-year-old. I have struggled from day one to figure out what extra activity means. A diabetic that participates in extra activity needs to be treated with extra carbs. This has caused us to start relying on activity snacks to manage lows instead of extra activity.
Tip: If your child is on the pump, and you are using activity snacks on a daily basis, you may be over using them. Try limiting activity snacks for a few days to get unbiased readings. These numbers can then be used to adjust basal levels so you won’t be feeding his insulin instead of activity.

If you have any tips or tricks, please share. I’m always looking for new things to try to make the process easier for Ayden.

I also recommend reading this blog post, it’s a nice summary of the courage of moms. I can’t help but compare it to the courage of all parents of a diabetic and how their efforts are helping to better the world one child at a time.  The Secret of a Mother’s Courage

A1Cs and what do they mean??? January 14, 2010

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disillusioned: to cause to lose naïve faith and trust.
disappointed: defeated in expectation or hope
dissatisfied: expressing or showing lack of satisfaction / not pleased or satisfied
A1C: A test used primarily to show the average plasma glucose concentration (blood sugar level) over prolonged periods of time.

The three top words that sum up our last appointment at the diabetes clinic and Ayden’s progress on the insulin pump. Although it has had some benefits, such as enabling us to feed our growing three-year old what he wants when he wants it. Ayden’s A1C has shot up to 9.3 from 8.7 in the last three months.

An A1C test is a measurement of blood sugar control over a two to three month period. An ideal number for Ayden at his age would be 8.5, and while he was on needles we managed to consistently reach this target, but now that he is on the pump we have shot up.

We were hoping the pump would give us better control of his levels and continue to keep his A1C at an ideal level. When we were taking our pump training we learned that lowering the A1c from 9% to 7% reduced complications by 34-76%! Studies have also shown that lower A1c values also reduced the risk for heart disease by whopping 50%! I’m hoping that at Ayden’s age this isn’t as much of a concern, but I’m always worried about the long-term effects his fluctuating numbers are having on his developing body.

I know there are many benefits to pump therapy including eliminating multiple daily injections and the ability to flex carbohydrates in order for Ayden to eat more or less depending on how he feels. I’m disappointed that this one long-term benefit has escaped us so far.

We are going to work closely with our clinic over the next few weeks to try to narrow the problem down, but it is going to take some time as Ayden has a lot of unexplainable fluctuations at the moment.

Overall, it comes down to what is best for Ayden, so I will do a little extra work tracking numbers, and we will go back to the basics of pump therapy to try to figure out where we went wrong in the last few months. In the midst of all this, I have to try to resolve some of my feelings about being the mom of a diabetic.

I recently read a diabetes mom describe her experience as a lonely and sometimes depressing one. It made me think about how I feel sometimes. I can get so caught up in how Ayden feels, what his numbers are and what his challenges are that I don’t think or talk about how it all affects me.

The word lonely really affected me. I am lucky to have a very strong support system, my husband, my parents and our daycare are so in tune to Ayden that they can spot a low from a mile away. They are also fantastic resources when we are having a problem. But can anyone other than another mom of a diabetic really understand the constant worry and underlying sense of panic that something awful is going to occur at any moment.

I guess if I had to really focus on how I feel; I wouldn’t describe it as lonely, but it can certainly be isolating. I started this blog to link other parents and tell Ayden’s story, but it has also been a vehicle through the isolating journey of raising a toddler with diabetes.

A time for new successes and challenges January 5, 2010

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Happy new year everyone!

Our new year started yesterday with Ayden going into “the big boy room” at daycare otherwise known as the preschool room. What this means is he will be in a room that is not protected from the outside world with anything other than one small door. His other room had a separate door to keep the munchkins restrained.

But more importantly, this also means a new team of people taking care of Ayden – monitoring him, calculating his food, and caring for him. While we have only had one change like this since Ayden was diagnosed, my thoughts have always been – the more people who know and understand Ayden’s diabetes the better. So each time a change like this is made Phil and I will meet the new team to go over things like small signs to watch for to head off a sever low or high and what needs to happen when Ayden’s numbers are not on target.

Because of the time of year, setting up a meeting was not possible until today, so I had to cross my fingers and trust everything to go smoothly yesterday. It was a bit stressful, but I know there are several people in the daycare that care for Ayden and kept half an eye on him to ensure a smooth transition.

In the mean time I put my lesson plan together, and so far have included topics on:

I know many parents deal with this on a yearly basis when their child moves classrooms in the fall, so my lesson plan and my approach aren’t nearly as refined as a veteran parent. So if you have any advice or insights for additions or revisions, please let me know.

In addition, I came across a new resource today that is helping to link and highlight all the moms that have diabetic children – D-Mom Blog.

Christmas time… December 23, 2009

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Ayden has fully embraced everything Christmas this year – including Santa Clause. He had a chance to meet him in person last week and thankfully Santa was very patient when Ayden decided to sing him an impromptu version of Jingle Bells. 

This will be our second year dealing with his diabetes at Christmas, but our first year on the pump and so far it has been good. We’ve had two Christmas parties, and Ayden was allowed to eat a variety of cookies, cakes and tarts at each one. Overall, his levels have been a little high on those days, but back in check by the next morning. So I call it a success. 

Ayden singing Jingle Bells with his daycare friends at his Christmas Party. The image is a bit blurry because the only camera we had was the cell phone.

 

Merry Christmas everyone and Happy New Year! 

I found this little adapted story of the Grinch that stole Christmas and it gave me a bit of a giggle. Have fun!

I had a good time December 17, 2009

Posted by aydensmom in Uncategorized, Vacation.
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As promised here is the proof that I had a good time despite missing Ayden. Jamaican really is a wonderful place to go. The food was fantastic and the atmosphere is very welcoming and relaxed.
trying to capture the Jamaican sunset – we weren’t successful unfortunately

Going out for supper

Taking a crocodile tour on Black River

The only crocodile we saw

YS Falls - the best part of our tour

YS falls

Can't do this at home

The water was so refreshing!

The Appleton Rum Factory - last stop on our tour

I’m glad to be back December 15, 2009

Posted by aydensmom in Illness and diabetes, Uncategorized, Vacation.
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Yes, going from +35 to -40 degrees in 12 hours was a bit of a shock to the system, but I’m so glad to be home with Ayden. The Negril Sandal’s resort is beautiful and we had a  great time. But I missed Ayden terribly and near the end of our trip he got sick and had to go to the hospital. So the last day I was a bit tortured – one, because I wasn’t there for him; and two, because I know how hard and scary it would have been on his grandparents to see him go through that.  

In the end, we all walked away with some lessons learned; which is always the positive outcome to any negative situation.

What happened? As always with a diabetic two-year-0ld the day started out normal. But at lunch time, his daycare sent him home cause he wasn’t looking well. By 3 p.m. he was throwing up, just a minor stomach bug and his levels were stable around 7, but his ketones were on the rise from dehydration.

Early the next morning his ketones had spiked to dangerous levels, so his grandparents made the decision to take him to the hospital. Like any two-year-old, Ayden doesn’t respond well to nurses and doctors holding him down and swaddling him to put an IV in. After five attempts, the nurses gave up. Currently, I’m a bit disturbed that he went through that without me.

The only other time he had an IV inserted (other than the Stollery when he was diagnosed) was when I was by myself with him in July. I never mentioned to anyone that the best way to get an IV in him is to lie down with him face down on your chest so you can be the one holding him down and calming him with your voice as the nurses work. I never thought I wouldn’t be there if he was in the hospital.

In the end, all the nurses were able to do was take some blood and give him some anti-vomiting medication.

Lessons learned? Both times Ayden was in the hospital for dehydration ketones he turned a corner after receiving anti-vomiting medication. When the next stomach bug occurs we might be able to avoid dehydration by giving him the anti-vomiting medication as soon as he throws up to enable him to drink and keep his fluids down.

Fortunately, this all happened on Friday, and we were leaving on Saturday. So needless to say, I was more than ready to get on the plane and come home to the -40 degree weather. In addition, I don’t think I’ll be leaving Ayden for a trip like that anytime in the near future. Maybe when he’s 20 or so.

Overall, when I wasn’t thinking or worrying about Ayden I had a good time and I’ll post some pictures to prove it soon.

One week without worry…yeah right! December 2, 2009

Posted by aydensmom in Uncategorized, Vacation.
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In four days I will be leaving the country for a seven-day vacation/babymoon, since I’m expecting – but, Ayden won’t be coming.

I’m hoping I can take some time to relax and sleep, but at this point I’m so worried about something going wrong while I’m gone that it’s getting harder and harder to be excited. I’m very aware of how lucky I am to be able to leave Ayden and know beyond a doubt he will be as well attended to as he would be at home – if not better, since he’s staying with his Grandparents. It’s the unknowns that come with diabetes that scare me the most, the small fluctuations that can cause turmoil and big problems. For instance, I’m think he’s going through a growth spurt right now, which means he is eating more, and it will inevitably cause his numbers to plummet. So far his numbers have been stable, but at any moment that could change.

It comes down to my biggest fear – losing control. Since I won’t be here to control anything that is the reality I must face. Ever since Ayden was diagnosed this has been a big issue with me, I have managed it by learning and continuing to learn absolutely everything I can about diabetes. But this coping mechanism is not going to help me next week.

In the end, this will be a  great excercise for me. And I’m sure Ayden will be so spoiled and loved that he won’t want to come home when we get back. However, I don’t think the sleep and relaxation I’m hoping to get will come as easily as I want. Thank goodness for modern technology which gives me the opportunity to check in on him whenever I like and see what kind of antics he’s been up to.

How do you know when your toddler starts to understand their Type 1 Diabetes makes them different? November 25, 2009

Posted by aydensmom in Uncategorized.
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Thanks everyone for your comments and helpful suggestions to make inserts easier on Ayden.

Every week there are tons of things that happen that make me want to cry, but I try to focus on the more frequent occurences of laughing. Here are some thoughtful insights from my almost three-year-old I hope you might get a giggle out of too.

  • When my husband had a booster juice after swimming the other day, he told Ayden it was his activity snack. Ayden’s response was do you have diabetes?
  • Mommy: “Ayden do you want to have these crackers for snack”
    Ayden: “Let me see, how many carbs to they have?”
    Side note: Ayden can’t read yet – never mind calculate carbs.
  • Currently, Ayden thinks he has a sister in his tummy, and he has named her Diabetes.
  • Ayden: “Mommy I’m high. I need apple juice or chocolate.”
    Mommy: “No, you get that when your low hunny.”
    Ayden: “Mommy I’m low. I need apple juice or chocolate.”
  • Mommy: “Ayden what does having your pump mean?”
    Ayden: “No more needles, and big ice creams.”

But at the heart of him, he is just a normal boy. So my favorite Aydenism is:
Mommy: “Ayden your sniffling quite a bit do you need a kleenex?”
Ayden: “No mommy, I can’t reach it with my finger.”

Gotta love having a boy🙂

Isn’t this supposed to get easier? November 17, 2009

Posted by aydensmom in Uncategorized.
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I have to say I was overwhelmed with emotion for one of the first times since Ayden was diagnosed. And I’m still pretty upset with myself. Since Ayden was diagnosed my daily goal is not to feel sorry for myself or him and to never show him my fear or guilt.

In August 2009 Ayden went on an insulin pump. In some ways it has really been a blessing, as he can eat more like a normal kid – he really likes ice cream and donuts – and we have better control over his levels. Being on a pump also has the advantage of only needing to get a needle once every three days when we change the infusion set. This process is proving to be more difficult than anything else I’ve ever had to do. When we first started pump therapy site changes took about 10 minutes, as seen in these videos

However, this has been getting longer each time and on Saturday we reached an all time high of 35 minutes. The process included holding Ayden down, trying to bribe him and trying to reason with him. The end result was both him and I in tears, but the insert was completed.

How do you convince a two-and-a-half-year-old to submit his body for torture. Multiple daily injections were easier as he couldn’t eat until he had a needle so he at least conceded with little to no fight 90 per cent of the time.

I’m hoping that this is just a phase, but each time we have to go through this it gets harder.

If anyone has any ideas, please send them along. I’ll try anything at this point!

World Diabetes Day November 10, 2009

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Did you know, November 14th marks World Diabetes Day. Please celebrate by learning something new about diabetes or what it means to be diabetic. Some resources you can check out:

Making sence of diabetes video
Children with diabetes

2009 was the first year the Ayden got to truly celebrate Halloween. Here are some pictures of his costume and first experiences picking chocolate he got to eat.

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