Archive for September, 2007

The Verdict

Well, it’s not great news.

Lance is booked in for extensive oral surgery on October 26.

He has to have stainless steel crowns put on three of his baby teeth to prevent any cavities from occuring. He has to have a pulpotomy, which is like a root canal on a baby tooth, and restorative work done on his four back teeth.

I have Monday to look forward to, where I meet with the anaesthetist. We need to go to painstaking extremes to ensure that whilst he is “asleep” his blood sugar levels are taken extreme care of.

All of this is not a result of poor oral hygiene, or even that pesky sugar intake Mr Colgate tisk tisks us about growing up, and even as adults. It has more to do with gum infections due to periods of tricky insulin balancing acts as a growing child that, throughout the years have damaged nerves in his teeth. One of Lance’s unique diabetic complications is mouth ulcers. He must take a zinc supplement everyday to keep them at bay. Even skipping a tablet for two days sees a new ulcer appear.

This little rendevous with the dentist will cost $4000 for anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes work.

I have had to fill in paperwork that basically says that I am handing my child over to professional strangers, who know nothing about “his” diabetes, and for the first time, my control will be taken away. I feel so sickened to think that he has to go through this. I have had to sign papers that say that “in extreme circumstances, death may occur from a result of a reaction to anaesthetic.” I have to look at Lance in the eye and feign that all is well, as I am concealing this news until the last minute. My family cannot understand my heartache and anxiety over ” a simple procedure.” I feel a lot better after spending literally hours speaking to my most fantastic friend, Liz, who also understands the fear and torment of having a loved one with Type 1 Diabetes in hospital, as her husband periodically pays his respects there.

 

 

I always had a suspicious feeling that something would manifest and present itself at the 5 year milestone.

 

 

“Mum is going to pay for you to have a second chance to have perfect adult teeth,” says an uninformed and painfully perky dental receptionist to Lance at the appointment.( Admittedly, since his visit he has been brushing up a storm.) However, he is a deep thinker, and because he knows me so well, I am going to have to pull of a Cate Blanchett performance and get through the next month without letting him see any fear or concern on my behalf.

 

 

And the Oscar goes to….

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Sugar: another of the many ironies concerning Type 1 Diabetes

Lance has to go for a mouth x ray this morning.

He went for a routine dental check yesterday, and the dentist found some diabetes-related gum absesses, and a tooth that could possibly have been effected by the infection.

Besides being a borderline coeliac, this is the first time Diabetes has interfered with a part of my son’s six-year-old body.

To be short, I am devastated. The reality of going to have an xray with words like:

“Check for: Impacted teeth, caries, peripical pathology where signs or symptoms of those conditions are evident” phsysically makes me ill. At his last checkup, the dentist praised him for his oral hygiene. Now, oscillating blood sugar levels of recent times could result in, at worst, surgery under general anaesthetic.

What a fun thought..fasting for 12 hours…fighting and pleading with Lance to keep a drip in so he can be feed glucose…even more regular fingerpricks, and insulin titration.

I like to expect the worst and hope for the best. I’m also a pretty good judge of character. If the dentist’s face was anything to go by, we are in for some dramas ahead.

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Welcome, Chino!!!!

chronicle.jpgFour months ago, we had a new addition arrive to complete our little family.An eight week old, red whippet puppy with white socks arrived from his breeder in NSW to Brisbane airport.

We named him Chino.

I contacted an organisation in February this year, as Lance has an unfortunate problem of not being able to feel when some hypos are coming, leaving him with an impressive collection of 40 holes in his leg from Glucagon injections. This was a dismal life to lead, not knowing what was going to happen from one second to the next. If there is something new and successful happening in tne world of diabetes management, I certainly wanted to know about it.

The organisation can be found at http://www.pawsfordiabetics.org.au/.

Chino is Lance’s best mate. He has been alerting Lance to irregular blood sugar problems since they met on the 12 April this year. He will whine, jump up, lick or paw at Lance in an attempt to get him to test his blood sugar and eat. If he has no luck alerting Lance, due to Lance’s poor judgement skills as a result of hypoglycaemia, he will quickly come to me and show his concern by whining, biting at my sleeves or clothing. I always test Lance’s bsl, and there is a high percentage of times when there has been a problem. or an impending problem.

Chino is now 6 months old and only needs to grow a little more. He accompanies Lance EVERYWHERE, even the movie theatre!! He has the same rights as a guide dog, therefore he can go anywhere Lance goes. He is learning how to walk nicely on his lead, and how to face everyday challenges in the world, like crossing a busy road or going up an escalator. He wears a green jacket with a yellow “L” plate, so that people can recognise that he is a learning assistance dog. Lance gets a LOT of attention, and people ask him all the time why he has this special puppy!

We will be focusing on the progress of Chino through our posts. He is such a big part of our lives now. The fact that he can pick up on Lance’s scent and react to a body odour change related to blood sugar is incredible. It’s almost like he knew his destiny was to become a hypo alert dog.

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WAKE UP

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Today, I felt so ALONE.

I think anyone living with or caring for a chronic illness has times in their lives of lonliness. No matter how much support or guidance you may have from loved ones or professionals, nothing can erase the silence.

It’s not there all the time. It comes in accentuated blasts.

At the moment,my main issue is that I am 30 years old and I am seriously doubting I will ever know what it is like to be with a man again in a healthy, loving relationship. Type 1 Diabetes isn’t a hugely appealing package for someone else to deal with. I have had moments of intense interest with a few men, only for it to be extinguished by a sudden hypo, or my absence as I spend an hour getting my son to eat enough to stay alive through the night. By the time I have returned, the chemistry is long dead, and no words need to be said.

I tried putting myself “out there” in different social circles, but everyones’ lives were just so much more adventurous and exciting than mine, I then decided that if I was going to be in a relationship again, that the universe would organise it for me. When someone says “So how was your weekend?” a typical response would be,” Well, I had to wake my son to have his breakfast and insulin, he had a hypo in the morning for no reason. We then did some food shopping and came home and took things easy, as the hypo had really taken a lot out of him, so we both rested.” Ah yeah. Sounds like a ripsnorting weekend, Kate!! It’s not always like this. It comes in waves.

Afterall, I don’t even have Type 1 Diabetes!! Emotionally though, I’m up there with the lifers. I understand the illness so indepthly, and I fight so hard to keep Lance physically and mentally as healthy as I can manage. His test results are always top notch as well, so the hard work pays off.

Lately though, I can’t shake this feeling of despair and “that’s it, this is my life now.” I have had

conversations with other carers who also have other children to care for, and I simply don’t know how they do it.

When my husband and i decided to separate in 2003, I remember telling my doctor. He took his glasses off, shook his head and deeply exhaled.

“What are you going to do now, Kate?”

“Go and be with my family I guess, get some support, take a break.”

“And after that? It’s going to be a struggle and you will end up crashing..”I remember thinking at the time that he was reading too deeply into this situation and that he was out of line speaking to me like that. He was so on the money. When Lance was first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, I had cards, visits, education sessions, help from nurses, even the occasional date with my husband when my parents offered babysitting stints. Those days are long gone.

I have some amazingly fresh,vibrant, new friends who ALL understand how having a chronic disease takes hold of your life and steers it without your permission, however they are all living in different states of Australia. I have one precious girl living in my town whom I know and adore. She understands me more than I understand myself sometimes, I admire her so much because she still is boucing off the joy of youth, despite having a chronic illness herself. I berate myself when I think that this life would be mended if I had a pair of arms entwined around me, because I know that would be a temporary fix. I know what I have to do to get myself out of this funk. I just have to remember how I would have done it when life had no regiment, no routine. Free from the stranglehold of how much I hate being alone.

This too, shall pass.

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JDRF and City Beach collaberate- way cool!

merch.jpgNow that Lance is growing into the young stylemaster,with his seventh birthday fast approaching, I was ushered into City Beach last week.For those not familiar with City Beach, it is a franchise synonymous with Aussie Beach Culture, doing the whole sunnies, beachwear and “must have” fashion accessories look for the season. You name it, and they have it. Very cool atmosphere and pumping beats groovin’ through speakers. Lance was looking very impressed with himself being in such a “big kid’s” store!

We tried on sunnies, we were amazed at all the neat little gadgety things that apparently would look cool on me, and that’s when we saw it.

The very familiar JDRF logo.

JDRF? Surf Store? Huh?

Lance and I pounced on the boxful of multi-coloured wristbands that anyone who IS anyone is wearing at the mo. Lance chose black, and I chose canary yellow. They were $2.95 each and are very styling! Proceeds of course going to our fave charity! We left with a warm fuzzy feeling. I felt almost flattered that City Beach were promoting Type 1 Diabetes research. Considering their target age, I can imagine that the wristbands will do exceptionally well!!!

Looks like Lance’s pen pal in the US, Brendon will be scoring one, too!

If you want some more info on how City Beach has hooked up with JDRF, check out http://www.citybeach.com.au/ or of course, http://www.jdrf.org.au/.

Way to go, guys! As a young-ish Mum, it’s a gnarly effort from the City Beach Guys!

(Featured in pic, JDRF Youth Ambassador, Amy Campbell with the merchandise galore!)

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The Angry Girl

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IF Diabetes isn’t a crime,

WHY do I have to do the time?

A girl with Type 1 diabetes told me this. She had just been diagnosed and had drawn a picture of a dirty, bent syringe with a thousand red rings around it, and a big black cross, through the syringe. That picture told me she was still angry.

I’m not angry.

This is my life.

If I choose to be angry, then it will show that I am not the person I was born to be. I am not angry with having diabetes. I get frustrated, sure, but mainly that is from the symptoms of the illness.

It’s coming close to 5 years this November. I remember a good four of them. They has been scary times, fun times, times I wished I could eat a packet of marshmallows without worrying about carbohydrates. I shouldn’t even know what that word means. I do though, and that’s what keeps me smart, strong and most importantly, ALIVE.

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GLUCAGON-Don’t ever leave home without it!!

gluco.jpgIt has come to my attention and dismay that a lot of parents AND diabetics:

  • don’t know what this orange box is
  • haven’t been told by their doctor/paediatrician about it, therefore do not have a script
  • have no idea how important it is concerning a sudden attack of hypoglycaemia
  • don’t know that you should ALWAYS have at least one kit in the house
  • DON’T KNOW THAT THE CONTENTS OF THIS KIT CAN SAVE YOUR CHILDS’ LIFE IN A DIABETIC HYPO EMERGENCY.

This orange box holds more value to me than my mobile phone, cash. credit cards or keys to the house. I carry one with me everytime I leave the house. EVERYTIME. For those who don’t know what this orange box is, I am referring to a GLUCAGON KIT.

I have used one of these kits up to 40 times. However, most parents or adult diabetics have never had to use one. Lance has the potential to have such speedy attacks that come with little or no warning, I HAVE to have one with me NO MATTER WHAT.

These orange boxes are about as long as an insulin pen, and are sealed when you receive them. Inside, is a vial filled with powder, and a larger needle than you are probably used to. Inside that needle is 10 mls of sterile water.

IF, you are in a situation where your child is having a hypoglyaemic attack, and the are unable to drink or eat in fear or choking, an ambulance officer or an emergency doctor would administer this needle to your child. Most often, it is given in the subcutaneous fat in the thigh. Parents of a diabetic child or carers of a diabetic adult SHOULD have one of these kits.

If a diabetic appears to be unconcious or fitting, undo the seal, remove the syringe and the vial. (A diabetic educator or a GP should have a practice run with you, just to be sure.) If your child is under 5 or under, sqeeze out 5mls of the water from the syringe and inject it into the rubber dome found on the top of the vial. You must move the vial WITH the needle in it backwards and forwards so that the granules have a chance to dissolve. Grab a good amount of flesh on the thigh and inject. It won’t work straight away, so it’s a good time to have your child in the recovery position and covered with a blanket and their Mum or Dad close by when they do come “back.”

The same rules apply for an adult, except the whole amount (10mls) should be used so that concsiousness can be regained quickly.

If you do not have on of these kits, here is what I suggest:

Ask your doctor for a script (every diabetic is entitled to one.) It will have a repeat with it. Pick up both on different days and keep one with your insulin at home, one at work, or even one it the car. Glucagon, just like insulin doesn’t like the car, however, if you are going to the BEACH or a place where it could be difficult to access, take your spare kit with you. It doesn’t take up a lot of room, and Lance is living proof that it quickly reverses the symptoms of hypoglycaemia.

Glucagon is stored in the liver, and when this injection is given, it enourages the liver to start to secrete it, therefore, the blood sugar level WILL go up.

I have had some experiences where if I didn’t carry GLUGAGON, Lance could have severe brain damage or be dead. Ask your doctor for a script and a test run, I am NOT a doctor or a health professional, however I AM a parent and, I AM encouraging anyone with a Diabetic in their care to carry a case on you at all times. It has a shelf life of a year, however it is better to give the injection even if it is past 12 months old rather than not. ( Good aadvice from an ambo who see these kits at work at least once a a day) Please look into getting orange boxes for your home, It’s the smartest decision you will ever make regarding your diabetes life. (Pass the word onto others’ who may not know that glucagon exists will bring back a diabetic from am episode.)

I’d love to hear any stories about how having glucagon has helped saved a loved one!!

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