Automated Insulin System Approved for People with Type 1 Diabetes


For years we’ve been informed about research trials regarding the Artifical Pancreas. Our hearts skipped beats in learning it had positive results in well monitored, hospitalized patients. They literally did not have to take insulin. These patients could sleep well through the night without setting an alarm to get checked or worry about not ever waking up! Our son has long been approved as a possible recipient of the Artifical Pancreas here in St. Louis. We’re still praying this day will come. It seems to be coming closer, don’t you think? Blessings to all who live with type 1 diabetes together with their families who love and support them each and every day.

Karma Yoga Daily

By Julie Fidler, Natural Society

Life is about to get easier for people with Type 1 diabetes, now that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new automated insulin delivery system.

In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas makes little or no insulin, so patients must inject themselves multiple times a day with insulin, or use an insulin pump. It can be easy to inject too much or too little of the hormone, depending on what and how much a person eats, and if they exercise. [1]

High levels of blood glucose (sugar) can lead to organ damage, but injecting too much insulin can lead to a dramatic sugar drop that can cause unconsciousness or coma. [1]

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The Brightest Star In The Sky


http://uklabs.com/dogs.php

April 7th is World Health Day, and this year’s theme is DIABETES. As most of my readers know, my son was diagnosed with diabetes, shortly after his sixth birthday. Diabetes is a Chronic Condition that affects nearly 6 million people. Today my son is all grown up, married and the father of two beautiful children.

A parent’s worst fears for a child living with diabetes is low blood sugar. It can happen at any time of the day or night, and may often lead to a seizure. My son’s condition was considered brittle, meaning his blood sugar dropped dangerously low in a matter of minutes. Often in seconds.

One day I heard of a possible miracle. A dog that could detect low blood sugar in diabetes patients by scent. The year was approximately 2008 or 2009. My son was graduating from college and engaged to be married. Regardless of how tight my son controlled his blood sugar, he was still plagued by unexpected seizures. As a mother, I was desperate at the time.

I did my research online and off. I spoke to doctors together with local organizations who did not support the dog-scent idea. Why? Because there wasn’t any science to back it up. No data, no human trials. This is only what I was told. I often wonder, if the powers that be were parents of a child living with seizures due to diabetes, would they have thought any differently?

To make a long story short, my son received his diabetic alert dog, a beautiful British black Labrador puppy of six weeks old in the spring of 2009. Four of us spent the weekend in Mississippi learning all that we could about D.A.D’s (Diabetic Alert Dogs). We took training classes for several days while relishing my son’s new hope of living with fewer seizures. I want to make it clear, these dogs are not to be considered pets. First and foremost, they are working dogs. They are only as good as their masters are willing to work with them. It is not easy and is a full-time commitment.

Although hard to believe, on the very first night that the dog slept in our barren motel room, sounds of “sniff-sniff-sniff” alerted my son to a low blood sugar! Tiny fur of jet black crawled and pawed to lap and lick his neck and face. Yes, the little pup knew!

Today, Nimbus, named after a cloud, has been a faithful servant to my son ever since that very first night. He’s saved him from seizures and perhaps even his life more times than I can count. In fact, I can’t recall the last time my son suffered a seizure! Nimbus loves the whole of his family, especially his younger sister and brother, who tosses him a tennis ball during his off time.

Nimbus has slowed down during the last couple of years but still goes to work with my son at the National Weather Service, where he’s treated like one of the brightest stars high in the sky.

 

Life is Wonderful


February 29th, 1992…Leap Year. It was an extra day on the cartoon calendar pictured and pasted on our kitchen bulletin board. The news anchor of our local television station signed off the night before by reminding me to, “Have some family fun the next day!” Yes, I remember……No, I’ll never forget.

February 29th of that year began much like any other. Indeed, I did have something fun planned for our family.  We were going to spend the afternoon at the park. Our two young boys, ages six and four were up early and dressed. The breakfast dishes were washed, and handy snacks were already packed.

It was unusually warm in St. Louis for late winter in the year of ‘92. Beautiful and bright with skies painted royal blue. I remember daffodils bloomed beneath willow trees in the back of my yard.  They were splashed in colors of variegated canary yellow, dancing to melodies that sung through whispered breezes blowing beneath the trees. Later, I saw them everywhere. I clung to them as a sign of hope.

We never made it to the park that day. Only hours later my oldest son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Too weak to play with his little brother, he simply wanted to “go to sleep.” In a panic, my husband scooped him up, ready to race towards our pediatrician. Just before walking out the door, I turned to him from our kitchen window, the same one where daffodils had sung songs of miracles to me. “Make sure the doctor checks his blood sugar,” I stated, matter-of-factly.

Back then, I knew nothing about diabetes, nor of blood sugar.  Yet the words that I spoke to my husband did indeed come out of my mouth. They sounded strange, and monotone as if coming from a body suspended above. Looking back, those were God’s words, never my own. They were His words that saved my son’s life that day.

Much has happened since then, but it is a fact that Chronic Conditions brought me to WordPress over three years ago. Little pieces of me are in the posts that I write and share here. So, what are some of the lessons that I’ve learned in life? The most important one is to stay positive in the face of adversity.

If your child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I’m not going to lie. It knocks the wind out of you. It hurts. Remember that it’s okay to cry. Share your feelings. Don’t keep them bottled up. Even today, I’m still learning….http://wp.me/p41md8-2D4

Most importantly, be strong and SMILE for the sake of your child. Children take their cues from their parents. Please be a positive role model, won’t you? They will forever set their childhood goals and dreams in life with you by their side. I promise things do get better. Technology has improved and will continue to get better every day in the future.

It’s been 24 years ago today since my son was diagnosed, “No, diabetes isn’t easy.” But, “Yes, his life is wonderful.” I am so very proud to be his mom, to call him my son….

In dedication to all of the children living with type 1 diabetes together with their families. My heart and blessings to you today, tomorrow and all of the days of my life.

Kim Gosselin

http://beyondtype1.org/

350million diabetics worldwide and millions more at risk -Pre-Diabetes


I guarantee there is someone you know, perhaps even in your own family that is living with Type 11 diabetes without knowing it. If not, they are well on their way to pre-diabetes. Please read and be aware. See an endocrinologist for help if needed. This condition is an epidemic, particularly in the US, but can be prevented, even reversed with proper nutrition, treatment and care. Thank you. Sally, for an excellent post!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

smorgasbord health

A longer post today but I wanted to get the details together in one article and I hope you will find compelling enough to read, if not for yourself but for a family member or friend who might be at risk.  This is not about Type I diabetes or even those who have been diagnosed with Type II.. It is about the millions worldwide who are at high risk of Type II which is predominately lifestyle and diet related.

According to the World Health Authority it is estimated that there are 350 million people worldwide with diabetes. In the US around 30 million and the UK approximately 3.2 million have been diagnosed. Unfortunately it is the many millions who are undiagnosed that are at the greatest risk

You do not need to have full-blown diabetes to be suffering from some of the symptoms associated with the disease. There is a…

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Priceless Tears


It’s been a while since I’ve posted much about Chronic Conditions. Although this is the basic theme of my blog, often my writing path veers toward a stop sign of grandchildren, babies, beauty in the world and nature. Inspiration from nightly dreams with photographs to delight my days.

In truth, our minds push portions of what we see and hear from the surface of reality in order to protect us. My own has been doing it for over twenty years. It does that still. There’s a thin dimension hidden slightly below the surface of my smile, cowering in a corner of my beating heart. A sort of twilight zone if you will.

With lined paper and a pen or ten fingers tapping on a keyboard, words meander around Chronic Conditions to discover pure beauty in the world. Joy in a single blade of grass, symphonies tweeted from a flock of birds, or sheer wonder observed in a sky of my favorite aqua blue.

Days or weeks go by without me going there…skipping rocks over what it’s like to live with Chronic Conditions. Memories are pushed down…down…down. Eventually, they rear their ugly heads to snap my own back to yesterday, today or even tomorrow. Sorry to say, Chronic Conditions never go away.

Early this morning, before dawn broke in the dark of day, I woke to tears trickling from the corner of an eye. First the left then the right until both began to flow. I let them fall silently, not wanting to wake my husband before brushing them from the two of my cheeks. Most often, I keep personal emotions bottled up, not wanting to share heartache or despair. Chin-up. Be positive!

Memories…Last week we spent an afternoon with my son and two of our grandchildren. He needed a bit of help and we were all too happy to see them! Lunch in the mall before rides on a wooden train of primary colors in red, yellow and green. Choo-Choo, Choo-Choo! Carousel animals under a striped Big Top of round for us to choose. Which one shall it be? Allie the Elephant, Zee the Zebra, or Joy the Dolphin? “Oh, this one, Grandma! She’s BLUE,” my granddaughter exclaimed with excitement, jumping up and down! I lifted her atop the smooth saddle of a teal dolphin from the sea, buckled her up and away we went. Up and down, down and up, while singing a make-believe song of “High in the Sky.”

Afterward, our generations of three skipped with holding hands to the far end of the building to discover a park of indoors. There, children gathered to play on soft, emerald-green grass in stocking feet. Moms and Dads took turns supervising with grandparents too. We proudly observed kids crawling on oversized turtles with cocoa-colored shells of tic-tac-toe. Brothers and Sisters played hide-n-seek under purple plastic logs. My grandbabies jumped off bridges over fantasy streams painted with rainbow-colored trout or giggled while sliding down their bellies with new-found friends.

Suddenly my son needed something sweet to eat! Under his breath, he whispered “Hurry!” My husband ran to get him cinnamon and sugared pretzel bites with a soda to drink at the closest stand nearby. The kids and I ran and jumped, smiled and laughed. Swallowing his surgary drink quickly, my son munched on sugared pretzel bites, two or three at a time. He checked his sensor attached to his stomach hidden under a T-shirt of white. The number in red appeared to be going up. A few minutes later he did a finger-prick of blood. My husband sat with him fifteen or twenty minutes, making sure the danger zone had passed. Talk and laughter with smiles on faces. This was our normal. No one knew anything different. Many Chronic Conditions are unseen, diabetes included.

Only a few weeks ago at Christmastime all was merry and bright until suddenly my son’s blood sugar dropped like a falling rock to a dangerously low number. Scooping up the kids, my husband and I disappeared into the toy room where we silently played and prayed 911 wouldn’t be needed. Luckily, it was not. Everyone went to bed early that evening as my son was tired from his episode. Chronic Conditions take a toll on the lives of those who live it together with the whole of their families.

This morning when my husband woke to the sounds of sniffles, he begged me to confess my troubles, which I finally did. “It’s okay,” he said, cuddling me just so. “You have a right to your feelings. You’re his mother.” I started bawling like a newborn babe. It felt like a dam had burst there and then as my pillow of down went from damp to wet. So good it was to let the worry and sorrow drain from the whole of my body. I had bottled the “no, don’t go there” for quite some time.

So, if you’re like me, give yourself permission to have feelings and emotions. To show them, honor them and admit they exist. Touch your heart with your mind and be not afraid to awaken your soul. We can’t change the world, but we can change ourselves. And, yes, go ahead and CRY.

Tears are priceless…..

tears2

Heroes Behind Shadows


Near the end of winter, just before the yellow of daffodils wave in warm breezes towards a sky of blue, clouds of dark loom overhead.  I see them there, foreboding and full of warning.  Shadows cover the sun.  Soon they dim bright lights on the lives of families for years to come.  Actually, forever.

I don’t dwell on the clouds of gray above.  Yet, every year without warning they still appear, springing forth even before the season.  Memories of long ago scratched within my mind like the sound of children’s nails on an old school chalkboard of green.  Twenty three years since my son was diagnosed with insulin dependent diabetes.  What can I say?  I am his mother.  He is part of my DNA.

Truth be told, this was a good ‘year’ for me, the month and date had already passed without memories of salty tears or praying that my son would live to see another day.  Then a few words spoken within split seconds heard by my ears of two.  Triggers for me…..

My husband recently returned from a trip to Canada, part of a new territory where he met fresh faces of new sales representatives who were recently assigned to him.  Excitedly, he began to share his week with me, until the very end.  He hesitated before looking down.

“I really like XXX,” he started to say.  “We have a lot in common and I know you would like her too.”  Trying to sound a little more upbeat, he added.  “She’s number one in her district, married and has a little daughter who was diagnosed last month with insulin dependent diabetes.”  Looking up, his eyes welled a little, misty with a touch of pink.  “I did my best to reassure her,” he said, taking my hand.

My heart ached for this woman and young child together with her family whose lives were now changed forevermore.  Within the span of a second, their lives would never be the same.  Good again, but different.  That’s how it works sometimes.  We just don’t know it until it happens.  This is one of the lessons I’ve learned.  Do not plan.  God holds the key.  Trust him.  I wanted to hug this young mother, to hold her tight while whispering, “Everything will be alright.”

And so the invisible bandage covering my old wound was ripped off as it is almost every year about this time.  Without looking, I could feel the scar, raw and red underneath.  I doubt that a mother ever forgets the day her child is diagnosed with a chronic illness.  The heartbreak, the salty tears upon flushed cheeks together with the strength that must be swallowed is overpowering.  Truly, it is the kind one reads about in magazines or sees in movies. For example, a mother lifts a car to save her injured child.  I remember feeling like that.  Mountains would have been lifted from my son together with the weight of the world, if only I could have taken his Chronic Illness away.  Alas, I could not.  Like the mother above, God had other plans for me.

My husband held me then.  Slowly we rocked back and forth on the sofa, remembering.  The sheer emotion of that time is heart wrenching.  Yet, God helped us through, teaching us more and more every day and year afterward.  So many lessons learned……Compared to the children living with insulin dependent diabetes, we were nothing.  Mere soldiers who pitched tents in a battlefield of war that never ended.

Those living with insulin dependent diabetes must provide their bodies with needed insulin through injections or a pump attached through a small catheter.  They dare not forget, no, not even for a day.  Think about checking your own blood sugar with a drop of deep red four or five times per day?  Yes, it must be done, no matter where you’re going or what you’re doing.  And, if sickness should strike, you must measure it even more often!  It’s extremely important to consume three daily meals and be sure to eat healthy snacks at regular intervals.  Yes, even if you don’t feel hungry your body must be fed to balance the insulin within your system.  Once inside, there’s no going back.

After the above, set your alarm clock in order to eat something during the night if your blood sugar has fallen too low.  Then, check it again to make sure all is stable.  When the sun rises again the next morning, everything and all is a Do Over.  There are no days off.  Living with insulin dependent diabetes reminds me of the movie, Groundhog Day.  Everything must be done day after day after day.  Such is the life of small child who is trying to fit in at school or a perhaps a young adult who is off to work every day before coming home to a spouse and children.

There are several theories of how Insulin Dependent Diabetes develops.  One theory (only part of the whole mystery) is that a virus of some sort attacks the islet cells contained in the pancreas which are responsible for producing insulin.  Ironically, my own son suffered from chickenpox a few months before he was diagnosed (long before there was ever a vaccine).  But no one really knows for sure.

So, in my brief moment of despair, I’d like to say, “How proud I am!” of all the heroes living with insulin dependent diabetes!  One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that a family’s reaction to the condition can make all the difference in the world.  As a parent, try to stay positive in spite of everything negative.  Join support groups or meet other families through the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International http://jdrf.org/and the American Diabetes Association http://www.stopdiabetes.com/.  Incorporate diabetes into your child’s life by helping their dreams come true.

Look up into the sky to push the clouds of gray away from the light of day.

 child-of-the-light

Letters To Santa


santa claus images

My letters to Santa have changed over the years.  When I was young, we’d sit at the kitchen table.  The one with the speckled grey Formica top.  Nearby were baskets of lined notebook paper together with sharpened pencils and plain white envelopes.  My parents helped me lick the stamps.

“Dear Santa Claus,” I’d begin,  “I hope you and Mrs. Claus are good.  I’d like a new book to read, a doll and some candy too.  Please bring my mom something that helps her smell so sweet.  Please bring my dad something new to wear on his big, white feet.  My little brother hit me on the arm yesterday.  It still hurts, but not quite as bad.  You can bring him something small, I guess.  I hope it’s not a BB gun.  Love, XXXX.” 

The day my young son was diagnosed with insulin dependent diabetes back in 1992,  someone……..a doctor?….a nurse?….told me there would “probably be a cure within the next five years.”  At the time, my facial expression must have looked a bit like “a deer in headlights.”  To think there would be a “CURE!”  Five years was unfathomable, but there was hope!  We’d get through!!

“Dear Santa Claus,” my mental letter read that year, “Please bring my family the strength to survive the next five years.  Keep my son as healthy as can be.  YES, please bring us the ‘Cure’ within the next five years.”  That was my  mental letter all those years ago.

Researchers fought for a cure each and every day since my son was diagnosed.  No one will  stop until a great big celebration is announced!  In the interim, technology has improved.  Lives have been saved.  ‘Tools’ are so much better than ever before!  Compared to what was available when my son was diagnosed, miracles exist today.  I am so thankful for the many positive changes in diabetes living.

Still, if I wrote a letter to “Santa Claus” today it would read something like this:

Dear Santa Claus:

Please keep all of those living with diabetes safe and ‘healthy.’  Bring young children a special kiss together with an extra wish.  

Help technology to keep improving!  Allow those who are sick to live better lives each and every day.  More than anything,  I’d like a cure for diabetes within my lifetime.  Until then, please keep my children and grand-children happy and healthy.  

Thank you, Santa Claus. 

With Love,

XXXX

*originally posted 12/23/13

 

 

For Emma and Others


Since I heard the news last week, I told myself I wasn’t going to write about it.  Over and over again, the brain in my head whispered thoughts to me. “No, no, no,” it said!  Yet, here I am sitting at my desk where those same thoughts are speaking silently aloud to me.

Invisible memories traveling from my mind down the length of my arm.  Long fingers resting with air-filled tips atop printed letters.   A familiar keyboard speckled in dust.  Tap, tap, tap.  Jumbled words appear on a screen of white.  What will I write?

About a week ago, another child ‘close to home’ was admitted to St. Louis Children’s Hospital with the forever diagnosis of insulin dependent diabetes (T1D), an epidemic in Chronic Conditions.  I write, “close to home,” because this sweet, young girl is the daughter of my son’s co-worker at the National Weather Service.

A small office, everyone works hard to ensure the safety of the general public by tracking weather patterns and providing them forecasts ahead of danger.  Although men and women work in shifts, they are tight, like a family.  Nimbus, my son’s diabetic alert dog is always by his side.  Each time a co-worker opens the door, a moist black nose of the darkest night sniffs the air, making sure the scent walking in belongs with the ‘others.’

Upon hearing of the child’s T1D, diagnosis, I sighed before unconsciously biting my lip.  Eyes brimmed with glassy tears.  One or two spilled out.  Later, I washed dried salt from my cheek.

It doesn’t matter how many years have passed since I first heard the word, diabetes.  Whenever I think of that moment, the feeling is still here within me.  Deep down in the pit of my stomach.  A spring that never unsprang reminding me of a “Slinky” that was never removed from its original box.

I know how this mother felt when she received her daughter’s diagnosis.  The word probably came out of the doctor’s mouth sounding like it was in slow motion or under water.  Muffled, garbled and not understood.  In a split second, her family’s life was changed forever….

Overwhelmed, exhaustion finally set in.  Suddenly, this mother was the newest member of a club she NEVER planned to join.  Yet, there in a pastel, painted cement block room was an IV pole saving her daughter’s life with the magical powers of insulin.  Drip, drip, drip.  Thank God.  Yes, Thank GOD….

There is nothing good I can say about diabetes.  Absolutely nothing.  For those who follow my blog you know I try to stay positive.  I believe there is a reason for everything.  We may not understand it at the time, but eventually we discover it.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, will provide Emma with a book that I wrote over twenty years ago entitled, Rufus Comes Home.  She will receive it free together with a cuddly stuffed teddy bear like every newly diagnosed child in their “Bag of Hope.”

Here is the irony.  Emma will read a book written by the mother of one of her father’s co-worker’s.  It was written shortly after her father’s ‘co-worker’ was diagnosed with diabetes when he was a young child….just like little Emma.  Hopefully, the story will help her and her family cope while giving them some sense of peace during this most difficult time.

I am not promoting the book.  Fourteen years ago I sold my tiny publishing company together with rights to all of my titles.  I no longer receive royalties.  Regardless, it truly warms my heart to know that this particular story is still helping children many years after being written.

If there is a ‘reason’ for my son, Jayson developing diabetes, certainly it was to inspire others through the books I wrote.  They never would have helped another without him blazing the first trail.  I thank you in my heart forever, my son.

What will Emma’s “reason” be?  Perhaps one day she will entertain us as a beautiful ballerina or sing upon a stage?  Maybe she’ll become President or wear a Miss America crown upon her lovely head?  She’ll help another family or go on a Mission far across the great blue sea…  She might become a doctor or a scientist working with a microscope?  In spite of living with diabetes, Emma can capture wishes while living all of her dreams.

I’m still hoping there will no longer be a need for any of the books I wrote on Chronic Conditions.  Someday in the distant future…. How wonderful that would be!

No more Emma’s.  No more, Jayson’s.   My own wish you see…my every day dream…my evening pillow prayer.

 

A Few Statistics on T1D (insulin dependent)

As many as 3 million Americans may have T1D

15,000 Children and 15,000 Adults are diagnosed each year

80 people in the US are diagnosed EVERY day

Each year, T1D costs our health care system nearly 15 BILLION dollars.

There is NO way to prevent the onset of T1D.  It’s thought to be triggered by a combination of environmental and heredity factors.

Insulin is not a cure, it’s Life Support

 

Symptoms of T1D

Frequent thirst and urination

Drowsiness or lethargy

Increase in appetite

Sudden loss of weight

Vision changes

Sugar found in a urine sample

Fruity odor on breath

Heavy or labored breathing

Unconsciousness, seizure, or stupor.  Call 911 Immediately!!

 

 

Letters to Santa


santa claus images

My letters to Santa have changed over the years.  When I was young, we’d sit at the kitchen table.  The one with the speckled grey Formica top.  Nearby were baskets of lined notebook paper together with sharpened pencils and plain white envelopes.  My parents helped me lick the stamps.

“Dear Santa Claus,” I’d begin,  “I hope you and Mrs. Claus are good.  I’d like a new book to read, a doll and some candy too.  Please bring my mom something that helps her smell so sweet.  Please bring my dad something new to wear on his big, white feet.  My little brother hit me on the arm yesterday.  It still hurts, but not quite as bad.  You can bring him something small, I guess.  I hope it’s not a BB gun.  Love, XXXX.” 

The day my young son was diagnosed with insulin dependent diabetes back in 1992,  someone……..a doctor?….a nurse?….told me there would “probably be a cure within the next five years.”  At the time, my facial expression must have looked a bit like “a deer in headlights.”  To think there would be a “CURE!”  Five years was unfathomable, but there was hope!  We’d get through!!

“Dear Santa Claus,” my mental letter read that year, “Please bring my family the strength to survive the next five years.  Keep my son as healthy as can be.  YES, please bring us the ‘Cure’ within the next five years.”  That was my  mental letter all those years ago.

Researchers fought for a cure each and every day since my son was diagnosed.  No one will  stop until a great big celebration is announced!  In the interim, technology has improved.  Lives have been saved.  ‘Tools’ are so much better than ever before!  Compared to what was available when my son was diagnosed, miracles exist today.  I am so thankful for the many positive changes in diabetes living.

Still, if I wrote a letter to “Santa Claus” today it would read something like this:

Dear Santa Claus:

Please keep all of those living with diabetes safe and ‘healthy.’  Bring young children a special kiss together with an extra wish.  

Help technology to keep improving!  Allow those who are sick to live better lives each and every day.  More than anything,  I’d like a cure for diabetes within my lifetime.  Until then, please keep my children and grand-children happy and healthy.  Today and all of their tomorrows.

Thank you, Santa Claus. 

With Love,

XXXX

Happy Christmas to You!