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.

Openhearted Rebellion

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.

 

God Always Has A Reason


Soon after my six-year-old son was diagnosed with diabetes, I joined a support group for other moms, like me. New to St. Louis, I needed to meet mothers who lived the normal life that was now my own. Not my life of yesterday, when freedom and good health was taken for granted. Instead, I yearned to soak in a tub of others who understood what it was like to have children’s lives changed forever. Forever may only take the time of a second-hand to move upon a clock…tick-tock…tick-tock.

For a while, I met friends who shared a bond with me. After our precious cargo of kids went off to school, we took turns meeting at each other’s homes. Huddled around polished timbered tables, we shared stories from the week before. Our younger toddler’s bounced in La-Z-Boy rocking chairs, scribbled with colored crayons or sang Sesame Street songs in next door rooms. Drinking coffee from molded mugs, a new group of girlfriends passed the cream while nibbling on St. Louis’s own, Gooey Butter Cake. We laughed together, cried together, and became members of a club we never planned on joining.

Eventually, the word got out, and our support meetings began to grow. One morning, my front doorbell rang. A new mom stopped by asking if she could visit. On my white spindled porch she held the small fingers of a squirming young boy staring into space. In the other, she balanced a batch of marbled brownies. Quickly, I ushered her into my kitchen where she poured her heart out there and then. In front of everyone.

The new woman was anxious while keeping a nervous eye on her child who ran about the room. He had angelic features, with blonde curly hair, and green eyes the color of the sea. Nervously and with tears welling up, she began to tell us of his diagnosis of autism. Then, there was more. Recently, her son was diagnosed with insulin dependent diabetes too. She didn’t know what to do.

Of course, no two children are alike whether they live with chronic conditions or not. The woman’s son who came to my door that day had difficulty making eye contact together with a fear of being touched. This made it very challenging for his mother to check his blood sugar or give him daily injections of insulin. Even a four-year-old without autism has good reason to be afraid of this kind of ‘touch!’ His mother looked for help, support and any answers we could provide.

Ironically, the new mother who held the batch of marbled brownies left my home gifting me much more than I could have ever given her that day. Lessons of life. Within a few hours, I absorbed a lifetime of wisdom through her spirit of courage. God always has a reason for bringing people into each other’s lives. He chooses the time, the where and the when. It is not for us to question the why?  We’ll figure it out…..

*April is National Autism Awareness Month, with today, April 2, being World Autism Awareness Day. According to the CDC as of 2014, approximately one of 68 children were diagnosed with some form of autism spectrum disorder: one in 42 boys, and one in 189 girls. No one knows why, and I dare to say the numbers are continuing to increase every year. Please help raise awareness for a better world for all families whose lives are touched by this condition.

Thank you for reading.

world_autism_awareness_day_square_sticker_3_x_3https://www.autismspeaks.org/

as_naam2014_badge_250x250_webready   Slider_image3

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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Let There Be Play!


I’ve been thinking of the little children I saw over the weekend who took delight in Halloween, including my own grand-babies.

Throughout all of the years of my life, I’ve never bothered to research the word, Halloween. Sure, I’ve heard whispers of evil stories associated with October 31st.  At movie theatres, I’ve seen trailers for spooky picture shows, and in stores there are always the covers of horror books.   Still, seeing the excitement of children in anticipation of the holiday, I always wondered,  “How could that be?”

Long ago, when my own two boys were barely into preschool and kindergarten, my oldest had recently been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  Life for children and families was very different from it is today.  Insulin was our only defense and rules were rigid in order to keep children safe and healthy.  No sugar what-so-ever was ever allowed unless it was an emergency.  So what to do about Halloween?

Motherly instincts told me that Halloween wasn’t about good or evil.  Not inside the innocent minds of children.  I didn’t believe it was about popping melted chocolate into wee and waiting mouths.  No, in my mind, Halloween was all about traditions hidden with imaginations while taking part in play.  Behind eyes of brown or green or blue, everyone could see….

Within my mind, Halloween was about dreaming and dress-up.  Being cast in a new role to play a character on a neighborhood stage in front of a backdrop of orange and black. Painted faces laughing in mirrors of glass from deep within skinny bellies before snapshots were taken in kitchens next to siblings of the same.  Families together with bowls of candy.  Enough treats for everyone who might ring a bell.

My son living with diabetes dreamed of the same tradition as every other child.  He donned a clown suit of red and yellow, learned his line of “Trick-or-Treat” and went off to wait in the wings before taking part in his play.  Upon returning home, his face was all aglow at his performance.  He and his brother emptied brimming plastic pumpkins for all to see.  One-by-one tiny fingers counted each treat, tossing M&M ‘s together with peanut butter cups to the side for emergencies.  So proud my little boy was to show me his pile of loot!

Soon my husband came out of the next room.  He dug deep into side pockets, pulling out a couple of bills of green plus a few rounds of silver.  Our little boy clown jumped up and down..down and up.  So excited he was!  “Tomorrow we’ll go shopping,” I said, squeezing him tight.  That set a new stage for our Halloween every year thereafter.  No matter what, our son would always be cast in the annual Halloween play.

For young children everywhere, Halloween is all about tradition, expectation and imagination.  Taking part in play!  There is no doubt in my mind this still holds true today.

Hoping everyone together with their cast and crew enjoyed your own Halloween play!

Clapping my hands for you!

 

Motherhood Bliss


The core of Chronic Conditions and Life Lessons which began nearly two years ago.  Edited and re-posted for you.

“Who Takes The Child By The Hand Takes The Mother By The Heart” An Old German Saying

The moment I became a mother my heart was no longer my own.  On that very first day and forever more it would beat for two, together with any children born to me afterward.  Thump, thump…..thump, thump…..thump, thump.

Minutes after birthing my first child, my husband took hold of our slippery newborn who soon grasped my forefinger with his own.  Exhausted from labor yet overwhelmed with wonder, I gazed at the tiny miracle held before me.

My baby boy was pronounced perfect with an apgar score of 10!  His pediatrician ordered the prerequisite blood samples which surely guaranteed a lifetime of health and happiness.  I remember wincing when the nurse pricked his heel.  His pain was my pain.  I cried when he cried.  Later, the doctor came by to tell me his blood sugar was a bit on the “low” side.  “No big deal, nothing to worry about,” the good doctor said.   A tiny drop of glucose was given via IV.  Barely a drip, no bigger than the head of a straight silver pin.    

If an angel dressed in heavenly white suddenly appeared presenting a painted portrait of my future as a mother living with Chronic Conditions, would it have made any difference? Would diabetes have made me love my son any less?  Would it have caused me to pause in any way or hesitate on any given day?  No, never, not in a million years!  My own angel lay swaddled in tiny bed of clear where the sight, smell and touch of him melted the whole of my body and soul.  He was perfect in every way. He would be in the future and forever to come.

*Even more so today.  Such a blessed life we live!  I love you, Jay.

“Who takes the child by the hand takes the mother by the heart”  An Old German Saying

antique mother & babe

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!!

 

 

My Story of “The Little Prince”


There once was a princely babe born in the early afternoon hours of July.  The day was Arizona hot with coyotes racing into shady caves.  There, they lapped cool sandy water hidden near boulders under bats of black hanging sleepily.

The baby prince was beautifully big, with skin of olive and aquamarine eyes.  Unusual eyes, the color of the sea with waves of speckled sand.  When the infant wailed, he tossed his newborn head.  Curly locks, damp and downy to the touch framed his face.  They were silky soft, reminiscent of newborn ducklings paddling behind feathered mothers in ponds of blue.

As the calendar marched on, the prince grew to become wiser than his months and years, combined.  Far beyond any of his peers, he made everyone laugh with smiles and giggles that lit up rooms without bulbs in lamps.

Shortly after moving to the Midwest, winter came followed by an early spring.  Nature was curious that year.  A toddler of only three, the prince napped in flannels, cuddling his favorite blankie tucked beneath his chin.

Within days and weeks the little prince grew up very, very fast.  “Chronic Conditions” swept up his family’s innocence.  While wee friends played on swings or bounced balls in blacktopped streets, the little prince handed bottles of insulin to his mama, helped to measure food on a tiny scale, or watch his bigger-little brother prick his finger, squeezing a sliver of blood on a tiny shred of paper.

Before long, the prince who had grown to a nearly big four, learned how to climb a step stool in order to reach the dark green phone on the wall.  There, he was taught to push three very important numbers, 9-1-1.  Early one morning, three men in white took his sleeping brother away on a small bed that grew taller on wheels.  The bed with his brother on top went into the back of a truck with spinning red LOUD on the roof.  The prince felt little again.

That same winter, the prince woke from his bed.  “Mama, I cannot breathe,” he coughed and choked and said.  Off to the hospital where the word a.s.t.h.m.a. was spelled out.  Together with diabetes, they shared the same house.

Yes, the little prince was very, very smart.  Quickly, he learned how to use separate inhalers for different reasons.  He wasn’t afraid of the clear green mask that covered most of his face.  After putting it away, his chest didn’t hurt nor was it tight.  Now, he could breathe air out as well as breathe air in!

As the prince grew up to be a man, his life was good, his life was bad.  He felt happy, he felt sad.  He went to school to get his degree.  He bought a house and started to see.  A job, a career, what else was there for him to be?   He did not know, he did not care.  He only knew there had to be something more for him, you see.  One thing was always true, his family loved him through and through.  Still, something was missing on the path he chose. Perhaps he had taken the wrong fork in the road?

I suppose you have probably guessed the little prince above is, “My Youngest Son, My Biggest Boy,” http://wp.me/p41md8-X9   As parents, we are always here for him.  We talk or listen, shut our mouths or offer suggestions.  It’s hard to take a step back, watch him fall or feel his pain.  Much easier to view his success, see him shoot for the stars while jumping for all the rest.

This past year, things seem to have come full circle for my youngest son.  He’s picked himself up to tackle the world.  There’s been a change in him.  I’ve seen a new smile on his face with a light that shines from in to out.  And, those eyes of his?  The waves of aquamarine seas are rolling again where the speckles play with the sun.

Last evening while having dinner with a friend my cell phone rang.  Not a call, but a text for me.  Oh, let me see!  Putting the spoon of silver down to wipe my mouth with cotton white, I lifted my phone to press a glowing screen.  Bright letters on a mat of black.

Two simple words to last the whole of a lifetime.  “I’m engaged!”

images

Congratulations to my youngest son together with his beautiful Bride-to-Be. 

Let me be the first to say, “Welcome to our family!”

The End