Honeymoon Over…

A recent conversation with our diabetic educator (the wonderful Kathie Cooper):

Me:  “I don’t get it, I don’t know what I’m doing wrong…but Maddie’s sugar levels are up and down, all over the place it seems, and for reasons we can’t quite figure out.”

Her:  “Welcome to Diabetes.  This is what I would call classic evidence of a child with Type 1 diabetes coming out of the honeymoon phase.  This is what real diabetes looks like.”

As strange as it may seem, this was actually a comfort to me.  My shoulders relaxed a bit.  Not that I want this kind of roller coaster ride for our 8 yr. old, but to know that there are SO MANY factors other than carb counting and the appropriate level of insulin, is helpful to know.  These other factors are impossible to “manage”:  stress, exercise, activity levels, growth, etc.

What I THOUGHT was meant by “the Honeymoon Phase” was that she and we, were learning how to manage and cope with diabetes and that at some point things would level out.  What THEY meant  by “the Honeymoon Phase” was a period of time (no one really can predict how long it will be for each child) when their last remaining beta cells are still producing small amounts of insulin, thus helping the insulin you are already giving them to maintain the blood sugar levels where they need to be.  Coming OUT of this “honeymoon” means that she no longer has any insulin being produced and we are now operating solely on the insulin we give her and counting carbs and trying to think like a pancreas…WAAAAHHHHHH!!! (picture here a roller coaster of the wildest kind!)

So we are getting very familiar with lows…sugar levels diving under 80…and highs…sugar levels spiking up into the upper 200’s and low 300’s.  We are getting familiar with smarties and juice.  Two packages of smarties are a fast-acting carb that brings her back up to a healthier level where she isn’t weak, shaky, and about to keel over.  Small juice boxes (I found the perfect carb count-15 g- at Walmart!) are great too!  It’s just so odd to actually HAVE to give your child sugar, when you’ve tried to foster in her a good sense of taking care of your teeth, your sugar intake, etc.  It all goes out the window when you’re experiencing a low.  At that point you are giving candy to your child hand-over-fist to get sugar in her.

Sometimes she’s too low to go to sleep at night and we have to give her snacks with carbs right before going to bed.  This was NOT a habit of ours prior to diabetes!  Now, we say what a lucky kid she is…to be able to eat yogurt, or granola bars, or ice cream right before going to bed!!

Perhaps there ARE some perks for her even if the honeymoon’s over.

0 thoughts on “Honeymoon Over…

  1. A.T. says:

    Thinking of you! We’ve switched from smarties to the Glucose Tabs (1 or 2 tabs depending on how low Claire is.) Wal-Mart has the best selection, Claire loves Green Apple and Watermelon. She doesn’t seem to spike very high afterwards with the Glucose Tabs, and they act fast!

  2. ellen says:

    Thinking of you all Jennifer.
    Fantastic painting–you’ll have to take all of these and make an early Maddie scrapbook.

  3. Sandi says:

    I wish you all the best. The learning curve is steep and never stops. My husband was a Type 2 and he found it extremely difficult to recognize the symptoms of either high or low blood sugar levels – others who understood Diabetes would have to alert him. I made sure that he always had glucose tablets with him and (pre-injection days) when we traveled I always brought along protien/carb snacks. Good Luck!

  4. donna noble says:

    I am glad you are stressing the “positives” like ice cream before bed. Being able to see the good stuff is an important skill when living with a chronic condition. And for everyone else too!

    And the painting rocks too.

  5. ffyrebird says:

    I love your painting style and this is another wonderful example! I am so sorry your family has to go through this struggle, but you are to be commended for dealing with it in such a positive way. Maddie is very lucky to have a mom like you.

  6. Johanna says:

    Thank you for sharing! I think of you sometimes, it must be difficult and strange for all of you as a family, and for your daughter. And I still think that you will make it through, and that your daughter will be just fine and be able to live a good life thanks to you and you fantastic attitude in all of this! And ice cream before bed isn’t too bad either 😉

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