Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Terrible Awful of Diabetes

This is the last day of Diabetes Awareness Month.  I'm sure I haven't shared everything about diabetes this month, but I've really tried through my blog and facebook to give an overview anyway.  My blog isn't a diabetes blog, but b/c it is such a huge part of our lives I will continue to share things occasionally.

I have saved the worst for last.

Diabetes can be a deadly disease.  There are 2 extremes w/ diabetes.  The highs which cause long term damage...and the lows which can cause death.  We have seen Suzannah go from fine to about to pass out in a matter of 15 minutes!!!!!  And because so many things affect blood sugar there is no way to prevent this.  Thank God Suzannah is incredibly in tune w/ her body.  There are many children that end up in the ER from diabetic seizures on a regular basis.  Our goal is to NEVER have to do this!

When Suzannah gets very low she has trouble thinking, speaking and walking.  When this happens it is imperative that we give her something w/ sugar to bring her blood glucose up quickly.  Chocolate, cookies, cake all have lots of sugar but not the quick kind that would help her.    Juice and soda pop are the two best things to bring her up as quick as possible.

Sometimes when someone gets low they are very uncooperative. There have been several times where Billy and I have had to literally pour juice all over Suzannah in hopes that some would get in her mouth b/c she was unwilling to drink .  The worst is when we have to get her up from a deep sleep to treat a low.  Imagine US being woken up in the middle of the night and forced to drink orange juice!!  Not pleasant.  But, it's amazing how quickly they improve.  It may take several minutes b/f they are back to normal, but you can SEE them come back!

Thankfully we have never had a low that we couldn't treat, but we have been trained and are prepared for one just in case.  Suzannah always carries this w/ her no matter where she goes:

This is her Glucagon.  We call it her "Fire Extinguisher".  This is the one tool that could save her life.  Just typing about this makes my chest tight and my eyes watery.  If she were to ever "bottom out" and go into a diabetic seizure this is what we MUST have and have the courage and clarity of mind to use!

The needle would best be described as a harpoon.  So to be able to stab that into your baby requires a Goliath amount of courage.  But before that, the fluid in the harpoon syringe must be injected into the vial of powdered glucose and shaken to combine.  Then the needle inserted into the vial to draw up them mixture to half way.  I don't know if you have ever been in a terrifying situation, but I personally shake.  It is VERY difficult to insert a needle into a vial when you are shaking that badly.  Not to mention that your child convulsing on the floor could slip into a coma which you know "coma survival rates are 50 percent or less, and less than 10 percent of people who come out of a coma completely recover from it" so THAT is in the back of your mind.  Now you have it drawn up and you're summoning that Goliath sized strength.  Your husband is holding her as still as he can and you are trying to find a good place to stab.  OH, but b/f all of THIS you have to remember to CALL 911!!!!!!  So hopefully by the time you've give her the injection, turned her onto her side (because the injection causes them to vomit) you'll hear the sound of the ambulance.  They will then hook her up to a bag of glucose and rush her to the ER.  

Like I said, thank God we haven't had to go through this, but if ever you judge us for not leaving her more, please understand, she is a BIG responsibility!

So, this is the worst and scariest thing about children w/ diabetes.  Research has made SO many advances and management has gotten so much better.  Diabetes is my other child.  I must be just as aware of it as any of my other children.  It is such a challenge and has changed our lives in ways we will never know, but there is hope.  There are scientists that devote their lives to trying to find a cure and truly they are getting closer!

Thank you for reading all of this.  I know it was a lot and it was heavy.  Thank you for the support and love that so many of you have shown us through these past 5 years.  It means so much.  If you ever feel the compulsion to donate to help find a cure, just go to  God is good...all. the. time.

*Because I don't have time to video Q when she's low, to give you a good idea of what it's like, here's the famous scene from Steele Magnolias.  This is a very accurate depiction of the way a person might act when a low sneaks up on them:

Too Much Insulin

Steel Magnolias


**b/c of research, people w/ diabetes CAN successfully have babies now!!!  :)


Life with the Akin Clan said...

That is the 1st scene that came to mind (Steel Magnolias) when I heard Suzy Q had diabetes. Don't ever feel you are being judged because she can't come over without you. Abi is sad about it but she totally understands. It makes her more sad for Suzy Q! We love you guys and I really appreciate you sharing your heart. My grandfather was a diabetic and I never really thought of the struggles that he went through. This has really opened my eyes.

jennifer said...

Suzannah is such an amazing girl. However I am not surprised because you don't need to look far to find her amazing parents. Love you guys.

Marie said...

Reading this brought tears to my eyes. I remember so many moments growing up when my mother (who has had juvenile diabetes since she was little) would have her low moments. I remember each one to this day. I pray for you all every day- living with this disease, whether you have it or a member of your family has it, is never easy and brings it's own challenges. You and Billy are such a strong parents, and Suzannah is a very courageous young lady. God blessed her with the best parents possible!


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