Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Guest Blogger: Dawn Haddad

February's guest blogger is a very important person to me: my sister. She is also Laila's aunt, and Godmother. Here is a letter she wrote to Laila. Grab a tissue.

Dear Laila,

When I think about you, the first thing I think about is your smile. Not your diabetes.

You are a daughter, sister, friend, student, neighbor, niece, dancer, cheerleader, blogger, and many other wonderful things. You are also a diabetic. To me, you are my Godchild.

When your mom asked me to be your Godmother, I was SO excited. I knew from the moment you were born that you were a special little girl. I am enjoying watching you grow up. You are so smart, strong, and especially brave.

You are a role model for other kids with diabetes because you prove that you can do ANYTHING! You love to help your mom in the kitchen when she bakes. You love dance class and cheerleading. You are a great reader. You know the words AND movements to Backstreet Boys’, " I Want it that Way”. You are a kind and caring friend. YOU are just like any other kid. Except that you need to poke your finger sometimes, count carbs, and wear an insulin pump.

You have taught me to not be afraid of needles. You even let ME give you a shot once. I was so nervous, but you helped me to feel brave. You have taught me about diabetes…what it is, and what it isn’t. And I have learned a lot. Diabetes IS something that you have to live with each day of your life. You have learned how to read your body’s signals. You have learned how to take extra good care of yourself. You know more about science and biology and nutrition than most adults, because you have to know how your body works. Diabetes ISN’T something you can see just by looking at you. It isn’t something that will make you stop having fun. It’s just one part of your life. One big part, but not the most important part. The most important part is your beautiful smile, because YOU are Laila. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

A1C= 8.3%

Yesterday was another routine endo visit, another long trip to the hospital in Phoenix, another missed day of school, and another finger poke. Typically, I cringe when I see the date pop up on the calendar, Laila absolutely hates going, and I hate seeing her behave the way she does. It's not the finger poke that scares her, it's the small stuff that stresses her out: wearing the bracelet, standing on the scale, letting them measure her height, and taking her blood pressure. The simple, harmless little things cause her to spiral into a downward tizzy. It's ridiculous.

I'm proud to say, yesterday went much better than expected. The entire family loads up to go with Laila, it's usually an all-day event, and we are all there with her during the dreaded check-in process. I'm not sure if it was the promises of an amazing surprise afterwards, or Kenadi and Dustin going through the motions with her, but Laila did exceptionally well! She put up little resistance, and was even talkative with the doctor!

Each visit brings me anxiety, I'm always nervous not just about how the kids behave, but about every little last detail. Each high number brings a pit to the bottom of my stomach, each injection site that doesn't look just right the next day, every time we go too long without checking, I'm always afraid I'm harming her, and her life is truly in my hands. The biggest stress for me this visit was the result of the dreaded A1C test. If you're unfamiliar, it's basically a blood glucose test that gives you an average reading for the previous 3 months. At the date of her diagnosis, Laila's A1C was over 14%, which means her average sugar for the past 3 months was at least 360, if not higher. Her current number was 8.3%, which puts her average reading for the past 3 months at 192! It's a little higher than most diabetics that have been managing longer, but much better than where she's been. As we work toward a lower number, we will continue to adjust her rates and ratios. Her "goal zone" is 150-180 for her daily testing, we allow a little higher at night to prevent overnight lows, and never allow her to go to bed below 130.

With the insulin pump, Laila has a constant stream of insulin called a "basal", this can be adjusted and broken down to different rates for different times of the day. We have had her at a single rate up until now, yesterday, after reviewing her daily numbers, a few adjustments have been made. Her pump also has a "bolus wizard", which determines the amount of insulin she receives each time she checks her sugar or eats. Her afternoon/lunchtime numbers have been on the higher side, so we changed one of those settings as well. In the morning she will now receive more insulin for anything she eats in the mornings, and the same amount as before for the rest of the day. These little changes have already proven to work well, she had excellent numbers all day, not a single one above her "goal zone"!

I feel as though it's my job to educate, answer questions, and promote diabetes management. Laila's not old enough to advocate for herself yet, so it falls on my shoulders. I hope this blog is reaching those who need the support, the reminder they're not alone, and a normal, healthy life is possible with diabetes.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for supporting us!