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Type 1 Diabetes

I hate to try and fit Type 1 Diabetes in a box, because each person has their own journey, symptoms, and feelings about it.  It has been over a year now, and I feel compelled to speak out about what I have learned while dealing with my 8 year old daughter's type 1 diabetes.        
Mackenzie right before diagnosis. 2010
     At first diagnosis I was shocked and knew nothing about this condition.  Notice I say condition, not disease.  I feel Type 1 is a way of life now, not a death sentence.  A year ago my daughter was wasting away, she lost so much weight, was severely dehydrated, and almost slipped into a coma.  Her blood sugar upon admittance to the hospital was over 600, the meter couldn't read past that number.  She was in the hospital for 3 days, and we were discharged on Christmas Eve. 
Mackenzie in the hospital on Christmas Eve.
     We went home with a promise of going to Children's Hospital to learn how to deal with this condition. Three days on our own (because of the Christmas holiday) would have completely wrecked us.  A family, who has a type 1 diabetic son came along side us the day after we got home from the hospital, and walked us through everything, and I mean EVERYTHING.  This family saved my life, their support, understanding, and knowledge was the game changer.
Glucose monitor, lancer, syringes, insulin, and test strips.
       My husband and I read books, talked to doctors, and friends who also have type 1.  It was overwhelming but manageable.  We went through a total life change.  We decided to go gluten free after following some research that made some great points about gluten sensitivities and type 1.
     Carb counting consumes my life, meals and food preparation are half of my day.  Looking back over this past year I can see how much I have learned.   When I bake I have to measure out ingredients by the gram and then calculate how many carbs are in that measurement.  I have found that packages aren't necessarily true in their carb counts/serving sizes.  Math isn't my strong point, and that is even an understatement.  I have a loving relationship with my calculator, and am getting better at math. 
Weighing out ingredients by the gram.
      As I look back at what I have learned the most this past year, I would have to say....... the relationship of food and insulin needs has taught me the most.  For my daughter potatoes send her on an elevator to super high blood sugar numbers.  Beans send her on a roller coaster of lows then highs three to four hours later.  Any meal that consists mostly of fat will send her into the high numbers three hours later when her short acting insulin has timed out.  I have learned to balance out certain foods, avoid others, and plan for patterns. Whenever a new food is introduced I have to watch her like a hawk.  Who knows how her body will react.

      I have gotten a lot of eye rolls, and concern over how we manage Mackenzie.  Some may feel that we are too obsessed with management. It is a huge task to maintain an average blood sugar of 120-150. I see excellent health in her future because of our diligence.  Mackenzie is very involved in the process, and takes a lot of the blood sugar testing on herself. She doesn't want to take it all on, she wants to be a carefree kid a little longer, and I respect that. This is all consuming for our family, but what health concern isn't?   We continue to pray for advancement in the cure, and new management tools for Type 1 Diabetes.  Who knows God could bless us with a healing, miracles still happen!
Mackenzie one year after diagnosis, age 9, 2011

Psalms 31: 24  Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart,  all you who hope in the Lord. 

Mackenzie at 11 years old in, 2014