Diapers, Drop-offs, Dancing… and Diabetes

Somewhere in-between putting on her super-hero cape in the morning and changing her reservoir late at night, Regina stops to take a breath. Registered Dietitian, Serving up Diabetes blogger, and living with type 1 diabetes for over 24 years, Regina shares her insight what it’s like to juggle good diabetes management amongst a full time job, busy toddler, husband, family, friends, and personal health. Can you relate? Let us know in the comments below!

Any mother from any generation will probably say that they deserve an award. We are all super-heroes in our own way. For those of us with diabetes, being a mother (and a wife), who carries more than the weight of the grocery list on their shoulders, is often completely over-looked. I am a perfectionist. Having been diagnosed 24 years ago, at the age of 9, I truly believe has shaped all of my high-strung, type-A behaviors that make up my Tasmanian devil-like behavior as an adult. When you are forced to come to terms with a chronic disease you will live with the rest of your life, what choice do you have? There are so many days that you just can’t control your blood sugars, no matter how perfectly you count your carbs, or how many times you check your blood sugar. Sometimes life just happens and doesn’t play nice with diabetes.

When I decided to become a mother, I wanted to plan well in advance for the daunting task of chasing down the perfect A1C for the best outcomes. What you forget about, amongst all the endo appointments, prescription refills, and sensor site changes, is that after that baby comes, your diabetes will be in constant competition for attention with an incredibly adorable and high-maintenance tiny person.

How do I, or anyone in my shoes for that matter, fit in diabetes management, a full time job, a busy toddler, a husband who is as needy a toddler, family/friends, personal health, and a second to relax? I still don’t know how it all gets done, and frankly, I am in awe of those who do it with multiple children and diabetes! We make it look easy. No one, including our spouses, sees through our tough exterior to the person who is trying so hard to not only contribute to the household and attempt to actually enjoy the fleeting moments in life, but who is also trying so hard, and some days feels like she has failed herself and those around her with poor diabetes control.

I try to go easy on myself, for those days when maybe I can only check my blood sugar four times, instead of the usual eight, that I desire for better control. I try not to beat myself up when I take a quick manual bolus when I know I should take a second to just count my carbs correctly and use my Bolus Wizard to avoid a low or a high while I am trying to put my baby to sleep. What keeps me motivated to always do better is to know that as much as my little family needs me now, they will always need me in some way, and wanting to be a healthy role model for my daughter is the best motivation I can have.

Here are 5 things I do to make the best attempt at managing my diabetes while trying to soothe boo- boos, bake, or do my banking:

1. I always try to keep a package of glucose tabs and/or juice boxes in my car and in the diaper bag at ALL times. Lows are NEVER convenient when they happen, and being alone with my child without anything to treat the low is not just unfortunate, it’s irresponsible of me.

2. I try to keep low blood sugar supplies next to the bath tub. My husband travels for work, and so for all those times when I am a “single mother”, I can’t tell you how many times a low has snuck up on me during tubby time with my daughter. Wearing my CGM sensor as often as I can helps greatly with avoiding these situations.

3. I always have a vial of insulin and pump supplies both in my kitchen and in my bedroom. Having a low reservoir alarm right before I fall into exhaustion in my bed at night or in the middle of dinner time are more annoying than the blood stains from the test strips at the bottom of my purse.

*Note that any insulin left out at room temp for over 30 days should be discarded, so make sure to switch those spare vials out that you have as part of your emergency stash. Check with your individual insulin manufacturer for the complete details.

4. Next to the diaper caddy, I have glucose tabs for those frustrating situations when my daughter is thrashing on the diaper changing table, I am low, and there is no one there to bring me juice.

5. In my jacket pocket (of a few of my jackets) are glucose tabs or some sort of candy with fast-acting carbs for the times when I drop my daughter off at daycare and get caught up in a conversation with a teacher or friend, or removing the clinging cutie from my leg, and a low creeps up out of nowhere, because I bolused for the English muffin, but never actually had time to eat it.

The times that I enjoy the most are when my toddler wants to dance after we eat dinner, and she asks for Jamming (Bob Marley), or Jet Plane (John Denver), just to name a couple of her favorites. I am swinging her around. She is laughing and moving her shoulders in a hysterical way that only a mother could love, and the low hits. Doesn’t it always hit at the most precious moments?

I try to move with the beat of the music into the kitchen, my daughter (who is learning to talk a rapid rate) says, “Again, dance mommy?” and I say, “Mommy doesn’t feel good”. Like a little robot, she firmly states, “Mommy’s juice”, as she patiently waits for me to finish my adult juice box. Because she sees me do it enough, she already knows, before she can even count to 15, that mommy sometimes needs to take a break, even if she only gives me until the chorus kicks in.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

– Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems.

– Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.

Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps

– Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day.

– Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.

For more information, please visit: www.medtronicdiabetes.com/important-safety-information.

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