Tag Archives: parents of type 1 diabetes

Walk a mile in our shoes…..

Diabetes Blog Week

This week is Diabetes blog week. This runs between Monday 16th to Friday 20th 2016. The aim is I & hundreds of other bloggers of all things diabetes write blogs every day about certain topics.

“Lets kick off the week by talking about why we are here, in the diabetes blog space. What is the most important diabetes awareness message to you? Why is that message important for you, and what are you trying to accomplish by sharing it on your blog?”

So where do I start there are many important messages and issues that I would like to get across in my blog. I guess for me its getting people to understand the complexity of living with the condition and for people to stop commenting on all things type 1 when you haven’t lived with it or chosen to walk a mile in Arlo’s shoes or our shoes.

We’ve learnt to adjust and live with type 1 diabetes from the outside looking in we majke it look easy . What I have found the most difficult to adjust to is people’s attitudes and comment’s to type 1 diabetes. From work colleagues , children in playgrounds , family members,&  best friends we’ve  learnt  to bite tongue’s, take a deep breathe and move on.

An example of this happened a couple of weeks ago when I was on a course at work .

The subject of kids came up and then I mentioned Arlo.  One of the girls I was talking to started talking about diabetes wanting to know the symptoms were as she was concerned that her son may have it. She then turned around and said:

“Well you know I was worried for a bit but then I thought my son is fit, healthy , doesn’t get ill, not overweight and doesn’t eat sweets or drink fizzy drinks so you know he can’t have it.”

I was gobsmacked but not surprised  this isn’t the first time I had heard words to this effect.   It does happen people can say some very hurtful things without actually realising they are being hurtful.  I can understand it’s not everyday you have to deal with type 1 diabetes and with campaigns such as Jamie Oliver’s or TV programmes citing that sweets and diet give you diabetes you are going to have raise your own awareness and try to not get angry.

Since Arlo was diagnosed our support  network of friends  has reduced considerably and where I was once a social butterfly with Arlo flying around seeing and meeting new people we now tend to stick to a very tight knit circle of friends who have been there with us from the outset  and have walked a mile in Arlo’s shoes and mine. Arlo needs to be around people he can trust, is comfortable with and can speak to at any time If I am not around. Arlo also just wants to be normal. I am at my most proudest with Arlo when I hear him talking to other children in parks. He gets stared at and he knows this, he tells me so. Some children are brave enough to ask him what he has sticking out of his arm or want to know what the tubing is Arlo tells them he is like Iron Man, the children listen with an unsure look on their face. Some kids have tried to kick him where the pump is and others have tried to hit his arm where the cannula is .Thankfully not a lot but enough for Arlo to tell us about it, the look of shock on our faces says it all . Arlo simply shrugs his shoulders and happily says “Its ok mummy I just tell them I have diabetes and I’m iron man or its my phone !! ”

I started off at the beginning of this post saying the most important thing to us was changing peoples attitudes , raising awareness amongst friends. That’s not entirely true I want Arlo to have to continue having a  positive attitude to everything and not just type 1 diabetes. I want him to continue talking to us about what makes him happy, sad & what makes him laugh or cry. Above all I want Arlo to read this blog when he is older and say to himself.

“Yeah I got type 1 diabetes but I had a really happy time as a kid.”

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Hyper Ballad

Its been a week of hypers, hypos, new pumps and sick bugs in the Peace household. Its been a tough week for all of us. The sick bug hit us Thursday evening and terrified us all when Arlo’s levels dropped low and were dropping instead of going up. We didn’t know what to do, we had read the sick day rules had the plan but when it came to it we all just stared at each waiting for someone to shake us and tell us what to do. That happened in the shape of  our Diabetic Nurse. Over the phone she told us what we needed to do, what to do if it all went tits up and ended  with saying “I’m keeping my phone on all night call me or the hospital at any time, you can do this!”

We did we survived the first night, without a hospital admission. Arlo spoke first, “Mummy we didn’t go to hospital!” then Chris spoke ” Well we did it, at least we know what to expect now, that’s that first out of the way.”

We did do it we were not quite out of the woods and didn’t come out of it unscathed. Arlo’s poor finger tips were covered in small blood blisters,  he now screamed ouch when we did a finger prick test due to having so many tests carried out during the night with the sick bug. Our heads hurt trying to work out where we were at with the pump, the insulin and the sick day rules.

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Hopefully next time we would be more on it and less terrified. A text from Penny who had years of experience being a parent of a type 1  made me think that all is ok and that it does get easier.

When things get a bit tough I  find myself listening to a lot of Bjork and Tori Amos. This week a little sleep deprived, fed up and angry at diabetes for what  Arlo had to go through the last week. I found myself listening to one of my favourite songs  Bjork Hyper Ballard the Brodsky Quartet Version. I found myself sobbing whilst listening to the lyrics. They seemed to be quite fitting to how I was feeling now and for the past 6 months.

We had survived the first blip but sadness and anger filled me knowing that this wouldn’t be the last time Arlo had to endure an illness and that there were going to many other firsts to get over.

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Hyper Ballad
Bjork 1995

we live on a mountain
right at the top
there’s a beautiful view
from the top of the mountain
every morning i walk towards the edge
and throw little things off
like:
car-parts, bottles and cutlery
or whatever i find lying around

it’s become a habit
a way
to start the day

i go through this
before you wake up
so i can feel happier
to be safe up here with you

it’s real early morning
no-one is awake
i’m back at my cliff
still throwing things off
i listen to the sounds they make
on their way down
i follow with my eyes ’til they crash
imagine what my body would sound like
slamming against those rocks

and when it lands
will my eyes
be closed or open?

i’ll go through all this
before you wake up
so i can feel happier  to be safe up here with you

Set change or Sewing?

 

Until today set changes for the insulin pump would be up there as one of the most stressful activities of my week. That is until I finally got round to sewing the badges on Arlo’s beaver jumper. It has been a task that I have put off.  Each week we would  get to Monday Beavers club and each Monday at five pm I would look at Arlo’s badge free Beaver jumper, pull a face, mumble a swear word and send a memo to myself to sew them on for next week. Here we are at Sunday and his jumper is still badge free! Off to mums I grabbed the badges and the jumper and thought how hard it can be I can sew them in the car or at my mums…..

Beaver Uniform v5

HOW WRONG WAS I!!!!

Firstly said badges need to be placed and sewn in a certain place on the jumper. I clearly can’t sew as three hours later and a lot of swear words mumbled I had rather badly managed to sew on only four badges! Those three hours included me sewing the arms together and then having to unpick it, and then putting the badges on the wrong arm! Then there is the fiddly tiny badges you need to sew on. At one point I could be heard saying to Arlo “Is Beavers something you really want to do?” Doing a quick google of the amount of badges that one can actually collect I started to hyperventilate at my future of sewing badges. I did ring my friend to ask if there was some secret Beaver badge tip that we were not privy to being the newbies. Sadly she replied no it’s sew or nothing!

Medtronic-Mio-Infusion-set-1I can do finger prick tests on Arlo, changes his cannulas and fix his pump. I have worked in some stressful and difficult times as a nurse and in all these situations have remained calm. So why is the task of Sewing badges onto a jumper in a neat not wonky but correct way starting to feel more stressful than insulin pump set changes and finger prick testing in the dark at 2am! It was also taken a lot longer.

All done and feeling relived and proud that I had completed task  all without asking Mum to do it. I wasn’t expecting that the next day when Arlo all dressed and ready to go to Beavers that Chris would turn around and say “Would you be offended if I took some of them off and asked my mum to sew them!!”

“No! Of course not.” I Said through gritted teeth.

Until they invent iron On Beaver Badges I’m leaving all beaver Badge duties to the experts i.e. our mums!

 

 

 


 

 

 

Six Months ….

 

It’s now been six months since that awful day back in September 2015.

A lot has changed since then. It’s been a week of reflection, tears, anger and smiles as we look back on how things have changed for us in six months. We’ve learnt a lot since type 1 diabetes joined our family about ourselves, diabetes and life some good, some bad….

 

  1. It doesn’t get easier as time goes on:

Type 1 diabetes in children changes daily. You can never predict when it’s going to happen or what is going to happen. After a night of testing you wake up and analyse your data go over the carbs, food for the previous day, wonder if you did something wrong or if illness played a part. The truth is that’s just diabetes and it will never settle.

 

  1. Pumps are not the cure of diabetes:

You develop a love hate relationship with the insulin pump. Its function is to keep Arlo alive and drip insulin into his body twenty four hours a day. It stops the need for injections up to four to six times a day, and it stops Arlo legs getting infected injected sites. It doesn’t stop type one being there and it doesn’t let you forget. Watching your child play and catching a glimpse of the tubing or pump, catching the eye of a parent or child wondering what is wrong that child is heart-breaking.

 

  1. Arlo is a pretty amazing person:

I make no apologies for gushing about how truly amazing Arlo is on a daily basis. We like every other parent used to fret about his behaviour, his hatred of doing homework, was he behind at school?  None of that matters now. Arlo has had to battle and deal with “grown up shit!” On a daily basis with his diabetes. He takes cannula changes and finger prick testing in his stride, he hates doing it but knows he has to. He knows now that if his levels are too low or too high come bedtime that we will be doing night testing. Arlo says that hypos feel like “I’ve got no bones in my body” and hypers feel like “I’ve got loads of gasses trying to escape from by body and all I can is run around and be manic to get them out!!”   He hates being called brave. When he is having a really bad day he sobs “it’s so hard being brave all the time mummy!” He inspires us every day.

  1. You have to let go:

Every day I want to keep Arlo at home to protect him. Every day we want to stay in our Peace bubble. But instead every day we put on our smiles and let Arlo know that everything is ok.  Arlo is bought up to be social, and to know that there is a whole world out there that is filled with family, friends and adventures. We say to him every day you can do whatever you want yet sometimes in the past six months we’ve not neseccarry been true to our word. Type 1 wasn’t part of the plan, neither was bringing up our boy in an environment where we constantly kept saying you can’t do that or having one of us constantly there to watch him when he was at afterschool clubs or parties. So little by little we’ve learnt to let go and trust Arlo & the people he is with.

  1. What matters is your health, family & friends :

Nothing else matters in the grand scheme of things. Since type 1 diabetes we have both left our jobs in London for jobs 10 mins away from where we live. We are close by to the school, and to Arlo when he is on play dates and we now spend most evenings eating dinner at the kitchen table the three of us at a reasonable time. We may not be earning big bucks but we are here for Arlo. We are despite everything very happy and ironically have found a much healthier, happier work life balance since type 1 diabetes came into our lives.

  1. There is Never a high five moment :

if you are lucky you may get a whole three days where levels have been good, carbs have been kind and you’ve not had to night but just as your about to high five and give yourself a pat on the back, sigh a big breath of relief something will happen and levels will go sky high or too low that dinner from two days ago that gave you perfect levels before and after is now making the levels go sky high.  Half an hour of PE doesn’t affect the levels that much last week but this week you’re having hypos for 8 hours no matter how much insulin you’ve given. A cut to knee, a cold with a slight temp … yep you’ve guessed it back to square one. Growth hormones that list is endless. When you’ve racked your brains as to why this has happened, you’ve gone through the list in your heard, panicked called Mrs L the diabetic nurse and Penny you have to come to the conclusion that this is diabetes and without no rhyme or reason it can change just like that.

  1. You become experts at making it look easy:

Every single waking moment we are always five steps ahead of type 1 diabetes. I’ve predicted and planned for the occasions where there may be food, the treats come out on playdates. The stares from other as we do levels and pump. The comments that you learn not to get angry about because people are not unkind they are inquisitive.  It is now an activity of normal daily living for us and even though we make it look easy it’s not.

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