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Living with Type 1 Diabetes

Discussion in 'Parents of College Kids and Young Adults with Type' started by Ellen, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. Ellen

    Ellen Senior Member

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    Living with Type 1 Diabetes

    by knzhunter
    Posted: Thu., April 17, 2008, 10:51 am


    Topics: Diabetes, Diagnosis, growing up with a chronic illness
    For the past twelve years of my life, I have been privileged to have a great family, a stable support network of friends, and many opportunities to succeed at anything I want to pursue. However, there has always been one thing that I can’t change in my life, no matter how many great things have happened: the fact that I have type 1, or juvenile diabetes.
    Diabetes is a chronic illness that affects almost 2 million Americans. In a diabetic’s body, the pancreas produces little or no insulin, causing glucose in the blood to go up and down depending on food intake and exercise levels. This disease has no cure, and cannot be avoided by taking preventive action, making it a difficult illness to live with for many people.
    In my case, I was diagnosed when I was six years old when I visited the doctor for a cold. Next thing I knew, I was in the Emergency Room and after that, the children’s hospital for about a week learning anything and everything about how to live with diabetes. After being diagnosed, my life changed a lot.
    As a child, diabetes was “not really my problem.” To me, it was just a part of life. I woke up a half hour earlier than necessary to take a shot each day, I measured carbohydrates and serving sizes at each meal, and ate two cookies with one cup of milk before bed every night to stabilize my blood sugar.
    As a teenager, I knew that taking care of my diabetes took priority, just like grades in school. I was just a normal teenager. However, things did not go right for me all the time. I had my share of high and low blood sugars, and was sometimes unable to help myself. When my blood sugar went low or high, I appeared physically paralyzed, but mentally, my mind would be moving at 1,000 miles per hour. It was hard to not be able to get myself apple juice when my blood sugar was low, or be so violently ill from high blood sugar that all I could do was sleep from exhaustion. These were extreme circumstances, but that didn’t make them any less frightening.
    Although I had bad days, I was one of the lucky ones. Like I said, I have a fantastic family and supportive friends that really support me. I am also lucky to have health insurance and a doctor that specializes in diabetes care. While home from college this past March, I visited my endocrinologist for a routine check up (checking my meter, basil rates, weight, and making sure I could still feel my toes – routine, right?). One of the first questions he asked was how many visits to the hospital I had in the past semester, my first semester of college. I looked at him in surprise because the only time I had been to the hospital for something related to diabetes was the very first time, when I was six years old. So, I told him, “umm, none. Why?” What he said shocked me: usually, a diabetic will have four emergency room visits in their first semester of college.
    Although I have been affected by this disease, I have also been responsible and in control of this disease so that I can enjoy the many other diverse parts of my life. Just because I have to live with diabetes doesn’t mean that it has to control me.
    If you would like more information, or have any questions for Kendsie, please email her at klh031@drake.edu

    http://empowher.com/community/blog/knzhunter/08/04/17/living-with-type-1-diabetes
     
  2. OSUMom

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    Wow that really shocks me too! I'm not really sure I believe it. :confused:
     
  3. Anne

    Anne Approved members

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    Thanks for posting Ellen.

    My son is still in high school but I have heard about someone whose roommates would call the EMTs at least once a semester.
    I thought that was one too many times but four times! :eek:
    I know it is probably one of those YDMV things, but does 4 ER visits a semester seem reasonable to those of you with college students?

    Anne

    (p.s. Hope it is ok for me to post on here as we will begin the college search soon and I am wondering if I should put any geographic limits on it in case of this many emergencies!)
     
  4. PattyR

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    I am surprised by that number. My daughter was dx while in college and that has been her only ER visit. Can you hear me knocking on wood????
     
  5. faithe113001

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    As a college student, that seems unreasonable to me! I just finished by second semester, and have never had an ER visit.
     
  6. livacreature

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    Wow, I'm graduating...haven't been to the hospital since diagnosis...4 times is a lot. I know a ton of diabetic college students, and MAYBE once. I'd like to know the true source for that number.
     
  7. Richard157

    Richard157 Approved members

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    Thanks for your post Ellen. I was a college student for 6 years and never went to the ER during that time. I went when in the 8'th grade because my parents had stopped giving me insulin while I was sick in bed and could not eat anything. I went the second time after I was teaching and had a terrible hypo during the night (mid 1980's). Those are the only two times in my 62 years of type 1. I think that doctor was incorrect about 4 times to the ER during the first semester in college. I have heard docs make incorrect statements many times. Are you a college student too? I am a retired college teacher. I had many diabetics during my 34 years of teaching. I was very understanding and lenient with them. There were times when I think they took advantage of me. I laugh about that every time I think about it! LOL!

    Richard
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2008
  8. OSUMom

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    Better to error on that side of being taken advantage of I think Richard. You sound like you were a very cool teacher! My son's professors don't even know he has type 1 diabetes. He was part of a college article on diabetes in the school newspaper. http://media.www.thelantern.com/med...pus/Students.Cope.With.Diabetes-3072076.shtml
     
  9. TheFormerLantusFiend

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    I know two other diabetics here at my college, and the other two have worse control, and I'm the only one of the three of us who's been hospitalized since starting college- and my hospitalization was because I was diagnosed during my sophomore year, in moderate DKA.
     
  10. funnygrl

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    I had a single ER visit my first semester of college- for an asthma attack.
     
  11. Wendy12571

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    Hi Everyone,
    I GRADUATED College. In a total of 8 semesters and NEVER had to go to the ER. I have type 1. I had a friend whose daughter, also with type 1. She NEVER had to go to the ER for a D related emergency. ONLY reason for going to ER was a bladder infection hitting LATE on a SATURDAY night.
     
  12. Jessesmom

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    The number of visits to the ER doesn't surprise me. There are diabetics who are keenly on top of their condition, and there are others who get lost in the fog of the moment (video games, AIM, playing around, computer, etc.). I worry about my son, a high school junior. I worry because in order for him to consistently monitor and adjust his blood sugar, I've got to be the Bad Cop.

    Over the years, we've given him more leeway and independence, but each time we do, we find his numbers are in the stratosphere: days in the 400's or days on end where segments of his day are HI. When I ask, "How is your blood glucose?", the response - regardless of the reality - will frequently be, "Fine."

    I'm on top of this young man....organizing his supplies because he's not keen on doing it himself. Last night I discovered that midway through the month, we've got all three remaining bottles of Novolog open at the same time ("I couldn't find the other one, so I opened a new bottle.") Or losing a meter. Or finding that there's very little insulin left in the cartridge only when the glucose reading is discovered to be sky high.

    We've had a great 504 plan since diagnosis when he was 11, yet he'll often take the test without checking.

    Maturity issues? Gosh, I hope so. If that's the case, he can be expected to outgrow it.

    What I wouldn't give to swap the disease with him. I far more frequently think about controlling the disorder (checking bg, checking cartridge, sniffing site for leaking insulin, When In Doubt Changing It Out, carb counting, bolusing, etc., etc., etc.) than he does. I no doubt annoy the heck out of him with my constant, "what's your bg?"

    As an aside, our son uses a pump but gives himself an injection of Lantus at night, so that his glucose reading in the morning is not HI from the cat pulling out the tubing or some such other calamity that used to plague him. The Lantus has limited the amount of days when he's late to school, but not eliminated them. Right now, for instance, he's in the 400's after waking up two hours ago in the high 300's. He's taken injections, changed out his site, tubing, cartridge, insulin....he's drinking water, bolusing, and yet the number's not changing much. He's riding the recumbent bicycle as I type, trying to get the glucose numbers going the other direction. I can't send him in to school when he's that high because the school wants to see him descending, not continuing to rise. My co-workers, who take time off for all myriad of issues, don't quite understand why my son's blood glucose will sometimes be a morning lateness issue for him, and subsequently for me. Hopefully, in another half an hour, with all of the boluses and temporary basals, exercise and whatnot, he'll be on the descending side, and I can get him to school and myself to work. The last thing I want is to drop him off at school for them to call me a half an hour later to come get him, 20 miles in the other direction.

    Are we an unusual case? Am I handling things incorrectly?

    He regularly visits his endo at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia Pres in NY. It's not like we're ignoring the condition. The doc, of course, recommends that he check himself regularly, and adjust accordingly. Right now, I'm hoping that at some point things will click. My other hope is the even bigger one: that there will be some freaking cure found for this disease!

    Since diagnosis, we've kept him out of the emergency room, but on his own...? I'm not so certain. I worry about college. Alot. I've been mulling the idea of his going to a local community or junior college so that he'll be more carefully monitored, but on so many levels that seems a wrongheaded idea.

    When first diagnosed, and when I was in total control of the condition, his A1C's hovered in the 6.0 range. I'm not kidding. Now? We're lucky to see an 8.0. This past year he was in the 9.0's

    I can't express clearly enough how much I wish my son had the drive to monitor himself as closely as the young people posting their positive stories on this thread.

    Four visits to the ER during the first year of college? Though it pains me to say it, for some, I don't have much problem believing it.
     
  13. funnygrl

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    I had 1 ER visit my first semester of college. For an asthma attack.

    I had 5 ER visits my whole college career. 2 for asthma, 1 for being thrown off a horse, 2 for nausea/vomiting (the second of which was complicated by diabetes). I was admitted for the 2 nausea ones, and for none of the other ones.
     
  14. OSUMom

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    It's possible to do all these things. My son is well rounded - or perhaps one wouldn't call it that. ;) Yesterday he went back to his college house from a mock interview with Abbott Laboratories and relaxed playing video games for an hour before going to his next business management class. Our kids need to be well-balanced. They have a lot to deal with... sometimes the fog of the moment is good for their emotional health. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2009

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