Well, here it is. My first blog entry. I guess I should start with where my health journey began.
It all started when I was pregnant with my second child. I had developed gestational diabetes. Diabetes! “What is this?”, I thought. I had no idea. I thought it meant no sugar, like desserts or anything sweet. Boy, was I in for a surprise! I had a dear friend who I went to church with at the time who was very helpful in my education of this disease. I remember her and I going through my kitchen looking at the labels of my food. That’s when I discovered what carbs were. I had never really paid attention to those. Maybe I would glance at the fat content but that was the extent of label reading. My how I have changed.
I had to check my blood sugar at least 4 times a day. The health of the little one growing inside of me depended on my maintaining control of my sugars. I also had to give myself shots 4 times a day! Another big thing to grasp. The idea of sticking myself with needle and inflicting a bit of pain was not easy. I felt like a druggie every time I pulled out the needle and stuck it in my thigh. I managed it though.
I had hoped that after the delivery of my son that this aweful disease would disappear just like all of the uncomfortableness of being pregnant. I stopped taking shots after delivery. All seemed to be going well. I was tired but that came with the territory of having a newborn and a 5 year old. I was also thirsty, but that’s because I was nursing, so I thought. It wasn’t untill my Grandma called and asked me how I was doing did I realize that something wasn’t quite right. I had no energy and had a very dry mouth. I put 2 and 2 together and checked my sugars as soon as I hung up. My meter read “HI”! That meant that my sugars were over 500!!
I don’t recall all that happened next for sure. I do remember trying a diabetic pill to see if that would help my sugars stay in range though. I also had a blood test done to check if I had Type 1. The results hit me hard. I was stuck with this disease. A heavy weight had been placed on my shoulders. A life sentence of sorts. I was a Type 1 Diabetic!
Many doctor visits and visits with diabetic educators came after that. I started shots again. Life would never be the same. I had to adjust to a new normal; one with a 5 year old, a baby and a new disease that I didn’t really know enough about.
That was the start of my health journey. It is not how I would have chosen the beginning but God had other plans for me. He has seen me through alot of ups and downs with this disease and continues to do so every day.
The decision to move and to homeschool the kids was made. I prepared and was ready for both challenges. We would be moving into our new house in late fall. For the time being, we were living and doing school in a 32′ camper. An 8th grader, a 5th grader, and a Kindergartener. It was a challenge but we managed. Move-in was right on schedule. Then the ice storm came. That was a mess! After that ordeal life continued on as normal for the next few years. I was managing my diabetes much better and felt pretty good about it. The pump was doing well and I was thankful for it.
Then we had a BIG surprise. We found out that we were expecting…again!! Life as we knew it was about to be turned upside down. After the initial shock, we resumed life as usual. I was going to manage my diet and diabetes much better than the last time. I had a very good OBGYN and was still seeing my endocrinologist, both of which were in the same network and were in communication with each other. Then in late summer, another surprise, my water started leaking. I wasn’t due until mid-December so that wasn’t a good thing. I went to the hospital and was admitted. I stayed for a week and was released with strict guidelines. Upon returning home I took it as easy as I could. Two weeks later my water started leaking again! I packed up for the long haul and headed to the hospital again. This time I was there for 6 weeks!
Life was very challenging for those 6 weeks. My sugars and the baby were kept under strict watch by my doctors. Our oldest took care of and helped the younger two with their school while my husband went to work. I very much dreaded staying there in that room by myself. It was made bearable by getting to have the kids come and stay the night with me. Good friends and family helped me tremendously as I waited patiently for the time to come to meet this new one. Without my faith in God and my loving husband, I would’ve totally lost it.
The day finally came when I could deliver! Six weeks early but I knew that he would be fine. A very tiny baby was placed in my arms on that November day. I felt relief and thankfulness. During all of this, my diabetes was kept under very tight control. I was able to manage it myself and have a very successful pregnancy with no health complications to either of us.
The newest member of the family was around a year old when a change took place in the way I managed my diabetes. A new adventure awaited with an insulin pump! With 3 kids this would be a much easier way to keep it under control. For those of you that don’t know what an insulin pump is I’ll let tell you. A pump is a small computerized medical device that mimics a human pancreas by delivering small doses of short-acting insulin continuously. It also delivers insulin when you eat by way of a bolus. The pump is connected to you by an infusion set that you change every 2-3 days. An insulin pump keeps your sugars in a more normal range. This would take some getting used to but I was up for it.
The new pump came with learning more about nutrition and how my body reacts to foods. My education on how to manage my diabetes continued. I was slowly getting the hang of the pump and was learning more each day. Being type 1 insulin-dependent takes A LOT of work. It’s a 24/7 disease. Each day is a new challenge. Just because something worked one day doesn’t mean it’ll work the next day. Our bodies are a complex system and I was learning just how much so.
Life continued with 3 growing kids. Our 2 oldest kids were in school and I was enjoying life with one at home. All was good. For the next 5 years, life went along at our new normal. Then things started to get stirred up. God was speaking to me about homeschooling the kids. We were also going to be moving. The fun was about to begin!
Fast forward four years. A nine year old, a four year old and a baby on the way! I was in shock to say the least. I knew the complications of being diabetic and pregnant and didn’t want to go through that again. But God knew what he was doing as he always does. The minor details of not having enough room in the house or in the car were on the top of my mind. Needless to say, that would be the least of my concerns soon enough.
I switched doctors so that I could deliver this new little one at the same hospital as the other two. I was still taking four shots a day and trying to manage my diabetes as best as I knew how. Halfway through the pregnancy the complications came. I started retaining a lot of water. I gained 3 pounds in one weekend! My sugars were not under tight control and it was showing. At that point I was sent to a specialist. I was 34 weeks along at that time. The doctor said that I should deliver as soon as possible. I was scheduled for induction the next week. I delivered a healthy 9 pound 13 3/4 ounce boy with no complications! Thank God!!
During this time I managed my diabetes the best I could. I had regular visits with my endocrinologist and a diabetes educator. Looking back I could have done better had I known more of how the body reacts to foods. My nutrition education would come several years later. For the time being I was surviving this disease along with being a wife and managing a house with 3 kiddos!