Will My Children Also Have Type 1 Diabetes?

Will My Children Also Have Type 1 Diabetes? | www.IAmAType1Diabetic.comDon’t worry family; I am not pregnant, and there is no way I’d let you find out this way!

But honestly, I do have a lot of fears about being pregnant and having type 1 diabetes. My endocrinologist suggested I get my hemoglobin A1c under 6.5% before we even try. I have achieved that goal about 6 months back, with my last A1c being 6.2%, and my doctor was very pleased. But, that is not the point!

I still have fears about much life can change. Are we really ready to handle how much life will change? How will I manage my blood sugars while having an infant? Will I be able to keep my blood sugars in a “good enough” range while breastfeeding? If I have a bad blood sugar for a few days, could I possibly loose the baby altogether? If my A1c doesn’t get better/lower, will I have a huge baby? or will they have to stay in the hospital because of low blood sugars?  Will me having type 1 diabetes mean that I could easily pass it onto my future children?

I don’t mind being a diabetic. It’s just another part of my story. But, I want my children to live long, healthy lives, and not have to battle with their blood sugars. I know it’s a struggle, and I would feel horrible passing the same burden onto them! I started looking around for some answers. The American Diabetes Association had a great article on the probability of a type 1 diabetic passing along the gene to their children.

According to the American Diabetes Association, genes alone are not enough to determine whether or not you’ll pass type 1 diabetes onto your children. You only inherit a predisposition to the disease, then something in your environment triggers it (e.g. stress in my case, an illness etc.) “Identical twins have identical genes. Yet when one twin has type 1 diabetes, the other gets the disease at most only half the time.”

In most cases of type 1 diabetes, people need to inherit risk factors from both parents. I guess I am an odd man out being that neither of my parents or close relatives ever had type 1 diabetes. I was the first, and hopefully the only, type 1 diabetic in my family. My late grandfather had type 2 diabetes, but if you’ve read my blog long enough you’d know, type 1 and type 2 diabetes are MUCH different! (Type 2 diabetes has a stronger link to family history and lineage than type 1, although it too depends on environmental factors.)

What are the actual statistics of passing that risk gene on to your children? There are several types of variables: age of diagnosis, age during pregnancy, sex, and ethnicity. Men with type 1 diabetes have a higher risk of having children with diabetes (1 in 17). For women, probabilities vary based on when you got pregnant: having a child before the age of 25 gives you a higher risk of having a baby with diabetes (1 in 25). Thankfully, I am 27 years old and don’t have to worry about that statistic! But you are still at risk even if you have a baby after the age of 25 (1 in 100). Your child’s risk is doubled if you developed diabetes before age 11. If both you and your partner have type 1 diabetes, the risk is between 1 in 10 and 1 in 4. White people also have a higher chance of developing type 1 diabetes.

According to these statistics, it appears that I have about a 1 in 50 percent chance of my child actually developing type 1 diabetes. I was diagnosed before the age of 11, which unfortunately doubled my 1 in 100 risk. I feel much better knowing that those are my statistics, and I feel like I can manage that uncomfortable, uneasy feeling I had at the beginning of this post.

I have come to terms with the fact that I have type 1 diabetes. I am used to the finger pricks, insulin pump changes, CGM alarms, carb counting, high costs of supplies, the highs, the lows, and everything else that I go through on a daily basis.

I applaud all the parents out there who have had children with t1d. It terrifies me to think of my child(ren) having to live with type 1 diabetes. And if I had to learn about diabetes without being a t1d myself, phew! You are some really strong people.

Type 1 Diabetes + Beach = List of Essentials

This past weekend, my friends, siblings and I went to the beach. Yay!! Just what everyone wants to do on a gorgeous 90 degree weather day.

Beach Essentials for Living with Type 1 DiabetesUnfortunately, for those of us suffering with type 1 diabetes, it’s not always that easy. We need to plan ahead. We need to pack extra snacks in case of an unexpected low. We need to carry around an extra insulin pump/pump set in case it gets ripped off by a wave. We need to make sure our pumps and CGM sensors are all placed on our body properly so we don’t get funky tan lines! And remember to check blood sugars more often when being in the sun (mine tend to rise slightly higher than I would like).. My friend and I know it all too well!

Luckily, we had planned a week in advanced that we would be going to the beach. I knew what I needed to bring. She knew what she needed to bring. Those living with type 1 who have never been to the beach (or never thought about what to really bring), here is my list of Type 1 Diabetes + Beach Essentials:

  • 3 Juice Boxes
  • Granola Bars (I’ve found Chewy bars to be the perfect mix to raise my blood sugar, and keep it steady for several hours)
  • Glucose Tablets
  • Insulin
  • Test Kit
  • Dexcom Receiver
  • Needles (just in case I rip off my pump)
  • Extra OmniPod Insulin pump pouch (again, in case I rip off my pump)

Type 1 Diabetes + Beach = Essentials List | www.iamatype1diabetic.com

I ended up placing my Dexcom sensor on the side of my boob, and my OmniPod Insulin Pump on the upper part of my butt. (Sorry, hubby won’t let me post ‘detailed’ pictures!) I ended up getting a great tan, had a great time, and met some pretty cool people. Here is where I hid my dexcom sensor… and one of my most favorite spots!

Temporary Medical Alert Tattoos

You may have read a recent post of mine about PumpPeelz. They create custom design patterns to fit over your blood sugar meters, Omnipod pumps and continuous glucose monitor systems. It seems that they are also jumping on the bandwagon of diabetes awareness with their new Temporary Medical Alert tattoos!

In my opinion, it is important to be accepting of having diabetes, and making others aware of my medical issues. I have a medial ID bracelet permanently tattooed to my wrist. Click here to see what my medical tattoo looks like.

Pump Peelz explains, “Because we aren’t brave enough to get a real one. There is some truth to this. But really, we thought for those fun trips to the beach or even just to a friend’s house it would be nice to have a temporary solution that is inexpensive and won’t get lost.” I think its a wonderful idea for children (and anyone who’s not old enough or brave enough to get a real tattoo) to use these temporary medical ID tattoos.

My tattoo has helped to spark up a conversation with complete strangers while at the store and with ladies beside me at the nail salon. The tattoo has helped me to voice “hey, I have type 1 diabetes!!  If something is wrong, that could be the problem.” These temporary tattoos would do much of the same.

Temporary Medical Alert Tattoos by PumpPeelz | www.iamatype1diabetic.com
Click here
to visit the Pump Peelz website and to get your Medical Alert tattoos! Right now, they have a 15% discount code as well! Simply use this code at checkout: PumpPeelzDeal.

The Marriage to Diabetes

It’s been less than a year for my husband and I. We are still considered “newlyweds.” We are currently about to close on a house. I am trying to understand why people find keeping a marriage together so damn hard?

I feel like I’ve been in a marriage for most of my life… Married to my type 1 diabetes that is. Everyday is a battle to keep my blood sugars in control. Everyday I try to avoid that argument with diabetes, and stay steady at 100mg/dL. When I bolus correctly, exercise properly and don’t eat a bunch of crap, t1d and I are pretty gosh darn happy. Our ‘marriage’ isn’t at risk.

That is not always the case. Many times t1d and I argue. I’ll want to take a walk with the dog; t1d will give me a low blood sugar. I will want to eat a slice of pizza; t1d will punish me with a high for hours later. I’m not hungry, and t1d gives me a low and forces me to eat. I don’t feel well, and t1d makes it worse with another high. It seems like all t1d and I do is argue!

But somehow, I make it work. I have to make it work. How I control t1d now effects my future and my life depends upon it. The life my husband and I have depends upon it. The lives of our future children will also depend upon it.

Controlling diabetes, much like a marriage, is a roller-coaster of ups and downs. The important thing is to keep it balanced, and love all the steady 100mg/dL memories.

The Marriage of Diabetes | www.iamatype1diabetic.com

 

Spreading Diabetes Awareness — Learn the Facts!

We had an ice cream social at work for autism this past week. For every employee that signed their name and had a bowl of ice cream (or frozen yogurt), my company would donate $1 to Autism Speaks. Autism Speaks is striving to provide autism awareness for those who are unfamiliar. I am all for charitable donations, and my blood sugar was going low, so I joined my coworkers.

Upon grabbing my scoop of ice cream, then adding some walnuts, I was slightly taken back at the conversation my boss struck up… and she knows that I am a type 1 diabetic. “You know, you need to be careful in eating all of that stuff. Diabetes is something that needs to be managed well and if it’s not there are a lot of complications you can have. Don’t overindulge and overdo it, kiddo.”

AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! I am screaming inside, and she has no idea how much I want to rip her head off!

Diabetes Awareness at Ice Cream Social | www.IAmAType1Diabetic.comI understand that her statement was meant well. And, I understand that many people who aren’t directly affected by type 1 diabetes would have no idea how much work is involved in managing blood sugar control; By directly effected I mean T1D yourself, parent of a young T1D child, sibling to T1D, husband/wife to T1D. They are completely unaware of how often I check my blood sugar, or how much insulin I give myself, or even what exactly good blood sugar control is!

I responded, “I know it’s important to have good blood sugars. I been getting my a1C numbers down. My blood sugar is low right now, and this is my special treat to get my numbers back up.”

She then proceeded to tell me that I need to watch with the smoking and drinking. I have quit smoking (only my electronic cigg). And I really don’t drink all that much anymore. I had 2 long island iced teas when I was out with friends a few weeks ago, and the next morning I felt like I was hit by a truck! I’m not so young anymore, and I’m married, so going out every night isn’t as appealing as it used to be. I rather sit on the couch, snuggled up and watching a movie. But to my boss, I am just a handful of years older than her children, so I guess she felt concerned.

The conversation only got worse when she started telling my about her mother who had diabetes. She would watch over her, and give her insulin. “Which type is the bad type?” she asked. “It depends on what you consider ‘bad.’ Personally, I prefer to say I have the better type because I was diagnosed so early and have had to deal with diabetes for so much of my life, I don’t really remember what life was like before I had diabetes. But then again, people say I have the ‘bad’ type because I am on insulin and have been dealing with it for most of my life. Guess it depends on if you look at the cup as half empty or half full.” Her response, “well, my mom had the same kind as you because she was on insulin.”

AHHHHHH! [Again!]

“Both types of diabetics can be on insulin. Being on insulin does not mean that you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It only means that your pancreas isn’t creating enough insulin for your body, so you need to supplement it with insulin shots or the pump like I have. I am a type 1 diabetic because my pancreas creates zero insulin. People who’s pancreas creates little insulin, but not enough for their body, are considered type 2 diabetics. They tend to get it later on in life and have to manage it with diet & exercise along with medication or insulin.” After my explanation, she got very quite because I clearly knew what I was talking about. I may have started to sound a bit frustrated by this point. I made one last statement, “She probably had type 2 diabetes and just needed to take insulin.” Only 5% of people living with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.

Our conversation thankfully drifted off into a different direction at this point.

I wish I could advocate conversations like this with everyone who knows someone with diabetes — being type 1 or type 2 or gestational or pre-diabetes. It is extremely important to know the difference, know how to manage or fix a blood sugar reading, and know what a normal/good blood sugar is. According to WebMD, blood sugars should range between 70 – 130 mg/dL before meals, and lower than 180mg/dL after a meal.

The American Diabetes Association considers an a1C of 7% as ‘normal.’ I may not have ‘normal’ blood sugars for my entire lifetime, but I will never have them bad for long enough to endure diabetic complications. Keeping your blood sugar levels close to normal will prevent many complications such as kidney disease or kidney failure, strokes, heart attack, vision loss or blindness, poor circulation in the legs and feet or nerve damage. Wounds also heal slowly with uncontrolled diabetes, and the potential for amputation increases with high blood sugars.

I hate to say numbers, but my last a1C was 6.9% and I was jumping for joy! I work my ass off in order to keep my blood sugars in ‘normal’ range. I test my blood sugars approximately 8 times per day, and wear a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) that alerts me when I’m higher or lower than I should be. Keeping a very close eye on your blood sugar level continuously throughout the day is the only sure way to stay healthy and avoid any complications.

Top 10 Things Diabetes Does to Complicate my Life!

Today I had all intentions of doing yoga after work. Checked my blood sugar after clocking outta work. 69mg/dL. Diabetes didn’t agree. Sh*t!

If it weren’t for the fact that this instructor makes my blood sugars plummet every-single-time I take her class, I would have gone. So instead of running into a great yoga class, I’m sitting in my car, drinking juice boxes and waiting for my blood sugar to go up!

Top 10 Things Diabetes Does to Complicate My Life | www.IAmAType1Diabetic.com

The whole situation made me think of how many times I avoid doing things because of my diabetes. Or how many times other times I have to do something because of my diabetes? So I compiled a list of the top 10 things diabetes does to complicate my life.

  1. Avoiding a Yoga Class because of an already low blood sugar (or any other exercise). As noted above, I am pretty upset that I am not working out right now. Sports in high school where also pretty rough. But, I made it through!
  2. Avoiding meals with big carb counts to avoid a high (and unpredictable) blood sugars hours later. Pizza, raviolis and lasagna being the worst for me!
  3. Getting out of bed in the middle of the night because of a low and needing juice and/or a snack. It happens way to often. I’ve learned to go to bed with a juice box beside me, but some nights, that just isnt enough.
  4. Getting out of bed in the middle of the night because for a high. It’s a telltale sign that I’m high when I need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Occasionally I will wake up to extreme thirst from a high, but typically I have something to drink next to me.
  5. Driving because of a low blood sugar. Driving with a low blood sugars causes you to drive as though you were drunk. (It could be considered DUI if you were to get pulled over. If you were given a breathalyzer, your blood alcohol count could also be above the ‘normal’ limit.)
  6. OmniPod or Dexcom alarming at the most awkward times. Last week, I was in church sitting behind a t1d friend of mine. We both use OmniPod. We heard it alarm, and both of us put our hands over it to silence the noise. She was the culprit and it was her pod telling her it was time to change. But, that’s not the point! It was a very awkward time to alarm!
  7. Wardrobe Malfunctions. I wear two things attached to my body 24/7… The OmniPod Insulin Pump “Pod” and the Dexcom G4 Continuous Glucose Monitor “transmitter.” It can be very difficult to wear the outfits I want to wear each day because of a pod or transmitter placement. Today, nothing fit ‘right’ and I could clearly see decom on my upper thy under my pants!
  8. My Mood. With a high blood sugar, you’d think I was full on PMSing. With a low, I act like I’m stoned. Just no winning.
  9. Not always quite feeling “safe.” I can never have enough snacks on hand. I can never have enough insulin in my test kit. I can never quite eat enough with a low. I can never quite get myself enough insulin to bring down a high. It’s a balancing act, and it’s definitely hard to feel safe at one blood sugar. It can easily change 10 minutes from then!
  10. Being able to just pick up and go. Nope, can never quite do that. My husband and I once went to the grocery store, and he was paying, so I left my purse, wallet and meter at home. In the middle of the super market, OmniPod started doing the ‘scream of death.’ I had an occlusion and no meter with me to turn it off. Needless to stay, I put my arm over pod to somewhat silence the noise, but we got some mighty strange looks when I grabbed something off the shelf! Living with diabetes always makes me wonder “how long will we be out?”, “Do I need to bring my purse & meter?”, and “Do I have enough test strips / insulin / glucose tablets until I get back home?”

Spring Forward with a Better Blood Sugar

Today I woke up in a daze. The clocks were all different; I was lightheaded and everything around me felt so strange. I just knew my blood sugar was low. I quickly grabbed a juice box, took a selfie and proceeded to check my blood sugar level.


Yes, that is definitely a low blood sugar kind of daze. My hubby claims that my pupils get really small with low blood sugars, so I’m testing out his theory. 


I was surprised at how low my blood sugar was. How was I functioning? Somehow my sensor for dexcom must have gone bad. There are no readings for the last 2 hours. It didn’t alert me. It didn’t wake me up. It didn’t prevent my extremely low blood sugar from happening. At first I thought it could have been from sleeping on the sensor. Now that I’ve been awake and it still not showing a reading, I know it needs to be changed.

Both my omnipod and Dexcom need to have the times changed today. Hopefully that will also get my blood sugars back on track! 

Please remember to spring forward all of your diabetic devices too. If you need help to change the time on your Dexcom or Omnipod, click here to read an old post with step by step instructions

Appreciation

If you didn’t already know, today is National Employee Appreciation Day. My company decided to send the HR staff around with a plate of cookies to show the company’s appreciation.

Well, sometimes it is things like that that feel like a slap in the face to a type 1 diabetic. I really want a cookie. I really want a cookie! I took that cookie.

I told the HR lady that I would love one, but had to wait until my blood sugars went down. She said, “well, just take one. Is there anything you can do so that you can eat the cookie?” I said “yes, I need to take extra insulin.” “Well, just do that then” was her response.

Poof, insulin gets injected/bolused and my blood sugar is normal. Oh man! If only my diabetic life was that easy.

Now, I have the cookie sitting here on my desk. I am contemplating eating it, but with a blood sugar of 150 (and dropping), I know I have a wait. I gave myself the insulin. And slowly, it’s coming down.

Employee Appreciation | www.iamatype1diabetic.com

I ate that cookie. And man did it feel good! Blood sugars are now stable at 110mg/dL and I want another one. Luckily, they are all gone and I don’t have to be a “bad” diabetic!

Thanks for the Employee Appreciation cookie.

Proof

Have you ever been in that “spring cleaning” mood? Over the weekend I was. I’ve been sick for the last few days and I thought a deep cleaning of our bedroom would make me feel better. My idea was to wash everything on our bed (comforter, sheets, pillows etc) and do major vacuuming, mopping of the floor and dusting.

In doing so, I pulled out my night table to get the dust that collected. At first, I found some test strips which I had expected. They tend to fall on the floor when I’m checking my blood sugars at 3:00am. What I found next I was not expecting…

I found proof behind our bed that a diabetic lives here.

Proof that a Type 1 Diabetic Lives Here | www.iamatype1diabetic.com

Look at all those juice box wrappers! A whole bunch of them behind my bed.

Yup, you’d think a child slept in this bed. You’d think I never cleaned. And you’d think I’m a slob.

Well, I’m not. I’m just a type 1 diabetic trying to correct a low blood sugar in the middle of the night.

Middle of the Night

Dear Dexcom, Omnipod and my body — I hate these middle of the night lows!  It’s now 3:30am and I am now wide awake.

I had my typical-middle-of-the-night-alarm set to check my blood sugar level. My meter said I was 52mg/dL. My Dexcom said I was 49mg/dL. Whoops, how did that happen? For how long have I been like this? How did i miss it? It’s for nights like these that I love my Dexcom.

Tonight, we somehow missed hearing Dex vibrate and alerting that I was low. I guess my husband and I were both in a deep sleep. Middle of the Night Low Blood Sugars | www.IAmAType1Diabetic.com

I am not complaining, just annoyed with how frequently it does happen. Thank you Dexcom for catching my low blood sugar before it could be much much worse. I am proud to say that my blood sugars are much more controlled since using Dexcom (and having my hubby sleep next to me!) Now, I’m back off to sleep.