March 24, 2013 marks the two-year anniversary of Kendal’s diagnosis. Two years with Type 1 Diabetes. One more year under our belt. Another 2000 finger pricks, 52 Dexcom insertions, 850 shots, 50 pump site insertions, 1000′s of dollars, 8760 hours of continuous diabetes management and countless accomplishments that make me very proud of my little girl. These accomplishments are why we celebrate this day so I decided to document just a few of them…
- Successful transition back to insulin. Kendal was off insulin for about 11 months after diagnosis because she was experiencing a great “honeymoon” period and as long as we ate a very healthy diet her pancreas was producing enough insulin to “keep up”. That all ended last April and she received her first shot in a long time. She handled it like a champ, I wish I could say the same. I (privately) cried like a baby knowing the days of great numbers were a thing of the past. What can I say, she is way tougher than I am!
- Swim Team. Managing and dealing with diabetes while participating in any sport is a bit challenging. For Kendal, swimming was especially scary. She was afraid of going low while in the water. Her fears came true more than once but she became confident that she feels those lows. If she couldn’t come out of the low before practice was over then we would simply leave and try again the next day.
- Competed in her first triathlon and then did another one!. This was a big deal. First, an open water swim. A swim where mom isn’t right there to jump in and save her at any moment. Then the transition to the bike where she had to stop and test when all the other kids were moving on, getting ahead of her, glancing at her, wondering what she was doing. Then the bike and run where she could go low at any moment resulting in her having to stop, regroup and finish way behind where she should have. Luckily she didn’t go low. With the help of a lot of experienced athletes, we were able to manage her diabetes and she kicked butt! And then when she took on her second triathlon she took second in her age group!!
- Gave herself her first shot. Getting several shots a day is daunting but being 9 years old and GIVING yourself a shot is on an entirely different level. It took a while for her to muster the courage to pierce her tummy skin with that sharp object but she did it! She was proud, I was overwhelmed with pride and sadness all at once.
- Started on the pump. Kendal was excited for this day because it meant the end of multiple shots a day and the end of the nightly Lantus shot that stung so badly. The day she got her pump she went to school and showed everyone! She was so proud.
- Got the new Dexcom G4. I’m including this on the list because it was an enormous step forward for diabetes management. The accuracy, especially compared to the previous version, allows me to sleep at night. It also wakes me many nights but I’m oh so thankful for that!
- Changed her first pump site. Squeezing the “trigger” is not an easy task when the needle is piercing into your own skin but she did it. I don’t even think she flinched. She hasn’t wanted to do it again since but I think that’s simply because she wants me to handle all the “D” stuff whenever that’s an option.
- Started wearing the Dexcom on her arm. She’s not ashamed. She wears it on her arm for anyone to see. Sure, she gets tired or the endless questions but she’s owning it!
- Started a new sport. Kendal started doing gymnastics in November and was quickly moved up to “pre-team”. A new sport means new diabetes routines and management. Different exercises affect her in different ways. She still goes low during most of her practices but I’m getting better at it. When it happens she just sucks down a juice and goes back out there. It still amazes me how quickly she can down an entire juice!
- Full self management at school. Kendal manages her diabetes at school all by herself. I used to go in each day at lunch time and give her a shot but now that she’s on the pump she administers insulin on her own for lunches and snacks. She also tests on her own. That’s a big responsibility for a 9/10-year-old but she does it with endless grace, courage and confidence.
I’m so proud of her and of all the Type 1 kids out there. They grow up so fast and have to take on so much responsibility at such a young age. They simply amaze me. And Kendal, I’m so unbelievably happy to be your mom. Thank you for all that you are.