I have been thinking a lot lately about Nate and his life with T1. There have been several stories in the news about T1 deaths and I have been overwhelmed with all sorts of emotions about these stories. I decided to focus on the positive and remember that I have several T1 people in my life that are living quite normal lives with no T1 complications. I would like to share their stories with you.
The 1st one is my friend, Kimberly D - - - -
Kimberly and I met about a year ago when we were gearing up for both of our oldest to start kindergarten. We kept running into each other at every kinder function so I finally gave her my email address and phone number in hopes that we could get out children together before school started in the fall. I never heard from her! I thought that was pretty rude but figured she was just too busy.
We ran into each other several more times when it came time to register the children and then again on the 1st day of school. She seemed nice enough but we still never got a chance to hang out.
Then it happened. The worst day of my life. My son, Nate was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and we spent a lot of time in the hospital trying to get it all figured out. While in the hospital I reached out to one of the kinder moms and she immediately got the ball rolling for me. Notifying people of the situation, arranging meals for our family and helping in any and every way that she could.
She also forwarded me an email from Kimberly. I read the email and my jaw dropped in disbelief. Kimberly was T1 and wanted to reach out to me and help in any way that she could. I honestly could not believe it. I had no idea. The rest is history. We have become pretty tight since that day and I lean on her a lot. I am thankful for the friendship that we have found and am pretty lucky to have her in my life.
So, I would like to share some information about my friend, Kimberly - - -
Here is my interview with this Super Hot T1 Momma:
At what age we you dx?
14 November 11, 1985
Do you mind telling me a little about your dx story? What were your symptoms? How did you (or your mom) figure out that you had T1? Were you hospitalized? What was your BS at dx?
I had started getting really tired after school. I'd nap a ton and was so thirsty. I was drinking a ton of coke which looking back was a horrid idea, but I was super thirsty! I was having a lot of trouble in school which was really unusual for me. Then, I started asking to leave to go to the bathroom all the time. I just thought I was drinking too much. Finally at a debate tournament, I barely made it to the restroom. I had to call my mother for new underwear. I was 14!! This was horrid and honestly I would've done ANYTHING not to tell my parents. I'm so glad I did tell them. We went that Monday to my pediatrician who spotted it immediately. I remember thinking diabetes was MS. I had no clue if I was going to die or what. She got us admitted to Dallas Presby and meeting with a pediatric endo (loved him - Dr. Chipman, he works for Eli Lilly now). He said to eat my last McDonald's meal before I came (ha! If he knew me now!). When we checked in, post big coke, I was 600ish. I spent 5 days in the hospital learning to take shots, having my parents learn to take shots, but a lot of learn myself time. I have some very specific memories of my time in the hospital.
How long have you had T1?
How does T1 affect your daily life?
Hmmm . . . is it wrong to say it effects my fashion most? :-) No, seriously I hate finding spots for my pump. And I've never been a big exerciser so it makes it hard to lose weight by running or anything. (sidenote - I totally think you should learn how to really really exercise with diabetes as soon as possible). I think it just makes life a little chaotic. I hate diabetes. Its like a bad ankle sprain. On a normal day, it isn't the end of the world, but damn it is there EVERY step. It affects my mothering - like the fact that I really shouldn't have gone to take my kids sledding alone, or my career, because I always have to plan meetings around what I'm eating. (remind me someday to tell you the story of my insulin pump playing an alarm song in my bra at a meeting) I hate it because I don't care to tell so many people the details of my life but I find myself having to explain the of in the middle of a business presentation. But I don't let it define me. I RARELY define myself as a diabetic person but instead as a person with diabetes. You are the first person I've ever reached out to with my diabetes. It's a bitch and it's always there, but I spend most days determined to be the one in control and myself!!
Has T1 prevented you from doing anything that you really wanted to do?
And no. I've never turned anything down due to my diabetes.
What treatment are you currently using for T1?
I have an Animas Ping pump which uses Humalog and a Dexcom CGM (which I'm still learning to love). I'm old enough though to have tried a whole lot. Hell, I've used pig insulin before they had human. Bleh! Try not to be sick at that thought.
What is your current A1c?
Do you or have you ever had any complications from T1?
No. Although a lot of doctors like to attribute my weak stomach to my diabetes, but I've always had a wimpy tolerance.
How long have you been using a pump?
8 1/2 years. I got it to get pregnant. Hated the thought of having something attached to me and thought I would go back after the pregnancies.
Did you have to take any special precautions during your pregnancies?
No, really I just paid a lot of attention to everything. Very similar to everything you do with your kids with the added bonus of pregnancies create this hormone that creates an intolerance to insulin. I was taking upwards of 100 units a day by the end of my pregnancies. The first pregnancy was pretty easy. I just paid a lot more attention to my diabetes. My second pregnancy was harder - there is a lot more stress while you are chasing a 2 year old despite what a WONDERFUL 2 year old Parker was. I firmly decided it wasn't fair to anyone to try to chase two kids and be a diabetic pregnant mom, so I tied my tubes during Jack's c-section. I will say I hated Jack being in the NICU. Most of the doctor's thought his early arrival had nothing to do with my diabetes, but there were a lot of nurses that liked to pass judgment. It was a huge guilt. Pregnancy and diabetes is really weird. I could write a whole book on that. The oddest was how I barely needed any insulin during delivery and until I stopped breastfeeding. Really odd!
Any problems during pregnancies?
Both my kids were early but we never saw any reason to attribute that to the diabetes. Parker was small and born at 37 weeks. Jack was huge (6lb 12oz) at 32 weeks. Some of that may be that my A1C was slightly higher (5.8 versus 5.5 with Parker). Otherwise no. You take lots and lots of sonos and then you realize they aren't doing that to let you see the baby but to look for any malfunction caused during development. Unlike gestational diabetes, you are really looking for major developmental errors. It is a little overwhelming.
Do you worry about your boys getting T1?
YES, but rationally their risk is minimally higher
Is there any advice that you would like to give parents of T1 Children?
YES! This is so hard to hear, but you have to work HARD to make this their disease not yours.Like anything else in life, if you don't let them own it and do it as SOON as possible, the harder for them to ever be independent and healthy. And that's the goal, right?
Anything you wish your parents would have done differently with you?
No. My parents are terrific (although a little overprotective, but terrific) about my diabetes. I have a laundry list of general things they should have done differently, but not about diabetes! ; - )
Kimberly has a BS in Business Admin from Trinity University, went to Cambridge to Kings College in the UK for a semester. She also has a JD from Goergetown University and the beginnings of an MBA from DePaul.
How much do you love me?? TONS!
She is currently the Midwest Region Tax Marketing Leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers which means she runs the Development Initiatives for the MW Tax Partner in Charge. Yea - I have no idea what that means either. She is also the fantastic mother of two handsome and sweet boys, Jack and Parker. Kimberly is a fantastic person to know. She never cuts you any slack but has the same expectations of herself. She never misses an oppurtunity to volunteer at the school or hang out and go sledding with the kids (even if snow makes you low).
Kimberly sledding with Sophie
Our kiddos - Emma and Parker
Yes, after this snow adventure in TX both Kimberly and Nate were LOW.
Lesson learned - Snow = LOW
All of this to say that Kimberly is living a fantastic life and although she does have T1 diabetes you would never know it. I sometimes even forget she has it until we go eat together and she checks her BS or when I try to complain that about being up all night with Nate suffering from lows and she rolls her eyes because sometimes that is just the norm for her too.
Love you, Kim!!