It has been a while since I have updated this blog and our journey towards getting a diabetic alert dog. So much has happened recently that I am not sure I can cover it all in one post so stay tuned as I do my best to get caught up. 🙂
One of the most exciting things to happen recently was the birth of our puppy! He was born June 3rd at Hightest Kennel in Oroville, CA. There were 9 puppies born to black lab mama Suzie, 4 females and 5 males. Our trainer (Lily Grace Service Dogs) will travel from her home in Idaho to California when the puppies are about 8 weeks old and select a male puppy to be our service dog. We are so excited to find out which one makes the cut!
You may remember reading in a previous post about how our diabetic children were generously gifted full scholarships to diabetes camp. Cyrus will be able to attend diabetes camp next year when he is 8 years old. Brady however, was able to attend Camp Midicha in Fenton, MI last week with 200+ other kids with diabetes. What an incredible experience! For those of you that do no know, my husband has been an executive director of a christian camp for over 10 years so we are very familiar with camp. Diabetes camp however is much more intense and involved. The level of organization and medical staff needed to run a fun yet safe camp for 200+ campers with a serious medical condition was impressive. Every staff member we encountered was confident and knowledgeable about diabetes. (Most of the staff had diabetes as well, including the doctor on staff and Brady’s counselor) Each cabin of 8 to 10 boys had two counselors, two medical staff and a person assigned to do blood sugar checks on campers at midnight and 2am if necessary. I have never felt more at ease leaving Brady somewhere!
Every camper is encouraged to set a goal for themselves at the beginning of camp. Brady was unsure of what kind of goal to set for himself so he chose to get better at carb counting. Every carbohydrate a diabetic eats must be covered with a precise dose of insulin. Deciding how many carbs are in certain foods can be tricky and it takes a lot of practice to become really good at knowing how many carbs to calculate and how fats and proteins in food will interact with those carbs.
Brady not only became better at counting carbs he gained a new sense of confidence watching other campers reach their goals as well. As a result he decided to try something he has never been interested in doing before. With the help and encouragement of the staff he changed his insulin pump site not only once but TWICE! Brady wears an insulin pump that delivers a continuous drip of insulin (similar to an intravenous line). It also delivers insulin doses every time Brady eats. The site where the pump is inserted under the skin must be moved to a different place on the body every two to three days as the area around the site can get too saturated and no longer absorb insulin well. This requires the use of a device with a needle that threads the flexible tube under the skin. People often assume that because Brady has been diabetic for 10 years he has gotten used to needles and pokes. There is no such thing as “getting used to” needles and injections. The body’s nervous system does not turn off or get less sensitive to pain just because injections happen more frequently. Brady often asks to put off changing his insulin pump for as long as possible because it can be painful. It takes a A TON of courage to not only let someone else inflict pain but to do something to yourself that you know will be painful. Brady’s pump was due to be changed when he got home from camp and he was excited to show us how he learned to change his own site. With Brady’s permission we are sharing the video and photos of him changing his pump site because it is important to us to raise awareness of diabetes. Most people are unfamiliar with diabetes and even more unfamiliar with the technology people often wear to help manage diabetes. Our hope in sharing this video is that people will become more familiar with one of the forms of technology people with diabetes often have on their bodies to help keep them healthy and frankly, alive.
I would be remiss if I did not mention Diabetes SoluT1ions and their generous gift of camp scholarships to our children. Brady’s week of camp was truly life changing and I cannot wait for both he and Cyrus to experience diabetes camp next year. Diabetes is a 24/7, 365 days a year disease. There is no break but the encouragement and support of others facing the same disease has brought a lot of comfort and relief to our family and especially Brady.
Thank you for reading my blog and following our family as we continue our journey towards purchasing a diabetic alert service dog. We are almost half way to our fundraising goal. If you are reading this blog for the first time and are interested in learning more about our diabetic alert dog go to the home page and click Puppy Project or click here. We recently had a second yard sale with the items people donated and I will be writing another post soon with an update from that sale and an incredible encounter with our first customer of the day.