This Is Where We Go For Help

Six years later.

It’s been more than six years since Kelsey was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. We’ve had a pretty good handle on the disease, we thought, for quite a while. Kelsey hit the ground running – she was checking her own blood sugar when she came home from the hospital, she understood how to count carbs and calculate insulin, she started administering her own injections not long after coming home. . .we thought we were ahead of the curve.

What we didn’t realize was the emotional toll this disease takes on a family and what it was doing to Kelsey. Sure, we knew that she struggled with thoughts of “why me” and “it’s not fair”. But we never realized to what extent she was suffering. Her medical team talked to us at her quarterly visits about how she was doing, physically, mentally, and emotionally. And they told us that many families see a therapist to help them deal with the effects of #T1D. I guess we thought we were past all that.

Boy, were we wrong.

Knowing what I know now, and we’re very early in the game, I would recommend every newly diagnosed #T1D patient and their family, see a therapist. In fact, if I were the medical team, I would probably require it. Especially when the patient is a child or adolescent. Expecting a child to fully understand what this disease means, how it changes their life, how it will always affect them, is too much.

The problem is, in my opinion, we get so wrapped up in the mechanics of the disease when we’re first diagnosed – we have to learn how to check blood sugar, how to read meters, how to inject insulin, how to count carbs, how to treat lows, how to treat highs, what to do on sick days, and on and on – that we forget to stop to take care of our emotions, what this disease makes you feel.

It’s easy to do, get wrapped up in the day-to-day business of this disease, because there is so much to learn, so much to do. And it’s never-ending. It truly is overwhelming. But, experience has now taught us something else new, we’ve learned something else about this disease, I know that we’ll never know it all, there’s too much, and we’re not physicians or scientists, but learn from our mistakes and take care of your emotions and make sure you’re taking care of your child’s (or #T1D loved one’s) emotions.

And, most of all, stay strong. Together we can #TurnType1IntoTypeNone #T1DLooksLikeMe #T1D

This Is Where You Get Bombarded

Get ready.

I’m going to be posting multiple times throughout each day during National Diabetes Awareness Month (November) to give you a look at what it’s like to live in a family with ‪#‎T1D‬. I’m going to *try* to post *every time* we do something disease-related (high blood sugars, changing pump sets, picking up prescriptions, the whole shebang!). Updates will initially be posted to My Facebook page which is linked to my Twitter profile so updates will be seen there, as well. I’ve already been posting some to try to get in the habit. ‪#‎GetReady‬ ‪#‎T1DLooksLikeMe‬ ‪#‎TurnType1IntoTypeNone‬

This Is Where We Introduce Ourselves

Hello, My Name Is. . .

Lee K. Vandenberg. I am a 47-year-old wife and mother of two beautiful, polite, respectful girls.

My husband, Chuck, and I have been married for 22 years. Most times I’m sure the credit for that goes to him. He’s put up with a lot from this fiery, red-headed Italian-Cherokee mutt.

Our girls are now 22 and 15. I feel pretty confident that my “mom” skills are extremely superior to my “wife” skills. I’m so proud of the young women they’ve turned out to be and the relationship I am able to have with them.

We’re a pretty average family living in rural Iowa. We work hard, eat dinner together, play board games, go to the movies, all that jazz.

Things are rarely as they seem, though. For all the good we have in our little family, the universe had to put the smackdown somewhere to balance things out.

That came in the form of constant health struggles. Chuck has had anxiety issues and some episodes of atrial fib; Taylor inherited his anxious nature and battled anxiety attacks for a few years, although she’s gotten a pretty good handle on them; and I’ve lived with asthma, migraines, and hypothyroidism since childhood.

As long as our list seems, it pales in comparison to Kelsey’s. She has definitely drawn the short straw: born with a heart murmur (which, thankfully, closed the Christmas after her first birthday) which led to the discovery of congenital asplenia [she was born without a spleen (more on that later)], hypothyroidism hit during kindergarten, and then, the summer before her 10th birthday, the granddaddy of them all – she was diagnosed with Type 1 (Juvenile) Diabetes.

It has been a long six years, full of worrying, long nights, high blood sugars, low blood sugars, ketones, sick days, doctor visits, . . . It can all be so extremely overwhelming.

And that is what has brought me to WordPress – the hope that sharing what we’ve learned, what we’ve experienced, what we’re still learning, can help other families living with T1D; and the hope to connect to others and learn from them, as well – until a cure is found.