Home again, home again, (let's do a) jiggity-jig!
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Leah was released from the St. Joe Regional Med. Center around 3:00 this afternoon. On our way home, we stopped at CVS to drop off a PILE of prescriptions (for needles, lancets, glucagon injection thingys, etc.), and this was after we had our insulin pen prescriptions filled yesterday. I had no idea the amount of meds and tools and thingys that people with Type 1 diabetes required! We have so much to learn yet, but so far, here's a short synopsis of our diabetic education:
(Note: Type 1 Diabetes is a life-long disease that accounts for only 5-10% of all diabetics. It's very different from Type 2 which most people are more familiar with. I'll save the comparisons and causes for another post.)
Essentially, Leah's pancreas has shut down (or is in the process of shutting down) and is no longer making insulin for her. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to break down sugar so we have energy. So if there's no insulin, sugar builds up in the blood (hence the reason Leah's blood sugar count was 711 the night she was admitted) and the body starts using fat and muscle tissue for energy (hence the reason she was losing weight and had dropped to 89 pounds despite the fact she was eating like a horse!).
Since her pancreas is not doing its job, we need to give Leah the insulin ourselves. We do this by checking her blood glucose (sugar) levels, counting her carb (or sugar) intake, and giving her insulin to counterbalance these two numbers. She's getting 4 pokes to the finger and 4-5 insulin shots a day, which is why we have a small pharmacy set up in our family room now!
How is she doing? Absolutely great! She is taking ownership of her disease, and being brave through all the pokes. As soon as we got home this afternoon she started raiding the pantry, fridge and freezer...no, she wasn't eating...she was checking the carb counts on all her favorite foods! She made lists of 30-carb snacks, and started planning her lunches. She has been checking her own blood glucose levels and giving herself injections, and she's not complaining. And although I'm overseeing, she has done a better job remembering all of the various instructions than I have.
But the best part...she has her energy back! The fact that she has only laid on the couch for about one hour (to read a book for school) of the past six is amazing! Prior to this, for the past nine weeks in fact, we have had to tell her to get up and move for every little thing. The change in her activity level, and overall spirit, is incredible!
So now what? We are hoping to get back into the groove of school this week. We're a little nervous about how the blood checks and shots will go during our morning routine, and in the school environment. We're also still watching her blood sugars as they're not down to the "normal" levels (150's) yet, but in the high 200's to mid 300's range. We hope that our transition to the pediatric endocrinologist will go well...we're a little anxious since we couldn't get an appointment to start that process until October 23. So these are our concerns, and the things we're praying for. Thanks for joining us...the support of family and friends has been overwhelming!