Earlier this year, I mentioned that my family was running a fundraiser to get my newly-diagnosed, type 1 diabetic daughter a diabetic alert dog. We raised enough money to pay for the puppy through the generosity of over 50 contributors. Last month we got the call that our puppy would be ready in July, and now we are leaving tomorrow to go pick him up! We have decided to name him Jorah after a favorite Game of Thrones character. The idea is that Jorah will be like a knight sworn to protect Ada.
I will more than likely be away from the blog for the next week or so while we are traveling and getting Jorah settled in our home. But I thought I might go over some of what has been going through my mind as I prepare for Jorah.
First, the last 2 months have been very difficult with Ada’s diabetes. She is coming out of what is called the honeymoon phase. This phase is when the pancreas–upon getting help from insulin injections–tries to keep working for a little longer and does produce some insulin. This generally lasts about 6 months. Then the pancreas basically goes caput. We are now 7 months in and have spent the last 2 months battling consistently high blood sugars because Ada wasn’t getting enough insulin. We have to slowly bump up her insulin under the supervision of her medical team, but we have been lagging behind how quickly the pancreas has been shutting down. We just made more changes yesterday. To clarify: Ada now takes 3.5 times more long-lasting insulin than she took 6 weeks ago. We have also been changing her carbohydrate ratios to deliver more short-acting insulin for the food she eats. The problem with high blood sugars is the risk for ketones, long-term complications, and Ada has been very moody for 8 weeks now.
But, we are getting there and will keep working with her medical team until it is right. I am glad that this happened now, though, before we brought Jorah home. It will be better to train him now that we are out of the honeymoon phase and are basically injecting all of Ada’s insulin rather than working with her occasionally-functioning pancreas. Also, it would be difficult for Jorah if Ada was always high rather than usually in range. He needs a baseline to work with. So, actually, the timing couldn’t be better. I feel that the most recent changes, which we made just yesterday, will get us even closer to staying in range.
I have been doing much better mentally over the last couple of months. Ada’s diagnosis was very hard on me. I kind of lost it for quite a while. I had to just do what I could to keep my head above water. I have been doing a good job as Ada’s pancreas, too, so I am being gentle on myself about the things I didn’t do or mistakes I made. I have kept my family together, kept my child healthy, and kept myself from getting too depressed. I did have my medication upped to help me get through the difficulties after diagnosis, and it has made a noticeable difference.
I can’t stress how important it is to find the right medication(s) and take them as prescribed by a doctor you trust. If your meds aren’t working, you may need a change. I have struggled to find the right mix of meds, and I grow resistant to some drugs as well, meaning that I have had to start from scratch more than once to find meds that help. Right now, I have found something that works for me, and I’ll keep taking it as long as it works, knowing that it might not last forever.
I am currently looking at my house judging whether it is puppy ready. But I can only get so much done beforehand. We will bring Jorah into our home, and provide him with plenty of love. We will do our best to make him a good service dog for Ada. We wanted to give her this gift of a companion who can help her take care of herself. We are so excited to have Jorah’s help, and we are ready to work!
Thanks for all of the support, friends.