Sugar Surfing from the beginning...

A dynamic diabetes care approach from the beginning . . .

My son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 6, just following kindergarten graduation. I had seen the warning signs of type 1 from awareness posts a friend had shared the year before as part of Project Blue November. I had also read the story of the little girl from St. George, Utah, named Kycie, which was just down the road from where my parents lived at the time. So, because of that I was pretty sure my son Joshua had type 1 diabetes before we even brought him in.

I remember sitting in my living room the night before, having made Joshua an appointment at our local clinic for the next day trying to think and plan what was going to happen and trying to talk myself out of the reality. As a mother, my worst fear was always that my children would have some serious illness and I would somehow miss it, or fail to recognize it. The next day we took him in, his symptoms had continued to progress, he was drinking water non-stop, going to the bathroom every 15 minutes and very lethargic. We brought him in, having just been to the same doctor two days prior, for poison ivy (where he was prescribed oral steroids that contributed to his elevated blood sugar.

The steroids actually resulted in a quicker diagnosis. It enabled us to see his type 1 diabetes faster. Our doctor was originally thinking a urinary tract infection based on his symptoms. We asked if it could be diabetes. Our doctor wasn’t convinced the right symptoms were there, but still agreed to do a blood sugar meter test before sending us for a formal blood draw. The meter results said 499 mg/dL.

I remember looking at the nurse. I had no idea what that number meant at the time. She quietly signaled that wasn’t good. I immediately started to cry, but my husband quickly cautioned me to remain calm in front of the kids. The doctor came back in and said he wanted us to go straight to the ER. We chose Scott & White McLane Children's Hospital in Temple. It was the best decision we could have made.

Upon arrival to the ER they took us back immediately. After a while a doctor came in and asked us how long he had diabetes, we looked at him and said “are you telling us for sure he has diabetes?” No one had officially said it yet. We were promptly transferred up to the PICU for management of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). By then it was getting late. I remember someone telling us that once were we settled in, the on-call endocrinologist would likely be stopping by just to meet with us later.

Around 9PM that night, Dr. Ponder came in just to meet us. Most importantly, he was there to assure us that everything would be ok. His style is more like a therapist or counselor, encouraging his patients and their families. That night he left an e-book with us to read “A Type One Diabetes Guide to the Universe”, written by his good friend and fellow person with diabetes, Joe Solowiejczyk.

I spent most of a sleepless night reading Joe's book to get a better understanding of what this diagnosis would mean for us. The next day we met with our CDE from Dr. Ponder's office to begin our training.

From the very beginning we felt like we wanted more information. Finger sticks before the meals and 2 hours afterwards didn’t seem like enough. We wanted to know what was going on between those two points in time. I always kept careful logs those first 6 weeks after Joshua's diagnosis wanting to gather more data to understand how we could better manage this mysterious disease. I remember almost running out of test strips that first month because I was testing so often, trying hard to find patterns. At least to better prevent spikes and lows.

We started the process at our one month follow up appointment to obtain a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). We felt we could benefit from the added layers of data to better manage each number we got. The data we got from a meter was a decision point for us. We craved more.

At 6 weeks in we started on our CGM system. It’s been wonderful. Having all that extra information helps us see which f