Written by, Deidre Pickering
Since writing Cassidy’s Story, June 1, 2014, she has grown so much. She is determined to learn all about diabetes and how to take care of herself. Diagnosed at age four with Type 1 diabetes, Cassidy started poking her own finger to do her blood testing at age six, which was a big jump in taking care of herself at such a young age. She has also learned how to change her own pump site by drawing insulin out of a vile, filling her pump with the correct amount of insulin, preparing a new site and removing the old pump. I love that she is now able to do this. It gives both of us more freedom so I don’t need to be the “hover” mom I tend to be.
Recently Cassidy was out with her grandpa at dinner, without me, when her pump failed. She called me, letting me know that her pump was not working and that grandpa wanted to bring her right home even though they had just ordered and had not received their food. He was so worried since he didn’t know how to change her pump. She handed the phone to her grandpa and I told him she could change it herself. He was nervous, a nine year old could not handle that much responsibility. I told him to give her a chance and let her try. A little later he called back and said, “She was able to change her pump right at the table with confidence and no help. It was amazing!”
Cassidy has also learned a lot about carbohydrate counting. Once a year she has a meeting with a diabetes educator who will help teach Cassidy and let her ask questions. The educator will test Cassidy with a picture of a meal to see if she can correctly count the carbohydrates. At her most recent meeting Cassidy was able to calculate the correct total for a sample meal. The educator was surprised and told us Cassidy was the first one to get the exact total.
Cassidy sees her diabetes doctor every four months for a checkup and to have her A1C level check. This test gives you a picture of your average blood glucose (blood sugar) control for the past three months. The results give us a good idea of how well her diabetes treatment plan is working. In some ways, the A1C test is like a baseball player’s season batting average; it tells you about a person’s overall success. Neither a single day’s blood test results nor a single game’s batting record gives the same big picture. This last checkup was great and we were able to get Cassidy’s A1C to the correct level. As a mom, I was so happy with the result because it lets me know that I am taking care of her the right way. The A1C test is a roller coaster, so every time I go in I have my fingers crossed the amount of insulin she is given is correct and that we have been giving her the right ratio of carbs to insulin. I told Cassidy being a “mean” mom has been paying off.
Not only do we need to get the right ratio with carbs to insulin, but we need to time her doses correctly too. She needs to wait at least 10 minutes before eating if her blood sugar is in the one hundred range and 20 minutes if her blood sugar is in the two hundred range. Waiting to eat is hard on Cassidy. It takes planning every meal and snack so we can test and start her insulin before eating. She can never just go get a snack at a moment’s notice.
Cassidy’s fingers are always sore. Recently we were able to find a way to help her avoid some of the pain from poking her fingers to test her blood sugar levels. On Facebook, we are members of the LDS T1D parent’s group. Through this group we were able to find a new lancing instrument for testing her blood. It is called Genteel and it delivers a painless blood draw. I was not sure if it would actually work or not, but Cassidy’s aunt Michelle bought it for her and now Cassidy uses it for every blood sugar test. Cassidy says it is not 100% pain free, but it is much better than what we had been using.
I love that there have been many improvements for managing diabetes over the years and I still have hope that one day they will be able to find a cure. Life is better since the first year she was diagnosed with diabetes and I know it will only get better. I am so proud of Cassidy and her drive to be the healthiest diabetic she can be. She doesn’t let diabetes hold her back. She loves being active and playing on a junior jazz basketball team. She is still the strongest person I know and she is such an example to me.
Thank you, Deidre for sharing Cassidy’s journey with us. She is such a brave, happy and smart girl. You’re a lucky and wonderful mom!