Derek's Mom Tells His Story

I have two friends who also have teenage sons with Diabetes. When we discuss diabetes, they tell me that they stay awake nights concerned about serious lows in the night, and check their sons through the night, or have a baby monitor by the bedstand. Maybe I am naive. . . What kept me up nights until recently was the concern that my son would not be able to live out his dreams due to blindness, kidney problems, loss of limbs...things like that. It nagged at me unrelentlessly that he was using multiple injections when pump therapy was available, and I could not afford it. Finally, with the assistance of two sets of fantastic Grandparents, Derek began pump therapy in July.

He has always taken his condition very seriously, and when his hormones kicked in last December, it was complicated by the end of his soccer season (less activity) and early sunset (less chance for activity). He kept his levels down by testing 7 - 8 times a day, taking extra shots, and skipping snacks. He has an uncanny ability to read his body and reacted on instinct to keep his levels low. Despite puberty and winter inactivity, his HbA1c was 7.1, which makes me proud. When he went through the pump education, the doctor, Diabetes educator, dietician, and Salesman (a pump user), set aside two full days to get him set up. They all commented that he was really quick to adjust, and felt a little overly scheduled for his situation. The only hard part for him was site changes, but after two episodes, he was fine with it. Since then, his levels have been great, he sleeps later than before, he went to soccer practice, reduced his basal, and didn't need to use his extra snacks, and has done even better than before.

A few weeks ago, he broke his ankle in a soccer game, which had to be surgically set. All through the "fasting" times for lab work and surgery, the concern for mealtime and shots were gone...the anesthesiologist felt that it would be simple to keep his levels good - he would just test him periodically through the surgery, and either bolus him or add glucose to the IV to maintain safe levels. Dereks blood levels stayed good through the surgery, the highest it went between the time he broke it and now is 180. Diabetes is a life changing condition that I wish on no one. The pump does not make it go away, or make it less serious, or less terrible. It does, however, give Derek more freedom than he had before, better control tools, and I can sleep nights knowing that we are doing everything medically possible to provide Derek with a chance to live out his dreams.

Derek will be doing a Science Fair Project on a comparison between Pump therapy and Multiple injections. He intends to use his HbA1c test results, cost comparisons, and lifestyle comparisons. Along with the project, he plans to have meters available for people to test their own blood sugars. I think it will be a great project. . . If anyone is interested in a copy of the abstract, send a SASE to Derek, 1111 Tenth St. # 118, Alamogordo, NM 88310. The fair is in January, so expect it to arrive after that.

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