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Fundraising for a Diabetic Alert Dog for Ella
2,100 raised
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4 contributors
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Ended May 25, 2014
A Day in the Life of Ella Simons with Type 1 Diabetes: Insulin: This is what Ella's pancreas isn't making any more. It takes sugar out of your blood stream and stores it to be used later for energy. We have to give her manufactured insulin at ...

A Day in the Life of Ella Simons with Type 1 Diabetes:

Insulin: This is what Ella's pancreas isn't making any more. It takes sugar out of your blood stream and stores it to be used later for energy. We have to give her manufactured insulin at regular times of day to help her process her sugars, this is always done before a meal and sometimes if her blood sugar is too high before bed.

Carb Counting: This is how we work out how much insulin to give Ella. The amount of insulin depends on what her blood sugar is doing right now + what she is about to eat. "Carbs" are sugars and starches (probably oversimplified there). The easiest way to figure out how many "carbs" she is going to eat is to look at the nutritional information on the back of food packaging, for example a slice of bread is about 16 carbs or a mini box of smarties is 10. The more sugar/carbohydrate she will eat the more insulin she has to have AND the higher her blood sugar; the more insulin she will need and vice versa.

TYPE 1 Diabetics can eat ANYTHING. Yes, chocolatey treats .. anything. The only consideration is WHEN she can eat it. Technically the easiest thing is to eat high sugar foods with a meal so you can work out all your numbers and dose the right amount of insulin all at once. The alternative is a finger prick blood test and insulin dose when the child wants the snack which seems a bit harsh for a bit of chocolate. Most advice is: save it for meal time. And don't worry about buying "Diabetic" sweets etc, apparently they can often have a laxative effect and really don't make that big a difference to the carb count, plus that's what the insulin is for.

She can have a sneaky snack now and then. If it's small like a few crisps, a piece of fruit or a sweet it's not going to send her to hospital. Her sugar readings might be a bit higher later but it will come down with the next insulin dose and she'll be fine.

She can have a vegetable or protein or fat snack any time she likes. We give her red peppers, cucumber, cheese, saucsisson etc any time she asks for a snack. None of them count as carbs.

Testing Blood Sugar: this is done with a finger prick test. Using a neat little lancet device she pricks her finger and applies a droplet of blood to a disposable strip attached to a blood sugar meter and it gives us the results. Finger prick tests are done when she wakes, before each meal mid morning, mid afternoon and before bed, and if there is a suspected hypo we test once, treat and test again until the hypo is resolved.

Some nights if she is too low for comefort at the 11pm test, Dave and I take it in turns to test her again normally 2am and 4am as night time hypos can happen.

It is between tests and during the night that Ella is at risk and this is when her alert dog will be of maximum benefit.

Low Blood Sugar (a "Hypo"/blood sugar reading under 0.80mg/l) is bad. The reality is that if her blood sugar falls far enough could have a fit or even fall into a coma. Adult diabetics have described the feeling of a hypo as feeling drunk in a sickly and confused kind of way. Hypos which are caught in time are treated with 15 grams of quick-acting sugar (not chocolate as the fat content makes it absorb slowly) - we use 10-15 haribo dragibus - wait 15 minutes and retest to make sure she's out of danger, if not then rinse and repeat.

High Blood Sugar (a "Hyper"/a blood sugar reading above 2,50) is not bad in the short-term, but needs to be corrected quickly with an insulin dose or the body will start to produce Ketones which are pretty bad, and if prolonged you have Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) which is what Ella could have developed had we not have taken her to A&E on 1st March when she was diagnosed. Ella's blood measured over 5,00mg/l when we were admitted because her body had no way to deal with the glucose it had produced from the food she had been eating so she had lost loads of weight because it had been using most of her body fat for energy.

The Ideal Blood Sugar Reading is 1,00mg/l and that's what Diabetics hope to average at their check up every 3 months.

We have no idea what caused this. That is the truth. we know it's an autoimmune condition, we know Ella had a run of illness over a very short period (a gastro bug) and one of those was the virus which KO'd her pancreas, but I don't know why it happened to HER. We have no TYPE1 diabetes in our family history and Ella had been a particularly fit & healthy child to the date of diagnosis.

Type 1 Diabetics Don't Get Better. No, they really don't. If you heard about it happening to someone's cousin's friend they probably had Type 2 which is a different thing, and with eating right and sometimes some medications that condition can be controlled and even cured. We wish it was the case for us.

Type 1 diabetics CAN do sport, go to parties, drive cars and have kids.

Are we worried about it? Very much so. Completely. Always. The more we find out the more we have to worry about, BUT the more you know the better you can react. We don't sit and sob all day long (not any more at least!) because that's no way for anyone to live and it's important to us that Ella never feels bad about a condition she did not choose. It's a psychological minefield quite honestly but we are going to do our best to not mess her up too much.

Because of your help, this dog is going to enhance our whole family's lives but most importantly give Ella back a little of her carefree childhood.

THANK YOU xxxxxx

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