Watch your language! That’s what Stacey is trying to tell herself this week. When you’re a parent of a child with a chronic condition, it’s hard not to say things like “our diabetes” and “our CGM graph.” But it’s not “ours” exactly, so how do we better talk about this?
Check out Stacey’s new book: The World’s Worst Diabetes Mom!
Stacey also shares her frustration as she finds herself falling into the trap of perfect numbers and trends. While her and Benny’s experience with Control IQ has been wonderful so far, it’s also bringing back some of that perfection trap she thought she’d left behind.
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Stacey Simms 0:00
This episode of Diabetes Connections is brought to you by the World’s Worst Diabetes Mom: Real Life Stories of Parenting a Child With Type 1 Diabetes. Available as a paperback eBook and audiobook. Learn more at Amazon or diabetes dash connections.com.
This is diabetes connections with Stacey Sims.
Stacey Simms 0:26
Welcome to another week of the show. I am so glad to have you here! This is one of our minisodes the shorter episodes that have become sort of the editorial page. If you look at the podcast as a newscast, as I often do. That’s my background. I’m a broadcaster local radio and television for many, many years before I started the podcast. So the Tuesday episodes which runs longer and usually have an interview with a newsmaker. That’s the news. And then these episodes have kind of become the editorial. And this week, instead of the headline stop doing this or think about before you do that, which I’ve been Doing a lot lately. I’m going to talk about why I think what I’m doing is wrong. And maybe you could help me with that. I know I’m not alone. But I’m going to tell you straight up here. I don’t really have the answer for what I’m going to talk about today. And this is really about parents. But I’m hoping that if you’re an adult with type one, you will listen to this as well. Maybe it’ll sound familiar to you, maybe your experience can help us.
So this is all about my struggle, to, in a nutshell, stop thinking about it as my diabetes. It’s not I know this in my brain. My son has type one diabetes, he was diagnosed right before he was two. We have been living with this for 13 years. And sure, my family is affected by diabetes. My family has to deal with diabetes, but my son HAS diabetes. And I’m kind of exaggerating, but you’ll get a better idea in a minute why I’m saying it in such strong terms, because I know this is not helpful. So I’m going to tell you a story. This story happened in December, a couple of weeks before we got control IQ, the new hybrid closed loop system from Tandem. It does tie in, I’m going to tell you about our experience with control IQ, and then how it relates to all of this.
If you’ve seen me talk or you read the book, you know that I’m really fighting against this pressure for perfection. And I think and it makes me laugh that a lot of people like I was just in Raleigh this past weekend talking to parents about this. A lot of people think that I now have this down pat that I know, that I that I am perfect at not being perfect. And I think what’s really funny is, it never ends, right. There’s no finish line to parenting, where you’re like, Whoa, great job. I’m, I’m all set. right good for me. I did it. I mean, there are big milestones, like college and when your kid moves out permanently, but I really don’t think that there’s a point at which we can say, that’s it. So we’re all trying to improve. And I think this story will highlight really just What a dingaling I can be sometimes, because this stuff isn’t easy, right? And we’re always trying to improve. So let me tell you the story, and then you tell me how to improve.
Alright, so this happened, as I said, in early December, so almost two months ago now, Benny was right in range before bed. He was hovering right around 125. And for the last few weeks before this, he’d been dropping about 15 to 20 points overnight. That was it. Right? Just a little drop and then steady. So that was a fine number to just leave alone. But he texted me because this is how we communicate in my house, even if we’re in different rooms. Right across the hall. He texted me a few minutes before I was gonna go in and turn out his light. And he texted me I feel really low. In my head looking at the dexcom I said, You’re not low. You’re 125 I don’t want to treat that. You’re going to mess up our great trend. And you’re just going to go high. You’re going to mess up our great numbers. I didn’t say that out loud.
I went into his room and this is what I said. I said, “Really? Because Dexcom says 125. You feel low?” And he said, “I feel like I’m dropping. See now I’m 117.”
Even without the Dexcom number moving down a smidge. I knew my hesitation was selfish and misguided. Alright, it was dumb. He’s not foolproof, but Benny knows his body. He has been living with diabetes for 13 years. And he felt low. And in my head, I’m like, “Stacey, come on. These are his numbers.” Did you hear me earlier when I said, you’re gonna mess up our great numbers? I mean, I, it hurts me to admit that. But it’s his number. It’s not mine. It’s not ours. So I said, “Okay, I trust you. Let me grab you a drink. Do you think you need more than that?” “Nope, just a juice box should be fine.”
Benny sleeps with an apple juice bottle by his bed. But it’s it’s a full like 25 or 30 carbs and he didn’t need that much. So I grabbed Little can of pineapple juice, and I poured about 12 to 15 carbs, like a juice box, basically, over ice in a highball glass, because sometimes it’s just gotta be fun. And in my head, I was kind of feeling guilty, even though I hadn’t shared with him. I’m trying to make up for that by the splashy cocktail. So he loved that. And he drank the juice and he went right to bed. Now, I assumed I was going to hear that Dexcom high alarm pretty soon. I mean, I went to bed, but I just figured out right, I guess I just gave him 15 carbs he didn’t need but instead, I woke up at 5:50am like I do every day. It showed that he had stayed between 100 and 130 all night long. He had been feeling low, he did need that juice.
While I am thankful that I didn’t go into his room and say, “don’t mess up our numbers” I didn’t say what I was thinking out loud. It bothers me that I thought it at all. I mean, after all this time I do trust Benny with diabetes. I do respect his decisions. And I know that even though he is from perfect, right? He really is safe and happy. So why do I still have those thoughts at all? It’s not about the good health outcomes. I mean, that’s the first thing we think of as parents, right? We want our kids to be happy and healthy. And I would be lying if I said, Well, it was out of health concern. It was because I wanted to make sure that he felt good, and could sleep well and have a great day at school the next day. That’s what I’m supposed to say. But it was about the straight-line graph. It was about wanting, I don’t post them, but it was about wanting to not mess up the pattern we were on. I mean, what, would I really rather my son feel crummy and ignore what he has to say to me, showing him I don’t trust him. I don’t respect him to see that kind of graph. Ah, so how do we get past that?
Not only am I not answering that right now, I’m going to tell you another example of how it’s now getting worse. And this is because of control IQ. First, let me say I love this system. tandem is not a sponsor of the podcast. They’re not telling me what to say. Not that they ever did. But man, this is an incredible piece of software for us. I am so excited. We’ve had it as I’m taping the podcast, we’ve had it for about 10-11 days now. And in the last seven days, Benny’s blood sugar has been in range 70% of the time at minimum, I think only for two days. For the most part, he’s been in range with less work a lot less work. I don’t think in the last seven days he has bolused for a correction, it’s only been for food. Now the first couple of days we did have to do a lot of adjusting. And this is very typical. If you are on any kind of hybrid closed loop system and this is includes the DIY systems is my understanding the people I’ve talked to, you realize right away that most of your pump settings that have worked pretty well for you all this time are wrong. It’s just that we are manually compensating for defaults. We’re paying attention like we’re supposed to, we’re checking that Dexcom, we’re poking the fingers a million times a day, right? We’re really manually using the pump to get the most out of it. And not letting it run on its own. Because it’s dumb, right? It’s not a smart pump. Most of these pumps, most of the programs that we’ve had until recently, they’re just a dumb brick that gives you insulin when you tell it to.
And when you switch over to the automated systems, you really have to trust and you really have to adjust. Because not only is the insulin duration all for most of us, but your basals are off, your sensitivity factors. I mean, I’m not going to go into too much detail here of all of the changes we had to make. But you do have to take your time with this. In fact, as I’m telling you this, we are still at the very beginning of making the changes here, even with those great outcomes we’re seeing. I haven’t changed anything in about five days. I’ve talked to Benny’s endo, and we’re going to wait another week probably just to kind of let it play out and see what really needs to adjust cuz it gets harder, right? The more in range you are, the less you want to tweak, but I know we can make it even better. But in a nutshell, we had some incredible lows like sustained under 50 lows that we hadn’t seen and of course we overtreated for those. And then we had the perfect storm over a weekend of a birthday party that was an overnight party, huge dinner that he completely forgot to bolus for and then tried to make up for half an hour later at a bent canula. So that was high, high, high high for hours and hours and hours, which you know, of course, messed up my control IQ graph. And I am not kidding. Yeah, I know he was high. I know that he said he felt fine, but you know, he didn’t feel great. I know that while Yes, his health is my number one concern in my little brain. I’m thinking, well, I want to show our control IQ graph and how great it looks. And I want to be like all those other people I’m seeing with their great results right away and isn’t this supposed to be amazing and I want better results. And that’s what I was mad about.
You know, I feel like a dummy admitting to this. But I know I’m not alone, because I am seeing a lot of my mom friends. And a lot of people I don’t know, on Facebook, who are not necessarily saying it as plainly as I am, but who are definitely struggling. And sure we’re struggling with the actual numbers. But I think we’re also struggling with the expectations and we’re struggling with our kids are old enough to do a lot of this themselves. So we’re struggling now. With How do I and I’m doing this to Benny? How do I not helicopter, right? How do I not say to him five or six or seven times a day? Did you bolus? What did you do? What’s going on? What do you think? How about this? Did you check? I mean, we don’t talk about diabetes all that much in a day to day basis. But with control IQ and wanting to know what’s going on with it, and wanting to be able to tweak it and make the adjustments. You have to talk about it. And we’re out of practice. So I said to Benny, a couple of days in Look, you’re just going to have to be patient with me, you understand why? If I’m driving you crazy, you have to tell me. And if you just want to give me the pump and walk away, so I can see what you did, that’s fine too. But we have to find a way that I can see what’s going on without driving you bananas, and that you can feel good that I’m still trusting you, I still respect you, I still think that your decisions about your body are ultimately the most important. But I need to help you with control IQ. Because at 15, and everybody may be different. But my kid is not old enough to really go through this and troubleshoot. And he’s not interested. I mean, he didn’t even really want to watch the training. He wants me to tell him about it. And that’s fine for us, because we’ve talked about it now and I feel a little bit better about it.
But and I’ll share another embarrassing thing. I just said that, you know, the last seven days, boy, he’s been in range to 80% of the time. Well, today he’s kind of struggling as I’m recording this. I’m not exactly sure what’s going on. But he got to school and he went over 200 He probably ate some thing, right? I mean, it’s not it. You don’t have to be a genius to figure this out. And then he went back down. And in my head, I’m like, should I text him? No. Should I find out? What’s going? No, you should leave them alone, Stacey, which I did. But I’m also thinking, Oh, I really hope that we’re in range. But in my head, I’m thinking, Oh, I really hope we’re in range more, because I don’t want that 80%. It’s messed up. I mean, come on. Oh, this stuff is not easy. I think acknowledging that It’s troublesome to think this way, is important. I think acknowledging that I’m still going to think this way, is important. I’m trying to work it through and change it. Thank you for being my therapy on the show this week. Maybe I’m yours as well. If you have similar thoughts. I’m not really sure how to get past it, other than to acknowledge it and talk it out and laugh at it a little bit. Do you have a better idea? Do you have a way that all of us who are thinking about these lines And graphs as ours, and I’m not talking about younger kids, it’s so different when your kid is two, or four or seven, or even nine. But once they’re in middle school, you know, this transition, to independence, their own care for them to think about it, to take ownership of it, to know that you trust and respect to them. Even if you’re questioning, I trust and respect my husband doesn’t mean I don’t ask him questions, right? It’s a difficult transition. But it’s such an important one, because soon enough, he’s going to be in college and independent, and he’s going to be out on his own independent, if I’m lucky. So I do think it’s worth discussing, even if it’s a little embarrassing.
And I was at a JDRF conference this past week that I mentioned in Raleigh, and I brought this up, I was with three adults with type one. And I mentioned I was going to call myself out on the podcast this week because of my graph thinking about it as my numbers. And their reactions were really interesting. They didn’t tell me I was a terrible person. They didn’t tell me I was a helicopter mom. They just said yeah, it’s Gotta be tough. It’s got to be hard. But it’s really important to know those are not your number. It’s not your diabetes. I think something else that’s important to keep in mind is, this is so new, right? These closed loop systems are so new, there really isn’t even a good instruction manual for how to know what your pumps settings should be adjusted to 10 history, the great job with the training, I think endocrinology practices are doing a great job with helping people but let’s face it, most of us are getting advice on how to adjust this stuff from Facebook, which is not the best place ever, because I’m seeing a lot of people had a lot of highs, we had a lot of lows, the advice there is not going to be comparable, right?
So I’m going to give myself some grace. I’m going to give myself some patience. And I’m going to hope that I get better at this, that I continue to see the humor in this that hopefully Benny continues to see some of the humor in this and that I can continue to watch my language. I don’t mean keep it PG. I mean to watch my language so that I am not saying my, when it comes to graphs, or diabetes, or more importantly, maybe most importantly, about how Benny feels, right? Isn’t that the most important thing? I can see that number, but it’s really about how he feels, how he wants to react at 15 years old, it is well, to the time to let him do that. So I hope I can continue to work toward those goals. Well, now you know why I am the world’s worst diabetes mom. I really hope that if you get a chance to check the book out, you let me know what you think about that as well. It is available as an audio copy and you can get that for free. There’s lots of opportunities there. I will link up all this stuff on the episode homepage. There’s also a transcript of every episode beginning this year, and that’s very popular now. So I’m hoping to go back soon and transcribe more of the episodes. We have almost 300 of them now. Holy cow back next week with our full Interview episodes. In fact, next week more McCarthy is back, ask the de moms is back. And we’re gonna be talking about a variety of things, answering your questions, including talking about driving, because Benny just got his promise. And yeah, we’re trying to figure all of that out as well. Oh my gosh, this stuff never stops. So I will see you back here for that on Tuesday. And in the meantime, be kind to yourself.
Diabetes Connections is a production of Stacey Simms media. All rights reserved. All rounds avenged.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai