Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Still Around- Like Hope

At UCLA, Peter Butler has been looking for things that aren't supposed to be there and finding them. Dr. Butler is an endocrinologist who studies abnormal insulin secretion in patients with diabetes.

When your child has type-1 diabetes, an autoimmune response causes her body's defense systems to mistakenly attack and destroy the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. Conventional wisdom has it that after a certain amount of time, the immune response kills all the pancreatic beta cells and that the process is irreversible.

Dr. Butler found that this isn't the case at all. He found that certain people even after decades of the disease still have some surviving cells that make insulin (see chart below). Building on these findings, his work now focuses on the potential for regeneration of these beta cells in diabetics to allow normal insulin regulation.

So, like me, you may have thought that all the beta cells in your child were gone. And that you had no hope for a cure. But just like Dr. Butler's beta cells, it seems like hope was always there (it just hides sometimes).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Ninjabetic Letters

George a.k.a. the Ninjabetic writes a very funny diabetes blog at the-bad-blog.blogspot.com. Writing and blogging about diabetes has really made a positive effect on George's blood sugar management. I guess that being consciously aware of your diabetes and what's going on in the diabetes world can lead to better control. Blogging about his condition is one way George is able to keep his personal awareness of diabetes top of mind.

On Monday he posted an imaginary letter exchange between him and diabetes that really got me thinking. It's a well written post that's worth checking out. Click here to read it >>

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I've heard teens with diabetes, ridden with guilt, admit to cheating- - sneaking candy and junk food when they're not supposed to come near any of that stuff with a ten foot pole. And I've seen their parents wring their hands in frustration when they cheat.

Cheat is the wrong word. Cheat is an outdated word. It comes from a time before fast acting insulins like Humalog and Novolog were available.

Every kid wants or needs a treat every now and then. As long as you give insulin immediately to compensate for it, then it's ok. It's not cheating. It's not anything to get too emotionally distraught over.

If too many emotions get tied to eating and control, it could just lead to warped views and undue psychological stress.

Monday, November 09, 2009

D-blog Day 2009

Last post for today... my friend Gina has proclaimed that today is D-Blog Day. You can check out how other writers are blogging about diabetes today on her Diabetes Talkfest website.

It's a great way to help get the word out about Diabetes Awareness Month. Happy D-Blog Day!

H1N1 Info for Diabetics

There's some great information about swine flu treatment and measures to try to prevent it on the JDRF website. Here's the link >>>

Stricken with Swine Flu

Last week we were "all hands on deck," to battle our own personal outbreak of the H1N1 Swine flu. Cassie was on an overnight field trip to Williamsburg, when a mini-epidemic swept through their bus. The trip was prematurely cut off, and Cassie started to feel ill shortly after coming home.

Both Cassie and big sister Miller came down with it and our upstairs became a quarantined, temporary flu ward. The tell-tale symptom that characterized the illness as swine flu was the high, high fever (103 F). We were fortunate having Tamiflu on hand. We were able to give Cassie the Tamiflu earlier into her sickness than Miller and I can tell you that it made a big difference. Cassie's symptoms weren't as bad as Miller's - less fevers, less achiness and pain and less malaise. Also, the duration of her flu systems were cut short by about a day.

The flu had a big effect on Cassie's blood sugars. She ran high most of the time and it was hard to get her blood sugar level down below 200 mg/dl. Having her on an insulin pump helped tremendously to manage this. We raised her insulin basal rate to 150%-200% normal and gave increased boluses at meals. Both girls maintained a healthy appetite most of the time and we kept them well fed to help boost their bodies' ability to fight the virus. We made each of them drink copious amounts of water and Gatorade as well.

All too often a sickness like this can lead to an emergency room visit to get IV fluids for dehydration or high ketones in the bloodstream. We came out of it all OK. Anytime we can avoid a hospital visit during a major infection like this counts as a victory in our book. Phew!