A Morning in the Life of a Pancreas

 

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Hi.  I’m Melodi.  And I’m a pancreas.

It’s midnight and it is time to check Georgie’s blood sugar level.  Thankfully he sleeps through the finger poke.  But at the 3 a.m. check, he does not.  After warding off a few blows, and speaking calmly, I reassure him that all is well and he can go right back to sleep after I test him.  Both tests showed that his blood sugar is in the “target” range, so I’m able to sleep relatively peacefully (with the exception of waking when I hear my daughter crying, and my husband getting up to tend to her a few times.)

Both children are up around 6:30 and as soon as I have my coffee and can see straight, its 7:00 a.m. and time for Georgie’s blood sugar check and morning Levemir shot.  The Levemir is a slow-acting insulin that lasts approximately 20 hours.  Right now its a once-a-day shot that I give every morning.  I know he needs another shot, with the Humalog insulin, to cover the carbs in his upcoming breakfast.  So I write out his breakfast on my white board: Banana, 1/2 medium, 17 carbs; Toast, 2 slices, 20 carbs; Peanut Butter, 2 Tbs, 7 carbs; 2% Milk, 8oz, 12 carbs.  Uh oh.  56 Carbs.  It makes me nervous because its in between numbers on his insulin-to-carb scale, so I decide to give only one slice of bread which brings it down to 46.  One unit of Humalog insulin for 46 carbs. 

The caffeine in my coffee must be effective because I’m able to do all this while balancing my fussy, teething 2 year old on my hip.  I calculate the insulin-to-carbs and get both shots ready at the same time.  I let George know that I need to poke his finger, and then give shots.  He immediately panics and runs from the room, which causes my little girl to hide her head in my shoulder.  So I cut up some fruit for her, and get her settled at the table before trying to find Georgie. 

Once I find him and get his hands washed, I poke his finger and test his blood sugar to see if I need to add any insulin to the shot to correct high blood sugar.  He is running a little low, which explains the fear and emotional response this morning.  I finally get him settled at the table, prep both insulin shots (they are pens and needles, not syringes and vials in case you wanted to know), and give the shots.  But first he wants me to count to 12 prior to each shot.  So I do that.  Some days its 3.  Some days its 12.  One day he requested that I count to 112.

As soon as both shots are administered, I make breakfast and serve it.  I’m grateful I went down to only one slice of bread because he is not overly hungry.  And since this is a school day, I don’t want to worry about him going low because he didn’t eat enough carbs and his insulin might be too high.

I allow them to watch a movie so that I can calculate George’s snack, lunch and after school snack in peace.  And so that I can make an entirely new pot of coffee because I’ve downed the first one already.  Thank GOD for a French Press which only takes 4 minutes to brew.  I make sure his Diabetes bag is complete with snacks.  Snacks for high blood sugar, and snacks for low blood sugar.  Because I’m not sure yet what he will have when tested at school at snack time.  Then I calculate all the carbs in his lunch:  2 slices of bread, 21 carbs; egg salad, 0 carbs; tube of yogurt, 10 carbs; small cookie, 11 carbs.  1 unit of Humalog to cover 41 carbs for lunch.  I get the alcohol swipe, pen and needle ready for when I will return to his school at lunch time to administer the shot.  George absolutely will not allow the school nurse to give the shot yet.  And I cannot bear to force him.

Somehow, I get both children ready.  Me…not so much.  No makeup.  Stained shirt.  Not sure what my hair looks like, because well, I forgot to check.  Am I still in my pajama pants?  Yes, I believe I am.  And we head to school.  I ask George what he wants to pray for as I park before we walk in.  “Dear Heavenly Father,” his sweet voice says, “Thank You for this beautiful day.  If anyone needs a friend, I’ll be their friend.  Amen.” 

So begins another day in the life of this mother.  I won’t think about the text in an hour letting me know his blood sugar level, and asking which snack to give.  I won’t worry about returning in 2 short hours to administer a shot before lunch.  Who cares that I pack up Hope for a 3rd time to pick George up after school at 1 p.m. 

My son still thinks every day is beautiful.  And he still realizes that this life is waaaay bigger than him.  Way bigger than Diabetes.  If he can think that…then so can I.

Hi.  My name is Melodi.  Not only am I a pancreas…but I’m also the mother of an incredibly brave little man.  Who inspires me to see beauty in every morning.

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18 thoughts on “A Morning in the Life of a Pancreas

  1. Melody,
    I have been a diabetic for 37 years (since age 10). I just read your blog “A morning in the life of a pancreas” and I wanted to cry. You are doing so good. Your persistence in checking George’s blood and counting his carbs will do so much in making it all second hand to George and thus making it normal. I can’t imagine having a child so young with diabetes-what a total life change for you and the rest of the family. I have been praying for you all since your first post. You are a great mom and All will be good with George.
    Dana Combs

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    • Dana!!! Your words are so encouraging. And your prayers so appreciated. Thank you!! I don’t think I knew that you were a diabetic as well. I am even more encouraged now. If you can do this….we can do this. Bless you.

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  2. Melodi~ that is beautiful. I love what our children teach us, simplicity even amidst the complicated. My mommy heart feels and prays for you, you’re doing a great job. Love you Cuz!

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  3. Hi Melodi, YOU are a thoughtful, prayerful, strong, pretty and fun loving woman and thereby an excellent mom. You can do ALL things thru Christ 🙂 Your blog is refreshingly transparent and it encouraged me. I’m praying for you and your family as are many others. You are not alone dear friend. . .you are not alone!
    Big Hug from me to you,
    Julie

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  4. Wow! Melodi. What an insightful blog post. I had no idea about everything involved in managing diabetes. I know, being a mother, you just get in with it, but you clearly are approaching this with Love, patience, grace and some joy in there for good measure. What a wonderful pancreas you are, even better than the real thing (although I’m sure you wish is wasn’t so) Well done mommy you are doing an amazing job!

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    • You are such an encouragement to me, Hannah. Thank you so much. Um…I wish I always approached this with love, patience, grace and joy…but when I don’t, I will remember that you think I do. LOL!! Appreciate you greatly.

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  5. I know that you have way too much to handle right now and probably don’t have time for it.. you may not even have need for it. I know they are really thorough now with the training they give.. but I ran across a book when I learned that I was Type II pre-diabetic called ‘Think Like a Pancreas’ it was actually about Type I Diabetes, so not totally applicable to my situation. If you ever get two minutes peace you might find it interesting. Your blog just made me think of it, since you started by saying ‘I’m Melodi and I’m a pancreas’

    ((((((((((((Hugs)))))))))))))) I know this is really hard on you and I applaud you for letting us know how you feel and getting it out on paper and letting us know how to pray better for you and your family. I am so sorry that George has this, but I know he has the best mommy he could possibly have and I’m glad that he isn’t totally focused on it right now.

    In a sidenote… your blog helped me realize that I have a wordpress account, because I tried to sign up for another one, so that I could click the “liked” button and my usual username that no one else takes, was taken.. so I typed in my email address and viola! Reset password! I almost never blog..

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  6. Melodi, my prayers are with you. Thank you for sharing your journey here. You are such a good mommy, friend. May God’s strength and peace sustain you from day to day.
    Love,
    Melissa

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  7. I don’t think there has ever been a time when I have read your blog and not been moved by it. Thank you for allowing us to help carry your burden. Jesus is FOR you and He is with you. I love you and that sweet miracle boy of yours. The girls and I pray for you and George every day together a a we will continue to do so. I love you my dear dear friend.

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  8. This was very moving. My daughter was just diagnosed at age 12 and is being so brave. Your son sounds amazing too, I am sure it’s scary for him sometimes. May you and your family be blessed, thanks for sharing.

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  9. Thank you for commenting. My heart goes out to you and your daughter. In some ways, I think being diagnosed at 12 must be much harder than at 5…I think you are amazing! I read some of your blog as well, and I hope we can encourage each other on this new journey we are on!!

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