Hello friends and family,
Well, the 'honeymoon' is over. It's been almost two years of our life with Type 1 Diabetes. This isn't just Zach's disease, it affects our whole family and our community of friends, coaches, nurses, teachers, Zach's friends' parents, etc. 24/7.
Zach started on a tubeless insulin pump called Omnipod last February. His pod is the size of a small computer mouse and attaches to the outside of his body, usually on the back of his arm, top of his buttocks or stomach. It is filled with enough insulin to last him for up to 72 hours and is controlled by a cell-phone sized computer that we program and he has to carry with him at all times. It is set to work like our functioning pancreas, it gives him a continual dose of insulin; then whenever he eats carbohydrates he can give himself extra insulin to help his body use the energy from the food. When he tests his blood sugars 4-6 times per day, he can also give himself insulin to regulate himself. Unfortunately, his computer controller was lost on the golf course, so we are back to giving him short acting insulin shots 4-6 times per day with a long acting shot at bedtime.
We're continuing to learn how to keep his blood sugars level. There are many factors that can increase or decrease his levels including the foods he eats, if he counts his carbohydrates right, if he eats the right portion of food, if he exercises, if he is under stress, if his body is going through puberty or growing, if he has a virus, etc. We've learned how "lows" can affect his ability to function. In his first year, we thankfully didn't have many, but this year has been more up and down. When his sugar is low, he can't think clearly, he gets shaky and doesn't feel well physically with headache and stomach ache symptoms. He has missed several days of school and a few athletic practices/games due to these symptoms. He has had to miss parts of several classes to go down to the nurse to check his levels. If he is low, he has to wait there for 15 minutes to see if the carbohydrates that he eats bring him back up to normal. He then retests himself, if he's normal and feeling well, he can return to class, if he's not back to normal, he repeats the process again until he levels out. If he is low before bed, we have to keep him awake until his number is high enough to let him go to sleep and then Scott or I do nighttime checks to make sure he is still level.
We are eternally grateful for treatment that provides life support so Zach can continue with sports, friends and hobbies. He has amazed us throughout this process with his spirit and positive attitude toward learning about and living with this disease. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is working hard to find a cure so we can confidently tell our son that diabetes is no longer a daily threat to his life; or to the lives of the other 3 million Americans living with type 1 diabetes.
The JDRF ride was an amazing experience for Scott/I last year. Since I’m not able to ride due to surgery (I’m fine, doctor’s orders), Alex has committed to raising the $2000 and completing his first 100 mile ride in LaCrosse on August 17th for me to support his brother. The family picture above is from the American Diabetes ride in which we all rode 45 miles and Zach was recognized as a “red rider” with diabetes. Please donate as generously as possible to help us reach our family goal of raising $4000 while helping JDRF realize the ultimate goal of making Zachary needle-free by finding a cure for diabetes! You can make a tax deductible donation via credit card at http://www2.jdrf.org/goto/ridingforzach , or mail a check made out to JDRF to Scott or Jessie/Alex Engman 5842 Hobe Ln White Bear Lake, MN 55110.
Thanks for your time and support!!
Scott, Jessie, Alex and Zach
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