Welcome to our 2013 Walk to Cure Diabetes webpage! We are first time walkers and are eager to find a cure for our diabetic son, Landon (nicknamed Bugs). We invite you to join our team for the walk, learn more about type 1 diabetes, and, if you would like, donate to the cause to find a cure.
Landon has type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease, where his body suddenly started attacking and killing his own pancreas. The pancreas is an organ responsible for producing insulin, a hormone that the body needs to be able to process the sugar (glucose) from the foods that we eat. Because Landon does not produce insulin, we have to give him insulin multiple times a day. The challenge for us (Landons parents) is to try to stabilize his blood glucose levels. We have to prick his heel 8-12 times a day to check his blood glucose, and based on that glucose level, decide how much insulin to give him. In theory, the management of this disease sounds reasonable, but in reality, it is quite difficult. Because Landon is so young, the smallest amount of insulin can cause his blood glucose levels to drop quite rapidly.
A person without diabetes does not need to think about blood sugar because their body regulates those levels automatically. The normal range for a person is 70-120 mg/dl. We try to keep Landon’s blood sugar levels between 80-250 mg/dl. In reality, his blood sugar levels vary from 40-500+ mg/dl despite our best efforts to stabilize him. Blood sugar levels below 70mg/dl are considered “low” and this is a very dangerous situation as Landon does not have enough glucose in his blood to sustain his cells. At these levels, we are especially concerned that his brain might not be getting enough glucose and he could suffer from brain damage, seizures, or even death. To bring his blood sugar levels back up, we have to get him to eat fast acting carbs like juice or milk. A lot of the times these lows occur in the middle of the night or during his naps and so we have to wake him up to bring his blood sugar up.
At the other end of the spectrum, are the “highs” (glucose levels above 250 mg/dl). Although these are not immediately dangerous, sustained highs can lead to other problems as he gets older including loss of limbs, and kidney or liver failure. When Landon is “high” we have to give him insulin to bring his blood glucose levels down. Too much insulin will cause him to go low but not enough insulin will cause him to stay high – it’s a difficult balancing act.
Landon was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on June 5, 2013 – a day that changed our lives forever. He was 8 months old. The warning signs of type 1 diabetes were there (increased thirst, increased urination, lethargy, weight loss) but we attributed them to other things. Landon had been fighting a cold for a week or two, but in the days leading up to June 5, he started acting very unlike himself. Landon had always been a very active baby and had always eaten anything we put in front him. Suddenly he didn’t want to do anything but sleep and drink breast milk. He wouldn’t touch solid foods anymore. We figured he had a sore throat due to the cold, and decided to let his body fight it out. After a couple of days of acting funny, he suddenly started vomiting uncontrollably and started breathing very rapid and labored. We took him to the doctor and the doctor suspected pneumonia. We were sent to the Emergency Room to get x-rays to confirm. At the ER, Landon started getting worse. The first set of x-rays ruled out pneumonia, and more x-rays were taken because his breathing suggested a foreign body stuck in his throat. He was severely dehydrated and the hospital staff was unable to get an IV started on him (they attempted over 12 times). Stumped, the ER staff called Rady’s Children’s Hospital in San Diego, who identified the symptoms right away and suggested to check his blood sugar – it was over 1,000 (10X higher than normal blood sugar) – we were told that Landon was diabetic and was in life-threatening condition called Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA).
Landon was transferred by ambulance to Rady’s Children’s Hospital by American Medical Response’s Critical Care Team. The team was excellent, and was finally able to start Landon’s IV, saving his life, and give him some much needed insulin. We spent the next five days in the hospital and did not leave Landon’ side. After three days in the pediatric intensive care unit, Landon’s blood glucose levels were slowly brought down. Finally, we were transferred to the diabetic unit and spent two days being trained in how to manage Landon condition. Looking back, we are lucky that Landon is still with us. If we had waited to see the doctor, our story would be quite different.
Landon is doing fairly well – his blood sugars are far from stable, but he is a happy and healthy little boy. He just had his first birthday and even got to eat his own Elmo cake! Type 1 diabetics can eat just like anyone else, but their food has to be appropriately covered with insulin. He is a normal little boy who loves to be outside, crawl in the sand, play in the water, and chase after the dog. Behind that carefree one year old are his parents who are constantly monitoring his blood sugar and trying to make sure his blood sugar levels remain in range so that he can live a long, and happy life.
Landon has been very lucky in that we have been able to get him on an insulin pump (Omnipod) and a continuous glucose monitor (Dexcom G4). Landon alternates wearing his pump on his outer thigh and his behind. The pump has to be changed out every three days and just like injections, the site has to be rotated. The pump injects a catheter beneath his skin which delivers insulin into his fatty tissue over the course of three days. Landon is not a big fan of the initial insertion, but he handles it much better than getting shots multiple times a day. We distract him the best we can by having dance parties to his favorite song – “I Love It” by Icona Pop. The continuous glucose monitor is worn on his stomach. It has to be changed out every 7 days. We insert a probe beneath his skin that monitors glucose levels in the interstitial fluid. It gives a real-time view of his glucose levels (approximately). He hates the insertion of the continuous glucose monitor, but once it’s in, it doesn’t bother him at all. These tools make it a little easier to manage his diabetes, but it still requires daily intervention – administering insulin and checking blood sugar levels. At this point the insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor do not automatically regulate his blood sugar, but we hope someday they will. We dream for the day when he will no longer need any of these tools – let’s find a cure!
Thanks for taking the time to read about our baby boy. We would be honored if you would like to join our team and support our Bugs!
-Anthony and Jamie
|Bug's Battalion - Join Team||Raised|
|Denotes a Team Captain|
Brad & Renee Neal
Dee's Cruises & Tours
Dr. Jamie Brugnano
Eric Fischer Real Estate
George & Argie Andralis
June & Malcolm Heppenstall
Mary Jane Brunnabend
Michael & Margot Kakalec
Miguel & Lisa Brugnano
Miss Tina Shoffeitt
Mr. Anthony Brugnano
Mr. Rodney Shoffeitt
Mr. Scott Gustafsson
Mrs. Aunty Lori Trujillo
Mrs. Carol Elaine Starr
Mrs. Cheryl Shoffeitt
Mrs. Cindi L. Marsteller
Mrs. Debbie Konvalin