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Navigating the World of T1DM

Navigating the World of T1DM

On December 19, 2010 I considered myself to be a well-read, educated mother. Having been raised by parents in the medical field (doctor and nurse), I was not intimidated by doctors, hospitals etc. Throughout my life I have seen the miracles of modern medicine–from my mother’s successful survival of three completely unrelated cancers– to my husband’s kidney transplant due to a birth defect that destroyed his kidneys– to my own two miscarriages brought on by an autoimmune disorder and then subsequent pregnancies that gave me my two beautiful children. I never felt out of control…I never felt overwhelmed…

But on December 20, 2010, I met my match. Learning that KC had Type 1 diabetes shook me to my core. And even though I knew people with Type 1, including #1 son’s best friend, I discovered that I knew nothing.

Eight months later, I’ve learned so much, including the fact that there is more to learn. I remember going on-line, right after the diagnosis and seeing words I’d never heard of before….bolus, infusion set, T1DM, PWD, DOC etc. And I’ve been thinking that every day another mother (or father) is sitting at their computer looking at those words for the first time. And I hate that thought…the thought of how lost, confused, empty, alone, sad, angry, and frightened that person is feeling. I wish that no other parent had to go through this learning curve that I am on.

But I can help.

Maybe. Just a little.

By explaining what those foreign words and acronyms mean.

T1DM: Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: an autoimmune disorder where the pancreas is attacked leaving the person insulin-dependent; also known as juvenile diabetes; this disease is not brought on by poor diet or lack of exercise

Type 2 diabetes: adult onset diabetes or non-insulin dependent diabetes; may be manged by diet and exercise

PWD: a person with diabetes

CWD: child with diabetes

DOC:  diabetic on-line community

MODY: maturity onset diabetes of the young; a monogenetic form of diabetes that is neither T1 or T2

MDI: manual daily injections of insulin; fast-acting insulin like Novalog is usually given at meal times and a long-acting insulin like Lantus is given as background insulin (similar function as the basal insulin for the insulin pump). 3 to 4 shots a day is pretty normal.

bolus: the amount of fast-acting insulin given with a meal; many doctors today use carb counting to determine the bolus with a ratio of 1 unit of insulin per a specified number of grams of carbohydrates

pre-bolus:  give the bolus amount 10 to 20 minutes before eating to help ward off post meal highs

basal rate: this is used with insulin pumps to provide background insulin throughout the day to help keep blood glucose levels steady (replaces the long-acting insulin, Lantus, used MDI)

BS or BG: blood sugar or blood glucose; the levels that are tested throughout the day by those with diabetes

lancets: the needles that prick the finger for blood glucose test

CGM: continuous glucose monitor; a small sensor that is attached to the PWD and is able to take glucose readings every five minutes. CGM’s use interstitial fluid in the body, not blood, to measure the glucose levels. These readings are approx. 20 behind a traditional finger stick reading.

infusion pump/insulin pump: a machine that is able to pump insulin into the PWD, eliminating MDI

cannula: small (teeny tiny) tube that is inserted into the PWD to deliver the insulin

infusion set:  the cannula/tubing etc. that connects the pump to the PWD

tethered pump: a pump which has long plastic tubing connecting the cannula to the pump (Medtronic Minimed Paradigm is one example)

untethered or non-tethered pump: pump attached directly to PWD without tubing (Omnipod is an un-tethered pump)

JDRF: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; the leading advocacy group for those with T1

If you think of any more, please add them.


About kcandcompany

Mother of with food allergy and one with Type 1 diabetes.

One response »

  1. Okay, I’ve learned another one to add….SWAG–scientific wild a** guess…what we do when we don’t know how many carbs a food item has in it.


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