Lately, I’ve been pretty quiet about my son’s Type 1 Diabetes on this blog. He lives with this 24/7 and I have to help him, so I live it too — but you don’t. But why do I share things about it? I’m hoping that a fellow T1D parent going through the same thing will read this post and it will help them or comfort them. I still remember frantically trying to google information, as we spent our night in the Pediatric ICU and how scared I was. But this post isn’t about that. This post is about the hell that is a growth spurt. My son is 13 and a half and for the last year and a half, while he’s had Type 1 Diabetes – anytime he has a growth spurt things go south. Now, if you follow my Instagram stories, I will share when something happens (or if T1D is being difficult that moment). And while I’d love to be able to tell you things are good, they’re not. We have a minimum of 2 emergencies per day. When his blood sugar dips too low (because he gives himself a wee bit too much insulin) or his blood sugar goes higher than I’d like, way higher. B always goes high in the morning (hello Dawn Phenomenon) and even though he gets more insulin at certain times of the day in his insulin pump, we haven’t been able to stop his going high around breakfast time. But this post isn’t about that either. It’s about how growth spurts affect my kid. Type 1 Diabetes and Growth Spurts: When Things Go South
They make his blood sugar go out of control and very high. However, I have to pay attention because there are so many reasons why his blood sugar could go high.
- His blood sugar could go high because he didn’t give himself enough insulin for a meal.
- His blood sugar could go high because he had cereal.
- His blood sugar could go high because he had rice or pasta or pizza (though sometimes we can manage pizza)
- His blood sugar could go high because he’s getting sick.
- His blood sugar could go high because we had takeout food.
- His blood sugar could go high because he’s dehydrated.
- His blood sugar could go high because his insulin went bad.
- His blood sugar could go high because his insulin pump failed.
- His blood sugar could go high because it’s a Tuesday (meaning no reason in particular, sometimes he just goes high).
- His blood sugar could go high because it’s really hot out.
- His blood sugar could go high because he’s angry or upset at someone
- But, his blood sugar could go high because he’s having a growth spurt.
And I have to pay attention to all of these factors. When he goes high and I can’t help him get his blood sugar back to a safe level (his blood sugar is supposed to be between 70 to 130), there are a few things I can do:
I can change his insulin pump. There have been times when the canula needle, that is always in his skin, comes out.
I can open a new and fresh vial of insulin (my son uses Novolog)
I can have him inject himself with a unit or two of insulin manually to get him down faster.
If this goes on for several days and he’s not visibly sick, then I can reasonably guess that he’s in a growth spurt. So what I do next is to call my pediatric endocrinologist’s office. I call either my favorite doctor there or my favorite nurse (Diane – she knows I love her) and they help me. I send in his Dexcom Continuous Glucose monitor data and the data from his insulin pump (Omnipod). I am given a new settings for his insulin pump and possibly even a new ratio of food to insulin. I was trained on his pump, but I’m not as confident enough to change thing without consulting a medical professional. So, we change things. And then it stops working again. I call again. And this is what we do. This is my son’s life. We have no choice but to keep going on. I would love to get to the point that my friend at Sugar Spice Insulin is at. She handles this so much better than I do.
Note, we are lucky to have insurance to help us, but we still pay A LOT out of pocket and it’s insane. I know there are so many people who cannot afford their insulin, let alone at glucose monitor or insulin pump and I am fearful for them. I’m fearful for what happens when my son is off my insurance. I’m fearful about him going off to college and after, but these are things that won’t happen for a long time. But that’s a post for another day.
Note: I am not a doctor or have medical training. I talk about Type 1 Diabetes from a parent’s point of view. Always consult your endocrinology team if you have any questions. I advocate for my child until he can advocate for himself.