Dear Coach …. please keep my kid alive

It’s that time of year again…

Basketball season 💗🏀😳

 

I have a LOVE/HATE relationship with it… mostly LOVE…

I LOVE the game – and even more so, I LOVE watching my girl play the game, do what she does best and loves with all her heart.

 

But – I HATE it because it causes me stress .. lots of stress

 

This year is the first year Eden will play basketball for her school – she has played other sports – but basketball is just different.. it impacts her body differently and I KNOW my child will NOT stop, take a break, check her blood sugar or sit out for one minute if she doesn’t have to, because she loves the game so much.

 

Eden had her first official “tryout/practice” yesterday.. I made all the previous arrangements with the school to be sure the new coach would be sufficiently glucagon trained for a Type 1 Diabetes emergency – which was done right before the session.

At the end of practice I approached him and introduced myself and said I was “Eden’s mom” …

his response – WHICH one is Eden?

Yup – slight internal FREAK OUT from me.. In my head – you mean, the emergency training you just had and the kid you just learned has a life threatening condition and are supposed to ensure is SAFE and you don’t even KNOW WHO SHE IS ?!?!

 

Calm down – momma bear.. calm down…

 

Resume conversation – question him on glucagon training to ensure it took place – get a very off hand – “oh yea, the insulin thing” response..  I’m sure I had a look of pure horror on my face ..

 

I honestly can’t even remember exactly how the conversation went from there – I probably rambled – he had a deer in headlights look – and I handed him my cell phone number and email address and said I would send him additional information and guidelines that needed to be followed..

 

Yes – Eden is in Middle School and for the most part can manage the majority of her T1D care.. I’m SURE I sounded like an over bearing, over protective momma – BUT – exercise is a different animal all together – basketball is different – AND I KNOW MY KID…  and I am entrusting a COMPLETE stranger – who clearly knows nothing about her medical condition – or even what she looks like to keep her SAFE..

 

… insert major stress here … 😳

 

Type 1 Diabetes is SO unpredictable… you just NEVER know what will happen especially when exercising..

 

prime example – last night..

 

Eden has her first real “coaching job” – she was asked to be assistant coach to a 3rd/4th grade rec team.. SO EXCITING! She insisted that I didn’t need to stay and I could drop her off because she wouldn’t technically be exercising… I did think about it, but being her first time I wanted to see her in action! 😃

We had an early dinner and on the way there her blood sugar was trending low and she still had a LOT of active insulin that would lower it further… It was a fairly heavy dinner and I was pretty confident that her blood sugar would rise substantially to counteract the insulin and told her she needed to keep her insulin pump ON (she usually takes off for basketball) and did not give her any additional sugar..

As practice begins, her blood sugar starts to drop and hover at a pretty low level – within less than 30 minutes we were pulling her from the court – giving her glucose gel and taking her pump off so she wouldn’t get any additional insulin… (her Dex read BELOW 55) Because we were alerted by her CGM and watching what was happening disaster was averted. Her blood sugar was falling rapidly and Eden had NO CLUE her blood sugar was tanking…

This is what makes me SO NERVOUS – and she wasn’t even “exercising”…

 

fast forward to this morning and my “dear coach – please keep my kid alive” email below…

overboard? maybe …

necessary? I certainly think so..

I tried to keep it as concise and to the point as necessary – unless you live the T1D life – you just DO NOT realize how serious this can get and HOW QUICKLY it can get there… He needs to know it is serious .. and not just a blasé – “oh yea, the insulin thing”.

 

Yes – I need to find the strength to let go and have Eden take the reins – but as I said before – I KNOW MY KID… She has put her life in jeopardy one TOO MANY times when left in control in the past.. She is just not there yet and neither am I.

 

As discussed – below is some additional info in relation to Eden’s Type 1 Diabetes…

I am unsure exactly what Nurse XXX covered besides what to do in an emergency situation – obviously we need / want to prevent it ever getting that serious!

Type 1 Diabetes is an incurable AUTOIMMUNE condition – where her body attacked and destroyed the insulin producing cells in her pancreas. Not to be confused with Type 2 – nothing she did or didn’t do caused it and it is not due to a lack of exercise or poor eating habits. A healthy pancreas automatically secretes the appropriate amount of insulin and balances/maintains a healthy blood glucose level. Eden’s body DOES NOT produce any insulin naturally so we need to give it externally and monitor her blood sugar extremely closely 24 HOURS A DAY – EVERY DAY..

Eden wears an insulin pump to infuse her insulin and will take it off for basketball, she also wears a CGM (continuous glucose monitor) on her arm which takes a blood sugar reading every 5 minutes.

Basically a “perfect” healthy range for Eden’s blood sugar is around 100-120 .. to get it to this level and keep it there is VERY difficult and a daily struggle.

HIGH blood sugar = requires insulin
LOW blood sugar = requires sugar

Anything below 70-80 is considered “low” and bordering dangerous for basketball – exercise will usually cause her blood sugar to drop further so she needs instant sugar to bring it up to a safer level (juice / glucose tabs / fruit gummies in the box I gave you) anything lower than 70 and she should technically sit out for a few minutes and then re-test her blood sugar to be sure it is coming back up. Usually she is able to eat something quickly and get right back at it but she DOES NOT always feel her blood sugar dropping and it can happen very rapidly when exercising even if she starts at a “perfect” blood sugar level. Low blood sugar is much more immediately dangerous than high as her brain and body need the sugar to function and survive and it can be immediately life threatening. She could collapse, have a seizure and pass out if too low – thus the glucagon training you had. Her fast acting sugar and glucagon need to be readily accessible at all times.

We prefer her to be in the high 100’s for basketball – that gives her a good cushion in case she drops. Starting there – not always so easy. On the flip side – if she is 300 or over – she CANNOT participate until her blood sugar levels start to come down.

Eden will be responsible for checking her blood sugar prior to practice and notifying me. I will have her communicate that number to you – please text me – so that we can cross check and know she is good to participate.

The problem with starting to exercise when her blood sugar is elevated (250s or higher) is that it usually just continues to rise as her body then feels it is under “stress”. It isn’t immediately dangerous – but she does require insulin to bring blood sugar back into range and you may notice changes in her behavior. Unfortunately high blood sugar causes slow reaction times, a dazed, spacey look and the inability to focus. She is not being disrespectful if not following instructions – she literally cannot process what is being said and it is completely out of her control.
Eden is an extremely athletic kid and has been playing competitive basketball for many years. Type 1 Diabetes does NOT hold her back but it does require constant and diligent management. We are working really hard to try to get Eden to take responsibility for her health – but it is an extremely hard balance to maintain – and even harder when playing basketball because she DOES NOT feel blood sugar changes when she is exercising and does not want to leave the court or be a disruption.

Technically she should check her blood sugar and/or the reading on her CGM device (I attached picture so you know what I am talking about) every 30 minutes. Even keeping this device on the bench would be great – easier for her to check (and yourself if so inclined) and know where her levels are. Thankfully we have wonderful technology that enables us to also view her CGM reading remotely so we can monitor her from afar – but technology is technology and it does not always function or we lose connection.

 

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns ..

Communication will be key to keep Eden safe and ultimately have a great basketball season!

I understand that the 8th grade coach was also glucagon trained – I will have Mr XXX give him this additional information for reference also.

Please be sure to notify me if you are going to be absent from practice so we can ensure Eden will be in safe hands.

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2 thoughts on “Dear Coach …. please keep my kid alive

  1. I LOVE you wrote a note and followed up. This is nothing to take lightly and you’d never want to question if you could have done more or felt something wasn’t right if there was a problem. Knowledge is power and sounds like he needed a dose (and likely will need more). Good job momma!

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