From a post I did on Facebook, that I felt deserved some space on the blog: We talk a lot about the amount of training we do daily, and the structure that is required to make sure these dogs continue to work and do their jobs. I get asked a lot if these dogs ever get to be “treated like pets like most peoples dogs?” , if they get to have “fun”, if they get time off, If service dog life is a bad life or a rough life for the dogs.
With the exception of 1 parent, everyone in this image is a type 1 diabetic. Look at all of them. They are happy. Smiling. Holding cute, amazing dogs. They were all gathered together for the Canine Hope For Diabetics 2014 Diabetic Alert Dog Conference at a gorgeous location in the Southern California woods. Perfect weather, lots of friends, dogs, great conversation, activities for the kids and the dogs, training sessions for the dog handlers, discussion groups about diabetes, diabetes technology, animal care and training, it was an amazing weekend. And I captured it all with my camera. So what’s not to love?
Once again, my track record for bursting into tears while talking about how amazing these dogs are, and all that they do for our family, is at 100%. If you were there, it was disjointed at best, and cut short as I couldn’t get through it. I always feel bad as I struggle with these. But I will give myself 1 compliment. I am passionate about what these dogs are capable of doing, both for diabetes, and for the general well being of their families. This is what my speech was supposed to sound like:
As a father of a type 1, I love meeting adult type 1’s that bust the stereotypes that we hear about constantly. We are barraged with poor quality of life stories, shortened life spans, poor health, blindness, amputations, the list goes on. And as the father of a female type 1, we hear a lot about how pregnancy is hard, ill advised, and a difficult and constant struggle of an experience.
Through my association with Canine Hope for Diabetics and being involved in local JDRF events, I have had the great honor of meeting many adult type ones living healthy, productive lives. Some are married, some are extremely successful, some have children, but all of them are kicking type 1 ass. I have reached out to a few of them to shed some light on common myths in the diabetic world. Here is the first in what I hope will become a series. Lori Mayfield, our guest blogger today, is a woman I met through Canine Hope. I have had the pleasure of knowing her for a few years, and even got to photograph her and her amazing dog RJ on the day they were forever placed with each other. Lori has been married for several years with a beautiful family, and I asked her to talk about her experience with pregnancy and type 1. Again, as a parent of a type 1 daughter, Lori is someone I really look up to and admire, a role model, and as we travel further through life with T1, I know she will be a huge wealth of knowledge and experience for our family to tap into. A huge thank you to Lori for doing this for us!
I will never know what it is like to live life with type 1 diabetes. I will never know how fuzzy, off, and out of focus a 400 feels, and I will never know how disorienting and scary a 25 feels. As often as I ask, as often as I have had it explained to me, as often as I have witnessed these, and with as many diabetics as I have spoken with, I will still never truly understand.
On our Facebook page this week, I have been doing a series of screen captures of our CGM graph from overnight to show why we do night checks. In this graph above, you can clearly see that at 8pm she was low, at which point we gave her carbs. When we went to bed at 10 and checked her, she was sitting comfortably at 150, a good number for us for night time. My wife woke up at midnight to check her and she had gone up, a bounce back from the carbs administered at 8, she bolused her. Raven woke me up at 2, and Stella was hovering around 200 so I bolused again, and she woke up at a great 133 ready to start her day. A question came up though.
That I took that picture. The very day that we met Major for the very first time. Ever. And our lives were forever changed. We were lucky enough to come into contact with Crystal and Johanna almost a year before that day. They are Canine Hope for Diabetics. At the time that we found them, my wife and I were pretty insistent on using a rescue or shelter pup, and Crystal was the first person that didn’t laugh at us or tell us no way. Rescue is a pretty big deal in our house. So that was important to us. Crystal took on the challenge and went through several dogs before finally coming across Major. (His story is in that link). She initially rescued Major about 6 months prior to us meeting him. She didn’t want to introduce us to any pups until she knew that it might work out. More »