Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pennies For a Puppy

These past few weeks have been tough ones, but they were sprinkled by moments of hope and life.

One of Ashley's friends from camp passed away in her sleep. I wasn't sure if I should tell her or not but I knew she would find out sooner or later. On Facebook, the Type 1 Community changes their profile pictures to blue candles to signify this wretched disease has stolen another life.  This time, the candles were for someone we had personally met and I think this community is still trying to process it.

There were so many connections to this family spread out in this small area and it was just different from the rest even though it shouldn't be. I guess what made it different was trying to separate my family from theirs and other type 1 families that we know. It was too easy to picture us in that situation, when we saw it playing out before our eyes. I could have been in that receiving line at the funeral parlor. Daniel could have been the one trying to be the strong father holding back tears. The only reason I can say these things in my blog is because every type 1 family there, including Sarah's family seemed to know how everyone felt. It could have been anyone.  It is a challenging experience to try and balance your own fears with trying to help in any way that you can without being annoying. It hurts seeing insensitive comments being made on the family's facebook page by well meaning people. I don't know if I should have stepped in or if I was wondering how that comment would have made me personally feel. I regret not saying anything and I apologize.

From Ashley's point of view, she is still afraid of going to sleep but she had that issue before Sarah's death. Camp is pretty blunt about "complications" that can happen. We were offered a Diabetes Alert Dog but this particular dog had not been around other dogs and it bit our dog to the bone several times. He is currently on pain meds and antibiotics while he recovers.  It was also way too big for Ashley (125 lbs) and even though she was a trooper and tried so hard, it was still hard for her to handle.  The poor child was devastated because we know that Diabetes Alert Dogs can be such a blessing and can help Ashley feel safe again.

We have not given up and we are currently working to raise money for her very own alert dog.  It won't be easy but we have two years to raise money. It is a $1000 deposit to receive the dog and the rest can be raised while we have the dog. Obviously, there are no guarantees of stopping a tragic event, but if I can comfort my daughter in any way, I will sure try. I don't know what it is like to be 11 and living with a true fear of bedtime.

I was nervous about people trying to help us with this because I didn't want to exploit what happened to Sarah's family.  I had mentioned we were looking into getting one and people just jumped in to help us. It was touching and amazing. I did message Sarah's mother and she said she didn't mind at all if people wanted to help us. I guess I just felt afraid of hurting their feelings.  That was the last thing I ever wanted to do.

If you can either donate or help us plan fundraisers, we would so appreciate it. Even putting her link out there would be helpful. Everything counts. Thank you.

Often diabetics don't "feel" their low blood sugars and their bodies are slow to react to how their insulin pumps have been programmed. These events can lead to dangerous lows which can result in seizures, coma, and even death. Implanted glucose monitoring systems are often 20 minutes behind an alert dog. These electronic systems measure parts per million. In studies dogs have been shown to scent parts per trillion. Diabetics may sleep right through a monitor's alarm, whereas a trained diabetic alert dog is persistent to the point where s/he will "go get" another member of the household if the diabetic does not respond.



  1. okay i'm just now seeing this (havne't checked blogger in a while)

    so the dogs can actually smell when her levels are off? wow.

  2. what a fascinating article! you are a great writer too, so funny, I'm cracking up all over the place reading your blog, haha. Love to talk to fellow mothers sharing the insanity!! Now following and would love to have you as a follower too! Blessings, Petra.


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