Friday, September 16, 2011

CFRD has officially moved in!

I went to wash my face last night before heading to bed. As I looked in the mirror I saw a black smudge on my check and wondered what the heck it was. I quickly was Andrea's mascara. It had smeared onto me as I held her last night while she cried for a full hour. A full hour of crying because she was sad and angry with the news that she needs to start daily insulin shots. The doctors just aren't happy with the numbers from her glucose readings she did a week ago and before we start seeing complications arise, she needs to start this new regimen to keep her healthy.

And so here we go...another new and ugly norm added to Andrea's life. Added to all our lives really. Yes, I don't have to give myself shots and poke my finger daily to get sugar level reads, but I'll have to watch Andrea do so and I know the first few weeks will be heart breaking. This will affect our entire household emotionally, mentally and physically.

CFRD: cystic fibrosis related diabetes - I've known this acronym for years, since about the time Andrea was diagnosed with CF. I knew it could come knocking on our door, bags packed and ready to move in and for about 8 years we've been able to shut the door on its ugly face. But about two years ago it finally stuck its foot in the door; slowly pushing itself in and finally successfully moving in for good. Truly, an unwelcome guest!

CFRD is NOT type 1 diabetes. It's not even type 2. It's kind of a combination of the two and it occurs in about 78% of CFers. CF affects the pancreas because it blocks the pancreatic duct which sends enzymes to the digestive system to help with breaking down the food we eat. Andrea's pancreatic duct is fully blocked and thus in return causes problems to the liver. All of this leads to poor insulin function and voilĂ ...CFRD. It's a lot more complicated than this but it's the basic jest of it. If you really want to know more about it, just click here: What is CFRD?

Our next step is to schedule an appointment with the diabetes clinic and meet with a nurse educator. She will answer all our questions and show Andrea options for injecting insulin and teach her, Jeff and I how to administer the shots.

Andrea had a lot of questions last night. It was amazing watching her the full hour go from sad, to angry, to feeling sorry for herself, to an "I won't do it" attitude, to even wondering what's the point of continuing with all of her CF protocol. Eventually she came back to the strong, courageous Andrea I know and realized that things could be worse and that she's not alone when it comes to all of this. She mentioned her friends that have type 1 diabetes and that they've been dealing with it longer and so could she. I was at awe at how calming it was for her to acknowledge what her friends have to deal with, stating that one friend deals with frequent migraines, another has to do facial treatments to keep her face clear of severe acne, while another suffers from back pain. They may seem minor compared to her CF but non-the-less it helped her get past the "why me/my life sucks" feeling.

In the end, as much as I know I helped Andrea she--once again--has helped me even more. I learn a lot from this 15 year old and together we will get past this ugly hump!

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