Thursday, February 24, 2011

*Featured* Inside The Sugar Free Mind Of... Kim Drake-Bourassa

Alex, shortly before dx'd
 Today, our Featured Mom is Kim Drake-Bourassa, and her son Alex!

Kim is a loving wife, mother, friend, and a supporter of the JDRF and ADA. Both, her husband, and her work outside the home, while taking care of their Type 1 Diabetic son, Alex! WoW! I couldn't imagine how it would be to work, juggle activities, appointments, sleep schedules, and everything else involved with taking care of children, let alone a child with Type 1! Way to go Kim!!

Her son, Alex is a fun-loving, energetic little boy with a heart of gold! Read more about their story below...

Can you tell us about when Alex was diagnosed? At what age? Alex was 3 when he was diagnosed. I had noticed that Alex's diapers were very full only after an hour after last changing. I can remember watching him walk down the hall and his diaper was hanging down because it was so full. He would keep glasses of water everywhere and my sister asked him why he was doing that and he replied, "In case I get thirsty." He drank lots and if we didn't get him something to drink fast enough he would freak out. This went on for about a week and a  half. One Sunday, he asked for some water and I gave him a bottled water. He drank the thing and asked for another. I thought that this just  isn't right, so I spoke to my husband Randy and told him that I thought he had diabetes. He said he's too young for that. I made him a doctor's appointment for the following day and asked Randy to talk to the doctor about diabetes and my fear. He did this, and the doctor said that he had never seen soeone Alex's age with diabetes, but he did a urine test. I got a call the next day and they requested another urine sample, that I brought in on Wednesday morning, the following day. At 11:30 a.m. I got a call from the doctor and he told me that he had been on the phone all morning with an endocrinologist at Children's Hospital and that Alex was very sick and he had Type 1 diabetes, and that we needed to take him to the emergency room ASAP. I remember saying, that he wasn't sick and the doctor saying that yes, he was, and needed to get to Children's so they could do some tests as they suspected he had Type 1 Diabetes and needed to get on insulin immediately. I'm crying just thinking about this. I can remember it just like it was yesterday, and it was 8 years ago!

What emotions did you go through at diagnosis? Denial, not this can not be happening there is some mistake. What did I do to cause this. How can I test his blood sugar and give him shots every day. Will he be OK?

How has the diagnosis changed your life? Your family? Your marriage? It's odd, but a few months before Alex was diagnosed, one day I had this dreadful feeling. I was thinking that things were going so well and Alex was healthy and happy, but there was this feeling that I couldn't figure out. It was for just a day and then it went away, but I wonder why I had that feeling. It changed our lives as we had to pay more attention to what and how much he was eating. I have always been a worrier, but then I had something else to worry about and feel sad about for him. I thought it brought Randy and I closer as we were determined to do the very best we could for Alex. I think we have met some wonderful people that wouldnt' have met if Alex wasn't diagnosed. I have asked Alex if he could have anything he wanted, what would it be, and he has never once said he didn't want to have diabetes. When I ask him why, he says, "Because, that's what makes me special."

Did you have a good support system when diagnosed? We have had a great support system since diagnosis. My mom has watched Alex since he was 6 weeks old and when he was diagnosed, I was worried about what her reaction was. I asked her if she wanted to come and do the training with us, and she said, "Of course, I need to know how to take care of him." That ws such a relief to me. My sister and brother were both very supportive in learning how to care for Alex. My sister is a teacher at the grade school Alex attends, and she has been a great support system at school. She gives him a shot if he needs it during the day, and just knowing she is there, helps with my peace of mind.

Did you get involved in a diabetes support group soon after diagnosis? If so, online and/or offline? Yes, we became involved with a group that meets at the hospital, Lil Kidds Group. It was a wonderful support system and I learned a lot there. Alex loved going and hanging out with the other kids that had diabetes when he was younger but since he turned 10, he doesn't want to be with other kids with diabetes, and I'm not sure why. I also found CWD online group as well that has also been very helpful.

What online diabetes communities/support groups, if any, would you recommend and why? CWD group is a wonderful group with lots of people with different knowledge and experience. It is a place you can get some help to problems you are having, or just vent about the difficulties that come along with having a child with diabetes.

What part of the world are you from? We live in Kirkland, Washington (U.S.A)

If someone reading this intervew post who lived in your state was living with Type 1 Diabetes and wanted to connect with you for support, would you be OK with that? If yes, how could they contact you? Yes, I would love for someone to contact us if they would like to. My email is: (Kim provided us with her cell phone number, but in our attempt to protect her from, what I like to call, "the internet elements", we will not discolse her cell phone number on this blog. If you would like to contact her, please send her an email. Thank you.)

In your opinion, what is the hardest part about living with Type 1 Diabetes, and why? Not getting enough sleep because I worry about Alex dying in the middle of the night. I often wonder what our life would be like if Alex didn't have diabetes, and I know that I wouldn't complain about being tired all the time and I wouldn't have started sleeping with him when he was 4 because I was worried about him druing the middle of the night. I do not sleep with him anymore, but I have fallen asleep on his couch and slept there when he was running low. Just easier than getting up out of bed and walking to his room.

Can you say or think of anything positive you have found about living with Type 1 Diabetes since diagnosis? Alex says that him having diabetes is what makes him special. That makes me smile because he can find something good in all the things that he has to do because he  has diabetes. We have met some great people that we wouldn't have met if he didn't have diabetes.

What can you think of that you do and/or allow, despite caring for a child with Type 1 Diabets? We let Alex eat whatever he wants and we bolus him for it. When there is a party at school, we allow him to participate at that time, and he gets a shot for what he's eating. We want Alex to feel like he's like everyone else as much as possible. He already has to stop what he's doing to check his blood sugars and go get a shot, so we feel it's important for him to be able to participate in parties at school, or anything else that is going on.

What diabetes-related, non-profit organizaation, if any, do you support, and why? We support JDRF and ADA to some extent. I feel it's important to follow them and see what progress is being made for Type 1 diabetes. We also have several family members who have Type 2 diabetes as well.

Do you have a blog about diabetes? No
Facebook profile? Yes, you can find me here
Twitter? No
Facebook FanPage? No

What advice would you give to a family newly diagnosed? The most important thing for them to know is that this disease is manageable, and that their child will be able to do the things he/she did before diagnosis. While it's not easy sometimes, it does get easier with time and just becomes part of your life. I would also stress that belonging to a support group is a great way to get help and just hear that you are not alone and that the things they are experiencing have been experienced by others with kids with diabetes.

What 3 things would you like more families not living with Type 1 Diabetes to know?
  1. It's a 24 hour, 7 day a week job- I never get a break from it, and he doesn't either.
  2. He can eat whatever he wants, but he needs a shot for the carbohydrates he eats.
  3. Without insulin, my son would die.

Do you work outside of the home, work from home, or are you a stay at home mom? Both my husband and I work full time out of the home.

A great recent photo of Alex!

Thank you so much Kim for allowing us to get "Inside your Sugar Free Mind" and interview you! We enjoyed learning more about your, and Alex's, story!

Would you, or someone you know like to be featured on Sugar Free Candyland and share your story with us? CLICK HERE to find out how you can be featured, or how to nominate someone you know to be featured here! "D-moms", "D-Dads", and adults with T1 are welcome!

1 comment:

Reyna said...

Funny, I could totally relate to Kim's feelings of "everything is going too well" before her son was diagnosed. I had said the same thing to a friend a couple of months prior to Joe's diagnosis. Ironic.

Great to meet a "non-blogger" through your interviewing Dawn. Thank You.