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Guest Blog: 8.5 or Bust!

Today's guest post comes from blogger Jeff Kuhns.  His daughter Olivia had type 1 diabetes and his blog, Team Olivia, was among the first that I found after I started SUM.  I'm honored to have him posting here, sharing the perspective of the parent of a child with diabetes.

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10.2!  10 point freakin’ 2!  I was aghast, shocked, astounded, and flabbergasted.  At least I felt the need to be.  Play the part for the dietitian and the CDE.  But I guess I knew.  Being father of the year was going to take a little more work.  I’m taking this hard because I had the unfortunate duty of being the one to take the day off and hit the doctor’s appointments.

As a father of a 10-year old Type 1 daughter.  I always struggle between the need for my daughter to gain independence with her diabetes and the need to make sure that she remains healthy.  This time I apparently erred in the wrong direction.  (I say I because I am writing this but really it is we – my wife takes a tremendous amount of responsibility.) Never have either of us been “helicopter” parents.  We were raised to be independent and have lived away from our families for almost 20 years. 

So, 10 point freakin’ 2.  Let that settle in and wrap your head around it.  That’s an average blood sugar of around 300 – AVERAGE!  And, Olivia, my daughter, is on a pump.  “Horrible,” as the CDE reiterated to me. What is going on?  (This is where I think it is pertinent to mention that Olivia was also recently diagnosed with ADHD.)  Forgotten boluses!  Incorrect basals! Not putting insulin in before she eats! 

I had to reconcile it with myself.  All of these things could have been better reinforced by my wife and me.  We are ultimately responsible for our daughter’s well being.  It was time to take back the responsibility for now.  Independence will come – but in small steps.  Now we have a goal, 8.5 or bust.  This means an average blood sugar around 200.  How?  Phone calls when we are not eating together.  My wife and I manipulating the pump at meal times.  Consequences for forgotten boluses.

Okay, so “Father of the Year” may have to wait a while but, there are more important things!

Olivia pretending to eat a giant cupcake.  :)
(Olivia pretending to eat a giant cupcake.)

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Jeff, we'll be pulling for you.  I know Olivia (and you guys) can hit that 8.5!  Thanks for posting, and let us know what happens! 


Thank you so much for that post Jeff! My husband and I also struggle with BGs with our 10 year old daughter! It's nice to know that We're not alone in this effort to keep our daughters healthy!

I am Olivia's grandfather and while I know my son and his wife are beating themselves up over this, they are exceptional parents. They have been trying to attain the balance between their resposibility as parents and Olivia's independence and self-monitoring. As family we are all involved in the Tour de Cure, the ADA's annual bike ride for a cure. Our goal for Team Olivia this year is 10,000. So far we have raised 4600. Thanks for your support.

I am saying this in hopes to make you feel a little better. I have been Type 1 for 42 years and still doing okay. I was diagnosed during the dark ages of one shot a day, no bgs meter, and no A1C. I remember, well kind of my first A1C, I was probably in my late teens or 20's and it was 10.0 and my MD stated pretty good for being diabetic, and truly, he was a good doctor, just new to the A1C test and who knew about carb to ratio bolus even then. So I am sure most of my diabetic life my A1C's were 10 or more. Different now of course, but just saying. :)


Thanks so much for sharing your story. The A1C is so often felt like a judgement of parenting, when in truth so much more is at play. I admire your letting your daughter take responsibility for her own care, and trying to lead her the best way you can! Like Olivia our son had an A1C over 10, and we were able to get it down, but we can't keep it as low as we would like. (He is not 10, either, so we are not letting him take as much charge of his own care yet). In my opinion, helping Olivia to learn to care for her diabetes is equally important as having a low A1C.

We'll keep pulling for you!!!

Just wait until you hit the magical years of puberty! I am struggling with my 13 year old. Happily I have found a pschologist who was dx'd with type 1 at 13. I will be dragging Em, kicking and screaming. I have hope. Last month, she was going full days with no boluses! She "forgot". This is an awful disease and a true parenting challenge. As we navigate the teens, I need a needlepoint pillow that says "You BETTER be low!" What's diabetes and what's being 13? It's hard on the other kids, because they don't get the lenient lag time she gets to test ... thanks Jeff and Kerri, the blogs make me feel less alone in all this.

If the 10.2 a1C doesn't jive with the day-to-day bs results you're getting at home it is possible the A1C results are incorrect. It happens!!!!

Thanks Dad for doing this we finally got that 8.5 your father of the year in my book. Check out my blog at www.diabetesteensurvival.blogspot.com and see all this in my eyes

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