The past year has been the absolute worst of my life. My son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last November. This is an incurable deadly disease. Every night, my husband and I set our alarms to get up in the middle of the night to test his blood and make sure he is still breathing. Diabetic children can die silently in their sleep.
During the day, he has to test his blood at least 7 times. Every time he eats or drinks something, he needs to inject himself with insulin. All his food must be accurately weighed, and the amount of carbohydrate and protein must be calculated so he knows how much insulin to inject. He can't ever just have a bite of something, without thinking about it.
If his blood glucose levels are too high, it will lead to dreadful complications in the future, such as blindness or kidney failure. If his blood glucose goes to low, he can go into a coma and die. That's the nightmare we live every day.
Since the day he was diagnosed, I launched into some serious research about nutrition and diabetes. It turns out, that diabetics should eat very little carbohydrate, however it seems that dieticians do not know this, and still promote a high carb/low fat diet, which is actually what will eventually kill a diabetic. Unbelievable, I know. So, I have essentially had to work out on my own, the correct way to manage the disease. So far, I have been very successful in keeping his blood glucose levels fairly stable.
But still, night times are always scary for us, and he can never be left on his own in case of a low blood glucose event. Someone always needs to be with him in case an ambulance needs to be called.
During my research, I found out about diabetic alert dogs. These are service dogs which are trained to smell the changes in a diabetic's breath and sweat when the blood glucose goes high or low. The dog then alerts the person and can get their blood tester and juice and get help from another family member. This is especially vital at night time when the diabetic is asleep, and so cannot feel if he is going low. The dog sleeps in the room or bed with the person, and will wake them if she smell a high or low blood level. They can also be trained to awaken the parents. They are just like a guardian angel for a diabetic.
In Australia, diabetic alert dogs are very rare, but in USA there are many agencies which train the dogs for diabetics to buy (for about $20,000) Therefore, I have decided to train my own diabetic alert dog, and have been educating myself with books and videos of the training methods.
As we do not own a dog, I needed to purchase one, and chose a border collie, because they are the most intelligent breed, and when I was younger, I owned the most beautiful and funny border collie. SO, I prayed that a dog would be available at the start of December, which is when our summer holidays start, so I would leave 2 months free to start the training. Also, it is our son's birthday at the start of December. Thank you Jesus, for the perfect baby girl puppy, who was born 2 days ago, and will be ready for us to adopt EXACTLY on my son's birthday!
So, here she is - "Maya" the future diabetic alert dog!
Maya with her lovely mother.
We just saw her picture tonight, and we love her already. She will be a little ray of sunshine in my son's life. Every time I look at her photo I cry. We can't wait to cuddle her and bring her home.