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Tag Archives: Type 1 diabetes

4 Years Is Enough Time to Make A Difference

Today, December 20 2014, marks four years since my daughter was diagnosed with type one diabetes. Oh how far we’ve come! And oh what we have learned!

For those of you whose children are newly diagnosed and even those still struggling after years, let me share my daughter’s experience.

2,103,796 minutes

2,103,796 minutes

In 2010, she was a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, a niece, a cousin, a student, a friend, a leader.  Also, an athlete, a straight A student, a musician…and a pre-teen. And as I look at the picture on the left, I see she was thin and tired.

In 2014, she is a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, a niece, a cousin, a student, a friend, a leader.  Also, an athlete, a straight A Honor student, a musician….and a high school freshman…and an advocate. And this year’s picture, shows a happy, vibrant, healthy young woman.

Is she perfect?  No.  She has been known to forget to bolus for lunch.  She has walked out the door without test strips.  She has underbolused and overbolused.  She is guilty of the “sigh-roll”–the combination eye roll with sigh for emphasis so many teens are guilty of doing.  She thinks I am a “diabetes dork” for doing awareness activities in November.

But her endo is happy with her a1cs.  Her dietitian is happy with her eating habits.  Her teachers are happy with her in-school management of her Type 1.  I am happy that she is a good kid who is confident of who she is and true to her values. I am proud that she has been in charge of each of our four JDRF walk teams..she sets up the page, she sends out the emails, she hounds people over and over which has led to her getting a Golden Sneaker each year and raising almost $20,000 so far.  Diabetes is a part of who she is but it does not define her.

So here is what I would tell the mom I was 4 years ago, if I could:

1. It is only a number; correct and move on. Do not take bg numbers personally. You can eat exactly the same things at the same time each day and still have wonky numbers.

2. When faced with an opportunity for your child to do something, ask yourself “what would I say if diabetes wasn’t in the picture?” If the answer is yes, make a plan. Find a way.

3. Be an example to your child while still following their lead. Kids are naturally resilient–they are ready to get back to living their lives, albeit now with external insulin on board, much more quickly than we parents are. The more we encourage and allow them to be kids, the better our chances that when they do rebel, the rebellion will be minor and short-lived.  Don’t let “What’s your bg?” be the first question you ask your child when they get home from school each day.

4. Keep Calm and Carry On isn’t just a catch phrase. Don’t freak out about D things in front of your child, or where your child can overhear (or read over your shoulder). But I admit, I still gasp when my daughter’s pump falls off her waist band.

5. Your child will still be the same person after diagnosis. Overachievers will still overachieve. The lazy kids will still be lazy. Drama queens will still be drama queens. Laid back kids will still be laid back. IF you let them. (Go back to #2) Sure the pre-teen and teen years shake that up…but they do for ALL kids.

6. Diabetes is not the reason for everything that happens. Look at the whole child and not just diabetes.

7.  Don’t let technology dominate you.  She was approved for a cgm and pump 3 months after diagnosis.  These are wonderful tools—use them to make life easier, more normal–not to try to chase a flat line bg every day.  Let your child use the cgm data to confirm what their bodies are telling them.  If my daughter thinks she feels low, she looks at cgm–if the cgm confirms her feelings, she goes ahead and treats the low.  A bag of fruit snacks is not going to kill her.  If her feelings and cgm don’t match, then she confirms with bg check.  If the cgm alerts that a high is coming on, she starts drinking water to help flush out the sugars and prevent ketones.  She has learned about meal spikes and not to treat them.  But she is not looking at the cgm all the time.  She trusts it to do its job and she trusts herself to know her body.

8.  When you are having a day with diabetes is weighing heavily on you, look at those who are living with it and succeeding.  Surround yourself with positive images and remove yourself from places where negativity dwells.  It isn’t always easy to do, but you will be happier and healthier for it.

9.  Get involved in advocacy, even if your kid calls you a “diabetes dork” for doing so.  Find your niche.

10.  Don’t forget to take care of yourself.  Marriages and other children sometimes suffer because we focus so much on diabetes.

 

We can do this…because we MUST do this.  The true test of our character is not how we handle things when life is easy, but how we manage the challenges.

 

Happy 4th Diaversary to my lovely daughter!

 

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#HAWMC Day 20 Burnout

One of the biggest issues caregivers face is burnout: a state of exhaustion which can be mental or physical. Many of us are in the throes of burnout and don’t even think about it. We are so used to the exhaustion that we take it for the “new normal.” Helpguide.org reports that you may be on the road to burnout if:
“Every day is a bad day.
Caring about your work or home life seems like a total waste of energy.
You’re exhausted all the time.
The majority of your day is spent on tasks you find either mind-numbingly dull or overwhelming.
You feel like nothing you do makes a difference or is appreciated.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       The negative effects of burnout spill over into every area of life – including your home and social life. Burnout can also cause long-term changes to your body that make you vulnerable to illnesses like colds and flu.”

Parents of children with Type 1 diabetes are extremely susceptible to burnout due to sleep deprivation and constant worry.  While T1 is a disease that can be successfully managed, parents of CWD feel great pressure to keep their kids safe, to get achieve good blood glucose numbers, to have tight control over the disease.  And we parents often put our own needs on the back burner.  Our relationships with our spouses/partners can suffer and also our relationships with our other children.  But what are we to do?  The reality is that Type 1 is a 24/7 disesase and depending on the age of the child with T1, the parent’s job is also 24/7.

According to Helpguide.org, we need to remember the 3R’s:

  • Recognize – Watch for the warning signs of burnout
  • Reverse – Undo the damage by managing stress and seeking support
  • Resilience – Build your resilience to stress by taking care of your physical and emotional health

I admit that I am exhausted most days.  I try to go back to bed after my T1 goes to school so I can get at least a couple hours more sleep…but that disrupts my day and prevents me from accomplishing as much as I would like.  But I think a rested mom is better than a spic and span house.  I try to schedule one big chore per day to spread out the tasks–but life often gets in the way.  I also try to do things I enjoy–crafts, reading etc. when I can.

My husband and I try to carve out small units of time together.  It may be a simple as driving together to get gas and leaving our son to watch over his T1 sister or we just sit on the porch, drink in hand, and talk for 15 minutes.

My non-D son and I are trying to play Scrabble together a few times a week so that he get positive attention from me.  One thing we have always done occurs when one child is out with friends–we take the other child out for time alone with both parents.

And my greatest anti-burnout tool has been the DOC.  Some days, I probably spend too much time interacting on-line with other D-mamas, but it is cheaper than therapy!  I do not know what I would do without the friendships and connections I have made in the DOC.

#HAWMC Day 16 True or False: What do you know about Type 1 Diabetes?

Which one of these statements about Type 1 diabetes is false:

1. Type 1 Diabetes is preventable.

2. The only difference between Type 1 and Type 2 is the age of onset of diabetes.

3. People With Type 1 diabetes cannot eat sweets.

4. Taking Insulin cures diabetes.

FALSE, FALSE, FALSE and FALSE!

1.  At this point in time Type 1 diabetes is not preventable.  It is believed to be an auto-immune related disease, where antibodies are kicked in to working by some virus and then begin  to attack the pancreas.  Research is being done in the UK on a vaccine.

2.  Adults and children alike can get either Type 1 or Type 2.  Age is not a factor.  There are many differences between the two diseases and calling them both “diabetes” has created confusion.

diabeteschart

3.  People with Type 1 diabetes are able to eat the same foods as the rest of the population.  All people should eat sweets and carbs in moderation.  Most doctors would prefer that people with Type 1 avoid “sugar-free” or artificially sweetened products as those may cause more problems that simple sugar.  A person with Type 1 diabetes needs to know the carb count of the foods they are eating, so that they may give them selves enough insulin to cover the carbs.

4.  And finally, insulin is not a cure.  It is a way to manage Type 1 diabetes, but a cure would mean that the person no longer has diabetes.

I know I was supposed to present 3 truths and 1 lie, but there are so many misconceptions about Type 1 diabetes that I couldn’t help myself.

#HAWMC Day 15 Can We Motivate the World With Happiness?

wego day 15

The always wonderful, wise, and witty Moira McCarthy Stanford hit it out of the park again.  Hopefully, you remember Moira from my shout out yesterday.  I didn’t plan on using one of her posts for today’s challenge, which is to comment on a blog post and ping back to that post.  But a funny thing happened on my way to write this response.  I was going through a list of d-blogs and checking each of them out.  I skipped Moira’s because I was trying to be an equal opportunity promoter.  Then up on Facebook popped her link to her most recent post “Can We Motivate the World With Happiness? (The One Where I Refuse To Be Sad All The Time)

First off, I am a crier by nature.  My mom always said “you cry at the blessing!”  And I do.  And at kindergarten performances even when I don’t know a single kid.  At every program my children have ever performed in.  At graduations.  At talent shows.  At pep rallies.  And yes, of course, at Hallmark commericals.

I cry when I’m sad.  I cry when I’m angry.  I cry when I’m happy.

My daughter recently created a video for a contest.  The theme is  Faith Hope & Love  KC wouldn’t let me watch the video with her because she said  “Mom, you will definitely cry!’  She is not a crier.  She lives life to the fullest–wrenching each moment from her days.  She is positive and hopeful.  Diabetes doesn’t  get her down.  Yes, the daily management is annoying.  Yes, it stinks to be high or low.  But LIFE is wonderful!  Like Moira’s daughter, Lauren, KC doesn’t really want to reach people out of sadness  and as you watch the video you will see smiles….lots and lots of smiles!  And HOPE!

But I did cry, and laugh, and smile.  And this morning, a non-d mom friend who is part of our JDRF walk team saw the video for the first time.  Her words:  “What a wonderful message and I especially enjoyed the smiles, even with all the struggles. Beautiful. Can we forward it to our friends when we ask for donations?”  So Moira you are absolutely right….we can motivate with smiles.

And KC is in the process of making another video to share with her classmates which shows just how much fun a JDRF walk can be.

….but I will probably still cry when I see it….tears of joy

#HAMWC Day 8: If Diabetes were an animal it would be….

wego day 8

If Type 1 diabetes were an animal, which one would it be?

 

white swan

 

“The Swan: The epitome of grace and beauty, the swan is one of the last animals we’d imagine to be anything other than elegant. Tranquil ponds and romantic scenes wouldn’t be complete without a pair of white swans floating peacefully along. When they put their heads together, their long curved necks form a heart, making them all the more symbolic of love. These birds are lovely. Just look here for proof. There’s nothing I could possibly say to make you think otherwise, right?

Wrong! Swans are prone to aggression and very territorial. Just ask this unlucky bride who upset the wrong bird. Though I don’t believe swans are responsible for any human deaths yet, they have caused alarm to those canoeing through their territory. Not only do they attack by flying at perceived threats at full speed and biting them, they’ll also try to drown you if given the chance: “They are known to fly up over and try to keep something underwater if they perceive it as threat.” “(thanks to http://voices.yahoo.com/cant-touch-ten-cute-but-dangerous-animals-5625262.html for the description)

 

My reasons for choosing the swan?  Like the swan, children with Type 1 are beautiful. They handle their disease with grace and dignity. On the surface, all seems well.  But inside is an aggressive disease that is always trying to stake its claim.  Sometimes, diabetes strikes high,  flying at the body with full speed and other times, the body will be forced down and held low….and then out of the blue, the calm, graceful beauty will be back again.

#HAWMC Day 7 Really? Omega 3 Fatty acids can reverse Type 1? Give me a break!

wego day 7

The following article claims that there are a number of natural “cures” for Type 1 diabetes, including a reversal of Type 1 by ingesting Omega 3 fatty acids. Seriously, “can prevent and even reverse Type 1 in children.” Just STFU! Yes, those things might help make a person healthier…but to CURE type 1 diabetes? I put in bold the most offensive parts of the article.

“The Little Known Natural Cures For Type 1 Diabetes
By Jaan Tamm

Diabetes is a very serious health concern for so many people and the reality is that, if people would look after their health more, then diabetes wouldn’t be such a problem. But if you do have type 1 diabetes, or you know someone who has it, then it is essential to consult your doctor first of all, but also not forget natural cures. There are natural cures for type 1 diabetes, that can help people very much.

For example vitamin E and niacinamide (vitamin B-3), are great supplements, that can really help diabetics. Vitamin E is a well known antioxidant and it can decrease many complications that come with diabetes. Not only that, but it also helps with the normalization of blood flow to the retina, improves kidney function and reduces the risk of heart complications.

Another very important vitamin is vitamin C, that normalizes free radicals in the body, which in turn prevents tissue damage that can even lead to amputation. And it also prevents heart complications and blindness. All kinds of vitamins are essential to the body to fight against type 1 diabetes.

Omega 3 fatty acids are known for their various health benefits, but they also help to prevent and even reverse type 1 diabetes in children. It can be found in fish, nuts or taken as a supplements. All of these natural cures help avoid the awful complications, that can come with diabetes.

If the body has all the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients, that it needs and if a person does not consume any harmful substances, then they body can effectively fight against any disease.

The more you know about diabetes and natural cures for diabetes, the more things you can try and the better your chances are to beat diabetes. People need to get educated themselves as well and not rely on doctors all the time, because they can`t know everything.

Discover the most effective, safest and cheapest alternative treatments and home remedies to revive your health. No matter what condition or illness you have, you can find help.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jaan_Tamm”

#HAWMC Day 4 Sharing and Caring

wegoday4

I have written recently about some of the best blogs/on-line resources for Type 1 Diabetics  in my Navigating the D O C post.  I categorized the listings to make it easier to find blogs specific to where you are on the Type 1 Journey.  But I did forget  to mention that JDRF, American Diabetes Association, Tudiabetes, Juvenile Diabetes Cure Alliance, and Children With Diabetes also have valuable information.  And another great site is Integrated Diabetes–Gary Scheiner is the author of  Think Like A Pancreas and is part of Integrated Diabetes.  His pump/cgm comparisons are very helpful and the site also addresses many other needs.

I haven’t connected those of you looking for resources for food allergies.  So now is the time!  First, you need to check out FARE – the Food Allergy Research and Education foundation (formerly known as the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network.  The next stop should be Kids with Food Allergies (and check them out on Facebook).  These two sites will direct you to more resources that specifically address your food allergy.

My son’s allergy is to milk (specifically the proteins that are present in milk in all forms—cheese, butter, etc.).  A favorite blog of mine is Milk Allergy Mom–and I follow her on Facebook as well.

A new resource for me is Allergic Girl–great advice for dining out etc. She is another source I follow on Facebook.

One last resource, just for fun, is Chocolate Covered Katie–a healthy dessert blog.  She has vegan (dairy-free), gluten-free, nut-free, sugar-free options.  So indulge!