From a mom with diabetes: It's not all bad!

Allison - posted on 12/02/2008 ( 8 moms have responded )

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Hi everyone,

I joined this group not because I have a child with diabetes (none of our three kids do) but because I have Type 1 and have since 1983, when I was diagnosed at 18 years old. I just want to let you know that diabetes has actually been a great positive in my life. I have had it now for over 25 years with no complications, I went through three uneventful pregnancies with the help of my wonderful insulin pump, and I am much more aware of what I put into my body and how food, exercise and illness can affect my overall feeling of well-being. I am HARDLY perfect in my control, but I do pretty well (A1C's at 7%) despite not getting enough exercise.

Especially these days, with abundant medical evidence on the positive results of frequent blood glucose testing; cool tools like injector pens, continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps; and the amazing availability of substitute sweeteners and low-carb, low-glycemic-index foods, I can say there has never been a better time to have diabetes. The routine is really just the way everyone should eat and take care of themselves.

For me, the secrets to a healthy life with diabetes include the following:

1) It is essential to become comfortable with blood glucose testing and to turn to it as a comfort, not a chore. I always feel better when I know what my bG is - it's the first step in my self-treatment at any given moment. (I test 4-6x a day.)
2) A good medical team including a doctor who specializes in diabetes or at least endocrinology; a diabetes educator; a nutritionist; and an eye doctor who specializes in patients with diabetes. If you can join this team and take advantage of their knowledge and advice, your child will be in great shape.
3) Exercise is an amazing blood glucose stabilizer, in addition to having great mental benefits. Regular moderate exercise helps keep my sugars in line like no amount of food control could ever do alone.

I know that the medical team and the frequent testing can be cost issues; for those with insurance, the costs of diabetes prevention are pretty well-covered. If you don't have insurance, it's tough - but don't forsake the testing if you can help it. It's really the only way you can tell yourself how you're doing on a day-to-day basis.

The point of this very long post is to give you all confidence that your children can lead glorious, healthy, productive and satisfying lives with diabetes - and that it can even become something that they look on as a positive (although it might take a while for everyone to get to that point!). Along with a friend, I've founded a program that was sponsored by the ADA called "Kids Rock The World" - an empowerment program for teens with diabetes. It is amazing to see how one day together can convince these kids that diabetes can't stop them from living a life they love.

As parents we worry - and it's really hard when your child has something like diabetes if you don't have any experience with it. But learn along with them, be their partner and encourage their independence at age-appropriate levels. This will be their condition to manage for a lifetime; you are their first partner and teacher, but (as with all things we do for our children) our real job is to help them find their wings to fly solo.

Good luck to all of you - please write if you have any questions for me!

Allison

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Jane - posted on 01/25/2009

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Hi Allison

It is always nice to hear the good stories. I was diagnosed with diabetes in 1987 at the age of 19. I have 2 wonderful children but my son was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 12. He is now 18 and could have much better control but he is trying. We are both on insuling pumps and that is a great help.



Jane

Allison - posted on 12/15/2008

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Hi Sudhin,

Here are a few good sites with reliable information about Type 1:
American Diabetes Association - lots of good resources
http://www.diabetes.org/type-1-diabetes....
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation - this would have information about new inventions:
http://www.jdrf.org/
Kids with diabetes - http://www.childrenwithdiabetes.com/
On less painful testing, here's a somewhat recent post:
http://www.scottbadger.com/is-there-a-pa...

As far as the pump, I can't be sure why the doctor would discourage your daughter from trying one - "seeing her condition"? What exactly is her condition? If she's having trouble controlling her blood sugars, a pump can be exactly the thing to help correct that. There is a bit of a learning curve and the child has to be fairly responsible with it (it is expensive) but they are not hard to learn how to use, and the flexibility they give you is really wonderful.

Is your doctor an endocrinologist or diabetes specialist? If not, I encourage you to find someone who is. You must have a doc who understands all the ins and outs of diabetes care, the latest treatments and the specific challenges. I would think any competent and confident diabetes doctor would allow a 7-year-old child to try an insulin pump, unless there is really some unusual "condition" that would cause a problem.
You might also check out the website for Medtronic/Minimed, who makes one of the best pumps out there:
http://www.medtronic.com/your-health/dia...

Good luck and let me know how your daughter is doing!

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8 Comments

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Lisa - posted on 09/05/2012

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Dear, Allison



my daughter natalee just got diagnosed 2 months ago. is really hard frustating and confusing iam still learning how to count carbs. she takes 4 shots a day which breaks my heart all the time she is lucky to be alive. she was 1500 when we took her to the er. the funny thing is everything started as a sore throat i took her to her ped doctor and they told us is nothing just a cold. they never checked her urine or run a blood test. i felt like i could of lost natalee because of doctors not been proactive. is been hard i have my days where i feel like iam drowning because is not an easy disease. people say things will get better! i pray to God that they do because is not easy. i was wondering if you coould e mail me i have nobody that can give me some tips on diabetes sometimes taliking to someone else whos going through the same thing helps!!

Elizabeth - posted on 11/09/2011

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i just found out a month ago i have diabetes scary but i gotta alot of family n friends to support me so i been eating less and doing everything they been telling me to do and i lost 20 pounds which is exciting cause i been wanting to loose weight for a long time

Shelley - posted on 04/01/2009

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Your message is inspiring.  I am 43 and diagnosed at 40 and take four shots per day.



I have a 19 and 21 yrs old who are not diabetic.  I just found out last week my great nephew who is 2 1/2 is diabetic and he also needs four shots per day,  He is still running very high bs and this really worries me because the dr have not yet increased his insulin.. I know he can live a with and have a happy life but it sure it tough right now. He hates the shots

Tania - posted on 01/09/2009

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Thank you, Allison, for your letter.  My son was diagnosed this June.  It took us a while to get used to our new routine, but when I really look at it, our lives have only changed a little.  We are more aware of what we eat and the timing of activities, but we just find ways to work around it.  It is encouraging to hear from a mom of 3 who has had diabetes since 18 and says life is good. 



Thanks!



 



Tania Motto

Sudhin - posted on 12/16/2008

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Dear Allison,
thank you for the reply.my kid's treatment is under a very famous doctor in India as well as abroad.at first her HBA1C was 8.5% and at that time her blood sugar level was very high.she turned very thin and pale and was frightened of any thing,even a headache.also she showed hatred to everyone and her behavior changed to a worse stage,won't let me to give her insulin,stubborn and numb to whatever we ask or tell her.may be that was what the doctor said her 'condition' was. but now she has changed a very lot.her HBA1C is6.3%now.she lets me take insulin twice a day,she is conscious about her food and all other things.that is why i asked you about pumps so that i can ask our doctor about it.
thank you.

Sudhin - posted on 12/11/2008

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Dear Allison,
My daughter is 7 years and 8 months old. She is diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes 7 months ago. At present she is taking insulin injection. While reading this I saw that you described about insulin pumps. I would like to know more about this because her doctor restricted using pumps seeing her condition. Two months ago I had seen in the news paper that there is a new way created for painlessly pricking fingers for blood sugar testing. Do you know any thing about this? Also let me know about any new inventions regarding Type 1 diabetes.
thank you

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