Welcome?

If you have found this blog, saying Welcome does not really seem appropriate. I know you wish you weren't surfing the internet for diabetes. I felt the same.

A big part of me wishes I were not writing about diabetes, nor did I anticipate to become so opinionated or informed on the subject, but it happened. In 2010, my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

It wasn't really part of the plan… Correction - it was not part of the plan, but it happened. It is not always easy, but I think we are all doing okay, and I hope we continue to do so.

Why the Middle East? I happen to live in Dubai. I don't think that living in the Middle East makes mine or my son's diabetic experience any more unique or challenging than it does elsewhere in the developed world.

I hope you stick around, or read something you like. Feel free to comment and join the conversation, subscribe or follow this blog by liking the Facebook page Diapoint.

Please note: This blog does not give medical advice. I am opinionated, and I share my experiences, but the first rule of diabetes is to follow up with your doctor and/or nurse educator about your care, diagnosis or medication. If you do not have a medical practitioner that is helping you find your way through this crazy world, then do not give up until you find the right one.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween & Diabetes

Yes, one of those super heroes is wearing an insulin pump

Much to my surprise, Halloween becomes a bigger deal every year in other parts of the world.  My first year outside the US, I completely forgot about it. I was quickly reminded when some children came to knock on my door.  They assumed that as an American, I must have had a treat or two waiting.. Sadly, I did not.

Fast forward to Dubai. There is a Fall Festival at my son's school and several sugar laced activities throughout the week.  My neighbor and I have thrown a costume party every year for the kids in our neighborhood, and diabetes does not interfere.  My son trick-or-treats with his friends as well.

I think the biggest challenge we face at Halloween is stopping to find his pump inside his Halloween costume. This year will be no different since he has a one piece Star Wars character suit. I need a strategy to get that pump out and bolus quickly so he can keep up with his friends running from door to door. Our biggest challenge with diabetes right now - feeling like we are missing something, even if for five seconds.

Many people often ask, "Wow, Halloween must be difficult since he cannot have any candy."  They are horrified in a very ghostly, open mouth way when I tell them he can. And I actually give it to him. One of the first things our endocrinologist told us was to not make food forbidden.  "You do not want an eating disorder later on", I recall him saying.  Teach healthy eating habits.  Let him be a kid.

Even if my child was not diabetic, "being a kid" would not mean a candy eating free for all after trick or treating. What this means is we may have a piece of candy or two that night, and then save the rest for later.  We bolus for the candy eaten at the time, and then put the rest in the cabinet or share it with others.  Everything in moderation.

I like to think our relationship with candy and sweets is pretty good.  After that night, my son usually forgets about it and never gives it a second thought.  I could easily recycle his candy for the next Halloween.  I know this could change over time, but I am still pleased.

However, he is also learning about sweets from a pro.  Today I walked into a super market in Dubai, and I found brands of candy I had not seen in years.  American "classics" I didn't even think they made anymore.  And because of his love of peanut butter, of course I had to introduce him to Reese's Pieces.... forget that I will end up eating more of it than him.  And of course it is all in the name of diabetes to save his blood sugar from the candy!

If your child is not at a school that celebrates a Halloween, or Fall Festival, I am sure these feelings could apply to other celebrations.  My advice is aim for moderation. Let your child be a kid, and help them make good choices.  If you are like me and cave to the occasional, nostalgic sweet, I have yet to find a solution for that one.  Please let me know when you do!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Diabetes - The Zen Disease



I often say this, and I know it sounds crazy, but diabetes keeps me living in the present.  Yes, I adjust that last number, and hold my breath until the future reading, but really, I am not living too far into the future as I anticipate blood sugars.

In the media, there has been a lot of press about the "eminent cure" lately.  Clinical trials for the artificial pancreas in children are underway, and a major breakthrough in stem cell research has just been announced. These are fantastic, and like all parents of diabetic children, I am very excited about the implications.

However...

A cure is not available yet.  I personally do not promise my six year old that he will see a cure.  I do not yet tell him to hope for a cure.  He must learn how to live with this disease in the present, and I worry that telling him a cure is just around the corner could be counterproductive of his acceptance right now.  He has to take this crazy bull by the horns and ride it.

I do tell him that someday a doctor or scientist will invent something amazing to make his diabetic life easier.  I do not specify what that would be because a child's expectations are so high.

Some of you reading this may just be diagnosed and learning the basics, therefore you may not even be aware of a potential cure.  That is okay.  Focus on the basics and work with your endocrinologist to find out what works for your child, your family and your routine.  The cure will come... maybe....  eventually... we hope.

And if it doesn't, we will be okay.  You will be okay.  Your child will be okay.  Right now, the best tool you have is information.  Arm yourself with knowledge and you will be better able to manage this.  It will not come overnight, and sometimes it will seem like too much.  Just take small steps, and do not worry about becoming an expert.  It will happen before you know it.

In the meantime, I suggest to live in the present.  Take a deep breath and find the best position you can hold onto as you find your zen moment with diabetes.