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.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

No Amount of Healthy Eating Will Cure a Type 1 !!!

Unfortunate but true.  Yes, it will help us manage, but there is no cure.

As I was searching for new recipes, I came across a a beautiful website promoting a healthy lifestyle.  The woman promoting this and her products claims she cured herself from cancer by just food.  However, reading the bio, it sounded like she still did a full course of chemo, but I wasn't there so I'm not judging.

I did see an advertisement for a video about curing diabetes - both Type 2 and Type 1!!  Now I am judging. False claims just drive me crazy.  I wrote a comment.  It is currently being moderated, so I do not know if it will make the cut, but I wanted to share what I wrote.

Regarding the comment about Type 1 diabetes.  It is not on this web page, and most likely not referenced in the video, I assume. I hope not. 

However, the page within <insert company name> that brought me to this video made the claim they can reverse Type 1 and Type 2.  Type 2, I get.  Type 1... We should talk.  

My son is a Type 1.  I grew up with parents that lived organically and exercised long before it was cool and the billion dollar industry it is. I always exercised, pretty much ate healthy, and did so when I was pregnant, breast fed my son, made his baby food from products that were organic.  And guess what, at 20 months old he was diagnosed with Type 1. We have no family history. 

There is so much that is unknown about the cause of Type 1, but you will see that people from all cultures and walks of life and lifestyles are getting this disease.  Be sure no amount of green, healthy eating is going to cure my son or any other Type 1.  If it did, I would be funneling the green juice I have every morning into his little 6 year old body.  Type 1 is auto-immune and the body destroys the pancreas.  Why that is, we do not know for sure. Great theories exist, but not completely finalized.  

I genuinely like this site and the recipes and lifestyle suggestion as many people will benefit from eating better. However my heart broke a little when you claimed you can cure Type 1 as that just is not true.  Visions of parents with newly diagnosed kids, or newly diagnosed Type 1s that are desperately looking for a cure filled my head and heart.  

I will still consider to try the amazing gluten free bread recipe you shared on your site as it sounds wonderful.  For the new year, I hope you will consider rewording your claim on curing Type 1 as it completely takes away credibility from your site, organization and mission.

Pam, Type 1 Advocate

If you come across such nonsense on the internet, I suggest you do the same. We are more powerful in numbers and can definitely save new Type 1's from loosing time with false claims.

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Holidays




Its a busy time of year with many celebrations as we get ready for the new year.  People often worry or ask about how to manage what their Type 1 child eats during holidays and celebrations.  Or, if we go to dinner at a friend's, I am often asked what they can make for my son for dinner.  The answer is nothing special.

He is usually too excited at a gathering to eat much anyway, but it wouldn't matter.  As long as I can correctly cover his carbs with insulin we are good.  That does not mean that those cooking need to figure out the carbs for their dishes of course, but it means I need to pay attention to what he eats and learn from previous experiences about carb counting and in some cases increasing hourly basal rates.

What I find the most challenging, is that I always get up a couple of times during the night to check his blood sugar to make sure I bolused correctly.  Sometimes I do not see the effects of dinner until long after he is asleep.

The reasons for this are many - the type of carb, excitement, activity that day, in some cases hormones - it just depends.

Perhaps it is also a comfort level as well.  I would rather him not sleep with high blood sugar the whole night.  While administering insulin at night is tricky, once you understand how to control these things with your doctor's or diabetes team's recommendations it will all make more sense for you as every child is different.

I often see people seeking advice in online groups asking if "anyone is awake".  Despite the time differences across the world, there will likely be a parent of a diabetic child awake in your time zone at any given time - celebration or not.  It is just part of the job of being a pancreas 24-7.  Is it easy?

Lack of sleep is a difficult thing sometimes, but you are not alone.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Highs and Lows of Diabetes



We are pretty optimistic people, and optimistic when it comes to diabetes and its place in my son's life. We consider it extremely important and something that must be managed always, but it is not something that should stop him from doing anything.

On most days we do not think twice about that.  However, there are some days where you can feel on top of the world and go to a low that is more about mental state than blood sugar all in the same day.  I read about caretakers of Type 1 experiencing it often as well, and I am no different.

One morning my son is defeating rock walls, and in the same evening he is terrified at the thought of having to put a needle in his stomach to lodge the cannula for his insulin pump insertion site into his body.  I don't blame him.  It is a pretty long needle, but we must rotate the locations to keep the tissue where he prefers to put it (in his backside) healthy.

I have given myself an injection in the stomach before.  It did not hurt, but that needle was way smaller so I am not sure I can empathize.  Nor do I try to tell him it is no big deal.  It is a big deal.

I have no easy answer for this.  It is inevitable, and at some point or another every Type 1 child will deal with one challenge or another as they learn to live with this disease.  It is exceptionally hard to find the words to mend his broken heart as he realizes all too young that life is not fair. It is one of the few times he ever really verbalizes he wishes he was not diabetic.  He wishes it so much through his tears that you can feel it with every ounce of his being.

Once it is done, he is not upset for long.  It is difficult to remind him how brave he is and that someday this will be easier for him because we are only hopeful that it will be. I hug him, but he quickly wants to get back to life as normal.

He seems okay and is his happy, carefree self again.  We play or read and laugh.  At some point much later, I realize I need to take a breathe.

Fortunately, he wakes up the next day ready to take on the world again and see his friends.  I hope he always feels this way, and that the times when we feel low are very few and far between.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Hey! Can You Eat That?

Yes, you can.

I just responded to a tweet I came across today. Someone posted a picture of a chocolate bar with a label for proceeds donated to the JDRF on it. The statement was "CANDY BARS being sold for fundraising for juvenile diabetes ?? JDRF a bit ironic, no?"

While I am all about healthy eating, my response was the same I tell everyone. This is what my son's endocrinologist taught me and what he has published. It is also the same advice that other Type 1s hear from their endocrinologist.

It is important to match insulin to the carbs you eat. The Type 1 pancreas does not work. No amount of healthy eating will help that pancreas produce insulin. We try eat the same as if we were not Type 1, and those habits are part of a healthy lifestyle and everything in moderation.

Are we living off of chocolate bars?  Of course not. But if my active, healthy Type 1 son wants to enjoy some birthday cake with his friends at a party, am I going to let him eat it? You bet I am.  I am going to let him be a kid and give him more insulin to cover it in the best way I know how.

JDRF does a lot of good work and supports research for a cure for Type 1. For those of us reading this across the miles, if JDRF finds a cure, we all win. If they get donations from chocolate sales to support those miracles, so be it.

As we wind down the year, in whatever format you enjoy this time of year, be happy, healthy, and enjoy your chocolate as you cover the carbs!




Saturday, December 6, 2014

If I Could Time Travel

Last week, the mother of a newly diagnosed child joined one of the groups I follow.  Her child is about the same age my son was when he was diagnosed - 20 months old.  She has so many questions, and rightfully so.  I could feel her confusion, frustration and desire to take this thing head on all too well.

My first response and advise was kind of a data dump of the highlights of what to consider in those early days. How we integrated back into preschool, try to sleep, mourn the loss of a pancreas, expect the blood sugar to be volatile until they grow a bit more, take it day by day, and then some.

I thought of her often throughout the week.  At the end of the week, it was a holiday here, and the kids were off school.  As I was getting ready for work one morning, I watched my son play in the park with his friends just below my bedroom window.

He had new shoes and was jumping and climbing all over the place as one does when they have new shoes. He was doing all the normal things any kid would do, and even more active than some.

When I see him, I do not see a disease. Nor does anyone else. He is a normal, active 6-year old who  loves music, his friends, running, sports and much more.

I wish I had a time machine so I could give that mom a ride into the future. That mom and really any mom dealing with a young, newly diagnosed Type 1.  It would be near impossible think of now, but to show her that things will be normal sooner rather than later, and that there is no reason why any child with Type 1 cannot have a normal, happy and healthy life.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hello December?!

DiapointME at the 2014 Abu Dhabi November Diabetic Walk

As usual, another year has flown by.  November is finished.  Diabetes month is finished.  But in reality, it is not.  For all of us with diabetes in our lives, every month is diabetes month.  Every day is diabetes day.  We live with it every single day, and often by the hour.

This is not to say we are looking for special treatment every day.  We are not.  We wish to be normal just like everyone else.  In some places this is easier, in others it is not.

Just because November is over doesn't mean everything comes to a screeching halt. With so many events pushed together in one month, there is plenty of opportunity during 11 other months of the year to advocate or raise awareness.  So, as we now wind the year down, if you wish to make a difference for someone, a group, or a community there is no better time than the present.