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.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Diabetes is Not an Excuse!

Last fall I decided to enroll my son in gymnastics. I don’t know if it is because we live in Dubai, or a sign of the times for people in other countries, but kids do not play outside in the same way we did growing up.

They go to parks and hang on monkey bars to some extent, but it seems they outgrow these more quickly than generations before and move on to the next thing. Perhaps it is because of the movement to enroll kids in lessons for sports and other activities fairly early, or just a change in interests in general.  Although we have a small playground just below our building, my son no longer has an interest to go there.

He has recess at school at least twice everyday and a fair amount of PE classes. Despite this activity and things we do on weekends, I decided to put him in additional activities as well. Beats sitting home watching TV or playing on the iPad.

We try to follow a healthy lifestyle, and growing up diabetic, I want to make that a habit for him as soon as possible. I am not bothered about what it is he does, but some kind of exercise will be critical in managing his Type 1 and staying fit. Type 1 or not, I would promote the same thing.

So in addition to football (not the American kind), he attends gymnastics once a week.  Every Sunday, we drive to a nearby gymnasium where he and hundreds of other kids participate in several drills run by many hard core Eastern European gymnasts.

I do not expect my son to become the Olympic gold medalist in this event. If he chooses to go that route, good for him. But for now, my goal is achieved: He is with other boys getting a good physical challenge.

Now that he is seven, he has been moved to the next level, which is two full hours. It is tough. So much in fact, it’s the kind of good workout that fatigues your muscles.

His first afternoon in class he came out because he felt like his blood sugar was low. A quick glucose check and we confirmed he was fine, so I encouraged him to go in and finish.

Week two, he came out again feeling the same. We checked and had a very similar result from the week before. Just around 150. No snack or bolus needed, so go back in.

But this time, he did not want to go back in. Instead, he hid behind me so his coach would hopefully forget about him. You see the pattern here.

I let him get away with that one, but we had a good talk about it the next day, and I gently reminded him about it the following week before class.

Yes, you will work hard and sometimes feel very tired. That can easily be mistaken for low blood sugar so you have to check it. Always. 

However, if you are fine, you have to go back in and finish the class. Diabetes is never an excuse to get out of doing something because it is challenging.  You may not be able to do everything perfect by the end of a tough workout, but that is no reason to quit. I was very careful to not come off to harsh in this discussion, but my message was clear. 

No way should diabetes ever be an excuse to not try your best if everything is in order! Yes, we are diabetic, but it does not and will not keep us from doing anything like a non diabetic.