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, July 29, 2015

Back to School!

It's that time of year again.... Already?

Summer is going so fast.. and in Dubai, although it is still hot, school is fast approaching. Just about one month left and we will be back to our early morning routine and rushing to make it to school on time.

And although a whole month, you know it will fly by! Just a few more working days to get our school supplies, clothes or uniforms, shoes and everything else in order.

If you have a diabetic child, this means that you only have a few weeks to update your paper work and directives for your school, health offices and after school activities. Even though I have done this a few times now, it is always a big undertaking.

Insulin doses change over summer with varied schedules and activities.  And our kids grew, so that effects insulin too. In addition to documents, you should consider urgent/emergency boxes for each classroom, supplies for the health office, get any check ups needed, and of course you will want to try to meet the teachers before the first day of school. If you can, try to get the general schedule prior to school starting to help anticipate carb:insulin ratios, or pump settings if you pump.

Start early. Getting prepped for diabetes back to school can take more time than getting ready for the academic part itself.  Don't underestimate the time it will take to write down doses and outline specific instructions for various situations.

The first year is of course the most challenging. The good news is after that, you can use the previous years as a template as you go, but it still takes some time to do it well.

It can be intimidating, and I have also found emotionally draining at times. As a caretaker, you are already living, eating, sleeping, breathing diabetes. To detail that on paper can be overwhelming. The good news is there are a lot of resources available on the internet to start with.

I have used the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Diabetes Management Plan templates and they have been great. My son's nurses like them so much they have asked other families with diabetic children to use the same. If not ADA, there are many other resources out there.

For example, the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) Heading Back to School resources. This is very thorough - like down to the food server and bus driver. Not all sections may apply to your child or your school or country's culture, but it can give you some good ideas.

Just Google "Diabetes Back to School" and you will get many options to consider. Don't let the numerous results overwhelm you. Read a few, mix the best two or three resources if that works, or just start with one template. One is a good start. It is important to have something to work with, and a document that gives you a point of reference and communication. One is always better than nothing.

And between all this planning and behind the scenes madness that your child may or may not realize is happening, don't forget to enjoy the fun stuff. Yes, school parties and the amount of junk (crazy extra carbs) that people feed their kids will make you shake your head sometimes; but sometimes we will have to take a deep breath to that donut or whatever it is that you would never eat at home, or whatever it is you will try to avoid because it causes a spike in your child's blood sugar.

Breathe deep, and don't forget to enjoy all the good stuff in between the blood sugar checks and carb counts. It will pass in a blur before you know it!

One of my son's favorite teachers taking him to the nurse to check
his blood sugar a few years ago

Monday, July 13, 2015


About a year ago, someone gave my name to a local newspaper reporter for an interview about Type 1 Diabetes. During our discussion, she asked me if I thought the public should become more aware about Type 1. I was hesitant to recommend this because I wondered if it would not cause fear in parents about a disease, that while growing in more children all the time, would not likely occur for most people.

Instead, I told the reporter she should use her efforts to create awareness among doctors and healthcare providers to understand the signs of Type 1 - both at diagnosis and when a patient goes into DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis).

I have experienced on more than one occasion when my son went into DKA, no one had a clue of what to do. When I took him to the doctor at diagnosis, I feared it could be diabetes only because I had a dog many years ago that had an adrenal gland condition that showed similar symptoms as diabetes. Doctors were sure he was diabetic due to the large amounts of water he drank and urine produced, but all tests were normal. Had I not had that dog, would I not have tipped the pediatrician off to check for Type 1? I will never know.

Last weekend, a beautiful five year old named Kycie passed away. She was a Type 1 Diabetic that was misdiagnosed in the United States. When presented at the hospital the first time, it was assumed to be the flu. She kept getting worse and went into severe DKA which resulted in permanent brain damage. She was eventually able to go home from the hospital, but the damage caused from what I assume was DKA was unrecoverable.

Sadly, Kycie is not the first child in the US to make the news for this reason. Type 1 is often misdiagnosed and confused for flu as it can have similar symptoms.  It is often misunderstood. Even well-educated physicians with the best intentions are not always aware of the details of this disease.

We are on the other side of the world. Why is this story important? The same thing can happen anywhere. It is very important for physicians to be aware of the signs of Type 1 and consider testing when these occur. A blood sugar test is a simple finger prick.

If I could go back to that reporter now I would change my answer to her question. Yes, I think the general population should become more aware of Type 1 as well as healthcare providers. Why? On the occasion that it is overlooked by a doctor, if a patient suspects Type 1 and pushes for testing, then perhaps a life can be saved.

Here is a link to the JDRF page that outlines the symptoms of Type 1. Although an American organization, the symptoms and disease knows no boundaries.

May Kycie rest in peace and her family find strength during this very difficult time.

Source: JDRF, www.jdrf.org