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.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

I Am Not A Baby

Last week was our regular check up with the endocrinologist.  We see her regularly for our A1C check ups and other needs, but this one was our big annual blood draw.

My son has never been a fan of having blood taken. Show me a kid that is.

When he was diagnosed at 20 months old, this was the worst part of the hospital stay. They called everyone from phlebotomy to the NICU and it was as if no one could find my son's veins. No amount of numbing cream was enough to lessen the pain for him. Five years later and its not much easier.

When I confirmed, he was obviously upset. At first he tried to refuse, but he knows we have to do this once a year.

A nurse escorted us to the phlebotomist. A woman from the Far East who works at the hospital asked "For Baby?" It is not uncommon for some cultures to refer to young children as a baby.  I do not know at what age a child is no longer referred to as such, but I am sometimes surprised a seven year old classifies.

We follow the nurse in the direction given. My son still crying as he anticipates what will happen next. The nurse turns back to my son to tell him that the woman called him a baby because he was crying.

I am not certain if it was my son's response to her as he shouted through his tears "I am NOT a baby!" or my look to her, but she understood right away that was a stupid thing to say. Yes, the "s" word.. Stupid.

I ensured him he was not a baby, and it was okay to cry or be scared. I also told him it will be okay and over quickly. It is hard for any child to understand.

Before my son took his plate to the kitchen after dinner that night, I stopped him. I told him to sit down because I wanted to share something important with him about our doctor visit that I did not like.

I told him that when we were walking to the lab, I did not like that the nurse called him a baby. It wasn't right. And it is absolutely not true. It is okay to be scared and cry because what he did, and what he deals with everyday is not easy. He is brave, and he is my hero... and he is most certainly not a baby.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Taking It In The Stomach

I feel like I begin many posts stating that there are many challenges in raising a Type 1. And there are. But one that I find really challenging at this time are insertion sites.

Finger checks are easy, but if you use an insulin pump or continuous glucose monitor (CGM) those needles are not small.

We always used my son's backside because he was small and then it would be out of his way. Of course one cannot continue to use the same tissue as it will not absorb the insulin well if overused.

Around age five or six, we started to try to introduce an alternative to let that tissue rest.  The alternative was the ever so common abdomen.

For us, that brought on a whole new set of fears. The insertion is right there in an in-your-face kind of way. It is a natural reaction to curl into a ball when we are hurt or fear something. It is very hard to open up and do the opposite of instinct to get that cannula in a good position when you fear something.

These were the times when we most felt that diabetes was not fair. And he is right - it is not fair to have a lifetime of 2 inch needles to the stomach. Who could blame him?

We tried a few times and then it became too upsetting, so I decided to continue alternating on the back side. The kid has enough to deal with in this disease. I was hoping that he would know in his own time when he is ready.

I tried to show him videos that some parents put on Youtube when they would insert a site for their child. The child just laid there comfortably. This only made my son more upset as he felt he wasn't brave enough as the children in the videos were sometimes younger than him.

This summer, something changed. He stopped requesting someone to cover his eyes for a stomach insertion. The discussion to prepare would be a tearful 30 minutes or more sometimes, but recently, it somehow got easier.

Then the other day, the first week of second grade he says to me "I want to do it in my stomach". What? Are you sure? "Yes", he says.

He did not want anyone to cover his eyes. Just himself.  A few deep breaths and repeating to himself that he can do it. One last deep breath and then he gave me the physical cue to go. I pushed the button on the inserter and the spring thrust the needle into his stomach. He held his breath as I removed the needle, put the tape down and checked that the cannula was in. Once all was confirmed, he let out a huge breath of relief.

It is good that he breathes because I am never able to throughout this process. Ever. I am so scared / in overdrive, but trying to stay calm / wishing it to go in perfectly that I forget to breathe. Every ounce of my being is focused on doing this correctly for him.

Before he moved his hands away from his face, he paused. Typically after an insertion in the stomach, we would both be in tears followed by a huge hug and me reminding him how he is the bravest boy I know - which is so true.

But this time was different. He peeked out from under his hands, looked down at the insertion, looked at me and paused again. He leaned slightly forward and with wide eyes whispered, "I am okay. I don't need to cry."