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.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

... And Speaking of Courage

My Type 1 son has a lot of it.

A few months ago he came to me and said he felt tired of always having to explain what his pump was and what diabetes is. He read a book and had a kind of Q&A session for his class at the beginning of the year, but two bullying situations later, he wanted to do something more.

So with the help of his school counselor. He came up with the idea to make a video to help other kids understand more. I was shocked when he presented his plan to me. Honestly, I was worried it might put him out there for even more ridicule or labeling. But I kept an open mind.

Several months later, the video was complete and played in every second grade class during a snack break. I unfortunately could not pick him up that day due to a meeting, but when I called him to ask how it went, he was in tears.

He said that kids did not watch it and were running around the room. I later learned that his teacher had to leave the room during the break, and the kids were left with the assistant. I am not sure how things played out, but he was heart broken, and for what ever reason felt like he was not heard. I suppose I would be too if I had spent several days after school working on a project that was so important to me.

The video was edited by a high school student who was diagnosed with Type 1 about a year ago. She did a good job, but perhaps it was not flashy enough to keep the attention of 8 year olds in this day and age. Diabetes is not an easy subject to sell.

Of course mom mode kicked in, and I wanted to help him feel he was heard. I immediately shared the video with family and a few close friends. And of course the feedback was so supportive.

And now we are in the US where we will attend two different events for children and families with Type 1. I really hope this helps him feel heard.

I don't mean heard in the sense that people will watch his video. I mean heard in the sense that he will realize he is not alone. He is not the only child out there dealing with this. Hopefully he will make some new friends, have fun and maybe gain a little more independence in this process.

... And perhaps, with any luck, he will come to realize he is the most courageous boy I know.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Creativity Takes Courage

"Creativity Takes Courage"

I have a notebook with this quote from Henri Matisse, a French artist, on the cover. He is best known for his colorful paintings in the early 1900s.

I see this cover a lot of think of this quote in the context of many things - often diabetes. I assume medicine is not often thought of in this context, but I think it is applicable.

If we look at the bigger picture and all the research happening - creativity definitely applies. And you have to sometimes be really courageous to think out of the box.

On a day to day basis, diabetics have to be creative to manage this thing. Yes, there are certain rules to follow, but I strongly believe that understanding how much to insulin dose based on carbs, activity, the time of day and many other factors is definitely an art. Armed with facts, a constant artistic balancing act is required to avoid bad outcomes. Matisse's elaboration on this quote describes it well.

"It is not enough to place colors, however beautiful, one beside the other; colors must also react on one another. Otherwise, you have cacophony."

Cacophony. A reference to sound. The colors can be organized so badly that you can hear them scream! This is what diabetics and their caretakers are trying to avoid every day.

It is not just enough to administer insulin or count carbs. You have to "place" it as Matisse did with his colors. The cacophony of diabetes. The shrill is so high that it can make one want to plug their ears.

Being creative is scary. Despite the risk of cacophony, you have to be bold. You put yourself out there, and risk being judged by others.

If you feel you have not managed your blood sugar well or made a mistake, you judge yourself. You might feel judged by healthcare providers or others that believe you are not managing yourself or your child well. That can feel very defeating.

So how does one overcome that? It is different for everyone. To be courageous, you have to know that you have tried your best. Never give up, or give in. Even on the bad days. Keep trying.

As Matisse would say,  "Derive happiness in oneself from a good day's work from illuminating the fog that surrounds us."