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.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Today Is The Only Day I Will Ever Give You Medical Advice.....

... and that advice is to GET PROPER MEDICAL ADVICE!

A couple of days ago a dear friend informed me that one of her closest friends suffered a brain hemorrhage. It appears to be the result of high blood sugar untreated. As I understand the story, her friend was insisting to treat her diabetes with only homeopathy, and it failed.

Now, I have a very strong belief in complementary medicine. I have used it myself on several occasions and I do believe there is a lot to be said for the benefits. However, the key word here is "complementary". Whether it be homeopathy, ayurvedic, Chinese medicine or whatever other form it is, it may not always be the 100% full proof cure for the condition or disease that you have.  Complementary medicine should be used together with, or integrated with traditional medicine.

I am a huge fan of all of these and others, and integrate them into my lifestyle whenever possible if there is no medical harm in doing so. I like homeopathy, and I get acupuncture often. (Yes, kind of ironic considering I hate that my diabetic son has a life sentence of several needles daily.)

It is difficult to accept that we might need medical intervention. Perhaps even more so if you were healthy most of your life, always abided by healthy lifestyle guidelines and beyond, and never needed any medical support before your world was rocked by something unexpected.

I am living proof that no amount of organic, healthy eating, exercising, breast feeding, making baby food with organic ingredients most of the time, and all that other positive stuff could protect my son from getting Type 1. I did it all right and then some. I was close to the walking poster child for "that kind of mom". However, I am now on a new poster and it might say "Stuff Happens".

But back to my point. Complementary medicine is exactly that. Complementary. While traditional medicine cannot always guarantee you a cure, complementary medicine is not an alternative treatment that will cure everything either. And in some cases it cannot help you treat the condition and may make it worse.

Since I started DiapointME and hash tagging images and entries with diabetes, I get at least one "miracle cure" follower every day and several more likes. On average, most promise to cure diabetes in three weeks.

I started getting so many miracle cure comments in this blog I recently started moderating comments. I welcome comments, but I am also very cautious that I do not want followers to misunderstand the severity of diabetes and what Diapoint is about.

Well intentioned friends send me all kinds of links and concoctions with the miracle cure. I politely respond back. There is some research that suggests that some natural remedies may help regulate blood sugars (and mostly in Type 2) but there is no miracle cure.  To that I often receive the response "What are you afraid of?" or "Well, you never know."

Sadly, I do know. I do know that if I took my son off insulin and administered anyone of those concoctions or miracle cures that he would die without insulin. If I took him off insulin and tried one of those "completely cure your diabetes in three weeks" solutions, be sure he likely would die before the three week period was up.

It is awful to say. It is so painful to see those words in print. However, I do not know how else to explain the severity of diabetes. It is deadly, and not easily fixed with the latest pop culture miracle diet. Diabetics need medical oversight, medical education about managing their disease, sometimes medication (in the case of Type 1, insulin) and regular medical check ups.

So please today I ask that you take the only medical advice I will ever give, and seek out medical advice for your diabetes. If you are thinking to try something alternative or a miracle diet or cure for your diabetes, please consult with your doctor. And not just any doctor - please go see a medical doctor that is educated and experienced in managing diabetes. And I bet they will be open to discussing complementary things that you are interested in to help you on your journey of managing this condition and living life to the fullest as a healthy diabetic.

Image: TempAlertID


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Love, Diabetes & Instagram

One of the things I am dedicated to doing at Diapoint is working to raise awareness about diabetes. It is something that I feel is so important, and I am so passionate about, that I left my full time corporate job to do it.

It is a complicated disease and there are several differences between the different types. There are also HUGE misconceptions about them.

As many of you probably know, November is Diabetes Awareness Month and November 14th is World Diabetes Day.

Among my many activities planned, in honor of this month, I will be sharing important diabetic facts and busting a few myths as well.

I will also share some images from a photography series I have been working on about diabetes. When I am not working on a diabetic initiative, I am a passionate travel and documentary photographer. At the advice of another photographer, I am finally putting some of those skills to use to bring light to some of the daily challenges diabetics face.

So if you are on Instagram and are not following me yet, you can find my Diapoint account here.

Hope to see you there!



Sunday, October 16, 2016

Type 1 Diabetes & The School Nurse

Managing Type 1 Diabetes at School - it is a subject I have written a lot about. It is always a learning experience every week, if not every day for those involved! I know I learn a lot as schedules and activities change. There are so many things to consider to keep a diabetic child safe at school it can sometimes feel overwhelming.

I think it can be just as difficult for the school nurse to take in. After all, they have hundreds of children to worry about and take care of. Understanding their challenges and the sometimes lack of awareness of diabetes, I wanted to do something to support them for some time.

The idea to do this started last spring before school finished. Once again, I was honored to work with Lilly Diabetes as we both felt it was such an important subject. After months of networking and collaborating I am grateful for their sponsorship of an education session last Friday just for school nurses.

It was a full house, and we even had some nurses come in from Al Ain, which is quite a drive for them. During this session, they listened to expert physicians discuss the medical details of Type 1 and how it differs from Type2 and how to manage it at school.

I was honored to be part of the agenda and shared my experiences as a parent highlighting some of my son's challenges at school as a Type 1 Diabetic and challenges that other diabetics may face.

There is a lot to think about. Having a clear Diabetes Medical Management Plan (DMMP) in place is key. Not only does it include the medical orders about how to treat a particular child, it is also a document that fosters communication between parent and school nurse about how a child should be cared for. I say particular child because each diabetic is different and each diabetic should have an individual DMMP.  While there are some general guidelines to follow, DMMPs are not a one size fits all.

While I shared many stories, still, one of my most important points was a statement from the US National Association of School Nurses.

Managing diabetes at school is most effective when there is a partnership among students, parents, school nurses, health care providers, teachers, counselors, coaches, transportation, food service employees and administrators.

It is the school nurse that provides the health expertise and coordination needed to ensure cooperation from all partners in assisting the student toward self - management of diabetes.

If you are a school nurse, your role is critical in supporting our children. If something is wrong at school related to our child and their diabetes, you will likely be the first to know before anyone.

Sometimes there are not enough nurses to support a diabetic child at school, or they may be hesitant to do so as they have never dealt with a Type 1 child before. What should you do?

I never assume the school will have all the answers, so typically my son's school nurses and I partner to coordinate my son's care. Sometimes I take the lead and reach out to the teacher, or who ever needs to be reached, other times it is the nurse.

Like the DMMP, there is not exactly a one size fits all template as to how to do this. It is not easy. Ever.

Even with the best nurses it will still require work. But it is one relationship that is well worth the time and effort that you will never regret investing in.