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.
Friday, May 19, 2017
This is the last post in Diabetes Blog Week 2018. It has certainly flown by, and I am still reading posts and will continue to read the many posts from this week. Today's post prompt:
More Than Diabetes - Friday 5/19 Lets wrap up the week by sharing a little more about ourselves, beyond the chronic illness we or our loved ones live with. Share an interest, hobby, passion, something that is YOU. If you want to explore how it relates to or helps with diabetes you can. Or let it be a part of you that is completely separate from diabetes, because there is more to life than just diabetes! (This topic is a suggestion from the 2016 #DBlogWeek survey.)
We are all so much more than diabetes...sometimes it may not feel that way because we always have to be mindful about it.
As for my son, he plays the piano, basketball, tennis and has been experimenting with parkour lately. He is artistic and athletic at the same time. He is an avid reader who wants to grow up and be an inventor among other things.
For myself, I try to stay fit and healthy and all that good stuff, but my great escape is photography. My favorite genre is travel and documentary because well, I love to travel. I love learning about different cultures and people. And this has actually taught us a lot about our diabetes too - preparing for the unexpected, dealing with the unexpected and just figuring out how to be a bit more flexible and accepting.
In addition to travel and documentary, I also enjoy night photography. It is quite meditative. There is something about the darkness and waiting for that long shutter speed. It makes time go slower and it is much easier to really get caught up in the moment you are shooting.
If you would like to have a look, you can find my work at pameladurantphotography.com. I also try to include my own images into blog posts whenever possible. I keep a blog on my photography site which I should give more love to. Before I got really serious about leaving my corporate job to focus on helping diabetics, I blogged a lot more about life and photography at another site called Life In the Middle East.
Thank you again Karen for another great Blog Week. I look forward to the next one!
If you are just discovering blog week, you can find the links for all the posts at Karen's blog, Bitter Sweet.
Thursday, May 18, 2017
Throwback Thursday: What Brings Me Down - Thursday 5/18
Today prompt revisits a subject we wrote about in 2014. May is Mental Health Month (in the US) so now seems like a great time to explore the emotional side of living with, or caring for someone with, diabetes. What things can make dealing with diabetes an emotional issue for you and / or your loved one, and how do you cope?
I participated in Blog Week when we first discussed this two years ago so I went and had a look at what I wrote. I would say that pretty much exactly the same thing that got me down then can get me down now. Here it is....
Fortunately, not too much. Yes, we have a lot of up's and downs - pun and no pun intended. I am not going to say it is easy. It is not.
My son was diagnosed at 20 months old, so he does not know a life before diabetes. In some ways, I feel this is advantageous. There is no longing for the days of yore when there were no finger checks or sick days. I recall those first carefree 20 months of his life, but do not dwell on it. I can't. I have to keep looking forward. Or at least live in the moment for my son's sake.
It is my job as a parent to teach him to grow up with this disease and manage it. It is important for him to know that there are no limitations on what he can or cannot do. If I get depressed about this, it will not help him.
I would say my most challenging times are when we've had too many consecutive highs and we can't always immediately resolve it. Getting sick, bent cannula, or something else. I try to learn and move on. (And ironically, that happened last night after pizza for dinner! Thankfully I am not a V-Blogger so you miss the dark circles under my eyes :-) )
There are also times when he is really sick, and I cannot make it go away. I wish it were me instead of him. However, again, we cannot dwell on these. If you do, it will get you down.
This disease is a lifetime. What gets us down this year will be different next year, and again different in five years. It will change with different phases of life. Although over the last two years, not much has changed in regards to how I feel about this.
We are challenged by diabetes almost daily, but I try to not let it get me down. I know my son will face many emotional challenges with it as he grows up, but as his caretaker I feel it is important to stay positive.
The only thing we can do is to try and control it the best we can and not let it control us. We are so blessed that a diabetic can do everything that a non-diabetic can.
I closed this two years ago by saying that when I have those moments when I think I want to slip into down mode, I always think there could be worse things to deal with. Just read the news. It's more than enough.
Some of the headlines I cited that day were different - #Bringbackourgirls was one of them. I was so happy to read that some girls were released earlier this month - after two years. Those two years must have felt like a lifetime. There was a mine explosion in Turkey at that time. Today in the headlines we see Venezuela, North Korea, chaos in the US, Syria is still in the news and there are even more refugees than before.
From time to time I meet people from these countries. I met a woman from Venezuela last week. I told her I was sorry to read about what is happening in her country. Her eyes began to fill with tears. Thinking of the challenges that many have faced, and continue to face...That's what gets me down.
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
The Blame Game Having diabetes often makes a visit to the doctor a dreaded experience, as there is invariably bad news of one kind or another. And sometimes the way the doctor talks to you can leave you feeling like you’re at fault. Or maybe you have a fantastic healthcare team, but have experienced blame and judgement from someone else in your life – friend, loved one, complete stranger. Think about a particularly bad instance, how that person talked to you, the words they used and the conversation you had. Now, the game part. Let’s turn this around. If you could turn that person into a puppet, what would you have them say that would leave you feeling empowered and good about yourself?
Just over two years ago, I wrote a post called Advocacy and Doctors where I discussed the need to advocate for your Type 1 child while in the hospital, or at a doctor visit.
Within that post is a story about a lecture I received from a pediatrician because my son's last A1C was 7.1.
While I always strive for something below 7.0, I know I am below the global recommended standard. No matter how much our endocrinologist would sing our praises for this number, I always want a better result.
Yes, I know that as a diabetic my son risks heart disease, loosing eyesight, neuropathy, loosing a foot, shorter life span and all other kinds of complications if this is not managed. Exaggerated? Maybe yes, maybe no. Believe me, I know that this is the reality if I do not manage his blood sugar well.
As today's Blog Week topic description suggests, we should turn that around. What would I have them say that would have left me feeling empowered and good?
Difficult question. I think a good doctor knows that diabetes is not just a one way conversation. I don't think this doctor is necessarily a bad doctor, but I think he just got caught up in his doctorness. After all, people go to the doctor to get prescribed treatment by an expert. In this case, we were actually there for that reason for suspected strep throat.
In chronic disease, this conversation changes. A patient (or caretaker) that has been dealing with diabetes for several years becomes an expert on their own care. We never wanted to, but we have to be the expert. Perhaps the best way to turn that discussion around is to have an open dialogue and work with a patient instead of telling them what to do, or reprimanding them.
As a wellness coach, I empower people by allowing them to set their own goals around their own wellness vision. Throughout this process, I spend more time listening than talking. Perhaps a coaching approach to work with a patient to understand what actions will get them closer to a more desirable A1C would help.
Our very first endocrinologist would always ask me "Well, what do you think?", long before I really had any opinions or knowledge about diabetes care. At the time I thought it was crazy, but now I realize why he did that. I am a much better caretaker for his coaching approach.
Since that was not happening at this doctor visit, and the previous visits had a similar tone, I worried that my son would pick up on it. Continuously feeling scolded or ridiculed for medical results would probably make him feel bad about his diabetes. This thing is challenging enough without that. I want him to embrace it as much he can - that is age appropriate of course - and feel he is supported so that someday he will confidently take the reigns.
But that day, I didn't waste any more time thinking about the doctor's tone. I didn't get defensive because this was not the first time. Rather than wishing the discussion were different on that day, I empowered myself.
In life, we have choices. There is nothing more empowering in life than knowing that we can choose.
That day that I decided to change doctors. My son's new pediatrician gives us advice, but it is delivered in a much more holistic way rather than just a one way negative message.
Disease doesn't give a lot of choices. No one ever chooses to be diabetic, but we can empower ourselves in other ways. That day I felt so much lighter knowing that I made the healthy choice that will ultimately empower my son.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Monday, May 15, 2017
Perhaps I would have found long lasting insulin at the pharmacy in town, but I had no idea what we would need. Fearful that a local pharmacist there would not understand Type 1, or suggest the wrong kind of insulin, I stuck with what we knew.
Her daughter learned a lesson through her humiliation. It was done. There was nothing I could do at that point. More importantly, I was too angry, way too emotional and too inexperienced in dealing with the unexpected at the time to make it an "educational moment" about diabetes.
Children swim and play there every day. The village handy man fishes at the end of the pier every evening under the moonlight. We see the good stuff.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
I will be taking part so keep an eye out for my upcoming posts. These are the topics Karen has chosen for the eighth annual Diabetes Blog Week:
- Diabetes and The Unexpected - Monday 5/15
- The Cost of a Chronic Illness - Tuesday 5/16
- The Blame Game - Wednesday 5/17
- Throwback Thursday: What Brings Me Down - Thursday 5/18
- More Than Diabetes - Friday 5/19
- Bonus: Diabetes Bloopers - Wildcard (Love this one!)
If you're taking part, leave a comment for me below with a link to your blog. I'd love to follow your journey throughout Diabetes Blog Week.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
This year, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to begin on May 26th. That is just over two weeks away. The majority of the 1.57million Muslims of the world fast that month from sunrise to sunset.
For more information about the interview with Dr. Osama Hamdy, please visit this article.