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, 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."


  1. Good for him! My daughter puts up with the CGM in her stomach only because we kind-of told her there was no other choice :} , but never a pump site. It's become an obstacle to her doing her sites herself since it's a challenge to do your own in the hip and nearly impossible in the rear, so she does the occasional leg site but still needs help much of the time. You're both very brave!

  2. Thank you Pam! Yes, as he starts doing his own sites, he will have to see it and try those options. We do not have a CGM, but have used them before.. not sure if it has changed, but I feel like those are a little bigger than pump insertions! Thank you for reading and making it through the typos on this one.. man, proof that diabetes leaves me sleepless :D