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, November 13, 2016

Diabetes - Its A Family Affair

"Your child has Type1 Diabetes" was not an easy thing to hear. Those first days and months were a real struggle as we adjusted to the realities of this condition, how it would affect my son throughout his life and how to manage it on a daily basis.

The learning curve in the first year is steep and it impacts the whole family. Life changes for the entire family - everything from routines to personal or career priorities changes. Siblings are also affected as they can feel neglected or have difficulty adjusting to the new routine of living with a brother or sister with diabetes. While a diagnosis of diabetes often puts stress and pressure on the family unit, in time, it can bring families closer together.

To overcome the challenges that Type 1 Diabetes brings, it is important to have every family member educated and involved in diabetes management early on. In fact, research has shown that the way children manage their diabetes later in life is positivity influenced when their family is supportive and involved.

There are many ways to support a diagnosis of diabetes in the family. Some things to consider include:

Open Discussion.  Successful diabetes management requires constant review and control.  Getting used to the "new normal" is not easy and it is difficult for the child with the diagnosis. Discuss the kind of support with your child that they feel they need. Even if they are in need of more support than they express, or do not know, just having the ability to feel heard and understood is critical. Sometimes these will need to be one to one discussions, but it will also be helpful for the diabetic to share these feelings with the immediate family.

Educate yourself and all family members.  Learn and share as much as you can about the disease. For younger children, this is critical, as they need constant support to manage their diabetes. If possible, invite family to attend diabetes education classes with you.

Adopt mindful eating habits for the whole family. Type 1 is the dance of balancing activity with insulin and carbohydrates. Diabetes provides a great opportunity for the entire family to get involved in learning about nutrition. Understanding how food fuels the body with carbohydrates, fats and protein is good for everyone. Preparing meals together is a good family activity and can teach younger members the importance of balance and moderation.

Practice Get the family involved in carb counting, checking blood sugar and administering insulin. Put that new found information into action. Also practice what to do in the event of a diabetic emergency.

Managing diabetes is not easy. It may not seem possible to help as it is only happening to one person, but family members can be involved with many of the tasks. While we will never truly understand what it is like to be diabetic, we can – and should - support them in their journey.

This in turn will help them develop coping skills, build confidence and encourage personal responsibility as they learn self-care.   Family Matters!

2 comments:

  1. Since my mom was a T1, I was taught from a young age to have a diabetic diet. So when Dx'd at 17 it was pretty much ingrained in my life. A blessing.

    This item has been referred to the TUDiabetes Blog page for the week of November 7, 2016

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  2. Thank you for sharing your experience Rick! I am sure you were way ahead of the game with all that knowledge. T1 or not, we have always ate fairly healthy but take an everything in moderation approach. As I help my son navigate his T1 journey, I also learned so much about feeding myself and the proper balance of carbs, fat and protein!

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