Monday, November 30, 2009

SupperNanny Tackles Type 1

I don't think I have ever watched the show from start to finish. I never record shows anymore and I don't know when I have had people go through so much trouble to find me a link to watch a TV show but here you have it...a bunch of firsts for me and a big Wow!

For those who never watch this show either, there is a TV show on called "Suppernanny". She is a British lady who comes in and straightens out your family when you can't do it on your own any more. In 41 minutes she fixes your marriage, makes all your children angels and teaches everyone how to get along with each other. This is why I don't tend to watch it on a normal day. I am just not into shows that make life so black and white and pat. I had however heard that she would be going to help a family who had a child with Type 1 diabetes.

I don't know if all diseases are like this, but those of us who live with Type 1 diabetes in our lives are harsh critics. I think it has to do with all of the misconceptions that we deal with on a regular basis. We are so used to defending and teaching that we are quick to judge when Type 1 diabetes is portrayed in the media. In our defence, a lot of media outlets do make horrific mistakes but still we are a tough crowd to get something past.

Supernanny had received a passing grade. No rave reviews now but most parents seemed to be impressed that she went in with a good general knowledge and was able to separate the disease from the child's behavior. Now I was really curious! I had been traveling when it was originally aired but no fear because these things are always to be found online. I received three links to the show before I was given one that was usable outside of the US! Finally this morning I was able to sit down and watch it.

I was impressed. I still will not be watching the show but for a change the focus was on Type 1 diabetes. They didn't fuss too much about the little boy who loved to pound on his sibling. They did focus on Mom's fear that her son would die from Type 1 diabetes just has his grandfather had. They didn't focus too much on the big sister who was sick and tired of cleaning up after two obnoxious little brothers. They did focus on the fight to get the child with Type 1 to eat all of his food. They showed blood glucose testing. They showed injections being injected. They showed carb counting and insulin calculations. They showed a child who refused to eat and threatened to vomit. They showed a child who could take 2 hours to finish a meal.

Now if Jo the Supernanny was also a super CDE then she would know to put the child on a different insulin regimen and no longer worry about feeding the insulin except in the case of lows. She would then be able to give the parents the power to say "If you don't want to eat fine but you won't be getting anything later" and mean it.

We are coming closer to 10 years since diagnosis with each passing day and some of what this family was dealing with I remember as if it was yesterday. Liam was 2 and this child was 5 but still both of them used food to control a situation that was well beyond their control. Liam would keep an entire meal in his cheek without swallowing. He would finally swallow only to vomit it all back up. He would take 2 hours to eat a pop tart. I would end up feeding him almost anything just so that he had the carbs to cover the insulin that was already in his system.

I will remain eternally grateful for the incredible support we had both in his diabetes clinic and through some wonderful people I met online. They finally got me to click in to the fact that if I didn't inject him with the fast acting insulin he would be okay with minimal food. We were using NPH at the time and Humalog. As I learned how the insulins worked, I began to have power as a parent again. I could allow him to leave the table without touching his food and not worry about him passing out in 5 minutes. I was free to discipline him again and his doctor encouraged it! It was so liberating.

As you know if you have read my rantings before, I still get frustrated. I still get worried. I still have fears. I have to learn to move past them so that my soon to be teenaged son doesn't continue to learn how to use those fears against me. We will be okay. He has a different way of taking care of himself but he is doing a good job. Together we will get through life and life with diabetes. One day he will be a confident, resourceful young man who just happens to have a life-threatening chronic illness.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

November 14th is World Diabetes Day

Yesterday was World Diabetes Day and someone mentioned that people were saying "Happy" World Diabetes Day as if this was a happy occasion. Some noted that it was a happy occasion simply because it was a day that they did not feel alone. It was a day when others would recognize the existence of a horrible disease.

Personally I did not call it a happy day but did feel that it was a day to celebrate. November 14th is chosen because it is Sir Frederick Banting's birthday. As one of the men credited with the discovery of insulin, I am more than happy to celebrate his birthday. Like too many others, I have seen what a person who lives without insulin can look like. That is just too terrifying not to celebrate the fact that this wonderful man made such an incredible discovery. It is a day to celebrate the fact that my child LIVES each day because of that isolated source of external insulin.

Someone suggested that this is just another day. We live in isolation. People do not understand the hardships no matter how much many of us try to educate them. I agree that most people don't get it but every time just one person tries to learn. Every time one person asks just one question to educate themselves, that is one more person that we have reached. It is one more person that we have given a glimpse into what our lives are like. It is one more person who can begin to understand and work beside us.

November is Diabetes Awareness month. I admit that this year I have not been as loud or as "out there" spreading the word as I have in the past. As someone once told me, we have to do this every day not just one month out of the year and that is something that I try to do. I continue to work to educate and make people person at a time is a very good start.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Diabetes Marshmallow

This past week has been very full and very emotional. There have been many decisions on my plate and many issues floating around. Always front and center is diabetes care. I was lucky enough to have some wonderful friends to speak with and try to wrap my head around what could be expected of a 12 year old boy. In the process I was told that when it came to diabetes I was a softy. I let my own guilt and issues get in the way of my child's best interest. I had a friend read through my old blogs and suggest that I had just as many highs and lows as my son. It was suggested that I was weak. I was shocked. I have been called a lot of things in my life but weak was never one of them.

I decided to begin to read back in my old blogs myself and form my opinion of me. Well, first I have the utmost respect for anyone who wants to learn that much about diabetes and my opinions to spend the amount of time required to go through all of my old blogs. I have spent part of a day and have only managed to get through one year! Yes I have been distracted by a few other things but still to maintain that kind of interest takes a very special person and I feel very lucky to have that sort of a person interested and involved in my life.

But back to the point...was I really weak and soft? Well I still don't see myself as "weak" but I certainly am weak and developed very poor coping skills when it comes to diabetes care. Did I just admit that?? As I read through one year I realized that I took a very tough stance when it came to government. I have lofty goals that are commendable and that I still stand behind when it comes to getting everyone living with diabetes the best of care in school and throughout their life time. I am horrible when it comes to being strong with my son.

I was told by a psychologist that deals with this issue that I was allowing my issues with this disease to overshadow how I teach my son. In reading, he was so right. He gave me new tools to move forward with and funny but when I have started to use them I feel less powerless, less sad, and less pathetic. I have worked very hard over the past two years to overcome many personal issues and to be strong in myself. I have learned to relax and take life as it comes. Sadly I was not doing this with diabetes.

My writings are filled with "but he will have to live with this forever and I should give him a break". In conversations over the past week I have come to realize that I am not helping him in that. He does know how to "play" me. He looks at me with those puppy dog eyes and while I will never melt for anything else, I will give over and do whatever chore it is that he needs to do. In looking at how I have reacted to issues of forgotten meters, strips and testing--panic is my first mode of attack. This does no one any good.

We will see how I do when the next crisis hits but so far I have been able to be stronger and "just say no". Now that seems weird but I have seen the look in my child's face...I can get her to do this. It made me realize that I cannot do this. I am not helping him. I would not do his homework for him and I cannot do his basic D care. Funny, since I have made him more responsible and given consequences for not doing so he is much more on top of things. This may falter. He may test me and I may get frustrated but I am going to try to remain more calm. I read through crisis after crisis and funny but no one died despite my fears. The world did not crumble and life was okay...except for my own nerves. I was the only one damaged and that has to change...well I can hope and work on it anyway!