Blog Entries With Tag: child

Posted: Oct 5, 2012

circa 70's - can you figure out where I am?

I am not sure if my memories of being a diabetic in grade school are wiped clean due to DKA that I had in my teens - but all I know is - my memories of growing up with diabetes under the age of 12 - sadly are pretty vague - only pictures and the few journals I keep jog my memory abit more.  I remember things from time to time, like summer time at the park across my street, where we had activities that kept us kids out of trouble (e.g. a ride from the west end of Ottawa to the Parliament Hills).  Did I have problems with hypos on that ride?  I have no idea.  I'm sure my Mum packed extra goodies for that day trip, but all I know is, that I had fun (or at least the little snippets I remember - were fun - except for cycling up hills ).

This blog has come to light after reading Steve's blog about being a father of not just one, but two Type 1 diabetic children.  Reading how their lives have been affected has made me wonder ... how it was for my own parents.  They've never really talked much to me about it, I just know that in those days (I was diagnosed in the 60's) - most of the child rearing went to the Mum who generally stayed at home while the Dad worked.  I'm not sure what age I was when my Mum started working again, but I just remember going to hospital visits for my diabetes by myself (being dropped off by my Dad as it was abit of a bus ride and very early in the morning - then I'd bus back later in the afternoon).  I guess my parents made me very independent at a younger age then most kids are these days (e.g. Mum's taxi service). l I sometimes think that they had too much trust in me, which ultimately lead to my having DKA in the end. 

One thing that came to my noggin' the other day as I was driving back from the boat (mast is now down - sigh - sailing over for this year) - I don't recall going to many birthday parties.  Was it because of my Mum being worried about the foods or an overnight sleep over going out of control because of my diabetes?  I know sometimes I used to feel abit left out that friends around me would be going to parties - because I'd hear about them at school on the following Monday about their goody bags, etc.  I'm not even sure if I felt abit envious - that I - the diabetic child wasn't invited.  We're those parents holding the parties scared of having a diabetic child at a birthday party or sleep over?

I know one of the best parties that I still have vague memories of, perhaps when I was 8 or 9 - was going to an Italian restaurant ... that served all of us "ladies”.... Shirley Temples (made from ginger ale / grenadine / garnished with SWEET marishino cherries).  Ehgads, these are sugar loaded - and I remembered sucking back on a few of those, along with munching on those cherries.  I felt like such an adult - drinking something from the bar!!    There was no going back at that point - as I was introduced to foods that I'd never had before at home - though again - no recollection of what I chomped down on - but for myself - it is something that stays in my mind as a good memory.

Remember, I was only on 1 shot of insulin a day of NPH  (an intermediate insulin that takes 3 to 4 hours to work - maximum effect is between 4 and 8 hours, and stops working after about 18 to 28 hours).  My one day a shot (in the morning before heading off to school) was based on an a diet set up by the dietician at my local hospital based on my needs and insulin dosage.

All I can say is, thinking back, my blood sugars if there was home testing available in those days would have probably been sky rocket with all the sugar / carbs consumed in that birthday meal - yum! yum!  I don't even recall if perhaps my Mum had at least had me do a urine test to see where I stood, but then, would a correciton dosage been done if a faster insulin was available then?  You just made do with that 1 shot of what I lovingly call "juice of life" a day and tested your urine for level of sugar and / or ketones (all of which are now done with convenient strips rather than my test tube days).

So, with today's parents - I'm not sure how it would be handled going to a party like this.  I'd like to think that if I had all the technology at hand like I do now, I would just do what I do with testing my blood sugar, adjust my insulin dosage, and LIVE! I mean having diabetes doesn't have to stop you from enjoying life to the fullest - or does it?

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Posted: Sep 14, 2011

I have quite a few friends that follow Dr. Richard K. Bernstein's way of eating - which is to myself - very restrictive for me personally (he really doesn't like fruits to be eaten - due to their effect on blood sugars). When I recently read someone giving advise to a parent of a child with diabetes and telling them not just about low carb being good for their child it started to get me abit upset (even more so - they were giving out details on mixing insulin with saline - that is something a doctor should be advising a patient on).

Anyway, I accept that for some - this is what makes them happy (especially for those Type 2's needing to lose weight) - and I have no problems with that. I respect all ways of eating/controlling your health - except for the claims of cinnamon lowering blood sugars - I don't think the teaspoon a day that I tried for a few weeks made any difference - though my steel cut oatmeal tasted fantastic.  I just know having only 6 grams of carbs for breakfast is possible for me (I tend to average about 30 grams myself for breakfast).

I just know, as a child, I needed those carbs, due to being active along with all those hormonal surges that kids go through.  It didn't have any ill effects on me in the long run I think - of not eating low carb.  So far as I get closer to 50 years of having diabetes - touch wood - I'm doing well with no adverse effects of how I control my diabetes.  I know Dr. Bernstein says that a child following his way of eating can get all the correct nutrients without some of the foods he doesn't allow - but still - what happens when your child goes to a party - where "forbidden" food is available?  I know for myself, I loved going to other people's houses, where foods my Mum didn't have in our own household were readily available for me to sample.  I mean, a kid has to be a kid, to have a juicy slice of watermelon - and spit out the pits at your friends - that is FUN!!!

Also, the aim of having an A1C in the mid-range of 4.2%-4.6% makes me wonder about how this would affect a child.  I seem to be sticking around 6% - and am very happy with that reading - but a recent meeting with an endo I had hoped would be my doctor felt that I probably suffered from many hypos to get that number.  I don't - and my blood meter proved that to her (and no - the endo won't take me on as a patient - she said I am doing fine on my own).    My point here is, I think as a parent of a child, I would worry even more if I was to have them following the goals that Dr. Bernstein wishes his patients to have (all with the goal of avoiding complications from diabetes).
Recently I came across a great article at Diabetes UK (I follow them both in Twitter and Facebook) - that explains in what I call "layman terms" what low carb eating is all about.  I have tried to read Dr. Bernstein's books a few times - but I find them to be abit too technical for myself.  It turns out that my way of eating carbs where I'm between 100-120 grams of carbs per day on average is basically a "low carb diet".  Anything under 30 grams a day - which I believe is what Dr. Bernstein's follows is called "very low carb".  Again, I'm just not able to go that low (though my Dad apparently eats this way now according to my Mum now).

So, if you are abit puzzled by low carb eating like I am - check out this link from Diabetes UK and hopefully it'll answer any questions you may have like I did. 

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Posted: Mar 26, 2009

I heard from my god daughter Catherine tonight who lives in Ottawa, Ontario.  She has an 8 year old son called Aaron, who was diagnosed with diabetes a few years ago.  I love hearing how he's doing, like last summer he went to Camp Banting.  The same camp my parents sent me to when I was a child back in the 70's.  Even now, he's counting down the days until summer arrives and he gets to go there again!  I'm so happy that he loves it as much as I did. It was a way to escape from the city and be with other kids just like myself (I loved the Tuck Shop - but apparently they don't have it anymore).  Along with the cool camp counselors, doing things I'd generally not do back home, I felt like a "normal" kid, not someone who had to inject/test urine to stay alive.  It was also freedom for my parents who of course I think needed a break from me!  I know it wasn't cheap - but still my Dad somehow managed to afford it and last year we helped Catherine abit with the cost.

She called me up to tell me about what had happened to her son Aaron last night.  His blood sugars had been abit low before dinner and she'd given him a few units less of Novorapid and he ate his meal just like any hungry kid does.  He seemed fine when he went to bed but then she woke up to what sounded like something heavy falling over in the kitchen (she said it sounded like the fridge).  Her first instinct ... " Aaron ! ".  She raced downstairs to find him convulsing on the floor,  various food items out on the kitchen counters with some on the floor.  Luckily, she had a Glucagon kit (something that's been discussed here with LadyD in the forums lately) and she injected him right away and then called up 911.  Paramedics, police, fireman all showed up at her door within minutes, as per 911 protocol, and poor Aaron who was slowly coming out of his low BG was of course quite confused.  The paramedics attempted to take his BG but in the end Catherine did it with her own meter as he was pretty scared with all these uniformed guys standing around him.  Luckily, his BG was going up - 4.3 mmol/l (77 mg/dl).  God knows what he was at when she'd first found him on the kitchen floor!

Off to the hospital they went, where they kept him until the morning.  Of course, for any of you who have had a bad hypo (I've only had 2 bad ones that I can recall) - it leaves you pretty drained.  Good thing, they both took it easy today and tomorrow he's off to school  of course .... counting down the days until Camp Banting .

He's going to be starting on an insulin pump soon - thanks to the program that is set up in the province of Ontario, Canada (there are a few provinces in Canada that have a similar set up - not where I live unfortunately ... yet).  The program covers the purchase of an insulin pump / supplies for those that qualify.  I'm hoping to see him next month, so I can show both him and his Mum how I figure out the amount of insulin for the amount of carbs I eat both manually and with my insulin pump.  I have a feeling that they weren't shown this by a Diabetic Educator.  They'll have to know this even more so when he goes on the pump - as it's a crucial part of staying balanced with your blood sugars and not going too low or too high.

Listening to my god daughter brought many memories back from being a child - when I would experience the occasional night time hypo - not fun at all - for myself or my parents.  Next time I talk to my Mum I'll have to ask if she ever witnessed me in that kind of state.  Ahhh, to be a child again!!!

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Posted: Mar 13, 2008

My daughter was using inhalable insulin - Exubera with some success. Now that it has been pulled from the market we are trying to transition back to injecting which isn't going too well. Does anyone have any ideas or experience with less-invasive insulin delivery options - like a patch. Or does anyone know if something like that is in development?

Aside from that setback, things are going well. My daughter seems to be adjusting to her person with diabetes status fairly well. She's starting to let others besides close friends and family know about her condition. She has also expressed interest in volunteering at a diabetes group for kids.  

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Posted: Feb 27, 2008

My daughter was recently diagnosed with type 1. She passed out one night at home and we had to rush her to the emergency room. After talking to her doctors and looking back over the weeks leading up to her diagnosis she may have shown some subtle signs we missed.

I would imagine that's not unusual - especially with teenagers. She's always running around involved in tons of activities. Getting up early, staying up late - studying, sports, being with friends and family. Did she appear more tired than normal? Not that we could tell. If you are the parent of a teenager you also know how much they can eat and drink and that it can wildly fluctuate from week to week. My daughter is never without a bottle of water. Does that mean she was exhibiting excess thirst? I think we missed it.

Now that diabetes has become an official member of our family we're doing everything we can to minimize its impact on our daughter's life. We're also considering counseling to make sure we're not ignoring the emotional aspects of the disease. I've been reading a lot about the links between diabetes and depression and I want to make sure we're giving our daughter all the tools she needs to stay healthy.

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