The best general book that I have yet read about diabetes is Cheating Destiny by James Hirsch. Hirsch talks about everything from the experience of having diabetes (and a newly diabetic child), to the history of the disease, to the current research in the field. This book was both inspirational and informational, and I wish that someone had handed it to me during those first scary weeks after diagnosis.
Being part of a team
One of the books that I love is called The Diabetic Bible and it is absolutely inspiring. It explains a lot about diabetes and how they believe it actually forms and what they believe what causes it. They also give some great recipes in there. What makes it fun is that you get to spend time with your children, or a child, and you actually have them help. They can go retrieve the ingredients for you and it’s a great family thing. Helping out with the cooking is just like being on a baseball team, just being part of a team, makes everyone feel good by the end of the night.
Encouraging your children
Every time I come across some sort of little article or commentary about nutrition and food, I’ll cut it out of the paper or the magazine that I read it in and I’ll just leave it on the counter at home. Eventually the kids come across it and they say, “Hey, gee, did you know that there’s a half cup of white sugar in every Dunkin’ Donuts cookie and that that has 500 calories? And can you imagine what that must do to your body?” So, it’s sharing things that we know as adults with your kids, but in way where you’re not making them learn it, but you’re encouraging them to learn it.
You have to look at the big picture
All the way up until the first few years we had a log of how many carbs were consumed, how much protein; exactly what he had. Did he have a cup of cereal for breakfast? Did he use skim milk with it or whole milk? Did he have anything on the side? Did he have half a banana? Just everything he consumed throughout the day, other than water was logged in; even diet soda even though it has no sugar. You can actually read back yourself, without being a doctor, and realize on these certain days things were better.
In the beginning, we looked at it short term. We were looking at it day by day and some days he was a little bit lower than others having the same meals, but then we figured, you’ve got to look at the big picture. It’s the whole week–it’s the whole month that actually coincides with everything. So you got to kind of fine tune the engine and just push forward and find out what really works for him.
Reduce the temptation
Get rid of all the junk food in your house so that if your child is over visiting you, they can’t open a closet and be tempted. So don’t have chips. We don’t have white bread. Reduce the temptation and make sure you have things that the child can eat when they come over so that’s no stress about it it’s just there.
Don’t put limitations on your children that have diabetes and try not to make them feel like diabetes is a day to day disease, because it’s really not. They are as normal as anyone else. By monitoring the right way and doing exactly what the pros recommend; it will feel no different and you will get more relaxed.
Do the research on your own. The more you know about it, the more comfortable you will become with it. You won’t be staying up all night sick and nervous worrying about if you are making any errors or if anything is going to happen throughout the night. It’s going to become a lot more comfortable to you and it will be like second nature.
Finding the right doctor
You need to find the right doctor. Someone that you can interact with, as well as someone you like. You like the doctor, your child likes the doctor and you work as a team. We love our doctor now. It took a little while to find her, but you just have to keep looking. If you don’t like the first one, don’t get discouraged. There are other options out there for you.
Write down your questions
Before coming to the appointments, write everything down. Write down all your questions. Every single question and all the numbers. Don’t ever, ever think you are going to bother someone because that’s their job–so ask.
Be open. Tell them everything. Ask anything. Tell them anything. You don’t understand something? Don’t let someone leave the room without clarification or answers. Get all the information you can, and give all the information you can.
The Clara Barton Camp
Stephanie has gone to the Clara Barton camp in Oxford, MA which was very helpful. Everybody’s on the same page everyday. Everybody has the same routine everyday and they have a lot of helpful resources for you there.
You have to be proactive
I encourage people to look at the websites like the Diabetes Foundation website. They have the latest breaking news, information, and facts. If you don’t feel that your child is getting the best care or treatment, do your own research. People have to be proactive when taking care of their children.
Educate people, train people, train family members so you can go out because you need to go out. We have not and it’s because we haven’t had the time to train people.