Tag Archives: children with type 1

Camp Too Sweet

 

Photo courtesy of foto76

By Ana Morales

I’ve seen a lot of comments and articles that show how important and helpful an online community can be, the DOC in particular. You can ask each other questions, give and take advice, or just support each other. It reminds me of when I attended a diabetes camp and how great it felt to be there.

I attended Camp Too Sweet, an annual week-long summer camp, for 6 years in a row, starting when I was 8 years old. I was terrified about going the first year because it lasted about 8 hours everyday and it was pretty far away from home for me (about an hour). Fortunately, each camper got to invite a friend or sibling, so my older sister Sara (by 14 months) always came with me. Almost every year the camp was in a different location, but the structure of each day was basically the same. We did crafts, went swimming, ate, played games, and had mini health lessons, which were sometimes incorporated into the games. One year, the camp took place in my hometown at a rock climbing center, so we rock climbed every day and even learned how to tie all the knots and spot someone so that we could do it in pairs without the instructors’ help. Another year, we went hiking and camped in the woods overnight. It was like a regular camp but with one exception. About half of the campers had Type 1 diabetes. We each had a spot around the main room with a basket that had things for checking blood sugar levels and a big chart above it where we could keep track of our levels throughout the day. There were several adults who would help us if we had off target blood sugars or if anything else went wrong.

I remember feeling so comfortable there, among other children my age who were dealing with the same thing as me. I never felt embarrassed about giving insulin before eating or stopping an activity to check my blood sugar because everyone else was doing the same thing. I didn’t have to worry about carrying a juice box or glucose tablets with me everywhere because the adults and helpers always had some with them. Whenever my blood sugar was high, the other campers and adults were sympathetic and made sure I never felt left out. I’m sure my parents also felt more at ease knowing that even though I was an hour away from home 8 hours a day, I was surrounded by dietitians, nurses, and volunteers who knew how to deal with diabetes. I made a lot of great friends, a few whom I’m still in contact with today. Before camp, I didn’t really know anyone else with diabetes (besides my sister) and sometimes it felt like we were the only ones who had it. When I realized it wasn’t true, I sure felt relieved…

Reminiscing about camp reminds me just how awesome it is to not feel ashamed or embarrassed when dealing with this disease. Diabetes is hard to deal with and it makes a world of difference when the people around you understand that. Sometimes it’s hard to accept that even the people you love the most don’t completely get it, but how could they? This is why we have to educate the ones we love (and realize that they do try to understand) and seek out the advice and support of others in our situation.

So for all of you who offer your support, advice, and friendship to others, thank you :]

Diabetes and Parenting, Anxiety in the Making

 

We know what can make a person anxious.  An unfamiliar social setting, an upcoming doctor visit, a college graduation resulting in a fear of the unknown, being the first to say the words, “I love you”.  Anxiety is a normal thing in life.  What’s not normal is feeling too much anxiety.

Having diabetes may mean fighting a constant thread of anxiety 100% of the time.  Having children, I’ve learned, produces more anxiety than I could have ever imagined.  Many of us find it can be worrisome to spend all day alone as a diabetic.  Never mind spending all day alone with diabetes and two little ones to look after. 

My mother stopped by the other day around lunchtime and worried when I didn’t answer the incessant door knocking and phone rings.  She finally got management to open up my apartment door.  Turns out the kids and I were sound asleep at nap time (I don’t normally nap).  It made me realize however, the anxiety for her as a parent, doesn’t go away just because I’m 27.

When you combine diabetes and children, such as in the case of my parents, who raised two kids with type 1 diabetes (plus three others), or in my case, a type 1 diabetic raising two children, you get…ANXIETY!  Before my day has hardly begun, I’m already feeling a little wigged out.

For example, when I wake up in the morning there is this feeling of urgency to get out the meter and (fingers crossed!) hope for a good number.  If I’m low, I “run, run, run” to the kitchen for some juice because “I’m alone with the kids and they depend on me”.  If I’m high, “oh no, how am I gonna deal with this and the kids this morning?” is what goes through my head.  Let’s say my blood sugar is good and I know that in 10 minutes I’m going to make breakfast for everyone.  I give insulin and wash up.  Next, I change the kid’s diapers (a major challenge nowadays), their clothes (yet, another struggle), give them a bottle, clean up the couch (they like to pour milk on it), and make their breakfast.  I think, “When did I give insulin? Ah yes, 10 minutes ago.  Ok, so in about 5 minutes I have to be eating something”.  I put the kids in their high chairs and give them their meal.  I’m about to take a bite when, “No! Please don’t take your brother’s food!  And please sit down! Thank you!”  I’m about to try that bite again but, “No throwing food on the floor guys!  Eat your food, please.”  I walk over to pick up the food on the floor and get the kids to sit properly.  Then, “Uh oh, I think I’m getting low”.  I guzzle some juice, forgetting about breakfast, entirely.  My heart races.  Back to the kids, “No no, don’t run your dirty fingers through your hair, please!”  I pick up the kids, take them to the sink to get their hands and faces washed up.  Man they’re heavy when I’m a little low.  I struggle to get them out of the bathroom because they love to flush the toilet and always try to lean into the tub.  I stumble back to the kitchen and finish my juice only to see the kids jumping on the couch.  I run over to prevent the little monkeys from falling.  They don’t want down.  I say, “Ok, let’s read some books!”  We read “Goodnight Moon” 20 times.  “Uh oh, I feel low again.  Run back to the kitchen and grab some juice.  Mental note: “Sysy, just don’t give insulin tomorrow morning, just don’t eat, it’s easier”.  <SIGHHH>  (Now you all see why I’m better off eating lower carbs= less insulin!)

This is just my first hour of the day.  The 10 hours that follow are very similar.  If the mix of parenting and diabetes doesn’t cause a person anxiety, I don’t know what does. 

God Bless you if you live with some combination of diabetes and parenting. :)

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