SHOCK, SHOCK, SHOCK………..
“This can not be happenning ……”
“It’s not possible ……….”
“My child ……………….”
I do not talk about it.
The initial shock, when the child is at the hospital and diagnosed, is indescribable.
I do not think it is cliche to say that it is one of the strongest shocks a family can suffer.
But as the child recovers and as he regains his strength, hope comes back.
With her, of course, a thousand of questions.
New concepts, terminologies, medical practices, most of which are totally unknown and unprecedented.
I am not here to answer medical questions. This is our doctors’ job.
I am here to welcome you to your new family.
So welcome to a new reality.
Welcome to the family of the sweetest children in the world.
The first thing I recommend you is to start getting informed.
What we have heard about diabetes by the day of diagnosis (and this is unfortunately true for most) is about diabetes type 2.
NOTHING OF THE SORT.
Type 1 diabetes mellitus or juvenile diabetes is a completely different illness.
It is a different condition from type 2, with different logic, practice and attitude.
1. Medical practices
I am not a doctor or have any scientific training in relation to diabetes.
Your first and foremost guide should, ALWAYS, be your treating doctor.
Always consult your doctor and nursing staff who are monitoring your condition.
I do not want to be misunderstood of what I recommend you.
They are a result of my personal experience and contact with a diabetic child.
- I think that, as newly diagnosed, is the first time that an insulin pen comes into your hands.
Do not be afraid of it. It is the one that saves the life of the diabetic.
Especially, parents try to inject yourself to see how your child feels.
Without insulin, of course, so not to run you to the hospital!
Empty and refill the pen, over and over again.
Experiment on a pillow or a doll how to make insulin pens (injections) in order to get the necessary skill.
You must learn to use it without fear and without inhibitions. Without thinking.
- Measure blood glucose to yourself with the meter to get familiar with it as quickly as possible.
- Make sure you have a glucagon injection in your refrigerator, as well as the insulins you need, for at least the next two months.
The refrigerator should never be left empty of insulin and glucagon.
- Begin to keep a calendar of measurements.
You can get a sugar measurement diary or even better I firstly recommend you buy a simple notebook where you will write all the details of the day. You will find it much more useful in the first time.
- Get and test ketone measurement in blood or urine.
You may need it in rare cases, but you should know it.
- Ask for help whenever you do not remember something. It is not a shame. It is absolutely normal.
Throughout our lives we learn.
Much more, when our lives change so rapidly, as with diabetes.
We have a lot to learn, all of us!
2. Hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.
- Learn how to distinguish practices between hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. Although the symptoms may, at times, coincide, you need to know what to do each time. Personally, and like most people, I think hypoglycemia is the most worrying of all. Therefore, we need to intervene promptly and swiftly in any form of hypoglycemia.
- Make sure when you go out of the house, always have a glucose meter and a juice with you. ALWAYS.
As many times as I thought it was safe to leave them home, I speeded but did not make it on time.
ALWAYS a meter and a juice.
- If it’s easy and easy to use, it’s a good idea to have a scales (for meal quantity calculation).
Particularly in the beginning, as we can not easily calculate quantities.
Having the correct amount (in grams) of meal, we can accurately calculate the carbohydrate equivalents of our foods.
We do not fail to get the amount of insulin we want for each meal.
3. Daily routine
- Start creating a routine in your daily life around glucose measurements and meals.
And I mean meal times and corresponding measurements and insulin injections.
Of course, you will already have them in your hospital or your doctor.
At home, however, practices are usually differentiated from the utterly strict hospital program.
And then we stray a bit. A little of course, does not matter. Do not be afraid. Gradually you will find your rhythms.
Always in consultation with the doctors and with constant observation, everything is under control.
- Get ready, those who have the opportunity to spend endless hours on the internet.
You will surely learn a lot of new and useful topics that have to do with life with diabetes.
Personally, even after three years of my child’s illness, I discover new webpages with useful tips and stories.
- There is a book, out there, (unfortunately still only in greek language) that in my opinion, should not be missing from any diabetic child’s home. It is a scientifically informed and at the same time understandable of all ages, Dr. Elina Gika “Traveling to the Country of Diabetes”, Agkyra Publications.
I’m not doing it for any kind of advertising, just telling you my personal opinion, because it’s a book that I’m not separating.
So far I think it is the best written in our language and summarizes all the questions and answers about this new reality.
It gives instructions, strength and courage to both parents and suffering children. Indeed, as its title says, it covers “what you need to know about handling diabetes”.
The child will use it to educate the grandfather, grandmother, school teacher and will able to read it to any classmate he wants. So if you can read greek you will enjoy it.
- Begin to find identicals. Individuals or families where there is a person ails from DM1. Find around you as many as you can that have a person in the family with diabetes type 1. It may be one of the most important things you have to do. The child and yourself must feel that you are not alone. Solidarity is much more intense and necessary in this condition. At least, I feel very lucky and blessed that I have people by my side who can understand what my family is going through. Pain when shared, they say, becomes smaller. The same applies here.
- Do not be afraid and do not be ashamed to talk. You will definitely feel, much better and less lonely. What you are facing today, someone else has already faced it and is ready to help you. Do not be afraid of the stigma. It does not exist if we do not want it.
- We do not trumpet our illness, but we inform those around us about the better and everyday life of all of us.
All along, I want to emphasize again that what I write in this effort of contact with you is the experience and everyday life of a mother with a child with diabetes mellitus type 1.
My anxiety and my need to offer what I can through this effort is the one that has prompted me to create this website/blog.
I need to communicate with you and the opinion and practices of all of you.
Solidarity and sincerity are, for me, the most essential components in the relationship of trust that I’m trying to build with you.
My goal is to uncover everyday life with type 1 diabetes to all who do not know, so everyone can understand that this is not a nightmare, but just a sweeter and everyday life.