Reasons to be cheerful! A plea for positivity!

img_2333Imagine teaching classes in the way that Diabetes NSW have approached this week’s National Diabetes Week.

I used to teach in a really rough school where the students came from backgrounds where there was extreme social depravation.

Picture the scene:

“Good morning everyone! I know some of you might  die at a much younger age than the rest of the population due to the much higher than average rate of coronary heart disease in this area, many of you will most likely never get proper qualifications and unemployment is at an all time high in the area but hey ho, never mind. Chin up ! Let’s all get on with the job at hand and learn together. I’m going to tell you about all the awful things that may be ahead of you and hope that despite all of them, you have the desire to learn and move forward.”

I would have been eaten alive had I chosen that method of teaching!

The following pictures have been on Twitter the last couple of days for National Diabetes Week. Perhaps I am missing the point or being overly sensitive. I’m hoping to be proven wrong!

I’ve not blogged much of late or been on Twitter regularly. Today, however, I do feel the need to write down my thoughts.

The diabetes online community is fantastic due to the sense of  fun, support and community. You may never see the people you communicate with but they live a life in your head and you are aware of their joys and their pains. It’s not all doom and gloom: quite the opposite. Even when times are tough, there is always a sense of camaraderie, of being in it together, and often good advice is given on how to deal with the issues being discussed.

What is the point in Diabetes NSW stating the bald facts regarding amputation without giving advice on how to avoid this happening or setting it in a deeper context? This may come later but the scary, horrible stuff came first!

As a parent of a teenage boy with Type 1 diabetes, I need for him to see hope in his future. I try to do this in how I approach discussions around his diabetes. So much research has been done on the impact of living with Type 1 diabetes on mental health. Did no one think of that when coming up with this campaign?

I found this on Twitter and found it really apt :

Positivity in life is so important but even more so when you are a teenager living with a chronic disease. My son does not walk around feeling burdened or would never say that he ‘suffers’ from diabetes. It’s part of his life, he has no choice in the matter and he gets on with it. I’m thankful that he doesn’t use Twitter and so it is highly unlikely he will be exposed to this awful future where amputations loom large!

There is hope in Victoria where Diabetes Victoria have a much more positive, balanced campaign:

My plea is for positivity! Please!


My hero

At 3am today, I waved off my husband and my 15 year old boy. He’s had a tough term with a broken arm, and a subsequent operation to fix it up but off he goes. He’s gone to Fiji on a rugby trip with the local team. My husband is his coach and there’s a doctor travelling with the team. 

He has been prodded and poked in the last few weeks and has undoubtedly been in a lot of pain a few times but he has never once whinged or complained. He has avoided the clown doctors in the children’s ward, answered numerous questions about his diabetes, surfed the waves of bumpy BGLs and has accepted the 3am blood tests without complaint.

He told me yesterday that he was very nervous. When I asked why, thinking it might be about managing his type 1 diabetes, he confessed he was worried about getting hurt by the opposition. He’s 185cm tall and skinny as a rake: not the ideal build for rugby union!

I was secretly really chuffed that he wasn’t stressing about his diabetes. We try never to make it a stress. Yes, it’s a pain in the proverbial but it never stops him doing anything, except maybe the English homework that he hates so much. I reserve the right to be dubious about that one!

He has double the amounts of everything he needs, divided into two beautifully packaged bags. Every eventuality has been imagined by me and gone through with my poor husband. This lovely man was gracious enough not to roll his eyes in front of me.

Whilst my son runs the show, in the last month, my husband took over the day to day management. I wanted him to be the second in command, after my son. This was a role I took on automatically when my son was diagnosed with diabetes. No one made me. I remember the Diabetes Educator telling me that there is normally one parent who has the dominant role in the management or their child’s diabetes. Checking levels were in range and contacting the Diabetes Educator to work out adjustments in insulin ratios became my husband’s job as I hovered in the back ground watching as he and my son discussed BGLs and carb counted meals. 

It has been liberating for me and I think my husband feels empowered. I’ve still helped out and I still know exactly what’s going on but I’ve not been the ‘go to gal’! Guess what? The world didn’t fall apart. My son probably didn’t notice the difference and now he’s gone off to Fiji.

He will pull on his boots, put on his helmet, chew on his mouth guard and have the time of his life.