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Happiness with diabetes

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by emm142, Mar 26, 2011.

  1. emm142

    emm142 Approved members

    Sep 7, 2008
    Recent threads and posts have really made me think about this, because I think it's a really huge issue generally in the diabetes community, and I'm interested in finding out exactly what people think about it.

    I'm sure that future happiness is something that everyone here hopes for their children. The mental health effects of diabetes are relatively well publicized, and I think that pretty much everyone with diabetes has struggled to deal with it at some point. That being said, I think it is possible to live a happy life with diabetes. I feel like I can achieve what I want to achieve, despite having this obstacle in my way. This year I have got into the university I want to go to, done well in my exams and passed my driving test, to name a few things. Diabetes has complicated my life, but it hasn't destroyed it. Far from it.

    Anyhow, I wanted to start this thread to ask: what do you do, as parents, to try to limit the mental health impact of diabetes on your child? How do you make sure that they are fulfulling themselves despite this obstacle, and how do you make sure that you are able to deal with any emotional problems which may be triggered by their diabetes? Do you think your child feels like they are able to lead a happy and full life, despite diabetes?
  2. Becky Stevens mom

    Becky Stevens mom Approved members

    Oct 14, 2008
    Excellent thread Emm:) Steven was diagnosed at a young age so he is used to living with diabetes. I dont think that that will always protect him from being depressed about it or angry about it. He doesnt see any limitations so far. He is only 10 but he's never said to me that he cant do something because he has diabetes. Ive never told him he cant do something because he has diabetes. The closest Ive come is to tell him he will have to wait to eat something until his blood sugar comes down a bit.

    I always tell him about people like Jay Cutler and Brett Michaels and all the famous athletes and musicians and actors and others who have type 1 diabetes and are doing what they want in life. He's very impressed that I have Sean Busby on FB as he loves snowboarding and knows that Sean has type 1. But doesnt think that type 1 would ever keep someone from becoming a famous snowboarder.

    Thus far he's never approached me and wanted to talk about having diabetes or that he feels badly about it but Im pretty confident that he would feel comfortable doing that with his Father or I. We've always been open and honest with our children about anything they want to discuss.
  3. Sarah Maddie's Mom

    Sarah Maddie's Mom Approved members

    Sep 23, 2007
    Great idea for a thread, Emma.;)
  4. rutgers1

    rutgers1 Approved members

    Mar 4, 2011
    Glad to hear that you are happy. My wife and I were just talking about this issue today. Our goal is for our son to never feel like his diabetes is some "horrible" thing that is limiting what he can do in life. When he was diagnosed last year, we took him to the hospital for the requisite number of days, but right after that he was back on the football field playing quarterback for his team. He has run 5K races, played basketball, and pretty much does whatever he wants. His diabetes is something that definitely plays a big role in all of our lives, but we deal with it and just make it part of our daily routine. He is very responsible for a 9 year old (when it comes to diabetes management), and I try to do most of the worrying when he isn't around.

    Another thing we do is put him in charge of some of the "bigger" decisions. The big one thus far has been injections vs pump. We have shared the pluses of having a pump but have ultimately left it to him. He has chose not to pursue it, and we are ok with that.
  5. Lee

    Lee Approved members

    Oct 5, 2006
    Honestly - the hardest thing for me to do - the thing that I have to work on constantly, is to not ask - how were your #'s? I ask how was your day, how was your test, tell me about practice, etc, etc, etc...and the entire time I want to ask - How were your #'s?

    I just don't want her to think the world revolves around D. I want her to know she is more to me then her #'s. I never say she can't do anything because of D - I do make her wear a sensor, or test more often, but I don't say no. Even when she says she wants to have 15 kids or be an astronaut.
  6. BKKT10

    BKKT10 Approved members

    Jul 2, 2010
    Emma, I want to congratulate you on all of your accomplishments. It is reassuring for me to see how well you are doing, all while dealing with T1.

    I think my biggest goal for my daughter, for now, is to let her focus on being a kid. I will worry about her health and she can worry about playing and having fun. I don't want her to look back when she is older and feel that her diabetes prevented her from doing anything.

    I also want to teach her not to use D as a crutch. Yes, at times she might need some extra attention. But I don't want her to use diabetes as a constant excuse why she can, or can't, do something.

    I really just want my daughter to grow up and be happy. She is going to live her entire life with this disease, but ya know what- this is the only life that she will know and I hope that it is a great one!!!! :)
  7. StillMamamia

    StillMamamia Approved members

    Nov 21, 2007

    A couple of years ago, the psychologist at the endo team took my son for a "quality of life" type of questionnaire. It had happy, sad and no comment smilies. The questions ranged from how happy he was with school, how happy he was with diabetes, etc, etc. He circled all happy faces and 1 sad face, which was for site changes.

    So, not sure what we're doing, but we're happy he's perceiving life as ok so far. I'm sure there will be a time when he'd probably circle more sad faces and we'll deal with those when they come, to the best of our ability and with the help of the endo team.

    That said, I have to add that we make sure he has people he can trust to be able to help him, either at school or at the scouts. He needs that reassurance. The rest is just life as a kid, with all the logistical organization being done behind the scenes without him knowing how freaked out we get at times.;)

    Oh, and the poker face when faced with OMG lows and highs. Took us a while to not react with a OMG face, but we're better now at it. The funny thing is when he's low or high, he blames us for that:eek::eek:. His usual answer is "You didn't bolus enough/you bolused too much, mom. You need to pay more attention.":rolleyes:

    ETA - You rock, Emma.
  8. pam_r

    pam_r Approved members

    Apr 30, 2008
    I really don't think much about any mental health issues at least at this point. I am sure he will have moments when it is a real annoyance but he has a very normal life. He has no limitations and he is treated the same way as I treat my other son. I try to teach him that many people have their own things in life that they need to deal with and his just happens to be diabetes. I also limit any reactions that I have to his highs and lows we just fix it and move on. I treat it like it is no big deal it is something that we all need to pay attention to and handle but nothing more than that.
  9. fredntan2

    fredntan2 Approved members

    Apr 21, 2007
    I have been lurking a lot lately. Just don't have much to say.and frankly am just tied of talking about D.

    But a few months ago I recognized our dd was going through something.she was grouchy.hard to be around.wasn't using her pump right. We went to ourlocal cde about every other week. Them I got her a therapist. I pulled back from managing her D.and let sara take over.i could not believe her last a1c.it was 7.7. I was floored.i was expecting way higher.

    I believe my sara is happy.well adjusted. Her pump had issues friday and she called up pump support and they got it sorted out. She was in st john last summer and her pump died.she called up pump support and switched over to the back up pump.i wasn't there.

    I try my best not to ask what her numbers were.i can peek a look on the mete r.
    I don't check my dd at night.she told me not to.said it wakes her up.
  10. NatBMomto4

    NatBMomto4 Approved members

    Mar 24, 2010
    Em - you continue to inspire me and give me hope for a bright, happy future for my son! Thank you for this uplifting thread!

    Andrew is a very upbeat, happy kid by nature - Thankfully, D has not robbed him of this. We joke a lot about D - for example, he likes to try to guess his # before he tests. When he gets it right he'll do the "Rocky champ" dance...if he is low, he'll pump his fist and be all happy that he gets to have his favorite candy - Laffy Taffy, which I keep a huge bowl of at all times!

    My husband and I have made a conscious decision since day 1 that we would never let D make decisions for us as far as whether or not to let Andrew do something. He likes to walk to the local park with friends after school, and althought it was hard to let him at first, we did because we knew we would let him without D. He has his supplies and a cell, so it works. I figure my worries and fears are MY problem, not his - I want him to do all the things other kids his age do - even if it is a bit more complicated because of D.

    We also let Andrew make alot of the decisions. He does not want a pump - and we will never push one on him. When we are debating whether to round up or down on insulin, or whether or not to change a ratio, we always let Andrew in on the decision - and he is almost always right!

    Our school nurse is AMAZING - she has been a huge support for us from the beginning. She is always telling me what a great kid Andrew is. She told me this past week that she always smiles when he walks in her office because she knows that no matter what is going on with him - high or low - he will make her laugh. That made me feel great. WHen someone else tells you that your kid is so happy, they make them happy when they see them, you know things are going OK!!
  11. danalynn

    danalynn Approved members

    Oct 27, 2009
    I guess my recipe for 'happiness with diabetes' for Colby is to teach him a combination of balance and independence, without putting too much burden on him too soon... I hope that the natural byproduct of this is that he's able be happy throughout the ups and downs of diabetes in his life...

    The way I look at is, he'll have this for his whole life, it's a marathon. My job is to help him get started with it and prepare him to carry it on his own. I kind of picture my son and I walking on a road, a diabetes road I guess. He's got this diabetes thing and it's a part of him but it comes with a lot of 'stuff' too (all the 'things' we do to manage it) So in the beginning after diagnoses, he's young and small so I start by carrying as much of the 'stuff' as I can, I let him see it and be a part of it in the way that he's aware of it but doesn't need to be responsible for it yet, he's got all he can handle for the moment. As we walk along through time, he adjusts to his load and can carry more, so I slowly transfer a bit over at a time. Sometimes he gets burnt out and I take a bunch of the load back for a short bit until he's 'caught his breath'. As we go he takes on more responsibility with it, and because it's slow, it's a natural progression.

    It's a tricky balance to teach him to own it without causing too much resentment of it. To try to keep in the background, you know? Let him be a little boy first... like someone else mentioned, sometimes it's hard to say 'how was your day' before you say 'what's your number'.

    I point out to him that everyone has 'something', it's just not always obvious. That's life but you do get to choose where you put your energy. and that if he's feeling crappy about it, then go ahead and scream and yell and cry and do what you gotta do then pick up and move on.

    If I'm learning something new about D I say 'hey come here and look at this, how interesting.' And I find he's saying 'cool, so if I do (this) it should help with (this)...' he's taking the lead on a lot of things without even realizing it. At this point he actively and willingly participates in every aspect of his care.
    His 2 'jobs' that are solely his no matter what are; keeping his portable kit properly stocked and his first blood sugar check of the day. I treat these the same way I do as his chores, if they're not done, there's consequences. He was involved in this decision also.

    I try not to be too extreme with what I limit in terms of food, because even though I could achieve better numbers with a more rigid schedule etc, I do view the mental/emotional aspect of diabetes to be just as or more important that the physical, and if he's got good numbers with a lot of sadness and anger that's not a win to me. (we do eat very healthy actually, but though I cringe, he is allowed nasties like corn pops and brownies, just not every day of course!) I try to avoid the word 'can't' and instead try to use common sense and moderation as a guide, I'm hoping he'll grow to make good choices all on his own without my guidance.

    Parenting is very difficult and it's hard to prepare your kids for the big scary world, there's no manual or guarantees... I know that I could make myself crazy if I spend too much time looking back at all the mistakes I've made so far... I think everyone here is doing the best they can and that your kids know that they're loved and that they have your support and that is what matters in the end. :)
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011
  12. danalynn

    danalynn Approved members

    Oct 27, 2009
    I absolutely agree with you on this! although my instinct says to create a bubble to keep my son safe forever and ever, that's not realistic and isn't going to benefit him in the long run. It does take a lot of extra work and worry as a parent to make sure they are able to be just as free and independent as they would be without diabetes, but well worth it to teach them they don't have to be limited.
  13. IansDaddy

    IansDaddy Approved members

    Jul 20, 2008
    Besides the technical part about treatment we are obliged to do, we don't give any other special treatment to our son with diabetes. NO DIFFERENCES! That's what I think is important. The kid feels the differences and that shows him that he IS different. Which kid wants to be different?
    I don't see any mental problems in my son, although I have still some problems with it, which I don't show to him.

    Thank you and best wishes.
  14. emm142

    emm142 Approved members

    Sep 7, 2008
    Thanks for the responses. I find it really interesting, actually. Most of the people responding on this thread seem to think the best thing to do is to give very equal treatment to a child with D and a child without D, which is a stark difference to an attitude I've seen parents express before (in order to help their child with D to be emotionally healthy, they should make sure that the negative aspects of diabetes are counterbalanced with positive things).

    Personally, I think it does help me to feel emotionally better when I am treated in a normal way. I feel the most comfortable around people who treat me normally, especially people who don't mention diabetes very much, but who don't seem to be uncomfortable talking about it. So basically, I find it helpful when other people stay quiet about my diabetes unless I bring it up, and then I don't like it if people try to immediately divert the conversation away. I feel safe around people who know what to do if something could go wrong but who don't constantly remind me that something could go wrong, KWIM? I also think that being able to joke and be lighthearted about diabetes related things is very important.
  15. caspi

    caspi Approved members

    Oct 11, 2006
    My son, although he is only 12, has told me he feels this way. He doesn't like a lot of attention brought to him, which is unfortunately why I think he wanted to stop pumping (but that's another story....:rolleyes:).

    I found it interesting last year when Crystal Bowersox was on American Idol and some people were annoyed that she didn't say more about her diabetes while on the show. Personally, I found it refreshing as she didn't want diabetes to define her - she wanted her singing to be on the forefront. I had to commend her for that. But that's just my opinion. :cwds:
  16. OSUMom

    OSUMom Approved members

    Sep 10, 2006
    It's a different scenario for us where my son is now starting his career after college, but he is leading a happy and fulfilling life despite diabetes. He knows we'll always be there for support at any and all times. :cwds:
  17. Flutterby

    Flutterby Approved members

    Nov 11, 2006
    I can tell you that Kaylee knows nothing other than life with diabetes. Its just part of her, its not who she is, but its part of her. She occassionally has issues.. like pumping, she doesn't want it attached to her, so we are looking into options. Insulin isn't an option, but the method may be. I've never given her a choice before, but I can see how its affecting her, giving her that small piece of control really helped. And you know we didn't even do a pump free weekend, we (her and I) forgot about it! I think just being part of the decision making helped her with the issue. Any little way she can have a bit of control definitely helps out with her happiness (if that makes sense, lol).

    I can tell you that if we gave her the choice of getting ride of Diabetes or Celiac disease she would choose celiac in a heart beat, I'm 1000% sure of that.
  18. Lynnieg123

    Lynnieg123 Approved members

    Mar 16, 2011
    "and Jess ~ 15 diagnosed with chronic eye rolling syndrome"
    this made me laugh out loud!
  19. denise3099

    denise3099 Approved members

    Jul 31, 2009
    Well, dd is 8, dx at 4. Basically, and I hate to say this, but when my sweet angel was dx, I was glad it wasn't my son. :( He has so much to deal with already and is very rigid and wound tight--he has aspergers. And dd is well, so happy go lucky, so at ease with herself, so pleasant and comfortable. I knew she could handle it. She was only 4, but seeing her interact with the world was always such a pleasure and a surprise.

    So bascially, I'm just trying not to ruin it! I follow her lead, don't make too big a deal out of it, don't blame D for too much. And also, I try to make things as "fun" as possible--I try to get D stuff as cute as possible. but basically, she's got such a great personality, that I try to just keep D from getting in the way. We joke and laugh and play, and we never ever "woe is me" over D. We all have stuff to deal with, so we deal with it and move on.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
  20. Thoover

    Thoover Approved members

    Feb 5, 2007
    I must say that there hasn't been 1 DAY in the 4+ years that my daughter has ever said to me "MOM IM SCARED". Not ONCE, Not when she was in the PICU fighting for her life, not when her blood sugar was 21 and she was having a seizure and came to and asked WHY was I crying.:eek: Even the day we found out she was having kidney issues and I told her the importance of those kidneys. She looked at me and said I am not scared. :)
    She is living her life as a normal child with just a few speed bumps through the way, but I don't think when she becomes adult it will change..

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