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Toll of diabetes on parents

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by bibrahim, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. bibrahim

    bibrahim Approved members

    Jan 31, 2011
    I am truly interersted in hearing from other parents regarding wether you feel you child developing T1 has affected your health in any way. With the loss of sleep and the added stress, have you noted any changes in your health?

    I have some chronic health conditions (RA and Fibro are the main ones) and I feel like I just never feel good. I don't know if it is the natural progression of my conditions or if it is exaccerbated by some of the D issues.

    I am just interersted in what others feel for themselves, if they feel like sharing. I am just trying to figure it all out for myself, and NOT wanting to naturally "blame" D but also want to acknowledge it if it is contributing. I am also working full time at two different work sites which adds to things. After Tuesday I will get a break from school nursing for the summer, and will only be working at one site but still full time.

    Thanks in advance if you feel like sharing.
  2. spamid

    spamid Approved members

    Jul 11, 2006
    I think it has absolutely made a tremendous effect on my health, although it has lessened as we have gotten further down this road. For me, it's more the mental and emotional exhaustion that comes from worrying, plus the lack of sleep on some (but not all) nights. When my DD goes to Sweeney in the summer, I have 2 or three times the energy that I do during the year, and I really think it's due to the fact that I know she's in good hands. I don't have any major chronic conditions (that I know of), but I am borderline anemic, which doesn't help with the energy.

    Just my $0.02.
  3. MamaBear

    MamaBear Approved members

    Jul 20, 2010
    My health has taken a dive since diagnoses for sure, and I am totally out of shape right now, but I cannot say it is all really due to D. It's true I don't get nearly the amount of sleep I used to, and don't feel like working out every morning like I used to, just too sleepy. At first in order to wake myself enough for the overnight BG checks, I would wake myself by having a snack. My butt is paying the price for that now. I stopped doing that, but it's not the only reason I am out of shape. I have also had injuries the past several months, neck issues from car accident, injured ankle in January and it's still not healed. So workouts are now pretty difficult. I'm hoping that things will get better from here on out and that eventually I can get back to feeling good and looking good. I guess time will tell.

    Emotionally, yes alot has changed. Some days are good and some days I just cry and don't feel like doing anything. That's definitely due to D. :(
  4. dejahthoris

    dejahthoris Approved members

    Jan 28, 2011
    I ain't one to paint a pretty picture but I am answering this honestly. It has improved my physical health. I have had to stay on point more. I do have to wake up for night time checks. But we are exercising more and feeling good because of that. Our family loves food of all kinds and I am a great cook. I was a vegan and vegetarian for many years. We eat pretty much everything now- well almost.. My kids actually prefer healthy food but they can eat whatever they want. I think the t1 diagnosis has made us pay attention a little more to good health and appreciate it. The endo mentioned that a t1 can have just as healthy of a life as anyone with decently controlled blood sugars. And Phil Southerland when asked actually said he was glad he had it because he was in better health because of it. Psychologically, initially, it caused me great distress- as my child was in PICU. And there was an difficult adjustment phase. t1 takes a great deal of diligence and finesse. So yeah this is tough but I am so thankful we live in America and today with the insulin and bg meters and all... Some good friends of mine have a son with cystic fibrosis. The coolest little kid you would ever want to meet. Always out playing with gusto and in the neighborhood. Now he is one of my heroes.
    Ask me tomorrow, I may have a much grumpier answer if bgs are not good or if my son is sick!!!
  5. AlisonKS

    AlisonKS Approved members

    May 16, 2007
    I'm actually in better shape than prior to my sons diagnosis, I think I would be thinner if my metabolism wasn't jacked from waking up so much :( But I had to kick myself into getting healthy so I can have the energy to keep my son healthy-if that makes sense. I think it's taken it's toll on me emotionally, I've lost friends and get irritated with some family.
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Approved members

    Nov 20, 2007
    This is a topic that comes up on this site periodically and it is good for everyone to recognize it and remember to take care of themselves as well as their loved one(s). Here are some tips and links:

    Warning signs of caregiver burnout.

    Once you burn out, caregiving is no longer a healthy option for either you or the person you're caring for. So it's important to watch for the warning signs of caregiver burnout and take action right away when you recognize the problem.

    Common warning signs of caregiver burnout:

    You have much less energy than you used to

    It seems like you catch every cold or flu that's going around

    You're constantly exhausted, even after sleeping or taking a break

    You neglect your own needs, either because you're too busy or you don't care anymore

    Your life revolves around caregiving, but it gives you little satisfaction

    You have trouble relaxing, even when help is available

    You're increasingly impatient and irritable with the person you're caring for

    You feel overwhelmed, helpless, and hopeless

    10 Tips for Family Caregivers

    Caregiving is a job and respite is your earned right. Reward yourself with respite breaks often.

    Watch out for signs of depression, and don't delay in getting professional help when you need it.

    When people offer to help, accept the offer and suggest specific things that they can do.

    Educate yourself about your loved one's condition and how to communicate effectively with doctors.

    There's a difference between caring and doing. Be open to technologies and ideas that promote your loved one's independence.

    Trust your instincts. Most of the time they'll lead you in the right direction.

    Caregivers often do a lot of lifting, pushing, and pulling. Be good to your back.

    Grieve for your losses, and then allow yourself to dream new dreams.

    Seek support from other caregivers. There is great strength in knowing you are not alone.

    Stand up for your rights as a caregiver and a citizen.

    Source: National Family Caregiver's Association


  7. bibrahim

    bibrahim Approved members

    Jan 31, 2011
    Thanks for all the great responses so far. They give me hope, understanding, and inspiration. Keep 'em coming!
  8. Heather(CA)

    Heather(CA) Approved members

    Jun 18, 2007
    Lately I feel that I have a much shorter fuse if you know what I mean. I am always tired, and at times cranky.:(
  9. rdhead

    rdhead Approved members

    Oct 15, 2010
    This is interesting that this should come up now as I was contemplating asking this myself. I can definitely say that in the last 8 months my health has been affected. I've had horrible bronchitis, 2 sinus infections, threw out my back, and have had several colds. I've also gained 20 lbs. I know it's due to the fact that I'm sleep deprived. It's also been really hard lately mentally. I think it's just due to the fact that I constantly don't feel well. I've come to realize that I not only had to learn how to take care of my son but now have to learn how to take care of myself while making sure that his needs are met. I think it's a balancing act that takes practice so that everyone stays healthy. This is something that I'm clearly in the process of learning.
  10. zuzinka

    zuzinka Approved members

    Jan 29, 2009
    I can add to this as well.
    The first 6 month of diagnosis I have went from being whole life without glasses to the point, where I cannot read anything on my phone without them. And that is Iphone ehere the numbers are not that small:))
  11. deafmack

    deafmack Approved members

    Sep 22, 2006
    Thanks for this. Do you mind if I print this off. I am going to a family caregiver conference next Monday and would like to take this with me. I think this applies to all of us who are caretakers of others whatever the reason. I take care of two of two people and I can tell you I feel the stress at times. I know how hard this is.
  12. Becky Stevens mom

    Becky Stevens mom Approved members

    Oct 14, 2008
    I started a group in FB called, "For the love of caregivers" I made it because I understand the special issues faced by caregivers. During the first couple years after diagnosis I definitely felt that I was in a very dark place full of fear of the unknown and just being overwhelmed. Its gotten easier over the years but I still get burnt out and resentful. Not of Steven, not even of the disease but of the fact that I have to deal with all the other "stuff" besides just the diabetes management. Making sure everything is ok at school, explaining to people at school and in our family, making sure that we have all the diabetes supplies, making sure I dont forget anything. Its taxing on the brain (especially when said brain is getting old and forgetful:rolleyes:)
  13. Tigerlilly's mom

    Tigerlilly's mom Approved members

    Dec 3, 2007
    I don't think that Tyler's diagnosis has taken a toll on my health. I have more grey hairs, but those very well could be from his sister that was born 5 months after he was diagnosed;).

    I feel as though I am more tolerate to others now. I no longer judge books by their covers.
  14. Kyra's Mom

    Kyra's Mom Approved members

    May 11, 2011
    I also have two autoimmune diseases Ankylosing Spondylitis and Sjogren's syndrome and have found that the stress and lack of sleep from the last 6 weeks since my daughter's diagnosis has caused some flare ups of my diseases. I was not in the best of shape prior to the diagnosis and am now inspired to make some changes so I can be a role model for Kyra. I am worried about my health and what will happen to my daughter if I am no longer able to be her primary care giver because I am not taking care of myself. I saw my doctor this week and was encouraged by him to take some time for myself a few days a week to recharge (I also work full time and am often pulled in many directions by my job also). My doctor told me that there would be no way to reduce my stress with everything that is going on and that the only way that I can make sure I am able to take care of Kyra both mentally and physically would be to take some time off and do things by myself. I am going to follow his advise and find a way to do something for my self a few times a week.
  15. Tuff

    Tuff Approved members

    May 17, 2010
    Just last night at my son's 1 am check I dragged myself out of bed and while getting the meter ready I said to myslef, "this is taking years off my life." And I said to myself, "Oh well, that's okay."

    I have lupus and I got it a few years after my son's diagnosis 6.5 yrs ago. I am always tired and my joints always hurt so of course the night checks just exaberate it all. But that's okay, this is the stage of life I'm at and it won't last forever so I will move mountains to take care of my son and not complain. (at least not often) He has to do it forever which breaks my heart.
  16. BrendaK

    BrendaK Neonatal Diabetes Registry

    Oct 29, 2005
    It affected my health mostly in the first 3-4 years after dx. Carson was 9 months old when diagnosed and those years were a rough patch. But also were other things in our lives, so D was not the only thing to blame.

    Now, not so much. I sleep well, eat healthy and am training for my first half marathon :eek: I would say I'm in the best health I've ever been in.
  17. nanhsot

    nanhsot Approved members

    Feb 20, 2010
    I'm generally an optimist, but I'm going to just spit out how I really feel:

    I've gained weight (stress eater), quit exercising regularly, am stressed more, have had to return to work on weekends to pay for supplies (and am somewhat bitter about that), am always tired, and feel like I am less fun and spontaneous than I used to be. I feel lonely a lot, like no one in my circle can possibly relate to me anymore, or cares to.

    Yeah, it's affected my health. I hope to turn around some of those things (the weight and exercise are current goals), and things do feel more hopeful in my life now, but I can say that at this point post diagnosis, I still feel the weight of it daily, though it doesn't dominate, it's more of a background buzz now.

    My eyesight has declined horribly too, someone else mentioned that. I blamed it on age, but now I'm wondering!
  18. kimmcannally

    kimmcannally Approved members

    Feb 28, 2010
    Yep, I'm a stress eater too, gained 45 pounds since J was dx Jan 2010.
    No sleep now, it seems like. Just this morning, DH woke me up to tell me that J was 81. WHY?! I tested and he was actually a little lower, so I did a temp basal but couldn't go back to sleep. Finally managed to, got an hour or so and J woke me (while DH was sitting in the living room!) because he was nauseated. Been up since then and feel like crap.

    That's pretty much how most nights go. J wakes me 3-4 times per night because he is nauseated, or low, or hungry, or wants me to do something. He never did this before D, even if he felt bad, but when he got D, I gave him permission to wake me if he went low and he seems to think he can wake me for any little thing now. (Autism plays a big part in this)

    When I do get time to myself, I want nothing to do with exercise. I want to play Sims (my favorite game! or Bakery Story :D )
    I know it would be better for me to exercise, but I want to have a few minutes daily to actually enjoy myself.
  19. obtainedmist

    obtainedmist Approved members

    Aug 3, 2010
    It takes a toll. I just recovered from mono (I'm 57 for heaven's sake:confused:) and I've wondered if that nasty virus didn't sneak in due to stress and exhaustion over the past year. I've been so focused on our daughter that my relationship with my husband has suffered (but we are working on it now).
  20. Lisa P.

    Lisa P. Approved members

    May 19, 2008
    I read once that humans are built, like other predatory pack animals :eek:, to be relaxed most of the time and then at high alert some of the time. Think hunting or being hunted? I think the problem with diabetes is that it keeps you at a level of alert 24/7 and that messes with your biochemistry. Of course, it's not the only thing that does that, much of modern life puts us in the same situation, from continual deadlining at work to stimuli from TV and games to daily workouts.

    So I think those diseases that are brought on or worsened by this imbalance are usually triggered or worsened by diabetes. Sometimes we just have to take the hit. Sometimes it leads us to make other changes in our life to mitigate the stress, and for some those changes can lead to a sum total that is way in the positive. Some, who can't make those changes or for whom the changes are not as mitigating, are still working in the red.

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