For Zach's Granny and Significant Others of Type 1, Juvenile Onset Diabetics... What you CAN do...

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Jeannie143
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Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 4/3/2006 10:44 AM (GMT -7)   
Zach's Granny,
There is a ton of stuff you can do to help Zach!

#1 Become educated about the disorder of Juvenile Onset Type 1 Diabetes. This means learning some anatomy and a bit of physiology (like where the pancreas is and how it works). This is best accomplished by reading a book from the library about anatomy, not diabetes. Anatomy books give facts, not opinions of programs, diets or supplements.

#2 Learn what the nutrition labels on foods mean. Basically all foods fall into one of three categories: Fats, Proteins and Carbohydrates. Zach should be on a food program and if you learn how to measure a food then you can have the right foods on hand for him when he visits. For the most part fats and proteins affect the blood sugar levels very little or very slowly. For example, some foods, like nuts, are mostly fat, a little protein and a little carbohydrate. The great news is that the fat in most nuts is a monounsaturated fat and helps the good cholesterol that your body needs for nerve function and other processes. Fat also delays food absorption so you feel satisfied longer when you include it in your foods. The protein is great for a growing boy and the small amount of carbs is ok for the most part. So a small serving of peanuts may be good to have on hand for him to snack on (if he doesn't have nut allergies.) The thing is, you have to read the label to find out what a serving is!

Some foods, like broccoli are carbohydrate although you may not think of them that way. Vegetables are mostly made up of plant sugars and starches, and cellulose(fiber) as well as some vitamins and minerals. Because the plant sugars are packaged inside the cell walls of the vegetable our bodies have to work to get at them. This is why you can eat a mountain of broccoli and gain no weight. The calories are present in the broccoli but your body can't access all of them. In foods like spaghetti or bread the cell walls of the wheat have been broken down and the plant starches have been stuck together in an almost pure starch (carb!) form. These foods raise blood sugar levels and give us the energy we need to function but insulin is needed to handle this carb load and get the sugar into the body's cells where it's used for energy production.

Please understand that insulin is like a UPS truck moving packages from here to there. Each package has some food energy for the cells but if you don't have enough trucks (insulin) the packages never reach their destination. This is why you don't want to interfere with the amount of insulin that Zach needs. He needs all he is supposed to have and unless his pancreas spontaneously starts pumping out insulin again he needs to make it available via injection so he can use the food he eats.

3# Accept his diabetes as part of him and his new lifestyle. Don't waste time and hope on 'miracle cures' and 'natural' or 'alternative' meds. His doctor has diplomas all over his wall testifying to his/her knowledge and experience in handling medical conditions. She/He has scientific training and care about his/her patients. This is the person to help Zach with his insulin needs so he is able to use the food he puts in his body. He/she is the one who will order nutrition and insulin classes and make sure that Zach knows how to regulate his blood sugar levels for optimum health and energy needs. Turn your anxiety for him into something positive by learning new ways to help him cope. If you are allowed to, attend his nutrition classes with him. Look at positive things in his future instead of how untreated diabetes can affect people.

4# Let Zach teach you about his condition. Show a healthy curiosity of what he does each day and as he teaches you he will become more self assured about owning his own health care. Ask him about foods and insulin needs. Help him pick out a cool ‘medical alert’ bracelet or necklace to wear so if he should run into problems there will be info for health workers to zone in on. Help him discover answers if he doesn’t know them. And finally, find out his favorite soda pop and get a case of it in diet. That way he will always feel welcome at your house.
~ Jeannie

"People are like stained glass windows: they sparkle and shine when the sun's out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within."

- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross


Sunday
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 4/3/2006 5:04 PM (GMT -7)   
Great job, Jeannie.

The only thing I would add is about diet and it's not only from my own experience, but from a reminder I received very recently from the mother of a fourteen year old Type 1 who is a close friend of my daughter's.

Type 1's don't watch what they eat in the same way, nor for quite the same reasons as a type 2.

Zach will be learning to count carbs so that he knows how much insulin to take and when. As for what he eats -- it will be up to his endocrinologist, but many adolescent Type 1 diabetics eat a relatively normal diet. Our young friend's 15th birthday was last month, and I offered to bring the cake. I asked her mother if I could bring a reduced sugar cake from our local baker and she said "absolutely not. She's still going to count the carbs. She wants the same cake your daughter had for her birthday!"

My own daughter is not diabetic but she's been raised to avoid highly processed junk foods like Wonder Bread. That said, she and her Type 1 friend eat almost the same foods daily. And that includes a chocolate chip cookie (along with the tuna on whole wheat and an apple) for lunch!

One of the most unpleasant memories I have of my childhood isn't so much the hassles of managing the diabetes, but the countless lectures from self-proclaimed experts about erroneous notions of diabetic nutrition. Every year I would dread the well-meaning relatives who would espouse all kinds of misinformation at the Thanksgiving table. I was on intensive insulin therapy years before its introduction so I knew how to use a bolus of regular insulin correctly. Yet I had my pie after the relatives left. Alone with my mother in the kitchen so we wouldn't have to listen to them gasp and argue.
To this day -- Thanksgiving is at my house so I can eat my pumpkin pie in public! (LOL).

Sunday
48 years old
T1 for 40 years

Jeannie143
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 4/3/2006 7:34 PM (GMT -7)   
Sunday! You are a treasure! I love the pie story!
~ Jeannie

"People are like stained glass windows: they sparkle and shine when the sun's out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within."

- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross


zach's granny
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 4/4/2006 4:51 PM (GMT -7)   

 Hello Jennie,

I read your post to me and Zach stays with me a lot,and I am in contact with him every day.I have basically helped to raise him since his mom and dad divorced 8 years ago. I live close to him and he would rather stay here than at home. We are now, and will continue to follow the doctors orders. I am a little confused about the carbs though. The diet they put him on consists of 60 grams of carbs for breakfast, 75 for lunch and 75 at dinner. They do want them to be from different food groups. When I read what all of you are saying, seems like you think he shouldn't eat carbs.But thats what the diet is that they gave him. Does it seem to be too much ? I maen , seems like you all have been there. Just from my limited knowledge of this disease I still thought he shouldn't eat that many carbs. Now I am really confused. I don't know if you have type 1 or 2 Sure would like to hear about the diets type 1 were put on. Thanks confused


zach's granny
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 4/4/2006 4:59 PM (GMT -7)   
And Hello Again Sunday , How do you feel about Zach's diet of all those carbs? I know you have type 1 Does that seem normal? He went back to school today and everything went ok. He was a little scared, but there is another little boy there who has type 1 also. He now uses the pump though. They said it would be a while before Zach could have one . His sugar levels keep running 200 or above with the exception of Sat. They stayed below 150 During that day. The doctors didn't seem to be alarmed , But I sure as heck am. Am I being too paranoid? Any input from you guys would be appreciated.

Jeannie143
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 4/5/2006 1:07 PM (GMT -7)   
Granny,
Zach is a growing boy who will need plenty of energy to keep growing and to build his body size to manhood. The doctors are in the early stages of finding out what his carbohydrate/protein/fat and insulin needs are. That's why they are having him test his bloodsugar so often and regulating his food. Until they can get a handle on his individual needs they are supplying him with penty of chow.

Type 2 diabetics are usually full grown adults and need to watch their carb intake to keep their sugars from going high. Type 1 diabetics can adjust their insulin amounts to the food they eat. Until it is clear how Zach's body is working with his particular program they will be changing things around a bit. The best thing you can do is supply him with simple foods to make counting easier. One boiled potato is easier to count than mashed or fries. Meat all in one piece until he learns to 'eye ball' the amount. Lots of vegetables, easy on the fruits. Whole fruits are better for counting than juices. Until he gets his amounts learned it's best to stick with sugar-free jello and stuff like that for dessert, just for a month or so till everything is on track. You want him to get his carbs from whole grain breads, brown rice, potatoes, barley and unsugared cereals. You want to avoid cake, cookies and sugared cereals for a month or so until everything is running smoothly. Then his nutrition councilor will be able to show him where he can add back in cookies and such.

You may want to download CalorieKing's food measuring application. It's well organized and very helpful. If you have a laptop computer you can keep it in the kitchen to help you plan meals. As far as what the doctor's are ordering... they know what they are doing. You don't need to worry. Besides, it gives us women wrinkles!!! (LOL!) Your fears will dissapate as soon as you have a better understanding of the whole diabetes/insulin/food/doctor setup. If Zach can navigate a video game and beat the end bosses after traversing a dungeon he can learn his diabetic food plan and med schedule. I've done both and diabetes is waaaaaay more easy than video games!
~ Jeannie

"People are like stained glass windows: They sparkle and shine when the sun's out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within."

- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross


Sunday
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 4/5/2006 3:32 PM (GMT -7)   
Totally agree with you about the video games, Jeannie. LOL.

And everything you wrote for Zach's granny. Zach, as a growing teen, needs a lot more carbs than the rest of us.

Zach's Granny: You've mentioned he is under the care of a pediatric board-certified endocrinologist. Trust that credential and don't let anyone cause you to second guess the doctor's recommendations. It sounds like Zach is off to a good start.

Remember to take care of yourself, too. Particularly since you two are so close and spend so much time together. I know it's hard not to worry, but it's good for Zach if he knows you're okay and not upset. Stress just makes the predictablity of an insulin regimine more difficult. It will take awhile for his life to settle back into a normal teen existence, but it will.

Jeannie143
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 4/5/2006 11:39 PM (GMT -7)   
Granny,

Feel free to ignore the above post if you don't understand it yet. wbisme is writing in "Advanced Diabetespeak" and not for your benefit yet. Six months or so from here you will be able to come back and understand the post but for now, just do what the doctors say for Zach.

Wbisme,

Remember she's a newbie at this and just learning the carb counts. We don't want to blow her away with too much technicallity just yet. Although your point is well taken, it's a bit early in the program for Zach or his fam to start second guessing the docs, don't you think?
~ Jeannie

"People are like stained glass windows: They sparkle and shine when the sun's out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within."

- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross


zach's granny
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 4/7/2006 3:37 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey, thanks you guys . Didn't mean to start a war LOL. I am doing much better with understanding all that is going on with Zach right now. And he is awesome at doing what the Doctor tells him. He checks his own blood and also gives his own shots. All his life he has had to be a tough cookie.  He is doing well with it at school also. He skateboards and as long as he can still do that he is content. He also plays video games but And you are right Jennie, he can beat those and I sure can't.We do get him to exercise and that also helps his sugar counts. I am very careful at fixing his meals So is his mom. His sugar levels are getting better. He seems to be the highest between lunch and dinner. Other times he is between 84 and 137.So I guess we are getting there. I will learn more of course as we go along and so will he. He never sees me worry. When he is here we just have fun together. After all I am a young 58 year old granny. yeah

Jeannie143
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 4/8/2006 10:18 AM (GMT -7)   
Granny- We're not fighting, just having an intelligent dialog. Wbisme is a highly educated person and is usually a few steps ahead of the rest of us. We eventually catch up to him and his ideas (but of course by then he's off ahead again!) I'm usually in the middle somewhere trying to translate for the newbies. His info is well thought out and very helpful and sometimes it's overwhelming for people new to handling the disease. Even so, his threads are good to follow because as you gain experience you will understand his points better.

wbisme- "En garde! (the clashing of steel blades is heard) Touché!!! Take that you fiend!" (Jeannie is victorious in the sword fight and walks around proudly showing off... Suddenly wbisme slashes a little 'W' in her shirt and runs away laughing!)
~ Jeannie

"People are like stained glass windows: They sparkle and shine when the sun's out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within."

- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross


zach's granny
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 4/8/2006 12:13 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey Jeannie and Wbisme ,don't worry. I was only kidding. We have to have a sense of humor don't ya think? Thank you all for taking time to address my questions. I am getting better at understanding a lot though. Of course now I have to figure out how to keep him full. I cook things that are lower in carbs and always have several different dishes so he can get full. 10 minutes later he is hungry again. That I don't understand. I guess it is normal. I even make sure he has a good bit of fiber. So who knows................

zach's granny
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 4/9/2006 7:08 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks wb, he can't eat nuts right now because he has braces. He does love his meats tho. A roll up suits his taste very well. Right now he is not at all overweight, and we want to keep it that way. I understand from a lot I have heard that diabetics have a tendecy to gain a lot.That would be terrible for him. He is very concious about his looks. After all he is at the "girl" stage <s>

Sunday
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 4/9/2006 2:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Wbise,
 
It's important to remember that Type 1 cannot be managed to consistently achieve the same results as a healthy person with a normal pancreas over an extended period of time.  I happen to get irritated when Type 2s talk about weighing and counting and measuring to the point that Type 1s think they must be doing something wrong not to achieve an A1c of less than 5.  Type 2s have not been doing that sort of thing for forty years.  It's diagnosed later in life and often the result of lifestyle. 
 
For ZM:  Type 1's do not "tend" to gain weight.  That's Type 2.  I've been within my ideal weight my entire life and I am not unusual for a type 1. 
 
 
 
Sunday
48 years old
Type 1 for 40 years
MBA
Mother of One

Sunday
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 4/9/2006 3:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Wbise,

Since you have no (zero) personal experience with Type 1, I suggest to stick to the Type 2 threads.

PS: Did you read the link to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation's "Myths about Type 1 Diabetes" page?

Sunday
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 4/9/2006 4:00 PM (GMT -7)   
Myth: All cases of diabetes are the same.

Fact: There are two major types of diabetes mellitus, called Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 diabetes mellitus is also called insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), or juvenile onset diabetes mellitus. In type 1 diabetes mellitus, the pancreas essentially releases no insulin at all, and the patient relies on insulin medication for survival. Type 1 diabetes tends to occur in young, lean individuals, usually before 20 years of age, and the cause is most often secondary to an autoimmune destruction of the beta cells in the pancreas. Approximately 10% of the patients with diabetes mellitus have type 1 diabetes, and the remaining 90% have type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Sunday
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 4/9/2006 4:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Fair enough, Wbise (re: heat vs. light as a projected future outcome).

There are very very few Type 1's participating here, and I think in part it's because it's very difficult to comment without subjecting oneself to a few "know-it-all" Type 2s. I respect your efforts to control your disease, but I remain convinced that you have no qualifications (professional, academic, nor personal) with which to base your manic comments about Type 1.

Most of the posters here are exceptionally well-read yet they control their desire to espouse their "knowledge" in areas beyond their credentials.

Sunday
48 years old
Type 1 for 40 years
MBA
Mother of One
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