Monday, January 06, 2014

Five Ways To Make Type 1 Diabetes Fun For Your Child | Working Mother

Every parent who has a child with type 1 diabetes knows this is not a fun disease to live with. You have to prick your fingers eight to twelve times a day. You have to count every carbohydrate that you eat. You have to be careful for blood sugar highs and lows because they can cause hypoglycemia (blurry vision, hunger, irritability, shakiness, fast heartbeat, fatigue, and headache and possibly even passing out) and hyperglycemia (increased thirst, frequent urination, headache, stupor, inability to focus).

As a parent with a nine year old daughter who has had this disease for two years, I've become an expert on managing her blood sugar highs and lows, making sure the tips of her fingers don't turn black because she pricks one more than the other, and teaching her how to take care of herself so she grows up to be a healthy confident adult. But this isn't the only thing that I'm teaching her. I'm also teaching her how to find ways to have fun in between the not so fun moments.

Below are five fun ways to make living with type 1 diabetes fun! The little things such as the below has truly made a difference in my daughter's life. And the smile I get when I do one of them is so worth it!

  1. For dinner, eat dessert first. Then eat the meal.
  2. For breakfast have a piece of birthday cake or a slice of pizza. My daughter has been invited to late night birthday parties and has been unable to eat the cake because of the time of day. So instead, we wrap it up, take it home, and she eats it for breakfast.
  3. When changing her inset, I let her take the pump off for an hour and a half, and without any inset or tape on her behind (that's where we have to attach the inset) she can run around and have some freedom.
  4. Give a lollipop after your child's plays baseball, basketball, or other extracurricular competitive game. After every softball, basketball, and soccer game, I surprise my daughter with a different colored lollipop. This keeps her blood sugar from dropping fast and also puts the sweetest smile on her face. It's her special treat after the game.
  5. Sneak two pieces of hershey kisses into your type 1 child's lunch box. I usually try to sneak two pieces of chocolate because it doesn't affect my daughter's blood sugar as much as other treats. And she loves chocolate! Two Hershey kisses are only 5 carbs.
I would love to hear how other parents make their type 1 diabetic child's life fun! I plan on writing a children's chapter book about an elementary aged girl finds out she has type 1 diabetes. It will be one in my Wunderkind Family series.

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, called beta cells. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved. Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. There is nothing you can do to prevent T1D, and—at present—nothing you can do to get rid of it.

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