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We were at a family gathering, having ice cream for dessert, when "Uncle" pointed his finger at my son, who has type 1 diabetes, and said, "You can't have that!"
My son sat in stunned silence, so I spoke up and said that he has good control of his diabetes and can have sweets as long as he gives himself insulin to cover the carbs.
Friends and family usually have good intentions. Uncle had a good friend die from diabetes and was a little emotional. Keep in mind that diabetes affects the whole family, not just the person with the disease.
Other family members often don't understand why you get frustrated with diabetes management. Or, they don't see the need to change their own lifestyle. Do you ever find that some people think that diabetes shouldn't be all that hard to handle, and that you just need to make more of an effort?
So what can you do to deal with the diabetes police?
As a mother of two sons with type 1 diabetes, I've resisted the urge to nag. However, when one of my sons expressed to me his frustrations with 24/7 diabetes management and took a break from it, I expressed my concern. I acknowledged his feelings and offered support. I told him I didn't want to nag, but wanted him to know I'm there if he needs support. He was appreciative and even gave me permission to call and "hassle" him once in awhile.
Sara J. Carlson, R.N., C.D.E.
Peggy Moreland, R.N., C.D.E.
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Please tell your son that a family member plays football and has for years. This year He was the quarterback on his team year. Have they been to a diabetic camp? It is good for them to meet other young people with the same problem
I find others' comments extremely frustrating. Usually I look at them and say, quite coldly, "I count every gram of carbohydrate that I eat at every meal -- I know what I'm doing." Not at all friendly, but I am particularly rebellious when others tell me how to behave.
One day I walked out of an appointment with my endocrinologist, and I was so mad I started muttering "I'll show that [blinking doctor], I'll just find a big piece of cake with lots of icing and coffee light and sweet . . ." Luckily, I couldn't think of a place within walking distance to get a big enough piece of cake.
Next time I saw my primary care, I got her to find me a different endocrinologist.
We have encountered this many times. Three of our kids have type 1. My mantra is "educate don't alienate".
Speaking for myself, my turning point came when I had a grandson. That became my reason to change, so I would be around for him. You can't impose your will to be his motivation, he had to make that change himself. If he's like me, he's well aware of his health.
I suggest instead that you talk of your own motivation, not his. Mention how much you look forward to seeing your (specific) grandson or granddaughter growing up, or your son/daughter being married, etc. Keep it only in terms of you, and please, no nagging. He will apply the logic to him and his own motivation when ready.
It took me 2 years to lose 45 pounds, after joining a gym open 24/7 so I could go when I wanted. He can get the same results if motivated. I used my own eating system, eating only one regular meal a day, and "snacking" the rest, like yogurt (Kroger had a great one for diabetics), popcorn, cottage cheese, nuts, etc. Let him figure out what works for him; and don't push foods. I will be praying for the both of you.
That would be great if your husband did have his diabetes under control. If he didn't have an A1C of over 13 and you didn't wake up every morning wondering if he's alive. It would be wonderful. I've tried it both ways. I've said nothing for the last three months because he says he'll do better and work on it. Now it's over 15. My days of being a widow loom over me daily and I really love this guy and want to keep him.
Boy does this article ignore all the weird and disfunctional behavior that happens in families. Given a situation where relationships can be fraught, I wonder how useful such generic advice is.
The uncle was right the mother would say just a little bit ,the next time would say just a little bit and so on. It is better to have none than to have any,just ask the Dr.
yes! very true for a family whose one of the family member is managing diabetes.. I think every body is different and every diabetes is different.
well wisher of diabetes.
Non-diabetics don't understand that there are times of higher stress, that make it more difficult than usual to stick to your food constraints.
Any person's stress level will vary and may not be obvious to the observer. So, don't judge and please just keep your opinions to yourself!
Thanks for the great advice.
I know exactly that feeling and recently wrote about the diabtes police on my blog.
Tips I had included - the world is not perfect so dont expect us to be and sometimes hugs are better than words.
In my family, I, a RN, am the diabetic police. My husband of 29 yrs is 63 & Hispanic. He was diagnosed pre-diabetic several yrs ago and given Metformin. No diet was suggested, no diabetic teaching, no guidance for self-testing. He was not even told when to return for FBS nor was an A1C done. I suggested to his dr. that perhaps he needed the A1C & should return in 4 mos. I have continued to be the one who pushes for monitoring (I love this man!) He has also been receiving meds for cholesterol & triglyceride management. A little over a mo. ago he ran out of all his meds. Could not be refilled w/o a dr. visit. He is "too busy" or "doesn't remember" to make a dr. appt. How can I get his dr. to include health education in the visit so that my loved one will understand the importance of a good diet and med management? I just don't understand how a physician can write a script, hand it to the patient, smile and let him go, no f/u, no teaching, nothing.
Type 2 here. I am more worried about the unpolice. Other type 2's who try to get me to eat like they do and deny that any damage occurs because they ate donuts for a month and they can still see where they are going! Successful denial due to a lack of immediate results!
What bothers me is when we have family reunions and those type 11 who are on insulin check their blood sugar to see how much insulin to inject so they can eat the special sweet concoctions. I am on oral meds so I follow my diet and can't eat those foods. That is not a complaint because it doesn't bother to see others eat sweets. These reunions go on for a weekend and everyone brings bars and cakes. My son has asked me why I bring rich desserts to our family holidays. I am the only diabetic and I just say I bring for others to enjoy. I eat what I can and let the skinny grandkids endulge. If I don't bring what they like they are so upset. I want them to remember their grandma for the good things and not that she has some disease. My family is well informed of the genetic component in many of the relatives so are careful to watch out for their health. A rich dessert at Christmas isn't going to hurt the grandkids and I will continue to watch them enjoy and remember good things about grandma.
As the wife of a late onset type 1 I have been both the carb police and on the defense against those intrusive remarks. Most folks don't understand carb to insulin ratios, haven't a clue what diabetes, 1 & 2 are all about. They only "know" if a diabetic lost weight and exercised they would "recover". It does get tiresome trying to educate these people, sometimes it's worthwhile, other times a waste of effort. We sometimes find it easiest to simply respond with "he's allowed" and let it go at that. Tight control is important, as is good diet and exercise, again, the A1C tells all as does the daily testing. It's important, too, to live your life around the disease, not to make the disease the focus of your life. Best wishes to all.
just read your article and noticed you have 2 type 1 our 9 year old was dia. 9 mo. ago and our 12 year old 1 mo ago. thank you for sharing and encouraging others.we have a lot to learn.
yeal for all those who have control. we are not all alike. i am type 2. have a hard time with control.
know all the dangers, etc... just have a difficult time staying in control. i do not need to be bullied or policed. i just want to live and live very well.
Is there a fitness program for a borderline diabetic?
Diabetes these days allows everyone to eat as they please, which is good. One should, however, bear in mind that having diabetes makes one more pre-disposed to other complications such as heart disease, liver disease, and kidney disease. Bearing that in mind, I would suggest that every diabetic be very careful about their choice of food.
Way to go Lyndeka!!!
I have adult onset diabetes and am a recovering health police to my family. I had to experience policing to realize how thoughtless the comments are, even from medical professional at church, who monitor our selections as we eat! I have learned "to be as wise as a serpent and as gentle as a dove" with my responses.
I have beeen told that my five year old daughter (with type 1 diabetes) "could get well if she only lost some weight, and had a healthy diet".
She is slim (116cm and 21kg), and our family have always had a healthy diet. It is frustating to be told things like that, it feels like they are blaming the disease on me (and her father).
Fortunately we have good control on her diabetes. A couple of days ago we attended a big celebration. She had pizza, soda with sugar, cake and ice cream - and all day we managed to give perfect insulindoses. She was not below 4mmol and not above 8mmol all day.
I feel so happy when we manage days like this, so she can have the same that the other children her age has.
But most days we have a very healthy diet - as we also did before she got the diagnose.
I'm type 2 and in good control without meds. I have more trouble with people trying to persuade me to eat "just a little" of their sweets. It's frustrating when well-meaning family members or friends decide they have a right to comment one way or the other. I make it a point not to lecture them on the unhealthy way they eat!
Its the 24/7 management of diabetes 1 for the young that is a challenge requiring a more contemporary bridge. Recently in Australia our Prime Minister announced his government could improve management of diabetes by rewarding doctors with extra payments if their patients achieved good diabetes management. This is a true story! I am astounded because I see a young friend of my daughter whose motivation to manage his diabetes would greatly improve and benefit from from first of all having access to improved diabetes management science and support. I guess the thinking is with a cash incentive GP's will aquire and improve their diabetes training and knowlege.
One way of dealing with such people is to tell them that you have chosen not to comment on everything they have eaten or drunk that day and could they extend the same courtesy. Quick lecture on insulin helps also!
I have type 2 diabetes and I was diagnosised 6months ago. I do tight control . I have something sweet once a month. My bloodsugar numbers are in great range. My life has changed for the better. I have also lost 43lbs. I eat health and I work out. So you can indulge at times just remember diabetes can be controlled with proper diet and exercise. Just remember keeping your diabetes under control must always be your number 1 concern. Your a1c will let you know how well your doing.
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