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Blog: Keeping it Together When Your Child is Chronically Ill
When your child is diagnosed with a chronic illness like diabetes, asthma or cystic fibrosis for example, your world is suddenly like the inside of a snow globe... everything is moving in a flurry of activity and constant change. But eventually, when the fear and panic subside and your child's condition is more or less under control, you as a parent are left with the task of guiding your family's return to "normal" life.
Chronic illness of a child affects the whole family. And depending on what stage you're at, it can feel like nothing will ever be the same again.
But there are things you can do to keep yourself and the bond with all your children (not just the sick one) as close to normal as possible. These are things that worked for me after my daughter was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes and I was searching for ways to cope for myself, for her and for my other daughter.
Communication: The Magic Word
- Talk openly and clearly with your child about everything that's happening. If you try to protect them from the truth of their condition, their worst fears and worries take over.
- Everyone in a family is touched and hurt when one is sick. Talk to your other children about the illness. Answer their questions. Reassure them.
- Also speak openly with your child's teachers, friends, and parents of friends to alleviate any concerns they may have about your child's safety while he or she is in their care.
Let Them Enjoy Some Control
Many parents of newly-diagnosed children want to wrap them in bubble wrap and keep them under lock and key. Your child needs self confidence and self esteem now more than ever, so let them take part in activities they need to develop and grow like a regular kid.
- Chronic conditions can leave kids feeling like they have no control over their lives. Whenever possible, let your child have a say in his treatment -- where and how it takes place, for example.
- Let them choose their own childrens medical ID bracelet. They get the fun and control over picking a style and color they like. You get the peace of mind knowing that they're protected (even when you're not there) by a simple piece of jewelry that communicates their condition to emergency workers. Cool styles are available for teens too!
A serious health condition in a child can also leave the parents feeling a loss of control and a sense they've somehow failed to protect their baby from pain. Use the internet and turn to your health care professional to learn as much as you can about your child's condition and your role in managing it. Knowledge will also help keep your worry and panic from raging out of control!
You need to take care of yourself during this trying time so you don't fizzle out under the strain. Remember, you can't take care of someone else if you're always feeling drained and run down.
- Make sure you're eating, sleeping and caring for your own health needs. It's way too easy to get absorbed in your child's health and forget your own.
- Talk it out. Carrying the weight of a sick child without support is just too hard. Do you have a friend, counselor, minister, or other confidante to talk to about how you're feeling?
- Get away. We all need time to recharge our batteries with some quality "me time". It doesn't have to be a big vacation. Even a few hours somewhere special can refresh and renew us.
Ask for Help
People are often grateful for a chance to help once they know how to be useful. Remember, this is all new to your friends and family, too. So swallow your pride and ask for help when you need it from a kind neighbor, a friend, or respite care worker.
It will help restore your strength and maybe even strengthen your bond with your friends.
Keeping diabetes in check during the Thanksgiving holiday
Thanksgiving is a holiday that celebrates family, friends and food (especially the food). In fact, experts say that most people eat between 2,000 and 4,500 calories worth of food on Thanksgiving for dinner alone! Since holidays are built around tradition, many of us grew up eating all of our old favorites every year. For diabetics, however, this atmosphere can be challenging due to old favorites not meeting their new dietary guidelines.
Diabetes is a complex disease that not only affects humans, but can occur in your pet as well. If your dog is showing symptoms of lethargy, frequent urination and excessive water consumption then your pet may have diabetes. Luckily, it is a manageable disorder and also preventable.
The most common form of the disease in dogs is Type 1 diabetes. Pets with Type 1 diabetes will need to receive insulin shots to make up for the decrease in insulin production; Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with a healthy lifestyle. Continue reading
Whether type 1 or type 2, diabetes can be a debilitating disease – if you let it. With proper medication and a healthy lifestyle, most diabetics can go on to live normal lives and accomplish great things. Just look at some of the musicians, entertainers, politicians and athletes who have overcome their diabetes to enjoy highly successful careers. Continue reading
Type 2 diabetes is a very common chronic condition that affects more than 3 million people in the U.S. each year. It develops when the body becomes insulin resistant or when the pancreas stops producing enough insulin. This is caused by a combination of genetics and lifestyle factors.
Contrary to popular belief, eating too much sugar does not directly cause type 2 diabetes. However, it can contribute to other factors, such as high blood pressure and obesity, which may trigger the disease. To minimize your chances of developing type 2 diabetes, health experts recommend avoiding the following foods:
- Meat.Processed meats, such as hot dogs and deli cuts, contain high amounts of fat and sodium. Too much of these can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, which are common complications of diabetes.
- Grains. Items that are made with refined white flour, such as breakfast cereals, white bread and pastries, are high in processed carbohydrates and can raise blood sugar to unhealthy levels. Whole grain breads and bread products offer a healthier option.
- Processed Fruits. Fresh fruits are good for you! However, it is important to stay away from fruits canned in syrup and dried fruits as they contain very high sugar levels. Also, limit your intake of fruit juices as they have a lot of sugar without the whole fruit nutrients.
- Fats. Saturated fats raise bad cholesterol levels, so minimize the amount of butter, cheese, and fried foods that you eat. Trans fats are even worse for you and should be avoided at all costs.
With good eating habits and a healthy lifestyle, most people can avoid developing type 2 diabetes.