THE doctor for every teen with diabetes

A great doctor means everything in diabetes care.
Last week my son went to his first diabetes appointment without Mom.  As I said before, I had emailed the clinic. I had given them a heads up about a lot of things but I was not at the appointment. I was both surprised and impressed when a little while after the appointment I text my son, asked him how it went and he said “I will call you after.”  He was going to call and share the appointment with me? I was very pleased that he wanted to do this.
Later that evening we did talk. He told me that they had a lot to say, most of it he didn’t remember.  Again, my son is 16 and forgetting what adults say is a teen brain specialty. The nurse made a few changes.  His doctor commented on how much he had grown…and then his doctor talked, and talked, and talked to him for a full hour.  That was not unusual.  This doctor takes a lot of time with his patients and their families.  He gets to know you, shares with you and advises you.  He is wonderful.
My son was a little shocked by his high A1c (personally I was shocked that it wasn’t higher).  His doctor quickly told him that he didn’t care about that. It was just a number. (Yes you read that right! His DOCTOR said he wasn’t concerned about a high A1c!)  The doctor’s concern was with my son learning to handle HIS disease.  He wanted my child to know how to troubleshoot the issues himself.  He needed to know how much insulin to give himself, how to adjust a basal or bolus setting.  This was on him.  Now was his time to step up and learn.
I was beaming on the other end of the phone! This was what I had been aiming for as well but coming from his doctor was different from the “momma yammer”.  We do sit down and discuss strategies.  For the past few years, when making changes I would first ask him if he thought it was a bolus or basal issue.  He now had to develop the confidence to do it all on his own.  I was thrilled and reminded him that he was already doing a great job learning.
No one was suggesting that this complete transformation would happen overnight. This was his two-year plan and his doctor had told him that messing up and having a high A1c while he found his way was okay. This was a good reminder for Mom and a great message for my son.  Learn! Learn! and then when you have it figured out, go back and fix that A1c but for now learn about you, your body and your disease.
I still love this doctor and would gladly clone him for everyone else with diabetes to have as well.
d health

A Monumental Day

Today is World Diabetes Day.  This day commemorates the birthday of one of the men responsible for my youngest son being alive today–Sir Frederick Banting.  This amazing Canadian was involved in providing us with an inject-able source of insulin–the first step on the journey to cure Type 1 diabetes.
Today is also the first time that my son is going to a diabetes clinic without his mother. Because of where he currently lives, it is not possible for me to travel to attend with him. He is going with his dad.  I received a text while he was in the office looking for some information. I had already been in contact with his new CDE and provided his basal rates and carb to insulin ratios.  The rest of the appointment is/was up to him.
While my son attending his first ever clinic appointment is a big deal for me, an even bigger deal is who my son will see today–on Sir Banting’s birthday.  He will sit and chat with the man who kept him alive on that March day many years ago when he was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
My son is returning to his first pediatrician.  This is the man who told me that the next 24 hours were critical and would tell if my son lived or died.  This is also the man who held my hand and kicked my butt to learn and gain confidence in dealing with this beast we call Type 1 diabetes.
I have said time and time again how hard it is having my children living far away from me. I have moaned and groaned about the challenges of having a teen living away and the many worries that come with that.  The best thing about his move however is this return to his doctor.
His doctor knows my son’s potential. He knows me. He has watched my son grow.  He has always encouraged my son’s independence.  He has also never been shy of telling either of us what he thought.
Today is World Diabetes Day.  Today marks the birth of the man who discovered insulin. Today also marks a full circle in my son’s diabetes care.  He began seeing this doctor as a toddler protected by his mother.  Today he sees him again as a growing young man stretching to find his way in an adult world.
world diabetes day

Thank you to our Doctor

Happy 4th of July to our US friends! 
This post was originally published in response to a question for Diabetes Blogfest  last year….

Dear Dr. vG;

It is day two of Diabetes Blogfest and a letter to you seemed appropriate.

We met over 11 years ago.  I was told that you were the best and when I saw you, well, I wondered.  My son was terribly ill and a man in a checkered shirt, bushy beard, and big winter boots was to be the one to save him? I left it in God’s hands and we have never looked back.

You were very matter of fact when you met us.  You left me scared and shaken to the core when you told me that the next twelve hours would tell us if he lived or died, if he had heart problems or kidney failure.  You would teach me about diabetes and whatever else I needed to know after you saved my son’s life.

I remember very little of you after that.  I know you were there. I know that our prayers were answered and you saved my son’s life that night. You carefully balanced his insulin and fluids, bringing him back to us healthy and full of life. 

You met us again after he left intensive care.  I can still see you standing near his room door.  You told me that he could honeymoon for years.  You warned me of impotency at 20.  You gave me the facts never worrying that I could not handle them.  You told me that I had to learn things that were foreign to me.  I had to be able to handle my son going low before we could go home. You seemed to know my strength more than I did because I was sure I would never be able to handle it all.

Over the years you pushed me.  You guided me and then left me to fly or fall on my own.  You told your secretary to ignore my faxes for help because you knew that I could answer my own questions. I grumbled upon your return, you laughed and reminded me that I had done fine. When I decided to apply and fight for the Disability Tax Credit you told me I was crazy.  You said it could not be done but if I wanted to waste my time, you would not stop me.  When we were headed to court to further the fight, you were still standing beside us.  When we won, not just for my son but for the thousands of people living with diabetes in Canada, you laughed and complaied that I had given you more work that you didn’t need.

As my son grew, you pushed me again.  You knew that diabetes care I could handle but you also knew how difficult it would be for me to let go of my children–especially one that had almost been taken from me.  You made my son take care of himself long before many thought he was ready.  You asked more of him than many others of his age.  I was scared. I balked but went along with it because it had worked with me.  Your reasoning was sound but I was terrified.

I am still scared today but I am grateful for the tools you gave us.  Last year, we moved away and had to leave your practice.  When my son was diagnosed, I had asked if you would ever leave us but I never imagined that life would put us on a path where we would have to leave your care. 

You shared stories of your family.  You shared your insights and offered us food for thought. You created a strong foundation for us to go forward on and I will forever be grateful.  We have stumbled.  We have not always agreed but you allowed us room to grow and had faith in us when we may not have had it in ourselves. 

Thank you for saving my son. Thank you for showing us how to stand.  Thank you for giving us the courage to fly.

June DSMA Blog Carnival

Today I decided it would be a great time to answer the DSMA Blog Carnival post before I start re-posting old blogs during my vacation.  I had long since forgotten what June’s topic was so imagine my surprise when I read “Do you get nervous or stressed when you have to go to your endo/doc appointment? Why or why not? Be honest.”

Today is our clinic appointment! Am I nervous? No.  Am I stressed? A little. I hate the waiting at the clinic. We had a great appointment last time we were there. We chatted with the doctor.  A nurse took my son’s blood for his A1c and we were out of there. We were two happy people! 

The other problem with this appointment is of course my son is having a high at night that I just can’t quite tweak. They may, or may not tell me to do the things that I am considering–adjust a carb to insulin ratio to cover the food he is eating. Look at upping a basal rate before he wakes to cut down on what looks like some growth hormones kicking his butt.  That is all well and fine but remember I said that I am going on vacation and so is he? 

My son’s activity level could go up as he rides his quad daily and catches up with old friends.  This will mean that the change is basal rates is unnecessary.  Add to that the fact that he isn’t “that” high, he has only woken up to two lows–in his life!, and he has had a few nights when the readings were okay.  I am thinking about adjusting the carb to insulin ratio, leaving the rest and texting from Ireland to see what’s what.  

Why don’t I get nervous? I don’t get nervous because I don’t look at them as the judge and jury.  I am.  I am my worst critic. I am much tougher on us than they are.  I know what I have to do. I know the A1c that I want to see. I have said time and time again, I was trained by the best.  Between an amazing doctor for the first 10 years of diabetes and the CWD Parents list, I have learned a lot and kept myself on top of the latest information. I am not intimidated because I often know as much as the staff. We are all the experts and when there is mutual respect there can be no need to be nervous. 

So what can they do for us? I am hoping that they will begin to work a lot more with my son.  We have had the alcohol discussion. I know that they have spoken about it at FFL teen sessions.  He needs to establish a relationship with his d-team and understand why its important for him to continue to be diligent with his care after he leaves their office. Our old doctor spoke directly to him, making him take charge. I am trying to step aside more often so that they can do this in our new setting as well. My son is quiet and private but this is not the place for that privacy.  

So are clinic appointments a source of stress for us? No.  They are a necessary evil but to date we are blessed by teams that respect us and work with us not against us. 

“This post is my June entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at