26 answers

4 Year Old Just Diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes

I am writing this request hoping someone out there will have some ideas on how to make this transition easier on my four year old daughter. She is a twin and we were at her and her sisters pre-kindergarten check up when they found sugar in her urine. We were admitted to the hospital immediately. She is not adjusting very well to checking her blood sugar and having shots each day. What an enormous life change. I really took for granted how nice it was to just be able to give my child a snack when she was hungry, and just cook a yummy recipe and not need to worry about counting out the carbohydrates and exact serving sizes. We have a teddy bear that also has diabetes and she gives him shots, but she is still very upset when we need to do them. On top of this, she broke her leg two weeks ago jumping on the trampoline Easter weekend. We are doing all that we can to keep her happy, comfortable and entertained. She has to keep her leg elevated for one more week and then hopefully she will be able to start putting some weight on it and move around a little bit. Any advice would be terrific. Thank you.

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So What Happened?™

Thank you so much to everyone who responded to my cry for help. Your advice, care and concern really touched my heart and made this feel like something we can do. We had our first appointment with her endocrinologist at Primary Children's last week. He is encouraging me to take the pump class and the carbohydrate class to get her on a pump within a few months. She is very nervous about the pump and has started doing much better with her shots. I will still take the classes just to be prepared. I am thankful for all of the resources and helpful links provided me. I have saved some of the email addresses and look forward to continuing communications with some of you. What an incredible thing to be able to sit here in my kitchen and type a message and have people who are so awesome respond and help me. You are all wonderful. Thank you for taking the time to help me and my daughter.

Featured Answers

My daughter's best friend in kindergarten had diabetes. Her favorite treat was a candy spray you can get at Harmons, Target, Albertsons, and gas stations. The company that makes it is too tarts:
http://www.tootarts.com/
http://www.tootarts.com/media/news_releases/walmart.html

"Too Tarts SmartChoice candy, the newly reformulated brand of healthier kids candy, contains no refined sugar, 50-60 percent less calories, and is sweetened with fruit juice concentrate."

My own kids LOVE it. Sometimes I give them each their own and sometimes I hang onto it and just give them squirts when they ask.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

A. - I just saw your post, and I am so sorry! My 2 1/2 year old son was diagnosed with Type 1 this past November, so I know what you are going through.

It does get easier - I know that is hard to believe some days, but it will. One thing that has helped me is a group for moms of Type 1 diabetic kids on CafeMom - they are a great group of moms. http://www.cafemom.com/group/4736

My son prefers to be tested on his toes - we let him pick which foot and toe. In the beginning, he really wanted to hold the glucose meter. I try to let him make as many decisions around testing and the shots as he can. He's really good about testing now - it was very hard in the beginning, but he has accepted it. He still resists the shots a little, but we have a 'game' where he gets to squeeze a family member's finger when he gets his shot.

Also, there are 'free' foods - things with very little carbs - peanut butter, cheese, nuts.

Hang in there and feel free to contact me - I would be happy to email with you.

C.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.- I understand what you are going through. My son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was six he is now 10. That first year or so was pretty hard. Life changed for everyone. I read as many books as I could to help me understand it and help me deal with it. It felt like I had a newborn baby again- I had to check in the night and worry about all the time.
We go to the U of U/Primary Children's clinic in Salt Lake and they have helped so much. There were hard days and it helped to talk to one of their counselors. Now my son is on an insulin pump and it is wonderful. He pretty much takes care of everything himself. We still constantly ask him what his blood sugar is but he does great. It will get easier and it will become a part of your life that will be normal. Feel free to ask me any questions- I also have a neighbor who has an autistic child with type 1- so between she and I, I'm sure we can help you out.
Another thing I highly recommend is diabetes summer camp- your whole family can go and it's a huge learning experience for everyone. My son now goes on his own- it is a great program. It's called FCYD -Foundation for Childeren and Youth with Diabetes. http://www.fcyd-inc.org/programfiles/summer.htm
Again feel free to ask any questions-

1 mom found this helpful

Hi A.,
My mother is diabetic and I have been very health conscious with my kids as far as sugar. My kids do not have diabetes as far as I know. For meals and snacks, I would suggest Diana's Schwarzbein's Cookbook. She is an endocrinologist who specializes in diabetics. She also has a few books based on her healthy lifestyle "The Schwarzbein Principle". It is great info for the whole family and all of her recipes would work for someone with diabetis. Also, Suzanne Somers weight loss books have fabulous recipes with little or no sugar in them at all. If you can skip over the weight loss reading and all that, the recipe section is perfect for those who can't eat sugar or need less carbs. I would recommend her book "Fast and Easy" for the most kid-friendly recipes, but she has at least 4 other books full of recipes. (I just take the covers off so I don't have to look at her in a bathing suit whenever I cook LOL). Also you can go to her website www.suzannesomers.com and click on the message boards and find a ton of great low carb recipes that kids will like. I have printed out hundreds and we eat them on a daily basis. You do have to register but it is free. Hope that helps a little. I am so sorry to hear your daughter broke her leg. This must be a difficult time for everyone. Hang in there!

C.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter's best friend in kindergarten had diabetes. Her favorite treat was a candy spray you can get at Harmons, Target, Albertsons, and gas stations. The company that makes it is too tarts:
http://www.tootarts.com/
http://www.tootarts.com/media/news_releases/walmart.html

"Too Tarts SmartChoice candy, the newly reformulated brand of healthier kids candy, contains no refined sugar, 50-60 percent less calories, and is sweetened with fruit juice concentrate."

My own kids LOVE it. Sometimes I give them each their own and sometimes I hang onto it and just give them squirts when they ask.

1 mom found this helpful

A.,

My husband was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when he was 12. There are TONS of resources for you out there. Your first route should be to get involved in JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). They offer so much for the diabetes community, information, support, activities, etc. My husband is actually on the Board. If you need any other specific advice, please feel free to ask.

C. W.

1 mom found this helpful

My heart goes out to you and your daughter. That would be such a hard thing to have to deal with as a parent and as a child. I come from a family where the risk of diabetes runs high. I have recenlty started taking liquid nutritional called Zrii which is designed to balance out your system. I've really seen it help lower blood sugar levels in many people and it has really helped me not expereince so many lows and highs. It's a combination of several fruits and herbs and is completely safe for children,(I give it to my 1 year old and she loves it). You should of course consult your doctor about it, but if you'd like some more information, please email me at ____@____.com.

1 mom found this helpful

I have an 8 year old that was diagnosed with type I diabetes 1 1/2 years ago. It is really common for children (and adults for that matter) to go through a period of depression after being diagnosed with a cronic disease. My daughter did pretty well at first, but after about 2 months she got really depressed and didn't pull out of it for 4-5 months. Just make sure you are there for her and as supportive as possible.

Here are some things that have really helped with our daughter.

1. I followed the diabetic diet with her. She felt a lot better when she felt like the family was supporting her and she wasn't the only one who couldn't have cookies whenever she wanted. We all tried to keep treats out of the house. I also recruited my mom and my sister to follow the diet. She would get excited when she know that someone else was supporting her.

2. Get her on a pump when you can. A year after the diagnosis we put my daughter on a pump and it was such a life saver. Now she can have a snack whenever she wants and if dinner was late it wasn't a big deal. We all felt like we had our freedom back.

3. I liked the idea of testing family members and friends that was mentioned earlier. We have done that when we went to visit family and I can tell my daughter loves it when her cousins want to check their blood sugar with her.

4. Try to keep things as normal as possible. Focus on what your daughter can do, not what she can't do. Two days after getting out of the hospital we went to the zoo so that we could reinforce that most things will stay the same.

5. Have your daughter participate in nutrition decisions and let her do as much as she can when testing her sugars and getting shots.

6. One of the most helpful things that that we don't make a big deal about her diabetes. Don't get me wrong, we follow all the rules and are very careful about managing it. However, when we talk about it we act like it's no big deal.

7. It's a bit of a drive, but we are seeing Dr. Michael Swinyard in South Jordan. He is a Type I Diabetic and has been wonderful with my daughter and me. Our previous doctor was also really good, but Dr. Swinyard can relate better than our other doctors because he deals with it on a personal basis. I have been very impressed with how well he can help us keep her diabetes managed. We are moving to Idaho Falls in 2 months and I like him so much I plan on keeping him as her endocrinologist after the move.

Your daughter will get used to it over time and it will get easier. Hang in there!

Feel free to email me.

P.S. The better you are at counting carbs and measuring portions the easier a transition to a pump will be.

1 mom found this helpful

A., I'm afraid I can't offer much advice, just support. My husband (25) just got diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a week and a half ago. They say it's somehow genetic, but we can't find any trace of it in his family. He has always been go at eat well and exercising, so I feel extremely blessed. I defiantly think it would be harder to adjust to having a child with diabetes. I know for me, as the one that prepares his food, I have found counting carbs a pain. I want to make things that he can have a lot of and not have to give tons of insulin. He is an active football player and gets HUNGRY! I just recently found this website where you can type in your recipes and they will calculate the carbs for you.
http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp
I had spent a little time the last few days typing in recipes that I make and then I write right on my recipe card, how many carbs are in that dish if I split it into, for example 6 servings. Hopefully, this makes since and it can relieve some of the stress you might be feeling. I also heard of a few diabetes research walks coming up in the fall, if you would like any information on it let me know. It might be a good place to meet people that are going through the same thing and share advice. Good Luck! My prayer are with you.

1 mom found this helpful

My aunt has a young child with diabetes so I am aware to some degree of the challenges you'll face. I can't offer firsthand advice of any kind, but here are a couple of good sites that can offer good info, advice, and support:

http://www.jdrf.org/
http://kids.jdrf.org/
http://www.diatribe.us

wish you the best... take care.

A.
Diabetes is only as life changing as you make it out to be. In today's world the diabetic eats like you and I should be, by monitoring their daily intake and serving sizes. Be sure you are going to a dietician for diet instruction, then after you leave think how you can incorporate it into your families daily life, a cookie versus a piece of fruit is a better, healthier snack if you review today's food pyramid. Sweets are to be eaten in small portions and only on occasion.

Don't look at this disease as a burden instead make it into a life style change that will be better for the entire family.

You will find sweets are not totally restricted from a diabetics life, just limited and with todays concern about obesity at all age levels you will have made a quality decision not only for your self but your family as well.

As far as the shots, it is all in how you approach them. Try to teach your daughter that we all have routines we do to maintain a better health and this is part of hers. Object lessons would be brushing your teeth, combing your hair, taking vitamins. I know taking a shot isn't part of everyones routine but perhaps you can relate another family members personal routine or that of a friend ect.

An obstacle only becomes impossible depending on how one views it, as an opportunity or an impossiblity.

Take this opportunity
P.

Do you know about natural alternative ways that make a huge difference in people(especially kids) with diabetes???
J.

A.,
I'm sorry for the pain you must feel, but it is not your fault, and you can't feel guilty about your daughter having diabetes. My sister has Juvenile Diabetes; we all begin testing ourselves while she was learning to test herself so we would understand what she was experiencing, and it helped remind her to test and reinforce the habit. Also, we as a family went to the doctors and gave ourselves shots of saline, so she understood that we were all in it together with her.

Your daughter may be too young, but an insulin pump (that attaches to a site and stays in her pocket) worked well for several years for my sister. If she needed more insulin she could take a bolus, and if she needed less, she could adjust the flow. It meant that she only needed to test herself, not take shots. It didn't work forever, but it did work for a few years.

Good luck to you and your family, and as long as she realizes she's no different and doesn't have to eat differently than her family (because everyone eats healthy) and her family supports her, she'll be able to feel special and important rather than like she's missing out on life.

Here's to you and your kiddos!
J.

Juvenile Diabetes can be eased or improved through eating healthy, not just eating fake sugars, but eating real foods the way they come from nature. I wrote a book to help you get you and your kids started. It's called Shopper's Guide to Healthy Living and is available on Amazon.com. It takes only four hours to read, so it is easier for the busy mom. It has tear-out shopping lists and product suggestions.

Good luck.

A.,

I am sorry to hear about your daughter. I feel your pain and frustratuon my 6 year old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetis December 14th 2 weeks before christmas. It is a very huge lifestyle change and a lot of stress on the entire family. My advise to you is to first make sure you are taking care of yourself. That is what I was failing to do until I started having health challenges myself. I have dealt with those issues and now I can give better care to my son. One thing we did with the testing is let him test his friends, cousins, aunts and uncles. When everyone thought it was cool he was happier to do the tests. The other thing we did was a class presentation in his school class and he had his shot in fron of the class, the kids were so amaze that he took a shot and did not cry. So if she goes to preschool maybe you could do the same.
I hope this information helps, it is very challenging to have a child with a disease that will stay with her for the rest of her life and as much as we would like to we can not change it.

Good luck C.

Hi A.- I can relate and I'm sorry, I know how hard it is. My son was 2 1/2 when he was diagnosed and spent 3 days at Children's Hospital PICU. I can only tell you that encouragement and time make it easier. We let him pick where he wants the shots, which finger to check sugars on, and he helps with the grocery shopping. Some days just seem to be better than others. Also getting him involved with checking his own sugars was a plus. And as far as shots, distraction was the best way. He is 6 now and adjusted pretty well. School has overall been better than I thought it would (and I'm a worrier!) Having her see other kids that also have diabetes helps her understand she's not alone. I wish I could tell you something that could make her feel better. Please let me know if there is something I can help with. I wish I had had someone to talk to, especially in the beginning.

Hi A.,
I'm sure you must be completely overwhelmed right now. This is a very tough thing to deal with in the beginning especially. I myself am a Type 1 diabetic(although I wasn't diagnosed until my 20s- same thing as the older term juvenile). I have a Type 2 daughter who is 12 now and diagnosed at 9 and a Type 1 son diagnosed 6 months ago at age 5. In some ways it was tougher to deal with my children's diagnosis than my own. We live in a very social world where all social events are centered on food. Eventually your daughter will adjust in time. i have a vast network of diabetic friends some of who were diagnosed young and they say in some ways it's better because it's the only way they remember. I definately struggled at first but have come to terms with it and it's just a part of my life now. My son struggled at first, downing a whole bag of peanut butter cups one day and getting very ill but he is adjusting. He never minded the shots though because since I did them myself he thiught it was normal. I would suggest looking into an insulin pump in the future. I have one myself and it is definately much easier to deal with. I am going to get my son one soon. Try to stick to a routine, tough as it is too. Hang in there, it will get better. Feel free to email me with any questions or concerns or if you just want someone to talk to. I have lots of friends and info if you want it.

My neice was diagnosed at her "well-kid checkup" at age 5. Type I diabetes and the transition for my sister was pretty difficult with all the carb counting and getting the right amounts of insulin, but day-by-day she got better at it, so don't lose hope! Yes, the finger pokes and shots were the worst for my niece, but once she realized that it would make her feel better, she got used to the idea. The Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes (in Denver) has been a huge resource for my sister. Good luck...it's definitely not the end of the world, just a lifestyle change...keep smiling!

I am an adult diabetic. Please give this little one much, much attention. This is a very difficult situation for her. My father was a physician and a diabetic. I know about what a traumatic situation you are in. I've heard him talk about such situations. S.

I'm afriad I don't have much advice, I just wanted to let you know how sorry I am that you've had such a difficult time! What a good mother you must be to have her sent to you. I believe that children with certain "problems" or difficulties are sent to the parents who can best deal with them. You're doing a faulous job, and I'll be praying for you.

I know of a product that works .... It's called body balance and it has helped thousands of people. The problem stems from nutrition.

Feel free to e-mail me and i will tell you of people who have been helped and more about the product.

J.

Hi,

I am going through what you have gone through with your daughter. My son was diagnosed with T1 last month. He is doing amazing well. But he is starting to get upset with having to check his blood sugar and getting shots. He has asked me how long does he have to take the shots. He even wants to be his brother because he doesn't have diabetes. If you have any advice please let me know.

Thank you,

Hello A.,
While I do not have a child that has Type I (juvenile) diabetes, I am married to a man who does. He's had it since he was 11 mos. old (he's now 37 years old). I wish I had an easy answer to you on this, but as someone who loves with another with this condition, I read and read and read all I can on diabetes. Educating yourself and your family here is key because I think then you'll be better able to help your daughter. There are two great resources I suggest: the first is the best - Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundtation. They have a website (jdrf.org)which is wonderful. A great resource to help you and your family. I suggest calling them as well to see if you can get any reading material on helping young children learn to cope with their condition (tipes, ideas, etc.) The other resource is American Diabetes Association. While ADA is more geared toward those with Type II, I do suggest poking around their website as well. Another thing to consider is getting involved in a support group (or more importantly) getting your daughter involved with other kids with Type I. That way she can see them taking their blood every day, watching what they eat, counting carbs and calories, etc. so she might not feel so alone. It might help to see other kids her age to do the same things (and cope) with the the same things as she. I alos suggest looking into an insulin pump. My husband has one (as do other diabetic friends) and it does a much better job at maintaining proper sugar levels than shots alone. It basically acts like a pancreas - providing basil levels as needed so your daughter can avoid the peaks and valleys that go with rise and drop in sugar. She may be a bit young, but it's worth looking into.
Good luck to you and your family. If you want to talk more, please email me directly and we can exchange info.

J.

I was diagnosed when I was 10(now 28). It will get easier. For me now I really don't think about it, it is just a way of life. One thing that they taught us when i was diagnosed is that the whole family needs to make the lifestyle change, not just the diabetic. If the whole family eats the same way then the one child won't feel left out, and it is a much healthier way of life. Also, look into some of the camps in your area. I know in Utah they have a family camp that the whole family can go to. They do a lot of education, which is the key to surving the disease. Also, talk to your endricronlogist about possibly using a pump. I have been on one for 9 years now. It was the best choice I could have made. Not to mention the convience, but my control is much better. Good luck with it!!!! You will get through it.

A.

I've heard that you can almost cure it with a change of diet, and vitamin or herbal supplements. I would definitely look into that. Maybe take her to an internist?

I have a friend whose daughter was diagnosed at the same age. I would love to put you in touch with her. Her name is Audrey; ____@____.com her how you found out about her and that A. gave you her address. She feels your pain...Best of luck and it does get better.
A.

you might want to try this great new dr. in west jordan. one of his specialties is working with nutritional issues. he is an alternative doc, so he has different ways to treat that are better for your body. his office is called healing pediatrics, ###-###-####. i know he does free 15 min. consults. try him out, he might have more suggestions than a normal doctor would.

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