Appreciating parents of kids with diabetes, and the parent in all of us

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The excerpt below is from my book, The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes 26 life-lessons to stay strong managing diabetes. I also wrote another page for the book that I never used. It’s for those of us who have diabetes to parent ourselves. It’s below with the title: “G is for Gently Nudging Yourself Forward.” 

Excerpt: “G is for Grabbing onto Hope for You and Your Little One”

For parents, diabetes can feel like the death of your dream- a child who’s happy, healthy and has every opportunity. The theft of childhood, a new family dynamic, finding the right doctors, exhaustion and worry are now fixed aspects of your life.

You may even feel guilty or like you let your child down missing the warning signs of diabetes. Know that this is not your fault; you couldn’t have prevented it. Forgive yourself, you are the source of your child’s strength now.

Help restore a sense of normalcy for, and around, your child. And don’t neglect your other children, who are also affected. Create special days to celebrate each one of them.

Remember, children take their cue from you and every day remarkable things are happening to change the face of diabetes.

Reflection: Teach the people closest to you how to do blood sugar checks and let them take over now and then. Think who you can ask for support from and what they can do to help. Keeping yourself strong, safe  sure – and not sleep deprived – will most help your child.

NOTE: Here’s one advance on the horizon for Type 1 diabetes.

G is for Gently Nudging Yourself Forward

“It’s not where you start it’s where you finish,” If you’re over 50, you might recognize this line from a show-tune. It’s also a pretty good motto for life. If you want to accomplish something it doesn’t really matter where you start from. What matters is putting in the effort. When you first heard you had diabetes maybe, like the ostrich who buries his head in the sand, it was too much to face and you ignored it. Forgive yourself for any past mistakes. What matters is what you do now.

Decide today you will take one step to take better care of your diabetes. One step. Not five or six or ten. You can open a book about diabetes and read one chapter. Read one internet site. Take one class in your area. If you think you should be eating less or better, exercising more, checking your blood sugar more frequently, do one of these things today. 

In other words, gently nudge yourself forward; let the parent in you provide a shoulder to lean against while you’re moving forward. As you progress, pick another step to take. The finish line is the place where your diabetes is in good control and one step at a time is the best way to reach it.

“Gently” also means be kind to yourself, because changing habits takes some work at first. Don’t decide to run a mile today if you haven’t walked down the street lately. Don’t cut your calories in half, you’ll only overeat tomorrow. Don’t check your blood sugar every hour, that’s neither easy nor kind. But do decide on something realistic you can do from where you are right now.

Remember too, some days will be easier than others. Be extra kind to yourself on the hard days.

If you take small, steady steps forward, no matter where you start from, it’s pretty sure, “You’re going to finish on top!”

Reflection: Write down 1 new step you’ll take today. Be very specific: what you’ll do, when you’ll do it, how much you’ll do, how you’ll do it. Then do it!

You don’t walk alone with diabetes

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While I’ve been sharing each Thursday d-lessons to help you develop emotional strength to manage your diabetes, these are also ways to meet any challenge life may throw at you. So, here’s today’s excerpt from my inspirational D-book,

“The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes.”


When you have faith that you can meet the challenge of diabetes you do not walk alone. You have a direct channel to your inner strength and wisdom; a force that can help you accomplish almost anything. 

Don’t let your faith be beaten down by someone you knew who suffered with diabetes. They may not have had faith or made the best choices or had the benefit of all that’s available today to help manage diabetes.

No matter what, know that there are gifts to be found when you walk this road in faith. So put your worries down and trust yourself. Know that you have an inner well of strengths to draw on when you need them. If you “act as if” you are successful managing your diabetes, you will be.

Reflection: Recall a time you brought your heart and passion to something so fervently you didn’t doubt you would succeed. Decide now that you will bring this same spirit to how you manage your diabetes. Then “act as if” you already do.

As you might imagine, there are 26 more extensive life lessons in the book to help you develop the emotional resilience to manage diabetes – and any life challenge.

Diabetes knowledge is the best medicine


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In my continuing tips to help you “develop your emotional strength” to manage diabetes, here’s another excerpt from my inspirational D-book,      “The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes.”


Many people think taking care of their diabetes is up to their doctor or diabetes educator. But it’s not. They’re not with you during the day to remind you to perform your diabetes tasks – to test your blood sugar or choose broccoli over French fries. Diabetes needs to be managed every day by the person who has it – you.

Learning all you can about diabetes is one secret to living a full and healthy life. And you can do this. Think back to a time when you learned about something new, perhaps for a project at work or while in school. At first you didn’t know much and might have felt frightened, but in time you relaxed and then gained new insights, understanding and skills.

Here are a few things to chose from you can do right away: Subscribe to a diabetes magazine, join a social media site online like TuDiabetes, Diabetes Connect or Glu, read a diabetes book (any one of mine), see if your hospital offers a diabetes class, and bring your doctor questions that concern you at your next visit. Knowing all you can about diabetes is not just smart, it’s powerful medicine.

Reflection: Write down something you knew little about and then learned about. Write down how you did that. Then write down two things you will do to learn more about diabetes – and how you will do it. Be specific: what you will do, when you will do it, where you will do it?

A bonding two days at Diabetes Sisters’ “Weekend for Women”

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About 100 women gathered for a full two days of bonding, learning, laughing and hanging out with fellow women with diabetes at Diabetes Sisters’ annual conference, “Weekend for Women.”

This was also the second year partners were invited, so I invited mine. He came and got to meet about 40 others who were learning more about their wife and girlfriend’s diabetes, to air their feelings and learn more about how to be supportive.

I led a workshop, “Ignite Your Diabetes Power” Saturday morning. The secret? Identifying your strengths, building emotional resilience, knowing how diabetes works and knowing the actions to take to work it for you. It was a great workshop with about 60 of our d-sisters in attendance. 

Saturday night I had a table full of sisters join me for dinner, including our guest host speaker, the irrepressible Mother Love. In fact, every time she passed me anywhere at the conference, her arms opened wide to embrace me and her warmth enveloped me. Her story of a family besieged with type 2 diabetes that has taken almost all her family members is tragic, while she has committed herself to helping others and getting the word out. 

Sunday some of us took a field trip to an organic farm while others took a tour of Novo Nordisk’s Clayton, NC facility where we saw how insulin gets packaged, stored, sent down the assembly line and on and on. It really makes you realize how carefully our medicine must be treated.

For me, it was in Brandy Barnes’, Diabetes Sisters’ founder, closing message that made me realize the absolute value of this weekend. There shouldn’t be any woman with diabetes out there alone. Brandy encouraged us to tell any woman we know with diabetes about the conference, bring her into the fold so she can gain strength and knowledge and community. Amen.

Diabetes Sisters will be offering their West Coast “Weekend for Women” conference October 4-6 in San Francisco. If you’ve never been, give yourself the weekend as a gift for all you do living with this disease.


Bringing “Can-Do-Ness” to managing your diabetes


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My third in my series of excerpts from my first book, “The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes.” Each can help you build the emotional strength to do better managing your diabetes.


A “Can-Do” attitude is a choice. Deciding we can do something energizes and inspires us. It can help you through frustrating times, and even help you make the tough choices when confronted with a brownie a la mode or strawberries a la diet whipped cream. 

Sometimes, without realizing it, we choose to take a “vicim” attitude about our diabetes, and it stops us from taking good care of ourselves. It’s natural to feel down or frustrated at times. When you do, accept your feelings. Then pick yourself up and move on again doing your best.

Keeping yourself healthy may require changing some habits you’ve had for a long time. But while bad habits and feeling sorry for yourself may be where you’ve been, they need not be where you’re going. Tomorrow is created by every action you take today.

ReflectionWrite down one thing you can do better in your diabetes management – and how you will do it. Maybe choose a few healthier foods, cook more meals at home, start walking after dinner. Then be specific how you will do it: what, when, where, for how long? The more specific you can be, the more likely you will be successful.