6. Is there a cure for diabetes? Not yet. It is important to know that intense research is being conducted throughout the world looking for cures of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Is there anything that we can do now? Ask about research trials. Read my blogs and others on the latest research studies. Remember that research takes time and what may work in mice may not necessarily be applicable in humans. Trials need to be conducted before the FDA will approve any new treatment. Some of the trials need to be conducted within 3 months after diagnosis. Clearly, you do not want to miss the deadline for the study if you wish to participate. Ask your diabetes team about national and local trials, as you may be eligible to participate. You also may be able to participate in research conducted at your own institution.
7. How are we going to pay for all this stuff? The best answer is insurance. For parents and teens, it is important to understand your insurance coverage. If you do not have health insurance, ask your diabetes team to help you obtain insurance as soon as possible. The treatment of diabetes is expensive. You will be asked to obtain insulin, glucose meters, strips, lancets, glucagon, etc. Advocate for what you need. Ask your diabetes team about different insurance plans because they know a great deal of information and can tell you the pros and cons of the plans offered in your geographical area. Everyone can obtain insurance for children and teens, either privately or through Medicaid. Now is not the time to be without medical insurance.
8. Who can we talk to that understands what we go through on a daily basis? Connect with support groups such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, American Diabetes Association, etc. By reaching out to these advocacy organizations, you will meet others in the exact same situation that can offer their experiences. Keep in mind though, that not everyone's experiences will mirror yours. Listen to advice and counsel with your diabetes team. Talk to the psychosocial support members of the diabetes team as they can offer great tips. Take advantage of one on one time with a counselor to talk about how you feel. Sometimes, just talking can make you feel better. If you feel that you can't cope, please let the team know as soon as possible so that we can help you. Communicate your needs.
9. How and when can I go back to school? Work cooperatively with the school nurse/aide to assist in your diabetes treatment plan and advocate for your needs. Learn about 504 plans. Learn how to work together. Bring all your necessary supplies (and back-up supplies) to school. After all, school is your workplace, and sometimes you are there longer than you are at home. Talk to your coaches ands stay involved in your sports activities and teams. Develop a "lockdown" plan with your diabetes team so that the school will be able to care for you in the event of a national disaster (hopefully this is never needed). Lastly, educate everyone about diabetes so that people understand how you need to be managed (as opposed to a relative with type 2 diabetes).
10. When will we go back to normal? Well, how about the new normal (as one of my patient's mother describes)? First, we move forward day to day. You call us with blood sugars, we adjust insulin, and we listen...a lot. Then we plan ahead, use new insulin regimes and technology. Weeks and months go by. You begin to realize that you are still you and you begin to do what you did before with more planning. You begin to realize that you can eat well and participate in activities by accumulating the important information necessary to manage your diabetes. You will learn those tools in order to move forward. And we will help you.
As I tell my patients and families at diagnosis, in one year, you will be telling me what to do.
I realize that I have generalized the top ten concerns that have been voiced most often by my patients and families. Not everyone will have these exact concerns at the same time. I would encourage you to write to me and mention other concerns that you think need to be discussed so that I can address them in future blogs. In this way we can be more interactive and I can be responsive to your needs and concerns.
Published On: November 24, 2008