Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Beating diabetes at its own game

Le sigh.

You know how everything old is new again? Well, we are back to almost having to use wrestling holds to give Elise her shots. That might fly with a 12 month old, but a freaked-out 4 year old is proving to be way, way stronger than me.

Crap-on-a-stick it's ba-a-a-a-ad. And if her BG is high? Freaking near IMPOSSIBLE.

I've tried all the old tricks, but it's almost impossible to reason with her. I even promised her that if she didn't resist her shots, she could give me a shot. In the bum.

Oh yes I did.

And yes she did. I let a 4 year old stick a needle in my arse (with Fred's supervision, of course). I'm a little taken aback at how gleeful she was about the whole thing.

And she did pretty well for awhile after that. Now she's back to her freaking out ways again. And there is no way I'm going to implement a shot-for-a-shot philosophy around here.

So yesterday morning over breakfast, I laid it all out for her. Maybe it was too harsh, I don't know. But diabetes is a harsh disease. And the sooner she gets that, the better. It went something like this:

(P.S. - please don't judge me for the way I choose to talk to my kid about diabetes. I am a realist... I don't believe in sugar-coating things or making things pretty when they're not. M'kay?)

I let her know that we love her very much. And we are so sorry that she has diabetes. In fact, I told her I would give her my pancreas in a heartbeat if I could. But it doesn't work that way. I told her that we don't like to give her shots, and we don't do it for chuckles, but the plain truth is; she will DIE if she doesn't have insulin.

I explained how heartbroken we would be if she wasn't with us anymore. How we would miss her. And that's why we have to take such good care of her. Then I went into the whole "everybody-has-something" bit. It's what you DO with your something that makes you who you are.

Then I appealed to her competitive side (and ohmygosh, don't ever try to beat her at anything). I told her that it's okay to be sad about diabetes sometimes, but when it makes us sad, mad or scared ALL the time, we're letting diabetes win.

When we show diabetes that we're not scared of it; the shots, the finger pokes, the dr. visits... then we are the ones who are winning (damn you Charlie Sheen for forever tainting that term).

Now, this girl LOVES to win. At everything. If you want to motivate her to do something, turn it into a race or a competition. Elise totally perked up when I started talking about beating diabetes.

"So if I don't cry at my shots, I'm beating diabetes? I win?" She asked.

I told her yes. That when diabetes isn't the boss of us, then we win. She liked that. In fact, she was ALL OVER that.

And you know what? It's working. With each shot, instead of crying, she now yells, "I WIN!"

So stick THAT in your pipe and smoke it, diabetes. You loose.

You're a loo-hoo-ser, diabetes!
(Elise at 15 months)


  1. You are a brave woman! I think I would chosen my arm before my butt!LOL

    Have you tried a sticker chart? Maybe she could put a sticker on a chart evertime she gets a shot. Once she gets so many stickers, she can pick something fun to do or get a special treat.

    My heart breaks for you because I can imagine how hard it is to manage her with shots.

    I hope things get easier for the both of you quickly!

  2. Nice baby shot. And, good strategy/creativity.

  3. I love this..thanks for the encouragement! right now I got the diabetes is kicking my ass feeling and I am not winning...

  4. Our "D" kids are strong and mighty aren't they! I know the daily fighting the shots scenario all too well at my house and I think you did more than a fabulous job with turning it around into a WIN for Elise! And way to go for taking one for the team!

  5. She is not only winning, she is kicking Diabetes' arse!

    Go Elise, and go mom for finding the right message to help her get it.

    PS No shots for me thankyouverymuch. God bless you!

  6. Absolutely LOVE THIS. Way to go... nicely done.

  7. Such a smart D mama you are! LOVE the way you handled this!

  8. I get all teary eyed, with joy, reading about your little girl's drive. From now on, every time I want to give up, give in, and lose sight of myself... I will think of her.

  9. Way to go mom!! Those of us who are adults should have the kind of attitude and positivity you have given your daughter!!! :-D

  10. What a great approach! (Mentally tucking that away - we're just one year behind you all.) I've let Luke stick me, too, and he was also very, very gleeful about it. Elise rocks - what a strong kid!

  11. Love this post! I read part of it to Matthew and he laughed and laughed. Go Elise! You WIN!!

  12. If you are harsh, then I am your evil twin Say-it-Like-it-is-
    Matilda. Shooting straight from the hip. No insulin=you die. Simple is as simple does. Oh my Lantus you dand she are SO going to love pumping.

    "I win!". Yes, yes you do sweet baby girl. You win because you hit the lottery with that fabulous mother pancreas of yours. Every T1D should be jeal.

  13. I was thinking maybe it's time to revisit the pump issue. Pumping is no picnic either, but you can use EMLA to numb the site, then only one large needle every three days instead of four plus shots a day. Though I know, except for Lantus, the fingersticks are more painful than the shots. The treatment for this disease is just so darn invasive. My heart would break if I had to give a baby or toddler the shots and sticks. It was hard enough for us when she was dx'd at 8; I am so greatful we were granted at least some time without this disease. My feeling about Type 1 is the later the age of dx, the better. Elise has a great attitude, you know exactly how to motivate her and she is winning against D.

  14. I think I'm going to print this out and frame it, and read it whenever I'm feeling sorry for myself. I've had type 1 for 32 yrs and there are still days when it absolutely sucks. But, I'm winnng!

  15. You are fighting a tough battle, but doing it VERY well. Your family makes a great team against a tough disease! Peace for you and Elise!!!

  16. I love winning!!!

    And I love the thought that making it through each day means we are totally kicking diabetes' butt!

  17. i freaking love it!!! i was imagining 'the talk' with Reubs. Thankfully its a few years off yet. Im a dope, I was crying reading your post. Sadness happiness and everthing in between. I just cry. I admire your approach, good for you ! SHE WINS!!

  18. She's a bright young lady so being honest with her is important.
    You let her give you a shot!

  19. Totally feeling the same same with this Jo...I too have let my kiddo (at the time she was still 4) give me a needle in the bum. The things we do to make it happen, eh? Also, I LOVE that Elise has a competitve spirit and it is helping her make it through this disease. You are an awesome Momma too and I fully agree with the realist perspective. Oh yea...and I am totally giggling right now because the little word verification thingy i am asked to type in for this comment is actually "hokeshit" LOL!! nice!

  20. holy crap that is an AWESOME strategy! YOU ROCK! and so does elise. ;) and fred too while we're at it! :D


  22. You are awesome. Love your style. :)

    You know, pumping isn't the end of issues like this...we still, from time to time, have problems where I have to practically sit on Adam to get his site in...and I'll have to have the "talk" like you do - it involves me saying, yes it sucks you have diabetes and it sucks that you wear a contact and have to wear a patch, but it is what it is. And we are doing our best to keep you healthy.

    It is so hard to explain to them on their level...4 and 5 year olds are not always rational creatures. :)

  23. Omg amazeballs!!!!

    So Dwinning? No..hmm..lemme work on that.

    Elise and mama rock!

  24. I'm with you on the telling it like it is....I think if there is a "right" way to handle these hard times you just totally ACED it! I just knew you were gonna say Elise loved saying she won! I think you just might WIN the D momma of the year award Jo, You and Elise always amaze me :)

  25. I think you did great! I'm a tell it like it is kinda mom too. Not sure I'd have been brave enough to do the shot for a shot approach...I think C would have really let me have it, lol! Glad you were able to find her motivation and she's winning now!!!

  26. Ha!!!!

    Love that she is competitive. That will serve her well in the long run.

    And...you are a brave, brave woman for the needle to the ass bit.

    Give my love to the fam.

  27. You are awesome and you are forth right and honest with your child and that is the only way to be . I wish I was half the mom you are . It just sucks to have diabetes . I fear Im not fairing well with all of it right now . I have got a case of pneumonia and it is kicking my arse too . So naturally all my bg are off bigger than crap on a stick . But way to go and kudos to you for being such a good mother to both of your kids .

  28. AWESOME!! You know, I've told my kids if they run into a busy street they will get hit by a car and die. Whats the point of sugar-coating? Its just another form of lying. Good for you.

  29. All I have to say to you my dear is mommies know best!!

    You did great!! and to you sweet Elise you beat that diabetes every single day of your life or until there is a cure.

    Watch out diabetes Elise (and family) are kick BUTT!!

  30. LOVE IT!

    SHE WINS!!!!

    Very proud of the whole fam for stepping up the game and figuring out how to put that D in it's place!

  31. yeah!
    And don't ever worry about what we think of your parenting skills...you have got to know that you're an amazing mother.
    I am all for teaching our children to view themselves as having the ability to make the difference in their diabetes management, teaching them that they are winning when they do all the tedious endless tasks. Because they are!
    So, keep rockin' and beating d!

  32. I have to periodically remind M that she will DIE if she doesn't manage her diabetes. It always ends in tears, but as an immortal teen, I think she needs to hear it.

  33. I just came across your blog. Our 7 year old son was just diagnosed in July and is SO super competitive.

    We've been having a tough time lately and yesterday, I used (borrowed, stole, whatever!) your line of reasoning. You are a genius! It worked beautifully!

    Thank you so much for the new approach!

  34. That's awesome, now every time I give myself a finger stick or inject myself I scream 'I WIN!' Or 'F**k you D!'


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