Breastfeeding

I am proud of the fact that I have breastfed all three of my children for longer than a year, but I also know that breastfeeding is not for everyone, whether you are a woman with diabetes or not. Breastfeeding got easier each time, and I am now in the process of weaning our son Reid who is 18 months old, because we are both ready. Nursing is another one of those areas where myths and a general lack of information exacerbate fear or worry and some mothers may not even try as a result. Women with...

Air Travel And Diabetes

I remember a weekend trip to New York City for a wedding and the morning we were supposed to fly home, a snowstorm hit and our flight was canceled. I was at the very end of my bottle of insulin and had to find a pharmacy to buy another bottle. I didn't have a prescription and I think it was a Sunday, so I was unable to call my doctor's office at home, so I had to pay full price for the insulin. I was frustrated at myself, at the weather, the pharmacy, and the fact that I had diabetes at all. It...

Depression And Eating Disorders

Lee Ann Thill was 5 years old when she was diagnosed. She hadn't been feeling well and her mom promised her a trip to Kentucky Fried Chicken. Instead, they ended up at the hospital. As an only child of a single mother, Lee Ann says that she was on her own a great deal. She remembers sneaking a jellybean after being told that she couldn't eat any sugar, and when she ate it, she was afraid she was going to die My dad's side of the family lived in Texas and ate traditional southern foods. I was...

Benefits Of Being A Diabetic

Rachel Garlinghouse believes that diabetes has made her a better person and a better mother. She says, Diabetes gave me the motivation to learn about going green, making better food choices, exercising more, writing about my experiences, reaching out to others, and making new friends. I'm not going to pretend life with diabetes is all hearts and roses, because it's not, but for the most part, it has blessed me in ways I never would have imagined. Cheryl Alkon says that she is trying hard to...

Exercise

One of the first questions I asked my doctor when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 14 years old was, Will I still be able to play sports Six weeks into my fall semester at boarding school in New Hampshire, I was a proud member of the junior varsity field hockey team. I'd never been much of an athlete, which came as a surprise and a disappointment to my sports-loving mother who always told the story of when I was in the fourth grade and refused to join the soccer team at school. She was...

Balancing Work Life And Diabetes

Managing our personal and working lives is always a challenge. Throw diabetes into the mix, and suddenly, there are more decisions to think about each day. Sometimes, I feel like I'm spinning through the house and can almost feel the silky cape flapping behind me as I race from the laundry to the dishes, homework, papers, grades, and crying baby. Suddenly, I realized that I tested my blood sugar 15 minutes ago and oops I forgot to look at the results. Or, I realize I gave my bolus or injection...

Tips on telling others that you have diabetes

Think of sharing this information in the same way as you would share where you grew up, how many kids you have, what you do for fun and, oh yeah, you have diabetes. Expect questions, strange reactions, or even no reaction. When telling your boss and or coworkers be prepared to explain that you may need accommodations at work (more on this in Chapter 7). Explain what a low blood sugar episode looks like, describe the symptoms, and what they can do to help....

Balancing Blood Sugar Levels With Exercise

Mari Ruddy, a triathlete and founder of the Red Rider Recognition Program and Team WILD (Women Inspiring Life with Diabetes), says, It's not really about blood sugar management, it's about insulin management, which ideally results in good blood sugar management. As a child, Mari watched her athlete father struggle with managing his type 1 diabetes with very little knowledge or support from the world. He was regularly taken to the hospital with extreme low blood sugar issues. These incidents...

History Of Diabetic Pregnancies

Joslin at the famous Joslin Center in Massachusetts and was one of the leading researchers in diabetic pregnancies. Before the discovery of insulin in the 1920s, pregnancy in women with diabetes was a life-threatening experience. Even afterward, for years, women struggled to maintain a healthy pregnancy. Dr. White passed away in 1989, after working tirelessly to improve the lives of women and children with diabetes. She is quoted as saying, Before insulin,...

Single Parenting

Andrea McDowell is a single mom to her daughter Frances. She says that single parenthood has not been as difficult as she feared Every day I do the dishes by hand in the kitchen sink because the new apartment that I moved to with my daughter this summer does not have a dishwasher. My daughter sleeps upstairs in her new pink room with the red flowers I painted on the wall, her arms wrapped around a sleep-time friend, while downstairs, I put into practice those lessons from Home Ec so long ago...

Eating Disorders and Body Image

The dining hall of my boarding school was in the same building as the basketball court, locker rooms, and the athletic department, and the stench of sweat-soaked equipment always mingled with the spaghetti sauce and garlic bread from the kitchen. One night, during the fall of my sophomore year, I stood in the line for dinner behind Kate, a girl from New York City. She turned around and asked if I wanted to study biology with her that night. I was thrilled because she was popular. She was rich,...

Exercise And Type 2 Diabetes

Exercise is very important in managing type 2 diabetes. Combining diet, exercise, and medicine (when prescribed) will help control your weight and blood sugar level. In her book, The Diabetic Athlete, Sheri Colberg-Ochs says, Exercise can be a vital component in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes when used in conjunction with diet, oral medications, and insulin therapies (p. 79).4 Kelly Love Johnson was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in her 30s. She says When I was initially...

Talking To Your Children About Diabetes

Lisa Copen lives with rheumatoid arthritis and has written about parenting with chronic illness. She explains how to talk to your children about your diagnosis during the different developmental stages of childhood. As a parent, if you become ill, your illness has a profound impact on the entire family system. In spite of your own increased stress, confusion, and anger, your children will look to you to maintain or return to normal family routines as soon as possible. If you, or your spouse,...

Diagnosis

Standing in the bathroom in the middle of the night, I gulped water from a plastic cup that was left at the sink. I'd been dreaming about water. At 14 years old, I was living away from home at a boarding school in New Hampshire. In the dark bathroom, while everyone else was sleeping, I was scared of my thirst. The next morning, my body was heavy and my eyes were slow to open. All I wanted to do was to sleep. However, it was time for school, and my roommate told me that I am going to be late for...

Different Perspectives On Living With An Illness

Jessica Bernstein has lived with type 1 diabetes since she was a child. Her documentary film, Blood and Honey, illustrates the ways various cultures view illness. Her film asks the question, How can everyone benefit from the wisdom of those who have spent years learning how to live well in the face of suffering Jessica says that she has always had erratic blood sugars and that as a child she never rebelled, always participated in her care, and spent her childhood and teen years feeling guilty....

Education And Prepregnancy Planning

In Prevent Birth Defects Don't Get Pregnant until Your Sugar Is Controlled, Linda von Wartburg wrote, Over 70 percent of birth defects in babies of women with diabetes could be prevented by preconception care. If you take steps before pregnancy, your chance of having a healthy baby rises to that of the general population.2 Sweet Success, a California Diabetes and Pregnancy Program supported by the California Department of Public Health, reports that for women in their program who achieved a...

Diabetes slang3

When your blood sugar drops so low overnight that your body kicks in some glucagons, causing your blood sugar to bounce from low to high Born-again diabetic. When a person with diabetes fosters a new-found interest in taking care of his or her health after years of negligence and denial carbonese. The ability to determine the number of carbs in a given food based on the total carbs and the serving size (coined by a 6-year-old girl with diabetes who is fluent in Carbonese and can...

Types of Eating Disorders

In general, there are higher rates of bulimia across the board. What I tend to see are people who are somewhere in between and that's true for all eating disorders. The largest diagnostic group of eating disorder groups is called eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS), and it describes the way various symptoms of eating disorders can ebb and flow. What I see most is women desiring a very thin body, and coming at that desire through a variety of dangerous means. Diabulimia is...

Balancing Motherhood And Diabetes

As mothers with diabetes, sometimes, worrying about blood sugars or making sure what we eat, takes a back seat to the demands of our family. When the baby is crying, there's homework that needs to be done, there are laundries and chores, and it seems like there will never be enough time to do everything that needs to be done then our blood sugar spikes, sometimes it feels like it's us against the world. There have been many days when I want to scream or cry in frustration, and diabetes is just...

Diabetes In The Bedroom

Ann Rosenquist Fee says that she has managed to keep diabetes out of the bedroom I was diagnosed just before my 3rd wedding anniversary. This summer, we'll celebrate our 25th. In those 17years, diabetes has been less disruptive to my sex life than the glasses I wear at night, or the mouth guard I use to keep from grinding my teeth when I sleep. I don't wear an insulin pump, so as long as I can tell the difference between the flush sweat rapid pulse of lust and the flush sweat rapid pulse of...

Puberty

Women with type 1 diabetes were shown to have more menstrual problems (long cycles, long menstruation, and heavy menstruation) before the age of 30 than their nondiabetic peers. Menstrual disorders include late onset, lengthy duration, and heaviness. These disorders can lead to increased risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. Women with type 1 diabetes experienced menarche nearly a year later than their non-diabetic sisters and control subjects. In particular, self-report of any...

Acknowledgments

I'd like to thank my mom Teddy Stockwell and step-dad Charley Gibbes for the countless hours they spent with my three boys so that I could have time to write. I also want to thank my mom for inspiring my love for reading, and for her unwavering and unconditional support. I would like to thank my dad Rick Stockwell for teaching me the value of storytelling, and the importance of following my passion. This book was built by a team of amazing women who shared their personal and private stories...

Working Girl Diabetes at Work and School

Years ago, before I had children, I was a busy working girl as a department store manager at Saks Fifth Avenue. I was drawn to the job because of the glamour and the expensive clothes and ended up working in retail for almost 10 years. After several years with Saks Fifth Avenue, I started to get restless and wanted to have more money. Saks wasn't offering a high enough salary, so I quit and went to work for Banana Republic. Working as a department store manager at Saks, I was on my feet for...

The Diabetes Diet

The language of eating and diabetes has various terms and is constantly changing. Words like food exchanges have now been replaced with carb counting. Low-carb diets can also be called, low glycemic eating. The words that make up this language are confusing and can feel overwhelming and many women will struggle to find the best cookbook or the right tools to help her manage the food that she eats. In these collected stories you'll see that women use various tools, from carb counting books to...