Monday, April 14, 2008

DIABETES MONDAY~WHY I'M GIVING IT AWAY!


Today I have a special treat for everyone. I'd like to introduce Jane Richardson, a fellow Wild Rose Press Author who has something to share. Take it away, Jane!

A few years ago I became friends with a girl when I worked in the theatre. She had Type 1 diabetes, and over the course of our first few weeks together, she told me a little about it. Specifically, she told me about her first symptoms that led to a friend of hers recommending she visit her doctor right away.

I’m glad I listened carefully to what she said. It never occurred to me that several years down the line, I’d be seeing exactly the same symptoms in my son.

The first signs that something was going awry with Alexander were the emotional ones. He’d fly off the handle at the slightest little thing. We couldn’t understand why. Was it something we were doing wrong as parents? Was there some kind of bullying happening at school? We spoke to his teachers, who were already seeing his tempers vary to extremes. My little boy was on the edge of being branded a ‘difficult’ child’ in school. Then we came to the summer break, and with it, still the temper tantrums, often followed often by exhaustion. Summer went on, and then over the course of the final few weeks, other symptoms started to appear – the raging thirst, and the need to drink what seemed like gallons of water, followed by endless visits to the loo. We went to a movie – he visited the loo immediately before, during, and right after the show. Major alarm bells started to ring, as I remembered my friend’s symptoms. I made notes. Over the course of three days, my son drank an average of three litres of water a day and visited the loo thirty-three times. Armed with this information, we visited the doctor the next day. His words were, “You know what it is already, don’t you, Mum?”

Yes, I did. My son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

His life - our lives – changed in that moment. I’d heard my friend’s story, but I didn’t really understand what diabetes was all about. Now I do! Put simply, as I’m not a medical person, it occurs when your body stops producing its own insulin, which is the hormone that regulates the your energy levels. Diabetes isn’t ‘caused by eating too much sugar,’ as I’ve heard people say, but the body’s blood sugar levels have to be regularly checked, which might be where the confusion arises. In order to do this, my son (and others like him) pricks his finger with a machine containing a sterile lancet, and he applies a drop of blood to a test strip attached to a meter that translates the information into figures. We use those figures to determine if he’s within the optimal blood glucose range, and also to establish what insulin he needs to take. This is balanced and calculated along with the food he eats at every meal or every snack. By doing this, we hope to prevent major, harmful drops or gains in his energy levels – the ‘hypos’ and ‘hypers’ you might have heard about.

I’ve mentioned insulin a couple of times. Alexander injects himself with insulin four times a day. Yes, I said he injects himself! He began to do his own injections about nine moths after diagnosis. Up till then, I’d done it, or his father had. Giving your own child an injection is not easy; neither is watching them inject themselves. But if it didn’t happen...well. You can’t think about the consequences of that too much. You just get on and do it. I should add – insulin is not a cure for diabetes. At this time of writing, there is no cure for diabetes, and it can have far-reaching and potentially harmful consequences, including damage to the eyes, heart and kidneys.

You’d think that by maintaining a routine of testing, eating and exercising well, and keeping up the insulin injections, everything would be perfect. That’s not always the case. Sadly, and frustratingly, diabetes isn’t always easy to control.

My son is a very bright boy. He loves theory and reasoning, and can understand most things that can be explained and proved. He knows how his body works, and he knows what he has to do to stay well. If he asks a question, we can usually find the answer somewhere. But there are two questions we can’t answer for him – why this has happened to him, and how things might change for him in the future. Right now, all the signs point to the fact that my son will not outgrow diabetes. It’s a life-long condition, and may involves all kinds of complications further down the line.

But this could change, and research is happening all the time to find a cure. Even in the few years Alexander has been diagnosed, things are moving along. I can’t take the diabetes away and have it instead of him, though like most parents in this position, I’d do that in a heartbeat. But what I can do is help the organisations working towards a cure.

That’s why I’m going to double and donate every penny I raise from the sale of my contemporary love story ‘A Different Kind of Honesty,’ to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. If you buy the book, not only will you get a jolly good read out of it - - but you’ll be helping raise funds for diabetes research. You can read the blurb and an excerpt at The Wild Rose Press website, here. (BUY LINK http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=781&zenid=79d0230f82dd1125c26ab7a0c09cfbdd.) It’s currently available as an e-book, and the print format will be available in October. There’s another excerpt at my website, too. www.janerichardson.co.uk.

I’d also like to add my support to Brenda Novak’s wonderful on-line auction for diabetes research! http://www.brendanovak.com/auction_index.php. I’ll be donating a book and a basket of organic aromatherapy products to that, and she has some stunning goodies to bid for! Please do take a look.

So that’s it. If you’d like to know more about me, please visit my website. I’m also running a contest to celebrate the release of my book, all the details are at the site. And if you want to drop me a line, please do. I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you so much, Kathleen, for giving me a little space to tell people ‘why I’m giving it away.’

www.janerichardson.co.uk
strength...intelligence...passion...stories worth telling.
'A Different Kind of Honesty' NOW AVAILABLE from The Wild Rose Press
http://janerichardsonhomethoughts.blogspot.com/
Join my mailing list - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/janerichardsonwriter/
Preview The Book: http://www.previewthebook.com/book.php?id=381


Thanks Jane for sharing your personal story. Anyone interested in doing more can also stop by Benda Novak's Online Auction at her website www.BrendaNovak.com

23 comments:

Denysé said...

Jane, this is an amazing and generous thing you're doing. My father was diabetic, and believe me, I'm sure between us we could write volumes over the ways this disease effects the lives of everyone it touches.

Good luck with this venture, and many, many sales of your book. Small miracles come in all forms of kindness, and they'll all touch many hearts.

Hugs,
Denyse

lyn_jay58 said...

Jane, wishing you the best in this very important endeavor. I'll be sure and lend my support.

Hugs,
Lynda C

Laurie D. said...

Excellent post, Jane! I have diabetes and while I don't have to give myself shots, as an adult and a mother, I feel for and admire children who do.

I've supported Brenda's auction since the beginning and would encourage everyone else to do the same!

I hope you sell a boatload of your book - bless you for being so kind. Best wishes to your son.

lainey bancroft said...

WTG, Jane!

A friends daughter was diagnosed at just 4 years old, and my sons friend (15) spent a good part of last summer in the hospital with difficulties that curdled the blood because of unmonitored diabetes. So I have seen first hand how difficult and debilitating the disease can be for the sufferer and the family.

Excellent that you're bringing attention to something that affects more people than many realize.

All the best for sales and for your son!

Rita Thedford said...

Thanks for this informative post. Funny, this disease has been all over my family and I never realized what the warning signs are.

Great Post! And best of luck with your release. Wishing you many happy sales.

Hugs..Rita

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Denyse, thanks. I wish I didn't 'have' to do it! But I'm really glad that I can.

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Thanks Lynda, very much!

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Laurie, I'm with you - Brenda's auctio is a brilliant thing, and I know she's going to do really well with it this year. SOme fabulous stuff to bid for!

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Thanks Lainey, and hugs to your friend's daughter and your son's friend. :)

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Thanks, Rita. That's exactly why I asked Kathleen about posting here, to get info about those symptoms out there. My friend put hers down to stress and tiredness, and she ws diagnosed just in time before she became very ill. It it hadn't been for her, I wouldn't have had a clue about it. Funny old world! Pass it on. :))

Diane Craver said...

Jane,
Thanks for this great post.

Alexander sounds like a great kid and I admire your desire to help this worthwhile cause. I hope you sell lots of books. I'll be sure to blog about what you're doing.

Colleen Love said...

I too, know how hard Diabetes can hit. I had Gestational Diabetes, its very frustrating trying to keep your sugars in order!!

It really does strike me how resiliant children are when it comes to the practical things in life. They just do it because they know they have to in order to make themselves function. Huge congratulations to your son for taking an active part in caring for himself.

I really hope your book makes many sales. What a great thing you're doing!!

Hugs
C~

Bess McBride said...

Thanks for sharing your son's story, Jane! Good job, Mom!

Bess McBride

Renee Knowles said...

Jane, this is a wonderful thing you are doing. Two of my brother-in-laws are diabetics. So, I understand some of your struggle.

Good luck, and wishing you many sales. I will check out your book right now!

Hugs,

Renee
---
www.reneeknowles.com

Bethanne said...

I really love seeing this. i've had type I diabetes since I was twelve. I'm blessed to be healthy and using an insulin pump at thirty. Prayers that your son will be successful in growing up and learning the responsibility it takes. :D big hugs... and a little leniency every once in a while will help.

Miss Mae said...

A great thing to do, Jane. I wish the best for your son and family.

Miss Mae

Julie A Carda said...

Jane,
Thanks for sharing your story. My nephew was diagnosed several years ago. Very similar symptoms. I'll do what I can to support your book donation for this cause. Have a great week.

Julie A. Carda,
Author of Portal to Love and Portal to Peace
http://www.JulieACarda.com
http://www.julieacarda.com/books.html (Free Book download)

Sheryl said...

Well, Jane. I read that with a lump in my chest.

I have mentioned that my son, Drew, has an extremely rare eye disease. We don’t know what the prognosis will be, because there quite simply isn’t the statistical information available to be able to monitor it. I say this only because I do have an inkling of what you mean when you say you would swap places in an instant. You do an awful lot of soul-searching and wondering why, for a while. You have to give that bit more, you think. Be there for them. And, hey, guess what, the day comes when you realise it’s them cheering you up!!!

They’re special (when they’re not being a pain). All children are. We should feel blessed. WELL DONE, Jane.

I started your book :) pp 20 only so far, but I’ve got much more of a feel for the lurrvley Danny now! And I just got started on Tony (oooh, if only!)
xx

Anonymous said...

Thanks for such an interesting and informative post Jane, I now know a lot more about diabetes than I did.

I think it's wonderful that you're doing this and I wish you all the best with it -I hope you have phenomonal sales and and raise a huge amount. I think it's fantastically generous that you say you'll doublte the amount though - that's true generosity. I'm totally in awe.

Lyn

Lyn

Kathleen Grieve said...

Thanks again Jane for stopping by to share your story. I definitely have another book to add to my TBR pile!

Suzanne Brandyn said...

Congratulations Jane, good luck with it all. I know what it is like to have a diabetic in the family. My grandmother was one.
Good Luck.

Suz:)

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Everyone, I managed to get to your comments last night, and then my internet connection dropped out till this morning. Thank you all so much for taking the time to read and comment.

Diane, all our kids are great, aren't they! I'll see you around the blogs. :)

Colleen, yes, it can be frustrating! But a child's natural resilience helps so much, and gives us adults pause for thought. :)

Bess, thanks, because you know how much this means to me. :)

Renee, hugs to your bro-in-laws, and I hope you enjoy the book!

Bethanne, I'm glad to hear your doing so well, and I agree about leniency too - treats are not only allowed but actively encouraged!

Miss Mae, thanks for the good wishes. :)

Julie, hugs to your nephew, and thanks for your support!

Sheryl, hugs to you, I know we're in the same place with all this. Your boy is a star! Now please put Tony down, other people want to play with him too...! ;)))

Lyn, thanks! Getting the knowledge and info out there is what it's all about.

Suzanne, yes, you'll know about it. Take care of you and yours. :)

And KATHLEEN!! Thanks for letting me hog your blog! Keep doing what you do, cos you do it so well.

Please everone, put the word out, support Brenda Novak's auction, and if you buy A Different Kind of Honesty, I hope you enjoy it! Thank you.

J x

Jane x
















couldn't get back

Chiron O'Keefe said...

Thank you for making a difference in this crazy world. You're doing a wonderful thing here...

--Chiron O'Keefe