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Our Journey with Juvenile Diabetes - From Despair and Back

Our lives were dramatically changed during the summer of 2001. It was then that my daughter was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes. From the day of diagnosis, most of what I heard about her condition from doctors and dieticians didn't make any sense to me. Constant red flags were going off in my mind regarding the unrestricted path they were sending me down. We followed the ADA (American Diabetes Association) for 4 months during which time Isobel's blood sugar levels were completely uncontrollable and highly erratic. Life was extremely difficult and stressful. I wondered every night when I went to bed if I would wake up to an unconscious (or worse!) child. I used to set my alarm for the middle of the night just to check her blood and make sure she was ok. More likely than not, her blood was dangerously low and needed to be treated. The rollercoaster with juvenile diabetes was not only with blood sugars, it was with our emotions as well.

From the diagnosis, I began educating myself on this disease. I read everything I could find about type 1 diabetes, I spent endless hours on the internet researching and studying. To this day, I read all that I can - there's always new research to consider.

Through my research, I knew what the statistics were, I knew what the diabetic complications were. I knew what the future possibly held for Isobel and I was determined to continue researching until I found the answers that I was looking for.

The day that changed our lives for the better was the day that a school nurse intervened on my behalf. During Isobel's 2nd grade school year, I would go to the school every day at lunch time to give her her insulin shot. She was apprehensive to have the nurse do it, so I made the trip to school every day so that Isobel was more comfortable. Because of this, I would see the nurse everyday, we would talk about Isobel's condition and the inconsistencies of the disease. Many days I'd end up staying a few extra minutes because she would listen to my fears and understood well due to her profession. I wasn't eating properly, I wasn't getting enough sleep - therefore I was physically and emotionally drained. She sensed this and suggested I call a Diabetic Counselor. I reluctantly took the phone number and set it aside. The day did come when I called the number on the paper and was connected to a lady who finally pointed me in the right direction. After I told the counselor my frustrations about the current treatment methods, she began telling me the same things I had heard for the last few months. I interrupted her and told her that I didn't think she was hearing me properly - she was silent. After a moment, she changed the course of the conversation -- which changed the course of our lives. She said, "I am hearing you and I think you should contact Dr. Bernstein."

After some research, we did contact Dr. Bernstein. After speaking with the receptionist, I was convinced that this was the treatment method that I wanted to try. We made an appointment and waited impatiently for about 2 months before we could be seen. During this time, I read his book, and was hooked on what I thought could be the answer for us.

At Isobel's diagnosis, her A1C was 10.3%, when we saw Dr. Bernstein, it was a 9.2% (after following the ADA for 4 months). After being on his treatment for only 3 months, she was at a 7.1% and now she is a 5.6%. Our personal goal is to be close to 5.0%.

I can only speak from my own experience, that Dr. Bernstein and his treatment plan for Isobel has changed our lives for the better. We now have a simple plan to follow and it works. I encourage you to explore the possibilities that are available for the treatment of diabetes. Our journey with juvenile diabetes has not been without severe opposition and criticism from people within the family who disagree with my choice. But the effort to fight for what I thought was right has paid off with Isobel's health. She is thriving in all areas of her life - academically, socially, emotionally and physically.

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Children with juvenile diabetes DO have the chance to be normal children - but that doesn't mean they can eat what the others do - it means they can experience the joy of living without complications. Now that's worth the fight!


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