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January 19, 2002

Behavior

Question from England:

My 11 year son, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes two days before my mother died of pancreatic cancer, did well for the first six months, but since then he's said that he knows how to put himself out of his misery, and that he thinks he hasn't long to live. He won't inject any more, and we fight for any tests, etc. He has really bad stomach aches, and headaches as well. My mother's deaths cared us both, so we are thinking all sorts of things.Could there be something wrong? I tried to get help from the hospital, and to get someone to talk too, but they said, it wasn't a mental problem. What do you think?

Answer:

It sounds as if your family has suffered many losses recently, both the death of your mother and your child’s diagnosis of type 1 diabetes (now needing to take insulin to maintain his health). It is not surprising that your son is struggling. Please find a mental health professional that will work with your family, both around the loss of your mother, and around the frustrations and demands of living with diabetes. If your diabetes team is not able to help you find someone, ask your pediatrician for guidance.

JWB