January 6, 2002
Question from Derry, New Hampshire, USA:
My almost eight year old son has had type�1 diabetes since the age of four, and my 11 year old daughter was recently (the past three months) diagnosed. What are some ways to help a single mom cope and handle it all? Sometimes the stress is overwhelming.
There are really two aspects to the issue of ‘coping’. The first is material, and I expect that you may already have contacted the State’s Department of Social Services to see if you are eligible for Medicaid or the State CHIP program (Child Health Insurance Program) [ED: that is, if you don’t have private health insurance to cover costs]. The next step would be to see if the children might be able to get their routine care from special Diabetes Care Team which includes not only a doctor but a dietitian, a nurse educator, and a medical social worker. The local office of the American Diabetes Association may be able to assist in finding such a team. and it helps if there is 24 hour 7 days a week hour telephone support and a fax system for reporting blood sugars. If this is not possible, you might consider at least an annual visit to a diabetes center.
Another step is to have a good reference manual. Several of these are listed on this site. We also offer opportunities to join other parents in the Chat Rooms, and indeed this may be possible on the local scene.
Finally, I think that you should take some comfort from the immense research effort that is being made to expand islet cell transplantation with a variety of surrogate cells such as genetically modified or stem cells and to explore the ways for achieving tolerance with the need of long term immunosuppression. In the interim, there continues to be new insulins, new regimens of administering insulin, and new ways of measuring blood sugars that are making the burden a little easier.
[Editor’s comment: Also, see Books for Parents, Adults and Older Kids and Books and Videos for Children and Teens.