August 24, 2012

A Mother's Story

“I truly cannot recall that anybody told me that he had Diabetes - the fear of losing him was then very real to me!”

Most people know that symptoms like weight loss, fatigue and loss of appetite can mean diabetes, but what if you didn’t know what symptoms and triggers to look for? That’s the situation Ronel Hentschel found herself in almost four years ago, when her son Francois, who was 2 years old, was experiencing symptoms of diabetes. Now Ronel is a true caregiver for her son with a vast knowledge of Diabetes. On Twitter she shares information about diabetes solutions, education and healthy living. In today’s interview, we talk with Ronel about the challenges of learning about diabetes, how social media helped her, and how Francois has adapted to living with diabetes.

1) Can you tell us the story of when your son was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes?

Francois was only 2 years old, (he is now almost 6). We were posted to Eastern Europe. He started losing weight, stopped eating, and had the typical symptoms. I unfortunately had no knowledge of diabetes. Francois was misdiagnosed for almost two months. One day he was just so weak, that he couldn’t walk! I flew to South Africa, where he had a PH of 6.9 and severe ketoacidosis. He was in ICU for a few days. I truly cannot recall that anybody told me that he had diabetes - the fear of losing him was then very real to me! We were then transferred to an amazing hospital, with a pediatric endocrinologist. Only then did I start to realize what happened to Francois.

2) Can you talk about the process of learning about diabetes? What was difficult about it?

I can recall being totally overwhelmed by all these new terms and numbers! I quickly realized that I held the key to my son’s acceptance of diabetes and his life expectancy - the door that I needed to unlock was knowledge! Our whole life changed completely! Francois went on a pump, which made our life so much easier. Carb counting was probably the easiest for me initially. My biggest challenge was uncontrolled blood glucose levels due to emotions. The mere fact of going to a birthday party or sleeping over at grandma's house had a huge impact on his blood glucose! My other challenge was getting him to eat carbs and his loss of appetite and his total hypoglycemic unawareness.

3) Has social media helped you learn more about Diabetes and how to help your son manage it? If so, what outlets do you use? Are you a part of any online communities?

Social media played a huge part in my search for knowledge! I am making use of twitter and Facebook as well as diabetes journals to empower us as a family. I follow JDRF, IDF, JDCA, parenting diabetic kids and diabetic solutions South Africa on Facebook. I also follow more than 400 role players on twitter and still learn every day from organizations like you!

4) How has Francois adapted to living with Diabetes?

Francois's adjustment was great! I saw myself as a type 3 diabetic, which is the mother of a type 1. It becomes your diabetes to manage! His biggest challenge was last year. I came into his room one night, and he was crying nonstop! He said he didn't want to be diabetic and that we had to remove the pump! We started play therapy the following day - it came out then that the children in his kindergarten told him he is diabetic as his mom gave him too many sweets. Our biggest challenge is to educate other people and children his age so that they don't discriminate against him. Francois has become much more assertive and will talk to children and adults about the different types of diabetes as well as the myths! For that I am very proud of him! Francois is on a pump with continuous glucose monitoring, this is my peace of mind. It is amazing how a 5 year old can interpret the graph!

5) What are some resources, books, etc. that you would recommend to parents whose child has recently been diagnosed with diabetes? 

The pink panther series of books are great! I would recommend parents to make use of social media. Go to Calling All Types on Twitter and see which institutions they are following. Learn from people who know and not people who think they know. Francois is one of so many children in South Africa with type 1 diabetes, I hope and pray for a cure and truly believe that solutions are coming!

The decision to participate is always yours and your feedback is always wanted. At CallingAllTypes, we believe finding the right online resources to better manage your diabetes should be a whole lot easier! So sign up and be a part of our growing online health movement. Once you've joined, stay connected with us through Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and YouTube.

August 20, 2012

Because Betes Will Not Stop Us

Jeff Neitzel, author of the blog, “Betespora, Because Betes Will Not Stop Us,” is an avid social media user and supports many social media online initiatives. So being that Calling All Types is all about supporting online efforts to better manage diabetes and health in general, we thought that Jeff would be a good person to chat with about his social media experience. In this interview Jeff also talks about clinical research and understanding what clinical trials are all about. So, as part of reading this blog, we’re also asking people to chime in on what they would want to learn more about when it comes to clinical research. Leave us a comment here and we’ll compile a list of all your comments for next week’s blog article.

1) For people who are new to the Diabetes Online Community, can you tell us a little bit about the DOC, and the programs, Diabetes Social Media Advocacy (@DiabetesSocMed), Diabetes Daily (@diabetesdaily), and TuDiabetes (@DiabetesHF)

From my perspective, the Diabetes Online Community (aka the DOC) is one way that we, people who are touched by Diabetes, can rejoice in the fact that we are not alone in the Diabetes game of life.  To me, the DOC is most visible via Twitter.

Diabetes Social Media Advocacy - -

Diabetes Social Media Advocacy organizes the weekly DSMA Twitter chats.  I try to participate in the DSMA chats every week.

TuDiabetes is organized by the Diabetes Hands Foundation.  TuDiabetes is an online community that feels a little bit like Facebook to the best of my recollection.  I am no longer a member though.  So, I can't really say more about it.  TuDiabetes was my first step into the DOC though, an excellent first step at that.

I've still never participated as a member of Diabetes Daily, but it's been on my TO DO list. In any case, it's a resource I like to keep on hand because of the useful content there.

2) When did you decide to start a blog and what do you hope people will learn from reading your blog? What has been the most rewarding part of having a blog?

Originally... Sometime back in 2008 or 2009. I ended up ditching it for lack of time though.

However, I re-started my original blog ( last year (2011) for fun.  Finally, I moved its Diabetes-related content to earlier this year (2012).

The most rewarding part of having a blog (specifically one for Diabetes) is the simple knowing that I've got a place where I can think aloud if/when I need to do so.  Now, if others read and get something useful out of it to help them with their personal D-Quests, all the better.

At the end of the day, I hope my blog can be a venue where I can participate in important Diabetes-related work that needs to be done.  I figure it's my job to do it since I live it.

3) The title of your blog is, "Betespora, Because Betes Will Not Stop Us." What does Betespora mean? Can you share some tips you do to make sure Diabetes does not stop you?

Betespora is a little wordplay that digs into what Diabetes means to me...  Betes comes from "Diabetes" and "Livabetes" (regardless of its type), and Spora comes from "Diaspora" (as in the movement of people, ideas, and culture as connectors) to make Betespora.  From point A to B to C and beyond…

Betespora is about the perpetual nature of we, the Betes people, and our ability to rock the boat for the betterment of us all.  The notion of "boat rocking" is a good thing in my mind, but none of us can rock D boat alone.  It takes a team of committed boat rockers to shake off old ideas whose time has passed.  What is life without a little boat rocking and wordplay!?.  Because I will not let my Type 1 Betes stop me from living my life!

NOTE: I am not a medical professional, and this is not medical advice.

The tip or tips I have come from an attitude perspective.  Fitting for me perhaps since I can easily get depressed about things.  Apparently, I'm not the only D-Peep out there who has had dark days either.

So, a positive attitude counts for a lot in my day-to-day life here.  From this, I find the ability to see a fun and lighthearted way to think about Diabetes stuff.  It's a choice I've made to give myself a bit more D-Power than I might have otherwise.

Regardless, it sure helps me survive and thrive despite Diabetes.  Being able to poke some fun at this mad Diabetes life stuff now and again, alone or among friends when appropriate, has proven a valuable coping tool for me here.

4) Have you ever participated in a clinical trial for Diabetes? If so, don't tell us the name of the trial, but if you could talk about your experience that would be great. If not, why and would you be open to participating in a clinical trial?

No, I've not participated in a clinical trial related to Diabetes.  That said, I'd certainly be open to participating in one.  The why is simple in my mind.

I mean, I live with Diabetes every single second of every single minute of every single day.  I qualify by virtue of Diabetes I figure.  So, others benefitting from this fact seems a no-brainer to me.

Granted, I don't know anything about clinical trials or how to learn more about them in the general sense. So, I think I'd need to go to clinical trial school or something.

5) Can you talk about some of the connections you've made with other people with Diabetes through social media outlets and for someone who is new to using social media to learn about Diabetes, where would you suggest they start?

Well, I've been doing this social media (via Twitter mostly) stuff for about 3 years now.  The neat thing is... When I started, I had no idea it would prove to be so valuable in the human connection with other D-Peeps sense. No idea at all. For me at least, this has proven to be life changing in so many ways. The "positive attitude" thing I mention above sprang from this source indirectly. So, that counts as a win in my book.

Besides that, the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) has really developed into a point of D-Power in my mind. This is by virtue of the connections. Now, most of my connections with fellow D-Peeps in the DOC are entirely virtual. I've never met most of them in real life (IRL), but that doesn't diminish the power of this community in the slightest I believe.

I've been lucky enough to meet a handful of D-Peeps from the DOC IRL though.  I consider many people from the DOC, whether I've met them IRL or not, to be true friends. We are a massive family of Humans touched by Diabetes in one way or another. This is truly awesome in my mind (and in reality as well).

Somehow, I feel like nothing can stop us.

My suggestions for a social media newbie would be to just jump in. Social media, like life, is a process. Putting one foot in front of the other is a good way to start. I think the easiest way is for a new person to start is to get a Twitter account and test the waters. DSMA Twitter chats are on Wednesday nights at 9:00 PM Eastern Time. Follow and check out the #DSMA hashtag.

The decision to participate is always yours and your feedback is always wanted. At Calling All Types, we believe finding the right online resources to better manage your diabetes should be a whole lot easier! So sign up and be a part of our growing online health movement. Once you’ve joined, stay connected with us through Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and YouTube.

August 8, 2012

Healing Diabetes

We first found Charlie, author of the blog, as a follower of ours on Twitter. On Charlie’s profile description he states he is, “Just a regular guy decided to research and try treatments until I find how to cure my Diabetes Type 1.” With a description like that, we had to find out more. We here at Calling All Types commend Charlie for sharing such deep insights into his treatment decisions. Here is our conversation with Charlie.

1) Talk to us about Healing Diabetes. When did you start your blog?

It all started almost five years ago when I decided to start a blog. I wanted to write about my experience of searching a cure for my diabetes, share the knowledge I was acquiring in the process and maybe help create a community where other people with diabetes could interact with each other, share experiences, doubts, get answers to questions… but all with a possible healing as goal.
From the moment I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, 14 years ago now, I decided that I would search a way to heal my body. I am still searching, but I stumbled upon a lot of different treatments, foods and products that can help you to better control your blood sugar or even reverse this condition in some cases of type 2 diabetes.

2) How has social media helped you with managing diabetes and engage with other people like you?

When I started the blog, social media was not so widely used, so I guess the blog itself was presenting me with possibilities to interact with other people that were confronted with the same problem. I was getting a lot of support from my readers who were encouraging me to continue with my search and blog about it.
I recently joined Twitter and Google Plus, although in Google Plus there are not many “normal people” (not techies ;-)) yet. I mainly use them to keep myself updated about diabetes and other related topics.

3) Talk about the 30 Day Diabetes Cure? What drew you to the program?

As I’ve mentioned before, my goal is to search until I find how to cure my diabetes, so I try, read and experience everything that I find to better control my health or even reverse the disease. One of those programs was the 30 Day Diabetes Cure by Dr. Ripich, co-authored by Jim Healthy. I ordered the book, read it and started to apply it. I found this program to be very informative and very practical, giving you a step-by-step process to apply all that information and new habits.

One of the things that I’ve learned from the people commenting in my blog is that they have problems following a diet, or knowing exactly what to eat and what not to eat. Or they want to loose weight but they don’t want to starve. I think this book is great for people with these kinds of problems. And considering the 75+ comments posted under my thorough review of the book, people are getting excellent results with it! (I should make clear here, that it is especially aimed at type 2 diabetes, and that’s probably why I didn’t get the expected results)
In a nutshell, the program is not rocket science, and nothing new, but it is very practical and successful.

4) You were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 23. You say on your website that you “sank into depression.” What helped you accept your diagnosis and raise your quality of life?

The first time I visited and endocrinologist it was horrible. I didn’t know a thing about diabetes and I was shocked by what the doctor was telling me. Without apparent feelings or empathy towards me, he told me that I had to live with this disease for the rest of my live, that I had to change a few things and learn new habits, but that I could live an almost normal life. I guess it was the way he said that which made me sink into a deep depression for the following month.

The only thing that motivated me and increased the quality of my life was reading about the different possibilities to treat the disease, most of them alternative ways, but with proven results of success in some cases. I was convinced that if other people had reversed their diabetes, I could achieve it as well.
And when I started to blog about all this and receive comments of people telling me how my information was helping them with their disease, I felt that I was contributing in a way which felt really good as well. As they say, if you need help, help other people with worse problems first and your problems will seem less important.
Besides this, I’m a very disciplined person and I’ve always taken care of my diet, I exercised regularly and controlled my blood sugar levels carefully. I guess these three things have helped me achieve the quality of life that I have now. Still with insulin, but healthy.

5) What advice would you give to a 20 year old that was just diagnosed with type 1 diabetes?

First of all I would tell him to allow himself to be sad, angry or whatever emotion he’s feeling the first days after having been diagnosed - but not for too long. Then I would suggest to become acquainted with the new diet and get to know how his body responds to each meal. And, thirdly, I would recommend him to search for a solution for his condition and socialize with other like-minded people, be that online or offline.

I always thought that our mind/body knows more than we think. I wrote a post on my blog some months ago about 23 possible causes of diabetes that I found during my research. If you read them and you get a gut-feeling about one of them in particular, I suggest you to pay attention to it and see if there is something you can do about it.

Our health is our own responsibility.

The decision to participate is always yours and your feedback is always wanted. At CallingAllTypes, we believe finding the right online resources to better manage your diabetes should be a whole lot easier! So sign up and be a part of our growing online health movement. Once you've joined, stay connected with us through Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and YouTube.