Taking a step back has helped my emotional health’
‘When my now 22-year-old son, Kevin, was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of 11, he was so ill he had to be hospitalised,’ recalls Dinaaz Lentin, 61.
‘It was incredibly stressful and I was worried and exhausted from loss of sleep from having to check his BGLs overnight. But at least I was in charge and knew he was OK.
‘Now that he’s a older, I often feel anxious because I don’t know whether he’s taking lifestyle risks. At one point, when he was a teenager, I discovered that he was keeping his insulin levels high to ensure he didn’t have a hypo in front of his friends – this could have caused damage to his vital organs in the long term.
‘A few years ago, I received good advice from a diabetes educator.
She said that instead of being in conflict with my son, I should let him get some of those teenager activities out of his system.
So, tried to put the focus on minimising harm. If he wanted to do something like eat high-carb junk food, I ensured he adjusted his insulin and did a reading before and a couple of hours after eating.
‘When you have a child with diabetes you feel like the enemy, but you’re only acting out of love and concern. Instead of showing anger, which I sometimes used to do, would walk away until
I felt calmer and that’s been far better for my emotional health.’