November is Diabetes Awareness Month. According to the Center for Disease Control, anyone of any age can be diagnosed with Diabetes 1, but the peak age is around 13 with some diagnosed much earlier and some much later. An endocrinologist once explained to me that "the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin which is needed for the body's cells to take up glucose and produce the energy we need. When appropriate amounts of glucose are removed from the blood, the blood sugar levels remain normal." Diabetes I is the condition that results from a deficit of insulin. Not long ago the young daughter of a friend was diagnosed with the disorder. As unwelcome as that news was for her and her daughter, the whole family and their professional support system came together to educate themselves and others.
It isn't easy for anyone who has diabetes, but it is especially difficult for children and teens. While everyone around them can enjoy unlimited amounts of junk food, sugary soft drinks, and candy, the person with diabetes must limit their intake of such treats and other carbohydrates. This makes a kid feel different at a time when fitting in is so important. Also, needle sticks to check blood sugar levels are not very pleasant. For many, insulin is given by injection; that isn't anyone's favorite thing either but without insulin a person cannot survive. As serious as diabetes is, it is a condition that can usually be controlled; many people live long, productive, and healthy lives.
Besides information that underscores what is received from the care team, books written by and about people of all ages with diabetes provide encouragement and reassurance. Knowing the coping strategies that work for others provides the child with Diabetes the tools needed for successful management.
I asked my friend if she and her daughter could recommend helpful books for kids on the topic. They responded with favorite titles; some of the books on their lists are in Nashville Public Library's catalog. Check it out!