I met Melinda on Twitter and instantly liked her. She has an ETSY business where she sells her watercolor paintings as greeting cards.
If you would like to connect with Melinda, you too can find her on Twitter; she’s @notsostilllifes.
Don’t skip to the end, but you will be amazed when you see the last photo of her son Michael.
I’d like to introduce you to Melinda.
Tell me something about your child.
Michael is an awesome athlete. He competes nationally in volleyball, and plays both varsity soccer and volleyball at his high school.
How old was your child when diagnosed?
Michael was 5 when he was diagnosed.
How was your child diagnosed?
It was a mom thing.
Michael had his Kindergarten check up in April. In late June I noticed he was thirstier than usual. Having 3 sons, we NEVER used public restrooms anywhere, but one day we were at a garden center and he was running from the drinking fountain to the bathroom.
He had never been a bed wetter but he had accidents 2 nights in a row. I asked his preschool teacher if she noticed anything, and she said no. My husband didn’t either. I looked up bed wetting in a previously trained child, and there it was: Diabetes.
We made an appointment right away. Our pediatrician said that usually kids that have diabetes are really sick, and have lost weight etc. and Michael looked great. She was shocked when she tested his urine and made the diagnosis. He didn’t even need an IV at the hospital as he had no ketones. His BG was 570.
How has your child’s life changed since diagnosis?
Michael is now 18. He doesn’t remember life without diabetes. We were lucky enough to get to go to Bearskin Meadows Family Camp 6 weeks after he was diagnosed. They tossed us a lifeline. We were told to let him be a kid first and a diabetic second.
Michael has always embraced his diabetes, I think because of all of the neat young adults with diabetes we met way back then. Michael feels that having diabetes has made him a stronger, more determined person.
Michael works as a counselor at a soccer camp. He has been so happy to be the coach for several young kids with diabetes. Their parents have left them for the first time ever at a camp because Michael is there. He is very proud of that.
How has your family’s life changed since diagnosis?
Our kids were 8, 5, and 3 when Michael was diagnosed. They had never had free reign with food so our diet really didn’t have to change. Daniel and Dylan have always been terrific supporters of Michael and understood that sometimes his needs would have to come first.
The way his diabetes is managed has changed a lot over the years. He was on shots of R and NPH at first, and his meter took a huge drop of blood and 45 seconds for the reading!! Now, a combo of Lantus injection and Humalog through his pump makes things much easier. Diabetes is 24-7 for all of us. After almost 13 years it is just our way of life. A big change will come next fall when Michael goes away to college.
How do you manage diabetes?
Michael takes 24 U of Lantus by injection every morning, and uses a Minimed Paradigm 722 pump with Humalog. He has to unclip quite often for multiple sports, and the Lantus has provided a great way to maintain basal insulin even when unclipped. He tests quite often a day too.
How has connecting online helped you cope with diabetes?
Connecting online with other D-moms and other people with diabetes has been incredible. Talking to people who “get it” provides so much support and information.
What would you tell parents of a newly diagnosed child?
If the family is in California I tell them to get to Bearskin Meadows Family Camp!! IT made a huge difference in our lives. I would also tell them to join the Diabetes Online Community for the love and support provided there.
What do you know now that you wish you had known at diagnosis?
I now know that Michael’s childhood has been happy and healthy WITH diabetes. When he was diagnosed I had no idea what life would be like.
He wrote the following poem in 8th grade:
Without you, I would not be who I am today.
Without you, I would not know the meaning of real work,
Would not have been forced to grow up so young,
Would not have had to go through those tough times,
Or had those amazing experiences.
Without you, I would not have that chip on my shoulder,
Pushing me along.
I would not have that constant thought,
Or such a strong conscience.
Without you, I would not be Michael Vahradian,
So thank you diabetes.
Meet other D-Moms and D-Dads each Monday.