Meet a D-Mom: Melinda

by Leighann on February 22, 2010

D-Mom Blog Featured D-Mom

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.

Melinda and her son Michael

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.

Michael

Michael is the soccer player jumping about ten feet in the air! Diabetes doesn't keep him down.

Meet other D-Moms and D-Dads each Monday.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Wendy February 22, 2010 at 12:35 am

What an inspiration!

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2 Rachel February 22, 2010 at 4:54 am

Michael is such an inspiration! I wish that we lived closer so that I could introduce Tristan to him. I believe that he would have a huge impact on Tristan.

You Melinda are also a wonderful source of support. I love our tweets and I love your outlook.

Reply

3 Michael Hoskins February 22, 2010 at 6:59 am

Michael is the kind of diabetic we, as kids and teens, hope we can be. Sounds like he’s as thankful for the D as you can be. That’s a good thing, and hopefully it lasts into his college years and adulthood – that can only make it easier to manage.

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4 Joanne February 22, 2010 at 7:34 pm

What a great role model! And as a soccer player, I love the pic! That boy can jump!

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5 Amy February 22, 2010 at 9:07 pm

LOVED IT! I love to hear stories of older kids and adults who made it through those tough early years!!

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6 Nan February 22, 2010 at 10:15 pm

i hope you know, Melinda, how highly i think of you and Michael!! you’ve been so generous with your help. i know Michael’s life is going to touch so many. already, he helps kids realize how high their potentials can be. i love your stories and Michael’s inspirations!! : )

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7 Lorraine March 1, 2010 at 10:21 am

Melinda and Michael simply rock!

Thank you Melinda, yet again, for sharing with us. You have no idea how meaningful it is to take a peek into our future through your and Michael’s eyes. Michael is so inspiring. His attitude is admirable and one I can only hope at this point, that Caleb will grow up to have. Thanks for being there and showing us how it should be done!

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8 Anita Bashan March 6, 2010 at 1:46 pm

It is so close to our story!
Thanks for sharing

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