Elissa Renouf’s story
If you met us you would see five beautiful, happy, healthy, well loved children and two adults that love each other very much and live for their children. If you delved further you would see how determined we are to keep our family this way even if we are constantly handed challenging health issues.
In 1992 not long after our first child, Sam, was born my husband Steve developed type 1 diabetes. He was only 22 and was playing professional Rugby League for the Brisbane Broncos and for Australia. His main concern was to play football again at this elite level. And he did, mainly due to his attitude and by keeping a very strict control of his levels through diet and insulin.
Today, of my five beautiful children, four boys and a girl, three also have diabetes. All the children were happy and healthy until May 2002 when 3-year-old Charlie was diagnosed, then in 2003 Billy, 8 at the time, showed signs. Over the next few months we tested the other children and by October 2003 noticed Freddie, our youngest, was developing diabetes. I found this a particularly hard time. Why couldn’t I stop this from happening?
Managing diabetes 24 hours a day is a way of life for us. We do allow the kids to eat almost anything they want, in moderation, but if their blood glucose level doesn’t allow this we would give them a choice: eat the food and have a needle or don’t eat the food. Billy knew if he had a high blood glucose level at school to ring and find out how much insulin to give himself. The two little boys learnt that if they wanted food outside meal times they sometimes tested themselves and brought me a needle, as they know if they eat at that level they will go high. Steve and the boys are now on insulin pumps, so whenever they eat it is as easy as testing themselves and pushing a few buttons to administer the insulin.
I very rarely have to perform any ketone tests for the children, I prefer to treat high blood glucose levels immediately by giving quick acting insulin. I have studied the kids’ levels through writing everything down including the time of meal, what was eaten, how many serves, the GI, insulin given and activity done. Through doing this I have quite a good understanding how the insulin works in each of their bodies.
I am not sure why so many things have happened to us but I am now trying to make a difference by helping other people who have been affected by diabetes. I have started my own business designing and developing funky, bright, practical ‘Diabete-ezy’ products (Management Plans, Hypo Sticker labels, a Dia-Logit record book, Test-wipes and Ezy-fit cases) that will help others manage diabetes. We have had a fantastic response to our range which we sell direct from our website http://www.diabete-ezy.com/ and through pharmacies and Diabetes Australia.
As diabetes affects a huge population, I just hope that I can be of help in spreading the word that managing your diabetes and being positive has so many benefits. If we as a family can be positive with what challenges we have been handed, there is no reason why other families can’t!
Send us your GI success story.