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Life is Different, but Beautiful - Lisa's and Isobel's Story

IsobelI am the proud mother of a young diabetic. My daughter, Isobel, was diagnosed in 2001 when she was only 7 years old. Going back to the day she was diagnosed and the first months afterwards is not pleasant. She was in Michigan visiting her father. Her father and now step-mother brought her to the doctor to treat a yeast infection. As you can imagine, there are only a few reasons why a young child would have a yeast infection – and diabetes is one of them. Her blood was recorded around 600 and she was admitted to the hospital. I then received a phone call from my ex-husband telling me to sit down. At that moment, I was horrified just thinking of all the possibilities of what could have gone wrong. When he told me diabetes, I was dumbfounded. I didn’t know anything about it – even though my own father has Type 2. My first concern was that I was in Virginia and she was in Michigan. I had to get there. I immediately flew to Michigan. When I arrived at the hospital, I was frozen with fear. I knew I had to be strong for Isobel. When I saw her little body in the hospital bed, my initial emotion was relief. She was alive – she was ok . I had no idea what we were in for...

The meetings with the doctors and dieticians were leaving me confused. How is it possible that a dietician could ask me what she typically ate for breakfast (granola bars, French toast, pancakes, etc.) and then not make any changes to her diet? This was a major red flag to me. I am not a doctor, but I knew enough to know that a diabetic can’t process sugar or carbohydrates like someone with a functioning pancreas. I couldn’t understand how this dietician could not make adjustments to her existing diet. It caused a lot of confusion during an already very difficult time. But it would later be this confusion that catapulted us to search deeply for different answers.

The months after Isobel and I returned home to Virginia were like a nightmare. Isobel definitely showed more strength than I did! Being so young, she completely trusted me to take care of her. I remember her telling me that she was scared to go to sleep because she didn’t know if she would wake up the next morning or not. That was heart breaking – but at that moment, I vowed to make her life the best it could possibly be. No child should worry about things like that. I had to find a way to live with this disease peacefully.

We got situated with a local doctor to whom I expressed my concern over the regimen she was placed on in Michigan. I expressed concern that her blood sugar levels would go from in the 30’s to in the 400’s. I further expressed my concern that the nurses were not phased by this. This doctor wasn’t much help in fixing the situation, but he was patient with me (usually frantic and crying during appointments) and always listened to my pleas.

I was emotionally and physically exhausted – and I knew there had to be a better way. I spent every day doing research about this disease online. I read constantly and learned. After about 4 months of struggling, and a decrease from 10% A1C to only a 9.2% A1C, I confided my woes to a diabetic counselor. She led me in the direction of Dr. Bernstein, a doctor out of NY (our home state!) and a doctor who successfully treats himself for this very disease. He changed our lives for the better and we are grateful to him for the knowledge that he imparted to us.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned through this is to be thankful for everything we have. I have tried to teach Isobel to be grateful – grateful to Dr. Bernstein who has helped us achieve a 5.6% A1C and who has taught us to strive for even better than that. Grateful that this disease isn’t terminal. Grateful that she is a face who can encourage others to attack this disease head on. Isobel is stunning, bright, and HEALTHY. I couldn’t be more proud of her.

When Isobel accomplishes something in her life (a good grade, finally nailing that back hand spring that she has been working on), we don’t go out for an ice cream sundae. Instead, we stroll hand in hand, soaking in our surroundings and being thankful for life.

Life is different for us, but its working … working beautifully. I want to encourage others not to give up, not to feel hopeless – but most importantly, to strive for an A1C that is close to that of a person without diabetes.

Thank you for the opportunity to share our story. I hope that those reading will visit our website and read more of our journey at www.libertybella.com.


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Thank you for sharing your sstory. Isobel is a beautiful young girl with such strength, and lucky to have a mother who loves her so much, and takes time for her needs, time to find a doctor she deserves, time to write such a moving post.

Thank you. I'll add your blog to my list.

I wish I could have access to your doctor. My son was also diagnosed at 7 and is now 12. He's starting to have hypoglycemic seizures and we can't get his A1C down.

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