Diabetes and healthy living for my family

Medtronic Champion Cheryl and family

Cheryl is not only a person with diabetes and Medtronic employee, she's also a busy mom with three kids. Today she shares her insight on the impact a diagnosis can have on a family, specifically how her diabetes has changed the way she has raised her children. Read on, then let us know what you think in the comments! 

As an only child, my childhood household (to put it bluntly) revolved around, well, ME! When I was diagnosed at age 5 it wasn't hard for everyone to put on a healthier hat and switch to a more diabetic-friendly lifestyle. Back in the 1980's that meant that the only syrup we had was sugar free, everyone drank diet soda, and juice was more like medicine- really only consumed when treating a low. It wasn't until I married my husband that I quickly learned someone "might" want another type of soda in the house! After having two children it became apparent that all four of my housemates where not going to live as people with diabetes. 

I often joke that my children are "raised with diabetes." They bring small bottled waters to snack time instead of sugary juice drinks and my husband rolls his eyes when he sees me packing little bags of fruit for their holiday parties. All kidding aside, I have found that there is a great benefit to having a family member who has diabetes! 

My family lives with the motto "best choice for our bodies" and "special treats." I think that it is important that everyone make good choices, but allow themselves those "treats." The key is being aware and not letting the treats take over. Here are a few suggestions from my house to yours:

  • As the resident person with diabetes, I drink diet sodas. Since I know how many carbs are in juices, sports drinks, etc. the rest of my family does half water and half juice/lemonade/sports drink to help cut down on carbs and sugar while still having the real thing.
  • I encourage my family to start every snack with a healthier, lower carb option. Eat an orange first and if you are still hungry then have a few crackers.
  • We love to go out for ice cream, but we pick a local frozen yogurt place that offers nutritional facts so I can correctly bolus.
  • Foods like pizza or Chinese can be a killer of people with diabetes, but that doesn't mean your family has to live without. Opt for thin crust pizza and veggie style Asian dishes to help beat the battle with your blood sugars and give your family a healthy perk as well.

My children, husband, family and friends are coming with built-in education into a healthy diet and lifestyle but the key is finding a good balance. The beauty to living with diabetes is that you lead a healthier lifestyle and the benefit to wearing the insulin pump is that it allows you to be able to eat some "fun" foods every now and again.

[Originally published 2013-02-12. Updated 2024-04-19.]

- Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems. - Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.
Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps
- Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day. - Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.


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