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We (They) Need the Love

August 13, 2012

Last week I met with a Joslin researcher about the transition from a pediatric endo to an adult endo.  For those of you who are thinking “why does that need to be researched?” let me explain.  Go back to when you were 18 years old, or really anywhere between 15-22 years old.  Do you remember all the changes you were going through?  Do you remember how hard it was?  Now add diabetes to that mix.  It is an underserved population of PWDs, and I am beyond happy that they would like to know more about my experience to help others in the future.

Hmm, when I was 18.  I had just left for college.  I didn’t make the tennis team and I was DETERMINED to succeed.  All by myself.  I was at a school with less than friendly people and I didn’t know how to find the friendly ones.  I was still with my pediatric endo at that time, but within one year I would change.  My A1Cs were always steadily in the 8s, and I knew how to talk diabetes.  I went in expecting a doctor who treated me just like my ped endo, but that wasn’t to be.  My old ped endo knew my speak and could get around my “yes, I’m doing great!”  This new doctor didn’t know me, so she didn’t know this, and I was doing “great!”  There are a whole log of ifs/what ifs that I can go through (and have gone through since the interview, but the things that stuck out the most were what the researcher said after the interview was over.

We talked about my current endo (who specializes in the transition time), and why there is such a problem.  He told me that there a ton of young adults who don’t see an endo because there is no one around to see them.  So many of the medical professionals who become endocrinologists do not want to see patients with T1 diabetes.  This definitely came as a shock to my system.  I understand that there are more patients with T2 diabetes out there, but that doesn’t mean that we are any less deserving of quality medical treatment.  Especially at that time of your life!  If I hadn’t had doctors and nurses that I could call/email and parents who supported me, where would I have ended up?  I don’t like to think about it.  But I do want to think about what we can do for this under-served population and is there anything that can be done to get endocrinologists to see patients T1 AND T2 diabetes?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sara permalink
    August 13, 2012 10:41 PM

    That is ridiculous! They are endocrinologist! Didn’t they know what they were getting into when they picked that specialty? You are right though, I have tried out endocrinologists who did not know how to deal with a young (empowered) type 1. I am thankful for the one I have now.

  2. mom permalink
    August 14, 2012 8:13 AM

    When you were younger, 12 or so, we had to switch endocrinologists because of health insurance. It only lasted a year or so, before we were able to return to the best pediatric endocrinologost. At that age, you liked the new doctor, because he was quite complacent with your (our) diabetes management. Our visits were very quick with no in depth questions or tests. He was surprised by the questions we put to him and asked. We were the lucky ones, in that we were able to get you back to the “best.”
    I also remember the care with which you were told it was time to find a new endo. She explained that you no longer “qualified” as a pediatric patient. But the real reason was that there were so many more children in our area with Type 1. She asked you to allow her to help those newly diagnosed children. If the numbers would have allowed it, she would have kept you as a patient. Her caring and knowledge of you was quite special.


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