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Kids First, Diabetes Second offers invaluable advice and support for parents

Published: 8/7/14
10 readers recommend

By Alasdair Wilkins

Twitter summary: D-Mom offers advice and support in Kids First, #Diabetes Second – a complete guide to raising kids with #t1d

Short summary: Blogger Leighann Calentine of D-Mom comes from the heart in her book, “Kids First, Diabetes Second,” which covers the diagnosis story of her daughter with type 1 diabetes and offers a lifestyle guide (that ranges from nutrition, finding support, and being a diabetes advocate) for those raising a child with diabetes.

In the opening chapters of her most valuable book, Kids First, Diabetes Second, Leighann Calentine – the blogger behind the popular site D-Mom – recounts in gripping detail the day that her then three-year-old daughter, Quinn, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Ms. Calentine recalls the early signs that something was wrong, the life-altering phone call from a doctor informing her of the diagnosis, and the harrowing 180-mile journey from their home in southern Illinois to the children’s hospital in St. Louis.

The book begins with this story because, as Ms. Calentine explains, all her conversations with other parents of children with diabetes have taught her that talking about these first few world-changing days can help people come to understand their new reality.

Kids First, Diabetes Second aims to be that helping hand. Its purpose is not to scare, but to offer hope: No matter how difficult things may seem in the beginning, they will get better. That’s the amazing reassurance that the book offers; as Ms. Calentine moves into offering advice on everything from managing diabetes at school or on vacation to planning meals or dealing with the flu, she always speaks from experience.

For those looking to use Kids First, Diabetes Second as a reference, the book is helpfully divided into 16 chapters touching on all aspects of the diabetes experience, moving from the most immediate concerns like nutrition and daily management to more advanced topics like building a support system, offering comfort and hope to children that they are not going through this alone, and getting involved as a diabetes advocate. The back of the book includes a detailed list of resources that Ms. Calentine specifically recommends, ranging from the most illuminating books and blogs to the most helpful organizations.

Nearly every page has a bright green box featuring a helpful, to-the-point tip; Ms. Calentine also brings in a number of guest contributors to write little sections touching on aspects of life with diabetes that she is less familiar with, including managing athletic activity, dealing with Celiac disease and gluten allergies, finding the right babysitter, and many more.

Kids First, Diabetes Second is a most valuable resource for any overwhelmed parent looking to cope with a child’s diagnosis and we recommend that parents who haven’t read it should run not walk to get a copy!    

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