does anyone have any advice to give me that would help me know more about helping my grandmother?

By michelle2385 Latest Reply 2012-02-03 16:40:50 -0600
Started 2012-01-07 23:22:56 -0600

thanks to everyone for accepting me , i really joined this website for my grandmother is a diabetic and she is 68 years old and we found out this past thursday her kidneys are only fuctioning 9 % and they want her to dialysis. Well i just recently moved in to take care of her and i wanted to know more about diabetes and understand it more and be able to cook for her and so her that being this bad of a diabetic doesnt mean you cant eat or drink anything. And also she is having and i am having a hard time understanding dialysis, she is not sure if she should or should not do dialysis, so if any of you can give me any info on any of this please send it to me even if it is from personal ecperience.
My grandmother is type 2 diabetic i believe, she is on the insullin shot , her dosage is pretty high i believe it is 60 or 70 units twice a day, she is not very phsyically active, she has had several sergeries on one of her legs that she broke to years ago and so since then she has not be really phsycally able to be active like she use to . Ever since she has found out that she is a diabetic she never started eating like she needed to and maintaing her blood sugar.

41 replies

michelle2385 2012-01-09 12:51:02 -0600 Report

You are fantastic!
one of my prayers have been answered! Thanks to all of you who have been praying for me and the rest of my family for my grandmother!
just wanted to let all you know a new updated on my grandmother, this morning she woke up and decided that she is going to go through doing the dialysis treatments. she said she knows its the right choice to make she is just scared but that she has to do it for herself and give it ago, and the decision came by all of you who have helped with info and advice and her family so she said now she has alot more strength that has made her be able to make her choice. so we are going to get her a new appointment with the dr. sooner than feb 3rd and get her preped and ready for dialysis. i will still keep you all posted every step we take because i know i have you all here standing with us . so thanks to everyone . my grandmother sends her love and blessing to all of you my new friends and i consider you all more than just friends. just wanted to take a quick moment to let everyone know the good knews

jayabee52 2012-01-09 13:45:00 -0600 Report

Praise the Lord for answer to prayer!

I will continue to pray for her and for you all.

There is a lot of work to be done getting her prepped for the treatments, not the least of which is the decision of which form of dialysis to use. Here ~ is something from WebMD which tells about the two types of dialysis and gives the pros and cons of each type. Pay close attention to the part of the discussion whidh is entitled "medical information", your information" and "wise health decision". You may want to print these out and let grandmother read and ponder it all before Dr's appointment (A renal specialist?) and take the printout with you to the appointment in case you need to refer to it.

Also write down all your questions for the Dr. I have found it good to type the questions into a word processor and print out one copy for the Dr (I give the Dr's copy to the nurse at the intake interview and vital signs reading to include in the medical charts so Dr knows there will be some questions and what they are. I also print out another for me. You may print out for as many people as you have in the exam room.

Then write the Dr's answers to your questions in the place next to your question, so you can remember it easily later on.

Thanks for updating us on her decision! That is really GREAT news.

for better health to you and yours


michelle2385 2012-01-09 14:23:37 -0600 Report

thank you so much . thats one of the things we have done today is make a list of questions to ask her doctor. i will print out the stuff i found on webmd that you told me to look at. and that is a very great idea to make enough copies of the questions to ask the doctor for everyone in the exam room. thank you so much james. you have been alot alot of help

jayabee52 2012-01-09 15:02:03 -0600 Report

I am glad my experiences over the years and my reading has been helpful. Sometimes the things I went through were not fun, but they are "redeemed" and made worthwhile when me passing them along and they help others.

michelle2385 2012-01-08 19:09:53 -0600 Report

I just wanted to thank all of you for the advice you have given me it has helped me so much and it has put my grandmother in a much more positive mood and changed her attitude. The other thing is she is still struggling to make the decision to do dialysis or not , me and the rest of her family really want her to , but she is scared that it is going to shorten her life alot quicker then by not doing it. I told the rest of the family that ultimately it has to be her decision , so thats why i joined this site so that i can show her that there are younger people than her doing dialysis and it is helping them. And i figured if i can change her diet by just cooking different and getting in charge of what she puts in her mouth than it might then it might help her twice as much, and by everyone in the house going by the diet than she is not forced to eat one thing while others eat something she really wants. But again thank you all so much because every bit of info and advice i am getting from you all if going right back to her and the same with everything i am researching for her. you guys are great supporters, i am very thankful i found and joined this site. god bless to all and all will always be in my prayers.

pixsidust 2012-01-08 19:49:20 -0600 Report

People do it all the time. She is afraid of what she does not know. Let her know you will be there to get her started. She is in good hands and you love her

michelle2385 2012-01-08 19:54:32 -0600 Report

thats what i have been telling , that i am here to be strong for her when she cant be strong enough by herself, and the rest her family is to , we have all told her not to be scared based on how everyone experienced it, that everyone handles it differently.

michelle2385 2012-01-09 23:53:27 -0600 Report

thats what i told her this morning that i know her kids and other grand and great grand kids love her, but do it for the ones that just moved in with her to make her have the reason right there with her to look and everyday .

jayabee52 2012-01-09 09:38:09 -0600 Report

I am not so sure that wouldn't be counter productive Christy.

It IS her life after all, unless her family decides to declare her incompetent. Pproving her incompetent is a pretty steep hill to climb in a legal sense.

jayabee52 2012-01-09 00:20:34 -0600 Report

As one who has been on dialysis and then off again for a while and am now facing dialysis again, I can assure her that she will live LONGER on dialysis than off of it.
I have heard of follks living some 20+ years on dialysis.

And after she has had a few treatments and the wastes in her blood are cleaned out she will FEEL better and her quality of life will improve.

If my plan to improve my kidney numbers does not work and I have to go back on dialysis, I expect my stamina to improve over what it is now. (I can walk maybe a quarter mile, and then I HAVE to rest before going on) I used to be able to dance square dances all night (very vigorously) when on Dialysis treatments, can't do that now. I would expect that after a number of dialysis treatments I may return to that kind of dancing again!

Since I have "been there done that" I no longer fear dialysis. I didn't seem to be afraid when I first went on it, as it was either do it or die! I thought about dying for a while, not returning to dialysis treatments and letting my kidneys continue to poison me till I died. I decided however, that was taking the easy way out, and would give my 3 sons the wrong example. When life got tough for them if I didn't end my life that way they could say "Dad didn't quit when life got really bad for him — so I won't quit either".

And I think God blessed me for that decisuon. And a lot of the things wrong with my life changed for the better not long after making that choice to live. I had been divorced and I was introduced to a lady online who was to become my bride. I had no income, but because of governmental rules because I was on dialysis I got disability and an income and also medicare insurance.

So I suspect she is pretty down now. That may be partially from the wastes circulating in her bloodstream now. Getting that stuff cleaned out of her blood may improve her thinking and mental clarity.

I strongly suggest she take the treatments. One can always discontinue them should she feel that it is not for her.

Caroltoo 2012-01-08 19:24:40 -0600 Report

We're all glad you found the site too, Michelle. Hope you stay with us and continue to share and learn and keep us updated. Please wish your grandmother well from me and tell her, while I respect the fact that it is her choice, I hope she will decide to do dialysis. It will give her more energy to enjoy those three grandchildren growing up there with her! They will have precious memories of her!

michelle2385 2012-01-08 19:35:39 -0600 Report

thank you carol i will tell her and yes i pray every night that her decision will be to at least try the dialysis . i will be sure to keep you all update every step of my journey with my grandmother and her disease. thank you

pixsidust 2012-01-08 15:41:45 -0600 Report

Just an FYI you can put these links of James in your favorites on your computer. You can also find a discussion if you go to discussions and below the start a discussion is the FIND Discussion Box. Just type in part of the Discussion Title and it will pop back up!

Of course for the detailed questions, private message these wonderful people here. They are warm, responsive and quick to help! Granniesophie, James and Mickey are dear dear people! Mickey is having eye surgery this month and I am not sure when but when she comes back on we all know it and be the better for it

granniesophie 2012-01-08 05:56:11 -0600 Report

Hi Michelle,
I am in the same boat with my mother, who is 79, has uncontrolled diabetes for years, stage 4 kidney disease now, just had a fistula put in in preperation for dialysis. Her kidney function is right now 20%, in just one kidney, the other doesn't work. So, I understand what you want to do, and I can tell you that James is extremely helpful, being through it himself. Another person is Mickey, who is a hemidialysis tech, she has helped me. She hasn't been here in a bit, having other health issues, but you can find her on some older discussions and write to her. They have both helped me, and continue to help.
As James said, private messaging works better sometimes then these discussions, which can get lost, so please accept my friend request, too, and lets support and help each other :)

michelle2385 2012-01-08 19:46:35 -0600 Report

that fistual she had put in to prep for dialysis does is it sore to her . some of the people that my family has talked to said its very sore. My grandmother is affraid that the dialysis will shorten her life , several people told her that dialysis will lower her ammunsystem, and make her weak some days and some days not, some people even told my grandmother that doing the dialysis is kind of a 50 50 chance either way. and this is why she is scared and has paused herself on being able to make the decision.

jayabee52 2012-01-08 00:53:20 -0600 Report

Howdy Michelle! WELCOME to DiabeticConnect. Thanks for hanging out with us! You are doing a wonderful thing caring for your Grandmother!

You, I believe have come to the right place. I also have kidney issues, and had been on dialysis for 10 months (starting Nov 2006). Now I am on the verge of needing hemodialysis again.

I have a whole library of resources focused on having diabetes and having chronic Kidney disease (CKD). I can share these with you via DC email, as these discussions tend to get lost in all the activity in the discussions. I will give you some of the resources here, and then when we become friends I will send the whole bunch I have amassed over the years to your DC email box.

First off some general information abour CKD, Diabetes from the National Kidney Foundation (this is directed to CKD stages 1-4. ~ ~ and also from the same people about stage 5, End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) for those needing Dialysis ~ (she does have a choice between hemodialysis and perineal dialysis) My Bride “Jem” when she was alive, had both types because she was allergic to the plastic in the tube where she introduced the dialysis solution into her abdominal cavity. Perineal is more convenient, but it is necessary to keep everything absolutely clean. And that was hard for her. She also had the hemodialysis which she found to be easier, but not as convenient.)

As far as eating a diabetes meal plan modified for the Renal meal plan, look at this from the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) here ~ ~ AAKP has a whole library of reading material on their website. (some of which I will share with you in the promised Email.)

Another article on menus for diabetes and CKD from Livestrong here ~

This could get you started.

I don't know why your grandmother needs so much insulin, It may be instructive to you both to have her write down everything she puts into her mouth for a week or two. Perhaps her need for insulin could be lowered if her intake was modified.

I had been on “baby doses” of insulin compared to your Grandmother. My last doses of NPH insulin in Feb 2011 was 17U am and 15U pm. I decided to try an experiment where I radically cut most of my carbs (ie: did away with all breads in my menu). I found I could manage my diabetes without meds for it and rely on my pancreas to supply what I needed. So far it has gone well – better than I had hoped, actually. And I am modifying it again to try to revitalize my kidneys. But your Grandmother needs to take things one step at a time.

Get her used to eating a Diabetes menu modified for Renal issues, and if you (and she) wants more information either get in touch with me here on DC or on DC mail.

Blessings to you and yours!

To your better health


Freecardio 2012-01-08 16:31:42 -0600 Report

Hi James,

You mentioned eliminating breads from your diet.

Freecardio 2012-01-08 16:34:26 -0600 Report

You might be interested to know just how perceptive you are. There is a book written about wheat, the WheatBelly Diet. It discusses a lot more than just losing weight by avoiding wheat. It covers topics that I had never heard about until getting into it. Written by a cardiologist, William Davis MD, who has another book about coronary artery disease and tracking your plaque.

Wishes for the best to you.


pixsidust 2012-01-08 00:18:29 -0600 Report

She needs to be on a Renal diet for Diabetes
which is more austere as it limits potassium and calcium that is hard on the kidneys
I had a scare recently myself and James shared these links with me

jayabee52 or James is the person to go to with advise on this. Spinach which you can have in a normal diabetic menu is a no no on the renal plan. He has had success so please look up members and put his screen name in and he will be generous to help you

jayabee52 2012-01-08 06:19:52 -0600 Report

thank you for those kind words Christy!

I will have to check, I hadn't heard about spinach being a no-no. I'll have to check it out. (I don't doubt your word but sometimes like to check it out myself). Probably it is high in phosphorus, which we ought to avoid as much as possible with CKD.

pixsidust 2012-01-08 16:35:35 -0600 Report

Its confusing one list says spinach is OK. This list says its a food to avoid. Spinach is my favorite veggie raw and cooked!

Caroltoo 2012-01-08 17:14:23 -0600 Report

I enjoy the taste raw or cooked. Use it in my scrambled eggs in the morning and salads during the day.

michelle2385 2012-01-08 23:47:32 -0600 Report

raw spinach in a salad is really good. i get the baby spinach leaves and mix it with ice berg lettuce and romaine lettuce, then i add cucumbers , carrots ,tomatoes, cheese and celery. my kids and my husband eat alot of the salad and dont even realize spinach is in there and its the only way i can get them to eat it.
Another way i like spinach is i take fresh or frozen spinach a , in a pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and i dice an onion and cook it alone in the pan with the oliveoil on med. heat until it is translucent, and then i add in the spinach and add a teaspoon of salt and black pepper and cook the spianch with the onions for about 30 mins on the same medium heat.
its really good it changed the taste and adds the right about of flavore without over powering the spinach or the having the onion taking over the how dish

Caroltoo 2012-01-07 23:57:50 -0600 Report

Dialysis is used to clean all of the metabolic by-products (waste) out of our blood when our kidneys cannot do so. Once the blood is cleaned (by kidneys or dialysis) it flows back to our hearts, gets more oxygen, and goes out to feed the cells of the body so they can be healthy and do what they need to do. If the metabolic waste is not removed by our kidneys, it can be removed by dialysis. Without either, she will feel much worse—achy, itchy—and slowly poison her cells.

Her kidneys will stand a much better chance of improving if she takes her medications, you monitor her blood glucose (BG) using a glucometer, and she eats in a healthy manner. You can do a lot to help her with this last item. If you shop and cook, that really would put you in charge of food and the unhealthy food can stay in the store, while the nutritious kind she needs will fill her refrigerator and cupboards. Sounds silly, but it is hard to snack on something bad for you, if it isn't where you can get it easily.

Diabetes will make you both take a serious look at diet and you will both be healthier for it. It would be very supportive of her for you to eat the same foods with her. It also just makes sense since you want to stay healthy also.

The best diabetes diet is one that has lots of lean meat, fresh cooked vegetables, healthy oils like olive oil, and fruit. There are some trigger foods to avoid. Here is a summary of the worst of the bunch: avoid all juice (eat fruit for the flavor and nutrients, but avoid the juice cause its like drinking sugar); don't use white rice, potatoes, or sugar; avoid milk, but substitute almond or soy milk; avoid fatty meat and processed meat (use chicken, turkey, lean cuts of beef and pork, salmon, trout, seafood); avoid saturated fats (use olive oil, almonds, walnuts, avocados). Water is another essential. Help her stay hydrated and drink extra water if her BG goes up beyond the range her doctor wants it to stay in.

When you/she gets her BG under control, you may be able to add in red potatoes, sweet potatoes, brown or wild rice, and a little pasta occasionally. Stevia is a good sugar substitute…just don't use as much because it is sweeter than sugar. I'd also check with her doctor to see if there are specific foods that she needs to avoid to avoid or add because of her impaired kidney function. With both of these issues, I would really recommend that you get with a dietitian and get some professional advice on foods that aid renal function.

Also, there are a series of discussions which you can find posted in the discussion section if you search by topic about kidney impairment, failure, dialysis, etc. It is a fairly common complication of diabetes.

Good luck and stay in touch with us as you two make choices…we can be a great support system for you as well as your grandmother. Caregiving is a wonderful act of love, Michelle, but can be very draining. I care for my husband who has severe Alzheimer's, so mine is the voice of experience. The rewards are many, but so are the cares. Please take care of you too.

michelle2385 2012-01-08 00:04:49 -0600 Report

thank you so much for you advice it really helps me alot and i add it to my list to get with a dietitian . and i will keep you in touch and yes you are helping me alot . and i will take care of myself and luckly i have my husband to help me , while we both raise three toddlers but together we get my grandmother healthy and help each other. cause i know my grandmother would do the same for me. and i will keep you and your husband in my prayers and please keep me in touch

Caroltoo 2012-01-08 00:27:39 -0600 Report

Glad to here you have a husband who is supportive. Three toddlers are a job in it's self! Wow. Don't you just love their enthusiasm for life and learning about the whole world! Wish we could keep a childlike enthusiam all of our lives. Life is a wonder, if we just stop to appreciate it.

Your prayers will be much appreciated! Wayne is not doing well. He is such a sweet and loving man, it's sad to see him slipping away like this.

michelle2385 2012-01-08 00:41:07 -0600 Report

i understand that it is sad seeing my grandma to, my other grandmother which is my fathers mother also has alzheimers disease. yes it would be nice to veiw the world again from a kids view again. i love my babies thats what keieps me strong during this difficult time and noticing the love they have for my grandmother also gives her three wonderful reasons to keep fighting through her diabetes gives her alot more to live for then just me and her kids that are grown, she thinks since we are grown we no longer need her but i tell her i am always going to need her the day of me not will never come.

michelle2385 2012-01-08 19:51:00 -0600 Report

no i didnt have gestational diabetes with any of my babys, but my grandmother has a son and a daughter who recently found out they were diabetic, and my mother was told about 2 years ago that she was prediabetic. I however am hypoglosymic, the exact opposite of diabetic.

Caroltoo 2012-01-09 14:48:20 -0600 Report

So was I at your age…may be a precursor. It was for me and my son also is hypoglycemic and watching carefully. Don't want to scare you, but if you start caring for it now, it may never turn into anything more serious.

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