Fourteen-year-old Alexandra was diagnosed with diabetes six months ago. Alexandra is very bright and one of the best pupils in her class. She came to our education session because her romanian/native Language and Literature teacher recommended it. She attended the education session with her mother.

Alexandra was confused and unsure of herself during the first session. her mother looked terrified about what could happen to her daughter and she was distrustful of her daughter’s capabilities when it came to managing diabetes.

Her mother spoke about how she carefully checked Alexandra’s insulin dosage and daily blood glucose levels. She also shared her experiences about various aspects of diabetes and about feelings that a person with diabetes can go through after being diagnosed with diabetes.

Alexandra confessed to feeling embarrassed about her diabetes. She doesn’t ever take insulin in front of her brothers because she is afraid it will frighten them. She finds it hard to resist sweets and she’s sorry that her mother has taken steps to keep sweets away from the rest of the family. because of this, Alexandra said that she felt different and doesn’t like to feel that way.

Alexandra, along with four other young people, attended a Conversation Map™ session. While we were talking about feelings and attitudes, Alexandra shared her sense of a growing distance between her and her mother. She confided to the group that since being diagnosed with diabetes, she feels bothered that her mother checks in on her all the time and doesn’t seem to trust her ability to manage her condition. She shared that she and her mother had quarreled because Alexandra wanted to come alone to education session and her mother wouldn’t allow it.

This discussion started other discussions about feelings and attitudes between participants. Each person remembered his or her own feelings and situations they faced when they were first diagnosed with diabetes. two weeks later, in the last education session, Alexandra came alone. She shared that her mother was trying to change her own feelings and she is feeling better about their relationship. Also, she told us she no longer feels “different” and that checking her blood glucose levels and managing a healthy diet has become easier. now, she feels more confident in herself and in her ability to manage diabetes. She can now go out on her own and follow her dream of becoming a successful lawyer.

It is my opinion that all of Alexandra’s personal achievements were made possible because of the discussions that took place between participants during the Conversation Map sessions. All participants were able to safely share their own attitudes and feelings on topics that are typically not discussed in other kinds of educational sessions.

Source: Provided by Juliana Gheorghe, Expert Trainer, Romania