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xeena 08-12-2015 03:25

Hi, new to the forums. Any help would be appreciated.
Hi everyone,
I would really appreciate people's advice. I am sorry for the length of this post.
I am a concerned 21 year old female, I joined here because my younger brother has type 1 Diabetes and I could do with some help. He also suffers from Hyperthyroidism and Asperger's Syndrome, a high functioning form of Autism. He was diagnosed with diabetes when he was only 1 year old, and Asperger's Syndrome when he was 13.

Here goes...
We grew up with an alcoholic for a mother, and never knew our father.
Up until now he was still living at home by himself with our mother who's alcoholism and violent outbursts (both physical and verbal) have been severely detrimental to his mental and physical health.
When I was 18, I moved out very suddenly the night of one of her rages and tried to take my brother with me. However, I didn't have the money, the mental strength or a stable enough living situation to be able to support him and he quickly went back to live with her partly due to the aforementioned and partly because he was so trodden down by her and frightened of her that when she told him to go back, he did.

Two years have now passed since then and in that time I found myself in another abusive relationship (which I managed to get out of) and had many mental breakdowns which led me to seek therapy. I have been diagnosed with agoraphobia, dysthymia and PTSD symptoms which I have been working hard to overcome.
I am now finally in a place where I am able to help him, which leads us to the present...

I have been able to find a place for the two of us which I can *just* afford on unemployment benefits, though I am determined to find a job despite the large gaps in my resume caused by my depression and agoraphobia.
My brother is now 19 and has just this week moved in with me.
He is not in the best shape, I would extremely appreciate any outlooks, assistance or advice.
Mentally: My brother has quite visible severe social anxiety, limited social skills and episodes of depression for which I would like him to start going to therapy, he also thinks this is a good idea and I am currently in the process of organizing this.
Physically: His health is concerning, when he was 15 one doctor told us that he would be surprised if my brother made it to the age of 18.
When he was a lot younger he often had lows (hypoglycemia) where he would seizure, begin to lose his senses (vision, hearing, sense of touch), have terrifying hallucinations and end up in hospital. He is sick a lot, has frequent nose bleeds (he is missing a clotting agent in his blood), often is lethargic, often nauseous, frequent stomach aches and dizzy spells.
He is also very thin due to his Hyperthyroidism so he only injects in his stomach (there isn't much fat to inject elsewhere), and from a lifetime of neglect to his health is no longer able to fully extend his fingers and his body is very stiff to the point where he tells me he cannot stretch around to inject in his buttocks.

I am so proud of my brother for being so strong and for facing his fears with my mother to move in with me. But, I am very concerned for his health and well-being. I hope to help him get his levels under control, injecting in other places than his stomach, eating a much healthier diet, eating regular meals, and to a place where he can then maintain those things by himself. I hope this will also alleviate how often he feels ill.

I am scared that I won't be able to help him, that he may decide he doesn't want my help, that I won't be able to do a good enough job and his health will worsen. I am also scared that some of the damages to his body may turn out to be irreparable.

I am lost, I don't know where to start.

Bugzz 08-12-2015 03:57

Hi Xeena;
I'm no expert so can't assist too much on a medical side but I can support you for your selfless desire to be there for your brother. You should be very proud of yourself for your desire and drive to pull both yourself and your brother up and into a healthier environment. You sound like you are made of some tough stuff and together you guys will pull through, just keep trying your best and reaching out. Stay positive.

Rhiannon 08-12-2015 06:30

Welcome to the site. You and your brother are sure facing some tough issues. I wish I had some expertise in any of those areas. Maybe you can find a local group for type 1 diabetes for a start, and a support group for care providers. Many times, finding &connecting with people in such groups also leads to other people or groups that could also provide support. I wish you luck. You have a good heart.

VeeJay 08-12-2015 15:21

Welcome Xeena

I commend you for the courage to do what you are doing for your brother. He is one lucky man to have such a caring sister.

I, also, have no personal acquaintance with people with Aspergers. However, I have had some contact through a forum for people with gluten issues. There were a couple members there with Aspergers who said they found a reduction in symptoms by avoiding all gluten. Some of their issues were psychological and even these, such as OCD, became more manageable and allowed them to function at a higher level.

The LCHF way of eating can easily be gluten-free. Not only will it help tremendously with his diabetes management, it just might help with some of the issues he faces with the Aspergers.

Whether or not this would be the case, LCHF (for both of you, really) is a very healthy way of eating.

RCG 08-12-2015 19:33

Doesn't what we advocate here pretty well take care of the gluten "thing"?

Shalynne 08-12-2015 19:57

Gluten intolerance often comes with diabetes, but it is also a separate issue.

LCHF alone eliminates most gluten, but not necessarily all. Some food additives and flavorings, many of them low-carb, may also contain gluten. Other foods may be prepared in the same facility as glutinous foods, in which case cross-contamination may occur. Some medicines use gluten as a binder.

The Basic Gluten-Free Diet

Gluten-Free Diet (Mayo Clinic)

Xeena ... you've taken on a truly heroic task. :hug:

My advice to you is to try LCHF, by itself, for a few weeks. It takes time for a body to become accustomed to that change.

If your brother's Asperger's symptoms improve on LCHF, you may then want to explore a truly gluten-free lifestyle. One place to begin may be to have your brother tested for gluten sensitivity and celiac disease.

We're here for you. Please keep us posted!

VeeJay 08-12-2015 20:28


Originally Posted by RCG (Post 972617)
Doesn't what we advocate here pretty well take care of the gluten "thing"?

Mostly. Except for things that contain wheat such as soy sauce (some do, some don't). One has to read labels. I've seen recipes for LC baked goods that use vital wheat gluten.

Shanny 08-12-2015 20:55

I've used vital wheat gluten myself in low-carb baking . . . it helps things rise higher because its elasticity makes/holds air bubbles in the dough. So no, LCHF isn't automatically gluten-free. One of our sons is gluten-free and even stopped drinking beer. It's made a good difference in his health. (now he drinks scotch, so it must have improved the health of his pocketbook too . . . :rolleyes:)

xeena 08-13-2015 10:29

Thank you everyone for your kind words and advice.
I feel a lot better about the situation today, I have been doing a lot of browsing through the forums and have learnt a lot.
I already eat very healthy and it seems I won't have to adjust my diet too much and will be able to easily continue making most of the same meals for me and my brother. I will just have to work on getting him used to eating healthier.

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