Thursday, February 17, 2011

*Featured* Inside The Sugar Free Mind Of... Alexis Newell

Alexis Newell & her son Justice
 This week, we travel "Inside The Sugar Free Mind Of..." Alexis Newell!

Alexis is a devoted wife; mother of a Type 1 Diabetic son, Justice; blogger; volunteer for the JDRF; and the 2011 Walk Chair!

Her son, Justice, is a youth ambassador for the JDRF; active, fun loving Type 1 child!

This is their story...

Can you tell us about when Justice was diagnosed? How old was he at diagnosis? Justice was diagnosed on 10/21/08, just 4 days after his 6th birthday. Days before there were no signs. He was looking great and enjoying life as a 6 year old child. We had decided to go back home to NY for his birthday. We caught a red eye flight and I worked the night shift so the boys ended up not sleeping before we got on the plane. So, when Justice wet his pants on our flight, I didn't give it too much attention. The rest of the night went well, or so I thought. Over the next 24 hours his urination and thirst became outrageous. Next came tummy aches, vomiting, and exhaustion. We honestly thought jet lag and maybe a stomach bug. But when he woke the next morning after 14 hours of sleep, not feeling any better but actually slurring his words, we knew it was something more serious. I called 911 and an ambulance took us to the ER. EMT was clueless, but the nurse in ER knew right away. "I smell the ketones on his breath, he's diabetic right?". Her words changed our lives, but her fast assessment saved his as well. Justice was admitted to PICU with a blood glucose level of 490 and in DKA (Diabetic Keto-Acidosis).

What emotions did you go through when he was diagnosed? I was terrified, sad, angry and felt like my whole world shattered. My little rambunctious healthy boy was no more, our lives as we knew it ceased to exist. As crowded as that hospital room was, I never felt more alone.

How has his diagnosis changed your life? Your Family? Your marriage? We don't sleep. Every decision we make for our day or our life generally is based on that readong on the meter. Some days are harder than others. No matter what is going on, Diabetes is present. It's a frustrating disease, seeing my son cry or get angry because he is feeling low or high, or cant do what he wants at that moment. I fear losing my son in his sleep; I fear future complications. My days are filled with this. But, my family unit is stronger, my marriage is stronger, I honestly have an amazing  husband who is a wonderful co-pancreas, my younger son Synsyre is Justice's biggest supporter. We have over time learned to not let Diabetes stop our happiness or us from living our lives. Its a huge part of it, but it doesn't rule us anymore.

Did you have a good support system when Justice was diagnosed? Honestly, no. We had just moved to Las Vegas a year before, so we didn't have many friends or family. But, since then a lot has changed! :)

Did you get involved in a diabetes support group soon after he was diagnosed? If so, online and/or offline? I didn't find the DOC (Diabetes Online Community) until April of 2010.

What online diabetes communities/support groups, if any, would you recommend, and why? Personally I love twitter, facebook, and blogging. I have found the best support through these outlets.

What part of the world are you from? I reside in Las Vegas, NV (United States)

If someone reading this interview post who lived in your state/providence was living with Type 1 Diabetes and wanted to connect with  you for support, would you be OK with that? If so, how could they contact you? Anytime! Email at

In your opinion, what is the hardest part about living with Type 1 Diabetes, and why? The inconsistency. The never ending changes in insulin needs. The fear of lows. Trying to find that happy medium. Seeing my child hurt.

Can you say/think of anything positive you have found about living with Type 1 Diabetes since diagnosis? Nothing about the disease itself, but it has connected me with the most amazing people ever. I have gained a second family.

What can you think of that you do/allow, despite of caring for a child with Type 1 Diabetes? One thing we thought  we couldn't do which Justice loves is the buffets in Vegas. But, we do. Scale and all! There's very little we allow D to stop us from. Of course, there are things we still aren't ready for. Like sleep-overs or going to a friends house without me.

What diabetes-related non-profit organization, if any, do you support and why? Justice is a youth ambassador for JDRF and I am a volunteer. I was recently named this years Walk Chair.

Do you have a blog about diabetes? I blog at Justice's Misbehaving Pancreas
Twitter? @Sugar_nova 
Have a Facebook FanPage? Justice Against Type 1 Diabetes

What advice would you give to a family newly diagnosed? Take it day by day, number by number. Let your child know it's not their fault and always be a team. And please, no matter what your child says, be part of their Diabetes management and let them know they're not alone.

What 3 things would you like more families not living with Type 1 Diabetes to know? Type 1 cannot be prevented. It can happen to your child. My son can eat the same as yours, just more work to do so.

Are you a stay at home mom, work at home mom, or do you work outside the home? I am a stay at home mom and volunteer for JDRF. I am the 2011 Walk Chair

T1, JDRF Junior Ambassador, Justice Newell
Thank you so much Alexis for allowing us to get "Inside your Sugar Free Mind" and feature you here on Sugar Free Candyland! You're right, Type 1 Diabetes can be scary and frustrating, but with a little diligence, laughter, and support, we can do it! Congratulations on making the JDRF 2011 Walk Chair, and congratulations to Justice for becoming a JDRF Junior Ambassador! You guys rock!

Would you, or someone you know like to be featured on Sugar Free Candyland and share your story with us? CLICK HERE to find out how you can be featured, or how to nominate someone you know to be featured here! "D-moms", "D-Dads", and adults with T1 are welcome!


Penny said...

Great interview - thanks for sharing all that Lexi has to offer! She rocks :0)

Reyna said...

I heart, heart, heart Lexi! She is one of the most vocal advocates I know! I am proud to be in this by her side.

Dawn said...

Thanks ladies! It was my pleasure to interview her, and everyone, and sharing their stories with you all! This is so much fun, and I think, not only a great way to share everyone's dx stories, but also, in a way, a theraputic thing for all D-moms, D-dads, T1 adults, (and hopefully soon, T1 kids!!), educate others about our kids, families, and what we all go through from the time the metaphoric ball drops, through the rest of our lives. Not to mention, helping newly dx'd familes find the much needed support groups, tips on coping and dealing with the emotional affects D can tend to bring on, and so much more! I am really enjoying doing these interviews, and I hope everyone reading and participating in the interviews are as well!

Wendy said...

I love me some LEXI :) She's pretty much awesome!

Alexis of Justices Misbehaving Pancreas said...

Thank you so much for featuring us Dawn such a pleasure and awesome thing youre doing for all of us!!

As for those ladies above....I heart them!!!

Dawn said...

Anytime, hun! Anytime!!

Toucan Scraps said...

great interview

Dawn said...

Thanks Toucan Scraps!

Misty said...

Great interview!

Dawn said...

Thanks Misty!!

Meri said...

These kind of interviews show us that no matter how different we are...we are all the same. :)

Great job to all involved!

Dawn said...

Exactly Meri! I think it might also be a little comforting to those who are newly diagnosed, to see that all us "veterans" who have been living/dealing with Type 1, were right where they are, emotionally and otherwise, and maybe make them feel not so alone in this new adventure their life is taking them on. :) Atleast, that is my hope!