What is a pediatric endocrinologist?

Every parent of a child with Type 1 diabetes knows what a pediatric endocrinologist is AFTER their child is diagnosed. Before diagnosis the extent of my knowledge of doctors was dentist, OB/gyn, pediatrician and general practitioner.

I will never forget when I diagnosed my son by telling the pediatrician to check the sugar in his urine, she came back to tell me I was going to have to find a pediatric endocrinologist. She could have said, you have to find a Pachycephalosaurus, a type of dinosaur, as I knew the same about both. Absolutely nothing!

Now over two years into this, I am very aware of what a pediatric endocrinologist is and does. We are so familiar with the role of a pediatric endocrinologist that we have dropped the pediatric altogether and have subsequently chopped endocrinologist down to simply endo.

Endo is as common a word in our house as is school, or milk, or toothbrush. The endo is part of our diabetes team. While we only see the endo every few months for check ups, they are an integral part of our diabetes life. While I rarely (rather never) rely our on endo for the day to day decisions I do expect him to see eye to eye with me when he does make decisions regarding my son.

I need to know that our endo sees my son for what he is, a six year old boy with Type 1 diabetes and not just a diabetic. I need to know that our endo will help my son achieve his goals with regards to his diabetes, just as I do. I need to trust that my son’s endo will be there in my place when my son is 16 and wants no part of what his mom has to say to him.

After two years into this I am also aware that not all endos are the same. There are good endos and bad endos. The good ones support, listen, assist, and challenge. The bad ones do exactly the opposite. They tear down, ignore, judge and belittle. The hardest part is it takes a few visits to separate the good from the bad. A few visits with the wrong endo can do damage to both the health of the child with diabetes and the esteem of the main caregiver. Two things that must be nurtured to ensure the team is ready for the long haul of dealing with Type 1 diabetes.

In essence, the endo can make or break the team.

A good endo can help provide the building blocks for good decision making and a long life of successes of living with Type 1 diabetes, and a bad endo, well a bad endo can kill you.

Leslie posted at 2009-10-14 Category: Uncategorized

4 Responses Leave a comment

  1. #4Leslie @ 2009-11-11 18:55

    Oh Dawn you are not alone. It is so hard to find the right person. If I were in your shoes I would shop around for either a reg. endo or a ped. endo. You have a couple more years, and the teen years are so important in terms of support. You and your son deserve an endo that will provide that support for you. I wish you all the best, and thank you so much for reading!

  2. #3Dawn @ 2009-11-11 17:56

    I could have just cried when I read your article. As a parent of a 14 year old boy we have had that relationship with the bad endo. In fact the educators are just as bad. Negativity every 3 months. My son has good control and has since he was diagnosed 5.5 years ago. He hates going to the appointments and I feel sick every time they start to get close. I am in the process of weighing my options. Do I stay there for a couple of more years of this or do I switch to a non Pediatric Endo? Thank you for making me realize that this is an actual problem and not just in my head.

  3. #2Leslie @ 2009-10-22 16:28

    You’ll find it Linds. You so deserve it!!

  4. #1Linds @ 2009-10-22 12:49

    Perfectly said Leslie! I don’t even have a pediatric endocrinologist, because I’m an adult with Type 1, but I have gone through multiple countless endos who have done exactly what you have stated here, belittled, ignored, tore me down, and judged me, yet none of them have type 1 or even tried to understand what I go through. It is more of a mental and emotional challenge for me when I’m treated this way. Still waiting for my “good endo.”