5/6/08 ~ Living with Diabetes, Celiac and Diabulimia

This week Kitty and Dr. Fallon interview Donna Bell who’s five year old daughter, Evey has both diabetes (type 1) and Celiac Disease. They also interview Lee Ann Thill on what it is like to live with Diabetes and eating disorder Diabulimia.

Donna Bell on Celiac

Donna Bell has four children. Her youngest daughter, Evey, who is now five years old was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in February, 2006. When Evey’s doctor suspected Celiac Disease ( an auto-immune disease that prevents your body from absorbing nutrients from food. It is triggered when you eat wheat, barley, oats or rye) she suggested Donna be tested for Celiac also. The Celiac panels and biopsies were positive for both Evey and Donna. Then in September 2006, Evey was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

Feeling overwhelmed, Donna started attending Celiac Support Groups. The groups were helpful but did not go into carbohydrate counting and insulin issues. She also attended Diabetes Support groups. They were also helpful but there was no information on carbohydrates in relation to gluten free food.

In January, 2007, Donna decided to start a new support group: FACT ( Families Affected by Celiac and Type 1)

FACT meets every other month and the group usually consists of parents that have children with both Type 1 Diabetes as well as Celiac Disease. Since the diagnoses of so many Type 1 adults , the group has now opened up to adults that have both auto-immune diseases. Some past topics have included eating at restaurants, recipe swaps and even a pool party including all family members enjoying gluten free foods.



Photo Above: Kitty with Evey Bell aka The Crazy Redhead!



Lee Ann Thill on Diabulimia

Lee Ann Thill was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1978 at age 5. She developed bulimia and diabulimia, the practice of omitting insulin to manipulate weight, at age 14, and was diagnosed with depression at age 16. She struggled to recover from her dangerous eating disorder for 18 years, receiving in-patient treatment on several occasions and years of out-patient counseling, before finally overcoming it in 2005. She has been treated for several diabetes-related complications over the years, but now her complications seem to have stabilized. She’s been using an insulin pump since 2004, counts carbs, and has been using a continuous glucose monitor since August 2007. She maintains tight control of her diabetes now, and while she acknowledges diabetes can be frustrating, she’s learned to accept it and appreciate the ways it’s shaped her life and who she is.

In the last year, she began speaking publicly about her experience with diabetes and eating disorders in order to educate and warn people about the dangerous combination, and encourage those who think they have this problem to seek help.

Lee Ann has a BFA in ceramics and painting from Temple University, and an MA in art therapy from Drexel University. She has a private practice, New Jersey Creative Counseling, providing counseling and art therapy. She specializes in the treatment of diabetics seeking help with depression, anxiety, food and body issues, overcoming grief and anger, finding acceptance of their condition, and looking for practical guidance for coping with the management of a chronic illness that affects every aspect of life. She currently lives with her husband, Jason, and their pets in South Jersey, and enjoys creative activities like art, gardening, and cooking.



Photo above: Lee Ann Thill

Listen to Diabetes Living Today interview:

5/6/08 ~  Living with Diabetes, Celiac and Diabulimia