I can’t believe it’s been 7 months since my now 12-year-old son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. On the whole, things are a little smoother. I still hate the word “managed” because things still aren’t normal — and things will never be normal when your child needs insulin several times daily to live, but we are handling it better. Make sense?
We’ve had a great experience with our insulin pump, Omnipod, which is a tubeless insulin pump. Instead of my son taking 4 shots a day (minimum), we install a new pump every 3 days.
However, the pumps do fail sometimes. And when they fail at 2AM, it’s frankly not very fun. But we deal, we deal because we have to. I’ve tried to calm down and relax a little. I still check my son at night to make sure his blood sugar is steady — usually around 11PM and 1:30 AM. Has it taken a toll on me? Yes. It absolutely has. But as the primary caregiver to my son with Type 1 Diabetes, who else is going to do it? And yes, my husband is a big help (and was amazing when I was in Israel), but it’s me who’s on most of the time. Since he needs to get up in the morning to go to work and I am home, I can’t really complain.
As for food – I’ve relaxed a little also. In the beginning, I was making simple meals or special meals for Ben. While I got pretty good at planning out meals with carb counts, I was hesitant to make a dish and then divide it to find the carbs. But once I got used to it, it wasn’t bad. I bought a scale and measuring has really helped. Breakfast is still tough, since my son will spike higher in the morning, but we’re working on it.
Ben’s growing and gaining weight and looks just so much healthier now. When I look at photos from last summer, before he was diagnosed, I’m shocked. I just don’t know why I didn’t see that something was wrong.
This weekend we’re going to our first Diabetes event with the JDRF and I am hoping to learn even more.
And this is something I want to drive home- Type 1 Diabetes can come on pretty suddenly (personally, we had 4 days of major red flag symptoms and I didn’t put the signs together). I’m an educated person with a masters degree and I didn’t figure it out until it was almost too late. And yes, I still torture myself for that. But if I can help prevent another family from going through what my son when through, then I did my job. We’re still in flu season, even though spring has started, so if you suspect that your child may have the flu, but if they are also peeing a lot, drinking a lot of liquids AND possibly vomiting, ask your doctor to test your child’s blood sugar. It will take a second and then you can hopefully rule out Type 1 Diabetes. Even if no one in your family has ever had diabetes or if your cousin’s father’s uncle has Type 2, just ask for a finger stick or a urine test to rule out Type 1 Diabetes.
Early Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes
- weight loss (despite an increased appetite)
- unquenchable thirst
- blurry vision
- decreased energy level
- frequent urination
- a fruity smell to the breath
- in children with no previous issues, wetting the bed
- in babies and toddlers, heavy diapers
More Advanced Symptoms
- stomach pain
- fatigue or weakness
- nausea or vomiting
- rapid, heavy breathing
- loss of consciousness
Read Ben’s Diagnosis Story:
So, if you’re a parent of a child with Type 1 Diabetes, any tips for success? Or if you are a parent of a child that’s been newly diagnosed, how can I help you?
Note: I am not a doctor or have medical training. I talk about Type 1 Diabetes from a parent’s point of view. Always consult your endocrinology team if you have any questions. I advocate for my child until he can advocate for himself.