We recently asked our Facebook and Twitter communities to send us their stories—specifically, what it’s like to be the parent of a child living with type 1 diabetes. Having received a lot of wonderful stories, we’re excited to present these favorites on the blog every week.
We hope you’re as inspired by these personal stories as we are, and that you’re willing to keep the conversation going. Tell us more in the comments!
Name: Nick and Emma (@snarkabetic)
Location: Clovis, New Mexico
My daughter Emma was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes over 10 years ago, when she was 9 months old. I was also diagnosed with it 14 years ago, at age 26. Emma’s maternal grandfather passed away from complications of type 1 diabetes when he was 30 years old and her maternal great-aunt also has type 1 diabetes. I have a first cousin with type 1 diabetes as well. (The family history is remarkable as it’s very unusual for type 1.)
My wife (Emma’s mom) is the No. 1 diabetes caregiver in our house. I think what motivates us the most is helping Emma to live as free of complications for as long as we possibly can.
Emma is entering sixth grade this year. The biggest issue I see with school today is that the piles of forms and documents meant to ensure that there is a diabetes care plan in place at school simply haven’t kept up with advancing technology. She manages all of her readings with her insulin pump, and with some careful monitoring of her Dexcom (continuous glucose monitoring) app, we can easily partner with the nurse to ensure lows or highs are treated quickly and effectively, with minimal disruption of school time.
The best advice I can give to parents of newly diagnosed children is: “It doesn’t get any easier, you just get better.”
There’s so much to just being a parent, let alone being a parent of a child with type 1 diabetes. The most unique part is constantly considering the emotional impact of every new treatment, every new device and every time you ask them what their blood glucose is.
Emma has had diabetes for 10 years, and people will say, “Well that’s good, at least she doesn’t know any differently.” Great. She doesn’t know a life that’s not consumed with finger sticks and sensors and lows and highs. It’s not super comforting. But we’re fighting and advocating to keep her safe at school. It’s important for all families with children with diabetes to do this.
The American Diabetes Association’s Safe at School campaign is dedicated to making sure that all children with diabetes are medically safe at school and have the same educational opportunities as their peers. To learn more visit http://www.diabetes.org/sas.