Was your child recently diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes? I’m so sorry. My super sweet (and amazingly brave) niece was just diagnosed too. When I got the text, I prayed and then contacted my friend Kathy for support and guidance. Kathy’s information helped us begin to understand the disease.
My sister is learning as much as she possibly can, as fast as she possibly can. While they were in the ICU, they met with a dietician, learned how to count carbs, were taught how to take blood and give insulin, and visited with an endocrinologist. Plus, they had to learn a bunch of math calculations. If you’re in the same situation, you’ll appreciate these tips.
Type 1 Diabetes occurs: when the immune system attacks the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas.
I reached out to my friend Kathy, to share her tips for parents who have just had their child diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). I thought about their family since they were still in their first year since the diagnosis. This is not medical advice, these are valuable tips from a mom.
From a mother’s heart, here are Kathy’s words (with input from her husband and T1D daughter):
We experienced this shocking, life altering news on March 20, 2015. We still feel brand new to diabetes, there was so much to learn so quickly that a list like this might have gotten lost in the carb counting, insulin ratios, and sleep deprivation. However, I hope this helps at least one person or family. We are almost to the one-year mark and we are surviving. You can do this.
- This is not your fault.
- Read as much as you can from websites and groups like JDRF (click here), Facebook groups, and books (see resource list at the bottom).
- Go to your doctor/medical team or other T1D families for advice. Truth: people without first hand experience will tell you the weirdest nonsense.
- A lot of people have this disease.
- Have a positive mindset – there will be a cure one day.
- Eat whatever you want, just account for it.
- Don’t worry about tomorrow; just focus on today.
- No matter how much help/support people want to offer, if they are not directly involved with the details they have no idea how hard this is.
- (This next one is going to sound awful, but hear me out…I actually received this advice from a T1D friend who has lived with this disease for over a decade.) Nobody cares. Now before you stop reading, just give me a chance to explain. This is a very personal situation and most people don’t have time to understand. The people who take the time to research it are the “keepers.” Teachers, classmates, coworkers, even extended family members may have the best of intentions, but then they’ll offer you (the T1D) a muffin or Coke. While it will feel like your entire world is crumbling, the rest of the world wants to move on and have their snacks while they’re at it. Class parties and birthday parties will go on with all the food and we have to figure out how to fit in. We cannot expect anyone to modify his or her perfectly normal life because we have a unique situation. I really hope this makes sense because if I didn’t have this perspective, my feelings would be hurt ALL THE TIME by plain and simple ignorance, not mean-spirited jerks.
- BYOD – Bring Your Own Drink. Get into the habit of having your favorite drink on hand because the fruit punch or Coke is the last detail the host is going to think of at a party. We suggest adding Mio (click here) to your go bag.
- As a parent of a T1D, use portion control to your benefit. I admit that I spent far too many of the first several months using food to comfort me, and now I am paying for it by having to loose the extra weight I’ve gained. Note from Kristen: Kathy is a beautiful person, inside and out!
- Go to the Dollar Store to get extra sets of measuring spoons and cups.
- Get a Digital Kitchen Scale (click here) to measure our food.
- Use the Calorie King app.
- Don’t strive for perfection – just do the best you can without being overly stressed out.
- While the T1D community is absolutely amazing, there are still jerks that make dumb judgments about how others manage. Don’t take them very seriously, just like you wouldn’t take any other online stranger seriously.
- Most people *think* they know about diabetes but they are almost always talking about Type 2, which is NOTHING like Type 1. It is aggravating so be prepared.
- Learn to laugh at the weird things people say. It’s the only way to get past that moment when you want to choke them. <<< great life advice there!
In all seriousness, we could not get through this with without our Savior. He has woken me up to treat nighttime lows. He has given us rest and peace that we could not have received without Him. When you place your faith in the work He did on the cross, you not only gain eternal life, but you also get His Spirit. We don’t have to carry the weight of this disease because we give it to Him on a daily basis.
Books and Other Resources for Type 1 Diabetes:
Think Like a Pancreas (click here) by Gary Scheiner
Typecast: Amazing People Overcoming the Chronic Disease of Type 1 Diabetes (click here)
You Tube Video from Kids Healthy (click here)