We've all heard the saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!" This is my approach to helping Kaitlyn (and the rest of us) see the good parts of any difficult life situation -- even type 1 diabetes. Of course, I wouldn't have asked for Kaitlyn to have this disease, and I would do anything if it were possible to take it away. But, since we know that no cure exists (yet), and it's something she'll have to deal with the rest of her life, we may as well make the best of it. Here are some of my ideas to do just that.
Special treats. We have a cupboard full of doctor-approved candy and juice to treat low blood sugar levels. My other kids don't get to have it, and Kaitlyn feels really lucky to have access to her own stash. I always laughed when James would tell his friends and cousins, "My mommy gives me candy so I can be healthy!" James and Kaitlyn feel really lucky to get these treats! She also has some fun, sugar-free treat options for high blood sugar times.
Find the test strips. We have a game where we try to find test strips that may have been unintentionally left in unusual places. As much as we aim to make sure they don't end up around the house, we find them in the most peculiar places sometimes -- in the swimming pool, in the shower, in the bed sheets, in the garden. It always makes us laugh.
Fun supplies. Kaitlyn was so excited the day we brought home the pink case to match her pink meter. She also loves her heart-shaped medical ID bracelet and pink supply box. It might seem like a small thing, but for our very girly little girl, having something in her favorite color has made the daily testing routine a little more fun.
Number jackpot. I love Jen's idea of randomly guessing what the number will be when we're testing blood sugars! Whenever Kaitlyn's blood glucose hits our agreed-upon magic number, she gets to pick something out of the prize drawer.
Creativity with caps. You know all those caps and tops that you take off of syringes and lancets and other stuff? We try to come up with some creative and funny things to do with them. My latest idea is to make a tiny chess set using the different caps as the pieces.
Diabetes anniversary. It's almost like a second birthday! December 2nd was the day Kaitlyn was diagnosed, and we're trying to make it a celebration each year, when we can do something fun and maybe get her a little gift or two.
About the author: My name is Kim. My daughter Kaitlyn (the third of our five children) was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just a few years after my nephew James was diagnosed with the same disease. I'm excited to pair up with my sister-in-law, Jen, to share our story with you!
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.