The year 2013 was momentous for us. I don’t think I can point to a single year since James was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (and it has been a few years!) that we have made such tremendous forward progress.
During the year, we did some cool stuff. We adopted some new technologies, including our beloved continuous glucose monitoring system that we finally figured out. That has been huge. James also really branched out in his activities at school, and thanks to improved procedures and small tweaks, he could participate just like any other kid.
But most importantly, James decided this year that he would be more involved in his diabetes management. It started at the early part of the year when the school nurse mentioned that James preferred testing himself to having her test him. Later, after years of not noticing or caring about his insulin pump, he started getting really excited about it and really wanted to enter the carb counts and push all the buttons. After some trials and a few conspicuous errors, he also became a pretty awesome carb counter. All of a sudden we have a kid that is no longer content to “let Mom do everything,” and his new attitude is “Mom, I’ve got this.” Believe me, when you’ve been dealing with this as many years as I have, this is HUGE!
So it is with optimism that I look forward to the new challenges and triumphs of 2014. I know that it’s not wise or realistic to believe that we’ll make as much progress this year as we did last year. Instead, I am just trying hard to maintain James’ optimism and enthusiasm for his technological devices and carb-counting ability. I’m trying to engage him verbally as I do things like adjust his insulin pump settings or test him at non-standard times.
The other day, I explained my process for setting up a combo bolus on the pump to help better deal with the large pasta meal he just consumed. I honestly don’t expect him to handle combo boluses (which are pretty darned complicated) for several years yet, but I’m hoping he’ll catch my enthusiasm at the cool things that are possible in diabetes management. He’s getting so big -- 10 years old now -- and I want him to be interested in what I’m doing. I’m going to continue to talk to him, engage him, teach him, and allow him to do more if that’s what he’d like to do. But I’ll also be here for the next eight years at least to help him in any way that I can. I certainly don’t want to lose sight of the end game in my quest for forward progress!
I have some goals for myself, too. I hope that during this next year, I’ll be even better at managing James’ blood sugar while he’s exercising. Now that he’s found some activities that it seems like he’ll stick with, I can fine-tune my blood sugar tool kit to help minimize both highs and lows and keep exercise fun and positive. I’m actually looking forward to working with our diabetes team and coming up with new strategies. I know from experience that each kid is slightly different. I can’t wait to get to know James in this new way. We have high hopes for you, 2014!
About the author: My name is Jennifer, and I live in Southern California with my husband, Craig, and our three boys. Our oldest son James has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I’m thankful for this opportunity -- along with my sister-in-law, Kim, and her daughter, Kaitlyn, who also has type 1 diabetes -- to share our struggles and triumphs with our friends in the diabetes community.
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.
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