I remember too well the fear and anxiety that enveloped us as we went through the first phase of Kaitlyn's diagnosis. After the shock and denial wore off, and the overwhelming weight of "lifetime maintenance" started to sink in, I found that I went into a mode of "discovery." Not only did I become a walking textbook for type 1 diabetes, but I started talking to whomever I could to find out what our new life was going to be like. Of course I had Jen to talk to, and fortunately another family friend who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in his mid-twenties, but I can still remember what a comfort it was to be able to ask people who had lived with type 1 day in and day out how they managed.
Now that we've been living with type 1 for over two and a half years, it's our turn to give back. The other night, my husband spent 45 minutes on the phone with a single father whose young daughter had recently been diagnosed with type 1. They spent the time talking about doctors, carbs, finger pricks, child care, and a dozen other things, but the majority of the conversation came down to basic words of support. I overheard many times the phrase, "Yes, that's typical. Yup…uh huh…yup…normal. Don't worry, you'll figure it out." And, most frequently, "If there's anything you need, any question you have, call me."
What's the point? If you are a newly diagnosed individual or family, take this little story as a ray of hope. As hard as it may seem to imagine, someday someone will call you asking for advice, opinion, anything. You will be able to smile and say, "It's okay. You're going to be fine. I've been there."
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.