Don't take your children to Kim's or Jen's house for play group -- they might catch diabetes!
The other day, Jen told me that the little boy who's part of Kaitlyn and James' play group was diagnosed with type 1! I have gone most of my life without ever even knowing any people with diabetes, and POW! My daughter has it, my nephew has it -- and now the little boy from play group has it. You would think it was contagious or something!
But seriously, it's uncommon to meet another mom with a kid with type 1. On the rare occasion that we run into someone out in public with their blood glucose monitor or other diabetes paraphernalia, we get really excited! It's like when you get a new car and suddenly begin to notice everyone who's driving the same car. I'm actually delighted when we get to go to the endocrinologist and interact with other parents and kids in the same boat as us. In fact, last fall, our entire family participated in a walk to support juvenile diabetes research. I had never seen so many kids with diabetes! It was really a neat experience to feel the immediate connection with these families who were dealing with the same issues as us.
It's likely that Kaitlyn will be the only kid in her school with diabetes, and one of only a handful of diabetic kids in the entire school district. Yet I feel so incredibly lucky to have Jen and James as our immediate support group. Having a sister-in-law to counsel with and a fellow type 1 cousin to play with is not the norm for most. We are so blessed! That being said, for all the other moms and dads of diabetic kids out there, there is help! Having a support group or structure is essential to not feeling like you are alone in this ordeal. Aside from the endocrinologist visits (where you might see other families in the same situation), you can participate in diabetes research events and even sign up for individual or family diabetes camps! There's no need to feel alone! Most importantly, if you are able to reach out to someone else, your own feelings of isolation will probably disappear as you help a "newbie" family by sharing your experiences and successes. It can help take the "I'm the only one who feels this way" out of the equation.
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.