Ever wonder how much your 6-year-old daughter actually knows about her type 1 diabetes? The other day, I told Kaitlyn to pretend that I was one of the kids at school asking a bunch of questions about diabetes. Here’s the conversation we had.
Kim: “Why do you have to poke yourself and get blood on your fingers?”
Kaitlyn: “It’s because I have diabetes.”
Kim: “What’s diabetes?”
Kaitlyn: “It’s kind of like a sickness (but you can go around other people), and my cousin has it too. His name is James. And also my grandpa has type 2.”
Kim: “What is that?”
Kaitlyn: “The difference about type 1 and type 2 is that type 1 is for kids normally and when your body runs out of insulin. Mostly grown-ups get type 2. It’s when you don’t have that much insulin and you need a little more.”
Kim: “How did you get diabetes?”
Kaitlyn: “It’s like when your body just stops and runs out of insulin. Insulin is what keeps you alive and I have a pump. I keep it in a pump pack and I have tons of pump packs. I mostly get ones that match my outfits. You want to see it? (Then I will show it to them.)”
Kim: “Why is your pump pink?”
Kaitlyn: “Because I wanted it to be that color. The thing that I test myself with is called a testing kit. Testing is when I poke myself with the tester. It sucks a little bit of my blood up and it shows me my number.”
Kim: “What number is it?”
Kaitlyn: “It always comes up with a different number. A low number is not like when you’re very low down to the ground; it’s like when you’re not feeling good, and you need some sugar.
It can’t be under 20. And it can only go up to 600. 600 is sooooo high. Not the high when you go up high. It’s like when I’m not feeling well, and I need to have shots or [change infusion] sites.”
Kim: “What’s a site?”
Kaitlyn: “There’s a little needle that pokes into my skin, and that’s how the insulin comes in. When I’m all done dosing myself it makes the buzz sound.”
Kim: “Is it hard having diabetes?”
Kaitlyn: “It’s kind of hard having diabetes because I have to wait for a very long time sometimes when I want to eat. But the fun part is I get to play whatever I want while I wait until the time is done.”
Kim: “What else do you want to tell me about diabetes?”
Kaitlyn: “I got it when I was 3.”
It is amazing to pause and hear about living with diabetes from her perspective and in her own words. She may not have all the scientific details exactly right just yet, but it's enough to satisfy an audience of first-graders, and she's learning more every day. She continues to amaze and delight us all. What a sweetie!
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.
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