Spoiler: It’s Kaitlyn!
My daughter recently celebrated her 11th (insert gasp here) “diaversary,” and we had a great conversation about our journey, what we’ve learned, and what we wished we had known earlier. With her current career aspirations in the realm of RN/diabetes educator, Kaitlyn is really starting to focus on outreach to others and has a strong desire to help newly diagnosed families. Everyone’s type 1 diabetes journey is unique, but if you find any helpful tidbits here, please take them, with love, from our family to yours. Without further ado, here’s my interview with our own resident expert on living with diabetes, Kaitlyn!
Mom: Now that you’ve been living with diabetes for 11 years, what advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed?
Kaitlyn: Well, first of all, I would say don’t be afraid of your new limitations. Conquer them! Be very diligent about your health, but don’t forget that you can do anything that anyone else can do.
M: What are the most frustrating things you have had to deal with?
K: There are quite a few frustrating things that come with the whole T1 package. I honestly think that it’s either overestimating how much sugar or insulin you need and then having to deal with it hours later, or remembering to calibrate a sensor. There’s a lot of “Ahhhh, I should have known better…”
M: What do you wish we had done differently over the last 11 years of having T1D?
K: I kind of wish that I had learned earlier on to have a quicker response to my numbers, calibrating, getting the right amount of sugar, being more precise with corrections, etc. I have some guesstimating habits that can hold me back from taking better care of myself.
M: What have been some of your favorite diabetes gear items that you’ve had over the years?
K: Probably the little case that I put my CGM (continuous glucose monitor) in. It kind of looked like a small cell phone case. I remember it being cute like a little purse and my friends would say, “Cool, she’s a cyborg.” It had a see-through cover and a snap instead of a zipper, so it was easy to get to and see my numbers fast.
M: Is there anything about T1D that you wish you could do more independently, without so much help from Mom and Dad?
K: Well, I already can do my own sites and sensors, so I’m not sure there’s anything I’ve never done on my own. Of course, the one exception to that would be rescue medication for severe low blood sugar, and I’m happy I’ve never had to do that. I could instruct somebody how, though, so that’s cool.
M: What aspects of your T1D care do you feel you’re good at?
K: I don’t know about good, but I feel independent in a lot of ways. I can treat highs and lows, calculate carb ratios, and stuff like that. The earlier you learn those things and are involved in what’s going on, the better.
M: Do you feel there are any negative limitations because you have diabetes?
K: Activity-wise, I can do anything I want. I can still do fun things with friends on my own, exercise and do sports, but it takes more planning and focus to stay on top of things. I’m probably the most organized person in my grade because I have to be.
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.