It has been almost five years since Kaitlyn was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and I still feel like I’m learning so much about how to take care of her. At the beginning, we were overwhelmed with just the basics of her care. Even drawing up a syringe with the right amount of insulin was enough to make me worry that I was doing it all wrong and that I would forever be a failure at “this whole diabetes thing.” We slowly got into the groove of the mechanics of testing and giving insulin, and we began to understand how her blood sugars responded to food and insulin.
Later, we got better at counting carbs and not needing a label, book, or scale for everything she ate. A few months into her diagnosis, we made the big jump to using an insulin pump! That was another big learning experience. Little by little, with the help of our doctors and diabetes educators, we were able to fine-tune her carb ratios and basal rates. Her numbers steadily improved as we had more tools and more experience.
Over the next couple of years, we continued to make more strides—helping Kaitlyn understand diabetes better and become more independent with her care. We also kept fine-tuning those carb-counting skills and the “instincts” that come from nothing else but weeks, months and years of diabetes management.
About a year ago, we introduced another tool to our repertoire—the continuous glucose monitor (CGM). It has been one of the most useful tools we’ve ever had, helping us dramatically reduce the frequency of nighttime lows and keep Kaitlyn’s A1c results low. Recently, we’ve also made the jump to CGM in the cloud—uploading her CGM data so that we can access it from any of our personal devices. Dealing with all the inherent challenges of new technology has been a huge learning experience.
I am in awe at all that we’ve learned and all the improvements in technology that have been made in just the last five years. I can only begin to wonder what the next five years holds for all of us.
So if you’re at the very beginning of this journey—don’t worry! You don’t have to jump right into everything all at once. You might be struggling with keeping numbers in range or feeling guilty about your last A1c results. You might be nervous about making the jump to using a pump. Just start where you’re at and take it a little bit at a time. Eventually you will be ready to tackle each problem and use each tool. It’s a lifelong learning process for all of us!
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.