Recently, my family and I took a trip to visit family and friends and to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. One day while we were there, we visited a museum and ran into a friend we hadn’t seen in many years. He had since married, moved across the country, and had a couple of cute kids. They just happened to also be vacationing in the same area, and we marveled at the coincidental meeting. We met his wife and family, and soon I learned that she has type 1 diabetes. She and I immediately got in a lengthy conversation about it. I don’t know, I guess we type 1 moms can’t help ourselves—we see the pump tubing hanging out of the belt line or see someone doing a finger-stick, and we can’t help but start a conversation!
As we got to talking, she started giving me all kinds of advice. It was great coming from a fellow mom who had dealt with this disease for a good part of her life. We talked about all kinds of things—exercise, diet, doctors, etc. After a few minutes, the conversation turned toward pumping versus daily injections, and what started out as a normal, friendly conversation got sour quickly. She was so emotional and adamant that pumps were the worst thing ever. I think she said “I hate the pump” at least 10 times. It was clear that she was trying to convince me that having my daughter on a pump was a bad idea. I wanted to assure her that pumps were not “the devil” and that they actually do a lot of good for a lot of people, but I could see that trying to debate with her would not accomplish anything. Persuading her to see it from my point of view was out of the question, so I tried to change the topic as quickly as possible.
I was so surprised that anyone could have such a negative view of pumps. Kaitlyn has been on a pump for years now, and it has been such a great thing for us! Although, I will always let it be her decision, especially as she gets older, I can’t imagine her wanting to go back to injections. I realized, though, from that awkward conversation that there are pros and cons to every decision, and that what might seem clear to me now may not be so cut-and-dried many years into the future.
This post is not meant to try to persuade you one way or another about pumps—or any other diabetes-related decision, for that matter. Rather, I’d like to stress the point that there are pros and cons for every decision and that we should respect the decisions of others. What works for our family might not work for yours, and vice versa, but we can use each other as good sounding boards. Even though this woman and I did not see eye to eye, we both had valid opinions. I brought a fresh perspective as a caregiver and a newer entrant into the type 1 world, whereas she had a long-term view as a patient that I cannot fully understand.
My sister-in-law, Jen, and I are in very similar situations with our T1 kids, and we agree on most things, but still, there are things we do our own way and that’s okay! We support each other and get ideas from each other all the time. I hope that we as a type 1 community in our local areas and online can do the same! Let’s pass around our great ideas, but at the same time respect each other if we choose differently. Getting ideas is great, but don’t be afraid to switch to something different, even if it’s not the most popular method you read online. Do what works for you, and let others do the same!
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.