Having type 1 diabetes can be a really big bummer. None of us would have chosen this life for ourselves or our kids. But it helps to point out the few perks once in a while! Here are the top 10 things Kaitlyn and I consider the advantages of having T1D:
You Can Bring Food Anywhere
Theme parks, movie theaters, wherever. Who wants to spend $10 for a hot dog when you can bring something much yummier and healthier from home? When we go through the turnstiles at theme parks, I always mention that we have food with us because my daughter has type 1 diabetes, and they wave us right through without question.
Opportunities for Clinical Research Trials
Kaitlyn has had the opportunity to participate in a few clinical trials. Not only is it awesome that she gets to be a part of something that may improve the lives of kids with type 1 like her, but she also gets paid to do it! She’s already got a little chunk of cash in her savings account that will be a great start for college or whatever else she wants to spend it on.
You Can Bring Your Cell Phone Anywhere Even When It’s Off-Limits
Like camp or at school. Recently, Kaitlyn went to a camp where cell phones were absolutely prohibited. We explained that she uses hers for diabetes help on a regular basis. I ended up with peace of mind, and Kaitlyn ended up with the best photos of the week.
Eating Candy Before Dinner
How many times in the history of the world have mothers told their children that they can’t have a treat before dinner, because it would spoil their meal? Well, that doesn’t really apply for Kaitlyn. If she’s low, pass out the candy and bring on the sibling jealousy.
Our middle school doesn’t allow backpacks in classrooms; kids have to carry their books, binders, and supplies in their arms. Most of these kids look hilarious carrying the biggest binders you’ve ever seen. But, if you have medical supplies that you need to carry around with you, like a glucose meter and snacks, then guess what — backpacks are allowed!
Major Smart Points
You might be the only person in the room that has ever heard of interstitial fluid or the islet of Langerhans, or who knows what your beta cells do. Not only might you win money on a game show for that one someday, your friends will think your knowledge is pretty impressive.
Free Pass out of P.E.
Come on, who hasn’t ever wanted to get out of phys ed on a day when you have to run the mile? Luckily, Kaitlyn can participate most of the time, and she likes to, but it’s really nice having that free pass once in a while if she’s just not feeling well.
Mom Gets Invited to Chaperone on Every Field Trip
Okay, this one could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. But it’s kind of crazy how parents fight and beg to be invited to field trips! We’ve never had to participate in a lottery for the privilege to go; when you’ve got a kid with type 1 diabetes, the school is more than happy for you to come along so they don’t have to get a full-time nurse to go!
You Get to Be Part of an Amazing Diabetes Community
This is by far one of the best perks. We have met so many incredible kids and families as we have participated in activities or just met people on our own. It’s amazing the instantaneous connection you get when you see someone else wearing an insulin pump or testing their blood sugar. It’s pretty cool to be part of the “club.”
Diabetes Makes You Awesome!
Okay, that might sound kind of weird, but I think that every parent who has ever had a child with type 1 diabetes is amazed at how their kid handles their disease — and not only survives, but thrives. I, for one, am convinced that Kaitlyn is one of the bravest, smartest, and kindest people I know. She’s amazing just because she’s Kaitlyn, but there’s also something about enduring through trials and challenges that has shaped her into someone who is ready to conquer the world.
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.