Hi. My name is Theresa. I have five children. One of them has type 1 diabetes. His name is Aaron. This is our story.
I confess. I never would have read a blog post about type 1 diabetes before Aaron's diagnosis. I didn't really know what it was. I didn't closely know anyone else living with it. I had no real reason to educate myself about it.
Aaron was diagnosed one year ago, and I got educated pretty darn quick. We have had a year of education and adjustment, and I know enough now to know that living with diabetes means learning and adjusting for the rest of your life. Thanks to modern medicine, type 1 diabetes is treatable, and once controlled with the proper treatments, it generally will not prevent a person from living a long and full life. But it is always present, it always presents risks, and it must always to be monitored and attended to. In many ways it "invades" every part of the day and nearly everything that you do.
Type 1 diabetes is most often (but not always) diagnosed in children. It typically falls on the parents to manage their child's diabetes and to train and educate him along the way at the appropriate times. Ultimately, he will mange his own health, but in the mean time, it is a family effort.
That is why I decided to write this series on our first year of parenting a child with type 1 diabetes. Because even though it is a somewhat common and (blessedly) treatable illness, it is an immensely significant part of our family's daily life. It is for any family that has a member diagnosed with the disease. The responsibility of caring for a diabetic child** is often confusing, frustrating, and stressful. But after one year, it is now easier to see the patterns and the plan. I hope that sharing some of Aaron's story and some of what we've learned over the year will help educate any who may be interested. But most especially, I hope to reassure other families who may be at the beginning of their own first year of caring for a child with type 1 diabetes.
** note: I have read that it is not "good manners" to refer to a person with diabetes as "a diabetic." I agree. And we do not ever verbally refer to Aaron that way. However, when writing about it, it is often easier and less cumbersome to use the term, rather than to say "a child who has type 1 diabetes" over and over. I hope you understand :)
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This series will be in five parts It was written as a way for me to look back and gather my thoughts on Aaron's diagnosis and our education and adjustment over the past year. This was Part 1, the Introduction. Part 2 reflects on the weeks before he was diagnosed. Part 3 is about when we received his diagnosis. Part 4 is "What is type 1 Diabetes." Part 5 recalls what it was like immediately after his diagnosis and where we're at today.
I will happily take your questions and comments throughout the series. I am not a medical professional (had to get that disclaimer in there!). I'm just a mother who loves her children and who lives with, and cares for, a type 1 diabetic day in and day out (and through the night, as well!) I hope I can answer your questions based on my knowledge and experience, but if I cannot, I will tell you so and will try to point you to someplace/someone who can.
For now, here are some resources that have been invaluable to my husband and me.
American Diabetes Association website, info on type 1
* This book is a fabulous resource for families with diabetic children to have on hand. It is intended to be a guide for non-primary/parent care givers such as daycare workers, teachers, coaches, grandparents, etc... But even I learned a lot from it. And we have already passed it on to family members. I highly recommend it!