Then: I had an elementary school student newly diagnosed with diabetes. I had nurse issues, child issues, teacher issues. We had scary lows, scary highs, and gray hairs popping out every which way. We had high ketones (still a little wary of vacation, as they always seem to happen there), and emergency room visits.
And while I know we will continue to have our struggles, Sarah will have sick days here and there, and diabetes will continue to throw curve balls our way on occasion, I feel like we've made it to that point where I never though we'd be. To a place where diabetes is in the background of our lives.
Don't get me wrong. Sarah still has diabetes. She still counts every single carbohydrate she puts into her mouth. She still checks her blood sugar an average of 12 times every day. She makes choices to not eat foods she knows will make her feel icky later. She has highs (hit 300 on Halloween - and she didn't even eat candy!). She has lows, but our master low catcher, Scouty Wompus (her amazing diabetes alert dog) lets her know WAY before she's low enough to feel it - and as a result she's begun to look forward to the lows because it's so much fun to reward Scout and watch him get all crazy excited.
So what's Sarah up to?
She's a high school student - getting excellent grades (A's and B's). She loves taking Scout to school. She even started taking him to P.E. all the time, and lunch on occasion (we'd originally planned for him to stay in a kennel during P.E. and lunch). She enjoys sitting on the grass with him during lunch, and she says he helps motivate her to run during P.E.. Of course, there was that one time he stopped during the run to poop, but that's all part of having a diabetes alert dog.
- Teach them the basics, but don't overwhelm them. They don't need to be threatened with the worst consequences. Let them be kids.
- Only let them take on the tasks they are truly ready for. Don't force them to check, count carbs, bolus and change pump sites when they're home - they do this all day at school. Let home be a place where they can take a break from diabetes (i.e., you do it for them as long as they'll let you)
- Try not to stress. I really believe our children can feel our stress and they generally react poorly to it. Yes, diabetes can be scary, but if we are calm and keep it real and simple, they can be calm about it too.
- Ask for help when you need it, and encourage your child to do the same.