A popular habit is having a “mantra” or “word” for the year. I keep getting emails from different people who are choosing a word. Hearing about this made me think back to when my children were diagnosed with diabetes. My son was diagnosed in February 2006 and then right after Christmas of 2006 my daughter was diagnosed.
On New Year’s Day of 2007, we were sitting around the dinner table and my husband asked us all what we were planning and wanting to do for the year. I distinctly remember sitting there saying “Just survive.” I felt so overwhelmed with my barely 6 year old’s diagnosis. I had just started feeling comfortable with my 12 year old on a pump and all that we had to do with diabetes, then my life changed again when my daughter was diagnosed.
We all made it through the year obviously, but it was a year filled of learning to take care of a much younger child with diabetes. Thinking back, there were a few things that helped me so I thought I’d share them in case they can be of help to you.
- Frequent check in’s with the doctor.
- We have a wonderful endocrinologist. He called me most every Friday afternoon for at least a year. I would fax in the kids blood sugars and pump downloads and he would call me to review them. Those phone calls are a huge part of my surviving and learning. I always knew if we had questions or problems that I could talk to him that week when he called. I know this can be rare though because the doctors are so busy and I know we are really blessed.
- Learning all I could.
- I bought so many books that year and delved into learning all I could about type 1 diabetes. Check out the Resource page for my recommended books.
- I truly think learning and educating myself made me feel so much more comfortable to handle problems along the way. The biggest thing I recommend to new parents is to first breathe and know it will be ok, then get busy learning how to best care for your child.
- Finding support systems.
- We attended several diabetes events. Many were held by JDRF and I highly recommend everyone connect with them. They have a great support system.
- Finding people in our community with children with diabetes. Sometimes this can be hard, but we had 8 or so children in our elementary school. Two other children with diabetes were in my daughter’s class. This was great because she had buddies to go check her blood sugar and all with. I enjoyed connecting with these parents and discussing caring for children with diabetes. It seems like there is always a quick bond between parents with children with diabetes.
- Finding online diabetes support.
Hope that gives you some ideas to ease your journey! An important thing I learned a little late is to be sure and take some time for yourself. You can get so physically and emotionally exhausted with all the middle of the night bg checks and other things required. When you are run ragged, it can affect your child. Take care of yourself so you can take better care of your child! Here’s some tips on de-stressing! Fill Your Bucket , Top Ten Ways to Manage Stress, and Take a Break from Diabetes.
What are some of the things you have done that helped you survive that first year? Please comment below because we can all help each other!