Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs a person can have. Adding a chronic illness like diabetes to the equation makes things significantly more complicated. A diabetes diagnosis comes with fear, certainly, but what follows is perhaps equally difficult. In addition to round-the-clock management of your child’s condition, it’s also necessary to address the emotional demands diabetes can have on a young person. Parents of kids who have been diagnosed often find themselves navigating the psychological side effects of diabetes, including feelings of isolation and alienation.
So, what’s a parent to do? While we hope that each and every parent of a child (or children) with diabetes has a support network in place, including a team of doctors who are available to answer their medical questions as they arise, we also know that sometimes it’s nice to have a few insider secrets. Further, we want you to know you aren’t alone. To that end, we’ve put together a list of tips and tricks from parents who are raising children with diabetes.
Check out what they had to say, and make sure to leave your own tips in the comments below!
Note: Some quotes have been edited for length, grammar, and spelling.
1. It’s a marathon, not a sprint
“Take it slow, but keep learning and learning… After things are stabilized for now and you learn the basics of testing, dosing, etc, read some of the excellent books on diabetes, like ‘Think Like a Pancreas’ and ‘Pumping Insulin’. Learn about CGMs, pumps, and remote monitoring. Become involved with your local JDRF chapter, help raise money for a cure, meet other parents in the same situation. Realize this is a marathon, not a sprint, but that hundreds of thousands of parents have gone through what you have and are in this with you as well.” —Reddit user redondo21
2. Make sure you have the right tools
“…EMLA cream for pump pods is a godsend. I remember sitting on my son while my husband would apply the pod because he would scream so much. God, it was awful, and I still hate myself for doing it. Buy a Buzzy Bee for finger pricks and shots. It helps a ton!” —Reddit user eloquinee
3. Do what you can to show them they don’t need to be afraid
“…take shots of saline when she [or he] gets her [or his] insulin. My son just got diagnosed last week at the age of 5, and seeing his mom and me get shots seemed to help him.” —Reddit user sho19132
4. Be persistent
“Regarding insurance: be damned persistent. And if they deny, appeal. Appeal, and appeal, and appeal. Most times if you appeal, they roll over and give in. Don’t let them dismiss your concerns about testing supplies or types of infusion sets or size of needles. They do not have to deal with this on a daily basis, and you (and she) do. Don’t settle. Get exactly what you need, and find a doctor who will help you get it.” —Reddit user BetesBurgh
L.D. and her eleven-year-old lab, Eleanor Rigby Fitzgerald, moved from Seattle to Grand Rapids earlier this year, and are currently enjoying exploring their new city! She likes books, music, movies, running, and being outdoors as much as possible.