Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes and age; shouldn’t it get easier with age?

As Joey gets older and embarks into teenagerhood, (yes, my word for it) I ask myself, “shouldn’t this get easier as Joey gets older?”

He knows diabetes like the back of his hand, he knows the “how to’s,” the “why do’s,” so “why do” I still worry? Type 1 is so unpredictable, that’s why! One minute Joey’s blood sugar can be great and the next hour we can have highs or lows! We are so thankful for his best tool to help him grow up, his Omnipod Insulin pump! It gives me peace of mind.

Joey plays football and basketball, both very physical sports, both require a lot of practices and games, so it’s natural that I worry! During football season Joey had practice every night of the week, plus Saturday! Now that basketball season is here he plays on two teams and practices 4 nights a week, plus has games every weekend. Exercise is a great way to stay in shape but for a kid with type 1 it’s a challenge. We have to make sure that Joey has enough fast acting sugar with him at all times, and that he stays hydrated! We are very lucky because all of his coaches have taken the time to learn the basics of type 1 and how his blood sugar number can determine how well he performs. That gives me some peace of mind, but I still worry! With the Omnipod pump, we have the ability to pause his insulin release if need be during sports. I was proud of Joey after practice this week. He jumped into the car and told me that he felt his blood sugar dropping during practice so he suspended his basal for an hour! Love that feature of his pump!

I think what gives me the most angst is wondering how he will handle high school. Months from now he will be a freshman! I’m happy that he knows a lot of his future classmates from sports, or from his older brother Tony. Joey’s freshmen class will consist of a lot of younger siblings. When you attend a Catholic elementary school you play sports against all the other Catholic schools in the area, so by the time High School comes along you know just about everyone in your class. The challenge for him is how to tell new friends that he has type 1. And introducing his insulin pump to his friends. That may sound funny, “introducing his insulin pump,” but it’s part of the process in letting friends know.

No kid wants to be different, he already has red hair, which he loves because it sets him apart, but having a chronic illness is different than having red hair. Being the youth Ambassador for the ADA for the past two years has helped him with his confidence. His platform is “Don’t be embarrassed about type 1, it’s not who you are, it doesn’t define you!” We hope to see him embrace that attitude soon.

One night after basketball practice Joey told me that he was on the “skins” team. This is something that I worried about, because it meant that his insulin pump would be exposed. He said “you know how I always tell kids not to be embarrassed about type 1, well tonight I had to take off my shirt in front of the team and play!” I asked if he was embarrassed and he said “no, and no-one said anything about it! ” I could tell that he was relieved that he was finally picked for skins, kind of the “get it over with” feeling.

Now dealing with GIRLS will be an entirely different situation. So far we have only had conversations about dating. Age 13 is still way to young for dating so although we’ll have talks about girls in the future, I still have time to figure that out! 😄

One thing that has gotten easier is Joey’s overall independence. I can say that I don’t even think twice about dropping him off at a party, or a friends house, with the use of a cellphone for monitoring, and his insulin pump for fast and easy dosing, we’re good. Do I wonder if he’s checking his blood sugar as often as he should, yes I do. But with his insulin pump it’s super easy to dose, he can do it so fast you’d never notice if you weren’t looking.

I have come to the conclusion that I will never stop worrying about Joey and type 1 diabetes, it’s not possible, probably because I’m a mom, and it’s part of our job, we worry!

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