As parents of T1 kids know, life with diabetes is never really “normal.” And there are days when our kids just want to be like everyone else. Days when they don’t want to explain why they have to prick their fingers or what the purpose is of the small electronic device hanging from their belt.
This past week, KC did just that.
And before I share her story, let me say to parents of newly diagnosed T1’s and parents of young T1’s…the day will come when you don’t stay for every sports practice. The day will come when you let your child take the lead in managing their disease in the outside world. That day will be different for every child but it does happen. And just like everything we do to prepare our children, T1 or not, to go out on their own, it starts with small steps.
KC’s journey to last week began with her T1 diagnosis just over 1 1/2 years ago. She has always been an independent, responsible, mature child. She is very driven and accomplishes whatever she sets her mind to do. I have tried to follow her lead regarding how much/how little to help her with her disease (I don’t always succeed–it is very hard for me to let go of control!). She has successfully dealt with a number of small attempts at independence: sleepovers and an overnight field trip which I already written about on this blog. She has also pursued her interest in volleyball and theatre. I started by staying for each practice and am now to the point where I can leave to run a short errand. But camp is a different story. I can’t hang out at camp all day–remember what being 12 felt like? Can you imagine your mother hanging out at camp? So last year, she attended an acting day camp that was just minutes from our house. I contacted the camp director in advance and met with her the morning of the camp. KC did a great job that week– BG numbers were awesome. The camp was not as awesome–the people were great but the quality of the program was just ok. I didn’t think she would get anything out of going back there this summer.
This summer,KC also wanted to attend two volleyball day camps –both were all day camps. And you know what exercise does to T1’s, right? The camp was at my son’s high school and I already knew the coach so I felt comfortable giving him instructions for emergency care. In addition, KC had friends and a former teacher with her. Again, she did an awesome job of handling her T1 during the day and I was able to help her get through some mildly challenging nights.
Then came the subject of acting camp. An old friend suggested a camp held downtown in a real theatre. Great! KC would get to reconnect with an old friend (whom she hadn’t seen since her dx). On the bad side, the commute was 30 minutes. But close to her endo and Children’s Hospital…so I said yes.
I emailed the director KC’s care instructions and waited for her response–always afraid they will freak out about having her in their activity! She respondly quickly that she would make sure all counselors knew about KC’s condition. FYI, I include a current picture of her on her info sheet.
I figured I’d drop KC off that first morning and touch base with the staff. But her friend’s mom offered to take her..so I bit the bullet and let her go.
KC texted at lunch–everything was A-OK. I picked her up at 3–she was doing great! And that’s the way the week continued.
Later, I asked KC if anyone questioned her pump. “Nope” Did you tell anyone about your diabetes? “Nope” Did your pump alarms go off at all? “yes” Well, did anyone say anything? “One boy said ‘Cool ringtone.” That was it? “yep” End of subject.
She had an amazing week. Made new friends and reestablished a bond with an old one. She was “normal.”