Dealing with Type 1 diabetes is a challenge, and one of the greatest obstacles is ensuring that the equipment that acts as life support is working properly.

My son’s life relies on his proper dosage of insulin based on his carb intake and his blood glucose values. Yet, how he determines his blood glucose numbers and how he doses his insulin all relies on properly working equipment.

The equipment that my son uses 10 times a day to check his sugar is a blood glucose meter, test strips, multi-clix lancing device and lancets. We rely on the meter and the strips so much that we determine how much insulin he receives based on one particular number. If there is a hidden malfunction, a glitch somewhere inside the meter, the number may be wrong. Wrong number means wrong insulin dose, which could have dire consequences.

It is faith in our meter company that we trust the numbers that we see. Yet, they are a piece of equipment, and just as your remote for your television, they are not perfect and can malfunction within a moments notice. We just hope we catch the malfunction before it’s too late.

Then there is the insulin pump. The equipment that my son uses with regard to his insulin pump is what causes us the most stress. His pump is life support that is just like any other piece of electronics. It runs on batteries and it can break, but if your remote breaks there is no chance of anyone dying. At least not literally.

Along with the insulin pump there is the cartridge that holds the insulin on the inside. There is the tubing that connects the cartridge from inside the pump to the site that is inserted into my son’s body. The tubing is just plastic. It can crack, snag, pull, snap or spring a leak like any other plastic tube out there. Sure there are certain quality control standards that it must pass before it gets out there on the market to my son, but still, it is just a piece of plastic.

Then there is the actual cannula that gets inserted into my son’s body every 3 days by me that allows insulin into his body that is flowing from the tubing. The cannula is a hard plastic tube about 6mm long that rests just under his skin under sticky paper that we call a site. So the site sticks on the outside of his body (usually his butt) and the site is connected the cannula in his body and clips to  the tubing that brings insulin from the pump.

It is these sites that are going to be the death of me. For the life of me, I cannot imagine how a tiny piece of hard plastic that is only 6mm long can actually bend in 3 separate spots inside of my son’s body to prohibit the flow of insulin. How can something so small cause so many problems? If the cannula kinks inside of my son’s body I am unable to see it with my eye. The only way I can guess if  something is wrong with the cannula is when another piece of equipment, the blood glucose meter, shows a very high number. A high number such as 575 for those of you following along.

Then it is with a leap of faith that we get more pump equipment to change the site to try to get the blood glucose number back into range.

So, if Type 1 diabetes weren’t hard enough to manage with all the carb counting, high numbers, low numbers, stress numbers, exercise numbers, growing numbers and sick numbers, throw in the variables of all the equipment we use to keep my son alive it’s a wonder how we see any numbers in range at all.

I would love a cure for this rotten disease, but in the meantime I’ll take a cannula that doesn’t kink. Is that too much to ask for 2009, a piece of plastic that doesn’t kink? I surely don’t think so.

Dear Son.

To my baby boy,

Two years ago this awful disease of Type 1 Diabetes invaded your body. Although I wish I could erase that day from my memory, it has remained a permanent fixture in my thoughts. You were so brave that day, walking into the unknown. As we walked 3 blocks to the hospital you actually skipped. The irony that you were skipping into the hospital that would give you news that would strip you of your innocence was not lost on me.

Yes you cried in the hospital. We both did. But from the moment you were diagnosed until this day 2 years later you remain the picture of strength. You are the bravest little boy I know. You don’t care about diabetes, it doesn’t get in your way, you are just you, perfect in every way.

Sure, you know you have diabetes, I mean, you do get your sugar checked over 10 times a day, but those are just bumps in your road. They are mere pit stops on the way to the diving board, or to the basketball court. Nothing about diabetes consumes you. You live every minute of every day to the absolute fullest.

I am in awe of how you take every thing in stride. From lows to highs to bad sites to bad insulin, you just roll with the punches. More like kicks in the face as I look at it, but regardless, you just deal and move on.

You are my hero. Not because you have diabetes, anyone can have diabetes, but how you own your diabetes. You are in charge of yourself, diabetes is merely something you have. You are NOT diabetes, you are a fantastic little boy. I thank the stars every day that I was the lucky woman chosen to be your mom.

You are my world. You are my heart. I would not be me if it were not for you.

I love you,


Dear Daughter.

To my baby girl,

Two years ago you were just that, a baby. You were only a little over 2 years old when your big brother was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I left you for the first time in your short life to go and stay with him in the hospital. I don’t know what I cried about more, being in the hospital or being away from you. Our family had never been apart, and diabetes was getting in the way of that.

What a little trooper you were from the beginning. You instinctively knew in your heart when I had to help brother, that I was not ignoring you, I was just helping brother.

You are part of our team. You are so smart when it comes to brother’s diabetes. You know when he gets candy it is because his number is low. You are even starting to learn what numbers we strive to maintain. You are the smartest, most compassionate 4 year old that I know.

I know you give up a lot for brother’s diabetes too. I know you don’t understand diabetes and why sometimes brother needs to do some extra blood tests, or eat an extra snack, but not understanding does not hinder your compassion. You sit with us during the extra blood checks, you stay with us during the extra snacks, sometimes even having one yourself.

You are the best daughter anyone could ask for. I’ve known from the minute you were born and I found out that you were a girl that I was the luckiest mommy in the world  to be chosen to be your mama.

Your strength and conviction inspire me. You are the most self assured little girl. You are a no nonsense, very hysterical type of girl. I find you very amusing. You treat brother’s diabetes in the same way. You are very no nonsense about it, in fact, many of your babies have diabetes to. You have adopted an ‘it is what it is’ motto, and I know that will help you and your brother both in the long run.

I used to say you were born to be your brother’s co-pilot, and I still believe that. He needs you just as much as you need him. You make a great team. I love you little girl.

You are my world. You are my heart. I would not be me if it were not for you.

I love you,