November is Diabetes Awareness Month and organizations like Project Blue, the JDRF, and Beyond Type 1 use this month to educate and advocate, particularly through social media. The soaring cost of insulin, burnout, healthcare, misplaced jokes about sugar, and most importantly the warning signs of T1D are common topics.
In the past, I’ve used Diabetes Awareness Month to focus on caregiving and diabetes, as well as created indexes that attempt to quantify living with diabetes. Lately, I’ve been quietly thinking a lot about the psychosocial and mental health aspects of living with type 1. I’m certain it’s because as Henry becomes older, he’s becoming more aware of what it means to live with diabetes, and perhaps at seven, he already understands this better than I do. Recently, he told me that since he’s seven he’s old enough to help watch his blood sugar overnight and asked to keep the CGM on his nightstand.
Earlier this fall, his class talked about fire safety, and through our local fire department, families were encouraged to discuss a fire safety plan: “Every second counts. Plan two ways out.” Henry has been adamant that our family plan two ways out and discuss our fire safety plan, so last night at dinner we did.
Henry asked, “Who will bring the cell phone to call for help?”
I assured him papa or I would bring our phone.
Then he asked, “Who will bring my diabetes bag?”
Taking a deep breath in—in wonder that he already thought of this well before me—I assured him that papa or I would bring his diabetes bag.
For more than half his life, I’ve been playing the role of his pancreas, and I think I’m pretty good at planning and reacting to most things diabetes, but what I didn’t know is how always aware he was and is and will be.