Indeed, managing Type 1 diabetes involves lifelong treatment with insulin but also permanent changes to your daily routine. Diabetes care includes both medical treatment and education. We want young people with diabetes, and their parents, to feel that they can assume responsibility for their own treatment and take charge of their own life. You can control your diabetes rather than let your diabetes control you. Once your diabetes has become manageable, so will other aspects of your life.
During the first few days, many young people (and their parents too) may experience a feeling of resentment, disappointment and thoughts of "why me?/why my child?". If you are in this situation, you may have difficulty taking in the fact that you actually have diabetes. You will need time to examine your feelings and adjust gradually to this strange new situation that now faces you and the rest of your family. At this stage, you will probably find your doctors and nurses spend most of their time with you simply listening and answering questions. Then they will move on by degrees to teaching you more about diabetes.
Most things will be new and you may find them difficult to understand initially but, bit by bit, the different pieces of information will fall into place. By the end of the second week you will be beginning to understand how insulin and blood glucose affect each other. You will discover that your blood glucose level fluctuates frequently, and that a perfect blood glucose level is a rare thing, even for those people whose diabetes is very closely supervised.
Parents can find they lose touch with each other if one is spending much more time than the other with the child. It is essential that both parents participate as much as possible in the daily care of the child with newly diagnosed diabetes. Taking time off work may help provide sufficient time to focus on diabetes care needs if this is possible.
Most people find that managing diabetes at home is easier than they had anticipated. To feel confident caring for yourself (or, in the case of parents, for your young child) at home you should know what to do if the blood glucose level falls too low.
You will have time during the early weeks to meet a dietician several times, as well as a specialist diabetes nurse who can help you with many practical issues. Diabetes is an illness that can cause a lot of inconvenience, even in the most "normal" and well-adjusted families.
It can prove very valuable if you are able to see a child psychologist to discuss any difficulties that might arise. This way, if you do run into problems later on, you will already have an established contact should you wish to seek help.
Remember, diabetes is a difficult condition but can be effectively controlled if managed properly. Don't be afraid to talk about the condition as a family and to work its management into your day-to-day lives.