Feature Friday time: Shannon & Gavin!
This week we are learning about Shannon and Gavin. Gavin has been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes for two years! His mother Shannon explains his diagnosis, how they thrive with T1, and some very helpful advice for parents! Shannon and Gavin are doing a wonderful job and even though some days are very hard, they work together. I know their story will inspire someone and if you want to learn more from this family please visit them on Instagram: @mom.of.a.T1
My son was diagnosed with Type 1 just over two years ago on 4/18/19 at the age of four. As it is for all families, it came as a complete shock. But deep down, when we headed to the Pediatrician’s Office, I already knew. I remember that day like it was yesterday, every.single.detail.
For about two weeks prior to diagnosis, Gavin just seemed off. I didn’t attribute it to anything at the time. Hyper one minute, really tired the next. Extremely thirsty and eating a lot. I remember every other day, his daycare calling me after lunch time (right at nap time) telling me Gavin felt sick, or that his stomach hurt, or that he had thrown up a little. When I got him home, he would eat an incredibly large amount of food. And I thought, “this kid isn’t sick, what is the daycare talking about?!”
When he started wetting the bed at night, I became concerned something was wrong. When he wet the bed twice in one night…I did what everyone does and googled my way to a diagnosis. I called the Pediatrician the very next day.
We were only in the doctor’s office about 30 minutes, when they told me their glucometer was only reading “HIGH” and sent us on our way to the E.R. Even though I suspected this would be the diagnosis we would receive, I was in shock. At the hospital his BG came back at 660 and we were officially given his Type 1 diabetes diagnosis. I remember saying, “are you sure? Like, how can you be sure?” as they drew blood and hooked up an IV. We spent the next three days in the hospital learning how to live with and manage Type 1 diabetes.
At four years old, I’m not sure anyone would understand what was going on…I’m still not really sure he truly understands. Of course he knows he has diabetes, and is now aware that needs insulin with carbs. He knows it will never go away. I explained that part of his body was sick and that it no longer worked like it should, that his body cannot produce what is needed to convert the food he eats into energy he can use to grow, or run, or learn, or dirt bike, and that is why he gets injections.
How Diabetes changed our lives…
As unfortunate and as heartbreaking as this Type 1 diagnosis was, I can say now, that I am no longer angry. It is hard and at times overwhelming, but it has brought my son and I together in a way I don’t think we ever would have been connected otherwise. We have shared moments that no one else will ever understand. It has taught us so much more about ourselves, brought people into our lives we would have never have met, opened opportunities for us that never would have existed. And, I believe that is what it means to be a thriving Mom of a Type 1. To look at every day as a new day and a new opportunity to bond with your child; to not to dwell on the diagnosis or the MANY tasks each day brings, but to see the gift you have of being able to show them how to overcome obstacles with a good attitude, to teach them healthy habits and positive care for themselves, and to encourage them in their strengths and abilities.
Advice for other families affected by T1
I believe the most important part of truly managing diabetes is to understanding the human body; how it functions, how food is digested, and the glycemic index and impact of food. This is biggest advice I can give to newly diagnosed families. Knowledge and understanding is power, especially with such a complex disease. Ask questions. Have the CDE explain how they are recalculating insulin ratios, review how BG reacts to certain foods, and be able spot trends by taking LOTS of notes, so that you become confident in making your own adjustments. Know that it will take time!!
There will be good days, there will be bad days, and there will be extremely hard days. Raising and caring for a Type 1 is a journey, and unfortunately it’s one that caregivers have to navigate by trial and error and “mostly” on our own. Surround yourself with positive people who can understand and relate to your struggle and don’t forget to make time for yourself…even if it is only an hour a week. You and your Type 1 will be better for it when you are not holding on for dear life just trying to make it through the day! That is not the example you are trying to set.
All the love and support,
If you like this story please check out other families and adults living with diabetes who have been featured in the past… like Janielle and Maya ! Thank you for your support!