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Walking the Line, Rainbows, and Pain: Back to School with T1D

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I often feel like life with diabetes is like walking the line.

We don't want to be blood sugar to be too tightly controlled yet we don't want it uncontrolled.
We want people to understand this is a life threatening disease and yet not treat our children any different.
We don't want our management expectations to be too strict nor be too lax.
We want our kids to understand the seriousness of the disease and not let it hold them back.
We want people to know people with T1 can do anything and yet we want them to fund research for a cure.

These are just a few examples of the line we walk daily.

Some days, life with T1D rolls off my back like water off a duck.

Today is not one of those days.

Today I feel more like a porcupine.

I'm getting ready to send Sweets back to school.  Back to School with T1D.

I feel sick.

And it makes little sense.  Because I truly believe that she will be taken care of.  Our nurse is coming back and I trust that she will continue to do a great job with Sweets.  I believe that her teacher is going to do a great job as well.  Unlike last year, we're going into this with experience.  I SHOULD be feeling good.

The thing is - it doesn't make sense.  Emotion rarely does.

I'm feeling uptight.  Worried.  Nervous.  Overwhelmed.

And angry.

So here's the line.

I have always felt that it's important to acknowledge how you feel.  To accept the good and the bad.  Because I believe it's the only way through this.  The only way to stay sane and healthy and moving forward.

I am so grateful for our wonderful school nurses and teachers.  I am thankful that we have supplies like the Omnipod and Dexcom and even a blood sugar meter and lancet device.  I do not take for granted that she is alive and healthy and able to chase her dreams.


I'm angry, too.

I'm angry that I have to make information sheets to give to school personnel so that they know how to take care of my child.   I'm angry that our school shopping involves prescriptions and trips to the pharmacy.  I'm angry that a new school year also means a new plan that involves time out of class to keep her healthy and safe.  I'm angry that a new class means new kids who may or may not be accepting of her different needs.  I'm angry that I have to explain that diabetes can affect her ability to learn.  I'm angry that our back to school list involves orders from her doctor.

I'm jealous of those people who can run to Target and pick up their child's school supplies - getting what's on the list - and be done.  How nice would it be if getting the right kind of binder was our biggest worry?  How nice would it be if we could send her off to school without a care (or at least a worry about her having a severe low and no one knowing what to do)?  How nice would it be if plans didn't need to be made around lunch, recess, gym class, and special treats?

That's a life we will never know.


So what are we to do?  How do we keep those feelings from overwhelming us?

Well, for me.... I let myself have a little pity party.  I let myself yell or punch things.  I exercise it out.  I sleep it out.  I blog it out.

And then I move on.  I remind myself of how blessed I am.  And how lucky we are.  And I try to focus on that.

(I think I need to write this on my forehead!)

Sometimes... like NOW at the start of the school year... I may have to remind myself every day.

That's ok.

As long as I don't let that anger and sadness get the best of me...

And as long as I remember that you can't have a rainbow without a little rain!



  1. Hang in there Hallie!
    Sadly, I am right there with you. This year things are hard for me emotionally! New school, new nurse (who I do not trust), new kids asking her a million questions and treating her differently... We also now live in the state with the weakest D laws I've ever seen. I spent half the first day back (yesterday) fighting back tears and feeling so angry that she has so much more to overcome than other "new" kids, as if that's not enough...
    They never even reminded her to test all day yesterday. (Luckily I was there for lunch)She was low when I picked her up, no afternoon test, and I seriously thought my head would explode!

    I know we will get through it, and she be OK, but today I'm just a little overwhelmed.

  2. Very well said the emotional of parent with type 1. My daughter is no longer in school but the work world is no different. You worry about being accepted as a worker with the needs of type 1 and now we worry she will not be able to get full time to get your own insurance. Praying you and her as she begins a new school year.

  3. My teenager started her first day of high school today. My daughter (nickname is Stinkerbell) is far older than your Sweets, but our feelings are the same. I wish our school supply list did not include a trip to the pharmacy. But I am also thankful, like you, to have the tools necessary to keep her healthy. Our school shares a nurse with the neighboring middle school...we don't have a dedicated resource. THAT makes me nervous:( New school, new routines. I hope all goes well for you and your girl this year!

  4. I feel you, i have the same sentiments for my daughter with type 1 diabetes. Just hang in there, things might be a little bumpy at first but eventually you will feel at ease. Wishing her the best in her schooling and hoping that will be on the right track.


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