Diabetes No Longer Just
a Side Dish In My Life
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Diabetes No Longer Just
a Side Dish In My Life
Type 1 Times 2
By Helen McGahey, mother to 7-year-old Michaela living with Type 1 diabetes
Disclaimer: The information provided is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your healthcare professional about your diabetes management. Individual symptoms, situations and circumstances may vary.
Hello! My name is Helen, mum of seven-year-old Type 1 diabetes hero, Michaela. This is a little about our journey so far.
A diagnosis that changed our world
On November 29th, 2019, our family’s world changed in an instant. I can still recall my husband phoning me to say, “Meet us at the hospital they think she’s got Type 1 diabetes” as if it were yesterday.
So many thoughts go through your mind. The main thing for me at the time was the word ‘forever’. I would go as far as to say I felt a sense of grief for the childhood I had hoped Michaela would have. There was a huge amount of information to take in with immediate effect. It hit my husband hard too. All he wanted to do was protect his baby girl.
The early days
Michaela recalls her time in hospital, “I was scared whether I’d have to stay in hospital. I wondered if my diabetes would ever go away. I didn’t want to be there. I really hated the blood tests. I didn’t like the finger pricks and injections.”
Michaela’s diabetes nurse was amazing at explaining everything and the whole family, including Michaela’s older sister, were involved in learning about our new normal. A life of finger pricks, injections, blood sugar highs and lows, glucose tablets, carb counting, tears, acceptance and a relentlessness we’d never known before. It felt like being new parents again with the lack of sleep and the kit bag that we had to take everywhere, ensuring we had everything we could possibly need to help manage Michaela’s blood sugar levels.
Saying yes to adventure
A pre-booked day trip to Lapland, that had already been postponed from the previous year, hung in the balance as it was just two weeks after diagnosis. However, this was also the catalyst to us getting the FreeStyle Libre system. It allowed us the ability to check her glucose levels which was brilliant as it meant far less finger pricks† and the ability to use the arrows to help ward off rising or falling levels.
A successful trip was just the boost we needed to realise that Type 1 diabetes wasn’t going to stop Michaela from achieving anything she set her mind to.
An extra layer of reassurance
Fast forward to January 2020, we were thrilled to be offered the FreeStyle Libre 2 system. The gamechanger here was the addition of alarms◊ that we could set to alarm if Michaela’s sugars were going too high or too low. This meant that I actually managed to get some sleep as previously I had still felt the need to check overnight ‘just in case’†.
Michaela has found the alarms really useful tooѰ: “I used to be busy playing or learning at school and sometimes I would forget to check my levels. Now it has alarms I can make sure I am in range more of the time and if I go too far away it beeps to say signal loss.”
Michaela loves that she doesn’t have to finger prick as much. We generally check bloods at meal times but often the bloods and the FreeStyle Libre 2 readings are very similar†.
In July 2020, we decided we wanted to share Michaela’s journey, spread awareness and hopefully help other families going through a similar thing so we started @mickles_prickles on Instagram. Michaela and I share information about life with Type 1. We share videos about the amazing technology we use to manage the condition, posts about daily life, Michaela’s achievements but also those days when it’s hard and totally overwhelming. We make the page as interactive as possible and love it when people get involved.
It was great recently when we participated in the Diabetes UK Month of Miles. We shared our daily family adventures of running at least a mile a day in August. We got lots of support.
“I’m really proud and I felt so relieved that I did my first ever 5km run. We ran 42 miles and I got a medal!” shares Michaela. The FreeStyle Libre 2 system was so useful to use the graphs and trending data before and after each run to help manage Michaela’s glucose levels and to see the impact of exerciseΦ.
A helping hand from technology
Michaela says, “I like telling people about Type 1. It was great when my diabuddy and her family decided to do their own month of miles. Mumma would read me people’s comments. It makes me really proud.”
Michaela is a fun-loving, energetic child. Whether she’s adventuring in the woods, paddle boarding, performing at theatre school, running or playing with friends, she is always on the go. We are so grateful for the technology that assists managing her Type 1 diabetes so that she can make the same childhood memories as everyone else!
Find out more about Helen and Michaela’ journey with diabetes and how technology supports them @mickles_prickles on Instagram.
Helen received a fee to write this blog. All opinions are her own.
† Finger pricks are required if glucose readings and alarms do not match symptoms or expectations.
Φ For a complete glycaemic picture, scan once every 8 hours.
◊ Patients choose which device they want to receive alarms: FreeStyle Libre 2 reader or FreeStyle LibreLink app. They must start their FreeStyle Libre 2 sensor with that selected device. Once the patient scans their FreeStyle Libre 2 sensor with that device, they can receive alarms only on that device. The FreeStyle LibreLink app is only compatible with certain mobile devices and operating systems. Please check the website for more information about device compatibility before using the app. Use of FreeStyle LibreLink requires registration with LibreView
Ѱ For children aged 4-12, a caregiver at least 18 years old is responsible for supervising, managing, and assisting them in using the FreeStyle Libre system and interpreting its readings.
Diabetes – No Longer Just a Side Dish In My Life
Type 1 Times 2
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