A piece I was asked to write for Disney and Lilly Diabetes' joint website, T1 Everyday Magic, was posted last week. It's called, "10 Signs You're No Longer a T1D Newbie". The top 10 format was a great vehicle by which to organize a list of milestones familiar to those of us who've been at this a while and also seemingly attainable to the new parents on the block. By design, it lent itself to adding humor to the mix.
As I reread the list, I was struck by a theme which runs through the piece, a common denominator: You know you're no longer a 'T1D Newbie' when your anxiety level becomes manageable. You don't panic about every high and low- you just move on and treat them. You are able to leave your child at a party or sleepover and concurrently do something besides sitting around worrying about it. You've assimilated the carb counting and the organizational needs into the background so that the rest of life can go on in the forefront. Every-day life levels out to a calmer, more even keel.
The anxiety never goes away completely. And sometimes it's still unavoidably prominent. The first time the kid takes a new step towards independence or tries a new athletic activity is going to be stressful. The 400's and 30's are still going to keep you up at night, even if they happened at noon. Every time you don't get the anticipated check-in text from your kid, you'll assume the worst. The truth is that while it really does get easier (which is an important message for parents of newly-diagnosed kids to hear), it never gets easy. While the initial ceaseless anxiety about every little thing dissipates, it remains a recurring theme.
Having been asked to provide an encouraging piece of writing, I didn't add that last paragraph to my top 10 list. But as I add it here as an important footnote. If you're looking for the more positive, funnier ways you'll know you've gotten the hang of things, click here!