In 2009, our son Robbie was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. He was 2 1/2 years old at the time and was in desperate need of insulin.
He was also in need of surgery. Due to the unique circumstances of his case, Robbie was medevaced from our local hospital to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia for surgery on his leg and diabetes care.
As I reflect back on the situation with the diabetes knowledge I have now, I am in awe and full of gratitude for the care he received and his full recovery.
Fast forward six years and our son is a happy, healthy child who happens to live with diabetes. Putting a support system together for Robbie has been critical to his emotional and social development. Our strategy has been to provide diabetes education to our family and others who care for him. In fact, one of our favorite quotes, by Helen Keller, speaks to the role that education has played in Robbie’s care: “The best educated human being is the one who understands most about the life in which he is placed.”
Each year we set practical goals for Robbie with our diabetes team at CHOP and school nurse. Learning never ends. We never neglect to see our nutritionist and diabetes educator. Striving for independence at home and at school has been a top priority.
The biggest game changer in his care has been the use of a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). Robbie was 4 years old when he first used the device, one of the youngest children at CHOP to do so. It has helped us monitor him at school and while he plays his favorite sports — basketball and karate. The CGM has also been extremely helpful at night. The new advent of remote monitoring has given him freedom and us piece of mind.
Last March, Robbie participated on a panel at the Living Well With Diabetes conference sponsored by The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He shared his experiences with wearing a CGM with others and enjoyed speaking about diabetes with the panel. We have found that being involved with the diabetes community has given him confidence and purpose.
We look for inspiration from our Diabetes team at CHOP, friends we know who have diabetes, and others who have come before us. All of these people make the diabetes community a better and more supportive place.