The Vulnerability in Type 1 Diabetes

I hopeVulnerability, it’s not something we as human beings embrace. Vulnerability has been linked to and associated with weakness, obligation, onus, all descriptive of feelings that are capable of haunting someone. The vulnerability in Type 1 Diabetes is hard to escape. I have been vulnerable since my son’s diagnosis in November of 2013. It feels like feeling vulnerable is the norm, and feeling secure is a fleeting feeling that I experience once in a while.

Being so fragile, constantly, is exhausting. I work continually to clamber back toward who I used to be, overtly confident, non-affected, gliding through life seeming to have it all together. Now if I can make it to my kids bed time without a major break down, I have conquered the day.

Living life under a microscope, essentially in a pressure cooker, the majority of the time, I feel like I am about to burst from all the pressure. Most days, I feel like I am barely hanging on.  This has been exacerbated this week, as Carter started the pump on Tuesday.

We had finally, in some ways, fell into a routine.  We knew how Carter reacted to dosages of insulin, how much he needed at any given time, and would just inject him to correct a high, or to dose him to cover what he was about to ingest.  His a1C was good in October 2015, 8.0.  I was thrilled, but at the end of the day, it all could be better.

I decided I would get Carter the pump, mostly because it would mean less pokes.  I envisioned the ease of dosing him remotely, letting him graze throughout the day to his heart’s content, and allowing him that milk he pleads for at 2:00 AM at his night check.  After all, it would just require a quick press on the remote, and he would be dosed!

I didn’t account for the complete change that starting the pump introduces.  I came home from our appointment Tuesday, the appointment where I had to put in my first infusion set.   I succeeded, but felt suffocated by the feelings of vulnerability that took over, and not only have they not left, they have grown in the 4 days since we began this new journey.

At the end of the day, it feels like Carter was diagnosed all over again.  I wasn’t prepared for the emotional toll starting the pump would take on me.  Waking every 2 hours through the night to check his blood is exhausting.  I feel so tired and so defeated, but I cling to the understanding that once I master this learning curve everyone is going to be happier.

Dealing with failed sites, an infected site, and every other issue known to happen when on the pump within the first week has been overwhelming.  But I watch the joy on my son’s face when he looks down at the pump as it vibrates, injecting insulin.  He beams, and lets me know he’s getting his insulin.

Being able to have the freedom to not get so many pokes, I watched Carter start to eat more.  The unspoken toll that this all takes on the diabetic is heartbreaking.  It is so hard to comprehend what they go through, and not get so caught up in the emotional toll it takes on the caregiver.  At the end of the day, feeling vulnerable doesn’t hold a candle to the peace my son feels being on the pump.

If I have to learn a difficult new task every hour of every day to ensure that my son feels as normal and happy as can be, I will do it in a heart beat.  Watching his happiness grow, along with his appetite, makes this transition less anxiety ridden, and more exciting for the possibilities Carter now has to live life to the fullest, despite having Type 1 Diabetes.


*My son is using the Animas Ping Pump.  For more information, visit

5 thoughts on “The Vulnerability in Type 1 Diabetes”

  1. Beautifully written. I’m thinking about switching to pumping myself, but the learning curve is what really scares me. Im not sure I’m in the right headspace for more work and frustration with diabetes at the moment. But, I’m glad to see that the pump is giving Carter a bit more freedom, and I’m sure in the long run the learning curve will be worth it for you both 🙂

    1. Thank you Frank! It was s long mental process for me to finally embrace the pump. Even though I’m tired, it really has been a good transition. Carter has been much happier, and his numbers have been amazing. Having gone through the learning curve of MDI, it’s nice to know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel as it pertains to learning the pump. Good luck, you’ll know when you’re ready. 🙂

  2. I said the exact same thing when we started pumping… it really is just like being dx’d all over again! Thankfully there IS a light at the end of the tunnel, and you’ll go from cursing the pump to wondering how you ever lived without it!

    Sorry it didn’t work out with the OP, but I’m glad you found something that works.

    1. Thanks!!! We are rounding that corner of wondering how we went so long without the pump! OP turned out to be a nightmare because of their reps. Hopefully they can get their act together in the next 2 years and Carter can upgrade. 🙂 He loves everything so far. The tubing was getting in his way so I bought a splibelt and it’s been working great!

      1. Sorry about the reps… that’s terrible. We have great reps here and it makes all the difference in the world. Glad the spibelt works, I know a lot of kids who use them.

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