When MiniMed Ambassador, Caleb Hatchett, was in recovery from surgery on his femur January 2013, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, making him the eldest and third child in his family to be diagnosed. “Due to the fact that it had been over two years since Daniel’s diagnosis, for me to get type 1 would be more of a joke than reality,” says Caleb, now 18 and a college student. After being diagnosed, reality struck, and he was now the third child in his family diagnosed with type 1 in three years.
Q. You are the eldest child to be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, can you tell us about your diagnosis story?
A. The first diagnosis of type 1 really hit our family hard. At nine-years-old and the youngest child, Hannah was well loved and protected. For such a complicated disease as diabetes, our family felt overwhelmed and clueless for the first six months. At Hannah’s diagnosis, the doctors informed us the chances were small of anyone else in our family getting type 1. Only seven months following Hannah’s diagnosis, my younger brother, Daniel, was diagnosed. Daniel’s diagnosis upset the entire living-with-type-one-stuff upside down. Thoughts of the chances of three type 1′s began to sprout in the back of our minds.
My diagnosis was considered impossible to our family. Due to the fact that it had been over two years since Daniel’s diagnosis, for me to get type 1 would be more of a joke than reality. After undergoing major surgery on my femur, I was in recovery when diagnosed. My Mom had noticed my unusual edginess and was too worried to check my blood. When I went to the hospital for therapy, my Dad tested my blood sugar – 498. Impossible! My Dad and I were convinced the tester was wrong, so he ordered blood work to be done. After a rapid glucose test came back, reality struck. I was now the third type 1 to be diagnosed in my family in three years!
Q. What was it like to grow up with two siblings having type 1 diabetes, and then be diagnosed yourself?
A. For many years, our family was able to live life without type 1. When Hannah was first diagnosed, we had no idea what we were in for! Living life with type 1 has totally changed how we think and live. Because of the many difficulties that type 1 entails, we have had to learn how to change our lifestyle and adapt to the “New Normal”! Though type 1 can be really difficult to live with, its complications have brought our family closer together.
Q. How did your perception of managing diabetes change after you were diagnosed?
A. After being diagnosed myself, I went from knowing diabetes – to living diabetes. Honestly, there is a lot I didn’t understand. A good example of this would be dealing with blood sugars. Without diabetes, dealing with blood sugars would entail the simple task of figuring out the correction and giving it the diabetic. With diabetes, you have to struggle with the sickness, weakness, dizziness, and other side effects of high/low blood sugars and then figure out the correction for the number -whether that is insulin or sugar.
Q. Prior to your diagnosis, both of your siblings used an insulin pump. Once diagnosed, did you know you would also go on a pump?
A. Before my diagnosis, Hannah and Daniel both were able to start up on insulin pumps. From a non-diabetic perspective, I thought this was pretty cool for them, but had no idea how much it actually helped with stabilizing blood sugars and substituting for insulin shots. After I was diagnosed, I definitely wanted to get on a pump as soon as possible!
Q. Tell us how your perception of using a pump both before and after being diagnosed with diabetes.
A. Before being diagnosed, it was another tool to help manage the kid’s type 1. After my diagnosis, the pump proved to be a great tool to help lighten the load and pressure of my diabetes. It has provided a lot of freedom in both work and college.
Q. How do you and your siblings encourage and support one another while managing diabetes?
A. Because we all have the same disease, we know and understand each others pain and struggles. Unless you have type 1 diabetes, it is really hard to understand the mental and physical stress and pain that type 1 entails. When any of the “Type One Trio” members are having a “diabetes day,” the other members can rally around to help out the struggling one. Though having three type 1′s is really difficult to manage physically, it has a lot of emotional benefits. Also, knowing that God is in control always encourages us when we are overwhelmed! He is the one who gave us this disease, and though we might not understand why, He is in control and we can depend on Him for strength!
Q. You started a blog, Type One Trio. Can you tell us more about this?
A. I started Type One Trio as a way to get our story out there! I want to be able to encourage newly diagnosed type 1′s who may be overwhelmed or struggling. Living with type 1 myself helps me gain “common ground” with any other type 1′s. Also, having three type 1 diabetic children in one family is pretty rare. I want to be able to show others that they can live a life full of fun, excitement, and hope even with the hardships that come with the disease.
Q. You are in your first year of college, good for you! Do you have any tips you’d like to offer to others who are also managing diabetes and school?
A. Whenever you have an upcoming test, try to make sure you stabilize your blood sugars! Tests always make my numbers spike (the stress), so I try to constantly keep my blood sugars in check. The pump has made my life so much easier! Being able to give insulin during a test without having to leave the room is amazing! Before the pump, it was really difficult to constantly be giving shots because of high blood sugars.
Connect with MiniMed Ambassador, Caleb, to discuss his real experiences and get a better understanding of what life is like on an insulin pump.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
- Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems.
- Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.
Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps
- Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day.
- Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.
Medtronic Diabetes Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Systems
- The information provided by CGM systems is intended to supplement, not replace, blood glucose information obtained using a home glucose meter. A confirmatory fingerstick is required prior to treatment.
- Insertion of a glucose sensor may cause bleeding or irritation at the insertion site. Consult a physician immediately if you experience significant pain or if you suspect that the site is infected.
For more information, please visit MedtronicDiabetes.com/isi.
Tags: diabetes management
, insulin pump therapy
, living with diabetes