Her Mom's Version
Lauren's story is a success story for all of the caring people who reached out to us and helped us make the best decisions for our Lauren. Both CamelsRFun and the Insulin-Pumpers list were there when we needed it most. It was not the medical professionals who held our hand when we needed it, it was the caring parents of other children who had gone before us on the Pumper's Journey.
Lauren was 10 years old when she was diagnosed with Diabetes on March 11, 1997. As all parents are, we were devastated. It became clear to my husband, Nathan, and myself that if we wanted the best odds of a long healthy life for Lauren that we needed to work towards maximum control without undue restrictions on her life. The insulin pump seemed to be the only answer.
Nathan and I were also very concerned about the rebellious years that we often hear about. We have heard so often about teenagers who rebel against the control of parents as the parents attempt to continue to control the child's blood sugars. We learned that it is not all uncommon for teenagers refusing to do BG's because a bad number only means another shot or teenagers that simply don't cover what they eat with insulin. Understandably, they are burned out from the stringent discipline and routine required to maintain satisfactory control with multiple daily injections. I wanted to lift the burden from Lauren's shoulders as much as I possibly could. I thought the pump might lift the burden.
After about four months of shots, my goal became getting Lauren on the pump in the Summer of 98. During the school year Lauren and I spoke about it together. She absolutely DID NOT WANT THE PUMP! She did not want to have anything attached to her. She is very active and she did not think that the infusion would stay in. And most importantly, as a 7th grader, she did not wish to explain her pump to her classmates.
I was pretty much in despair. I wanted her to have the pump as badly as she DIDN'T want the pump. I found CamelsRFun on the internet one night. I was so moved by the stories that others had shared. CamelsRFun gave me the resolve to move forward. Fortunately, Lauren was introduced to Sarah, a 13-year old pumper, who spoke to Lauren about how wonderful the pump was. Lauren finally conceded that she would try the pump only in the SUMMER and only for one month. She still did NOT want the pump and hers was a strategy to appease me. I hoped that the pump would be as marvelous as others had claimed, then maybe Lauren would be sold before the thirty days were up. It was certainly a risky venture, but I had to give it a chance.
The day before she was to get the pump, Amy, an 18 year old pumper, came into our life like a breath of fresh air. She was darling with a smile that lights up a room. She won Lauren over immediately. Amy told Lauren that she also first hated the idea of the pump and her parents also pushed the issue on her when she was 16. She said she knew that they did it only because they loved her so much. Now, Amy loves the pump and says that her only regret was that someone had not told her earlier about how truly wonderful the pump is.
The first two weeks on the pump saw a great deal of adolescent fireworks. Lauren had to work through many of the same issues that she faced when she was first diagnosed.... She insisted that she not be made to wear the pump at her birthday party at Astroworld, because she did not want the constant reminder that she was diabetic and she did not want to worry about the water rides. When her birthday party finally came, two weeks after the start of the pump, her attitude miraculously shifted. She wore the pump and when the infusion came out, apparently because she bungee jumped, Lauren did NOT want shots, she wanted to go home, from her party, and get a new infusion set started!
We have now been on the pump for nearly three months and I can say, without a doubt, that Lauren loves her pump. Instead of being restrictive, it is liberating. It is so easy to disconnect and reconnect that little of her daily activities have been at all inconvenienced. She went to an all night church party last week: pizza at midnight, movies at 1 am, go-carts from 3-7 am, junk food throughout. NO PROBLEM, just punch the buttons and enjoy oneself with healthy BGs. No more feeling deprived... no more thinking about when and limitations of how much one can eat. Adjust the temporary basals and no more lows.
Lauren has gone back to school, with her pump. Her closest friends know, but Lauren still chooses to put the pump tubing down the leg of her pants and hide her pump in her sock! It was a trick we learned from Sarah. Lauren is taking her own pace about discussing her diabetes and pump with those who do not know her well. Thus far, the reception from her peers has been consistently positive. I think Lauren feels better about herself now than she did before being diagnosed with diabetes. After all, she feels like she has the control of her life back.
Lauren said to another child with diabetes that the pump is the best thing to happen to her since she was born! She is far move independent and competent with managing her blood sugars. And we are so proud of her. Lauren did not ask to be brave, but she has responded to her diagnosis with admirable resilience. She is truly a happy 7th grader now.
I so appreciate the reinforcement that CamelsRFun gave me in my darkest hour. And the members on the Insulin-Pumpers list have been so wonderful in helping me through the fine points of insulin pumping. I must also add that Cindy was the most thoughtful, knowledgable and empathetic pump educator that we could ever hope to have. Many thanks to all...it was not an easy journey, but we are now into the "Happily ever after" part!
Sugar Land, TX
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