Going Back to School as a Person Living With Diabetes
August 29, 2016
Maria is a MiniMed® Ambassador, a teacher, and the mom of two great kids. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 12 years old. The MiniMed pump lets her worry less about her diabetes and more about her role as a mom. Maria loves to help people, especially helping them feel better about their diabetes or treatment regimens. You can learn more about Maria and connect with her as an Ambassador here.
Going back to school. Yes! I have had a first day of school for 40 years of my 45-year life: 13 in K-12 schools, 5 receiving my undergraduate degree, and the rest as a teacher. For 32 of those First Days, I have been a person living with type 1 diabetes, and for 22 of those I have been on a Medtronic MiniMed insulin pump.
Now that I am on a MiniMed pump, returning to school has been much easier than when I was a kid and my mom had to worry about me daily. I may have to tweak my basals a bit based on my activity level and whatever other changes I notice in my blood sugar patterns. However, I can make these adjustments so much easier with my pump than I could with multiple daily injections. I still have to prep food-wise for going back to school: I have to buy snacks for snack time, but also those necessary ones when my lunch isn’t quite enough and my blood sugar is starting to fall. I usually have a good supply of juice boxes on hand to treat my lows. Regular lemon-lime soda has been a lifesaver the last few years. I keep 6-ounce cans of it for when my blood sugar is crashing, and there just doesn’t seem to be enough food or juice in the world.
When I am packing lunches for school days, I have to remember to count carbs, so that when lunchtime comes I have that number in mind before I eat so I can bolus easily with my pump. On the days when I have forgotten to do this in the morning, I have not always guessed very well.
When I am actually back at school, I start educating. Not just about school curriculum, but about diabetes. I teach in an elementary school, so anyone I am going to work closely with, I let them know I have diabetes, just so they are aware. Likewise, I am always very willing to talk about diabetes with anyone and have become the diabetes expert in my school. If anyone has questions, I have the answers. Sometimes I will get general questions, and other times specific questions about my diabetes, or the students with diabetes in the school. I feel it is important for people to have good information, rather than guess.
Once classes start with children, that’s when the fun begins. I always do several activities for them to get to know each other and me. In doing this, I talk to my new students about diabetes and what it is. I have found that most kids need reassurance that diabetes can be managed easily when you’re educated about it and I always assure them that it is not contagious. I show them my MiniMed pump and explain to them how it works. I also show them my continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and MiniMed Connect mobile app, and explain how they all work together to keep me safe and healthy. We also discuss my symptoms of being high or low, and I tell them how I may need their help in filling my water bottle or fetching my juice boxes. I always invite my students to do the JDRF and Tour de Cure walks with me as well.
Going back to school has always been a very exciting time in my life. Being on my Medtronic MiniMed pump helps so that my diabetes doesn’t get in the way of another First Day!
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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.