By Kelly Caven
Shortly after our son, Liam, now four years old, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, we attended a support
group organized by the Department of Psychology at Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City.
Parents chatted about different topics, listened to occasional speakers, and the kids played across the hall, supervised by some of the department’s students and medical students.
Our son was only seventeen months old in July 2014 when he was diagnosed. We were devastated by the shock of it. And having had nearly lost him to severe episodes of DKA after multiple misdiagnoses, we were terrified about the daunting challenges we faced in learning how to care for our young son, and accepting our new normal. While we grieved, we
knew we needed to learn as much as possible, and quickly.
The emotions and stress we experienced during this sharp learning curve were, at times, overwhelming. We felt as if we were on a small island in the middle of a vast ocean. Finding a group of people who understood and dealt with the 24/7 care of a young child with T1D reassured us that we were, in fact, not alone, and that things would get easier. While we still have days or nights that can be rough in regards to blood sugar management, they are much fewer and farther between because of what we’ve learned.
This group helped us tremendously. We asked questions and heard stories of others who were going through the same things we were. While the benefits of the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) are invaluable and endless, nothing replaces connecting with real people on a regular basis.
About a year ago, the formal group ended as the department could no longer run it, so a few families started their own group, called the OKC T1D Group. We share ideas, frustrations, and words of encouragement to help parents and individuals with T1D. One of the biggest advantages of this group is that the kids get to play and interact with others who also have Type 1 diabetes.
Childcare is available not only for children with T1D, but also for siblings. Pizza and snacks are provided. Meeting times are the second Monday of every month at Harold Hamm Diabetes Center, 1000 N. Lincoln Blvd, room 3300, Oklahoma City, OK 73103. Join the Facebook group “OKC T1D Families + Playgroup” for the most updated information or email firstname.lastname@example.org.