Age: 16 Year Diagnosed: 2002 Location: Long Beach, CA
"The most embarrassing thing that has happened to me is when I was showing off my insulin pump and I was saying that it was indestructible. I was showing my friends how indestructible it was by bouncing it up and down on the tube, then it accidentally hit the floor. When it hit the floor the side of my pump cracked. I guess it isn't indestructible. "
Best piece of advice from Mark's mom: It will get easier. Honestly, it does--it's never completely easy, because it's diabetes and diabetes is a pain in the neck. But it DOES get easier, and someday, it won't consume your whole life like it does during the initial diagnosis.
In the beginning, there's so much to learn, so much to know, and it's really overwhelming, both for the parents and the kids. It's scary to leave your kid anywhere, with friends, at parties, even at school, because you don't feel like no one else can care for your child as well as you can.
So build up your village--teach EVERYONE, all your family and friends, how to count carbs, and bolus, and treat low blood sugars. Make friends with other families affected by diabetes, it's really important for the kids to know they aren't alone in this fight. Read everything you can, and go to conferences, because it makes you realize you're not alone in this, either. There are lots of other kids and families living--and thriving!--with diabetes.
And breathe--because no matter how hard it seems in the beginning, it WILL get easier. You'll get better at managing diabetes, your kid will grow up and be more responsible than you could ever have imagined (and really, more responsible than any kid should ever have to be), and you'll be all right. There will still be bad days, but there will also be good days, great days, and you'll realize diabetes is just one more part of who you are.
So I'd tell parents to breathe, make friends with other families with diabetes, and to know that yes, it will get better, and you'll get better, too. You'll still make mistakes (we all do!), but you'll count carbs like a champ, recognize lows before your kid does, and bolus like a master. :-)