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Shared experience

He thrives at school, has plenty of friends, and takes every day in his stride

Lawrence Newton talks about his son Oliver’s type 1 diagnosis and finding support through family, friends, and other parents of children with type 1.

On the 18th of March 2019, our one-year-old Oliver began to feel unwell. He was drinking lots of water and needed to go the toilet constantly. At the time we felt that perhaps he was under the weather, but as things worsened, my wife and I decided to call the paramedics. When they arrived, they suspected that Oliver had type 1 diabetes.

The paramedics acted quickly and we were rushed, with blue lights flashing, to the hospital, where Oliver was immediately hooked up to machines and put on an IV line. They confirmed that he had type 1. The rest really seems to be a blur of sheer panic and desperation, with constant thoughts of ‘how are we going to cope and learn to care for Oliver and ultimately, keep him alive?

Using technology at home and at school

Oliver has numerous blood glucose tests through the day, along with a 24 hour continuous glucose monitor (CGM) so that we can monitor his glucose levels day and night – both when he is with us, and at school! The CGM connects through a cannula and we have to change it every 10 days.

More recently Oliver has started using an insulin pump, to reduce the amount of pen injections he has to go through every day. This pump administers insulins as and when we need it to. This device is also connected through a cannula and we change it every 3 days.

Finding support and living life to the max

Despite the daily turmoil of managing type 1, Oliver is the most caring, intelligent and confident boy. He thrives at school, has plenty of friends, is extremely sporty with gymnastics, football, and swim every week. He just takes every day in his stride. All of this would not have been the case had we not had the support of JDRF UK who are committed to eradicating type 1 diabetes and supporting people living with it, plus our family and friends.

My advice for anyone going through a type 1 diagnosis with their child is to open up and get support from your family and friends along with connecting with other parents of children with type 1 – they will know what you are going through. You are not alone, and things will get easier as you both learn to manage your new life.

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