We can do anything, we can be anything, and we can conquer all.  It’s a fantastic sentiment but make sure you know we can also burnout, feel like we failed, and despise and detest this disease.  I want my son to know he CAN do anything but I also want him to know that it’s okay to be angry, to fall, to fail.

We may be called ‘Superheroes’ but we are all human.  We hurt, we feel, and we can conquer but it’s not always the easiest mountain to climb.

The Never Ending Rally Race

Remember the moments when you were growing up and you’d stay up half the night, or the whole night, loving life - hanging with friends, chatting, laughing, listening to music, partying, the list goes on.  Eventually, the time arrives and you settle down, you and your partner have a baby, and now those long nights awake are for you loving the life of a different kind, the life of a little person who is completely dependent on you, your actions, and your endless time and love.

Slowly, these endless nights dissipate, but Type 1 Diabetes knocks on your door.  The sleepless nights, the constant anxiety, the mental and emotional strain comes back.  You have to welcome a new unwanted ‘baby’ into your life.  This new baby still needs you to hop up in the middle of the night but instead of the cries of a hungry baby it’s an alarm that make you move.  You now need to get up and tend to your new baby, unfortunately this baby doesn’t sleep and it doesn’t grow up or look after itself, it's here now, insistent on round the clock care.

Next week we will hit seven years of living with this extra figure in our family and I am burnt out!  Maybe it's the seven year itch but maybe I have had enough, I know Isaac has had enough, we have all had enough; the relentlessness, the physical, emotional and mental toll and I am not the one who physically has Type 1.  I am the carer of it, the one who doesn’t feel the literal ups and downs of it but is the co-driver, helping direct him along this never-ending rally race.


I guess my post today is more of an ongoing gripe than anything, but here goes.

We all have a whinge now and then, I completely understand that, but, I tell you what, if you whinge about something -do something about it!  For those who have complained about certain issues- have you ever done anything to help the situation?  Have you written letters to companies?  Have you contacted the media?  Have you put in a complaint about misleading information?  Have you met up with your Local MP?  Federal MP?

Do you fundraise to help fund a cure?  Do you donate to those who research this cure?  Have you been to any kind of fundraiser? 

What have you achieved, if you haven’t done anything but complain? 

Change your perspective! Put your energy into something with substance!  Write letters.  Email companies.  Talk to the media.  Contact Ministers.  SHOUT OUT LOUD!  Raise funds.  Donate, but, please, don’t just sit and complain!


We have made it through the first two weeks of school all in one piece.  Isaac has settled in well as have the other two.  His teacher is so positive and proactive, with only needing me to go into school twice to help them out.  It’s good going considering he has moved on from all the junior teachers and aide.  I love the confidence and reception both Isaac and his teacher have to discuss what has happened or is going to happen and act on it accordingly. 

When we started school three years ago we didn’t know any other family or child at the school but within weeks Isaac had bonded with a beautiful and boisterous bunch.  They have stuck together like glue ever since.  Over the past couple of years Isaac has been placed with two of the original six preppie gang.  His little mates have taken on some responsibility in looking after him.  They would stay in at playtime/lunch, if Isaac was hypo, to keep him company – and they were spoilt with being able to have a play on the computer so I’m sure that was a drawcard too!  For a bunch of six year old boys they really did make sure all was okay. 

The past three years Isaac has taken on more and more in regards to his own care but so have his group of friends.  Now, they don’t only stay in with him, they check his numbers and make sure he is entering the right amount of carbs!  Isaac has been lucky to have met these wonderful little people and I am blessed to now have their parents as friends; who are always looking out for him too.  This year he is back with two of the original bunch of six, they have not been in a class together since prep.  I have had reports back that they have an amazing bond, they look after each other and, still, stay with Isaac inside at lunch time – I’m sure many other eight year old boys would just run outside and let him deal with it himself.  They may, or may not, get in a bit of trouble for talking and laughing too loud sometimes but to know that these boys are so caring is something that all parents love to hear, but for me, a parent of a child with a chronic illness, it really does make my heart sing!

Blessing or Curse

Some people call their Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis a gift, a blessing.  Others call it a curse, a nightmare.  Me, on the scale of blessing to curse, I’d be closer to curse.  The Type 1 community loves to pose the question – What do you find positive about your Type 1 diagnosis?  I find we have a number of positives but these positives come from struggle.  Isaac’s diagnosis has given us plenty of opportunities.  Opportunities which may not have arisen without his diagnosis but I am pretty certain other opportunities would have come our way.

Friends, now, my Type 1 mum friends are definitely worth celebrating, and for those who know us, that we do!  Social media has made life more bearable for all of us as there is always someone on line you can shoot a question to or vent. Knowing I can pick up the phone at any hour and call, text or private message is most certainly a blessing.

Having my son diagnosed with Type 1 has taught me many things.  Our family life and each of our children’s lives are different because of it. I feel the kids have more empathy and understanding but I also feel they have more frustration and needs because of it too.

The other thing I’m starting to detest is the adjective ‘strong’.  I believe it’s a word with no meaning when it comes to describing someone in a continual state of fight or flight.  People who have children with a chronic illness, be it Type 1 or not, are often referred to as strong.  We fight, we fall down, we struggle, we succeed, we fail, we continue, we wake up and get up, we cry, we scream, we laugh, we love.  Strong is not the word I would use.  I think people say this word because they’re not exactly sure of what to say.

We all have our struggles, your struggles may not be the same as mine and mine not as tough as others but it’s all relative, and relative just to ourselves, our own day to day fight.

I wouldn’t be where I am now without this diagnosis but I wouldn’t be where I am without my many thousands of decisions I have made, and situations I have been in, in my lifetime.  So, to come back to the blessing to curse scale, I could never count this as a blessing but I can say it has definitely added to my story.

Where would you sit on the scale?

Packing for the First Day of School

Only two more sleeps until all my munchkins start school for the year. My two youngest are packed and ready- art smock, library bag…Done!  Now to start packing Isaac’s bag (or bags).

People don’t always understand what Type 1 Diabetes entails.  They don’t understand how much preparation goes into day to day life.  Sometimes Type 1 parents are seen as over the top, over protective, over cautious.  I say, none of this is over the top; it’s being prepared for all that Type 1 throws at you. It’s making sure my son has everything he needs to get through the school day without too much intrusion into his school learning.  To have everything he needs to come home safe from school every day.

 Hypo lollies

Juice boxes

Three lock down kits

Spares kit

Action Plan


I start with packing hypo jelly lollies into separate bags and then into his hypo container.  I pack the right amount of lollies needed to treat a hypo in individual bags so he can grab and go and knows he has enough with him to treat a hypo.  A six pack of juice boxes to keep in his classroom for hypo treatment also.  He prefers to have juice as it’s quick to drink down and works relatively fast but he also likes to have jelly lollies as they’re small and easy to carry (and something different if he was to have a couple of hypos in one day). The lock down kits are packed and labelled, ready to be put into his specialty classrooms tomorrow. 

Then there’s the spares kit- for this kit I have always used an ice cream container, labelled clearly as it sits in the medical cupboard in the office (This kit is taken with them if they are to go anywhere outside the school premises). There are numerous batteries, meters, blood glucose test strips – two brands just in case his BG meter which works with his pump decides not to work – ketone strips, reservoirs, cannulas, hypo treatment, long acting carbohydrate and the list goes on!

Isaac’s School Action Plans all filled in and now just needs to be signed by a school representative, his photo placed on it, laminated and then positioned strategically around the school. His briefcase is ready to go with, guess what? More hypo treatment!

Preparing for our Education Session

We have a short half hour education session next Monday with the Grade 3 & 4 teachers. I’ve made a list of things I want to mention; Some of the things are testing times, documentation, testing kit, hypo treatments, lock down kits and glucagon.

Last years’ teacher and aide came up with such a fabulous idea for recording Isaac’s BGs, food and activity, which we will continue to use.  It has columns for - times he needs to test, blood glucose level, action taken and sighted by (occasionally Isaac signed this off himself; he’s a cheeky bugger sometimes!).  It is a day to a page, so plenty of room for little fingers to write notes.

His kit is all carried in a small briefcase; this has his testing kit, hypo treatment, long acting carbs and his diary.  He takes this everywhere with him!  His library teacher refers to him as Mr Lenehan, as he looks like he should be heading to his office job.  I love the sense of humour!  Spread around the school, in his specialty rooms, he has what I call ‘Lock down kits’.  These kits consist of juice boxes, jelly lollies and long acting carbs ie muesli bars.  These are kept there to be used in the unlikely (but becoming more frequent) event of a lock down situation.  This came to my attention almost two years ago where there were three schools in the area that were locked down.  It put the fright in me! Imagine him being locked in a room for, say, six hours without enough long or short acting carbs, that’s a scary thought.

As mentioned, as of halfway through last year, when he started carrying his briefcase he now has double of everything with him in those specialty rooms.  On the lock down topic, I will need to write up a plan as to what to do if this situation was to arise. It’s a hard ask, as we all know we fly by the seat of our pants the majority of the time when it comes to Type 1 Diabetes.  Thankfully, Isaac is clued on with things and is able to discuss and make educated decisions with adult assistance if it was to happen, and if they were unable to contact me.

Glucagon has been something that only Aaron and I have been trained to administer but this year we have been given the opportunity for his teachers to be trained.  I am hopeful they are willing to do so.  It’s a big ask and I know many schools wouldn’t want the responsibility but I believe our school will jump at the chance to learn more about how to care for him.

There are many more aspects of Type 1 Diabetes which we could go over with the teachers but, for me, as long as they know how to take his readings, what the numbers mean and what to do in the case of a high or low blood sugar, along with having my phone number on hand and open to communication, I feel he is in capable hands.  He has been on this Type 1 ride for almost seven years now so I feel he, although only 8, is quite skilled and in tune with it all.

I have such great rapport with the school and they are always open to new ideas and come up with new ideas themselves. We have more than four teachers up to date with what his day entails and I am sure Isaac will keep them in check, and on their toes! He does like to try to get away with things in the first couple of weeks with a new teacher as he knows he could probably get away with telling them this is how it’s done.  They’ll be onto him this year and so will I!

Below is a list of topics you may like to discuss with your school/teachers.  I will endeavour to write about these in future blogs.

Please note: if you are new to Type 1 Diabetes and school or not confident in your knowledge I would suggest approaching your diabetes team to discuss your options for a professional to go to your school and educate the staff.  We had our diabetes educator go in for Isaac’s first year of school and ran a session with the entire school staff.

Teacher training sessions run by diabetes groups:  and

Testing times

Blood glucose and ketone testing

Blood Glucose numbers and what they mean

Hypoglycaemic treatment

Hyperglycaemic treatment

Where the testing kit and treatment will be kept (in classroom and easily accessible)

Long/short acting carbs

Where the spares kit will be kept

Explaining to fellow students what Type 1 Diabetes is – my book will help :)

School Plan – signed by your diabetes team

Sports day plan

Emergency contingency plan

Will a teacher’s aide be available? Will you be applying for funding for this

Lock down plan

Parent/guardian contact details

Glucagon training

How to use the pump/pens

Who will be administering insulin is pens are being used

Continuous Glucose Meter

Food details –are the carbohydrate amounts going to be written on food, noted in diary, where?

My most important point is – test anywhere, at any time and he is not to be left alone if he is having a hypoglycaemic event.


Returning to School

I wrote an article for the ABC about this time three years ago, it was about Isaac starting school.  He was my first to go to school and the first child with Type 1 Diabetes starting at his school in over 15 years! The article entails all my thoughts and anxieties, plans and actions, and all that was involved with Isaac starting school (link below).  Three years on and starting to get ready for this year of school, I thought it was apt to write my first blog about him starting school this year.  Although managing Type 1 Diabetes has not become any easier, he’s three years older, more confident, more capable and a little bolder with it all, I feel so much better about him starting this year compared to his first year.

Saying that, I still have anxieties, I will always worry about people not understanding the severity of the disease and all that comes with it. I will always worry about Isaac having a severe hypoglycaemic event (low blood sugar) and not be with people who understand, or, worse still, by himself and not have the capabilities to help himself.  I am, and will always be no matter his age, a parent of a child with Type 1 Diabetes.

Three years on from when Isaac began his school journey, we have numerous members of staff who have a huge understanding as to what it takes to look after a child with Type 1 Diabetes; some of his previous teachers, his aide, and others who have worked in the classroom next to Isaac’s class and have been involve in his care.  Three years on I’m feeling more at ease.  Even though he is in a different section of the school, with a different ‘batch’ of teachers, his aide will remain with him and his beautiful little friends, who have been on this journey for these three years of school, always keep a keen eye out for him and his ‘numbers’.

Before the school year starts, we, his mum and dad, will go in and hold a short education session for the four teachers who will be taking grades 3 & 4. We will also hold an education session for all staff at the school- this is so, new and old, staff are familiar with Isaac and his needs (There are monthly sessions in Melbourne, and other towns around Victoria, run by Diabetes Australia for teachers to attend, two from Isaac’s school attend each year).


When T1 went to school article: