Type 1 Diabetes going back to school

Since we have been on the first theme. I began to think about that back to school experience. Type 1 diabetic child  in school for the first time. The thought that I had to leave my child with school personnel. Let me paint the picture.

We were in a charter school for the better education. For those of you not in our area at the time that school was rate one of the top in the state. Quincy needed the challenge (or he took things apart and did experiments to learn about things!!) that this school provided. The caveat, they did not take kids they did not want. So those kids on 504 or IEP or ILPs did not make it into the school. But once you were there they could not kick you out. The up side to this there was a full time RN at the school. No school aid that took care of my son.  I thought all was going to be well. Because as an NP the next best thing was a nurse. I felt better about him going to school.

However, the school isolated him, the nurse fought me on what the orders were for his shots, she did not even understand what Type 1 diabetes was and what they needed. She openly admitted to not understanding and was trying to learn. I had teachers aids tell me they did not have time in the instruction to deal with type 1 diabetes!

The fortunate thing was Quincy was oblivious to this. He was always excited about school. He did have issues with his sugars. And more than once he did not get a shot the nurse should have given him. My anxiety increased about leaving him anywhere. I could not trust the nurse to care for my kiddo how was anyone going to care for him the way I could.

In the end and after writing my own 504 plan but not getting it to the teachers (the school just needed it on file for my son incase the state looked into it!) We moved schools.

The new school was what we should have had in the beginning. Diabetic care was always first.

Type 1 always calls for a parent to advocate. But how do you do that without guidance of what is wrong. Places I that would have helped me was at the very least my diabetic educator (but I never asked for what I thought was normal)!

This is another book for another day. Type 1 diabetes and the basics for school days. There are so many resources out there for this and I think new diabetic parents need to be on top of these resources. Type 1 Diabetes and the specifics of your kiddo.

What was your Type 1 back to school experience?

Type 1 diagnosis day

Do you remember that day of your kid being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes? Overwhelming, scared, not sure how to keep your kid alive tomorrow! I remember. It was an evening and we went to urgent care because he did not feel good and he was urinating all the time. The NP that saw us happened to be one of my old professors from college. She told me we needed to go to the ER because he has Diabetes. I sucked up my emotions to drive to the emergency room. I replayed in my mind the last few months…what did I miss? I am a nurse pratitioner I sould have seen it coming but why didn’t I? Those are haunting questions that I could never answer. And sometimes we don’t have those answers.

When we got to the ER my husband showed up and I went to the bathroom and cried for what seemed like an hour. What no one knew is I saw patients each week in dialysis from not taking care of their diabetes, very ill sick patients. Type 1 and my child. No way. NOT ME!!! Then realizing I am now the parent how am I going to keep him alive and never go to dialysis.

The days that follow were a blur. From the educator to the nurses I never left my childs side. Now how am I going to go back to work and let someone else watch my child. I did not think I could take care of him well who else was going to help take care of him. While I was a mess, my son took it in stride. He did not like the shots (but who does) and he faced it like a soilder. He went about what he needed to do. He can educate anyone what is exactly occuring in his body than anyone around him incluiding me. With the weight of his diabetes and any little thing could kill him, training the nurse at the school even, trying to teach family, and trying to learn it as a parent made life in general overwhelming. No wonder it took 3 years to really go out and enjoy a date with my husband or have a sitter in charge of him. Type 1 can rule your life and the entire family. If you are on shots, meals have to be a certain times. If on a pumps, you are always adjusting the basal rates or sensitivities or ratios.

As I became more comfortable leaving Quincy with others it was only because I trusted him and trusted he knew his body. Not  because I had a good method to teach a sitter. Type 1 ruled my life every minute of every day. Now that he is a teenager I don’t worry about leaving him. I do have a consistent sitter, but more for my younger child than him (she does help him often). He watches my younger child more often than anyone else. No resources were avaible to help train the sitter for my son so we made one.

What I want to know is how other parents dealt with diagnosis day of Type 1 diabetes? What was that like? Where you able to keep normalcy or did your world suddenly get small? If it got small when did you open up and allow it to enlarge?

Type 1 Diabetes can overwhelm and rule your life until you feel you can rule it…when does that really occur though.

Type 1 and Babysitting


Here is our 2 minute video clip about our book! We were so lucky to have been able to go on and discuss Type 1 diabetes and babysitting. It was all very exciting! I am a behind the scenes kind of gal (so slightly nervous) and Dayna appeared so comfortable (at least on the outside!).

We want to thank KKTV and CSHP for setting up this interview.

Check it out. We talk very briefly about the book and how it evolved! Type 1 moms developing this babysitting tool.

Denver JDRF Walk

Start of the Denver JDRF walk

Start of the Denver JDRF walk

Well here it is today.  Fundraising and meeting tons of new families and people! Getting your name out into the world is hard work!  But worth every bit.  Things we did note today that I think is important:

1. Hiring any babysitter is scary when your most precious cargo can be seriously hurt!  While having a type 1 sitter is easier, simply because the sitter knows the disease, it is not always practical.  That is how our book helps!  It is designed specifically for your child while helping a non-diabetic understand your child.

2. So many teenagers with type 1 are starting up babysitting!  Such a wonderful need!  I still think this book is important.  Your child is yours and the teenage type 1 kiddo understands the ins and outs, but needs specifics on your very individual special child.

3. Grandparents can utilize this book!  I met many today that have taken a grand parenting class but wanted the book for the type 1 in their life.

Dayna at our booth!

Dayna at our booth!

We all have our reasons for needing this or not wanting to leave our kids with just anyone.  Just anyone can be scary.  What if we found someone who is not type 1 but learned how to love and care for our type 1 with ease?  Our fear as parents may lessen and life can be a bit more normal!

There are sample pages up on the blog and Amazon lets you look through some of the book.  Take a peek.

If you are in the Colorado Front Range we will be at the Colorado Springs Walk at America the Beautiful Park next Saturday and we will be on the local KKTV news September 11 at 9 am. Check us out. If you see us around we do have books on hand for $15.

See everyone next week.

Press Release


9 September 2013 | Colorado Springs, Colorado

Stacey Smith-Bradfield and Dayna Frei

Date Night possible again for parents of children with Type 1 diabetes


After the diagnosis of a child with Type 1 diabetes, the first weeks, even months, are filled with sleepless nights, insulin shots, blood sugar numbers, and a general feeling of being overwhelmed.  From day one, parents are taught to prepare for the worst case scenario:  a plummeting blood sugar resulting in seizures or even unconsciousness.  Once a family starts to venture out of their safe, structured environment, simple pleasures such as play dates, sleepovers and even an evening out for parents seem like an insurmountable challenge.  As fellow parents of children with Type 1 diabetes, Stacey Smith-Bradfield and Dayna Frei have sought to ease the fears and frustrations of leaving children with a sitter, a nanny or even a friend.

“From a medical standpoint, you cannot gloss over the needs of a child with Type 1 diabetes.  In writing Type 1 Diabetes and Babysitting:  A Parent’s Workbook, we knew we had to cover so many critical topics,” says Smith-Bradfield, an Advanced Practice nurse.  Co-author Frei adds, “Not only is this a teaching tool for the parent, but we had to consider caregivers who might not have any knowledge of diabetes.”  The workbook walks a parent through teaching sitters about day-to-day care, as well as emergency situations, and includes places to completely tailor the pages to their child’s needs.  Additionally, Smith-Bradfield and Frei have added pull-out pages, with sections such as “Dinner and a Movie” and “Sleepovers” leaving the person in charge with the most important and likely needed information.

Julie Marmon, M.D. says, “This book provides parents a method to convey crucial data and not worry that important details have been glossed over. The step-by-step instructions and flow charts with areas to personalize, streamline care and remove fear from a situation which may be scary for sitters and family members. Great work!”

While there are hundreds of books on diabetes, Type 1 Diabetes and Babysitting: A Parent’s Toolkit is the first to simply teach the pertinent information, without overwhelming the teenager or adult caregiver.  For more information, please visit www.sciencehorse.com.


By Stacey Smith-Bradfield and Dayna Frei

Science Horse Productions, LLC

P.O. Box 38879, Colorado Springs, CO  80937

ISBN:  978-0-615-86345-0

Price:  $15

CONTACT:      email sciencehorseproductions@gmail.com       phone 719.237.6631