I invite you to read about Julie, the co-owner of Pump Wear, and then visit her blog. She offers the unique perspective of having three children with type 1 diabetes. You can also follow her on Twitter; she’s @pumpwear.
I’d like to introduce you to Julie of Pump Wear.
Tell me something about your children.
My youngest Nikki loves ballroom dancing, bowling and is starting to learn how to golf.
My middle son Patrick is leaving in 2 weeks to go away to college, he has spent the summer working at “Moes” and saving his money.
My oldest son Adam, just moved into his own apartment with three friends and is working a lot at the center for the disabled.
How old were your children when diagnosed?
Nikki got diabetes first at the age of 2, then 2 years later Adam at the age of 14 and 4 months later Patrick at the age of 11.
How were your children diagnosed?
Nikki was peeing all the time we were potty training and after she went 10 times in a row we thought she had a urinary tract infection.
Adam, same thing peeing all the time we were on a trip to Florida and had to keep stopping for him to pee. We finally tested his blood sugar at a rest stop and the rest is history.
Patrick was drinking a lot. When I walked into his room and saw over 20 empty bottles of water and drinks, I knew instantly.
How have your children’s lives changed since diagnosis?
Nikki has never known life without diabetes so she doesn’t really know anything different.
Patrick and Adam know what it is like to not have diabetes and they both struggle with wanting their old life without diabetes back. The boys struggle with not wanting to test all the time, and pretty much hate the hassle of it all.
The people they have all met have helped guide them in the right direction and they have made lots of friends of children with diabetes, also.
How has your family’s life changed since diagnosis?
I don’t think there is enough room here to describe it. One day we woke up and the world was turned upside down. No more just going someplace, it was hard to leave them at all, let alone find someone willing to watch them. Family and friends seemed scared to take the kids anywhere without us there. My husband and I didn’t go out on our own again for about four years.
We have become educators in all that is diabetes.
How has connecting online helped you cope with diabetes?
We use online resources all the time. We like Facebook the best because it hooks us up with people living similar lives to ours. It’s really nice to know that we are not alone and even at 2:00 am. someone is on Facebook to chat with you!
How do you manage diabetes?
All three are pumping.
What would you tell parents of a newly diagnosed child?
Allow yourself time to grieve. I didn’t realize that’s what was happening to me, but it really is like a death of one life and the beginning of another.
What do you know now that you wish you had known at diagnosis?
I wish there had been Facebook and I wish that I had known that there really are other groups and support systems out there to help.
Your oldest just moved out of the house. Is it difficult not to be right there managing his diabetes?
Yes my oldest just moved out and it is very nerve wracking not knowing all day that he is alright. I used to see him first thing in the morning, usually spoke to him during the day and than again at night. Now I usually hear from him once a day so that makes me feel better. If he for some reason doesn’t call or text me for a day I can’t sleep!
You are the co-owner of the company Pump Wear. What prompted you to start a diabetes-related business?
We started Pump Wear nine years ago when my daughter Nikki was diagnosed at the age of 2 with type 1 diabetes. We worked hard to get her on the insulin pump. At that time they were not putting very little children on the pump, but we found a wonderful doctor willing to work with us. And then we discovered that there was no way that was fun or cute for her to carry this life supporting device.
Nikki went on the pump in April and 4 months later we had Pump Wear Inc. up and running with six original products. Today we offer over 800 products for children and adults with diabetes.
What has been the biggest reward owning this business?
I have to say that the biggest reward has been the families we have met and the “Free Family Camp Weekend” that we help sponsor every year called “The Caring & Sharing Weekend” (this will be our 4th one in April 2011). This has been the biggest reward to me personally because I remember so well after Nikki was diagnosed how it truly effected every person in our family and people that didn’t have type 1 could not possibly understand the devastation that we were working through. Being able to be a part of this weekend and bond with these families has been the most rewarding to me.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Yes, as a mom of three children with type 1 diabetes I have come to understand that I can’t control this disease, but I can give our children the tools, support and understanding they need to live a long and happy healthy life.
Meet other D-Moms and D-Dads each Monday.