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So Much Bigger.

Coffee and diabetes go together like ... puzzle pieces.  Or other kinds of things that go together.I took two packets of sugar substitute from the basket near the coffee maker and flicked my wrist to loosen up the granules, then ripped open the paper packets and poured them into my coffee cup.

"What kind of insulin pump is that?  My grandson has an insulin pump."

His voice was warm and kind, and he stirred his own coffee absently, looking curiously at the pump in my pocket.

"An Animas Ping."  I smiled at him.  "How long has your grandson had diabetes?"

"A little over a year.  I like your pump.  It looks small.  What kind is it, again?"

"Animas.  What does your son have?"

"Medtronic."  He looked at my pump again.  "It just looks so much bigger than that one."  

"I think most of the tubed pumps are generally the same size, give or take.  Mine is about the same size as your grandson's.  How is he doing with it?"

The grandfather smiled.  "He does great.  He's a good kid.  He was on the pump soon after being diagnosed.  His grandmother and I are here at this conference to learn all we can and report back, since his parents couldn't come because they're home with him."  

He paused.  "Are you sure your pump isn't smaller?  It looks a lot smaller."

"I'm almost positive."  

We both sipped our coffees.

"How old is your grandson, sir?"

The smile on his face flew like a bird from his mouth to his eyes, though it was a bit sadder when it landed there.

"He's two.  Two and a half."

My insulin pump was the size of a whisper, sitting on the hip of a grown woman, compared to being clipped to the pajamas of a two and a half year old boy.

My eyes filled with tears that I ignored as I sipped my coffee as a distraction.  "The pumps are the same size.  It's the size of the person wearing it that varies, I think."

"That must be it," he said.  "But still.  Everything just looks so big on him."


Nice post, but you made me sad.

A little tug on the heart strings. Well written. Thanks.

I'm crying now.. so little for so much.. :(

Whew, made me cry! Makes me so sad that such little ones have to deal with this crap. :(

Got a lump in my throat--I can't imagine. 41 and wearing a pump is trying, but 2-1/2??? Poor little guy! Thank you for always putting things into perspective for us! :)

What a brave kiddo!

No matter how big or small the person...diabetes is one big disease.

The folks you met with a 2.5 yr old on a pump should be commended for how diligent they must be in watching his BG. My grandson in 3.5 yrs old and has also been T1D since he was 1.5. The size of the pump is only one of the reasons we have chosen NOT to pump yet. Since he is in daycare the care needed to watch for the tubing is another reason. However, the biggest is the variability of his insulin needs as his body grows and changes. We are worried that, although his BG range may be more narrow with a pump, it may also come at the cost of too many lows. Pumps are great but just not for us...yet.

What a brave kiddo!

No matter how big or small the person...diabetes is one big disease.

Brought tears to my eyes. Being diagnosed at 32 myself feels hard and intimidating. 2 1/2 is so young!

Crying because the burden of this disease is so big for kids so small.

Sucks, no 2 year old should have to deal with that.

A quick story. When I first started at Animas I was only there a few months when I took a call from a young Mom she wanted to order supplies and I was happy to help. We chatted just a little as I placed her order and she said you know if it would not have been for your pump we could not have brought him home. I said I am sorry what do you mean. Her baby was born with diabetes and the Dr's put the baby on our pump right after he was born. This Mom said if it would not have been for the Animas Pump he would have had to stay in the hospital. That was the call I have kept in my heart. Just another reason why I love the work I do.

This immediately brought tears to my eyes. My 2.5-year-old was diagnosed 6 months ago, but doesn't have a pump yet. He's too curious about pushing buttons. It's just such a big disease for such a little guy. He's tougher than me though.

The further you are removed from a child with diabetes(parents, grandparent - etc)the more difficult it is. Those grandparents are doing so much by going to the conference, asking questions, and most importantly learning about diabetes. It is wonderful for children with diabetes to go to grandparents for an overnight visit. To spend a week-end at "Camp Cathy" or "Camp Castaldo," (2 aunts that made a point to learn about diabetes so that Briley could visit.) Diabetes is a daunting diagnosis for the patient and those that love them. The best thing tho, is that those grandparent don't realize how wonderful they are. That child will forever be blessed by their love, and caring.

Certainly puts a different visual on the situation .... I'm sure they do look much smaller on us adults. :/ Thanks, as usual, for the great post! (Hope the walrus enjoyed the trip home! lol)

There are some YouTube videos out there showing a baby named Lucy in some pretty routine rituals -- having her blood sugar checked and her CGM sensor changed. What really astounds me is not the size of the pump, but the size of the needles. In the videos, Lucy weighs maybe a tenth of what I weigh, but she still gets stabbed with the same gigantic introducer needle with her glucose sensor that I do. It's not fair. As I grew bigger and technology advanced, BD's insulin syringes got smaller and thinner. Unfortunately, I've seen no such evolution in today's pump supplies.

It breaks my heart every time I hear of a child, especially that young, having diabetes. Even though I was a child myself it strikes a very raw nerve for me. And kudos to his family for being so involved already. I'm sure he'll only benefit from it!

I was thinking just yesterday about how you have so many encounters with other PWDs and other parents/caregivers/family members of CWDs just at random. And to that grandfather, just that simple discussion in the coffee shop probably meant the world.

And at the same time as it breaks my heart at everything ALL of you have to fight, it makes me more and more grateful that this technology exists to keep you all as healthy as possible... no matter how old or young, big or small you are.

At 4 the pump looks gigantic on Elise... I can't imagine if we had put her on one when she was diagnosed at 12 months.

Burst right into tears when I read this one.....

Ohmygoodness. Instant tears. I'll tell you a secret. On every birthday cake & every falling star for as long as I can remember, I've made the same wish. Not once have I wished for a cure for myself. I always wish that if they can't find a cure then they find a way to stop it from happening at all. I wish that no new babies are diagnosed with diabetes. Any diagnosis is heartbreaking, but the little ones just make my heart hurt for days.

Diabetes SUCKS!!!

Very touching. I posted this on my Facebook page.
I'm so thankful my son was 13 when diagnosed - old enough to learn so quickly, and mature enough to handle things sort of OK. He's 14 now. It's a hard age for a boy without diabetes and it has not been an easy adjustment; but I'm so thankful for the pump.

It made me cry too. My friend Cathy had to face both of her daughters diagnosis's at 18 months. They are young women now and are doing great. But for something positive, how wonderful the technology is that this child's parents and grandparents have compared to what your's faced. Let's pray that it keeps advancing until it is an artificial pancreas and better yet a cure. Autoimmunity sucks, but their has to be an answer.

My daughter was diagnosed at age 2 1/2 and pumping at age 3. Despite what some think, the pump made life so much easier to deal with diabetes in a toddler. I am so grateful we started pumping so young. Teaching your child not to push the buttons just like anything else you teach them to do or not do, making small adjustments to doses was so much easier, allowing for "grazing" the way small ones do, I see pumping as a real advantage for the littlest ones. Plus it was less intimidating for caregivers (especially the school) to think about giving insulin this way. How many times might they think "just push these buttons? I can do that! But give a shot? No way!"

I was dx'd w/type 1 nearly 5 years ago at age 31, and our 3 year old daughter was dx'd w/type 1 a little over 5 months ago. We can't wait to get her pump next month. This blog entry brought tears to my eyes thinking of what she's endured so far and what she will endure until there is a cure. My little Avery is an inspiration to me everyday.

That brought back memories. My son was also diagnosed at 2-1/2. He is 9 now. The pump makes it easier for the little ones and helps keep the lows at bay. It looks harder but makes life so much easier. The hardest thing for us was the visual reminder that announced to the world that our son had diabetes but you learn to live with it.

They are such brave kids! Praying my hardest for a cure or at least the artificial pancreas soon!

My son was 13 months when he was diagnosed and 2 1/2 when he went to the pump, so I can definitely relate!

What a gentle reminder for me about having had 26 full years before being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I wear the Omnipod and am often aware of how the bump appears beneath my clothes, but this is minimal compared to the experience of such a small child. Thank you for your thoughtful post.

Poignant post!
Our little guy looked like a little astronaut with the Ping in his back shirt pocket when dx'ed (14 months), but it made life a lot easier. We just moved to the Pod so he didn't have a pager strapped to him, and we're thankful for it as well.
What great grandparents! Many are too sad or scared to face T1 head on - awesome that he was diving in! I'm sure his grandson feels the support.

I look up to the little ones that deal with D day in, and day out; never remembering what it was like to be carefree. That last line about broke my heart.

Ahh, this brought a tear to my eye too. My little man was 18m dx, and pump wearer at 4y. But you are so right. Pump size changes with the wearer. But he wears it with pride and tells everyone about it. Advocate at (now) 5. And I LOVE that the grandies are involved :)

Such a beautifully written post, and that little boy is blessed indeed to have such loving and involved grandparents.
I'm mom to two boys with type 1, so I know well how big the pumps look on little bodies. Diagnosed at 18 months (pumping at 26 months) and 26 months (pumping at 30 months), it is only now that my boys are 7 and 4 that the pumps are starting to "shrink" in our eyes. I'm ever so grateful for those pumps, though, because they've given us a measure of normalcy that we never got with shots.

Benny was dx'd at 23 months and pumping at 2 1/2. It works so well for us. Loved this post - that could have been my dad 5 years ago!

i wanna hug you both!

Since I now have a two-year-old, I think about this a lot that this device I wear every day would be huge on him. Well written. :)

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