Five-year old Madigan was diagnosed with Type 1 at just 18 months. Her diagnosis came at such an early age that she has no memory of a time when diabetes wasn’t a part of her life. But she’s reached an age where she realizes that her friends don’t have to wear an insulin pump like she does.
“Now that she’s starting school, the other kids ask her what the pump is for,” explains Amanda, Madigan’s mother. “Sometimes she asks why other children aren’t diabetic. She has started to ask questions, but how do you explain the medical reasons for diabetes to a five-year-old? As a mother that’s difficult.”
“I had a basic idea of what diabetes was, but that’s it. I’m suddenly responsible for caring for a new baby with diabetes. It’s a lifelong, 24/7 thing that you have to deal with, so it’s scary when you know so little.”
After what she described as the initial shock, Amanda, her husband and the rest of their family set out to learn what they could about diabetes and what it would mean for Madigan. The answer? A child who loves dance class, gymnastics, and just about anything else she can throw herself into. To Madigan, life is no different now than it was before diabetes.
They also found support in a community they had never even known existed, a Chicago area group of mothers with children who have diabetes. Meeting new people and learning through them has been invaluable to the entire family. It’s also made Amanda, a professional chef, more aware of what she cooks than ever before.
If anything, Amanda says Madigan will grow up with more of an open mind than she ever had. She will grow up with an appreciation for life and without fear of insurmountable obstacles, because there is no such thing.
“Madigan is more of a leap-before-thinking kind of kid,” Amanda says. “Diabetes doesn’t slow her down one bit. It’s more of a hang up for me as a mother than for her. It’s never stopped her from being a normal kid.”