What I’m about to share isn’t some groundbreaking diabetes care technology, but when my little boy was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, these images were a tool—rather, a creation—that made things a little easier for my family.
In the early days of our new life with diabetes we dutifully rotated my son’s injection sites just as we had been taught. We tried to put the power in his hands—within reason, he’d get to pick where he wanted to have a shot and then he’d mark it on a chart so we wouldn’t hammer the same site again and again. At first our charts were crude drawings we’d made of our son in various costumes—a sea creature, a lion, an astronaut—with six boxes in the designated injection areas (upper arm, butt, thighs). Soon, my son began making his own shot charts, mostly amorphous monsters with sharp teeth and spiky tails.
We’re lucky to have many talented friends, among them Mark Wilson, a professional cartoonist and illustrator whose work appears in respected newspapers and magazines. After seeing one of our son’s shot charts, he came up with his own version for us, inspired by my son’s choice of a cowboy Halloween costume that fall. Needless to say, my son loved it and used it devotedly until he went on an insulin pump about a year later.
Today our pediatric endocrinology team often gives this chart to the families of kids who are newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. And our artist friend Mark recently made a cowgirl for kids who want an illustration of a female. Managing type 1 diabetes is tough enough. Sometimes it’s the little things, particularly made with love by people who care, that make a difference. We hope you’ll share these images with those in your diabetes community, support groups, and medical team so they can reach as many families as possible.