Elaine McCaffrey and daughter Sophia who has Type 1 diabetes
Elaine McCaffrey's family didn't receive a letter advising them to shield, but they decided to do so anyway to protect her daughter, Sophia. Sophia's diabetes was diagnosed a year-and-a-half ago, but the symptoms had been starting to appear over the previous 12 months.
"Before the onset of typical signs, we noticed a few things that were unusual. When she did any exercise, she would get exhausted very quickly and get really unhappy. On several occasions, at bedtime, she would complain of being shivery. We now know that to be a sign of low blood sugar," Elaine says.
"This, combined with showing the typical signs of Type 1 diabetes - going to the toilet a lot and being really thirsty and tired - meant we didn't hesitate in bringing her to the doctor.
"At the local surgery, they did a urine test and we were given the diagnosis there and then and she was immediately admitted to hospital for five days.
"They teach you so much when you are actually in hospital - it's a whole new way of life for her and the family, checking blood sugar levels regularly, weighing food to help carb counting and using ratios to figure out her insulin levels."
Sophia is on four injections a day. Both parents administer them at the moment, but she is encouraged to do at least one a day - she is still very young.
Elaine says Sophia has adapted really well to her new way of living and hasn't let it slow her down. Among family and friends, she is known as a bit of a smiler.
"She's been amazing. From her point of view, it hasn't hindered her at all. She does trampolining and she goes walking and cycling, although all of these affect diabetes. Walking affects it, sunshine affects it, even growing affects it."
She also admits Sophia does struggle at times.
"If she takes a hypo, her blood sugar plummets and it's dangerous, so you have to give her sugar to bring it up again. She had a hypo last night, so I didn't get much sleep."
No sooner had the family adapted to Sophia's new way of life than everything was turned upside down again with the arrival of the pandemic.
Elaine realised something serious was on the way when she was in Dubai with work and heard everybody talking about the coronavirus.
"I was aware it was happening in China, but people were saying, 'Did you hear about France?'
"From that point, I knew that if it was in France, it was potentially in the UK. Travelling back through Heathrow, I was very aware of it. I remember being very worried about Sophia when I got home, and I was counting the days to get through two weeks (of self-isolation)."
At that stage, the coronavirus was a bit of a mystery and Elaine was unclear about what precautions she should be taking to protect Sophia.
On the one hand, children are thought to be unlikely to be badly affected by the virus, but on the other, diabetics have been disproportionately affected.
This made it difficult to know how seriously to take it.
"We never got a letter to say that she should be isolated, but we chose to isolate her," says Elaine.
"She lives between two houses, so we try to minimise shop visits, with only one member of the household going in and out.
"At the beginning, we were being very cautious, using hand sanitiser all the time and spraying everything.
"My mother in Fermanagh had it - she got it over St Patrick's Day. With the anxiety of that and having a diabetic child who potentially had to be kept in the house, we had to be super-alert.
"We made the decision that Sophie wouldn't go back to school after St Patrick's Day, although schools closed very quickly after that."
Elaine says her employer has been very accommodating and is following the Government's guidelines advising anybody who can work from home to do so.
But with the restrictions beginning to be relaxed, she faces some difficult decisions.
"At the start, we decided to take Sophia out of everything and self-isolate," Elaine says.
"We went through all the different scenarios and we decided to self-isolate. If we are isolating her, we all have to be isolated at home. At the moment, her daddy and his wife are working from home, but thankfully we were able to minimise contact across the two houses.
"It's more complicated when there are two houses - it's double the risk. We had to both go into lockdown at the same time so that she could move freely between the two.
"We did discuss that if her daddy did have to go back to work, he would have to socially distance in the garden and not see her. If he went back to work, the containment would be in my house, and vice versa."
Elaine says it has made it much easier that, so far, they haven't been forced to make any big decisions about lockdown because everyone has been doing the same thing.
But if the schools return in September, she will face a dilemma over whether the family should continue to shield or not.
"We decided to take Sophia out of everything. Are we now going to be forced to make the decision because the doctors haven't made it for us?
"We're in a funny position because children are not as affected but diabetic people are, so do we send her back or wrap her up in cotton wool? It's a very hard decision. I wish it was clear.
"It would have been difficult if we were in England, having to make that decision today for going back next week. But if you jump forward another two months, are we going to be in a comparable situation?"
If the schools go back part-time in September, Elaine wonders how it will affect her work.
"There are so many considerations. If the R ratio was low and there weren't many people infected in this area, if there was track and trace, if there were all these things the Government is saying they're going to bring in, it would give confidence.
"The other thing is that, historically, the second wave of these types of illnesses can be more aggressive.
"If that coincides with the children going back in September, we would be very reluctant to send her back."
Anne Beattie (38), a classroom assistant at Foyle College in Londonderry, is self-isolating because she has Type 1 diabetes. She's married to Gerry (46) and they have one daughter, Abigail (4), who is due to start Primary One in September
Anne Beattie hasn't been sent a letter to tell her to shield, but she is concerned about worrying figures showing that around a third of people who've died of coronavirus were diabetic.
"It's really high, the number of people who have died from coronavirus and were diabetic. I follow some diabetes experts and all this research is being done. Apparently, it came out that it was more Type 1 than Type 2 people who are at risk," she explains.
"But there hasn't been anything that has come out to say whether we should be shielding, although I think there probably will be within the next few weeks."
Anne wasn't diagnosed with diabetes until she was 21 and at university. She was diagnosed several months after her brother was diagnosed one Christmas.
"In March of that year, I developed symptoms. I was running to the toilet and drinking a lot of fluid and experiencing weight loss. When I was diagnosed, it was quite a shock because we don't have anybody else in the family (with diabetes), apart from my brother ," she says.
"It's a constant balance, trying to get your blood sugars where they're supposed to be.
"I was admitted a few times into hospital with ketoacidosis, which is when your blood sugars are running too high and you develop acid in your blood.
"Instead of taking injections, I use an insulin pump, which is like an attachment that you change yourself - it's like a wee piercing. You manually enter your carbs into the pump and it puts the insulin through.
"It's not something you can just click in and away you go, but it's been the greatest thing I ever had."
Anne has been self-isolating since March, when her daughter's nursery closed down.
"There was so much going on in the news about this virus.
"I had an appointment at the diabetic clinic, but they rang me to say, 'Don't come near Altnagelvin - the consultant will phone you'.
"They advised me to stay at home and not go near the hospital. It was so scary, especially being in a school with so many youngsters around, but they have been so understanding. My boss was like, 'Anne, we understand that you can't come in'."
Anne has been self-isolating with Abigail for seven weeks.
"I felt like I was going to lose my marbles," she says.
"There's a Facebook group about diabetes I would have followed and I read so much online, but after seven weeks I said to myself, 'Anne, just go out for walks and stay away from everybody.'
"My husband is still at work - it's only me and Abigail who are isolating.
"He was having to stop at the door, wash his hands in the garage and go up and down the stairs to get in and out of the shower every time he came home."
Anne says the news about the risk to people with Type 1 diabetes made her extremely anxious.
"I thought, 'If I get this, I'm going to die and my little girl is going to be on her own'. I'm now starting to feel a little bit more relaxed about it, but I've just been terrified and constantly wiping door handles.
"I'm sure it's the same for my brother as well."
Anne says she's heard that the Chief Medical Officer is currently looking at the data on the risk to diabetics and whether they should shield.
"The thought of being told I'm going to have to stay at home for another God knows how long ... it does affect your mental health.
"Abigail is supposed to be starting Primary One in September, but we don't know when she's going to be starting, really. I don't want her to go back at the moment.
"I think that's the thing that's scaring me - that I don't know when this is going to end.
"I don't know when I can go back to work. I can see it being next year, even.
"It's a massive school and there are so many people coming and going.
"It's just strange times... scary times.
"It's even things like just getting out for food shopping, simple things like that. Things that you take for granted. Even getting prescriptions.
"Gerry has had to do all of that. He was running to do everything and you feel like you've had everything taken away from you."