Most people know someone with diabetes. “My uncle has diabetes. At least it’s not too serious. With all the advancements, I hear it’s easy to control.” Knowing a friend or relative with diabetes (any kind) is very different than living with it yourself… or being a parent of a child with type 1 diabetes.
“Things I didn’t know about being a Parent of a T1D Child”
By: Jesse Jost, T1D Dad
That your pulse races when you do the middle of the night check, hoping your child hasn’t had a fatal low, and the wave of relief you feel when you hear him stirring.
How hard it can be to sleep at 4 or 5 in the morning as you subconsciously wrestle with wondering if your kid is okay or if you should get up to check again.
How often we would be mixing chocolate milk in the middle of the night or trying to force “one more bite” of yogurt down a groggy boy who just wants to sleep.
How maddeningly stressful it is to give enough insulin for 45 carbs and then have your child take one bite and suddenly lose his appetite and refuse to eat anymore even though you plead that he has to eat or he will have a dangerous low.
The parenting challenges that wonky blood sugars bring. How his behaviour and personality would change when his sugars are high or low, or how hard it is to make parenting decisions when your child doesn’t know why he is feeling a certain way.
What it would be like to feel a moment of panic, whenever one of your other children wets the bed, is extra thirsty, or is starting to look a little skinny.
How challenging and life-threating sickness is now, with near constant checks for ketones, and high blood sugar, and making sure he gets enough to drink no matter how much he fights it.
How it tears you up emotionally to watch your little angel trying to hold back the tears when the injection is hurting more than usual, or to deny a certain kind of snack because his blood sugar is already too high, and you wonder with him, why he has to deal with all of this.
How you get tired of always having to be aware of where his sugar levels are, or if he ate enough, or is being too active for the amount of insulin you gave him.
How much it stings when you receive a “helpful” article proclaiming a possible explanation for the cause of type 1 diabetes, and you wonder if you were responsible or if this means one of your other children will get it.
How often we would have to explain the difference between Type 1 and Type 2, and that Type 1 is an autoimmune disease, not caused by sugar or diet, and that it can’t be managed by diet and exercise alone.
How good it feels to talk to another parent who has been through all of these challenges and can relate in a way no other parent can.
How grateful you would be for insulin and the people who have made inventions and improvements to the tools and methods we use to manage diabetes.
How diabetes can intensify the love you feel for your child in a way you never thought possible.
Type 1 diabetes is a very complex and challenging disease. It’s an invisible disease and most of us make it look easy. But it’s not. There is so much thought and consideration that goes into EVERY decision we make. And it’s exhausting.
One thing I didn’t know was how much I’d wish for the day I could say “my son used to have type 1 diabetes.” We need a cure.
What are some things you didn’t know about being a parent to a T1D child? Don’t forget to go to the Carb Counting Mama Facebook page and “like” it!!