"No one could ever understand what a family goes through who has a child with diabetes. I mean it is ‘just diabetes,’ right? To those who know, no explanation is needed and to those who don’t, all the explanation in the world isn’t enough to truly explain.
Truth is, it isn’t ‘just ...diabetes.’ It’s a world that scares the hell out of all of us as parents. It’s a world where no parent should watch their child, or their children, suffer daily.
We don’t need to be told again and again that it could be worse; it could be this disease or that disease. We don’t need to be asked again for the millionth time, “Will they grow out of it?” We don’t need to hear from someone that it’s really not that bad to take a few shots. We don’t need to be called up to the school. We don’t need to worry if the falling down in soccer, or football, or lacrosse, or playing in the yard is part of their activity or if they are collapsing from a hypoglycemic reaction - and we hold our breath until they get up again. We don’t need that.
It’s these times. It’s the sleepless nights. It’s playing the diabetes police to our kids. It’s the feeling guilty on playing the diabetes police to our kids.
It’s the constant and burning wish that our lives be normal again.
Our lives are NOT normal.
But we don’t live like there’s a problem, do we? The feelings of fear, anxiety, guilt - and did I mention fear? - are kept inside though, aren’t they? They are kept inside because we want normal again, or as close to normal as can be, for our kids and for us too.
So we smile, we try not to overact when things go haywire, we smile when a relative we love says something stupid like “So you just cut back on their sugar, right?’ We cry alone, we cry in silence, but most of all we move on.
Most people just do not know what we go through because we do not live our lives in defeat. We try to stay upbeat.
But still, deep down inside we all have the fears and showing them outward is something we work real hard just not to do. But they are there, we all know they are."
This is from a mom whose daughter was diagnosed with T1D at just 9 months old. Having a 6 year old with it is hard enough but a 9 month old, I can't even imagine.
Growing up with diabetes does not make a child blind to the world around them. It does not make needles hurt them less, or make them any happier about the endless pokes that come with type 1 D. It does not make the dream of carefree eating less appealing or make them want to skip dessert while everyone else indulges. It does not make hypoglycemia feel less scary. It does not make them less self conscious about having to stop, test and drink a juice on the playground or in the middle of class. It most definitely does not keep them from wondering why other kids don't have to deal with any of this.... They KNOW the difference.
Getting diabetes as a very young child does not have an upside, if you don't believe me ask an experienced pediatric endocrinologist. It puts you at much greater risk for every bad thing that diabetes has to offer, both physically and emotionally. It is extremely hard on the child, the caregiver and the entire family. The only silver lining is that you can't remember anything about your child being normal and healthy and neither can they.