Parents Talking Type 1: Michael Eddy

All week long, we’re featuring stories from parents of children with type 1 diabetes, describing how their families have adapted to life with diabetes.

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Name: Michael Eddy, father of William, age 4, diagnosed at age 3

Location: Phoenix, Ariz.

I never really liked Cheetos. Sure, they taste fine and all, but there is something about the remnants of Cheeto dust on your fingers getting on everything else that just doesn’t seem worth the investment.

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in March 2010. I was angry, as I take care of myself—by being active, by maintaining a healthy weight and by not eating badly (okay, well, not that badly). After my diagnosis I tried to learn all I could about what causes diabetes and how I could begin to alter my lifestyle and live with it. I didn’t do very well. I was miserable, exhausted and felt awful.

Sept. 8, 2012 ended like any ordinary day: I picked up my son, William, from daycare, and we stopped into a Walgreens, as he pleaded with me to get some Cheetos. William had discovered this magical food a few weeks back. At his first encounter, he was very curious about the bright orange bag with a cool cheetah guy in sunglasses hanging around all the potato chips. From that moment on, he was a Cheetos fanatic.

As I talked to my wife, Laura, that evening, I started becoming concerned. Will was always thirsty and going to the bathroom. He was tired, lethargic and having a hard time focusing and listening to our instructions. That night I decided to use my blood glucose meter to check him (my wife thought I was crazy!). The meter read HIGH. That was it, no number, just HIGH. We decided to take William to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where he was admitted with a blood glucose level of 716.

As I carried William out to the car to head to the hospital, he looked me in the eyes and asked if we were going to get him more Cheetos. “I love Cheetos, Dad,” he said. I promised him that we would get him some. As we drove past the Walgreens where William had his first Cheetos experience, a wave of thoughts crashed into my head. Was it the Cheetos? Is it my fault that William has high blood glucose? Did I do this to him? All of the emotions, confusion and anger that I felt when I was first diagnosed came back tenfold.

William spent three days in the hospital. Time after time the nurses and doctors all said to me, “Well, you have type 1 diabetes yourself, so you understand.” Those words didn’t mean much to me, and if anything they only added more stress. I kept thinking, “If I can’t control my own diabetes, how in the world will I control his?”

After we brought William home, I took two weeks off work. Those two weeks with him were some of the most powerful in my life. As William and I worked together to measure food, count carbs and calculate dosages, I thought back to the words from the doctors and nurses. And then it hit me! That was the reason I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes—so I could understand what my son was going through, so I could be with him and support him, so we could be a team.

Since William has been diagnosed, I have been able to control my own diabetes. I still don’t take as good of care of myself as I should, but I am much better than before. Some people say it was me who saved William from getting too far along without treatment for his diabetes, that I saw the warning signs, that I saved his life. In reality, he saved mine. The time William and I spent together right after his diagnosis forced me to look at my own health. In order to understand his diabetes and treatment, I had to understand mine. Now we work together as a team to stay healthy.

When William and I go out to eat, we both have our insulin kits and help each other with blood glucose checks. He reads the number for me on the monitor! He is amazing, and when I am having an awful day because I’m having high or low blood glucose levels, I just think of him. If Will can do this and have nothing to complain about, then so can I. William needs me to be healthy just like I need him to be.

Oh, and he doesn’t like Cheetos anymore!

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14 Responses to Parents Talking Type 1: Michael Eddy

  1. Michelle Rednagle says:

    God bless you and your family! I have a strong family history of diabetes and am concerned for my sons. Your story is both touching and inspirational. Thank god you had the idea and the means to take his blood sugar that night!

  2. Carli says:

    I read this with tears in my eyes. What a wonderful conclusion to come to after such a crappy diagnosis. Hang in there, you two! ;-)

  3. Anna says:

    Your story is very touchy and I totally understand your feelings as my daughter is 5 now but she was diagnosed a year ago. My husband and I are still trying to figure out why her and not one of us? If we could just take it away from her…anyway, there must be a reason why…and yeah, Cheetos are not friendly at all, very deceiving :). Best of health to both of you!

  4. Mike says:

    This is a very inspiring story, my son has had type 1 for 6 years now and we sometimes it is hard to keep those glucose numbers right but we maintain!

  5. carol says:

    My eyes judt got watery reading ure story. I wsd diagnosed at 9 yrd old n could never get used to it..still cant although Im on a pump now.You did save his life..ure s HERO..his hero!!

  6. dare says:

    Wonderful story! I read it twice with tears in my eyes.. you are both strong. But Will is a little supernan. Thank you for sharing your story.

  7. naomi barnett says:

    What an inspiration.God bless your family.

  8. Geraldine says:

    You and your beautiful boy make an extraordinary team!
    Yes, his condition ended up teaching you how to take care of yourself through the hardest way. He needs you healthy and you want to see him healthy too.
    May your actions and inspiration enlighten many showing them how to take adversity as an opportunity to do better in life.
    Congratulations and good luck to you and your beautiful family!

  9. Debbie Martinez says:

    My heart goes out to you both. It’s a long tough road. But with compliance you and William can live long healthy lives. My daughter was diagnosed with type 1 at 9 years old. Unfortunately she developed severe complications and passed away in 2008 at 29 years old. I have so many testimonies I would love to share. Please feel free to write. God Bless you both.
    Sincerely
    Debbie

    • Marianne says:

      Hello, My daughter was diagnosed at age 11 and she is now 15 yrs old. It can be a full time job for her and me as the caretaker. I am so sorry to read this about your daughter and upsets me as well God bless her and you,
      family. I would be interested to speak with you or chat through email if you dont mind. My daughter struggles often with it constantly changing. She has had DKA many times and has been hospitalized before with complications of diabetes. She has nt been hospitalized alot but around 3 to 4 times. The DKA has gotten alot better for her … She is very sensitive as well. I have cried atleast a thousand times alone if not more watching her go through the difficulties of this suffering disease. I try to stay strong for her and positive. Since diagnosis her life,sibling and mine has changed drastically. She has her good and not so good days. I have a amazing story about her and me too like all of you. It is quite long story but it is a miraculous blessing i discovered it in time God is truly amazing.. Her little sister can be so helpful and patient with her role as part of the team. I have some understanding,compassionate and helpful friends twards my daughter and us. This includes some Dr’s and other medical professionals ect…. I still worry about her on her good days and weeks and her not so good ones. God bless all of you and hoping for a cure soon…..

  10. Mary says:

    Diabetes never takes a day off, it is a 24/7 job. I have had diabetes since i was 6, i am 23. I have days that it kicks my butt, but I will continue to fight and not let diabetes beat me! I love your story, hang in there. . . you two got this!

  11. Lori Schlosser says:

    Your story is so powerful….continue to share it!! My dad was diagnosed with Type 2 at age 44 (I was 11 at the time), struggled with it for 20 years and died from complications. I swore I would avoid such a diagnosis if at all possible…and I grew into an adult who follows a very healthy routine. Fast forward 12 years after my dad’s death…our 8-year-old son is diagnosed with Type 1. Utterly devastating. Took me a while to see God’s hand in the whole thing, but now I certainly do. It has become my passion to prevent complications in our son…and to partner with him to educate, advocate and fundraise to support research. Diabetes took one very important person in my life. If I have anything to say about it, it won’t take two. Someone in the trenches of this battle for the life of our kids (and grandkids) once told me, “Never waste your heartache.” Words to live by. God’s peace to you and yours!!

  12. Elizabeth says:

    I loved your story. (Well, as much as one can love a story in which a father and son both have T1D). My 12 year old daughter was diagnosed just 4 months ago and, as crazy as it is, I sometimes wish I would develop it too. (Even better if I could have it INSTEAD of her, but that can’t happen).
    Of coures its not lucky that you have it, but your son is lucky not to be alone in it. Sometimes when my daughter is having a tough time she looks at me through her tears, and with all her pre-teen anger tells me, “You don’t know what it feels like!!” And she’s right. You can really be with your son in this, and in a twisted way, I envy that.
    Best of luck to you and your son… and to all of us!
    Elizabeth

  13. evelyn wilburn says:

    my son juan has type 1 we just found out 11/1/2012 he is 6 yrs old and its a battle,but their us nothing that god cant fix keep strong. i was fired from my job.but god gave me abetter one to take care of my son god bless u and yours.also

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