We recently asked our Facebook and Twitter communities to send us their stories—specifically, what it’s like to be the parent of a child living with type 1 diabetes. Having received a lot of wonderful stories, we’re excited to present these favorites on the blog every week.
We hope you’re as inspired by these personal stories as we are, and that you’re willing to keep the conversation going. Tell us more in the comments!
Name: Scott and Arden (@ArdensDay)
Location: Central New Jersey
Arden, 11 years old, was diagnosed around her second birthday. No one else in the family has diabetes, but there are other varying endocrine issues with the women on my wife’s side.
My wife and I had children because we wanted to love and care for them, to help them to become happy and healthy adults. We certainly weren’t expecting that type 1 diabetes would be part of our lives as we planned a family. However, it’s here and the pressure, responsibility and burden of parenting with type 1 does not change our desire to be the parents that we imagined we were before Arden was born. We are living the life we have and living it as well as we can.
Arden is about to enter the sixth grade. She wears a Dexcom CGM (continuous glucose monitor) and I can see the blood glucose readings on my iPhone. Her A1C dropped over a point and a half a few years ago but afterwards we began to handle the school day as if we were together along with school staff. I talk about it on an episode of my Juicebox Podcast titled “Texting Diabetes.” I have worked extensively with the school staff over the years to build a good relationship. This time spent is invaluable.
My daughter’s type 1 diagnosis is, to date, the most terrible thing that has happened to our family. But we didn’t let it affect who we are at our core. Our goals and the way we go about our days, those things remain unchanged. I would do anything for diabetes not to exist, but living with and loving a person who has a chronic illness gives you a perspective that would take two lifetimes to fully understand. This perspective is a gift that will enhance your life in ways that you can’t imagine. It’s not a fair trade by any means, but please don’t let anger and sadness keep you from seeing it. It will carry you a long way.
My advice to other parents with newly diagnosed children would be to find a community. Also know that while living with type 1 diabetes never gets easier, you will get so much better at dealing with it that one day, much sooner than you can imagine right now, it will feel easy (on most days). Hang tough, gain experiences, pay attention to trends and stay fluid.
The American Diabetes Association’s Safe at School campaign is dedicated to making sure that all children with diabetes are medically safe at school and have the same educational opportunities as their peers. To learn more, visit http://diabetes.org/sas.