How To See Your Kid First and Diabetes Second
(Especially When You Feel Afraid)
My daughter was three years old when she was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes. Suddenly our lives were interrupted with carbohydrate counts, medication that was life saving and life threatening in one vial, seizures, and so so so many shots. We woke up every three hours to check her blood sugar and intervene appropriately. It was hard to see her as anything besides “diabetes”.
We had a phenomenal endocrinologist from day one. He gave us all the tools to keep my daughters body safe. We met with countless dieticians, and educators and I read so many books and articles I had an entire file folder box dedicated to learning about her disease. To me knowledge was power. Knowledge took away MY fear.
But what I didn’t realize was that the more “power” I gained the more I tried to control every aspect of my daughter’s life. And with Diabetes you just really can’t control everything. There are so many variables we still just don’t understand. And with every number that was too high or too low I took it extremely personally.
When I took things personally I would act frustrated, or scared, or angry. And that would only scare her. So I knew something needed to change. But it was so hard to not be afraid, and to not try to control every aspect of it. (This is something I am still working on).
But ultimately I needed to remember that SHE was my kid first. And her diabetes had to come second. Always. I learned this from a Book Titled, “Kid First, Diabetes Second”.
When I remind myself of this I am able to see her as Ashton. My beautiful vibrant now 7 year old perfect child. And not just a series of blood sugar data points, and carbohydrate counts.
When She is a Kid First…
When she is a kid “first” then cake and ice cream at a birthday party aren’t so scary. When she is a kid first then late night treats and movie parties are just part of childhood. When she is a kid first then celebratory donuts for a perfect report card are completely normal. When she is a kid first, sleepovers at Grandma’s are about the memories and not about what could happen if she goes low at night. When she is a kid first then of course we can sign up for ballet, and soccer, and gymnastics because WHY NOT?
When She is a Kid First, Then Diabetes HAS to come second…
So you see, when I remembered that she was my kid FIRST. Then diabetes had to come second. And I could allow her to be a child again.When we let go a bit, her A1c decreased, and she has maintained a healthy level of blood sugars. She has also increased in confidence, and manages much of her diabetes independently. There will always be some days when diabetes takes charge. Those days are hard and they are exhausting. But that’s not every day. Most days she’s just a normal kid, trying to live a normal life. And I have the power to allow her be that way.
Also check out this article about back to school with Type One Diabetes.