If you found this post from a internet search, most likely you or someone you know has just had a child diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Your head is spinning, your wondering why, how and what is next. Some thoughts like “I didn’t know a child could get diabetes”, or “I thought only fat people got diabetes”, “can I care for my child”. I want to give you a simple guide to deal with these questions and a few more.
First of all you did nothing wrong! Type 1 (Juvenile) Diabetes is an autoimmune disease, period. This is scientific fact! Nothing you can do can prevent it! Trust me, I’ve been through this twice and have read more than my share on the subject.
Second, take a breath, relax and realize you can take care of your child. Take it one step at a time. Your Doctor and Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) have or soon will (if your still in the hospital) go over a simple plan for caring for your child. In the weeks to come you will receive more training in steps, a little at a time.
Third, if someone calls you and tries to help you by telling you their husband or someone they know has Type 2 or some other form of diabetes, tell them thank you and continue to listen to what your medical team has told you. They are trying to help, but, there is a huge difference between an older person with Type 2 and a child with Type 1. Huge difference. If another parent with a Type 1 child calls, they can help a lot, but still stick with what your medical professionals has instructed. They are medical professionals for a reason, our doctor and CDE have a deep passion for their patients, and I imagine most do.
Another helpful thing is the internet. There are many websites, Facebook groups, Juvenation and Tudiabetes. Of course there is this blog and hundreds of others that you will find comfort in. And if this is the first and last time you read this blog, that’s ok with me, you will find one you can relate to if you want to continue to read diabetes blogs. There is a great list on the right hand side of this blog, please check them out, but don’t get overwhelmed with information.
I had another d-parent (parent of a child with diabetes) tell a bunch of us be careful of the music we listen to. Many songs will relate to your mood in a negative way. I still have “Black Days” by Sound Garden stuck in my head.
If your thinking about reaching out for support, please do, you will find someone. A great resource is the local JDRF offices, they have list of people who will talk with you, so you have someone to relate to. You don’t know how good it felt when I talked to another dad, and he simply said yeah to something I said. Finally I had someone who understood what it was like and he did not have to go on a long speech to accomplish it.
Remember we are here and willing to listen, many of us, we know what you are feeling and thinking. We can’t give the medical advice like the Doctors and CDE”s, but we know what your feeling, we have kids with Type 1, or in my case (rare case) have 2 kids with Type 1 Diabetes.
Thank you for reading this short little post. I hope it will give you a bit of help on your new journey in life. Godspeed.
*Some portions of this post was taken from what Tom Karla has told many of us in various internet posts. Tom is Vice President of the Diabetes Research Foundation. He has raised children with diabetes and has much wisdom on the subject.