A day in the life of a parent of a type 1 child.
I continuously read articles about mothers and having twins and having more than one child, all written with good intentions that show how well parents do on a daily basis and we do.
Since the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in my 2.5 year old beautiful daughter 4 months ago, I wonder where are the support articles telling all the amazing parents the ups and downs of dealing with this disease 24/7 and how well they are all doing. I see nothing so I am writing this as "I know" so many can relate and find this as a support knowing they are not alone.
First of all I want to say how highly underestimated diabetes is to live with even for an adult let alone a toddler. It's not just "have a chocolate bar and you will be alright"
Don't get me wrong of course I find some comfort that my daughters disease can be controlled and there is medication for it and she is not terminally ill and can still live her normal life. Yes this I am very grateful for.
We live each day as it comes right now and try not to put high expectations on ourselves. control still has to be good, you see there are consequences if they are not controlled and not just from Low sugars (hypos) but also something I never knew was that there are long term harsh consequences from having high blood sugars (hypers) and these hypers bring pure spouts of guilt when you see it on your glucose monitor. "What have I done wrong, was her meal to big, was it the pasta, was it not enough insulin, do I need to change my carb to insulin ratios?????" This can cross your mind in a matter of seconds which will then lead to a mathematical process in your mind where you can get lost for a good 20mins or longer if you were to let yourself. Truth is we all do our best we can only learn from our mistakes and be better the next day.
To begin with I would dread waking every morning to the new routine where I would have to wake my baby up and upset her as she was due her first of 4 injections at 8am and sugar test which she found all so unbearable and so did I. We have turned that corner now and she hands me her finger sometimes while watching the TV! Something I never thought I would see! never thought I'd be so happy that my daughter is ignoring me!
The sleepless nights are difficult and something that most people are unaware you have to deal with, checking blood sugars at 10pm and at 3/4am and then finding she has soaked her nappy through to the bed clothes as she has been going to bed high sugars. On the flip side you are worried that there is not enough sugar in little ones body and that she will have a hypo that you are oblivious to in the night. Least we have the finger pricking now down to a quick in and out now while she stays sleeping most of the time, again another step taken in the right direction.
Starting school is a big one that weighs heavy on my mind. So after taken a lot of time calculating how much insulin to give for every meal to the carbohydrate and assessing my child for any symptoms of hypos can I really trust some one else to calculate this dose correctly, administer it and to treat and spot my daughter low blood sugars. My saving grace is my daughters strength will get me through this more than anything, to see her just get on with it and live her life as she knows as normal is inspirational.
I want to give all the parents dealing with this a huge hug and want to say "I know" I know this is not everything and there is even more to it. I know your coping so well, simply because you have to. I know how you think and grieve at night time, I know this is normal. I know you just want your child to fit in and not feel deprived. I know you feel you have been given a crash course in diabetes, child psychology, nutrition, food glycemic index and carb counting. I know as a parent you will do anything for your child. I know this will get easier.
Keep strong x