Experiences on being diagnosed T1 as a child

I found this on a blog about a woman (now a mother) recalling her experiences on being diagnosed T1 as a child.Quite a laughI remember being diagnosed very clearly (a miracle really, considering how high my blood sugar levels were!). I was nearly 12 years old and staying with a family friend whilst my parents went to the funeral of someone I didn’t know very well. As a result, my parents weren’t even able to come to the hospital straight away, and I remember thinking it was quite odd at the time that my Mum didn’t visit me at all during the week I was in hospital....it was always my Dad. I didn’t give it much more thought though; I was just revelling in feeling better than I had for ages, and getting quite excited about grossing my friends out with injections! It was all quite a laugh to be honest, and I recall my main focus was that I would be allowed out of class just prior to lunch five minutes early so I could get to the front of the school canteen queue – and that I could choose one classmate each day to go with me in case I had a hypoas an adult, it is easy to underestimate how exciting that is for a prepubescent girl!Regrets and guiltHowever, now that I am the proud mother of a gorgeous three year old girl, and I can acknowledge the hours I have spent feeling guilty over various things she has experienced that are completely outside of my control, I completely understand why my Mum may have felt she couldn’t come and see me in hospital. (I must ask her about it one day, I wonder if she carries any regrets or guilt over it, all these years later?) I’m not sure how I would hold it together if I was in that situation.....just the thought of something happening to my daughter, let alone something so life changing, brings me close to tears. If I had to see her on a drip and facing a life of constantly having to watch blood sugar levels and associated complications, I’m not sure how I would cope......of course, there are many worse fates that can, and do, befall many families, but as ‘events in the life of a mother’ go, this must have been a really heartbreaking time for my Mum – I only understand that now that I have my own daughter, and the associated fears for her perpetual safety and wellbeing.It’s harder on parentsI guess my message here is that it was (and maybe still is) much MUCH harder on my parents than it was on me as a child diagnosed with diabetes, and I think this is probably true for the majority of families. I talk quite frequently with a woman at work whose son was diagnosed with Type 1 about a year ago, at the age of three. Every so often I see her looking pale and drawn and close to tears, so I ask her what’s wrong. Her answer, invariably, is that her son had a hypo during the night. It upsets her hugely every time, so I always try to remind her it is much worse for her than for her son. She always agrees and says he doesn’t remember it the next morning, and that he quite likes hypos during the day so that he can have a treat without injecting (although he is now on a pump, so that’s great news too). The point is, as a parent, you must feel so helpless, and perhaps feel that if you had done something differently it wouldn’t have happened, but that is (as well as obviously being untrue) your weight to bear. Your child is probably just excited to have something to show off to their mates – diabetes has got to trump the ritual playground pastime of comparing miniscule scars hasn’t it?!

Let them enjoyI’m not saying this holds true for older kids, but for anyone diagnosed in their early teens or younger, my advice for parents is to let them come to terms with the diagnosis by allowing them to enjoy it, no matter how distraught you are yourself. Make sure they understand the basic ground rules to keep them as safe as possible, then step back and allow them to find their own way. This is what my parents did (although I have no doubt, looking back, that it was a huge strain on both of them) and I have absolutely no criticism of that tactic whatsoever. Whether I would be strong enough to manage it myself is another matter entirely...I hope I never have to find out, but if that did happen, I would try very hard to follow my own advice, as I look back on the time around my diagnosis and the first few years afterwards with no bad memories at all, and plenty of memories that make me smile, because my parents let me have that.

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