15 Things I Didn’t Know Before I was a D-Parent

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My eight year old son, who proves himself braver and more extraordinary each and every day, is coming up on the fourth anniversary of his type 1 diabetes diagnosis. As he decides just how he wants to celebrate good health and happiness (he usually chooses to go hiking with the family), I figured it would be a good exercise for me to consider how I’ve changed and to review all the stuff I’ve learned.  There were not only many things I didn’t know before diabetes was part of my life, there were things I never imagined I’d know. And chances are that you, D-Parents out there, have plenty to add.

15 Things I Didn’t Know Before I Was a D-Parent

That sleep is a sweet, elusive activity.

That I would have a million conversations with my son—before he reached age 8—about whether or not he “feels high.”

That driving while bolusing is not a good idea.

That the phrase “D-Bag” would be incorporated into my daily vernacular.

That people would suggest that an essential oil or some special diet they read about will cure my kid’s diabetes.

That I am a woman who knows her rights and is not to be messed with when, after waiting 30 minutes in line with my son for a ride at an amusement park, the operator says that I cannot bring my D-Bag (see above).

That realizing my kid is on his last Dexcom sensor—and insurance says he has to wait two more weeks for a new one—can feel desperate.

That it is, truly, possible to say, “No, he’ll never grow out of it,” more than a hundred times.

That an Incredible Hulk–like transformation can take hold of me when my son’s too low to walk and, even after a juice box, I must carry him and his bike up the driveway.

That people can’t wait to share stories about their grandmother or great uncle who died or had a leg amputated because of diabetes (likely type 2, but still).

That whiskey rocks make remarkable numbing devices on butt cheeks awaiting an insulin pump set change.

That I would develop a compulsion to hug strangers wearing insulin pumps or cgms.

That if I forget to pack syringes while an hour away from home and my kid has just polished off a face-sized pancake—a rare treat to celebrate a successful appointment with the endo—I can drive to the nearest drug store and ask the pharmacist for a needle, no questions asked. Whew.

That some medical professionals know far less about diabetes than me.

And that despite the tears, exhaustion, fear, worry and frustration, I really can do this and do it well.

 

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Annie Stoltie

Annie Stoltie is a mom to two children—one of whom was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 4—editor of Adirondack Life magazine and a contributing writer to publications that include Slate.com, the New York Times, Newsweek, Modern Farmer and Good Housekeeping Magazines. She’s the author of the guidebook The Adirondacks (W.W. Norton, 2012) and is currently the Writer-in-Residence at the State University of New York at Potsdam. She lives in Jay, New York.

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