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