Dana's Story: Parent's Letter Project
Type 1 diabetes- Dana
I am not the parent. I am the child. I want to tell you what I needed when I was diagnosed 36 years ago at the age of 10 with Type 1 diabetes. Like all other parents, my parents cried and let me know how much they loved me and how they hurt that this happened. Then they took classes to learn everything they could about my diet, my shots, long term effects, dangerous symptoms and anything else they could find out about my disease. But what is most important is that they got me to take those classes too. I had to learn to take my own shots and learn what to eat and how to tell if my blood sugars were low or high.
It may seem like you are protecting your child by taking on everything yourself, but don't. By learning that my diabetes is my responsibility (and that they were there to support me and to catch me when I fell), I was able to lead a normal life as an active teenager, go on to college and start my own family. Now, at the age of 46, I have very few problems. I thank my parents for giving me guidance and responsibility for me being so healthy today. It won't always be easy, especially when your child is a teenager, but they need to learn that if they manage their disease, they can do just about anything!
Also, look for support groups. You are not alone! There are many out there in the same situation as you. Meeting them and sharing stories is amazingly helpful. There is a psychological side to having a disease like this. You need to talk to people. You will learn from them and eventually you will help others. All of this is very therapeutic. I wish you strength. I'm sorry for the pain you are feeling now. But, you are going to get through this just fine as long as you educate yourself and your child and love them forever.