I heard from a friend tonight that a member of his family was just diagnosed with T1. I always sigh when I hear news like this. Another member of the club. Another family put through the ringer. I thought about what I'd like to share with them. I know I wanted to hide from the world when we came home from the hospital. I wanted to sit on the sofa, hold Grace and watch iCarly reruns for years. But you can't do that. The world doesn't let you do that. Your child won't let you do that. If I could go back in time, this is what I would tell myself.
Your life isn't over. It's simply changed. Diabetes is a major time suck. Checking blood sugar, giving shots, figuring out carbohydrates. It's annoying but don't let it immobilize you. Go out for ice cream, enjoy a slice of pizza. A high blood sugar is not the end of the world.
You are smarter than you think. All those classes you had to take when you panicked you weren't getting it. You did. It takes time to sink in. It will. And you will continue to educate yourself. You will get this. Be patient.
Your child will have bad days just like you. They will be angry, frustrated, confused. Accept their anger, confusion, and frustration. Assume it all on your strong shoulders and help them. Sometimes it's just a silent hug. Sometimes it's a long talk. Sometimes it's tears like you never thought possible. Know when to hug, when to talk, and when to reach out for help.
You will make mistakes. You will give too much insulin. You will not give enough insulin. Do not start down the road of the blame game. It's extremely hard to get off of that road. You will live and you will learn. And know what? Sometimes diabetes makes absolutely no sense. It's not you. It's diabetes.
You will feel terribly alone but you are not alone. There is an army of children and parents standing behind you. They will pick you up when you fall. They will carry you on their shoulders because they have been there and know your pain. You are not alone.
Do not give diabetes more time and emotional energy than it already takes from you. You can control it or it can control you. You make the choice.
Be kind to yourself. Nothing you did or didn't do caused this situation.
Advocacy. I'm so proud of Grace when I see her not hiding her insulin pump. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Teach your child to be a teacher. This comes with patience and acceptance. Grace is surrounded by wonderful friends who understand what diabetes is support Grace through it all.
Allow yourself time to grieve. Many perfectly well-intentioned people will say to you, "You will just get used to a new normal." You may feel rushed to get back out there. Maybe even pretend nothing has happened. You and your child have experienced a loss. Don't ignore that pain. Honor the pain when the days are bad and know it will pass.
Do you know why that pain will pass? It will pass because your child is beautiful. Strong beyond your wildest dreams. They will show you how to stand up when you think you can't. They will show you how to smile and laugh when you think you can't. They will show you the beauty of life when you feel the most intense pain. Your baby will show you the way.
You will be fine. It may not seem like it now. I promise you will.