I'm not gonna lie to you. I won't sugar coat it. I am going to lay it all out on the line for you. Not in an attempt to scare you or give you nightmares...but rather in an attempt to prepare you...to help you...to shine the light on it all for you because I really wish that someone had been there to shine the light for me and be honest from the get go. So, if you are not a fan of the truth or blatant honesty...then please read no further.
This life with diabetes is hard. It will always be hard. It will never be how it once was. The way that you lived your life before diagnosis will never be again. Those days of carefree easy freedom are gone. The days of having your biggest worry be whether or not your child behaved at school are but a mere memory now. You will long for those days. You will bargain to get them back. You will pray for them to return. You will cry. You will cry. You will cry. You will never have a decent full nights worry free sleep again. It just will not happen. Do NOT believe the doctors when they tell you that you do not need to check your child's blood sugar overnight. You will never kiss your child goodbye as you drop them off at school, daycare, etc the same way again. You will linger with that parting hug just a bit longer...holding them...staring in their eyes to search for any signs of impending low blood sugars once you are gone. You will never look at activity or physical exercise the same way again. You won't see it as a "good way to burn off some of their never ending energy"...but rather as falling blood sugar numbers and "how long have they been running around? Do they look pale? Where did I put that juicebox? You will never look at food the same way again. It will no longer be about quickly grabbing dinner on the way home...or skipping lunch because you are out busy running errands. It will be about pre-planning, measuring carbs, giving insulin at the proper point in time to combat high blood sugars, making sure the restaurant has nutrition guides to help you determing carb counts, and guessing...always guessing. Life will never be about the black and white obvious clear cut answer anymore. There is no book or manual out there that you can reference to get a specific answer to your detailed questions. There are only guesses...some guesses are more educated than others...but they are all still guesses. You will learn that doctors, nurses, and all other members of the medical field do NOT know as much as you once though they did. You will learn that over time, you will probably know the ins and outs of diabetes management better than they do honestly. You will learn that diabetes doesn't play fair. It doesn't follow any rules but it's own. You will learn that what works one day, may or may not work the next day. You will learn that nothing is for certain. You will learn how to plan for the worst case scenario...all the while knowing that you really have no idea how you will react if that scenario ever actually comes to be. You will learn that you and your child will be judged. You will encounter ignorance. You will encounter rudeness...discrimination. You will learn that you have to choose how you react to that ignorance...you can either get angry and stoop to their level in response....or you can get angry and educate them instead..advocate for your child instead. You will feel like a broken record...repeating the same few lines over and over again to the ignorant masses. My child did not get diabetes from eating too much sugar. My child can not be cured just by not feeding them foods with sugar in it anymore. My child CAN eat anything. My child CAN do anything. No she will not grow out of it. You will be sad. You will cry. You will cry. You will cry. You will feel what true exhaustion feels like. You will be jealous of parents who have children that are not type 1 diabetic. You will feel like you can't relate to those parents or friends anymore. You will find out who your true friends are. You will find out who will be there for you in your time of need. You will find out who actually cares and who could really care less. You will feel like you just...can't....do...this...anymore.........................
but you can.
You will learn that no matter what life throws at you, you and your child CAN DO THIS. You will find out that you are a lot stronger than you ever thought you were. You will see that your child is stronger and more brave than most adults. You will see that while yes this life is hard.....it does get easier. You will find comfort and solace in the familiar...the routine. You will gain confidence as the days go by. That is where you will find things a tad bit easier....in the confidence you gain. You will find comfort in others. You will feel a connection...a bond with other parents going through this same thing. You will gain a new family in them. You will find yourself wanting to help them...going out of your way to help them...to help their child when they are struggling. You will find yourself crying with them, laughing with them, proud of them. You will feel a connection with your own child that would otherwise never had been possible. You will get to know how their body reacts to things...foods, activity, emotions, stress. You will learn their patterns. Seek out the patterns for they are your key to finding some sanity. You will realize that you CAN do this. Sure there will still be days that pass where you feel like diabetes has knocked you to the ground...flat on your face..beating you, but those days will pass...the sun will come out tomorrow and shine on a new day. You can do this. You will cry, you will smile, you will feel pride, joy, anger, sorrow, jealousy, grief, exhaustion, fear, stress, pain.......you will feel all these things and more...to such an extreme level as well. Please do not ever forget, you can do this....you ARE doing this....you are strong...and you are doing this.