I've been thinking about this all day. I'm sure everyone has gotten the whole explanation from lots of other blogs today on what D-Blog Day is and the whole 6 things you want people to know about diabetes. It's been so interesting to read everyone's thoughts and ideas! I'm going to take a different approach though. I think, being a diabetic myself as well as being the mom of a diabetic child, it gives me a different perspective on things. So here are the six things I want people to know about diabetes...some of them are geared more towards the parents of diabetics and the diabetics themselves!
1. Being a parent of a diabetic child is a whole lot harder than being a diabetic. Seriously, in the 24 years since I was diagnosed, I never once cursed at the disease until the day Lily was diagnosed.
2. Diabetes can be a motivator or a de-motivator. It all depends on the kind of life you want to live. You can let diabetes hold you back and use it as an excuse. You can allow yourself to be victimized by it. Or you can throw yourself into life and be determined to live a full and beautiful life, regardless of diabetes.
3. That full, beautiful life you want to live? It's going to require that you take care of your diabetes and do the work that the disease requires. Don't fool yourself into thinking that you don't have to take it seriously. It is a lot of work. But it's so incredibly worth it!
4. Diabetes is a whole lot easier to manage in an adult than it is in our children. Our kids are constantly going through growth spurts, viruses, emotional upheaval, and a million other things. Their little bodies are still developing and in order to manage diabetes effectively, we have to be absolutely precise in carb-counting and insulin dosing. But for my own diabetes, I can look at a plate of food, a snack, a drink, and just "know" how much insulin I need to take. I know before I poke my finger where my blood sugar is going to fall. Someday, all of our little children will reach that stage too.
5. Ignorant people are an opportunity. Whenever someone says something stupid or thoughtless about your child having diabetes, it gives you the opportunity to educate someone new. Diabetes is spreading and becoming so much more common as each day comes and goes. If someone says something dumb or asks a stupid question, take a moment and set them right. You never know if that person is going to come face-to-face with this disease in someone they love. You could be saving the life of the next child to be diagnosed!
6. Diabetes isn't all bad. If you let yourself embrace all of the opportunities the disease opens up for your children, they will grow up to have a healthy view of it and it's place in their lives. Send them to summer camp for diabetic children. Let them participate in life fully, even if it means you're going to have to do a whole lot of extra work and stress a whole lot more. Take them to support groups and playdates and sleepovers and seminars and educational programs for diabetics. Introduce them to other children with diabetes, point out celebrities and athletes who deal with diabetes every day. You never know what seeds of information are going to take root in their minds and grow and develop into dreams and understandings and ideas and beliefs. Bombard them with information and see what they're capable of doing with it!