Friday, August 17, 2012

Why My Son Is So Amazing

I love my kids.  I love them each for so many reasons.  They are unique, beautiful, special little people.  But I wanted to write about this handsome guy.
He is my hero.  He is just amazing.  I love him because of so many reasons.  I want to honor him for the way he handles this stupid, rotten, ugly disease of Type 1 Diabetes.  He has had a few times over the last three years since his diagnosis that he has broken down about it, but I can probably count the times on one hand.  His acceptance of this aspect of his life is truly to be admired.  He's a boss.

As we begin a new school year and the accompanying task of informing the teachers and staff of his daily care, he really steps up to the plate.  Not every T1 diabetic is comfortable with having others know of their disease, but it doesn't bother Ross.  I'm thankful for that.  In fact he is better off having everyone around him know about it.  I'm always grateful for the teachers who, when I go into the brief details of Ross and his care, show sincere concern and willingness to help.  And for those that give me the impression that they would rather be somewhere else than listening to this Momma talk about her son's health, I want to grab by the shirt and scream, "THIS IS IMPORTANT!  THIS IS LITERALLY A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH I'M DESCRIBING TO YOU!"

I spent the evening reading the CaringBridge page of a young woman that has some very, very severe health issues, T1D included.  Her mother is involved in several communities made up of other T1D parents.  She recently asked the other parents what they wished others knew about diabetes.  Here are there responses:

Trish: I wish people knew how serious and deadly this disease is. I honestly think people just think "Oh, it's just diabetes" without knowing what it takes to keep my T1 son alive everyday.

Betty: It IS hard, but it's doable...staying positive is the key...even when you don't think you can. Most antibiotics last 7-10 days...insulin is everyday, every time they eat...imagine how many times you have missed a dose of what if your child's life depended on it.

Lori: Because of the dangerous, life-threatening side of the disease, it is harder to let our kids have the freedoms that their peers have. So don't judge us for being "over-protective" as many people criticize us of being. We don't have a choice.

Jeannette: The thing that irks me the most is the confusion between T1 and T2. I could pretty much tolerate the rest.

Shannon: I wish people understood that diabetes is serious and not just say, "Good thing it's ONLY diabetes."

Melanie: That I as a parent do know what I am doing, and while I do appreciate your concern, don't question everything I'm doing or tell my child what to do diabetes care wise. Know that most of what your going to say to me will probably go in one ear and out the other because that is my way of coping with all the "suggestions" people tend to have. I do respect your opinions and thoughts, and realize that until 4 years ago I probably had the same thoughts, but I know what's best for the care of my child and if I say she can or cannot do something or can or cannot eat something then my word is written in stone.

Louise: When I go into the school to talk the talk I'm not just "overreacting" and I do know you have another twenty or so children to be responsible for. The whole time I sit across from you describing what to look for, I'm hoping that you are astute enough to recognise that look in my eyes is not anger, but fear. Fear that you're looking at your watch because you're not getting the message. She is your student for 6+ hours a day but she is my life and my baby.

Jennifer: I didn't know how much it could affect every single part of a person's body and life until it happened to someone I loved. I think if you could tell someone something about diabetes its that it CAN and DOES happen to even you, it's not just something you hear about on TV. It should be something everyone should be educated about.
(From the young woman's mother)  And lastly MY thoughts. If I could tell you anything it would be that we D-Parents did NOT cause our kid's diabetes by the foods we fed them or the activities we let them (or didn't force them) to do. Type 1 Diabetes is an AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE...just like Celiac Disease, Addison's Disease, Hypothyroidism, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Graves Disease. NONE of these diseases can be prevented.

I wish that people knew that when our kids blood sugar goes low it's a medical emergency that has to be treated NOW. If it's not they can have seizures, go into a coma, or die.

I wish people knew that more T1 diabetics die from low blood sugar than high blood sugar...and their blood sugar levels have a nasty little habit of dropping during the night, which is why a large number of us get up every two hours during the night to check their blood sugar levels.

I wish people knew that we are literally fighting for our kids lives every single minute of every single day, so if you REALLY want to help then educate yourselves, ask us questions, learn how to recognize the warning signs and what to do in an emergency.

Amen.  Amen.  Amen.  I agree with everyone of those statements.  Every time someone says to me, "My grandma has diabetes."  I just want to say, "Not the same.  At all."  I don't think too many people realize how serious this disease can be.  And I can't really blame them.  Before April 20, 2009, I can't say I knew too much.  But, boy, have we learned a lot about it since.  And that's why I want to publicly express my admiration for my thirteen-year old son.  Because he handles this whole awful thing with such determination and dignity.  I hope others can understand my excitement when a hopeful new study comes out that has the potential to make huge strides in Type 1 treatment.  And I hope others will understand my desire to put as much money as possible into research.

I love this boy!