One thing I have learned from reading comments left on other posts, is that there are parents that read the adult diabetes bloggers posts. And they do this so because the posts, to them, serve as a glimpse into what they hope for children when they grow up. This is something I never thought about until one D-mama blogger emailed me one day last week.
Misty, from Life Is Like A Box Of Chocolates, writes about her daughter, Allison (Ally for short) and how they live life while managing her diabetes. From what I read, Ally is a sweet (no pun intended), adorable little girl who is already helping so much with her diabetes control. She can bolus herself and check her own sugar. I remember being a camp counselor of girls years older than her that wouldnâ€™t even prick their fingers yet! This little girl is truly a brave one, with a smile that will melt anyoneâ€™s heart.
I came across a post that Misty had written back on January 10th of this year, â€œFor This, Iâ€™ll Make An Exceptionâ€¦â€ . As I started reading the post, I was brought back almost immediately to me, at her age. If I closed my eyes, I could picture myself as her. One part, she describes Ally as being out of character and sneaking food. This brought back the memory of when I was a child, I would sneak food all the time. One instance in particular was Hersheyâ€™s Kisses. I would sneak and eat them, opening the wrapper carefully so no one could hear me opening the fragile foil, and throw it gently into a drawer to â€œhideâ€ it so that it wasnâ€™t found in the trash can. I did this for a few days, until one day my mom found them. Oh boy, that wasnâ€™t a good day. I even tried passing the blame off on my sister, but they knew me and my sister denied it (of course), but I knew what I had done. But thinking back, I was so young. Sure, I knew I wasnâ€™t supposed to eat them, but I didnâ€™t fully understand why. And yes, parents can do what they can to explain the consequences and all behind it, but what I didnâ€™t understand at the time is why I was different. Why was I the one with diabetes. Why did I have to be the one who couldnâ€™t eat what I wanted, when I wanted. And all I wanted to do was be like everyone else and come home and enjoy a piece of chocolate. Even back then, diabetes made me feel like an outsider. Different. Broken.
The next part, she shares the letter that Ally wrote. (Keep in mind, I was at work reading this post.) She had written a letter from her room and threw it downstairs.
â€œI love you all
but it really feels
like you hate me.â€
I read this and burst into tears. Not because I felt like the parents did wrong or anything. Not in the least. But because it was at that instant, I knew how she felt. Itâ€™s hard for me to put into words now even as a grown-up. Misty handled this situation beautifully when speaking with her daughter and they talked it out. She didnâ€™t feel like they hated her, but she did think diabetes still sucked.
And it does. Diabetes is hard to deal with for anyone, but in my mind, for children who are growing and little by little finding out who they are in this world, having diabetes â€“ with all of itâ€™s restrictions and special needs â€“ makes it hard to not notice that you arenâ€™t like everyone else. Even as a little child, the stress of managing it gets to them, just like it does for adult T1â€™s. And there comes a point when blood-sugar-impacted attitudes mixes with the stress and it causes depression and/or anger and they just want to be like everyone else. They donâ€™t want to deal with diabetes anymore. And as parents, I know you work hard at controlling your childâ€™s bgâ€™s, but every now and then, put yourself in their shoes. Not only do they have the stress of dealing with diabetes, but they also have the stress of feeling it and the rollercoaster of emotions that come with it, all because of what their bg might be at the time. Maybe even have â€œspecial timeâ€ where you sit and talk with your child about diabetes and how theyâ€™re feeling about it. Let them â€œlet it all outâ€. They need to vent about it. And who knows, maybe it will open up a way for you to understand diabetes on a whole new level.
Parent bloggers look towards adult T1â€™s blogs for help in understanding what their children go through. But I have to say, reading more and more parent bloggers are helping me see things from a parentâ€™s perspective. Theyâ€™re â€œflying blindâ€ so to speak with only a bg meter and what the child can tell them to help guide them. So, as a challenge to other T1â€™s who have grown up with diabetes, write some posts that describe how you felt as a child growing up with diabetes. Share some stories of specific times that you remember. Letâ€™s make a stronger connection with parents out there to help give some insight from our perspective of what it might be like for the kids who canâ€™t fully explain it.