Friday, March 12, 2010

The Effect on the Family Unit

I think most parents of children with Type 1 Diabetes would agree that many of the burdens of this disease are carried on the shoulders of the caretakers. We're the ones that have to weigh the food, count the carbs, do the night time checks, etc. Of course, I'm more than willing to take that on. If I could miraculously transfer this crummy disease from his body to mine I would do so in an instant. As AJ gets older he is becoming a more active participant in his own well being. I hope that he will take it all in stride. This is something that I have thought a lot about.
A topic I had previously given less consideration to is the effects of this disease on the silent bystander. In this case AJ's little sister. Now that Funky is 2 1/2 she is quickly becoming her own person. Yet it is still hard to figure out exactly how much she understands about certain things. Obviously, she has never known a time before AJ's diabetes. At the same time there is no way that she really knows what Diabetes is. She must wonder why she doesn't have to get her blood sugar checked or take insulin.
Most of the time her reactions to the disease seem humorous. Bedtime is always a struggle that includes a list of excuses. Lately, she has been adding one more excuse... "I'm low". Today she tried to check my blood sugar with a pen. Of course, both the kids find it amusing when I accidentally measure her food.
I just wonder how she will feel as time goes on; when she does understand the seriousness of this disease. Perhaps I'm projecting my own past onto her. Since birth my brother has had a serious eye condition. Then in college he was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. There were many times that I felt very guilty. I wondered why it wasn't me that had the medical problems. On the flip side, I also resented him sometimes. I felt that my parents let him get away with a lot because of their own guilt. There were also things that we didn't do as a family because my brother wasn't able to.
I suppose I can just hope that we make her feel just as special and loved. I also want her to feel that she is a part of AJ's diabetes "team". Families support each other. Plus, when it comes to diabetes you can always use as many people in your corner as you can get.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It Doesn't Hurt to Ask

I don't think a lot of people realize it, but I'm a shy person. Once I get to know you I'm a loud mouth but, I'm not an extrovert. I also hate controversy. And typically I am afraid to ask for things. I hate having to inconvenience anyone. In short I have no spine. Oh, you can also add that I'm not exactly a glass half full girl. I don't consider myself a pessimist but rather a realist.
So by now you're probably wondering why I have just listed a few of my grand flaws. Well this past weekend I was forced to leave my comfort zone and I learned a valuable life lesson in the process: It Doesn't Hurt to Ask.
I recently posted about my anxiety over summer camp. I couldn't imagine that anyone would be willing to take AJ. Allowing him to attend camp would mean being responsible for blood sugar checks, giving insulin and watching out for any signs of hypoglycemia. Then last Sunday I went to our local summer camp fair. I took lots of deep breaths and walked up to the various representatives at the fair. I was very upfront and dove right in with the big question. My son has Diabetes. Are you willing to have him at your camp? Okay so it wasn't quite that simple. The conversations were a bit more detailed. However, the great news is that there were a few camps that were happy to enroll him. It couldn't have turned out better. The director of the YMCA camp was there and she has worked with a Diabetic camper in the past. We happen to be members of the Y so this is the absolute best option for us. For now we have decided that we are still a little nervous about a full day option. Instead, he will do half days. This works out well since we have joined the outdoor pool. I will pack lunches, pick him up from camp and then we can all swim.
This experience has really taught me that I need to overcome some of my fears. And not just when it concerns my children. Will it really hurt me that much if someone says no? I guess not. And you can't get anything if you don't ask.