An opportunity to look back and realize what we learned.
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November 2009 — For our family, my son's diabetes milestones have been a big part of living with the disease. Experiencing these milestones helps us to realize the progress we have made and what we learned, but also what it truly means for Joel to be growing up with diabetes.
We just marked the 6th anniversary of Joel's diagnosis. This is a difficult time because it brings back the memories of that day--all the fear, anxiety and uncertainty we experienced. On the anniversary of Joel's diagnosis it can all be relived in a way that is hard to describe. When you are taken back to that day you remember the helplessness you felt when your child was so very ill and you couldn't do a thing about it. Looking back that many years also brings our attention to what we learned, and how we learned to manage, in that time. The fear is slowly replaced with strength, the anxiety with confidence and the uncertainty with knowledge. Instead of feeling helpless you begin to feel in control, and even the scariest things like dangerous low blood sugars or sick days seem manageable. You begin to realize that the things that used to keep you up at night with worry have helped you to formulate a plan for sick days and what to do in an emergency.
Each year that we participate in the Walk to Cure Diabetes we have a similar experience. We see families whose children are at various stages of growing up with diabetes. You can see that they are all on a continuum of experiences. You can look at one child and see where your child has been. What they have learned, a stage or age that was difficult or memorable for them in terms of their diabetes or a time when they were dependent on you for their care. You can then look at another family and see a child who allows you to see where your child is going…high school, a serious girlfriend, college. You see what they have yet to learn, what still needs to develop, what new experiences will challenge them to learn more about themselves and how diabetes will play a role.
Each of these milestones brings our child closer to being a person managing their own disease.
Read more of Karen Hargrave's columns here.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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