It's Not Your Diabetes
By taking control at an early age, your child becomes more disciplined, and being more disciplined is the key for so many other venues in their life. Kaitlyn started giving herself shots at the age of six. We did the measuring but because of Mindy's words, Kaitlyn started injecting herself that early under our watchful eye.
Because I have placed Kaitlyn's life in a fish bowl (which she is always not so happy about by the way) and after my last article, many people asked me how Kaitlyn did in school this year, her senior year. I have included her picture from graduation day. The last two weeks were magical for all of us. If you would allow a dad to indulge just a bit? Her picture shows a gold collar going back over her shoulder and that is as a member of the honor society. The gold medallion represents she is a scholarship winner, she ended up with eight and as much as she was proud as heck of all of them, the one that meant the most was from the Children with Diabetes Education Foundation. The white sash represents that she is a class officer, the blue and gold ropes represent honor society in both Spanish and English, one pin shows she is a Girl Scout Gold recipient, and the second pin shows she is a member of the Prom Court. Kaitlyn too was the first to step up in many things and if ever there was a saying that should stick for every child with diabetes, it's Kaitlyn's phrase, "I have diabetes, it's not who I am."
In as much as I tout her successes, my point is more than just a proud Daddy, it's this: This life of having diabetes just plain sucks. Making our children understand that they must take responsibility for their diabetes will result in a lifetime of understanding what is truly important. They are never too young to learn that, are they? And by the way, our failures were as large as our success, but we started as early as we could. I'm not saying we should be silly and not watch them to make sure everything is done correctly, but clearly they're better off taking control as early as possible. Some of the best doctors in the world have told me emphatically that they are NEVER too young to start learning.
I would gladly exchange anything Kaitlyn has learned for a life without diabetes but I have learned that is a silly thought because it just doesn't change anything. She has learned so much, as we all have, but at the end of the day, it's her diabetes. Mindy taught me that years ago, and I don't think I ever thanked her but she played a crucial role in how we taught Kaitlyn. With all my heart, I thank her now, wherever she may be. Kaitlyn is certainly better for it and so are we. I'm a diabetes dad.
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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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