Dad, Father, Pop, Daddy, and Diabetes—-SIGH

DadHappy Father’s Day to all of you dads.


Dad are unique breed when it comes to diabetes.  We try to look like we have it all together but in truth, we become a mess.  There are millions and millions of Hallmark Cards that tout the strengths of dads and the things dads do that make them such special people.

Here is an inside look at a dad’s mind.  In our minds, we can do anything.  We can protect, provide, support, build, and fix anything (although we have a hard time remembering to put the toilet seat down).  In our own twisted minds we are the superman of the family.  We can do it all.


On the day Kaitlyn was diagnosed on September 26th, 1992; she looked up with those two-year-old-big-round-eyes and said; “Daddy, fix”.   The realization that at that moment I could not do that crushed me.  It crushes me to this day.  I cannot fix this for Kaitlyn and now, for Rob either.

But I will keep trying.

I have observed, over my long tenure, the way this diabetes dynamic has entered the household.  There is no rule book and many times the mom takes up the control of the daily diabetes management.  Sometimes it is a discussion on who needs to do what; but many times it evolves with no discussion at all.  It is never too late to have that discussion; assumption can be dangerous and many times diabetes is just not discussed, it probably should be discussed.

Dads are tough.  But know this point—when our children are diagnosed we are absolutely devastated.  We think it is our job to show a strong front and that it all will be okay one day.  But it won’t be okay.  Not ever.  It will stay the way it is until a change occurs.  Better management tools will certainly come along but the bottom line is that nothing will get done to cure our children unless WE DO IT.

Ask yourself if you are doing enough and make up your mind to get to the point where you feel like the daddy truly trying to fix.  And start this weekend, father’s day.

Years ago I was introduced as Diabetes Dad Tom Karlya when I was the keynote speaker at a Children with Diabetes Conferences.  I never stated I was ‘The’ diabetes dad; just ‘a’ diabetes dad—-just like you.  No one knows what it is like to be a diabetes dad unless you ARE a diabetes dad.  The name has stuck since; and I wear it proudly with all my brothers who are also a diabetes dad.

Happy Father’s Day.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.


One reply on “Dad, Father, Pop, Daddy, and Diabetes—-SIGH”

There are two sides to being a diabetes dad. There’s the one you describe, and then there’s my side — the one which feels bad about not being able to help or play with my kids when I need to take care of my own blood sugars. The one that worries about being around for them as they grow older. The one that spends a fortune on life insurance because I can’t neglect my paternal obligation to make sure they’re as comfortable and secure as possible.

If I try to identify the time I turned my life around and really take care of my diabetes, it’s easy: it’s when I became a dad. But trying is no guarantee – and I recognize that.

A very Happy Fathers Day to you, Tom.

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