When Kaitlyn was first diagnosed in 1992, at the age of two, many people told us that if there was ever a time to have diabetes….it was now. There were so many things different. You no longer had to pee in a cup to check your blood sugar, there was now a meter that in 45 seconds would give you the amount of blood sugars and you could adjust the insulin to help quicker.
There were two insulins; one long acting and one more immediate so it would help with what she was about to eat, and also throughout the day. It was an insulin…..made of pork. Drawing two needles a few times a day, mixing insulins, drawing into the syringe, ‘flicking’ for bubbles to be removed all became part of the regime; but it was better than boiling syringes, and using ‘dipsticks’ testing urine for some sort of reading on blood sugars. But it was supposed to work better than anything else before that time……and it did
We quickly came to accept that a cure was a slow process and many people told us that what we heard, was not the way it would be. Be careful of the news; the cure would be years away we were told back then. The ‘ten years from now’ and ‘decade for the cure’ were not exactly as planned; but were said in terms of hope more than anything else. But as long as many were working on it—-that was important. News of advancement, although mis-information in many cases was just that, news. And this was a good thing. Way back ‘when’, and remember this, the headlines said that the discovery of insulin was a cure. To the world of news perhaps, but not to those who lived with it every day.
We heard of this thing called an insulin pump. It was just about, we would read, maybe just a year or two away in practical use. Someday (in a StarWars-esque kind of way) there may even be a way that Kaitlyn would test her blood sugar electronically without even pricking her finger. But that was a long way off.
But things were different in 1992, if ever there was time to be diagnosed, it was at that time. So many things coming, we were told.
And that was true, they were.
When Rob was diagnosed in 2009 I was told that it sucked that Rob was diagnosed but if ever there was a time to have diabetes, it was then.
Now you may think that this is a negative story but it is far from it. Having two children diagnosed 17 years apart has given me an incredible perspective. It’s an exciting perspective to have, as much as one can have, living with this disease every day from the observation deck of being a parent. Actually living with it is probably a different story and NOTHING is fast enough for those in the 24/7/365 cycle of diabetes’ grasp.
But I’ll tell you what I have observed and how I feel. And know these are MY feelings alone. But I have a vantage point that many do not, having two children with this disease. In a relatively short amount of time; insulin pumps are worn directly or on the hips; CGMs are in regular use, insulins have changed, syringe’s are more-and-more being moved to the ‘back-up’ role with click pens full of insulin already to go, artificial pancreas, bionic pancreas, stem cells making insulins, viacyte, biohub, devices to hold islet cells, omentum, have all entered our everyday vocabulary.
They were not there just a few years ago.
This diabetes changing world is moving at a speed faster than we realize and of course not fast enough for any of us. But a lifetime is, we surely hope, a long time. When I think of the amount of change I have seen; the amount of words that were not there just a few years ago; the devices that were not there just a few years ago; the new approaches that were not being investigated just a few years ago to rid this forever; the management tools that had no definition just a few years ago; the meds and knowledge that were not there just a few years ago; not even to mention the immediate sources of connecting with each other and supporting each other in the DOC…………………..well, I am deeply encouraged.
We all need to continually support the entities we believe in, challenge all of those we know who are smarter than us working on what they are working on, and support our loved ones and each other until whatever it is we seek; arrives. Know that “it all” is a process and it takes time. I know that it’s not here fast enough. And ‘it’ is whatever it is that we see down the road for our children, or for ourselves. But keep your chin up and stay positive because I do know this, it’s coming. And “it” is the many things that are exciting, advanced, and hopeful; and they will get here…………………………albeit never fast enough.
I am a diabetes dad.
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