Dear Newly Diagnosed Family with T1D,
Welcome. I’m sorry, but welcome. If the diagnosis of diabetes has entered your household and you feel as if the world has completely come undone, I would like to share a little of a journey that is now just over 25 years.
Kaitlyn was 2 when diagnosed in 1992 (Rob would be diagnosed at age 13 in March 2009, but that is a different story for a different time).
We were (are), probably a lot like you. Two parents working, no nannies, no really big house, no brand new cars, but we had much. Always did. We always and in all ways had an understanding of the smaller things. We never begrudge those who had more than us, ‘good for them’ we always thought—-we had what we needed. We never wanted to be more than where we were….we always wanted to be ‘rich in our lifestyle’…….that would be fine with us.
When Kaitlyn was diagnosed and there was nothing but an abyss in front of us, the one thing we knew was that we would discuss EVERYTHING for the first short while until we figured this out. Nothing would be left for chance. Remember that.
At age 32, nothing but rosy days were expected. We knew bumps would happen, But on September 26th, 1992 our lives would change—-just like yours did.
What will we do? What do we do? What will happen? A tidal wave of monstrous proportion just wash our little boat of life and we had no way of knowing it was coming.
Maybe you have been at this for a week……perhaps a month……perhaps a year…..maybe more.
After we took Kaitlyn home from the hospital we sat down and talked. What do we do now? In our discussion, we decided that Jill would be the one to stop working. Once we found some balance, perhaps she would get something part time, but there were no expectations.
I was never afraid of work. To me it was always a matter of getting the job done, not so much as how it got done. What I mean is; when we started on this journey, whether it was driving town cars to working at a deli to making pizza–whatever it took to bring in extra money, I would do it and would do it with the appreciation that we just might make it no matter what the new normal would become.
We made sure I always found some time with the kids alone. Perhaps it was just taking them to McDonald’s for pancakes and let Jill sleep in before I left for work on Sundays…..but it was something. What mattered was that the kids never knew that our lives were turned upside down—-I’m pretty sure, back then, we succeeded.
You go through a lot when all of a sudden a household of two salaries become one. We decided from the get-go, this would be a one-day-at-a-time journey. There was stress. It impacted our lives. It impacted our relationship with our families who probably never really fully understood why Jill and the kids showed up so much without me, because I was working. But it was more important that the kids were with their cousins, had holidays, enjoyed life; than us worrying about what anyone thought.
We did what we had to do.
Sure it impacted our relationship also. But we also agreed that whatever was happening was our business and no one else’s; we would get through it.
My point in this letter to you is that no matter what you are going through, it’s just important that you keep going. That you stay in contact with your partner. That you do everything in your power to make sure that your child with diabetes, and all of your children, have as normal as a life that you can provide for them. Coloring Easter Eggs at a table together can be just as rewarding as taking all of your kids to an expensive Easter show together. Look for things, you will find them.
Make do with what you have—-openly discuss things with each other—-do not care what anyone else thinks—-stay the course. And always remember….guessing is wrong, EDUCATION is the equalizer in diabetes. Get some every chance you can.
Someone once said when a door closes a window opens—-well sometimes it’s up to you to pry that window open and not wait for it to open on its own.
You got this…….you can make it……..one day at a time. Someday you will turn around and twenty-five years will have passed, and you will be two just months away from walking your daughter up the aisle.
Best of everything,
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.