Mommy of a diabetic child, Payton

Hi Everyone! I am SO excited to have this site. My daughter Payton was diagnosed on 12/29/2006 at age 5. I knew nothing about Type 1 diabetes, and spent months putting on the "strong" face for my little girl and crumbling inside. I never even knew anyone who had a child with this disease. Luckily, I found the most wonderfully supportive group of friends in the JDRF, and 5 years later, here we are! Payton has had her ups and downs. (Literally and not just her #'s!!) She is starting to mature, and is starting to buck the system. (Well it's certainly not a system most of the time, but she is really starting to HATE dealing with this). I could use some advice from parents who have dealt with depression with their diabetic children, depression of their own because let's face it, as a parent you want to fix everything for your children, right? And any advice you can give me to help keep my sweeties spirits up as she battles day in and day out for her life. I can count my blessings. I always know it "can be worse", but honestly not much is worse than trying to explain to your child that they will have to poke their finger, poke their belly and count carbs......FOREVER. I guess Im asking for a pep talk of sorts! Payton is on Juvenation as well, I do think just seeing others just like her will help tremendously! I look forward to checking in, I have already felt a connection as I read all of the previous posts. I know we all feel helpless, yet blessed that it is manageable, and we all share a common bond...We want this cured!!!

It's not easy is it? My daughter is 11 now. There are days she just wants to pretend she doesn't have it. One thing that helps is play dates with other girls that have type1. Camp helped too and she got to make a friend that she has sleep overs with. I have a fantasy that she will learn to maintain her glucose with little thought about it. It doesn't seem to be happening.

We have been trying some positive reinforcements and now even some punishments when she is blatantly negligent. It seems to be helping.

Camp is a great idea.  

I think it's also okay to weigh the pros and cons of different management techniques and have a more relaxed attitude.  For example, I haven't logged in years.  My doctor would like me to, but it feels like such a burden and I hate it.  I have a 6.5 A1c with few lows.  Sure it could be better if I logged, but the trade off is worth it to me.  If you take a break from testing for a day or from carb counting, the world won't end.  Sometimes little stuff helps too, like I bought a bunch of different colored One Touch Ultra Mini meters and keep them all over so it's easy to test.  

I was diagnosed at 4 and when I was about 10 started hating my diabetes and skipping shots.  My mom tried really hard to encourage me and would tell me at least I didn't have cancer or something really terrible.  But that didn't help.  

Don't be a cheerleader or put on a game face with your child.  It's okay to be honest, even though that can be ugly and raw.  It helped me to not have to put on a brave face for my parents or to get in trouble when I slacked off.  It also helped me to acknowledge that when my blood sugars were better I felt good and had more energy.  Eventually I realized diabetes didn't take away the great life I was supposed to have.  It's a part of me and has uniquely shaped the person I've become.  

This book is older and doesn't mention pumps, but it was written by 2 young brothers with D.  Might help your kids.

As a parent I'd also encourage you to read this blog and all of the comments.  The teenage years are especially hard for diabetics.  But we survive and then grow up and start taking better care of ourselves.

Diabetes makes even a young child have to confront her/his own mortality and weakness.  While that's not easy, it will help her/him be more mature and realize how fragile life is.  Kind of like when you first became a parent and saw how your baby was simultaneously strong and so fragile.  We all deal with the stress of daily diabetes management differently.  Give your child time to figure out who they are and how to fit D into their lives.  It can be painful to watch, because it's not easy.  But take a deep breath and trust that everything will work out.  Check in with your child often to ask if you can do anything to help.  Try to be realistic and know that perfection isn't possible.  Managing diabetes is an art, not a science.