I shall start by wishing you a happy new year! The lass has changed her lancet for the year, and I have already failed to adhere to each goal I’d like to achieve, so its all looking like situation normal for these cave dwellers! I sincerely hope that your years have all started splendidly and will continue in the same vain!
This post is for all those newly diagnosed, and their families, as you stand poised on the edge of this brand new world you may have previously known nothing about. You may not want to look about you yet. Keeping your eyes fixed on one point and learning to balance here may well be all you can currently contemplate. And that is OK. Because just by doing that, you’re already being everything you need to be or your child needs you to be.
For the majority of us, propulsion into this world comes suddenly and unexpectedly. Even those who have lived around others with T1D may find this utterly unexpected and more shocking than a shot from a taser. We may arrive in this new terrain with what we think is a smattering of the language spoken here. An understanding of the laws of this land, picked out in bite sized chunks, from newspaper articles and village folk law. Upon arrival, we find this knowledge about as useful as adopting a french accent to our native tongue whilst in France. And some of the pieces of information we’ve committed to memory are downright petrifying. We play the word association game in our heads and link the word diabetes with a whole host of nightmare scenarios.
There we stand, shaking, wide eyed and full of trepidation about what the next minutes and hours will bring. At this stage thinking about the next day is a struggle. And yet the next day arrives. And with that arrival, one finds that one has already picked up a little of the language. And so thinking about the rest of that day is possible. And maybe tomorrow. Before we know it, the first week has passed. Still unsure as to how you are standing there, you’re there all the same. Because all we can do when our child receives this diagnosis is muddle through. We learn on the hoof and, similar to all other aspects of parenting, there are no rules and so we cobble together a workable strategy. The language starts to come to us more readily. We stumble over words less. Gain more confidence. And learn to trust our judgements & that of our child’s.
For me realising that, as in parenthood, there is no definitive manual for managing T1D, was rather liberating. Understanding that there were no hard and fast rules, that the management of T1D was just that, managing – sometimes proactive and sometimes reactive, – it became easier to tolerate this uninvited house guest. And that in turn meant it became easier to parent our daughter equitably with her siblings. To install a confidence & to strengthen her courage. Pumplette has been loved & nurtured to become the confident, no nonsense, hilarious, bright & engaging bundle she is today, not in anyway deferent to her diagnosis. She loves her life & lives it to the full. I want this post to be reassuring. That bumbling along and carving out a way that everyone finds tolerable is exactly what is needed in those first few days, weeks and months. Especially when everyone is dealing with a tsunami of emotions.
As a parent of child diagnosed with T1D, it is natural to want to be able to fix everything for your CWD. As a parent of siblings to a CWD it is also perfectly understandable that one will feel anxious about the prospect of them too developing T1D. Parents seem to effortlessly leap to the armageddon scenarios. I know I wondered how many times Pumplette would be hospitalised due to her T1D throughout her childhood as I sat next to her hospital cot at diagnosis. I feared her childhood would be spent in a seemingly endless procession back and forth from the hospital with countless admissions. However, at time of press, apart from scheduled clinic appointments, Pumplette hasn’t yet been hospitalised since diagnosis because of T1D. She’s had more encounters with the A&E staff than is strictly necessary, but those have all been as a result of childhood folly and not T1D. If I’m perfectly honest, I have made more trips to the A&E department with my clumsy firstborn than with the other two combined! So that was another fear surrounding Pumplette’s early childhood that was unfounded.
Pumplette becoming acquainted with gas & air after an altercation with a fairground ride!
The thing with parenthood is, you can’t pack up when it gets tricky. You don’t have the option of opting out. You just somehow manage. And every day you manage, life becomes a tiny, almost imperceivable bit less daunting. I promise all of you who find yourselves thrown into this strange world, you will see beauty in things again, you will dance again, and you will find yourself throwing your head back and laughing heartily again. And hopefully, it’ll happen sooner than you expect, and will undoubtedly take you by surprise. But thats ok. Because you can all handle surprises now. It’s all in a day’s work in the land where T1D dwells!