To All The Type 1 Parents Out There
By: Kathryn Julian
I’m a teacher, mother, wife, and daughter. I am also a type 1 diabetic.
For the nearly 30 years I have navigated this disease. I have memories of mixing clear and cloudy, blood drops the size of Antarctica, the fist insulin pump trials, and of course the constant doctors appointments reminding me of all the horrors this disease can cause if gone uncontrolled. Through it all, I had the unwavering support of my two greatest advocates, my parents.
My mom and dad had no idea what this disease was when their baby girl was diagnosed. They always provided me with the best care, the best doctors, the best equipment they could.
When something new came out that could make my life a little easier my dad worked a little harder to get it for me. My mom measured my carbohydrates for every meal and always made sure I had extra snacks.
I remember in 7th grade my dad stayed the night in a hotel near the campground where my 7th grade field trip was just in case I needed him. Just in case something went wrong. But, they let me go….
I remember when I left for college and the excitement that I felt. I couldn’t wait to go. Many years later, I learned the fear my parents had. They weren’t sure if I would be alright. They worried everyday. But they let me go…
I remember when I wanted to move to the big city, work in an inner city school, and get my own apartment without roommates. My parents never discouraged me, never told me the fears they had of me living alone. They let me go….
When I was 24 I wanted to travel the world during summer break. My parents helped gather glucose tablets, extra pump supplies, syringes, and test strips. They were beyond terrified their daughter was traveling to third world countries. They never told me their fears. They let me go…
At 26, when I met an amazing man, he asked me to marry him. My life would now be shared with someone else, and for the first 26 years my parents worried day in and day out about me being alone, I now had someone at my side. The fears they had were still there but the burden was lifted a bit….
That following year my husband and I found out we were pregnant. It was a healthy pregnancy, my daughter was born perfect, without complications. I never knew the burden my mother felt. The fear she had…
A few years later my mom told me how scared she was through the whole pregnancy. She, told me how much she worried. I never knew.
Right after she told me her fears, I told her I was pregnant again. My poor mother smiled through the whole pregnancy, hiding her fears from me. But now, at 33, I knew she was scared. She wasn’t fooling me anymore. But, she never told me. She supported and encouraged me the same way she had my entire life. My second daughter was born this past May. She too, like my first, is perfect.
My mom and dad taught me never to let this disease stop me from doing anything. They provided me with the support, encouragement, love, and strength to endure some very dark days. They have always been there for me.
Now, a mother of two daughters myself, I can’t imagine the fears they had while I grew up. I was three years younger than my oldest daughter when I was diagnosed.
I have thought often about the strength my mom and dad had in raising me before the technology was readily available. How they let me live my life. They taught me that diabetes was just a part of me like the color of my eyes.
I can never thank them enough for the life they have given me. But, I can continue to live my life the way they want me to.
So, to all the type 1 parents out there, who have raised their children to be fearless, strong, and determined. It is because of you this disease won’t stop us. There aren’t words to thank you enough.