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Father's Day Reflections


Jun 19, 2011

Robert and Tyler Stevenson

With Father's Day just around the corner, I thought it would be nice to stop for a moment and reflect on what dads do for us, especially dads who have diabetic children. The pressure and emotional aspects of diabetes can be overwhelming, not to mention the stress it can put on a family. For every needle prick, shot, and counted carb my father (and mother) helped me with, I want to say thanks.

The day I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, my parents immediately let me know that handling my diabetes was going to be a group effort in our household. I have had diabetes for eleven years. I was diagnosed with the disease when I was nine years old, so my parents had to deal with it as I journeyed through puberty and those volatile teenage years.

At the time I received my diagnosis, my life immediately changed, but so did the life of my parents. A nine-year-old kid doesn't think about what his parents are going though, how they are holding up, what limitations have been placed on their lives because of their child's disease. Neither does a teenager. But as a junior in college, having been away from home for two years, I have a greater respect for and understanding of what my parents have doing for me to help me deal with diabetes.

I first want to preface everything that follows with a little disclaimer: I am in no way suggesting that any parents change their routine, attitude, or methods of dealing with their child's diabetes. I am only going to tell you what I have witnessed my parents doing that has worked for me. Everyone has different circumstances, situations, and family make-up, which may or may not allow you to do some of the things my parents have done. My only hope is that what I am about to share will give you a little better insight on how my parents have coped with my disease, which might help you.

I don't want to bore you with page after page of things we do in great detail, so let me just give you some highlights to consider.

►If there was any one thing my parents did that helped me the most with my disease, it would be calculating carbs at meal/snack time. We have a small notebook in which we record everything. Some people might think that is ridiculous, but it works for us. We write down what my blood sugar is before I eat, along with what I am eating, the carb count, and the total amount of my shot or bolus. If my blood sugar goes low or high after I eat, we have something to reference. My parents even have a list of different fast food items that I like to eat (with carb counts) in the back of the notebook for easy reference.

►I have heard people say that parents need to let their children learn how to handle their disease on their own. My parents' answer to that is, "Tyler is going to have to deal with his diabetes for his entire life; I think the least we can do is help him for the first 10 years."  Meal time was a group effort and I never felt that I was left alone to handle my disease. Oh, one other point here: they never eat or drink anything I can't have.

►As blood sugars change, so does the disposition of your child. If he is being difficult, always consider that it might be the "diabetes talking" and not your real child. There have been many times I have felt bad because my blood sugar levels were "off," and I am sure I was not the easiest person to be around.

►We inform all teachers, administrators, and coaches in writing about my situation. We have a standard package that we send out every year that details everything they should know about my diabetes and what I might have to do if I experience high or low blood sugars at school. Of course, a 504 plan is always an option.

►Unfortunately, most people think diabetes is an easy disease to handle. Some people think you just take a pill or watch your diet closely. They have no idea of the seriousness of the disease, and even when you explain it, they still don't "get it." We have learned that unless people have lived it, they will never totally understand it, so we take full responsibility for my disease.

In my family, diabetes is a group disease. I don't feel that any child should have to deal with this on his own---being a kid/teenager is tough enough.

I hope that these thoughts will help your family come together and fight this disease. I know for a fact that they have helped us. Dad, I know you're reading this, so I'd like to say thanks for all that you have done to help me with my diabetes. Just relax this Father's Day and enjoy your day---you deserve it.  To all you dads (and moms) out there who have children with diabetes, we really do appreciate all that you do and your sacrifices for us, even though we don't say it enough.


Categories: Blood Sugar, Carbs, Diabetes, Diabetes, Diabetic, Food, Kids & Teens, Shots, Type 1 Issues



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Comments

Posted by Anonymous on 19 June 2011

Thanks for the positive thoughts on Father's Day. It's nice to know that there are parents that take such an active roll in their child's health. Love your articles!!

Posted by Anonymous on 19 June 2011

Tyler, I love your article. Your parents are wonderful!!! We have learned so much from your Mom!!! Thank you !!!!
Wendy M.

Posted by Anonymous on 19 June 2011

What a wonderful testimony of how teamwork can be the guide to dealing with an affliction that needs understanding and support. And, there is no place that teamwork is more important than in the family. A sincere, well written read.

Posted by Anonymous on 19 June 2011

Tyler,

This is a wonderful article with useful information/suggestions for parents and children dealing with diabetes. Your parents have given you great guidance and I'm touched that you're taking the time to share your sincere appreciation for what they have done for you. You are a reflection of two superb people. God bless you! Cindy Parnell

Posted by Anonymous on 19 June 2011

Hey Tyler,
As always, this is really well done! It does me proud to know that I was even slightly involved in your education!

Even though these tips are designed for parents of kids with Type 1, I'm going to pass along the link to my Mom who suffers with insulin dependent type 2.

Best wishes to you, and happy father's day to your Dad, and "future fathers day" to you!

Best,
Margie Bertram

Posted by Anonymous on 19 June 2011

Tyler, What a great article you wrote on childhood diabetes. I am sure your words of encouragement and tips will help parents and children with this disease. I'm sure you are so correct in saying that no one can really understand how this disease changes a family's life unless they have personally experienced it. Please take care. Keep up the good writing!
Mrs. Reeves :)

Posted by Anonymous on 20 June 2011

Great article, Tyler! And your parents have done a great job :)
Ms. H

Posted by Anonymous on 20 June 2011

You have wonderful parents!

Posted by Anonymous on 20 June 2011

Great to hear about your life from your perspective. You obviously have had and do have a great family and friend support system. Everyone has issues, the difference is how we each deal with them. I am sure your family is as proud of you as you are of them. Have a great life! Mark Middleton

Posted by Anonymous on 20 June 2011

It was quite refreshing to read an article written through the perspective of the diabetic.

Posted by Anonymous on 20 June 2011

I have known Tyler and his parents since the day he was born. They are a quality family that chooses not to impose their diabetes issues on others. However, Tyler's acceptance of the disease and their collective passion for him to experience a normal quality of life cannot be hidden. I'm proud to know them all.

Posted by Anonymous on 20 June 2011

Tyler, your're very special in many ways and a inspiration to all in your generation. Its refreshing to hear about how you and your wonderful parents have accepted and worked together the diabetes.
Your article put a lump in my throat and help me better understand the issues of living with diabetes.

Posted by Anonymous on 20 June 2011

Great article, Tyler. The love and support of a caring family are evident, in both directions. You are to be congratulated on such a positive outlook.

Posted by Anonymous on 21 June 2011

Tyler,

Great article, not only from the aspect of a person who has Diabetes, but of the mature insights and sincere appreciation that you have for your parents, who are a wonderful support system.

Well done and continued blessings to you and your parents,

Mike Chissell

Posted by Anonymous on 22 June 2011

Hi Tyler, What a FANTASTIC article! I love your clarity & honesty. My child has Type 1 and I have often had that comment that we should let him look after it on his own. He's 13 and he does a lot more than he did on diagnosis at 8 years but it's a family effort. I will use your parents' response in future - how true and how perfectly expressed. And I can see how well it worked out too because you are just great. If my child is as good at handling diabetes when he reaches your stage, I will be just as proud of him as your parents are of you. Really great article. Well done you!

Posted by Anonymous on 23 June 2011

Great article, Tyler. It's so nice to see the true appreciation you have for your fabulous parents!! I love reading your articles. Keep up the good work!!

Posted by Anonymous on 23 June 2011

God bless your family for supporting you!! When dealing diabetes on your own, it is a very lonely disease.

Posted by Anonymous on 12 July 2011

Great job Tyler...
What a wonderful article.
MJH

Posted by Anonymous on 7 August 2011

What maturee reflections Tyler. I am sure you are a great kid and that your parents are only to happy to help you. You seem to have really great parents and I am happy that your realize how much 'extra' they are doing to help you. As a mother of a child who got type1 diabetes at the age of 3 i know how emotionally stressing it is not to speak of the limitations it places on the child and the family and all the planning. We have a great kid too and do as much as we can to help him. God bless you and your parents. /Jennifer, Sweden

Posted by Anonymous on 8 September 2011

Tyler, you are an amazing young man. You have made a difference in so many lives. I know your parents must be so proud of you . . . I know I am.

bdk

Posted by Anonymous on 10 September 2011

Tyler, great article. I've seen you at the gym several times and have told my son about you. He has been inspired by you and your parents have inspired me. As the mom of a type 1 know the struggles parents face. I'm happy to see that you realize and appreciate all that they have done for you. Thank you!

Leann jarczynski


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