One of the worst feelings as a parent is not knowing if you’re doing a good job or even doing it right! There’s a reason they call it the hardest job in the world and one of the most stressful. On top of all that, when a child is diagnosed with a chronic condition like diabetes — it makes things even more complicated.
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Diabetes is a lifelong condition, especially type 1 diabetes. It cannot be cured, but it can be managed. Parents with children who have been diagnosed with diabetes will likely feel extremely overwhelmed at first, but hopefully overtime their confidence in treating and managing this condition will get better. However, that feeling of whether you’re doing a good job will likely never go away.
Tom Karlya, father of two children with type 1 diabetes, shares his experience of learning to manage his children’s diabetes and how to do it with confidence (or at least pretend to)!
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Feeling Like I’ll Never Get It Right
Whether it’s the first night after diagnosis, 10 years into dealing with it, or in my case five years and two kids with type 1 diabetes later, the feeling of never getting it right never leaves. It seemed like every time one thing got corrected, another went wrong. One day managing their diagnosis was a breeze with almost perfect blood glucose readings all day and the next day we were all over the map. As parents, we often questioned ourselves and said, “…..but we did everything the same as the day before?”
The reality is, one day will be full of dealing with lows that won’t rise and the next day is highs we cannot get to go down. So what’s the right answer? Take a deep breath. Hold it in, then let it out. Put the mile marker away because the best way to understanding diabetes is to deal with it in inches — not as an overwhelming marathon.
Did you ever see the wonderful film, Mr. Holland’s Opus? It’s a great film about a music teacher who only wants to write a huge symphony and become famous. In the meantime he navigates his way in becoming a pretty good teacher. In one scene, he’s teaching the clarinet to a student who cannot seem to get her nose out of the music book. She’s horrible. He takes the book away and says, “You know the notes, play the sunrise.” Sometimes we try too hard. The best way to earn confidence is to trust your gut and heart. As a parent, you know what to do.