Recently, I found the purple journal I started the week my seven-year-old son Alexander was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Even in my shocked state I sensed I would one day want to remember the details of that experience. In those first pages I declared my intention to write a book to help others. After some starts and stops, my book Parenting Joyfully When Your Child has Diabetes is ready.
Parents who read my book will feel less alone after an isolating diabetes diagnosis. When your child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes you are tossed into a world only those living with the disease fully understand. Because our family had already dealt with multiple diagnoses I knew we could manage the medical side. It was the emotional impact I was less sure about.
When I started writing in that purple journal I did not realize diabetes would zap every ounce of my energy and joy as I struggled to learn its complexities. The journal quickly deteriorated from handwritten daily notes to printed copies of emails and finally morphed into our first log book as we bumbled along, learning to set carb ratios for meals and tweak insulin dosages. As it does, particularly at the beginning, diabetes consumed us. The responsibility felt overwhelming when medical people handed the care of our son back to us. Were we ready?
At diagnosis all the books I found focused on managing the medical side of the disease. I was desperate for another parent to reassure me I could survive the emotional toll this diagnosis would take.
For several years fear, grief, and frustration over the volume of work added to every aspect of our lives sapped my energy and my vitality. Finding my way back to vibrant living required me to give myself permission to speak about how hard diabetes is and to feel my emotions. To parent joyfully again, I needed to find myself all over again. I wish I had read a book like Parenting Joyfully When Your Child Has Diabetes: Adjusting to the Highs and Lows, one that gave me permission to feel all that I was feeling in the early days and years of Alexander’s diagnosis.