What I Want my Daughter to Know About My Diabetes

To My Daughter,

Diabetes is a complicated disease. There’s a lot to know. What’s your blood sugar range? What’s a bolus, a basal, an A1C? What about insulin pumps? It can be difficult to keep track of it all.

But there’s something even more difficult than counting carbs. Explaining my diabetes to you, my precious 2-year-old. What do I say?

This question has weighed on me from the day I found out your mom was pregnant.

So, what exactly do I want you to know?

Daddy Isn’t Sick

I’m not sick. I know it’s confusing, but that’s not why I have to take shots and pills. I never want this to be your mindset. People with diabetes aren’t sick. You’ve often heard me say “Daddy has to take his medicine to make me feel better.” And it’s true. It’s to help me feel better, so I can live life just like you: healthy and happy.

Daddy Has an Insulin Pump

We’ve gone through the “what’s that?” phase. You know all about “Daddy’s Pump.” Mom and I have explained to you that it gives me my medicine. You’ve heard the same explanation when you see me using a syringe and vial as a backup, too. “Mommy, Daddy is taking a shot in his tummy,” we hear you say. I’ve even seen you giving your little baby dolls a shot like me, too. My pump gives me my medicine. It’s not scary.

I Have to Prick My Finger

When you became old enough to understand my diabetes a little, I know it upset you to see me poking my finger with my lancing device. You had no idea why I was doing it. You’d just see my finger and the little drops of blood and ask questions. Every time I’d tell you, “Daddy is okay. It didn’t hurt Daddy.”

And it’s true. Finger pricking is part of my day, but it’s not painful, and you don’t have to worry.

We’re All a Bit Different

If my diabetes can teach you only one thing, I want it to be that we’re all different. Every person is unique, and this just happens to be one of my unique qualities. Yes, I have to take insulin to help keep myself alive and healthy, but that’s part of what makes me who I am. I want you to know this: We’re all more special because we’re unique, and that’s a great lesson.

What else do I want you, my daughter, to know about my diabetes?

First, I’m okay. You may see me drinking your apple juice box or taking a break from playing ‘monster’ to grab a snack, but I’m okay.

Sure, sometimes things may hurt (infusion set insertion, insulin injections, finger pricking), but I will stay strong and do my best for you, so you don’t have to fear any of them.

Lastly, I want you to know that all the things I do to help myself feel better are so I can be healthy for you. It’s so I can be around for as long as possible and experience as many of life’s memories with you as I can. Because since that first moment I knew your mother was pregnant, you’ve been on my mind more than my diabetes.

 

What are some of the ways you explain your diabetes to your children? Any tips?

 

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