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When Real Life Meets Diabetes (Part 1)

Updated: May 5, 2020

Disclaimer: This is one of the only posts that will be about us. But...we thought knowing our story will help you with everything else to come...

We hope that sharing our story will:

  1. emphasize the difficult, funny, sad, triumphant, real side of type 1 diabetes

  2. make things okay that sometimes aren't okay

  3. help you feel better about your own journey

  4. help you understand why we do what we do and how our stories intersect

  5. build trust between us and you

Kris' Story | Diabetes Blues and Orthotic Shoes

In May of 2011, two worlds intersected. My son, Carter (then 6 yrs old), was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Our family sat in a small room in our local hospital. Scared. Confused. Expectant. Our first day-nurse was amazing. Very bubbly, sweet and supportive. Our first night nurse...a different story. Though she seemed like a caring nurse, she actually suggested at one point that we contact someone she knew as a resource for some really good orthotic shoes. Really???? Orthotic shoes? It's somewhat comical to look back on now but at the time I was actually thinking, "is this what having type 1 diabetes is like? I have to consider orthotic shoes for my 6 yr. old?" Our type 1 diabetes story had begun.

It's been 9 years. Admittedly, the details of Carter's admission are a little foggy now. Memories...even traumatic ones...fade over time. My wife could actually give you far more details than I at this point. What I do remember is that within the first 24 hours in the hospital my soul made a distinctive shift. I went from anxious, nervous and scared-but-determined to actually being able to take a deep breath...knowing that it would all be okay. What happened? Well...Jessica happened.

She entered our quiet, anxiety-filled room, introduced herself in the bubbly tone you all know and love and immediately reassured us that she had it. Had what? Had us! She had us. She was FOR us and she was FOR our son. She had IT...the information we needed, the calm and peace we longed for. She brought it into the room. Now, full took our family a hot minute to receive all of those things. Though we had just met her, we had to build trust.

And for what it's worth, all four of us (myself, my wife, carter's mom and step-father) have each walked this road at different paces. We all have our own way of processing and dealing with diabetes.

Jessica's Story | Professional Years and Mommy Tears

My story began much differently than Kris’.  My son didn’t have diabetes.  I was a nurse practitioner, loved the wellness and education aspect of pediatric primary care and found myself with an amazing opportunity at the facility I was in to help create a diabetes program from scratch.  So...I did! A year and 3 months after starting the program, Carter was admitted to the hospital.  I can completely visualize Carter’s room as I walked in to meet them for the first time.  He was cute, unassuming, and welcoming.  His parents, well…they were not quite so smiley, they looked so overwhelmed! But frankly…who isn’t when they’re first told their child has diabetes?!? It’s scary, it's unknown, and it seems impossible to manage.

Fast forward three years: I began to feel the weight of those feelings.  My son Mica (also 6 yrs old) had been sick for about a week on and off. A random glucose check landed us in the guessed it...a diabetes diagnosis.  It was an odd feeling, knowing what I knew, doing what I did and yet staring at my absolutely frightened son and husband as they tried to comprehend what was in front of us. 

“Did you give me diabetes?” That was one of the first questions Mica asked me once he started to understand what was going on.  You’ve heard of mama guilt right??? It was real that day.  At the time, there was no “Kris”, and there was no other “me,” there was just a doctor vaguely explaining the odd complexity of finding a diabetes diagnosis “so early in the game” and how it would take time to “see where this lands”.   Seriously Doc?!?! A little help here please?!?! Though I understood his implications, my son and husband were still trying to figure out who hit the ball in the first place!!!! 

As I watch my son and husband grasp the concept and all of the many aspects of diabetes management over the years since, I can’t help but wonder what I would have done or said differently to families had Mica been diagnosed 4 years prior. be continued 

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