Raising a child with a chronic illness
Parenting is a difficult job, but one that is well rewarded. From the moment you set eyes on you little bundle of joy you can never imagine any harm or pain brought upon them. Unfortunately life doesn’t always go how you plan or expect it to. One of the worst things as a parent that you can find out about your child is that they suffer from a life long chronic illness.
As a parent of a child with a chronic illness, your days are a little more different than many other parents. A child with a chronic illness takes a little more time getting ready in the morning, or more time getting out the door for school. Doctor visits are more frequent, but one thing is for sure, the uncertainty of what tomorrow brings. As a parent to a child with type 1 diabetes, the uncertainty is what hurts the most. We can’t go to bed at night and “know” your child will wake up in the morning bright eyed and ready to take on the world. Instead, you are up multiple times during the night checking their blood sugar to make sure they don’t drop dangerously low and slip away during the night.
Trips outside the house cannot be taken quickly. You need to ensure you have all the necessary “tools” needed to care for your child before leaving. This usually involves a bag filled with everything needed to check their blood sugar, and bring it up on the go.
Some of this may no look like much more than a sugar filled bag to you, however this “sugar” and “candy” is actually life saving medicine. This is the type of bag needed to be taken and carried everywhere your child goes.
The one constant in a life of the unpredictable is the love for your child. The heartbreak that comes when your child is diagnosed, never goes away, it just “dims” in comparison to what it used to be. You learn to cope, and manage your child’s new life. You learn they are just a kid that so happens to live with a chronic illness. The best part of everything is the same for all parents, to see your kids smile.
This is just your child’s new “norm” With type 1 diabetes their body no longer produces insulin, so they must get it daily, multiple times a day either through many injections or an insulin pump like you see above. Kids with diabetes are no different than other kids, except their ‘pancreas’ is on the outside of their body. A little bit extra care and diligence is needed to make sure they live a happy, healthy life. A little more teaching and education is needed so that they can learn to grow up to be responsible in managing their illness. But when it’s all said and done, you just have a happy child, full of life, bright eyed for what the future holds.
Parenting a child with any chronic illness can take it’s toll on those caring for them. It’s important to remember in everything to take care of yourself as well. It’s also helpful to reach out to other parents that know what you are going through. It’s never comforting to hear of another kid diagnosed, but it’s comforting to have someone to talk to, that deals with the same things day in and day out. One thing is for certain, when you are faced with an illness to your child, you learn to appreciate life a bit more. You learn to slow down and enjoy everything that life has to offer.
(The very first picture is just some of the necessary “tools” to ensure a child with diabetes is taken care of. It is an infusion set, that goes into their skin to make sure they get the life saving insulin that they need. These are the alternative to taking multiple daily injections, my son had to have 6 daily, now we use these infusion sets once every 3 days).
There are many ways to cope in caring for a child with a chronic illness, how do you handle it all?