After the last diabetes conversation with my daughters (Zoe – age 7 and Phoebe – age 6), I knew I had to have another discussion with them. A discussion about “diabetes”. The disease that somehow was scary and meant death to them.
I decided to just ask them what they wanted to know about diabetes. What questions did they have about diabetes? And what would be my responses? How could I make them feel more comfortable about the disease that was going to be part of my life 24/7 forever. There is no getting rid of type 1 diabetes. It is part of me and in turn, part of them.
So….what did they want to know about diabetes? I asked them spontaneously and separately what questions they had about diabetes. Here is what they asked…
Zoe – age 7:
1. How do you get diabetes?
2. Why is it a disease? A sickness?
3. Why does God give people diseases like diabetes? It seems unfair.
4. How come you can’t give diabetes to other people?
5. Will I get diabetes? I worry about that because you have diabetes. You can die from diabetes. It is a bad disease. My heart tells me that. I don’t want it.
Phoebe – age 6:
1. How does insulin get into your body with the pump?
2. What does it feel like to be diabetic?
3. I don’t know if diabetes is bad or not. Is it? Guess I would know if you did not feel well?
4. Would like to know what is going on inside your body? How do you feel?
5. Is it scary to you mommy? Is it really mommy? I don’t want you to be scared.
Whew. There questions really made me start thinking about diabetes and how it impacts me and them.
After hearing their questions, I realized that there was so much for us to discuss. I did not want to jump right in and answer their questions. Instead, I chose to write down the questions and give them time to “brew”. Time for me to think.
I want my responses to be honest yet empowering. Diabetes is physical, mental, and spiritual. Scientific, yet unpredictable. Rewarding but frustrating.
However, no matter what, I am a diabetic every single moment of every single day. Wow! So, I need to share my life with diabetes. Sure they see me test my blood, change my pump, buy insulin, count carbs, treat insulin reactions, etc. But I never really talk about the emotional aspects. The time is now. They seem ready. Ready to learn about diabetes and how I live with it – mentally, physically, and spiritually.
Some of their questions are pretty deep…which is good. They are thinking, wondering, inquiring…interested.
Let me sleep on their questions. I will be back in the morning with my responses. Will let you know how it goes.
Good night all!