I will never know.

My son with diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 4 years and 1 month, and because of this there are so many things I will never know.

My son played flag football at the age of 5 and hated it. I will never know if he really hated football or if he hated that his sugar ran sky high before each practice and then dropped to the inner depths of the earth following practice.

My son loves diabetes camp. I will never know if he really loves going away to camp or if he just loves being in a safe place with a hundred other people just like him, people living with Type 1 diabetes.

My son hated the first few months of 1st grade. I will never know if he just plain hated 1st grade or if a fear of his diabetes not being cared for was the reason for the revolt.

My son doesn’t like to be away from me. I will never know if he just loves me to death (who doesn’t) or if he knows I am his main caretaker and I can handle any diabetes situation that can come up.

My son gets angry at me sometimes. Even tells me  that he hates me. I will never know if this is something that would have happened anyway (lucky me) or if it is because he is angry at his diabetes and he can take it out on me.

My son is a really compassionate little boy. He displays empathy for all different abilities and people. I will never know if he is just a sweetheart or if having diabetes has made his heart grow huge and understand others’ trials and tribulations.

My son is great in math. I will never know if he is great in math because he is just so smart, or if hearing numbers and weights and carb counts at every meal has opened his brain to numbers in a way that is uncommon in little children.

My son hates doing homework. I will never know if he really hates homework, or if holding it together all day: school, friends, enemies, nurse visits, and diabetes duty, is just too much for one little guy and at the end of the day he just needs a break.

And the saddest thing about all this is, my son will never know either.

Mistrusting your own judgment

I do not have Type 1 diabetes but my six year old son does. Not a day goes by that I don’t wish I had this disease instead of him. I have no idea how he feels when his glucose is low or his glucose is too high. I have no idea how it feels to have my glucose drop so quickly that it actually turns my stomach, but my six year old son does. As a result of having Type 1 diabetes  for over 2 1/2 year my son has become more in tune with his own body. While he may not know if his glucose is high or low all the time, he is definitely learning the feelings that come with these ups and downs, and he is learning to handle them on his own.

Until there is one glucose number that comes out of left field, knocks him to his knees like he had just been hit in the belly by a kickball, and then we are back to square one. The point where he is not so sure he can trust his own judgment. That must be a very frightening thought to a six year old boy, I mean if he can’t trust himself with his own feelings than who can he trust.

My son has recently started testing himself in his classroom when he feels ‘off.’  The effort to have him test where and when he feels ‘off’ in school was spear headed by me, but it was my son who took it upon himself to do the actual testing. He does it all himself. He gets his meter out, cleans his finger, and pokes his own tiny hand when he gets the feeling that he needs to test. He does need help determining a plan of action, but it is him and his instinct that are the major components of this team.

It was at this point in his diabetes life that I realized he relies on his own judgment all the time, and when a number sideswipes him, usually a low number, it does rock his world for a few weeks. A few weeks back my son had an unexpected low number when he went to the nurse to test for lunch. It came out of the blue and it was treated quickly and there were no major consequences, or so I thought.

For the rest of that week, and on into the following week, my son instinctively knew to test himself about 20 minutes before that low the week before. In his six year old mind, he was trying to protect himself by testing a little earlier than lunch to catch another low. It took about 10 days of testing at that time, and 10 numbers in range, for my son to stop testing earlier than planned. It took 10 days for my son to feel comfortable again. Ten days for my son to trust himself again with a disease that he has been living with since he is four years old.

So while there were no outward severe consequences of that previous low, no seizure, no passing out, no trembling, there were plenty of internal severe consequences. My son began to mistrust his own judgment, and if you can’t trust yourself with your own disease, where does that leave you?