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  Back to Parent' Voices Karla Whalen
More Blessings Than Burden, But
by Karla Whalen

I've been asked to present the parent's perspective of taking care of a child with Type 1 diabetes. As many of you are aware, our introduction to this disease was recent, swift and severe. Thus, I believe our "coming to terms" with this disease is still developing. However, I do have a few thoughts that I can share with you about learning to live with our "Sugar Free Brownie."

  1. Diabetes is a disease which has caused me to realize that a child can be at death's door faster than one could ever have realized, but be given the strength to be back on the soccer field a few weeks later.

  2. Diabetes is a disease which causes a premature separation of the parent and the child, but at the same time creates a heightened level of dependence.

  3. Diabetes is a disease which makes you realize that you may not always know the right care for your child, but at the same time must trust your child to the care of others who know even less.

  4. Diabetes is a disease which forces disclosure about a "disability", but at the same time makes you realize how very lucky you are.

  5. Diabetes is a disease which makes you realize that reading can inform, but it can also create fear.

  6. Diabetes is a disease which causes us to think "Gee, I'm glad it was her and not one of the others....", but then you wonder how you could have ever thought such a thing.

  7. Diabetes is a disease which makes you communicate hourly with your spouse, but at a time when you may not want to.

  8. Diabetes is a disease which makes you wonder why, when your spouse gives a shot it doesn't hurt, but when you do, it does.

  9. Diabetes is a disease which forces you to realize that the endless "nighttime feedings" of your infant will not pass, but will only be transferred to another child. (Surely dual alarm clocks are a good thing!)

  10. Diabetes is a disease which requires some restriction of cultural celebration, but at the same time provides a most healthy intake of calories.

  11. Diabetes is a disease which necessitates the restriction of concentrated sugars for good health, but requires you to carry pure sugar in your purse to save your child's life.

  12. Diabetes is a disease which requires a rigid family schedule in both meal planning and timing, but at the same time has made running a busy household more smooth.

  13. Diabetes is a disease which requires restricted food choices, but at the same time has provided an opportunity for culinary creativity.

  14. Diabetes is a disease which make you think you can't possibly squeeze anything else into your life, but then you realize that you can.

  15. Diabetes is a disease which causes you to ponder that "Now, I lay thee down to sleep, I pray the Lord your soul to keep....." is no longer a simple prayer, but a fervent request.

Karla Whalen's daughter Larissa was diagnosed with Type 1 at the age of 7. She can be reached via e-mail at Karla.Whalen@usda.gov.

Published November 26, 2000



                 
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Last Updated: Wednesday March 16, 2005 16:45:08
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