It's been way too long since I added anything here...so this might be a long one...Here goes...
I have 3 sons. Andrew is 22. Carson is 10 and Bodie is 8. If you have read my other posts then you know about Bodie.
In June of 2009, Andrew was also dx with T1. What was such a shock to us was that he was 20 years old!! I didn't know anyone who had been dx so "late" in life at that point. I knew children...lots of children unfortunately, who had been dx with T1 when they were little. Our son was 20, had a daughter, and a house and a job. It was crazy. What was also a complete shock to us was...up until this point, we had resigned ourselves to the fact that it was just bad luck that our youngest was diabetic. NOW however, I felt like all eyes were on ME. It was something within ME that "caused" this. I was the "weak" genetic link. You see, although the two younger children have NO CLUE, their "big brub" is not their full biological brother. I had him when I was 18. When he was 10, my husband adopted him and then we had the two other boys. So NOW there were 2 diabetics in the family but the only link was me. When Bodie was dx, it was overwhelming and we were in shock and on information overload. Our brains could only handle so much...which was a good thing. Over the 5ish years we had ben dealing with diabetes we learned A LOT. This fact made THIS diagnosis that much harder to deal with. WE knew about this crappy disease now. We KNEW what to expect. I was so unbelieveably sad for my son. He was in his PRIME. He was supposed to be having fun and living it up (as much as a 20 year old with a baby can anyway!) He LIVED on junk food...Taco Bell, Burger King...and he never had a weight problem because he was very active and was a BMX rider doing all those crazy tricks and such...you know, the ones that are SO incredable to watch if it's not your kid? How in the WORLD was he going to be able to continue doing THAT and manage all that diabetes entails? I was heartbroken fo him...and for ME. It was MY fault. Finally, it seemed that EVERYONE had THEIR answer as to why Bodie was diabetic. "It's got to be from HER side of the family." I could hear it...yes, it was in my own head...but I could hear it loud and clear.
As with Bodie's dx, at some point, I had to get out of the hospital. I had to leave my "big boy" and get some air. And it was MY kind of air! Warm, late June in Virginia air. (We had moved to Vermont 4 months earlier and I hated it with a passion!)
SIDENOTE: What made this dx so tough was, I had prayed for something to bring us back to VA...but this isn't what I was expecting. When we moved, Andrew was 175 lbs. When we came back to visit, he was skin and bones and when we got him to the hospital he was 130. He had lost 45 lbs in 4 months!!
So, there I was, outside the hospital, leaning against my car, crying the tears only a mother can cry, and my husband says to me...hey, look how happy these guys are...it was the MOST random sight at a hospital EVER....there were 2 hospital workers coming out a back enterance carrying two of the BIGGEST watermelons I had ever seen!! It was so odd and so unexpected that I was laughing out loud...and then, I took a deep breath and said...it's going to be OK. And ya know what? Aside from a few minor illnesses and trips to the hospital, Andrew has managed his diabetes pretty well. I still worry about him EVERY DAY because I can't see what he's doing or if he's testing or what he's eating. But like any "grown" child, I have to let him live. I have to let him be who he is and learn on his own. And YES, I badger him occasionally about his diet...or lack there of...but I would do that if he wasn't diabetic too. I mean...I knew it was going to be an issue when he was stil in the hospital and he called us asking if we could pick him up Taco Bell because he looked in the Calorie King book and it said he could have 7 layer Nachos...if he had 15 units of insulin! KIDS!

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Comment by Natalie ._c- on March 11, 2011 at 7:38am
Julie, I think it is extremely important that you know that it is NOT your fault. LOTS of people carry the genetic risk of Type 1, but most of them never get it, because there is some kind of trigger, and they never encounter the trigger. It was mostly bad luck that 2 of your kids got it. How in the world would you have known that they were going to get diabetes back then when you got pregnant with them? Of course you wouldn't. And it's better to have them with diabetes than not to have them at all! So don't blame yourself, and concentrate on loving them for the wonderful children they are -- diabetes sucks, yes, but they will make it and continue to be a wonderful part of your life!
Comment by LaGuitariste on March 11, 2011 at 11:39pm
C'mon now, it's not like you're Typhoid Mary or Mrs. O'Leary's cow, eh? You're human and you didn't ask for your genes any more than the rest of us.

Of course, as a mother you will always feel guilty about something (it comes with the job, as I understand it) but you're no more responsible for T1 genes then you are for your eye color or the length of your pinky finger.

Hang in there and hugs to you and your whole family.
Comment by Terrie on March 12, 2011 at 12:09pm
I'm sorry, that you're Boys were dxd. It is a normal thing for Mother's and Father's to do. Cry and Cheer for our Children. Then get up and fight for their lives.

Back in the 50's/'60's my Mom and Dad were presented with 3 Diabetic children. It was hard on us and my Parents but we got through it. They didn't know anyone in the Family with Diabetes and knew nothing about it. I imagined Mom took up some blame on herself. Then many years later my Cousin on Dad's side was Terrified when one by one, her 3 Boys were dxd.

I made it clear that it is not our fault or their fault. We just have to keep our Spirits up as much as we can, so that we can deal and make the Best out of any unwanted situations that we are presented with. There you go....I Love the watermellon comment. :D Perfect!

We will always worry about our Kids. We are Parents. That is our job. Each of your Boys will come to terms with how they will eventually deal with their own Diabetes and Acceptance in their own time. Teach them Well. As you know, there are different alternatives on how this disease can be managed, in most cases. They will choose which avenue appeals to them. I know that you will worry about them but try to make some time for yourselves to relax and gain renewed strength. Best to you all.
Comment by Katie Smith on March 13, 2011 at 2:58pm
Hi there. Last week my oldest son was diagnosed with T1. My 3 year old son was diagnosed in 2009. I have also felt "guilty" about them being diagnosed. They both have different fathers so I feel like I carry the genetic abnormality, too. I have slowly come to realize that people don't see how hurtful it is to hear "It must have come from KATIE's side of the family". It just adds insult to injury. I love my kids without a shadow of a doubt, and if it were up to me, I would take diabetes away from them and give it to myself instead. I would never in a million years go to the parent of a cancer patient and say, "well, gee, it must have come from YOUR side of the family." or to the parents of a cystic fibrosis child, or to the parents of a child with ANY disease that is possibly passed through genetics. It is cruel!
I just wanted you to know that you're NOT alone. If you ever need someone to talk to, I'm here. I can definitely sympathize with your feelings.

Much love,
Katie
Comment by DanK on March 14, 2011 at 11:18pm
Hi Julie...

In 1974, my Dad was diagnosed with MS
In 1997, my older brother was diagnosed with t1
In early 2010, my little brother was was diagnosed with Crohn's
For a few months I thought - wow, I'm the only healthy one here! Then, in August, I walked into the hospital after losing 30 pounds in 6 weeks...
It seems pretty obvious that my Dad passed on genes that predisposed us to autoimmune diseases. However, he also passed down some great traits too. We're all good at math, we all have Ivy League educations and his quick reflexes for terrible puns. He taught is discipline, and right from wrong. He taught us about hard work, perseverance, and the responsibility of family. Most importantly, he gave us our heartbeats.

My point is, think of all the great things you've given your kids - both genetically and otherwise. They'll probably learn to appreciate all the good things you gave them, and will never blame you for "giving" them diabetes.

My brothers and I are all enjoying the primes of our lives, and your children will too. Our paths to success won't be the same as everyone else, and sometimes it'll be harder. However, we'll achieve everything we want to, and we'll build more character in the process, because we overcame obstacles to get there.
Comment by Elizabeth on March 15, 2011 at 2:19pm
My mother and grandfather have/had rheumatoid arthritis. I developed Hashimoto's while I was pregnant with Eric, and 18 months after birth, Eric was Dx'd with Type 1. I know all about that "weak link" feeling. You can't help your genetics, and unless you're willing to do a complete DNA run-down on your partner, you can't do anything about your child's genetics either. Let it go! It's not going to do anything but make you crazy.
Comment by Natalie ._c- on March 15, 2011 at 11:02pm
Just think of all those other wonderful genes you have transmitted to your children. Elizabeth, you got a redhead! Isn't that remarkable and adorable? And you will see so many other wonderful characteristics develop and grow, so you should never regret having these wonderful children, even if they do have diabetes! :-)

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