Comfort Companion Stories for Parents and Care-givers
As a mother who has raised a child with Type 1 Diabetes, I know and understand what you are experiencing. The 11 short excerpts from the Comfort Companion Stories for parents and care-givers, which I wrote, are my gift to you—a source of strength and encouragement to accompany you on your own journey with diabetes. I trust the stories on pages 69-77 in Purr-fect Pals will help you realize that you are not alone and that many others are willing to offer you their assistance, knowledge, love and comfort.
The following 4 excerpts from the Parents’ Comfort Companion Stories, which include Rufus the Bear with Diabetes®, “As Good As Gold”, One Day at a Time, and A Well-being Team can be read on pages 78-86 in Purr-fect Pals. These anecdotes were written by extraordinary, loving, and dedicated parents whose children have taught their family members valuable, life-changing lessons about living with diabetes! I trust you will find their experiences as comforting and inspirational as I have.
The gift is there
When your beautiful, healthy child is diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, you’re broken-hearted. You feel anger, fear, confusion, and frustration. You are grieving a loss. You seek medical, emotional, and spiritual assistance from family, friends, and professionals because you need to help your child and yourself. You begin to feel as though you’re the driver in a raging race against time, trying hard not to crash and burn. You must muster your courage so you can show your child how to stay the course until he or she becomes the driver
Doctor’s direct diagnosis in perspective
During our family’s Thanksgiving celebration in 1985, I noticed that our eldest son, Joshua, looked pale and thin. “You should see Dr. Bud tomorrow,” I told him after dinner. “You look like you might be coming down with mono.” At first Joshua was reluctant to go to the doctor, but he admitted he was feeling pretty miserable and agreed.
The Odyssey Begins
Education and teamwork brings confidence
When Joshua was first diagnosed, our family began an odyssey, a long, wandering journey marked by adventures in learning—about diabetes, ourselves, and each other. Our immediate goal was adjusting to Joshua’s diagnosis as a family. The long-term goal was his responsible and healthy management of his diabetes.
Surprise snack selection
Before the diagnosis, Joshua and his younger brother, Noah, would persistently ask me to buy the junk food they ate at friends’ homes or saw advertised on TV. They tried every scheme in the book to get me to relent on my no-junk, too-much-sugar food rule.
Noah to the rescue!
Answering students’ SOS call
A few weeks after we returned from the diabetes clinic, Joshua put together a diabetes presentation for the staff at his high school. “Cracker,” the cafeteria manager, told Joshua he was well acquainted with diabetes because his wife also had Type I. Cracker also told Joshua that if he didn’t have time to get to the diabetes supplies in his locker, he could come to the cafeteria and take whatever food he needed, whenever he needed it.
A driving snow storm
In February 1986, Joshua had experienced several low blood sugar reactions. His nurse, Sally, and I thought it might be best if he and I drove up to Reno for a more complete checkup at the diabetes clinic. Joshua and I left on a clear morning, packed for the typical three-hour ride through the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
What’s in a Name?
A principal phone call blessing
Our phone rang at one o’clock in the morning. It was Mike, the principal of Joshua’s high school. He asked Jordan, my husband, if Joshua had come home from the basketball game the night before. He had, Jordan said. Mike then asked Jordan to ask Joshua if he had seen Rob, a classmate, who had not yet come home after the game.
Transforming a “no” into a “yes,” gives Joshua a “Life’s best moment!”
During Joshua’s stay at the diabetes clinic, I spoke privately with his doctor about Joshua’s love for aviation. “I am willing to do anything I have to do to help my son,” I told him, “but I will not tell Joshua he cannot fly a plane. I refuse to destroy his dream.”
Friends and family members who deal with diabetes challenges, also need support
“Ellen, you’ve been so heavy on my heart, I needed to call. Are you OK?””I can’t believe you called,” said Ellen, my neighbor. “The baby’s really sick and the doctor hasn’t called me back.”Her baby, Jimmy, had just been diagnosed with Type I. I threw my winter jacket over my shoulders and ran toward Ellen’s house, thinking how difficult it must be to have a 15-month-old with diabetes.
Sometimes you need an angel, sometimes you are the angel
When we had learned that our neighbor’s eldest daughter, Mindy, had been diagnosed with Type I diabetes, I called to see how we could be of help. Mindy’s mom is a nurse, and she asked if my husband and I could be included on their Emergency Phone List. I immediately agreed.
Take Good Care of Yourself
Put your own oxygen mask on first
When Joshua was diagnosed in 1985, we were told there would be a cure for diabetes within the next five years. I knew from my research that it would probably take a lot longer, so I was determined to make sure he knew how to take good care of himself. I repeatedly said to him, “Joshua, take really good care of yourself now, so if they find a cure, you will be healthy enough to have it, and if they don’t, you will still live a long and healthy life.”
Rufus the Bear with Diabetes® by Carol Cramer the creator of Rufus
Never give up hope
My goal was to make sure that, upon diagnosis of a child with Type 1 Diabetes, a child would receive the comfort of his or her own Rufus, the Bear with Diabetes®. Years later, Rufus, the Bear with Diabetes® has reached the arms of children and their families, world-wide, and is still going strong. Rufus’ message is never giving up on hope. This story was written with love to all the children and families living with Type 1 Diabetes.
“As Good As Gold” by Lori Gold
Living life to the fullest
Through it all, Emily’s good health has mattered most, and we are grateful for her amazing commitment to taking care of her diabetes. She knows that she is able to live a good, happy, fun life because she works hard to manage her diabetes. She is diligent about counting carbs, dosing insulin, and managing her blood sugar throughout every single day. It is because of her sense of humor about it all that she is living life to the fullest today!
One Day at a Time by Donna Bell
The gift is there
I have learned to take one day at a time. We have good days and we have bad days and that is okay. There is no such thing as a bad number or good number. You are either in range or out of range. You learn to deal with the highs and lows and hope the next reading will be better. Technology is getting better and better. Every day is another day closer to a CURE!
Our Well-being Team by José R. Redmond Girón
A Blessed family
I make decisions based on data. My wife, Frances, established rules and logic. We each interpret and manage information differently. Our family is blessed to have my mother and his school nurse to help us care for José Ricardo. Ms. Carr is dedicated to supporting José Ricardo and also supports Frances and me in terms of our son’s physical, social, and psychological health. She has become an invaluable and treasured member of our family.