I would like to take this opportunity to share my reactions to her post.
In Diabetes Doesn't Define Who You Are, one of Sarah's lines really stuck with me...
"I know it can be hard to live with diabetes, but just know from me and all the other diabetics that have grown up, it doesn’t define who you are."I'd say that we are "relatively" new at the diabetes thing. Yes, it's been 2 years and we are in a groove with the management of it, but I feel like we still have so much to learn, so much living to do with diabetes. At this point diabetes defines a lot for Ally and also a lot for our household, for our family. But I am so in love with Sarah's words! (Hope that doesn't sound too creepy!) I love that she reminded Ally, and us, her parents, that everything doesn't have to be about diabetes. Diabetes doesn't take a break. We can't pretend not to think about it for a day. BUT, we sure can let her be a kid and encourage her to do the things that she wants to do and be the person that she wants to be, regardless of diabetes.
There was another part of Sarah's post that opened my eyes. She talked about being bullied. At first I thought, "No Way! How does bullying fit in?" I honestly had not considered the being picked on aspect of having diabetes. I know that Ally complains because kids often ask her "What's that?" when they see her pump or her pump site. She hates it when they ask her if her pump is a phone or video game. But I really did not consider this bullying...just kids not being aware. However, I now can see how this could turn into a bullying situation; or at the least one that if it continues could make Ally feel badly about herself. I loved Sarah's suggestion to Ally and other young T1s to ask a parent or teacher to help them tell classmates so they understand. It is important for them not to hold this inside. Education is key. I have gone into her classroom at the beginning of each school year to talk with the kids about type 1 diabetes. However, maybe we need to do more educating??
Ally had some things to say after hearing Sarah's words too. I am so grateful that this brought up an opportunity for dialogue between Ally and I. These were her words:
" I think it's easier when you get older to take care of yourself. At least I hope it is. It's sort of hard for me to take care of myself. I don't think I could just go off and live alone right now."
"You know, a lot of kids are picking on me. They say things like I'm telling you brought a phone to school! I hate telling them all the time that it's not my phone - IT'S MY PUMP!"
"Some things feel impossible for me to do. Like when I'm high or low it's kind of hard for me to finish my test because I have to go to the nurse and check my sugar."
Amazing what goes through her head...and I had no idea!
Really I could pick apart the entire post and tell you how much I loved every line of it. If you have not had a chance to read it yet, please take a minute and check it out here.
Sarah, you have no idea how much your words touched me (and Ally too!). They really spoke to me and have helped me to reflect on "our diabetic family" (because she may be the one with diabetes, but we are in this together!). I am so grateful to you for giving us this gift.