The other day we encountered a situation that we haven't faced yet with the diabetes. A little boy in my son's class told him he was afraid to touch him because he was "afraid he would get diabetes". Of course, this very much upset my son and it upset the teacher, too. Now, let me say that I understand this child meant no harm, and probably was scared. There are no hard feelings and we explained all of this to Matthew.
So, tomorrow I am going to Matthew's school and he and I will teach his class about diabetes. I plan to let Matthew be the biggest talker (this should not be a problem for him)!
In preparation for our talk tomorrow. I interviewed my Red on the Head. We have done lots of talking about diabetes when he first was diagnosed, but I think it's been awhile since I sat down with him and just listened to how he really feels. I know how I feel - like my heart is in a million pieces on a daily basis, but I was humbled and wrecked to hear his true feelings. I had to share. (Note, my son is 7 and these are his words verbatim. And this interview comes after a day of constant low blood sugars at school and a malfunction in his insulin pump which eventually made him have to come home from school early).
Here is the "interview" with my son, my hero.
What is diabetes?
"My pancreas doesn’t work and it doesn’t give me insulin that I need. If I don’t make insulin, then I will get very sick, so I have to take insulin through my pump. My blood sugar goes up if I don’t have insulin. I have to check my blood sugar like 8-10 times a day".
What’s it like to have diabetes?
"It’s a little tough. Sometimes I have to be pulled out in some situations. Life is good. I can’t have all the things that I want or love, and I can’t have that much sugar things. Every now and then, but not all the time. I get scared when I am low, because if it’s too low I will pass out and that makes me super worried. I get scared sometimes when I am high because I may get really sick".
Do people have to treat you differently because of diabetes?
"No, actually they don’t. They can treat me the same. Nothing has changed with me from before except now I have diabetes. I am still the same person".
What can someone do to help a person who has diabetes?
"Join us in our walk to find a cure for diabetes. Pray for everyone with diabetes – when they are high or low or have bumps in the road. A boy in my class walks me down to the office when I am low, and I am really proud and excited about that because I know he is a true friend and some of the times last year I had some bumps in the road and all the class helped me ".
What kind of foods can you eat?
"I eat regular foods like the ones in the food pyramid that we are learning about in science. My favorites are bananas, apples, pineapples, sugar-free gum, and my most favorite is noodles. Every now and then I get to have sweets, but not all the time. I have to eat healthy".
Can you still play sports and do activities like that?
"Yes, I can! This year I am playing soccer. And soccer is really good. I have a new coach and a brand new team".
Is there anything else you want to tell people?
"No one can catch diabetes from touching you. It’s something in your body that goes wrong.