• Bekah Vander Stelt

Raising a child with T1D

I can't imagine how it must feel when your child gets a diagnosis of diabetes. I remember how I felt and I remember seeing the look on my moms face....I felt like she took it way worse than I even did.

To all the T1D parents out there---THANK YOU! You are amazing and we couldn't do it without you.

I asked my mom and dad a series of Q's about raising a child with T1D. Here are their answers :)

1.What were your thoughts when Bekah was first diagnosed?

Dad: I was a little shocked at first because I was pretty confident this couldn’t be true. After it soaked in. I was concerned how we would help her through this new lifestyle and felt empathy for her.

Mom: I remember being so heartbroken when we were first told Bekah had T1d. I really didn't know anything about it and it was so hard to see her give herself shots over and over.

2.How did each of you handle it?

Dad: I think after I realized this was real, I wanted to make sure we both came together to support and encourage her.

Mom: I feel I handled it pretty well. I hated it and I didn’t want it to be true. But I knew I had to be strong and do everything I could thank learn and help Bekah.

3.How did you feel Bekah handled it?

Dad: Better than most would. She knew it would change her lifestyle, but never looked at it as a set back.

Mom: I have always been so impressed with Bekah, her attitude and have she overcame every obstacle. There were times she would get upset and not want to have to deal with the daily struggles of T1 d, but those moments never lasted long. And she would be back to the brave warrior again.

4.What were her symptoms?

Dad: Thirst, Difficulty focusing, tired.

Mom: The first big symptom I noticed was how Bekah looked malnourished, especially her shoulders and chest. She was always drinking water and she was more irritable. She complained about not being able to see the board at school.

5.How did her being a T1D impact the family? Did it change any routines you had?

Dad: I don’t recall any impact on the family. I believe we just wanted to make sure we were doing the right things in order to keep her levels under control.

Mom: I just knew anywhere we went we had to have snacks or juice incase Bekah’s blood sugar got low. We continued to do things as a family like we always did. But I know I was much more nervous about her going places without me.

6. How much did you know about T1D prior to her diagnosis?

Dad: zero

Mom: I really didn’t know anything about diabetes before her diagnosis.

7.Do you feel like you've learned a lot since?

Dad: Yes. Through reading and early doctors appointments.

Mom: Yes, I have learned a lot but I know i really don’t know as much as Bekah.

8.Did you have to push her to take care of herself?

Dad: Not at all.

Mom: I really feel Bekah always did a good job of caring for herself, but the last few years she has grow even more on her desire to handle the disease in a way that will be the very best for her life.

9.What were the biggest challenges?

Dad: Making sure she understood her levels when eating and managing them.

Mom: The biggest challenges was keeping her blood sugar level. It is hard after a high to not take too much insulin and drop the level to low or to have a low get too many carbs and raise the level too much.

10.Did you ever worry it would hinder her?

Dad: I think I worried more about how her life would not be notable again. Also, the challenges she would face different from her friends.

Mom: I really didn’t. I was confident Bekah understood the risk and would always do what was best.

11.How did you feel when sending her off to college? Or her moving to Iowa when she got married?

Dad: A little nervous, but since she was close it was much easier. Moving to Iowa, even more nervous because it is so far and we can’t simply get in a car and be there in 30 minutes.

Mom: I was nervous when Bekah moved to college and even more so when she moved to Iowa. Even though she took care of herself from the beginning, I was there if she got low durning the night or if she ever needed anything. And now she was on her own and so far away especially with the move to Iowa.

12.Any funny stories?

Dad: I’m sure her mother has a few to share.


** I guess they haven’t found any humor in it yet hahahah ;)

13.Scariest moment you remember?

Dad: When she was admitted to the hospital with a very high insulin level (I think around 800).

Mom: Hearing Bekah’s blood sugar at the diagnosis was 850 ( Or whatever it was) was so scary to mean. One other time we couldn’t get Bekah’s blood sugar down and we had to go to the er, that was a scary moment too. You feel like you have no control when you can’t help.

14.How did it affect the family financially?

Dad: We obviously had to adapt financially, but her health and well being will always be more important than any financial challenge.

Mom: There is a great monthly expense to being a diabetic, but the rest of the family never suffered from it.

15.Have either of you ever given her a shot? Inserted a pod? Or checked her blood sugar?

Dad: Mom has done this.

Mom: I have not do any of this. Bekah has always done it on her own.

** conflicting answers hahah Mom is right, I have always done my own!

16.Any lessons you've learned? Or any advice you would give to parents of a T1D?

Dad: My advice would be to listen to your child and always speak words of encouragement.

Mom: I would tell other parents to read and learn as much as you can, but even then you won’t have all the answers. Always be supportive and know that there will be days or even periods that it seems like blood sugars are all over the place and you can’t figure out why. Stay strong and know that’s it’s okay to have those times. The next day will be a new day and you just keep on keeping on and not get down.

I truly enjoyed reading their answers. If you have a child with T1D, stay strong for them. They need you. And if your parent ever annoys you but texting you anytime you have a low blood sugar, just know its because they care about you. :)

I couldn’t have asked for better parents. THANK YOU SO MUCH for all you do for me!

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