Letter from a newly-diagnosed 11 year old to her parents – by Ben Rolfe
It has now been just over three years since Alice’s diagnosis, and life is now reasonably calm. Alice in the main manages her own levels, although relies on us, her parents, for advice and support. If she has a late meal one of us has to get up in the night to check her blood sugar level, and then of course manage them.
This time last week when she had high blood sugar and couldn’t do any sport all day – multiple telephone calls ensued followed by a pump change later that evening. Or when we were travelling to a Christening and ran out of pump changes, Alice had high ketones and I spent a couple of hours on the phone to various doctors (including during the actual service – Alice was Godmother) whilst we dealt with her levels. And then daughter number 1 had a melt down on our return for teenager reasons. So in the main we all cope with the daily ups and downs of Type 1 diabetes, but it can occasionally end up with periods of high stress and not exactly what I would call happy parenting moments. Relationships can become strained, across the whole household. Dogs and kids, and sometimes adults, hide under beds to escape the fallout. Woe betide anyone that rings up or knocks on the door during those moments!
Fortunately, as I mentioned, they are rare.
That was not always the case. Immediately after diagnosis it felt like the world had ended. For all of us. We were struggling to take it all in. Not only did we have sackfuls of equipment to get familiar with, we also had tons of maths to work out, and books to read. And then deal with the emotional stuff. Combine that with a lack of sleep, worry over the long-term health of our child, and the daily stresses of jobs and three kids, and it was no wonder tempers frayed.
I can’t remember the exact time or place that Alice delivered this letter, but it shows some of the deep emotions that she was feeling, not least of all the guilt at her (misplaced) perception that she was the cause all the stresses and strains on our family life. This is one of those mementos that can still bring a tear to the eye three years on.
Make sure you have a strong cup of tea and a couple of boxes of tissues to hand before reading this heart wrenching letter from a newly diagnosed 11 year old to her parents:
Dear Mummy and Daddy
I love you so much and I will never stop loving you.
You both are amazing people.
I’m so sorry to make you go through this….
I wish I could just take it away
I will try not to be so hard to live with / deal with.
I’m sorry I’m losing my temper lot.
I will try not to make you so stressed.
It breaks my heart when I make you worry and sad.
You have both been so supportive and I couldn’t ask for more.
I LOVE YOU