Why I Need Thrive-abetes to Happen.
by Rebecca Flanagan.
|Rebecca on the right, her eldest
daughter now aged 14 on the left.
It was a Friday in February, my husband and I were at a book launch in Dublin, leaving our 2 daughters at my sister-in-law’s in Co. Clare, where we live. When we returned the next day, my sister in law mentioned the symptoms that she knew were associated with Type 1 diabetes. The symptoms that my 7 year old first born was showing – extreme thirst, frequent urination, lethargy. It hit my like a ton of bricks. My father has type 1 for almost 40 years but I never knew the onset symptoms. I was so, so sad and had so much guilt. My poor baby had been telling me she didn't feel good for some time but I couldn't see anything wrong with her. This guilt is still present at times, and that was 7 years ago.
We now have 3 daughters, our eldest is an amazing teenager living with type 1 diabetes. It can be hard at times – knowing that she will live with this condition her entire life. It can be frightening if you allow yourself to think of the complications that can occur. It can be heartbreaking watching all the finger prick tests and injections she has to do, all the constant monitoring, and of course the wishing, as her mother, that I could take it all away and make it better – but I can’t!
What I can do, is try to keep positive for her sake. I need to keep educating myself in order to give her the best there is in managing her disease. I need to encourage her as much as possible so that she is empowered and able to move on from being a child with diabetes and become an adult with diabetes. This also means I need to be able to give her the space to do this – probably the most difficult part for me!
A conference like "Thrive-abetes" has the potential for this empowerment to be nourished. I believe that meeting other parents, and even other adults, with type 1 diabetes is fundamental in understanding this disease and seeing how others cope with some aspects that we may find difficult, and maybe being able to help others with aspects we excel at that they may find challenging. A conference like this can be a huge motivational platform when there is very little other support out there.
The clinic appointments and meetings with nurses and doctors are always very clinical, and there is no psychological support available which specializes in the effects that a chronic illness can have on a child, adolescent or adult – none in our geographical area anyway. "Thrive-abetes" has the opportunity to fill some of this void and I sincerely hope that everyone can get behind us and help us get this off the ground. I know that it will hugely benefit myself and other parents of children with type 1 diabetes.
Thanks Rebecca for sharing your story with us.
If you would like to help make "Thrive-abetes" happen for people with Type 1 Diabetes, please make a €5 donation to our campaign or post the link below in your social media; https://www.icrowdfund.ie/campaigns/thrive-abetes-thrive-with-type-1-diabetes-conference/