Diabetes affects the whole family, whether you’re a parent, sibling, child, grandchild or spouse. This week on the blog, we’ll be featuring stories about loving and caring for someone with diabetes.
Name: Olga Leonard
Location: Austin, Texas
I love two people with diabetes: my husband of 13 years, Trey, and our daughter, who is almost 10. Trey has had type 1 diabetes for 39 years, Sofie since age 5.
We are a tight family who completely loves and supports one another. I do my very best as a wife and mother to be there for my family, day and night. We have one other daughter, Elena, age 7, who really looks out for her big sister.
Sofie really takes charge of her diabetes. She checks her blood on her own every time, and gives her own boluses and corrections. She listens to her body and is SO in tune with how it feels. Since the beginning, she can tell when she is starting to go low. Impressive for a young child! Her strength and knowledge inspire me and so many people around her. I am just so proud of Sofie.
And of course, Trey inspires Sofie too. Although it makes him beyond sad knowing she got diabetes from his genetics, we’re grateful she is able to watch and learn from him. He shows her the right way to manage diabetes. Sure, he has his bad days too, but he knows her little eyes are watching him. That helps him stay positive and gives him strength to do the right thing.
We cannot leave home without all the necessary gear: meters, juices and so on. When we go on longer trips, we really need to prepare for any and all emergencies. We recently went to Cancun, and on the last day Sofie accidentally went in the ocean with her PUMP! Of course, it was our fault for not reminding her to disconnect it. So we borrowed my husband’s pump and supplies (he has the same one, but it’s not pink!) to help deliver insulin for the rest of the trip.
At this time we are not comfortable with Sofie attending sleepovers, especially when it places all the responsibility on other parents watching her. Luckily, I have two dear friends (who happen to live around the corner!) who have kindly learned about diabetes management. So I can let both girls stay over and have playdates and feel like Sofie is safe.
There are and have been sleepless, worrisome, stressed-out nights, but Sofie is taking this dreadful disease head-on. There are times when she gets mad at her diabetes. She cries when we have to change her pump infusion site every three days and just wishes for a cure. We hope there is one soon…very soon.
We strive to give Sofie the tools to make good decisions about her diabetes. We tell her she can do anything. She has already learned so much—but I would give anything for her to feel as free as her sister, to not have something attached to her body 24/7, to not have to worry about blood glucose checks and boluses and corrections.
This disease will not win—we will fight it and LIVE with it. People with diabetes can live and live well. Life is too beautiful to do otherwise! As tough as this disease can be, we as caregivers can show even more toughness, love and support to the ones we love.