Diabetic Jihad

diabetic jihad

Living in modern times is super scary.  There is a holy war going on and Muslims are imposing their will on the American public.  It’s time to start thinking about our children before they get their heads chopped off to appease the Koran.  Donald Trump knows what is best for our country.  It’s time to build a wall and kick out the Muslims.

I have been searching for an analogy to explain how it feels to raise a child with type 1 diabetes and saw a correlation with the Muslim religion.  Much like the Muslim religion, diabetes is generalized and misunderstood.  If you have an extreme passion for caring for your child or read the Koran, you may be considered a terrorist.  I will not be voting for Donald Trump, but understand the concept of putting up a wall.  I have done an excellent job of alienating people who do not believe in the way I chose to manage diabetes.

My son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 3 years old.  I have been managing his diabetes for over 2 years and still do not understand Gods will.  I am aware that I am struggling and striving to manage my son’s diabetes the best I can.  The Arabic translation for Jihad means to struggle and strive, while most people associate the word to mean “Holy War”.  I can relate to struggling and striving; and understand the impact diabetes management has on family life.   I am not Muslim, but am often misinterpreted, and have created my own holy war.

I remember the first couple times I took my son for his 3 month follow up appointments. The nurses would draw his blood for an A1c test that measures his blood glucose average for the previous 3 months.  The A1c test was my report card for how I was treating my son’s diabetes.  I quickly learned that I was failing my son.  Unlike receiving a failing grade on a college exam, my failures meant that I was hurting my son physically and psychologically . How do caregivers of children with type 1 diabetes deal with the feeling of failure?

I did not take failure very well.  I blamed myself for my son acquiring type 1 diabetes.   I convinced myself that his diabetes must have been from something I fed him, immunization shots, or something else that I subjected him too.  I thought the easiest way to deal with his diabetes was to admit that “I gave my 3 year old son type 1 diabetes”. Someone had to be accountable, and I put that burden on myself.   What could I do to make up for the pain I caused my son?

I have a degree in nutrition and decided that I was going to redeem myself by giving him the best care possible.  I prayed to God everyday to help me cure my son’s diabetes.  I honestly believed that diabetes could be reversed.   I became obsessed with nutrition literature, meal planning, and treated diabetes management with military precision.  I nominated myself to become a diabetes caliph and was ready to impose my beliefs on anyone that was part of my son’s life.  I became a diabetes extremist and assumed everybody had the ability to manage diabetes to my specifications.

Now I was ready for invasion.  The first territory I decided to invade was my wife and mother in law.  I had good intentions to share my knowledge and passion for my son, but quickly got angered when people were not living up to my expectations.  I assumed everyone would be receptive to my care plan, and thought they were acting in spite of me when things didn’t go as planned.  I treated people in my life like infidels.  My biggest weapon of mass destruction was my inability to practice discretion.  The emotional damage I caused was fierce and had many casualites.  What impact does this type of behavior have on families trying to raise a child with type 1 diabetes?

My son’s numbers improved dramatically but I was not happy.  The endocrinologist told me that my son had an excellent A1c but that was not good enough.  I wanted total control and was not content with doing a good job of managing his diabetes.  I wanted a flawless care plan and still had hopes for a cure.  The people around me were afraid to grocery shop, prepare meals, vocalize their opinion, and quickly became passive aggressive.   I made people feel bad for taking care of my children.  I became obsessed with food choices and started invading other territories.  I had conversations with neighbors about not giving my children snacks.  I voiced my displeasure with the library for serving my children snacks at book club, and contacted the school to protest the ice-cream social on registration day.  I became a dictator and hurt the people around me.  What did I learn after the smoke settled and I started counting the casualties.

I will never be able to control my son’s type 1 diabetes.  I did an excellent job of managing my son’s diabetes but made the people in my life miserable.  A red dye Popsicle from my neighbor is not going to kill my children.  I learned to be content with the fact that I managed my son’s diabetes well.   I was the one cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner and had the most impact on my sons diabetes.  A hot dog from my wife on the weekend was not going to hurt my son.  I learned that diabetes is emotionally draining and families should seek counseling right away.

I wrote this blog after I realized that I needed help.  My depression grew deeper and deeper as I alienated the most important people in my life.  If I were to give any advice to a new family trying to deal with the stress of managing diabetes, I would tell them to sign up for family counseling as soon as possible.  Do not blame yourself for the diabetes.  Trying to control diabetes will tear your family apart.  Learning to manage the diabetes with the people in your lives is crucial.  The psychological effect diabetes has on caregivers and family is one of the most important issues to address.  Caregivers need support and someone to talk with.   Love and care for your family and do not push them away.

Peace out! Gotta bounce.  I need to arrest an infidel for giving my son artificial sweeteners.

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2 thoughts on “Diabetic Jihad

  1. Jeff, there is a reason you choose a nutrition degree. At the time I’m sure it wasn’t because you anticipated needing to care for a diabetic child. God had a plan in place for your future family and you were open to it. Please always think about how God is and can be working through you. We all suffer, but good can always come from suffering if we use that suffering properly. Here, I see you reaching out to help other families who also struggle with diabetes. Your experience has meaning and your son is seeing your good example of consistency and education. Therapy is a good idea for anyone dealing with a chronic health problem and their families. Keep it up!

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