Community News
April 06, 2018 By Karen Hammond
 I am so proud of my son

It’s always scary to put things that you are thinking on paper, but here it goes.

My son, Jake, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in December 2010 when he was 16 years old. We were at our family doctor’s office, but it was not our regular doctor who came in, looked at the results, turned to us and said, “Yes, you have type 1 diabetes,” and then left the room for what felt like a long time. Jake looked at me, and I knew he had no idea what having diabetes meant: Was he going to die? Was it some form of cancer? His eyes started to water and tears came down his face.

I looked at him and with as much courage as I could muster said, “Don’t worry, we’ve got this. Nothing bad is going to happen.”

At the hospital, Jake was given his first shot of insulin, and I think it just made him feel so much better that I think he knew this insulin thing was a good thing…LOL. He wanted to know that he could still be normal – still go snowboarding with his friends, and play soccer and ball hockey – and then he would do whatever he needed to.

Despite all of the wonderful education and training we got at the hospital, no one ever told me that if Jake’s blood sugar dropped really low during sleep, he could go into a diabetic coma and die. I learned about this three months later when I was at a diabetes event. A young lady who was on stage shared how her university roommate went to bed one night right beside her and never woke up. She talked about how well her roommate looked after herself and that even after doing all the right things, she still died. Over the past seven years, Jake has had lows four times during the night and not woken up in the morning, and I have had to call 911. Once you see that, it never leaves your mind.

Jake’s father and grandparents live in Australia. And my parents are dead, so it has just been me and Jake – and his friends whom he’s known since kindergarten, so I know they have his back. Over the years, they have kept a watchful eye out, and I can always go to them when I can’t find Jake and don't know whether or not he is OK.

Jake is now 23. He works full-time and DJs on the weekends. Last year, he went to Europe and ended up with a broken insulin pump (and no backup), so he, his endo and I had a lot of work to do in a 24-hour period. (I did not sleep during that time.) Jake stuck it out for the full three weeks; he had two of his best friends with him, so they were ready to support him no matter what.

I recently got a tattoo to show just how proud I am of my son and how well he does looking after himself. It says, “Jakes Mom” and underneath is a blue T1D ribbon.

Karen and Jake Hammond live Delta, B.C. They’ve learned that life with type 1 diabetes can be just the same as it for everyone else – you just need to plan a lot more. Routine has been the secret to their success, along with making diabetes management a family effort.

http://www.diabetes.ca/getmedia/482890c9-9f91-400b-9083-1942ed865202/index_03.jpg.aspx

What has your experience been like as a parent of a child living with diabetes? Tell us now.

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