Stepping Up to Bat
|Jill Folsom and Conner.|
Like many parents, I spend my days cheering my son on at some sporting event almost year-round. Because Connor has type 1 diabetes, my cheering is tempered with a healthy dose of concern. Is he going to drop low? Did he set the temporary basal rate on his pump? Will he be high because he's not running much today?
Such concerns sneak their way into our lives every day. For our family, diabetes is a balancing act, one that we have all performed daily since Connor was diagnosed at age 5 so that life as we know it continues for him as smoothly as it can. Now 12, he has other concerns. Will he pitch today? Can he master the next level of his video game? This is how I want life to be for my son.
I had worried as Connor grew older and sports became more competitive that his diabetes would interfere with his game—and his childhood. I felt he was entering a world I could not control. Would coaches bench him because he required time to bolus? Would his teammates get mad if he went low and missed a catch? Would other parents and teams understand that taking care of diabetes has to come before taking care of the ball? I worried that his love of sports might not outweigh the negativity he could face.
What I didn't consider was that nothing would happen. I didn't consider that my son would take the mound or walk on to the court or into the batter's box and his teammates would fully support him. I have watched a group of children do what grown-ups struggle to do: accept someone. These boys have grabbed a bat, glove, or ball and covered for Connor while he drank his juice, checked his blood sugar, or lay on the bench because he just couldn't get to a glucose level that was working for him. Not once have I heard a grumble or complaint from the kids or their parents that my son had to step out for a minute.
Indeed, diabetes has brought us some wonderful things—innocent questions like "How many carbs are in snow? Because I ate a bunch" or a lobbying trip to Washington, D.C., where we learned our voices could be heard. Above all, it has brought us friends we never would have had, friends willing to join the fight against diabetes. It is because of people like this that life can be just life for my son and millions of others battling diabetes. We just have to be willing to speak up and join the fight to Stop Diabetes®.
For my son, this fight is the furthest thing from his mind. As I write, he has his first all-star baseball scrimmage tomorrow. When he takes the field, I know he'll be surrounded by the most amazing group of kids, all willing to help him manage this crazy disease until a cure is found.
Jill Folsom is a registered nurse who lives in Peru, N.Y.
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