Miguel Paludo: Father of Oliver
|Miguel Paludo with his wife, Patricia, and their son, Oliver.|
Miguel Paludo, 29, and Oliver, 22 months
Miguel Paludo was no stranger to diabetes when his then 8-month-old son, Oliver, was diagnosed with type 1. Paludo, a NASCAR truck racer, received the same diagnosis at 21. The idea of an infant having diabetes scared Paludo at first. "It's always in the back of your mind that you can make a mistake," he says. "He can have a hypo. He might not be OK."
The months after the diagnosis were the hardest. Paludo already knew how to dose insulin, sure, but learning to treat his teensy son was different. "He's so little that if I have 2 units [of insulin], he's taking 0.3 units," he says. As they learned more about managing diabetes in infants (such as the fact that an insulin pump makes Oliver's treatment easier), he and his wife, Patricia, became more assured. "You need to trust in yourself. If not, you can go crazy," he says. "As much as [Oliver's diabetes is] always on my mind, you learn to live with it."
Though Paludo doesn't love his own diabetes, he appreciates the leg up it gave him in understanding his son's care. "For me to have diabetes and to help him has [made his diabetes management] a lot easier," he says. And even though Oliver is probably too young to understand, Paludo is doing everything he can to set a good example for his son. "I'm even more careful watching my levels [and] to not have a low because kids reproduce what we do," he says.
In speaking out about his own diabetes, Paludo hopes his son will one day understand that diabetes is nothing to be ashamed of. "[Having diabetes is] the only situation he knows. By not making a big deal of it, he's going to act normal and not act like it's something he has to hide," he says.
As for the words of wisdom he'll someday impart to his son? "He needs to understand that diabetes is so frustrating some days and you have differing blood sugars, but the average is more important, not one high or low," Paludo says. "If you understand the situation, at the end of the day you're going to be OK."
Read about Miguel Paludo's own diabetes at forecast.diabetes.org/paludo-feb2013.