As a stepdad to a son with type 1 diabetes, I never really knew what diabetes was all about, but I had to learn as I started taking on responsibilities with Crosby. I didn’t even know what type 1 diabetes was, how to treat it, or what signs or symptoms to watch for. Going through this journey with my 6-year-old stepson has taught me so much. One of the first things I thought when I learned my stepson had diabetes was, “Crosby can’t eat sugar AT ALL.” Typical new step dad of kids with type 1 thought right. I have learned of course now that Crosby can eat whatever he wants; we just need to treat him with insulin. I’ve also learned now what lows and highs look like. I learn a lot of my information from talking to other parents of type 1’s and my own fiancé of course. I learned things like what “free snacks” are and that Crosby always needs to have some of these snacks handy because they don’t affect his blood sugars. Seeing my son Crosby go through life with diabetes is sometimes hard and can be painful to see him suffer when he’s sick, or his sugar spikes, or he runs really low. A huge eye opening experience for me that was super scary was seeing Crosby’s helpless little body twitch because of a diabetes seizure he was having. All I wanted to do was hold him, but I knew I couldn’t till the seizure passed. Luckily, as Crosby has gotten older, the seizures are slowing down, but these sort of events scare you enough as a step parents that you want to learn as much as you possibly can about diabetes.
I’ve learned how hard it is for parents of children managing type 1 diabetes to find the resources to get the medical supplies they needs such as insulin, insulin pump supplies, any type of medication, and how challenging working with the insurance companies can be. You also never really hear about too many support groups for parents of children with type1, but if you don’t look you’ll never find them. There is actually quite a few awesome organization out there just like DYS who help parents managing type 1 diabetes. I am passionate about getting education about type 1 diabetes into the school systems and informing people around me about what type 1 diabetes actually is. Some people think you just control it with food and don’t fully realize all the different types of triggers that can affect high and low blood sugars. Being a step dad to a child with type 1 diabetes you really have to learn quickly what you are facing. I was so clueless and blind at first on what was going on with Crosby and his diabetes. I never realized how many people right here in my community have diabetes. I am still continuing every day to learn and educate myself as much as I can and also talk to different parents or type 1’s themselves about different tricks and techniques they do with their child and their diabetes to see if it may work for Crosby. I am so grateful I get to be Crosby’s step dad and help him on this journey with type 1 diabetes and also gain knowledge and education myself.