There is no denying that having a child diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes throws your world into a spin.
I know it’s my son who has Type 1, not me. I am completely clear about that. I also know that he does not spend his day worried about his diabetes. He lives the life of every other 14 year old boy: it just takes more organisation for him.
I wrote this poem a few weeks after my son was diagnosed. I’d never written any poetry before this but it felt so good to write it down. The feelings I had were so raw and intense. Looking back, I can see that, as a family, we’ve all come a long way since then. That’s such a good feeling!
A friend asked what it was like for my son to live his life with Type 1 diabetes.
I always struggle to give an idea of life for my son. There are metaphors about taming tigers and dragons but that’s such a strong and scary image. I like the image of the egg better. Eggs are small, fragile and complex, quite like a pancreas in some ways.
I told my friend that, from my perpective, having Type 1 diabetes is like the Primary School project where students are given a raw egg. They must carry it with them at all times and take care of it. It can seem manageable at the start but generally by a day or so into this experiment, it’s not so much fun any more.
My son has been told that he can live a full life and do everything that any other person can. Sure, he can and he does but he has to carry this egg and not let it smash.
He is so clever that he can play rugby whilst holding this egg. What skill!
At school he does assessments and makes sure the egg does not roll off the desk and smash. The grades he achieves may not always be the highest but he’s there and that egg has never once fallen off the edge of that desk.
He hangs out with friends, manages to look cool yet still he arrives home with that egg intact. He’s the ultimate multi-tasker!
He can let me carry his egg for a while but I have to give it back because ultimately he needs to know that it’s his egg.
There are times when I think he’d like to throw that egg right at my face as I want to check now and then that there are no cracks in it.
The biggest difference between my boy and the Primary project: he will have to keep that egg forever.
I have been on a honeymoon. It’s a distant memory but it was wonderful. My 14 year old son with Type 1 diabetes has had a very different honeymoon. It got me thinking about what a ridiculous word this is to use in relation to a chronic illness. I wrote this poem.