We don’t have diabetes in the family so I had no idea about it at all. It was Easter time and only the local chemist was open, so after noticing symptoms in my son Kevin, I went and spoke to the pharmacist and he confirmed the symptoms I had noticed were consistent with diabetes. At this point, Kevin had left for 10 days in China on a school camp.
I immediately informed the school about my suspicions and they reassured me that among the touring party were doctors, nurses, pharmacists and diabetics and they were all keeping a close eye on Kevin. The teachers were fantastic and managed to look after him without letting him know my concerns. Of course when he returned to Australia, his biggest complaint was that he was the unluckiest boy because whenever he was on a bus, train or plane he had to sit next to the teachers and not with his friends.
The next morning I took Kevin for a blood test which confirmed that he had type 1 diabetes. As a parent, I went through many different emotions but I had to stay strong. The scariest part was not knowing what was ahead of us and we were on information overload from the doctors, nurses, dietitians, psychologists and other medical staff. On top of that, we had to deal with well-meaning people who also gave advice on diabetes, which conflicted with what the doctors were saying. It quickly became apparent that many people were confused between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
In order to be the best support to Kevin, I wore as many hats as possible. I played the nagging mother, caring friend, lifelong supporter, personal secretary to ensure all appointments and commitments were kept and – how can I forget – I was also his personal taxi driver! Although he is more independent as a teenager, I am still hovering around and keeping an eye on things, that is my lifelong commitment.