Amy Scheer’s son was diagnosed just a few short months ago. Amy writes about her 7-year-old’s diabetes, but also about her theatre work with the homeless, amateur powerlifting, and a foray into boxing on her blog Wait For It. Read “Choosing No. 4” which is a wonderful post about numbers with regards to diabetes.
I invite you to read Amy and her son Theo’s story and then visit her blog Wait For It.
I’d like to introduce you to Amy Scheer of Wait For It.
Tell me something about your child.
Theo, 7, is the type of kid who comes home from school with sopping wet gloves because he had run to the toilet during recess, knew he should wash his hands, but figured if he peed with the gloves on, he should wash with them on, too. When he gets home and removes said gloves, almost immediately he’ll reach for the big pile of scrap paper, drip on it a bit, and make some sort of elaborate pop-up book.
How old was your child when diagnosed?
Just a few weeks shy of his 7th birthday, this past August.
How was your child diagnosed? What were the symptoms? Was it a complete surprise?
Theo had been drinking and peeing, drinking and peeing, and his ribs were showing a bit. But this was summer, and although we thought the symptoms were a little strange, we figured (a) it’s hot out, and (b) he’s growing. It wasn’t until a road trip with a friend, whose nephew has diabetes, that we made the connection. I scheduled a doctor appointment the next day, and they told us the endocrinologist downtown was waiting.
How has your child’s life changed since diagnosis?
That’s a difficult question. Seeing that he’s 7, he’s got a limited vocabulary to express how he feels; then again, we’ve fielded a few more questions on death than might be usual, and he knows his mom is ready to take on the next kid who says, “I know why they call it DIE-abetes.”
How has your family’s life changed since diagnosis?
We’ve tried to be cool about it, but here we are, only 4 months into the diagnosis, so we’re far from having this handled. But it’s become a part of life, and we do our best to be sure older brother’s food doesn’t always come out second, or isn’t denied seconds, and that Theo can fully participate in all events as much as possible. Personally, I feel I’ve sobered up quite a bit, though it’s kind of hard to define. Heck, I was just driving back from the pharmacy today with all the prescriptions, and I started tearing up again. We can’t go anywhere without this stuff. On a trip last weekend, we couldn’t just toss snacks into the back seat. It sucks, sometimes.
How has connecting online helped you cope with diabetes? What online resources do you use?
Uh, d-mom.com exclusively. I’m only half joking! Being fresh into the diagnosis, I’m not ready to open myself up to all that the internet holds regarding type 1. When I have a question, I look it up, but I’m not ready to hear everything quite yet. There’s this weird deja vu thing that happens when you see other people using the same equipment you use all day every day, and then there’s that weepy thing I mentioned earlier.
How do you manage diabetes?
We have an insulin pen for novolog (3-4 shots a day) and one for levemir (1 shot at night). We check his blood sugar about 6 times daily.
What do you know now that you wish you had known at diagnosis?
We took in a lot of information at diagnosis, and I think I’m still processing it–no, I know I am. I wish I had known that the factors keep changing, and that you never can settle in fully and get a good handle on carb ratios, etc. That diabetes is a both a big deal and not a big deal–lots of people thrive with and in spite of. That people will be stupid, and people will be loving and reach out to you, and both will break your heart.
After Theo came home from his church class reporting that kids ran away from him because they didn’t want to “catch diabetes,” I wrote a somewhat droll, cheeky children’s book to help them understand type 1 and the role they can play.
The books already out there didn’t quite fit my or Theo’s style, and were a little too earnest for my taste, so, being a writer, I faced the challenge. Kids today are used to high quality media, and I wanted to come up with something that could play to these sophisticated sensibilities.
I plan to try to get it out there in some yet-to-be-determined form. If anybody wants to talk about it with me, email me at amy (at) gregscheer (dot) com.
Meet other D-Moms and D-Dads on Mondays.