Diabetes is a disease I spent most of my life not thinking about and not truly understanding. After meeting my husband, a Type 1 diabetic since he was 13, diabetes has become something I think about daily. This disease has played a bigger part in my life than I expected and has definitely made an impact on our family.
I recently read that more than half of diabetes patients reported that if someone they cared about took the time to recognize their daily effort, it would motivate them to increase their efforts to live a healthier lifestyle. Furthermore, many said the recognition from their loved one would touch them so much they would get emotional. This struck a chord with me, so I asked my husband if he thought that applied to him. Discussions of his blood sugar are intertwined in our daily conversations. “My blood sugar is high, can we wait 30 minutes or so before dinner?” Or as he peels our children off him during a tickle or wrestle situation, “Guys, I need a minute to have a snack, my sugar is getting low.” We are all aware of how he manages this disease each day, but I realized we might not be as supportive as we could be. When I mentioned this to Trevor, he shrugged, and said it was his problem, not ours, and he had been dealing with it for 25 years and had it covered. I wasn’t surprised by his response, but I could tell from the way he said it that there was more we could be doing to support him.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and in honor of that, LifeScan, the makers of Trevor’s blood glucose monitoring system OneTouch Verio Flex®, are launching the #SmallVictories campaign. The campaign aims to honor people with diabetes across the country with unexpected celebrations for the everyday lifestyle changes that have helped them move forward with managing their diabetes. I love the concept of this campaign so much. It helped put in perspective the struggles and victories that Trevor goes through each day, and it got me thinking how I could celebrate some of those small victories.
Trevor recently began using the OneTouch Verio Flex® to check his blood sugar, and while I have to know how to use it, I typically don’t pay much attention to the system. But after watching him use it the first few times, I realized how quick and easy it was to use. Quick and easy are key when you are attempting to use it while watching the kids at the park or while they are climbing on your back trying to get a peek at the blood or the number on the screen (one of our kids’ favorite activities).
The OneTouch Verio Flex® meter can be paired with the OneTouch Reveal® mobile app, which has been such a useful tool for Trevor. It allows him to analyze his blood sugar activity and spot times or situations where he is consistently out of a healthy range. Thinking about the #SmallVictories campaign, I asked him to show me how the app works. He was pleasantly surprised I asked, so we sat down and he walked me through the information. It led to a wonderful and productive conversation about how he is managing his diet and exercise. We came up with a few things we can do as a family that would be helpful for him, and we both left the conversation celebrating the small victory of our new plans.
We also decided to celebrate Diabetes Awareness Month by participating in the American Diabetes Association’s Step Out for Diabetes Walk as a family. At ages 4 and 6, we felt our kids were finally old enough to participate without being a disaster and actually understand the reason we were participating. Trevor is the type of person who doesn’t make things about himself or doesn’t enjoy being the center of attention, so he was a bit hesitant about the walk at first, but we all had an amazing experience! Seeing the kids’ reaction to the event was priceless. They were both so surprised that so many other people had the same disease as their daddy, and I realized in their little world, he was the only person they knew. Completely unprompted, each of them told Trevor in their own way how proud of him they were, and our son called him a “dia-beet-us superhero!” This was before Trevor did the entire three-mile walk carrying our 45+ pound son on his shoulders the entire time, which was a heroic feat on its own!
We spent the entire morning at the ADA Step Out for Diabetes Walk, enjoying the beautiful River Walk and learning about all of the amazing local resources available in our community. It was an experience that brought us closer as a family, and gave Trevor a much deserved celebration for everything he does to keep himself healthy and to support our family.
Parenting is a journey filled with daily struggles and victories, from successfully convincing your toddler that he must wear pants to the grocery store to making a healthy food choices for yourself and your family. I would love for you to join me in celebrating your small victories by sharing yours using #SmallVictories.