An Open Letter to All Grandparents

grandparents

Dear Grandparents,

On June 13, 2011, our granddaughter was diagnosed with T1D.  Although symptoms prepared us for the news, we still were not prepared for the reality.  It seemed so surreal – this could not be happening to our family.

My wife and I quickly realized we needed to be proactive and play a meaningful role in our family’s response to T1D.  We dried our tears, packed our bags, and drove from Houston to Austin.  We quickly set two goals: 1) provide emotional support for our children (our granddaughter’s parents) and 2) learn how to become caregivers for our T1D grandchild.  We knew dealing with our emotions would be challenging, but secondary.

It has been almost 22 months since that watershed day.  As a family, we have made very good progress adjusting to the “new normal”.  Our children provide wonderful care for our granddaughter, and we are able to support them emotionally.  Also, it has become easier for us to provide the medical care needed (carb counting, testing, treatment, unusual situations), which enables our granddaughter to spend time with us in Houston and allows her parents to travel occasionally.

We consider ourselves fortunate.  We are a stronger family today, and have learned two valuable lessons.  One is managing T1D is as much an art as it is a science.  You need to use your head, as well as listen to your heart.  The other is understanding care and treatment is an ongoing educational process.  The positive result is our family has not let T1D prevent our granddaughter from being a fun-loving child.

JDRF Austin has played a large part of in our progress providing us education, emotional support and caring.  Through our relationship, we generated the idea for a Grandparent Outreach program – one where we, the grandparents of T1D kids, can determine our educational needs and how to get relevant training.  And perhaps the most important aspect is the emotional support we can provide each other.

We encourage other grandparents, not just in Texas but everywhere, to be active in the T1D world both personally and in the Diabetes Online Community.  We can learn from each other how to best support our children and grandchildren.  Please join our Grandparents of T1D Kids forum on TuDiabetes, an internet community of people touched by diabetes.

Join here: http://www.tudiabetes.org/group/grandparents-of-t1d-kids.

We look forward to your participating with us in the exchange of experiences, information and ideas.