Happy Birthday My D-child
September 18th, 1977
I am writing you today because I want to wish you a Happy Birthday. Congratulations on turning six years old! You are such a big kid now. There are a few things that I would like to say to you on your journey forward.
I am so proud of you. You are handling the news of becoming diabetic with courage. Not the best birthday present a 6-year-old has gotten, but you will learn a lot from having it. I want to tell you it is ok to reach out for help along away.
From my experience, it was lonely growing up with diabetes and feeling different from the other children. You may find that feeling different from others is far from true. You are a kid just like everyone in your class and everyone seems different somehow. Don’t let diabetes define who you are. Life is what you make of it. You will do well in the future. I know you will grow up and have many great successes in life.
I took on way too many responsibilities when I was your age. Don’t forget to be your age and run, play and make friends. Climb that tree next to the garage and sneak up onto the roof of the garage. Just make sure to be careful – the second branch isn’t as strong as it looks.
I want you to know that some people don’t know what is ok and not ok for a for people living with diabetes when we grow up. Listen to your doctors and your heart. Learn to forgive the lay person and their lack of understanding.
I want you to forgive yourself. You don’t have to be perfect when you already are. Life is full of mistakes. That is how we learn. Be kind to yourself. Most adults can’t do what you’re about to do.
Most of all, be proud of yourself no matter what the future brings. I am. Now tell that nurse that just asked you why you don’t want her to give you your first shot that you want to do it. Proudly tell her that since the doctor said that you would have this illness for the rest of your life, you want to give the shot yourself.
You will do great as time goes on. Just watch the sweets.
Eliot LeBow, LCSW, CDE, is a diabetes-focused psychotherapist. His private practice, located in New York City and is also available via Skype. LeBow, who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1977, treats the many diverse cognitive, behavioral, and emotional needs of people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.