Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Extra Step

Dad, Jacob and Mom
You can't always expect someone to know exactly what you are going through when living with type 1 diabetes, but when those around you step up and show you just how much they are willing to try and understand, that is when you realize just how supportive a person can be.   For Camille and her partner Phil the concept of support has been taken to a whole different level, a level some parents of diabetic children probably haven't considered.

I got the chance to speak to Camille, the mother of Jacob and she shared with me a story that really made me sit back and think about what support means and how people in my life have shown me support in different ways.  This story is an example of outstanding support and understanding.  

Camille and Phil's son, Jacob was diagnosed January 18 2010, when he was only three years old and while Camille admits that it was a text book diagnoses with thirst, bedwetting and extreme fatigue, her and her partner were both shocked and had no idea what was going on with their poor son.    Soon they found themselves at the hospital learning how to manage diabetes, luckily for them one of the nurses also was a type 1 diabetic and sported an insulin pump.

The family, from La Sarre, Quebec, Canada began their journey with type 1 and eventually turned to the new technology that the diabetes world had to offer - an insulin pump.  Like many of us, this moment is a scary, yet exciting one. We have accepted the idea of the insulin pump, but aren't really sure what it is going to be like once we hook up that very first day.

Unfortunately, for the family insulin pumps were not covered and neither were the supplies that were needed.  Camille says, "We are an average family with an average salary, so we did not have $8000 for the pump and CGM that I was dreaming of..."  But with hard work on fundraising the family did manage to save up enough money to buy all that they were dreaming of for their son, Jacob.  Did I mention that the family raised $14 000 and after purchasing all that they needed they additionally donated money to three other causes including purchasing an insulin pump for another family in need. 

Now that you've already completely fallen in love with this family of three, I must tell you what led me to wanting to speak to them in the first place. Upon receiving the insulin pump Jacob began to realize that although this crazy device was saving life it was also setting him apart from others. "A month and a half into our pumping experience he said to me that he felt different, of course I explained that being different is okay and that every one has their own differences, but it is not easy for a 4 year old to wrap his head around - the different is okay concept."

Upon hearing this, like any other parent of a type 1 diabetic, Camille and Phil were heartbroken about their son's new view of his diabetes and insulin pump.  They began brain storming what to do to help their little one change his mind and cheer him up. They both thought it would be a great idea if Jacob was to meet another diabetic with an insulin pump, but they just didn't know anyone around them.  So, then it hit Camille, she thought of the idea of getting themselves some insulin pumps.

Don't worry they didn't raise another $14 000 to get themselves each a pump, instead they headed to the tattoo parlour to get a cheaper, maybe not less painful insulin pump.   In October 2010, they were now branded with two Medtronic look-a-like insulin pumps to show their son Jacob, just how cool wearing an insulin pump can be. "Jacob was totally ecstatic about it!"

Although she admits that soon enough technology will change and Jacob's pump many not also resemble  his parents, she says that, "our love for Jacob will never change and those tattoos will always be a reminder of that!" and later she explains, "I have to say that those tattoos did the trick for our son's self-esteem and that I would do it again in a heart beat!"   So that makes me wonder, will a CGM tattoo be the next step?

Camille, Phil and Jacob are a great example of how support is multi-dimensional. We all find ways to show our support and to help others that need that shoulder to lean on or that extra boost to get us up and running.   These parents took the extra leap right into a tattoo parlour in hopes of improving their sons esteem when dealing with his diabetes.  I am sure he will always be thankful for such loving parents, and will be asking them to lift up their shirts to show their grandchildren just how supportive they are.

To check out Camille's blog visit:



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