Carlos Maza – T1D Parent
Carlos Maza is a 57-year-old parent of a type one diabetic. He is currently an English teacher at Belen Jesuit Preparatory School in Miami, Florida. In September of 2007, his son was diagnosed with type one diabetes when he was just seven years old. When asked if he saw any symptoms prior to his son’s diagnosis, he replied that his son had been urinating frequently. One day while Mr. Maza was teaching at school, his wife took his son to the pediatrician and he was quickly taken to the hospital as a result of hyperglycemia. Mr. Maza was called by his wife hysterically screaming, and Mr. Maza did not understand why his son was diagnosed with type one diabetes because his son was thin and athletic. Carlos said that at the time he was not very informed about the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Over time, Mr. Maza and his family had to learn to adapt to the changes that T1D brought to their lives. As a child in elementary, Maza’s son would be bullied and called names as a result of his T1D. Children would say, “don’t touch him or you’ll get diabetes.” This had an extremely negative effect on his son because when he got older he never wanted to measure himself publicly or wear any diabetic devices because he believed that they were signs of weakness. When his son was in high school, Maza would have to secretly measure his son’s blood sugar behind closed doors at school. Despite these setbacks, Maza’s son did not let T1D get in the way of his passion: football.
Mr. Maza stated that T1D acted as a double-edged sword for his son both with football and his studies. His son’s type one diabetes has made him mentally stronger and more mature than his classmates and teammates, but Maza felt that at times it stunted his growth both as a player and a student. Mr. Maza stated that he was always frustrated by how much more his son would have to work on the field to perform just as well as his teammates during football practice and games. Mr. Maza feels as if his son’s speed and physical growth were affected because of his son’s high BG levels while playing. He also feels as if his son’s academic performance was compromised at times as a result of his high BG levels because he could not focus during class. Nonetheless, his son successfully graduated from high school and had an amazing senior year with football.
Type one diabetes is a topic that frequently comes up in his conversations with his wife and the rest of his family. He says that his wife asks a lot of the “why me” questions, but Mr. Maza tries to have the “what now” mindset. He believes that it is not worth trying to understand what happened, as he can only control his response to the situation. He states that the greatest impact that T1D has had on him and his wife is that they no longer have peace of mind anymore. Mr. Maza is constantly worrying about getting an emergency phone call or that his son will go low in the middle of the night. He says it’s not easy to always have something on your mind worrying you and taking up your time. “Type one diabetes doesn’t stop, so neither can I,” he remarked.
As parents of a type one diabetic, Carlos Maza and his wife see their roles to be similar to a pit-stop crew during a race. They always have to be ready to provide support during unexpected times without hesitation. Mr. Maza says that there is no room for error as a parent with a T1D child. He also tries not to judge his son for anything related to the type one diabetes because he knows he has never been in the position his son is currently in. Although he and his son may clash heads over the T1D every once in a while, at the end of the day Mr. Maza says his son is his hero. “He is my everything. I’m so proud of the man he has become despite all the obstacles he’s had to face,” he says.