Just in Time for Father’s Day: Husband, Dad of T1D Family Shares His Experiences

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Father’s Day is Sunday, June 21. To honor the dads and husbands of T1D families everywhere, we caught up with Peterson Cilaire, the patriarch of an T1D family, to hear about his experiences.

Cilaire’s wife Arielle lives with T1D and is a Design Project Manager at JDRF. They are the proud parents of a blended family that includes Cilaire’s older children as well as Arielle’s and Peter’s 4-month-old son, Jace.

How many children do you have and what are their ages?

“I have three children: Jace, 4 months old, Messiah 8 years old and Izaiah 10 years old.”

Your wife, Arielle, lives with type 1 diabetes (T1D). How has that changed your understanding of the disease?

“Before we met, I didn’t know much about type 1 diabetes.

I actually have a cousin (not blood related), who has type 1 diabetes who recently passed away due to kidney disease. I always thought he had type 2 diabetes. My wife helped me understand the difference between the two.

I’ve learned almost everything from what an insulin pump and a CGM (continuous glucose monitor) is to how to change them, how to give her a shot, how many carbs are in our most frequent meals, how to dose for them, etc.

I’m very involved in case she needs my help. When she was pregnant and delivering our son Jace, I managed her diabetes for her. I suspended her pump, set a temp basal and monitored her blood sugars throughout the whole thing. 

I remember she always had an insulin pump or used shots from the very beginning, however one year while at work at JDRF she came home and told me about this CGM technology. She mentioned she didn’t want another device on her body.

I helped encourage her to try it out and placed the first one on for her. I put it on her backside since she was convinced that if she didn’t see it, it wasn’t there. Once she had her first week on the CGM, she was so happy being able to closely monitor her blood sugars. I’m glad I was able to give her that push and it became so helpful when she got pregnant so she could keep her A1C where it needed to be.”

In your eyes, how has Jace increased the importance of JDRF’s mission to you and your family?

“We’ve always supported JDRF especially with my wife working there and the mission being so close to us. We can’t wait to take Jace to JDRF One Walks with my father-in-law (another T1D) and the whole family.”

What are your hopes for the future, in terms of improving the lives of those burdened with T1D, including Arielle?

“I hope technology continues to improve in the interim while we are searching for cures. My wife switches back and forth between using the Omnipod and MDI, but I know when the Omnipod 5 comes out she will most likely use the pump full time.”

What is the most important message you want to share with members of the T1D community about the importance of fathers and husbands in T1D families?

“I encourage fathers and husbands to actively help with their families, always be open to learn more and be a patient partner. We need to offer as much support as much as we can.”