Diabetes Blog Week – Day 3
From Karen’s blog (creator of diabetes blog week) Bitter Sweet > Our topic for today is What Brings Me Down. May is Mental Health Month so now seems like a great time to explore the emotional side of living with, or caring for someone with, diabetes. What things can make dealing with diabetes an emotional issue for you and/or your loved one, and how do you cope? (thanks go out to Scott of Strangely Diabetic for coordinating this topic.)
Diabetes and Depression – the double D’s and not in a voluptuous way.
It’s trying. Caring for 3 kids with diabetes. My head is always filled with numbers. Blood sugars, carb counts, dates and times, A1Cs. So many damn numbers. The worst is when I ask the same kid for his/her blood sugar 3 times because I can’t recall from 2 minutes earlier which kid was what number. I’m sure you can imagine the annoyance experienced by one or more of my children at having to repeat the number multiple times. All my kids have perfected eye rolling. I don’t blame them.
There is the first line of sadness at the time of diagnosis. The WHAT? HOW? WHY? One would think the first diagnosis was the worst. It was bad – very bad. I cried to hard so often that most of Feb of 2007 is a blur. I was so angry and scared – oh my God was I scared. On Feb 10th I begged with hospital staff – Please don’t make us leave – let us stay one more night here in the hospital – here where my son is in a bubble of protection. What if I screw up? What if I kill him? I’m not ready to leave. Thankfully they got us approved for one more night. It’s been over 7 years and my son is thriving. I’m surviving.
The second diagnosis – caught much earlier because I saw between the lines. I wasn’t scared anymore but I was beyond angry. I cursed God. I flipped him off. WTH? The sadness was different. She is my only daughter. She is my first-born. It wasn’t as though I loved her more than my youngest son. It was just I was really pissed off. After Sugarboy’s diagnosis I grew in my faith. I devoted more time to church and felt like I was growing spiritually. Then the second diagnosis. Screw Him. I’m not so angry anymore – well not at Him at least. I know it isn’t fair or right to think it, but I worry more for my daughter than my sons. She has always been a perfectionist. Didn’t walk till she could run. Didn’t talk until she could carry a conversation. Honestly I worry she makes diabetes harder for herself than it has to be – or I did. Now I worry that as a teen she is ignoring it too much. Back to why I sometimes think diabetes is harder for girls – well there is the obvious – they are the ones that carry another life inside them if they choose to have children. Unlike what Steal Magnolias would have audiences believe – women with diabetes can and do have very safe and successful pregnancies. Still its harder. Diabetes management is harder in general for girls IMHO – monthly hormone changes, body image challenges, and being perceived as broken by some. Men with diabetes have huge challenges too but sometimes a man who is perceived as broken can be more attractive to women. (please don’t bash me for this – it’s an opinion based on life experience) Thus I was and still am more angry and sad and worried for my daughter. It isn’t right and isn’t fair but its true. Even with all of my worry and anger and sadness I see my daughter grow – she is strong, she is brave and she is my everything.
Third diagnosis. I didn’t have a huge WTH moment with Middles. I watched it coming. For over a year I watched. I prayed (just because I was ticked at the big guy doesn’t mean I stopped believing). I felt powerless. It came. Without all the pomp and circumstance of the 1st and 2nd diagnoses (not that the first two were in any way celebrated) – it came none the less. Regardless of the nonchalant way my middle son was diagnosed I was no less angry and no less sad. Just not surprised. It didn’t hit me like a Mack truck on a random Wednesday or lazy weekend – instead it was more of a steam roller flattening me.
I think I’ve digressed a bit. I think Karen’s intention for this prompt was more about what gets me down currently, rather than the past. The thing is – I still feel it all. Maybe not every time but often when I tiptoe into my kids rooms to poke fingers, when they wince at a new infusion set, when they are ‘Hi’ and when they are dangerously low. I feel the anger, the frustration, the sadness – it never really goes away. Knowing that I can’t make it go away anymore than I can make diabetes go away – I can’t forget. I don’t forget falling asleep in my youngest sons bed the first night he stayed in the hospital (his dad was with him – I was home with my older two) smelling the dried sweet smell of his urine that had soaked thru his pull-up the night before (hadn’t had time to wash sheets before heading out to the doctor then heading to the hospital that morning) holding his magic blanket wondering if he missed it and considering driving it up to the hospital. I don’t forget the three hours between 4am and 7am on April 19th that I knew my daughter had diabetes but refused to leave her side – to get out of bed – to get a spare meter – choosing instead to only have 1 child with diabetes for those 3 hours knowing that when she woke she would be high and we would be going to the hospital (she had not been sick. I knew I was catching it early – I knew she wasn’t in immediate danger but I still knew). I don’t forget the call I received while at Diabetes camp in Tx from the folks at TrialNet telling me my middle son failed his last OGTT – that his blood sugars were indicative of early onset diabetes or the spiral of depression that engulfed me that week or the three weeks after we returned home before it was confirmed or the three weeks that followed his official diagnosis as I felt my marriage and life falling apart due to stress and anger and sadness. I weathered the storms each time. I likely grew stronger from each but the memories they don’t fade. So while ugly blood sugars, ignorant people, sleepless nights, and pure exhaustion get me down on any given day or hour it is the memories that trigger the real pain.
Thankfully I am writing this post a day late and I know that the next post I write is about what gives me strength so I won’t dwell in this ugly world any longer than it takes me to hit ‘publish’ because in the following moment I get to write how none of this ^^^^ keeps me down despite the pain or the remembering.