And then there’s this.

Today let’s revisit a prompt from 2014 – 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?

I’ve found it really hard to write this post today. I nearly didn’t write one. I am by nature, a positive person, who generally doesn’t dwell on emotional issues.

I want to be the poster mum! I want to say that I’ve got my shit together and my life with a child with Type 1 diabetes, whilst challenging, is rewarding. The reality is, it depends when you ask. Sometimes I don’t feel like I have the right to be sad. I don’t have Type 1 Diabetes. It’s my big, beautiful 16 year old, middle son who does. But, I am his mum. I love him with every fibre of my being and this is the one thing since he was born that I cannot fix.

About a month ago, it felt like I was spiralling into sadness. You can read about that here if you feel like it. I recognise now that it’s part of this gig as a parent of a child with diabetes. We celebrate the amazing victories our children have but sometimes we need to sit with the sadness and recognise that it is hard and the future we dreamt for our children may not be exactly how we had imagined it to be.

A big part of it, for me, is down to the numbers. They dominate my life and can be a barometer for how I feel. As the meter is checked daily, I feel my mood change. A line of beautiful, in range numbers and I could pop a bottle of champagne.

The reality is, at the moment, that it is a rare occurrence. Between trying to avoid hypos at school,  growth spurts, the impact of sport on BGLs, remembering to rotate injection sites, levels spiking due to school exams, imperfect carb counting (not my judgment-  does my boy really have to weigh every banana? Can’t he just see that it’s small and he knows how to work it out accordingly? The degree of precision requested is not going to happen), hurried calculation of insulin doses when it’s lunch and recess at school and my boy is in a hurry to get going, eat and go do whatever teenage boys do.

We have a great team supporting him. Our CDE is lovely, totally gets how hard this is, never judges, is the best advocate for my son, and listens to what he says. We have access to a dietitian, see a fab paediatrician and endocrinologist.

Have our big endo clinic next week and I hate it. There, I’ve said it! I know the hba1c is going to be higher. I know we have done all we can to avoid this. I know there is a chance that they will want to take my big, beautiful boy into hospital to help work out what is going on and I’m crying as I write this at the thought of how he might react to that.

It’s Thursday morning in Australia. Monday and Tuesday, my son’s levels were pretty in range, even though he had a sore throat and runny nose. Yay! I felt like super mum as I danced around the kitchen making dinner. Tuesday night, the same. How good is this? Wednesday night, big zig zags today! I leave it for a few hours then ask my son how school was. Talk about the normal stuff, I wait a bit then ask him how his levels were. He looks at me and says, “Not so good”.  Have a quick chat, the same one we have on days like these and we still don’t know why the zig or the zag. And there it is folks, the mood changer.

Diabetes does not define my son, his diabetes does not define me. Yet………

The big, shiny sunshine in the midst of all this is the Diabetes Online Community.  This great family of people all across the world who just get it! I am so immensely grateful to those who read this, who nod their heads, who feel compassion, who empathise with what my little family in a small town in Australia is living through.

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16 thoughts on “And then there’s this.

  1. I’ve read several of your posts and as a dad of 3 I feel connected a bit in the anxiety and sadness when things happen to your kid. I was diagnosed with diabetes at 10, and my older brother 4 years later at 16 years. I did want to echo your thoughts about the community online. Growing up we didn’t have that and I think it is a huge benifit to us all. I will encourage you in that even through the struggles, my life and my families has been a good one, and I know with the support your son has he will say the same when he is older. I actually had the privilege of playing professional sports with diabetes and noticing your son is a teenager and hopefully staying active, maybe my story will be of some help as you are involved in those things. Please feel free to reach out if I can ever help and as part of the diabetic community know that you guys are not alone and we wish you and your son the best.

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  2. Thanks so much for getting in touch Brandon. I don’t really stop and dwell on my life too much. I am lucky in so many ways and I do think my son will be fine. Sport is his saviour in so many ways but has such an impact on his levels and never in a consistent pattern that can be anticipated. We have just swapped from cricket to rugby and wow, what a change! He doesn’t look online for support at the moment but I do so hope that one day he will and I will send him straight across the online ocean to your blog and he will love it , I’m sure! Thanks again!

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  3. Oh. This one made me cry.
    Your pain is just as valid. It doesn’t matter whether you have t1 or not. Your child does, and that is just as hard, if not harder than having it yourself.
    What makes you a wonderful mum is being so honest about what’s not perfect and how it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Your son is so lucky to have you
    Just like I’m lucky to have my parents.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bec, you are always so supportive of me and I sit back and admire the amazing young woman that you are. I hope my son can find half the strength and courage that you have! X

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  4. It’s your final paragraph that most resonates with me – I’ve just written my own “His illness does not define post” – and you’re right, just as my T1D does not define me, neither does M’s EGID – though they certainly influence & impact on us both xxx

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  5. Maureen, your writing always conveys this upbeat outlook with a splash of humour thrown in. You always manage to make me crack a smile when I’m reading, and I’m sure your son is a lucky man. You are totally allowed to be happy, sad, angry or anywhere inbetween. You might not have diabetes, but you are still a part of our tribe!

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    1. Thanks Frank, you know that your support started me off on this online gig when I didn’t even know what twitter was and wondered if anyone would read a blog by a mad Scottish mammy! Thanks for all you do to support so many on the DOC!

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  6. I think it would be incrediblly hard to do what you do. I am a parent and a T1D. I’m so grateful that my mother didn’t have to manage my diabetes. I know she would have done so gratefully and with all her heart but I’m grateful she was spared that burden all the same. Sending love from one parent to another your way…

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