Being a D-mom you learn to live with fear. It’s like a drippy faucet, every drip is that quick pang of fear you feel during the day.
In the morning when I wake Ben to get ready for school and he doesn’t move … Oh God, did he have a life ending low last night? Then I shake him and he slaps me to go away … Ah, he is ok.
While I am in a meeting at work and my phone starts to vibrate in my pocket, I see the call is from the school nurse … Oh God, is Ben dangerously low? … I answer the phone and Ben is low before lunch so we need to decide how many glucose tabs he should have before the nurse lets him leave her office.
After school Ben is playing knee hockey in the basement with his brothers, he comes upstairs crying and angry about some hockey injustice … Oh God, is he crashing from all that exercise? … I try to calm him down while checking his blood sugar. No, his blood sugar is good; he is just being poor sport!
As a D-mom you are faced with these fears constantly, but you learn how to pause, assess the situation, and then correct it. With time I have become better at handling these daily challenges and then quickly move on. The drippy faucet isn’t actually breaking anything it’s more just an annoyance.
But then occasionally at times, it starts to feel like someone turned the faucet on and then didn’t shut it off all the way. The faucet is no longer dripping it’s turned into a steadier trickle.
This trickle started for me last weekend, when I read a post on Facebook. Someone posted a link to an article about JDRF. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/riva-greenberg/jdrf-diabetes-ad_b_1083606.html) The article stated that 1 out of 20 Type 1 diabetics die from hypoglycemia. Good God that is 5%! That may not sound like an alarming percentage except that your chances of being diagnosed with T1 in the first place are only 1 out of 100, or .01%. So the odds already are not working in our favor. Ugh!
Later in the week I read a blog written by a young woman who has lived most of her life with T1, titled “What they don’t want to know.” (http://www.thebuttercompartment.com/) In it she describes some of the more unpleasant complications she has suffered because of T1, which include: diabetic mastopathy, yeast infections, and diabetic diarrhea. The blog made me realize that there were so many more complications that I was not aware of. I won’t explain these in detail, but do note, the last one ends with diarrhea! I have mostly worried about heart disease, blindness and losing toes. Apparently this was far from a complete list! Most of my daily fears focus on low blood sugars. This blog was a reminder about how I can not forget about the affects of high blood sugars. Ugh!
Then Wednesday night, Ben had a baseball game. We check Ben’s blood sugar before the game and then again after the 4th inning. The other parents in the stands have witnessed this ritual this all season. Luckily we have avoided any dramatic lows. This game was a playoff game which unfortunately, Ben’s team lost. It was a close game and after there were many sad faces. To cheer up the kids the coaches invited the kids to the local ice cream stand for an end of year celebration. While I was watching the kids eat their ice cream and play “red light green light” in the parking lot one of Ben’s teammate’s grandparents approached me and starting asking some questions about Ben’s diabetes. We chatted for a few minutes and then she tells me that her sister had Type 1 diabetes and died when she was 42. She then goes on to tell me how she suffered horrible complications. She told me some story about her having a surgery where she had to move veins around. At this point, I was no longer following what she was saying. I was just watching Ben run around the parking lot laughing and playing with his friends.
The water from the faucet was no longer a trickle; this grandmother had just fully turned on both the hot and cold water!
I feel a wave of fear overtake me! When I start to feel this way it becomes difficult for me to move on. All my super D-mom coping skills have disappeared!
On Thursday, I still felt that pit of fear in my belly. I tell myself (I do a lot of chatting in my head) that I need to turn this emotion into motion and let it all go. I need to unclog that drain. So I decide to go for a run.
While running, I think of the grandmother. I slowly realize she wasn’t trying to scare the crap out of me! I think she was just telling me the story about her sister that she loved and lost because she was sad. She was just looking for some empathy. So I convince myself there is no reason to believe that Ben will suffer a similar fate. He fortunately has access to more advanced technologies and insulin. He isn’t going to become one of the 5% who die from hypoglycemia. Not under my watch! He isn’t going to suffer from too many horrible complications. We are taking good care of him and teaching him how to take care of himself. I don’t know if this is all true, but it’s enough to help me move on. By the end of my run, the pit in my stomach is gone.
I have regained my super D-mom coping skills!
I have managed to shut that faucet off!
And now today as I type up this story my cell phone just started vibrating … it’s the school nurse … but I am ok … today the faucet is just dripping.
Drip … Drip … Drip …