Its that time of year again. I begin to get reflective leading up to our di-anniversary on the 17th of March. As February winds down and we look forward to March storming in, I am already thinking back to what I have learned over the past 11 years. This time 11 years ago, I knew nothing about diabetes and now its part of most of our life. We educate many around us and those who care find themselves seeing insulin pumps and finding test strips where they never knew they existed before. I thought today would be a good day to take time and reflect on some of the things I have learned about diabetes over the years….
Its all my fault. My son has diabetes because I didn’t breast feed him long enough. His brother doesn’t have diabetes and I fed him for at least four months longer. I did this to him. Its all my fault for putting him on soy formula when I did.
I also gave him too many sweets as a child. Yes, the child who prefers cantaloupe to oatmeal cookies and was once caught stealing strawberries because they were “so cute”, was fed too many chocolate bars as a baby and still secretly (so secretly in fact that neither he nor I know it) hordes sweets and treats at every opportunity. Its true. If you look in his room you will find a pile of candy on his dresser–uneaten and from Christmas but its there!
I also have learned that my son was a couch potato as a toddler. Yes, during the first two years of his life he spent far too much time watching “Dragon Tales” on TV. That 20 minutes per day that spend bonding with Zack and Wheezie brought the dia-beast to our door. The other twelve plus hours that he spent chasing his older brother and climbing everything he could see was not important. It was the fact that he could sit and watch Clifford play with his dog pals or enjoy Zack and Wheezie helping their friends that led to the inevitable diagnosis of diabetes.
I have learned that my son has diabetes “really bad” because he uses an insulin pump. I agree. This “diabetes” thing is very bad. It has had me up at 2 and 3 in the morning for eleven years. It scares me to death when I have to up the amounts of insulin he gets. It makes me nervous when he is alone or off without me because I am not sure that everyone will understand what needs to be done. Yep, this diabetes thing is really bad and the pump, giving him life-sustaining insulin every minute, is very much a physical reminder of the disease that we live with.
Luckily he got it so young because now he can outgrow it. Well if he can’t outgrow it at least he doesn’t know any different. So true! Diabetes has left him unable to see the rest of his family and friends who don’t test, who don’t carry around an external source of insulin and who don’t have to carry a pocket full of supplies everywhere they go. Thank heavens for small blessings.
Yes, I have learned a lot about diabetes in the past 11 years. Once upon a time, I knew that there were two kinds–one that Grandma could get and one that people used insulin for. I knew that those insulin people had to be careful and could end up in a coma if they were not given a source of sugar quickly. I didn’t know much about how you got it. I didn’t know anything about how you lived with it. I have learned though…boy have I learned!