Last night, as I was laying in bed trying to get to sleep, I realized that while diabetes is a constant roller coaster ride, living with a child with diabetes has been a journey in and of itself.
When he was diagnosed over eleven years ago, we were dropped into a forest. I was grateful that there was light and my son was alive to see it. I had some fear of the unknown but it did not overwhelm me. I saw the trees but didn’t notice the forest. I saw a trail that led me forward and with some trepidation I followed it.
Life with a toddler with diabetes had many forests to navigate my way through. Along the way however, I was thrown a backpack. It was filled with knowledge and support. There were Scooby Doo band aids to patch up the “owies” and make me laugh. That backpack was the www.childrenwithdiabetes.com parents mailing list. The people I met through the email list are still on this journey with me today.
As we made our way through the forest, there were ravines that came out of nowhere and brought us to their brink. Those ravines came from dealing with a child too young to understand what has happening to him, NPH unpredictability, and so much more. We still come across them now and then but I have my backpack and have developed strength of character that somehow gets me through.
In the preteen years, we walked along a river bed. The waters were sometimes calm and gave me a sense of peace. I could do this. I had a handle on things but I knew that beneath the water was a current that I could not fathom. Puberty loomed ahead and I enjoyed the calm waters while I could.
The river bed had its share of rocks for us to stumble over. We were entering a time when I had to begin to let go. My son’s doctor wanted him to begin to take ownership of his care. He was testing but he was to learn about his pump and Mom was to step back a bit. This brought rough travels, more scrapes and the need for those Scooby Doo band aids more than once. The river led us to the foot of a mountain and I knew that there was no way around it. Puberty had arrived and it was now time to enter the ominous mountain ranges.
I am not a climber. I am not an adventurer. I had made it this far with help and developing a confidence that allowed me to move forward. I knew that these mountains could be treacherous and I now knew enough to be terrified. Puberty–my next mountain range, would bring steep learning curves for both me and my son. The drop from any of these mountains was no less deadly than the ravines we had avoided earlier in our journey. With my backpack tightly attached to my back, I took my son’s hand and we challenged the mountain.
Its been two years since we started this climb. There have been paths filled with boulders. There have been grassy patches that allowed us to rest. It hasn’t been easy but I feel that we have finally managed to make it to our first plateau.
I am at a spot where I can now look out and breathe a little. My son does a lot of his own care. He changes his sites (most of the time). He fills his cartridges (although not until his pump screams that he is virtually out of insulin). He tests quite often although not always at the points I would like. He has began talking to me about when he needs to make changes in his rates and has a pretty good grasp of carb counting. He goes to bed later than me so he does his last test at night and I only have to wake in the wee hours of the morning to check on him. He occasionally wakes when I test him now and that gives me hope for him waking when he is on his own one day.
The view from this plateau is amazing. We have come so far but there are still huge range of mountains for us to traverse. We have many more teen years and freedom issues to navigate through. There will be some forms of rebellion, the stretching of wings, and pushing of limits. There will be learning to let go and him learning to stand by himself. For now, I will enjoy the lull in the fight. Readings are okay, attitude is positive, and life is good. I will sit here for as long as the diabetes gods will allow. We will recharge and get ready to tackle the next mountain thrown in our path.