Category Archives: diabetes and parenting

New Age, New Worries

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I hate to think about it.

I can feel my stomach start to churn.

This isn’t right.

My son is 19.  He has stumbled along, trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life.  It has been a challenge but he is meeting it.  Slowly he is  making his way.

Unlike his brother who finished high school and instantly knew what he wanted to do in terms of a career, my youngest son has been a bit more uncertain.  He has applied for a variety of trades but finding the right fit isn’t easy.

He needs a job with great benefits. He wants something that will interest him.  He needs to be employable in a slumping economy.  It can be a challenge for any young person.

He isn’t just any young person however.  He is a young person with diabetes and  diabetes doesn’t care that he doesn’t know what he wants to do with the rest of his life.

Diabetes doesn’t care that he may soon be removed from his parent’s insurance plan.

Diabetes doesn’t care that he doesn’t have a job with insurance.

Diabetes doesn’t care that his provincial drug plan offers very little assistance.

Diabetes demands that he check bg levels multiple times per day.  He still must find insulin to use daily. He is required  to make appointments and order insulin pump supplies. Diabetes doesn’t care how he does any of these things but if he wants to live, he has to find a way.

He is just 19.  He should be concerned with going to school. He should be concerned with finding a career path.  He shouldn’t be concerned with health care costs.

The reality is that those are things that he has to be concerned with however.  He is still in school but will insurance still recognize this? I am not sure.

There is some help for pump supplies in our province but because of some of his own mis-steps, his coverage has lapsed. Together we will work on getting him back in the program but it will take time.

There is a provincial drug plan.  They  allow you a set number of test strips for the year but some strips covered will be better than none when the time comes.

Some days the reality of life with an expensive illness…well its overwhelming despite the fact that I am not  the person who has to test or inject daily.  He understands that it will be expensive.  This is his life. It has been for loner than he can remember. It still makes my heart ache. I still wish that I could take it away.

I can’t. We will do our best and that will be fine.

Test Strips…Its a Love-Hate Relationship

You can find test strips anywhere and everywhere.

I have found them in the stove and on the ground.

I have had people send me pictures of test strips in their coffee.

I have heard of people finding them in their refrigerators.  They are amazing little creatures that many of us swear are actually alive with the ability to move.  We put them in the garbage but somehow they escape!

When we live with diabetes all of the time, they are the bane of our existence.  They are a trail of breadcrumbs that may lead us to a loved one.01741ce750817f0bb842a77d37b600d36d278409fb

When the person with diabetes moves away, they are little feathers that remind us of our loved one and become sweet reminders. ..Well for me anyway. I seriously can’t throw them out. There is one in my car.  I had recently cleaned my car and rid myself of all test strips—and then my son came to visit.  There is now a new strip in my car.

There are always strips left in his room.IMG_0002.JPG (2)

I found one in our truck the other day.  I am not sure how it got there since the truck had been thoroughly cleaned more than once since he last rode in it.

The coolest test strips are the random ones you find that don’t belong to your loved one but are just like his/her’s and you feel a kinship to the person who dropped it.01adec7d2ccf29c15c14dd07e649cc1cc17abe5be1

We love test strips for the information that they readily provide.

We hate test strips for the ability to move on their own.

We love test strips for the little piece of someone else that they leave behind each time we spy them.

Or maybe its just me :)

 

The Weight of Guilt

As I started to read Ginger Vieira’s book Diabetes Burnout, I was hit by an incredible sense of guilt.  Did I push my son too hard? Did I expect too much? I was later vindicated but I was reminded  the overwhelming guilt that comes with being a parent of a child with diabetes…or maybe its just me.

Well meaning people share with us many “reasons” that children develop diabetes and somewhere in the back of our mind’s ( well my mind anyway) we ask was that it? Was that why my son developed this disease? Did I not breast feed my son long enough? Did I feed him cow’s milk too soon? Was vaccinating on schedule a bad thing? Was there a family history that we missed? I know that I didn’t feed him too much junk.  I know that it wasn’t two years of chocolate bars that did this to him but maybe that first time that he seemed off months before I should have realized that he was seriously ill and that it wasn’t just the flu?

Eventually I realized that I couldn’t spend all of my energy feeling guilty about the “what ifs”.  Diabetes took up enough of my energy on its own…but that led me to a new source of guilt.  Had I denied my other son because diabetes took so much of my energy? My older son never complained but it was a question that popped into my head now and again.  We went to diabetes related events and he met many new friends. He always seemed to have more fun than my child with diabetes.

I was there for my oldest son in his events and activities.  He knew that when there was an issue that required someone to stand beside him, I always did.  I was also there for the softball games, school events, report card days, sick days, and driving school.  I was pretty sure that I had successfully found a balance.

But what about a balance with diabetes and my youngest son? Did it take over everything? Did he hate me because I punished him for diabetes related offenses? Did he feel that I had robbed him of his childhood by focusing on testing and injecting when he wanted to play and forget it all?

My children seem to be well-adjusted. We have memories of family vacations and times spent with each other. We communicate regularly.  I guess I didn’t scar them too badly–I hope.I didn’t have to feel guilty about robbing my children of their childhoods.  Diabetes changed things but it didn’t destroy it.

One other area of guilt seems to always flutter on the sidelines.  I know I am not alone in with this one. I have heard other parents mention it. Its the guilt that comes when our children go away and take diabetes with them.  It’s that time when they go to the other parent’s house, spend the night with a friend or with grandparents.  It’s that time when they go to camp for a week or move away from home. It is then that a new guilt moves in.  I no longer have to think about diabetes 24/7.  Oh I still wake at night. I still look at a meal and automatically count the carbs and dose insulin in my head.  I wonder what my child’s blood glucose level is at any given time.  I worry and wonder if he is taking proper care of himself, but I have a break.  I  don’t really have to be awake at night. I can enjoy that extra glass of wine without fear of dealing with a low later that evening.  I don’t have to remember to test after that walk.  I have it easy.  It’s not fair.  The guilt becomes stifling.

As a parent, I want to carry the burden of this disease for my son but I can’t.  I want to give him a break but I can’t even if I  get one! It doesn’t seem right. I must be a terrible parent…but maybe I am not.

When my son is with me, I help him with care when he wants.  When he has an issue and he is away from me, he calls and asks for help.  We talk about readings…when he is ready.  We talk about other things as well.  I work hard to make diabetes the last thing I ask him about not the first.

Guilt doesn’t get me anywhere. It’s a backwards looking emotion. Life didn’t come with a guidebook.  My children were not born with a manual attached.  I do my best. We all do.  Guilt must be released not harbored…and I do.  I have made mistakes but my kids are okay.  They are strong.  They are relatively healthy.  They are smart.  They do me proud.  Why waste energy with guilt? Move forward and smile.  It’s the only way to go.

Gifts like this make me realize that all is very well indeed.
Gifts like this make me realize that all is very well indeed.