The other night, as I was stumbling around in the hall trying to find the knob to my son’s door and check his blood sugar level, I thought to myself “Diabetes controls my life.” As I began to wake a little more fully I began to wonder about that statement. Did diabetes truly control my life? Had I allowed it to do this? Was it an excuse or was it the reality of living with a child with a chronic disease?
I asked people on my Facebook page what they thought. Did diabetes control their lives? One of the answers I received was “Anyone that has Type 1 that says that diabetes does not control their life, probably has an A1c of 10+. Unfortunately to have consistent and healthy blood glucose, it has to control a portion of what you do, it does not have to define you and let it impact your overall lifestyle.”
Diabetes definitely controls a portion of what I do. It wakes me up at night. It keeps me up at night. It has changed how I look at food. It makes me gave me something new to associate the “Band Aid” smell with. It has changed many of my thoughts and actions.
My son’s A1c has, to date, been under 10 so maybe I was safe. Maybe diabetes did control my life and that was not a completely bad thing but what is “control”? How do you define “control” over your life? I turned to Google for the answer. According to dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster, control can be defined as “to exercise a restraining or directing influence over.”
Diabetes definitely has redirected my life. I have two sons. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree and spent several years prior to children working in the finance industry. My life plan prior to March 17, 2000 had been to go back to work when my youngest son started school. That plan was completely derailed.
I had always been vocal when I saw social injustice but diabetes sent me to an entirely new level. It caused me to fight all levels of government, learn about various social policies and as well as see many social inequities.
Diabetes has redirected our travel more than once. Our first trip to New York included a side trip to a diabetes family beach party. Our last trip across Canada included stops at the homes of friends who also lived with diabetes. Each year diabetes sends me to the Canadian Friends for Life Conference and it keeps me planning to go back to the Orlando FFL one day.
So had I allowed diabetes to control my life? Did I let it have a “directing influence” in my life? I guess I have. Part of me will say that I had no choice, I had to stay with my son. I had to fight for our tax credit. I had to expand my social network to find others who lived in our shoes. Part of me would be right but many people have taken a different route. Many parents have made different choices. My choice was to let diabetes become a very large part of my life. My choice was to try to change that little piece of the world…to make it better. Maybe diabetes controlling my life isn’t the worst thing that could have happened to me but I still wish it hadn’t come knocking on my son’s door.