The worst thing that diabetes has brought into my life is fear.
Before diabetes, I knew worry. I worried before my boys were born if they didn’t move enough. After they were born, I worried about them stopping breathing. As they grew, I worried about their development. Before they went to school I worried about the quality of education they would receive and how, or if, it would limit their university possibilities. As my oldest son reached puberty, I worried about alcohol use, then drugs, and of course–girls! When he got his drivers licence–well I still worry about him on the road. I worry about the other drivers. I worry about animals on the road. I worry about him being away from me. I worry about him going away to university. Yes, all in all, long before diabetes, I knew how to worry.
Diabetes brought in something completely different. It brought a new level to worry. It first brought pure terror. My son was clinging to life when diagnosed and I prayed that he would live to breathe another day. Each minute was excruciating as I thanked God he was still alive and hoped to see him get past this.
Once we settled into living with diabetes, terror gave way to fear and fear has never left. Fear diminishes but it is always with me.
Quickly I learned to fear death–too much or too little insulin could mean the end of my child’s life.
I learned to fear my own actions–if I ran him too high I could hear small blood vessels closing up and I knew that it would be my fault if he had complications. (I have always felt that his body is my responsibility until he turns 18…after that I hope for the best)
I learned to fear sleep. At nights he doesn’t feel his lows and he could slip away from us. Sleep was the enemy…and a treasure. I hoped for readings that would allow me a small sense of security when I closed my eyes (hence my favorite number).
I feared him being away from me more than ever. Would the school understand how serious diabetes was? (Thankfully they have). Would his friends understand why he can’t play when low? Would he try to hide his diabetes and not test or bolus when away from me? Would people understand how serious diabetes was and support him when I couldn’t?
I still have fears. All of those fears that I have had for my children when they reach their teen years and want to spread out and stretch their wings are magnified when diabetes is thrown into the mix. My son now goes off with friends, attends functions on his own, and communicates with me solely via cell phone. The other night he had dutifully turned off his phone during a movie. When I went to pick him up and couldn’t get in touch with him my heart stopped. Not only was my son missing but what if he ran out of insulin? He was fine but yes, I can still worry!
Don’t get me wrong. I have learned not to let these fears rule my life. They do not paralyze me. They do not stop my son from enjoying his life. They give me pause. I give them respect. They make me think. They take away my breath now and then. They send me into the occasional pit of guilt but I have learned to cope.