Sunday, June 10, 2012

Confessions of a Control Freak who has fought Diabetes

I have been lucky enough to get a copy of Leighann Calentine's new book "Kids First, Diabetes Second".  I am almost through reading the book and so far am very impressed but I will tell you all about it later. What sent me off to my computer was a line in which she said that for her, she learned to cope with diabetes by taking back control. 

When I finished reading the section in question, I agreed with her whole heartedly but being me, my mind immediately moved off onto another tangent with those few words.  I have always said that diabetes taught me how much control I don't have.

I am one of those people who likes to plan ahead. Prior to diabetes, I could give you our ten year financial plan, our plan for our next five summer vacations and more.  It was all about the planning and controlling the world around me.  Larry would argue that I am still like that and in some ways I am but in a lot more ways, I am not.

Diabetes has taught me that despite my best efforts, things do not always go as I want them to. There have been the active days that I swore would result in lows so I reduced his night time basal rate only to be chasing highs for the rest of the night. Why? Because the diabetes gods made it so! Okay or more likely there was air in his tubing, a site that was going bad, a bolus calculating error...well you get the idea. 

I have planned to enjoy a good night's rest only to find my son's tubing was dislodged during the night and he is up vomiting with ketones.  I have equally planned on enjoying a night's sleep only to be kept up with a low that we never saw coming.

We have planned for sleepovers that have ended because of highs that he could not get rid of on his own.  There have been celebratory meals at McDonald's at the end of swimming lessons that left us all exhausted because my son had such a bad low that it took us every low food in my bag and half of someone else's pop to bring back up.

There have been days when I have been prepared for diabetes to send me its worst...only to have a wonderful day. 

Diabetes keeps me on my toes.  As Leighnann says, for the first year, my life was about trying to gain some sort of control of our lives. Our world became very regimented. I functioned. I kept my son alive.  Meals were set.  There was no variation but over time, I took some of that control back.  I baked again.  I allowed him different foods at snack times. We ventured out of our safe zone.  Diabetes still kept us (and keeps us) on our toes but it has taught me a lot about what I can control and what I can't.  It has also taught me what is important to control versus what is better left to happen when it happens.
My version what the Diabetes looks like!

Does diabetes control our lives now? No. Do I control our lives now? Heck no! I am now the mother of two teen aged sons, one who is heading off into the adult world in a matter of weeks...all my carefully guarded control is flying out of the window faster than I can hold on. Its not a bad just is.  We all cringe when someone asks if your diabetes is "under control" but we also recognize that we do have to take back some control of our lives and work to live with diabetes rather than living all about diabetes.


  1. Oh boy...this hit home. I remember when Joe was three...and four...and five. I did not vary much in his diet in fear of dealing with the glucoaster. he has aged...and his blood sugars are a bit more forgiving...I tweak things a bit and live as spontaneously as possible with diabetes in our lives. Great post Barb.

  2. Wow. I am not the parent of a child with diabetes - I am the person with diabetes in my own story. But your post really hit me. At the end of my adolescence, my very smart endo at the time told me that I needed to let go of some control to gain control. At some point I was able to see he was right. I am still struggling with this, and the balance of life vs. "the Diabetes" (love your picture!) is still hard to strike too often 30 some odd years later. Thanks for this!