Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Race

Last night I was watching Riley run around the living room like a wild man and I realized that sometimes I forget he even has diabetes. Earlier he had asked to go out and catch lightening bugs. I told him he could. Diabetes never crossed my mind. I just let him go.

Well, I say diabetes never crossed my mind, but it probably did. I probably thought about how long it had been since he'd eaten and what his last sugar was. But, I didn't even notice that I did it.

I don't really know how to explain it. Maybe I've finally accepted that diabetes is a part of Riley's life. For so long I was fighting it tooth and nail. Now, I've just come to accept that it is what it is. And while "what it is" is a stupid horrible life threatening disease, there's nothing I can do to change it.

I've heard others say that diabetes has become their new normal. I've often thought that it will never be normal for us. But, now, it is.

I still worry about the highs. I get scared by the lows (he was 56 at 4 o'clock this morning--aghhh!). But, I think I've finally, after 2 1/2 years, accepted that it's not going anywhere anytime soon.

I've always said that Riley can do anything anyone else can do. Before, I think it was more lip service than anything else. Now, I really believe it.

While writing this post I've realized what it is. It's not me or a change in my attitude as much as it is that Riley is growing up and taking on more of the responsibility himself.

He's able to dose himself now. He checks his sugar like a pro. He's been able to check his sugar almost since diagnosis. But he didn't really know what the numbers meant. Now, when the number appears on the screen he knows if it's high or low or just right. Not only that, he knows what to do if it is high or low.

He's able to read labels now and insists on telling me what the carb count is of what he's eating. Most of the time I have it memorized but still let him look and tell me how many carbs there are. He was hit and miss for a while, but now he's got it down to 100% accuracy.

He's very good at telling when he's low. Maybe that's why I didn't really give it a second thought when he asked to go out in the yard last night. Not only is he good at telling when he's low, he can usually also tell when he's dropping.

Last night at supper he was 101. He ate and got a bolus. 45 minutes later he said he was low. He was 80, but he had .85 units of insulin on board. He knew he had to eat.

When he's high now he knows that snack might be delayed. Last week one day he was at my mom's and at snack time his sugar was in the 300s. My mom said he looked at her and said, "I guess I won't be eating snack right now." Not long ago he didn't understand. Now he knows that it's best to let his sugar come down a bit before he eats anything.

In 2 more days Holden will officially be a Senior in high school. It seems like only yesterday that I was holding him in my arms.

I know from experience that all I have to do is blink and next thing I know Riley will be a Senior too.

But, now, I've gotten a glimpse into the future. I've seen how responsible Riley is with his diabetes even at the age of 6. Of course, I know things could change. He may become rebellious later on in life. But, I'm comforted to know that he has the knowledge to take care of himself.

It used to make me sad to think that Riley would one day take over management of this disease. But, now, it makes me proud. I'm proud because I know he can handle it.

I see the strength that he has at the tender age of 6. I know that strength will only grow through the years. I see the stubborn streak he has. (I don't know where he gets that from;-) And, I know that it will serve him well in his diabetes management.

For the first time in 2 1/2 years I finally feel like he's going to be OK. I know there will be bumps along the way. But, I no longer feel like diabetes is going to win.

I have glimpsed the finish line and my kid wins by a mile.


Beth said...

This is a wonderfully encouraging post. It will be two years in July for Alex and I have still not completely accepted this intruder. I am always at a heightened worry that something will happen to him. I know I need to get him on the pump but that will take another level of acceptance. Your post has made me realize I need to work on giving him a little more responsibility and independence (these two words seem conflicted but not with diabetes care). Thanks for sharing.

k2 said...

Penny -
I'm so proud of you and Riley.
I know acceptance for a parent is very difficult regarding their child's diabetes. However, it is CRUCIAL that the child ( or adult diabetic for that matter) accepts his or her diabetes.
Riley is OWNING his diabetes, AND THATS HUGE! Your allowing him to take responsibility for his D at an early age. Your guiding him towards the path of an independent existence. THis will help him to not only be be a healthy adult, but an independent one as well. Independence and diabetes is so important. I've met and talked with diabetic adults who have never lived an independent life because his or her parents kept them in a "box" in order to protect them.
I'm sure accepting and letting Riley compete in "the race" is difficult at times. But DAMMNNNN, that kid is fast approaching lightening (as in bug and or the force of nature) speed and it's all because of his parents attitude! And the fact that your kid is pretty awesome!

Penny said...

Beth, you'll get there in your own time. I was at the two year mark when I could finally start to feel like the fog was lifting.

It really doesn't have a lot to do with me. Riley pretty smart and picks up on things himself. (Except tying his shoes. He's not really big on learning that.)

TexasNeals said...

Suzannah is really god about knowing when she is low or dropping too. It is SUCH a blessing isn't it?! When I am having a good day I am able to think about all the ways that diabetes could make our kids better people. They will definately have a head start on self discipline...and that can impact MANY areas of their life for the better. Sounds like Riley is a very responsible little boy....such a blessing. :)