Thursday, April 30, 2009

Who Would I Be?

Do you ever wonder what your life would be like if diabetes had never touched it? I don't, at least, not usually. But, last night I wondered, not what life itself would be like, but more what I would be like.

I'm usually a pretty easy going person. I'm usually content with whatever is going on around me. I learned early on in life that it's much easier to just go with the flow and wait for the calm instead of trying to tame a raging river.

Then Type 1 diabetes entered my life, not my body, but my life via my three year old child. And, not to sound dramatic or anything, but the moment he was diagnosed my world as I knew it changed drastically. My life has not been the same since October 6, 2005. And, never will be again, I’m afraid.

It’s taken 3 ½ years but diabetes has finally worn me down. It’s chipped away at my once pristine veneer and has left vulnerable parts of me exposed, mostly my heart but also my mind and sometimes I think it’s reached my soul. It’s put several chinks in my armor, enough that I feel exposed and vulnerable to attacks.

Three and a half years ago if you would have asked me if I was strong I would say yes without missing a beat. Now, I’d say the exact opposite in the same manor. At least, I don’t feel strong anymore. I feel like I’ve been pounded over and over again until I’m too weak to even raise my hands to defend myself. It’s just easier to let the blows hit me square in the face.

It’s not just diabetes that makes me feel this way. It’s life in general. Life is tough. But, life has always been tough. I had Holden when I was 17. I graduated high school and went on to college. I made it through nursing school (which is grueling) while commuting 2 hours every day, working part time, and raising a toddler. Those were some tough times, but also some of the happiest times of my life.

I graduated from nursing school, found a job, and moved out of my parent’s house and on my own. Right around that same time I met Michael. We started seeing each other and 3 years later got married. Two years after that we had Riley. Life was good. It wasn’t necessarily easy, but it was good.

Diabetes has its ups and downs like always. Riley’s sugars are back and forth. I’m logging and making basal changes at least once a week. Yesterday he hit 496 on his meter while at school. Then, last night after his site change we chased an impending low for a couple of hours. He never actually went low but was just on the low end of the scale with a ton of insulin on board. He didn’t mind it really. He got to eat sweets with an almost reckless abandon.

Add life to all that and sometimes it seems almost unbearable. Holden will be graduating in a few short weeks. He just signed a lease on an apartment. We’re in the midst of filling out a ton of scholarships so he can afford to even go to school. We’ve pretty much got tuition paid for but have to worry about paying for books, food, and shelter. Next week we will be addressing and sending out graduation invitations.

All the things going on with Holden are not all bad. It’s kind of bitter-sweet. Graduation is the ending of a big chapter of his life. But, college is the beginning of another great chapter. Still, it’s a little stressful to say the least.

Add to that the irate parent that I have to deal with at school. While the higher-ups in my school system say they are on my side they haven’t really done anything to protect me from this parent. I sit in my office on edge just waiting for her to show up and wreak havoc. That is not a pleasant work situation to say the least.

Then, there is the economy. That is affecting everyone. We found out yesterday that effective immediately all NC state employees will be getting a reduction in pay for May and June. Michael and I both work for the state so both of our paychecks are affected. Also, I’m working in a state grant position. It’s unlikely with the current state of the economy that more money will be poured into that grant next year. So, I’m not even sure I’ll have a job next school year. And, with the irate parent situation I’m not even sure I’ll want it anyway.

So, yeah, life is tough. I can handle that. It’s the diabetes part that throws me for a loop. This disease that makes my child sick even though he appears healthy. The disease that causes him to appear different even though he’s really the same as everyone else. The disease that affects his moods (and mine).

Last night as I was getting things ready before bed I turned to Michael and said, “I wonder if diabetes had never entered our life, if all of the other stressors in my life wouldn’t bother me so much.”

Diabetes takes life and sharpens the edges. It takes the pain of life and compounds it, amplifies it. But, what do you do about it? Where is my mind over matter mentality when it comes to this disease?

Right now I’m struggling to find peace with this disease. It’s strange. I don’t really think about diabetes nearly as much as I used to. But, it seems to affect me more. It’s like it really has become a part of my being, my demeanor, my soul. And I don’t know how to change that.


type1mom said...

Oh My Penny. I can totally relate, I feel the same, entirely. You seem to put my feelings into words! I too wonder where I would be if Diabetes hadn't entered our lives. I think I would be alot more optimistic and motivated. Less depressed, with less meltdowns. I shut down easily these days. ((HUGS)) I'm so sorry for all your employment concerns. I will keep your family in my prayers.

Amy said...

Jada's only been diagnosed a year and I can see the same effects on me. However- it's good to know that in a few years, diabetes won't be the only thing I'm thinking about! :) I worry constantly and have the hardest time leave her in Sunday School at church. I know this has had a huge effect on our marriage as well as my relationship with our other 3 children. Hugs to you Pennyl! I do believe that He uses all things to work together for good and even if you can't see it now- someday you will!

Joanne said...

You put into words what I feel everyday. We went to a play time a few days ago at an indoor facility with a Mom's group that I belong to. Elise was soooo excited when she saw all the fun stuff to play on. I decided to check her BG because she had been running low all week. When 409 came up I felt my good mood come crashing down. I then checked for ketones and she had a trace. It was all I could do to keep from crying in front of the other Moms (nobody had a clue what was going on).

I hate, hate, HATE that diabetes affects my life and my mood that way, and I get extremely jealous of other Moms that don't have to deal with all the crap that we do. But then I read your previous post over and thank God Elise is here in my arms.

It makes me feel crazy sometimes.

Sorry for the long comment, just wanted you to know you are not alone.

Jennifer said...

You took everything I have been feeling lately & put it into words. It's nice to know we are not alone! We all have each other.

Scott K. Johnson said...

Big hugs to you Penny, hang in there. We always find a way to make it, and in addition to sharpening life's edges, it also makes us all so much stronger. Even though we may not always know it.

Lisa said...

Penny, Penny, Penny, how do you do it? You always have a way of saying exactly what I am feeling. Guess it's because we are in the same boat. I have been wondering a lot lately how things would be different without diabetes in our lives. I am so much more of a control freak then I used to be. I hate it.