Thursday, October 29, 2009

All In Due Time

Four years ago I was at the worst point in my life ever. My 3 year old son had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes just 3 weeks prior. My days consisted of clock-watching and finger-poking. I never slept through the night. I would sit and stare at the numbers in Riley's log book for hours trying to figure out what to do about them. I would lock myself in the bathroom and cry and then sneak in Riley's room at night while he was sleeping and pray and cry some more.

I was miserable. I was inconsolable. My son had an incurable disease and I was helpless to do anything about it. I felt guilty. I felt guilty because I felt it was my fault he was going through all of this. I felt guilty because when he looked at me with his tear-filled I eyes I couldn't do anything but cry myself. I felt guilty because I didn't see it coming, didn't take him to the doctor sooner.

I couldn't think of anything but diabetes. My whole day revolved around carb counting and insulin dosing. I scoured the Internet and read everything I could about Type 1 diabetes. I read medical articles as well as postings from other moms of kids with T1.

I tried my hardest to put on a brave face for everyone, especially Riley. I did not want him to see the pain in my eyes. I refused to let him see me cry. I didn't want anyone in my family to see my struggles. I felt so weak. I knew I needed to suck it up and move on, to find happiness again, but I just didn't know how.

Five months into Riley's diagnosis he was placed on a pump. Those first 2-3 months after that were hell. I often wondered what we'd gotten ourselves into. But, after those first few months I fell in love with his pump. Still, it took me a while to get out of the MDI mentality, to figure out that Riley didn't need to be on a schedule. It took me a while to learn to decrease or increase the basal for certain situations. It took me a while to not cringe when I saw the tubing sticking out of the waistband of his pants.

Then, in October 2006, Riley's one year anniversary came and went. Those days leading up to it were heart-wrenching. I relived the pain of his diagnosis all over again. I was still grieving for my son on an almost daily basis. I didn't cry every day, but there wasn't a day that went by that I didn't think, "Why my son? Why does he have to go through this?"

Fast forward 3 years; fast forward through starting Kindergarten, the flu, numerous ear and sinus infections, birthday parties, starting sports, learning to check his own sugar and do his own insulin, explaining to others over and over again what type 1 diabetes is, knowing you have to live it to really understand.

There were more tears. But, the interval between the tears got longer and longer. The "whys" got less and less frequent and now that has stopped all together. The why just does not matter anymore. Tears, while I'm sure they are not gone for good, have slowed down to maybe a couple of episodes a year.

I hate to admit it, but I used to look at Riley and all I could think of were the things he couldn't do, how unfair life was. Now, those thoughts never cross my mind. There isn't anything he can't do. Some things may be harder for him, but life is like that in one way or another for everyone.

Fast forward 3 years and that brings you to where I am right now.

I hardly ever think of diabetes during the day any more, other than when I have to think of it. I still log sugars. I still pour over them from time to time. I spent about an hour last night analyzing sugars and figuring out what to do about them. Riley has been having a lot of lows lately. I made a carb change as well as a tiny basal change. Now, I have to wait and see if that helps. I still get occasional calls from school about Riley's sugar that forces me to think about it.

I remember early on in Riley's diagnosis wondering how on earth some of the moms whose blogs I read could be so happy. How could they just go on with their life like diabetes didn't bother them? I could not fathom ever getting to that point.

But, here I am right there. I now realize that diabetes did still bother those parents, they had just learned how to deal with it. It took me longer than some parents to get here. And, I know some parents who have children who were diagnosed before mine that haven't quite reached that point yet. We all have our processes we have to go through.


George said...

The title of this post is perfect. Riley is lucky to have such an awesome mom!

Meri said...

Really great post. So true! It takes time to evolve. I am still working towards where I want to be, even after 11 years of it. It does get better...not over night...but day by day a bit better.

So glad you are doing good!

Chris Stocker said...

Thank you so much for this post. I read a post by George about his fear of his children getting diabetes, and this is a huge fear of mine. I don't have kids yet, but when I do, the chances of them being diagnosed haunt me. I feel I would be able to be a great manager of diabetes for my kid (hopefully better than my own), but I don't want my wife to have to go through having a husband and a child. Over time things will get better.

Heidi Rogers said...

Thank you so much for your honesty in your post. It really helps other parents like me, know that we weren't alone in all the tears, guilt and frustration.

I am glad you both are doing so well. keep up the good work!

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