Diabetes is exhausting. The emotional toll of check, calculate, bolus and more is incredible.
I am lucky. I don’t have diabetes, but diabetes can still bring me down. Because I don’t have diabetes, when it does tend to be too much I can step away. I can put it on the back burner and regroup before I dive in again. I wish everyone with diabetes had it that easy.
For years I was my son’s external pancreas. It was exhausting. I never slept more than four hours at a time. If I woke up during the night, I checked his blood glucose levels. We had no Continuous Glucose Monitor. We just had me. It was my job to make sure that he was in range. I was the one to calculate carbs, adjust insulin ratios and log blood glucose readings.
My son tested and learned alongside of me but I carried the bulk of the burden…until he turned 16. At 16, he decided that he could handle it all. He carried the entire burden for the next three years unless he was visiting me. When he was with me, I took over as much as he wanted.
Taking over wasn’t the same as doing it 24/7. That being said, being an external pancreas also wasn’t the same as being the one to experience the highs, lows and pokes with needles multiple times per day. Not being able to “fix it” or take it away could (can) bring me down as much as the pressure of daily diabetes care.
I still wish that I could take the pain away. I wish that my son would know a different life. There isn’t a day that I don’t ache for the families and other people living with diabetes knowing that they can never stop testing or injecting. Their very lives depended on it.
Knowing that fact can also cause sadness. I ache for families that struggle to keep their children safe in school. I get frustrated for those individuals who are fighting to receive insulin at a fair and decent price. My heart breaks for those who are having a hard time paying for their supplies and who can’t afford the best in diabetes care.
I don’t have diabetes. Diabetes can bring me down but I won’t let it keep me down. Each day I wake ready to work a little harder. Each day I will share what has worked for us and hope to inspire and assist others living with diabetes. I will continue to work with individuals and groups to create better care for people with diabetes regardless of education or income level. Diabetes can bring me down but it will not win. My battle won’t end until a cure is found. Don’t give up either. We are here for you!
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