He’s Got This

Over Easter, my youngest son came to visit.  Each time he visits me I am shocked by how much he has grown. My little boy is long gone and a young man is emerging. A child with diabetes is being replaced by a young person with diabetes and I stand in awe.

This time I stood back a bit more. I tried not to fall into old habits of taking over care or nagging about testing. I gently reminded. I compared carb counts now and again when asked.  I tested him at night at his request but mostly I sat and watched.

I wondered how his care was going. He hasn’t told me an A1c in years. I worried about his rates. I worried about his health.  The more I tested, the more I watched, the more my pride grew.

He wasn’t perfect.  He still doesn’t test as much as I would like but when he did test, his results were awesome. When he ate junk, which he doesn’t do as much any more, he nailed the bolus.  When he spiked because of a low cartridge and air being delivered instead of insulin, the spike was no longer in the 20s (360+) it hovered in the low teens.

I sat back and realized that he’s got this.  All of those years of preaching, teaching and sharing have paid off.  He is taking care of himself.  He is trying to protect his body from itself and doing a good job.

In a recent conversation I reminded him that he is the expert in his care.  It is his job to ensure that he is able to demonstrate that to medical professionals that he sees.  He should listen to them and be willing to accept their help but he may also have to remind them that he has been doing this all of his life.  He has been privileged to be trained by some of the very best people in diabetes care in the world.  He has a very good handle on things and a huge support network to reach out to when he is in doubt.

He explained that he finds that very frustrating.  He doesn’t want to get into a contest of who knows more when he sees someone but he feels that after all of these years he does know his body.  He is very healthy.  He has got this…and he has!

hes-got-this-poster2

Swept away and retired to a desk

Today’s prompt for Diabetes Blog Week asks what is that one thing that we are still clinging on to that we need to let go? What in our diabetes closet needs to be cleaned out?

Honestly, I was going to use a wildcard for this one. I thought it didn’t apply to me any longer.  Diabetes does not live with my full time any more so what could I possibly need to junk out? We cleaned out most of my son’s diabetes supplies when he moved.  Anything left here he needs when he visits. Obviously this was a topic that I was going to have to give a miss. Or maybe not….

sweeping up
Sweeping out the old

There is something that I have been working on for…cough, cough, almost….two…cough…years.  It is something that I need to let go of, clean out, sweep away. My challenge is to sweep away that need to know all and me hands on 100% of the time.  It is now physically impossible and thinking otherwise is emotionally draining.

I have to adjust to the role of no longer being that person in charge. Learning my new role as the person standing in the office listening to what is going on in the trenches but removed from the actual events is a huge challenge.

I no longer have to wake up at various times during the night to test my son. That has its own guilt.  I still wake up through the night out of habit but as time has gone on, I no longer wake in a panic wondering if he is okay and if he is testing.

I have gotten better at having him text me readings.  Originally I wanted to know every reading.  I would stay up to all hours just so that we could talk and he could tell me what his readings had been like.  That didn’t work. He did his best to be busy when I wanted to call and talk.  I had to get rid of that need to know. I had to learn that it was now truly his disease.

We still talk daily.  I don’t know his readings from day to day.  He calls me when he has a problem. We troubleshoot issues together.  I still work on being okay with the fact that I don’t know his A1c.  I still struggle with not being able to hook him up to the technology that I want him to use.  Sweeping out the DMomma who is hands on and replacing her with the DMomma who is just there to help out when things get a little messy or he needs a break has truly been my biggest challenge.

As I have have been swept out of the trenches, I found myself struggling to understand my place on the sidelines.  I worried that I had not prepared him enough. I worried that I would not matter any more. I worried that I would no longer have a role in that community of diabetes parents that had been my home for so many years.

Just like cleaning our house can give you a new perspective, cleaning out my role as a DMomma did as well.  I have seen my son thrive on his own. I have seen him put to use what he has been taught and develop his own confidence.  Standing back has allowed me a new role in the diabetes community and in my son’s life…and its not that bad!

Back Away from the Pump. It is NOT Your Toy.

At the end of August, my son got a new pump. We had been lovers of the Cozmo pump for over 10 years.  It physically hurt to have to put it away but with no warranty and a child living hundreds of miles away, it seemed best to make sure that he had a pump with a company still behind it if he had any issues.

We both shed a few tears as we put his beloved “Lean Green Pumping Machine” in a box and brought out his new pump.  When we sat down with his pump trainer, the trainer dealt with my son. Mom stayed in the background.  The trainer talked to him when going through how it worked. My son is too big for me to hover over his shoulder so again, I just sat back and let him learn. It felt a little strange.

After she left, he let me touch the remote bolus and test drive it a bit.  Soon though, it was hands off. I could touch it at night if he was out of range but that was it. I had not other reason to use it. If there was a change to be made, he did it. If there was a site change to be done, he did it.

As time went on, I used the pump less and less and I began to put it out of my mind. This was not my new toy to check out. It was his.  When we had a problem, I grabbed the manual to help him figure out where to go but again, I checked a book while he was six steps ahead of me navigating through the pump screen itself.

It has been five and a half months since my son started on his new pump and now I can barely figure out how to bolus him with it. On the other hand, he has no problem making corrections, adjustments or anything else required.

A few weeks ago, a friend and I were talking about new pumps for our kids. Her child is also holding strong to her Cozmo but they know that a new pump needs to happen sooner rather than later. I casually told the mother not to be concerned about the pump that her child goes on next because she won’t be playing with it. It will be her child’s pump and Mom doesn’t need to know how to operate it.

She thanked me.  We have been so used to handling everything, checking out each device, and learning on an ongoing basis that as parents, we can forget that this isn’t our disease. When our children were 2, 3 or 5, this was our disease no matter what anyone else said. Now that our children are 16, 17 or 20 we have very little input.  We have been relegated to the sidelines whether we wanted to be or not.  We can make suggestions. We can nag a little but our children are now young adults who will do what they feel is best. The only thing we can now hope for is that some of what we have taught them along the way has found a home in their own thought processes. It’s a huge step but we can all do this with one foot in front of the other…and back away from the pump. animas-vibe

The Magic Wand Worked

My son told me that magically, after months of not testing and pretending that his diabetes does not exist whenever he was away from me, he would change.  He would test. He would wake up in the middle of the night to test and treat. He would bolus without reminder. He would become in charge of his own diabetes care!

I was cynical.  I knew that he “could” do it but time and time again he had shown that he wouldn’t do it. The other night was our time to review his readings and settings. I waited for his pump to be uploaded.

As I looked over the data, I was pleasantly surprised.  There were a decent number of readings–a lot of them high but there was data to work with!  I looked at the past few days, the ones that reflected back to school readings. There were numbers missing.  There was only one overnight test.  There was no testing the entire time he was at school.  I reminded myself that there was to be no judgement. I had vowed not to ever freak out no matter what I saw.  He was to learn. This was to be a constructive process.

My son and I began to talk.  I asked about the missed readings.  He said that he had used a different meter. He was going to start using his Ping only from now on.  It was more convenient to have one device do everything rather than testing and then taking out his pump (hold on, wasn’t that what the rep and I had told him when we did the new pump training?).  He gave me the readings and I knew that he had really checked.  He never gives out of range readings if he is lying. He also would never fess up to missed checks if he was trying to get out of something.

I told him that I only saw one overnight. What had happened to testing during the night? He was instantly on the defensive. He swore he had tested! He had the glass in his room to prove it! He had been in range but on the low side so he had decided to add some juice. He had tested!! I laughed and said okay.  I reminded him to input the readings into the pump next time so that I could see them before we make any changes.

He relaxed and we walked through how to manually add readings. We also reviewed how to use temporary basal rates on the new pump when exercising.  Suddenly he cried out “OH NO!! We forgot to change to weekday basal rates!”

I laughed again. I knew the change had not been made…well I didn’t really expect him to suddenly remember that this had to be done manually after 10 years of having a pump do it for you.  I told him that was fine. He could change it right then and there. We would not do any alteration on his current patterns but he had to remember to switch back on the weekend.  He asked to be reminded. Hopefully between the two of us we will get in the swing of this.

As the conversation ended, I felt more at ease. Perhaps he is growing up.  He will stumble. I am sure he will have times that he forgets but he is showing himself that he can do this.  He is showing me that my teaching did not fall on deaf ears.  Thank heavens for the magic wand that got him on the ball..well at least for this week. magic-wand

But He Gets No Vacation…

Diabetes-VacationMy son has been away for almost two weeks. I still wake up at 3am and every hour thereafter thinking that I have to get up and test him. He has called me with problems twice.  We have not had a lot of contact other than that.

When he comes home, I will look at his meter and do my best not to totally lose it when I see how many bg readings are missing. I have set a pretty low target in my own head for him to meet. If he has checked this minimal amount of times, I will do my very best not to freak out at all. If he has not met this minimal requirement, there will be a lot more talking and consequences. Well that is the plan at least.

In the meantime, I am slowly overcoming my latest bout of “Mommy Guilt”. You see, with my son gone, I can enjoy that extra glass of wine without worry that I will need to be focused and sharp at 2am.  I can lay in my bed at 4am and not have to test to see if his bg level is rising or dropping. I do not have to figure out the carbs for any meal.  Basal rates and site changes are things that I hope he is dealing with and I will handle further when he gets home.

I get that break.  Now, my son gets a break as well. He doesn’t have me telling him to test. He doesn’t have me asking if he has changed that infusion set.  I have only text him and asked about readings after we have made a change.

He does however still have to count all of those carbs.  He still has to consider how to handle his insulin after hiking with friends or staying up until the early hours of the morning. He has to remember to do his site changes and to retest after a low.  He has to decide when to say “this site has failed and needs to be changed.”  He doesn’t get a break from any of that. He still has to handle those highs and lows while I get a break.

As a parent, we want to take those burdens from our children.  We can’t of course. I give him as much respite as I can when he is with me, but one day soon he won’t be with me anymore.  He will be doing all of this on his own.  These small breaks prepare both of us but I know that I have the better end of the deal. I have started having nightmares that I have overslept and forgot to test him but they will fade in the coming days as I get back into the routine of getting up again.

It’s all a part of growing up with diabetes whether we like it or not…and I really do NOT like it.

Diabetes Zen

“Mom! Did you pack the Glucagon?”

Wow! Really? My son asked if I packed his glucagon kit?  Can I be excited? I know that it does not mean that he will be diligent about his care. I know that it doesn’t mean that he will test but it does seem like a step in the right direction–even a baby step.  He at least knows that he “should” have it with him at all times.

He has gone to spend some time with his father. He will spend two weeks without me saying “test” and “what did you bolus for that?”. He will be in Heaven and I will worry.  I will text.  He will answer when he feels like it.  I will try to enjoy two weeks without night testing but will wake up multiple times during the night away. I will hope that he is having fun…and worry about all of the things that teen boys do when they are away from the prying eyes of their mother.

I am hoping for better things this trip.  His last visit was a diabetes nightmare with less than the minimal of testing.  I am not expecting to see him test nearly as often as I would like but hopefully he will test.  I am also planning on a new approach when he  comes home. I have tried it the past few times we have looked over his readings and it has worked. It takes a lot of effort on my part, but instead of freaking out and getting frustrated at what he doesn’t do, I have praised what he did do!  When looking at three days and I see that one of those days had a lot of missed readings, I no longer ask,  “why did you miss this test, this one, and that one?” Instead, again with a lot of effort on my part (and a few bite marks on my tongue) I have said that he seemed to have an off day but he picked it up on the next day.

I am not sure  who is more shocked at my response, him or me! The effort is worth it though because he seems to stay involved and engaged in the conversation rather than his usual glazing over and tuning me out.  Now, let’s hope I can remember…and practice this new method of diabetes Zen when he comes home in two weeks! zen_frog

What? No Blood? No Tears? What happened?

Wow! Did that really happen? Was it really that painless? Did I miss something? Why am I not ready to cry in frustration? Are we making progress?

The other day, I sat down with our notebook. Its the one that says what sort of workout my son did, how intense it was and what we did about diabetes care as well as what sort of results were had. I asked for his meter and I plugged it into my iPod.  It had only been a few days since I had done this. I was still a little nervous about what I would find. 

Despite the fact that bg level reviews are supposed to be a time for discussion and learning, they normally are times when I cringe and want to cry while my son glazes over and comes up with strange excuses for missed readings. This time was very different!

I noted the readings.  We talked about foods before exercise. We talked about foods after exercise. He talked about how he felt exercising with various foods in his system.  We looked at missed readings and high readings. He was quick to point out his own errors and state that he needed to improve to get back to that guy he had been the week before.

I told him he had done really well. I was impressed.  He walked away with his own definition of what needed to be done and I did a small bit of tweaking based on my own feelings.  The biggest shock was the feelings and the atmosphere when the process was over…It was great! There was peace.

I felt good. I was happy to see readings and an interest. He felt pretty happy with things in general. He had seen decent numbers and had a strategy for readings that were a little off.  There was no blood spilt.  There were no tears.  Could we be making progress??

He goes away in a week and will be on his own for his diabetes care. This is normally a time when he applies the motto “When the cat’s away, the mouse will play!” or his his case when the mouse is away from the cat but you get the idea! I have been reading Moira McCarthy’s book as often as I can.(Blog review to come later!) I think I have a better grasp of will most likely happen while he is gone and why.  I think I may be better able to handle it when he comes back…well maybe…well I will try anyway! For now, I will just savor a really nice sharing of diabetes information with my son. drama

Exams are over and school’s out for SUMMER!

summer holidays Diabetes Advocacy

Wow! We have made it through another school year. This one saw my son take control of his diabetes care in school.

Before school ended, there were final exams to get through. Exams and diabetes can present their own set of challenges as my son found out.  

He was high during an exam

Thankfully, my son actually checked his blood glucose levels before he started some of his exams.   In at least one case he was high before he began. I asked him what he did?  

He told me that it was a two-hour exam but they had been given three hours to complete it.  The first hour he used to get his bg levels back in check. The final two hours he did his exam and corrected anything he had got wrong in the first hour.  I was proud and sad.

I was excited that my teenaged son had actually checked his blood glucose before an exam! I was proud that he was able to take control of the situation and make it work. However, I was also sad that once again diabetes had to mess with such a normal activity as a science exam.

He took control of his diabetes and the situation

The momma bear in me was all prepared to stand up for him and ask for accommodations if his mark was not where it should be.  The mom of a young man with diabetes said,” The boy has handled this his way.  Let it be.” and I have.

I often write about how I fear that he will never take the lead in his diabetes care. He has a very cavalier attitude about so much in life. I often wonder if my son will ever realize that this is serious?

Adults tell me that he will. They tell me my son will struggle. He will trip but that I have given him a good foundation to fall back on. I hold onto those words with both hands!

He is growing up

schools out

I am seeing changes in my son’s behaviour. As I have written about a lot lately, his interest in diet and exercise has had a very positive impact on his diabetes care.  

He knows that his bg levels need to be at their best so that he can perform at his best. That is a more powerful motivator than any of Mom’s lectures. He still isn’t perfect…but he is learning.

The true test of my teen’s newfound skills will be when he is away from me and dealing with his care on his own this summer.  I admit that I am nervous.

When he went away over Easter his care was non-existent.  He checked his blood glucose levels once a day on a good day.  I can’t worry about that. I can’t think about it.  These short stints will prepare him for the next few years when he decides to move away from me and begin his own life…but its hard not to worry because I am a mom after all!