There have been a few topics floating around in my head lately that I keep thinking about and keep thinking I should write about on here. Surprisingly, the ideas haven't completly deserted me yet and continue to pop up every now and then. I'm sure I'll get around to writing about all of them sooner or later. But I've seen a few posts from d-moms lately that talk about feeling like a failure when they see blood sugar readings that are out-of-range for their children. So, I'm writing this particular post in response to that. And, don't get me wrong, the response is not meant to be critical of anyone. Especially since I often feel like a failure when I see those bad numbers too!
It seems to me that all of the d-parent community is defining success as always having their child's blood sugars in-range, always getting a good A1C, always being spot-on with everything. Unfortunately, blood sugars are not like throwing a dart at the center of a bullseye. It's actually much harder to keep blood sugars constantly in check than it is to throw that dart! No matter how hard we try, there will always be a growth spurt right around the corner, an extra activity, a birthday party with cake and ice cream, a family gathering, a receptionist with a dum-dum sucker...you get the picture, right? We don't get to control everything, no matter how much we wish we could. Being diabetic myself, I think it strikes me even more how much I wish I could control everything for Lily. I know how awful it feels when she's high. I know how scary it is for her when she's low. I want to do my absolute best to make sure I take care of everything so that she can feel her absolute best. And when those numbers pop up on the meter, they taunt me and tell me that my best just isn't good enough. It's funny how in those moments, I completely forget the ideas and beliefs I want to share with other d-parents, the main one being that my Lily is a child first, diabetic second. Diabetes needs to be in the backseat, not driving the car. Don't believe me? I'll explain a little more....
I was diagnosed when I was 9 years old, less than 3 months before my birthday. My birthday rolled around. I wanted chocolate cake for my birthday. I was told I had to have angel food, diabetics don't get to eat chocolate cake. Or any other kind of birthday cake either. Too much sugar. Fast-forward to October and my first Halloween as a diabetic. I was thrilled when my mom let me go trick-or-treating. Not so thrilled when I came home and she confiscated my bag of loot because diabetics can't eat candy. Now, I realize those mentalities are a bit "old-school diabetes". Things have changed a bit since then and we now understand that it doesn't matter so much how much sugar is in a food, but more how many grams of carbohydrates. Great, but the thinking hasn't really changed all that much. Parents of children with diabetes still use the "you can't, you're diabetic" line. So, a little warning for all of you of what happens when you tell someone they can't have something....they want it more! I have a serious sweet tooth. I learned at a very early age to hoard my candy, to shove it into my pockets before handing my trick-or-treat bag over to my mom and then hide my stash in a safe place. If someone offers me a piece of birthday cake, I have a very hard time refusing. (No wonder I have a weight problem!). My life and every food that went into my mouth was so focused on diabetes, that I revolted against it horribly and have gone too far in the other direction. And, I'll be honest, I have a hard time denying my little girl (diabetes and all) anything her little heart might desire. Not good!
So...the point of my post tonight....what if we define success a little differently? Instead of thinking we've failed because the blood sugar is off, what if we focused on the successes of the day? Did our children have a good, fun, activity-filled day? Did they play and run and jump and act like a normal child, in spite of the breaks for finger-pokes and boluses? Did they hear from us that they are loved? Did we roll around in the grass with them, push them on the swing, twirl them around until we got dizzy? Did we nurture their hearts and minds and souls as much as we did their little bodies? That, my friends, should be our definition of success. Every now and then, let's trade the 15 gram apple for 15 grams of a cookie and remind our children that they are just kids and deserve to have a bit of the carefree life that the other kids get to have!