Friday, August 27, 2010

Let me take you on a journey....

It has occurred to me over the last couple of days that my sense of humor has become pretty warped.  I have a "funny" moment to share with all of you.  During our visit to Camp Needlepoint, Lily was given one of the extra backpacks that Eli Lilly donates to the camp.  A wonderful L.L. Bean pink backpack with several spots for important information to be written down.  Inside the backpack was a deck of cards that have diabetes-related questions on them.  A sort of game.  I explained to Lily that they were cards about "diabetes".  Last night, she was searching through her new backpack, opening all the pockets.  She looked up at me with this little forlorn expression and says, "I want diabetes."  My husband and I cracked up over this.  Yup, my mind is warped enough to find that funny.  And no matter how many times I tried to tell her that she already has diabetes, she insisted that she didn't.  Turned out she was looking for the cards.

On to the real post!  I finally went in to see my own diabetes educator (I detest adult endocrinologists!) and she asked me a question that I found surprising, in an odd sort of way.  When discussing my frustrations with trying to manage Lily's diabetes as well as my own, she asked me if I'd bothered to talk to my mom about how she had dealt with having 3 children who are diabetic.  You know what?  The idea of talking to my mom about what she did had never occurred to me!  For good reason, to be honest with you.  But, the question got me thinking about my own diagnosis.  I've been feeling to need to share some of my diabetes experiences through my blog, but I hadn't really thought about sharing my own diagnosis story.  And the question of how my mom handled it brought me to some rather startling revelations.  So, I'm going to share my own diagnosis story and move on through some of my key diabetes experiences.  Before I do though, I have to share just one bit of a warning....I come from a severely dysfunctional family with an atypical mom.  I love my family, I love my mom, and I've come to accept my parents' shortcomings.  No grudges and no anger left over my childhood experiences, because feelings like that aren't worth dwelling on!  That said....

Part I: Diagnosis
I have four older sisters.  Two of them were diagnosed with diabetes before I was.  So my diagnosis story starts a bit earlier than actual diagnosis.  The three of us were diagnosed within a 14-month period, if my memory serves me correctly.  It's a bit hazy, to be honest.  The first to be diagnosed, D, was sometime just before Thanksgiving, around her 12th birthday.  The second, C, was diagnosed several months later, not long after her 11th birthday.  D was hospitalized when she was diagnosed, in order to give her and our parents time to learn all they needed to learn about the disease and its management.  C was not hospitalized, as the doctors didn't feel it was necessary since we were already familiar with the disease at that point.  To be honest with you, in my little 8-year-old brain, all I understood about diabetes was that my sisters were getting special treatment.  In a family with 7 children, special treatment and extra attention were extremely rare.  I was jealous.  I wanted diabetes too, so I would get special treatment and extra attention.  And then came my diagnosis, just a bit more than a year after D was diagnosed.  I was 9-years-old and I remember it being the middle of December.  I don't remember much about being sick before, but I'm guessing my mom must have caught the signs fairly early on.  This time, my mom decided that hospitalization was a good thing.  I spent a week in the hospital, learning to draw up NPH and Regular insulin and inject it into an orange.  I was told I couldn't leave the hospital until I learned to give myself shots.  THIS is why it never occurred to me to ask my mom how she handled things, how she managed blood sugars for three children.  Because, really, she didn't.  I cannot recall a time when my mom ever gave me an injection.  Even in the hospital.  I can't recall her ever testing my blood sugar.  From diagnosis on, I was self-managed.  And so were my sisters.  I have to give my mom some credit though.  I'm sure it was difficult to go through diagnosis with three children.  By the time I was diagnosed, she was probably about ready to throw in the towel.  Throw up her hands and walk away from the reality of it all.  Taking care of seven children, even if they're completely healthy, is a challenge all on it's own! .Add in chronic illnesses for three of them and I'm sure it pushes a person right over the edge.

Not the most interesting of diagnosis stories, I'm sure.  I honestly can't remember too much about it.  I do remember that I was always a very small child, but at diagnosis, I was a whopping (insert sarcasm here) 45 lbs.  Three months before my 10th birthday.  I think I'd lost about 10 lbs while I was sick.  I remember having a nurse who was diabetic and told me she'd been diagnosed when she was 13-months.  And I remember really enjoying having control of the hospital television in my room!  A rare luxury for me!  I don't think the reality of being diabetic really hit me for quite some time.  I was happy to get a bit more attention.  Back then, diabetes meant testing your blood sugar four times a day and taking insulin injections twice a day.  Wow, have things ever changed!

Stay tuned for Part II....


  1. Wow... 7 kids and 3 of them diabetic??? And I can't believe you were in charge of your own care at such a young age.

    Interesting story... can't wait to read more!

  2. After I read your dx story it made me think about my husbands...he was 11 and I don't believe his parents did his shots for him at all. I know his mother was very concerned and would get up with him when he woke up in the middle of the night, but she doesn't ever recall doing night checks. I think management of the disease has changed a great deal as medicine has changed. I think due to people eating for the insulin, rather than taking the insulin to cover what they eat, that things were more routine and less flexible. Somedays I wonder if that would be easier with a young child, but in the long run I am beyond thankful for where things are at opposed to where they were at...
    I hope you're all feeling better at your home and I can't wait to hear more about your early life with d.

  3. Cindy...thanks for sharing. I always find your insight into "d" helpful being that you are a type 1 yourself. I think that gives you a unique and most insightful perception of this "craziness" that we are all a part of.

    AHHH I don't know how your mom stayed SANE. Seriously? That many kids alone would push me over the edge and then to add "d" in the mix...ugh. You want to know what made me a little sad while reading your story was that once you were diagnosed, it seems like you still didn't get the "extra" attention you were craving (at least not from your mom) were hospitalized and trained on how to do your own care. I don't know if it was that way, but that was my take.

    I cannot wait for part 2...I hope you have a nice weekend.

  4. Wow.

    Thank you for sharing....this mom really needs to hear a heart like yours.

    Onto part 2....

  5. "Not the most interesting of diagnosis stories.."?

    Your story is not only very interesting, but very powerful.

    For yet another time...thank you.

    (Sorry that I read everything backwards.)