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May 22 / Caro

For My Babies

I’ve been living with type 1 diabetes for three decades. Three decades sounds like a long time, but the truth of it is that I don’t remember a time before diabetes, so it only feels as long as my lifetime. Not knowing any different doesn’t mean it doesn’t bother me though. I’d absolutely be lying if I said it wasn’t sometimes an unequivocal suck.

I’ve mentioned countless times before that diabetes is an irritating and pernicious creature. There is nothing predictable about diabetes, and it has the capacity to affect every aspect of life whilst equally being affected by a ridiculous number of variables – beyond the obvious food, exercise and insulin doses comes stress, hormones, the weather and whether the day of the week contains the letter ‘u’.

I’d also be lying if I claimed to have this thing all figured out. I’m not sure that is even possible. There are plenty of times where I simply cannot be bothered with all the effort it takes to try to tame it. Some days I feel as though I’m chasing my tail from high to low and back again without doing anything differently to the day before, when everything stayed nicely in line, and that frustrates me beyond belief. So sometimes I give up and give in, stop trying to achieve the best control and simply coast along.

When I was a teenager, that was the most frequent state of affairs. As a young adult, the balance shifted to more time taking care of myself than not, but still with periods of time where I must hold my hands up and say it was completely neglected. In recent years, things have changed again.

Now, on the days when I can’t face multiple blood tests, the days where I want to eat without counting every last carbohydrate, or exercise without thinking about manipulating my medication, on the days where trying to find somewhere comfortable to wear my insulin pump sends me in to a rage, I try to stop and really think about what I might be sacrificing for the sake of a few minutes thought and effort.

I look at Thomas, and I think about the future. By the time I am my mother’s age and Thomas possibly has children of his own, I’ll have been living with diabetes, and taking insulin, for over sixty years. That is a long time, espeically when you consider that insulin for the treatment of diabetes has only existed for ninety years. But I know that I want to be there to see my son, and any future grandchildren, grow up. And I want to actually see it with my eyes, not be blinded by retinopathy. I want to be active enough to run around with them, and do so on my own feet. I don’t want to miss time bonding with them whilst I am attached to a dialysis machine.

And right now, I want to offer my future unborn child(ren) the very best start that I can. I want to keep finely balanced on the high wire of tight control, just as I did before and during my pregnancy with Thomas.

All my life the thought of complications from diabetes has nestled in the back of my consciousness and been something I’m peripherally aware of. But I’ve never been someone to be actively afraid on a day-to-day basis. It would be fair to say that blindness is one of my greatest fears, and that I’ve always wanted to try to stay healthy for my own sake, but the thought of complications, and their effect on my life alone, as a motivator for good control pales in to insignificance compared to the motivation to keep my babies healthy and to stay healthy for them.

I’m aware that this whole post sounds trite and twee, but it’s honestly true that where diabetes is concerned, I’d do almost anything for my children. I’m still far from perfect, and frequently get it wrong, but I am sure that I will never stop trying.

Walking a tight line

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2 Comments

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  1. Orlena / Jun 4 2013

    I can’t imagine what it must be like to have diabetes. I have only admiration for you.

    • Caro / Jun 4 2013

      Thank you. It’s hard work, but unfortunately it’s do or die. I also don’t know any different, which probably helps!

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