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Let's Make a Deal! Worry, Guilt, and A1c

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The guilt and worry of a D Mama knows no bounds.

It's like an ocean.  Every changing.  Going in and out.  At times it's depths are clear and close.  At times no end can be seen.

Maybe it's just because we are mothers.

But it's more than that.  Our worries and our guilt run deeper than average.

We have seen pain that we can't make better.  We have dried tears shed due a disease that just can't be adequately explained to a child.  We have sat in hospital rooms.  We have waited for test results.  We continually make life and death decisions that affect not us... but our children.  The ones we want nothing more than to protect.

We know we did nothing to cause this disease.  We know there was nothing we could have done to prevent it.

And still....

It lurks.

The worry is there.  Hiding around dark corners and under the beds of our sleeping sweet ones.

The guilt is there too.  Sometimes it stares back at us from the meter.  Sometimes we find it when all we want to do is make it better and we are left with an empty bag of tricks.

This is doctor week.  Monday we went to the eye doctor.  Today we went to the endocrinologist.  Saturday we go to the dentist.

Remember - envy is a sin!  Don't be too jealous!

The report from the eye doctor was that everything looked good.  She may need glasses in a few years but that has nothing to do with diabetes.  Both Jason and I had glasses before we were her age.

 I am not looking forward to the dentist.  Many nights of juice do damage to little teeth.  And then there's brushing.  Stick needles into her body and she doesn't even flinch.  Try to brush her teeth and you'd think we were beating her.  Go figure.

Today at the Endo we got not only her A1c number but also her cholesterol, celiac and thyroid results.  Celiac and thyroid were both great.  A1c was up .3 but considering the struggles we are having with exercise and growth spurts (she's grown almost 2 inches in 3 months) I am considering that a small victory.  Cholesterol was back up.  Ldl to be specific.  Hdl and Triglycerides were great.  We have battled this since her diagnosis.  It went down a little but this time it went the other direction.  We have worked with the dietitian and everyone is in agreement that it's not caused by diet but by her family history.  We have some things to try (I'll go into that later) but our path to cardiology is set.  Given that in the past two years alone her grandfather had his aortic valve replaced and her father had a heart attack at age 40 with no risk factors... I'm ok with that.  Let's keep an eye on her!

At least, the logical part of my brain is ok with that.

The emotional part...

Logically, I know that we have done everything possible to lower her cholesterol naturally.  She has a great diet.  She eats very well.  She is thin and active.  I also know that we are doing our very best to keep her blood sugar level and in range.  We have been pulling every trick we know.  And thyroid and celiac and eyes are totally out of our control.

But those little seeds of guilt and worry and doubt are there.

And the ONLY way I can think of to get rid of those seeds is to not water them.

I have to tell those thoughts that they are not welcome in my head.

Those thoughts -- those seeds -- are poisonous.

Earlier today I posted at picture of Sweets going to the Endo with her suitcase filled with things to keep her busy.

One of the hashtags I used was #drentreportcard

One of D Mama friends, Moria, made a comment that really made me think.  She said she knew that I referred to it as a report card in jest but feels that even when we kid about it, the implied negativity can seep into our subconscious.

She's right.  I was joking.  I see it as a report card in the sense that it's when we get our test results.  I try very hard to not judge myself or my effort by the number.  And I am almost paranoid about never letting Sweets hear us say anything that could make her feel to blame for her diabetes.

She's also right about it affecting us more than we think.

At first, I couldn't understand why people would get so worked up about A1c.  If you're doing your best... how can you feel bad?  But the longer we lived with diabetes...  The more I thought about what those highs and lows do to her body...  The more I heard people bemoan themselves and give themselves (me included) "Bad mom of the year" awards...  The more I got it.

The more it seeped in.

It's easy to think that our best is not good enough.  We see others with A1c numbers lower than ours.  We wonder why it's our kid who has diabetes AND ______ (seizures, high cholesterol, poor eyesight, celiac disease, chron's disease, etc).  We look at other people and think their lives are perfect.  Or at least easier than ours.

They are not.

I think the change has to come from us.

I know how frustrating it is to get a number - be it A1c or cholesterol or whatever - that is higher than you want when you feel like you have worked yourself into a stupor trying to change it for the better.  I know how disappointing it is.  I know how we take on the weight of the world.  I know how we expect perfection of ourselves.  Because our kids are relying on us.

I get it.
I feel it, too.

But maybe... just maybe... we need to stop beating ourselves up.  For that A1c that we think isn't good enough.  For that cholesterol number that isn't coming down.  For that bolus we forgot to give.  For that low we overtreated.  For that night we slept through the alarm.  For that disease we couldn't prevent.

I was texting back and forth with my best friend the other night.  She was beating herself up about her child having cavities and feeling like it was her fault.  I was sharing my frustrations and how I just didn't know what else to do or what else to try.  To lower her cholesterol.  To keep her steady during activity.  To lower that post breakfast spike.  I told her that if she was sucky mom then so was I.

This is what she said...  "For the record, I think you are the best pancreas ever.  And YOU, unlike her real pancreas, do not EVER give up or give out!!! It's not your fault."

I know. She's awesome!

She's also right.

If we were sitting around all day, never bolusing our kids, feeding them only bacon and cheeseburgers and pixie sticks, letting them run wild.... ok - THEN we could feel some guilt.

But we don't.  We kill ourselves in the pursuit of the unattainable.  Perfection.

I doubt we will ever stop striving because - after all - it's our kids we're talking about.

But hopefully we can work on being kinder to ourselves in the process.

Hopefully we can tell those thoughts that try to make us feel inadequate to get lost.

What do you say?




  1. Thank you so much for this post, this is exactly what my mind has been lingering about for so long and this is my biggest personal dilemma - facing my own guilt and not letting it eat up my joy of living. Two years into my daughter's condition I don't feel prepared yet to make such a deal,fingers crossed for all of you who are able to...

  2. My daughter is 3 weeks in to starting her insulin pump, so it's like starting all over again after a year. I often go back and think about what I could have or should have done for a particular situation. As a mom, you can't help mentally beating yourself up when it comes to the care of your children. Thank you for reminding us that everyday, we are doing the best that we can. I referenced this post over at I hope you don't mind.

  3. I don't even know my daughter's latest A1c. I took her for the blood draw in January and forgot to call for results. Doctor forgot to call with results, too. I decided it just doesn't matter right now. When we see the endo in a few weeks, then we'll see what the number was. (I couldn't have done this a few years ago.)

  4. This isnt limited to just moms, is it?

    1. Of course not! My husband is so good about not worrying and not getting uptight about things that I forget Dads can feel the same way!

  5. This isn't limited to just moms, is it?

  6. Well said! I can't help but feel my sons' A1Cs are my "report card" as to how well I am doing managing this untamed beast! I have broken down and cried in the Endo office. Not my finest moment. If it's any consolation, ALL DMoms get you!

  7. Check into the ability to have your dental insurance cover more frequent cleanings. Ella gets cleanings every 3 months. 3 are covered by insurance (she auomatically gets 1 extra/year as a prize for having T1D!) and the 4th is covered by her dental office because they're cool like that and because I think they felt sorry for us. I'll take it!

  8. it's beyond difficult to not feel that number is more than just a number. to look at it and not feel it judging you, taunting you for all those times you didn't get it right and the BGs were out of range.
    I will accept your deal and do my best to silence that inner voice. :)

  9. I have been battling that voice for 8 years now, and it only seems to get louder. Changes in life, growth spurts, and the surge of hormones have begun to haunt me. As my daughter grows and struggles to find her place in the world (as any tween does) her desire for independence and self-care grows, I find that voice taunting me. Finding the fine line to walk to empower yet protect her. I strive for that perfection that every child deserves even though I know it is impossible to obtain; the constant battle of logic and heart. Damn that taunting inner voice.

  10. As an adult, I can relate. I have gotten better over the years, but no matter what I cannot shake the thoughts-they still lurk, but I tend not to listen as much. Every day living with diabetes is different. Stay strong and my little buddy will be fine. Hugs.

  11. Such an inspirational quote. Every morning I make it a habit to read quotes as i drink my morning tea. It makes my day a brighter one. Thanks for sharing this. I've been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and I was depressed before. Quotes like this one helped me a lot in my journey to positive thinking.


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