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.
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?