I had this idea... this thought... the other day.
I don't remember what exactly we were doing. But it something diabetes related.
And I wondered... Am I just a pancreas? Am I just a carb counter, insulin deliverer, blood sugar tester? Am I just the Mom... the food maker, the chauffeur, the homework helper, the hair brusher, the boo boo kisser? Is there more to me than this?
There used to be more to me than this.
Not that THIS isn't wonderful.
It is. And I'm grateful to have this role. I love my daughter more than life itself. I'm proud to her Mom. I am eternally thankful that she is healthy and alive and I have the opportunity and supplies to keep her that way!
I think all parents of children living with diabetes are very aware of how lucky we are. We do not take our children or our children's health for granted.
However, we know how much it takes. And how all consuming it can become.
And there are times when we wonder... Who am I? Who is this person looking back at me from the mirror?
In my last post, I talked about the Taylor Swift song "All Too Well" and the lyrics...
"Time won't fly. It's like I'm paralyzed by it. I'd like to be my old self again but I'm still trying to find it."
And I can't help but think about how much that relates to life with diabetes.
My old self....
I can hardly remember.
I used to exercise every day. I was really fit and I really liked it. I used to hang out with friends from work. I'd go to Happy Hour and eat lunch in the lunch room and be social. I used to go to dinner with friends. I used to read a lot. I used to do my hair. And wear lipstick. Like every day. I used to eat healthy meals and take care of myself. I used to sleep at night.
Not so much.
I haven't exercised in an embarrassing long time. I can't remember the last time I went to dinner with friends. I never go out after work. I eat in my room, alone - by choice because it's the only time I have a few minutes to myself. Now I read about diabetes and insulin and pumps and cgms. I COMB my hair every day. And I might be able to find a lipstick in my purse.... but wear it? It might be too old. Does lipstick go bad? The drive thru lady at McDonald's knows me by name. And what's this sleep you speak of?
What happened to me?
Diabetes happened to me.
Now I spend so much time and thought and energy on carbs and ratios and basal rates and activity and 504 plans and supplies and targets and A1c and site changes and on and on and on.... Not to mention the emotional aspect of raising a child with a chronic disease.
The rest of that stuff just becomes invisible. I simply do not have time for anything other than diabetes. My brain is full.
And that's how it's been... for a long, long time.
But now, after four years, I'm starting to see glimpses of what life used to be. And how... just maybe... it could be again.
I don't know where to even start.
I am at least to a place where I can realize that pushing my own needs and my own health to the back is not healthy for anyone. I can see that my daughter deserves a Mom who is not stressed out and exhausted all the time.
But getting there....
It's just not easy.
Because who I WAS.... I'm not sure she exists anymore. Sometimes I think that if I don't at least TRY to find her now she is going to slip away and no one will even notice.
Don't get me wrong... It's not that being a D Mom is such an awful thing. It's just that can't be the ONLY thing.
And so the challenge is finding some balance between who I WAS and who I am NOW.
I won't ever be the same person I was before. And the truth is, I don't want to be.
I'm stronger now. I'm able to see and enjoy the small things in a way I was never able to do before. I have a new respect for life and health. I know I won't fall apart when times get tough. I don't get caught up in the petty drama that often comes with life. And I have some amazing friends I've made on this journey that make it so sweet. I don't want to give that up.
I just also need to be a Mom who takes care of her health. A Mom who does her hair and wears lipstick on occasion and enjoys exercise and friends and books!
It doesn't sound like it should be as hard as it is. Right?
So why does it feel like the impossible task?
I think because there are days (and nights) where diabetes IS the only thing. There are times when it HAS to be the only thing. Our kids are sick. Their numbers are out of whack. They are low. Or high. They need a site change. Carbs have to be counted. Exercise and hormones and growth and excitement are messing things up. They have ketones. They need us. And we are there.
We wouldn't have it any other way.
But those days and nights just bleed into one another until there is no beginning and no end and we are so exhausted both mentally and physically that there is nothing else. There is nothing left.
You can't escape those days. And when you're in the middle of it, it feels like there will never be an escape. So why bother?
I don't have an easy answer.
I just know it's time to try.
The longer we live this life, the more I'm able to see that those days WILL end. There WILL be times when our lives revolve around diabetes. But there will also be times it won't.
And I can't let those days pass me by. I've got to use those days for all they are worth and pray that it somehow balances out.
Today we worked on writing letters for Sweets to send to our Senators and Representatives asking them to meet with her when we are in Washington for Children's Congress. Then we went to a photo shoot for our JDRF Gala. Then we came home and it was time for bed but we had to do a pod change first.
Today was a diabetes day.
Today I was a D Mom.
And that's ok. Being a D Mom is a gift, in it's own way.
And there's always tomorrow to add a little of the "old me" in to the mix.
** Today was the start of more than a week long series of posts called "More than a D Mom". When I had this idea, I knew my other Mama's felt the same way. I wanted to hear what they had to say... and I'm sure you do, too! So be sure to check out Meri's blog tomorrow for her take! **