It has been said over and over - "being a parent is tough". The constant worry, the ever present questioning of oneself, and the deepest fear that something bad will happen to your child. Well, for parents of children with diabetes we have those same feelings with a little extra kick. For us, something bad has already happened to our children. Something life-threatening is happening to our children every day. Hour by hour, minute by minute and carb by carb, our lives are in a constant state worry and concern, especially around something as simple as snack time.
Here is an example of my family's snack time. One of my boys says "moooom, I'm hungry". Instantly, the hair on the back of my neck stands up. These words elicit the following thoughts: "I wonder if Rocco’s blood sugar is high or low?”. "I wonder what he will want?". "I hope it works with and not against his current blood sugar level". "If he is low, let him crave something with carbs and if he is high please for the love of God let him crave celery". I have yet to hear him say "I'd love some celery sticks, mom!", but a girl can still hope.
Next, I think of his fingers. One more poke in his little fingers to check his level. Most children with type 1 diabetes average 6-10 finger sticks per day. I constantly think to myself, "you only get one set of hands and it you can't get a finger transplant" and then I have to decide to check or guess. Sometimes, I take a leap of faith and guess the number, depending on his mood, his past meal, his exercise level and whether he looks pale (low) or is biting his nails (high). But, most times I check him.
Finally, I consider his twin brother who does not have diabetes and who almost always wants a Gogurt which has lots of sugar. I then wonder "Will Rocco be low enough to handle Zeke’s Gogurt request?". If they request something that works against the current blood sugar level, there is a typical sad kid groan when I deny the request. Once again, Zeke is put on hold because of Rocco’s blood sugar level. Sometimes Rooco says "Its ok mom, Zeke can have the Gogurt - I can wait until my sugar comes down". This is when my heart leaps out of my chest in pride and breaks a little at the same time.
Thankfully, I am blessed with boys who will eat anything I call food and put in front of them. Most days go well. Sometimes I can say "Yay! Rooco's number is 52. Juice boxes all around!" - these are a coveted treat in our household. Once, I overheard Rocco whispering "Dear God, please let me be low so Zeke and I can have our Nerds Ropes". I laughed and gave them the Nerd Ropes anyway even though Rocco was in the 200’s. The good news is that pushing a button on Rocco’s insulin pump can effectively offset such indiscretions! Another time, Zeke said "Moooom, Rooco's low - can we have candy?". Being four years old at the time, it’s remarkable that Zeke would be privy to such pertinent information. Stinker!
So even though having a child with diabetes means extra care and attention to everything my child eats, I do feel blessed that at least it is manageable, for now. I feel lucky to be able to teach him healthier habits than I probably would have. I am proud he is growing up heathy, happy and so far pretty well-adjusted.